When is a computer not a computer? While 21 Inc.’s new computer doesn’t have keyboards, monitors, and a massive enclosed hard drive, it may have just taken Bitcoin to the next level with their new 21 Bitcoin Computer.
First Computer with Bitcoin as the Main Component
Ok, what’s so great about this new computer by 21 Inc.? Well, it works through whatever OS you have via USB. As a stand-alone Linux machine or connected to Linux, Mac, or Windows via USB, it is small, but versatile pocket-sized computer.
Most importantly, it is designed to be the first computer that is Bitcoin-optimized with native hardware and software support exclusively for the Bitcoin protocol. This means that business owners and developers can do business at the command line using Bitcoin, not built around PayPal or banking systems as a default.
“The technology is ultimately just a tool. Our long term goal is to return economic power to the individual,” says 21 Inc. CEO Balaji Srinivasan on his Medium post.
“Specifically, we want to make it possible for you to turn your bright idea into passive income by selling Bitcoin-payable goods, games, and services over the Internet through a 21 Bitcoin Computer. And we want to use the success of the 21 Bitcoin Computer to help make Bitcoin the next fundamental system resource, available by default on every new computer. That journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
The 21 Bitcoin Computer will do many things for its users such as mining bitcoin from the 21 Command Line instantly and allowing entrepreneurs to open up a digital goods store or iTunes-like music store. It also enables to reward others with bitcoin for posting your content on social media, sell APIs for bitcoin, make hardware rentable in bitcoin, and much more.
The value in this is creating the first machine-to-machine systems built around Bitcoin’s protocol. Ben Horowitz, a co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, which helped 21 Inc. raise a record US$116 million in venture capital funding to start 2015, explains one future use scenario to the Wall Street Journal:
“If I could read stuff on the web for a small amount of money, and didn’t have to open myself up for repeated charging or subscriptions I didn’t want? That’s a relatively straightforward application if you have machine-to-machine payments.”
The 21 Computer combines the 21 mining chip and 21 micropayment server with the 21 Command Line interface for one comprehensive Bitcoin-optimized machine. Other standard goodies include a WiFi adapter, USB-to-laptop cable, and 128GB SD card, and an installed copy of the blockchain, allowing you to run it as a full node.
Just one slight contradictory problem
This is not designed for retail consumer use, but again, is more for developers and businesses. It can already be ordered and will begin shipping on November 15. One more thing, you won’t be able to buy it with bitcoin, at least initially.
“We will be adding support for this,” states the 21 Inc. website. “We think payment in BTC is not as big an improvement at the present time over standard ways to purchase macroscopic physical goods. Offline currencies are fairly well adapted for that use case. We believe that where bitcoin really shines is for micropayments, as a medium of exchange for digital goods and services.”