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Bitcoin Mini helps keep Bitcoin decentralized

bitcoin_mini2016 is going to be a big year for Bitcoin, according to Ansel Linder, founder of BlockchainIO in Omaha.

Even Forbes is fueling the Bitcoin fire with a recent article, “Should you invest in Bitcoin? 10 Arguments In Favor As Of December 2015.”

“The smart money is going to get into Bitcoin first, and that includes business people and investors,” said Linder. “That money will come in the next year. After that, then that smart money will create the innovation that will bring in the consumers.”

Linder and his Mini Computing, LLC co-founder Steve Johnson recently introduced the world to their Bitcoin Mini, an open source hardware node on the Bitcoin network.

“The Bitcoin network is a decentralized network. It’s a collection of nodes that are all speaking the same language and sending transactions back and forth,” explains Linder. “The network also shares a database, and that’s one of the most revolutionary things about Bitcoin; it’s a public and transparent database. Every node has a copy of the same database, and that’s how it keeps the whole network honest. Everybody can check the books at any time that they want to.”

Nevertheless, as the Bitcoin user base has grown by the millions over the last few years, the number of nodes on the network has shrunk. There are currently 5,240 nodes in the Bitcoin network.

“It’s getting more centralized; it’s losing a bit of its decentralization,” said Linder. “That is a concern in this space. The mini serves as a node; it’s a cheap way to outsource that from your computer onto a little Raspberry Pi. You’re supporting the network. You’re also kind of insuring your investment. If you own a lot of Bitcoin, this will ensure that this network stays strong and stays decentralized.”

Bitcoin for the masses

The Bitcoin Mini hopes to separate itself from similar products in the market by excluding a key feature their major competitor has: a mining chip.

“The mining chip decreases the efficiency of the node. You might be able to mine several dollars a month of Bitcoin, say 2 or 3 dollars a month of Bitcoin, but you’re also spending probably 5 to 10 dollars a month in electricity. It makes your Raspberry Pi hotter, so it doesn’t last as long,” said Linder.

Linder and Johnson aren’t just talking the Bitcoin talk. Their support of the Bitcoin ecosystem can be found in every aspect of their product and how they run their company. For example, the parts they use to build their product only come from suppliers who accept Bitcoin as a form of payment, and they themselves only accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for the Mini.

“The Mini is an inexpensive way to bring a native Bitcoin or local Bitcoin type application to the masses,” said Linder. “We’ve sold Minis to 4 countries so far. I can see that expanding. Maybe we can get some to South America or Africa, or something like that, and bring this ability to developing economies. That’s a big application.”

Jake Hull is the Lincoln Editor for Silicon Prairie News and a Community Builder for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska.