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1  Bitcoin / Press / [2014-07-09] In Bitcoin We Trust on: July 09, 2014, 04:29:49 PM
Article in the top section of the LA Times today, page A13. Riddled with inaccuracies as usual, but hey, all press is good press! Web version is verbatim except for a different headline:

You can donate to a PAC, buy a Tesla or order a Domino's pizza using bitcoin. California just repealed a ban on such cryptocurrencies, so the question is not only "Now what?" but "What?," period. Any currency that's not tied to something like gold is essentially faith-based, but faith may be harder to come by for something like bitcoin, which took a PR hit in the Mt. Gox failure in February and has no physical existence anyway. You may want to try it out just because it's neat, says John Villasenor, a UCLA professor of electrical engineering and public policy and a Brookings Institution fellow, but it's the "decentralized trust" that underpins bitcoin transactions that is the real innovation.

Bitcoin is the biggest of the cryptocurrencies. What makes cryptocurrency different?
In a bitcoin-like system, money can move essentially instantaneously, and the fees can be much smaller than with traditional transactions. - 

I'm not one of those who believes bitcoin is going to replace the U.S. dollar. But think about some strange things we take for granted that, if you take a step back, don't make sense.

When you buy something with a credit card, you provide all the information to defraud you. That doesn't make a lot of sense. If I hand you $10 cash, unless you're going to whack me over the head, you can't get me to give you any more. With a credit card, I authorize you to charge $10 and you could charge $50 and, in the immediate term, there's no way for me to stop it. Every few weeks we find out millions of credit cards have been compromised. What we have is not really fine.

Enter bitcoin. On the security side, in a bitcoin transaction, you are never providing any other party with information that could be used to defraud you. When you send bitcoin to somebody, even if they're not trustworthy, they cannot use the information you provided to extract more money than you want to give.

Second, efficiency. In a bitcoin-like system, money can move essentially instantaneously, and the fees can be much smaller than with traditional transactions.

What is so hard for most people to grasp about it?

The hardest thing not unreasonably is that bitcoin is completely decentralized currency. There's nobody in charge, no company, no government, no consortium collectively everybody acts to run it. Most of us grew up in a world where government has oversight over currency like the dollar.

Is there an actual bitcoin coin?

Strictly speaking, no. People have made little things with a capital B on them. But you can send a half-bitcoin, or .003 bitcoin. I can't send you less than a cent, but I can send you the equivalent of less than a cent in bitcoin.

How is the value of bitcoin determined?

By the market. You might say, how do we know the value of Tesla stock? There's no government body that says Tesla stock is worth X. The value is whatever willing buyers and willing sellers are willing to exchange Tesla shares for. How many dollars it costs to buy one bitcoin flows up and down, a lot like stock charges or foreign exchange charts.

What's the impact of California repealing the old law that banned alternate currencies?

I don't think it fundamentally changes the larger regulatory landscape, but it is important because it represents a more open-minded approach to bitcoin from the government of California. One big complication is that [bitcoin's] issues are both federal and state.

And that could mean regulation.

The government has money reporting laws. If you go to a traditional bank for a wire transfer for $60,000 as a down payment on a condo, that gets reported [because of] "anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism" [rules]. If you send $70,000 in the bitcoin network, there's no reporting at all. The Financial Crime Enforcement Network, part of the Treasury Department, can't mail a letter and say you need to keep us in the loop. They have oversight more easily over people who change dollars into bitcoin and vice versa, but [otherwise] there's no reporting. The parties transacting in bitcoin aren't readily identifiable. They're identifiable simply by strings of numbers and letters. That does raise some regulatory questions.

Is the virtual community going to resist regulation?

The bitcoin community isn't monolithic. There's an industry organization that advocates for the ecosystem but no one person speaks for bitcoin. There's a subset of people who want to roll up their sleeves and work with regulators and bring bitcoin into the fold with appropriate legislation. Those people are presumably of the belief that that's the way to make the ecosystem grow. Others feel the whole point of bitcoin is that it's unregulated, untethered to any government mechanism for moving money, and they don't want to in effect sell out by having it become highly regulated.

What's the bitcoin-owner demographic?

In the earlier days of bitcoin, which has been around since 2009, you had to have quite a bit of technical knowledge. [It's now] far easier to use, but it's still a very tech-savvy crowd. You find people who are trying it out because it's neat. You find people who have a basic distrust of anything run by the government. And you find people attracted to it because [it is untraceable]. Not all financial systems are used for above-board [activities]. Sometimes I get a bit defensive when people say, "Gosh, bitcoin can be used for criminal purposes." So [can] cash and credit cards and checks.

