What Bitcoin is is a particular mathematical property that wasn't known before.
We suspect this mathematical property will continue to increasingly be used as currency, maybe to the point of being the world's ubiquitous currency.
But fundamentally it's simply a mathematical property.
Being "digital currency" wouldn't be a new or interesting thing.
The dollar more or less is a digital currency. Video games and other nerd type of things have had digital currencies for ages.
If Bitcoin were merely the 32,084th creation of a digital currency..
and has been catching on because it has the right name or CNBC did a good job hyping it, then it'd be noise and bound to collapse (and I'd get why people think you should sell and this is all crazy etc).
But it's not. "Digital currency" isn't what happened.
Satoshi's impact as the founder wasn't to the tune of naming it and designing a logo.
The breakthrough was the discovery of a mathematical property that we didn't have before.
Like, "OH SHIT, SOLVED IT".
Like he's doing physics homework rather than creative writing.
Satoshi -- a group of deeply focused people rather than 1 guy, most likely -- discovered a mathematical thing -- a thing that's natural to our reality -- rather than created a currency.
🤔🤔🤔 GET IT??
(And the network of people operating this mathematical property begins to form. We call that network "Bitcoin". We could call it Bob and create a different logo if we want to. What matters is the mathematical property.)
No Peter Schiff, you can not duplicate it. You can duplicate the math and the code but not the activity. The "network effect" as it's known is as real as apple pie.
(Go ahead and duplicate the code 1000 times in your basement right now, or spend millions of dollars marketing it like they did with BCH. But amount of traffic or value you budge away from BTC is a different question, and you might find that "duplicating Bitcoin any time you feel like it" turns out to not really live up to its promise.)
Different topic for a different day. I'll make a Part 2 to this and link in the comments below. For now, just note that "the mathematical discovery" ends up essentially pinned to "the Bitcoin network", and enter that into the records.
He solved the Byzantine Generals Problem, technically.
(All puns should stand as maybe intended and maybe not. Don't worry about it.)
Basically what it means is he discovered how to pass information back and forth without the aspect where a designated party controls it and would be able to censor or restrict.
When you use your bank balance -- or video game currencies -- someone is keeping track of it all and executing the transactions. Your bank deducts $20 from Fred and credits it to you.
(This could also be thought of as an expression. Fred is expressing that he passes value to you.)
Before Satoshi's discovery, there didn't exist a way to not have this central entity.
There would be no way to correctly process the transfer/communication without someone, somewhere ultimately having control of the ledger.
Satoshi's breakthrough was that now there's way to do it.
(We hope he discovered a way to do it anyways. If it turns out there's some technogoligical issue with it and communication isn't actually being sent correctly, then there goes that.)
But so far so good~~
If that doesn't sound wonderful and revolutionary to you, that's fine. Also a different topic for a different day. But at least understand what the difference is.
That "digital currency" isn't what the fuss is about.
(I'm sure there are people who think that's what the fuss is about who are accidentally on the right side of history. Which beats being deliberately on the wrong side of history, but doesn't get the cigar as far as this concept goes.)
It's mathematically guaranteed trust, if you need a quick and dirty term for it.
Discovered. Not created.
And then its various use cases emerge.
Satoshi did not create a digital currency.