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A Rebuttal To Charles Stross About Bitcoin

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the opinions-are-like-cryptocurrencies dept.

Bitcoin 396

New submitter buddha379 writes "Over the holidays we discussed a story from SF author Charles Stross called 'Why I Want Bitcoin to Die in a Fire,' just as Bitcoin's price collapsed on news of the Chinese government's cautious approach to the fledgling internet currency. Well known economist Paul Krugman quoted the piece in a NY Times blog post called 'Bitcoin is Evil'. Now, with U.S. regulators reaffirming their hands off approach, U.S. companies embracing it and prices surging again, Bitcoin Magazine returns with a rebuttal called 'Why Charles Stross Doesn't Know a Thing about Bitcoin.' The article notes that like many other popular pieces, Stross' story seems to 'completely miss the point on why Bitcoin is a revolutionary concept.'"

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Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulation (4, Funny)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 10 months ago | (#45902231)

As we've seen, all a government needs to do is make a statement about support/regulation and the price drops in half.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (5, Insightful)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about 10 months ago | (#45902261)

So what? Why does the price of bitcoin even matter? Bitcoins strength lies in its ability to be used as a payment processing network - and at a fraction of the cost of traditional payment networks (visa, mastercard, paypal, SWIFT, etc).

Everyone is obsessed with the price of bitcoin (and therefore comparing it to a ponzi scheme because of its price) and treating it as a speculative investment scheme or get rich quick scheme. This is actually very detrimental to bitcoin.

But no. Bitcoins power lies in using it as a payment processing network not its price. It does need some more price stability, however, so this crazy speculation needs to stop.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902311)

You're partially right, but the vast majority of bitcoin users are speculators, gamblers and hoarders. It is not primarily used for transactions. Until this changes, which it probably won't, it is an electricity-wasting ponzi scheme.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (4, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 10 months ago | (#45902333)

But it's not a good payment network if the value of the payment are not stable.

The network exists to 'mine' coins and process transactions. It's cheap because there is a payout for participating in the network split two ways, you get to mine coins, which are worth something and you can charge transaction fees. If there is little worth in the coins, the network will either be tiny and easier to take over and control (if you control the majority of the processing power, you control the entire network) or the transaction fees will increase.

You are right though, New Zealand is the place to be.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45902433)

The value is not stable, currently, with respect to exchange with real-world currency. But if things are bought directly with it...

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902633)

...it will still be unstable with respect to any other currency, since other currencies can also be used to buy real things, and the price of the real things will simply be very different from one day to the next in bitcoin.

Stability has nothing to do with usage and everything to do with expectations.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (3, Interesting)

bob_super (3391281) | about 10 months ago | (#45902505)

I know how bitcoin works, but I'm missing a couple elements:

Once the last coins are mined, what happens?
How do you convince people who sold theirs to keep giving away computing power in exchange for nothing? I know that fees can be added, but in a distributed semi-ananymous network, how do you set fee levels such that people will validate little transactions as well as big ones?

And even before all the coins are mined, has anyone calculated yet what is the ceiling for BTC? That'd be the value over which some country's national labs or universities turn on their supercomputers and mine almost everything (publications might bring revenue, but mining apparently does), preventing individuals from getting any return from their hardware, thus discouraging them from participating?

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (3, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 10 months ago | (#45902577)

They mine for transaction fees

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#45902875)

But it's not a good payment network if the value of the payment are not stable.

The price fluctuates widely because it is thinly traded. As it becomes more popular, the price will stabilize.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45902969)

There is no reason to think that. It has no floor, no control, no way to slow wild swings. Without those 'brakes' BitCoin, any currency really, can swing wildly on pure emotional mood of the day.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 10 months ago | (#45903083)

"But it's not a good payment network if the value of the payment are not stable."

You're making the same mistake most people make (and the market is making) in regard to the economics of Bitcoin.

In economics, VALUE and PRICE are two different things! The "price" is what it sells for on the market. The "value" is, in general terms, approximately the cost of production and distribution. Since the cost of distribution for Bitcoin is very low, near zero, then the VALUE is approximately equal to the cost of production.

This has nothing to do with the swings in the PRICE of Bitcoin on Wall Street. I mean it should, but apparently it hasn't. Which means: investor beware, you're in an irrational market.

This is how Wall Street destroys some of our best toys. Time to send them home.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902405)

No. The power that Bitcoin may or may not have is not at all related to using it as a payment processing network.

People obsess over Bitcoin's price (in dollars, yuan, whatever) because a Bitcoin only has value if people agree it's worth an exchange for goods and/or services, and can reasonably expect to exchange a received Bitcoin for other goods and services.

Right now if I get 100 dollars, or 100 euro, or 100 yuan, or 100 yen, in payment for some services I render or product I sell, I can reasonably expect to go down the street and exchange that currency for hookers (services) and/or blow (goods), within a reasonable timeframe (say 1-5 years in the future.) Right now if I get 100 Bitcoin, I might be able to buy Michael Jordan's $16 million mansion in Chicago in 1-5 years - but it's equally likely that I won't be able to exchange them for anything in 1-5 years.

