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heard about it, but what is Bitcoin? Lifehacker
explains it this way:
an anonymous digital currency...
not real money. It's an online "currency"—virtual tokens that can
be exchanged for goods and services at places that accept it, the
same way you'd give someone a dollar for a cookie. But unlike a
dollar, a Bitcoin has no serial number or any possible mechanism
that could be used to trace it back to a buyer or seller. This makes
it attractive to drug dealers and/or privacy advocates.
In their YouTube
manifesto, Bitcoin's creators say they're going to revolutionize
global finance the way the web changed publishing. So! Kind of a
lofty goal, aiming to be a global currency up there with (or replacing)
the dollar. Right now, that's still the pipiest of pipe dreams.
...and no central
the software developers who work on new versions of the code that
underpins Bitcoin, there's no Central Bitcoin Bank—no virtual Federal
Reserve. Bitcoins are backed by no one and nothing and completely
When you write
your friend a check, money from your account is withdrawn from your
bank, and then transferred to her bank, and then she withdraws it
as cash (maybe). With BitCoin, there are no middlemen. Money goes
straight from you to whomever, through the BitCoin P2P system, with
no intermediary agency passing along the chips.
by its users...
This is where
it starts to get a little weird! Unlike traditional currency, that's
backed up by something, (be it gold, silver, or a central bank),
Bitcoins are generated out of thin air. Through a process called
"mining," a little app sits on your computer and slowly—very slowly—creates
new Bitcoins in exchange for providing the computational power to
process transactions. When a new batch of coins is ready, they're
distributed in probabilistic accordance to whomever had the highest
computing power in the mining process. The system is rigged so that
no more than 21 million BitCoins will ever exist—so the mining process
will yield less and less as time goes on, and more people sign up.
This makes the whole system a lot sweeter for early adopters.
...to be spent
at the few places BitCoin is accepted...
"real money," few places accept Bitcoin at the moment. But that's
quickly changing. There's decent incentive for small businesses
to accept Bitcoins—it's free to use, and there aren't any transaction
fees. At the moment you can buy the services of a web designer,
indie PC games, homemade jewelry, [and more illicit products].
into real money.
Just like you
can trade in yen for dollars, you can swap your BitCoins with other
users for several "real world" currencies. And right now, the BitCoin
is trading very high! [As of this writing: 1 BTC = $124.00 USD]
But like any
bubble—or perhaps more so than most bubbles—the digital coin rush
could collapse at any moment, leaving a lot of people with a lot
of virtual nothing.
You can watch
a video explainer about Bitcoin here.
Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Apps
suggests that the following are the very worst apps ever:
You Marry Me” Text App
If the thought
of taking a knee and popping the question makes you light-headed
or nauseous, don’t worry! There’s an app for that!
The app allows
you to enter “any text you like” or use the default:
“Will you marry me?”
From the developer:
“Good for not-like-speaking geeks, or nerds…Have a good
love and then (with the romantic and infallible Will You Marry Me
app), comes marriage. After that? Babies!
But if you
have a baby, how in the world will you know if their diaper is wet
or dry? With a tweet!
is soaking the competition, technologically, with “Tweetpee,”
a diaper sensor which will detect increased “humidity”
from your baby’s diapered parts and automatically alert you
to the situation with a tweet.
What will you
do with all the free time you’ve opened up by not having to
check the moisture of your children’s diapers? Naturally,
you’ll want to spend some time tossing your iPhone in the
air, especially if it keeps tweeting about diapers.
the seemingly aimless iPhone tossing relevant by using “internal
accelerometers to measure how long the device is in free fall,”
thus allowing you to compare your hangtime with that of all the
other idle parents at their website:
Make sure your
device’s insurance is up to date!
Read more here.
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