Why Bitcoin matters

Why Bitcoin matters (Marc Andreessen in NYT, 21 Jan 2014) – A mysterious new technology emerges, seemingly out of nowhere, but actually the result of two decades of intense research and development by nearly anonymous researchers. Political idealists project visions of liberation and revolution onto it; establishment elites heap contempt and scorn on it. On the other hand, technologists – nerds – are transfixed by it. They see within it enormous potential and spend their nights and weekends tinkering with it. Eventually mainstream products, companies and industries emerge to commercialize it; its effects become profound; and later, many people wonder why its powerful promise wasn’t more obvious from the start. What technology am I talking about? Personal computers in 1975, the Internet in 1993, and – I believe – Bitcoin in 2014. * * * [ Polley : very, very interesting. I’m confused though by the Bitcoin mining motivation issues – as Bitcoin transactions increase (possibly thru micropayments), this’ll require an explosion in block-ledger verification processing (by so-called “miners”). But, if the Bitcoin algorithm in fact has a finite number of possible coins (21 million), won’t miners sometime lose the incentive to do the verification work?] [ Polley : I’ve decided I should know more about Bitcoin, and so am installing the MultiBit.app on my Mac and creating an account—#notstraightforward]

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Image courtesy of techinasia.com/bitcoin-illegal-thailand/cdn.btcpedia.com.