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1  Economy / Speculation / The trouble with tribbles on: November 17, 2013, 11:14:18 PM
This exponential growth reminds me of the tribbles on the Enterprise. 

I'd better shut up though or the chartists will start getting excited about Fibonacci thingys.

2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Zero-sum arguments on: November 17, 2013, 10:52:27 PM
A lot of smart people are worried about Bitcoin's increasing importance and value.  They worry that all bitcoin is doing is simply taking money from elsewhere in a speculative frenzy, chasing what is an irrational bubble.

In particular they use the classic zero-sum argument that says that for whoever makes $1 from bitcoin, someone else has lost $1.

Well, in pure accounting terms this is true.  But if Bitcoin represents a beneficial new paradigm in global finance ( and the world certainly needs one!) , then Bitcoin can be adding economic value to the world. 

How does this work ?  Just like any company that builds a better mouse-trap.  People rush to use the new product as it uses less resources than before.  The surplus economic resources represent true global profit.

3  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / sub-units of Bitcoin on: November 13, 2013, 04:56:22 PM
There is a need for better notation, that doesn't get out of date fast.  millis, and micros etc are too awkward.

My suggestion for how to describe sub-units of coins is to use Log10 notation:

BTC1 = 1 Bitcoin  (The existing format)

1BTC1 = 0.1 Bitcoin (i.e. 10^-1)
2BTC1 = 0.01 Bitcoin (i.e. 10^-2)


In this way 8BTC1 = 1 Satoshi

So, for example if you wanted to sell something for 0.0075 bitcoins you would say 3BTC7.5  or 4BTC75

4  Economy / Speculation / Potted history of bitcoin price on: November 04, 2013, 07:46:34 PM
This log-price plot of the GOX price since inception is quite remarkable  -- showing an incredibly uniform growth.

It's not speculation  or predictive :  but what it does effectively is express the data about the two axes (time and price) in a way such that the major events can clearly be seen.

If one assumes the uniform growth continues then it does become speculative -- but that is a matter of interpretation.

5  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Bitcoin Canary on: September 13, 2013, 03:31:26 PM
Why do we not create a web-site encouraging someone to crack a specific public-key ?

If there is someone at the NSA who wishes to communicate this ability, then they can do so anonymously by simply emptying the wallet. (given Snowden, and Manning, this is highly likely).

There are two outcomes :

1.Wallet is emptied --> someone cracked it, OR the wallet creator moved the money. 

2.Wallet remains untouched.  Either the NSA cannot do it, OR no-one wants to tell.

The ideal scenario is that (2) persists, and maybe members of the bitcoin add tiny chunks of change to the wallet to 'feed the canary' to keep it happy (along with the Bitcoin community).

If the initial key was created at a conference between a large group of people we could reasonably expect to 'lose' the private key.

All we need is a nice website, advertising the challenge,  and promoting an ever-aging, fattening yellow canary , which keeps the miners (just like old times!) and public safe.
6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Bitcoin saving the World : Project Drax on: April 21, 2013, 09:23:31 PM

Asteroids and comets often hit the Earth.  Normally these are small, and cause no damage, but occasionally an object large enough to put the future of the Human race at risk hits the planet.  This has often happened in the past, and will happen again.
The Spaceguard Centre has developed a robotic telescope system that is optimised for tracking potentially hazardous asteroids, but we need a wide-field surveillance system. Recently the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge decided to decommission its wide-field Schmidt Camera, an ideal system for us.  Rather than breaking up the telescope they have gifted the instrument to the Spaceguard Centre.
Because the British government is playing no part in asteroid detection or tracking public funding is not available for the project, so we have decided to go ahead on our own, building a dome to house the telescope and upgrading the imaging system.  Any donation (however small) is enormously useful a brick costs 50p and we need 6490 of them!  We are making excellent progress, so many thanks to those who have already helped us.
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Bitcoin spotting Asteroids on: April 13, 2013, 03:04:29 PM
A big thank you to the Bitcoin community for contributing over $80 to Project Drax at The Spaceguard Centre.

This has bought over 100 bricks for the new telescope building.  When complete, this will be the biggest telescope in Wales and dedicated to surveying Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.

Please note that the wallet address has changed for donations to : 19Q6tA7NtcbvUDHeUg3gzbF4VHU2XHKD76

We are now starting to think about the CCD device that will be required -- the image forms on a concave 6-inch circular disk.  Most likely this will be a mosaic of chips.  It is going to be somewhat expensive !

8  Economy / Service Discussion / Suddenly MtGox has an invalid https certificate on: April 12, 2013, 03:30:10 PM
Suddenly my browser does not like the Gox certificate.  Is someone spoofing Gox ?

9  Economy / Service Discussion / exchange problems on: April 12, 2013, 11:33:49 AM
The lesson we are repeatedly and painfully learning is that Gox is simply not up to the job.  It is easy to run an exchange when times are calm, but when things get rough , you need an exchange that does not simply go opaque.

One solution is to copy traditional markets , suspend trading , and re-build the order book over say 15 minutes to find the new equilibrium price, this 'volatility auction' finishing at some random time after the 15 minutes.

Personally I think the community needs to fund not one, but say three new exchanges which should have widely shared ownership, and compete against each other for business.

This would then allow one , or even two exchanges to periodically close to perform maintenance -- something that must cause Gox all manner of problems.

10  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / What is wrong with deflation ? on: April 11, 2013, 10:39:03 PM
Real Positive interest rates are like deflation -- why would investors spend anything when it is worth saving for longer ? 

As we know, investors WILL spend.

For too long, modern capitalism has appealed to those who wish to crib off the system of benefits.  We must reward those who save.

Regulated Capitalism is Communism in disguise.

Laissez Faire.

