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1  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Multiple bitcoind on one machine on: August 06, 2011, 02:04:05 AM
Is is possible to run multiple bitcoind instances on a single machine?  

I'm trying to develop some web services.  One of those services needs the ability to process unique wallet files / private keys for each user.  Currently this is impractical because the amount of time it takes to flush and relaunch bitcoind with rescan to load unique wallets.  Even though this takes time, it could be somewhat manageable if I can run a bitcoind for every active user session.  I can use multiple servers, but I'd like to be able run more then one bitcoind per server instance to make more effective use of each server's resources.

I suspect dynamic wallet switching directly in bitcoind is still a bit far off right?

2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / ThoughtCoin on: July 15, 2011, 11:29:34 PM
Let’s say a person is in danger of being kidnaped, or put in jail. Before going in he memorizes a number of pass phrases such as:

“here is an account with 100 btc”
“here is a different account, with 1000 btc”
“this is my ransom account with 5000 btc in it”
“this is my nest egg account with all my money”
“I’ll pay you this passphrase in advance”
“and I’ll pay you this passphrase once I’m out”

(these are bad passphrases, just examples)

He computes the public addresses of these phrases using the process discussed here:

He then memorizes the firstbits for each public address, and transfers bitcoins into them.

Once captured or imprisoned he can still receive money, show the balance of each account (but not prove he controls them), and pay the entire balance of any account to someone without any access to a computer.

He can even confirm he has been paid into an account if he is allowed to call random phone numbers until he reaches someone who will go to and read off the balance of one of the firstbits accounts (anyone known to him or the captor is unreliable).

If he has enough accounts memorized he can even conduct some amount of business, paying and being paid, receiving ‘change’ etc.

And, of course, any accounts that he does not give away still have the money when he gets out.

Granted if people knew you had a ThoughtCoin account then you’d be incentivizing kidnapping weirdly becoming the hostage and the payment, and helping people in jail bribe their way out is probably not a good thing.  But it makes me wonder what else could you do with ThoughtCoins.  For example, what would be the minimum set of crypto primitives you’d have to memorize to be able to generate your own public keys or transactions with only say pin and paper or a calculator.  Would sha256 be enough?

3  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Base58 on: July 15, 2011, 08:30:09 PM
The base58 article is deleted. "(Non-notable ASCII encoding format, not a reference in sight, not a good candidate for an encyclopedia article.)"

What's up with that?  Can anyone help provide wikipedea with with some references (or me for that matter)?

Base58 seems odd vs. Base64

4  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / The Ponzi scheme argument on: July 15, 2011, 09:20:51 AM
So the latest /. posting had a heated debate that went back and forth more interestingly then normal.  At the end there was this argument that I thought worth posing here. (There where a LOT of people calling bitcoin a ponzi scheme)


Since I can't seem to engage anyone on the issue of _why_ bitcoin is a ponzi scheme other then "early adopters get a huge advantage over later adopters" which does not uniquely define ponzi schemes, I will try to argue it myself. Please help me find my errors. I’m am not being facetious, this is a real argument that I’ve outlined for myself. I did not cut out any counter argument that I could think of.

First. What is a ponzi scheme?

"A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors."

As I understand it this means:

Person A buys $10 of a Ponzi scheme X,
Person B then buys $10 of X.
X has $20. (and is only worth $20, because it doesn’t do anything)
X pays it’s owners $1.
X pays Person A $1 (dividend interest).
X pays Person B $1.
X has $17.

This can go on for a while if no one withdraws their capital, but at some point someone is going to have to buy $10 worth of X to pay A or B. If it doesn’t happen it collapses. Ok, I think that’s clear, and correct.

Now let me see if I can understand how this differs from say Apple stock.

Person A buys $10 of Apple stock
Person B buys $10 of Apple stock
Apple has $20.
Apple pays it’s expenses
Apple earns profits from doing things.
Apple’s worth is it’s profits minus it’s liabilities.
Apple is profitable, so apple has $21

However, Apple does not pay dividends. How does Person A or Person B make money from investing in Apple? At some point someone is going to have to buy $10 worth of Apple to pay A or B. That is A and B need a third party to realize the value of their investment. Ok, this is confusingly similar, let’s me see if I can understand the differences.

