This talk explains Bitcoin and its innovations within the fields of politics, finance and technology.
I first explain a bit about what Bitcoin is as only about 20 of the 70 attendees knew what it was. None of them had any yet. It is still quite hard to buy Bitcoin. I offered them the chance to go grab some Bitcoin from my digital wallet, if they could figure out how to do so! It's still not that simple to get a wallet and figure it out.
First I spoke about why a digital or crypto currency has taken off now, mainly due to the recent financial crises and loss of trust int he banking system. And that it's a very secure system, designed to be a currency.
I spoke about the main innovations as I see them of Bitcoin:
Peer to Peer: Bitcoin is simplifying the system. Way less players now get involved in a 'simple' payment transaction between 2 people. This brings down the transaction costs hugely.
Bitcoin has a money supply that grows at a steady rate that is predicted, and is fixed at a certain date in the future. It is non-inflationary. Inflation has crippled our savings. this could really change the way we relate to money.
We are putting our trust in Maths to verify the transactions, rather than in governments or banks. It is non -hierarchical - it is not developed by a company or a government. The founder set up the system and disappeared leaving it for us all to use. Hayek and the Libertarians love it because governments can't manipulate the money supply for political reasons or to win wars. We have moved from a commodity-based currency to a political-based currency to mathematical currency.
It's not created by a country or a company- it's out there for everyone to use freely.
Story of Satoshi Nakamoto- its creator, who disappeared.
It's Open Source- which means it's constantly being improved and tested. It's 'the people's job' to peer review the code and make sure it's secure, and that it doesn't favour any one party, or provide back-doors for a minority of vested interests.
It is transparent- there's been a lot of hype about how black money can hide in Bitcoin. However all transactions are publicly available and so it's not anonymous, but rather pseudonymous. Swiss banks are much more anonymous.
Bitcoin is for everyone to use, there is no one controlling the system making it exclusive. Now 1/3 of Kenyans have a Bitcoin Wallet for mobile transactions. The barriers to use Bitcoin are technical- both in knowledge and access to digital technology.