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CHICAGO, IL – The price of Bitcoin surged this month on the heels of a presidential executive order, calling on government agencies to review the risk and benefits of cryptocurrencies.

President Biden’s order also spelled out how government agencies can develop their own policies and regulations on digital currencies, and whether the federal government should issue its own digital version of the dollar. 

DePaul Finance Professor Dr. Lamont Black, who specializes in cryptocurrency, spoke with WGN News Now and said this is more proof that crypto is here to stay. “As our economy becomes digital, we need our money to become digital, and that’s what cryptocurrency does,” said Black.

As he explains to his students, cryptocurrency is digital money sent over the internet. But instead of platforms like Paypal or Zelle, cryptocurrency is not based on bank accounts. He said it’s decentralized peer-to-peer exchanged cash, but instead of paper money, it’s native to the internet.

If the U.S. government were to develop its own digital dollar, Black said it wouldn’t be a new currency. People would receive digital accounts instead of pieces of a paper or coins, and it would be managed by the Fed. Other countries, including El Salvador have introduced cryptocurrency as legal tender, but Black said he does not anticipate something that widespread happening here in the U.S. any time soon.

But he does anticipate crypto to soon take a wider share of payments in the U.S. “The idea of money is changing a lot right now,” said Black. “We’re headed toward cashless societies.” 

Tens of millions in crypto assets have been donated to Ukraine to assist with the war effort there, and Black said the benefit to this is because cryptocurrency does not have borders. He said there are no transaction fees for crypto donations or issues with exchange rates.

“Crypto is innovation,” Black said. “It’s that new kind of asset class that people are getting interested in and that’s where we’re seeing some of these exponential gains.”

He said for those who have sat on the sidelines, now might be the time to consider investing in cryptocurrency.

“I think everybody should be considering it because this is potentially a paradigm shift not just for money, but also for assets. “