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Author Topic: Is Bitcoin money?  (Read 9164 times)
FreeMoney
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September 27, 2010, 04:16:00 AM
 #21

Do you read FOFOA at all? The latest post is mostly a reprint of an older one, but it is very good imo and relevant to this discusion.

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October 04, 2010, 02:47:01 PM
 #22

I believe that the statement: "bitcoin is new kind of money" passes the duck test.

I don't think it does because Bitcoin isn't property.

Money (even gold) relies on some sort of centralised court or protection agency that enforces property rights. Without these institutions money would be worthless.  Bitcoin is different from money because it functions in a universe completely devoid of rights, whether positive or negative.  

You can't "own" a Bitcoin, you can only know a piece of information that allows you to spend it. If somebody "steals" that information you can't take the coin back by force.

Neither can you "owe" a Bitcoin. Sending someone a bitcoin does not oblige the payee to do anything in return.  Reciprocity is based purely on reputation. There is no enforcement of reciprocity.

We all agree that a physical person has certain rights, but a bitcoin address has no rights. None whatsoever. There is no way of proving whether a bitcoin address "belongs" to a physical person.


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October 04, 2010, 02:57:35 PM
 #23

I believe that the statement: "bitcoin is new kind of money" passes the duck test.

I don't think it does because Bitcoin isn't property.

Money (even gold) relies on some sort of centralised court or protection agency that enforces property rights. Without these institutions money would be worthless.  Bitcoin is different from money because it functions in a universe completely devoid of rights, whether positive or negative.  


The function of money is to serve as medium of exchange, store of value, and more. Bitcoin serve that job, thus pass the "duck" test. It doesn't matter if bitcoin is mere immaterial information. The fact is, it have literal effects on the world, much like a computer program does.

It satisfies every test of money that I have learned from my macroeconomic class.

No, it's not a 'commodity' and all that BS. The economic reality is that we use bitcoin almost exclusively for economic exchange.

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October 04, 2010, 03:11:06 PM
 #24

Neither can you "owe" a Bitcoin. Sending someone a bitcoin does not oblige the payee to do anything in return.  Reciprocity is based purely on reputation. There is no enforcement of reciprocity.

If we have a contract where I provide the service of creating a valid Bitcoin transaction of a certain value in return for a good, and you fail to deliver the good, then you have breached the contract and must return the current market value of the service (bitcoins) I provided.

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October 04, 2010, 03:12:40 PM
 #25

Money (even gold) relies on some sort of centralised court or protection agency that enforces property rights. Without these institutions money would be worthless.
Viking traders and medieval Icelanders had no centralized property rights enforcer but still used gold as money and certainly did not consider it worthless.

Bitcoin is different from money because it functions in a universe completely devoid of rights, whether positive or negative.  
People using bitcoins live under many different legal systems. Bitcoin does not change that.

You can't "own" a Bitcoin, you can only know a piece of information that allows you to spend it.
You can own trademarks and shares in corporations without physical assets. Why not bitcoins?

If somebody "steals" that information you can't take the coin back by force.
Use physical violence to force them to give up a bitcoin just like you would if they had stolen and hidden a gold coin.

Neither can you "owe" a Bitcoin. Sending someone a bitcoin does not oblige the payee to do anything in return.  Reciprocity is based purely on reputation. There is no enforcement of reciprocity.
Make a contract. Enforce it in a court.
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October 04, 2010, 04:23:46 PM
 #26



Make a contract. Enforce it in a court.


This is the essence of our discussion: How can we guarantee payment?

The old way: Trade for something of value (silver, gold).

The crooked way: Use government chits, and the government will enforce the payment (U.S. dollar).

The Bitcoin way: Accounts are accurate, honest, and convenient (based on Math).

No one can phoney the books--the system Just Works. It's more voluntary than the other systems, yet has none of their drawbacks.

Note that Bitcoin is just a system of accounting, and could be used for purposes other than trade. To call it money, or cash, or "worth" something is to complicate it needlessly. If someone wants to trade bitcoins for Pesos, or for Yak fur, or just hold on to them, that is their free choice.

