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Author Topic: Bitcoin alternatives?  (Read 6263 times)
Myst
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September 29, 2010, 10:51:59 AM
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I've tried bitcoin twice, once over a year ago and again a few months ago. Both times I lost interest. I like the basic idea, but wonder if it can be improved. Is there a place on this site or somewhere else to discuss bitcoin alternatives?
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September 29, 2010, 10:56:54 AM
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This thread is as good a place as any . Welcome to the forums. Smiley
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September 29, 2010, 11:56:46 AM
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Why did you loose interest? That should get the discussion started. Also, what is it you were looking for in bitcoin that you need an alternative for?

I use bitcoin because I'm very interested in a 'deal facilitator'/commodity/whatchacallit that is not centrally controlled, thus not regulated by a single entity. Sure, someone with a huge amount of coins (artfonz, satoshi) may tilt the balance, but only once if there's enough critical mass to absorb the coin input.

What about you?

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September 29, 2010, 12:35:38 PM
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I want to ask everyone who has lost interest - please, donate bitcoins to Bitcoin Faucet.

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September 29, 2010, 01:19:28 PM
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Thanks for the welcome.

Quote
Why did you loose interest?

I think that the bitcoin system has some awkward aspects, in a word. The idea of generating (and verifying) coins through lengthy but otherwise meaningless computation is not very inspiring and introduces an inefficiency that is a barrier to widespread adoption, if it is not absolutely necessary. Then there is the problem of sustainability as the computational requirements appear to grow indefinitely over time. Finally, a finite number of coins can be hoarded and/or lost over time.

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I use bitcoin because I'm very interested in a 'deal facilitator'/commodity/whatchacallit that is not centrally controlled, thus not regulated by a single entity.

I'm a big supporter of decentralization also. Therefore, a distributed peer network seems essential. However, I think it's reasonable centralize the creation of coins, perhaps on a temporary basis only. Once created, they then would then be managed by the network. As they exist, bitcoins have a single point of origin to some degree anyway. For example, one person decided the total number that could be created.

One suggestion I have is to generate coins as "rewards" for charitable donations. One or more suitable non-profit entities would be designated (perhaps by popular vote), and if an agreement can be made with the entities to reward donors with coins, then every coin would be created by a meaningful act of generosity. I know I would feel good using such coins knowing of their origin. People give money to non-profits/charities anyway, so they would find themselves with a supply of coins to use and many would find ways to use them.

A coin could be identified by a unique ID, and digitally signed by the non-profit as authentic and as belonging to a certain donor as identified by their public key. When the donor wanted to use the coin, he would digitally sign the coin over to a new owner with his private key. A chain of anonymous ownership would be created connecting the coin to a trusted source, which provides a public counter of the last coin ID issued. This chain would not be very difficult to verify, compared to bitcoins.

It would be the role of the network to dynamically store all existing coins, and to prevent counterfeiting (if possible with this approach -- that is the question). I think the computational overhead would be much less than with bitcoin.

It is an open question whether to limit the number of coins produced. I like the idea of switching to a completely decentralized network once coins are no longer generated, but then there would be the possibility of hording (aggravated by expected attrition of coins) and the coin records would grow indefinitely. So, I lean toward ongoing production of coins, perhaps with demurrage; perhaps competing series of coins generated by different designated charities. I expect that there will always be (and should be) competing currencies anyway. I like the idea of currency as a flow rather than as a scarce resource, and a system with steady production and retirement of coins fits the former concept best.


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September 29, 2010, 01:23:46 PM
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It's weird to worry about hoarding. No one can hoard your coins, and why do you care what they do with theirs? What is the right amount of time to hold a coin?

People keep saying "hoarding", try using "saving" and then explain why it's so terrible.

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September 29, 2010, 02:16:51 PM
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Thanks for the welcome.

Quote
Why did you loose interest?

I think that the bitcoin system has some awkward aspects, in a word. The idea of generating (and verifying) coins through lengthy but otherwise meaningless computation is not very inspiring and introduces an inefficiency that is a barrier to widespread adoption, if it is not absolutely necessary. Then there is the problem of sustainability as the computational requirements appear to grow indefinitely over time. Finally, a finite number of coins can be hoarded and/or lost over time.

Quote
I use bitcoin because I'm very interested in a 'deal facilitator'/commodity/whatchacallit that is not centrally controlled, thus not regulated by a single entity.

I'm a big supporter of decentralization also. Therefore, a distributed peer network seems essential. However, I think it's reasonable centralize the creation of coins, perhaps on a temporary basis only. Once created, they then would then be managed by the network. As they exist, bitcoins have a single point of origin to some degree anyway. For example, one person decided the total number that could be created.

One suggestion I have is to generate coins as "rewards" for charitable donations. One or more suitable non-profit entities would be designated (perhaps by popular vote), and if an agreement can be made with the entities to reward donors with coins, then every coin would be created by a meaningful act of generosity. I know I would feel good using such coins knowing of their origin. People give money to non-profits/charities anyway, so they would find themselves with a supply of coins to use and many would find ways to use them.
A coin could be identified by a unique ID, and digitally signed by the non-profit as authentic and as belonging to a certain donor as identified by their public key. When the donor wanted to use the coin, he would digitally sign the coin over to a new owner with his private key. A chain of anonymous ownership would be created connecting the coin to a trusted source, which provides a public counter of the last coin ID issued. This chain would not be very difficult to verify, compared to bitcoins.


Jez...  With all due respect man, When I read you I see the intrusion of a bureaucratic-state supporter.  Do you work for a central bank of something :-)  Huh

I'm a huge defender of currency competition, so honnestly, if you think an other version of bitcoins worth creating, feel free to create it.  But be aware that I will probably stick to bitcoins.  And I probably won't be the only one.


