Internet culture endorses the free, unrestricted and decentralized flow of information. From sites like Megauploads to protocols like BitTorrent, Internet users strive to allow others to make information widely available to the public whether that information is legal to distribute or not.
Most recently, this search for freedom has lead to the popularity of BitCoin, an online-only currency independent of any government's control and backed by a cryptographic equation. BitCoins are introduced into a digital economy through the process of BitCoin mining. Mining involves many people collectively donating computing power to a distributed system which allows them to collectively solve a complex mathematical equation. The solution to this equation provides them with 50 BitCoins. These mines are called BitCoin pools. In addition to all this, BitCoin transactions are based on trades between BitCoin bank accounts which do not require any identification to obtain. Therefore, BitCoin bank account holders are untraceable.
The BitCoin economy strives to meet a few different goals:
- To provide an alternative to government-backed currencies
- To automate the regulation of inflation; users are free to mine for BitCoins at any time
- To provide anonymity to users
These clear benefits to the Bitcoin economy will be depicted in this portion of the project (I am working with Jordan Place, and his portion of the project you will see linked to later on).
The visible side of this project will be a site that simulates a user being able to join a Bitcoin mining pool. The collaborative gleaning of Bitcoins (BTC) throughout this process represents the essence of the currency and demonstrates its fundamental freedoms - users have the opportunity to gain free Bitcoins while at the same time accepting that those Bitcoins may or may not actually make it into their digital wallets. The freedom of financial expression offered by Bitcoin means that miners might be unsuccessful one particular day, or that the pool operator might not distribute shares of mined Bitcoins appropriately.
This is a fear described by one of the largest Bitcoin pool operators, by the name of Slush:
In theory, as the Bitcoin pool operator, I could keep the 25 BTC from a block found by the pool for myself. I’m not going to do this, but I completely accept that people do not trust the pool operator. It is their freedom of choice, and Bitcoin is about freedom.
Thus, Bitcoin gives people the choice to collaboratively generate an economy, which encapsulates two of the most important features of the internet: freedom and productive collaboration. Bitcoin offers an escape from a centralized bank, and joining a Bitcoin mining pool is a productive way to stimulate this new, free, distributed economy.
The site depict a simple way for users to join a Bitcoin mining pool; once the user begins mining, a progress bar will happily fill up and the user can watch as his or her Bitcoin wallet also begins to fill up...