Brits and Americans want to know what is bitcoin more than what is the Brexit deal or what is the government shutdown according to Google’s top search trends for 2018.
While searches for “bitcoin” are way down, as are searches for “what is bitcoin,” search trends indicate that people still want to learn more about bitcoin than anything else.
No other crypto makes the top ten in an apparent shift from last year when ethereum usually trended not far off from bitcoin.
This year, ethereum doesn’t make any ranking list by Google as far as we can see.
Bitcoin made it to the top ten searches last year for US, far surpassing Trump to the point US’ civil service said in a report: “America wants to know what is bitcoin.”
Last year’s Consensus blockchain/crypto conference trended on twitter, making it the first crypto related event to do so.
While on twitter, more were talking about bitcoin than about a combination of top stocks like Facebook, Apple, Netflix, or Google.
This year has seen a considerable cooling down, but interest in knowing what is bitcoin apparently remains significant.
Suggesting that while the coin may have gone mainstream in awareness in US, there are still many who do not know what is bitcoin. To them, we can describe bitcoin in a succinct manner.
Bitcoin is a global, open, code based network of individuals across the globe who have downloaded a node software – similar to how you download Photoshop.
All you need to do to join the network is to download the software. Then, you (your computer) and thousands across the world enforce a number of code based rules that keep accounts of who owns how much bitcoin and whether they can validly send them to others.
The bitcoins are created through a one CPU (computer) one vote process. The computer calculates a number of pointless math equations to show that it is not fake through Proof of Work.
The more computers there are, the less coins each computer gets so as to keep new bitcoins at currently about 12.5 coins for every ten minutes.
A rule in the code says that roughly every four years the amount of new bitcoin has to be reduced by half. In or around 2020, that means only 6.25 new coins will be created. In 2024 only circa 3, and so on effectively indefinitely.
However, there can only be 21 million bitcoins according to the coded rules. Nonetheless, the halvenings never end. So although at one point it will effectively be no new coins, technically there will still be 0.00000whatever new bitcoins.
Bitcoin is digital money created by computers across the world rather than by a government, a company, or any one individual.
As it is digital, it can move across the globe in seconds, for usually very low fees, with international payments being one of its strongest use case.
With bitcoin being basically just some lines of code, you could through if and then say this one bitcoin can not move for x years or should go there automatically at some point and so on.
The capabilities of programming bitcoin, however, are limited. So ethereum was invented which works pretty much the same as above, but in addition has a programming running environment.
Like HTML where you say a:link=turstnodes, so too in ethereum you can basically write and run code on the blockchain itself to create what are called decentralized applications, or dapps, through a programming language called Solidity.
Ethereum therefore calls itself the world computer because while software usually runs only in your computer, eth “software” – like a game or a financial instrument – runs on all the computers that have downloaded a node, currently more than 10,000 of them.
So what’s the point of all this? There are many, but the main one is the upgrade of paper based money and finance to natively digital code where money can move faster across the world and has a vibrant quality.
The simples analogy here would be a magazine and a website. To read a magazine, you need to physically pick it up or get it sent through paper mail. To read a website, you just type in the site address or google its name.
You can’t quite instantly comment on a magazine, you have to send letters to editors. On this website, you can just scroll down and enter your comment which will instantly appear for all to read.
We could go on, but the point is made. Natively digital money has many benefits over paper money or its “scanned” like fiat digital version.
They can move faster, they can be more accessible, they can be more open, and for ethereum you can run whole programs.
One such program, for example, effectively tells the world computer to run eth on top of itself. Eth is like bitcoin, but this piece of code basically clones it and turns eth into wrapped eth (weth).
That weth is called a token. A token is a currency of sorts like eth, but while eth is created through global computers, a token is created by anyone copy-pasting some lines of code.
One of its obvious use is as a stock. Stocks are currently a paper certificate that has your name written on it and how much you own. That can make accessing actual stocks very difficult because company registries have to be changed with your name, address and so on.
Transferring them, thus, can be expensive. So ordinary people can’t really buy an actual stock. Instead, a bank usually buys the stock and then sells you a claim on the stock.
Verifying whether the bank is selling stocks that actually exist isn’t very easy, to not mention the costs and fees incurred.
While with a token, well its basically just some data on a computer that no one can copy. As long as you have the private key, you can thus move it easily and do whatever you wish with it.
We could go on to a book length, or even books, but that should be a sufficient introduction of the very basics of ethereum and bitcoin.