Bitcoin The Disruptor

Bitcoin the disruptor.

You must have heard of the digital phenomenon bitcoin. Most of you are probably not familiar with the underlying technology and how this very technology can disrupt almost everything that has to do with how we use money.

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is digital money, more accurate it is a crypto currency. It is the first and most known crypto currency, but there are a lot of other crypto currencies called “altcoins”. Bitcoin is a protocol (like HTTP for web browsing or SMPT for emailing) with the function of sending and receiving payment information. The bitcoin protocol works as follows: a computer connects with and sends binary codes to another computer, providing you with the control of X bitcoins on the first address and the command to increase them with X bitcoins on the other address.coin

Must sound familiar right, like internet banking you say? Well, you are almost right, except that you are completely wrong.

Bitcoin is a completely decentralized payment protocol, which means no bank is in control of your money. It is a gigantic public ledger containing all of the transactions made from the start, while being saved on millions of computers. Anyone can obtain an identical copy of the ledger and view the transactions in it. Bitcoin transactions are (almost) instant, almost free of transaction fees (about a penny) and most important no one has the control over your money.

How are bitcoins made?

To understand the disruptive nature of bitcoin you will have to understand the underlying technology. It is actually not bitcoin that is disruptive, but the technology driving bitcoin, the so called “blockchain”. Bitcoins are being created by running software on a computer, which in crypto currency terms is called “mining”. The software is adding and verifying records of recent transactions on the public ledger and compiling them to a “block”. Each of these blocks are added in a chain after each other and form the “blockchain”. These blocks will never bminee altered. Besides containing al this transaction data each block also contains a mathematical puzzle. The computer that solves this puzzle receives bitcoins in return. The processing of all these transactions and verifications while solving this mathematical puzzle are incentivized by bitcoins. Therefore, this makes maintaining the network profitable. Bitcoin has a controlled supply, as the total of bitcoins that will ever be made is finite. A total of 21 million bitcoins will ever be mined, which is hard-wired in the bitcoin protocol.

What is the potential of bitcoin?

Little to none transfer costs. Remember that extra euro on top of your bill while ordering food via and paying with iDeal? These are typical transaction costs that bitcoin can get rid of. If you look at transaction costs at a larger scale you could see the huge impact bitcoin could have. Credit card fees are typically between 0.75% and 5% and for a transaction oversees these costs could quadruple. By cutting all of these transaction costs consumers and merchants will have more money to spend.

Transactions are being processed within 10 minutes. If you transfer money between (different) banks the delay is 1 – 14 days, depending on the banks.

Bitcoins are accessible to everyone with an internet connection. This could have a great impact on the people living in third world countries. Even in the poorest of countries most people have access to mobile phones. It gives everyone an alternative to their own inflation-subjected currency. As there is only a certain amount of bitcoin that will ever exists, bitcoin is not subjected to the economical phenomenon of inflation.

bitcoinbankIn medieval times when you deposited money in the bank and got a value paper in return, the banker actually had the same amount of all the value papers in his safe. When the first banker decided to lend money to other people and ask interest in return, money was created out of nowhere for the first time. This is how banks created money, which has not existed before. This is how inflation started. With bitcoin banks would no longer be necessary (or at least not in their current form), as people can borrow or lend their money straight from other people. As there is a limit to the amount of bitcoin there will be no inflation due to extra bitcoins being mined.

What is the potential of the blockchain?

The blockchain offers decentralized storage. Decentralized storage means no censorship, fraud or third party interference. Imagine decentralized email servers (peek-a-boo NSA), uncensored internet (google for China), smart contracts (fully automated contracts) and databases that are near to impossible to hack (Ashley Madison).

 As with most disruptive technologies there is resistance, as disruptive technologies will take away the power of the ones dominating the current technology. Bitcoin and the blockchain will face many challenges and will be put under a lot of pressure, especially by the huge financial institutions. But as more and more people and corporations see the potential we could definitely say that bitcoin and the blockchain are here to stay.

References, (2015). Bitcoin Forum – Index. [online] Available at:

Frisby, D. (2014). Bitcoin.

Nakamoto, S. (2008). Bitcoin: A Peer-To-Peer Electronic Cash System. [online] Available at:

About pimtrein


4 responses to “Bitcoin The Disruptor”

  1. 357117kv says :

    Thank you Pim for your insightful blogpost about Bitcoin. Indeed, Bitcoin seems to be on the rise and most likely a lot more people will use it in the future. However, will this digital currency be able to survive a potential recession in the future?

