Tema NoticiasWhat makes a given currency widely accepted as a means of payment and value deposit?
In relatively recent history the answer to the previous question has been given, in general, by the
endorsement or guarantee either of a trustworthy institutions (fiat money, usually backed by one or several states), or of a
asset whose value is of widespread consensus and acceptance (such as gold or other precious material goods).
The key seems to be, in short, in the generalized trust provided by an issuer of agreed quality and rigor, or in the confidence that
it is deposited in a clear, measurable and shared value that a certain asset or asset may possess. We could agree that the problem remains
reduced to a matter of trust.
The emergence of virtual currencies, or cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, aims to call into question the current state
of things in established monetary traffic. Right now, and for reasons such as its lack of regulation or the apparent ease of being
used as a deposit of money of doubtful origin, Bitcoin and its market are being watched with prevention by regulators and others
competent agencies of the states, among many other qualified viewers. But it is no less true that your acceptance is more and more
extended and that companies little suspicious of incursions into the rough terrain of opaque markets (such as Microsoft or Dell) have started
to admit bitcoins as currency to collect your sales.
A BLOCK CHAIN STRUCTURE
The full Bitcoin technology is, in general terms, a structure composed of two different but complementary entities:
the currency itself (which must fulfill the ordinary functions of any currency as a means of payment or custody of value) and the software infrastructure,
called block chain, which supports the “ledger” of each and every bitcoin unit since its respective creation and
which records all possible exchanges (transfers) to which they have been submitted.
or its foundations, its apparent robustness, and its possible application to other real-life orders (including, for example,
support infrastructure in financial markets, public faith, property and transaction records ...),
block chain technology is awakening the interest of different traditional operators, who peek potential
value-added applications This technology, which supports other virtual currencies apart from Bitcoin, has great
interest in assuming a paradigm shift in the support that it can bring to the trust, which would no longer emanate from a
centralized authority, but through a completely decentralized structure, of the peer-to-peer type (network in the
that there are no hierarchical servers and the tasks are divided between equivalent nodes), capable of guaranteeing registration
history of all transactions and a consistent and reliable final state of the entire system.
We are not going to talk much about the situation and applications of Bitcoin, for which we already have nearby material.
We are interested in this article the concept of trust applied to the acceptance of cryptocurrency, and in this sense
Nothing better than trying to relate your acceptance to the guarantee measures that were used to introduce the article.
ACCEPTANCE GENERALIZED BY TRUST IN THE SYSTEM
We know that Bitcoin is not supported (as the euro and the dollar are, for example) by a number of states and
official bodies, dependent on these states, that provide both a physical structure (monetary systems
and financial), as of convictions that have more to do with mental states, such as safety and comfort, in their use
and hoarding. We also know that the Bitcoin support infrastructure is of the informational type and that, in addition, it is
distributed in thousands and thousands of nodes (around one million in the first months of 2014).
There is no central authority that supports the cryptocurrency, its extension, its public and disruptive character, and those apparently
Solid cryptographic foundations of its infrastructure have generated enough confidence to maintain, at this time,
just over 14 million bitcoins (fig. 1) for a countervaluation of the current changes (in mid-2015) of about 3.5 billion US dollars.
They do not seem negligible figures for a virtual currency that is only five years old.
If we add the more than 3 million wallets or wallets of bitcoins existing to date,
the approximately sixty thousand shops that admit it, the more than 350 ATMs that allow it to be exchanged,
and, as we have anticipated, the gradual admission of bitcoins by important multinationals
(especially, although not only, of the technology sector), it would seem unquestionable, at least, a certain and interesting degree of acceptance
and confidence about such currency. But let's try to dig a little deeper into the strength of this trust with some additional notes.
A SUFFICIENTLY SOLID TRUST?
According to what we have just seen, and like any currency worth its salt, Bitcoin is subject to quotation with respect to others.
It is interesting to verify that at the end of 2013 the dollar countervalue of the entire Bitcoin mass amounted to almost 34,000 million,
having multiplied its value in an order of magnitude in a period of two or three months from previous values of about 31.5 billion dollars.
