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Natural Awakenings Twin Cities

What is Crypto-Currency Anyway? Part Two with Matt Ferrin

Matt Ferrin, Chief Financial Officer of Northwoods Credit Union, returns to continue our conversation about cryptocurrency and shares his thoughts on the future of bitcoin and the impacts of blockchain. For more information about Northwoods Credit Union, visit NorthwoodsCU.org.


Shownotes:

[00:00:07.250] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Good morning and welcome to Green Tea Conversations, the radio show that delves into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine to bring you the local experts who share their progressive ideas and the latest information and insights needed so you can lead your best life. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, publisher of the Twin Cities edition of Natural Awakenings magazine, and I am honored to bring these experts to you. Today in our studio we have back for the second week, Mr. Matt Ferrin, the chief financial officer of Northwood Credit Union, which has locations throughout northeast Minnesota.
 
[00:00:42.290] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to the show, Matt.
 
[00:00:44.610] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Thank you. It's a pleasure to be back.
 
[00:00:47.790] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Last week, you were with us, and you were helping us to get an idea or to be able to get some more understanding of what cryptocurrency is. And we started off by talking about blockchains. So you had given us a pretty good explanation of it. I'm sure there's a whole bunch more that we need to know, but at least now we have an understanding. And at the end of the show, you had mentioned, there are a lot of really good things that can come out of using or of the development of cryptocurrency.
 
[00:01:20.850] 
So I want to get into that today as well as what is the impact that cryptocurrency is going to be having on our world as we move forward? But before I do that, I wanted to share something with you that I'm really impressed with and really kind of excited about. It's a small thing. But for me, it's a big thing. So the other day, I was looking at an app that I wanted to purchase for my team that I work with, and it is for getting secure signatures and everything is kept in a blockchain.
 
[00:01:57.570] 
And prior to last week, I would never have known what a blockchain was. So thank you for that.
 
[00:02:06.210] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Excellent. Yeah. That's a great example of the blockchain security and record-keeping, and it's going to show up everywhere in our lives going forward.
 
[00:02:18.870] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So let's go ahead and get started. And I'm going to, first of all, ask you to just give us a brief summary of blockchain and kind of what we talked about last week to catch people up in case they missed the show last week.
 
[00:02:32.920] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
A review would be great. Blockchain cryptocurrency comes in two important parts. The first part is blockchain. And blockchain can be thought of as decentralized recordkeeping. We live in a world with centralized recordkeeping where you walk into the bank and they have all of your transactions or you walk in and see your doctor and they have all of your records and medical visits, or you go visit your lawyer and they have a summary of your cases for Blockchain. What Blockchain does is it keeps copies of all of those records in many different places, but it's all encrypted, and it's all anonymous.
 
[00:03:22.530] 
So as you mentioned, for having an app for digital signatures. Well, you don't want your digital signature floating out there. So this is where they use cryptography to encrypt all of those records. That's the blockchain, then the digital currency is the credit that you earn by participating in the system. So, for example, you can sign up to Bitcoin and be miner mine Bitcoin. And what you're really doing is you're keeping a copy of all the records on your own computer and for doing that, the system every once in a while will give you a credit.
 
[00:04:08.730] 
And you can use that credit different ways. You can trade with someone else. You can do nothing with it. Last time we talked about the first commercial transaction where a person paid 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas, right? About $600 million in today's value. So it's the two parts. It's the blockchain, which is the record-keeping, and then it's the cryptocurrency, which is the credit you earn for participating in the system.
 
[00:04:44.130] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Okay. So help us to understand what do you see as some of the biggest benefits of cryptocurrency moving forward?
 
[00:04:56.670] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
There are a lot of benefits. One of the biggest benefits is access to money. We were talking a little bit last time off-air, and I gave you the example of one of my relatives who has had some economic misfortune in their life, and they have bad credit, and they have difficulty getting a bank account at a bank or a credit Union, a checking account because their credit is so bad. As a consequence, sometimes they end up going to payday lenders or alternative finance institutions in order to get a checking account or credit.
 
