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The dark romance of Bitcoin

I grew up in the 1990’s and watched the Internet arise out of thin air. It was an exciting time filled with endless technological possibilities. The decentralized control of information outside the reach of any government or corporation offered me a tantalizing future beyond the grey, Soviet world where I was born. Overtime, the Internet became ubiquitous with the conveniences of our everyday existence. Sadly, it also become boring; more controlled, more grey, more dull. The mad startup wars of the last century obliterated online independence. All spoils were carved up by the survivors; the Googles and Apples and Facebooks and Amazons and such. Technology became a source of cash, but not a source of freedom and potential.

And then Bitcoin hit us! It came out of nowhere! The corporations started shaking in their boots. This new decentralized technology could influence economies, world governments; it broke beyond the cozy shell created by the Apples of the world. Of course I was hooked; I fell in love. The dark romance of Bitcoin’s shady origins only added to my growing fascination. Bitcoin belonged to everyone and no one, a people’s revolution born out of elegant code and pure ideas, not out of some VC’s deep pocket.

I began to evangelize Bitcoin. I gave cryptocurrency rants to all my friends. Immediately, there was resistance. My knowledgeable acquaintances in Tech spoke of inflation, and pyramid schemes, and the impractical nature of the matter. They failed to grasp the beauty of the protocol. In Tech, our rationality is mostly our main strength; but sometimes its our greatest source of weakness. Great technology is frequently born of beauty. It is instinctual; it can’t always be explained.

A few years passed; Bitcoin exploded in the news. Bitcoin investments were making people millions. My friends were leveraging their savings on the Currency, while lacking any reasonable understanding on what its underlying principles were about. I found this quite unsettling; hollow speculation threated Cryptocurrency as a whole. My lectures changed. I argued strongly against blind investments. A crash was the coming; the principle technology did not allow for gambling of this sort. Unfortunately, few of my friends listened. My points were interesting, they said, but there was great sums of money to be made. So they invested. Their investments did not hold. And cryptoanarchy was loosed upon the world (Did I just reference a Yeats poem in a tech article? I did! Awesome!!)

After this Year’s collapse, my friends are wary. They talk of value fluctuations, instability, and unreliability. My response to them is…Opportunity! No more blind investments; we can build. The ground is burnt but fertile; let us plant the seeds of cool technologies. I’m trying to be a part of this. My focus is localized and small. I’m talking to local businesses, trying to get them to adjust to Bitcoin sales. I’m spreading Bitcoin usage in my community, trying to get more users and merchants and also more developers involved (Shameless Plug: I’m hosting a Bitcoin Hackathon in Berkeley this September. We’re actively looking for Judges and Mentors and Sponsors). Basically, I’m still a Bitcoin Preacher. And thanks to Coursmos, I’ve got a crowd to which to preach.

Last month, I posted my Bitcoin lectures on Coursmos. With days, I had over a 1000 views. Questions came pouring from family, friends, acquaintances, sometimes even a co-worker or two. The enthusiasm was exceedingly encouraging! I’ve finally found a medium with which to share my enthusiasm and ideas. This overwhelming response led to additional lectures. Currently, three of my cryptocurrency classes are up and running online. Stayed tuned! More classes to come. And if there is something you feel passionate about, I strongly encourage you to share your knowledge on Coursmos.

Oh, and one more thing. For some time I’ve been struggling with improving Bitcoin-based micro-transactions; basically searching for a better way to send Bitcoin pennies back and forth across the stream. Currently crypto-micro-transactions are possible, but they are way too slow; taking approximately 40 minutes on average. This is an important unsolved problem. Or at least was, until now! Lecturing on Coursmos allowed me to focus my thoughts in new directions, to re-examine the Cryptocurrency paradigm from an unseen perspective, to re-state my knowledge in cool, new, accessible terms. In that process, fresh ideas were born. I figured out a way to send Bitcoin pennies instantaneously! The Eureka moment came as I pondered a posted comment on one of my Coursmos lectures! A solution definitely exists! The code will take me some time to develop, but the final result will be awesome!!! I’ll be able to make a definite, tech-based contribution the growing cryptocurrency revolution. For this, I have Coursmos to thank…. Thank you Coursmos! Keep up the good work