Manuel Araoz, a 23-year-old developer in Argentina, has an idea for Bitcoin that doesn't focus on money.
Araoz, who works in game development, launched a service this week called Proof of Existence. It's essentially a notary public service on the Internet, an inexpensive way of using Bitcoin's distributed computing power to allow people to verify that a document existed at a certain point in time.
Araoz envisions it as a way to fight efforts to distort or lie about data. "My idea was to give journalists or private statistical agencies the ability to certify data at a certain point in time. If someone denies the data, you have something that proves the data existed," he said.
The Bitcoin system uses a distributed computing network to transfer the virtual currency from computer to computer. Part of the system involves "miners," or computers that cryptographically verify those transactions, which are entered into a public ledger called the "blockchain."