1) X pays dividends, Apple does not.
2) When you buy shares of X you buy them from X, when you buy shares of Apple you buy them from A or B, i.e. other share holders.
3) So this means that there is no set number of shares of X, X wants to keep selling as much as it can. There is a fixed number of shares of Apple.
4) Apple makes a profit, and therefore has a ‘demonstrable’ value. X can only operate at a loss, it’s value is it’s total deposits minus payments.

Ok I think I understand some differences, but what if Apple was operating at a loss? How is that not like X? I guess because each share of Apple is a fixed percentage of the total value of Apple, whereas you don’t have any real percentage of X. So if Apple operated at a loss your share value would go down. That means that another key feature of Apple is that it is transparent, you know it’s value, you know how many shares there are and you know how many shares you have. With X you don’t know it’s value, the number of shares there are or the number of shares you have.

I think I understand these differences. Do I have something wrong?

So which of these two systems is bitcoin most like?

1) Bitcoins do not pay dividends.
2) You buy them from other holders, there is no X to buy them from.
3) There is a set number of them.
4) It is transparent, you know how many shares there are and you know how many shares you have.

This all looks like Apple stock to me. That seems to leave the issue of value.

X is only the value of all deposits minus payments.

This does sound a bit like bitcoin without the payments part. Isn’t bitcoin just the value of all the money that’s been put into it? No wait, there is no X in which all the money spent on bitcoin is being held. Hmm this is a tough one, does that mean that bitcoin is actually worse then a Ponzi scheme? let me try it with apple.

Apple’s value is what it does.

This sounds like bitcoin too. Bitcoin is software that has some unique features. So then is bitcoin more like Apple? A little, but it doesn’t generate revenue. Nevertheless it does seem to have value as a software tool, and that’s not consistent with X.

I’m not sure I’m sold one way or the other on the ‘value’ issue, but in every other regard Bitcoin looks more like a commodity such as Apple stock, then it does like a Ponzi scheme. The point that a Ponzi scheme continues to create “shares” to get new investors seems like a key factor in what is wrong with a Ponzi scheme. Neither Apple stock nor Bitcoins do this.

My conclusion is, Bitcoins are not a Ponzi scheme.

Help me out here, what are your thoughts? Did I get it wrong?
5  Economy / Goods / [WTS] Current Top of the line Mac Pro 12 Core 2.93, 2xSSDs, 24GB on: July 04, 2011, 11:06:44 PM
Los Angeles area.  I will sell for the equivalent value of bitcoin at time of trade.

$12,014.7 After tax from Apple store, for only $9,500 (more then 20% off)! Plus I can remove items to lower the price if you want down to as low as $6,995.00 (still a killer machine, 12 cores, SSD, 8 GB 2x4GB).

Processor 065-9541 Two 2.93GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon
Memory 065-0048 24GB (6X4GB)
Graphics Card 065-9573 ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB
Hard Drive Bay1 065-0082 512GB Solid State Drive
Hard Drive Bay2 065-0083 512GB Solid State Drive
Hard Drive Bay3 065-9566 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
Hard Drive Bay4 065-9570 2TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
Optical Drive 065-9577 Two 18x SuperDrives

Low usage, like new condition, plus Apple Care support until August 21st, 2013!

6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / The New York Times on: July 04, 2011, 05:19:17 AM
I know there is a thread for press, but I just have to observe a milestone in the history of bitcoin. The first bitcoin article in the New York Times.


P.S. Hey NY Times, I'll subscribe today if you take bitcoins.

7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Gizmodo on: July 01, 2011, 02:13:55 AM
Second mention on Gizmodo in so many days.

Today from gizmodo au.

Yesterday from regular gizmodo.

The AU article invites you to list other companies that accept bitcoin, so list any you know. Light up these articles so that gizmodo learns that bitcoins are a good news item to cover.

8  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Address generation for web services on: June 16, 2011, 06:12:39 PM
As we build some bitcoin based web services I'm curious to get some input on the best way to generate payment addresses securely for a web service.