[00:05:43.230] 
With cryptocurrency. Anyone can log in to the system and start participating in the system. So this is an example where someone that's kind of locked out of the financial economy will be able to log in and participate with economic transactions. They don't have to have a crefeedit score. They don't have to have a bank or anything like that.
 
[00:06:11.170] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So let me see if I understand this correctly. If it would be kind of similar to being on a cash basis because they'll only have access to what they actually have the number of credits that they actually have. So it's basically a cash basis, but it's all electronic. So getting the convenience of credit Candi or debit card as you would with a financial institution, except it's your money in your account.
 
[00:06:41.790] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Exactly. So the way we could envision this is my relative has a job and they go out and they can either get paid in US dollars, or some people are actually getting paid in Bitcoin. You can take your salary in Bitcoin. Let's say, for example, she took her salary in US dollars. Then she could go to the Bitcoin Marketplace exchange those dollars for Bitcoin, and then that record would be kept in the blockchain, and she could just use her phone or her app to pay for what she needs that way, all of her money is there in the system.
 
[00:07:25.650] 
She has access to it. But she doesn't have to open an account at a financial institution.
 
[00:07:34.890] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Maybe this is a little bit too far, thinking a little bit too far ahead. But so unlike a checking account where perhaps she had a debit card with a checking account, how would they keep from over withdrawing from the Bitcoin account?
 

[00:07:51.810] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Excellent. That is part of the rules of the record-keeping system. Right. If you go and you say, I can spend a million Bitcoin, well, the system looks, calculates all the transactions, and then says, Sorry, you only have three Bitcoin, and it won't allow you to overdraw your account. So that's one of the safeguards that was originally built into the Bitcoin system, that it only allows you to spend the credit that you've accumulated in the system.
 

[00:08:26.970] - Candi Broeffle, Host

And so when you're talking about, especially when it comes to, well, just anyone, basically. But there's a lot of people who especially when they're young, they get into trouble, they make some dumb decisions. We do when we're older, too, but they make some dumb decisions and they overdraw their accounts, and then they get charged all these fees. Right. So now you just have a snowball effect, because now you didn't have any money to begin with, and now you have to pay all these fees. So it could be a really good thing to help people to really be able to stay within their means.
 

[00:09:08.490] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Yes. Right. Because it doesn't allow you to overspend. Then you are basically locked into spending what your means are. And that's one of the other benefits like you touched on is fees. Whenever we do a transaction, we're charged fees. If it's a credit card, then the credit card is charged us. If it's a debit card, then we end up paying what's called interchange. And for a lot of financial institutions, that can be pretty significant source of revenue for them. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies eliminate or keep those fees very low.
 

[00:09:56.190] 
It's either free or a Penny a transaction to do a Bitcoin transaction. Now, in our day to day purchase, we often don't think about how much money we pay, because usually it's the merchant that pays. That right. The merchant takes American Express or Visa, and they pay a percentage of those sales to the credit card companies. So we don't actually see that coming out of our pocket. But say, for example, that you wanted to send money to the Philippines. Those fees start adding up pretty quickly, right.
 

[00:10:31.970] 
When we're doing international transactions, whether they're wire fees. If you're trying to send parts money to parts of Africa, there may not be a financial institution that's there to receive that money. This is where cryptocurrency can be a real benefit, because whether you send money to your neighbor down the street or whether you send it around the world, it just goes through Bitcoin network that keeps the fees and the cost down significantly.
 

[00:11:03.570] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I want to continue this part of the conversation because I actually do have a team member in the Philippines. And I do want to ask you something when we come back, but we have to go into a break right now. So for people who want to learn more about Northwoods Credit Union, visit NorthwoodsCu.Org. And again, that's Northwoods with an s Cu. Org. To read the online version of Natural Awakenings magazine, visit NaturalTwinCities. Com. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.Com on Apple and Google Podcasts Spotify.
 

[00:11:44.150] 
And anywhere you get your podcast, you're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota. And we will be right back.
 
