Photo courtesy of bloombergview.com
By Robert Beeland
I assume and expect this column to possess an educated and culturally-aware readership. That being said, if you don’t understand exactly what Bitcoin is, go online and look it up. Go ahead and look up everything you don’t know, actually. A universe of knowledge is at your fingertips—you have no excuse to not know anything. If you do understand what Bitcoin is, then congratulations. You now may enjoy the privilege of my writing on the topic of Bitcoin and why it contains the potential to change the way the global economy operates.
Since you already know what Bitcoin is, then you don’t need me to tell you that it’s an e-commerce payment system without a central bank. Complicated computer algorithms verify every single transaction made using Bitcoin and add them to its publicly distributed ledger or “block chain.” However, the real benefit of Bitcoin lies in its ability to allow secure transactions that protect your identity and money. Unlike cash or credit card, Bitcoin users do not have to divulge any personal information when completing a transaction. Every transaction involves a complex and anonymous ID number that changes, instantaneously, after every purchase. So, unlike a credit card, Bitcoin information cannot be stolen.
If you think that an online currency is bogus, then think for a moment about what your money is backed up by. The U.S. hasn’t been on the gold standard since 1971, and the copper in your pennies can be sold for more than the one cent it’s worth. Your money isn’t even thatsecure in a bank, either. While you might hope that your money is sitting safely in a vault somewhere, Big Banks are actually using your money to play real life Monopoly every minute.
So if you’d like to feel a little more secure, leave your money problems to the tech-savvy internet nerds of cyberspace. Besides, once we’re all living in space like in Wall-E, you won’t be able to head down to your nearest ATM and withdraw any greenbacks.
By Kurt DeLay
Bitcoin is new, I don’t understand it, and it scares me. In recent years, a new digital currency has descended from the fickle ether we call Internet. “What is this little digital tidbit?” we all asked. Who knows what this “Bitcoin” could mean? As far as my understanding goes — which is far enough — the Bitcoin was invented for the sake of confusing people so thoroughly that they might believe some 8-bit piece of coinage is actually worth real-life money. It’s sadistic, really. “Oh, people are trying to facilitate commerce on a global scale? Let’s just throw everything backwards and only believe in virtual monopoly dollars!” said one Bitcoin enthusiast, probably.
“But Kurt!” you might be saying, “the USD hasn’t been backed by anything substantive like gold since Richard Nixon was in office!” Oh yeah? So you like Nixon? Sure, real great idea, lets emulate the wire-tap guy with the bad hair and jowls. Perfect. Shut up.
Bitcoin comes from a place deep within the Internet from which it is “mined.” Who made Bitcoin? We don’t know. We don’t want to know. Probably a wizard. All that matters is that it is now guarded by the cyber-dragon Smaug who uses these Bitcoins to armor his soft underbelly against the assaults of these “miners.” How much Bitcoin is there? I don’t know, too much. Who backs up Bitcoin? NOBODY. At least countries have credit ratings for their imaginary currencies. I don’t trust anything that hasn’t been pre-validated by someone else whom I deem to be an authority on the matter. I have never been to a restaurant without an extensive Yelp! history. What’s Bitcoin’s rating on Yelp!? It doesn’t have one! It’s imaginary!
After several minutes of serious consideration and moderate Internet browsing, I’ve come to what I consider to be a comprehensive understanding of what Bitcoin really wants from us: enough money to resurrect Richard Nixon. Who is this Nixon-enthusiast? Donald Trump. Think about it. He has jowls, he has bad hair, and he talks about China incessantly. He is Peter Pettigrew, Nixon is Voldemort, and we’re all doomed. As for me, I will be bartering exclusively through means of objects of real worth including but not limited to chickens, firewood, first-born offspring, and especially smooth rocks.