Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Top 3 Things I Learned at the Bitcoin Conference

Jerry Brito | May 20, 2013. This past weekend I attended the Bitcoin 2013 conference in San Jose, where over one thousand enthusiasts, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and, yes, lawyers gathered to chart the future of the virtual currency. Here are the top three things I learned at the conference.

Bitcoin is about more than payments

Bitcoin is an even bigger deal than I thought. While the currency is best known as a censorship-resistant and somewhat-anonymous payments system, it has the potential to be so much more.

“Ultimately bitcoins are data, and you can use a data transit protocol to transit information other than just ‘I’m sending you bitcoins.’ It could be ‘I’m sending you a stock,’ or it could be ‘I’m sending you a bet,’” says Jeff Garzik, one of the six Bitcoin core developers.

Thought of this way, the Bitcoin network is a platform on top of which other layers of functionality can run, much like the Web or e-mail are protocols that run on top of the Internet’s foundational TCP/IP protocol. Bitcoin therefore has the potential to spawn any number of other services that are decentralized, and thus difficult to regulate or control.

One application for such an extension to Bitcoin would be decentralized electronic markets—whether for futures contracts, sports betting, or anything else. - Read more here:

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