Most government-backed currencies (with the recent notable exception of the Zimbabwe dollar and several other currencies over the last 50 years) pass this test. Bitcoin, as of yet, does not. Many people would have to choose to use Bitcoin over a government-backed currency (think 60-80% of the population in your local country - in the US, that would be around 200-230 million.) In order to get that many people to switch, there would have to be a significant compelling reason for them to hold their wealth in Bitcoin instead of the government-backed currency. I have yet to see a compelling reason to switch. Not only that, there are high barriers to overcome yet: security, convenience of exchange, and relative durability all spring to mind as specific examples.

Given the above, coupled with the fact that the Bitcoin exchange rate is being manipulated by speculators, and the number of knock-off alternative currencies floating around, why would any rational person think about holding their wealth in Bitcoin at any given moment?

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about 10 months ago | (#45902533)

I have yet to see a compelling reason to switch.

How about no more taxes? Or at least making it easier to avoid some of the taxation.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

HuguesT (84078) | about 10 months ago | (#45902711)

As usual, only the wealthy will be able to evade some of the taxation. The little people will still be taxed no matter what. If not on transactions, then on possessions.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45903057)

Actually, the government could just get into Bitcoin and collect their taxes in the form of transaction fees ...

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902809)

What's wrong with taxes?

Or are you one of those people who think that roads, sewers, police, and fire departments are unnecessary for civilization?

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902853)

What's wrong with taxes?

Or are you one of those people who think that roads, sewers, police, and fire departments are unnecessary for civilization?

Of course they are necessary. I just think that someone else should pay for them.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 10 months ago | (#45903073)

What's wrong with taxes?

Or are you one of those people who think that roads, sewers, police, and fire departments are unnecessary for civilization?

Of course they are necessary. I just think that someone else should pay for them.

Honest. Irresponsible, but honest.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45903003)

That a compelling reason for cheap economically ignorant fucktwads who want to ride on everyone elses back until we no longer have a middle class

Of course, why dodge your legal and moral obligations with a currency that can have it's value halved in minutes?

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#45902503)

Bitcoins strength lies in its ability to be used as a payment processing network

Wrong. Bitcoins' strength lies in the starbursts in the eyes of it's biggest proponents, who will gladly and patiently explain to you how they'll reform the monetary system, end poverty and make them fabulously wealthy.

Nothing is stronger than a True Believer, especially when they are neo-libertarians on a mission from Ayn.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (4, Funny)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 10 months ago | (#45902701)

Are Bitcoins minted in Rearden Metal?

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (4, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 10 months ago | (#45902815)

Bitcoins strength lies in its ability to be used as a payment processing network

Wrong. Bitcoins' strength lies in the starbursts in the eyes of it's biggest proponents, who will gladly and patiently explain to you how they'll reform the monetary system, end poverty and make them fabulously wealthy.

Nothing is stronger than a True Believer, especially when they are neo-libertarians on a mission from Ayn.

Of course, because nicely formulated ad hominem is an excellent logical rebuttal.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902911)

>Of course, because nicely formulated ad hominem is an excellent logical rebuttal.

Libertarians are immune to logic and even common sense so what does it matter?

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45903031)

Rebuttal to what? Bitcoin fanatics can not answer real economic questions about currency.
How is it a reliable store of value? How to you create a pricing floor?

When Nobel prize winning economist who are experts in the fields ask real economic questions and Bitcoin fans can't answer, there is a problem with bitcoin as a currency.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902971)

I've been involved with bitcoin for a few years now and I'm one of them dirty libruls, not a neo-libertarian.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45903009)

> this crazy speculation needs to stop.

While we're wishing I'd like a pony.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 10 months ago | (#45903067)

So what? Why does the price of bitcoin even matter? Bitcoins strength lies in its ability to be used as a payment processing network - and at a fraction of the cost of traditional payment networks (visa, mastercard, paypal, SWIFT, etc).

.

A Fraction of the cost, 76 times more annoyance.

I tried to buy a few few bit coins "just for fun" last week. I still can't figure out how to make it happen. From what I understand I have to find someone who lives near me who not only uses bit coins, but wants to sell some, and then arrange to meet them in person, possibly in a dark ally, and then give them guy some cash. Then I have to go release some kind of escrow thing saying that the transaction is complete within 1 hour of the appointed meeting time or bad things happen. After that I wait for the stranger to press his magic button on the escrow, and THEN I get my bit-coins... I think. Simple, right?
https://localbitcoins.com/guides/how-to-buy-bitcoins [localbitcoins.com]

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (2)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about 10 months ago | (#45903075)

It matters because you cannot use currency whose value fluctuates greatly -- you'll never have the piece of mind necessary to keep it. If you have what is today $10,000 in bitcoins, and you know that tomorrow that could be $15,000 or $3,000, you can't rely on that thing. You can't plan on buying a house or car or even a laptop with bitcoins in 3 months because by then their value could be anything. You can of course use it for speculation and just look to sell it and get rid of it when it's at what you think is a peak, but most people do not want to speculate. So the market will forever be limited.

To put in different terms, bitcoin is hot and volatile, and there is a reason why people like cold, hard cash.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#45902295)

As we've seen, all a government needs to do is make a statement about support/regulation and the price drops in half.

Every other currency is also vulnerable to govt manipulation - What exactly is it you don't understand about this Federal Reserve printing money to buy assets with, which convinces you the fiat currency call The US Dollar isn't being manipulated like a hand puppet?

