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Difference between revisions of "Bitcoin"

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(News: a more accurate telling of the hack)
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*20 Jun 2011: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkxvCttvSo4 True News: Vancouver Riots, Greek Austerity & Bitcoin Thefts]
 
*20 Jun 2011: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkxvCttvSo4 True News: Vancouver Riots, Greek Austerity & Bitcoin Thefts]
 
*19 Jun 2011: [http://www.dailytech.com/Inside+the+MegaHack+of+Bitcoin+the+Full+Story/article21942.htm DailyTech: Inside the Mega-Hack of Bitcoin: the Full Story]
 
*19 Jun 2011: [http://www.dailytech.com/Inside+the+MegaHack+of+Bitcoin+the+Full+Story/article21942.htm DailyTech: Inside the Mega-Hack of Bitcoin: the Full Story]
 +
**23 Jun 2011 [http://poibella.org/emptyset/?p=387 a more accurate telling of the hack]
 
*14 Jun 2011: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_VewfiuCao True News: Bitcoin, Free Markets and Economics 101]
 
*14 Jun 2011: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_VewfiuCao True News: Bitcoin, Free Markets and Economics 101]
 
*12 Jun 2011: [http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/12/bitcoin-online-currency-us-government guardian.co.uk - Bitcoin: the hacker currency that's taking over the web]
 
*12 Jun 2011: [http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/12/bitcoin-online-currency-us-government guardian.co.uk - Bitcoin: the hacker currency that's taking over the web]

Revision as of 23:06, 1 July 2011

Bitcoin is anopen sourceP2P (Peer-to-Peer) electronic cash system that's completelydecentralised, with no central server, trusted authorities or middle men. The availability of bitcoins can't be manipulated by governments or financial institutions. Bitcoin already has a number of exchanges for converting to and from other currencies; BitcoinFX, New Liberty Standard, Bitcoin Exchange and Bitcoin Market.

Bitcoin-225.png
Bitcoin may last for years and become a popular global currency, or it could be just a flash in the pan, but either way I think this is an important sign of the times to come. This is one of the first truly decentralised currencies and has paved the way for hundreds more to compete together in the new arena of Cipherspace over the coming years. This is one of the key factors in the transition of global society into the post-nation-state economy talked about in The Sovereign Individual.

In a p2p computer network there are no servers, the entire network is composed of users running instances of the application on their computers. Each running instance offers a small amount of processing and storage resource to the network so that it can deliver the services it was designed for such as redundant storage, anonymity or voice-over-IP applications.

In the case of a p2p currency system, some of the services the network is designed to offer are privacy, verification, authentication, currency creation and transfer of ownership. To ensure a reliable and tamper-proof system requires a lot of resource, and that amount is proportional to the amount of coins in the network. The network is able to pay the users for the resource they offer by making the coin-creation process part of the network protocol itself instead of being handled by a central trusted authority. This creates a natural and incorruptible link between the supply of currency in the network and the demand for it.

Even aside from the ability to exchange bitcoins for other currencies, it still makes a very useful tool for independent organisations and groups because it allows them to trade and settle accounts amongst themselves independently and privately. It effectively gives them a "bank" that has a trustworthy system of accounts that can't be tampered with and requires no corruptible central authority to operate. See the Bitcoin Whitepaper for more detail about how it works.

To try Bitcoin, download the Bitcoin software, then once it's running, click 'Generate Coins' which will pay you bitcoins in exchange for your computer working to validate bitcoin transactions. Check the exchange rate to calculate how many bitcoins need to be sent. The payer can purchase additional bitcoins if needed. The payer's previously generated bitcoins allow for a lower out of pocket payment. The payer then sends the bitcoins to the receiver using the Bitcoin software. The receiver can then sell their bitcoins for dollars. The receiver's previously generated bitcoins allow a higher dollar payout.

Contents

Criticism

The following links suffer from dubious credibility, bearing hallmarks of poor writing and fuzzy understanding of cryptography, economics and monetary terminology and concepts. Nevertheless, they point out some useful and interesting information:

The 21 Million Coin Limit

Many people are concerned about this "21 million coin limit" for example this blog post about Why Bitcoin Will Fail as a Currency is based on this belief. But it's not actually a problem because Bitcoins are divisible into eight decimal places (and future versions of the protocol could easily be designed to divide it further if there becomes demand for that) so even if there were only a few Bitcoins in existence, the entire Bitcoin economy could still operate properly.