How can regular people get bitcoins?

There are various providers where you can link your bank account to convert money to bitcoin. You can't just turn dollars into bitcoins in your own living room; you have to go to exchange services, with the obvious caveat that you want to be very careful to use a reputable service. Bitcoin is stored [online] in your own bitcoin "wallet" and you are free to spend it with anybody who [offers] bitcoin options.

Bitcoin isn't backed by insurance, as bank deposits are. When it's gone, it's gone. Evidence the losses when the bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox folded, and the British man who threw out his hard drive with millions in bitcoin value on it.

You're right, there isn't consumer protection at the same level there is for traditional deposits in banks. There may emerge a market for insurance for cryptocurrency, but right now there's no FDIC for bitcoin. Right after Mt. Gox went down, CNN ran a headline along the lines of "Mt. Gox Site Disappears, Future of Bitcoin in Doubt." That makes as much sense as a headline saying, "Bridge Washes Out in Storm, Automobile's Future in Doubt." I would distinguish between Mt. Gox itself and the bitcoin ecosystem.

I've read concerns about its potential for destabilizing "fiat" currencies like the dollar, not just complementing them.

Eight billion dollars [the current estimated value of all the bitcoin in existence] in the context of the global financial system is the tiniest drop in the bucket. I don't see bitcoin shaking the fundamental foundations of the global system.

That's not meant to be a criticism of bitcoin. If I'm going to the grocery store, I can pay cash, I can use a debit or credit card there's not really a pain point that bitcoin will help to resolve. Now, if I'm going to move $2,000 to London, there is actually a pain point where I might look at bitcoin.

Are there unintended consequences to bitcoin?

If you buy coffee and a muffin with bitcoin, most merchants immediately convert it to dollars. If you have thousands of merchants doing that, you put downward pressure on the [value of] bitcoin because you are selling bitcoin.

Do you know anything about bitcoin's supposed creator, Satoshi Nakamoto?

I know nothing more than what I've read in the press. It seems clear the person fingered in the Los Angeles area doesn't seem to be the right Satoshi Nakamoto. I have no idea who the real Satoshi Nakamoto was, and even if I did, I wouldn't go talking about it because whoever that is wanted to remain anonymous and that anonymity should be respected.
2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Fully open-source PC: Bunnie Huang's "Novena" on: April 07, 2014, 06:16:06 AM
Been very excited about this since he started blogging about the development. Nearly everything about the hardware is open source. The prices for finished products seem pretty reasonable as well.

Crowd-funding through crowdsupply:


I suppose the few remaining things that could spy on you are your storage devices (SSD, sd cards, etc)... or maybe that can be circumvented with software? You certainly have better control over data flow with a fully open source system.

Anyway, I have no affiliation with those guys, I just read about the crowdfunding campaign on Hackaday and decided to share. There's usually some healthy discussion (not to mention many apps and programs) on bitcointalk about helping you keep your private key data safe, and being able to trust your hardware is the next big step toward a fully secure bitcoin usage environment.
3  Bitcoin / Press / [2014-03-10] Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto: What do we really know? on: March 10, 2014, 05:06:05 PM
I've only skimmed it so far, but seems like a pretty extensive/thorough article about Dorian.

4  Economy / Computer hardware / [WTS] Various GPUs on: January 06, 2014, 03:41:43 AM
For sale. I'm in California, will ship abroad. Prices do not include shipping (calculated from your zip/shipping code). Prices based on current exchange rate of $930 (bitstamp). If this changes significantly in either direction (up or down), I'll have to adjust BTC price. I'll take fiat via paypal (converted fiat price + 4%) but I'll secretly hate you for it.  Cheesy

(Truncate prices below to 1 mBTC.)

HIS HD 6950 2gb --
Sapphire HD 6950 2gb --
Visiontek HD 6950 1gb -- sold
MSI HD 5850 1gb --
Asus GTX 560 1gb --

6-inch PCIe risers (8-inch overall) for  each. I think I have 5 or 6 of them. (If you need one and buy a card from me, I'll send one for free.) sold

[update] Sapphire HD 7950 3gb good to go, .

Also feel free to make your best offer here or PM.

See images below. Thanks for looking.
5  Bitcoin / Press / [2013-12-09] Los Angeles Times: Cashing in on the bitcoin boom on: December 09, 2013, 04:16:22 PM
Front page of the LA Times this morning.,0,4687478.story


Consumers are using bitcoins at coffee shops, hotels, online stores and even, in some cases, to run their businesses. And every day, dozens more firms are deciding to use the virtual currency.

