So, you can see where I am with the whole cryptocurrency revolution – very, very behind! Being as I’m in no way involved in traditional currency markets, I just left any news items around Bitcoin to hover around the periphery of my consciousness. It was only after researching a blog article for a client that my interest was piqued. As it turns out there’s a whole drama playing out, with polarised viewpoints, a secret inventor and assorted scandals – how exciting!
So, Bitcoin isn’t just modern day magic beans then?
The first thing I needed to do was actually figure out what Bitcoin is – I’d been blithely ignoring this, as I figured it would never really have anything to do with me. Trading of any kind is not part of my life.
Luckily, the BBC Panorama documentary ‘Who Wants To Be A Bitcoin Millionaire?’ explains the new blockchain technology system so well that even I understood it!
Brief, simple explanation of how Bitcoin works
Instead of having central, trusted banking establishments to regulate our financial transactions, cryptocyrrency technology puts this considerable power with everybody. There is one single “ledger” that records every global bitcoin transaction – the ‘block chain’.
If you go into a shop (and there are some) and pay by bitcoin, the shop owner asks all the ledger keepers if you have the bitcoin to pay for your purchase. They all check the one ledger, agree the purchase and update the ledger with the movement of bitcoin amounts. That’s it. No other records are kept, no security systems, nothing about you is necessary. The only thing that is tracked is the movement of your bitcoin into the account of another bitcoin user. The ledger cannot be scammed because there are so many of them and all of them must match in order for the purchase to be agreed.
I confess, I watched this bit twice. I’d recommend watching because they act out the whole transaction example, so it makes more sense. It’s just so different to the currency and banking principles we’re used to that it took me a while to get my head around it.
The other important part is that bitcoin don’t employ massive amounts of people to monitor and update the ledger – it’s all done by computers. Also, in a random sequence, one of these computers is given some new bitcoin – as an acknowledgement for doing the admin. This is known as bitcoin ‘mining’.
“Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.” Bitcoin.org homepage.
“Bitcoin.org is not Bitcoin’s official website. Just like nobody owns the email technology, nobody owns the Bitcoin network. As such, nobody can speak with authority in the name of Bitcoin.” About page
Why was Bitcoin invented in the first place?
I like the anarchic spirit behind the invention of bitcoin. It was a massive two fingers to the traditional banking world that had led us into the financial crisis, yet still held all the power.
Its creator remains unknown and worked under the name of Satoshi Makamoto.
Nakamoto wrote, “What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.”
Much in the same way as Jack’s beans circumvented the farmer’s market by believing in the power of the magic beans. I always felt a wave of sympathy for the giant who was just living his life and enjoying the spoils of having a golden goose – like any of us would. When thieving Jack came along and ruined everything. Not sure that my sympathy stretches to the banking establishments that the bitcoin pioneers were determined to cut out of the financial transaction equation.
Future Bitcoin film synopses
I am no screenwriter, but this whole Bitcoin evolution is full of drama and intrigue. Here are some random imaginings from my mind, based on real life cryptocurrency stories – written as (rubbish!) film synopses.
Who invented the code? Who is responsible for the subsequent destruction of human democracy? Only one intrepid woman can uncover the enigma that is Satori.
UK, America and half of Europe now live in dictatorships masquerading as democracies. The internet has believers that are just as fervent as any religious fanatic and they refuse to accept that they have been manipulated into unjustified hatred or apathy by algorithms invented by the nerds they despise. Only uncovering the true inventor of Bitcoin and forcing an explanation will this intrepid detective be able to save the world from self-combustion.
(*Read in deep, fully anunciated film trailer man’s voice*.) When money means nothing and cryptocurrency is no longer being made – how long before we start bartering again? Have we pressed the gigantic reset button on our whole modern civilisation?
The “big bitcoin heist” in Iceland, involves; theft of 600 bitoin mining computers, arrests, escape from low security prison to Sweden – on the same plane as the Swedish prim minister. This would work well as an ‘Ocean’s’, everyone’s attractive, Hollywood style, or more noir and off-beat. Definitely including dark humour. Love it! So many wonderful details, including this quote from Icelandic sociology professor, Helgi Gunnlaugsson: “Prison breaks in Iceland usually mean someone just fled to get drunk. The underworlds are tiny and it is extremely difficult to hide, let alone flee the country.”
Massive Bitcoin scam. Start by seeing the effects of the scam on those that have lost their life savings. Individually, not huge amounts, but an absolute fortune when added up. Dogged lawyer, whose cousin was scammed, tracks them down via a disturbing trip down The Silk Road on the Dark web. Team with specialist skills: tech, muscle, manipulator, they catch them in the end. Not sure of the most satisfying ending – successful trial, or killed in a final shoot-out?
Rags to riches
This is really obvious, I suppose. Protagonist rises from limited means to extreme wealth, through their Bitcoin brilliance. For once I’d like to see this just be a happily ever after. A bit of ‘everyone comes out of the woodwork to cash in’, but this is easily solved with a two finger salute. The main character doesn’t have any skeletons they can be bribed over, isn’t scammed by anybody and isn’t killed by ‘them’ in an attempt to cover something up. They just manage to work hard, make a lot of money, take care of the people they love and live in financial security forever after. Now that’s the modern day fairy tale, right there!
I can’t wait for somebody to start making any variation of any of these! Please let me know immediately, if you hear news of any such releases.