Bitcoin and it’s History

Finance, like most human inventions, is constantly evolving.

In the beginning it was basic: food was traded for livestock, and livestock for resources like wood, or maize. It progressed to precious metal, such as silver and gold. And now, the next step in financial evolution has come to light.

This new form of currency has been constantly evolving over the past decade, developed by an unknown person and maintained by a collective group of the brightest minds in technology.

It’s a new form of money that is created and held digitally, and the most important part, of course, is that no government owns it, or decides its value – the peer-to-peer network community does.

We call this new money, ‘Bitcoin’.

Historically, U.S. currency has been based on gold – you could give a dollar to the bank and receive a set amount back in gold. In contrast, Bitcoin isn’t based on silver or gold – it’s based on mathematical proofs validated by a public ledger called blockchain technology.

Bitcoin is generated through a complex sequence of mathematical formulas that run on computers; the network shares a public ledger using blockchain technologies that record, and validate, every transaction processed.

A single institution, such as the government, does not control the Bitcoin network.

The idea behind the technology has always been – and remains – one of decentralization – that is, remaining completely independent of a central authority, like a bank, a government, or a country.

Anyone can access the open-source software that makes Bitcoin work, and its those individuals interested that maintain it.

But, who invented Bitcoin? Is it a valid and legitimate currency like USD? And why did nobody think of this before?

But before we begin, let’s talk about the creator of Bitcoin – or rather, the anonymous pseudonym that first published a concept.

How Did Bitcoin Start?

There are many questions about Bitcoin, but the most common one to be asked is, “Who created it?”

That answer is not straightforward, because the identity of the creator remains a mystery. All we have is a pseudonym – Satoshi Nakamoto.

The accounts are no longer active; the coins in his wallet have never been spent.

Satoshi Nakamoto has disappeared from the world, or so it would seem.

Fast Company recently published an article suggesting that Satoshi Nakamoto could be a group of people, including Neal King, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry. Apparently, these three people filed for a patent related to secure communication just two months prior to the purchase of the Bitcoin.org domain. Perhaps it’s a coincidence; perhaps it’s not.

What we do have, however, are facts:

  • On October 31st, 2008, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was posted to a cryptography mailing list, published under the name “Satoshi Nakamoto”. The whitepaper outlined the foundation of how Bitcoin would operate.
  • On August 18, 2008, an unknown person or entity registered the Bitcoin.org domain.
  • On January 8th, 2009, the first version of Bitcoin is announced, and shortly thereafter, Bitcoin mining begins.

The mystery that surrounds Satoshi Nakamoto is fitting; privacy was a key value for both Bitcoin, and its users.

Others have tried to claim his mantle – most recently an Australian man named Craig Wright, who has since withdrawn his claim.

While we may never know who first created Bitcoin, we do know that the technology he started has left ripples in the financial industry.

Bitcoin has risen to fame thanks to individuals such as the Winklevoss twins controlling and growing the market, and major events that have defined this new technology’s existence such as the Mt. Gox Ponzi scheme disaster.

The people involved and the events that occur are a constant reminder that this market is unregulated and seem to fall in line with Satoshi Nakamoto’s goal of creating a decentralized network.

What is Bitcoin Used For?

Currency must have value to ensure stability.

The most common way for a person to judge a currency’s value is what they can use it on; Bitcoin is no different, and a host of vendors and merchants now accept it alongside, or in place of, fiat money.

One early adopter of Bitcoin was the computer retailer Dell. In fact, when Dell started accepting Bitcoin, it became one of the largest companies to do so internationally.

While the digital currency may total for just a fraction of the retailer’s total transaction volume, there are other key reasons why the growth of Bitcoin could be aboon for the retailer.

Dell reported earnings of $59 billion during 2015. Traditional transaction fees range from 2 to 3 percent of the purchase price – with Bitcoin, it’s much, much lower, nearing non-existent – saving the retailer a lot of money in the future.

Other companies, such as Expedia and Cheapair, have also started accepting Bitcoin, along with technology conglomerate Microsoft : users can add funds to their accounts with Bitcoin to purchase apps, games, and other types of digital content.

The acceptance of Bitcoin is a strategic decision on the part of these companies, most of which are reaching out to solidify their position with tech-savvy audiences.

