When people hear about Bitcoin they often overlook it, maybe thinking of it only as a confusing illegal digital currency used on the black market or dark web for drugs and guns, but in fact Bitcoin is now accepted across the world by a huge number of reputable companies.
Bitcoin is borderless so there are no exchange rates or increased fees for sending it to a different country. Bitcoin is also the name of the protocol, much the same as the internet is a protocol, and bitcoin the currency is the first app built on that protocol, much like email was the first app of the internet protocol. Still with me?
Bitcoin (capitalised) refers to the software or network (ie: the Bitcoin Network), while bitcoin (not capitalised) refers to the digital currency itself (ie: two bitcoins).
Here are 10 things you should know about Bitcoin:
1. Anyone can be a part of the network: You can simply download a free bitcoin wallet and become part of the global borderless currency. www.bitcoin.org
2. You don’t have to own 1 full bitcoin: You can divide a single bitcoin up into eight decimal places making 100 million pieces (called Satoshis).
3. Bitcoin is the world’s first ‘programmable’ money; the ‘Blockchain’ technology behind Bitcoin can be used for a multitude of things including contracts, deeds and certificates http://ledracapital.com/blog/2014/3/11/bitcoin-series-24-the-mega-master-blockchain-list
4. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins, with the majority being ‘mined’ by 2040 and the final Satoshi’s being mined in the year 2130: https://blockchain.info/charts/total-bitcoins
5. No-one knows who created Bitcoin: Bitcoin was created by an anonymous person (or group), people have claimed the identity but never fully verified it https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Satoshi_Nakamoto
6. The Bitcoin protocol itself has never been ‘hacked’ although exchanges and individual users have been targeted by hackers.https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Myths#Bitcoin_was_hacked
7. Bitcoin is not anonymous, it’s pseudonymous. Every transaction on the network is recorded on a public ledger http://www.bitbonkers.com/
8. Bitcoin is still in Beta stage: It is being improved all the time, anyone can suggest changes and improvements to the protocol, discuss new features and help Bitcoin develop https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin
9. Bitcoin verifies transactions with the same state-of-the-art encryption that is used in banking, military and government applications. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Myths#Bitcoins_are_worthless_because_they.27re_based_on_unproven_cryptography
10. Computing Power: The computing power of the Bitcoin network surpasses the most powerful supercomputers in the world combined by a factor of several thousands https://blockchain.info/charts/hash-rate?timespan=all
There’s a lot of information here, and it probably raises more questions than answers, so for anyone wanting to know a bit more about it, there is a dedicated mini-conference coming. BitBrighton will help attendees understand the basics of Bitcoin and blockchain technology with free workshops and speaker presentations. Early registration is advised.
Visit www.BitBrighton.org which will be updated as the event progresses.
At the Latest Bar Saturday October 28th.