There are two major questions facing bitcoin: What is it for? And who gets to decide? A bad decision could wreck the technology.
Bitcoin , the digital currency technology with an ecosystem attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, is struggling through an existential crisis. And what may to outsiders seem like petty squabbling about a single number actually has major financial implications and could even threaten the very survival of the cryptocurrency.
The argument – which is pitting Chinese constituencies against largely Western developers, the business community against the often ideological early adopters, and programmer against programmer – centers on a simple number in the global bitcoin system. But if the various parties can’t come to an agreement, the whole network could splinter, wrecking its major selling points of security and decentralization. “There is literally a war going on right now in the bitcoin world,” Marco Streng, CEO of Genesis Mining, told CNBC last month. There are two major questions facing the technology: Who is bitcoin for? And who gets to decide?
Most of the early adopters saw appeal in bitcoin as a decentralized digital currency (to over-simplify the promise) a sort of virtual gold that could not be touched by governments, banks or corporations. But in seeking to create the perfect system for such a currency, bitcoin’s early creators also created a technology that has wide-ranging applications.
That technology is called the “blockchain” (CNBC has gone in depth into how it works) , and this is basically what it does: It can record any information in a secure way, and make that information both public and unchangeable – doing this without relying on any central authority. Banks, stock exchanges, payment companies and others have already begun exploring how this can be used in their own businesses. The issue at
Originally appeared at: http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2015/07/24/bitcoins-war-could-threaten-its-survival/