    Bitcoin community believes in the business cycle theory, that suggests that the easy money created by central and fractional serve banks induce entrepreneurs to embark upon projects that are not actually profitable. This action sparks a series of events, in which the economy booms, reaches a peak, and then comes crashing down. Bitcoin supporters view this event as an opportunity for Bitcoin to prove itself. As the old fiat currencies collapse, people will flock to Bitcoin as a modern safe haven asset. Bitcoin will see an eruption in purchasing power and global acceptance, quickly becoming the global currency of choice in a post-collapse economy. Therefore, Bitcoiners are waiting for that next global downturn.

    Unfortunately, these people may be in for a disappointing reality because a recession can vary in length and intensity. The next recession could be extreme or mild and Bitcoin’s adoption rate in response to the recession will not necessarily be linear. Does this mean that mass adoption of Bitcoin is unlikely to happen? No. World economy is not in good shape and the tradition fiat currency may still fall flat at some point, not necessarily due to a recession. Therefore, Bitcoiners should stop waiting for a global downturn as Bitcoin can still become a fiat-killer, although it may take longer than people would prefer.



  2. 437130cb says :

    Thanks Tim for this article. It made me think about Bitcoin and how it was hyped almost instantaneously when we were in a darker part of the recession (which we’re currently officially out of by the way; Hooray!).

    Of course, Bitcoin is a new way of paying and if you take a close look at it, our current paying system is a bit old fashioned. I think, however, that we do have to keep in mind that adoption is key to survival of this bitcoin. One can speak of a true network effect here, since the increased usage of this ‘currency’ is the only factor that can evoke a global adoption. But still, there’s no mass-adoption and there’s also no sign of it to evolve in the coming years. Many experts give different reasons, but after reading several of these reasons, the one from Alasdair Rambaud got me thinking. He states that the only thing that standing in the way of mass-adoption of the bitcoin, is ‘that everyone thinks that the bitcoin is the currency for criminals’.

    If you think of it, there is something true about it. Since adoption is a psychological matter, perceiving it in some way may cause this adoption not to happen.

    However, small merchants are now adopting it already (see for example, but the giant breakthrough for the bitcoin will be if the giant merchants will adopt it as their primary payment tool. With regards to the benefits (e.g. transaction costs, trustworthiness, transaction speed etc.) it outweighs traditional payment methods. But what does the bitcoin need in order to get acceptance from the giant merchants?

    In my opinion, this may be a good example of the ‘penguin problem’; nobody moves unless everybody moves, so nobody moves. If large merchants will implement the bitcoin as their primary payment method, the rest will follow.

  3. 437130cb says :

    I’m not able to edit the post, so here’s the reference to the quote from Alasdair Rambaud:

  4. 374482rm says :

    Hi Tim, thank you for the interesting blogpost!

    First of all, I think you gave a really nice overview of the background of Bitcoin and its potential. I want to zoom in on the benefits part. Besides accessibility, costs and processing time, you mentioned that the prevention of money creation is a benefit compared to the traditional financial system.

    As you pointed out, central banks create ‘fictional’ money. The fact that banks are making profit by the process of money creation makes the current situation even more doubtful. Indeed, I agree that the fixed money supply rule of bitcoin sounds a bit more reasonable. However, the reason for banks to create money must not be forgotten.

    With bitcoin, the government and the central banks are losing their monetary power to support our economy. Many economists and central bankers points out that bitcoin’s fixed money supply rule does not respond to shifts in money demand and generates large fluctuations in prices. As a consequence, since society tends to not tolerate outright declines in wages, these fluctuations often carry over into unemployment.

    A lot of specialists argue that this is the reason why cryptocurrencies will not take over the financial service industry. As fluctuations in cryptocurrency demand can’t be controlled, wild swings in prices will occur. We can take the recent fall in price due to Chinese government intervention as example (although it recovered relatively fast).

    I think we all agree that cryptocurrency has a huge potential and may disrupt the financial service industry in the long term. However, as you already mentioned, it has to overcome certain stubborn challenges. The stimulation and support of our economy by financial institutions is one of the most important ones. If we look solely at the money creation argument, I believe this is not necessarily a benefit of cryptocurrency. However, I can imagine that in places with poor monetary policies and weak banks, the monetary-policy argument of money creation does not hold anymore. This is where cryptocurrencies could actually take over.

    Maybe some food thought..




    Click to access qb14q1prereleasemoneycreation.pdf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: