Case recognizes the importance of financial inclusion. Our device is available in 120 countries at launch, and that number is fundamental to the creation of new global consumers. 2.5 Billion adults are unbanked because they do not own enough assets to participate in a traditional banking system. These 2.5 billion people own goods that are valuable in local markets, but will not have the same value globally. Bitcoin is the vehicle that gives value to various goods on a global scale. A small landowner in Kenya cannot create a tangible claim to his property if he cannot create a document proving ownership that is universally accepted. The blockchain assigns value to assets that can be exchanged globally.
How bitcoin holds value
Bitcoin is a viable form of currency because it meets the defined characteristics of money. The characteristics of money are defined as scarcity, divisibility, portability, durability, fungibility, and recognizability:
- Scarcity: There will only be 21 million bitcoin ever created
- Divisibility: Bitcoin is divisible by 8 places (Unit Table)
- Portability: Bitcoin has both digital and physical forms. You can carry a higher value of bitcoin than silver for example
- Durability: Storage capabilities of wallets allow long term storage of bitcoin. Keys give the final authorization to exchange bitcoin held inside of a paired wallet. A key can be stored in a safety deposit box, on a cloud server, or on the wallet device itself for an extended period of time
- Fungibility: A bitcoin is worth the same as another bitcoin. Users in the bitcoin economy accept each bitcoin by a majority consensus. There are no ‘safe’ or ‘bad’ bitcoins. All coins are valid and prices of an individual bitcoin are interchangeable
- Recognizability: Block explorers display transactions that transmit to the blockchain. This trust-less network of validated funds maintain a record of the amount of bitcoin in each wallet. Each transaction is signed by both parties recognizing the amount of bitcoin being sent to the specified address
Scarcity creates a predictable rate of how many bitcoins will enter the market. If demand does not match the level of inflation, the price will fluctuate. Bitcoin’s overall market share is relatively small, which causes the price of bitcoin to shift when significant amounts of money are exchanged. Bitcoin’s price adjusts based on supply and demand, and the number of transactions (transaction volume) is a direct reflection of bitcoin adoption.
If bitcoin as a currency does not reach a high level of adoption, it will still hold value. Hacksilver was used by the Vikings as a means to exchange currency, and it still holds value today even though it is no longer in circulation. As long as there are people using bitcoin it will always hold value. The usefulness of bitcoin boils down to trusting the reliability of transactions recorded on the decentralized ledger. These validated transactions are referred to as blocks. It takes approximately ten minutes to solve, or validate, a block. Each validated block increases the validity of previous transactions.
It is difficult to translate how bitcoin works to those with lackluster technology experience. An analogy is a great way to parallel features of the blockchain in terms that are easier to understand. Andreas Antonopoulos gives a relevant analogy describing the scaling difficulty of validating blocks relating to Sudoku puzzles.
Sudoku puzzles are easily provable by verifying that there are no repeating numbers between each row and column. A person can not solve a puzzle by inserting random numbers into each space. Imagine a room with 20 people solving the same Sudoku puzzle. The amount of rows and columns in this Sudoku have been formulated to be solved in approximately 10 minutes. An announcement was made that the first person to solve the puzzle will be awarded 25 bitcoin. As the timer begins people immediately start walking towards the front of the room to have their puzzle solution validated. After 9 minutes of continuous attempts, someone discovers the correct solution and receives the 25 bitcoin reward.
The next round begins, and someone solves the puzzle in 8 minutes. The puzzle is made more difficult because rounds are being solved in less than ten minutes. More rows and columns are added to increase the average time needed to solve the puzzle. After a few more rounds, a large crowd enters the room and now 200 people are attempting to solve the puzzle within 10 minutes. More rows and columns are added to the puzzle to adjust for the number of new players. The players continue to randomly guess and check their answers until the correct answer is discovered. That random element is similar to the bitcoin protocol as cryptographic nonces assign difficult mathematical problems to each transaction for verification. Miners are consistently attempting to validate these transactions.
Advantages of bitcoin over other non-traditional currencies
The benefit of bitcoin varies from person to person. Bitcoin will not be the most convenient payment solution for many individuals with already established banking systems. People without access to banking services in the developing world value a currency that is backed by an algorithm and not a central authority. Bitcoin gives unbanked users the ability to assign a global value to their goods. The need to participate in a global economy is forcing unbanked individuals to use unsafe alternative currencies. The lack of a traditional banking system in Kenya created a market using M-Pesa mobile minutes. M-Pesa allows mobile users to exchange money into M-Pesa units and exchange M-Pesa between customers. The increase in exchanging mobile minutes as a form of payment showcases the need for reliable financial services. The financial inclusion that Bitcoin offers is important to the developing world.
Bitcoin use creates a challenging learning curve for new users that want to use the technology properly. The challenge of making bitcoin easy to use and secure revolves around wallet security. Case is leading by example by engineering a secure device that is easy-to-use, especially for users that are not technically savvy. Properly storing your private key is not a compromise that any bitcoin user should make when selecting a bitcoin wallet. We are creating a product that is easy enough for novices to use without compromise important security features.
Follow us to learn more about how Case is creating a secure bitcoin wallet without compromising your security.