NEW YORK Donald Duhaney brought a wallet full of cash to a Whole Foods in Manhattan's trendy Lower East Side one recent evening. But he wasn't in search of kale, quinoa or cage-free eggs.
Duhaney, 37, was in the market for bitcoins, the hot digital currency that has caught the eye of entrepreneurs and regulators. So he ventured to a pair of couches on the supermarket's second floor, next to the Jamba Juice, where enthusiasts meet weekly to buy, sell and talk bitcoins.
He quickly found a seller: a quiet young man in a trench coat lounging in a green armchair. Along with a friend who trades so-called crypto currencies, the two used their iPhones to check bitcoin's going price then about $830 on a leading online exchange.
Then they sealed the deal. Duhaney pulled out $1,005 10 crisp $100 bills, and five ones in exchange for 1.2 bitcoin, which was transferred via an iPhone app.
"It looks like something nice to invest in," said Duhaney, a computer programmer who lives in suburban White Plains, N.Y. "Right now, it's taking off."
It's a bet speculators like Duhaney are increasingly making, helping briefly push up bitcoin's price to more than $1,200 in late November as promoters saw the virtual currency gaining wider acceptance by merchants and consumers.
Bitcoin, which was valued at only $13 a year ago, has plummeted from its recent peak to $735 late Sunday, underscoring how volatile it remains.
Though still far from the mainstream and too complex for the average consumer, bitcoin already has grown well past its roots as the plaything of anarchists and hackers who viewed it as a political statement against big government and an alternative to credit cards.
Today, consumers are using them at coffee shops, hotels, online stores and even, in some cases, to run their businesses. And every day, dozens more companies are offering to let consumers spend or receive bitcoins for goods and services.
In downtown Palo Alto, people can use their bitcoins at Coupa Cafe, a hot spot for students and entrepreneurs. When they approach the counter to pay and order, they can get their price in dollars or bitcoins.
Next to the register is a laminated card with the cafe's QR code, the square-shaped successor to bar codes. Customers tap a bitcoin app on their smartphone, and then hold the phone up to the card. A smartphone behind the register alerts the cafe that a bitcoin transfer has been completed. The process is similar to paying with Square or other payment apps.
"As the price of bitcoin goes up, it's changed the minds of people who have looked at it before and didn't think it would catch on," said Adam Levine, 28, of Napa, who produces the "Let's Talk Bitcoin" podcast and website. "Now it's survived long enough that people are getting more comfortable with it. It's complicated, but it's powerful."
Created in 2009 by a programmer using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is an Internet technology standard that runs across a wide number of servers around the world for regulating the creation and trading of bitcoins. It is not controlled by any nation, governing body or business.
The original computer code established the number of bitcoins in circulation and tracks ownership of the currency. The absence of government or corporate interference made bitcoin popular among technophiles with strong libertarian streaks.
But over the last four years, the currency has been elbowing its way from the digital ether into popular use simply because people, companies and organizations have decided to believe that it has value as a currency. Indeed, bitcoin is only the most notable of many virtual currencies that have begun to proliferate worldwide.
A university in Cyprus recently announced it would begin accepting tuition payments in bitcoins. A Newport Beach auto dealership said on its blog Wednesday it accepted bitcoins as payment for the first time, in the sale of a Tesla Model S Performance electric car.
Last summer, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who settled claims that social network Facebook Inc. was their idea filed paperwork to launch the first bitcoin-related investment offering on Wall Street. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts recently issued their first note on the digital currency. Supporters have formed a political action committee to back bitcoin in Washington.
The ranks of retailers using bitcoin is growing. Ren Sylvain, an independent programmer in Vancouver, Canada, put together to list places that accepted the currency. Six months ago, he counted 200 businesses. Now the website has 950, including 550 added in just the last month.
Levine encourages his advertisers to pay him in bitcoins by adding a 30% surcharge to any transactions involving dollars. Using bitcoins enables him to avoid credit card processing fees. Also with bitcoin, the money is transferred instantly between customer and business, which Levine and others argue makes it safer and more secure.
In turn, Levine uses bitcoins to pay his handful of employees and correspondents, as well as buying them recording equipment to do their jobs.
Gyft, a start-up company that enables users to buy and manage gift cards with one phone app, began accepting the currency this year and gave a 4% rebate on all purchases made with bitcoins on Black Friday.
Vinny Lingham, Gyft's chief executive, appreciates how bitcoin also passes more consumer information directly to merchants than credit cards do, but he declined to say what that information included.
Businesses that accept bitcoin had been enjoying another perk extra money. Until the recent slump, the currency's dramatic price increase gave them more than the sales price of goods. In some ways, bitcoin is similar to getting paid in foreign currency or stock, the values of which change daily in trading.
At Bubba's Firehouse BBQ in Salt Lake City, manager and co-owner Tom Westland said he thinks more merchants are starting to accept bitcoins on the belief their recent dramatic rise will net them extra cash down the road.
Customers using bitcoins are only a sliver of Westland's business. But as business slowed in the last few months, he was able to sell about $1,000 worth of bitcoins to cover his expenses.
"Most people don't even know what the hell they are," he said. "But it really saved me this month."
Bitcoins have a long way to go before rivaling conventional means of payment.
There is $1.2 trillion in U.S. currency circulating, according to Francois Velde, a senior economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. That compares with only $10.6 billion worth of bitcoins as of Friday. There are 30 bitcoin transactions a minute, compared with 200,000 Visa transactions a minute, Velde said.
Bitcoin has often been in the news this year for less than savory reasons, such as the recent federal takedown of Silk Road, the online bazaar for illegal drugs.
Worries over potential money laundering have drawn heavy scrutiny from a slew of state and federal government agencies. Benjamin Lawsky, New York state's top financial regulator, said in August his office would examine how to regulate such currencies, calling them "a virtual Wild West for narco-traffickers and other criminals."
Still, a congressional hearing last month showed that fear surrounding bitcoin may be ebbing as several regulators spoke favorably about its potential.
Velde offered his tacit endorsement of bitcoin at the hearing, calling it a "remarkable conceptual and technical achievement, which may well be used by existing financial institutions."
But he also noted that it remains too technically and conceptually complex to ever have a bigger effect on the economy or to replace conventional currencies.
Skeptics contend bitcoin's soaring value is the result of a frothy speculation that could burst if regulators squeeze it or if it fails to gain broad acceptance. Alan Greenspan, a former Federal Reserve chairman, declared bitcoin's recent price jump a bubble.
"You have to really stretch your imagination to infer what the intrinsic value of bitcoin is," Greenspan told Bloomberg News in an interview. "I haven't been able to do it. Maybe somebody else can."
Bitcoin, meanwhile, is drawing hobbyists who invest large sums in computers to "mine" the virtual currency.
Mining is the process through which a new bitcoin is created. The bitcoin mining protocol includes a number of increasingly complex puzzles. Bitcoin miners use specially designed computers to solve these problems. When they succeed, they are rewarded with bitcoins.
Will Limratana, a 38-year-old software developer who splits his time between New York and Nashville, bought a sophisticated bitcoin miner for about $6,000 and chipped in for another with some friends.
He's optimistic bitcoin will one day catch on as an alternative payment system.
"There's not a lot you can do with bitcoin right now," he said. "All it takes is one big company in the U.S. to start using it, and then it'll catch on. So we'll see. I think that could happen."
6  Bitcoin / Press / 2013-12-05 Tesla Purchased With Bitcoin on: December 06, 2013, 12:12:28 AM

