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Mint It Yourself With a Browser-Based Bitcoin Miner

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the b-b-but-the-feds-are-here! dept.

The Almighty Buck 490

An anonymous reader writes "There's a popular discussion happening at the Bitcoin forums about a new browser-based bitcoin miner released today. This lets people mine for bitcoin straight from the browser. There's talk of making an embeddable version. How long until websites start using CPU power from their users to create Bitcoin for their owners?" As Bitcoin gets more attention, I foresee malware with payloads promising to do the same thing.

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490 comments

Bitcoin - (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175064)

Bitcoin Slashvertisements remind me too much of Glen Beck's gold hocking. Have fun with that.

Re:Bitcoin - (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175300)

Bitcoin network charts [bitcoincharts.com]:

In the last 12 days "There are 201 unconfirmed transactions".

That's not an "economy" by any means. Your average American highschool probably has more kids purchasing drugs, smokes, and booze from one another in a 12 day time period than that.

Still wondering... (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175066)

What exactly gives a Bitcoin its value? At least with a dollar, I can pay my taxes and not be imprisoned.

Re:Still wondering... (2)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175076)

The fact that it is a commodity specifically made to be a highly convenient, flexible, sound currency.

Or, if it makes more sense, the economy behind it. Which is growing rather rapidly, for the record.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175104)

Or, if it makes more sense, the economy behind it. Which is growing rather rapidly, for the record.

...and how has that economy been created? What, exactly, have merchants been told that has convinced them that Bitcoin currency has actual value?

Re:Still wondering... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175140)

I think most of the merchants that accept Bitcoin do so for the express purpose of giving it value.

Re:Still wondering... (4, Insightful)

myotheridislower (2144830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175148)

What, exactly, have merchants been told that has convinced them that Bitcoin currency has actual value?

Belief that it has value, the same illusion that makes our USD based economy run :p

At least if we all had the same faith in bitcoin it would be impossible for the government or central bank to devalue our currency, effectively robbing everyone of their savings.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175214)

At least if we all had the same faith in bitcoin it would be impossible for the government or central bank to devalue our currency, effectively robbing everyone of their savings.

Right. That's the problem with BitCoin. If it actually takes off, there will be absolutely massive deflation and all the problems it causes. That will be mitigated (slightly) by virtue of BitCoin's *legendary* ability to be split to eight decimal places (or more, if needed! Just ask your local BitCoin fanatic!).

Re:Still wondering... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175262)

Arrr. Pieces of eight (decimal places.)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175296)

What would cause deflation in BitCoin if it took off? If anything, if BitCoin were to take off in a major way there would be massive inflation (inflation in the sense of value of BitCoin to other currencies, i.e., instead of costing $7 for a bitcoin, it would now cost $70)

Re:Still wondering... (4, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175326)

Yes, which is deflation from the perspective of someone holding bitcoins. The value of bitcoins rises, massively, people hold on to bitcoins instead of spending them because they'll be worth more later, the value then rises further due to scarcity, causing a feedback loop.

Sure, these sorts of things have a limit, somewhere. I'm not quite sure how the people at bitcoin think this is going to work though.

Re:Still wondering... (2)

chrisG23 (812077) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175454)

Ahh, you are correct. I did not think about that, and something like that is happening at the moment. When I got into bitcoins a few months ago, the cost was about $.80 per bitcoin, and had been stable for some time. I took a vacation and came back and all of a sudden the prices went up to $4 and then $5, hit $8 and are now in the $7 range. I feel dumb for having spent bitcoins previously.

So it is possible that bitcoins will lose their main function, to act as a currency for exchange, and will become purely a speculative commodity?

Re:Still wondering... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175360)

What would cause deflation in BitCoin if it took off? If anything, if BitCoin were to take off in a major way there would be massive inflation (inflation in the sense of value of BitCoin to other currencies, i.e., instead of costing $7 for a bitcoin, it would now cost $70)

There is a finite supply of BitCoin, specifically 21 million, more than half of which have already been mined. Let's say each BitCoin is worth 1 USD, so the total money supply of BC is equal to 21 million USD. Now let's say the BitCoin economy expands (more merchants start accepting BitCoin). One of two things has to happen: either 1) BitCoin rises in value to >1 USD or 2) the velocity of money in the BitCoin economy has to go up.