All trades are ENTIRELY SEPARATE FROM THE BITCOIN SYSTEM.

Keep it simple, people! There is no reason to put Bitcoin into the commercial arena, with the accompanying legal meathooks. There is no reason to call Bitcoin money, or cash, or to say Bitcoins are "worth" X number of dollars, because they're clearly not; Bitcoin is just a P2P, distributed accounting system. Nothing more.

Why ask for trouble, and invite the crooked Enforcers in where they don't belong? Bitcoin is NOT money, so don't call it that!

-----

Full disclosure: I am also fresno. I created the fresno persona to handle my political activities while I ran the Silverman site. Now that I am no longer exchanging Bitcoins as a business, "fresno" is no longer active.







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October 04, 2010, 04:36:34 PM
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Make a contract. Enforce it in a court.

Note that Bitcoin is just a system of accounting, and could be used for purposes other than trade. To call it money, or cash, or "worth" something is to complicate it needlessly. If someone wants to trade bitcoins for Pesos, or for Yak fur, or just hold on to them, that is their free choice.

All trades are ENTIRELY SEPARATE FROM THE BITCOIN SYSTEM.

Keep it simple, people! There is no reason to put Bitcoin into the commercial arena, with the accompanying legal meathooks. There is no reason to call Bitcoin money, or cash, or to say Bitcoins are "worth" X number of dollars, because they're clearly not; Bitcoin is just a P2P, distributed accounting system. Nothing more.

The problem is, people act as if X products are truely worth X bitcoins. They trade bitcoins for dollars and euros and the like. They also buy and sell using bitcoins. People calculate if their business in bitcoins is thriving or not.

What people believe partially make up economic reality. People do not make arbitrary distinction about trading being completely separate of bitcoins.

Money is not defined legally, because money is a being of economic nature. It does not matter if crooks declare bitcoin to be not money. It's a legal fiction completely irrelevant to the true economic nature of bitcoins.

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October 04, 2010, 04:39:08 PM
 #28

Make a contract. Enforce it in a court.


The court provide bad services.

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October 04, 2010, 05:11:04 PM
 #29

This is the essence of our discussion: How can we guarantee payment?

The old way: Trade for something of value (silver, gold).

The crooked way: Use government chits, and the government will enforce the payment (U.S. dollar).

The Bitcoin way: Accounts are accurate, honest, and convenient (based on Math).
I don't get it. What's the difference between the old and the crooked? Why is guaranteeing payment the essence and not something orthogonal and currency agnostic? Is it because governments might decide to stop enforcing contracts mentioning currencies they don't like?

Why ask for trouble, and invite the crooked Enforcers in where they don't belong? Bitcoin is NOT money, so don't call it that!
These enforcers use the duck test too. They don't care the slightest what you call it. They care about what it does. What it does is act like money.
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October 04, 2010, 06:01:02 PM
 #30

I believe that the statement: "bitcoin is new kind of money" passes the duck test.

I don't think it does because Bitcoin isn't property.


It's a form of intellectual property, or property by way of contract.  US FRN's are property in the same way, as the value that exists is by reason of the information that is printed upon the paper that implies that it is not counterfit.  You have the physical paper note as evidence that you possess a 'dollar', but the paper object isn't the property.

I understand that this stuff can make heads spin.  Which is why it's generally considered a specialized profession.  But it's not really all that hard if you start from the beginning.  Once again, I recommend that any confused member read Whatever happened to Penny Candy? by Ray Bradbury followed up by Economics in One Lesson.

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Money (even gold) relies on some sort of centralised court or protection agency that enforces property rights. Without these institutions money would be worthless.  Bitcoin is different from money because it functions in a universe completely devoid of rights, whether positive or negative.  


