Last night noted internet person Jason Calacanis and the folks at LAUNCH sent out an email with the subject line, “The Most Dangerous Project We’ve Ever Seen.” What is it he was referring to, you ask? Well it’s a seemingly innocuous little project called “bitcoin,” a new “peer-to-peer currency” that, the way Calacanis describes it, sounds like something Phillip K. Dick would have dreamed up during an acid trip.
“Bitcoin is a P2P currency that could topple governments, destabilize economies and create uncontrollable global bazaars for contraband,” Calacanis wrote.
Mild hyperbole aside, bitcoin does appear to be currency designed to circumvent banking institutions and government regulations, and that, of course, makes it a potential danger to the powers that be.
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.
So there you go! Basically, bitcoin will be the end of us all. Here’s a cute cartoon bitcoin explainer that may or may not make you feel better about it all.
Additionally, Wired UK reported on Bitcoin today:
During the late 90s’ dot-com boom, a number of virtual currencies were touted as the next big thing, including Beenz and Flooz. After the bubble burst, most folded or sold to companies after reportedly burning through tens of millions of dollars or pounds of venture capital money.
But at the very same time, the subscribers to the cypherpunk mailing list were discussing the idea of a “cryptocurrency”. Wei Dei crystallised this into a proposal — one that doesn’t rely on trusting one central issuer, who can flood the market with more currency and cause the kind of rampant hyperinflation seen in Zimbabwe. One that allows for anonymous, untrackable, untaxable transactions. One that can’t get frozen in an account somewhere by the demands of a service provider. One whose transaction costs are minimal and irreversible by design.
In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto wrote a proposal titled: “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” which attempted to address all of those factors … That proposal was turned into reality, with the help of Gavin Andresen, and since February 2009 it’s been possible to use Bitcoins in a number of different ways. Bitcoins can be saved on a personal computer in a wallet file, or stored on the web in a third-party wallet service.
Well, it was nice knowing all of you!