Developing with Bitcoin isn’t easy. Sure, if there are merchant services to handle basic payment requests, but if you’re striving for a more noble goal—say trying some new technology—working with Bitcoin can be EXCRUCIATINGLY difficulty. Why? Let’s take a look.
Working with Bitcoin is conceptually simple: numbers assigned to accounts. But there’s a whole protocol beneath that surface definition. For example, did you know that the bitcoin protocol supports M-of-N transactions, which allows for cool things like escrow without a third-party service? Unfortunately, almost no one has tools to support this functionality, which means the technology sits stagnant and unused.
Day 1 here at the Bitcoin 2013 conference in San Jose, CA, USA is complete and the response has been outstanding. As a passionate supporter of Bitcoin, it was surreal to hang out with community celebrities like Trace Mayer (Run to Gold), Yifu Guo (Avalon), and Alec Liu (VICE); I’ve still got my eyes peeled for a few others including Gavin Andresen (Bitcoin Foundation). So what did Day 1 actually bring us?
I’ve been playing with node.js for a week or two now, and I’m releasing my first project created with it: btcimg.com
BTCimg uses Bitcoin Charts weighted price data to create an image of the current Bitcoin exchange rate for all known currencies. This is useful on sites that only allow the editing of CSS. With the use of the background-image CSS property, site administrators can include just a few lines of CSS and display the current Bitcoin price.
Here’s an example:
Bitcoins? Wallets? Blockchain? I’m so confused!
If you’re new to Bitcoin, the terminology can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Below is a quick explanation of the terms (highlighted in bold) and how they relate to each other. If just you need a quick refresher, jump ahead to the TL;DR version.
Let’s start with a Bitcoin address—those long strings of random letters and numbers that you’re starting to see everywhere. Those are also known as public keys. Anyone can send money to them, but only people who know the private key can send from them. If you know the private key, you control the funds sent to the public key. Protect it like you would protect your bank password.