Will there ever be a replacement for the American dollar?Right now, there are at least a dozen monetary systems, operating on the internet.They work without any banks or government backing.So that really appeals to some people, who don't like our traditional financial system.The people who belong to the network, deal directly with each other through their computers.While account holders are anonymous, all their accounts are visible to everyone on the system. Bitcoin is the best known of the cyber alternatives.Computer researchers, at the University of Tulsa's Tandy School of Computers Science, say the math and the technology behind the system is sound.But the human factors involved, are another matter.There are hackers and scam artist out there.Plus, the cyber currencies tend to have wild value swings.T.U. graduate student Michael Haney says he's interested in bitcoins, but he doesn't own any because the system needs time to mature.The Bitcoin economy is set-up to have a fixed amount of money, with some of it being slowly introduced over time.You can actually set up your personal computer, to go looking for coins on the internet.It's called mining and you use your computer for a mathematical scavenger hunt. Grad student, Michael Fisher, showed us the account he's built-up by mining.But it cost money to mine and that includes buying special computer equipment.After 2-years and paying for his mining setup, he had about $900 worth, on the day of our visit.He can spend it a number of different websites and the options are growing rapidly.Recently Overstock.com became the first major company, to accept bitcoins.The involvement of big corporations, would give the system more credibility.Tulsa's Better Business Bureau says be careful if you want to explore this new world of finance.A lot of people have been burned by scams.
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