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All You Need to Know About Bitcoin

Weekend Supplement

Bitcoin Bride

IF YOU have ever wondered what Bitcoin and blockchains are all about, look no further that Chris Brady’s The Bitcoin Bride. (Chris Brady is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller, Launching a Leadership Revolution: Mastering the Fives Levels of Influence.)

The Bitcoin Bride tells the story of two young lovers, Marcus and Cassandra. He wants to surprise her with a marriage proposal, but first, he wants to seek the blessing of her father, Giulio, in Italy. So off they go to her home town, Grottaferrata, Italy. When he brings up the topic, Giulio informs him that although he ticks all of the boxes, he will give him his blessing “if and only if, in the remaining two weeks you are here, you convince me, and explain Bitcoin and how it works and that it is a good idea.”

Marcus had put his education on hold to join a startup Bitcoin mining operation. So enlisting his knowledgeable friends, he begins to explain to Giulio the what, why, and how of Bitcoin. And Giulio has many questions. First, Marcus lays out the foundational issue that Bitcoin is designed to fix:

The first step in all of this is to realize money is broken. It is centralized in the hands of governments and banks who serve themselves at the expense of the people. What makes all of this possible is the fact that fiat money is disconnected from anything of value, and its supply is strictly under the control of governments who want and need to spend it, and banks who want and need to lend it.

These days most of our money is digital. “Printing money” is shortcut terminology for creating new money out of thin air by this process of bonds issued by the U.S. and sold to the Federal Reserve.

The effect of this ability of the world’s governments to create digital money out of nothing is that all of their currencies grow in circulation—meaning as they create more and more dollars (in the case of the U.S.), there are more and more dollars that are already out there, making them less valuable for buying something. All of the dollars are fighting for the same products, and the more dollars there are, the higher the prices for those products go. And as you know, this is called “price inflation.”

He then explains how it was created and how it works, the mining of Bitcoin, security, and investing. I have to share one remarkable story that Brady tells about the early days of Bitcoin. Bitcoin was released in January of 2009, but soon it had developers deliberating about its actual value.

Well, it wasn’t long before they began wondering what they could buy in the real world. On May 22, 2010, a day that will forever after be referred to as “Pizza Day” in Bitcoin folklore, a Bitcoin enthusiast in the United States named Laszlo Hanyecz decided to try an experiment. He went on a Bitcoin talk forum and said that he would pay 10,000 bitcoins to anyone who would deliver to him two large pizzas. He said he didn’t care if the person made t himself or ordered it from a local pizza joint. Interestingly, a man in England took him up on his offer and made a phone call to the Papa John’s pizza shop located near Hanyecz. Two large pizzas were delivered, and Hanyecz then transferred 10,000 bitcoins across the Bitcoin network to the sender of the pizzas.

Those bitcoins are worth hundreds of millions of dollars today.

The Bitcoin Bride is a fun and very informative book. All of the pros and cons you’ve ever heard are covered in this book, including much of the misinformation regarding speculation, bubbles, and the dark web. As a bunch of rascals started Bitcoin, it makes me think I should read Chris Brady’s other book, Rascal: Making a Difference by Becoming an Original Character, next!

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