Financial Consultant talks cryptocurrencies with Consumer students

David Sievers

On Jan. 26, financial consultant David Sievers visited New Trier High School to talk about bitcoins, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies to Consumer Seminar students. Sievers is a manager at Accenture, a global management consulting and professional services company.

Sievers explained to students how cryptocurrency is a digital medium of exchange that uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units, as well as verify the transfer of funds. Bitcoin refers to the name of today's most well-known cryptocurrency, for which blockchain-the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency-was invented.

"Cryptocurrency and digital currency aren't going anywhere," he said, citing how many consumers are referring to digital currency as "digital gold," though it has no intrinsic value. Cryptocurrency is also not determined by a central bank.

Sievers also discussed how bitcoins are a borderless, global currency that involves increased transparency and lower-cost transactions, though they cannot necessarily be used everywhere yet.

"For instance, you can't just order something from Amazon and pay with bitcoins," he said. "But, you can pay a transaction to, say, a business in China whose website you worked on and pay them through their digital wallet address."

At the end of the class period, Sievers asked students to guess the initial value of the bitcoin, which was less than one cent. On the day of his visit, one bitcoin was worth just over $10,500.