©flickr / BTC Keychain

Bitcoin

An online currency which is free from the control of governments and both central and commercial banks

The early advocates of Bitcoin were in part driven by an anarchist/libertarian political ideology: they wanted currency to be free from the control of governments and both central and commercial banks, and they saw in the internet a way of doing this. All Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public ledger, and new currency is issued (or “mined”) non-centrally. The most tangible upshot is far more anonymity when making transactions than with conventional banking: the ledger only records which transactions took place and not who the parties were. However, various more specifically social use cases are emerging, such as BitPesa, which uses Bitcoins to make remittances to Africa without the bank charges. And some, such as Nesta’s Geoff Mulgan, thinks that the possibilities go far beyond what we have currently devised.

©flickr / NOGRAN s.r.o.

©flickr / NOGRAN s.r.o.