Think of it as the Bank for Humanity. The Bitcoin protocol is the genie that has left the bottle never to be contained again. Enormous decentralized businesses will be created out of this protocol that will change the landscape of global business forever. A new cycle of disintermediation has begun and all existing business must adjust or they will be marginalized.
Bitcoin at its most fundamental level is a breakthrough in computer science – one that builds on 20 years of research into cryptographic currency, and 40 years of research in cryptography, by thousands of researchers around the world. In its’ youthful history it has been attacked relentlessly and shown its’ resiliency repeatedly.
In the simplest of terms, think of a Bitcoin as currency melded with a public stock certificate of a fast growing startup. Think of it as owning a share of Facebook rather than a dollar, but you can electronically spend a bit of your share and buy a hamburger. Your remaining Bitcoin fraction can continue to appreciate even when pieces of it are spent.
While the concept of Bitcoin may be hard to comprehend for those without a fundamental understanding of cryptography currency, bonds and banking, there are a few points that prove Bitcoin has the edge over banks.
Bitcoin is a Peer-to-Peer Network
The beauty of a peer-to-peer federated system (such as the one Bitcoin uses) is that it cannot be shut down because it does not rely on a hub. Think Napster vs BitTorrent. You can shut one down and not the other.
Bitcoin is an OpenSource project consisting of charitable contributions from developers who receive acknowledgement, peptides for their receptors and the knowledge that their valuable skills are contributing to something meaningful in addressing human need. In fact, Bitcoins add economic incentives to the equation making it even more compelling to create the building blocks of a new era in business. Unlike banks, Bitcoin exists as a network that rewards users who contribute to the network by managing the Blockchain, by adding the newest Bitcoin “Block” to the distributed ledger and for providing the physical servers composing the network that processes the transactions of a global digital economy.
Bitcoin is not Subject to FIAT Manipulation
All national currencies in circulation, issued, and managed by respective central banks are FIAT currencies. Collectively, the banks have manipulated FIAT currencies by creating and printing additional money to create cycles of opportunity, which has led to debilitating consequences and even war. The network rules for Bitcoin are that a maximum of 21 million Bitcoins will be created.
The very fact that Bitcoin was designed to have a maximum number of bitcoins is part of the scheme that protects the Bitcoin currency from the kind of manipulation that other FIAT currencies have experienced. The banks and especially our central bank are continuously counterfeiting our currency and lending 10 to 300 times the actual reserves they have. Even the reserves are nothing but government debt.
Bitcoin has Minimal Fees
Of the world’s population, nearly 5 billion of the 7 plus billion people have no access to a competent banking system. They pay exorbitant fees (upwards of 10 to 40 percent) for simple transactions and Bitcoin holds the promise of doing the same for a micropayment sized fee.
Nearly 6 of the 7 billion people across the globe have access to mobile technology and live in countries where the local currencies are not investment grade or trustworthy. This underbanked population has every reason to feel that it would be better served by a trustworthy electronic cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. By eliminating banks as an intermediary from the consumer end of the equation it will take out the commissions and fees we are currently subjected to.
Bitcoin Has Fraud Protection
Bitcoins manifest themselves only in digital form, as a pair of private and public keys, existing entirely as zeros and ones. To make generation of Bitcoins difficult, the Hashcash cost-function is used which allows Bitcoin blocks to be verified only by assembling the public and private key. The complexity of the design also carries with it foolproof features that prevent any duplicity in bitcoins and provide infallible protection to the integrity of the transaction between participants.
For example, unlike credit cards a Bitcoin transaction can not be fraudulent and needs no security provisions. All the fraud detection and call centers that support traditional banking and credit card processing are eliminated with Bitcoins and merchants (as well as consumers) will have exponentially less costs involved in all transactions. Also, It would be impossible to end up with the 130 million compromised credit cards that Target and its’ customers experienced.
SilkRoad Equity Chairman, Andrew “Flip” Filipowski, is one of the world’s most successful high-tech entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and industry visionaries. The former COO of Cullinet, the largest software company of the 1980′s, was also the founder and CEO of PLATINUM technology, inc. Flip grew PLATINUM into the 8th largest software company in the world at the time of its sale to Computer Associates for $4 billion dollars, the largest such transaction for a software company at the time. Upside Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Information Technology. A recipient of Entrepreneur of the Year Awards from Ernst & Young and Merrill Lynch, Flip has also been awarded the Young President’s Organization Legacy Award and the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty award for his work fighting hate on the Internet. And proud to admit that he has a screwed up a business or two, royally.
Bitcoin has been hitting the headlines a lot of late and becoming an increasingly common form of transaction.
Of course, one of the most intriguing things about the currency is the significant accumulation of worth. In the last 12 months it has hit highs of 1,000% of its 2012 value. On the way there’s been a real rags to riches story, many of which seem almost akin to the gold rush or oil prospecting of the 20th century. We’ve heard all sorts of stories of people who purchased the crypto currency a few years ago end up with millions made from a few dollars.
Along the way we’ve seen a number of people that have accumulated large sums of money, use Bitcoin to invest in property. This has led to a number of interesting and intriguing – so let’s have a look at the Bitcoin property tales.
Norway has done well throughout the economic malaise the rest of the world found itself in the throes of. However, it didn’t stop a Norwegian man Kristoffer Koch put $22 into Bitcoin in 2009. Mr. Koch remembered he had the assets after hearing of the dramatic rise of the currency. Turns out he had over 5,000 Bitcoins and used part of the windfall to purchase an apartment worth a quarter of a million dollars. At current levels he still has millions left over – not a bad call on a $22 investment.
One of the biggest headlines we saw when the currency began making headlines back in March was that of Taylor More. More sold his him for $400,000 in Bitcoin – he received around 5,750 Bitcoins at a cost of around $60 a coin. It was a risk at the time but it’s paid off handsomely and the coins are worth a lot, lot more than the price of the home now. It was a very quick thinking, smart move but a gamble nonetheless. These new millionaires with appreciating assets are the sort of people who can help to buy your house.
China has really taken Bitcoin to its heart – well until recently that is. The Chinese government has stopped its banks from trading the crypto currency and is becoming increasingly stringent on its use. However, before things went a little downhill, the Chinese were investing in Bitcoin and also real estate.
In fact, one real estate development could be purchased in Bitcoins. The Shanda Group was offering Chinese people the chance to purchase apartments from its 300 unit block for one Bitcoin to 1,000CNY. This resulted in plenty of Chinese offloading Bitcoins and though the value of the Bitcoins went up afterwards they have fallen since and the developer will have lost out significantly. It’s a quite obvious showing of the gamble Bitcoin investment is.
However, it was a bit of a watermark moment as it was the first time the currency was used en-mass to purchase property.
Bitcoin is an interesting idea and one that’s set to cause plenty more news in the property market and also in the world of finance and investment. It’s been used for a number of interesting areas and though it may not be the future of money, it’s certainly intriguing nonetheless.
Cormac Reynolds has written for a number of sites and is a strong believer in Bitcoin and it as a means of transaction for property among other areas.