A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange designed around securely exchanging information which is a process made possible by certain principles of cryptography. The first cryptocurrency to be created was Bitcoin in 2009. Since then, numerous cryptocurrencies have been created.
Right now, most folks in the First World don’t do a lot with paper money anymore. We flash our debit cards, pay our bills online and send money to friends using payment validation services like PayPal or AlertPay.
We order our books, our groceries, our pizzas, and even our cars online. All of that cash moving around happens electronically, as a stream of bits and bytes moving over secured networks between banks and other financial stakeholders, and us.
The value of our money is arbitrary, determined by market forces and national-level economic policy. Just Plain Folks don’t get a say or vote about inflation, exchange rates, or even how we are allowed to use our cash. Bail out major banks after they take the economy for an unregulated ride, while we ignore climate change? Sure, says your government.
Enter Cryptocurrency. In a world where, thanks to Edward Snowden and the NSA, it feels like there is a snoop-door in every router in the world, having a way to move currency around online that isn’t “owned” by a major bank or nation, and is harder to figure out how we’re spending it on what sounds pretty good to a lot of folks.
Bitcoin, famously, was first. How big is BitCoin? Fortune Magazine wrote an article talking about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general in December of 2013 (1). Tim Draper, a venture capitalist, bought the full lot of 29,656 bitcoin that were anonymously auctioned by the U.S. Marshall Service at the end of June 2014 (2). In August of 2013, Germany’s ministry of finance formally recognised the Bitcoin as a “unit of account” which means it can be used for private transactions (3); you can buy Bitcoins (BTC) at the German Federal Bank.
Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general, is now part of the world’s financial landscape. As new currency is injected into the cryptocurrency economy via a process called “mining” (4), fewer and fewer coins are left in a given currency’s reserve, and those coins are harder and harder to earn.
Bitcoin mining is now out of the reach of Just Plain Folks. Essentially, the threshold has been crossed that you can no longer recoup the investment it takes in computer equipment to actually mine the coins. This has led to the establishment of wide variety of other cryptocurrencies of varying degrees of quality and safety. Collectively called “altcoins”, this is the new digital gold rush frontier. Sort of.
One of the most promising of the altcoin landscape is called “BitQuark” (BTQ).
BitQuark (BTQ) is the result of merging Bitcoin with the super secure hashing of Quarkcoin … This makes BitQuark one of the most secure currencies on the market.
You can read up about BitQuark on the community website at http://www.bitquark.info/ … It’s a bit techie, but an evening’s reading with Google as your field guide will teach you everything you need to know about the terminology.
The critical part is:
- It’s VERY secure
- It’s a new playing field … so there is lots of coin to be “mined”
- It’s a forcibly leveled playing field … by design, the sorts of technologies that put BTC mining out of the reach of folks just getting started now don’t work well with BTQ
- The mining difficulty is currently very low … because there just aren’t that many people mining it yet
- It’s traded on a couple of fairly large coin exchanges, meaning that you can actually sell what you mine for Real World cash, either directly or indirectly.
- It has an active community with a Reddit (5), where the developer is in direct contact with the folks using the coin. That means clarity and transparency.
I’ve already got a bit of Bitcoin in a digital Wallet. I’ve recently gotten started mining BitQuark and really think that the direction and opportunity right now are fantastic. Which is why I’m talking with you on my blog about it.
Hey, Look! A Nearly Important Announcement!
As time progresses more and more authors, cottage industry types and even some businesses and African nations (6) adopt cryptocurrency, it’s overall value will rise. Value of a currency is an index of reputation and usability; I personally feel that BitQuark is going to be one of the stars of the altcoin currency scene in three to five years.
So, I’m going to put my money where my blog-mouth is.
As of right now, you can buy any of my novels in eBook format or Trade Paper Back directly from me using BitQuark. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject of “Paying by BTQ” and we’ll talk details.
I’m also going to be getting things set up so that you can pay for JKL5’s products and services in BTQ. Essentially, it’ll be taken at the exchange-rate of the agreement, just as though you’ve asked me to take Dutchemarks, Rubles, or Euros.
Knowing is Half the Battle
So, that’s Cryptocurrency, BitQuark and my personal views. I’d strongly encourage you to do some of your own reading and consider the impact that cryptocurrencies are going to have on the future. Right now, at the point that it is likely going to be a disruptive / enabling technology in developing economies, and it’s independent of whatever goes on in US / Russian / Petro-Dollar politics, I think it’s worth at least having a BTQ wallet left on “self-mining”.
You can likely next skip the next bit, unless you’re really into server-level deployments of this. As always, please leave your comment and thoughts in the space provided. Let me know what you think!
Seriously Gearhead: CentOS 6.5 BitQuark “Headless” Wallet Build
Most people won’t need this. If you’ve got a PC, just grab the Windows Wallet and run that on your home PC. You’ll be well on your way.