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341  Economy / Services / Re: [WTS] Video/Audio editing on: June 18, 2012, 06:04:49 PM
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(Make a Rainbow Dash montage to this German folk song, ect)

I am intrigued.  How much would you charge for something of this nature?
342  Economy / Services / WTB Training in setting up specific programs on a linux VPS on: June 18, 2012, 04:07:45 PM
I've been running a linode for a couple of years now, so I understand the basics of server administration, but quite a lot of programs and other things still give me headaches.

My plan is to set up a new VPS to provide various services to me and my friends.  I intend to have the following:

-an email server, so I can set up email accounts and receive mail @ my domain name.
-a VPN program, so my comrades behind the bamboo curtain can get their youtube on.  (Finished, thanks to Luceo)
-an XMPP server  (Finished, thanks to J.P. Larocque)
-a bitcoin lite-client server, such as electrum.
-a Diaspora pod

I'm looking for a experienced person to walk me through the process of compiling (if necessary), installing, and configuring these programs, as well as provide general advice and knowledge concerning security and best practices.  Please note that the job is to train me until I can do these things, not just to do them yourself.  As such, the applicant needs to be patient and a good communicator in addition to possessing the technical knowledge.

I suggest we arrange live sessions to be conducted through XMPP, IRC, or Skype, and payment can be hourly.  I'm going to be busy with work for at least a couple of weeks, so the training will take place at a later date.  If you're interested, please provide your qualifications and hourly rate.  
343  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Shouldn't the offcial Bitcoin client be advertised as running your own bank? on: June 18, 2012, 03:41:02 PM
I think the important thing is that people should understand lite wallets and e-wallets are available.  Maybe the problem isn't how full wallets are marketed to casual users, but that they're marketed to them at all.
344  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Shouldn't the offcial Bitcoin client be advertised as running your own bank? on: June 18, 2012, 03:18:45 PM
I've been thinking it's more accurate to describe the whole network as a bank.  You can make deposits by buying bitcoin, and withdrawals by selling bitcoin.  There's a certain amount of interest from deflation, and of course it lets you do something equivalent to checking or wire transfer.

That said, I agree that what we call a 'wallet' is more like a bank account than a physical wallet.
345  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: FirstBits.com gives wrong result?! on: May 24, 2012, 05:36:44 AM
I'm not overly familiar with either service, but it looks like the FirstBits result is case sensitive, the blockchain result is not.  Could that be causing your issue?
346  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: If Banks started to accept bitcoins, would you trust them with yours? on: May 03, 2012, 04:07:31 PM
I'm having trouble understanding your solution.  How would the thieves know beforehand whether or not they can get all my money?  Furthermore, what protection would a bank provide to bitcoin account holders that they don't provide to fiat account holders?  Why couldn't they force me to withdraw all my bitcoins, same as if it were a regular account?

Because banks generally have policies in place that PREVENT rapid and immediate withdrawal of all funds into cash.  Trying withdrawing 6 figures from a bank account and ask for cash.   That is why there are limits on cash advances and ATM usage.

Sure someone who has $100 it doesn't really matter but do you honestly think Warren Buffet is going to keep $22 billion (in BTC equivelent) in an android phone wallet on his nightstand? (hypothetically imagine Bitcoin is the only global currency).  The fact that thieves can easily force him to unlock his wallet makes him a target.  Having the funds OUTSIDE of his control is actual an advantage. 

If he CAN'T unlock it then he is less of a target.  If theives KNOW he can't unlock it (because every billionaire they tried to rob so far also had funds outside their control) they may not even attempt to rob him.  So maybe he has $10,000 in his personal wallet and $21.999 billion in a bank (with controls which ensure the funds can't be moved with just access to a private key.

Alternatively the bank could act as a second key with protocols in place to ensure funds are protected.

So the bank may auto sign any tx up to $1000
The bank may require voice authorization for tx up to $10,000
The bank may require in person authorization for larger tx (possibly involving bio-metrics).
Ok, thanks.  I understand it a little better now.  Those are some good points.

One thing that comes to mind is that as I understand it you can keep bitcoins out of your control by using a flash drive and/or paper wallet and keeping it somewhere safe, eg a bank safety deposit box.  A bank account might be more convenient though.

I can definitely see the value in requiring additional authorization before allowing large amounts of money to be moved out of the account.  That would limit the damage potential of keyloggers and such as well.

