Chances are you’ve heard or read the word “bitcoin” in some forum or platform over the last few months. Whether your coworkers tried to pitch you on a group investment, or your friends kept “hash-tagging” it all over your timeline, the constant exposure has surely plucked at your curiosity at this point. So what is this “bitcoin,” and why is it demanding everyone’s attention nowadays?
Bitcoin is the most prominent of a group of digital monies known as cryptocurrencies. These are non-tangible tokens that can be used to facilitate direct peer to peer or person to retailer transactions without the need for a middleman like VISA, PayPal, or Western Union. It relieves the users of transaction fees, lengthy wait times, and of course- the need for a bank account!
Bitcoin’s fame is largely due to its tenure (it’s been around for almost a decade), its widespread distribution/use, and of course its monetary value. As I write this article, the price of one bitcoin just sailed over $12000 USD! It’s volatility in the cryptocurrency exchange markets has also undoubtedly contributed to its notoriety.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Litecoin, DASH, and Ripple are all tokens on a group of stacked, secure, connected computer files called a blockchain. The blockchain moniker comes from the fact that there are several files “chained” together by an encryption and audit tool called a hashpoint. The blockchain and all its parts allow users with adequate permission to see the entire unchangeable history of important files that make up the blockchain. The uses and implications of that security, transparency, and underlying speed are endless.
Blockchain is what the real hype is about. Blockchain technology can solve for problems that the internet by itself has not been able to tackle since its inception. Picture your drivers license or passport being validated or even created and issued in a matter of seconds or minutes, as opposed to hours or days with a fraction of the expense. Picture filling out a comprehensive application in the blink of an eye. Take your imagination for a spin- picture the combination of social media and cryptocurrency being used to reshape ecommerce as we know it- people across the globe could become successful blockchain entrepreneurs without even owning a website! All they’d need is a smart device and a standard internet connection.
I get it- some of this sounds like sci-fi now, while other examples seem like it should have been accomplished years ago; and that’s just it- blockchain exposes some enormous inefficiencies that exist in every day processes, services, and of course transactions. This is where your newfound awareness about this technology should be leveraged to shape your mindset. When the internet rose to prominence, many of our people were first in line as a consumer- heck, that hasn’t changed a whole lot over the past thirty years!
This time, you get a do-over (something that we do not typically see within the cusp of one generation). In 2017 and ’18 we have an opportunity to change the shape and future of Black wealth through the emergence of what many experts are calling “the second digital revolution.” By investing in cryptocurrency and the blockchain, we give ourselves and our offspring the opportunity to own a piece of what everyone else will be consuming.
I’m not limiting my recommendation to the “flip money quick” appeal of purchasing bitcoin- that ship has largely sailed. Instead, I invite the reader to look into other promising cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchains- you will find that each blockchain type has it’s own unique set of features and characteristics that make it ideal for adaptation into one or more institutions that exist today (or tomorrow). Your creativity could be the solution to a long existing health, educational, legal, political, or business problem.
Your foresight today in purchasing stock in companies that trade cryptocurrency futures or those which are likely to be augmented by blockchain technology, could make you or your children very wealthy over the next ten, twenty, or thirty years- right on time for the next big thing! My advice for brothers and sisters of the diaspora reading this article? Kumtia Wakati, and thank me later.