Of all the platforms we’ve used, few feel as magical as Bitcoin and the Bitcoin block chain. Using Bitcoin and a simple yet powerful API called Chain, we can create a Bitcoin transaction with just a few lines of code. I can send Tim the $8 I owe him, or I can send him a million dollars. It’s the same few lines of code. We can submit the transaction to the Bitcoin network where it will be sent from one node to the next, eventually reaching the whole network of a few thousand peers in under ten seconds. Some of these peers are Bitcoin “miners”, competing like crazy for a mining prize and transaction fees. The miners package transactions into a block, add it to the chain, and share the update with peers. The miners are a distributed consensus mechanism. Their collective and uniform determination of whether a transaction is valid, and whether a block is valid is what keeps the block chain alive, stable, and secure.