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1  Economy / Marketplace / The New Year bombshell: OECD Common Reporting Standard on: December 21, 2016, 01:37:31 PM
Most likely, banks and exchanges that keep user accounts will begin reporting to each user's home tax authority, beginning January 1st.

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2  Economy / Service Discussion / BTC-e irregularity on: June 06, 2015, 09:49:26 AM
The BTCUSD rate of BTC-e used to be a couple of $$ below that of the major exchanges, like Bitfinex, Bitstamp, ANXBTC.

My explanation for that difference used to be that BTC-e has relatively high fees, so arbitrage kicks in only when the difference is larger than the fee. The explanation why the difference existed in the first place was that more bitcoins were sold and more dollars flowed out of BTC-e than the other way around, therefore the bitcoin price was low, i.e. the price of the other major exchanges minus the fee minus some epsilon, so the arbitrage bots can make a small profit.

However, for a couple of weeks that behavior has changed to the exact opposite. BTC-e bitcoins are now a couple of $$ above the other exchanges.

One possible explanation is that recent irregularities, like the problems with US$ withdrawals, forced or scared people to buy bitcoins in order to transfer their savings out of BTC-e to safer places or at least to places with functioning fiat withdrawals.

Because I am easily scared (memories of Mt.Gox), I have now done exactly that too, and while I was working on it, the BTC-e web site disappeared entirely. That scared me even more, and I seriously thought I had lost my remaining balance, so when the web site came back, I emptied my account completely and withdrew all bitcoins.

What do you think? Is it true that people are buying bitcoins to transfer them out, thus driving the price to its upper limit? Are they justified in doing that or are they just cowards? What do you know about BTC-e?
3  Economy / Service Discussion / Bitstamp good, as far as I can tell on: January 14, 2015, 09:26:32 AM
I was very careful and used the price dive a few hours ago to buy cheap bitcoins to transfer my holdings out of Bitstamp. I am still frightened, because of the recent security breach.

I must admit though that Bitstamp worked perfectly and very fast. I bought bitcoins without any problems and transfered them out all in one go. Minutes later the bitcoins were here (must have been lucky with the block timing).

Apparently Bitstamp is doing its best to regain customer confidence. If they keep this up for a year or two, I think they will again be fully in business.
4  Economy / Service Discussion / Mt. Gox price ticker came back to life on: March 13, 2014, 08:01:58 AM
I just got a price alarm from the BTCfx app, indicating that the Mt. Gox price ticker has sprung back to life.

It now shows both bid and ask at $133.16487.

Or am I just seeing things? Some technical fluke?
5  Economy / Service Discussion / Details of the 2014-02-17 Mt. Gox announcement on: February 18, 2014, 08:27:39 AM
----- Excerpt from Mt. Gox announcement of 2014-02-17 -----

With this new system in place, MtGox should be able to resume withdrawals soon. At the beginning we will do so at a moderated pace and with new daily/monthly limits in place to prevent any problems with the new system and to take into account current market conditions.

----- Excerpt ends -----

I am wondering what "monthly limits" "at the beginning" mean. Any ideas?

What limits do the other exchanges have?
6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Memorable quotes on: June 30, 2013, 09:58:32 AM
Please add more citations! I'll make a start with this one:

The history of government management of money has, except for a few short happy periods, been one of incessant fraud and deception.

Friedrich August von Hayek
7  Economy / Speculation / Will PayPal really use bitcoin? on: May 04, 2013, 08:43:00 AM
The PayPal president David Marcus mentioned in an interview that he is currently thinking about bitcoin and pondering the thought of using it for funding.

My first thought was that he was just stonewalling and spreading false information to confuse and stall, because bitcoin is a threat to PayPal.

As far as eBay transactions are concerned, even a total switch from the current PayPal system to bitcoin would not diminish eBay's profits, because they could still take their high percentages on each sale. They could use bitcoin along with traditional money and profit just like before.

However, PayPal is currently trying to expand its business to non-eBay transactions, in effect trying to become a new global player in the money transfer field. They could kiss that business goodbye, as soon as people noticed that with bitcoin they would not need PayPal any more.

Has anybody followed PayPal's global plans and can comment on these thoughts?
8  Economy / Speculation / The bubble is bursting—what a relief! on: April 10, 2013, 04:57:54 PM
About time.

Now the interesting question is, at what price level will we see the first major bull trap?
9  Other / Beginners & Help / The Ponzi Scheme on: July 04, 2012, 07:25:39 PM
A Ponzi scheme, also called pyramid scam or similar, is a financial operation in which its operator promises investors a high interest payout, only to collect their money and run with it, as soon as his money mountain no longer grows fast.

Early investors, who attempt to withdraw their accrued interest, will actually get it, so the scheme remains credible.

So be wary if anybody offers you some incredibly high interest rate. A currently operating Ponzi scheme offered 7% per week, which is equal to 3,300% per year. Some stupid buggers actually "invested" money. Some still believe they will be paid back with interest.

