The Far Reaching Implications of the Bitcoin Protocol
It is challenging to imagine a world where smart phone technology is ubiquitous, and you may still find individuals who don’t have access to adequate financial institutions. In these contemporary times there are about six billion individuals with limited or even no access to banking facilities. Difficult to fathom, right? Sadly this’s the truth for many people in developing countries. Coupled with corruption, limited modes of transportation, and high transaction fees, bank accounts are a luxury that many people cannot afford. Enter Bitcoin into this equation and financial freedom is simply the beginning.
Bitcoin isn’t just money for the internet; it’s a programming language which allows for the decentralization of any info system. As said by Andreas Antonopoulos (2014), “Bitcoin is the internet of money.” In order to understand this let us use the analogy of the internet; which in turn allows any individual admission to a global information and communication network instantaneously. In this same way, Bitcoin is allowing individuals’ instant access to a totally free global financial network. The implication of a decentralized financial network free of the corruption of third party moderators is overwhelming. Ponder for a moment introducing six billion potential consumers to the global marketplace. The possibilities for economic growth and innovation are exponential. This exists because Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin, chose to create open source application that gave all users equal say. The power of the Bitcoin network is its users, which currently exceeds the combined computing power of the top 600 super computers on Earth. This equates to a network, which is for all intents of purposes, impenetrable. Fundamentally, each individual computer acts as a voting node. These nodes vote on the validity of the current Bitcoin equation, normally known as the block chain. In order for the block chain to be verified, a majority of the voting nodes must corroborate whether the equation is done properly. This process happens in nanoseconds, meaning only some voting nodes will participate in every given block chain verification.
Bitcoin is typically thought of in the west as popular, new technology along with a means of accruing wealth. Recently, the recognition for crypto-currencies has grown rapidly within investment circles, hedge funds, and among the technologically inclined due to its rising value. Though buy cheap mining equipment is utilized predominantly inside these above mentioned groups, current buzz surrounding Bitcoin millionaires as well as the public hearings in New York regarding future regulation have catapulted the currency into the mainstream (NPR). Nevertheless, limiting the Bitcoin protocol to these previously mentioned industries is incredibly short sighted given the genius of Satoshi’s main goal. Bear in mind, the Bitcoin protocol can be used to any info system, such as the technique of voting. When applied to voting, there is not the demand for a third party organization to verify an election as this’s done by each individual voting node. This completely eliminates voter fraud and voting machine tampering. Individuals will be able to vote from the comforts of their own personal homes, using verifiable identification codes, through a transparent voting system.
We have noticed that the Bitcoin protocol not only has the ability to shape the future of our global financial network, but of our voting, the phones of ours, and the cable television of ours. Any process which is based on an unbiased third party mediator can be replaced by implementing the Bitcoin software. As the software is policed by all participating members, the possibility of corruption, and hacking the system is minuscule. Regardless of whether Bitcoin the currency ever blossoms into a legitimate mainstream form of financial transaction remains to be seen, however the revolution in software that Nakamoto has unleashed has only just begun.