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Author Topic: Bitcoin in perspective  (Read 3274 times)
matt.collier
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May 27, 2011, 06:00:54 PM
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There are people making statements beginning with "Now that bitcoin is getting big..."  I think comments may be misleading to newcomers.  Bitcoin is often criticized for being nothing but hype.

Although it's impossible to know exactly how many bitcoin users there are, a chart in this post suggests that there might be approximately 20 thousand active bitcoin users.

The wikipedia article for PayPal reports that Paypal has 87 million active accounts.  And this recent article reports that they have 100 million accounts.

If we take the 100 million number for Paypal, the bitcoin user base is roughly 0.02% the size of PayPal's.

Bitcoin is very much in its infancy, but certainly has a lot of promise.  Bitcoin has the potential to reach users that are excluded from the PayPal system because they have no accessing to the existing global financial network.
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bittrader
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May 28, 2011, 01:52:58 AM
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Also: the USD ~50 million assets in bitcoins vs. the hundreds of trillions in other currencies shows again that bitcoin has a lot of room for growth.
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May 28, 2011, 02:56:40 PM
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Also: the USD ~50 million assets in bitcoins vs. the hundreds of trillions in other currencies shows again that bitcoin has a lot of room for growth.
Theoretically yes. The only problem is that it competes with both banks as well as government.
Banks don't like it when the money creation and issuing is out of their hands, and governments don't like it when the circulation is beyond their control.
The Wörgl experiment ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worgl ) and the, I think it's named Liberty Dollar (?), have shown that government will go full force (and that includes both army and FBI) after the 'criminals' who dare to operate an independent currency within a country.
No doubt bitcoin will share the same fate once it gets big enough, unfortunately.
And don't shout: "Internet is out of control of the goverment!" because it's not.
Obama has a 'kill switch' and other governments undoubtedly will implement such legislation first before cracking down on bitcoin.
Apart from the 'kill switch' there are deep packet inspection and end-user prosecution to bring dealing with bitcoins under government control.
ISPs become bigger and bigger, and will act more and more like government puppets in order to (and in that order):
1. not damage the carreer perspectives of their CEOs,
2. not damage the coporate profitability figures.
This way it will become quite easy and unavoidable that all internet connections will be regulated in a sense that they will be dissallowed unless allowed, contrary to the current situation in which they are practically all allowed, with here and there some exceptions like domain hijacking by the Dept. of Homeland Security (in cases of copyricht violations, for God's sake!).
Internet II is just around the corner, in which all traffic will go through some big providers, with internet IDs identifying the participants, and will be snooped upon by government, in order to protect the Homeland against 'terrorism', catastrophies 'and any other action deemed inappropriate' by The President.
So I'd say have fun with your bitcoins, but step out before government steps in.
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May 28, 2011, 03:15:48 PM
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*sigh* Defeatism...

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May 28, 2011, 03:34:09 PM
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*sigh* Defeatism...
No, crystal ball  Tongue

No, serious, I know it's difficult to draw a line between defeatism and realism, but I really consider this realism.
Governments and central banks just don't like initiatives like bitcoin, and history proves they will go to great lenghts to kill this kind of jokes. No offense.
I'm already feeling some premonition coming up along the lines of Gavin Andresen as a second Julian Assange.
If bitcoin is so well distributed, then why is Mr. Andresen so important? He shouldn't be.
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May 28, 2011, 03:38:13 PM
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No, serious, I know it's difficult to draw a line between defeatism and realism, but I really consider this realism.
Governments and central banks just don't like initiatives like bitcoin, and history proves they will go to great lenghts to kill this kind of jokes. No offense.
I'm already feeling some premonition coming up along the lines of Gavin Andresen as a second Julian Assange.
If bitcoin is so well distributed, then why is Mr. Andresen so important? He shouldn't be.

Gavin Andersen is just the lead developer of a project called bitcoin. There are other projects that also implement the bitcoin protocol. If the mainstream bitcoin project got destroyed somehow, we would just move on to a more survivable project.

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May 28, 2011, 08:59:06 PM
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*sigh* Defeatism...
No, serious, I know it's difficult to draw a line between defeatism and realism, but I really consider this realism.
You can call it realism, or defeatism, but in any case I won't subscribe to it.

Democracy must have sounded like a crazy idea at one time too. Did that stop people from pursuing it, and succeeding, against the interests of the then-elite?

Nothing in this world is set in stone.

What are you doing here at all, if you think fate has already determined that this project will come to an untimely end? What's the point in arguing?

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May 28, 2011, 09:02:15 PM
 #8

Democracy must have sounded like a crazy idea at one time too. Did that stop people from pursuing it, and succeeding, against the interests of the then-elite?

