THE ELI5 VERSION OF WHY BITCOIN IS IMPORTANT
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There's a lot of confusion surrounding Bitcoin, so I thought I should do a simple video to try and clear some things up. It'll cover the topic in an easy to understand way, without getting technical or political.

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DIGITAL OWNERSHIP

Let's say a coworker has a confidential business file, and you need them to send it to you. After they do so, you ask them to delete it, due to its sensitive nature. They agree, but how can you trust them? Since digital files are easily replicated, what's stopping them from creating copies? It doesn't even have to be malicious either, they could just forget, and later down the road, someone else gets their hands on it.

This is the main problem that Bitcoin solves. Instead of computer files being sent, Bitcoin allows you to send and receive provable digital ownership tokens, aka Bitcoins.

Unlike digital files, you cannot keep copying, and spending the same Bitcoins over and over. It does this using a global network of computers that check the transactions of every user. Basically everyone is watching everyone else, so when someone tries to do something shady, it is noticed, and rejected immediately. Crucially, anyone, even you, can be a part of this process. Once an ownership transfer has happened, it cannot be reversed.

This means, if someone sends you half a Bitcoin, you can know absolutely that it has been transferred to you, and that the sender is no longer in possession of it. You don't have to trust them. This is because at all times, the whole network knows who owns what.

The big deal is that it's the first time in human history that you can truly own something digital - where it cannot be duplicated.

MUCH MORE THAN MONEY

This new age of digital ownership opens up lots of new possibilities. All the things we traditionally associate with ownership, such as house deeds, identity, legal contracts, loans and more can all be digitized and automated in this system too.

Mix in the internet of things, and you can prove ownership for physical items like door locks, mailboxes, or cars, allowing access only to the current owners. If you want to transfer ownership, you just transfer the Bitcoin attached to it. Think of how this could work with services like AirBnb or car rentals, and you can start to imagine the possibilities.

Since the entire time-stamped history of ownership is included with each Bitcoin, and since anyone can send Bitcoins without asking permission, history itself can also be recorded for the first time in an unchangeable way. For example, you will be able to definitively prove you were the first to do something if you include that transaction in the network.

It also extends to how the internet itself works, with projects for new user controlled domain name systems, secure messaging, peer to peer virtual reality worlds and so much more already in the works.

WHY BITCOIN?

OK, so maybe this Bitcoin thing sounds interesting, but isn't it just software, and what's stopping anyone from copying it and making their own version?

Think of it like the early days of networked computers. You had highly controlled corporate networks competing with the open, worldwide internet, and we know how that turned out. That's the beauty of the internet, it's not owned by a single corporation or government. It's global, and this is the same for Bitcoin.

Add to that the fact that Bitcoin's network was the first of its kind, and how it absolutely dwarfs any competitor in terms of it's worldwide usage, processing power, market cap and investment. Any potential competitor is doomed to fail, much like those private corporate intranets.

Part of it's power is in game theory, meaning that since it's open and available to anyone in the world, then even if different groups of people really hate or distrust each other, they are still both incentivized to keep using, because it benefits them both.

CONCLUSION

Forget all the politics and the nonsense you see about Bitcoin on the news - the core technology and the network are ground-breaking.

There's lots more to learn about Bitcoin, but I'll let you decide whether you want to go down that rabbit hole.

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BY NODE