Inflation and Transaction Fees

By convention, the first transaction in a block is a special transaction that starts a new coin owned by the creator of the block. This adds an incentive for nodes to support the network, and provides a way to initially distribute coins into circulation, since there is no central authority to issue them. The steady addition of a constant of amount of new coins is analogous to gold miners expending resources to add gold to circulation. In our case, it is CPU time and electricity that is expended.

The incentive (for nodes to support the network) can also be funded with transaction fees. If the output value of a transaction is less than its input value, the difference is a transaction fee that is added to the incentive value of the block containing the transaction. Once a predetermined number of coins have entered circulation, the incentive can transition entirely to transaction fees and be completely inflation free.

Subpages

News

Understanding Bitcoin

Bitcoin sites

See also

Bitcoin is anopen sourceP2P (Peer-to-Peer) electronic cash system that's completelydecentralised, with no central server, trusted authorities or middle men. The availability of bitcoins can't be manipulated by governments or financial institutions. Bitcoin already has a number of exchanges for converting to and from other currencies; BitcoinFX, New Liberty Standard, Bitcoin Exchange and Bitcoin Market.

Bitcoin-225.png
Bitcoin may last for years and become a popular global currency, or it could be just a flash in the pan, but either way I think this is an important sign of the times to come. This is one of the first truly decentralised currencies and has paved the way for hundreds more to compete together in the new arena of Cipherspace over the coming years. This is one of the key factors in the transition of global society into the post-nation-state economy talked about in The Sovereign Individual.

In a p2p computer network there are no servers, the entire network is composed of users running instances of the application on their computers. Each running instance offers a small amount of processing and storage resource to the network so that it can deliver the services it was designed for such as redundant storage, anonymity or voice-over-IP applications.

In the case of a p2p currency system, some of the services the network is designed to offer are privacy, verification, authentication, currency creation and transfer of ownership. To ensure a reliable and tamper-proof system requires a lot of resource, and that amount is proportional to the amount of coins in the network. The network is able to pay the users for the resource they offer by making the coin-creation process part of the network protocol itself instead of being handled by a central trusted authority. This creates a natural and incorruptible link between the supply of currency in the network and the demand for it.

Even aside from the ability to exchange bitcoins for other currencies, it still makes a very useful tool for independent organisations and groups because it allows them to trade and settle accounts amongst themselves independently and privately. It effectively gives them a "bank" that has a trustworthy system of accounts that can't be tampered with and requires no corruptible central authority to operate. See the Bitcoin Whitepaper for more detail about how it works.

To try Bitcoin, download the Bitcoin software, then once it's running, click 'Generate Coins' which will pay you bitcoins in exchange for your computer working to validate bitcoin transactions. Check the exchange rate to calculate how many bitcoins need to be sent. The payer can purchase additional bitcoins if needed. The payer's previously generated bitcoins allow for a lower out of pocket payment. The payer then sends the bitcoins to the receiver using the Bitcoin software. The receiver can then sell their bitcoins for dollars. The receiver's previously generated bitcoins allow a higher dollar payout.

Contents

Criticism

The following links suffer from dubious credibility, bearing hallmarks of poor writing and fuzzy understanding of cryptography, economics and monetary terminology and concepts. Nevertheless, they point out some useful and interesting information:

The 21 Million Coin Limit

Many people are concerned about this "21 million coin limit" for example this blog post about Why Bitcoin Will Fail as a Currency is based on this belief. But it's not actually a problem because Bitcoins are divisible into eight decimal places (and future versions of the protocol could easily be designed to divide it further if there becomes demand for that) so even if there were only a few Bitcoins in existence, the entire Bitcoin economy could still operate properly.

Inflation and Transaction Fees

By convention, the first transaction in a block is a special transaction that starts a new coin owned by the creator of the block. This adds an incentive for nodes to support the network, and provides a way to initially distribute coins into circulation, since there is no central authority to issue them. The steady addition of a constant of amount of new coins is analogous to gold miners expending resources to add gold to circulation. In our case, it is CPU time and electricity that is expended.

The incentive (for nodes to support the network) can also be funded with transaction fees. If the output value of a transaction is less than its input value, the difference is a transaction fee that is added to the incentive value of the block containing the transaction. Once a predetermined number of coins have entered circulation, the incentive can transition entirely to transaction fees and be completely inflation free.

Subpages

News

Understanding Bitcoin

Bitcoin sites

See also