Bitcoin - This Other Guy Explained It...

I've been called a geek way too many times not to think there's something to it, and there are far more computing devices than people & pets in my house.  However, I don't have the math background for the truly deep compute problems.  I enjoy getting this stuff at a conceptual level, but after skipping algebra to go play piano enough times...nyeh.

It's been fascinating to follow Bitcoin, but (like many) with a pretty vague understanding of it. I ran across a long but very clearly-written article that put a lot more substance to it.   The real substantive article is here:

How the Bitcoin protocol actually works

I wouldn't do justice rewriting it, but I'll give you a high-level framework on which to decide whether it's worth reading. Based on what I gleaned, I'd say we have a naming problem.

Bitcoin isn't a currency.

It's an economy.

Or perhaps more accurately an economic system (that happens to be digital.)

The cryptographic and communication "checks and balances" built into the protocol do what economic systems do (at least in theory).  They self balance value, work, value-creation, value-transfer, and attempt to rule out injurious actions like lying and cheating. (And a lot more.)

It's natural to speculate.  Will this take off? Will it replace what we currently call 'money.'  I'm not qualified for definitive answers, but as a piano-playing humanist...I don't think so.  Godel argued that any math system is incomplete for all math. For a math system to be complete for all the mess, motive and fun of a (human) economic system strikes me as even less likely.

Let's put it in real estate terms (where I'm even less qualified.)  Why, after centuries of real estate being bought and sold, are there still SO many parties involved - so many rules and records and exceptions and errors?  Because it's a human (and historical) economic system.  

More fun than math, though...kinda like the piano.

(If you're looking:  Estonia pianos are wonderful.  Handmade. No devices involved :-)

--md