Like any anarcho-syndicalist blogger, little makes me angrier than unearned income. Now suddenly I have some. And I've been experiencing guilt about the value of bitcoins. I will assume that my tech-savvy regular readers are familiar with the electronic currency, but for anyone who may be reading this from a future (perhaps researching a doctorate in the origins of the philosophical-bartending movement that came to dominate poetry in the mid Twenty-first Century) where bitcoins have gone the way of the groat and the ecu, a brief explanation follows:
Bitcoins are mined by setting a computer to solve increasingly difficult equations. There is a finite number of bitcoins available. For each equation solved a bitcoin is earned. All the easy equations have been solved now, so you would need a supercomputer to be a miner. However, the coins can be exchanged for 'real' money and then swapped back or spent at the limited number of places that accept them. They are a volatile currency to say the least. Early adopters might have spent a hundred bitcoins on a pizza. Before Xmas last year, a bitcoin was worth nearly $1200. They have since crashed in price and I bought a fraction of a bitcoin (0.038 to be precise) at the recent low in May. That £10 investment is now worth £15.07.
Fortunately, my local pub is one of about three in the country that take bitcoins, so I can spend my windfall on a couple of pints of bitter this afternoon, instead of worrying about getting a fortnightly 50% dividend which would net me... *grabs pen and back of envelope*... one moment... *opens calculator app*... bear with me... *opens Wolfram Alpha calculation engine*...Ahem: Which would net me £3760 by the end of the tax year if they continued to rise at this rate.
Incidentally, the simple equation this blogpost has as its title is the one for which I had to consult Wolfram Alpha in order to reach the total £3760. My old maths teacher Frederick J. Clarke would be ashamed of me. Also I couldn't work out how to get the little superscript '3' in the title so I had to write 'cubed' instead. This would have come as no surprise whatsoever to my old computer science and business studies teacher Louise Absom.
The Black Hole
2 months ago