[00:12:04.610] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we're visiting with Matt Ferrin, the chief financial officer at Northwood's Credit Union, with locations throughout North East Minnesota. So just before the break, you were starting to talk about the fees that can be saved if you're using cryptocurrency, especially when you're making payments or you're purchasing things internationally. And you had just kind of touched on the Philippines.
 
[00:12:33.230] 
And I actually do have a team member who is in the Philippines. And one of the things that I learned that I found really interesting was the fact that people in the Philippines are not able to open up a bank account unless they have a job that they're getting paid in the Philippines. So when they're working with an international company, if you have a contract, they can perhaps get a bank account that way. But it makes it really hard. They end up using systems like GCash for this particular person.
 
[00:13:06.340] 
They ended up getting hacked and losing quite a bit of money through that account. So I would imagine the cryptocurrency, once that's more fully developed, would really help, especially in countries where it can be really hard to get access to bank accounts and financial institutions.
 
[00:13:26.190] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
You're exactly right. When the Internet came along, it revolutionized commerce. You could sell or you could buy to anyone in the world, right? Someone in Africa or Asia or Russia or South America. They could start listing their products on the Internet, and they could sell them to literally anyone else that had access to the Internet. The difficult part of that was, how do you process those payments? How do you send payments halfway across the world to someone making a product in Africa? Well, that's a challenge. You either need a very big financial institution or go through the international financial system.
 
[00:14:10.070] 
And as we've learned that's not necessarily as secure as we would like it to be. This is where cryptocurrency really helps, because it has the security of the blockchain, and anyone with access to the Internet has access to the Bitcoin or cryptocurrency network. This matches the buying and selling of a product with the payment of that product. It took a while to develop cryptocurrency, but now that we have it, it's going to really make worldwide Internet commerce much more plausible and efficient.
 
[00:14:49.310] - Candi Broeffle, Host
One of the things that I've often wondered about because it seems like it's so foreign to me. But it seems like, how do you determine what a Bitcoin is worth? How is that credit determined?
 
[00:15:08.030] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
That is a great question. And that's something that is being developed with cryptocurrency. And the easiest way to think of this is like gold or oil. We buy and sell gold, we buy and sell oil, and the value of that changes all the time. So when summer comes and we drive a lot, there's a lot of demand. So the price of oil tends to go up in the summer the same way with gold. For various reasons, the price of gold will go up or go down. And it's the exact same way with cryptocurrency, the demand and supply generally determines the price just like anything else.
 
[00:15:49.950] 
Right. If it's silver or lumber or gold, any sort of commodity is driven by supply and demand. And as there's more demand, the value of that cryptocurrency goes up. So as we've talked about, there are literally thousands of different types of cryptocurrency. Some of them are basically worthless. Some of them are worth a few pennies. Some of them are worth hundreds of dollars. And Bitcoin is worth roughly about $58,000. Right now.
 
[00:16:24.170] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I know that they've started to use it more. I get that. But what makes it that much more valuable than some of the other cryptocurrencies?
 
[00:16:34.970] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
One is it was the first and so it had longer time to attract users. It's certainly the most well-known. If you were going to put $10,000 into a cryptocurrency, you'd probably put it into one that's been around for ten years versus one that's been around for a month. So it's well known. It's been around for a while. It's very widespread in the news. You see, a lot of reputable people using Bitcoin helps drive that value, and that usage.
 
[00:17:10.010] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Can they just create more credits? I mean, how do you keep it from just completely losing its value?
 
[00:17:17.150] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
That is a great question, right. Because if it's just a credit created by the computer, you could create an infinite amount of credits.
 
[00:17:28.280] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Right.
 
[00:17:29.230] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
One of the things, Satoshi Nakamoto, when he created Bitcoin, he designed it so that over time there would be less and less Bitcoin created. And so it's been about every four years and the number of credits created gets cut in half. Well, you do the math, and over time there will be a maximum of 21 million Bitcoin created. That's why if you get really excited about cryptocurrency and you want to be a minor and you sign up and you start getting involved with this, you're going to get fractions of Bitcoin as your credit, whereas the early adopters got thousands of bitcoins as that.
 