Bitcoin makes such things relatively easy, for two reasons:

  • The Ponzi scheme operator can remain anonymous (even if he tries to appear real, identifiable, and honest).
  • Bitcoin is unregulated, so he may not even be illegal. Law enforcement might consider bitcoin toy money.

You have been warned.
10  Other / Beginners & Help / Is the trend broken? on: December 07, 2011, 01:31:42 PM
Week after week we have seen bitcoin going down after the bubble burst at $30+. At its recent, lowest spot the exchange rate to the dollar went down to about $2. How far further down can it go?

To tell the truth, it can go down to zero or thereabouts. That can happen after a technical failure, like somebody cracking the encryption, or perhaps after a concerted effort of governments trying to destroy bitcoin. But even the latter seems quite unlikely today.

So the question is, how far down will it go if none of these catastrophic events happen? In my personal view, not far. If you compare the bitcoin price curve with similar bubbles and crashes, like the stock exchange crash in 1929, you can see some amazing similarities. The main difference is that everything goes much faster with bitcoin. What normally happens over years takes only weeks with bitcoins.

The recommendation of one famed banker, asked when to start buying again, was, "When the blood flows in the streets."

The value of a bitcoin today is not determined much by what you can actually do with it (buy Alpaca socks), but by what you will be able to do with it in a couple of years. In other words, we are speculating on the bases of bitcoin's potential, not any actual functional value.

Therefore it is not out of the question that bitcoin experiences another bout of price decay, but I personally have a hard time imagining it going down to $1 again. Why? Because every estimate I can do of a functioning bitcoin sub-economy requires a very much higher value, more like $100 per bitcoin at the least.

Trying to be a chartist, I sense that the volume on Mt. Gox has increased markedly during the last few weeks. Now take it that every time a bitcoin changes "hands", it goes from a bitcoin pessimist to a bitcoin optimist. Get the idea?

Anyway I wish for a stable, slow-moving dollar/bitcoin exchange rate, and with the rise and fall of the speculators this is also going to happen gradually. A successful speculator has to buy low and sell high, which means that he stabilizes the exchange rate. The clueless speculators who did just the opposite and destabilized bitcoin are being thrown out by getting bankrupt. Things can only get better.

So what is my outlook for the near future? I don't think that bitcoin will soon fall below $2, but even if it did, that would only be an excellent opportunity to buy more, because they will not stay below $3 for long. Remember, you have read it here first!
11  Other / Beginners & Help / Disruptive technology on: December 07, 2011, 01:13:06 PM
I keep hearing about new disruptive technologies lately. These are technologies that suddenly and unexpectedly solve a problem that was hitherto solved in different, poorer ways.

But some businesses are dwelling on those poorer ways and make a living out of them. They are the ones that get disrupted when the new technology comes along.

So how about bitcoin? I think it will turn out to be a fairly heavily disrupting technology, once it becomes more established than it is today.

The list of businesses that may get disrupted could be long. The most obvious ones are the money changers and money forwarders. Next in line could be the banks. Then follow governments, particularly their taxation systems. And there are probably more to come.

Of course none of these gets disrupted and destroyed. Some will adapt and embrace bitcoin as an alternative piece of business. Let's wait for the first bank to accept and carry out bitcoin payments. Of course the banks must hate bitcoin, because it takes a significant portion of their business away. But if you cannot win a fight, you might as well make friends with the enemy and take whatever you can get.

Governments are a difficult matter, but as far as I can see, the impending changes are all for the better of us, the citizens. Governments like to destroy currencies to wash away their debts through inflation. Tell me when a government has honestly and completely repaid its debt. That is a rare occasion. Watch the euro going down if you need a real-life example. If you still have euros, change them into bitcoins before your euros melt like butter in the sun.

Now with bitcoins they will face a much harder task. When they default, everybody can see it. There is no trick by which they can walk away from their debts any more. I can hardly wait.
12  Other / Beginners & Help / BitcoinSpinner, a new wallet for Android on: December 07, 2011, 01:01:53 PM
I just installed and tested BitcoinSpinner on my Android smartphone. In short, apart from one crippling bug I think the program is very promising. My recommendation is to wait until this bug is fixed, then get that fixed version.

Details

The bug first. On many phone types or Android versions a keyboard defect appears that causes every digit to be entered twice. You can send 11.55 (the dot is OK) or 2200 or 0.33 bitcoins, but not most other amounts.

Of course this renders the whole program useless, but you could try it on your phone first. Perhaps yours is not affected. Since the bug is so obvious and severe, I expect it to be fixed very soon.

The program follows a very interesting concept. It is a client-server application. The server handles the power- space- and bandwidth-intensive blockchain, but it does not know your private key. I think this is a most ingenious way to handle this, because currently the blockchain handling is a severe obstacle on a mobile phone.

The Alternative, "Bitcoin Wallet", is a program that I have never seen working flawlessly on any phone. I do use it, but it is slow and unreliable. On many phones it simply crashes from time to time or every time when it is started.

So at this time, or in a few weeks, it seems that BitcoinSpinner is the way to go.

Please reply if you have tried it. Did you get the keyboard error?
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