What Is Bitcoin?

I first heard about bitcoin in late 2012. A friend sent me an article about it and the Winklevoss twins (of Facebook fame, or infamy).

From my interests in Finance and Economics I had become interested in sound money, but this first time I read about bitcoin, it made no sense to me. The thought that something on the internet could have a tangible value wasn’t even something that struck me as remotely possible.

The next time I remember it coming onto my radar was early 2013. I had started to go down the economics rabbit hole and was getting a lot more interested in political philosophy and free market economics. In that community, there are a lot of people who are obviously big fans of a potential stateless money. I became more and more excited about bitcoin the more I heard and read, but didn’t start using it for almost a year and a half.

What I found appealing and incredibly exciting was the power of this technology to liberate people around the world from the control of financial manipulation.

I talk about that a bit more here: http://ryanaferguson.com/2017/11/beautiful-chaos-cryptocurrency/

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency generally are incredibly exciting but can be difficult to pin down and explain. It can mean many things to many people.

I think a great comparison that I picked up from Andreas Antonopoulos is the internet.

If you ask for ten people to define the internet, you will get ten different answers.

It is a protocol; it is a network; it is the thing that lets you watch Netflix.

I think it is easiest to communicate about by focusing on the function that it serves; it is a tool that allows you to network and share with anyone else that is connected to the network. What makes the internet unique is its scale. It is the one information network to rule them all.

Similarly, bitcoin is a network that allows you to share value with anyone else that is using the network. What makes it unique is that, like the internet, it is distributed (not held or controlled by anyone) and that anyone with the right technology can join and use the network (there are no gatekeepers).

There is a lot more there, but at the most basic level, it is a way to send value to anyone anywhere.

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