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Question: What's the most important next step for a better functioning bitcoin economy?
More/better btc job sites.  People earning btc will spend it. - 6 (7.5%)
More polished e-commerce sites. We're too rinky dink now. - 22 (27.5%)
Stabilization of the exchange rate. - 9 (11.3%)
Development of the bitcoin client. Too hard to use right now. - 11 (13.8%)
More porn sites, the people will follow. - 13 (16.3%)
Safety & Security are most important now. - 19 (23.8%)
Total Voters: 79

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Author Topic: What's the most important next step for a better functioning bitcoin economy?  (Read 3052 times)
Gabriel Beal
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June 21, 2011, 04:35:52 PM
 #1

I started to define "functioning economy" but I'll leave it to the reader to interpret.

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June 21, 2011, 04:37:53 PM
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You have to make bitcoin both safer and more usable.

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June 21, 2011, 04:41:23 PM
 #3

The next step is a better functioning community. As garzik has said all this forum spamming, political hoity-toity, whining, begging, witch hunting has driven most of the business types away from here and here is where they get there info.

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June 21, 2011, 05:07:32 PM
 #4

Make it easier within the client to dump your bitcoins onto a flash/thumbdrive, making them inaccessible until re-imported into the client. 

For example, say you have 50 bitcoins.  You want to take half of them and put them on your thumbdrive.  Insert the removable drive, and choose "export bitcoins to drive" in the amount of 25 bitcoins.  After doing this, the client would report that you have 25 bitcoins available.

When you want to pull those coins off that thumbdrive, you could just "import bitcoins from drive".


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June 21, 2011, 05:33:37 PM
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Make it easier within the client to dump your bitcoins onto a flash/thumbdrive, making them inaccessible until re-imported into the client. 

For example, say you have 50 bitcoins.  You want to take half of them and put them on your thumbdrive.  Insert the removable drive, and choose "export bitcoins to drive" in the amount of 25 bitcoins.  After doing this, the client would report that you have 25 bitcoins available.

When you want to pull those coins off that thumbdrive, you could just "import bitcoins from drive".

Except that you don't "have" bitcoins.  You have keys that you can use to control bitcoins in the blockchain by giving control to a different key.

The metaphor you are using doesn't really work.  You could sorta simulate the behavior that you are talking about by making a new key, sending half of your coins to it, then copying it to the flash drive and erasing from the main computer.  But that doesn't do what you want either, because a stolen key remains useful to the thief for as long as there are coins in the chain that can be controlled by it.  An attacker with your key can steal your coins at any time, even when you think you are safe because your flash drive is unplugged.

Wallet security is very hard to do, not because no one bothered to make a simple way to secure them, but because security is very hard to do right.

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June 21, 2011, 05:41:02 PM
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The metaphor you are using doesn't really work.  You could sorta simulate the behavior that you are talking about by making a new key, sending half of your coins to it, then copying it to the flash drive and erasing from the main computer.  But that doesn't do what you want either, because a stolen key remains useful to the thief for as long as there are coins in the chain that can be controlled by it.  An attacker with your key can steal your coins at any time, even when you think you are safe because your flash drive is unplugged.

If the program created a new wallet file and keys, moves coins to that wallet, and quickly move them both (new wallet and new keys) to an external drive, and I quickly unplug that drive...  That wouldn't leave much of a window of vulnerability, would it?  

If that is possible, I think it would be of enormous use to end-users who might have enough bitcoins to consider putting them in a safety deposit box or other kind of safe.





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June 21, 2011, 05:53:02 PM
 #7

Epinnoia does have a point though, regarding widespread adoption.

To fully gain traction, the client and other backup devices have to be as easy to use as a credit card. I know that the underlying mechanics aren't simple, but if such a thing could be done it would be easier for people to use them in their lives without having to plumb the depths of bitcoin security.

How hard would it be to make an embedded linux device on a USB stick that performed the functions mentioned seamlessly? I don't have that immediate answer, but it would be very cool if such a thing existed. Also, extend the concept to a chip-on-a-credit-card device. People would sign up for such a thing in droves, since they are very familiar with using credit cards.

I respect the technical underpinnings of bitcoin and the clients, but we have a long way to go before regular people will be comfortable using this technology.

