Any digital file can easily be copied just by using the “Copy – Paste” option. This also includes the early digital money. In this article, we will describe how Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin and his blockchain solved the Double-Spending problem.
Note that this is a beginner and intermediate-friendly guide intended for those who are starting on their blockchain journey.
Bitcoin Double-Spending Problem
It is easy to copy a digital file. Sometimes you just need to right-click on a document, click on copy, and paste it into any folder that you like. The same thing can happen in digital money. This can cause a problem if not solved as people can just copy the digital currency over and over, leading to an unlimited amount. If you know deflation, you know that if the government prints lots of money, it will lose its value.
The analogy on Double Spending:
You created a file named Document A on MS Word and saved it on your flash drive. Friend 1 wanted a copy of the document so he went to your house and borrowed your flash drive. Friend 1 copied Document A in his laptop and gave back your flash drive with Document A still intact. Friend 1 could then distribute Document A to his friends without you knowing.
It is the same if you replace Document A with digital money. You can use it repeatedly since you can effortlessly copy it. This is what you call Double-Spending.
Satoshi Nakamoto solved the problem in Double-Spending by introducing Bitcoin and the Blockchain (note that the bitcoin whitepaper did not include the word “blockchain”. Only “chain of blocks”). Bitcoin uses Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism for every recorded transaction.
You buy a plane ticket to Boracay. You will use it to board your plane. After using the ticket, nobody can use it anymore since the airline already recorded that it has been claimed.
This is the same in bitcoin. The “ticket” cannot be duplicated and used again. The more confirmed transactions after your bitcoin exchange, the harder it is to counterfeit because of its “chain” nature. Even if somebody tries to duplicate a BTC, it will show in the blockchain and won’t be accepted.
With Double-Spending already solved by Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin structure, there are now a lot of cryptocurrencies having good trade value in the market. Some people even see cryptocurrencies as the future of money and the world may even go cashless in a very distant future.