Electronic currency has been used to buy an electric car.

A buyer paid for a Tesla Model S using bitcoins, according to the company blog of Newport Lamborghini in Costa Mesa, CA. We first saw the news on Electrek.

"Lamborghini Newport Beach is proud to announce that we are fully capable of accepting Bitcoin as legal tender for vehicles," the dealership writes. "We are excited to be opening the door to this new currency."

Recently, more companies have started proudly accepting bitcoins, including Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

7  Other / Off-topic / Lavabit launches a kickstarter campaign on: November 06, 2013, 10:02:01 PM
Didn't see a thread about this, figured I'd post.

As of this writing there are 1337 backers (!!!) at USD$55,000. He's looking for almost $200k.

If you don't know what Lavabit is/was:

I think its important for a robust, open source, dark email platform to exist. This project wouldn't just benefit nervous tech geeks and privacy enthusiasts, but journalists, activists, and hopefully one day, everyday people.

(edit: considered putting this is Project Development or Off-topic, but i'm not so sure since it doesnt directly relate to bitcoin. Plus the main forum gets lots of eye traffic  Smiley)
8  Economy / Computer hardware / [WTS] 3x Bitburner XX -- 1.75 btc shipped on: November 05, 2013, 06:24:18 AM
TRADED for NastyFans shares:

Thanks for looking.