In the first case, it starts to become more profitable to simply hold on to your BitCoin rather than spending them, and you have the beginning of a deflationary spiral. People who want to convert USC to BC have to start paying more USD simply because the supply of BC has been reduced by hoarders. This is a positive feedback loop. Prices denominated in BitCoin start to plummet (ie. deflation). Basically, the exact opposite of what happened in Wiemar Germany, except that instead of incentivizing people to spend/invest their money as quickly as possible, you incentivize people to hoard it. In the very best case, you get a wildly unstable currency that rises and falls in value unpredictably.

Basically, it would have been nice if the people who invented BC had taken Econ 201 or any sort of engineering class dealing with control theory.

Re:Still wondering... (3, Informative)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175428)

That is monetary deflation relative to other currencies; that is, each unit of money (e.g. bitcoin) has become more valuable, and prices correspondingly drop (price deflation). Inflation is the opposite: prices rise, currency becomes worth less per unit.

Monetary and price inflation / deflation are often related, but not always. For example, computer processors have had prices fall due to technology, not because the dollar is worth more. Conversely, a civil war in, say, Saudi Arabia would make oil prices (and many others) rise.

Both monetary inflation and deflation can have positive and negative effects depending on the individual. With deflation, money becomes more valuable over time, so savers accumulate money simply by holding it. No risky investment needed. Debtors, on the other hand, see their debts grow over time. There is a push for less spending and more saving as it makes more sense in this environment. Consumers may hoard cash.

Inflation on the other hand means money loses value over time. Debtors see their debts lessened over time, while savers must invest to break even over the long run. In this environment, there is more spending and less hoarding. More risky investments are needed to make the same real (adjusted for inflation) return.

This ignores interest rates and the like, fractional reserve banking, etc. because I don't think I have a solid grasp of economics beyond this much (assuming I made no mistakes, here's to hoping)

Re:Still wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175420)

All that is required for a medium of exchange to have value is that it be scarce. The scarcity of US dollars depends on the government's trustworthiness to not produce more dollars by running a budget deficit, or lending money from the federal reserve. The scarcity of bitcoins depends on cryptographic principles - there are no more than ~21 million bitcoins that can potentially exist, regardless of how hard 'miners' work to discover them.

Re:Still wondering... (2)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175158)

...and how has that economy been created? What, exactly, have merchants been told that has convinced them that Bitcoin currency has actual value?

An economy is created through individuals specializing, trading with each other, and investing the resultant savings. Merchants haven't been "told" anything other than the Bitcoin exchange rate, which they can easily see for themselves [photobucket.com] just as with any other currency.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175176)

Probably merchants see a growing community around it right now, and are willing to take some risk now, betting on the future value of the currency, in order to profit in the future. Which is exactly what an entrepreneur is.

Re:Still wondering... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175200)

This [theonion.com] is fairly relevant.

Re:Still wondering... (3, Interesting)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175424)

What, exactly, has to make it have value?

I just finished up a property class in law school. Way back in the day, people thought it nuts to purchase or transfer rights as opposed to a real, tangible thing like, say, gold. For instance, rights to land. You can't transfer land, I can't pick up my little corner of the earth and carry it over to you, only plate tectonics can do such a thing. So, people came up with "enfeoffment:" When I sell you land, I gotta hand you a clump of dirt, or a handful of wheat, or put your hand on the door to the house or somethin' weird like that.

To me, smells a lot like the fear of fiat money. All you guys are just scared to transfer rights, or in this case, a measurement of the value of your services/wealth.

That simple. Money doesn't have to be tied to shit, just like an estate.

If you're interested and not a member of a Commonwealth country or derivation thereof, take a look at estates in land under the English fuedal system after William the Conqueror. Owning a piece of land is a lot more complicated than you would expect.

Re:Still wondering... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175208)

Bitcoin is a stupid idea with excellent PR. Up to and including a weekly slashvertisement.

Re:Still wondering... (1, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175098)

What exactly gives a Bitcoin its value? At least with a dollar, I can pay my taxes and not be imprisoned.

What gives a yellow chunk of gold its value?

Humans.

Re:Still wondering... (0)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175146)

You left out the " because they think it's worth something." at the end of that last line. Nobody gives a shit about BitCoin.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

myotheridislower (2144830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175216)

It looks to me like there is a small, but not insignificant, and growing community of people who will gladly accept BTC as payment for goods and services.

Re:Still wondering... (2)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175384)

It looks to me like there is a small, but not insignificant, and growing community of people who will gladly accept BTC as payment for goods and services.