[00:18:16.990] 
So this is where this mathematical rules in the system will limit the amount of Bitcoin created. There are pros and cons to that. One of the pros is you just can't create unlimited amount, so Bitcoin will likely hold its value for a long period of time. One of the other pros is because you can't create unlimited amounts. It's not at risk of inflation. This is where the US dollar. We can create as many US dollars as we want. And sometimes that gets us in trouble with real-world currencies, where governments start printing a lot of money to pay off debt or give to citizens.
 
[00:19:02.590] 
And then all of a sudden, inflation comes and things start costing more and more because we have a huge supply of currency. So that's one of the benefits of cryptocurrency.
 
[00:19:14.690] - Candi Broeffle, Host
That it could be almost inflation proof.
 
[00:19:17.750] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Yes, that it would be inflation resistant because of its limited amount. So for a recap, these are some of the benefits of cryptocurrency, right? Anyone can have access to the system. So if your credit impaired or live somewhere where you don't have access to a financial institution, you still have access through the Internet. Also, it helps keep transaction fees down. It increases accessibility to money, and it can be inflation resistant.
 
[00:19:54.230] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Has there been a lot of cryptocurrencies that came onto the market and then disappeared? Did it make it?
 
[00:20:00.430] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Oh, I'm sure there have been. In preparation for this interview, I actually went out and looked and I think what I saw on the Internet was there was about 6500 cryptocurrencies. Obviously, there's been a lot of defunct cryptocurrencies because someone will write, they'll create a blockchain, and then they'll say, everybody joined my blockchain. And if people don't join, then there's no creation of the credits. And there is no exchange of the credit. And that's where the currency just muddles along or ends up dying.
 
[00:20:37.270] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Okay. But when we come back, we're going to continue our conversation. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950 the Progressive Voice of Minnesota. And we will be right back.
 
[00:21:00.810] 
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we meet the professionals straight from the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine who share their expertise on natural health with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we're visiting with Matt Ferrin, chief financial officer of Northwest Credit Union, with locations throughout northeast Minnesota. So, Matt, just before the break, we were talking about the different benefits that you see coming out of cryptocurrency and just some of the background about how it was developed and how it may be almost recession proof.
 
[00:21:37.770] 
I'd like to just take a moment to think about a little bit going forward. What that cryptocurrency might look like? Do you have any information on some of the current cryptocurrencies and how they were developed if they're similar to Bitcoin? If there's anything that's really different from it.
 
[00:21:57.510] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
The vast majority of cryptocurrency is built on the blockchain. And so this is where they all share those kind of similarities because of the blockchain being secure and being decentralized. Then that's the easy way to earn credit. Now, the shape that that credit takes is very interesting because people will probably experiment on the shape of that credit and what that credit can be used for. To give you an example, I think the world has been very interested to watch how China has developed their social credit score, where they are implementing a system of if you're a good citizen and you do X, Y and Z, it actually pumps up your social credit score.
 
[00:22:53.550] 
And if you're doing things that maybe the government doesn't like so much, your credit score goes down. It's very interesting. It's very novel, and I think that the world is watching this, but that may be an example where the value of your credit may go up or down and may determine what you actually get to do right. If you're a law abiding, good citizen, you may be able to travel abroad and things like that. And so that social credit may be a type of currency very similar to cryptocurrency.

[00:23:36.610] 
And this is where I think the world is experimenting on the different types of credit that can be earned through these type of cryptocurrency groups.
 
[00:23:49.390] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I have a friend who has worked on a type of cryptocurrency. I guess that's what we would call it for probably ten years, and in this development of it, there's a lot to it. So I'm not going to get into the whole thing with it. But some of the aspects of it are that you can earn credits you can earn points based on if you volunteer. If you're a stay at home parent, if you're volunteering in your children's school, there's just so many different ways that you can earn credits and the credits in the view that he has for it.
 
[00:24:30.880] 
With partnerships with maybe other businesses you look at like a restaurant where they don't have a lot of people coming in to eat between the hours of two and four that maybe you can use 50% of however much the meal costs you can use in credits. And it's a way he sees for helping to increase the amount people can spend or how far money can go, especially for people who might be single parents or low income. It just is to help give a little bit more money for people to be able to spend and be able to earn it in a different way.
 
[00:25:10.220] 
And so that would actually could be a type of cryptocurrency, especially if it was on a blockchain.
 
[00:25:17.830] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
In my mind, that's exactly a type of cryptocurrency, right. A cryptocurrency is just a credit in the system. And so like your friend has designed a system that rewards credit for certain behavior or certain actions. That credit then can be traded or spent with other people or restaurants or whoever will accept that kind of credit. And so that's exactly. I would look at that very similar to a cryptocurrency.
 
[00:25:52.900] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And I just want to say, Joel, if you're listening, I know I pretty much slaughtered that for you. And I apologize, but we'll have you on the show one day to really explain it to people. That was the part I was really excited about. So, yes, I can see it's interesting to think about how this could be implemented moving forward. There's so many different applications for it and I know, for you you feel the biggest part of this or the most reputable part of this is the blockchain itself.
 
[00:26:33.390] 
So how do you think that could be impacting on our world as we move forward?
 
[00:26:39.430] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Yes. Right. There are two parts. And the credit is what kind of gets people excited because one credit Bitcoin is worth $60,000. And if you got Bitcoin early, you're rich.
 
[00:26:52.270] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And that's exciting, especially if you sold a pizza for 10,000 Bitcoin.
 
[00:26:57.370] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Sure. Absolutely. I think in the long run, the blockchain technology is more exciting and transformative than the cryptocurrency part. And what I mean by that is being able to keep records decentralized and in a secure way. So, for example, one of my kids has a pretty thick medical file, has been sick with a chronic illness all of their life. And we've moved around quite a bit. And it's always an experience trying to consolidate his medical records, get them to a new doctor. Every once in a while, we lose some of the records, test results and everything else like that.
 
[00:27:49.680] 
Even the government has recognized that this was an issue. There was an initiative by the government a few years ago to digitize medical records. Well, one of the big concerns there is Privacy and whether that gets hacked, this is a perfect area where blockchain can increase security, make it anonymous, but then make it secure so that you always have access to those records. You put all of your medical records in the blockchain, and then you have them with you everywhere you go. Nothing ever gets lost.
 
[00:28:29.690] 
It's duplicated everywhere. It's backed up everywhere it's secure. It's an anonymous.
 
[00:28:36.130] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I think the other thing with that, too, if I may, is the fact that you have access to it. You don't have to ask for access to it, correct? I mean, that's the difference between the centralized putting it digitally in the cloud somewhere. And you go to the doctor's office and they might have your digital records. But they might not. If a hospital hadn't put any information in that, they're not going to have that from that particular hospital where you have control of it.
 
[00:29:08.830] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
That's exactly right. We live in a world where record-keeping has been centralized. You go to your bank to get your financial records, you go to your doctor to get your medical records, you go to your lawyer, your stockbroker, your bookie, the county courthouse, whatever it is. And there is a lot of money spent in maintaining those records, even going to the DMV or the IRS or whatever it is.

[00:29:38.640] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Right.
 
[00:29:40.930] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Sometimes it can be expensive and it can be time-consuming and sometimes it cannot be accurate. This is where with blockchain, it's secure, it's anonymous, it's global. It's virtually instant access, and it's secure and decentralized. So you have access to all of those records. And this makes a huge difference for just about everything, right? I mean, imagine what it would do for the Library of Congress if you put all of those records into the blockchain. IRS records, property records, DMV records, voting records. Right. There's been a lot of discussion about voting integrity over the last couple of years.
 
[00:30:36.490] 
Well, blockchain could probably help with that.
 
[00:30:40.810] - Candi Broeffle, Host
How do you see it helping with that?
 