People continue to accept the dollar has worth, because to come to the sudden realization that it's only worth something because someone else who accepts it also subscribes to the believe it has value is a stressful eye opener. Bitcoin is no better or worse, it just lacks the physical manifestation of a piece of paper or metal.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (-1, Flamebait)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#45902651)

Every other currency is also vulnerable to govt manipulation - What exactly is it you don't understand about this Federal Reserve printing money to buy assets with, which convinces you the fiat currency call The US Dollar isn't being manipulated like a hand puppet?

...and as a point of fact, the Federal Reserve is currently involved in what is by far the biggest Ponzi scheme the world has ever seen, namely the U.S. Federal Debt.

Anyone that doesnt think that this is true hasn't been listening. "If we don't raise the debt ceiling then we will default on our debt" -- which translates directly to "If we cannot get money from new investors then we wont be able to pay the old investors" -- So the federal government is actively Ponzi -- The FED's involvement is in the buying up all of the governments treasury bills (using magically appearing money, no less) that cannot be sold on the open market at artificially low interest rates.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (2)

DogDude (805747) | about 10 months ago | (#45902861)

If by "manipulated" you mean "kept relatively stable", I tend to agree.

Bitcoin isn't "manipulated" at all, hence it's uselessness as a currency.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 10 months ago | (#45903069)

People continue to accept the dollar because it can be traded for commodities. Access to those commodities is to some extent governed by the force of the United States armed forces. That is the value of the dollar. People will continue to want dollars because it allows them to obtain what America has access to.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45903077)

"Every other currency is also vulnerable to govt manipulation"
Nearly all currency have rues and regulation in play to minimize and control manipulation.
Bitcoin can be cut in half with one headline from any major group.

That's one of the difference. Let me know when they have pricing floor, and can hold value.

" that it's only worth something "
no. It's worth something as a store of value. At the bare min. it can be used to pay taxes and debts to the US government

"Bitcoin is no better or worse"
sigh. Please take some advanced macro economics course. Then maybe you won't sound like a drooling idiot that parrots ignorant echo chambers.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 10 months ago | (#45902313)

...and then gets back to where it started in under a month. Sure the swings are bigger in an unregulated market, but the underlying stability seems to be there.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 10 months ago | (#45902325)

Or all they have to do is reduce the value of the current dollar is an illusory tactic that we all call a "stimulus package". Regardless, if the government doesn't have total control over the $money that it's population uses, then it's not money.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (4, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#45902327)

TFA doesn't really counter Stross's arguments much (besides arguing about carbon footprint, but really BTC is small potatoes even if you care about such things). The authors instead focus on why his objections just aren't important, and I tend to agree with that.

In terms of actual economics, Stross is much in favor of state control of things, especially economic things (read his blog to get the best insight on his views), and BTC is the opposite of that. TFA primary argument, and one I'm quite sympathetic to is "well, who knows!" Economists argue over everything, and there's certainly no uniform agreement over what makes a good currency.

As Feynman would say "one experiment is worth 1000 expert opinions". BTC is quite worthwhile IMO as an experiment. Personally, I think it's misguided and solves only unimportant problems, but hey, lets run the experiment and find out who's right. If bitcoin really becomes mainstream then it is a good currency, because the best currency is the one people want to use. And if instead it's crap, then it will never realy matter outside of eternal /. stories, and so no significant harm done.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (2, Interesting)

toQDuj (806112) | about 10 months ago | (#45902455)

All the government needs to do to make it worthless is to ask the NSA to mine with their resources for a while. That would quickly make the government the richest in terms of Bitcoin, and therefore gain even more power!

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

cusco (717999) | about 10 months ago | (#45902765)

The FBI is already one of the largest holders of Bitcoin, since they confiscated the assets of Silk Road.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 10 months ago | (#45902487)

By that logic, stocks are vulnerable to journalistic manipulation, therefore stocks are bad.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (2)

Miseph (979059) | about 10 months ago | (#45902863)

Stocks are terrible at being currency, which is why they are virtually never used as such.

You can't correctly follow the logic if the very first thing you do is ignore it.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 10 months ago | (#45903017)

It was a metaphor, not a model. My point was that something being able to be overcome by events is not necessarily bad. The point works for all somethings, currency or not.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 10 months ago | (#45903035)

Let's try this again. I keep forgetting Slashdot has no edit button: It was a metaphor, not a model. My point was that something being able to be affected by external events isn't the same as being "vulnerable to manipulation", nor is it necessarily bad. The points work for most somethings, currency or not.

I probably muddied the point by making 2 points at once.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902511)

Way to read (well no probably you didn't) a whole article and ignore the bunch of pertinent and on topic technological advances we could discuss and focus on the nominal price of a coin.

Let it go dude.

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#45902567)

As we've seen, all a government needs to do is make a statement about support/regulation and the price drops in half.

The halving of the price followed the first time a government mentioned BitCoin... As such mentions become more frequent, the effects will gradually stop being as dramatic.

Personally, I still prefer gold — because it is useful by itself: as a non-corroding metal with high conductivity and easy to work. And most people find gold beautiful, whereas it takes a peculiar mind to appreciate prime numbers... Bitcoin is useless without the Internet, but gold has been valuable for thousands of years...

