How to discuss bitcoin and not look like a fool

    This holiday season will be difficult to do without a discussion of bitcoins. As the cost of bitcoins flirts with $ 20,000, and institutional investors are starting to invest heavily in bitcoin futures, this issue has become a hot topic of discussion over coffee, business lunches, holiday tables, etc.

    Short tips will help you not look stupid when discussing bitcoin. Regardless of whether you think that Bitcoin mania is a tulip mania or an anarchist revolution, you will question your authority in the crypto-entrepreneur community if you repeat the wrong mainstream ideas about bitcoin like a parrot. These tips will help you gain clarity and gain insight into this potentially revolutionary technology.

    You may be a cryptocurrency expert - in this case, you probably do not need this article. Send this article to a friend who might find it useful! (Note: I use “Bitcoin” to describe the network and protocol and “Bitcoin (s)” to describe the units of the cryptocurrency.)

    If you're not joking or trolling, try not to say the following:

    • "CEO of Bitcoin." Bitcoin is not controlled or issued by any central organization. Thus, there is no company, nor a CEO, nor employees who could control the production, transfer, storage and use of all bitcoins. So, you should not recommend your friends to “contact Bitcoin support” if they lose access to private keys. If they do not keep their bitcoins in a wallet or on an exchange like Coinbase or Kraken, then they are fully responsible for the safety of their keys. Losing access to private keys essentially leads to the loss of bitcoins themselves.

    • “No one knows the number of existing bitcoins!” or "There is an unlimited number of bitcoins!". The number of bitcoins is transparent and the inflation rate graph is constantly repeating. Moreover, the total number of bitcoins is limited: there will be only 21 million bitcoins in the world.

    • “No one understands how Bitcoin works.” The official publication explains how Bitcoin works: . The document details the cryptographic and economic foundations that enable Bitcoin to function as decentralized funds in P2P. In addition, the software underlying the protocol and the network is fully open and verified: .

    • “There is no transparency in bitcoin.” All Bitcoin transactions are recorded on the blockchain and are publicly available to anyone connected to the Internet. Transaction records are permanent - that is, they cannot be changed. When people complain that Bitcoin is opaque, they want to say that the identification information of the parties to the transaction is hidden behind pseudonyms: the parties have a computer-generated address and efforts must be made to find out the identification data of those who are behind this address. However, as soon as personal identifiers are detected and tied to specific addresses, you can track all transactions from the very beginning of the network. Despite the fact that there are methods to avoid this kind of tracing for privacy problems, the fact remains: the blockchain actually facilitates transparency,

    • “Bitcoin is not legal because it is not supported by any government!” This is the whole point - the main value of bitcoins comes from the fact that it is not supported by the government or any other central apparatus. The network relies on a vast and decentralized group of people around the world to post transaction records and verify them to prevent users from spending the same bitcoin twice.

    • “Bitcoin is a scam.” This statement does not make much sense if you do not give the appropriate explanations. First, who is cheating? There is no central unit for the production and sale of bitcoins. There is no Bitcoin LLC that pays for sensationalist ads on Google to mislead you when buying Bitcoin. The history and technology of Bitcoin is transparent and accessible to everyone - you can judge the merits of technology and the economy yourself. Secondly, in what context is Bitcoin a scam? Bitcoin is actually used in many legal transactions, including the purchase of real estate and cross-border payments. In hyperinflationary countries such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe, bitcoins are seen as an alternative reserve to the monetary volume, which can protect citizens from the rapid devaluation of the currency.

    • “I can’t buy bitcoin because it is too expensive!” You are not required to buy a whole bitcoin! You can buy a share. Satoshi is the smallest bitcoin unit you can buy. One hundred Satoshi currently cost only about 1.5 cents in US dollars. You can quickly and easily purchase bitcoin through Coinbase.

    • “Bitcoin is unsafe - all software can be hacked!” Bitcoin exchanges and wallets (that is, services in which users store, send, receive and sell bitcoin) can be hacked. Individual users may lose access to their private keys due to negligence and phishing fraud. These problems can be avoided with certain precautions. However, the basic protocol of Bitcoin is unlikely to be “hacked”. Bitcoin is designed in such a way that an attacker will need huge computing power to change the history of transactions. None of the parties has sufficient computing power to carry out a worthy attack on the network. Even if one side tries to conspire with other parties to attack the network, economic interests will prevail; So,

    I hope that this article has improved your personal rating and intellectual capabilities, or at least helped you not to lose them. Share the article with a friend who is not able to understand this topic!

    This article is my translation of Lindsay X. Lin's “ How to Discuss Bitcoin Without Sounding Like an Idiot ”.

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