[00:30:43.450] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Well, one is maintaining that record. And when we talk about voting, audits and recounts, when we go through that process, you could walk in and you could just vote on the blockchain. So you log in, you mark it all, and then you're done right. There's no hanging, Chads, there's no confusion. There's no loss records or anything else because those records are not centralized. Remember, it's decentralized. And there's a copy of those records in thousands or millions of places. And then this helps provide that security and that clarity, that it eliminates a lot of that confusion.
 
[00:31:29.000] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And nobody could fake or pretend there's somebody else because they would need to have your private number in order to be able to vote.
 

[00:31:38.270] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Right. If you can make blockchain work for money, you can make it work for just about any sort of information.
 
[00:31:48.370] - Candi Broeffle, Host
That's interesting.
 
[00:31:50.890] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
It really is. Right. And so this is where I think there is a lot of research and development and tinkering, and there will be on how we apply that decentralized record-keeping that blockchain to virtually everything in our life.
 
[00:32:12.730] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yeah, that is really fascinating. I'm just sitting here thinking to myself how many times I have contacted somebody to get some kind of record right to get credit card statements or bank statements or my tax records from my accountant or whatever because if you didn't keep everything in the cloud as I did it to a few years ago and you lose your computer, you lose everything where it would always be kept there. And the security of it is what's really important in my mind. It's what's really important.
 
[00:32:53.660] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Oh, that's exactly right. And we're kind of used to this already with pictures, right? There's a TV commercial out there. The lady loses her computer, and later she gets a new computer and it downloads all of her pictures because her pictures have been put in the cloud. Yay, what would happen with blockchain, right? That information can just be digitized and uploaded to a blockchain, which is now decentralized, and it would always be there.
 
[00:33:32.650] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, Matt, we're going to go into a commercial right now for people who want to learn more about Northwoods Credit Union, visit NorthwoodsCu.Org. And again, that's Northwoods with an s CU. Org. To read the online version of Natural Awakenings magazine, visit NaturalTwinCitiescom. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.Com on Apple and Google Podcasts, Spotify and anywhere you get your podcast, you're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, The Progressive Voice of Minnesota. And we will be right back.
 
[00:34:26.150] 
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the professionals to share their expertise on natural health with you.
 
[00:34:35.550] 
I'm your host, Candi Broeffle and today we're talking with Matt Ferrin, chief financial officer at Northwood's Credit Union in northeast Minnesota. So, Matt, before the break, we were talking about some of the benefits of cryptocurrency and also the benefits of the blockchain. And as you were talking in our last segment, I started thinking, I wonder how this would affect ransomware, and so if you could just quickly, I mean, give us a little bit of information about what ransomware is and maybe some examples of what's happened recently just to remind people what it all is about.
 
[00:35:17.930] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Excellent hacker activity, especially in COVID, is up dramatically fraudulent transactions, identity theft, and all sorts of fraud. One type of that is ransomware. And that's where a hacker gets access to your computer and locks it until you pay a ransom. Right. So they get into your computer, they lock it all up and they say we've hacked your computer. If you want access, you need to pay us a fee. And usually, that fee is a couple of $100 because the hackers want you to pay that fee, and so as long as it's reasonably low, they figure that you won't go through the hassle of contacting law enforcement waiting to get access to your computer, and you'll just pay them 200 or $300 and they go away. I think in a lot of cases, that's how it works until the hackers come back a week later or whatever and lock your system and extort you again, if the ransomware charges you a million dollars, you're not going to pay that. But they don't get paid. And that doesn't help.
 
[00:36:32.750] 
This is where blockchain may be able to help with that. For example, if a school district got subject to ransomware.
 
[00:36:42.680] - Candi Broeffle, Host
We've heard about this on the news, right? We've heard about it quite a few times. Police departments, schools, small hospitals, all different types of businesses have had it happen.

[00:36:54.590] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
And there's very little remedy. Say, for example, you're a hospital and your billing Department gets subject to ransomware. You can't wait a month for that to get resolved. And so you end up usually paying the fee. Well, if all of those records were on the blockchain, it wouldn't matter if your computer got locked. You just pull a new computer, get a new computer and then log into the blockchain. From your new computer. And this is what makes ransomware so damaging is that there's usually records on your computer that you can't get anywhere else.
 