There’s a lot of benefit to Bitcoin, and a variety of reasons for its use, including :

  • Faster Payment: Accepting wire transfers and checks is time consuming, and it can take several days for payment to clear. Bitcoin is faster and can take a matter of minutes, rather than days to process payment.
  • Lower Transaction Fees: The cost to accept Bitcoins is lower compared to other payment methods, such as credit cards or Paypal.
  • Independent of Governments: Since Bitcoin is decentralized, you own it – no authority has the right to take away your Bitcoin. People with concerns about mainstream banking systems unravelling find this a major benefit.
  • Elimination of Chargebacks: Once Bitcoin is sent, that’s it – you can’t chargeback, like you would with a credit card payment, which eliminates ‘chargeback fraud’ often used by criminals and scammers.
  • Protection Against Inflation: With a fiat currency, the government can print as much money as it desires – this drastically decreases the value of currency, and may result in inflation. In contrast, Bitcoin has a fixed number – after they have all been ‘mined’, no more Bitcoins will be created. Scarcity is an important aspect of currency which protects it from inflation.
  • Ownership of Currency: With Bitcoin, you own your coins. With other forms of digital fiat – such as Paypal – your assets may be held, and your account eventually suspending, locking you out of your earnings. Bitcoin puts you in control.

Is Bitcoin a Commodity, or a Currency?

Bitcoin is both. While it can be used to purchase items from major retailers, it’s also treated as property by government jurisdictions, such as the IRS.

The IRS issued a guide on Bitcoin for tax purposes, stating it will treat virtual currencies as property for federal purposes. They go on to state that:

In some environments, virtual currency operates like “real” currency — i.e., the coin and paper money of the United States or of any other country that is designated as legal tender, circulates, and is customarily used and accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance — but it does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction.

The notice provides that virtual currency is treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes.

Typically, property is almost always something tangible that can be held in the physical realm.

The IRS goes on to state that:

General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency. Among other things, this means that:

  • Wages paid to employees using virtual currency are taxable to the employee, must be reported by an employer on a Form W-2, and are subject to federal income tax withholding and payroll taxes.
  • Payments using virtual currency made to independent contractors and other service providers are taxable and self-employment tax rules generally apply. Normally, payers must issue Form 1099.
  • The character of gain or loss from the sale or exchange of virtual currency depends on whether the virtual currency is a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.
  • A payment made using virtual currency is subject to information reporting to the same extent as any other payment made in property.

In addition to the IRS’s guidance, the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission in 2015 that Bitcoin is, in fact, a commodity.

The Future of Currency

Bitcoin has garnered a lot of attention over the past decade, despite constant declarations of its death – 99 Bitcoins keeps a running tab of ‘Bitcoin obituaries’.

Despite all of this, Bitcoin’s future has remained bright. Greater adoption rates, and an increasing number of brands accepting the currency (you can get a full list qui) means the long-term view on Bitcoin is that it will see market maturity as time progresses.

Mainstream investing vehicles, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Futures trading, including Bitcoin will be a major help to reaching that market maturity. Bitcoin Futures are already trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and legislation to create a crypto ETF is in the works.

These securities will help stabilize cryptocurrency prices and mitigate volatility, which will help the public’s confidence grow in favor of Bitcoin.

It’s important to understand that, much like the early days of 1992, Bitcoin is a new technology – and new technologies can take decades to reach critical mass.

But, much like the Internet, no one wants to miss out on the ‘next big thing’ – and Bitcoin is the biggest thing yet. Constant updates are occurring to Bitcoin thanks to what is called a “hard fork”.

These constant updates ensure that digital currencies continue to experience growth through technological development.


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Anarchy Legacy

A Crypto Anarchist’s Legacy

Airfoil Dec 20, 2018

Timothy May on the cover of the second issue of Wired magazine with 2 fellow cypherpunks

Sadly, this past week we lost an icon that helped to spur the cypherpunk movement. Timothy May, who wrote The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto in 1988, lauched a movement that is still very prominent today.

For the uninitiated, a Crypto-Anarchist focuses on subverting the current laws and using new technologies to the benefit of the common man.

In the original manifesto, May says crypto-anarchy focuses on “encryption, digital money, anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero-knowledge, reputations, information markets, black markets, collapse of governments”.

The manifesto was written just before the first crypto wars began during the early 1990’s.

The governments of the world fiercely opposed the general public using cryptographic encryption protocols.