On the flip side, there is a large, but not insurmountable, and shrinking community of people who will gladly accept USD and/or EURs as payment for goods and services.

Re:Still wondering... (2)

myotheridislower (2144830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175402)

It reminds me of the adage about the difference between cults and religions; a religion being a large and popular cult, and a cult being a small unpopular religion.

Re:Still wondering... (2)

poptones (653660) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175358)

No. gold has value because we make things from it. It's a metal with unique properties, not just beauty. Semiconductors depend on gold. Our civilization (as we know it today) depends on semicondcutors.

BTC is simply a virtual good made from semiconductors. It is three degrees separated from actual value.

It would be great if something like this took off, and nothing ever will if people don't try. But the thought of using a web browser to mine BTC is pretty ridiculous: I ran the java applet 24/7 for weeks on a quad core 2.7ghz machine and generated nary a coin (nor did I see a transaction). I suspect this is simply a proof of concept of a technology that will ultimately end with BTC clients being made illegal because of all the hucksters conning users into planting malware under the guise of "free riches."

Re:Still wondering... (1)

myotheridislower (2144830) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175416)

From what I can understand about BitCoin is that all the "easily mined" BTC is gone, and now you need a powerful GPU cluster to actually get anything substantial. It's analogous to the rivers and streams running out of easily panned gold, now the only people still being able to extract it are the large scale hydraulic mining operations who are able to invest in the machinery to get at the gold locked deep underground in the rock.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175524)

Gold's value has almost no relation to it's usefullness vs. supply - the primary demand for gold is to hoard it in the hopes that enough other people will try and hoard it to keep the price going up.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

no known priors (1948918) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175550)

The "value" given to gold is more than it's actual use value. Gold is given value because it is pretty, not because it is useful. It would be priced more like copper if it's use value was the sole value looked at.

As for generating coins, you aren't going to.

Check out this bitcoin generation calculator [alloscomp.com]. Use the old calculator [alloscomp.com] as well.

You also won't see any transactions until you actually get someone to pay you something.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175664)

Gold's value goes back long before it's practical use. It's been a valuable trade good since prehistoric times. It's only use then was for jewelry, and the reason it was used for jewelry was because it was so distinctive and expensive. That made it a very good way to show off wealth. It's very high value-to-size ratio and nonperishability also made it good as a pre-currency.

Re:Still wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175114)

Tulips.

Re:Still wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175224)

Ah yes, the Holland tulip mania. And our leader (CmdrTaco) went to college in Holland. THIS MEANS SOMETHING.

Re:Still wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175222)

I'm assuming that the actual power used to generate the bitcoin is what gives it its value (and makes it a semi-finite resource).. Probably designed in such a way as to expect inflation when CPUs become faster.

The bitcoin federal reserve (0)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175230)

A major function of the federal reserve is to prevent the infinite expansion of the M1/M2 money supply. I don't understand how Bitcoin prevents this. Is there a mechanism?

worked example: I form a bank and I offer interest on deposits.

1) person A1 deposits M bitcoins in my bank.
2) I loan M bitcoins to A2 who promptl pays a debt for a purchase to A3.
3) A3 has to do something with his money so he deposits in my bank
4) I loan the new M dollars to A4 who promptly pays A5 for a purchase
5) A5 has to do something with his money so he deposits in my bank.

and so forth. in short order M bitcoins becomes K*M bitcoins in circulation.

The ferderal reserve prevents this by requiring all banks to trnsfer 10% of all deposited for holding by the ferderal reserve. That way I can only loan out 90 cents on every deposit. The net effect is that the money supply only can expand 10 fold at most. (indeed by modulating the holding factor the fed can modulate the amount of money in circulation). This effect does not depend upon if there is one or many banks because no matter where money gets deposited it gets loaned out again.

How does bitcoin deal with this?

Second I don't see how bitcoin gets rid of the zombie bot miners. three bots start trading 1 bit coin in a circle as fast as they can. Each transaction must be validated, therefore other bots can do work to validate it and thus they can mine bit coins. Nearly 100% of all transactions thus become fake (circular) transactions. This has to be propagated across the entire bitcoin network which means lots and lots of work for all the legit nodes.

Third the way bitcoin is set up, with a fixed amount of value to be added per year, the value of the coins must decline due to all this bot induced trnasaction minting. In addition to inflation the value of mining decreases. soo the only miners who can do are the ones that don't pay for their own electricity. that is to say the bot miners. Even the website miniers will be driven out since they have costs associated with sending out many copies of the mining software for little return.

thus the whole thing implodes.

