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Author Topic: Bill Still ("The Money Masters") not a fan of Bitcoin (Adam vs The Man)  (Read 4812 times)
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February 07, 2013, 12:21:37 PM
 #1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqYrWYrc8o&list=UU0RJJ_Wm7jyOU9eY10LgcwA&index=18

Bill Still, maker of the documentary "The Money Masters," is asked about Bitcoin on Adam vs. The Man. Here's the key exchange which starts at around 14:10:

Kokesh: What is your opinion on Bitcoin as something that is rapidly, at least on a limited scale, displacing the dollar?
Still:  Displacing the dollar? I don't think so.
Kokesh: Well, at least to the tune of 400 million dollars.
Still: 400 million dollars? Well, let's see, and what percentage would that be of the 16 trillion dollar American money supply?
Kokesh: a tiny, tiny, tiny drop in the bucket for now
Still: I basically have a lot of trouble being comfortable with Bitcoin. Number one, it was hacked about two years ago. Number two, although it purports to be decentralized money and everybody says 'oh, the security features make it impossible to control centrally,' you know, I just...I have no facts to support it, I just, I'm uncomfortable with the situation.

Well, I'm convinced.
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February 07, 2013, 01:00:49 PM
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Still: I just...I have no facts to support it, ....


no facts to support his opinion seems about right
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February 07, 2013, 01:04:09 PM
 #3

he's a greenbacker and minarchist ("We don't want anarchy")

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February 07, 2013, 01:17:59 PM
 #4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqYrWYrc8o&list=UU0RJJ_Wm7jyOU9eY10LgcwA&index=18


Still: I basically have a lot of trouble being comfortable with Bitcoin. Number one, it was hacked about two years ago. Number two, although it purports to be decentralized money and everybody says 'oh, the security features make it impossible to control centrally,' you know, I just...I have no facts to support it, I just, I'm uncomfortable with the situation.

Anyone who says nonsense like that has no credibility. Why can't people just say, " I don't know enough about it to make a comment".
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February 07, 2013, 01:42:54 PM
 #5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqYrWYrc8o&list=UU0RJJ_Wm7jyOU9eY10LgcwA&index=18


Still: I basically have a lot of trouble being comfortable with Bitcoin. Number one, it was hacked about two years ago. Number two, although it purports to be decentralized money and everybody says 'oh, the security features make it impossible to control centrally,' you know, I just...I have no facts to support it, I just, I'm uncomfortable with the situation.

Anyone who says nonsense like that has no credibility. Why can't people just say, " I don't know enough about it to make a comment".
Just recently that kind of BS has been filling the comments in bitcoin press articles too, my tinfoil hat tells me the disinformation machine has been fired up again.

No need to look for conspiracies when plain ignorance and lack of due diligance is sufficient to explain this.
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February 07, 2013, 01:46:29 PM
 #6

No need to look for conspiracies when plain ignorance and lack of due diligance is sufficient to explain this.

+1. Bitcoin is a high flying UFO. The lower it goes, the more people get to see it more clearly, but with the added side affect that people are frightened by it more for fear of abduction.

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February 07, 2013, 03:17:16 PM
 #7

Bill Still has a huge amount of credibility as a historian and monetary expert, but he doesn't fully understand Bitcoin. That does not translate as 'Bill Still has no credibility'.
Yes he probably should have stated that he isn't an expert on the cryptographically secure nature of Bitcoin, but it wasn't entirely wrong for him to surmise that Bitcoin is insecure - Mt. Gox makes up the majority of the market, and it is still vulnerable to attack, therefore the price of Bitcoin is also vulnerable to massive instability, at least on a short timescale.
So he didn't realise his comments were actually relating to a Bitcoin exchange, rather than Bitcoin the network - his comments were still partially valid.
If you're serious about promoting Bitcoin, then you should be sending Bill Still emails explaining to him how it works. The more people like Still that Bitcoin has on its side, the better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqYrWYrc8o&list=UU0RJJ_Wm7jyOU9eY10LgcwA&index=18


Still: I basically have a lot of trouble being comfortable with Bitcoin. Number one, it was hacked about two years ago. Number two, although it purports to be decentralized money and everybody says 'oh, the security features make it impossible to control centrally,' you know, I just...I have no facts to support it, I just, I'm uncomfortable with the situation.

