Podcast #21: Past, present & future of cryptocurrencies
After a very successful internal meetup talking about Bitcoin and an upcoming talk about Decentralized Trust we invited more experts to share their thoughts on cryptocurrencies with us.
At itnig every Friday we sit down to talk with interesting people whom we meet throughout the week and we make a podcast (in Spanish) out of our conversations. You can listen to it on iTunes, subscribe to our channel on Youtube or enjoy it through iVoox.
For this Podcast #21 Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig, Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial, César Migueláñez, Product Director at Factorial, Masumi Mutsuda, Media at itnig talk with Dario Nieuwenhuis, founder of Verse, Jordi Baylina, Blockchain developer and Kamil Jura, designer at Quipu about mining, ICOs, the legality of all that involves cryptocurriences and their future.
What is Blockchain?
Jordi tells us it’s basically a global computer to which you can upload a program. But in reality it’s not one computer but many (4000 or 5000 computers) and just any person can upload a program to a Blockchain. All computers will then execute these transactions jointly, all computers at the same time are executing the same transaction step by step. A consensual algorithm.
All transactions are remembered and packaged to form a block. This chain of blocks with all these transactions is a register, it’s not modifiable… One of the first applications Blockchain was used for is money. It has one single instruction: to move money from one place to another. This is just one application, we can use Blockchain for all kinds of topics, think about insurance, identity, governance.
We are in a very premature phase of this technology, but in the short term this can change the world.
What’s so great about Blockchain?
One of the cool things of Blockchain is that you can establish rules, according to which a system changes its state. Let’s take money as example: Every person has his/her balance, if this person wants to move money he/she has to have money in their balance, has to sign with the adequate cryptography…etc.
Just take this a bit further: Once established certain rules, everybody who wants to use this Blockchain has to abide by these rules without the necessity for a central entity (government, central bank) to control it. Nobody can modify or jump these rules without the consensus of the majority — and this opens up many opportunities, which were before closed or taken care of in a closed environment like a government. This technology lets you think about corruption, inequality or power abuse in new terms.
We talk a lot about consensus when mentioning Blockchain. Are all users really equal?
The miners decide what rule changes apply or not but I would not compare this to a central government or bank as every person has the capacity to mine, without asking permission or have to be in a government.
There are different actors inside a Blockchain: The miners (who construct the blocks), all nodes propagating the blocks, the users (who have or accept bitcoins for example), the exchangers, the developers who maintain the code…
What is mining?
The person with the computer does a lot of calculations to create the next block in the blockchain. Miner mine the transactions inside the blocks.
Have you every mined a Blockchain?
With standard hardware this is really hard. so if you want to mine you connect to the pool, if you are developing you can create a small Blockchain and mine. But in general here in Europe it is not profitable to mine, as the costs for the m achine and more than anything for electricity are really high.
Listen to the whole Podcast to find out what Jordi, Dario and Kamil think about predictability in mining, about ICOs and the concept of decentralization. While exploring these ideas we’ll take a few detours to talk about the current legal framework, hear anecdotes of bitcoin cash ATMs in Switzerland and coffeeshops accepting bitcoins as far back as 2013 in Palo alto and Germany.