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Author Topic: Exploiting Special Properties of Bitcoin For Uses Other Than Currency  (Read 14091 times)
jimbobway
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December 15, 2010, 06:24:24 PM
 #1

I am starting this new post from another thread because I think it needs further discussion.

Right now gold can be mined and used as a currency.  You can also use gold to make jewelry, build circuit boards, etc., because it has special properties.  Therefore, gold has more than one purpose which increases its value.  As of now most people believe that bitcoin can only be used as a currency.  If people start using bitcoins to timestamp their work, then every bitcoin actually has more intrinsic value because it has more than one purpose!  A bitcoin is actually not only useful as a currency but it has the ability to timestamp.  If someone could use this special bitcoin property similarly to how scientists used the conductive properties of gold, then bitcoins could takeoff in a different tangent which could further increase its value.  Is there a breakthough application waiting to be discovered using the timestamp property out there???

Please brainstorm how to use bitcoins in new ways and post your ideas here.  

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ByteCoin
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December 15, 2010, 06:31:48 PM
 #2

Right now gold can be mined and used as a currency.  You can also use gold to make jewelry, build circuit boards, etc., because it has special properties.  Therefore, gold has more than one purpose which increases its value.

I saw this analogy on the other thread and I thought it was a good short justification for not restricting Bitcoin use.

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December 15, 2010, 06:41:31 PM
 #3

One of the major disadvantages of bitcoin at this point in time is that it serves no purpose other than a currency.  In essense, it is like fiat currency; it is only worth what people think it is worth.  100% of the price increase of Bitcoin is based on money put in by investors.  If Bitcoin had another purpose the price of Bitcoin would be based not only on money put in by investors but the additional demand caused by that purpose.

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December 15, 2010, 06:56:33 PM
 #4

What alternative uses could exist that wouldn't detract from the primary function?

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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December 15, 2010, 07:07:47 PM
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What alternative uses could exist that wouldn't detract from the primary function?

I think that the answer to that question depends very much on what exactly what it is, the primary function of which we are discussing. Bitcoin has recently proved to be a moving target. It used to have an effective scripting language but now it doesn't. There's little point discussing alternative uses if these alternative uses can be easily denied.

Gold is superior to Bitcoin in this regard. Once you have your gold, nobody can decide to change its maleability so you can't make it into jewelry or it's reactivity so that it tarnishes.

Is Bitcoin what the current software permits or is it what the fundamental technology could allow?

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December 15, 2010, 07:08:13 PM
 #6

The problem with using bitcoin to timestamp is the possibly of bloating the blockchain, making fees goes up...

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December 15, 2010, 07:13:41 PM
 #7

Cryptographic timestamping service is also something that is widely available commercially and not exactly a problem the world needs solved, as compared to the shortcomings of centrally administered currencies.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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December 15, 2010, 08:37:40 PM
 #8

Oh boy, it seems people will never get over this intrinsic value fallacy.

It's actually funny... one of the advantages capitalism brings is specialization. Not only skill specialization, but resources as a whole. Always trying to use the best cost/effective material for a certain purpose.
So, why do you people want money to be useful for something else? Why, particularly for money, people are against specialization in the use of resources?

Money doesn't need to have other uses. Actually, I dare to say it would better not have other uses.

And, by the way, why would one want to use money to timestamp stuff? Can't there be a cheaper (= most efficient) way to do it?

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jimbobway
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December 15, 2010, 08:45:45 PM
 #9

Oh boy, it seems people will never get over this intrinsic value fallacy.

It's actually funny... one of the advantages capitalism brings is specialization. Not only skill specialization, but resources as a whole. Always trying to use the best cost/effective material for a certain purpose.
So, why do you people want money to be useful for something else? Why, particularly for money, people are against specialization in the use of resources?

Money doesn't need to have other uses. Actually, I dare to say it would better not have other uses.

And, by the way, why would one want to use money to timestamp stuff? Can't there be a cheaper (= most efficient) way to do it?

Quoting from the link you provided...