Ok, you guys have successfully convinced me.  A bitcoin bank could provide some good security measures.
347  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: If Banks started to accept bitcoins, would you trust them with yours? on: May 03, 2012, 03:31:09 PM
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excuse me for sharing a personal history:

I was flash-kidnapped once. I stayed on the car with 2 burglars while another went through ATM machines to pick my money. I had to give them the PIN codes of my cards. I had a old card that I didn't have the PIN and it was tough to convince the thief that I really didn't have the PIN for that old card*. I stayed with them for 2-3 hours and they released me after spending roughly U$ 500,00 in fiat and U$ 1000,00 in credit card purchases (refunded later). I can't imagine how long I would stay with them if they were able to take all my money.

That's why I'm looking for a deterrence model to protect my BTC's. A model that keep the burglars away from even trying to assault me, and keeping my BTC's in a bank maybe is one of the possible solutions.

* I don't want to trying to convince someone with a gun again that I don't have access to my money (hidden-volume or brainwallet). Maybe it won't work all the times. I'm looking for deterrence. The thieves have to know beforehand that they can't get all of a person's money.

That sounds like a terrible ordeal.  Sorry you had to go through that, and I'm glad you survived.

I'm having trouble understanding your solution.  How would the thieves know beforehand whether or not they can get all my money?  Furthermore, what protection would a bank provide to bitcoin account holders that they don't provide to fiat account holders?  Why couldn't they force me to withdraw all my bitcoins, same as if it were a regular account?

348  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: If Banks started to accept bitcoins, would you trust them with yours? on: May 03, 2012, 03:06:33 PM
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For one thing, that only works for brain wallets.  For another, you need to note the context I said that in.  I was comparing bank accounts to bitcoin wallets.  Bank accounts help protect your cash from being stolen from your home or person; bitcoins can't be stolen the same way cash can.  The equivalent of Rubber-Hose cryptanalysis would be a mugger forcing his victim to withdraw all their money from an ATM, which can indeed happen.

My point was that a bitcoin bank wouldn't provide anymore physical security than we already have.  Maybe under the right circumstances it could somehow provide more legal security, but that's speculative at the moment.  Regular bank accounts offer a variety of services, but most of them are unnecessary for bitcoin.  A bitcoin bank account would mainly be an investment.
349  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: If Banks started to accept bitcoins, would you trust them with yours? on: May 03, 2012, 11:43:53 AM
Well, I've already been considering renting a safety deposit box to store a paper wallet.

As to whether I'd open a bitcoin account, there wouldn't be much reason to.  I have a fiat bank account mainly because it keeps my money from being physically stolen, lets me withdraw cash at any ATM, and handles checking and bank transfers.  Bitcoins can't be physically stolen, transfer is built in, and there's no such thing as bitcoin cash.  The only advantage a bank account would have over keeping my coins myself is that the bank would pay interest.

So, it would really depend on whether or not the bank had high enough interest rates to make it worthwhile compared to other low-risk investment options.
350  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: If you use Skype, read this thread. on: April 26, 2012, 03:49:46 AM
I hate to derail this thread further, but I'm curious.  What's the consensus on XMPP here?
351  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: My first impressions on: April 24, 2012, 07:54:24 AM
Thanks.  I read the threads you posted, but I think I'm just going to have to eat the cost of a bank transfer.  I don't know anything about the bitcoin market in China, and I'm only going to be here for a couple months anyway.
352  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: My first impressions on: April 24, 2012, 05:17:23 AM
My point was that the difficulty of buying BTC means that people are unlikely to do so just to deal with one merchant.  If it were a little easier it wouldn't take much for individuals to convince their customers to try BTC.  The difference between "I'll pay you with paypal" and "I'll use paypal to buy some bitcoins and pay you with that" is minor, the difference between "I'll pay you with paypal" and "I'll go down to the bank and pay for a wire transfer, wait for it to go through, then buy some bitcoins and pay them to you a few days later" is not.
Bitcoins are not difficult to buy at all. They're just difficult to buy using reversible payment systems, since bitcoin transactions are irreversible. There is absolutely no way around that. I'm not really sure why people (other than scammers) insist on using reversible payment systems. Cash is easy. Wire transfers are easy. Why do people insist on doing it the hard way?

