Bitcoin is a phenomenon that engages, enrages, passions and inspires curiosity in many. As a digital crypto currency it may or may not actually take off and change the world. But as an idea it sets new boundaries for the power of ideas.
I say this because bitcoin has inspired a discussion in ways that I wouldn’t have expected. Starting at the government level. I expected most governments to have a negative reaction to it, instead they have largely met it with skepticism but not rejection.
Until now, currency had been the realm of governments. In fact it was impossible to challenge the right of governments on this matter. Sure, there were “microcurrencies” out there such as casino chips, gift cards, and game tokens but these had always been supported only within a given commercial space and were explicitly in terms of Dollars. They were essentially less flexible US currency that enabled access to a service of some sort.
Bitcoin though breaks the connection between a microcurrency and limited commercial space by being non-proprietary and open source. It’s value essentially comes from the communal idea that it does have value. Because some people think it, therefore it is.
This idea is a powerful concept. Simply because we wish it, it is. The community at large puts faith into a digital technology to the point that it is no different than government backed currency. Yes, adoption is low but the idea is now alive.
And allowing this idea to thrive actually opens up entirely new realms of technology and real world economics. The barriers before has always been practical: how does a digital good have value when it can be infinitely replicable? The model is now proven possible. The fun is going to be in seeing what comes from it next.