Got these in today, 3 boards of the Bitburner XX (20 chips each). I opened, tested (all worked fine), took the below pics, and repackaged.

Asking BTC1.5 shipped 3-day (BTC1.75 for USA overnight saver), or $500 (paypal) shipped, $550 shipped overnight saver.

---- OR BEST OFFER (PM ME) ----

PM me if international and you want fast shipping, we'll work something out.

[edit] lowered btc prices

9  Economy / Computer hardware / [SOLD] (USA) Butterfly Labs BFL 30 GH/s Miner - 4.5 BTC + s&h on: October 17, 2013, 12:05:42 AM

Just posted this up on ebay. I'll pull the auction if there are no bids. Looking for 4.5 BTC + shipping (tbd - 12x12x6 inches, 8 lbs). USA only.

10  Economy / Computer hardware / [WTS] 6950 & 5850 on: June 24, 2013, 09:32:40 PM
Prices include shipping to lower 48 states in USA. For international shipping, I will calculate.
For Paypal, do +10% prices.

I also have (qty 4) 1x to 16x PCIe cables for BTC0.09 each.

VisionTek Radeon HD 6950

MSI R5850 Twin Frozr II

PM or reply here if interested.
11  Economy / Speculation / Is 69k BTC enough to start a crash? on: April 10, 2013, 08:37:45 PM

Saw this transaction posted in BTC-e trollbox.

I know this is mega-speculation.... but why not discuss? Is 69,000 BTC enough to start a panic sell?

Is there more going on? Panic sell & strategic DDOS? I noticed a lot of popular bitcoin-related sites have struggled during these massive-Gox-volume periods (clark moody, bitcoinity, bitcoincharts, etc.) Or are these sites struggling because everyone with a BTC position is logging on to check out WTF is going on? Snowball effect?

I have also seen the name Gekko around a bit, but haven't looked deeper than seeing the crappy Gekkopost blog.
12  Bitcoin / Mining support / Visiontek 6950 not hashing or locking up on: April 03, 2013, 05:46:48 AM
Bought a Visiontek HD 6950 1gb.

In bitcoin or litecoin mining, i can't get over 1 MH/s or 10kH/s (respectively) and the PC locks up the display for a few seconds every ~15 seconds. GPU-z reports 100% GPU load, but temps stay low (about idle temps). When I have other cards in the rig, sometimes I get the "driver has stopped responding" message. Does not matter on which slot I put the card, or whether or not I'm using a PCI-e riser cable.

CGminer (through GUIminer) stays quiet like everything is normal, reaper (also through GUIminer) states Error 52 or Error 6 "getting work" and updates me with 0kH/s every second (though I haven't used reaper before, so I may have something configured wrong).

I've been googling the bitcointalk forum for hours and can't find a solution (and really, only a few others with a similar issue). Does anyone out there know what the hell is going on with my card?!
13  Economy / Economics / The Invention of Money on: March 24, 2013, 07:42:35 PM
I've been catching up on past episodes of This American Life (awesome show/podcast).

One that I came across was Episode 423: The Invention of Money --

mp3 link:

Though they don't cover cryptocurrencies in particular, this episode has convinced me that something like Bitcoin has the potential to be more real than the fiat currencies we normally consider as "real money."

Here's a short description of what they discussed. I highly recommend you listen to the whole thing though, its incredibly interesting and insightful:

Prologue: On the island of Yap, their form of currency were large, carved limestone blocks. They were used for large payments, like for when a tribe needed to recover a fallen warrior from an enemy tribe. The blocks were so large they were impractical to move. Furthermore, the stone they were carved from was from a far-away place, not on the island (establishing rarity). On a trip back from carving, the boat carrying the newly minted coin encountered rough sees and dumped the stone. The people on the island believed in the shipper's work and accepted the coin still, even though it lied on the bottom of the ocean. It made me think... that's kinda like the first virtual currency -- nobody could see it yet they still believed in its existence and therefore value.

Act One talks about Brazil's problem with inflation (which IIRC was 80% a week at one point?) and how some scholars came in and stabilized the currency by relating it to a new, literally virtual currency. Once stabilized, the virtual currency became the new currency. Now Brazil enjoys zero inflation.

Act Two talks about the United States' central bank, the Federal Reserve. They discuss the creation of new money, which is actually virtual, and market manipulation. I learned about a new term too: Fed Crazytown, which is where they went after the financial collapse in 2008.

Hope you enjoy!
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