I mined my first block in April 2010. There weren’t any mining pools to join or any expensive hardware to buy. You just ran the original client running in the background taking advantage of that idle core you thought you needed. This is when the network difficulty was significantly lower and before Bitcoin landed in so many pop culture news outlets.
The many security events that have happened in the Bitcoin community and most recently with Bitcoinica has had me thinking much lately about security. Security is not a mathematical certainity. Even the Bitcoin blockchain itself has it’s vulnerabilities, and while most are inconceivably unlikely, the fact still exists. And this is when we are dealing with a highly logical and controlled environment.
The certainity of security goes down even more when you have less control of your environment. This is the essence of security, you must be able to predict and control what happens. The ability to do this is significantly lowered when dealing with third-parties or those you don’t know or aren’t able to trust for lack of information. With all the hype and low-cost of running applications “in the cloud” (marketing sucks), there is a trade-off. You have less control of your environment and thus less security.
If Bitcoin is still around 5, 10, or even 15 years from now then I’m sure we will have a much more secure environment than of that which exists currently. And we will have those who took the risks first to thank for it. This situation isn’t unique to Bitcoin, all we have to do is look at a couple major industries like finance where the banks blew up and essentially are still insolvent or the oil industry which while drilling miles deep under the ocean caused massive ecological damage. This is the natural order of things. A forest grows, burns, and starts over, so will Bitcoin.
NOTE: BitMe does host it’s testnet environment “in the cloud”