Re:The bitcoin federal reserve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175302)

I'm not sure I understand your example.
What happens when A1,A3,A5 decide to withdraw the M bitcoins?(since the bank has only M bitcoins, and it would require 3M bitcoins if they withdrew)

Re:The bitcoin federal reserve (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175336)

The same thing that happens in the normal banking system. it's called a "run on the bank" and if the bank can't borrow money to pay off the debts it collapses. We just count on that not happening. that is not everyone takes out there money at once. When it does happen the appropriate agencies step in and seize the bank. the assets (the loans) get sold to a larger bank with sufficient reserves to cover the withdrwals. The FDIC sweetens the deal to make it worth while for the other bank. Because of the reserve holding the size of the problem never becomes unmanageable.

With bitcoin as far as I know there is no govt agency to handle that, nor an FDIC nor a reserve to prevent infinite expansion.

Re:The bitcoin federal reserve (0)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175308)

I just... Uh... christ. It's just too much to contradict you since it's completely obvious you've read absolutely nothing about Bitcoins and how they work. You, quite literally, hit every single problem that's already been addressed in the FAQ on the head. I don't think you missed a single point. Reading *just* the FAQ would have answered every question/debunked every comment you made. You couldn't even be bothered to do that, huh?

Everything you just wrote is a steaming pile and 100% false/inaccurate.

Re:The bitcoin federal reserve (1)

Brucelet (1857158) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175330)

Mod parent up. These are interesting questions that I would also like to hear answers to.

Re:The bitcoin federal reserve (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175332)

1. The former is outside the context. Bitcoin in and of itself doesn't deal with fractional reserve banking.

2. That kind of transaction shuffling doesn't add much in the way of work really. The transaction list in a block is only hashed once, then that hash is included in the repeating hash calculation, which cycles millions/billions/trillions of times before a valid block is found.

3. Amount of value added is not fixed. It decreases over time, specifically every 210,000 blocks (about every 4 years. It'll happen for the first time sometime between mid 2012 and early 2013), the block subsidy (the 50 BTC) is cut in half (25, 12.5, 6.75, 3.3525, and so on) and eventually caps off at roughly 21 million. At an intermediate time, transaction fees will become the dominant means of paying the miners.

Re:The bitcoin federal reserve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175418)

If anything, your example serves as an illustration of how BitCoin works better than the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve's fractional lending requirements are somewhat of a joke because, as you illustrated, the funds loaned can eventually be deposited which allows the bank to loan ten times that amount back out. The bank, with one stroke of a pen (or keyboard), creates money that gets put into the economy. BitCoin, OTOH, requires processing power to create new money. So it doesn't matter that there's no central authority tracking it, the banks can only lend what is deposited or what they mine themselves. BitCoin is also restricted in that there is maximum number of BitCoins that will ever be mined, at which point mining new BitCoins will become impossible.

The big problem, however, is that the gold rush is over and a small handful of people control the vast majority of BitCoins. It will be impossible to convince the majority of the population to switch to using it as a currency and thereby making a few people vastly wealthy. This is a problem with traditional currency, which is why we hear so much about how much "the 1%" control, but there's little chance of switching to a new currency if it just creates a new, different, 1%. This is especially true considering how much of the current government is controlled by that 1% and how much they'll do to retain control. Basically, if BitCoin starts becoming too popular, it will be banned.

Re:The bitcoin federal reserve (1)

no known priors (1948918) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175562)

"A major function of the federal reserve is to prevent the infinite expansion of the M1/M2 money supply. I don't understand how Bitcoin prevents this. Is there a mechanism?"

Yes, only 21 million coins can be created. Dun dun dun.

Re:Still wondering... (3, Informative)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175480)

Bitcoin doesn't have any value. It's an economic in-joke along the lines of the great spaghetti monster. Some folk simply choose either to believe, or appear to believe. They're not hurting anyone, so best to leave them to it.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175606)

It's an economic in-joke along the lines of the great spaghetti monster. Some folk simply choose either to believe, or appear to believe.

So it's the same as any other currency, then. Wampum, dollars, giant stone wheels, pieces of eight, bitcoins, -- if enough people believe they have value, they have value.

Re:Still wondering... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175584)

Are you really saying that Bitcoin (or Paypal or Linden Dollars for that matter) would be more valuable to you if someone threatened you into using it? You would pay extra for someone to threaten you with violence?