For obvious reasons I will not keep a wallet on the web servers, for receiving payments it's hardly necessary.  However, assuming a successful web service we will need to generate new payment addresses for at least every customer if not every transaction. (The database will record the intent to pay, the block chain will show the payment is received).

Should I procedurally generate a million keys from the client using our secure wallet machine, and put them in an address cache in the DB?
Is there another way to generate valid key pairs with tools like GNUPG/PGP?
Maybe I should just cycle through a smaller set of addresses, that have time limits on payment? (i.e. pay this address in the next 24 hours, a la mtgox)
Do I need to run the client on the web server, or are there server side tools for evaluating the block chain?

Any other ideas or issues?

Now what about the reverse?  If we create a sight that involves paying people out in bitcoins.  What's the most secure way to process these transactions?  

Thanks in advance for your input.

9  Economy / Marketplace / Looking for a google maps Ninja. ASAP on: June 06, 2011, 01:35:02 AM
I'm doing an experiment while at WWDC to be a human bitcoin ATM.

Over the next few days I'd like to also try and build a website for tracking personal exchangers like me.  I've already got a logo designer working for bitcoins, now I need help with the google maps API. If you are good with the maps API and java script then you can earn some quick bitcoins for helping to work out the mapping portion of the site.

Bonus if you can finish the work quickly. (i.e. In the next 48 hours)

Post here or PM me if your interersted.

10  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Bitcoin Cash Exchange at WWDC on: June 05, 2011, 07:05:43 PM
My fist grand social experiment.  I'm attending WWDC, and I will be acting as a bitcoin exchange.  A human bitcoin ATM so to speak.  I will tweet availability times and locations throughout the week, and I will buy or sell bitcoins for cash in $100 increments.  If you need cash you can send me bitcoins and I will give you cash, if you want bitcoins I will sell them to you for cash.  I will do this every day until supplies run out each day.  I will charge a 5% commission on the bitcoin side of the transaction, and all rates will be based on up to the minute Mt GOX market rate.

Here's how it works:

You can do this after you've found me or before.  I will tell you if I'm leaving the location soon.

To Get Cash:
1) Tweet, or post here your name, or nickname.
2) Confirm rate, and availability of cash with me first.
(See Mt. Gox, or, for current rate)
3) Send $105 worth of bitcoins to my address (below)
4) Come to me once the transaction has been confirmed on the network (6 confirmations)
5) Tell me your name and confirm your bitcoin address.
6) I will give you $100.

To Get Bitcoins:
1) Tweet, or post here you name, or nickname, AND your Bitcoin address.
2) Find me and give me $100, and confirm your address.
3) I will transfer $95 worth of bitcoins to your address.
(You are welcome to wait and chat while the transaction is confirmed).

$100 (1 transaction) per person per hour transaction limit, so that one person doesn't just buy me out.
You do not have to be attending WWDC to participate, just in downtown SF.
I will not travel to you.
I will not do exchanges while in a WWDC session (I'm hear to learn).
Suplies of bitcoins and cash are limited, sorry if I run out, I may have more the next day.
I may stop for any reason at any time (I will complete or refund any pending transactions).
The Rules are subject to change.

Why am I doing this you ask?

First and foremost to meet cool new people, and learn more about bitcoins.

Secondly, as an experimental response to the argument that currency exchanges are a week point in the decentralization goal of bitcoin.  Centralized exchanges such as Mt Gox are as easy a target for take down as a centralized currency (if not easier), but with bitcoin anyone can act as an exchange.  So I will be a human bitcoin ATM for the duration of WWDC to see how well it works.  Naturally I'm not influencing the market. How to set the market in a massively distributed exchange environment is an open question.

Thirdly, I want to see if this will make any money at all.  Is it financially worth it?

My twitter handle for updates is @mister_joshua.

Even if you don't want to exchange, please feel free to stop by a chat.  I'm looking forward to meeting you.

To kick it off I am now ready to exchange for the next few hours at the appropriately named Epicenter Cafe.  (

Back on line and inline for the WWDC keynote!

Address: 1BhgGjXvhgPpUW6YQtDuBs5B2hSUi2yibJ
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