When I first heard of Bitcoin I dismissed it without much thought. I assumed it was another Flooz or PayPal-like service. I dismissed Bitcoin several more times before making an effort to understand it. When I finally decided to look into it, I came across this seminal piece by Eric Voorhees: http://moneyandstate.com/bitcoin-libertarian-introduction-used-care/ I’ve been mildly (to not so mildly) obsessed ever since.
This is my favorite elevator explanation:
Money is basically favor vouchers. You do something for someone and they give you some item (gold, seashell, signed piece of paper, etc.) that society agrees gives you the right to call in that favor owed to you, but the cool thing is it doesn’t even have to be from the person you did the original favor for.
The way Bitcoin works is instead of actually passing around gold or pieces of paper to record who did what for whom, a globally synchronized accounting ledger records this data in a cryptographically secure way. Since no tokens have to be physically transported, it is global and fast. But since no central authority controls it, it cannot be politically messed with, inflated, confiscated remotely, etc.
It’s like gold that weighs nothing, that you can carry in your brain without anyone knowing, and that you can teleport anywhere in the world for a tiny fee or even no fee. You can do this with a few cents or a few million dollars just the same way.
The thing about Bitcoin is that it epitomizes combinatory creativity (https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2014/04/einstein-productive-thought-combinatory-creativity/). History, philosophy, economics, technology, cryptography, monetary theory, and of course politics inhere in this simple concept of peer-to-peer digital cash.
I can’t help but think that this honey badger of an idea will play an increasingly significant role in the world.