[00:37:36.470] 
And especially when we have centralized recordkeeping, a hospital, a police department, a bank, situations like that, they almost have no choice but to pay the ransomware to get access to those records and transactions.
 
[00:37:54.140] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And I imagine most of those I'm not a tech person. So forgive me, but I imagine most of those are servers or private servers that they're using in order to maintain confidentiality, especially with police departments and hospitals, and other places. Right. And so they get a hold of that. And then people they can't access. I remember hearing about one hospital that couldn't access patient records. They couldn't get onto the patient records. So what are you going to do if you have patients coming in and you need to know what their history is, you're going to have to do something wherewith this?
 
[00:38:37.340] 
Like you said, each of us could have access to our own medical records. So even if the hospital can't get access to it, you can always get access to it.
 
[00:38:47.910] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Right. Because those records are maintained in hundreds or thousands of different places. So if one set of records at the hospital goes down, well, you log in and those records are kept somewhere else and you have access to all of that. So this decentralized recordkeeping which keeps it secure and anonymous has great implications for any type of recordkeeping or access to information. And really, they did it the hard way by making blockchain work for currency, because if you can make it work for currency and money, you can pretty much make it work for any other type of information.
 
[00:39:37.070] - Candi Broeffle, Host
The only hesitancy I guess I would have about this is the fact that you have this private number that you can't get access any other way in order to get into the records.
 
[00:39:51.150] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Yeah. Right. That's kind of the two edge sword of the blockchain, the public number and the private number make it very secure, secure enough to the point that if you forget your number or have a problem, then you lose your access to all of that.
 
[00:40:12.770] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So there must be some kind of work going on to try to determine how to circumvent that. I mean, how to be able to maintain its security. But yet what do you do if you get in a car accident and, you have a brain injury and, now you can't remember anything that's happened in the last 20 years. You're really going to be sunk. It's not going to do you any good to have all that in there?
 
[00:40:40.190] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Absolutely. And this is why I'm very excited for the future of cryptocurrency because there's going to be a lot of development and refinement of these kinds of foundational principles on how do we really make this work right? We've talked about some of the big issues. It's hard to buy a candy bar with one Bitcoin if it's worth 56.
 
[00:41:05.860] 
$50,000
 
[00:41:07.880] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
Right. How do you divide all of that up to make it a true transactional currency? Also with the security part, if you forget your numbers, what happens or if there's some sort of emergency because we live in a world where that is going to happen and that's going to happen on a daily basis?
 
[00:41:27.470] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yes.
 
[00:41:28.260] - Matt Ferrin, Guest
How do we have all of the security and anonymity and make that work right? How do we tax Bitcoin? Because unless somebody voluntarily says I bought Bitcoin at $100 a coin and I sold it at $60,000 a coin and report all that taxes, the IRS will know, right. These are some of the big issues that need to be ironed out with cryptocurrency in the next few years. But I think that the fact that it's been able to work and it has been working as well as it has the past 13 years or so means that there's great promise for the application and development of this in the future.
 
[00:42:16.070] Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, Matt, thank you so much for being with us again today and thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise about cryptocurrency and helping us to understand it a little bit better.
 
[00:42:27.710] Matt Ferrin, Guest
Thank you, Candi. It was a pleasure being on the show.
 
[00:42:30.590] Candi Broeffle, Host
And so for people who want to learn more about Northwood's Credit Union, visit NorthwoodsCu.Org to read the online version of Natural Awakenings magazine, or to check out our complete online calendar of events, visit NaturalTwinCities.Com. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.com or Apple and Google podcasts. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950 the Progressive Voice of Minnesota and I am wishing for you a lovely day!

What is Crypto-Currency Anyway Part One with Matt Ferrin

What is Crypto-Currency Anyway? Part One with Matt Ferrin

Green Tea Conversations interview with the CFO of Northwoods Credit Union, Matt Ferrin who will let us understand more about cryptocurrencies and blockchains. Read More » 

 

Read the full July 2022 Magazine