The idea that a normal citizen could completely hide what they say in an electronic message was their biggest concern.

The governments cited national security as a concern (We’ve heard this excuse used many times before).

Tim May was embroiled in the center of this alongside his group of fellow cypherpunks.

RSA Security, a leading computer securty company founded by world-renowned cryptologists, created this poster against a hardware chip that used a US-government supplied encryption standard

The legislation of the anti-encryption laws would also affect payment processing technology. There was a large push back from tech companies that would have to deal with these issues first-hand.

The crypto wars of the 1990’s ended with the concession from the government that encryption was readily available around the world.

The public had won their first bout against the government surveillance state. Alongside the public, you had the cypherpunks and large tech companies that were all fighting a common threat.

There was not much of an issue in terms of encryption for quite a few more years.

Every few years afterward, the idea of backdoors into encryption schemes were brought up but nothing ever came about these new ideations.

The Crypto Wars Redux

The expansion of computational power and development of more efficient processing equipment closed the gap as to who can gain access to encryption software.

The widespread availabilty of software/hardware that can perform these cryptographic calculations involved in encryption and the ease of use has made it possible for the layman to encrypt their own personal messages, video calls,emails, and notes.

Encrypting an email with someone who has never imported a key to their keyring, or generated their own PGP public/private key pair is a thing of the past.

Many of the services that exist today offer these solutions out of the box. The process has become much easier for all parties involved.

Anyone that is now using this technology benefits from this on a privacy and security level.

With all parties benefitting, the leviathan rears its head once more. Australia has passed an anti-encryption bill that will force large tech companies to allow the Australian government to obtain hardware access(citing national security as a major reason).

Outrage has spilled out of the larger tech companies. The end-to-end zero knowledge messaging/calling app, Signal, has taken a stand against this bill.

This sounds very similar to the issues Tim May was battling with during the early days of the First Crypto War.

The cypherpunks came out on top and I’m sure this legislation will face a similar fate.

May’s Impact on the World

The imprint that Timothy May left on the world is profound. The mass adoption of encryption as well as cryptocurrencies shows just how far ahead of the times he was.

May urged the importance of privacy.

He insisted on the use of encryption to keep your communications private.

Currently on a majority of mobile phones there are applications that provide encrypted communications. Whatsapp uses the Signal protocol which was developed by cypherpunk Moxie Marlinspike.

The rise of cryptocurrencies is an ideal that May was very hopeful for.

May did come out against the anti-privacy issues of bitcoin.

There are projects that offer solutions for this privacy debate.

Much of the developer-base of these certain cryptocurrencies have their foundation based in the cypherpunk tradition.

The Cryptocurrencies that aim for a privacy by default mechanism are monero and the soon to launch GRIN which uses the Mimblewimble Protocol (To see an extremely entertaining introduction to the GRIN project via talk-to-text chat for privacy preservation, listen to the creator of Grin).

Zcash is moving in the direction of private by default and the superior cryptography of the ZK range proofs will help to create a very private cryptocurrency.

Cody WIlson and Amir Taaki who worked on projects focused on the crypto-anarchic tradition including Dark Wallet and Defense Distributed

The impact Tim May made on the world by helping to create a social movement shows the importance and strength of his ideals.

He has impacted a generation of people that are growing up in the digital age.

He influenced builders in the 21st century.

You have people creating new currencies, exposing government surveillance on a national scale, circumventing the broken bueracratic system by creating their own markets, anonymous internet protocols, as well as making encryption applicable to the common man (You can find a list of prominent cypherpunks here and also here).

There isn’t enough that can be said about the applications in which he believed could positively affect us.

May was cognizant of the encroaching all-seeing eye of the state but I believe we are in much better shape now than we’ve ever been.

There may be negative news about what we currently face as individuals, from the unprecedented surveillance of the Snowden leaks to the aforementioned Australian anti-encryption bill, but looking at the grand scheme of our daily lives, these tools and their functions have helped to create a much better day than May could have imagined in 1988.

He was a proponent for the industriousness of human nature to outpace the slow moving regulation that would try to bog down any progress.

You can listen here to what he thought people/creators should do when they develop ground breaking technology.

Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!

Timothy C. May – “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto”

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Door of Opportunity…

Oliver Napoleon Hill (October 26, 1883 – November 8, 1970) was an American  self-help author.

