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101  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Trustbook: Decentralized Reputation System on: August 25, 2010, 10:47:34 PM
What if I wanted to use my internet name "BrightAnarchist" widely in trade, to protect my state-sanctioned identity? The trust accumulated through the usage of my internet name is real and helps greatly for trade -- for example, if people recognize "BrightAnarchist" and know that he's "trustworthy", then I've built up a useful asset (trust) into an alias. I can then sell things on biddingpond and people will trust me, and a reputation builds up.
 
My thinking is, what if I could register this alias with a public/private key pair, so that when I post on this forum -- or other websites -- everyone knows that this is the *same* BrightAnarchist that you already trust? Basically, the idea is that a name could be registered somehow with a public key and shared over a P2P network. Then, when you browse the net, forum posts (etc) could include a signature by the poster than you could verify with their public key. That way, I'm the *real* BrightAnarchist that you already trust.

Then, similar to facebook, each person could build a web of trust. By including another person in their own web (a "friend", but it would really be more like a "trustworthy/honest trader"), you could gain access to "second tier" trustworthy people. Basically, people that BrightAnarchist believes are trustyworth.

This type of system could certainly help when trading. You could even dynamically view a "Trust distance" to your own friends (that is, is this person a friend of one of my friends, or is this person 3 people away, etc).

This system wouldn't be reliant on actual scores or any centralized system. It would be distributed and anonymous. "Trustbook" or something like that Wink
102  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Is It Time For Digital-Only Dollars? on: August 19, 2010, 08:56:50 PM
Found this Bitcoin article online and thought it was pretty great!

http://www.hartfordadvocate.com/commentary/is-it-time-for-digital-only-dollars-2

Is It Time For Digital-Only Dollars?

Written by Phil Maymin    
Thursday, 08 July 2010 16:52

The nice thing about gold as a currency is that no government can easily and capriciously tax it. Paper money is easy: just print more and spend it however you want. But Gold is relatively stable, and it doesn’t go bad and can be stored easily.

But you can’t fit it in your wallet. You can’t easily break it into smaller pieces or combine pieces to make larger ones. Gold is not the ultimate currency.

Currency backed by gold is more mobile, but you have to trust someone to exchange your paper or digital claim for actual gold. And if that someone happens to be a government, that trust is guaranteed to be betrayed.

We are living now in an information-driven world. Perhaps currency can be encoded as bits. Even a decade ago, this would have sounded impossible. But because of the widespread dissemination of powerful computing and interconnected networking, some new approaches have recently been developed.

One example is called BitCoin, a free, open-source, peer-to-peer, anonymous, network-based currency. Its creator Satoshi Nakamoto calls it a “cryptocurrency” because there is no way for a middleman to intercept, prevent or tax any exchange of money. Even the users themselves don’t necessarily know the real-world identities of who they are dealing with. And there cannot be any inflation or currency manipulation. There is no central database for the police to raid and no way for your bitcoins to be stolen. It’s amazing Nakamoto’s algorithm is able to guarantee all these benefits.

Imagine it on your iPhone. You walk around and pay for whatever you want without any worries. Even if your phone is stolen, there is no way to access your money without you. It is stable, private, untaxable and uninflatable. Pretty good. It will be great once you can buy groceries with it.

Transactions will always require the BitCoin network. You may think we will always have a network. There’s no way the government could interfere with the entire internet, is there? Even China could probably be twarted by an electronic currency network.

Never underestimate the hunger of a politician. They will always think of a way to use brute force to get your stuff. Our senator Joe Lieberman has proposed a plan that would allow the president to shut down the entire internet for “national security reasons.” What could drive a politician to insecurity more than the uneasy feeling that there are some economic transactions happening without his hand in the pie?

The “internet kill switch” has a 120-day limit, after which Congress would rubber-stamp a longer web death. They are all in it together, and when they can’t get their coins, you won’t get your bits.

They will argue — as they did with the Patriot Act, the invasion of Iraq, the health care bill and all the bailouts — that they are doing this for our own good, to protect us from systemic failure. Wouldn’t it be terrible if terrorists could shut down our entire internet? The only way to protect ourselves is to shut it down before they can. Let’s shackle ourselves before they do.

The internet itself is virtually unkillable, based on the brilliant way the internet protocol and the transfer control protocol has worked for decades. It automatically reroutes and recovers. It could strike fear into the leeches that polite society calls our elected officials, by circumventing their monopolistic currency in favor of one that actually works.

How about a political kill switch that shuts down Congress for 120 days, unless extended by an anonymous internet poll?

Dr. Phil Maymin is an Assistant Professor of Finance and Risk Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. The views represented are his own.
103  Economy / Trading Discussion / How have you earned your Bitcoins? on: August 19, 2010, 05:05:16 AM
Thought I'd kick this one off because I'm so curious!

As for me:

(1) Posted videos on YouTube, with subcaption "if you liked this video, send me a bitcoin!"
(2) Selling stuff on biddingpond.com

How have you earned YOUR coins? Please share!
104  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Bitcoin discussed on Financial Radio Show on: August 18, 2010, 07:06:43 PM
Go to http://surkanstance.blogspot.com/2010/08/this-week-on-bear-radio-1987-deja-vu.html

Skip ahead to 51:40

It's not much, but they discuss Bitcoins for the last 10 minutes of the show

Speaking of which, perhaps we should have a new forum section entitled "bitcoin media" or "bitcoin in the media" where we can regularly post these types of things -- thoughts?
105  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Zitcoins on: August 13, 2010, 09:24:33 PM
A friend asked me a question recently: what if one day someone invents a new electronic currency that is similar to Bitcoin, but better in some way? Lets call this new currency Zitcoin (for juvenile comedic effect). His point was that this would devalue the Bitcoin overnight as everyone moved to the new currency.

However, I believe this is completely false. I think that the value of Bitcoins is not JUST in their engineered properties. It is also through their wide use and acceptance. Therefore, my expectation is that Zitcoins may eventually overtake Bitcoins, but it would take a long time for Zitcoins to be widely accepted.

A good analogy to this is mp3 audio vs ogg audio. Ogg is newer and superior to mp3, and yet mp3 is literally *everywhere*, whereas almost no-one uses ogg. Why? Because one of the *properties* of mp3 is its universal usage. Ogg may eventually overtake mp3, but it would take a long time, and certainly not be a cut and dry instant process.

Thoughts?
106  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Clear Unused Recieving Addresses? on: August 07, 2010, 07:24:39 AM
Is there a way to do this? When I first installed I created a bunch of extra addresses that are annoying.

Won't hurt to keep them, but since there's no transactions assocaited with them it would be nice if I could clear them.
107  Economy / Marketplace / Web hosts that can be paid in bitcoins? on: August 06, 2010, 10:38:32 PM
Does anyone know of a web host that can be paid in bitcoins?

I have an idea for a bitcoin-based website that could be very popular, but I would greatly prefer a web host that accepts bitcoins. Ideally a windows-server with SQL and ASP.NET, but if I have to learn PHP etc then that's OK too.

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