Nothing in this world is set in stone.

Democracy is a bad example.

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May 28, 2011, 09:04:21 PM
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Democracy is a bad example.

+1

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May 29, 2011, 01:42:18 AM
 #10

There is nothing the government or banks can do, short of shutting down the entire internet in all countries, that will stop bitcoin.

Yes, the entire power structure of the status quo rests on control of the currency and bitcoin takes it away. They'll want to stop it, they'll try to stop it, but they will fail.
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May 29, 2011, 02:11:57 AM
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There is nothing the government or banks can do, short of shutting down the entire internet in all countries, that will stop bitcoin.

Yes, the entire power structure of the status quo rests on control of the currency and bitcoin takes it away. They'll want to stop it, they'll try to stop it, but they will fail.

the Satoshi protocol will prevail, but this particular implementation might fail, especially if the development guiys don't GET OFF THEIR COLLECTIVE ASSES and fix the buggy, user-unfriendly software. I can already imagine a small cadre of Silicon Valley multimillionaires scheming to just run their own version the way Steve Jobs mostly ripped off UNIX code, made it nearly idiot-proof, and called it OSX.

There are men with very deep pockets who are both smart enough to see the potential of Bitcoin and smart enough to understand how late to the party they are. Jesus, with a $55,000,000 market cap, we are likely to become the Altaire of cryptocurrency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_8800


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markm
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May 29, 2011, 02:26:28 AM
 #12

There are men with very deep pockets who are both smart enough to see the potential of Bitcoin and smart enough to understand how late to the party they are. Jesus, with a $55,000,000 market cap, we are likely to become the Altaire of cryptocurrency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_8800

Late to the party? You're crazy, it is very early days yet, with such easy to manipulate markets that it would be almost trivially easy for anyone who finds a mere $55,000,000 to be pathetically small to just do a few dirt cheap things like opening up a few dozen competitors of MtGox and make vast fortunes using the current existing bitcoin system.

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MacRohard
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May 29, 2011, 02:33:41 AM
 #13

There are people making statements beginning with "Now that bitcoin is getting big..."  I think comments may be misleading to newcomers.  Bitcoin is often criticized for being nothing but hype.

Although it's impossible to know exactly how many bitcoin users there are, a chart in this post suggests that there might be approximately 20 thousand active bitcoin users.

The wikipedia article for PayPal reports that Paypal has 87 million active accounts.  And this recent article reports that they have 100 million accounts.

If we take the 100 million number for Paypal, the bitcoin user base is roughly 0.02% the size of PayPal's.

Bitcoin is very much in its infancy, but certainly has a lot of promise.  Bitcoin has the potential to reach users that are excluded from the PayPal system because they have no accessing to the existing global financial network.

The post you quoted is from February. The numbers have certainly grown since then.. perhaps 60,000 users.. so 0.06% as large as paypal. It would be nice if someone could post some up-to-date numbers though.
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May 29, 2011, 02:39:02 AM
 #14

There are men with very deep pockets who are both smart enough to see the potential of Bitcoin and smart enough to understand how late to the party they are. Jesus, with a $55,000,000 market cap, we are likely to become the Altaire of cryptocurrency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_8800

Late to the party? You're crazy, it is very early days yet, with such easy to manipulate markets that it would be almost trivially easy for anyone who finds a mere $55,000,000 to be pathetically small to just do a few dirt cheap things like opening up a few dozen competitors of MtGox and make vast fortunes using the current existing bitcoin system.

-MarkM-


Did IBM buy MITS or did they just copy the Altaire and make it better?

For people like me, you're right. I'm perfectly happy to buy Bitcoin at $8/BTC, but some billionaires are like the Daniel Day Lewis character on There Will Be Blood. Winning isn't enough. They want you to lose. They have the resources to steal our idea, cut us out, and control a much larger chunk of their much larger pie. $55 Mil is pocket change for these guys. a half billion dollar development effort would dwarf us in days when released. OTOH, if BTC survives another two years or so, we will be uncatchable.

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markm
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May 29, 2011, 02:43:31 AM
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There are men with very deep pockets who are both smart enough to see the potential of Bitcoin and smart enough to understand how late to the party they are. Jesus, with a $55,000,000 market cap, we are likely to become the Altaire of cryptocurrency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair_8800

Late to the party? You're crazy, it is very early days yet, with such easy to manipulate markets that it would be almost trivially easy for anyone who finds a mere $55,000,000 to be pathetically small to just do a few dirt cheap things like opening up a few dozen competitors of MtGox and make vast fortunes using the current existing bitcoin system.

