Is Bitcoin Really All That Special?

A simple explanation for Bitcoin’s revolutionary technology

Noam Levenson
Nov 22, 2017 · 8 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

“Bitcoin gives us, for the first time, a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to overstate.” — Marc Andreesen, inventor of the first browser, thought leader, and top VC.

Great. You kept reading. Now we get to the good stuff.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
  1. The “double spend attack” — since it’s not a tangible asset, why can’t I send the same bitcoin to two people?

“[Bitcoin] is a remarkable cryptographic achievement… The ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value…Lot’s of people will build businesses on top of that.” — Former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt

When a transaction is broadcasted and approved by at least 51% of the network, the transaction then needs to be confirmed. This is where the blockchain comes in. The blockchain is a collection of transactions. The transactions are lumped together and placed in a block as part of a long chain. It’s called a chain because each new block references every block before it — so changing one block corrupts the whole chain. Each block has approximately 2,000 bitcoin transactions. To place this “block” into the chain, computers have to solve a puzzle. It’s basically a combination lock where the only way to unlock the puzzle is to find the correct combination. The only way to find the combination is to literally guess numbers randomly. The faster and more powerful the computer, the faster the computer will find the solution. Solve the combination, confirm the transaction. Confirm the transaction, get bitcoin as a reward. These participants who use their computers to confirm transactions are called miners. No, not like the minors in your local sex offender’s fantasies. Miners in the sense that they do work on behalf of the network and receive rewards in compensation.

Image for post
Image for post

Blockchain for Grandma

Simple explanations for bitcoin and blockchain that even…

Noam Levenson

Written by

Writer. Noamlevenson.com If you would like to work with me, check out my company site: https://www.narrowstrait.com

Blockchain for Grandma

Simple explanations for bitcoin and blockchain that even your grandma can understand

Noam Levenson

Written by

Writer. Noamlevenson.com If you would like to work with me, check out my company site: https://www.narrowstrait.com

Blockchain for Grandma

Simple explanations for bitcoin and blockchain that even your grandma can understand

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store