Bitcoin – a Currency for the 21st Century

I don’t know why, but the last two months there has been an increased amount of attention to BitCoin, the virtual “online” currency.
The first time I heard about it was via a post on Giulio Prisco’s blog: “Bitcoin: a CryptoCurrency for a free Internet“.

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital currency. Peer-to-peer (P2P) means that there is no central authority to issue new money or keep track of transactions. Instead, these tasks are managed collectively by the nodes of the network. Bitcoin has been created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto as one of the first implementations of a concept called cryptocurrency, which was first described in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list. See also the Bitcoin page on Wikipedia.

Last months issue of the Dutch “Linux Magazine” has an article about bitcoin.

A very good analysis of many of the BitCoin-issues is written by Alaric Snell – definitely worth a read.
Entrepreneurs website Launch published a rather sensationalist article by Jason Calacanis “Bitcoin P2P Currency: The Most Dangerous Project We’ve Ever Seen“, that says:

After month of research and discovery, we’ve learned the following:
1. Bitcoin is a technologically sound project.
2. Bitcoin is unstoppable without end-user prosecution.
3. Bitcoin is the most dangerous open-source project ever created.
4. Bitcoin may be the most dangerous technological project since the internet
itself.
5. Bitcoin is a political statement by technotarians (technological
libertarians).
6. Bitcoins will change the world unless governments ban them with harsh
penalties.

When people are getting afraid of something, it usually means that it exceeds ordinary human imagination, and consequently the article triggered a lengthy discussion on Slashdot.


It reminds me of E-Gold, the online currency for libertarians, but I’ve never trusted that project – and I was right. Of course this can also happen with BitCoin. BitCoin is still an experiment, but it is an interesting experiment, because people, or at least people like me, value the freedom to exchange goods and services without any interference by the state of other parties, offering unasked “protection” (e.g. the infamous WikiLeaks PayPal lock-down). I think I’ll delve into BitCoin.

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