I'm a US citizen currently located in a smallish city in China.  Cash is out of the question unless you know someone who sells BTC here.  I'm used to paying for small purchases with cash, check, or credit card, and usually that's enough.  I suppose I can order a wire transfer through my bank's 800 number, but not without paying a hefty fee and probably having to wait for several days.  Buying something with my credit card takes minutes in contrast.

It's not that hard to understand.  Cash can't be spent online, wire transfers take time and are too expensive for small purchases.  That's why I'm interested in BTC.  It could be the answer to the flaws of these other systems.

Well, maybe once BTC becomes more commonplace there will be more places to pay cash for it.

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I have a few questions:
1.  Is there some way to check the balance of a wallet with only the public key?
Enter the address at blockexplorer.com. Note that one wallet typically contains many addresses, including some which aren't displayed in the client, so the balance shown at blockexplorer may will be less than the total amount owned by that person.

2.  How do online purchases with BTC work?  How do they know I'm the one who sent the money?  Is there any place I can see this in action without needing to fill out personal information?
The site will typically generate a unique bitcoin address for your specific purchase when you check out. Any bitcoins paid to that address are presumed to be your payment, since you're the only person who will ever see that address.

3.  Isn't there any way to mitigate the risk of credit card transactions?  What if you required a video interview and a copy of govt. issued picture ID?  Is there a time frame in which a dispute can be raised?  What if you agreed to pay out the bitcoins a little at a time, over the course of a year?
No. Video interviews are more effort than most people are willing to go through, and ID can be photoshopped. There's generally no time limit for chargebacks. You can avoid all these problems by just not trying to marry reversible and irreversible payment systems. It's just never going to work.

Thanks for the answers, that's really helpful.  I think I'm starting to understand how this works.
353  Other / Beginners & Help / Re: My first impressions on: April 24, 2012, 03:43:28 AM
Check out https://blockchain.info/wallet .   It stores and encrypted version of your wallet on their servers.  You can email it to yourself for extra backing up.  When you access the site it sends you the wallet, its decrypted by a Bitcoin instance running your browser (javascript).  The blockchain is hosted by blockchain.info so it loads instantly.  Fast and pretty secure and no need to trust a 3rd party outside of them continuing to provide the service.  But the jscript client code is open source so, some one will jump in if they go down.
Seems like a good idea, if they're trustworthy and you keep a physical backup around in case they disappear.



Finally, I think the value of bitcoins will be limited if they're only used in online transactions.  Not everyone in the world has a home computer with internet, and even fewer have the knowledge and means to properly secure their bitcoins.  Maybe at some point in the future there will be bitcoin swipe cards, with service centers to convert BTC to and from fiat currency.

not just home computers, phones etc as well, most people have those these days
True, didn't think of that.  I've been hearing a lot that phones are pretty common even in Third World countries.  Still, phones need electricity and network coverage, so I don't think they can replace cash entirely.

You might want to invest a little in each cryptocurrency.

Maybe like $1 worth in (for example) LiteCoin, MicroCash, and BitCoin.
You can also get a little of each for free.
I hope you have a fast connection & computer if you decide to run the client on your computer. The blockchain is huge, so on even a 100kb/s connection, it takes a long time to download (which you need in order to see any money you have).
As Gabi said, some of the stuff I've been hearing about MicroCash makes me uncomfortable.  What does LiteCoin bring to the table that BitCoin doesn't?

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There are different methods to store bitcoins, with varying levels of protection from the risks.  The greater the amount of value stored the greater the attention to the level of protection is necessary.  The methods that are the most secure also have higher costs (special-purpose equipment and knowledge, and the cost of inconvenience).   Thus is not unlike in the real world.   Paper currency in your back pocket or purse is cheap to manage and is convenient and is adequately secure enough that most people will carry around $100 or more without worry.  For amounts than that they use more secure methods (e.g., bank account).
The methods used for storing cash are better established and better understood by the average person.  Banks are everywhere and have a lot of experience in what they do.  Everyone knows about the ways cash can be stolen (eg burglars, muggers, pickpockets) and the technologies used to protect it from being stolen  (eg safes, locks, guns, inside pockets).

I meet many people who have no concept at all of what they can do to protect the data on their computer.  They've never heard of encryption, they've never heard of any OS but the Microsoft Windows installation on the only partition on their hard drive, and in many cases they just take malware to be a fact of life.  Sad but true.  These people will need a service to manage their cryptocurrency for them.  Something like Blockchain.info might do.

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That's for people trying to store larger amounts of funds.  For "walking around money" levels, the current protections (passphrase-encrypted wallet with the Bitcoin client, or a password-protected Javascript wallet like My Wallet on Blockchain.info) are seen as adequate to most and don't require much technical skills.
True, but as BTC becomes more prominent, people will indeed want to store larger amounts of funds.

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There already are merchants that have this preference.   Coinabul is able to leverage bitcoin's strengths to be able to compete against other bullion dealers because Coinabul's competitors rely on the slow banking system or they have the added expense of payment cards in market that sees a lot of fraudulent purchases.

Here's a list of categories of merchants that might benefit from bitcoin:
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=73694.0

But for now it is a chicken and egg situation.  Those using bitcoins are a small market so merchants that consider it aren't immediately convinced enough to proceed.  
My point was that the difficulty of buying BTC means that people are unlikely to do so just to deal with one merchant.  If it were a little easier it wouldn't take much for individuals to convince their customers to try BTC.  The difference between "I'll pay you with paypal" and "I'll use paypal to buy some bitcoins and pay you with that" is minor, the difference between "I'll pay you with paypal" and "I'll go down to the bank and pay for a wire transfer, wait for it to go through, then buy some bitcoins and pay them to you a few days later" is not.


As to the rest, my perception is this: currently, BTC does not act like a currency, but rather as a way of storing and transferring USD and other fiat currencies.  It's able to do this because it has value from the speculation that it one day will be a currency.  It order for that to happen, it needs to break out of its current niche of privacy seekers and futurists, to be used for more mundane business.  It's good that we can use to buy gift cards for a lot of businesses, but that's not the same thing as those businesses accepting it as payment and thereby giving it value.

I have a few questions:
1.  Is there some way to check the balance of a wallet with only the public key?
2.  How do online purchases with BTC work?  How do they know I'm the one who sent the money?  Is there any place I can see this in action without needing to fill out personal information?
3.  Isn't there any way to mitigate the risk of credit card transactions?  What if you required a video interview and a copy of govt. issued picture ID?  Is there a time frame in which a dispute can be raised?  What if you agreed to pay out the bitcoins a little at a time, over the course of a year?

Anyways, thanks for the welcome, and I hope I have something to contribute.
354  Other / Beginners & Help / My first impressions on: April 23, 2012, 02:44:22 PM
Well, I guess I have to post something to get access to the other boards.  Hi, a friend told me about Bitcoin earlier today, and I've been reading all I can about cryptocurrencies since.

The idea of a secure, decentralized, open source, online currency certainly catches my interest.  Being free from any centralized authority is always a plus, and the low-no transaction costs make it perfect for paying for online content, micro-donations and other things that may not have been practical before.  However, I see some things that I think will have to improve before it really catches on.

The first is security.  I don't really understand how bitcoin system works, so I'll take those who say it's secure at their word.  However, even if the coins themselves are secure, the mechanisms used to store and exchange them don't appear to be.  I was reading that by stealing someone's private key, you can transfer all their bitcoins to your account and there would be no way to trace you.  I see people with schemes involving multiple wallets, flash drives, live cds etc.  That might be more secure, but it might be way too complicated for the average non-technical minded person.  I also note that a couple of major exchanges have been compromised.  It's one thing to know that the bitcoins on the private key in our bank vault are safe, it's another thing to have a safer way to use them.

Another thing is the ease of entering the market.  I considered buying bitcoins almost as soon as I heard about them, but I learned it's not a simple process.  None of the major exchanges take the more common online payment methods, with bank transfers being the only non-obscure option.  I understand that there have been problems with chargebacks, but it means that buying bitcoins is now a major time investment.  If it were a little easier, then all you'd need to do to get people to try them is have a few good businesses that prefer BTC.  As it is, I suspect most people have to be convinced of the merits of the BTC system itself, and since most people aren't that interested in economics it limits the market. 

Finally, I think the value of bitcoins will be limited if they're only used in online transactions.  Not everyone in the world has a home computer with internet, and even fewer have the knowledge and means to properly secure their bitcoins.  Maybe at some point in the future there will be bitcoin swipe cards, with service centers to convert BTC to and from fiat currency.

Anyways, I'm pretty excited about BTC.  I'm confident that there will be solutions to these problems, maybe new businesses will be created in the process.  I'm sure what I've said has been said before, but like I said I guess I need to post something.
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