Re:Still wondering... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175712)

It'd obviously be more valuable if someone threatened everyone else into using it. The US government, and governments of every other country, do just that in order to prevent the appearance of alternative currencies as a form of tax evasion.

"As Bitcoin gets more attention" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175086)

+5 Funny.

What is this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175090)

I don't even.

Getting you at the exit nodes (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175144)

At some point or another, you have to interface with the Real World (TM), do you not?

Or will you pay your rent/mortgage/food in Bitcoin, too?

That's where they'll get you. Or Visa/Mastercard will stop processing for wherever bitcoin.org is hosted after a friendly call from a Senator.

Re:Getting you at the exit nodes (1)

keith_nt4 (612247) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175202)

At some point or another, you have to interface with the Real World (TM), do you not?

Or will you pay your rent/mortgage/food in Bitcoin, too?

That's where they'll get you. Or Visa/Mastercard will stop processing for wherever bitcoin.org is hosted after a friendly call from a Senator.

I already my bills without anything physical. Actually my pay checks are deposited in my bank account and verizon/netflix/etc. all take money out every month. I don't think there's a bitcoin voucher I can print out and stuff under my mattress if that's what you mean but the "IRL" has already been removed, at least in my case. If this "near field communication" ever gets off the ground and I can tie my bitcoin balance to my phone I could even use vending machines with bitcoin. Guess I'll have to wait a while for that.

Re:Getting you at the exit nodes (5, Interesting)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175456)

That's where they'll get you. Or Visa/Mastercard will stop processing for wherever bitcoin.org is hosted after a friendly call from a Senator.

Bitcoin.org could be lawyered right off the face of the Earth and it wouldn't make any difference. You'd still be able to trade BTC for USD (or vice versa) with any of the thousands of other Bitcoin owners. It's all P2P, remember?

Best explanation: SN 287 (5, Informative)

keith_nt4 (612247) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175156)

When this came up a couple of days ago I didn't see anyone link to this for some reason (or I missed it).

The podcast called Security Now featuring Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson (famouse for that the "Shields Up!" web page) dedicated episode 287 entirely to bit coin.

I thought steve gave an incredibly well thought out, clear, concise explanation of what bit coin is why it is apparently impossible to "game" the system in anyway. The following episode (288) was the "listener feedback" episode with many listeners expressing doubt and even more excellent explanations from Steve.

Here are the convenient transcripts of these episodes, linked here in the hopes perhaps it will be useful to the slashdot community.

http://www.grc.com/sn/sn-287.htm [grc.com] - main episode

http://www.grc.com/sn/sn-288.htm [grc.com] - Q-and-A episode

In my mind if Steve says it's trustworthy and not a scam, that's good enough for me. But then I've listened to all 300+ episodes and am a big fan so I may be biased.

In fact there was a spike in use after the SN bitcoin episode. It may be wholly or partially due to Steve's apparent endorsement (he says he's going to make his software purchasable via bitcoin).

Re:Best explanation: SN 287 (2)

fred911 (83970) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175246)

Steve Gibson (famouse for that the "Shields Up!" web page)

Um.. Steve is famous for Spinrite, that saved many many RLL drives. Spinrite does an non-intrusive, non-destructive low-level format, saved my ass many a time.
  But thanks for the post great info!

Re:Best explanation: SN 287 (1)

keith_nt4 (612247) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175282)

Ya I know, I just thought a large number of readers who perhaps weren't familiar with Steve by name or SpinRite had perhaps run across Shields UP at some point. So I guess I meant "most famously known". I love spinrite btw. Ran it for 1,000 hours straight once. Drive worked again after that. Though I probably shouldn't use it...

Re:Best explanation: SN 287 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175590)

I consider him famous for the time he was blabbering about how raw sockets in XP would pretty much be the end of PC security and a field day for script kiddies.

He sounded like a nutjob back then.

Don't really mind him now, though.

Re:Best explanation: SN 287 (0)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175284)

Generally, if Steve Gibson endorses something, its a good indication it's *not* worth it, and you should stay the hell away.

Sounds like a sales pitch (4, Insightful)

S3D (745318) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175210)

What's this thing with regular promotion of bitcoins on /.? Shouldn't it be in advertising box or something?

Re:Sounds like a sales pitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175312)

What's this thing with regular promotion of bitcoins on /.? Shouldn't it be in advertising box or something?

It's a big buzz in the crypto-anarchist segment of Nerdlandia. And there's also a lot of discussion amongst economics nerds. If enough nerds are talking about/arguing over something, chances are it will show up on /.
  I don't think this can be counted as a /vertisement, actually. There's not really any specific thing for sale.

Re:Sounds like a sales pitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175314)

If I were you I would do the exact opposite of what /. keeps suggesting i.e. stay away from mining, don't invest anything in it, ignore it completely!

*greedy laugh*

Re:Sounds like a sales pitch (1)

ubrkl (310861) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175378)

Yeah, why wouldn't a budding P2P distributed, PKI backed currency infrastructure designed for the Internet age be of news to nerds?

Do you feel that any time software, games or services are mentioned you're being pitched to? Maybe you're on the wrong site ....

Re:Sounds like a sales pitch (1)

vajorie (1307049) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175496)

Do you feel that any time software, games or services are mentioned you're being pitched to? Maybe you're on the wrong site ....

It's called "getting old". Whether by years or by technology, it will happen to you too.

Re:Sounds like a sales pitch (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175474)

What's this thing with regular promotion of bitcoins on /.? Shouldn't it be in advertising box or something?

They tried to, but real advertising costs real money. A slashvetisement on the other hand can be purchased with bitcoins.

Re:Sounds like a sales pitch (1)

DanTheManMS (1039636) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175486)

I'd have to agree here. I'm a big supporter of Bitcoin, but this isn't news. People make new mining clients all the time; this one just happens to be a Java applet embedded in a web page. Interesting, but certainly not front-page newsworthy.

Re:Sounds like a sales pitch (3, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175702)

Disable Bitcoin Mining [ ]
As our way of thanking you for your positive
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disable the browser based Bitcoin Miner.

Has already been happening for days (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175220)

There's a popular discussion happening at the Bitcoin forums about a new browser-based bitcoin miner released today.

Only just today? Are you SURE?

How long until websites start using CPU power from their users to create Bitcoin for their owners?

This has been happening for days [aspiesforfreedom.com] at least, already. (Look at the first post date, and there's another older thread at the same site.)

Re:Has already been happening for days (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175270)

That site is also utilizing much more efficient GPUs to do the mining, as opposed to relatively inefficient (and power sucking) CPUs. An 8800GT GPU draws 100 Watts less power to do four times the work of a Phenom X4 9850.

Re:Has already been happening for days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175440)

No offense, but this looks like a cheap attempt to push the Aspies for Freedom website onto readers as a way to spread your cause.

They seem to be a group that has to tell everybody about their problem, like furries. Now that you've set things off, I'm waiting for a furry to post about bitcoin mining in one of their forums next and spam it here. That would fit the pattern.

Word of warning (5, Informative)

Zibbo (2176270) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175226)

Site uses only CPU mining, and I can guarantee you that you will be spending more on electricity than gaining in bitcoins with the current valuation. You need a powerful GPU or some other specialized hardware to do it profitably. It's cheaper and easier to just buy bitcoins.

That said, if it works as a steppingstone for you to get interested in Bitcoin, and actually familiarize yourself with the system, before coming to the wrong conclusion about its validity, then go for it.

Here are some places you can start with:
http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf [bitcoin.org] for the original whitepaper that everything is based on (internalize this)
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Myths [bitcoin.it] for some of the more common myths flying around about bitcoins
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Weaknesses [bitcoin.it] for some ACTUAL weaknesses in the system, so you don't have to come up with the same old false ones that come up with these thread all the time.

You won't get shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175256)

At this point, the mining operation is being dominated by people using the latest Radeon GPUs, and a guy who sunk 20+ thousand dollars into some custom ASICs. Try it with a CPU or weak GPU at this point and you will be lucky to cover your electricity costs.

"mining" for bitcoin (4, Interesting)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175288)

So, essentially, we're burning CPU cycles (and thus, electricity, and thus, fossil fuels in most cases) simply to give an electronic currency scarcity?

Sounds like a fine use of resources to me!

/sarcasm

Re:"mining" for bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175436)

No, your burning CPU cycles in order to process the transactions of an electronic currency and ensure the system isn't cheated. The scarcity of bitcoins is completely independent of the number of people mining.

Re:"mining" for bitcoin (4, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175510)

So, essentially, we're burning CPU cycles (and thus, electricity, and thus, fossil fuels in most cases) simply to give an electronic currency scarcity?