This is not true.  When people on this forum claim that "bitcoins are like gold" this is what they are actually trying to say, regardless of how accurate that statement actually is.  Neither bitcoins nor gold needs the protection services of governments nor courts to perform their primary functions as a trade medium.  That is a primary point about the design of bitcoins as an Internet currency, because such online trades are functionally beyond the enforcement capacities of most courts or governments.  The main page refers to Bitcoin avoiding the neccessity of a 'trusted third party'.  That third party is any institution that both parties trust to enforce the terms of the agreement (i.e. contract) upon the other should the deal turn sour.  This can be courts or governments, but can also be private institutions such as banking, Paypal, or whatever.  Thopse private institutions may (or may not) be limited in what kind of punishment that they can dish out to a bad player, but usually they also have the implicit backing of the courts via contract law anyway.  However, there is an overhead for such institutions; both in actual funds and in surrendered liberty/information.  The primary aim of the design of Bitcoin was to avoid both those costs as far as is possible, without prohibiting such institutions from acting within the Bitcoin economy should some individuals desire them.

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You can't "own" a Bitcoin, you can only know a piece of information that allows you to spend it. If somebody "steals" that information you can't take the coin back by force.


In the same way, you don't "own" the balance in your checking account that the bits in the bank's computer says that you do.

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Neither can you "owe" a Bitcoin. Sending someone a bitcoin does not oblige the payee to do anything in return.  Reciprocity is based purely on reputation. There is no enforcement of reciprocity.


The only way that you can owe anything is via an incomplete contractual agreement.  If you agree to sell something to someone for bitcoins and you don't send it after receiving said bitcoin payment, then you certainly do "owe" that sum of bitcoins back to the original owner; both morally and legally.  Practically speaking, there can be little enforcement of such a contract, whether you agreed in bitcoins or US cash in the mail.  This is exactly why third party institutions are, thus far, so neccessary for online commerce; and why such institutions will likely come to exist within the bitcoin economy eventually as well.  However, such an institution isn't required for trade between two parties who otherwise trust one another.  And if you attempted to do such a thing on this forum, your name would be trashed, and no one would trade with you ever again, so long as they were aware that it was you.

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We all agree that a physical person has certain rights, but a bitcoin address has no rights. None whatsoever. There is no way of proving whether a bitcoin address "belongs" to a physical person.


Actually, not everyone agrees that a physical person has any certain rights.  This has no bearing on what Bitcoin is, nor what it could be used for.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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October 04, 2010, 06:10:47 PM
 #31

This is the essence of our discussion: How can we guarantee payment?

The old way: Trade for something of value (silver, gold).

The crooked way: Use government chits, and the government will enforce the payment (U.S. dollar).

The Bitcoin way: Accounts are accurate, honest, and convenient (based on Math).
I don't get it. What's the difference between the old and the crooked? Why is guaranteeing payment the essence and not something orthogonal and currency agnostic? Is it because governments might decide to stop enforcing contracts mentioning currencies they don't like?



The new way, fiat currencies, require both the implicit enforcement of the issuing governments and the condition that taxes due must be paid in said fiat currency in order to grant a fiat currency it's initial demand and maintain it's value.  Hard moneies, such as gold or silver, do not require such institutional support.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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October 04, 2010, 07:09:23 PM
 #32


people act as if... (so?).

What people believe partially make up economic reality. (Yes. Theirs!)

Money is not defined legally,.. (actually, it is. In multiple citations.)

The court provide bad services. (The courts shouldn't be needed for Bitcoin to perform its function.)

What it does is act like money. (In what way does an accounting program act like money?)

It's a form of intellectual property,.. (It's as intellectual as an inch, or a kilometer.)

...but the paper object isn't the property. (You're making my argument, creighto.)

"Money (even gold) relies on some sort of centralised court or protection agency that enforces property rights." (Do you propose that Bitcoin do this? How?)

Neither bitcoins nor gold needs the protection services of governments nor courts to perform their primary functions ... (Yes.) ... as a trade medium. (No. How is a number a "trade medium"?)

