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TECH TALK BY JOHN PAWLICKI | OPM RESEARCH


IBITCOIN FINDS ITS WAY Before we delve into how this


new type of currency is entering the aviation market, let’s do a short overview of what Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are exactly, and how they started. We will not touch on the technical details of how Bitcoins are created (mined), stored and traded, since you can easily find this all over the Internet.


A VERY VERY SHORT HISTORY


OF BITCOIN Bitcoin is the world’s “first decentralized digital currency” (aka cryptocurrency – a newer term) and digital payment system, which was launched in 2009 by a mysterious person known only by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity was later claimed by Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright


28 DOMmagazine.com | dec 2017 | jan 2018


(with many having reservations on this claim). According to Wikipedia: “A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies and are also classified as a subset of alternative currencies and virtual currencies.” Quite a mouthful. Essentially you can state this class of computer-based currency is not backed by any government. Following on the success of Bitcoin, numerous other related cryptocurrency’s have launched, with ~1,195 in existence today, although most of these are thinly traded or not at all. Bitcoin commands a ~58+% market share in this new niche.


NTO AVIATION’S WALLET


DESPITE ITS NEED TO HANDLE CURRENCIES AND TRANSACTIONS IN A GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT, AVIATION AS AN INDUSTRY HAS BEEN HESITANT TO ACCEPT BORDERLESS CRYPTOCURRENCIES, SUCH AS THE WELL-KNOWN BITCOIN. BITCOIN IS THE MOST WIDELY ACCEPTED AND TRADED OF THESE NEW VIRTUAL CURRENCY’S, WHICH SOLELY EXIST ELECTRONICALLY, WITH ENCRYPTED ALGORITHMS BEING UTILIZED TO STOP ANYONE FROM COUNTERFEITING THEM, AS WELL AS PROVIDING ANONYMITY FOR THOSE WHO TRANSACT IN THEM.


The chart shown on page 31 shows the top 10 by market capitalization (courtesy of CoinMarketCap.com): The key attraction of why Bitcoin and other such offerings are interesting is that no government entity has control over them (to a degree) and offers distributed control to its customer base. The entire system depends upon trusted databases which archive, document and complete transactions, and create trust by requiring each to check and verify that the Bitcoin being traded is valid, or else the transaction is voided (these are stored in distributed ledgers, aka, databases). All of this is made possible by the underlying technology called blockchain (I have written several articles recently in D.O.M. regarding the use blockchain in tracking assets and establishing


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