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June 21, 2011, 06:10:01 PM
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This (OPEN-TRANSACTIONS): http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=20425.0

If Bitcoin makes you giddy, then this should too.

It provides the technical groundwork for an entire financial industry done right.
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June 21, 2011, 06:12:14 PM
 #9

THE ONLY WAY BITCOIN WILL EVER FUNCTION AS AN ECONOMY WILL BE IF IT IS REGARDED AS A CURRENCY, RATHER THAN A VOLATILE BUBBLE COMMODITY.
Gabriel Beal
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June 21, 2011, 06:20:50 PM
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THE ONLY WAY BITCOIN WILL EVER FUNCTION AS AN ECONOMY WILL BE IF IT IS REGARDED AS A CURRENCY, RATHER THAN A VOLATILE BUBBLE COMMODITY.
AND IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN DO TO ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL?

P.S. WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?

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June 21, 2011, 06:21:33 PM
 #11

In my opinion, neither mainstream businesses nor users are willing to install, learn and run bitcoin software.  There are other ways to use bitcoins (i.e. instawallet), but the barrier to understanding how one uses a bitcoin is huge.

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June 21, 2011, 06:23:36 PM
 #12

PORN.

Remember the Internet was made for porn! We need the same for Bitcoin. Once por is onboard the rest will follow.
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June 21, 2011, 06:27:56 PM
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The metaphor you are using doesn't really work.  You could sorta simulate the behavior that you are talking about by making a new key, sending half of your coins to it, then copying it to the flash drive and erasing from the main computer.  But that doesn't do what you want either, because a stolen key remains useful to the thief for as long as there are coins in the chain that can be controlled by it.  An attacker with your key can steal your coins at any time, even when you think you are safe because your flash drive is unplugged.

If the program created a new wallet file and keys, moves coins to that wallet, and quickly move them both (new wallet and new keys) to an external drive, and I quickly unplug that drive...  That wouldn't leave much of a window of vulnerability, would it?  

If that is possible, I think it would be of enormous use to end-users who might have enough bitcoins to consider putting them in a safety deposit box or other kind of safe.




I actually proposed something like this earlier. But even messing around with multiple wallet files is too messy and risky for the average user (lots of risk for confusion and over-writes). So rather than creating new wallet files, you would create bitcoin containers, which is basically a small wallet with just one key pair and a different file ending (maybe *.btc) to distinguish it from the regular wallet.

So to create a btc container you could have a menu somewhere in the client saying "create bitcoin container", then you would choose the amount for the container, and then where to save it. The amount would be drawn from your regular wallet and sent to the randomly created adress of the new file. If you take this file offline directly, all the bitcoins in it would be safe as long as your computer were not already compromised.

For maximum ease of use the client could even recognize *.btc files, and if you try to open them on a computer with the client installed it could ask you if you wanted to add them to your main wallet. This would make it really easy to backup and restore your bitcoins, without having to touch your wallet file, creating a new one or moving it around.

This also serves some other purposes, like sending bitcoins over e-mail to someone who hasn't given you an adress and so on.
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June 21, 2011, 07:13:15 PM
 #14

The next step is a better functioning community. As garzik has said all this forum spamming, political hoity-toity, whining, begging, witch hunting has driven most of the business types away from here and here is where they get there info.

This. Its almost impossible to have a conversation around here any more.
Its like if there was only one message board for the dollar or euro and everyone tried to project their personal agenda onto it.

The best way forward is multiple clients IMO. Right now its pretty monolithic and there is no true API.
A portable library in all the major languages that didn't require you to run the monolithic client would be a boon to the community.

Its going to be extremely hard though. Mike laid out why this is somewhere I'm too lazy to track down.

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June 21, 2011, 07:16:21 PM
 #15

1. Better ways of communication with bitcoin users are needed, accessible for emerging bitcoin businesses. Maybe someone could create a mailing list, sending one mail per week about new sites, new versions of software, new opportunities, etc.
2. Software development is too slow, both bitcoin client, and services surrounding bitcoin. I do not see any excuse for that.
New developers are discouraged. Good ideas are ignored. Users' feedback is not listened.
3. People in charge should stop talking about government regulations, because it discourages friend businesses like Silk Road, which is basically Bitcoin's eBay, and LulzSec, who do great job as public relations in global mainstream media.
4. Stop excess moderation. People who are here disrespectfully called trolls are in fact true world's elite, influential businessmen, skilled developers, trader sharks, breakthrough thinkers and greatest philosophers of this century. Their posts should not be under any circumstances deleted, even when are annoying for unprepared minds.

