If you have ever been fortunate enough to have a Bitcoin conversation with another person in a face-to-face (or peer-to-peer) environment, you may have noticed how people subtly distinguish Bitcoin and bitcoin, even when speaking out loud. Why this happens is rather easy to explain, as Bitcoin and bitcoin are two completely different sides of the same coin. Oddly enough, we label the combination of both sides as “Bitcoin” with a capital B as well.
Bitcoin : The Capital B
Similar to other words beginning with a capital B (you know what I’m talking about!), this means something more than just meets the eye. Bitcoin with a capital B is all about the technology provided by the blockchain, peer-to-peer transactions, and everything else we tend to forget about when talking about Bitcoin as a concept.
One of the major issues most of us face these days is the fact we only pay attention to the bitcoin value in fiat currency. Granted, this value is important to nearly every Bitcoin enthusiasts in existence, but the Bitcoin concept is about so much more than just money. In fact, we haven’t even scratched the tip of the iceberg in regards to what we can achieve with the technology.
The blockchain, whether it is the Bitcoin one or a different cryptocurrency one, is an open ledger of financial records. Let that reality sink in for a while : all of us are empowered to see every bitcoin transaction that has taken place or is taking place right now. And I am not talking about just your own transactions either, but all of the transaction information of ANY transaction in the whole world.
Not everyone is a big fan of this economical open ledger, as it is nearly impossible to hide transactions or payments that you don’t want to be exposed. Then again, the open ledger aspect also serves as a major selling point for the Bitcoin concept, as it is far more transparent compared to anything we know and use today.
Plenty of services are being developed on top of the (Bitcoin) blockchain right now, and many more projects and features will be added as the concept matures. Some of the projects in development right now include smart contracts and improving the multi-signature security of the Bitcoin wallet. Albeit both of these features are far more complex than you might imagine, they will prove to be invaluable tools for our society in the long run.
In the early days of the Bitcoin concept, many people were impressed by the possibility of sending money across borders, regardless of the recipient’s location, religion or ethnicity. THis concept is still very much true to this date, yet it somehow has been pushed to the background of what the Bitcoin concept is about. I strongly feel we should emphasize this aspect a lot more in the years to come.
Furthermore, sending bitcoin to other people is subject to very low fees compared to more traditional payment methods such as Western Union or bank transfers. Even though this is a major deal, it is another aspect we are not stressing enough to the outside world. However, this topic is present at any Bitcoin conference you might attend, we just need to carry the message throughout the everyday community.
There are many more aspects of the Bitcoin technology that we should focus and emphasize on, but the key factors have been listed above. This list will change throughout the course of history however, especially as more and more people get over the hurdle of looking at Bitcoin as something different than “fake internet money”.
bitcoin The Lowercase b
Most of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 has all been about the value of bitcoin the currency. While spending bitcoin is an important aspect of the Bitcoin technology, we need to give it intrinsic value in order to see a difference in value. That intrinsic value can only come from working hard on Bitcoin the technology, and showing everyday people what the power of the blockchain can do for them.
Unfortunately for us Bitcoin (the protocol) enthusiasts, mainstream media is feasting on anything related to the bitcoin value, and not the Bitcoin technology. Similar to most “higher up people” , mainstream media are cramped and rusted in their ways of looking at new technology, especially when it has the potential to disrupt the things they have gotten used and accustomed to.
When we talk about bitcoin the currency, many people will say the banks are to blame for manipulating the bitcoin value. This statement may be partially true, but that is not the major issue. The bitcoin currency heavily depends on use cases, and for such a “disruptive” technology, we keep focusing an awful lot on the price, and not how the technology could benefit everyone on this planet.
For 2015 and the years to come, we need to focus a lot on Bitcoin the protocol and Bitcoin the technology. There will always be a lot of focus on the bitcoin value itself, which is inherent to the nature of a spendable currency. However, more focus on the technology and the protocol will also benefit the bitcoin price in the long run. Rome wasn’t built in one day either you know…