Anyone who says nonsense like that has no credibility. Why can't people just say, " I don't know enough about it to make a comment".
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February 07, 2013, 04:42:22 PM
 #8

Bill Still has a huge amount of credibility as a historian and monetary expert, but he doesn't fully understand Bitcoin. That does not translate as 'Bill Still has no credibility'.
Yes he probably should have stated that he isn't an expert on the cryptographically secure nature of Bitcoin, but it wasn't entirely wrong for him to surmise that Bitcoin is insecure - Mt. Gox makes up the majority of the market, and it is still vulnerable to attack, therefore the price of Bitcoin is also vulnerable to massive instability, at least on a short timescale.
So he didn't realise his comments were actually relating to a Bitcoin exchange, rather than Bitcoin the network - his comments were still partially valid.
If you're serious about promoting Bitcoin, then you should be sending Bill Still emails explaining to him how it works. The more people like Still that Bitcoin has on its side, the better.

Please stop putting people on a pedestal. Saying," I don't know", requires more bravery and humility than making up some bullshit nonsense and saying it with gusto and authority. It shows that he's willing to make up stuff just to keep the authoritative persona intact. That's a serious blow to his credibility in my mind.

He tweets @billstill if anyone feels like giving him a Bitcoin/humility lesson.
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February 07, 2013, 04:48:18 PM
 #9

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqYrWYrc8o&list=UU0RJJ_Wm7jyOU9eY10LgcwA&index=18


Still: I basically have a lot of trouble being comfortable with Bitcoin. Number one, it was hacked about two years ago. Number two, although it purports to be decentralized money and everybody says 'oh, the security features make it impossible to control centrally,' you know, I just...I have no facts to support it, I just, I'm uncomfortable with the situation.

Anyone who says nonsense like that has no credibility. Why can't people just say, " I don't know enough about it to make a comment".
Just recently that kind of BS has been filling the comments in bitcoin press articles too, my tinfoil hat tells me the disinformation machine has been fired up again.

No need to look for conspiracies when plain ignorance and lack of due diligance is sufficient to explain this.

+1

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity*.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor

*In this case it is more ignorance than stupidity. 
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February 07, 2013, 05:18:34 PM
 #10

what an idiot!
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February 07, 2013, 05:20:19 PM
 #11


Please stop putting people on a pedestal. Saying," I don't know", requires more bravery and humility than making up some bullshit nonsense and saying it with gusto and authority. It shows that he's willing to make up stuff just to keep the authoritative persona intact. That's a serious blow to his credibility in my mind.

He tweets @billstill if anyone feels like giving him a Bitcoin/humility lesson.

Doesn't he basically say "I don't know" at the end of the quoted text?

He said:

* The current value of 400 million currently doesn't threaten the USD.  [TRUE]

* Bitcoin got hacked.  [FALSE, but generally repeated as true by the press, understandable he got this wrong.]

* For reasons he can't articulate, he just doesn't trust bitcoin in his gut.  [OPINION]

That doesn't sound like he's passing himself off as an authority on bitcoin.
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February 07, 2013, 06:15:07 PM
 #12

Well I respect the guy after watching some of his doco's, but his opinion on Bitcoin is obviously completely invalid because he appears to know nothing about how it works. Anyone who doesn't understand it is obviously going to be skeptical of the claims made. And also the concept of bitcoin undermines his basic premise that we "have two choices" for who controls the money; private banks or the Government.

Bitcoin relieves us of choices and makes the process entirely decentralized. Clearly this is more desirable than allowing the Government to control money. His trust in the Government is obviously naive, but I would still prefer a debt free currency issued by the state over a debt based currency controlled by central banks; and that's where he has a point.

I mean the Greenback was a good currency. It wasn't debt based (like bitcoin) so it removed power from the banks, and the Government back then was fairly trustworthy. Of course it was still a fiat currency, but in reality bitcoin is a fiat currency with nothing of intrinsic value backing it, although obviously it's quite different from any other fiat currency.

The reality of the situation today, is that even if we wanted a gold standard currency it simply cannot happen because the Government cannot afford the gold required. When it comes to official national currencies, the best option for our Governments is to use state issued fiat money which isn't created as debt. That's realistically the best option for the people.

However I wouldn't agree with him that fiat money is preferable over "sound" money. His dislike of gold is a bit misguided imo, in fact he states that any commodity would make a bad currency. We must also remember that bitcoin is a limited digital commodity. His reasoning seems to be that commodities are horded by the rich and useless as currencies because they are too scarce.

The problem with this logic is that gold is only stored away because we don't use it as a currency. If we dropped the dollar and started using a gold based currency then we would see gold circulating around everywhere. Furthermore, gold is interchangeable with fiat currency. Having a fiat currency isn't the huge disadvantage to the elite that he imagines it to be.

Think about bitcoin, some rich person could come in and buy up a huge portion of the market. Wealth will flow where wealth flows, regardless of the currency you use. Having paper as money doesn't magically make people richer compared to using precious metals as money. The only thing we can do is make the currency harder to manipulate.

