Why Bitcoin Matters. Keith Bedford/ReutersMarc Andreessen, a co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Editor’s note: Marc Andreessen’s venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, has invested just under $50 million in Bitcoin-related start-ups. The firm is actively searching for more Bitcoin-based investment opportunities. He does not personally own more than a de minimis amount of Bitcoin. 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. 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? Coinbase. One of the interesting things about Bitcoin is the contrast between how it is portrayed in the press and how it is understood by technologists. The press tends to portray Bitcoin as either a speculative bubble or a scheme for supporting criminal activity. In Silicon Valley, by contrast, Bitcoin is generally viewed as a profound technological breakthrough.
The Internet is based on a set of core protocols that specify how information such as text, photos, and code should be transmitted. The designers of the Web built placeholders for a system that moved money, but never successfully completed it. Bitcoin is the first plausible proposal for an economic protocol for the Internet. This matters for two reasons: 1) It fixes serious problems with existing payment systems that depend on centralized services to verify the validity of transactions. 2) More importantly, Bitcoin is a platform upon which new technologies can be developed.
Why Bitcoin Won’t Be a Bubble. Bitcoin – The Internet of Money. This post is old – I wrote it for Wired, which just published an excerpt in “The Wired World in 2014″ issue, but the article was written in July. Apologies for the obsolescence. Bitcoin will eventually be recognized as a platform for building new financial services. Most people are only familiar with (b)itcoin the electronic currency, but more important is (B)itcoin, with a capital B, the underlying protocol, which encapsulates and distributes the functions of contract law.
Bitcoin encapsulates four fundamental technologies: Digital Signatures – these can’t be forged and allow one party to securely verify a transaction with another.Peer-to-Peer networks, like BitTorrent or TCP/IP – difficult to take down and no central trust required.Proof-of-Work prevents users from spending the same money twice, without needing a central authority to distinguish valid from invalid transactions. Proponents of the role of government argue that a currency with fixed supply will fail. What Bitcoin and Internet of Things Startups Have in Common. Bitcoin has captivated the imaginations of many with its quasi-anonymous, hyper cost-efficient payment network. The potential for Bitcoin to change foreign exchange is hard to overstate. In the same vein, the technologies that enable the internet of things (IoT) like Bluetooth Low Energy and Apple's Beacons and Electric Imp's infrastructure will transform the way we interact with the physical world to something akin to the mall in Minority Report.
The startups that bring Bitcoin and IoT to the mass-market won't declare themselves Bitcoin companies or connected devices companies. I've never seen a computer marketed as a TCP/IP machine or a bank that promotes the ACH compatibility of its checking accounts or a social network trumpet its H.264 codec support. I doubt I ever will because supporting a protocol isn't a value proposition that attracts end users. I suspect the first mass-market successful Bitcoin company won't have Bitcoin (or any subset of the word) in its name. Bitcoin Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About the Future of Money | Wired Enterprise. Illustration: WIRED The price of a bitcoin topped $900 last week, an enormous surge in value that arrived amidst Congressional hearings where top U.S. financial regulators took a surprisingly rosy view of digital currency. Just 10 months ago, a bitcoin sold for a measly $13. The spike was big news across the globe, from Washington to Tokyo to China, and it left many asking themselves: “What the hell is a bitcoin?”
It’s a good question — not only for those with little understanding of the modern financial system and how it intersects with modern technology, but also for those steeped in the new internet-driven economy that has so quickly remade our world over the last 20 years. The spike was big news across the globe, from Washington to Tokyo to China, and it left many asking themselves: ‘What the hell is a bitcoin?’ With that in mind, we give you this: an idiot’s guide to bitcoin. And there’s no shame in reading. Bitcoin isn’t just a currency, like dollars or euros or yen. Bitcoin As Protocol. 10 Things I Think I Think on Bitcoin. I’m relatively late to Bitcoin. I’m probably more current than 99.9% of the general population but less informed than the hackers, hobbyists and investors who have been studying this since its inception in early 2009.
I’m no payment systems or cryptography expert. So I went back to first principles and studied the Khan Academy lectures here during this past summer. If you’re interested, I’m happy to send you my notes. With that as a backdrop, here are 10 things I think I think; the format is one I’ve used before and a hat tip to Peter King, whose Monday morning column I read religiously. I think Bitcoin is just a bet that the world becomes more multipolar. In this world, there will be stages of heightened instability and chaos economically and politically.