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1  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Best way to explain to someone how private key is not exposed... on: January 14, 2016, 12:09:41 AM
What is a good analogy to use to explain to someone who is new to Bitcoin?

I attempted by trying to say that it's like a combination lock; where you first assume the lock is only usable if it's unlocked. You can pass the lock around, publicly, and nobody can use it, everyone can see it. Then, when it comes time to spend it (use it), it's only the owner of the key that knows the key, and it can be taken out of public (offline) unlocked, then put back into public and used (spent). In this example, the key is never at risk of being exposed in public.

Does someone have a better or cleaner analogy to use to explain to someone (ehhm, my 60 year old mother)?
2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / "Pseudo anonymous" on: August 06, 2015, 09:59:54 PM
"Pseudo anonymous" as it relates to cryptocurrency seems a silly term to me. We might not see it right in front of us now, but in a future world that uses crypto as accepted day-to-day currency, the idea that full-financial-transparency would be accepted and adopted widely... It just seems absurd to me.

It's reasonable right now, it kind-of works at the level of transactions that Bitcoin is currently used for, and it works because of the lack of useful tools widely available to view transaction records. But the future would have websites where anyone could lookup anyone elses full transaction history, their entire spending and earning life.

The only "pseudo" part about it right now is there because of the lack of tools currently made available. But a coin will either be anonymous or transparent (or the option to choose one or the other per-transaction); no in-between. Is that not a correct statement?

The "mixing" solution is just a work-around.

Is there really the need to explain all the reasons why a world where every person, every business, every transaction in the world is made available to public view would just never work, never be widely accepted and adopted? It has nothing to do with enabling criminal activity. It has a lot to do with disabling the ability for the criminal to acquire targets.

Currently, our fiat transactions, aside from physical cash-to-hand, they are "kind-of" safeguarded by the centralized banking system, in-terms of some level of anonymity. You can't walk into the bank and ask the teller to show you your neighbor's financial transactions of last week. In the de-centralized dream many of us hope for, there will be no central authority to keep some necessary level of privacy. Anonymity must be built-in to the currency.

Sure this might sound like some pro-alt-coin rant, sure this idea was prompted by reading about some alt-coin features; but I'm not here to promote anything or bash Bitcoin. I don't have enough understanding of everything out there to convince myself they're not all scam pump-n-dump schemes, so I stay away. But, for months, I've been constantly thinking about what might be wrong with Bitcoin, why might it fail, what will it take to be adopted more widely? I want it to all be great and good and the future. I worry about the centralized mining concern. I try to educate myself on these type of potential walls that the technology might run into. Convince me why I shouldn't be concerned about lack of anonymity.
3  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Please explain to me the risk of leaving coin in an online wallet. on: July 17, 2015, 11:29:44 PM
So I'm a poker player. I first heard of Bitcoin when it was at about $5.00, because of online poker. I ignored it and didn't research and really learn about it until the Dec 2013 peak. I'll be honest, the initial intrigue to me came about from all of the "get rich quick" stories, the famous $10M pizza order, things like that. I bought a good chunk at several different times, during and after the MtGox stuff was playing out. But, until recently, I never really used it for anything, never even transferred from one wallet to another.

I don't intend to install complicated software on my computer. I'm certainly capable of diving in, doing things the hard way, and learning how to do it this way, and I certainly appreciate the beauty of the fact that Bitcoin doesn't require the trust of a third party. But what has got me super-re-intrigued again was when I decided to use GreenAddress to receive a transfer of coin. I promise you that I have zero affiliation with that company, and I'm not here to spam or advertise. I researched different online wallets; someone had posted a link to a site that lists the comparative differences between the popular wallets (maybe someone can post that link again)...

What I'm trying to say, in a long way here, is that by using this wallet, I finally see, in a tangible way, the amazing and simple utility that Bitcoin can have. Sure, everyone on here talks about all these complicated nuances of the way it technically works, argues over an understanding of the intricacies, but the bottom-line, for most of the remaining potential market, the future users of Bitcoin, it has got to be simple-to-use, and it has got to have a high perceived sense of security.

It appears to me that GreenAddress has gone a long way to attempt to provide a high sense of security, utilizing the multi-party addresses, the ones where the address starts with a "3" instead of a "1" (maybe someone can explain better than me), and this "nLockTime" which gives you sole access to your coins if GreenAddress goes away.

So, what I am wondering, and hoping someone can further explain to me, what are the basic risks to leaving any relatively significant amount of coin in an online wallet, such as GreenAddress, for any long period of time? Is the risk someone hacking into their servers and gaining access to your coins? Does this multi-party address resolve that concern? Is it the risk of GreenAddress having fraudulent internal compromises? Is it the risk of them no-longer being around in the future? I totally understand that the safest way to hold coin is to have a "paper wallet", but what are the specific... or what is the most likely way that an online wallet would be stolen, my private key exposed?
4  Economy / Service Discussion / Tell me about Gliph on: February 11, 2015, 01:17:52 AM
I hold bitcoin with Coinbase. Attempt to put aside the larger discussion over the long-term safety of trusting any third party with one's bitcoin and I think that Coinbase is a huge step towards opening the door for the not-as-tech-savvy user to obtain, hold, and use bitcoin. I know that this is not new groundbreaking news.

