Bitcoin, the digital decentralized currency has received a lot of attention recently, seeing a surge in value that may or may not hold. It’s money that only exists as computer code, open source and unconstrained by the control of any one bank, corporation or government. Seems so futuristic, right? Well, maybe, or maybe not, but internet giant Google sent the clear message that they don’t think the future is very bright, banning ads featuring cryptocurrency like Bitcoin from their massive platform.
— Forbes (@Forbes) March 14, 2018
From The Hill:
“The company is updating its financial services ad policy to ban ads related to cryptocurrency products and services like initial coin offerings, exchanges, wallets and trading advice.”
Google is following Facebook’s lead. The social media giant banned cryptocurrency related ads back in January. Twitter is cracking down on the ads, but so far isn’t totally banning them.
According to Last Week Tonight host, John Oliver, Bitcoin is essentially:
“Everything you don’t understand about money, combined with everything you don’t understand about computers.”
That sounds about right. If the strange new virtual money takes off, it could change everything. On the other hand, it is currently a hotbed for scams and could continue to be.
If cryptocurrency disappears into oblivion, the technology that helped create it, called blockchain, still holds a lot of promise. The blockchain virtual ledger of every bitcoin transaction is decentralized and stored in vast numbers of computers distributed around the globe, without a central server. That means banks don’t have to be involved, which greatly speeds up transactions.
Because the electronic ledgers reside on so many computers, instead of just one locked server at a bank, it can’t be hacked. The records are secured by a complex process to verify them.
The open-source software to create a cryptocurrency means almost anyone can make their own, which has led to a surge of over 1500 types with wacky names.
Even though they are often started as jokes, it turns out the joke is sometimes on those who think they have no value. For example, Dogecoin, based on the famous internet meme of a Shiba Inu dog, called “Doge,” rocketed to $2 billion dollars.
Not too shabby for a joke!
— Dogecoin (@dogecoin) February 13, 2016
Some of the other names are just as bizarre:
- Jesus Coin
For all those interested in what TrumpCoin is all about!https://t.co/39N2C15oQl
— TrumpCoin (@Trump_Coin) June 9, 2016
The resulting Wild West confusing landscape of strange cryptocurrencies is ripe for scams, like pump and dump, Ponzi, and get rich quick schemes.
“[…] In the speculative mania, it can be incredibly hard to tell which companies are for real,” said John Oliver.
“If you chose to invest in the cryptocurrency space, just know that you aren’t investing, you’re gambling,” he said.
Bitcoin may picture itself as the next Google, but it appears currently to be more like Google Glass, the futuristic smart eyewear that seemed to go nowhere fast. So much for changing the world…
On the other hand, the future isn’t predictable and can change on a dime, maybe even a virtual one.
For more, watch John Oliver’s hilarious take below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube