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Author Topic: New miner-centric site with hopes to stabilize the BTC economy  (Read 8345 times)
enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 06:34:00 PM
 #1

Hi everyone, I've been working on the technical aspects of an idea I've been chatting about a little since the whole "market correction" yesterday. The bitcoin economy has grown far too speculator-centric to see much success as a real currency. In order for BTC to truly remain/become useful for purchasing goods and services some level of stability is necessary; a slow steady rise is fantastic, a continuous roller-coaster of huge peaks and valleys is not. Furthermore, as a miner it concerns me greatly to see prices dip low enough to damage my business when these bubbles eventually burst.

So I have a proposal: It begins with the miners since we/they are the initial source of all bitcoins (some 7200 per day, a fairly substantial number) but it hopefully sees adoption by many others too. If you're not a speculator, if you're a miner or someone who does business in bitcoins you want a stable exchange rate that increase proportionally to important factors like adoption levels or hash difficulty (which is actually sort of a factor of adoption levels) not on the whims of a bunch of get-rich-quick investors! If you want bitcoin to take off and stay useful in the long term, to survive the media madness and become a viable dominant e-currency, then we MUST do something about the volatility. The advice to "buy when it dips then resell high" doesn't help the market as a whole, it only helps the speculators who buy into the methodology and eventually, such a low will not have a corresponding recovery. You can only crash a market so many times before it stays crashed.

So I suggest that we adopt a new ideal value for what those of us treating this like a business are willing to accept for 1 BTC. We set up an exchange rate that is pegged to difficulty and assume that to be the value of 1 BTC. If a mountain of miners and traders all decide that 1 BTC = X dollars then speculators will have a hard time increasing or decreasing the value by as much. They have to buy their way through the mountains of BTC available at $X before they can effectively raise the price above or below it. This means that significantly larger amounts of money can move about in the market without affecting the exchange rate. If you look at the market depth data on Mt. Gox right now you'll see two large spikes of sell orders at $25 and $30. These spikes represent such a "wall" and we've seen before the stabilizing effect that such walls can have on value.

I've created a simple web site (changed: http://www.bitcoinreference.com) with a forum attached that displays what I believe to be a fair market value for BTC which is automatically calculated from the current difficulty setting and converted into several world currencies. The data updates automatically so it should change immediately when the difficulty does. Right now I'm using P=D/25000 to set the price, which seems to roughly follow historical data if we ignore the recent bubble and its associated correction. This pegs the price at $22.69 USD currently. I am of course open to suggestions on more accurate or reasonable formulae should you have any input.

If we all buy/sell/trade at this assumed value with at least a meaningful portion of our BTC we can create a new "wall" set where WE decide. We can stabilize the value of the bitcoin, which makes it more attractive to existing and new businesses and gives it the image to match its potential as the new world currency.

Edit 2011-06-13: Changed URL, my proposal wasn't really a "union" per se so bitcoinreference.com is much more appropriate. Site content has not changed, nor has the URL structure, so the API can now be found at http://bitcoinreference.com/api

Edit 2011-06-14: Changed displayed market valuation and API. Site now shows market valuation based on a four-hour moving average and shows standard deviation for the same period. Ranges based on one or two standard deviations from average can be used for a number of purposes as discussed in my post below and on the "how to use this data" page on the site ites.f

Note: The purpose of the site has changed from what is specified in the post above. I am no longer interested in starting a cartel or union of any kind. bitcoinreference.com exists only for informational purposes and I now hope to help stabilize the market through education and dissemination of information.

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LegitBit
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June 12, 2011, 06:37:28 PM
 #2

A gadget or small app to display real price and suggested price would be very nice.

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enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 06:40:11 PM
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A gadget or small app to display real price and suggested price would be very nice.

I'm mostly a web guy, not sure my programming skills would be up to this task, but I'm sure there's someone out there who knows Mt. Gox's API to get real price and can also figure out mine (http://www.btcunion.com/api) and whip something up.

I have written a few simple Android apps in the past, assuming it's not too much more difficult to make a Widget I could probably whip something up for that platform at least.

Any takers? Shall we start a bounty perhaps?

enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 06:47:18 PM
 #4

My API is ridiculously simple by the way. It's just "value1,currency1;value2,currency2;" etc.

I'm also having some difficulties getting JPY and INR to work properly, I use Google's API for currency conversion and I think I screwed something up somewhere... In any case I'm aware of the issue and working on a fix.

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June 12, 2011, 06:48:27 PM
 #5

I'm the maker of an Android widget (Miner's Widget). Could you please make your API data available in JSON?

Thanks

Miner's Widget for Android (http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=12549.0)
Jack of Diamonds
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June 12, 2011, 06:51:56 PM
 #6

It's not a bad idea, and historical data does suggest a strong correlation between difficulty and price (somebody post that chart, can't be bothered to do it again).

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enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 06:56:29 PM
 #7

I'm the maker of an Android widget (Miner's Widget). Could you please make your API data available in JSON?

Thanks

I've never worked in JSON. Give me a few to figure out the format and I'll go change my code. Should be easy enough.

enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 07:06:31 PM
 #8

I'm the maker of an Android widget (Miner's Widget). Could you please make your API data available in JSON?