Gliph just released a major update to the iOS app. I'm intrigued about Gliph. It seems to me that the idea and simplicity of it (basically enabling an easy way to text message "money" to someone without a bank involved) is another giant step towards wider-spread adoption. I would like to know opinions or experience regarding the safety of logging into your Coinbase account via the Gliph app, or via Gliph on the web. And I would like to hear your opinion on Gliph in general.

I have yet to actually use Gliph. And I'm not affiliated in any way.
5  Bitcoin / Wallet software / iPhone Wallets on: June 19, 2014, 04:34:18 PM
I haven't seen much feedback about Coin Pocket. Talk to me. It looks simple enough. Can I trust it?

Other iPhone Wallets?

I've got poker tonight. They're used to hearing me talk about Bitcoin (probably sick of hearing it). But I need to show my not-so-tech-savvy iPhone buddies a tangible real world utility example of some bitcoin action.
6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / One (future) bitcoin should be equivalent to one (current) µBTC on: May 15, 2014, 06:07:19 PM
I know it's been a topic going back for a while now; basically where the decimal point is. This whole debate over deciding what everyone should call a µBTC is, of course, driven by the fact that the decimal is in a poor location when it comes to easing the adoption of more-and-more not-so-mathematically-inclined people.

I think the two following points are givens for anyone pondering this issue: 1) Even for a decently mathematical person, it takes a few moments longer to double-check things when working on the right side of the decimal. There is more potential for human error when not working with a smaller base unit. 2) The silly perception that "one bitcoin is so expensive" is, no doubt, also hurting the adoption rate.

For a while there, it seemed that many were focusing on "what should we call 1 mBTC". I think it is wise that we are looking potentially even further ahead, and attempting to decide "what should we call 1 µBTC".

I think most agree that the best name we have for any unit of Bitcoin is "bitcoin". And by "best", I mean the name that even people who have maybe just begun to hear "Bitcoin", or what a cryptocurrency is, can very easily relate to. The problem is that the name "bitcoin" is already taken (widely accepted) by what is a relatively large unit (1/13,000,000 of all in existence, 1/21,000,000 of all that will ever be). Yes, one-thirteen-millionth is a very large unit in this case; too large for the majority of practical discussions for buying and selling goods or services.

I realize that all that I have said so-far is fairly elementary for most of you concerned about this. I'm just attempting to summarize what is driving this whole "naming" issue we face. I do believe that it is a problem, and I do believe it is hindering the potential further adoption of Bitcoin.

As far as naming a µBTC, I'm all-in-favor of simply what will roll off the tongue best, and so I lean towards "bit", regardless of the concern that it is already a unit of measurement for data. However, I still do not think this is ideal. I think that, ideally, "bits" would just be the slang term people would use instead of saying the more proper word, "bitcoins", and that they would be of equivalent size to one-another.

Because of the great decentralization of Bitcoin, we face a huge problem in implementing any sort of change to what has become the current standards. The only real current standards being the metric prefix system of naming. This metric system of naming is great and fine to have for formal use, it is universal, and should and will remain. But it is really very poor for actual practical casual usage and discussion (the like-minded goal we all have).

The potential way of attempting to implement any naming change (or naming addition), that I heard discussed, would be to attempt to name a future date, such as Jan 1, 2015, and see if by then we could get enough of the players on-board to work the name change into the GUI of much of the supporting software out there; the exchange fronts, merchant sites, etc. I'm not too savvy on it, but I don't think this involves changing the actual calculations that go on in the backend, just the unit in which things are displayed. It is still a huge challenge to get towards any consensus, this I do realize.

In my opinion, we should acknowledge what we preach; that we are still in the relative infancy of Bitcoin. And that we should shoot for what really is ideal.

Conclusion (and for TL;DR)
Ideally (IMO) one current µBTC should be one BTC. One current (2014) micro-bitcoin should be equal to one (2015) bitcoin. The market cap should be (effectively) 13 trillion BTC (rather than 13 million BTC).

A) Ignoring the difficulty of implementation, is this not ideal? If it is not ideal, explain why.

B) Is it just too difficult, approaching impossible, to really implement?
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Doesn't the increase in difficulty lead to centralization? on: March 12, 2014, 08:15:21 AM
I first heard of BTC in the summer of 2011 when I had considered playing BTC poker after "Black Friday". Unfortunately I didn't get into it then; and didn't research and understand it. When I regret not jumping on-board then, I just remind myself about the guy who bought the ten-million dollar pizza.

For a couple months now, I've been following and absorbing all I can.

I know there is a lot of discussion about how mining started off with CPU's then went to GPU's and now specialized mining hardware. It's no doubt gone from being a widespread P2P effort and become a venture for the dedicated handful of people or groups that invest in the hardware and resources and choose to compete.

