Bitcoin report: 1 week in

Not an in depth post today, but it’s been about a week since I dove back into the bitcoin pool so I thought I would quickly chronicle what I’ve done and what I plan to do next.
Bitcoin related stuff that I’ve done in the past week:

  • I finally read the original whitepaper.  I understood most of it, but it did make me take a note to learn a bit more about cryptography.  After reading it, I really appreciate the beauty of the approach and how it solves things like the double spending problem.
  • I setup accounts with two online wallet providers – coinbase and  Quick view is that coinbase is very easy to use (anyone that uses payapl could figure it out) and the is very flexible (which of course makes it a little harder to use).
  • I downloaded and installed two desktop wallets – Hive and Electrum.  I read enough to know (or think I know) that its best (or at least most secure) practice to store a majority of your bitcoin in local wallets rather than online services.  I found out later these two are “light” wallets in that they use a remote service for the block chain instead of downloading it and using it locally.
  • I purchased some bitcoin on coinbase.  It was a direct debit of my bank account and took about 4 business days to clear.  In the week after I purchased it it dropped from $580 to $430…so I bought some more ;-).
  • I transferred some bitcoin from my coinbase account (after my purchase cleared) to my hive desktop wallet.  It showed up immediately, but took some time to move off of “pending” in Hive – I guess it was balancing things out of the remote
  • I made my first purchase using bitcoin. I bought myself a ticket to Porcfest, a couple tickets to the one pot cookoff (my son is coming with me – he got a ticket for free to the event itself since he’s 13) and a t-shirt.  There was an option to login to coinbase directly and pay, but I used the payment address to send coins from my desktop wallet to see how it works for most users.  It was pretty easy overall but I have no idea how my push was connected to the purchase.  I was in one window to buy the tickets, clicked purchase and was presented with a bitcoin address to send my payment to with a warning that I had 10 minutes to complete the transaction.  I went to my wallet, pasted in the address and typed in the requested amount of bitcoin.  Almost instantly the cart page gave me a success message.  Pretty cool.
  • I listened to a podcast I was already subscribed to that did an episode on bitcoin and as a result subscribed to a new podcast that is all about bitcoin.

Bitcoin stuff I want to do next:

  • I’d like to find a good wallet for mac that actually downloads the full block chain.
  • I’d like to understand how paper wallets work.
  • I’m going to dig deeper into altcoins and specifically “token” systems like LTBcoin.  I think “token” systems could be huge – an actual monetization of social currency.
  • I’m also going to look into NXTCoin.  I don’t think its actually an altcoin (not sure its a meta coin either) – rather its takes a completely different approach than bitcoin for mining (proof of stake vs. proof of work).  That will of course force me to figure out what proof of work and proof of stake (and all the other “proof of” concepts that are out there) actually are and how they work.
  • I’d like to execute a face to face bitcoin transaction.  There is a coffee shop in Covington that takes bitcoin.  Coffee sounds like a perfect first thing to buy.
  • I’m going to try to find out what is being done to develop analogs to existing financial services like lending.  Seems to me there could be some interesting models built as mash-ups of micro-lending and crowd funding, all without intermediaries of course.
  • I am going to download a namecoin wallet and transmutate some bitcoin into namecoin which I’ll use to register a .bit domain to then route to my blog and/or my home server as a backup to my blog.

After a week in, I have literally just seen the tip of the iceberg.  But its interesting enough to keep sailing.






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