11  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Fast Market on: April 10, 2013, 10:48:06 AM
On traditional stock exchanges, when the order-queue gets so long that the prices (i.e. last trade) are some way behind the market clearing price (many orders waiting to be matched into the orderbooks) , a 'FAST MARKET' indicator goes up.

I think that MtGox should think about doing something like this -- they could , for , instance publish the expected number of seconds for a new order to get matched.

In traditional 'fast-markets' you realise that the published prices are way-behind , and that explains why your orders to buy/sell at various prices do not get matched the way you expect.

12  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / I promise to pay the bearer, on demand on: April 09, 2013, 11:36:26 AM
The arguments that Bitcoin has nothing to back it  compared to Fiat currencies are somewhat shallow.

Bitcoin is the only currency (well non-crypto) that comes with its own, almost free, and highly secure banking system
(this is amazingly valuable -- ask any Swiss Bank)

Bitcoin does pass the regression test -- by demonstration of the last few years.  It's just a bit faster.

Which leaves only the issue of being able to pay your taxes.  There is no reason why this could not change in time. 

Anyone who argues that the argument  'it has value because it has value' is a poor argument, really does not understand the basis of Fiat currency.  Fiat currency quite literally has value for that reason only.  It would be quite possible by arrangement (and a small fee) to pay your tax revenues in another currency.

If you are from the UK , our banknotes have false promises printed on them.  Fancy that !  Yet we still use them.

Bitcoin makes no such promise, apart from the stochastic security of the system.

Vote for Satoshi to win the Nobel Prize.
13  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / geometric increase on: April 08, 2013, 11:35:55 PM
The idea that Bitcoin will rise at the same geometric rate forever is somewhat flawed.  It might do, but what is more likely is that the rate will slow, and volatility will reduce as Bitcoin's market cap. approaches the size needed to conduct the market transactions.

However we are a long way from that at the moment.  Bitcoin is still a complete baby , and will either continue to grow, catastrophically die, or just slumber a while.

Trying to predict it is a fool's game.  Enjoying the ride is not.  The beauty is that it is still early days, and you don't need many to participate IF it matures into a significant global currency.

Whatever happens though , Bitcoin has already challenged fundamental beliefs about economics and the modern banking world.

Maybe Satoshi will win a Nobel Prize in Economics one day ...
14  Economy / Service Discussion / SatoshiDice on: April 08, 2013, 02:45:00 PM
There seems to be far fewer dice transactions these days than 3 months ago. 
15  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Social Media on: March 27, 2013, 06:33:12 PM
If you think about it, Money is a very pure-and-abstract form of social media.  Which might position Bitcoin as a 'Facebook for money' ?

We all chat amongst ourselves (that's the classic facebook) , but we also transfer money ...  and use that money as a sign of wealth.
16  Economy / Economics / market specialist on: March 01, 2013, 05:17:19 PM
A stock-market company of the same size as Bitcoin now, would have a market-specialist overseeing an orderly market.  This chap would be able to go long/short on considerable margin and be free of immediate delivery requirements. 

A normal trader woud have to make good on his short positions and deliver borrowed stock on the settlement day.

If the market became too volatile, or one side of the market became illiquid (eg a lack of supply), the specialist would be quite capable of physically closing the market until a more balanced order book could be produced.  It's quite common for major SP500 stocks to not open for several hours (or sometimes whole days) whilst the specialist exercises his god-like powers to restore a balanced order book.

Bitcoin's behaviour from here is unique in that there will never be an official, centralised specialist with these powers.  The result is likely going to be increased volatiltity. 

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this, and it is really quite uncharted territory.  There are very good arguments against modern day specialists which say that they have excessive power to manipulate prices.

Modern Capitalism is some way from the laissez-faire ideal (where the market finds its natural levels) due to an incredible amount of regulation and central-authority approved manipulation. 

Bitcoin is a breath of fresh air, and a hint at what a purer form of capitalism might produce. 

This roller-coaster will get a lot more exciting yet.  Enjoy the ride.

I have said before that Bitcoin needs to have a crossing-network to manage the larger blocks on a daily/weekly basis and this is something that MtGox needs to think about providing -- no-one else at this stage has the liquidity to make anything like this viable right now.

17  Other / Meta / forum classifications on: February 11, 2013, 05:25:50 PM
Is there anywhere which describes the meaning of the various forum-classifications:

eg : Number of 'coin' icons appearing

Hero Member

18  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / bitcoin client authentication on: February 11, 2013, 01:56:39 PM
How do we know that the client we are using (eg bitcoin-qt) is authentic and not an impersonator ?

Obviously we can download the source-code , and check the signature as published on

When I download from source-forge, it is not over HTTPS  -- so I cannot rely on this.

There are no instructions / suggestions for doing this on

Maybe some instructions and possibly an HTTPS download site ?

What would be really good, would be a client feature that it has to handshake with the mining network, and some tiny fingerprint appear in the block-chain that can then be viewed from a trusted site.  You then know that your client is a real one.

The problem I am imagining is that someone impersonates the client software, and uses this to gain access to the wallet keys.

As bitcoin becomes more mainstream, the security-knowhow of the average user will drop,  a spoofed client would be terrible news.

19  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / private key to public on: February 09, 2013, 08:50:13 PM
If all I have is a private-key, can I recover the public-key ?
20  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / multiple transactions in a block on: February 02, 2013, 09:09:51 PM
Am I right in thinking that a bitcoin can only be used ONCE per block ?

My reasoning works along the lines that there is no way of imposing an ordering of transactions in a block -- which could potentially invalidate a multiple use in block.

IF this is true, then it creates a limit of total volume tradeable per day , given on average there is a block every 10 minutes.

This then creates a relationship between total volume transacted and the value of a bitcoin ?

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