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Author Topic: Discovering Bitcoin is Like Plato's Cave... People just Don't Understand...  (Read 1328 times)
Crystal Excursion
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June 13, 2011, 05:20:28 AM
 #1

Hello Fellow Newbies, and Welcome to Bitcoin. Many aspects of Bitcoin may be challenging to understand at first. If you are new to Bitcoin, take your time to Browse Topics and read up about Bitcoin. For a philosophical point of view to demonstrate the Cognitive Challenge with Understanding Bitcoin upon first discovery, and especially explaining it to others, Who would know nothing of it, I offer this video of Plato's allegory of the cave. http://youtu.be/69F7GhASOdM

No Pun intended towards "The Real Plato"...

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Alcatonic
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June 13, 2011, 05:38:02 AM
 #2

haha, I was just reading "The Symposium" the other day.

If we are like the people who are free from the cave, we must go back to the cave and educate. That is our duty.

Smiley

Missing the train is only painful if you chase it, don't chase the train.
Crystal Excursion
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June 13, 2011, 05:44:18 AM
 #3

haha, I was just reading "The Symposium" the other day.

If we are like the people who are free from the cave, we must go back to the cave and educate. That is our duty.

Smiley
Right on... Just be patient with others who might have difficulty understanding, and be sure to give Accurate information Smiley

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Alcatonic
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June 13, 2011, 05:58:51 AM
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haha, I was just reading "The Symposium" the other day.

If we are like the people who are free from the cave, we must go back to the cave and educate. That is our duty.

Smiley
Right on... Just be patient with others who might have difficulty understanding, and be sure to give Accurate information Smiley

word up

Missing the train is only painful if you chase it, don't chase the train.
Alik
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June 13, 2011, 07:26:25 AM
 #5

We have solid principles all wrapped around decentralization.
lessPlastic
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June 13, 2011, 11:03:54 PM
 #6

It certainly is difficult to explain to the less technically-minded.
Targus Targus
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June 13, 2011, 11:09:42 PM
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The ignorant will beg for our profits when their banks fall, of course, but now they laugh and chortle like apes while the cunning and clever survive.
Vanquistador
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June 14, 2011, 12:26:16 AM
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It certainly is difficult to explain to the less technically-minded.

I've found a pretty easy way of explaining it to the simple minded.  The ones that are wise enough to ask the good questions are usually the ones that you can pretty decently explain the concept too.
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June 15, 2011, 12:47:23 AM
 #9

Yes, democratizing the concept of Bitcoins will be a major challenge for BTC to progress.  I've managed to explain it successfully to many technically-inclined individuals, but I wouldn't even know where to begin to explain it to someone like my grandfather who never used a computer.
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June 15, 2011, 12:50:47 AM
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This is an interesting comparison.

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Wizard-Ninja
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June 15, 2011, 04:19:47 AM
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It isn't so much a technology issue as a cryptography issue. Though I suppose the two are pretty intertwined.

-Wizard-Ninja-
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June 15, 2011, 05:02:27 AM
 #12

I see a few problems with BTC, but its mostly great.
 
First off, the problem I see with bit coin is that only a very small percentage of the world has access to high end mining hardware. It's really quite unfair to most of the world they live off 2 dollars a day and most of our computers can put out 2 dollars in bit coin in an hour or less. The highest I've seen is someone who makes 110+ USD an hour off of bitcoin mining (at 20 dollar BTC)

I almost feel guilty using it...but only because most others don't have the same opportunity. I also now know what it feels like to inflate a currency. Except unlike the central banks, the rate at which the currency can be inflated is strictly controlled by the system, not a few greedy old men.

All this means as there is even more riding on those of us who do create wealth out of nothing (or at a much higher rate than electric bill) to do something GREAT with our wealth. Not horde it for our own damn riches. I mean, do that if you want, so you can be wealthy later. I just hope you do good with your wealth and not be a hypocrite. Personally, I'm selling 75% of my BTC for silver. PMs (and especially silver) are the bitcoin of the physical world. They don't function exactly the same, for instance the rate of mining isn't controlled strictly, it is controlled by whether or not they can find the supply or not. It cannot be forced upon the physical world to mine slower like it can in BTC. However, it is still very similar to BTC in the fact that silver is constricting in supply, at an INCREASING rate, where as BTC is increasing in supply, at an DECREASING rate. They are one in the same system. Except one is better to store for wealth and one is better to store for trading. Simply due to the nature of how easy BTC is to trade, it will likely be the medium of exchange.

Another problem, mining pools are subject to DDoS and that will only increase more and more as the price does of BTC does. Even though the value will still likely be close to the same (due to difficulty increase) the average person doesn't understand that. Although I can say mining pools haven't been down a whole lot since I've started.


I still don't fully understand why WE mine. Wouldn't it make more sense for just one super computer to solve the blocks at a predictable rate, steadily inflating in supply and increasing in value? This would create an extremely stable medium of exchange in bitcoin (even more so than now), with the price fluctuations being due to difficulty increases and reserve currency inflation ( I can't wait XD). Of course, the price of BTC in terms of dollars would have to be ASTRONOMICAL in order for the market NOT to be controlled by big players. And at this stage, big players aren't interested in BTC. The FED could easily print money out of thin air and buy most of the BTC (of course I say most because that is completely dependent on us willing to sell the FED our bitcoins... which i hope we wouldnt') just to kill the market because its competing with banking profits (not even close to a dent at this stage).


