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1  Other / Serious discussion / Further Decentralization on: March 22, 2018, 09:53:47 PM
There seem to be a number of areas that need badly to be decentralized further.

Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, including YouTube. Uber, Lyft, ridesharing in general. Airbnb and room sharing. Craigslist. Ebay, Amazon.

All of these companies could be replaced by a single or multiple decentralized protocols, completely open-source and not owned or controlled by any individual or company, "out in the wild" like bitcoin is.

Sure, there are countless ICO's and other projects trying to apply blockchain technology to these areas, but perhaps they're missing the mark. We need truly decentralized solutions, so that censorship of our postings or videos is impossible, so that drivers can keep 100% of their fares, so that we can buy or sell anything over any border without being subject to arbitrary and often unjust legislation.

True decentralization of all of these is possible. Imagine an open-source app, connecting drivers and passengers, but with no CEO or office to call, the code running on its own, perhaps automatically taking a tiny percentage to rent server space for itself. Imagine video-sharing and social networking, completely decentralized, controlled by no man, censorship impossible.

It is key that the solution for each of these be truly open-source and not-for-profit. I would love to hear about examples of projects already working on each of these fronts, and thoughts about how to make them work best to achieve a world we all would like to live in. There are serious questions to address, but I think we as a community will solve them.

Thanks for your time.
2  Bitcoin / Armory / Stuck in scanning on: October 01, 2017, 12:58:57 PM
Hey there,
I finally got my blockchain synced up with bitcoin core and now I'm trying to get armory online.
However I'm getting some errors and it seems to stay stuck scanning the database in offline mode. Any help figuring it out much appreciated.

The part of the logfile that seems most relevant is here:
Code:
Log file opened at 08:36:44: /home/henry/.armory/dbLog.txt
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (main.cpp:32) Running on 2 threads
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (main.cpp:33) Ram usage level: 4
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (BlockUtils.cpp:915) blkfile dir: /home/henry/.bitcoin/blocks
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (BlockUtils.cpp:916) lmdb dir: /home/henry/.armory/databases
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (lmdb_wrapper.cpp:388) Opening databases...
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (BDM_Server.h:263) Listening on port 51460
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (BlockUtils.cpp:1108) Executing: doInitialSyncOnLoad
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (DatabaseBuilder.cpp:199) Reading headers from db
-WARN  - 08:36:44: (lmdb_wrapper.cpp:1241) No headers in DB yet!
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (DatabaseBuilder.cpp:238) Found 1 headers in db
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (DatabaseBuilder.cpp:71) updating HEADERS db
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (Blockchain.cpp:248) Organizing chain
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (Blockchain.cpp:370) Organized chain in 0s
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (DatabaseBuilder.cpp:76) updated HEADERS db in 0s
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (lmdb_wrapper.cpp:388) Opening databases...
-ERROR - 08:36:44: (BitcoinP2P.cpp:1032) caught exception in processDataStackThread: invalid varint size
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (DatabaseBuilder.cpp:1231) verifying txfilters integrity
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (DatabaseBuilder.cpp:1314) done checking txfilters
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (DatabaseBuilder.cpp:134) scanning new blocks from #1 to #0
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (BlockchainScanner.cpp:52) no history to scan
-ERROR - 08:36:44: (BlockchainScanner.cpp:1229) Cannot find block with hash
-ERROR - 08:36:44: (BDM_mainthread.cpp:306) BDM thread failed: std::exception
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (BDM_Server.cpp:1114) registered bdv: 10b2739563b20a3dfe28
-INFO  - 08:36:44: (BDM_supportClasses.cpp:401) Starting address registration process
-ERROR - 08:36:44: (lmdb_wrapper.cpp:1503) Headers DB has no block at height: 0
-ERROR - 08:36:44: (lmdb_wrapper.cpp:1483) No headers at height 0
-ERROR - 08:36:44: (BlockchainScanner.cpp:445) Missing file map for output scan, this is unexpected
-ERROR - 08:36:44: (BlockchainScanner.cpp:447) Has the following block files:
-ERROR - 08:36:44: (BlockchainScanner.cpp:451) Was looking for id #4294967295

And the rest of the logfile is here: http://termbin.com/v7gp

Any help much appreciated!

Thanks,

Henry
3  Economy / Trading Discussion / Algorithmic trading with bxbot and the Schaff Trend -- Java on: September 07, 2017, 12:44:33 AM
Hello,

I'm trying to figure out how to implement the http://www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/10/schaff-trend-cycle-indicator.asp "Schaff Trend Cycle Indicator" into a trading strategy for bxbot http://gazbert.com/

I got this code from here: https://www.tradingview.com/script/dbxXeuw2-Indicator-Schaff-Trend-Cycle-STC/

and I have an example of what a trading strategy for bxbot looks like here: https://github.com/gazbert/bxbot/blob/master/bxbot-strategies/src/main/java/com/gazbert/bxbot/strategies/ExampleScalpingStrategy.java

But I am not skillful with Java, and I am having a hard time figuring out how to do it. Anybody have any general guidance for me? Advice? Suggestions? Examples of similar scripts in Java?

Would also be willing to pay a (very small) amount if somebody thinks they can do it for me easily enough. Not if it's a "many hours of work" type of thing but if you can glance at it and do it in ten minutes, then I could probably pay enough to make it worth your while.

4  Bitcoin / Armory / [RESOLVED] Glitch or bug in 0.96 on Debian EDIT -- Also 0.96.2 [older cpu] on: September 02, 2017, 01:51:20 PM
Hello,

After installing Armory to try it out and see how I like the software, I began by clicking the "create your first wallet" button, and when I got to the part where you enter the passphrase for the third time and clicked "next," the graphical user interface just vanished; dumped me back to my desktop. However, the ArmoryDB process remained running. The first time was with adding manual entropy, second time without; third time I tried a short and simple passphrase just to test; same results.

Relevant information:

My machine:
Panasonic Toughbook CF-30 MK3 running Debian
Code:
henry@tb:~/Downloads$ uname -a
Linux tb 4.9.0-3-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.9.30-2+deb9u3 (2017-08-06) x86_64 GNU/Linux
henry@tb:~/Downloads$ python --version
Python 2.7.13
henry@tb:~$ gcc --version
gcc (Debian 6.3.0-18) 6.3.0 20170516
henry@tb:~$ apt list python-psutil
python-psutil/stable,now 5.0.1-1 amd64 [installed,automatic]
henry@tb:~$ apt list python-twisted
python-twisted/stable,now 16.6.0-2 all [installed,automatic]

When I initially ran
Code:
dpkg -i armory_0.96-gcc4.7_amd64.deb
I got some errors about unmet dependencies, python-psutil and python-twisted; I ran
Code:
apt install python-psutil python-twisted
and got an error about incomplete installations advising me to run
Code:
apt --fix-broken install
which I did; when it completed, it said that armory had been installed.

My log files are here: https://bpaste.net/show/904ba91c2f02

Any assistance resolving this greatly appreciated. Any further information gladly provided.

Thank you!
5  Bitcoin / Legal / Church of Bitcoin on: August 07, 2017, 01:51:43 PM
Hello there,

I am founding the Church of Bitcoin today on August 7th, 2017.

There have been past projects of the same name, but most were intended as satire, or abandoned after some time. This one is sincere. Our home page is http://www.churchofbitcoin.org and we are welcoming new members.

We will be filing as a 501(c)3 and seeking tax-exempt status as a religion.

Our scripture and other details will be available on our website.

To join our church, a bitcoin transaction of at least one satoshi is required. A one-time payment of one satoshi guarantees lifetime membership in the Church of Bitcoin. You will also be asked to provide your real name and contact information; a home address is not necessary but a valid email will be required.

In the future, we will have packages available with benefits such as t-shirts, patches, etc. for contributing members.

For more information, see our website or contact me, our founder, Henry Romp, at henry@churchofbitcoin.org
6  Economy / Goods / Motorcycle Parts & Accessories on: October 27, 2014, 08:53:09 AM
Hello there folks,

I'm Henry Romp, parts & service manager at Metropolitan Motorbikes in Weehawken NJ. We're accepting bitcoin for all of our products. You can check out our website at Metrobiker.com, though for the moment any bitcoin orders will have to be processed through email as we haven't yet added a bitcoin payment option to our website.

In addition to the small selection of parts and accessories shown on our website,  we specialize in sourcing out-of-production, vintage,  new-old-stock, and other hard-to-find parts.

We have access to over 600,000 SKU'S ready to ship from our location next-business-day through our two major distributors, Parts Unlimited and Western Powersports. We also have lower-than-dealer pricing on all OEM Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha parts. We can also source vintage British parts for Triumph,  Norton,  and BSA.

For any inquiries, call us at 201-223-4344 and ask for Henry, or drop an email to metrobikerparts@gmail.com

Thanks!

-Henry
7  Economy / Lending / Loan request ... on: August 23, 2014, 05:05:29 AM
Hello there folks,

So, it's a pretty embarrassing situation, and most will probably just figure that I get what I deserve, but I'll just lay it all out and see if anybody is up for helping me out:

Basically, I was driving my motorcycle in Brooklyn, with two girls on the back, and ran from the cops, and then hit a taxi, while intoxicated, and got arrested. So now I am facing a DWI and a handful of reckless endangerment charges (nobody got hurt in the incident thank goodness!).

The court date is approaching rapidly and I am badly in need of a lawyer, and I have not been able to come up with the money. There are numerous fines, and I have other pending cases, and am already on probation as well, and had a suspended license at the time of the incident. I have talked with a public defender and it looks like some amount of jail time is a real possibility.

My only hope at digging my way out of this mess, and eventually getting my license back, paying off all my old fines and tickets, and generally getting myself right with the law, is that I somehow avoid incarceration so that I don't lose my job.

My job is by far the best one I've ever had, and I've held it down for a year and a half, which is longer than I had ever held any job previously. It's pretty critical to my having a positive path forward in life at this point. I run a motorcycle shop. Not mentioning the name publicly here just because I'm not sure my boss would appreciate the place being mentioned in this context, but I can certainly provide all relevant details and proof of employment there to anybody who is considering helping me out of this situation.


What I'm asking for is:

A loan of 10BTC (approximately $5000), to be paid back in full (plus some fair amount of interest) during the first week of January 2015.

In case the request is not clearly phrased there, I mean that I am asking for a 10BTC loan that I would not be able to pay back until the first week of January, 2015.

If anybody wants to consider this loan, I will provide any additional information or details upon request. I can explain how I will be able to pay back the loan, I will gladly sign a contract, I can verify that I am employed full time, I can verify my identity.


As far as collateral, I haven't got much, but I have two basses, one is a 1973 Fender Precision Bass, and the other is a Lidl Checkoslovakian upright 3/4 size. I had the fender appraised once and was told it was worth $3400. The upright bass is worth about $1400. I've had both since childhood and they are my babies, and I would do anything to keep from losing them, and it would hurt like hell to even be without them for a moment, but I would be willing to put them up as collateral if necessary.

I'm asking here not because my request has anything to do with bitcoin, but rather because I cannot find anybody in my normal circles who is in a position that would allow them to help me out, and as a bitcoin enthusiast I am hopeful that somebody in this lovely community will come forward to assist me.





In summary:

Requesting 10BTC loan for five months, to pay for a lawyer and to pay fines, to avoid incarceration, so that I won't lose my job.

Offering one electric bass and one upright bass as collateral.

Have full time job.

Have a gig in December that will allow me to come up with a lump sum to pay back.



Thanks for any help offered.

-Henry Romp
8  Economy / Service Discussion / Stateless Sweets -- Resolved on: March 02, 2014, 07:28:53 PM
[EDIT] Fully resolved, reached out to them on their facebook page and received a full refund in bitcoin [/EDIT]


From statelesssweets@yahoo.com at 9:00pm on Feb. 9th 2014:

Quote
Hi Henry,

Thank you for your order. I've been struggling this past week attempting to complete orders for Stateless Sweets, balance home life, and keep up with my position at a precious metals company. I'm shutting down my shop for a bit as life is too busy right now to find joy in making candy.

I'll let all of my customers' know when I start to accept orders again as I'm sure I'll find balance again soon.

I'll need to refund you via check or paypal as I use a payment processor who converts this to mostly USD for me. Please let me know where to send this and if you have any questions or concerns.

 
Thank you,

Jillian
http://www.statelesssweets.com
http://www.facebook.com/statelesssweets
https://twitter.com/StatelessSweets



My reply, Feb 10th 10:44PM:

Quote
Oh! That's terribly unfortunate. I love your site and the whole concept and it looked like fantastic product.

I normally would be happy to accept a refund in any form but unfortunately I don't have access to normal banking services and am unable to open a PayPal account. If there's any possible way for a refund to be issued in Bitcoin I would be extremely grateful.

It's not only the unfortunate situation that I'm actually unable to have a bank account or PayPal, but also a matter of principle. I despise PayPal and banks and the state and would not like to participate in transactions involving USD if at all possible.

Furthermore, I'm concerned about potential confusion, as I did not pay you a certain number of dollars, I paid a certain amount of Bitcoin. If this were a situation where i was requesting a refund way down the line, it might make sense to calculate your refund based on the dollar price you're pegging your items to. But considering that this is a case in which you are canceling my order, I think it would be appropriate to have sent the Bitcoin back before converting it to US dollars.

I'm hopeful that your payment processor can likely take care if this for you if you call them up.

I am terribly sorry for any inconvenience caused by my inability to accept check or PayPal.

Please see if there's any way that a Bitcoin refund could be possible.

Thanks,

- Henry Romp


Following up on Feb 12th at 2:04AM:
Quote
Hello Jillian,

I just wanted to be clear that this is not a matter of penny-pinching. I'm not concerned about losing a few dollars because of the exchange rate fluctuations. It's a matter of principle in that I don't think I should be inconvenienced by the fact that you converted my bitcoin into USD.

I would be willing to accept a bitcoin refund based on current exchange rates if that is the issue for you; though I really feel that I should receive the same quantity of coins that I sent to you, the major issue for me is that I don't want and am not in a position to accept US dollars.

I'd further mention that because of this mixup, I'm unable to purchase a Valentines gift for my mother, something I've done every year without fail for a long while now. I don't have much money and the little I have is all tied up, and I've been unable to come up with enough money to place a new order elsewhere while I wait for you to issue a refund.

I'm not trying to be difficult here, I really apologize for any inconvenience I may be causing you, but I feel it is only proper that I should explain exactly how inconvenienced I have been by this situation.

Even if you issued a refund by tomorrow morning, it is already too late for me to get an order processed and get my mother her valentine's day gift, and it's really put me into an unpleasant state of mind.

I really would appreciate anything you can do.

Thanks,

Henry


February 18th 8:31PM:
Quote
Hello,

I am eagerly awaiting any sort of response. Please don't leave me hanging.

Thank you.



February 21st 1:44AM:
Quote
It has been quite a while. I understand that you're busy, but even a brief reply would go a long way towards reassuring me that I'm dealing with an honorable person.

9 days later, it is now March 2nd, and I have yet to receive a reply.

I am quite disappointed.
9  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / My 9-year-old nephew is now into bitcoin on: February 07, 2014, 05:15:54 AM
So, I have four nephews, and the oldest one is 9. He and I were best of friends right from when he was born. I would spend hours with him every day. I moved out of town about 4 years ago, when he was 5, but I still visit as often as I can, and he's always asking when I'm going to visit. When I go to visit my family, he is dead-set on spending every moment with me the whole time I'm there.

I'm a bit of a bitcoin fanatic, so he's asked me about it occasionally, and today, I was talking to his mom (my sister) on facebook, and he asked if he could say hi (he's getting pretty good with a keyboard now). So after he says hi, he asks what I'm doing, and I was writing a facebook post about bitcoin, so I told him--and he asks, "what's bitcoin?"

So I had a great time trying to explain what it is and why it's important in a way that would hold a 9-year-old's attention and make sense to him.

After it seemed that he got the idea, I said, "I bought a bitcoin for $100 one time, and now it's worth $760. If I give you a little piece of a bitcoin, even if it's only worth a few dollars, if you hold onto it for long enough, it might be worth a lot more someday!"

He already has a savings account his mom set up for him which has just about $100 in it, which is his life savings (christmas card money etc) which he has been very responsible with. He's aware that it is his money and he can do as he chooses with it, but he has so far been saving it and hasn't taken any money out yet. He knows he could buy toys or video games with it but he so far has understood the importance of saving enough that he has had the willpower to leave his hundred dollars alone.

So I made him a gmail account, and gave him the username and password, then I called him on the phone and walked him through the process of opening a blockchain.info wallet. It took about half an hour. I sent him 0.01 BTC ($7.33 at the time of the transaction) and now my 9 year old nephew is holding bitcoin.

This makes him the first of my family members to take me up on my offer (I've told all of them if they open an account, I'll send them a few dollars worth of bitcoin). My dad has shown a lot of interest but so far hasn't sent me a receiving address. Nobody else in the family has even shown that level of interest.

Anyway, here's a couple pictures of my nephews, the oldest one is Colby, he's in the red shirt in the center on the first picture and he's on the left holding his newest little brother (just 3 weeks old, I still haven't met him yet!) in the second picture. Below I'll put his bitcoin receiving address just in case somebody wants to surprise him with a few bitcents. Any messages of encouragement posted here will be forwarded to him.






18eABNYAEdAk1e2TaGupgpk9NDGLHPuRBN
<lost access to this address
(please note that this is not some elaborate attempt to get a couple bitcents, i just couldn't resist sharing his receiving address on the off chance that somebody surprises him with some coinage. The pictures are really my nephews, this address is really his, and this story is true. Hopefully it will inspire people to get their children into bitcoin. My facebook is facebook.com/henryromp and there are many photos of me with my nephews and my sister and mother on there).
10  Other / Politics & Society / Liberty on: January 15, 2014, 07:37:25 AM
"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action, according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you."
-- Ramsey Clark

" Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils."
-- General George Stark

"Government: If you refuse to pay unjust taxes, your property will be confiscated. If you attempt to defend your property, you will be arrested. If you resist arrest, you will be clubbed. If you defend yourself against clubbing, you will be shot dead. These procedures are known as the Rule of Law."
-- Edward Abbey

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
-- H.L. Mencken

" If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would ... [be] the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible."
-- Henry David Thoreau

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
-- Claire Wolfe

"The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations."
-- David Friedman

"...The Bill of Rights is a literal and absolute document. The First Amendment doesn't say you have a right to speak out unless the government has a 'compelling interest' in censoring the Internet. The Second Amendment doesn't say you have the right to keep and bear arms until some madman plants a bomb. The Fourth Amendment doesn't say you have the right to be secure from search and seizure unless some FBI agent thinks you fit the profile of a terrorist. The government has no right to interfere with any of these freedoms under any circumstances."
-- Harry Browne, 1996 USA presidential candidate, Libertarian Party

"The United States is in no way founded upon the Christian religion."
-- George Washington & John Adams, in a diplomatic message to Malta.

"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
-- John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1814

"Don't ever think you know what's right for the other person. He might start thinking he knows what's right for you."
-- Paul Williams, `Das Energi'

" The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this."
-- Albert Einstein, "My First Impression of the U.S.A.", 1921

" Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."
-- C. S. Lewis

"Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom."
-- John F. Kennedy

"Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in his 1801 inaugural address

11  Other / Off-topic / Help me identify this computer I just bought on: January 06, 2014, 04:36:10 AM
hey there folks,
Just bought this computer as-is in unknown condition without looking it up first. What can you tell me about it? Anybody have a power supply for it that they would sell to me for btc?





12  Economy / Service Discussion / Help me find some nice examples... on: November 03, 2013, 12:32:25 AM
I'm trying to find some nice examples of X:

"The cheapest you can buy X online and pay with your credit card is > the cheapest you can buy X online with bitcoin."

Specifically, I'm looking for physical goods, not digital.

Theory being, people like to save money, and I'd like to be able to show people, "look! You can buy this with bitcoin and pay less!"

I went looking and had a hard time finding good examples. What gave me the idea was my sister posting something on facebook about buying shoes for her kids on Amazon. My first thought was, "let me see if there's anybody selling shoes for bitcoin at better prices," but I couldn't find any (they don't seem to have any shoes at bitcoinshop.us, I didn't really look much farther than that). But that led me to this more general inquiry.

Any specific examples where the savings are notable?
13  Other / Off-topic / Making a tiny website for e-commerce to sell christmas trees over the internet.. on: October 22, 2013, 04:38:20 AM
Heheh. Check it out and tell me what you think. This project may or may not actually happen, this is just a mock-up I threw together with "jotform" for fun. But still, I want opinions. http://form.jotform.us/form/32938071698164
14  Economy / Goods / 10% off if you pay with bitcoin! -- Romp Family Christmas Trees in NYC on: October 11, 2013, 04:42:49 AM
My family's Christmas tree stand in the West Village of Manhattan began accepting bitcoin last season. We will again be accepting bitcoin this year. We offer free delivery and setup. Our trees are top-notch. Check us out:

On Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/RompFamilyChristmasTrees

On Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/billys-christmas-tree-farm-new-york

On the BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20802949

In the New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/08/nyregion/trees-for-sale-warmth-free-each-year-family-turns-manhattanites-into-neighbors.html?scp=1&sq=billy%20romp&st=cse

In Gothamist
http://gothamist.com/2010/12/07/the_view_from_the_streets_3_henry_r.php‎

In West Village Originals
http://www.westvillageoriginals.com/2009/12/01/billy-r/

In a multimeda project by Teodora Altomare
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MfhwvSywsjM


Copies of my father's book "Christmas on Jane Street" will also be available for bitcoin.

http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Jane-Street-True-Story/dp/0061626422


If any of you folks are planning on buying a Christmas tree this year, you know where to get it.


I'll be bumping this thread just before Christmas.

[EDIT--We will be offering a 10% discount to anybody paying with bit coin! Ask for Henry.]
15  Other / Politics & Society / Just thought I'd share these... on: September 29, 2013, 04:09:35 AM
George Carlin knows what's up.

Debt:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PkWf9M3rUw

Voting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efKguI0NFek

16  Economy / Currency exchange / [CANCELLED] WTS -- 1BTC for $100USD in-person in Vermont ASAP [CANCELLED] on: September 06, 2013, 11:29:13 PM
I want to sell one Bitcoin for $100 (a bargain!). Must meet in person in Cornwall, Middlebury, or possibly as far as Burlington. Anywhere in Addison County is best. Must sell by noon tomorrow need cash for gasoline ASAP.

[EDIT]Tried to delete this topic, was informed that you cannot delete topics on this board.[/EDIT]
17  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Using metaphor to help ordinary folks understand bitcoin on: August 07, 2013, 04:00:03 AM
Using metaphor and analogy to help people who don't understand what bitcoin is

I spend a lot of time trying to explain to people what bitcoin is, how it works, why it works, and why they should care. Sometimes I try to explain it to children; sometimes I try to explain it to very old folks, sometimes I try to explain it to simple-minded people, sometimes I try to explain it to somebody who doesn't speak English very well.

Often it's very difficult, frustrating, and fruitless. It's so easy to get bogged down answering questions, since so many of the questions have complex answers.


The analogy I lay out below will only be addressing certain aspects of Bitcoin; but used together with other metaphors and also with more direct, non-metaphorical explanation,  it has helped me to get the idea across.

This one was partially prompted by a question "How do you check your balance?" which led me to use this analogy to explain that anybody can check the balance of any account, provided that they have the account number, using a block explorer such as the one on blockchain.info.

"Imagine there are a bunch of safes lined up in a giant room somewhere. Each safe has a number on it identifying it, and each safe has a slot that allows people to drop money into it. The safes are all made of bulletproof glass, so anybody can see how much is in any given safe, and anybody can put money in any safe. When you open a bitcoin account, you are given an empty safe and the key to that safe. You take note of which number is on your safe, and when somebody wants to send you money, you tell them which safe is yours, and they can go drop money in the slot."

The "safe" analogy can also be used to explain other aspects.

"If you open another account, and get the keys to another safe, but you never tell anybody the identifying number on that safe and you're very careful to not let anybody see you putting money in it or taking money out, everybody can see that safe and see how much money is in it but nobody knows who owns it. That way, if you want everybody to know which safe is yours so they can send you money, but you don't want anybody to know how much money you have, you can secretly move the money to your second safe and never tell anybody which number is on that one." [I realize that all transactions are public and this doesn't really explain that aspect but it seems like the easiest way to express how you can have some privacy even though all the safes are see-through.]

"If you don't trust yourself to keep track of your key, or you're afraid somebody will steal it from you, you can have Mr. Gox or Mr. Web-wallet or some other fellow hold your key for you. He'll let you pick a secret pasword, and he'll open your safe for you if you tell him the password. Make sure if you're letting some fellow hold your key that you trust him; you have to trust him both to keep your key safe, and to let you use it whenever you want, not let some government tell him that he can't give you back your key until you fax him copies of your passport and social security card."

This bit I'm not sure about but it represents my understanding of the hybrid wallet offered by blockchain.info. If I'm misunderstanding the concept, please help me learn [I realize that this example completely oversimplifies the concept of encryption, but I'm not trying to explain to people the mechanics of how it works, rather just the end result on their experience].

"If you don't want to trust Mr. Gox or Mr. Web-wallet or any of those other fellows, and you want to hold onto your own key, but you're holding a lot of money in your safe, you might hide your key really really well to make sure nobody can steal it. But if it's hidden so well, it might be really inconvenient to go get it (maybe you buried it in the woods somewhere!) every time you want to take money out of your safe. So Mr. Hybrid-wallet gives you another option. You can take your key and make a copy of it, hide one securely buried off in the woods or wherever you like, and then take the other one and cut it into two pieces. You keep one piece and give the other one to Mr. Hybrid-wallet. He gives you a secret password, too. Then when you want to take some money out of your account, instead of digging in the woods for your key, you can just go to Mr. Hybrid-wallet and give him your piece of the key, and tell him your secret password, and he'll put the key back together and open your safe for you. When you've taken out the money you want, you lock it back up and give him his piece of the key. That way if anybody ever steals your piece of the key, they still can't get in the safe because they don't have the password; and if anybody steals Mr. Hybrid-wallet's piece of the key, he still can't get in the safe because he doesn't have the whole key. This is much better than Mr. Gox or Mr. Web-wallet because if the government decides Mr. Hybrid-wallet is breaking the law by providing this key-service and tells him he can't let anybody into their safes anymore, you can go dig up your other copy of the key and get your money out of your safe. With Mr. Gox or Mr. Web-wallet, they have the only copy of your key, so if the government tells them they're not allowed to open the safes anymore, or somebody steals all their keys, there's no way to get in the safes anymore. That's why using a hybrid wallet like the one on Blockchain.info is the best."

I have other analogies I use sometimes as well but it's late and I'm tired.

The purpose of this thread is to encourage people to share simplifications, analogies, metaphors, perhaps even comic strips or little cartoon drawings, that may be helpful in explaining bitcoin.


I'd specifically love to see things that are aimed at helping people get the idea of how to use it, and what it is, without getting too technical about how it works. If it would help an 8 year old to understand bitcoin, post it here. If it would help me explain bitcoin to somebody who barely speaks english and has no background in cryptography, math, or computers, post it here. If it would help me explain bitcoin to my 80-something year old grandfather, post it here.

The goal for me is to be able to relatively quickly explain what bitcoin is, why you should use it, how to get some, how to safely store them once you have them, how to accept them as payment at your business, how to use them as currency. Optimally in language that a child or technologically illiterate fool could understand.

Thanks for any contributions.
18  Other / Politics & Society / A critique of AA meetings and an assessment of the nature of addiction. on: August 03, 2013, 12:33:34 AM
AA/NA Meetings

I recently accompanied a very dear friend of mine to an AA meeting.
I've long held various prejudices against the organization, but she needed support and it seemed like a good opportunity to assess my opinion of these meetings and see if perhaps I had misjudged them.

I found many of my preconceptions to be correct and the experience reinforced my negative feelings about the group. Now, many might say "it helps some people, if it's not for you, good for you, no need to knock it." I feel otherwise. I believe that AA and NA (and many other groups intended to help people battle addiction) are not only unhelpful for me personally, but actually obstruct and discourage true recovery for all of those who subscribe to their rhetoric.

The main issue I take with these organizations revolves around identity. I hypothesize that addiction is tightly tied into identity. Overcoming addiction involves severing the portion of your identity that is associated with not only the particular substance at hand (i.e. "I am a smoker" or "I am a drinker") but also severing the portion of your identity that is associated with being addicted (i.e. "I am an addict" or "I am incapable of controlling myself").

AA/NA encourages you to embrace this identity. They encourage you to accept and resign yourself to the idea that you are inherently flawed, that you are not capable of enjoying a beer or two now and then without losing all control, that it is beyond your willpower--that you "are" an "addict" and must behave accordingly.

They encourage you to reinforce this unhealthy self-image. Rather than suggesting, for example, that you say to yourself "I currently am drinking more than I would like to" or even "I am suffering from withdraws because I have become physically dependent upon alcohol," they propose that you say things like "I am an alcoholic" and even use a standard format of introduction such as "Jane, alcoholic" or "Jim, addict."

You are what you chose to be in this world. If you identify yourself as an alcoholic who has been abstinent for 20 years, you are still an alcoholic (albeit one that has been very well behaved for a long while). If you identify yourself as a recovered alcoholic, and allow yourself a drink now and then but are very cautious to avoid losing control, you are still identifying yourself as an alcoholic. You are choosing to be a recovered alcoholic, or an abstinent alcoholic, but you are choosing to be an alcoholic.

If you never acknowledge the need to sever that portion of your personality and your very self, you will remain an alcoholic for the rest of your life, regardless of how much or little you drink.

Only when you can truly change your self image and assert control over who you choose to be will you have a chance at no longer being an alcoholic. "I was once an alcoholic, I am not any more." Only when you truly believe that statement will you be free of the shackles of alcoholism.

I have been using the example of alcoholism, but this is my theory of all addiction, and it goes along with a more fundamental belief that man chooses his own destiny and must take full responsibility for all of his actions and even all of his thoughts. You choose who you are. I believe this fully, and from it springs my assessment of addiction. It leads me to hold other opinions some challenge, such as the idea that one choses which foods he likes and does not like, and chooses which people he loves and does not love. Many disagree with these fundamental beliefs and therefore will systematically disagree with a large portion of my opinions; it is a sort of dissonance caused by differing world-views similar to the dissonance I experience when talking to people who harbor religious beliefs.


To use the example of cigarettes and myself, I would phrase it like this: I am a smoker. I am a smoker because I choose to be a smoker. I choose to be a smoker because "being a smoker" is so deeply ingrained in my self image from such a young age that to change myself would require a painful effort so great that it outweighs my fear of and aversion to lung disease.

If ever my aversion to lung disease becomes stronger than my aversion to the pain and effort involved in changing who I am (which might happen, for example, if a close loved one were to be diagnosed with lung disease, or if I myself were diagnosed with lung disease), I would sever that portion of myself and cease to smoke. I can see that my aversion to that pain and effort is greater than my aversion to lung disease, by virtue of the fact that I have not yet stopped smoking. I may never stop smoking, but my core assumption is that if I am still smoking, it is because my attachment to being a smoker is greater than my attachment to being healthy (or even being alive).

Also closely tied in to identity and self image, I see surrounding oneself with others who are addicts and identify themselves as such (recovered or otherwise, clean for 10 days or 20 years) reinforces the image of oneself as an addict. Especially harmful is going to meetings with or spending time with "recovered addicts" who were already part of your peer group and were previously abusing substances with you. Clinging to relationships that had their basis in substance abuse is clinging to the identity you've formed of yourself in which you see yourself as an addict.

Say for example a heroin addict who is entrenched in the false glamor and the appeal of junkie culture. That person thinks of them self as a junkie. They have a peer group that consists of other heroin addicts and holds those folks in high esteem, valuing their opinions and and seeking their approval. If this person tries to get clean, but continues to spend time with the same folks, listen to the same music, spew the same rhetoric, live the same lifestyle; they will fail. To shed the "junkie identity" one must recreate themselves with new values, change the very essence of what they do and do not like and who they are.


In summary, I think that groups such as AA and NA are using the wrong rhetoric and approaching the issue of addiction from the wrong angle; while they are certainly helpful for many many people I believe they could be much more helpful if they focused on guiding people towards a point at which they no longer need to attend meetings, worry about slipping up, think of themselves as addicts, think of themselves as compromised or flawed, think of themselves as recovering or even recovered.

Many folks call addiction a disease, including AA and most physicians. I certainly am aware that people suffer from addiction, and I see how it has properties very much like various diseases, but I do not think that disease is a very effective word for conveying the nature of addiction. Disease implies that "addiction" is something you have; I propose that "an addict" is something you choose to be, and that with enough willpower and motivation you can become something better.

And of course, some people will bristle at that statement, and say that with those words I am blaming the victims, and that it is "out of their control" and that "they have a disease it's not their fault" and so on. Those people will find that they disagree with me on most topics, due to deeper differences in fundamental beliefs about the world. I firmly believe in man's ultimate responsibility for all of his actions, I firmly believe that you chose who you are and what you do.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do not propose that we shut down AA and NA, and I do not propose that meetings of this sort are entirely harmful. Certain people at certain stages may find it helpful to connect with others who have fought the same battles. I believe that the systems and rhetoric used by most of these sort of meetings tend to turn "alcoholics" into "recovered alcoholics" and "addicts" into "recovered addicts." It may sound like semantics, but I feel that a recovered alcoholic is still an alcoholic; for example, many so-called "recovered alcoholics" still are unable to consume even a single beer without losing all control and returning to alcoholism. I say this is not true recovery, and that one should strive towards being a whole, healthy, happy, human being, who has left alcoholism and addiction in their past.

As a final note I would like to point out that I am not speaking as an outsider. I am speaking as an individual who suffered greatly through numerous addictions over the course of three years, starting at a very young age. If there is any inherent genetic tendency towards being particularly susceptible to addiction, I would say it is likely that I have it. Nevertheless, I am not an addict, "recovered" or otherwise, and I will never be one. I am a man who was once addicted.

I am now healthy, free of addiction, and do not live in fear of relapse. I can comfortably be in the presence of substances that once were a major problem for me, and I can drink a beer now and then without becoming an alcoholic. I am this way because I have decided to make it so, and I did so with very little support required, through my own willpower and introspection. I do not count how many days I have "been clean" and I do not consider myself a "recovered addict" and I never went to meetings or rehab programs or spoke to doctors; only twice during the whole process did I feel a need for support and in both instances I needed only to talk to somebody, mostly to vent the about emotions I was experiencing during withdraws.



I hope this inspires some fiery debate. But that's probably wishful thinking, after all, nobody bothers to read a thread this long (except for me, I search for the longest threads I can find and I read them carefully, word for word).
19  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Preaching to the choir because the choir doesn't get it. on: July 24, 2013, 01:32:54 AM
I was having a little exchange with J603 on another thread, and realized it was getting a bit off topic so I'm posting this instead of replying there.

I suppose I shouldn't be shocked, since the price soaring and the media coverage is bound to attract investors who's eyes fill with dollar signs, but I am still surprised by how many of those who discuss bitcoin on this forum seem to completely miss the point, or vastly underestimate the importance of this technological development.

I'm here to make BTC not $.

Here's the reply I was going to post in https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=258888.0:


Quote
I think one day everybody will have a cell phone. http://qz.com/57504/31-of-kenyas-gdp-is-spent-through-mobile-phones/ This article isn't the best on the subject but it has some nice statistics.

Well I think that there will never be a day when everyone has a phone. If everyone could afford a phone, then everyone can afford food and a house. And if everyone is living in some utopia where there's no starvation or homelessness then why would we need a currency in the first place? Like I said, 70% of the world does not have Internet access. Kenya has only 28.08 million cell phones (CIA World Factbook) in a country of 44 million. That's only 63% of the population if each person has only one phone which is rare in Africa where phone services drop all the time.
http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/09/feature-phones-are-not-the-future/
http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/03/25/more-people-have-cell-phones-than-toilets-u-n-study-shows/

Quote
Investing money in bitcoins?  Roll Eyes Bitcoins are money. Fiat is monopoly money. It will inflate naturally as more and more of it is printed off, and it will inflate with alarming rapidity as more and more people realize that they've been fooled. Even gold will lose it's value as people storing their value in gold will have so few advantages and so many disadvantages compared to people storing their value in bitcoin. It will naturally become the universal measure of value and we will someday look back upon the days of fiat with incredulity. Gold will naturally hold some of it's value but it has been replaced already, as it is no longer the overall best store of value on the market.

What did you purchase your first bitcoins with? More bitcoins?
Many people acquire their first bitcoins through sale of goods or services. It's as simple as announcing that you accept bitcoin as payment.
But that's irrelevant--obviously we are currently in a system of fiat money and the only way out is to exchange your fiat for bitcoin and wait for the rest of the world to join you. They will.

Currently, bitcoins are not viable money. There isn't much you can buy with them. I can't buy gas or groceries with them, and those are necessary purchases. You can't argue with that. The biggest bitcoin market seems to be the silk road, which is far from and will never be mainstream.
Well, that depends where you're located. Here in NYC there are many stores that accept bitcoin over the counter, and I can buy food from hundreds of restaurants using foodler, and I can use a temporary workaround by buying prepaid visa gift cards which can be used for gasoline and groceries, which while it's definitely not buying gasoline with bitcoins, does allow me to store all my savings as bitcoins and then use them to buy whatever I want, a fine temporary measure until bitcoins gain wider acceptance. So it's really not important that they're not widely accepted yet. They will be, and in the meantime they are still the best store of value available.

Quote
I look at it this way--Fiat currency is so fundamentally flawed that holding your wealth in any fiat currency is a dangerous and risky "investment." Bitcoin is so fundamentally suited to being used as currency that it will undoubtedly become the universal standard for exchange. Therefore, switching from holding your wealth in fiat to holding your wealth in bitcoin is a near sure bet.


Explain to me why bitcoin is foolproof- you haven't so far. Explain why fiat money can collapse but bitcoins cannot. Bitcoins can be destroyed, much like fiat, however they are never reprinted. And like I said before, I don't have a choice but to invest in fiat. I don't want to starve.
In a nutshell, bitcoin is decentralized and deflationary. That's why. No fiat money has existed that was truly deflationary like bitcoin is.
Fiat can and will collapse because it is an inflationary model which ultimately leads to the currency being worthless and being abandoned, and now that bitcoin exists as an alternative, it will be apparent that it is the best alternative as one fiat currency after another falls.

People will swap one fiat money for another more and more frantically as one by one they crumble and fall, and gradually more and more people will notice the honey badger of money just not giving a shit as it marches onward and upward.
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Well, no fiat currency has ever been successful in history, I see no reason to expect the USD, Euro, Pound, or Yuan to do any better. In fact I think it's a near certainty that all of the above will reach a value of 0 in our lifetimes. Read http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2011/08/average-life-expectancy-for-fiat.html and http://dailyreckoning.com/fiat-currency/ and maybe try the wikipedia entry for "fiat currency" and the dictionary entry for "fiat." 
While bitcoin could plummet and never recover, I think it's far more probable that it will not, and I have a hard time coming up with any scenario in which bitcoin would reach a value of 0. Anything is possible, of course, and if the internet were entirely eliminated, bitcoin would likely eventually reach a value of 0.

No fiat has been successful? The Euro is the most valuable currency in the world (not per note, but overall) and it was introduced in 1996. Bitcoins have existed for only 4 years, but they have not surpassed a single fiat currency in value. If the euro fails (which I don't think it will as it is more popular than any other currency that has ever existed), it will be replaced by another fiat. If bitcoins fail, they will be done.
You're looking at the last four years. Look at the history of fiat currency in it's entirety and you should see some patterns that make it seem unlikely that the euro will last very long.

No fiat has been successful. Ever. Did you even read the links in the portion you were addressing here? The Euro is well into what will be a short life. Fiat currency just doesn't work.

It also distributes all the wealth in a very biased manner, and allows governments to finance wars that simply wouldn't be within reach without just printing money off the press. But that's why it's evil, not why it doesn't work.

It doesn't work because it's an inflationary model.
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So basically, I disagree with all of your statements.  Cheesy I think you are invested for all the wrong reasons, looking at it like a stock to buy and sell, and fail to see the enormous globe-changing potential ramifications of this elegant idea we call bitcoin.

What "globe-changing" ramifications are there? And why are fiat currencies destined to fail, when they have existed for thousands of years versus bitcoin's four?

No single fiat currency has existed for thousands of years. All of them fail within a fairly short timeframe, and are replaced, usually by new fiat currencies, because there was (up until now) no other option. Now we have a viable option to replace them that solves the problem of inflation.
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Because of the law of supply and demand, when fewer bitcoins are available the ones that are left will be in higher demand, and therefore will have a higher value. So, as Bitcoins are lost, the remaining bitcoins will eventually increase in value to compensate. As the value of a bitcoin increases, the number of bitcoins required to purchase an item decreases. This is a deflationary economic model. As the average transaction size reduces, transactions will probably be denominated in sub-units of a bitcoin such as millibitcoins ("Millies") or microbitcoins ("Mikes").

The Bitcoin protocol uses a base unit of one hundred-millionth of a Bitcoin ("a Satoshi"), but unused bits are available in the protocol fields that could be used to denote even smaller subdivisions.

You tell me not to treat it like a stock, yet you do the same. "when fewer bitcoins are available.. therefore higher value". This implies that not everyone has one- that fiat is not dead (unless the people without bitcoins have no form of currency) and that people are still purchasing bitcoins with fiat, as if they were stock. What value would bitcoins have at this point? 1 BTC may be worth 1 billion dollars some day, but then it's worth 1 billion dollars. Without anything to buy with that bitcoin, it's only value comes from its exchange rate with fiat.
Wrong. "When fewer bitcoins are available.. therefore higher value" does not imply that not everyone has one. Everybody can have bitcoins and there can still be fewer or more available in total, because they are divisible to such tiny fractions. Even if there were only one single bitcoin left and all the others had somehow been lost, one bitcoin could divide into enough pieces for the entire global economy to function using that ONE COIN as it's currency.

One bitcoin may be worth 1 billion dollars worth of goods one day and be accepted by everybody as the standard currency.

But I digress. Convincing people like you is boring. You're set in your view and you likely won't be convinced, even when the evidence is right in front of your face. The dollar is a temporary illusion, a giant ponzi scheme robbing the lower classes of their wealth and allowing the groups in charge of printing money and adding it to the money supply to skew the whole economic system and devalue everybody's savings while redistributing that value as they see fit. Bitcoin is real money, with real rules, that apply fairly and evenly to all users.

As they say, you cannot teach a man anything, you can only inspire him to learn ("They" in this case being the people who write the fortune cookies for my favorite chinese food place). So unfortunately I will not be able to teach you the value of bitcoin, you will have to learn for yourself.

Those who will profit the most will be those who saw bitcoin for what it truly is way back when each coin was worth only pennies. They recognized bitcoin's potential and invested accordingly and will not ever cash out. When all the world conducts all of it's exchange using bitcoin, they will be the worlds superpowers.

Those of you who only saw the value of bitcoin after seeing people make huge returns on their investments haven't really seen the value of bitcoin. You have dollar signs dancing in your eyes, I have BTC dancing in mine, and when you "cash out" back to worthless fiat you will be throwing away the most valuable thing you've ever had.

The worst part is, you'll probably "cash out" at the worst possible time--when bitcoin seems to be at deaths door and hits record lows, you and countless others will be convinced that "bitcoin failed" and when you should be trading all your fiat for coin, you will buy worthless empty promises from deceitful governments printed on fancy paper that are destined to lose all their value.

BTCBTCBTC not $$$!!!!

-Henry Romp
20  Other / Politics & Society / Portion of Bitcoin enthusiasts who are into Ayn Rand? on: July 19, 2013, 06:05:59 AM
Trying to see how the rest of the community views this.

Maximum of four votes per user--so you can choose up to four of the nine options to express your different views.

If you have an outlook I haven't made an option for, please bring it to the table.

On a side note, not directly related, have any of you read GEB: Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter? I read it with my father at a very young age (he would use the short stories every other chapter as bedtime stories), and I have read it over many times since, it led me to much of my interest in computers and cryptography.

If you vote in the poll, I encourage you to elaborate in a response to the thread as well.

Thanks!

Henry
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