Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is crypto curious.
In a new viral tweet, Rowling says she’s looking for someone to explain what Bitcoin is and how it works.
I don’t understand bitcoin. Please explain it to me.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 15, 2020
The tweet triggered a deluge of responses from the crypto community, all trying to define the leading cryptocurrency by explaining how it works and why it’s relevant.
Responses range from the age-old tradition of calling Bitcoin “magic internet money” to comparing the digital currency to money that can’t be controlled by Potter’s arch nemesis, Lord Voldemort.
Bitcoin has been called many things, but perhaps its pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, said it best.
“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
The simple statement encapsulates the power of the original, and still the largest, cryptocurrency on the market.
Bitcoin emerged in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, at a time when banks proved themselves to be wildly untrustworthy and governments began printing money out of thin air to stop the bleeding on Wall Street.
The Bitcoin network is designed to allow people to store their wealth in the form of a digital asset called BTC. It has a fixed supply of 21 million coins and can be sent and received securely without the need for a bank.
As for how Bitcoin works, it relies on blockchain technology. Simply put, the blockchain takes a very different approach to how transactions are stored.
Instead of using a single ledger in a centralized location that may be vulnerable to hacks and manipulation, Bitcoin’s ledger is public and allows anyone to participate in powering the network. Its decentralized nature also removes human intervention and the monetary policies devised by central banks.
For a full description of how Bitcoin and blockchain technology work, you can check out the Bitcoin whitepaper here.