Why simplicity is best for bitcoin growth
Thursday 15 May 2014
With the many people who have boarded the bitcoin train lately, and bitcoin acceptance growing each and every day, security is still of paramount concern and for those new to bitcoin or wondering about buying some, there are still many doubts and uncertainties, which hang over them.
Bitcoin is a fascinating technology and our job as users is to keep it safe. I had a friend tell me this weekend that bitcoin was “too hard for people to learn.” I reminded him that email is used by so many people and that less than 10% of those who use it, understand it all. The same will go for bitcoin.
Often these newcomers to bitcoin are overwhelmed with
- facts and figures
- hash rates
- brain wallets
- cold storage
- private keys
- the list goes on
It is not surprising it all sounds too complex to even begin to understand and get involved.
The email analogy
Imagine if I had told you when email was starting that there was this cool electronic mail available now and I think you should check it out. To that, you ask, “How does it work?” I could answer you in two ways:
1. “You type out a message, put in the intended recipients address, and click send.” Or
2. “To start, you go to your mail user agent, or your MUA. You address your message to the intended recipient and click the "send" button. This causes the MUA to format the message using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, or SMTP and delivers the message to a local mail submission agent, an MSA that is located at an SMTP address that is run by your ISP.
Your MSA looks at the destination address provided in the SMTP protocol, starting with the part before the @ sign, which is the local part of the address and often a username, and then the part after the @ sign, which is a domain name. The MSA resolves a domain name to determine the fully qualified domain name of the mail server in the Domain Name System or DNS. The DNS server responds with any MX records that are listed as the mail exchange servers for that domain.
SMTP transfers the message and your recipient then needs to press the "get mail" button in his MUA, which picks up the message using either Post Office Protocol also named POP3 or the Internet Message Access Protocol or IMAP. It’s easy as pie!”
I wonder how many of us would have forged ahead with email had the second version been the usual explanation given. Bitcoin is still in its infancy and products will be coming along as well as solutions to make it easier on the user. Much like Outlook and Google made email easier, so too will product developers and businesses make bitcoin easier.
Keep It Simple
So, when talking bitcoin, keep it simple.
Think about what it can be used for and how it can benefit the newcomer:
that It is potentially the future of commerce, it is instantly transferred anywhere in the world for a low fee
and it provides a way for you to become your own bank.
Extra details can be added as required and if the interest is there.
One of the main worries that anybody, new to or expert in bitcoin has, is over security and potential theft. With hackers and their tools getting better and faster with each day, we must protect ourselves now before it it’s too late.
First, line of defense is a secure password. NEVER use the same password on more than one site. You may end up giving a scammer universal access. So now they have your bitcoin, and passwords to all your online wallets, exchanges, email and more.
An easy and free solution might be LastPass. It is a simple and effective way to manage all of your passwords as it stores your entire password, encrypted on your device and all you need is to remember one master password. There are other options as well. Do a search for password managers and make sure they are secure and reputable.
The take away here is every password you have should be unique, at least 15 characters with some of each upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, and not contain dictionary words, names or places.
There are other safety steps that can be taken including storing bitcoin offline or in a paper wallet. See what the creator of bitcoinpaperwallet.com has to say here. All these measures can be used when greater amounts of bitcoin are involved but for ease of use for a new user with a small amount, finding the best bitcoin wallet or wallet app is key. You can read our reviews of the Blockchan App and the Coinbase App.
Your Bitcoin Wallet is like the wallet in your pocket - except you have the private key for that wallet - so it is incredibly difficult for anyone to steal your wallet and make use of the bitcoin without your private key.
The more people who are encouraged to adopt bitcoin, the stronger and more normal it becomes. There are no regulators for bitcoin, decentralization means that the bitcoin community has to keep its own house in order. By sharing information and spreading the word the community can help bitcoin in its progress. By helping each other stay safe, the bitcoin horror stories can be kept to a minimum.
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