-MarkM-


Did IBM buy MITS or did they just copy the Altaire and make it better?

For people like me, you're right. I'm perfectly happy to buy Bitcoin at $8/BTC, but some billionaires are like the Daniel Day Lewis character on There Will Be Blood. Winning isn't enough. They want you to lose. They have the resources to steal our idea, cut us out, and control a much larger chunk of their much larger pie. $55 Mil is pocket change for these guys. a half billion dollar development effort would dwarf us in days when released. OTOH, if BTC survives another two years or so, we will be uncatchable.

Did Bill Gates just write his own version of BASIC or buy one?

Did IBM make their own BASIC or just buy it from Bill Gates?

Did IBM have processors made for them to their own design or just use existing INTEL designs?

Etc.

-MarkM-

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May 29, 2011, 03:29:49 AM
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Did Bill Gates just write his own version of BASIC or buy one?

Did IBM make their own BASIC or just buy it from Bill Gates?

Did IBM have processors made for them to their own design or just use existing INTEL designs?

Etc.

-MarkM-


You want to use Gate's purchase of QDOS for pennies as an example of getting cut in? the GUI idea was taken from Xerox and used by Apple without compensation. Then MSoft took it from Apple, along with the mouse. This isn't even wrong. This is business and we have to stay ahead of the competition.

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May 29, 2011, 04:17:36 AM
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If you really want to stay ahead of the competition, then you need to go in the direction of social networking.  Because that will be the weakness that makes or breaks Bitcoin.

Civil Liberty Through Complex Mathematics
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May 29, 2011, 05:21:58 AM
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Does e.g. Facebook even allow facebook-apps that deal with money? Maybe they already figured out that they want a monopoly on money processing within their meta-app?

-MarkM-

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May 29, 2011, 06:42:07 AM
 #19

Democracy is a bad example.
What is a better example?
Quote
especially if the development guiys don't GET OFF THEIR COLLECTIVE ASSES and fix the buggy, user-unfriendly software. I can already imagine a small cadre of Silicon Valley multimillionaires scheming to just run their own version the way Steve Jobs mostly ripped off UNIX code, made it nearly idiot-proof, and called it OSX.
Can you list some actionable points of improvement about the software? (spare the rants and crystal ball gazing)

- What is missing from the user interface that makes it user-unfriendly?

- What bugs have you encountered?



Bitcoin Core developer [PGP] Warning: For most, coin loss is a larger risk than coin theft. A disk can die any time. Regularly back up your wallet through FileBackup Wallet to an external storage or the (encrypted!) cloud. Use a separate offline wallet for storing larger amounts.
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May 29, 2011, 07:38:13 AM
 #20

Democracy is a bad example.
What is a better example?
Quote
especially if the development guiys don't GET OFF THEIR COLLECTIVE ASSES and fix the buggy, user-unfriendly software. I can already imagine a small cadre of Silicon Valley multimillionaires scheming to just run their own version the way Steve Jobs mostly ripped off UNIX code, made it nearly idiot-proof, and called it OSX.
Can you list some actionable points of improvement about the software? (spare the rants and crystal ball gazing)

- What is missing from the user interface that makes it user-unfriendly?

- What bugs have you encountered?


I can only speak for the windows client, but here are the issues I have found frustrating:

-Backup of wallet.dat file is complicated- do I have to just delete the block index or the whole index folder or leave the folder and delete the contents? what if I just rename the files and leave them there? What about bitcoin.conf? does this work cross platform (port to windows 7)? how important is it that I close the program before copying the file? The fact that the files are in hidden folders doesn't help. Seriously, you need to hold hands and walk people through this or have it semi-automated but still transparent. It seriously took me two full days to get my wallet backup to run on another computer (to simulate a stolen/destroyed laptop).

-getting an error message when I click on the address button, but addresses come up anyway
-still can't get my backup to run on Windows 7 after completely rebuilding the block chain twice
-default settings of run on startup and minimize to tray rather than on the taskbar
-needs a prompt to backup wallet when exiting program
-no offline help files or even links to online help files just an "about" option
-should have some sort of indicator estimating the expected wait time for transaction confirmations, bitcoin generation and other processes, with an option for more info explaining why things take so long.
-issues concerning multiple wallets (how to do that and how to organize them) or spending from the same wallet on two different computers - break thing like this down to recommended and advanced procedures.

Why can't this be configured to run off a flash-drive and have the backup on the hard disk (or can it)? Since I'm running a TOR browser bundle off the jump drive anyway, this would seem logical. 

I have other gripes, but since you asked about the client,I'll limit my bitching to the ones concerning that.





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