Whither Bitcoin: A New Era for Cryptocurrencies?

David Gibson Advent of Bitcoin

Whither Bitcoin: A New Era for Cryptocurrencies?

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Presentation on the future of bitcoin given to the Rotary Club of Dubai Cosmopolitan. February 2021.

Bitcoin is never far from the headlines and has soared from its original value in spite of recent declines. En route it has displayed extreme volatility. Given the price increases it might appear that you can sit back and become a multimillionaire. However there is also the argument that we are in a financial bubble. In reality the truth is somewhere between the two views.

The chances of getting rich overnight are slim yet bitcoin has been around long enough for it to present significant opportunities. If you think bitcoin is too high you do not have to buy whole coins. It is about the return not the price.

It is also possible to buy cheaper coins e.g. Ether. Any investment could lose money and it is only recommended to play around with what you can afford to lose. However there are definitely opportunities available.

This was a presentation to members of the Rotary Cosmopolitan Dubai club. Most of the audience had never dealt with bitcoin and were only just beginning to appreciate some of the advantages and disadvantages.

We had a most vigorous discussion looking at the benefits of crypto and many of the dangers. We discussed the controversial role of regulators in this space and some of the features associated with the potential for price manipulation.

The role of mining was also explored. Nodes in the network, known as miners, authenticate transactions and add a new block to blockchain. Transactions are sent into a pool of unprocessed transactions. Miners assemble a set number of transactions into a new block which contains a cryptographic pointer.

Both sender and receiver use of wallet with public and private keys was discussed. Block creation requires a set number of transactions to be assembled and uses a cryptographic hash function to seal the data. The verification process is complicated and uses large quantities of electronic power. And miners are rewarded with bitcoin. (The entire bitcoin network consumes around 32TWh of power which is about the same as all of Denmark)

The important facts surrounding the limited supply of many crypto currencies was explored. Fiat money is not backed by any intrinsic value and governments can create as much money as they wish. Crypto currencies are designed to have a limited number of coins.

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