Still though, that is another problem, the tiny market size of BTC makes it very easy to manipulate (if there are buyers, which with exchanges is it seems like there always are).

Another problem, we must trust that those who got into BTC MINING VERY, VERY EARLY, don't manipulate and control the market itself later on.



I do understand Plato's Cave...yet I don't (meaning BTC)

Why must OUR computers solve these? Is there any reason the bitcoin system needs our GPU, other than to verify the demand for BTC? Who PAYS out for the newly created BTC? There needs to be enough trust in the market to insure a buyer. There seems to be exchanges, do they ever put a stop to their buying?

Just 2 months ago the electric bill to BTC profit was nowhere near as high as it is now. Something's gotta give? I'm very new, someone please refute these points.
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June 15, 2011, 05:39:38 AM
 #13

@btcnoobie - The point of mining as I understand it is to secure the transaction history. The computing power required today does seem a bit insane as it seems to outstrip the top 500 supercomputers combined. My guesses for why this might be necessary is
a) to reduce the chance that a fraudulent transaction block that satisfy the Bitcoin rules from being created/accepted
b) to reduce the chance of old blocks from point (a) from being compromised in the future through some sort elaborate block injection (seems rather unlikely, but what do I know?) protecting old block would seem desirable at least until pruning starts to reduce the reliance on the complete block chain history
c) some other reasons I haven't considered that are probably better than mine

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MadSweeney
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June 15, 2011, 06:50:44 AM
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I have also just began explaining bitcoin to other people. It's as hard as explaining it to myself.

hi
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June 15, 2011, 07:12:50 AM
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Hi

Where is the best resource to understand bitcoin?  Is there a wiki that clearly explains how it has a marketcap of 130million USD?

Hi
binocle
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June 15, 2011, 07:30:53 AM
 #16

Hi fellow noobs Wink

Actually, I don't find the techno-crypto stuff really bothering, and I don't quite understand why so much people makes such a point in willing to understand it to the core…

I mean, there are a lots of things I don't understand "technically" in the day-to-day life, it doesn't stop me from using them  Huh

Sure, if you try to explain the bitcoin concept and implications, and you start with pgp-encrypt-hash-GPU-algorithm (assuming you truly understand this stuff yourself), you will loose and confuse people, and project bitcoin as a nerdy complicated thing.

I find the social/political/ethical aspects way more interesting to raise and discuss with people –quite equally difficult  Cheesy– "What do you mean decentralized? No banks? No State regulation?"

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June 15, 2011, 12:58:33 PM
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The techno-crypto stuff, how miners work, etc, is definitely not something I would discuss with the masses.  But what makes it hard to "make a sale" of the whole bitcoin system, is the technical knowledge required to do even the simplest transaction.

Lets say that I want to open up a bank account and deposit 100$ in it.  I go to the bank, they make me sign a few papers, I hand over the 100$, they give me an ATM card, and I'm all set to do transactions.

With Bitcoins, I have to install the bitcoin wallet myself, then transfer some money using obscure methods to MtGox or some other exchange, then buy BTC using an interface similar to buying stocks, then wait a bit for the BTC to show up on my wallet, then finally I am ready to do a transaction.  Currently most stores don't accept it, so if I want to use my BTC in the real-world, I have to jump through the same hoops.  And while BTC transactions themselves don't have, a lot of the ways to cash out do have fees, whereas many of those that don't have "real" fees will not give you fair rates for your BTC.

So for the typical user who doesn't buy online normally, it's not a very convenient currency yet.
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June 15, 2011, 01:26:16 PM
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The techno-crypto stuff, how miners work, etc, is definitely not something I would discuss with the masses.  But what makes it hard to "make a sale" of the whole bitcoin system, is the technical knowledge required to do even the simplest transaction.

Lets say that I want to open up a bank account and deposit 100$ in it.  I go to the bank, they make me sign a few papers, I hand over the 100$, they give me an ATM card, and I'm all set to do transactions.

I assume you mean debit card because the ATM is only going to be able to give you your $100 back (in the best case).  You also will need to present various papers when you go to the bank.     


With Bitcoins, I have to install the bitcoin wallet myself, then transfer some money using obscure methods to MtGox or some other exchange, then buy BTC using an interface similar to buying stocks, then wait a bit for the BTC to show up on my wallet, then finally I am ready to do a transaction.  Currently most stores don't accept it, so if I want to use my BTC in the real-world, I have to jump through the same hoops.  And while BTC transactions themselves don't have, a lot of the ways to cash out do have fees, whereas many of those that don't have "real" fees will not give you fair rates for your BTC.

So for the typical user who doesn't buy online normally, it's not a very convenient currency yet.

True, not so convenient yet especially for the places that don't accept it.  Smiley  But suppose you want to send money overseas to your friends or accept money online as a business?  There are still hoops to jump through but it shows the promise of being more convenient than anything else out there. 




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