Tag Archives: peer-to-peer

A Bitcoin Primer.

Update 7/12/14: A great article over at Borro explaining what Bitcoin is, how it works, etc. Highly recommend reading it. This article still has more links to jump off of, but the Borro article is really, illustrated, and concise.

Bitcoin has become all the rage in recent days. At first it was just a niche news item, then it began to virally spread across geeky news sites and blogs – now it is taking to the mainstream. There is a plethora of articles and sites related to Bitcoin available and I don’t want to add to this mess – so I’ll try and keep this simple and provide a few brief pointers and then a summary of some of the best resources currently available on the topic.

Note: I recommend also reading Brennon Slattery’s article on PCWorld, which discusses attempts already to shutdown Bitcoin by lawmakers (due to use in the facilitation of drug sales) and article by Dan Goodin for The Register about a heist of $500,000 worth of Bitcoins, highlighting the potential for theft of the new currency.

Introduction to Bitcoin:

Other Interesting Bitcoin Articles:

Bitcoin Related Sites:

  • Bitcoin P2P Virtual Currency – The official website for Bitcoin, you can download the P2P software here.
  • ClearCoin – serves as a form of escrow serve for Bitcoin transactions.
  • Bitcoin Venture Capital (BTCVC) – A venture capital firm focused solely on supporting startups that utilize bitcoin.
  • Bitcoin Mining Pool (gbyte) – Allows one to work with others to “mine” bitcoins.
  • Bitcoin Plus – Allows you to within minutes get started generating bitcoins.
  • Bitcoin Bonus – A rewards site that offers bitcoins in exchange.
  • Bitcoin Classifieds – Get stuff off a classifieds using bitcoins, or sell stuff for bitcoins.
  • Bitcoin Watch – Allows one to see how much bitcoins are selling for at various exchanges.
  • Bitcoin Miner – By a professional bitcoin miner, blogging about the experience.
  • BitcoinMe – A friendly site that attempts to introduce folks to the bitcoin economy.
  • We Use Coins – An introductory site to the bitcoin economy similar to BitcoinMe.
  • Bitcoins.lc – Another mining pool similar to gbyte for mining bitcoins.
  • Bitcoin Faucet – Gives you 0.01 free bitcoins.
  • Bitcoin Charts – Provides charts and other analytical informationa bout the bitcoin network and exchanges.

My Thoughts:

I recently posted about the need for a non-profit banking system. I’m interested in Bitcoin b/c of it (or something similar) to provide a “non-profit” banking system of sorts. I think Bitcoin has potential and as I have ridden other potential moneymakers (e.g. AllAdvantage) in days far past, I figure I might as well take this ride as well, and see where it ends. From AllAdvantage, I ended up with maybe $200. That said:

  • Bitcoin’s complexity is off-putting. Unless it is significantly simplified it will not achieve mass appeal.
  • Bitcoin has a reputation problem. It can easily facilitate illegal activities, just as many other technologies can, and it is likely to face legal challenges in the upcoming months.
  • Bitcoin has a security problem. At some other juncture I’ll talk about the state of information security in general, but lets just say it isn’t pretty. So having one’s entire wallet stored on your computer…well, it’s risky!
  • Still, Bitcoin could be the start of something useful…a currency that cuts out lays of fat from the economy that result in unnecessary fees and complexity.

Napster – Free and Legal Music?

Timeline of file sharing
Timeline of file sharing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[Update: I no longer use Napster. I believe they have been acquired. I’m now using Spotify.]

Napster became a household name for its early days when it offered massive peer-to-peer (P2P) music sharing – the large majority of which was illegal. After attracting significant legal attention (and conflict) it was recreated as a legal music venue – but by this time many other competitors had come out of the woodwork and Napster’s free business model had suddenly become pay. Since then Napster has held on at the periphery of existence. By Alexa’s ranking Napster is now in the top 5,600 sites, by comparison Apple’s iTunes ranks #61. Just a tad of a difference.

That said, Napster still has a lot to offer. First off, they offer full-length audio streaming of just about their entire music library. Just go to free.napster.com. Sure is, you can only listen to a song three times for free – then you either have to buy it or stop listening. But hey, how many songs do you really want to hear more than three times? And if it is worth listening to more than three times, isn’t it worth $.99?

Napster recently came out with a really impressive deal that I’d jump on if I was an audiophile…but I’m not. Its a $5/mo. package which gets you full streaming access to Napster’s massive (7 million+ songs) library and five permanent MP3 downloads. Snikes. Apple’s iTunes will charge you the $5 for the five songs, forget about being able to stream unlimited songs all month long!

So, what am I saying? Take a look at Napster. They are trying so hard – and in my opinion, while the hype is no longer on their side they are doing a great and innovative job of offering music to the masses at reasonable prices.