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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

Trusted Computing

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order

Paul Vigna, Michael Casey




Working through another book on bitcoin. Bitcoin is based on the creation of a distributed cloud computer that's hard to co-opt. If you get enough people participating in the distributed computer, overawing it can be beyond the reach of even nations, and at that point it becomes something more trustworthy than any given nation.

Bitcoin creates a meta-computer for checking to make sure people are not double spending their bitcoins (and it can execute some limited contracts). But you might consider that function the tip of the iceberg where blockchain (or similar) can facilitate trusted transactions.

When people have a way to perform trusted transactions outside traditional authorities it has potential to change power distributions in interesting ways, or at least it will change the ways the powers assert themselves, as revolutions are not guaranteed to put different lineages on the thrones (and perhaps in the long view, seldom do).