Money may be digital all over the Western world, but it now has some real competition, and competition always helps the consumer. Bitcoin is not going to become the primary global currency, but it will force the rest of the world to catch up to what Bitcoin can do for every person who uses it. Bitcoin provides many unique features that the world is just starting to get a taste of, and will soon come to expect in all other currencies. Here's a list of just 30 ways Bitcoin innovations are changing the way people will see, and use, money from now on.
Technically speaking, money is speech, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, and information. A bitcoin can send one thousand bits of information with secure encryption. Send pdfs, digital files, combinations, and more in complete security.
The Block Chain represents the heart of the Bitcoin protocol and gives us a way to track all Bitcoin transactions. This ledger will be able to replace a lot of paper trails, lawyers, and other things we can start to phase out. We have the technology to do better record-keeping than ever before, and this is cutting-edge
Bitcoin has been agreed upon to be held to a 21 million coin limit, to end production in the year 2140. In order to change this, the entire block chain would have to agree to change this value, a highly unlikely scenario. The benefit of an anti-inflationary limit is appreciation in Bitcoin value now, and forever. Since Bitcoin can be broken down to a Satoshi, 100 millionths of a bitcoin, ability to obtain bitcoin values on a broad, global scale is retained.
Bitcoin can most easily be transferred online, yes, but it can be sent in many other ways. Your feature phone, not even a smartphone, can send it by SMS text message. You can send it from your paper wallet. It can be sent in Morse Code in "Burst". And soon, you can send it via satellite to nodes in outer space. As long as you have two nodes with the block chain, Bitcoin survives.
Bitcoin is a "dumb network". This means it doesn't care how much money you have, how old you are, what color you are, where you live, or how old you are. Are you a citizen of the country you are in right now? Bitcoin doesn't care, and it doesn't discriminate. If you have a wallet, you can use Bitcoin, anywhere, anytime, for anyone. It is truly technology for The People.
Bitcoin begets other amazing digital currency technologies, with amazing features that may be added to Bitcoin in the future. There may be a time when sending a Bitcoin may not be preferable, and another form of digital currency may be needed. Maybe someone wants even more security, faster transactions, or full coins to use. There is an altcoin to fit your needs.
Bitcoin is a global digital currency, and a Bitcoin in Japan is the same as a Bitcoin in Sydney. It is not indigenous to one nation, and you should find plenty of people looking to buy your BTC in many of the countries you travel.
We haven't really gotten to this level of Bitcoin use yet, but a "Smart contract", coined by Nick Szabo over twenty years ago, can be a big part of our future. This enables a contract to go automatically into effect once conditions are met. No third-party confirmations are needed.
This is the basics of bitcoin, the currency. Through encryption, which has been vetted through your military and banking systems for decades, you can send currency worldwide in seconds, with total protection. Like putting your money into a vault that can only be opened by your friends/customers. No central bank control.
Governments don't control bitcoin, need to endorse it, or inflate its value into oblivion. Governments have a very bad habit of making more and more money until a fiat currency is worthless. You can almost set your clock by it. Now, you don't have to worry about currency debasement and inflation anymore.
The monetary power is in your hands! Bitcoin gains value and economic power the more people use it. So....what are you waiting for? A new form of money that can empower billions of people today with no bank accounts, credit, or currency free from corruption. Bitcoin brings economic power to anyone on the planet who is ready to take control of money themselves. Are you ready to wield such power?
To say Bitcoin is faster than what we have now would be a gross understatement. How long would it take to wire $10000 USD from one side of the world to the other? After you travel to the bank, play twenty questions with the bank officers, pay fees, and wait for approval and transfer, and your recipient on the other side does the same, you've lost at least a day. Bitcoin transactions of tens of millions of dollars, in a matter of seconds, are now commonplace.
Say you are a farmer in Indonesia, and you need $100 USD to buy materials, food, and animals to expand your farming business. Place your Bitcoin address QR code on your web page or someone else's webpage, or even on the outside of your house, and people anywhere in the world can crowdfund your business. No checks, ID, or signature required.