Re:Bitcoin is vulernable to government manipulatio (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 10 months ago | (#45903037)

Exactly. The moment they shut down the silk road site, the entire Bitcoin money supply plus five bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Why BTC Magazine Doesn't Know a Thing about Tulips (1)

faraway (174370) | about 10 months ago | (#45902245)

They grow everywhere.

Anyone want some lightcoin or coinye west?  Only $1000/coin.

ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (5, Insightful)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about 10 months ago | (#45902249)

http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=bitcoin [slashdot.org]

Over the last few months, we've been averaging a little more than 1 Bitcoin story every 2 days. Please - please, stop accepting every submission that has the word Bitcoin in it. At this point, I'd almost like them to start covering the 2016 Presidential Election. Enough.

"Troll"? I bet /. editors were early adopters. (0)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about 10 months ago | (#45902271)

Keep the speculation bubble growing, am I right? Keep on pushing stories so we remember that right.this.very.second might be a very good time to invest in a few bitcoins, because hey, there's nowhere else they could go but up, right?

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (3, Funny)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | about 10 months ago | (#45902279)

I don't understand the bitcoin hate.

Bitcoin is the most amazing thing happening in the world today. It is the internet revolution now taking on the finance industry after conquering the media industry.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902529)

Hardly. The number of immediate and direct down-sides to the average user in Bitcoin is huge. Volatility and difficulty of conversion between BTC and other currencies my get better over time, but long-term deflationary supply and irrevocable transactions are engineered into the protocol at a pretty deep level.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902535)

I don't understand the bitcoin hate.

Bitcoin is the most amazing thing happening in the world today. It is the internet revolution now taking on the finance industry after conquering the media industry.

Your wording really makes you look like a BitCoiner. Which is why you don't understand the Bitcoin "hate".

1. Bitcoin is hardly the most amazing thing happening today nor is it any sort of revolution that has to do with the internet.
2. Bitcoin is trying to solve a problem in the way that a person tries to solve a problem when they've taken in too much alcohol. It's a supposed way to provide seemless transfer of money at a low cost. The problem with that is that, it's highly in-efficient. The amount of energy consumed by the mining network will scale with the value of Bitcoin. Reducing the energy each seperate mining unit only means that people will purchase equal mining power until profitability/energy consumption ratio stabilizes again. Right now it's hardly used as a way to seemlessly transfer money. The majority of the liquidity happens within the exchanges. As someone said earlier: speculators and hoarders. When you make payments with Bitcoin, the immediate aftermath is the Bitcoin is sold for whatever national currency. Money in, money out. If you're lucky to put money in early enough, you get more money out if you decide to convert early enough. If you're unlucky or naieve enough to put money in and not take it out before everyone else takes it out, you end up with less or no money out.

One thing Bitcoin is currently amazing at is a tool for taking other people's money. I've made back about 500% of my principle investment in the past few months and hold about 300% more in crypto currencies than my initial position. And the only reason I bother holding that at the moment is there are more people to take money from.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (5, Insightful)

CitizenCain (1209428) | about 10 months ago | (#45902681)

I don't understand the bitcoin hate.

Really?

It's not that hard to understand... then again, I'm a bitcoin hater, so maybe that's why I see it as easy to understand... let me try to fill you in.

1) Enough already. I hear so much hype about it, it's almost as bad as the never-ending election coverage I have to suffer through for 18 months before the elections. I know about it, am not interested, and would rather not see reminders about it every-fucking time I blink.

2) It over-promises and under-delivers (at least as reported on in every story I read, and implemented in the real world). A world changing innovation that will revolutionize currency and break our dependence on evil national governments and usher in a new era.... except that it won't because it's so fundamentally broken on so many levels.

3) I would love to see a viable cryptocurrency take off and break or loosen the hold that evil leviathan government has over the world today. The reality of Bitcoin, however, is that it is a bubble/ponzi scheme/lottery that enriches the lucky few early adopters at the expense of public trust in cryptocurrency, and once the Bitcoin bubble has come and gone, the odds of a fair, viable cryptocurrency being widely accepted by the public go way down. The fact that such a badly broken system is what's going to be equated with all cryptocurrency by the public and the media shatters any hopes I have of actually seeing a meaningful adoption of purely digital, non-government backed currency transactions for the foreseeable future.

We are literally on the verge of an era where the technology exists to break governments of their iron grasp on currency (and therefore the world's economies), but instead of seeing that happen, I get to read a bunch of stories about this technologically brilliant ponzi scheme that's going to poison public opinion against that happening.

And all so some lucky fucks (who aren't me) can get rich on the Bitcoin bubble. What's not to hate?

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45903013)

I suppose you found gold mining completely broken once you found out panning for gold by hand wasn't viable anymore?

Sorry technology passed you by and favoured the early adopters. Don't worry, the android boat hasn't left port just yet, so there's still some time! Sour grapes shouldn't be brought onboard, however.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (2)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 10 months ago | (#45902873)

Bitcoin is the most amazing thing happening in the world today.