Thanks

I've never worked in JSON. Give me a few to figure out the format and I'll go change my code. Should be easy enough.

Try http://btcunion.com/api/ and tell me if that looks like valid JSON to you. It looks valid to me but again I'm not a JSON expert Smiley

AngelusWebDesign
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June 12, 2011, 07:16:59 PM
 #9

Cool idea and all -- but here is the part you're missing:

Each time difficulty goes up, it's because there are more mouths to feed from the same pie. The pie gets sliced up into smaller and smaller portions. The size of the pie remains the same (6 blocks/hour), the only question is, will 2,000 -- 4,000, or 10,000 miners divvy up that pie.

The pie gets bigger or smaller based on what the market value of Bitcoin is -- this is where speculation drives up (or down) the price.

But if the price goes up X2, and the difficulty goes up 100%, you'd make the same amount, right? 

EXCEPT there are lots of others getting that same "amount" because they joined in the last week, which is why difficulty went up in the first place.

The question is, how big can that pie get, based on the fundamentals of Bitcoin?

So your formula is too simple. If difficulty goes up by 40% it does NOT mean that there are 40% more dollars willing to be traded for Bitcoin -- which your formula CLEARLY states.

If you don't follow what I'm saying, please ask questions and I'll clarify. It's something I didn't get at first either Smiley
enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 07:35:08 PM
 #10

Cool idea and all -- but here is the part you're missing:

Each time difficulty goes up, it's because there are more mouths to feed from the same pie. The pie gets sliced up into smaller and smaller portions. The size of the pie remains the same (6 blocks/hour), the only question is, will 2,000 -- 4,000, or 10,000 miners divvy up that pie.

The pie gets bigger or smaller based on what the market value of Bitcoin is -- this is where speculation drives up (or down) the price.

But if the price goes up X2, and the difficulty goes up 100%, you'd make the same amount, right? 

EXCEPT there are lots of others getting that same "amount" because they joined in the last week, which is why difficulty went up in the first place.

The question is, how big can that pie get, based on the fundamentals of Bitcoin?

So your formula is too simple. If difficulty goes up by 40% it does NOT mean that there are 40% more dollars willing to be traded for Bitcoin -- which your formula CLEARLY states.

If you don't follow what I'm saying, please ask questions and I'll clarify. It's something I didn't get at first either Smiley

Then give me a metric for total number of users that I can pull via API and I'll change the formula thusly. I based it on difficulty because difficulty tends to grow proportional to population size (more participants brings more miners). If I had a more accurate metric for the number of active users I could use that, but I've tried to find one and I can't. Besides, difficulty has in fact remained proportional almost since day one.

AngelusWebDesign
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June 12, 2011, 07:45:16 PM
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See, before we had some money coming in for every new miner, so the price of BTC went up even as difficulty went up.
If anything, I was making *more* with every passing week. But as we now know, that was a bubble and unsustainable.

The fact of the matter is, we should be making less and less $ per week the more people start mining (and the more mining rigs are added to the network). Any increases in price will offset this loss of income, but it should be based on true demand for Bitcoin, not speculation. I understand "the market sets the price", but "the market" tends to be driven by speculators more times than not.

Now as mining income goes down, eventually some miners will drop out because their hardware isn't efficient enough, etc. and then difficulty might level off or even decrease. But as long as the Bitcoin network wants to shoot for 7000 BTC a day, there will be less and less money (expressed in BTC OR dollars) for any given 5830.

Matthew
enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 07:59:17 PM
 #12

See, before we had some money coming in for every new miner, so the price of BTC went up even as difficulty went up.
If anything, I was making *more* with every passing week. But as we now know, that was a bubble and unsustainable.

The fact of the matter is, we should be making less and less $ per week the more people start mining (and the more mining rigs are added to the network). Any increases in price will offset this loss of income, but it should be based on true demand for Bitcoin, not speculation. I understand "the market sets the price", but "the market" tends to be driven by speculators more times than not.

Now as mining income goes down, eventually some miners will drop out because their hardware isn't efficient enough, etc. and then difficulty might level off or even decrease. But as long as the Bitcoin network wants to shoot for 7000 BTC a day, there will be less and less money (expressed in BTC OR dollars) for any given 5830.

Matthew


OK so you're not against the math, you're just against the concept? I'm not even entirely sure what you're complaining about here... Yes, as more people join the network, more miners join the network, difficulty goes up, number of BTC mined daily goes down, value of each BTC goes up and we all hold stable. It's not just based in the fact that "gee, we miners would really like to always make stable income" it's based on the basic concept that the pie does in fact get split more ways. If the number/power of new miners is proportional to the number of people joining the community (which it should be, over a long enough timeline) then difficulty is just as good a metric as anything you can provide.

In short, please either provide me with a better method for the measurements I'm trying to take or a concise well-worded argument as to why exactly you're against this.

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June 12, 2011, 08:00:27 PM
 #13

The value of BTC is driven primarily by speculation right now and that will continue to be the case, exerting fixed price controls for the "good" of the whole market, nothing like driving a strong monopolistic governmental concept into a market which tends to shed such principals.

