“For the first time in history, a vast number of people are able to have agreement, with a high degree of certainty, over the state of an arbitrary data set, without relying on a central authority”

Very much this:

When evaluating the advantages of Bitcoin as a “so called currency”, I think it’s important to recognise what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is a methodology for achieving distributed dynamic consensus at scale. What this means is that for the first time in history, a vast number of people are able to have agreement, with a high degree of certainty, over the state of an arbitrary data set, without relying on a central authority. The ‘so called’ currency is an integral and necessary component of the system, which ensure users are appropriately incentivised to conduct the necessary action to achieve consensus. The question then becomes not whether the ‘so called’ currency has any advantages, but whether there are any advantages or applications of distributed consensus systems. There are a large number of categories of systems out there in the world, which require some degree of consensus, currency systems, naming systems, financial systems, communication systems, governance systems, political systems, infrastructure systems. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that a small subset of these could benefit from a degree of distributed consensus, rather than a central authority.

…from /r/Bitcoin

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