This is only true if you believe that central banking is inherently harmful/evil, and things like a gold standard are a great idea. Despite the article's claim that economists constantly argue over everything and thus know nothing (which is incredible ignorance on its own), the case for fiat currency is pretty good [typepad.com] . But the discussion here is being driven by Libertarians, who A) love abstract reasoning and hypothetical examples, and B) are obsessed with the fantasy that people everywhere are conspiring to steal all their money using institutions like the Federal Reserve. Thus, Bitcoin stories and discussions are both inherently political and utterly divorced from actual domain knowledge. Slashdot, like any discussion site, is at its worst when faced with such a combination. It gets old after a while, especially when there's not much new to be said.

(Not to say that everyone supporting Bitcoin is a Libertarian, but most people seem to adopt their framing as a starting point. Anonymous financial transactions *must* be a good thing, because now you can hide from the government! Never mind that corrupt rich people benefit far more from that than we do...)

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (0)

dugancent (2616577) | about 10 months ago | (#45902931)

Bitcoin is the most amazing thing happening in the world today.

It's mildly interesting, at best. Virtually anything you can think of more amazing.

Wow, a new currency. Yawn.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 10 months ago | (#45902285)

I, for one, like bitcoin more than I like the office of the president or its elections.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902289)

Really? Then what do you think about Chris Christie presidential campaign changes given the recent news about the political retribution road closures as compared to bitcoins? Which is more interesting Chris Christie or Bitcoins?

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 10 months ago | (#45902739)

When he is President they can put his bust on a Bitcoin.

(or does he need to be dead first? )

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902801)

Bitcoin is expanding and contracting while Christie merely expands.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#45902309)

http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=bitcoin [slashdot.org]

Over the last few months, we've been averaging a little more than 1 Bitcoin story every 2 days. Please - please, stop accepting every submission that has the word Bitcoin in it. At this point, I'd almost like them to start covering the 2016 Presidential Election. Enough.

Bitcoin Story is a new virtual currency on /.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (1)

ElementOfDestruction (2024308) | about 10 months ago | (#45902347)

Virtual Currencies are supposed to be harder to mine as more people take interest, right? Slashdot is doing it wrong. The supply vs. demand curve is fucked.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 10 months ago | (#45902337)

Well, if any of the candidates decide to accept campaign donations in bitcoin, you'll get your wish.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902555)

Yay let's talk about what politician will further enslave us next. And ignore a technology (this is a tech site right??) that is right up there (if not of more magnitude) with FTP, SMTP, etc.

Or maybe we can talk about Web 2.0! Social integration! Yay another exciting topic.

No wait I've got it: let's talk about hardware! Wow my IE crashes so much faster now that I have 8 cores.

The bitcoin PROTOCOL is a big deal. It can and should be used for many things beyond currency. Put down that Wordpress admin page and build something cool.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (0)

Flammon (4726) | about 10 months ago | (#45902611)

Bitcoin will have more impact on our lives than any technology that has emerged over the last 20 years. It is a game changer. This is the kind of thing that only happens once in a lifetime.

Have you heard the news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902749)

John C. Bitcoin is running for President on the Crypto-Pirate ticket.

Re:ENOUGH. OF. THE. BITCOIN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902771)

I'd almost like them to start covering the 2016 Presidential Election.

There's a huge difference between Bitcoin and the government - even if you ignore the government, you're affected by it.

Bitcoin is irrelevant today (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902263)

There is no need for Bitcoin to die in a fire. It is already dying since people are using it mostly as an investment mechanism (they are either brilliant or idiots depending on who you talk to). Real currencies aren't used (to this extent) as an investment. Savings? Sure. But not held and traded like securities or even say baseball cards. Wake the rest of us up when we can easily and transparently (with no fees) use Bitcoins for real life (grocery store, restaurants, Home Depot, etc.).

Re:Bitcoin is irrelevant today (1)

al0ha (1262684) | about 10 months ago | (#45902429)

You have that right but for the wrong reason. Bitcoin is irrelevant because the underlying software is OpenSource - get it people? Anyone can quickly and easily created their own Bit-whatever currency- as we've seen people doing. What is happening now with Bitcoin itself is the same old pump and dump that happens with penny stocks and the old unregulated wall st of the early 20th century. Remember the Winkle-who-the-f-cares twins are promoting their investment as are others; it's all in the name of making some rich and leaving the rest holding the bag. When will people learn?

Time will tell if I am correct on my view or not...

Re:Bitcoin is irrelevant today (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 10 months ago | (#45902769)

... the same old pump and dump ...

I remember VA Linux. (who, in fact, owned Slashdot for awhile)

Re:Bitcoin is irrelevant today (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 10 months ago | (#45902473)

That's because other currencies are deflationary. Holding them is idiocy. You might as well spend whatever you have now because if you spend it next year it won't buy you as much. The only point to holding a currency is if you expect it to rise against some other currency.

Re:Bitcoin is irrelevant today (1)

cusco (717999) | about 10 months ago | (#45902919)

The only point to holding a currency is if you expect it to rise against some other currency.

I take it you've never heard of the concept of saving money in order to purchase things or for 'rainy day' expenses? It's a really nice feeling to know I could pay cash for a new car today if I wanted to, or could pay to put a new roof on my house tomorrow if it were necessary. Not everyone lives off credit cards or believes in making monthly payments to the bank for the rest of their lives.

If you're holding currency because you're a speculator hoping to make money off its rise against some other currency then you're either 1) dumber than the redneck who bets his mortgage on the roulette wheel, or 2) a friend of George Soros and therefore in a truly elite class of scumbags barely one step above mercenaries.

