Cryptoassets: Season 3: Episode 6 – Digicash & The Miracle of Bitcoin

Why Crypto

Sometimes the word crypto makes people shudder, perhaps because they associate it with illicit activity, but that’s a mental bias that is important to overcome.  Crypto is simply a tip of the hat and a shortening of the key technology underlying these systems: cryptography.  As discussed, it’s the science of securely transmitting data so that only intended recipients can make use of it.  Cryptography is used to ensure that cryptoassets are transferred to the intended recipients securely.  Given our digital world and the increasing prevalence of hacks, the secure transmission of resources is paramount, and cryptoassets have such security in spades.

As I’ve said before, there are lots of things that need to happen before crypto, in general, goes to the next level.  Hackers are going to have to be neutralized at some point in order for this to really work.

The Story of David Chaum

Does anyone remember DigiCash’s ecash? Well, basically in the mid-90’s, David Chaum founded a digital payment system called Digicash.  He was a technical genius, but lacked all other skills in terms of personal development (thus why I tell everyone that they better start learning ASAP). Bill Gates, who I’m not particularly fond of, came to him with a 100 million dollar offer — he turned it down.  Netscape also wanted to know about it, but they didn’t like Chaum’s attitude at all.  In 1996, Visa wanted to invest $40 million into the company but Chaum wanted 75 million.

This was the fall of Digicash and they went bankrupt in 1998.  If not, ecash would have been integrated into all browsers and we wouldn’t have to make online payments with credit cards.

Amazing what happens when greed, selfishness, and a rotten personality (and romanticism over an idea) can do to your business and potentiality.

The Miracle of Bitcoin

So, the miracle of bitcoin is remarkable.  We know that.  We know that we can’t see it, touch it, or smell it, which is interesting because I’m still trying to figure out how miners actually work (and will in the later chapters). Paper currency has its value because it’s literally agreed upon.  Every member in society has agreed that this sheet of paper means money.  That’s why it’s famous.

When bitcoin launched, however, it had zero value.  The supporters valued bitcoin, though, and then it became big.

What does this mean? The power of it all lies in the hands of the people, and I truly think it’s unbelievably remarkable!

Podcast

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