Continued from Part 1
"So why am I looking at a Bitcoin Cash chart, you ask?"
"I assume you must think it's a good investment," the girl said.
"I do, but if I'm being totally honest, it's not just that. I'm invested in stocks and precious metals as well, but I never sit there obsessing over those charts like I do with Bitcoin Cash."
"So why are you so enamored with this Bitcoin Cash thing?" she asked.
I looked at her sitting there next to me and thought, she really is a beautiful girl.
"I'll explain, but you have to tell me your name first. It's only fair since you already know mine."
"I'm Ashley," she said, and the two of us shook hands, said it was nice to meet each other, and then Ashley switched seats to sit in the chair across from me.
"This is better, no?"
"So before I explain, why don't you tell me what you already know about Bitcoin," I said, and Ashley looked at me and pursed her lips as she thought about it. A moment later, she said: "It's a system that lets you send money across the internet without having to use a bank, or any other financial institution, right? Magic internet money."
"Wow, I'm impressed," I said, barely able to hide my elation. "So does that mean you know how the system works?"
"Kind of, but I think I'd rather hear you explain it," she said.
"Okay, sure. So the easiest way to think of Bitcoin is like a distributed database. Think of a big data table that has almost an infinite number of rows, and on each row is an address. In this case, each address is made up of a bunch of letters and numbers, but it's really no different from the addresses most people are familiar with. Except instead of telling you where someone lives, a Bitcoin address tells you how many Bitcoins have ever been received or sent from that address."
"So it's like looking at someone's bank account."
"Yes, only if everyone's bank accounts were made publicly available for anyone to see."
"But isn't that bad? I don't want people to know every time I spend or receive money."
"Well, it's not as bad as you think. I'll get into the privacy stuff later if you're still interested."
"Wait, is that what they mean by pseudonymous?"
I started to laugh.
"Are you sure you don't already know all this?"
"No, I watched like one youtube video, but I really don't know much about it," she said.
"Got it. Well anyway, getting back to our table with all the Bitcoin addresses listed on it. So each address, also known as a public key, is associated with something called a private key, which isn't public. The private key is another string of letters of numbers that act as a kind of password for the public address that goes with it. The important thing to know here is that if you have a private key, you can use math to generate the public address that goes with it, but it's impossible to do it the other way around, or generate a private key off of a public address."
"Interesting," she said.
"Why don't I show you something. Mind pulling out your phone and downloading an app for me?"
Ashley grabbed her purse and pulled out her phone.
"Search for Bitcoin, and you should see an app with a green B against a white background and it'll say Bitcoin Wallet by Bitcoin.com."
"I found it."
"Okay, go ahead and download it and when it's done, let me know."
While we waited for her app to download, I pulled out my own phone and opened my Electron Cash wallet.
"I think it's ready," she said.
I looked at her screen, tapped on the receive button, revealing a QR code with the public address underneath.
"So that funny looking square you see is called a QR code," I said, pointing. "And underneath it you see all the letters and numbers starting with the q? That's the address I was talking about earlier. The QR code is just the address represented in another form. Following so far?"
"I think so."
"Okay, now I'm going to use my wallet to scan your new address, and I'll send you $5 of Bitcoin Cash."
A second later, we heard a ding on her phone and a green check mark appeared on her screen showing the $5 of Bitcoin Cash I'd just sent.
"Wait, was that it?"
"Yup that was it. Now you have $5 of Bitcoin Cash you can spend however you like. It cost me less than a penny to send that to you, and as you can see, it was almost instantaneous. Anyone can post their public address and people can send money to that address as simply as I just did now."
"Is that what they mean by permissionless?"
"It's part of it. So the whole point of the system is for it to be permissionless and censorship resistant. For example, if I wanted to send money to someone in North Korea right now, it wouldn't be possible unless I used a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin Cash. That's because our country's financial system prevents me from sending money to places like North Korea or Venezuela. But since the Bitcoin network isn't controlled by any one person or government, there's no one that can stop me from making any transaction I want. Notice that you didn't have to provide your name, or email address, or any identifying information to use that wallet you just downloaded? That's because the Bitcoin network is available for anyone to use, no matter where you live, or who you are."
I could see the wheels turning as she considered what I said.
"So where can I go and spend this Bitcoin Cash you just gave me?"
"Well, there aren't too many places that accept it at the moment, but you're in luck, because my cafe just so happens to accept Bitcoin Cash," I said with a big grin on my face. "And it looks like you're almost out of coffee, so why don't you go to the register and order yourself whatever you want and pay with Bitcoin Cash? It's on me. Just tell them you'd like to pay with BCH, and when the cashier presents you with a QR code to pay, just hit send on the wallet, scan the code, and follow the instructions."
Ashley smiled and said, "I think I'll just do that."
As she got up and walked toward the register, I just sat watching her. I liked watching her so much I didn't want to get up to help. A minute later, after she'd paid, she turned towards me with a huge smile on her face. Then she returned to our table with a coffee in each hand.
"Here, I got you one as well. I hope you don't mind, but I have a feeling there's still a lot more you have to teach me."
To be continued...