Re:Bitcoin is irrelevant today (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 10 months ago | (#45903063)

Practically no one except criminals hold significant amounts of currency to purchase things. Instead the currency is invested, at least in a bank account.

BitCoin is different in that it is entirely practical to keep extremely large amounts of it entirely outside the economy. You just cannot do that with cash, except if you are Scrooge McDuck.

Re:Bitcoin is irrelevant today (1)

anagama (611277) | about 10 months ago | (#45902945)

I'm no economist, but isn't that backwards? Most currencies are inflationary, meaning that it takes more of them every year to buy the same junk as last. People thus want to spend their money on real stuff more quickly so they can get full value out of their money. In a deflationary cycle, it takes less money over time to buy the same amount of stuff -- this is the same as saying that the currency's value rises over time and in essence, it makes everything cheaper the longer you wait. This is considered bad because people will hoard money rather than spend it, and that slows trade in the economy.

Ultimately, if we are to have this thing called "interest", we have to have inflationary money otherwise, banks would end up with al the money in existence due to the nature of compounding. I don't particularly like this, but it seems that inflation and credit go hand in hand. We could live without credit, saving for everything we buy, but that would be a pretty massive change. Everyone's house would probably be worth about 25% or less of current value (total guess) for example -- whatever the reduction, current prices are where they are at because people can borrow more than they have -- a lot more.

Please shut the fuck up about bitcoin. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902275)

How about we shut the fuck up about bitcoin for a month? 2-3 posts a day for almost a year. Enough is enough.

I appreciate the technical contributions and decentralized authority ideas the protocol brings. (I dream of a blockchain based DNS system, login/ID system that can't be corrupted or subverted by violence or legal threats pointed at a host or host organization)

A currency scheme with inevitable built-in deflation and massive windfall for lucky early adopters is, however, as stupid as it sounds. It's already fallen victim to the exact kinds of price instability and fraud/scheming that we expected to see. Libertarian blowhards, still, don't seem to think that those "business killing" regulations have any purpose despite the evidence presented right in front of their noses. They're either chronically naive, think they're supermen that are immune (How's your favorite bitcoin exchange working out for you? Closed? Huh, aint that a bitch), or are the crooks themselves.

Re:Please shut the fuck up about bitcoin. (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 10 months ago | (#45902605)

(I dream of a blockchain based DNS system, login/ID system that can't be corrupted or subverted by violence or legal threats pointed at a host or host organization)

Your dream has been (partially) answered: Namecoin [wikipedia.org] :)

Donate Bitcoins to Help The Homeless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902281)

More info at TentCityNJ.org/Donate [tentcitynj.org] .

Screw bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902293)

Dogecoin [dogecoin.com] is where it's at.

The Environmental Argument (2)

Kris_J (10111) | about 10 months ago | (#45902299)

Anyone wanting to rebut the carbon footprint of cryptocurrency should invite the other party to stand behind a running armoured car that's being used to deliver cash to an ATM.

Re:The Environmental Argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902349)

I would put my carbon footprint up your ass. Any form of digital currency will lead to the river of privacy loss. Besides, the majority of us are sick of bitcoin articles.

crown royal genociders fear alternative currency (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902351)

free the innocent stem cells. never a better time to consider ourselves in relation to momkind our spiritual centerpeace sync with creation

Oy! It's like ready two different conversations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902363)

Bticoin Mag;

it is impressive. Bitcoin challenges some basic assumptions about what’s possible.

DeLong quoted by Krugman:

Placing a floor on the value of bitcoins is what, exactly?

the Bitcoin people are all exited about the technology and how it's so innovative. They also dismiss the economists.

The economist and other critics ask a simple question that is ignored - What prevents Bitcoin from becoming worthless.

The answer is nothing.

I will not use Bitcoin or its competitors because I do not trust the "currency" or the people behind it.

Re:Oy! It's like ready two different conversations (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 10 months ago | (#45902799)

Is Bitcoin Magazine high capacity? Can it be 3D printed?

bitcoin is just crypto currency of thousands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902375)

it isn't worth anything and you're a moron if you buy a substantial amount of them.

I love this new layout. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902395)

I love the fact that I can collapse groups of comments, and sort by types of comments. Navigating the comments is so fun. It's why I come to this site and this new layout makes it so much easier!

Read the article and Stross (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 10 months ago | (#45902423)

Don't see the article as actually refuting much of anything Stross had to say.

The nicest thing you can say about bitcoin is that it is disruptive and the disruptions have the possibility of not being exceptionally painful. If you think about the primary advantage of bitcoin, making anonymous electronic transactions that are much harder to trace, you have to think it's not going to be good. Then you look and see the first killer app for bitcoin was the silkroad ? It really isn't going to surprise that this technology destabilizes civil society more than it promotes it.

"It's the technology stupid" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902425)

The bitcoin protocol is the best proof system we've yet seen, ever. Some guy 5000 miles away from me can prove that I did something merely by running his mining software. The uses of this are limited only by human creativity and ingenuity. All the time we get complaints here about how every voting system is fraudulent and hackable and can't be verified. Well... congratulations here's a perfect voting system (at least from the point that a vote is received... don't ask me how you verify who you are giving votable satoshis to).