The main page refers to Bitcoin avoiding the neccessity of a 'trusted third party'.  That third party is any institution that both parties trust to enforce the terms of the agreement (i.e. contract) upon the other should the deal turn sour.  This can be courts or governments, but can also be private institutions such as banking, Paypal, or whatever.  Thopse private institutions may (or may not) be limited in what kind of punishment that they can dish out to a bad player, but usually they also have the implicit backing of the courts via contract law anyway.  However, there is an overhead for such institutions; both in actual funds and in surrendered liberty/information. (Yes. But Bitcoin doesn't work like that. Bitcoin only keeps the records straight. The clients use whatever outside agents they wish.)

This is exactly why third party institutions are, thus far, so neccessary for online commerce; and why such institutions will likely come to exist within the bitcoin economy eventually as well. (Within Bitcoin no, but within the Bitcoin economy, yes.)

-----

I'm giving these statements a very shallow treatment, but so far I see no compelling reason why we should not put an imaginary wall between what is Bitcoin the program, and what is Bitcoin the community, the traders, and the economy.

If we make this distinction, we will see that there is no need for Bitcoin to ever go over its wall, to meddle in the "proper" use of Bitcoins, to decide how much a Bitcoin may be "worth", or to enforce private contracts.

And I think that is a good thing.



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October 04, 2010, 07:46:49 PM
 #33


What it does is act like money. (In what way does an accounting program act like money?)


In the way that people act in a manner that implies that, for them, there is no practical difference between the output of the accounting program and the physical trade of money.  Money is a social method of accounting, just a special one. 

Quote

It's a form of intellectual property,.. (It's as intellectual as an inch, or a kilometer.)


The blockchain could be considered the unit of measure, as that isn't owned by anyone in particular.  But the ownership of a particular sum of bitcoins by a particular collection of addresses at a particular point in time; is, indeed, a form of intellectual property.  In the manner that it's is an abstract concept that we (the society known as the bitcoin community) assign a value to, and also agree upon a particular possession of.

It's not the best way to think of Bitcoin, I admit, but I was playing off of the post that I was responding to.

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...but the paper object isn't the property. (You're making my argument, creighto.)


I am, in a manner of speaking.  I have always agreed with you that bitcoins are not money, but money and currency are not quite the same thing.  My disagreement with you is that I can't agree that bitcoins are a commodity, since they have no known alternative use in order to grant them value outside of the context of a medium of trade.  If they did, then they would be money in the literal sense.  As such, bitcoins are a new/unique form of currency unit.  Nothing more, nothing less.  To even call them a commodity is granting them more attributes than they posses.

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Neither bitcoins nor gold needs the protection services of governments nor courts to perform their primary functions ... (Yes.) ... as a trade medium. (No. How is a number a "trade medium"?)


All currency, fiat or otherwise, are simply numbers at their core.  Gold is money, but is only a currency in a form that can be considered a unit by the market, such as the troy ounce or the gram.  An undefined lump of gold isn't a currency, but it is still money.  All currencies are a unit of measurement, and all units of measurement are numbers.  The conversions of one currency into another, at a particular moment in time, is akin to the conversion of American Standard units into Metric.

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The main page refers to Bitcoin avoiding the neccessity of a 'trusted third party'.  That third party is any institution that both parties trust to enforce the terms of the agreement (i.e. contract) upon the other should the deal turn sour.  This can be courts or governments, but can also be private institutions such as banking, Paypal, or whatever.  Those private institutions may (or may not) be limited in what kind of punishment that they can dish out to a bad player, but usually they also have the implicit backing of the courts via contract law anyway.  However, there is an overhead for such institutions; both in actual funds and in surrendered liberty/information. (Yes. But Bitcoin doesn't work like that. Bitcoin only keeps the records straight. The clients use whatever outside agents they wish.)


I agree, and it is in that manner that bitcoins are similar to gold or silver coins used in trade.  I don't have the time to write an article on the subject.  Again, please read Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? before continuing with this debate.  I know that you don't realize it, but you suffer from misinformation that you can easily correct.  That book takes the reader back to the beginning of the formation of natural commerce, and explains why and how money developed.  You really cannot understand money until you start at the beginning.