But under even a state owned fiat paper money system, it's easy for the people who control the money supply to manipulate the currency and direct the flow of wealth via artificial means. Now in reality this is simply a ploy to offset the "natural" flow of wealth to the rich. And when I say "natural" I mean the wealth flows their way via their huge corporations and banks.

Now of course banks and huge corporations don't exactly play a fair game, they pay their employees slave wages and funnel most of the profits up to their major shareholders. But this is really a business issue concerning the nature of "capitalism" that we now operate under, it isn't a money issue and shouldn't be fixed with money via inflation.

If you don't understand what I'm saying yet, let me put it simply: with a state owned currency the government can create money out of thin air at no cost (right now they trade debt instruments to receive new money). By doing this they cause inflation and the value of the currency in question decreases, thus making the fortunes of the super rich worth less.

And at the same time the new money they create is generally spent on public services such as the building and repair of infrastructure, healthcare and social security spending, and so on. So the general populace, which is mostly the middle class, actually gains wealth overall because the money gets spent on these types of things.

Now of course this new money might often get funneled through to large companies directly (through lucrative gov contracts) or indirectly (via consumer spending etc), and what happens is that the wealth continues to flow to where it "naturally" wants to flow under this current version of capitalism we have. So then the Government rinses and repeats the process.

They keep creating more money regardless of demand and economic growth, it keeps getting sucked up to the super rich, and eventually the amount of money in active circulation is tiny compared to the amount of money which has been horded away by the super rich through this continual funneling process. And now they have extreme power over the market.

They could dump huge amounts of currency onto the market and cause all sorts of other problems. And of course this problem also occurs even when private banks control the issuance of currency, all the new money the central bank creates will undergo the same funneling process. But the point is you can't create a currency which magically makes people wealthy.

All we can do is make it harder to manipulate, as I already mentioned. We can make it more in our favor, by making it non-debt based and thus taking the advantage away from the banks. We can even make it limited in quantity and impossible to create from thin air at no cost, such as the case with bitcoin. But we will never create a currency incapable of flowing to the rich.

That's essentially attempting to build a currency with some sort of inherent self-regulating equality mechanism. It's completely absurd. We will only stop a disproportionate amount of wealth flowing into the hands of a few it we actually look at the system responsible for deciding how wealth is distributed, which is the business framework we use.

So it's not a bad thing to use a commodity as currency (as long as it has sufficient divisibility). We must remember that all our common mediums of exchange, whether a commodity or not, are interchangeable stores of value. The most important thing is making sure our currency is secure, predictable, and decentralized; since trying to centrally manage the distribution of wealth is redundant.

EDIT: also this article I wrote is extremely relevant to this discussion: Fiat Money

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February 07, 2013, 07:43:22 PM
 #13

A lot of points in your post, but I just want to pick you up on this one. It's false to assume that if gold were the currency, that it would flow freely in the economy. This just isn't true - the major holders of gold would attempt to improve their already good position by monopolizing their supply of gold and trying to freeze out the smaller players. So you end up with the majority of the currency in the hands of the very rich, and practically nothing left for anyone else. The real value of Bill Still's documentaries is in demonstrating through historical example that this is the case - that a commodity-based currency will always tend towards subjugation of the masses through massive economic inequality.
Bitcoin right now is in an interesting position: it is both a 'peoples currency', in the sense that is decentralised and controlled by no-one and everyone, but it also has the potential to be just as regressive a currency as gold has been through history - i.e. it is finite, and cannot be counterfeited or issued by governments, therefore it could be bought and monopolised by the rich, in the same way as gold can.


The problem with this logic is that gold is only stored away because we don't use it a currency. If we dropped the dollar and started using a gold then we would see gold circulating around everywhere. Furthermore, gold is interchangeable with fiat currency. Having a fiat currency isn't the huge disadvantage to the elite that he imagines it to be.
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February 07, 2013, 07:59:02 PM
 #14

It's false to assume that if gold were the currency, that it would flow freely in the economy. This just isn't true - the major holders of gold would attempt to improve their already good position by monopolizing their supply of gold and trying to freeze out the smaller players. So you end up with the majority of the currency in the hands of the very rich, and practically nothing left for anyone else. The real value of Bill Still's documentaries is in demonstrating through historical example that this is the case - that a commodity-based currency will always tend towards subjugation of the masses through massive economic inequality.
Thanks for response, I'll reply to your above points quickly but I need to get some sleep so I'll pick up the discussion later if you respond. The first thing I want to point out, is that if gold were used as the most common currency (whether it be in the form of gold certificates or real gold), the elite actually have a motive to keep a certain level of gold in circulation, because without that lower threshold in circulation economic activity would stutter and come to a halt, meaning their businesses would also suffer as a result and they would see their incomes dry up. There's an inherent point of stability.

