Bitcoin: what's going on?

Confused about bitcoin and digital currencies? Well you’re not alone! Virtual currencies have soared in popularity and strength over the years - with bitcoin arguably the most popular.

Like us, you may have found that many people have strong views and positions on what bitcoin is and freely debate on its potential, legitimacy and relevance - a regular occurrence in the TechHub Swansea space alone!

But those are opinions and while useful, facts are crucial and important to know.

Robert Johnstone, TechHub’s most aspiring crypto-enthusiast and entrepreneur, joins us on Friday 18th May, to share some of these facts; encouraging more meaningful dialogue and insightful questions.

By his own admission, Robert is no expert but we think he captures the best non-technical analogies of the hot topic that we’ve seen in a long time!

In advance of the meet-up, we met with Robert, to get the lo-down on the ins and outs of bitcoin and cryptocurrency;

Will Bitcoin really replace traditional currencies?

I don’t believe bitcoin will but I believe a similar cryptocurrency will eventually. What you have to remember is that a vast portion of the world's population does not have access to their country’s banking infrastructure.

Things like geography and telecommunications obviously play a part but look at what it requires to have a bank account in the western world. You have to have: a bill (with your current address on), a passport (or driver's license), contract of employment, payslips, shorthold tenancy document (or property deed), your address history for the last five years, and the list goes on.

If these documents are hard to collect, organise and present in the western world how is a woman selling veg under a motorway bridge in Hyderabad, India supposed to do it? She can’t. There’s no way.

That is were bitcoin and cryptocurrencies come in. What do you think she is going to do when you tell her she can access traditional economic tools (loans, savings, direct debits, etc...) from her mobile phone? Adoption of cryptocurrencies has skyrocketed in the west and Asia and we have no real need for it. Imagine what will happen when it gets introduced into regions and countries where there is an actual need for it and no viable alternative.

What exactly is Mining?

You know what for a long time I didn’t know. There are two terms that are bounced around in the cryptocurrency world a lot and those are ‘mining’ & ‘nodes’.

“Mining is using a lot of computer power to solve very hard maths problems to be rewarded with cryptocurrency (like bitcoin).”

Nodes are computers that form the network of that cryptocurrency (bitcoin has 10,000 nodes, Ethereum has 16,000).” These nodes help confirm transactions.

Now what is important is that actually both these things are THE SAME THING. Computers that are solving these very hard maths problems are confirming that transactions have happened on the network. The first computer to solve the problem (and check with the other computers that they got the answer right) gets a reward (like a bitcoin).

What safety measures can you take to protect Bitcoin from hacking and fraud?

Two very easy steps:
1. Use a paper or hardware wallet (google these terms if you don’t know what they mean)
2. Never leave your cryptocurrency on an exchange

How does investing in Bitcoin differ to investing in the stock market?

a) bitcoin isn’t regulated
b) you can trade it 24hrs a day
c) there are other differences but I have never invested in the stock market so I don’t know

Bitcoin Cash vs. Bitcoin: What's the Difference?

This is a very contentious debate in the cryptocurrency space at the moment. Why not come along to the talk on Friday and we’ll chat about it!

To hear more from Robert and to join the meet-up on Friday 18th May @13:00, register in the here!