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This Time is Different Part 2: What Bitcoin Really Is.

[Read on Medium]

To me and many others, bitcoin is not a technical revolution as much as it is a triumph of political and economic incentives.

— Two  Bit Idiot

“Systems like Ethereum (and Bitcoin and NXT, and Bitshares, etc) are a fundamentally new class of cryptoeconomic organisms — decentralized, jurisdictionless entities that exist entirely in cyberspace, maintained by a combination of cryptography, economics and social consensus”

— Vitalik Buterin

In Part I we took a look at “What Bitcoin Isn’t”, where all the usual comparisons and analogies around Bitcoin were shown to be poor fits in explaining what the phenomenon really is, ending on the obvious next question:

What is Bitcoin then?

Money is one of those “aquarium characteristics” of life. Aside from worrying about our bills or investments, the general structure  of “money” is a background medium that underpins everything and for the most part we don’t really pay attention to it. Other examples are the base utilities like electricity and running water.

As we live our lives in these “aquariums”, we don’t really question the nature or the delivery mechanisms of these structural/cultural mediums we’re immersed in, unless they stop working or until they undergo a radical change.