The Bitcoin Doco part 2 - review

Monday 07 September 2015

Developments move fast in Bitcoin land. The Bitcoin Doco takes a look at what’s going on in Australia and around the world.

We’ve been asked to review The Bitcoin Doco #2. It’s a whistlestop tour of what’s going on in the bitcoin sphere, focusing on Aus but with an eye to the world as a whole. You can watch it for $0.99 (payable in bitcoin, naturally) on www.thebitcoindoco.com

For a lean 16 minutes, it’s a pretty good overview of some of the biggest developments of recent months. Along the way, there are brief descriptions of what bitcoin is, or rather what it does - cuts out the middlemen from money - and some of the implications of that. As such, it’s a pretty good first port of call for anyone who’s interested in virtual currencies, and what their potential impact might be.

Doco

You can catch up on episode 1 for free while you're here

If there’s a theme to this episode, it’s the effect that increasing adoption and regulation is having on the original vision of decentralised, peer-to-peer cash. Regulators are finally catching on to the idea that there’s something big here that will challenge the existing paradigms - as are the banks, which are experimenting with blockchain technology, Ripple and sometimes even bitcoin itself.

We are right at the fork in the road where Satoshi’s solution of trustless money inevitably butts up against the vested interests of big business and regulatory short-sightedness; there are, as one critic explains, ‘gaping holes’ in the BitLicense, and some indications that the regulators still don’t really understand what they are trying to box in. Corporations, meanwhile, are looking at VCs and seeing something that both threatens their comfortable status quo but offers enormous advantages. Apple has recently launched ApplePay which, comments one interviewee, will hopefully ‘make mobile payments sexy’ and open the way for consumers cottoning on to bitcoin as a better solution still. Of course, though, things could easily go the other way.

Bitcoin as it was originally conceived is about freedom: the freedom to manage your own money and transact outside of the control of banks, payment processors or any other third parties. As crypto looks set to go mainstream, we will see all kinds of solutions offering some or all of the advantages of bitcoin. That could result in greater freedom, or it could result in vested interests co-opting a technology that brings so much to the table for businesses as well as Joe Public. The Doco ends with a question: which way are we going to choose?

It’s well worth a watch, and for $0.99 you can’t go wrong. You can also catch up with episode 1, for free - a half-hour unpacking the emergence of the world's first p2p virtual currency.


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