4 things about Bitcoin that make my head spin

Posted on November 8, 2013. Filed under: startups, venture capital |

1) programatic transfer of value based on context or events. that’s just awesome. Naval articulates some of the applications (like his driving in a car example)…quite well here: http://startupboy.com/2013/11/07/bitcoin-the-internet-of-money/

2) public log file enables a real time visualization of how value flows between parties…the implications of this on enterprise, real time reporting, etc…are fascinating…for consumers the visualization of where their $ is going is an interesting layer of value to be created…i’m reminded of “where’s George” with perfect visibility…if I’m a “green consumer” I currently have visibility into the first hop of where i allocate my resources…I know I buy “organic” for example from whole foods, but I can’t see the second, third and fourth hops…how is whole foods spending my resource…how did “my bitcoin” end up in Monsanto’s wallet (not the same bitcoin, but you get it) in the 3rd hop when i paid whole foods in the first hop? All of the sudden I can see my influence as a consumer in a fidelity so far beyond what i currently have. How does this change my spending habits? What are the implications of this high fidelity view on political contributions? With fully public transaction logs, all of the sudden my decisions and actions are visible at a system level never before visible…and in doing so resource allocation (or spending) becomes networked in the same way as information sharing or dissemination…the implications of this networked resource allocation are beyond fascinating…the level of efficiency that can come not just within a fiscal context, but all derivative life contexts given the infrastructural position of resource allocation (or spending) in the broader societal system design is incredibly exciting…for this reality to become realized, ironically, the most apparent present day value proposition of pseuodonymity or anonymity must fall to it’s inverse…or radical publicity…metadata and identity appended to transactions and currency is such a powerful thought…and a public log file that is viewable by all is a great platform to enable that type of mechanic.

3) I worry about the next 100 cryptocurrencies to be created and how they impact the value of my bitcoin as an investor. Will one win? Why? Merchant acceptance? Consumer acceptance? Elegance of platform design? Structural innovation? My sense is, like all platforms…they will be disrupted by better mousetraps. What does that mean for a platform so deeply tied to value store?

4) I love the idea that because a digital currency is programmable, rules can be written to structurally ensure that users, merchants, and other participants in the system behave in a way that gives the currency the best liklihood of succeeding and supplanting more traditional value stores. For example, if I determined that a necessary step in the realization of the bitcoin dream was that people started spending it instead of holding or sellling back to the exchange, could i write a rule for my bitcoin as a consumer that says I will pay you merchant x, but I demand (and programtically define) that this coin can not be sold back into the exchange for 180 days…you may transfer it to another merchant directly, but it can’t go back into the exchange…in other words…programmable and contractual are intimately related…and it’s fascinating that i can program a contract into my value store that ensures the value store will not decline (when such contract is implemented at a network scale)…

NOTE: I am still learning about bitcoin. if i am misunderstanding anything or am thinking along axis that are not technically possible within the platform, please correct me…but don’t hate me…just whimsically brainstorming here

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6 Responses to “4 things about Bitcoin that make my head spin”

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#3 is interesting. as recently as six months ago, i thought there would be many digital currencies. i am less sure about that now. and its possible that they will be built on top of bitcoin.

At this point, hard to beat Bitcoin’s growing mindshare in media. A lot of protocol improvements in newer digital currencies will eventually get implemented into bitcoin…. not all nodes will store entire blockchain, etc.

#2 is the most fascinating to me; Bitcoin’s anomized transparency is just incredibly powerful. It may also be what saves it for governments who want to be able to track down all the money from the “black market economy” for example.

I also really really like that it’s “open” to everyone in a way that not only people can ‘use’ it (pay/be payed), but also can hack around it very easily.

Nicely said, all of it. Another question: where do regulators fit, are they programmed in? The political implications of a “grass roots” digital currency might be disturbing.

If the network agreed to it then the coins could be mined with little power being used but then how would they be distributed…

Instead we have a war and lots of power is being wasted as the same amount of coins are going to be made .


1000 coins are produced in a certain time if abc amount of electricity is used to mine them

1000 coins are produced in a certain time if 5000 times abc amount of electricity is used to mine them

some absurdity here…

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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