(Author: Davide Galletti)
BitCoin is a peer-to-peer payment network powered by an open source protocol implementing a triple bookkeping system solving the double-spending problem. The first practical application of BitCoin is actually the bitcoin digital currency itself. BitCoin is a break-through innovation, and its importance is growing exponentially day by day, as you might have noticed reading the news. BitCoin has a dramatic disruptive potential, read below to find out more about how to navigate in this new open source world.
Sometimes back in 2010 Satoshi Nakamoto – a pseudonymous entity that is still unknown, with some claimed identities – shared a white-paper describing a brand new P2P cash system called BitCoin. Since then the BitCoin crypto-currency has gained traction, and it has never been considered flawed or insecure. BitCoin is currently developed at Github and discussed and distributed via SourceForge by few developers. Have a look at the Kahn video for Bicoin basics.
As a end-user the best way to start your journey is simply to download the client, buy some bitcoins and exchanging or using them to buy something, and don’t forget to store them safely (hint: don’t trust web-wallets and remember Truecrypt is your friend). Beyond personal use – that is definitely a must if you want to understand how it works in practice – I wish to share some tips and hints about how open source can help you to build a business around that.
Bitcoins are ‘mined’, that means that you can participate in growing the total number of bitcoins and gain from that. In the early days it was pretty easy to mine new bitcoins, but it is getting harder and harder and you might need specific hardware for that. Make sure to double check the different possibilities and become a miner yourself. LiteCoin maybe another interesting option, if you feel mining it is the right thing for you. Asteroid works on Mac and mines both bitcoins and litecoins.
Getting paid in bitcoins for developing open source software.
BitCoin Grant‘s mission is to help open source developers to fund their Bitcoin-related projects’ development. Among currently backed projects you’ll find interesting projects like Avalon, BitFury, and few others. Similar initiatives are beta-tested by others, like Whispersystems with BitHub. Tip4Commit makes possible to fund any kind of open source projects by donating bitcoins to them. The list of supported project is not too small. Last but not least DevCoin, a crypto-currency which purpose is exactly to give money to open source developers.
Monetize your content.
Bitmonet is an open source tool making easy to monetize your content on a variety of content platforms, included Blogger and Tumblr. BitPay offers a number of plug-ins for the most popular open source platforms (WordPress, Magento, and many more, included libraries). If you are running a BitCoin related site you might want to consider the option to join the Karma-Ads publisher pool, an advertising platform built by a group of open-source Bitcoin project developers.
Armory is a multi-platform wallet, Multibit is another viable wallet, BitConium is a bitcoins’ price monitor, Crypto Stick is an open source secure USB key, Qt BitCoin Trader is a tool to place orders on different platforms and XChange is a financial exchange Java library.
Earlier last year the first bitcoin trust was launched, VCs bet on it and its value and everyday new tools and services are made available. If you are an open source developer, a solution provider or an entrepreneur, it is time to look at it.