Instead of acknowledging this, I think a lot of people go off on weird attacks of it all based on the market cap being a little higher than Groupon and they missed out. No one comes here every day posting why groupon is a worthless joke. But bitcoin... wow. And the "money made" in groupon is WAY more concentrated (if that matters to ya).

I really think most attacks on bitcoin are from people sad they missed it earlier. I made some money mining well before the ASICs. And I sold my coins and took a profit way way way below where it is now. Then I sat there and watched it hit $60 and wondered what everyone was smoking. Then I looked into what was actually going on in Cyprus and looked at how banking is for people in most of the world and at how bitcoin can really be of use. And I did the hardest thing an investor ever has to do: I ate crow and bought back in, at well above the price I sold at. And I will continue to buy a little each month, no matter the price. People are out there paying $9 to send $50 to someone who then has to trek 10 miles to a Western Union and hopefully retrieve it. Bitcoin does this in less time and for no cost and doesn't depend on anyone else authorizing it. Really think on that. It doesn't sound like much when you have 2 credit cards and a debit card and a line of credit and a jar full of change and a wallet with a couple hundred bucks in it. But it's a really big fucking deal.

Don't use it as a direct equivalent of money (3, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about 10 months ago | (#45902441)

It is being used as plain money, becoming just a speculative bubble, but its potential is far more than that. The technology is good enough for other uses, like Twister [slashdot.org] , there is where its value resides.

Deflation (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | about 10 months ago | (#45902451)

From TFA:

Bitcoin is more of a hybrid system than a true deflationary system. The gold standard is considered deflationary and Bitcoin is often seen as the digital equivalent of gold. Gold has a limited supply, so it is scarce, just like a digital currency. But real gold can only be subdivided so far. It can only be chopped up so far before it’s nothing but dust. Bitcoin has no such limitations. Theoretically, it can be subdivided into fractions of a coin almost indefinitely, growing as needed with people’s demands. Its current limitation is eight decimal places. Even with only 21 million Bitcoins, that’s still 2000 trillion of the smallest unit. The protocol is designed to be upgradeable, so if we ever need to divide it further we can.

The problem with a deflationary system is not one of divisibility. The problem with a deflationary system is that the value of a given amount of currency is basically guaranteed to increase over time, as the total amount of possible currency has a hard limit--by design, in Bitcoin's case. Unless human civilization starts becoming less valuable as a whole (which is BAD), this is basically inevitable.

That you can chop your Bitcoins up into Nanobitcoins doesn't change the fact that the currency will simply continue to increase in real value. That's like saying you can make a ten-ton boulder less heavy by crushing it into pebbles.

That this is advanced as a serious counterargument to deflation should tell you everything you need to know about the author(s) of this piece.

Re:Deflation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902593)

Yep. While bitcoin is interesting it's clear the authors have no real understanding of what limitations it might have. Or why we might want, for instance, to be able to create endless amounts of money. Hint: we do actually create wealth in the world--it's not static.

Re:Deflation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902695)

Its actually inflationary, increasing supply at 25BTC every 10 minutes. 3600BTC a day, 1.3m btc a year.

Which comes to ~10% inflation a year. This will continue for the next few years until the next block halving.

The price is only rising because of demand.

This is a rebuttal by morons (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902549)

From the article:
"Nobody has the final say on what economic system is the best. Economists can’t even agree on basic assumptions, which is why they argue endlessly."

That's not a rebuttal. That's a refusal to engage a serious point.

Enough with the damn bitcoin stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902585)

I am Jack's complete and total lack of caring about some POS currency that enriched the jackass who made it at the expense of everyone who came afterwards.

It's a fucking pyramid scheme, and has been from the start.

ENOUGH.

You would not believe who really created Bitcoin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45902589)

There is only ONE fact you should consider when thinking about the reality behind Bitcoin. The US dollar will NOT remain a world standard for commerce for very much longer. While you, the sheeple, are trained to think the dollar will last forever, your masters ARE your masters because they see more accurately into the future, and back the adjustments early enough to STAY your masters.

So, for instance, NSA full surveillance projects wee planned and implemented YEARS before even the most informed sheeple knew enough about the possibilities of technology to assume such work had to be underway. And the move to create viable successors to the dollar (NOT for national currency- remember- but the 'global' financial currency) began pretty much when the dollar first rose to global prominence.

Bitcoin was designed to be as perfect as possible, using the most state-of-the-art economics theories. Even so, the project was just another shot in the dark. It might either prove to be another 'Internet' or just a weird long forgotten curiosity. The people that control you use their power to find new ideas and possibly implement them, but their power never guarantees success, as any decent historian can teach you.

Most high profile people who comment on things are CRETINS- their fame being mostly an accident of fashion. However, such people are seen as useful mechanisms in selling simple propaganda programs to the sheeple. However, sometimes a history changing project is launched with no viable safe way to propagandise it (at least in the embryonic stages), so the usual vile shills are left scratching their heads, and often head to their 'bully pulpits' to condemn the phenomenon, unaware that the project has actually been launched by those they are sworn to support.

This is the age of computers, and things are possible (at an implementation level) that were never viable at any previous time in Human History. Rogue intellects are pouring out of the wood work, and pitching their ideas to those with the absolute power to implement. The Xbox One, which places an insanely sophisticated NSA sensor bar in the homes of millions of Americans is a great example of this. And the sheeple just do not care. They watch their masters explicitly calling for genocidal war against primitive nations with no means of self defence, and they do not care. They watch their masters boast that such wars are but a stepping stone to a global war against the Chinese and Russians, and they do not care.