Quote
I think it is safe to say that gold does have certain intrinsic qualities. It is highly durable, easily divisible, transportable, and most of all, it is scarce. Money must be all of these, to one degree or another, if it is to function as a means of ex­change. It is vital that we get our categories straight in our minds: it is not value that is intrinsic to gold, but only the physical prop­erties that are valued by acting men. Gold’s physical properties are the product of nature; its value is the product of acting men.

So what I am looking for are special properties of bitcoin that we (men) can use to add value to it, that can augment to it's historical value.

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December 15, 2010, 08:56:48 PM
 #10

I understood what you want. It's more the reason that I don't get.
If it's more from an "investor" point of view (raising the value of bitcoins for profit), then, ok, it makes sense you wanting that.
But if it is because you think this is important for the currency itself, otherwise it wouldn't be a good currency etc, then you're wrong.

Now, about finding other uses... I don't think there can be another use for bitcoins which wouldn't have more efficient alternatives. Like your suggestion, timestamping... I bet there are better ways to do it then with bitcoins. So, I wouldn't waste much effort in this idea if I were you...

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December 15, 2010, 10:42:26 PM
 #11

The obvious answer is bitdns which has been discussed at length. Either it will be added to bitcoin and the current block chain or it wont be in which case domaincoins have the potential to be a better currency than bitcoin. One option would be to contact all the other timestamping services and get them to accept bitcoin.

That should be easy considering the similarity.


For instance someone might want to establish prior art by sending a document to a timestamp service. A fee could be paid in bitcoins for such a thing. Establishing prior art is a valuable service.
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December 15, 2010, 10:55:54 PM
 #12

Oh boy, it seems people will never get over this intrinsic value fallacy.

It's actually funny... one of the advantages capitalism brings is specialization. Not only skill specialization, but resources as a whole. Always trying to use the best cost/effective material for a certain purpose.
So, why do you people want money to be useful for something else? Why, particularly for money, people are against specialization in the use of resources?

Money doesn't need to have other uses. Actually, I dare to say it would better not have other uses.

And, by the way, why would one want to use money to timestamp stuff? Can't there be a cheaper (= most efficient) way to do it?

I absolutely agree than intrinsic value is a fallacy, but I still see possible value in putting other things in there. I'm not sure what, at least for now there is nothing I'd like to put in there.

I can see how people are annoyed though, when it becomes 'cool' to encode things in the chain fees will start pretty much immediately. Then we'll see what the best use of the chain is. It won't be spam, it might be money only, or money and other stuff.

Play Bitcoin Poker at sealswithclubs.eu. We're active and open to everyone.
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December 16, 2010, 10:48:26 AM
 #13


It's quite similar to currencies but I'd like to mention possible use of bitcoin for equities market.

A company would modify the bitcoin software to create its own cryptocurrency.  The total amount would be much lower, so that the company could make it possible to own the whole initial stock (running the software alone during some time before realease, for instance).


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December 16, 2010, 11:23:33 AM
 #14

Is there a breakthough application waiting to be discovered using the timestamp property out there???
Bitcoin timestamps are worthless.  If you examine the timestamps in the blocks, you'll notice that many blocks are timestamped to be older than the block before it.  This is impossible, of course.  The best you have got is a sequence property.  Blocks are generated at random times centered around 10 minutes (actually less, which is why the  difficulty keeps increasing), which is another property, but I don't think Bitcoin blocks would be very useful as a source for random numbers either.  Bitcoins are however very useful as a secure currency or commodity.

Sjå http://bitmynt.no for veksling av bitcoin mot norske kroner.  Trygt, billig, raskt og enkelt sidan 2010.
I buy with EUR and other currencies at a fair market price when you want to sell.  See http://bitmynt.no/eurprice.pl
I support the roadmap.  If a majority of miners ever try to forcefully take control of Bitcoin through a hard fork without 100% consensus, I will immediately split out and dump all my forkcoins, and buy more real Bitcoin.
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December 16, 2010, 11:26:09 AM
 #15

Is there a breakthough application waiting to be discovered using the timestamp property out there???
Bitcoin timestamps are worthless.  If you examine the timestamps in the blocks, you'll notice that many blocks are timestamped to be older than the block before it.  This is impossible, of course.  The best you have got is a sequence property.  Blocks are generated at random times centered around 10 minutes (actually less, which is why the  difficulty keeps increasing), which is another property, but I don't think Bitcoin blocks would be very useful as a source for random numbers either.  Bitcoins are however very useful as a secure currency or commodity.