He is best known for his book Think and Grow Rich (1937), which is among the 10 best-selling self-help books of all time.

Hill's works insisted that fervid expectations are essential to improving one's life.

Most of his books were promoted as expounding principles to achieve "success".
Napoleon Hill

Born : October 26, 1883
Pound, Virginia, U.S.

Died : November 8, 1970 (aged 87)
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.

Occupation : Author,  journalist,  salesman, lecturer

Citizenship : American

Period : 1928–1970

Genre : Non-fiction, self-help


Notable works :

Think and Grow Rich (1937)
• The Law of Success (1928)
Outwitting the Devil (1938)

Spouse :

Florence Elizabeth Horner (1910–1935)

Rosa Lee Beeland (1937–1940?)

Annie Lou Norman (1943–1970)

Children : 3


Hill is, in modern times, a controversial figure.

Accused of fraud, modern historians also doubt many of his claims, such as that he met Andrew Carnegie and that he was an attorney.

Gizmodo has called him "the most famous conman you've probably never heard of".

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LiteCoin(LTC) :

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Ethereum(ETH) :

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Cardano(ADA) :

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BitcoinCash (BCH)

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No, Governments Can’t do a Better Job Developing Crypto

No, Governments Can’t do a Better Job Developing Crypto

Would a state-backed cryptocurrency be better than its decentralized counterpart?

International media has already rolled out their opinions on the matter. It’s a YES-IT-CAN.

The opinions find their inspirations in comments made by Christine Lagarde last week. The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that a government-backed cryptocurrency would eliminate the issues of trust that have clogged the decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

New York Times reacted to the IMF chief’s remarks, calling it “a hopeful sign for digital tokens,” while predicting it could “have a chilling effect on existing, nongovernmental tokens.”

The Guardian offered its editorial space to a long-time Bitcoin critic and economist Nouriel Roubini to further his plan. He outright called cryptocurrencies worthless when compared to central bank digital currencies (CBDC).“If a CBDC were to be issued, it would immediately displace cryptocurrencies, which are not scalable, cheap, secure, or [actually] decentralized,” Roubini claimed.

The comments mentioned above appear at a time when the cryptocurrency market cap has plunged by more than 70 percent since its all-time high. 

It has allowed critics to jump to the conclusion that decentralized digital currencies, mainly Bitcoin and Ethereum, have no intrinsic value, that they are highly speculative unlike central-bank issued fiat money.

Yet, critics have ignored the whys and whats that prompted the launch of decentralized assets at the first place.

They have been unable to respond to how Federal Reserve stimulus programmes, secret bailouts, and money production have destroyed the value of the US Dollar.

Their focus has turned more towards proving Bitcoin as a sugar-coated false promise of a financial revolution while ignoring the very bads of the existing financial system.

Economy believes that an asset has value when it checks scarcity and utility.

The US Dollar lacks scarcity, for its supply is governed by a centralized body called Federal Reserve. There is no check on how many dollars would get printed, allowing insiders to manipulate a greenback-backed market on their whims.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a set cap of 21 million tokens. Its supply is governed by mathematical algorithms, meaning no corrupt human involvement would be able to topple it.

As far as the use-cases are concerned, Bitcoin has been constantly looked at for its potential of becoming a store-of-value asset like Gold, while being constantly considered for settling cross-border payments despite its price volatility.

The critics then say that bitcoin has no intrinsic value.

But even gold and paper money suffers from the same stigma.

According to the World Council, only 15 percent of the global Gold supply is used in industrial applications. The rest goes into making bars, bullions, and jewelry – mainly because people trust they have value.

Trust is the Only Factor

The launch of Bitcoin was a response to a global financial crisis in which – let’s accept it – banks had f***ed up the economy.

The digital currency – more or less – follows the philosophy of the Austrian Monetary Theory.

According to it, money can be sound only when its supply is limited. It believes that money should not be controlled by the state.

These facts are missing from the reports and opinion pieces of anti-Bitcoin economists.

The Federal Reserve and central bankers believe that only they have the right to print money.

Bitcoin is only a beginning towards breaking the myth.

As long as the central banks do not innovate and protect people against currency inflation – as evident in the case of Zimbabwe and Venezuela – there is no chance they would be able to outrun crypto.

People need to trust their banks, but mainstream media and economists are avoiding a broader discussion.

The next financial crisis should bring more evidence to the theory. No rush.


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