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There has got to be something wrong with this. And you can study it, and you can learn about it, and you can think about it. This, of course, clearly indicates that traditionalistic institutions, many of which are set in their ways, are wary of cryptocurrency, and what the innovation can bring to the table that legacy systems cannot. Moreover, not only has it survived, but thrived, still remaining unhampered by the centralized powers that be. I am a writer who has been following Bitcoin for years now.
My insights and interviews have been featured in leading publications in the industry such as LongHash and Decrypt. I own a small amount of Bitcoin. Here at NewsBTC, we are dedicated to enlightening everyone about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
We cover BTC news related to bitcoin exchanges, bitcoin mining and price forecasts for various cryptocurrencies. All Rights Reserved. Advertise Submit a Press Release. Home Cryptocurrency news Bitcoin. Reading Time: 3min read. Reloads and free spins available every day, for every player, in mBitcasino Crypto Autumn Bonanza! Play Now! Tags: andreessen horowitz bitcoin crypto cryptocurrency marc andreessen. Tweet Share Every day, more and more consumers and merchants are buying, using and selling Bitcoin, all around the world.
The overall numbers are still small, but they are growing quickly. And ease of use for all participants is rapidly increasing as Bitcoin tools and technologies are improved. Remember, it used to be technically challenging to even get on the Internet.
The criticism that merchants will not accept Bitcoin because of its volatility is also incorrect. Bitcoin can be used entirely as a payment system; merchants do not need to hold any Bitcoin currency or be exposed to Bitcoin volatility at any time. Any consumer or merchant can trade in and out of Bitcoin and other currencies any time they want.
Why would any merchant — online or in the real world — want to accept Bitcoin as payment, given the currently small number of consumers who want to pay with it? My partner Chris Dixon recently gave this example:. Profit margins in those businesses are usually under 5 percent, which means conventional 2. Of all of those choices, handing 2. Another challenge merchants have with payments is accepting international payments.
In addition, merchants are highly attracted to Bitcoin because it eliminates the risk of credit card fraud. This is the form of fraud that motivates so many criminals to put so much work into stealing personal customer information and credit card numbers. Since Bitcoin is a digital bearer instrument, the receiver of a payment does not get any information from the sender that can be used to steal money from the sender in the future, either by that merchant or by a criminal who steals that information from the merchant.
Credit card fraud is such a big deal for merchants, credit card processors and banks that online fraud detection systems are hair-trigger wired to stop transactions that look even slightly suspicious, whether or not they are actually fraudulent. As a result, many online merchants are forced to turn away 5 to 10 percent of incoming orders that they could take without fear if the customers were paying with Bitcoin, where such fraud would not be possible.
You fill your cart and go to the checkout station like you do now. But instead of handing over your credit card to pay, you pull out your smartphone and take a snapshot of a QR code displayed by the cash register. The QR code contains all the information required for you to send Bitcoin to Target, including the amount. Target is happy because it has the money in the form of Bitcoin, which it can immediately turn into dollars if it wants, and it paid no or very low payment processing fees; you are happy because there is no way for hackers to steal any of your personal information; and organized crime is unhappy.
Well, maybe criminals are still happy: They can try to steal money directly from poorly-secured merchant computer systems. But even if they succeed, consumers bear no risk of loss, fraud or identity theft. This is a myth, fostered mostly by sensationalistic press coverage and an incomplete understanding of the technology.
Much like email, which is quite traceable, Bitcoin is pseudonymous, not anonymous. Further, every transaction in the Bitcoin network is tracked and logged forever in the Bitcoin blockchain, or permanent record, available for all to see.
As a result, Bitcoin is considerably easier for law enforcement to trace than cash, gold or diamonds. Bitcoin is a classic network effect, a positive feedback loop. The more people who use Bitcoin, the more valuable Bitcoin is for everyone who uses it, and the higher the incentive for the next user to start using the technology.
Bitcoin shares this network effect property with the telephone system, the web, and popular Internet services like eBay and Facebook. In fact, Bitcoin is a four-sided network effect. There are four constituencies that participate in expanding the value of Bitcoin as a consequence of their own self-interested participation. All four sides of the network effect are playing a valuable part in expanding the value of the overall system, but the fourth is particularly important.
All over Silicon Valley and around the world, many thousands of programmers are using Bitcoin as a building block for a kaleidoscope of new product and service ideas that were not possible before. And at our venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, we are seeing a rapidly increasing number of outstanding entrepreneurs — not a few with highly respected track records in the financial industry — building companies on top of Bitcoin.
For this reason alone, new challengers to Bitcoin face a hard uphill battle. If something is to displace Bitcoin now, it will have to have sizable improvements and it will have to happen quickly. Otherwise, this network effect will carry Bitcoin to dominance. One immediately obvious and enormous area for Bitcoin-based innovation is international remittance. Every day, banks and payment companies extract mind-boggling fees, up to 10 percent and sometimes even higher, to send this money.
Switching to Bitcoin, which charges no or very low fees, for these remittance payments will therefore raise the quality of life of migrant workers and their families significantly. Moreover, Bitcoin generally can be a powerful force to bring a much larger number of people around the world into the modern economic system. Only about 20 countries around the world have what we would consider to be fully modern banking and payment systems; the other roughly have a long way to go.
As a result, many people in many countries are excluded from products and services that we in the West take for granted. Even Netflix, a completely virtual service, is only available in about 40 countries. Bitcoin, as a global payment system anyone can use from anywhere at any time, can be a powerful catalyst to extend the benefits of the modern economic system to virtually everyone on the planet.
Bitcoin can be used to go straight at that problem, by making it easy to offer extremely low-fee services to people outside of the traditional financial system. A third fascinating use case for Bitcoin is micropayments, or ultrasmall payments. The fee structure of those systems makes that nonviable. Bitcoins have the nifty property of infinite divisibility: currently down to eight decimal places after the dot, but more in the future. So you can specify an arbitrarily small amount of money, like a thousandth of a penny, and send it to anyone in the world for free or near-free.
Think about content monetization, for example. One reason media businesses such as newspapers struggle to charge for content is because they need to charge either all pay the entire subscription fee for all the content or nothing which then results in all those terrible banner ads everywhere on the web. All of a sudden, with Bitcoin, there is an economically viable way to charge arbitrarily small amounts of money per article, or per section, or per hour, or per video play, or per archive access, or per news alert.
Another potential use of Bitcoin micropayments is to fight spam.