Quote

I'm giving these statements a very shallow treatment, but so far I see no compelling reason why we should not put an imaginary wall between what is Bitcoin the program, and what is Bitcoin the community, the traders, and the economy.

If we make this distinction, we will see that there is no need for Bitcoin to ever go over its wall, to meddle in the "proper" use of Bitcoins, to decide how much a Bitcoin may be "worth", or to enforce private contracts.

And I think that is a good thing.


You have the right to imagine a separation of program and the community, and I can see the logic.  However, you have neither the authority nor the ability to impose your rationale upon others.  This is why you will consistantly fail in your goal of defining bitcoins in any way that appears inconsistant to others, regardless of the logic or legal motivation of such a goal.

Basicly, you are 'pissing up a rope' in your attempts to get forum members to call bitcoins a form of commodity.  They will call it as they see it; be that a currency, or even money.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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October 04, 2010, 07:53:35 PM
 #34

I consider that economic definition take precedence and importance over legal definition. End of story.

Government are not forever. The rules of economics are. Government are authorities. Economics is a science.

You cannot nullify the concept of economic scarcity even when we entered a non-scarce economic reality. You cannot nullify truth.

Quote
I'm giving these statements a very shallow treatment, but so far I see no compelling reason why we should not put an imaginary wall between what is Bitcoin the program, and what is Bitcoin the community, the traders, and the economy.

If we make this distinction, we will see that there is no need for Bitcoin to ever go over its wall, to meddle in the "proper" use of Bitcoins, to decide how much a Bitcoin may be "worth", or to enforce private contracts.

And I think that is a good thing.

Nobody is advocating on how to decide how much bitcoins is worth, what the proper use of bitcoins is, etc al. What people like me are doing is trying to DESCRIBE REALITY aka scientific definition, not prescribe some rules that bitcoiners shold be following.

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October 04, 2010, 07:58:22 PM
 #35

The new way, fiat currencies, require both the implicit enforcement of the issuing governments
Enforcement of contracts? Why?

and the condition that taxes due must be paid in said fiat currency in order to grant a fiat currency it's initial demand and maintain it's value.  Hard moneies, such as gold or silver, do not require such institutional support.

That's not necessary. There is an obvious counterexample: Bitcoin. Governments often go to great lengths to get paid in anything but their own currencies. And wouldn't demanding taxes in any form and using that wealth to back the currency they issue to buy stuff do the same thing as demanding taxes to be paid in it?
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October 04, 2010, 07:58:29 PM
 #36

Bitcoin is intended to be used as money. The extent to which it differs from the various definitions of money is primarily due to its unpopularity and lack of government sanction, which in my opinion should not matter when speaking about it as "money."

Do not waste your time debating whether Bitcoin can work. It does work.

"Early adopters will profit" is not a sufficient condition to classify something as a pyramid or Ponzi scheme. If it was, Apple and Microsoft stock are Ponzi schemes.

There is no such thing as "market manipulation." There is only buying and selling.
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October 04, 2010, 08:07:20 PM
 #37

should we all have a drink together, say cheers and the focus more on making BITCOIn bigger vs. endless debates of what it is?

sorry for that "nasty' comment, but I feel we could bundle our energies vs. debating forever (I am sure apple people could have debated decades on how to call the IPad or iPhone or mac or whatever)

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October 04, 2010, 08:09:40 PM
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and the condition that taxes due must be paid in said fiat currency in order to grant a fiat currency it's initial demand and maintain it's value.  Hard moneies, such as gold or silver, do not require such institutional support.

That's not necessary. There is an obvious counterexample: Bitcoin. Governments often go to great lengths to get paid in anything but their own currencies. And wouldn't demanding taxes in any form and using that wealth to back the currency they issue to buy stuff do the same thing as demanding taxes to be paid in it?


I shouldn't have to say this, but Bitcoin isn't a fiat currency.  It is a currency by the choices and designs of those who choose to use it.  Fiat currencies are currencies as a matter of law, so your obvious counterexample, isn't.

