I’ve been reading a little about Bitcoin lately. I installed the software, acquired some BTC (currency) by donation, and have tried mining. I think it’s an interesting project. Here are some facts about Bitcoin that caught my attention:
1. Bitcoin is available as free software and can run on GNU/Linux, a free software operating system. Therefore, publicly auditable source is available for a computer running Bitcoin and the software stack it runs on.
2. Bitcoin implements a peer-to-peer (p2p) architecture. It’s not easy for companies or governments to forcibly shut it down.
3. Though Bitcoin software is hard to shut down, governments and companies can choose to shun the BTC currency. For instance, Coinpal, a service to buy/sell BTC using Paypal was suspended. Apparently, Paypal accepted Coinpal for months and then put Coinpal out of business because it decided it was wrong to be involved in a “ecurrency” market. It didn’t appear that any reasons were forthcoming.
4. Quantity supplied of BTC is limited in a different way compared to a physical, nationalized currency. An algorithm to increase supply (“printing” through “mining”) of BTC is set and cannot be changed. Unlike currencies that are printed as deemed necessary by a central bank, Bitcoins are limited to 21,000,000. By the 2030s, BTC production will have slowed considerably.
5. Key pairs are used for trust between traders. Like a physical currency, BTC can be stolen or lost if the owner of the money is careless (i.e. they fail to encrypt/backup their wallet). The value in a wallet can be transferred to a newer wallet, in order to keep current in regard to security.
What else about Bitcoin/BTC is notable?