Second of all, most of the money ends up in the hands of the rich even if we use fiat money, through the processes I explained. And in fact by trying to fix this problem by creating more fiat money to even out the waters, the long term end result is that they simply make the problem worse than it was to begin with because of the wealth funneling process that I described. That's exactly what is happening right now, the vast amount of the currency in circulation is not in active circulation, but rather in the bank accounts of the super rich; but they always leave us with just enough to conduct our business.

And as we continue to inject more and more money into circulation as a futile attempt to solve all our problems, the continual funneling process creates an ever growing gap between the rich and poor, rather than stopping at the inherent point of stability associated with sound money.

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February 07, 2013, 08:11:50 PM
 #15

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqYrWYrc8o&list=UU0RJJ_Wm7jyOU9eY10LgcwA&index=18


Still: I basically have a lot of trouble being comfortable with Bitcoin. Number one, it was hacked about two years ago. Number two, although it purports to be decentralized money and everybody says 'oh, the security features make it impossible to control centrally,' you know, I just...I have no facts to support it, I just, I'm uncomfortable with the situation.

Anyone who says nonsense like that has no credibility. Why can't people just say, " I don't know enough about it to make a comment".
Just recently that kind of BS has been filling the comments in bitcoin press articles too, my tinfoil hat tells me the disinformation machine has been fired up again.

No conspiracy. Bill Still is a wacko. And you dont need his opinions on Bitcoin for that. Just read what he says about economics and you will realize.
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February 07, 2013, 09:31:54 PM
 #16

Still: I basically have a lot of trouble being comfortable with Bitcoin. Number one, it was hacked about two years ago.

In retrospect, the hacking of MtGox was beneficial to bitcoin. It kept such people away, thus allowing services to build up.
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February 07, 2013, 10:39:28 PM
 #17

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqYrWYrc8o&list=UU0RJJ_Wm7jyOU9eY10LgcwA&index=18

Bill Still, maker of the documentary "The Money Masters," is asked about Bitcoin on Adam vs. The Man. Here's the key exchange which starts at around 14:10:

Kokesh: What is your opinion on Bitcoin as something that is rapidly, at least on a limited scale, displacing the dollar?
Still:  Displacing the dollar? I don't think so.
Kokesh: Well, at least to the tune of 400 million dollars.
Still: 400 million dollars? Well, let's see, and what percentage would that be of the 16 trillion dollar American money supply?
Kokesh: a tiny, tiny, tiny drop in the bucket for now
Still: I basically have a lot of trouble being comfortable with Bitcoin. Number one, it was hacked about two years ago. Number two, although it purports to be decentralized money and everybody says 'oh, the security features make it impossible to control centrally,' you know, I just...I have no facts to support it, I just, I'm uncomfortable with the situation.

Well, I'm convinced.

Wow even the brightest of documentary makers dont do their due diligence. "bitcoin was hacked" = Mtgox was hacked.

Not the same thing lol..

Bill Still so fail.  Cheesy

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February 07, 2013, 11:21:57 PM
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It really bothers me when people go around claiming Bitcoin is somehow a fiat currency. Look up what fiat money means and you will know that Bitcoin is NOT fiat. I really shouldn't be posting this because people will probably try to retort and derail (k maybe this post is a bit of a derail)...but they are wrong. Just look it up!

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February 07, 2013, 11:43:59 PM
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I did and apparently it's an Italian car?  Huh
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February 08, 2013, 02:53:26 AM
 #20

It really bothers me when people go around claiming Bitcoin is somehow a fiat currency. Look up what fiat money means and you will know that Bitcoin is NOT fiat. I really shouldn't be posting this because people will probably try to retort and derail (k maybe this post is a bit of a derail)...but they are wrong. Just look it up!
If you looked it up properly you would know bitcoin is a fiat currency.

Quote
The term fiat money has been defined variously as:

* any money declared by a government to be legal tender.[7]
* state-issued money which is neither convertible by law to any other thing, nor fixed in value in terms of any objective standard.[8]
* money without intrinsic value.[9][10]

While gold- or silver-backed representative money entails the legal requirement that the bank of issue redeem it in fixed weights of gold or silver, fiat money's value is unrelated to the value of any physical quantity. Even a coin containing valuable metal may be considered fiat currency if its face value is higher than its market value as metal.

Fiat Money - Wikipedia

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