What is Bitcoin? What are Ripples? Part 1 | Hour Blog

What seems all-important is often a product of selective hearing. You could, for instance, feel like the entire world is obsessed with the newest, I don’t know, Nick Carter album, but chances are that the “entire world” is really just you. The internet is crazy like that. Tailoring itself to our preferences with unholy precision, our ostensibly open view effortlessly spirals into hopeless customization.

That said, I’ll take a calculated risk: all eyes are on cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin. Never has cryptography been so controversial. To some, it represents long-awaited, world-changing innovation. To others, the digital dollar is nothing but an elaborate hoax engineered to coax idle dollars from the wallets of the gullible–a giant Ponzi scheme, to be precise. In fact, if you enter “Ponzi scheme” into Google, “Ponzi scheme bitcoin” is the third suggested search.


Connected to prostitution, drugs, hired guns, and money laundering–mostly through association to the seedy eBay of the internet underworld, Silk Road–Bitcoin has been framed as the Charlie Sheen of cryptocurrencies. Everyone’s got an opinion. Strong opinions. Black and white opinions…with maybe a hint of gray. Maybe.

I got into Bitcoin for philosophical reasons. I’m a libertarian, and, once familiar with the mechanics of Bitcoin, you’ll find the reasons behind my interest become quite clear. But I’m not going to get into that just yet.

Philosophy comes later.

When I got interested in bitcoin, I got really, really interested. So I did what any good autodidact (self-educator) would do: I went straight to Wikipedia. While I certainly found the information interesting, I was determined to fully understand the ins and outs. As helpful as Wikipedia is, for grasping a concept as radical as Bitcoin, it just would not do. So I read and watched and bought books and read some more, and while each piece offered excellent insight, no one source offered the complete explanation I sought.

So, I’ve decided to distill the results of my labor into a concise–and hopefully helpful–series of blog posts on

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Bitcoin. But the posts won’t be limited to Bitcoin, because my journey certainly wasn’t. I’ll also discuss Ripple, a brand new payment system that’s quietly taken the market by storm. If you’re interested by all the buzz surrounding Bitcoin, Ripple, and cryptocurrency in general, then stay tuned. I’ll try to help cut through the hype and get down brass tacks.

(This is the end of Part 1. Expect Part 2 tomorrow).