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Author Topic: Can bitcoins be lost?  (Read 2638 times)
jollyjim
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June 25, 2011, 02:33:26 AM
 #21

In the far future, when for many years, it appears that only 1,000 Bitcoins are in circulation, the rest presumed lost, could someone dump a million Bitcoins on the market?

In this scenario, the presumed lost coins weren't really lost at all; they were saved.  It does show that whoever saved those million Bitcoins have gained tremendously from saving.  However, when they start to dump those coins onto the market, it would appear to be inflationary as the prices of everything goes up to reflect the amount in circulation.

It would be similar to someone finding a 2000 year old pottery and someone willing to pay $1m for it due to its presumed rarity.  However, if a year later some finds a site with thousands more of those same pottery, the presumed value would drop significantly, even though the amount produced hasn't changed at all, only the ones in circulation.
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ascent
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June 25, 2011, 02:50:33 AM
 #22

It would be similar to someone finding a 2000 year old pottery and someone willing to pay $1m for it due to its presumed rarity.  However, if a year later some finds a site with thousands more of those same pottery, the presumed value would drop significantly, even though the amount produced hasn't changed at all, only the ones in circulation.
My point exactly.

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 02:57:42 AM
 #23

It would be similar to someone finding a 2000 year old pottery and someone willing to pay $1m for it due to its presumed rarity.  However, if a year later some finds a site with thousands more of those same pottery, the presumed value would drop significantly, even though the amount produced hasn't changed at all, only the ones in circulation.
My point exactly.

The difference is, You see a problem with that. (btw, a smart millionaire would trickle them out, rather than dump)

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ascent
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June 25, 2011, 03:03:46 AM
 #24

The difference is, You see a problem with that.
Yeah, I do. I'd rather a system that, when it appears that 1,000 Bitcoins are in circulation, we know that the balance is lost. More certain valuations, and less fear in general, and as a result, the holders of those 1,000 Bitcoins continue to choose to hold them, as opposed to cashing them out.

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 03:09:23 AM
 #25

The difference is, You see a problem with that.
Yeah, I do. I'd rather a system that, when it appears that 1,000 Bitcoins are in circulation, we know that the balance is lost. More certain valuations, and less fear in general, and as a result, the holders of those 1,000 Bitcoins continue to choose to hold them, as opposed to cashing them out.

Perhaps it would be best to assume that there are always 21,000,000 in circulation, for just this reason.

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ascent
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June 25, 2011, 03:17:36 AM
 #26

Perhaps it would be best to assume that there are always 21,000,000 in circulation, for just this reason.
Sure, and you can even assume that others are assuming that you are assuming that. Bottom line, the numerical boundaries on the possibilities are more undefined the further into the future you go. And with larger numerical boundaries on the possibilities, one's assumptions just aren't as good.

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 03:27:34 AM
 #27

the numerical boundaries on the possibilities are more undefined the further into the future you go.

Yes, That's the way the world works. We can't know the specifics of the future with any certainty.

We can't even tell for sure if it's going to rain on a specific day. And yet, people still go out in public without constantly wearing raincoats.

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ascent
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June 25, 2011, 03:32:09 AM
 #28

Yes, That's the way the world works. We can't know the specifics of the future with any certainty.
No, no, no. That's not what I mean by uncertainty in the future. What I mean is that the current state of Bitcoins in the present has a certain amount of uncertainty associated with it based on the dynamics of its supply. To individuals in the far future, which will be their present, they will view Bitcoins with a much greater degree of uncertainty than we do, again due to Bitcoins built in rules.

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 03:46:02 AM
 #29

Not if they assume there are always 21 million in circulation. Wink

Remember, saved coins and 'lost' coins are functionally identical. And there's always the chance of that collision...

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ascent
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June 25, 2011, 03:55:09 AM
 #30

Not if they assume there are always 21 million in circulation. Wink
Let's say it's the far future and you have a lot of Bitcoins and you're one of the ones who assumes that. However, it appears that most others don't assume that. As a result, the price is really high as compared to your assumptions. Logically, what would you do? The point is, you can't impose your assumptions on the market. You can assume all you want, but that doesn't change the dynamics of the market, which will be different in the future.

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 04:15:17 AM
 #31

Check your premises.

If the rest of the world assumes that there are 1000 Bitcoins out there, and I assume that there are 21 million, Prices would be lower than my expectations. I would be able to buy even more than I expected with the bitcoins I had.

...I don't see a problem with that.

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naypalm
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June 25, 2011, 04:20:05 AM
 #32

This might be related, but if I kept multiple backups on my wallet.dat all over the place and all of a sudden lost all my most recent backups.... would an old wallet.dat still count as my wallet and my recent transactions will show up after a re download of blocks?

Thanks!

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June 25, 2011, 04:25:55 AM
 #33

Check your premises.

If the rest of the world assumes that there are 1000 Bitcoins out there, and I assume that there are 21 million, Prices would be lower than my expectations. I would be able to buy even more than I expected with the bitcoins I had.
I was referring to the value of Bitcoins. You're referring to the price of goods.

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 04:34:29 AM
 #34

Check your premises.

If the rest of the world assumes that there are 1000 Bitcoins out there, and I assume that there are 21 million, Prices would be lower than my expectations. I would be able to buy even more than I expected with the bitcoins I had.
I was referring to the value of Bitcoins. You're referring to the price of goods.
You seem to be trying to convince me that being rich is a bad thing.

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ascent
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June 25, 2011, 04:49:01 AM
 #35

You seem to be trying to convince me that being rich is a bad thing.
No. I am not. You can go back and read my entries again if you wish to continue.

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 05:06:06 AM
 #36

Not if they assume there are always 21 million in circulation. Wink
Let's say it's the far future and you have a lot of Bitcoins and you're one of the ones who assumes*(That there are 21million Coins) that. However, it appears that most others don't assume that. As a result, the price(of bitcoins) is really high as compared to your assumptions. Logically, what would you do?


Make a lot of money?



*(Italics are my clarifications)

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ascent
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June 25, 2011, 05:35:33 AM
 #37

Make a lot of money?
Only if you sell them. And sell them before someone else who thinks like you. And maybe everyone will think like you, thus the valuation won't be as high as you hoped. In fact, suppose everyone walks around with this currency of which there's only apparently 1,000 in circulation, but they all assume there's 21 million out there. Not much of a currency then, is it? Not a lot to go around, but everyone operates under the assumption that there might be 21 million out there.

That's exactly the point. You see 1,000 in circulation, but have to assume that 21 thousand times that number could be dumped into the market. That clearly is a different set of dynamics than today's market in Bitcoins. Thank you for clarifying my point by indicating your need to assume that 21 thousand times the number of Bitcoins could exist than what are in circulation in such circumstances.

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 05:52:25 AM
 #38

Can you tell me how many are in circulation right now? 'cause I don't have this magical market-vision all the people in the future are going to have.

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June 25, 2011, 06:04:45 AM
 #39

Can you tell me how many are in circulation right now? 'cause I don't have this magical market-vision all the people in the future are going to have.
Do you see the three words underneath your cat picture?

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myrkul
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June 25, 2011, 06:26:22 AM
 #40

Can you tell me how many are in circulation right now? 'cause I don't have this magical market-vision all the people in the future are going to have.
Do you see the three words underneath your cat picture?
I should, I put them there. But for once, I'm going to re-rail the thread. You are claiming that people can 'see' 1000 or a million or however many Bitcoins are in circulation. I'd like to know how, exactly. 'Lost' coins are identical to saved coins, as far as the market is concerned. You can't even tell by examining the blockchain.

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