A Bitcoin Primer.
Update 7/12/14: A great article over at Borro explaining what Bitcoin is, how it works, etc. Highly recommend reading it. This article still has more links to jump off of, but the Borro article is really, illustrated, and concise.
Bitcoin has become all the rage in recent days. At first it was just a niche news item, then it began to virally spread across geeky news sites and blogs – now it is taking to the mainstream. There is a plethora of articles and sites related to Bitcoin available and I don’t want to add to this mess – so I’ll try and keep this simple and provide a few brief pointers and then a summary of some of the best resources currently available on the topic.
Note: I recommend also reading Brennon Slattery’s article on PCWorld, which discusses attempts already to shutdown Bitcoin by lawmakers (due to use in the facilitation of drug sales) and article by Dan Goodin for The Register about a heist of $500,000 worth of Bitcoins, highlighting the potential for theft of the new currency.
Introduction to Bitcoin:
- Calcanis, Jason. L019: Bitcoin P2P Currency: The Most Dangerous Project We’ve Ever Seen. May 15, 2011.- Jason is a well-known web entrepreneur who offers insightful commentary on Bitcoin – its potential and challenges.
- Tercek, Rob. L020: Is Bitcoin the Wikileaks of Monetary Policy? May 17, 2011. – A followup to the above post.
- Wikipedia. Bitcoin. – A good article from the usually-reliable Wikipedia.
- Falconer, Joel. Bitcoin, the Peer-to-Peer Currency that Hopes to Change the World. June 6, 2011. – A great introductory overview article.
Other Interesting Bitcoin Articles:
- Falkvinge, Rick. Why I’m Putting All My Savings Into Bitcoin. May 29, 2011. – Okay, Falkvinge gets on here simply because he is the founder of the First Pirate Party and Bitcoin is a relevant/related concept.
- Keller, Jared. Bitcoin, Digital Currency of the Future? May 25, 2011. – Nothing major here, but it is by a fairly large publisher.
- Quora. Bitcoin: Is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin a good idea? – Quora is a QA site, and this question received a lot of fairly intelligent replies. The first one by Adam Cohen is an interesting argument against Bitcoin.
- Bitcoin – the future of currency. – Written by an atheist and anarchist on why Bitcoin is great.
- Tice, Brock M. Why Bitcoin is Smart, and Not a Scam. May 22, 2011. – A good article defending Bitcoin. Compare to Cohen’s arguments on Quora mentioned above.
- Reitman, Rainey. Bitcoin – a Step Toward Censorship-Resistant Digital Currency. January 20th, 2011. – An article for the prestigious Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) explaining and defending Bitcoin.
- Stalnaker, Stan. Bitcoin, Ven, and the End of Currency. May 20, 2011.
- Robb, John. The Bitcoin Bubble. June 6, 2011.
- Myths. – A wiki article with common “myths” and explanations about Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Related Sites:
- Bitcoin P2P Virtual Currency – The official website for Bitcoin, you can download the P2P software here.
- ClearCoin – serves as a form of escrow serve for Bitcoin transactions.
- Bitcoin Venture Capital (BTCVC) – A venture capital firm focused solely on supporting startups that utilize bitcoin.
- Bitcoin Mining Pool (gbyte) – Allows one to work with others to “mine” bitcoins.
- Bitcoin Plus – Allows you to within minutes get started generating bitcoins.
Bitcoin Bonus – A rewards site that offers bitcoins in exchange.
- Bitcoin Classifieds – Get stuff off a classifieds using bitcoins, or sell stuff for bitcoins.
- Bitcoin Watch – Allows one to see how much bitcoins are selling for at various exchanges.
- Bitcoin Miner – By a professional bitcoin miner, blogging about the experience.
- BitcoinMe – A friendly site that attempts to introduce folks to the bitcoin economy.
- We Use Coins – An introductory site to the bitcoin economy similar to BitcoinMe.
Bitcoins.lc – Another mining pool similar to gbyte for mining bitcoins.
- Bitcoin Faucet – Gives you 0.01 free bitcoins.
- Bitcoin Charts – Provides charts and other analytical informationa bout the bitcoin network and exchanges.
I recently posted about the need for a non-profit banking system. I’m interested in Bitcoin b/c of it (or something similar) to provide a “non-profit” banking system of sorts. I think Bitcoin has potential and as I have ridden other potential moneymakers (e.g. AllAdvantage) in days far past, I figure I might as well take this ride as well, and see where it ends. From AllAdvantage, I ended up with maybe $200. That said:
- Bitcoin’s complexity is off-putting. Unless it is significantly simplified it will not achieve mass appeal.
- Bitcoin has a reputation problem. It can easily facilitate illegal activities, just as many other technologies can, and it is likely to face legal challenges in the upcoming months.
- Bitcoin has a security problem. At some other juncture I’ll talk about the state of information security in general, but lets just say it isn’t pretty. So having one’s entire wallet stored on your computer…well, it’s risky!
- Still, Bitcoin could be the start of something useful…a currency that cuts out lays of fat from the economy that result in unnecessary fees and complexity.