If you know of a more energy-efficient method to enforce scarcity, let's hear it. The traditional method (establish and maintain a judicial system and police force to catch and punish counterfeiters) isn't exactly low-overhead either.

Re:"mining" for bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175610)

We need quantification of this. Otherwise people will never accept that argument.

Re:"mining" for bitcoin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175624)

Stoping counterfeiters is not about enforcing scarcity. A perfect example of all the wrong basic assumptions that people make themselves believe in order to buy into bitcoin.

Re:"mining" for bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175540)

So, essentially, we're burning CPU cycles (and thus, electricity, and thus, fossil fuels in most cases) simply to give an electronic currency scarcity?

Sounds like a fine use of resources to me!

/sarcasm

So bitcoins use energy equivalent to their price to extract, and then throughout the life of the coin, you have to use digital security to secure and prevent fraud, and mostly automated websites. That's a fair amount of energy.

Now let's compare it to some existing systems. Bitcoins just have to be competitive, by the way.

Cash: paper lasts a few years at best, coins are worth less than the metal they're minted from, armored vans for transport and entire law enforcement departments dedicated to counterfeiting

Gold: mining operations, elaborate security measures (think Fort Knox!), armored vans, a whole network of brokers and pawn shops, huge amount of fraud

Credit cards: massively complex and redundant information systems, huge amount of fraud, identity theft and bankruptcy result in tremendous waste of time and resources

And so forth, checks, cashier's checks, western union, all these things use a ton of resources to transfer money around.

Re:"mining" for bitcoin (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175654)

Paper is a renewable resource, gold provides a usable end product with intrinsic value. If you're running a non-fiat currency, these things are used to back your money. Bitcoin? What useful product does "mining" provide, to actually give the bitcoin value?

I can understand if you were to get bitcoin credits for providing a useful product/service/processing, but processing for the sake of it simply to slow down bitcoin inflation seems brain damaged to me.

Re:"mining" for bitcoin (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175718)

Cash: paper lasts a few years at best, coins are worth less than the metal they're minted from, armored vans for transport and entire law enforcement departments dedicated to counterfeiting

I've handled plenty of bills that are as old, or older, than I am. Paper currency gets a little more than a 'few years'. You don't see a big recovery effort until the denomination gets redesigned to be harder to forge (making the older bills less desirable, though equal in value in commerce), so many of the older bills remain in circulation. Not everyone beats up their money in the literal sense.

Patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175656)

Trading visitors' CPU power for access to web applications/content might be worth something. Perhaps not so much with BitCoins but instead with some other calculations. The more CPU power you give the better service/experience in return.

The calculations does not have to be for the service provider's own needs. There can very well be a third party involved in this transaction, perhaps one that aggregate CPU power from visitors on many sites (similar to ad companies today). It might be sold as cloud computing power or something to other companies.

If you don't pay with verifiable computations then you don't get any content. No Adblock can save you there. On the other hand it's no effort on the user and no extra pay wall steps to take manually.

Patentable (1)

BitCirkel (1994430) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175684)

Trading visitors' CPU power for access to web applications/content might be worth something. Perhaps not so much with BitCoins but instead with some other calculations. The more CPU power you give the better service/experience in return.

The calculations does not have to be for the service provider's own needs. There can very well be a third party involved in this transaction, perhaps one that aggregate CPU power from visitors on many sites (similar to ad companies today). It might be sold as cloud computing power or something to other companies.

If you don't pay with verifiable computations then you don't get any content. No Adblock can save you there. On the other hand it's no effort on the user and no extra pay wall steps to take manually.

Bitcoin... (5, Funny)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175338)

For some reason, the only way I can analogize bitcoin to people is "it's what you'd get if you explained Star Trek's energy credit system to a stoner, who then ran for US congress and implemented it." I write science fiction constantly and would be hard pressed to come up with a zanier scheme.

Re:Bitcoin... (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175728)

Said stoner, if in the Star Trek universe, would somehow manage to spew out a string of words that would cause these words to be uttered: "Self-destruct sequence has been activated. Ten minutes until antimatter core overload.'.

Final Product? (1)

droidsURlooking4 (1543007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175364)

If the puzzles it solves meant cpu cycles farmed out, that had a demand, in an open market place, then yes, I could see this having some value. But the abstract is to abstract. What are these puzzles? A better idea would be.. if I could become a bitcoin affiliate and make money by getting others to sell bitcoin! Now you are talking!