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June 22, 2011, 01:08:36 PM
 #16

I think there needs to be a gambling/ponzi scheme sub-forum. The people with creative ideas to share in regards to legitimizing BTC are being drowned out.

We need to think of more creative ways to use BTC. Something to bring outsiders in. A game like Second Life, or Civilation which will create an economy where BTC will always be worth something.

We need ways for people to earn BTC based on skill, not luck.

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June 22, 2011, 01:21:34 PM
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I think there needs to be a gambling/ponzi scheme sub-forum. The people with creative ideas to share in regards to legitimizing BTC are being drowned out.

We need to think of more creative ways to use BTC. Something to bring outsiders in. A game like Second Life, or Civilation which will create an economy where BTC will always be worth something.

We need ways for people to earn BTC based on skill, not luck.
I think a game would be perfect for bitcoin.  My group actually has one in development, but it won't see the light of day for months and months given all our other projects (and the time it takes to code a solid non-buggy game).

I actually voted for the jobs option.  I don't have any statistics, but it's my estimate that the reason most people don't spend bitcoins is that they don't have any.  Sites like yours, especially since it seems well polished and usable, are what I see as the key.  Most regular people aren't going to go through the hassle of transferring money through 10 intermediaries so that they can buy bitcoins.  I think they might be willing to offer services though.  Once they have bitcoins, they'll probably spend them rather than sell them because, again, it's not really easy to convert to their fiat currency.

How is business on your site?  I see plenty of people posting.  Are people buying?

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June 22, 2011, 01:29:07 PM
 #18

We need a user-friendly preconfigured live-USB Drive, and we need to make it clear to users that running bitcoin from inside their windows or mac OS is unsafe.  This liveUSB needs to be made availble right at the bitcoin.org front page.

For-profit hackers are going to find more and more sophisticated ways of getting into people's systems. The average Windows/Mac user simply does not stand a chance against an attack targeted at stealing her/his wallets, no matter how many firewalls and antiviruses she/he installs.  Also, it is unreasonable of us to expect them to be security experts.

If that doesn't happen soon, there will be thousands of cases of wallet theft and even more bad press.

EDIT: Even a liveUSB is only going to hold off the hacker storm temporarily, because it doesn't protect against rootkit, MBR, and BIOS attacks.  In the long term the only satisfactory solution for the average joe user is a dedicated piece of hardware just for bitcoin (perhaps based on a cheap smartphone).

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June 22, 2011, 01:31:38 PM
 #19

Amazon/eBay starts accepting bitcoin = overnight success.
Would it really though?  Is the average Amazon user going to say to themselves: Okay, I want to buy this Microsoft Zune (Let's imagine it's Bill Gate's daughter).  Instead of purchasing it with a credit card, I'll make a deposit with Dwolla, transfer the money to MtGox/TradeHill, beam the coins to my home computer, and then purchase the Zune.

However, offering services in bitcoin is, in my opinion, easier/better than the other options.  It's completely online, yet nobody takes a cut.

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June 22, 2011, 02:25:56 PM
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bitcoin must be safer and easier for any user to use, that means that transactions have to be reversible in the cases of frauds or mistakes. People here do like to complaint about charge back frauds from buyers/consumers, but most (volume and amounts) of ebay's early frauds were perpetrated by sellers (and large volume of small sum frauds are still from the sellers - personal experience).  ebay's (and amazon) really took off when it adopted the aggressive buyer protection program at the small expenses of the sellers, but that policy helped accelerate the adoption of online purchases by the consumers. 

most people could care less about the underlying principle of bitcoin, 99.99% of people don't care about some tinfoil conspiracy theory about currency manipulation by the fed.  most people on this forum are interested in bitcoin because they hope that bitcoin will gain value and they will benefit from it as early adopters, most don't subscribe or care about crazy conspiracy theories. 

bitcoin has a long way to go before real adoption can occur, it is now not easy or safe to use for by any standard.  it will likely be replaced with a better version of digital currency.  like they say, pioneers get slaughtered, second/third wave of settlers get the land.

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