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Author Topic: NEW: Bitcoin Fractional Reserve Bank  (Read 4235 times)
nanotube
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March 22, 2011, 04:12:03 PM
 #1

As a complementary service to noagenda's anti-deflationary scheme (http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4780.0) I hereby introduce the Bitcoin Fractional Reserve Bank, to pull the meager bitcoin economy out of the deflationary spiral of doom! By lowering our reserve requirements over time, we can arbitrarily extend the inflationary period of bitcoin, and thus counteract the hard-coded reductions in bitcoin creation rate!

The current reserve ratio is set at a respectable 90 percent, and will be halved every time the bitcoin block bounty is halved (every 210000 blocks). All deposits are backed by the Fractional Deposit Insurance Corporation), up to a maximum amount of 0 bitcoins. All deposits carry an attractive 0% interest rate, which is in the top 5% of all bitcoin depositary institutions!

Further, we are well prepared to deal with any bank run-style event. In addition to the solid backing by the FracDIC, we are prepared to close our doors and suspend operations, until the depositors clamoring for their funds walk away in defeat and frustration.

So, deposit your bitcoins into the BFRB, and I promise to lend out 10% (current rate - will vary in tandem with bitcoin block bounty) of the money you deposit, thus inflating the money supply beyond the built in bitcoin limit! Do it for yourself, do it for the bitcoin economy, do it for me!

* offer not available in stores. shipping and handling charges may apply. limit one account per person.

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 22, 2011, 06:05:27 PM
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I think if this trend continues we're going to confuse the piss out of someone that stumbles on these forums.

Pretty funny post though, I like it.

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March 23, 2011, 12:38:50 AM
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Haha, I thought the Ben Bernanke was here. We'd have to watch for this if that paper money ever gets out there.

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Hal
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March 23, 2011, 12:42:01 AM
 #4

You laugh, but I predict that fractional reserve Bitcoin banks will exist. They'll make loans and pay interest, just as banks have done for centuries.

Hal Finney
Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 23, 2011, 12:44:21 AM
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You laugh, but I predict that fractional reserve Bitcoin banks will exist. They'll make loans and pay interest, just as banks have done for centuries.

I don't doubt that at all. Well I guess they couldn't with BTC if they dont have them to loan out.
They will figure something out.

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March 23, 2011, 12:48:20 AM
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Aye. In Lieu of Bitcoins, here's your 5970. Now get to work!
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March 23, 2011, 02:45:56 AM
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RE: fractional reserve bitcoin banks:

I think it will happen, too.  Because of the nature of bitcoins they could arrange so that their reserves can be audited by anybody (easiest way:  prove they own a particular bitcoin address by signing something with its private key, then send all their reserves to that address).

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March 23, 2011, 04:33:32 AM
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A fractional reserve bank could exit at up to a 50% reserve ratio, by openly stating that all deposits, including 'on demand' accounts, are used as reserve funds for loans.  Simply loaning out what they actually have on deposit, plus what they have in 'on demand' accounts, would be an advantage over a full reserve bank that had to be able to cover all 'on demand' accounts in full.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
nanotube
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March 23, 2011, 08:18:38 PM
 #9

indeed, as i've mentioned several times in various discussions before, setting the reserve ratio anywhere between 100 and 0 percent is simply a tradeoff between riskiness and profitability. I will not be surprised if real fractional reserve bitcoin banking does arise, and various stated reserve ratios will simply attract different clientele.

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 23, 2011, 09:04:18 PM
 #10

The only part that's hard to verify (as an avg consumer) is how much they loan out.
Unless there's an easy way I'm not aware of.
You are talking about them storing btc and loaning out notes right?

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March 23, 2011, 09:05:35 PM
 #11

I came in here looking for loans. I only found lulz. : (
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March 23, 2011, 09:38:22 PM
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A fractional reserve bank could exit at up to a 50% reserve ratio, by openly stating that all deposits, including 'on demand' accounts, are used as reserve funds for loans.  Simply loaning out what they actually have on deposit, plus what they have in 'on demand' accounts, would be an advantage over a full reserve bank that had to be able to cover all 'on demand' accounts in full.

But then it wouldn't really be a 'fractional-reserve' bank in the traditional (fraudulent) sense, because the depositor knows ahead of time that his on demand deposit account is not fully liquid and the 'on-demand' claim is just marketing.

I would argue that the greatest impediment to sustained, fractional-reserve Bitcoin banking is the simple fact that few in the bitcoin economy will accept bitcoin credit from such a bank.  Why should they when they can get cold, hard BTC directly?  Fractional-reserve banking arose from the fact that representative paper money was more convenient to trade than oz of gold and silver.  But with Bitcoin, it doesn't really get much easier than trading electronic Bitcoin bytes directly (except perhaps in the case of microtransactions).

In the legalized fractional-reserve system of fiat currencies with central banking, states ensure that banking credit at all banks is directly convertible to the same paper fiat (BofA credit = Wells Fargo credit = Paper USD).  This helps create the banking cartel and minimizes the power of the bank run.  It homogenizes the perception of banking credit as synonymous with the underlying money and strengthens the fractional-reserve illusion.  But nobody, state or otherwise, will be able to convert inflated btc bank credit directly into Bitcoin specie - the Bitcoin software will simply reject the transaction!  Competing bitcoin financial institutions and individual users will always be able to demand pure BTC to keep BTC lenders honest.

None of this precludes traditional lending (just the destructive, inflationary kind).  BTC banks will generally be limited to lending only what they have and with the permission of depositors.  Interest rates, of course, will undoubtedly be higher.

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March 23, 2011, 10:35:23 PM
 #13

A fractional reserve bank could exit at up to a 50% reserve ratio, by openly stating that all deposits, including 'on demand' accounts, are used as reserve funds for loans.  Simply loaning out what they actually have on deposit, plus what they have in 'on demand' accounts, would be an advantage over a full reserve bank that had to be able to cover all 'on demand' accounts in full.
I would argue that the greatest impediment to sustained, fractional-reserve Bitcoin banking is the simple fact that few in the bitcoin economy will accept bitcoin credit from such a bank.  Why should they when they can get cold, hard BTC directly? 

Why can't the bank deliver real hard BTC? Fractional reserve relies on the fact that the demand for hard BTC will never be 100% of deposits, not that demand for hard BTC will be zero.
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March 23, 2011, 10:41:25 PM
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Bitcoin banks will get killed by bank runs and rumors spread by their customers.

Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 23, 2011, 10:48:35 PM
 #15

Bitcoin banks will get killed by bank runs and rumors spread by their customers.

I agree but I'm going to assume that people said the same thing when they were coming up with fiat and fractional reserve.

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March 23, 2011, 11:33:54 PM
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Why can't the bank deliver real hard BTC? Fractional reserve relies on the fact that the demand for hard BTC will never be 100% of deposits, not that demand for hard BTC will be zero.

What I mean is that very few will take bitcoin 'checks.'  In the fractional banking system, credit represented in checks circulate as real money.  Vendors accept these checks as if they were hard money.  This helps create the essential time delay necessary for fractional-reserve banking.  In the modern variation with central banks, the entire banking system works as a cartel and there is effectively only one bank (all banks accept each others checks).

-Let's say Black deposits 100BTC at Bitcoin Bank A.
-Bank A gives Black access to an on-demand deposit account with 100 BTC maintained on Bank A's database.
-Brown wants to start a business and needs capital.
-Bank A 'lends' 100BTC to Brown by creating a second on-demand deposit account controlled by Brown with 100 BTC.
-Bank A thus keeps 100 BTC on reserve for 200 BTC of on-demand deposit accounts (50% reserve).

Now Black and Brown want to spend some of their checkbook BTC money.  Brown, in particular, needs to spend most of his 100BTC to buy capital for his new business.  Will other vendors accept it?  

After all, the Bitcoin-denominated accounts seen by Black and Brown are not the same hard BTC recognized by the Bitcoin software or protocol.  Many vendors run their own nodes.  Every individual running a node (or even the simplified verification system) is in fact serving as an individual 'bank' outside of Bank A.   Bank A's checkbook BTC is therefore not equivalent to hard BTC - and no state or government can effectively cartelize all the merchants and individuals to make this so.  Merchants using the Bitcoin transaction system will be debiting hard BTC out of Bank A's accounts.

Because of the digital nature of BTC any failure to supply funds is quickly apparent.  Bank A is unable to stall runs because the circulation of Bank A's checkbook money is extremely limited.

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March 24, 2011, 12:00:10 AM
 #17

Fractional reserve banking is certainly possible with Bitcoin, the very same way it was possible with gold and silver coinage. And it will eventually happen because it is quite profitable.

I'd add that there is nothing wrong with fractional reserve banking in itself. The only thing that is wrong is advertising on demand deposits as "on demand" whereas they are actually "on demand" only until there is a bank run (which may never happen but there is some risk).

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March 24, 2011, 02:08:36 AM
 #18

Isn't fractional reserve banking basically creating money out of debt though?

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March 24, 2011, 07:08:18 PM
 #19

I don't think there's anything wrong with fractional reserve banking. It's intuitively repulsive to me, but there's no violence in the business model. Although there is of course violence in it's current central bank implementation. If there are competing BitCoin banks (which I think there would be), the ones that take the piss will lose customers. There'll be no bailing them out, so they'll just die.

I'm so excited! All we need to do, is come up with an explaination of bitcoin that a critical mass of people will understand. Then we will have seperation of state and economics! Interesting times eh?

Wait..

Unless the state can convince a critical mass of people that terrorists can transport explosives digitally.

Then we're doomed. DOOMED i tells ya!

Food for thought? 19Uvy3JXxqhtumhTJdua1zLtjhBhY2zGF6
Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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March 24, 2011, 07:12:06 PM
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Unless the state can convince a critical mass of people that terrorists can transport explosives digitally.

Then we're doomed. DOOMED i tells ya!

They can pay for the money to buy them digitally so they're going to say that's basically the same thing.

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