Tracking Bitcoin & Examining threats to the Bitcoin Economy

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Tracking Bitcoin & Examining threats to the Bitcoin Economy

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As you saw in previous posts, Bitcoin transactions all occur out in the open on a public ledger called the blockchain. The technical details are quite complex, but a lot of clever programmers have created ways to extract useful and interesting data from that blockchain. Further, there are some amazing tools online for tracking the Bitcoin economy. Let’s talk about that economy first. If you’re like me, soon after buying your first Bitcoin, you’ll find yourself obsessively tracking its value in your national currency. There are a lot of places to do that.

First, pretty much all bitcoin-centered businesses have at least the current price listed at the top of the page, such as here at bitstamp.net. One that’s become sort of semi-official is the Bitcoin price index which molds prices from several different exchanges. You find that at coindesk.com/price. But many bitcoin market sites go much further. For example, bidcoincharts.com has a highly customizable charting feature. Just go to the top of the page, and click Charts.

I’ve talked a lot about how you personally can protect your Bitcoin, but what if the Bitcoin system as a whole comes crashing down? This post examines some scenarios where that could happen and guesses at how likely that is to happen. But before giving my opinions, I’d like to point you to a list of threats created by Bitcoin enthusiasts themselves. It’s on the Bitcoin Wiki at en.bitcoin.it/wiki/weaknesses. These discussions are fairly technical, and their conclusions may be biased, but it is a good place to start. More recently, the Bitcoin Foundation commissioned a paper assessing threats against Bitcoin.

You can read it by clicking on this blog post, on the Bitcoin Foundation website. It’s likely they’ll continue to put out papers like this in the future, so keep checking back. As I see it, the threats can be categorized as followed. Economic, regulatory, technological, criminal, and all those other threats we haven’t accounted for yet. Let’s step through each of these in turn.

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