It would be the role of the network to dynamically store all existing coins, and to prevent counterfeiting (if possible with this approach -- that is the question). I think the computational overhead would be much less than with bitcoin.

It is an open question whether to limit the number of coins produced. I like the idea of switching to a completely decentralized network once coins are no longer generated, but then there would be the possibility of hording (aggravated by expected attrition of coins) and the coin records would grow indefinitely. So, I lean toward ongoing production of coins, perhaps with demurrage; perhaps competing series of coins generated by different designated charities. I expect that there will always be (and should be) competing currencies anyway. I like the idea of currency as a flow rather than as a scarce resource, and a system with steady production and retirement of coins fits the former concept best.


Well, I very much prefer a limited-amount currency.  Sure, one can imagine a annualy-fixed production of money (such as 2%, for instance, as targeted by modern central banks).   But I beleive such e-currency would be about as much crappy as other current national fiat currencies.  The possibility of a corner, imo, is a necessary evil.  You might regret it, but imo it is this very possibility that gives the money its value, as rich investors will always try to corner it, and by doing so will sustain liquidity and value.  It"s funny I have this discussion the very same day gold reaches a  new all-time high, at 1,300$.
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September 29, 2010, 03:05:40 PM
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Thanks for the welcome.

Quote
Why did you loose interest?

I think that the bitcoin system has some awkward aspects, in a word. The idea of generating (and verifying) coins through lengthy but otherwise meaningless computation is not very inspiring and introduces an inefficiency that is a barrier to widespread adoption, if it is not absolutely necessary. Then there is the problem of sustainability as the computational requirements appear to grow indefinitely over time. Finally, a finite number of coins can be hoarded and/or lost over time.


Meanginless generations and intense computational requirement of creating new currencies is not an adoption barrier. The lack of business accepting bitcoin is.

An average Joe Sixpack user won't care about generating bitcoin. It's just too complicated for him. He'll just use an online account to keep a wallet.

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September 29, 2010, 04:19:04 PM
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The "meanigless computation" aspect is something that I too found ugly about Bitcoin when I first came accross it.

True, proof-of-work does create overheads. True, we could be computing protein structures instead of hash functions, IF we could find a protein computation algorithm that has the same properties as a hash function.

But then I realised that security always comes at a cost. More security will usually mean more inefficiency, but that doesn't matter too much because people value security.

Using the physical gold analogy: Sure, we would all be better off if we didn't "waste" our money on safes und just kept our gold coins in the drawer. All we would need to do is to mutually agree not to steal from each other. Then we could spend the money on something more sexy than safes.  But in all but very small and tight-knit communities, this is unworkable because it only takes one rogue...

In any case, the overhead imposed by the proof-of-work function isn't that high. Generating coins is only a small part of the economy; the price of bitcoins is low enough to make generation unprofitable for the vast majority of users.

It is reasonable to assume that the few users who still do generate coins, do it at almost zero marginal cost, utilising resources that would have gone to waste anyhow. So it is not as ineffecient as it seems.  

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September 29, 2010, 04:25:02 PM
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It is reasonable to assume that the few users who still do generate coins, do it at almost zero marginal cost, utilising resources that would have gone to waste anyhow. So it is not as ineffecient as it seems.  

It is probably much more efficient to not have a anti-counterfeiting organization, or all the security guards to defend the gold vault, etc.

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September 29, 2010, 06:48:21 PM
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It is reasonable to assume that the few users who still do generate coins, do it at almost zero marginal cost, utilising resources that would have gone to waste anyhow. So it is not as ineffecient as it seems. 

It is probably much more efficient to not have a anti-counterfeiting organization, or all the security guards to defend the gold vault, etc.

+1
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October 08, 2010, 09:48:01 PM
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Have a look at some of these

http://www.metacurrency.org
http://opencoin.org/
http://github.com/FellowTraveler/Open-Transactions/wiki

Although im sticking with BC  Wink

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October 09, 2010, 07:18:53 AM
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Somehow they don't seem to be that big yet (not as big as bitcoin):

metacurrency : no real software, only some flash widgets.
opencoin: academic researcher project and has lawyers, lot of info but no real downloadable implementation
github: server and client code, but looks alpha stage, no gui, no real website, centralized?

Of all 3 the github one looks the most promising alternative, but none seem to have places to spend the currency.

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October 09, 2010, 02:52:07 PM
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Somehow they don't seem to be that big yet (not as big as bitcoin):

metacurrency : no real software, only some flash widgets.
opencoin: academic researcher project and has lawyers, lot of info but no real downloadable implementation
github: server and client code, but looks alpha stage, no gui, no real website, centralized?

Of all 3 the github one looks the most promising alternative, but none seem to have places to spend the currency.

Github is not the name of the software. It is the name of the git host.

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October 09, 2010, 05:09:58 PM
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I know, but it was more meant as a pointer.

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May 07, 2011, 11:58:32 PM
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Somehow they don't seem to be that big yet (not as big as bitcoin):

metacurrency : no real software, only some flash widgets.
opencoin: academic researcher project and has lawyers, lot of info but no real downloadable implementation
github: server and client code, but looks alpha stage, no gui, no real website, centralized?

Of all 3 the github one looks the most promising alternative, but none seem to have places to spend the currency.

I like Ripple, but it doesn't have a p2p implementation yet. The issuance of the currencies are p2p though. It is like openmoney (LETS), but without a central issuer. Well, any participant can issue his own currencies (in any denomination). It has also been proposed as a financial complement for bitcoin in this forum.

http://ripple-project.org/

Did you know it?
What do you think about it?


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