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035 - On File Sharing, Distributed Technologies, And The Birth Of Bitcoin
Whoops! I just realized I never posted this one to Patreon! Sorry. Here you good :) - Adam

Hey Zengineers! Let me ask you a strange question. How would you feel if you knew that all your hard earned money was just going to be converted into a digital bit stream and saved on some centralized databases maintained by a handful of global businesses? Does this sound like a scary idea? Well, it’s already what’s happening when you deposit your money with any modern bank in the world. The gold standard no longer exists. Physical paper still has value, but exists only ephemerally during small transactions, and if the system makes a mistake, it’s not easy for the individual to do much about it.

If this sounds dystopian to you, imagine something even weirder. How about we make every financial transaction public. What if we then distributed all that information to millions of personal computers all around the world? How about we do away entirely with the idea of a centralized authority? This roughly describes BitCoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and other Cryptocurrencies.

This week we dive just below the surface of a strange new process for tracking transactions. Based on an almost mythical technological concept called Blockchain, crypto currencies are already creating multi-billion dollar markets, and new ways to transact everything from purchases, to legal contracts, to secure computer communication are secretly upending how the world thinks about almost every physical and digital transaction on Earth.

We discuss libraries and the rise of the internet, Napster and the demise of the music industry, and banking and the impact decentralization by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is going to have on the global financial systems. This digitization of major global systems is well under way and there’s absolutely no stopping any of it. This episode is deep and confusing and important. Hit us up with any questions, as we’ll definitely be covering this a lot deeper as part of a bigger series.