BitCoin? Really?Posted: October 3, 2012
In case you’ve never heard of it, BitCoin is this relatively ‘new’ distributed online monetary system. I remember hearing about it last year, and the innevitable pyramid scheme like run-up and collapse of the thing. But, like all good bubbles, once they pop, they settle back down to their normal growth state, if they are to be.
BitCoin is interesting because there’s this concept of ‘mining’ wherein anyone can create ‘money’. The way you create money is to have your machine do work solving some crypto problems (generating hashes). As the network of machines in the world grows, the challenges get harder, so there is not a runaway amount of currency being created.
This is an interesting concept. There’s no central bank, it’s not easy to manipulate the market, and you have to expend electricity to create ‘value’. After last year’s bust, it appears that BitCoin did not disappear, and more shops than ever are starting to take BitCoin as currency for goods. This is for both online as well as hard goods. Hmmm, interesting thought.
I got to imagining. What if I put the BitCoin ‘mining’ software on my Raspberry Pi, or several of them, and then just plugged them in randomly across the city I live in. There are tons of ‘free’ electrical outlets located all over the place if you know where to look for them. The Pi would sip the electricity, while it’s busily mining for bitcoins. I could have a hundred of them at work on this task, in their own little mining cooperative (of course they also need internet connectivity).
Each of those little vamPis would be generating tokens, and sending them into my virtual wallet, probably located on my trusty smartphone, and backed up to some cloud account.
That’s about as close to “free” money as you could get. Of course I’d have to purchase the Pis in the first place, but after that, just having them littered around would be a free cash flow until the day they poop out.
In some ways, this doesn’t sound much different than earning interest on money sitting in the bank. you’re not actually doing any work, but you’re accumulating wealth in the process. If you feel queezy about leaching the energy, it’s easy enough to make the vamPis energy efficient by having them rely on a solar charged battery. That just leaves the internet connection to worry about. So fine, I’ll live in Arizona, and get a high speed internet, and make vamPi trees that do nothing but suck down solar energy and turn it into bitcoins.
I see a future arising here. BitCoin has all the mystery of a spy thriller, where “the syndicate” is hiding in smokey rooms watching their billions grow as they plot the overthrow of the world economy. We are just pawns and minions in a world scale battle to create a seedy shadow of a monetary system. Or perhaps it’s just a really smart pyramid scheme, or a new style of video game algorithm.
What I do know is that many people are spending many thousands of dollars to create BitCoin mining “rigs” with the hope of striking it rich, and being in on the first wave of a new monetary system.
Right now my poor underpowered GeForce GT 520 GPU is chugging away, and it has created one new bitcoin. At today’s exchange rate, that’s just about enough to buy lunch…