Monday, March 21, 2011

Bitcoin

Bitcoin. Bit. Coin. Two little syllables. They seem completely natural together.

I think Bitcoin stands a good chance of becoming a big deal. A great big deal.

Lots of questions though.

Bitcoin is a new electronic currency. A currency out of the control of bankers or governments. It's an open source currency running on open source software loaded on standard computers of various OS flavors. It'll be immune from inflation because the total, ultimate amount of coin is embedded in the system.

I've said virtually nothing above, and already I'm saying more than I know. I only know that it smells significant to me.

It'll be interesting to watch this develop. Will governments and banks subvert it by various means. Will they be able to do so? Will it eventually take on the role of global reserve currency? How will it avoid total reliance on breakable infrastructure and dependence on public utilities and communications channels? What about money laundering?

What if I need to stop payment?

I'm thinking about setting up a node, just to learn more and support the effort, but what if I change out my hardware or software, or if my house burns to the ground? Or gets destroyed in an earthquake and tsunami. I don't think it's a simple as joining SETI. I've never allowed port forwarding at my house; what are the security implications of opening ports in my firewall to receive incoming Bitcoin traffic?

Do I have the capacity to understand Bitcoin? I recognized 25 or 30 years ago that asymmetrical, public key cryptography was probably going to become a great big thing, and yet I barely understood it. Now that it has become a great big thing, I still don't really understand it.

So what if I don't understand it? I don't understand much of anything, really.

I guess Bitcoin could be broken some time, just as the cryptography that's central to today's online economy could be broken by the use of chemical genetics in a massively parallel approach to cryptanalysis. Or something. Quantum computing. Who knows?

I'm pretty sure, though, that this will be an interesting thing to follow, and maybe join.

There are lots of really smart people in the world. Sometimes that alone is enough to give me hope.

Usually not, though.

Go Bitcoin!! Suppertime...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Skeptacles,

I could attempt answering your questions, but for every answer you'd probably have an other question. Best place to go looking for answers is https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page I highly recomend Introduction, Getting started, Securing your wallet and Myths.

May I just assure you that running open source software is as safe as it gets. You probably heard about firefox and linux.

For more information and to actively participate in our comunity please join us at http://www.bitcoin.org/smf/
If you find me(mewantsbitcoins) on the forum, I will even give you 1 Bitcoin to play around and see how easy it is to send and receive money. No fees, transactions in minutes anywhere in the world, anonymity.. The potential held by this curency is limitless.
I hope I intrigued you enough to know more and I am looking forward to giving you that 1 Bitcoin.

Regards,
m

Steve said...

OK, I'll do that. Just did it actually. I'm SteveS over there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I left you a message on the forum. You'll have to send me your Bitcoin address so I know where to send the coin.

Regards,
m

Steve said...

Thanks! I only just started looking over the forum, and I have not yet set up a client, but I'll touch base over there.