"Browser" based... actually a Java Applet. (0)

xtracto (837672) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175376)

Funny that the actual "browser" based miner is a Java Applet. Yeah, one of those things that always fails to load and is slow as hell.

Wake me up when there is a JavaScript or at *least* a Flash-based miner.

Re:"Browser" based... actually a Java Applet. (1)

vajorie (1307049) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175500)

a Flash-based miner.

A bitcoin youtube? And running with the flash plugin? Oh... god...

Bitcoin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175430)

To quote Carlin: it's all bullshit, folks, and it's bad for you.

On their "myths" page (linked in a post above, or below depending on if I'm modded up and your sorting options), they give the best argument they could give against the idea of fairness. Namely, it's that the idea is arbitrary (it's not [wikipedia.org] -- we'll get our teeth into this in due time). Luckily, I'm not the only one who sees this as a bunch of libertarian geeks playing at being Wall Street movers. Let the real men [wikipedia.org] handle the money, kids. Your place is to fold, again and again, like all OSSers, once someone delivers the better version 2.0 that they benefit more from.

I'd Rather Be Searching for ET (1)

esten (1024885) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175468)


Generating 0.00019867 BTU per payout
Getting 1 payout an hour

1 BTU = 7 USD

Therefore your computer is generating 0.14 cents per hour

Seems like you could be doing some more useful for your CPU.

Bitcoin is botnet proof (1)

rent (66355) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175470)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Bitcoin designed to be botnet proof? Sure - the more recourses you have, the more bitcoins you will mine, but also the overall difficulty of mining bitcoins increases for the entire network as a whole! (Here is a wiki entry https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Difficulty graphs of current difficulty here http://bitcoin.sipa.be/)
Another overlooked factor is that the network capacity is important too - it's whoever has the longest proof of work wins.
The gold rush days of bitcoin will soon be over. What we will see next is the value of bitcoins rise, and get divided into smaller portions, eg. bitcents, bitmils, etc.

I find Bitcoin interesting (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175472)

Both as a technical concept and as a social phenomena. Quite a lot of people using Bitcoin are not doing so for practical benefits.. they're installing the software and promoting the concept as a sort of protest against the fiat banking system. Oh, and because they hate paypal.. but that's mutual.

http://susansayler.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/bitcoin-p2p-currency-the-most-dangerous-project-weve-ever-seen/ [wordpress.com]

That's a pretty interesting article.. and it demonstrates the power of portraying yourself as persecuted to attract new members.

However, I think they're pretty delusional about the robustness of the system. From the paper that started it all:

If a greedy attacker is able to assemble more CPU power than all the honest nodes, he would have to choose between using it to defraud people by stealing back his payments, or using it to generate new coins. He ought to find it more profitable to play by the rules, such rules that favour him with more new coins than everyone else combined, than to undermine the system and the validity of his own wealth.

This obviously assumes the attacker is interested in profits that can be extracted from the system. An attacker who is already wealthy, and has a greater interest in undermining the system than extracting profit from it, can trivially overwhelm the network by assembling processing power - especially if the attacker already has a stockpile of processing power.

National governments obviously fall into this category, so if they ever decide to destroy Bitcoin they won't need to issue any bans or even tell anyone.

I'm sure you can think of some other potential attackers who have the capability.

Re:I find Bitcoin interesting (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175716)

I think that the system as implemented restricts the speed at which new coins can be created, so the "attacker's" second option is not available. I don't know enough about this to say anything about the first option.

what can you get with bit coins? (2)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175598)

What can I buy with bitcoins? Food, housing, software anything? For the articles it looks like you can trade US dollars for bitcoins and bitcoins for us dollars. And that the $7.70 you put in two days ago is worth $7.10 today.

Re:what can you get with bit coins? (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175698)

that isn't bitcoins fault that is cuz they keep printing US $'s.
Pretty soon the dollar bill will be like the penny. Cost more to mint it than it is worth.

link calculations to something useful? (1)

magwm (466805) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175670)

Would it not be possible to link these calculation speed to anything useful, let's see folding@home or the likes, or anything like good old seti@home? I would gladly make my server run a little hotter while doing something useful WHILE minting some bitcoin...

my 2€ct..

Folding@home can suck my bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36175688)

what a waste

Correct me if I am wrong here (5, Funny)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 2 years ago | (#36175744)

So Bitcoin is basically a mechanism for converting electricity into an asset which is worth less than the cost of the electricity used to produce it, and which can only be used in trade with other people who are stupid enough to have not thought this through? I think I'll pass.
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