Three Things to Know About Bitcoin

Bitcoin can be a little confusing–maybe you’ve heard that black markets like the Silk Road use it, or heard stories about its ever-fluctuating market value. Jerry Brito, law professor and Executive Director of Coin Center, gives you the basics about Bitcoin, from how it works, to how many there are, to who can benefit from it. Hint: It’s not just criminals.



  1. ndvo

    Almost that. It is actually possible to create a bitcoin transaction offline. Such a transaction will have to eventually reach the bitcoin network so that the other participants know about it. 

    There is also another amazing alternative. One can print a bitcoin wallet to a paper and deposit on it some coins (lets say 0.00001). It is possible to fold the paper in such a way  (or paste something over it) that one can know if the paper wallet was violated.
    Thus, someone with enough trust from the community can indeed print paper notes with bitcoins that can be used to pay just like cash. Actually, anyone with a printer can do it. Anyone with network access can verify how much is in the paper wallet without violating it.
    Pretty amazing. 
  2. TheGothicNomad

    I can see bitcoin becoming, in time, a common alternative to digital properties of money, but not in a good way. I feel, just like fiat currency, its value is just imaginary. Yes, it will have value when surfing through the internet, making exchanges with individuals, but what does this mean for making trade with companies, especially when making deals over tangible objects. More so, what does this mean for banking, a institutional collective that would have a very strong interest in keeping bitcoins out of circulation (a con-job like promising people tons of awesome stuff for your precious bitcoins just to never send said bitcoins to anyone else for trade)? And on the subject of comparing the crime networks on the internet to that of bank robbers is a bit asymmetrical in my opinion. Crime nets are heavily based on bartering illicit objects and slaves, much like smuggling deals between economic superpowers of the merchant times (which runs alongside the golden age or piracy). Bank robbery is not based on trade at all, but is a strictly parasitic action in the terms of commerce. Robbing can be pulled off by any average Joe. Trafficking is much more systematic and harder to contain. Just some food for thought.

  3. Ashwin Katta

    Eight decimal places means I can pay for small items as easy as big items. Correct?
    And it can cross national boundaries, too?
    But I still need access to a network to spend or receive them. So in developing countries how will I get access to bitcoin and make payments?

  4. Edward Kong

    wow I had no idea

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