The Vlogbrothers Just Went On A Treasure Hunt For A Missing Bitcoin — But Not To Spend

Bitcoin can be used for more than making a quick buck.

On Jan. 19, the Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — shared a video on their popular YouTube channel detailing how they retrieved a Bitcoin that was given to them in 2014 and used the money made from the sale of that Bitcoin to make a substantial donation to a charity.

This "treasure hunt" of sorts began when, as Hank tells it, John insisted the brothers were sent a single Bitcoin. As the value of the cryptocurrency continued to rise, John grew more and more insistent and eventually engaged in an extensive email search, which proved the brothers were, in fact, in possession of a Bitcoin.

After "a bit of a to-do," John and Hank were able to get their hands on the trendy cryptocurrency. However, instead of holding onto it in the hopes that it would increase in value, or selling it and treating themselves, the brothers promptly sold the Bitcoin and donated the $15,000 they received from the sale to Partners in Health — a Boston-based nonprofit healthcare organization.

Like any other currency, Bitcoin has a worth based on its own demand, and while plenty of people are using this new tech phenomenon to get rich, blockchain technology (such as Bitcoin) is also selling itself as a tool for bettering the world. Blockchain For Good, for example, is a think tank that allows people to share their ideas for how blockchain can improve society.

If you're still confused on exactly how blockchain can better the world, take a look at what happened in the Republic of Georgia just last year. Using BitFury, an application that utilizes the Bitcoin blockchain, that country piloted a program which issued 300,000 Georgians a legal title to their land. Such a program eliminated frustrating and costly backlogs and inefficiencies in the government system, and now the official, legal transfer of a land sale can take just seconds to complete. 

In addition to making things more efficient, blockchain also has the power to save and improve lives. According to QZ, the World Food Programme (WFP) began using the Ethereum blockchain in May to deliver $1.4 million in food vouchers to 10,500 Syrian refugees in Jordan.

So while the Green brothers simply exchanged their Bitcoin for cash and used that money to make a charitable donation, there are clearly other altruistic uses for Bitcoin and blockchain as well.

Still, despite the potential to do good with Bitcoin and blockchain, not everyone has faith in this new technology. As Hank explains towards the end of the video he has doubts about Bitcoin but none regarding long-established charities.

"Partners in Health, I know, is adding value to the world, so I'd rather them have my Bitcoin," he explained. "Partners in Health does amazing work with passion and intelligence."

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