So, no-one here should be surprised that the Bitcoin project was crafted with the fundamental rule "to hell what the sheeple think they understand about Bitcoin". While Bitcoin was the ultimate top-down design, its 'success' in the early stages is expected to be entirely 'bottom-up'.

But, there is a problem for the sheeple. Their complete misunderstanding of Bitcoin means that criminals can fake Bitcoin-like systems that are, in reality, nothing but PYRAMID SCHEMES. Tech sites that have spent the last 4 years belittling Bitcoin are now telling their readers to mine crypto-'currencies' set up by the same crime gangs responsible for RANSOMWARE and other trojan attacks against computers. These criminal gangs, mostly from Israel and ex-Soviet States in or around the Ukraine, know that sheeple THINK Bitcoin functions like a classic pyramid scheme, or investment bubble, so fake crypto-currencies will appear, initially, just as 'valid'.

So, mining Bitcoin with GPU class hardware on PCs is currently pretty much a waste of time, but Litecoin (a project crafted to boost current interest in Bitcoin) rejuvenated the financial benefits of GPU mining. And now, Litecoin is being used to justify the growing inventions of the fake new crypto-currencies that, like I said, are really just classic pyramid schemes. In a pyramid scheme, it must become EASIER for people to join with time, so mining with cheap GPU hardware will be purposely made MORE profitable with time, not less, while the bubble is inflating.

Bitcoin faces a backlash, when the fake criminal currencies all see their bubbles burst, but by that time, the mainstream media will be soaked with propaganda that attempts to explain the mechanistic (mathematical) differences between Bitcoin, and these criminal pyramid schemes. Notice the people backing Bitcoin. They are anything but sheeple. These new criminal bubbles will be supported almost entirely by sheeple- the sheeple whose combined wealth will be stolen when the bubble of each new fake currency bursts. Obviously those first into the pyramid, who cash out before the burst, may make a healthy profit- but that's why pyramid schemes exist in the first place.

Re:You would not believe who really created Bitcoi (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 10 months ago | (#45902867)

This is the age of computers, and things are possible (at an implementation level) that were never viable at any previous time in Human History.

Only until the power goes out, and even then, only to the degree that solenoids and various other electromechanical mechanisms can be skillfully interfaced to them. Otherwise, computers are just glorified light bulbs.

But Bitcoins are a cool and somewhat interesting use for computers. If you can't afford good electromechanical mechanisms.

Re:You would not believe who really created Bitcoi (1)

Miseph (979059) | about 10 months ago | (#45902965)

Fun fact: I stopped reading at your first use of the word "sheeple".

Sure, it's revolutionary. (1)

YukariHirai (2674609) | about 10 months ago | (#45902793)

But the thing is... "revolutionary" doesn't necessarily mean "entirely good". I agree that Bitcoin is revolutionary. I also agree that Bitcoin is damaging to society in many ways. Maybe not as doom and gloom as what Stross is claiming, but it's certainly not the ideal that Bitcoin's proponents are claiming.

My 2 bitcoin (2)

jgotts (2785) | about 10 months ago | (#45902829)

Bitcoin has fundamental utility, just like Internet companies did in 2000 before the crash, except its price includes manic speculation. I don't want bitcoin to die, nor did I want those Internet companies to die. They all had utility, but manic speculation killed them. Speculation didn't kill them, or even rampant speculation. Manic speculation killed them, speculation without any justification except emotion, herd mentality, or what have you.

In my opinion, Bitcoin will be worth, after a number of years, about a dollar a bitcoin. In other words, what I'm saying is that one bitcoin has about a dollar's worth of long-term utility and [today] 999 dollars worth of speculation.

The two reasons I cite are: 1) Hundreds of groups of people, at least, are sophisticated enough to create a new cryptocurrency, and the interesting world of the future will be dozens of cryptocurrencies being traded like stocks on an exchange. You will be able to buy a basket of cryptocurrencies to minimize risk, similar to buying an index fund. 2) There are many large holders of bitcoin who at some point will want to move on to their next big tech project. They will over the long term bring down the price of a bitcoin to its intrinsic worth to society, let's say about a buck a bitcoin.

If I had risk capital, which I do not because at this time in my life I choose to do less work for less money, I would ride the volatility wave of bitcoin, making a few hundred bucks here, a few hundred bucks there: Definitely not enough money to quit my job. There is no problem with mining bitcoin or using bitcoin at this value, because you go in and out of bitcoin so quickly it doesn't matter. A cynic would say that the long term worth of many assets will eventually die down to zero, for example some highly-valued stock for a technology that is obsolete in 50 years, but I think that the value of bitcoin will fall back down to Earth in more like 5-10 years or less. It will be one useful cryptocurrency among many.

He knows a lot about bitcoin (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#45902835)

It's just another commodity. He just wants to manipulate the market and buy a few if he can drive the price down with some propaganda first. Wall Street antics.

What happens (2, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | about 10 months ago | (#45902871)

If Bitcoins get lost. Gone forever, right?

How long will it take to lose all 21 million coins?

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