Summary of Virtual Billions

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  • Innovative
  • Overview
  • Engaging


Bitcoin is an online payment system that records transactions in bitcoins, not in dollars or any other currency. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and transactions using it function similarly to encrypted email messages, which no one except the receiver can decipher. Bitcoins act like cash: They can be bought, saved, spent or lost. In this engaging overview, author Eric Geissinger argues that bitcoins, despite negative publicity over their role with the illegal drug site Silk Road, could become a permanent fixture on the financial landscape if bitcoin exchanges, the only sellers, embrace regulation. getAbstract recommends Geissinger’s work – with its entertaining detours into a short history of pensions and attempts to form communal monetary systems – to investors, bankers, entrepreneurs and anyone seeking an in-depth primer on cryptocurrency.

About the Author

Eric Geissinger is a technical writer for software companies.



Bitcoin Begins

Bitcoin is an online “financial subsystem.” Buyers and sellers conduct their transactions over the Internet using this payment stream, an alternative to conventional exchanges in US dollars and other currencies. Bitcoins are also a popular investment. Bitcoins were introduced on January 1, 2010; by July 1, 2013 – less than four years later – the total value of all bitcoins rose to $7 billion.

Four people drove the bitcoin system’s volatile development, deployment and early success: Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s founder; Ross Ulbricht, whose bitcoin-powered Dark Web site Silk Road connected buyers and sellers of illegal drugs and other clandestine commodities; and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who won a multimillion-dollar legal settlement from Facebook and have made sizable, successful bitcoin investments. Highly publicized crimes have raised concern about the potential theft of bitcoins. But the bad publicity seems to have made the public wary, not panicky, about the bitcoin payment system.

Satoshi Nakamoto

Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym of a reclusive genius with a personal net worth in excess of $250 million. This is well ...

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    E. G. 3 years ago
    Hi Julian, Eric Geissinger here. Because Bitcoin is a dynamically scaling system, if a quantum computer suddenly appears which is able to solve the "block mining" computational problem very quickly, the entire system would automatically adjust the difficulty of the posed problem so that blocks will be "mined" at the same (slow) and expected rate. Sure, the person running the quantum computer would make a lot of money in the short term because only their computer would be able to mine bitcoins, but it's far more likely that quantum computers would be made available gradually and their effect would be modest. This has happened before: dedicated bitcoin mining machines were 10,000 faster than those which were around 2 years prior, and the result? Bitcoin scaled up, and soon everyone used those computer to mining - meaning that, essentially, nothing much changed. I'm not worried about quantum computation in the long term. Faster computers are easily defeated by harder problems.
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    C. Q. 3 years ago
    Impressive what the Winklevoss twins have achieved and could´ve. Their impact on society for the following years will be written in history.
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    J. P. 4 years ago
    Eric, if you're there? What impact will quantum computing have on the crypto currency?