2. The Internet Has Its Own Currency
In 2009, a man who calls himself Satoshi Nakamoto created the first Bitcoin, the world’s first Internet currency. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which means that those who create it, buy it, trade it and make purchases with it cannot be traced. The number of Bitcoin made is finite – only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be made and this number will probably be reached by 2140. Bitcoins can be mined by groups of computers which work to solve impossible math problems. Bitcoin has seen a lot of ups and downs since it’s introduction to the world in 2009, when it started out at $1 a coin. It has since seen highs of nearly $800 a coin and crashes of $100 a coin. Bitcoin has a very niche community and as more businesses and merchants around the world accept Bitcoin, they find themselves with a very loyal following. Bitcoin is open source and public. No one person controls or owns Bitcoin – even the founder Satoshi Nakamoto. Anyone with a bank account or Internet access can buy Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has seen backlash both from the traditional banking system and the media. Some fear that users of Bitcoin are comprised of those people who use the Darknet for criminal activity. However, the number of Bitcoin believers are growing. It is possible to live off Bitcoin in places like Kreuzberg, a trendy neighborhood of Berlin. Bitcoin ATMs were recently spotted in trendy shopping centers in Tel Aviv. Buying and selling Bitcoin might be considered complicated for some users, but for the believers, the extra steps provide security, freedom and a potential pathway to the future of the money market.
1. The Internet Is Constantly Developing
The Internet may be 40 years old, but it is always moving forward to the next big thing. For example, many people are excited about the possible development of video emails. Now that we can carry the Internet in our pockets, the possibilities seem endless. We have seen the Internet become more social than ever before with the development of MySpace followed by Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. The Internet is also on a trend to make everything more personal, and some call it the Internet of Me. The Internet of Me connects you to all of the things you use everyday like your car, your phone, light bulbs and even your smoke detector. The focus on the Internet has moved away from what we can do with it to what we can do on the Internet that is meaningful. Developers and scientists gather at conferences every year to discuss the future of the Internet. Many people agree that the beauty of the Internet is that anyone can teach themselves to code and anyone can create the next new thing. Physicists at CERN are no longer the only big players in the game. Now, people in their 20s and 30s, such as Mark Zuckerberg, are changing the face of the Internet as well as the way the way the world uses it, some of them from their college dorm rooms.
Despite its constant development, the Internet is also considered by some to be in danger. The hot button issue of net neutrality is a principle that says that service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally. Many of the largest Internet companies like Microsoft, Twitty, eBay and Yahoo! are in favor of of law that says that service providers should not charge more money to visit certain websites.
The Internet we use today is the result of the collaboration of many people of many backgrounds from all over the world. It consists of many parts, all of which are kept neatly in a box which we have labeled the “Internet.” Scientists, government officials, computer scientists and even amateur programmers have all worked to shape the Internet. Their inventions and creativity have changed the world as we know it. Google Earth lets us explore the far reaches of our planet in real time from the comfort of our own home. Email and social networking let us instantly keep up with our friends, colleagues, families and even people we have never met. It has changed the way we talk, read, shop, eat and the way we experience the world around us. Forty years of collaboration has brought us to many new and exciting places. The only question is, where will the next forty years take us?