The Far Reaching Implications of the Bitcoin Protocol

It is challenging to imagine a world where mobile phone technology is ubiquitous, and there are still individuals who don’t have access to adequate financial institutions. In these modern times there are about 6 billion individuals with limited or no access to banking facilities. Difficult to fathom, right? Unfortunately this is 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 a lot of people cannot afford. Enter Bitcoin into this equation and financial freedom is simply the beginning.

Bitcoin is not just money for the internet; it’s a programming language which allows for the decentralization of any information system. As said by Andreas Antonopoulos (2014), “Bitcoin is the web of money.” In order to fully grasp this let us use the analogy of the net; which allows any individual admission to a global information and communication network instantaneously. In this same way, Bitcoin is allowing individuals’ instantaneous access to a totally free global financial network. The implication of a decentralized financial network devoid of the corruption of third party moderators is overwhelming. Ponder for a moment introducing 6 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 software program that gave all users equal say. The energy of the Bitcoin network is the users of its, 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. Basically, each individual computer acts as a voting node. These nodes vote on the validity of the current Bitcoin equation, otherwise known as the block chain. In order for the block chain to be verified, a vast majority of the voting nodes must corroborate whether the equation is performed the right way. This process happens in nanoseconds, meaning only some voting nodes will participate in every given block chain verification.

Bitcoin is mainly thought of in the west as popular, cutting edge technology along with a means of accruing wealth. Recently, the acceptance for crypto-currencies has grown rapidly within investment circles, hedge funds, and among the technologically inclined due to its rising value. Though Bitcoin is utilized predominantly inside these aforementioned groups, current buzz surrounding Bitcoin millionaires and the public hearings in York that is new regarding future regulation have catapulted the currency into the mainstream (NPR). However, limiting the Bitcoin protocol to these previously mentioned industries is very short sighted given the genius of Satoshi’s main goal. Also remember, the Bitcoin protocol can be applied to any information system, such as the system of voting. When applied to voting, there is online cryptocurrency mining hardware for a third party organization to verify an election as this is done by each individual voting node. This completely eliminates voting machine and voter fraud tampering. Individuals would be able to vote from the comforts of their own personal homes, using verifiable identification codes, through a transparent voting system.

We’ve noticed that the Bitcoin protocol not only has the capability to shape the future of our global financial network, but of our voting, our phones, and our cable television. Any strategy which is based on an unbiased third party mediator can be replaced by implementing the Bitcoin software. As the program is policed by all participating members, the possibility of corruption, or hacking the system is minuscule. Regardless of whether Bitcoin the currency ever blossoms into a legitimate mainstream form of monetary transaction remains to be seen, however the revolution in software that Nakamoto has unleashed has only just begun.

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