The function and idea of money have changed over time depending on the societal context at any given time. Money, though a core exchange item all through has been shifting in form and meaning as human societies became more advanced. The same is true for the internet revolution.
Bitcoin is a later development in the internet age. This decentralized system of digital payments seems a far cry from the humble beginnings of the internet in the late 80’s. Surprisingly though, the development actually embodies some of the internet’s original tenets; mainly decentralization.
Tim Berners-Lee espoused the idea of a Semantic web, or a “Web 3.0” as a decentralized internet. Money as an extension of the web is an important part of this idea and some in the digital space are coming to that realization. An example is Andreas Antonopoulos, who recently gave an important talk on money as a content type. His talk inspired this article.
Steganography and Information Hiding
Internet steganography basically means that you can hide data from the alpha channel of an image. This way it is possible to encode messages within an image and this image can be available for download with all that information.
Bitcoin transactions are eerily similar. The actual transaction involves the confirmation of a long set of cryptographic hashes that works almost in the same way that steganography works.
Bitcoin As A Unit On The Internet
Bitcoin is a network that relies on the computing power of all devices within the network. For practical purposes, the founder intended it to be a decentralized digital financial system that relies on the internet and common use.
The constituent elements of the Bitcoin network, whether blocks, transactions or addresses, are content types for the HTTP protocol.
The Bitcoin address is some sort of alpha channel that encodes the additional details of Bitcoin blocks. This address or QR code is some sort of extension, through which you can handle the ‘primitives’ of transaction and blocks. This way the Bitcoin is truly an extension of the internet. Since Bitcoin has monetary value, it is a definite example of money as content.
Bitcoin as a content type is a realistic and actual idea. As more of our activities shift online by the day, Bitcoin is a representation of the online space coming to its logical fruition. This is an exciting field and will slowly but surely transform our way of life.