However, in June 2014, a year ago, the resulting equivalent value was about 18,500 million and, as we have seen, its current countervalue
It is around 9.5 billion (fig. 2). The actions of the market in the last year and a half have meant, as can be seen, a severe depreciation of
the cryptocurrency, a general trend in which it is difficult to envision correction. It may be early to conclude if it is a process of
relatively convulsive depreciation that will end with a practically null value for this currency, or if it is an adjustment to
more reasonable values from irrational highs. We will see it.
On the other hand, we have already advanced that important multinationals are accepting bitcoins as currency for their collections. However, it is
important to note that everything points to using it as a means of collection with immediate conversion to classic currencies. It doesn't seem like your
managers see with good eyes, at the moment, important circulators denominated in bitcoins, especially after the strong oscillations in
its value that we have just reviewed, or after some scares caused by the losses suffered by some operator, such as Mt. Gox at the beginning
of 2017, and whose causes are still not entirely clear.
How to conclude this point? Is it daring, from what we have seen, to ensure the existence of full trust from operators
in the Bitcoin system? Or, on the contrary, is it reasonable to assume an opposite position and despise the currency? An intermediate and expectant position, perhaps?
It is possible that some additional arguments that refer to the presence of an asset can help us clarify the issue
valuable behind the cryptocurrency
ACCEPTANCE OF A CURRENCY FOR VALUATION OF AN ASSETS VALUE SUPPORT
What we are going to discuss now is one of the most interesting aspects of the Bitcoin currency, and is an intrinsic part of its own
existence. It also corresponds to the mechanism where traditional operators expect to find potential applications.
This is the operation of the substrate of the entire Bitcoin mechanism: the block chain. Ultimately we will get to see how it is generated,
where it comes from and who makes a bitcoin unit. Advancement, and I summarize, that this origin is closely linked to the remuneration to bear
the currency in the peer-to-peer network.
In order not to make this article excessively complex, we have prepared a second part or annex where we enter with
detail in the most important mechanisms of the block chain, as well as in some of the technologies necessary to have a better
vision of the problem, issues on which we will tiptoe in this article
Information encryption and digital signature
We know that the exchange of information on any computer network, and therefore on the Internet, must be accompanied by
security mechanisms that allow the transferred information can only be read by its recipient, and even if the
Physical message is captured by third parties. It is also important to ensure that the sender of a certain document is
really who he says he is. These objectives are usually met with the encryption of the information and with the digital signature,
related technologies on which we make a very brief introduction in the annex of the article.
Bitcoin designers define currency as "a chain of digital signatures." Each transaction (or, for our purposes,
each property title) is like a certificate whose content links it to the transaction and the previous owner, as well as
with the new owner, all digitally signed by the transferring owner.
The link of all transactions made on the same currency (or fraction or set of them) within what is called
The block chain is what defines precisely the currency itself. The chain provides information on the new ownership of
each transaction, and it is necessary for each owner to be confident that no counterfeiters can modify the block chain and
question the ultimate ownership of each currency. The mechanisms necessary to guarantee it are not trivial (see annex).
For the purposes of what remains to be seen in this article, it is enough to consider two important points.
First of all, that these processes are what underlie the existence of the entire peer-to-peer network that supports Bitcoin. Or, more precisely,
the network that supports the blockchain that supports Bitcoin.
How bitcoin is generated: an armored chain
Secondly, and we are getting to the core of what we intend in this last part, the main security mechanism of the
signature chain (that is, Bitcoin) is based on expensive computational work designed in a way that makes it unfeasible
counterfeit chain. The foundation of such unfeasibility lies in the statistical competence against the rest of the
honest peer-to-peer network, and that ultimately makes the probability that a potential forger can succeed be negligible for practical purposes.
This computational work, called in the terminology Proof-of-Work, or PoW, (proof-of-work) is linked to the
adding the new blocks (which bring together different transactions made in a certain period of time) to the
block chain It would be the equivalent of guessing the combination of opening a lock that would allow us to link
the new block to the last of the chain, work that is paid if it is successful in achieving it before anyone else.
That is why some network nodes, miners, compete to be the first to open the computer lock.
How do you remunerate success in this work, which involves the consumption of resources such as electricity, time,
hardware amortization ...? With new bitcoins, in addition to possible small fees per transaction. At present
The successful mining node receives 25 bitcoins per validated block (about $ 143,000). How the system is designed from
such that a block is added to the block chain every 10 minutes or so, after one day they will have been generated
about 8,600 new bitcoins, about $ 120850,000 to change (approximately).