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That building is a disaster. Well no, disasters are interesting. One World Trade Center is a non-event. Its vanilla. It looks like something they would build in Canada.
The attacks of September 11th were an attack on all of us, and we will live out our lives in their shadow. But it’s also how we react to adversity that defines us. And the response?
104 floors of compromise?
Remarkably for such a tall structure, One World Trade lacks any self confidence. How does it stand up without a spine? It looks like it never wanted to be built in the first place.
It reminds you of a really tall kid at a party, awkwardly shifting his shoulders trying not to stand out from the crowd. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a shy skyscraper.
It would be easy to view One World Trade Centre as a betrayal of everyone who lost their lives on September 11th, because it so clearly proclaims the terrorists won. Those 10 men have condemned us to live in a world more mediocre than the one they attacked, rather than be the catalyst for a dazzling new one.
Nobody comes to New York to bathe in your well-mannered common sense. We’re here for the spirit and audacity. Of which One World Trade has none.
Instead you have to look to the rooftops – to the chorus of precariously roller painted names and slogans crawling over the skyline like poison ivy.
This is the city’s true heritage – a city that made its name giving space to the mercurial and the brave.
One World Trade declares the glory days of New York are gone. You really need to put up a better building in front of it right away. Or better still, let the kids with the roller poles finish it off.
Because you currently have under construction a one thousand foot tall sign that reads – New York — we lost our nerve
It seems like every week we learn of a new way to pay for things online, as if credit cards and physical cash weren’t good enough. Whether it’s an alternative (and I use the word alternative loosely, because only one phone has the damn thing) to credit cards, like Google Wallet, or online services like PayPal acting as the middleman for safe, online payments, there is a thirst for a modern way to pay for things.
The problem, though, is none of these systems, in my opinion, truly escape the idea of what money is right now. They make it easier, sure, but nothing fundamentally changes money for to better so it can fit into the globally connected world we live in. And Facebook Credits don’t count. All these systems have rules, restrictions, and in the end, are only incremental changes to money. They never make the fundamental problems with money better.
We live in a world here I can talk to someone on the other side of the globe, face-to-face, at any time of the day, with little or no delay. I can troll Microsoft fans in the comfort of my own home (or as I like to call it, have a discussion with them), and, yet, money is still converted. It’s still a physical object trying to be made digital. And this is one of the big barriers for online payments or new systems like Google Wallet: they just build upon what we already have. And I think that, for such a different world, there must be a better solution, one that doesn’t require a bank account to buy things online. Something that fundamentally lives online. Which is where the BitCoin system comes in.
BitCoins are a digital currency with no centralised control, so, unlike, say Facebook Credits or PayPal, there are no suspended accounts and no legal restrictions. No fees or refunds.
As with a number of other online innovations, it uses a massive peer-to-peer networking backend, with “cryptographic proof” and digital signatures allowing irreversible transactions without the reliance on the trust of a complete stranger. And while, to me, it sounds complex, and at this stage it still is, it truly offers a sneak peek of a currency made for the future. One that truly works in the 21st century.
There are obviously still problems, some of them massive problems, but it hasn’t been written off yet. Or maybe it has.
The BitCoin system was publicly born in January 9, 2009, while being in closed development since 2007, and started as a project from just one man or woman who used the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, and who has since gone missing in the sea of internet pseudonyms. In the same month, ‘Nakamoto’ issued the first BitCoins and released the original BitCoin client.
Not only was it interesting to those it showed it to, but it is one of the first of its kind to solve the “double spending” problem – where the user could spend a single digital token twice, making other systems worthless. It meant that the BitCoin network didn’t need a restrictive, we-need-to-protect-ourselves-too, central authority.
No one has been able to find this person. ‘Nakamoto’, according to an online profile, lived in Japan, used an German email account and had no record of existing according to Google. And despite his profiled location, ‘Nakamoto’ never wrote a line of Japanese, or localised the BitCoin website to the language. He was familiar with the cryptography mailing list, but never used the same identity to post anything other than BitCoin information. Attempts have been made to find who this ‘Nakamoto’ is, they are all simply speculation.
We do know that his motives for the currency came from a news article titled “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”, indicating that the Global Financial Crisis inspired him to create this currency after it exposed the problems of the current system. We do also know that ‘Nakamoto’ left the project in 2010.
However, while the creator’s background is mysterious, the real key to this story is the BitCoin project itself. Now developed by a team of contributors, it is still warned that the currency is dangerously still in active development. But that hasn’t stopped people using it.
BitCoins are kept in a BitCoin digital wallet, which has a 33-character public key called a BitCoin address. Using several cryptography methods, the addresses create a secure connection to send BitCoins between one another. You also have a private key/s to authorise transactions. Any software can generate a wallet and can be generated when not connected to the BitCoin Network.
BitCoins are made in through a peer-to-peer network – releasing 50 new coins every 10 minutes, according to a 2011 article from WIRED. The amount that is released decreases due to the limit of creation, meaning eventually there will be only a set number of Coins available in the world – similar to real currencies. They are “mined” based on the user’s computer’s power, like how money is printed at the mint. The number of available BitCoins means that it will, and already has, make it harder to mine for coins. That, however, has meant that it’s easier to get coins through other conversions.
Sending BitCoins is like sending an email. While there are a small number of people and merchants that accepts the currency, new systems that will eventually come, like PayPal-style services, will help the ease of use of the currency. For now, however, regular use is dangerous, as the software is still under active development with a small fanbase. Developers and fans, however, hope to change that eventually as it stabilises – or, if it ever stabilises.
The simplicity of having a wallet, however, is also one of BitCoin’s big problems. How do you protect your BitCoins if it’s just a file on your computer? You can make backups, but there have already been widely reported cases of people losing incredible amounts, like $140,000 worth of BitCoins just by not having good backups. It has also had a history of attacks: a hack of a Tokyo exchange website Mt. Gox, powering 90% of BitCoin transactions, in June 2011 saw 2000 BitCoins lost; and a wallet-holding website MyBitCoin was taken down for six days, only to return with 51 percent of its BitCoins gone.