Electronic Payments vs Electronic Cash

I wrote up a comment showcasing my understanding of the difference between digital payments and Bitcoin. I'd also like to share it here for whom ever may find it interesting.

I'll preface by talking about the discovery of the internet back in the 1830s. Yes, I did just say the internet was created over 150 years ago. Now, of course this is hyperbole, since what I really am saying is that communication networks were discovered 150 years ago. The first communication network being that of the telegraph, which evolved into the telephone network, then later into the internet network of today. So, what does a communication network allow humankind to accomplish that we couldn't before? "Communication networks allow the transfer of data or information at great distances nearly instantaneously". In other words, prior to the telegraph, New York could not talk to San Francisco, but after its discovery, those cities could now exchange information and talk. As we know today, this has changed the entire globe and the way humans societies function.

Let's fast-forward a couple of decades after the telegraph, to around the 1860s, when we first successfully laid a transatlantic cable. Now New York could talk to London in near real-time in comparison, to the weeks a ship took to sail across the ocean. Shortly after the laying of this cable, America and Europe started conducting financial business. Hell, this is where the term CABLE and WIRE that banks and stock markets still use up until today, came from. There was a problem in conducting business this way though, the world's money at the time was gold. Meaning it was impossible to send a gold bar though a telegraph wire because of, well… physics… So instead we sent the information of a promise of money to be exchanged, that was recorded in a banking ledger system. Right, communication networks discovered the ability to send data across great distances at the speed of light. We didn't send the gold from London to New York, we actually just send the data of the gold exchanging hands. From then till now, many entities have built payment platforms to do exactly this. send data of payments and keep the records in a ledger * VISA, Mastercard * Debit cards * PayPal, Apple Pay, Veemo * etc…

From then on, our global monetary system transitioned from a Gold Standard to a Fiat Standard, but overall nothing really changed in the way we did payments. All, that changed about a decade ago when Satoshi Nakamoto, released a white paper named Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. It was at this moment, a new discovery was made that would push humankind forward, just as the discovery of the telegraph nearly two centuries before, pushed society to new heights. With the advent of this new discovery, we are now able to "allow the transfer of value or property at great distances nearly instantaneously". Continuing to use our telegraph example from the 1860s, had bitcoin been discovered then. We can now take that gold bar, put it in a sci-fi like de-atomizer device straight out of Star Trek. Zip those de-atomized particles from London, across the ocean to New York and have them re-atmoized into a gold bar again. No, longer are we sending a promise of money, we are now sending the actually fucking money itself. * Said in other words; Let's pretend we successfully set up a mining facility on an asteroid, and we started mining a new rare metal to bring back to earth. Once on earth, we found out, this new rare metal is exactly like gold in every single way. Except it has one new property. This new property is the ability to move at the speed of light. AKA: digital gold, this is nearly a 1:1 comparison of what bitcoin has discovered.

submitted by /u/Just-Blow-Into-It
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