Want to know more about BITCOIN, the internet currency?
Two great pods on BITCOIN at the bottom of this post.
What problem does it solve? or is it a solution in search of a problem?
We rave a lot about money in our latest show, Moshpod Ep.8 Money, we wanted to put in a pod about bitcoin but we couldn’t fit it in. So since we are running a bit(coin) late in getting our latest show out, here are a couple of great pods that we just couldn’t squeeze in to the show so you can find about bitcoin and get in the money mood for our new episode, coming very soon.
An Internet “Crypto” currency, launched in 2009, basically cash for the internet so people can make truly anonymous transactions. Made underground websites like The Silk Road popular, where you could buy anything from industrial quantities of pseudoephedrine to that endangered pet from the Amazon you have been looking for. Lots of great services too, hookers to hit men. Basically anything messed up people really wanted to buy, but not the kind of thing you would want to enter your credit card for.
Possibly the most interesting thing about bitcoin (to me) is that it needs to be mined! Only 21 million bitcoins will ever be released and it becomes harder and more expensive to mine new coins. This process has attracted criticism since it’s extremely energy intensive, the juice used to mine a bitcoin could power as many as three million homes. (Now I wrote this down when I was listening, wether that’s powering those homes for like a year or five seconds I can’t remember haha you will just have to listen to the pod – this was in the Freakanomics one but they discuss it in both).
At the same time there are certainly benefits such as reducing fraud. Apparently the bulk of credit card fees are there to offset fraud costs, so it’s essentially a 2-3% drain on the economy right there. Credit cards were never designed to be used on the internet, and when you think about it, being able to pay for something anywhere on the net without having to worry about the possibility of your details being used for any future unauthorised transactions would be a massive benefit.
Having a currency available that isn’t linked to a country is also great for people living in regions with unstable economies, giving them the ability to store money in a place where the government can’t hyper inflate it and destroy it’s value.
So, can bitcoin do this? Would you like to store your savings in bitcoin? Who created it? Have the C.I.A. and the N.S.A got their sticky fingers in it? How does bitcoin mining work? Did it power those homes I mentioned for a day or a year? Can bitcoin cure cancer (seriously)? As a programmable currency can bitcoin stop you from spending your pocket money on drugs and guns? Or does it just make it easier?
Find our more about bitcoin by listening to these pods: (Click links to listen to pod or download as mp3)
Freakanomics: Why everybody who doesn’t hate BITCOIN loves it.
Stuff You Should Know: How BITCOIN works