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Author Topic: Why all the bitcoin haters?  (Read 4237 times)
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June 29, 2011, 03:11:20 PM

Hello yous,

I live in an environment where anything related to the internet is automatically suspect, and whenever I try to introduce an idea (say, to a family member) they immediately take a standpoint of opposition. It really doesn't matter what it is. Wikipedia, for example. I only managed reluctant acceptance that it isn't a bad thing, entirely.

While my experience isn't wide, it's what I've come to feel represents an expression of what "normal" people think when they are confronted with anything that isn't part of their normal world. They view the internet with suspicion because they see bad things happen in their own world and they believe it must be much worse on the internet, given the relative anonymity afforded here (The mainstream media certainly helps reinforce that view). However I believe they have a skewed idea that normal means static.

So, this is the attitude I believe we generally face when attempting to explain Bitcoins to anyone out there, and due to its complexity and the complexity of markets it's hard to find a few choice words that will get their 'buy in' to listen and absorb more. Particularly if they already have a hectic life with family and work etc and not a lot of extra head room for radically new technical concepts.

Given all that, it's my aim to mention Bitcoins as a value-transfer mechanism, not a long term value storage mechanism or investment. For a short time span, say the amount of time you might want to hang onto cash in your wallet, or on your laundry card, or on your subway card, the value needs to be pretty stable. And I believe that's the best way to get the word out on Bitcoins, as a value transfer mechanism that can compliment our current uses of cash in day-to-day life. A debit card is tied to an identity, but Bitcoins don't have to be so rooted. I'm thinking of the future wherein one might pay for groceries or shoes with what amounts to a universal gift card, anonymous and re-loadable.

I answer the "Bitcoins have no intrinsic value" question by suggesting the person cut up their credit card and debit card and then tell me those two pieces of plastic have no value. It's a facilitator of trade, and that has value. I separate this from the concept of market value.

I am fully on board with sensible evangelizing, but to get the initial hook for a conversation about it, maybe a good strategy is to begin with short-term cash-type value transactions, and leave the investment concept for those who are curious enough to ask about it.

TL;DR: I'm a noob, so is everyone I know but they're instinctively skeptical of everything, and since Bitcoins is complex I'd rather focus on short-term cash transactions as a vehicle for initiating conversation.

Thanks fer readin' Smiley
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July 22, 2011, 08:20:30 AM

Change is scary for most people.  Bitcoin is something new and different they dont understand.
Grouver (BtcBalance)
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July 22, 2011, 11:32:48 AM

You guys tell me how much people you know and understand how the current system works.
They barely  understand how the current system works, so why would a average Joe use another system?
They will only use this new system if they are forced to do so.


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July 22, 2011, 01:48:13 PM

Like Nagie, most of reactions are:

- The early adopters will be really rich if it works, which is unfair
- I've let my computer generate coins for two days without result. It cannot work that way.
- You cannot buy anything interesting with bitcoins
- You are not sure if your bitcoin will keep its value in the future (yes, it contradicts number 1 but that's it).

There are two basic problems with bitcoins.

1) The bulk of the coins are in the hands of a few early adopters. This isn't a rich vs poor issue, it is a cash flow issue. If 10 people have 100,000 bitcoins each they can buy ten things. If 1 million people have 1 bitcoin each they can buy 1 million things.

The current level of difficulty has set the bar so high that amateur miners aren't getting a sufficient reward for their effort. The alternative is to spend cash for bitcoins and buy something that could have been purchased (probably cheaper) for cash. All you professional miners should think about the impact your massive mining rigs are having on the system as a whole. You might end up with all the bitcoins, but what would you do with them then?

2) Since very few people have bitcoins to spend, there isn't any market pressure on retailers to accept bitcoins. Thus, you cannot buy anything interesting with bitcoins.

I don't see anyway out of this problem.

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July 22, 2011, 04:14:28 PM

People hate anything that challenges the status quo. The American Revolution was extremely unpopular... until the revolutionaries won! :-)

Orange Pekoe
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July 25, 2011, 07:56:29 PM

People enjoy voting for politicians who will steal money from their neighbors for them.

People like seeing all the pretty prices and paychecks rise, not realizing they're getting poorer through inflation.

In short, people are stupid, lazy, thieving cannibals.
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July 25, 2011, 08:14:34 PM

There was a lot of positive coverage when things were taking off in late May-early June, then this Quora post got a lot of play on reddit, Hacker News, and the like.  I don't agree with his harsh all-or-nothing rhetoric and labeling it a "scam", but he does make a few good points about security and the like.
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July 25, 2011, 10:22:04 PM

Anything that isn't the status quo will be attacked by those who are invested (emotionally, intellectually, or financially) in that status quo.

Most people's life philosophy consists of knee-jerk opposition to any conclusion that doesn't fit the conclusions they have been taught.

The only thing one can do is use and improve the product that isn't the status quo and hope the market does not stay irrational until after they die.
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