Chicagoan explains why he uses 'bitcoin'

October 11, 2011

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(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
The anonymous inventor of bitcoin wanted to create a currency that wasn't regulated by the Federal Reserve.

The virtual currency called "bitcoins" uses encryption to monitor peer-to-peer financial transactions and operates outside the purview of central banks and the Federal Reserve. Like any monetary system, bitcoins can be traded for bills like dollars and euros. Few businesses accept bitcoins, but their numbers are growing and now include a beef jerky company and a Howard Johnson in Southern California. They're especially popular among drug dealers because users remain anonymous.

Jared Ostmeyer, a University of Chicago Ph.D. student, currently has 50 bitcoins. He tells us why he invested in the new digital currency.