My question is; what is to stop or limit this continued taper of the mining effort into fewer and fewer people or companies? It seems that, in the future, the ones with the ability to produce the most powerful hardware will become less and less. Does this not ultimately lead to centralization?

What is to stop one high-dollar dedicated group from having a huge majority of the mining power? What is to stop one high-dollar dedicated group from having control over the manufacturer of the best hardware, and control over limiting the sale of the hardware to others?

Of all of the vast amount of questions, speculation, dreams, concerns, about so many different parts of the system that would eventually lead to a much more widespread adoption of BTC, this is the one thing that I cannot come to grips with. Please enlighten me as to what dynamics might limit this potentially centralizing effect.
8  Economy / Speculation / MtGox - Effect on Bitcoin Prices on: February 09, 2014, 08:43:47 PM
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There's so much wrong with, at least, 3 out of 4 of those!


Ok, serious question though:
So, I'm all on-board with the notion that our future world involves cryptobuckaroos, and that Bitcoin has at least some chance at becoming more widely adopted by Joe Smartphone the Amazon shopper. I do plan to HODL long-term. But do you make any short-term moves out-n-back-in?

Is there any news that will come from MtGox today(Monday) that will not have a negative further impact on BTC prices? If they are in serious trouble and people get truly goxxed out of $40M, well that's obviously not stellar press for Bitcoin. If they do resolve things and people can get their money out, well aren't they going to do just that, and get their money out? Won't this be a 'bank run' of sorts that I hear others talking about? If they have been operating anything like fractional reserve banking, well...

Aside from sympathising with anyone who has money currently tied-up in Gox, what would be the right strategy for others with a few Bitcoins (not tied up)? Nobody really knows for sure, of course. I'm just interested in hearing your thoughts.
9  Economy / Economics / Can we look through the hype? on: February 03, 2014, 09:39:07 AM
I'm not an economist. Please critique and tell me what's flawed in my following attempt to 'look through all of the hype'.

Am I correct in saying that the two value forces on a currency are:
1) utility
2) future speculation ("hype")

USD (or any stable fiat currency)
98% utility
2% future speculation ("hype")

BTC
2% utility
98% future speculation ("hype")

So, let's acknowledge that, over time, assuming BTC becomes more widely accepted, the force from "hype" will decrease and the force from utility will increase. Can we make some educated calculations on what the "actual value" of 1 BTC should be? (I know I'll get ripped apart for that last sentence.) What I mean is, can we make some educated calculations on what the value of 1 BTC would be if the force of "hype" approaches 0%; if the only thing that determined it's value was it's utility? Or is there even such thing as 'the force of utility'?

I read a comment on here that read something like, "What if all of the World's equivalent of US M2 was in BTC, the perfect "global currency"? Shouldn't then 1 BTC be worth [some insanely high USD number]...".

What if we took a more realistic view using this idea?

1) What will it be used for? Step one is foreseen to be; a certain percentage of the smartphone savvy user type of the world will use it (with a certain percentage of their spending money) for purchasing household types of goods or electronics from online retailers, and pay for items on eBay.
2) What percentage of all of the 'smartp.world' does all of that equate to and what percentage of their 'checking accounts' do they choose to have money held in BTC instead of local currency?

The fact that the total amount of BTC that will ever exist is finite, means that the greater the amount of that total 'spending money allocated for use in BTC' by the world is, then the greater the value of 1 BTC will be.

My rough attempt at 'looking through all of the hype'
an attempt at removing "hype", and looking at utility
entertain this:

number of smartphone users in the US: 145,000,000 people ("smartUS")
number of smartphone users in the World: 1,400,000,000 people ("smartWorld")

if 10% of the smartUS (at some point in the future) use BTC that would be: 14,500,000 people
if these smartUS-BTCers hold an average of 200 USD-worth-of-BTC (4% of a 5,000 USD checking account)
then there would be 2,900,000,000 USD-worth-of-BTC in the US
multiplied by 10 (because the smartUS represents approx 1/10th of the smartWorld)
then there would be 29,000,000,000 USD-worth-of-BTC in the World

current total of BTC: 12,000,000 BTC
less the rough estimate of 30% "lost"* would equal a current "working" total of: 8,400,000 BTC

Obviously some adjustments for future projections need be made (i.e. 5 years from now there is projected to be 250M smartUS and 17M BTC).

But, for now, lets assume that tomorrow morning 145M people in the world held an average equivalent of 200 USD worth of BTC.
Shouldn't 1 BTC be worth 3,452 USD? (29,000M/8.4M)

Of course, I too am laughing at the idea of saying 1 BTC should be worth exactly x. And even when looking at it this way you have a huge amount of variance to these assumptions that can be speculated upon.

But is it not possible to come up with some realistic range that the value 'should' stabilize towards if we first assume and generally agree that, for example; 5 years from now 10% of smartphone users in the world will be utilizing BTC to some extent to pay for goods and services? It certainly cannot mathematically be 40 USD/BTC? Can it?
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