04 Dec What PADs Need to Know about Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the future of Black Wealth
Oh What a time to be alive! In case you have been living under a rock for the past few years, let me share some highlights about what many are touting as the “next digital revolution.” Blockchain technology represents an expedited way to send information, ledgers, and even currency from person to person across a fast, secure, decentralized system that “sits right on top of the internet.” A blockchain is defined as a continuously growing list of records which are linked and secured using advanced security methods. Each list of records is called a block and is connected to a previous block by something called a hash pointer. This hash pointer represents an audit trail, time stamp, and a digital notebook or sticky note for transactional data. The benefit is that the data cannot be doctored or compromised and is completely traceable.
I deliberately explained blockchain first, because it appears to be the less celebrated hero in this forthcoming digital revolution. Most PADs, if they know anything about it at all, will probably site bitcoin, a form of cryptocurrency, as the vanguard of the revolution. This is not completely untrue, but there are some things that PADs need to understand about Bitcoin, blockchain, and this digital revolution:
- Stop limiting the discussion to bitcoin! We know that bitcoin is the most widely used and talked about element of the digital revolution, and to this point it’s immense growth and value have certainly not disappointed; but to focus only on bitcoin is dangerously shortsighted. Why? Bitcoin (at the time this article is being written) is valued at an excess of $11,000 USD and seems to be closing in on 12k! Although folks can certainly still buy into bitcoin with virtually 1 millionth of its worth, the astronomical gain it has seen over the past 12 months is far less likely to be repeated than it is with other alt coins. What are “alt coins” you ask? That’s simply the generalized term the digital revolution has given to coins that are not bitcoin! Whoops! In my haste to downplay the hype of bitcoin, I neglected to mention what bitcoin is! Bitcoin (BTC) is the leading form of cryptocurrency, the digital currency that runs on blockchain technology. It can be used in person to person financial transactions or person to retailer without the need for a bank, broker, or third party service like Visa, PayPal or Western Union. There are bitcoin ATMs all over the US, and retailers like overstock.com accept bitcoin for purchases on domestic US orders. You can purchase bitcoin at Coinbase.
- 2. Cryptocurrencies are great, but the reality is that this revolution is all about the blockchain! Our minds have been wired to think about the money/currency first, but we also need to ask the critical questions like “Who’s printing the money?” Well in the case of cryptocurrency, it’s called mining, not printing. And miners who are able to set up mining rigs (high powered computers designed specifically to solve blockchain equations and mine coins), get paid quite handsomely in bitcoin or the specific coins they produce over a blockchain. Each type/category of blockchain has specific features like speed, security, vastness, etc that give it value in very specific areas and institutions. Some are good for financial transactions, some are good for secure data transfer, some are good for worldwide peer to peer interacting, you get the picture. There would be no cryptocurrencies without their underlying blockchains, and the blockchain technologies and their various indications are what is really driving this digital revolution. So I invite the reader to research these blockchains and think about how they could enhance business and transactions as we know it. That kind of knowledge and consequential action could yield just as much wealth and power as a successful investment in one or more cryptocurrencies.
- 3.Remember, this digital revolution also marks the dusk of the industrial revolution! The .com revolution of the 90s may have sunset some retail giants, but the next digital revolution combined with the concurrent “clean energy” revolution is arguably quite capable of bringing the oil, coal, and steel brotherhood down to their knees. The banks are at risk as well if they are unable to quickly adapt to the independent, direct peer to peer transaction fee-free environment that this new age promises in just a few short years.
|Examples of Clean Energy Technology|
The most important takeaway is for PADs to rush to (and remain at) the forefront of all these emerging technologies. Owning, and/or operating a business that capitalizes on any or all of this technology will separate the winners from the losers in the world of tomorrow. So which side will you be on? The winners (owners)? Or the losers (serial consumers)?
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