Decrypting a new currency


Emilie Hart

Cryptocurrency is a data string that holds currency, like Bitcoin for example.

Fall 2022 will mark the inaugural semester for Weber State’s new Cryptocurrency class. The course will be taught by assistant professor of economics Gavin Roberts. The material will also cover the history of currencies in general.

“Because cryptocurrencies are just a type of currency, the class overall really will be about money,” Roberts said.

Roberts mentioned that throughout human history, currencies have emerged and become commonplace.

“Cryptocurrencies sort of provide a contemporary example of something that we’ve seen happen over and over again in history,” he said.

He used cigarettes in prison as an example of currencies emerging from unexpected sources, saying inmates will use them to barter different goods and services.

Cryptocurrency markets tend to be more volatile than traditional stock markets. According to’s market data, the price of Bitcoin, one of the more prominent cryptocurrencies, is down 49% in the last six months. Ethereum, another widely traded cryptocurrency, is down 57% in the same time period.

When asked about this recent dip, Roberts said cryptocurrency is still in an early, evolutionary stage.

“I feel like we’ll see a lot of technological evolution in the cryptocurrency spaces right now,” he said.

He theorized that governments will start to create their own cryptocurrencies, as China has already done.

“Having a monopoly on the U.S. Dollar allows them to engage in monetary policy,” Roberts said.

He feels that as the cryptocurrencies start to overtake the market, governments will react and start to create policies.

Cryptocurrency has also impacted traditional investment strategies. Utah-based financial Planner, Hunter Gubler, said that cryptocurrencies should be around 2-5% of an average investor’s portfolio.

“If you’re educated in crypto, we recommend as much as you’re comfortable with or want in your portfolio,” said Gubler.

All of the above topics will be discussed in the new course. Roberts expressed his excitement about the class, saying “I think it’s going to be really fun and interesting.”

He explained the course will take a “bird’s eye view” of what cryptocurrencies are in the contexts of supply and demand and micro/macroeconomics.

Another aspect of the course is that a lot of the material will be happening in real-time.

“We’ll also learn how dynamic what we’re observing in the world with cryptocurrencies really is,” Roberts said.

He mentioned how a lot of the mainstream news surrounding crypto can be difficult to follow and understand.

“If we can sort of take one step back, we really see that there’s this bigger thing going on with society that’s related to cryptocurrency,” he said.