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enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 08:02:53 PM
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I guess what I'm saying is that I recognize that the value of 1 BTC goes up because more people are using them and the "pie" gets divided more ways, as opposed to it just being more miners demanding the same money for less product. What I'm also saying, though, is that the difficulty is a measurement of the number of miners and that the number of miners is a slightly varying but fairly steady percentage of the number of users. Therefore, the difficulty can be a good predictor of the user base and is therefore a valid measurement of how many ways the pie is being split. Thus, we can use it to determine a fair approximation of 1 BTC's value at any given time.

enmaku
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June 12, 2011, 08:08:26 PM
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The value of BTC is driven primarily by speculation right now and that will continue to be the case, exerting fixed price controls for the "good" of the whole market, nothing like driving a strong monopolistic governmental concept into a market which tends to shed such principals.

No, because the controls aren't forced, merely suggested. Gold miners have to be able to demand a price for their product that pays their cost of living. This represents a "floor" below which the price of gold can't really fall since below that floor no more gold is available - the miners simply take up another profession. Right now BTC's "floor" is zero, which is a game-ending event. Miners are still free to mine however many coins they can and sell them for whatever price they deem fair. This is unlike government regulation because no one is required to follow "controls" I'm merely making suggestions. If a "wall" of BTC exists at a given exchange rate then it becomes more difficult to drive the price above or below that wall via speculation and the currency becomes more stable. If you don't like my idea, don't follow it - you won't hurt my feelings. I'm fairly certain, however, that there are a lot of people who treat this more like a business than a playtoy and I'm pretty sure they'd like bitcoin to behave like a proper currency, only deflationary. Eventually perhaps the market will grow large enough to avoid manipulation and I'll just take down the site, but as was made obvious yesterday there are still individual people who can destroy this thing (even unintentionally) if we don't actually work together to prevent it.

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June 12, 2011, 08:31:11 PM
 #16

Gold miners have to be able to demand a price for their product that pays their cost of living.

Nope.

The economy works totally opposite. The price of gold determines is it profitable to be a miner. If it's high a lot of people become miners. If it goes low miners flow to other occupations. Moreover the price of the good is not determined by the cost of the good. It's opposite: the price of a given good determines at what cost it's profitable to make it.

So all the efforts to set a "fair" price are ultimately futile1. If you want to waste your efforts - it's your decision. But you have been warned.


1. Unless you can introduce the "fair" price by force as some socialist governments do - which is totally against the idea of BitCoins.
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June 12, 2011, 08:50:51 PM
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Here - I am suggesting you to do something better. Since you don't want to thrive on speculations, create a communist pool. A pool where everyone gets the same reward per block doesn't matter how much computing power he throws in it. That's because basically everyone that spent some money on GPUs actually relied on speculative BTC price at that particular moment. No need to do that. Stop buying that fancy hardware. Get the reward you think you deserve so much as if it is your human right. Get the same reward as everyone else believing in that union. Drive the speculators out. Eheh.
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June 12, 2011, 09:14:09 PM
 #18

Gold miners have to be able to demand a price for their product that pays their cost of living.

Nope.

The economy works totally opposite. The price of gold determines is it profitable to be a miner. If it's high a lot of people become miners. If it goes low miners flow to other occupations. Moreover the price of the good is not determined by the cost of the good. It's opposite: the price of a given good determines at what cost it's profitable to make it.

So all the efforts to set a "fair" price are ultimately futile1. If you want to waste your efforts - it's your decision. But you have been warned.


1. Unless you can introduce the "fair" price by force as some socialist governments do - which is totally against the idea of BitCoins.

Go read a book, seriously. It's called a tangled hierarchy, multiple things influencing one another in such a way that they sometimes influence themselves indirectly. It doesn't matter which direction you see the causality as traveling in (away from the miner, thus giving him the power or away from the market thus giving them the power) the fact is you've just confirmed my point, even while arguing it - the two are linked. The directionality of the link simply doesn't matter for my purposes. Whether the price drives the difficulty, the difficulty drives the price or some tertiary underlying factor influences both, the fact is that they move together.

As for the "sounds like socialism" guy, I said nothing whatsoever about evening out rewards. More GPU power = more BTC = more USD at any exchange rate, where did you get the idea that I was promoting a communist BTC variant?

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June 12, 2011, 09:19:19 PM
 #19

Well, I had the same idea but am not a well web coding guy, so I am glad that you did it.
I will now, as a test first but probably going on like this (just not if you make prices really fancy), trade my bitcoins for that price (plus mtgox+exchange fees...)
greets, M
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June 12, 2011, 09:27:59 PM
 #20

You are promoting the idea that miners profit should be somehow protected from that speculative factor, thus evening out risks. I would argue that everyone invested different amount of money thus taking higher or lower risk. It _is_ communism - I see nothing wrong about someone throwing money into a risky venture such as bitcoin then losing his investments. I see no reason why wouldn't someone profit on speculative margins while others suck it up due their own greediness and stupidity.
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