The block number IS the timestamps !
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December 16, 2010, 11:30:59 AM
 #16

The block number IS the timestamps !
No.  The block number is a sequence number.  You can not derive time from the block number with any useful accuracy.

Sjå http://bitmynt.no for veksling av bitcoin mot norske kroner.  Trygt, billig, raskt og enkelt sidan 2010.
I buy with EUR and other currencies at a fair market price when you want to sell.  See http://bitmynt.no/eurprice.pl
I support the roadmap.  If a majority of miners ever try to forcefully take control of Bitcoin through a hard fork without 100% consensus, I will immediately split out and dump all my forkcoins, and buy more real Bitcoin.
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December 16, 2010, 02:55:28 PM
 #17

You can not derive time from the block number with any useful accuracy.

The network tries to keep the block timestamp accurate within a few hours. This is useful for some things.

Bitcoin uses it for difficulty adjustment, so it has to be at least generally accurate.

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December 16, 2010, 03:21:00 PM
 #18

You can not derive time from the block number with any useful accuracy.
The network tries to keep the block timestamp accurate within a few hours. This is useful for some things.

Bitcoin uses it for difficulty adjustment, so it has to be at least generally accurate.
As I wrote earlier: You can find many examples of blocks with timestamps older than the block before, or even several blocks before.  I can't imagine why anyone would want to use such an unreliable timestamp when accurate timestamps to the microsecond are easy and free.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  "I can probably make the window fit in the frame using my hammer."  Maybe, but it is a horrible choice of tool for the job.

Sjå http://bitmynt.no for veksling av bitcoin mot norske kroner.  Trygt, billig, raskt og enkelt sidan 2010.
I buy with EUR and other currencies at a fair market price when you want to sell.  See http://bitmynt.no/eurprice.pl
I support the roadmap.  If a majority of miners ever try to forcefully take control of Bitcoin through a hard fork without 100% consensus, I will immediately split out and dump all my forkcoins, and buy more real Bitcoin.
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December 16, 2010, 03:34:39 PM
 #19

As I wrote earlier: You can find many examples of blocks with timestamps older than the block before, or even several blocks before.

So? They're both accurate within a few hours, as I said.

In these cases, the producer of the second block believes that the first block has incorrect time. What do you expect him to do, other than use correct time?

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December 16, 2010, 04:22:28 PM
 #20

As I wrote earlier: You can find many examples of blocks with timestamps older than the block before, or even several blocks before.
So? They're both accurate within a few hours, as I said.

In these cases, the producer of the second block believes that the first block has incorrect time. What do you expect him to do, other than use correct time?
The producer of bitcoin blocks can do whatever he wants, and that is one reason why bitcoin blocks are useless for the purpose of timestamping anything.  The original claim was:
A bitcoin is actually not only useful as a currency but it has the ability to timestamp.  If someone could use this special bitcoin property similarly to how scientists used the conductive properties of gold, then bitcoins could takeoff in a different tangent which could further increase its value.
Bitcoins are worthless as a source for timestamps.  The block creator can put whatever he or she wants in there.  Almost.  Look at the timestamps in the current block chain.  Try to imagine anything relying on timestamps where timestamps invented by the block creator is a useful property, when accurate timestamps with microsecond resolution are free.

Another claim is:
The block number IS the timestamps !
But it isn't.  The block number is a sequence number, and the timestamps aren't even in the correct sequence.  They don't need to be for their current purpose.

If you are looking for gold, you should try other properties of Bitcoins.  Your wallet contains some cryptographic keypairs which may be useful in connection with bitcoins for messaging or verification purposes outside the blockchain.

Sjå http://bitmynt.no for veksling av bitcoin mot norske kroner.  Trygt, billig, raskt og enkelt sidan 2010.
I buy with EUR and other currencies at a fair market price when you want to sell.  See http://bitmynt.no/eurprice.pl
I support the roadmap.  If a majority of miners ever try to forcefully take control of Bitcoin through a hard fork without 100% consensus, I will immediately split out and dump all my forkcoins, and buy more real Bitcoin.
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