As for your belief that governments go to great lengths to get paid in anything other than their own currencies, try paying your property taxes in gold coins or in another fiat currency from another country.  If you can do this without the additional step of conversion into the local fiat currency, then I'd like to hear about it.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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October 04, 2010, 08:44:07 PM
 #39

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Make a contract. Enforce it in a court.

That is the problem.

In order to enforce a contract involving Bitcoins, all the following conditions need to be fulfilled:

1) Bob and Alice need to agree on some centralised court or protection agency.
2) Bob needs to prove to the court that he "owns" Bitcoin address X by digitally signing a court statement.
3) Alice needs to prove to the court the she "owns" Bitcoin address Y by digitally signing a court statement.
4) Alice and Bob need to digitally sign a contract that 100 bitcoins will be sent from X to Y and that Alice will deliver 10 widgets to Bob.
5) Either Bob or Alice needs to leave some sort of collateral with the court, either in the form of an escrow deposit, or in the form of giving the court jurisdiction over their meat identity.
6) Alice needs to have the ability to prove to court that she has delivered 10 widgets.
7) Bob needs to have the ability to prove to court that he did not receive 10 widgets.


Bitcoin CAN be utilised in this way, but this would be cumbersome, expensive, and it would negate most of the advantages of Bitcoin, namely:

1) anonymity
2) low transaction costs
3) speed
4) independence from a centralised third party
6) irreversibility

People are not likely to use Bitcoin in the first place if they have to relinquish that much authority to a centralised court; they may as well use the court's own mint and be done with it.

This is why I said that Bitcoin doesn't pass the Duck Test for property.  The economic reality for the majority of Bitcoin users is that it doesn't behave like property. 

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October 04, 2010, 08:59:36 PM
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Make a contract. Enforce it in a court.

That is the problem.

In order to enforce a contract involving Bitcoins, all the following conditions need to be fulfilled:

1) Bob and Alice need to agree on some centralised court or protection agency.
2) Bob needs to prove to the court that he "owns" Bitcoin address X by digitally signing a court statement.
3) Alice needs to prove to the court the she "owns" Bitcoin address Y by digitally signing a court statement.
4) Alice and Bob need to digitally sign a contract that 100 bitcoins will be sent from X to Y and that Alice will deliver 10 widgets to Bob.
5) Either Bob or Alice needs to leave some sort of collateral with the court, either in the form of an escrow deposit, or in the form of giving the court jurisdiction over their meat identity.
6) Alice needs to have the ability to prove to court that she has delivered 10 widgets.
7) Bob needs to have the ability to prove to court that he did not receive 10 widgets.


Bitcoin CAN be utilised in this way, but this would be cumbersome, expensive, and it would negate most of the advantages of Bitcoin, namely:

1) anonymity
2) low transaction costs
3) speed
4) independence from a centralised third party
6) irreversibility

People are not likely to use Bitcoin in the first place if they have to relinquish that much authority to a centralised court; they may as well use the court's own mint and be done with it.


I agree with all of this so far, even though I disagree that it's as much a burden as you imply.  The vast majority of casual contracts never need any kind of enforcement, and even those operate within a civic standard for the vast majority of the above.  In the modern age, that civic standard is the government court system that we are all aware of, but this is not the only way these things have been done in the past.  Common law courts of the western societies prior to the rise of strong, centralized governments are one example; and international business courts are another more modern example.  Most of the contracts occur under some kind of default environment known to both parties, and the nature of said environment has no bearing upon Bitcoin or vise versa.

Quote

This is why I said that Bitcoin doesn't pass the Duck Test for property.  The economic reality for the majority of Bitcoin users is that it doesn't behave like property. 

It certainly does behave like property.  Property is an abstract concept that existed long before nations or governments, and is independent of the existance of either.  To get right down to it, bitcoins are property because users behave as if that is the case.  As I see it, Bitcoin passes the 'Duck' test just fine.  Care to share how you have come to the conclusion that it does not?

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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