If you are currently saving your fiat currency in the bank like people were taught to do decades ago, you are losing money every day. Real-world inflation in the U.S. is around 5%, and that easily beats any interest you are making. Bitcoin is designed to increase in value over time, and is anti-inflationary because there will always be the same amount of bitcoins. Ask people who bought a thousand BTC 5 years ago how they're doing. A little bit better than your savings account, I can tell you. Five years ago, 1 BTC was worth a nickel. Now, it's worth about $250 USD.
Pay your favorite author or content creator in BTC easily with bitcoin. When merchant account payments get to one dollar, the fees required to send these transactions make them impossible to be efficiently. Since bitcoin transactions are peer-to-peer, with no middleman, and cost less than a penny, the money goes where you want it, and no "the cost of doing business".
People have been married on the Bitcoin Block Chain. Books have been "etched" there. Contracts, Wills, and many more agreements are becoming normal fare for Bitcoin's public ledger.
Imagine trying to move your entire gold, or U.S. Dollar account across a border? If you don't get robbed first, you will meet some police or government official, and they will make it very difficult for you to do so freely. With bitcoin, you can make a "brain wallet", a collection of words you can memorize, that will bring your entire bitcoin wallet contents with you anywhere in the world. Good luck stopping that, copper!
You aren't sending your personal information when you make a bitcoin transaction. When you swipe you debit card, your whole account, with name, social security or national ID number, address, and balance are all sent into third-party systems. You HOPE the information is safe there. Then it goes to a clearing house, your bank, and there are plenty of people touching your transaction along the way. No wonder almost 5% of people in the U.S. have suffered identity theft. Bitcoin users wouldn't know about identity theft.
Have one bitcoin wallet for your personal bitcoin, and one wallet for your business account. No fees, no monthly invoices/statements, no customer service needed. Just get paid fast, with no middlemen. How does that sound?
What if you weren't fortunate enough live in a nice large city with a pizzeria around the corner. What if you lived in a remote area of Africa, with no 4G or cable TV. What if you didn't have a car and lived 50 miles from the nearest town, with just a dirt road, and a mountain between you and a banking relationship? With Bitcoin, even with modest SMS messaging, you can transact business globally. You are the bank. Buy, sell and trade with no banking fees.
Politicians are starting to see that Bitcoin means new businesses, which means new jobs, and entire industries can be born. Security for bitcoin, selling goods for bitcoin, bitcoin services like legal, marketing, and social media. High-paying IT job growth, which only increases with adoption.
There is no such thing as a fake bitcoin or a counterfeit bitcoin. Any fiat currency has and will get duplicated, after a few years in service, that's why their look changes every few years. This is expensive to counteract, and brings distrust to the currency and the market. Again, something Bitcoin technology has been engineered to stop.
Keep a record of all purchases made with a particular bitcoin, or the ownership trail of a bitcoin through the Block Chain.
Nations are very, very unlikely to adopt a decentralized digital currency to represent their nation. Governments are all about control. The word government even mean "control mind" in the Latin base of it. What bitcoin can do is be the next version of Paypal, where everybody has a bitcoin account to move money easily online while still using a government-issued currency for income and taxes. For consumers, you can live on bitcoin, and replace fiat currency altogether. Many people, like bitcoin Sensei Andreas Antonopoulos, get paid, live, and travel exclusively on bitcoin.
This is not a complete list of all of Bitcoin's market benefits, but I didn't want to make this article incredibly long. The pros far outweigh the cons. Bitcoin is not perfect, but it is closer than we've ever been to a perfect form of money. And being digital, it is programmable, so it can change to bring new features to market, or to be more convenient, or more secure. It can be what we need it to be far easier than any money ever created. The technology is truly amazing, and it really is ahead of its time.
The currency only scrathes the surface of what bitcoin can do going forward. When we catch up to Bitcoin's capabilities, the word innovation won't begin to describe where it can take us.
Photos provided by Shutterstock and Wikimedia.commons
What Bitcoin benefits aren't on this list? What would you add to Bitcoin's feature list? Share above and comment below.
Last modified (UTC): April 2, 2015 2:05 PM