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Author Topic: can bitcoin solve all social and political issues?  (Read 1671 times)
gopher
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July 06, 2011, 10:43:18 AM
 #1

Hello everyone, this is my first post out of the newbies section!

I have been wondering, why do people expect that the bitcoin system will miraculously solve all social and political issues the human kind has created over the centuries?

Surely the conservative will react sceptically or even pessimistically to any new economic development - but why do they expect that unless Bitcoin present answer to all these challenges the traditional money system failed to solve, then they must fail in the long term!

Some examples:

1. Anonymity - no one criticises the use of cash in illicit transactions like drug and weapons trade, but suddenly, because the Bitcoins can be used in similar manner (anonymously) it is the issue that Bitcoin brings to the society

2. Derivative from 1 - ability to steal someone else's Bitcoins and that transaction is irreversibly - no trail - but one can steal someone's wallet easily, we see this happen every day by pick-pockets, but no one blames it on the money - they blame it on the pick-pockets!

3. Lack of utility value - sure, I can not buy many things with bitcoins right now, but same applies to the non-convertible currency and the Internet - I can not buy anything with say Ghana Cedis on the Internet, but no one shoots down the Cedi economy as lacking utility or claiming that their currency does not have future.

4. Derivative from 3 - there is quite an utility value of bitcoin - it looks like the speculation are thriving on the Bitcoin value growth like there is no tomorrow (no pun intended) and thanks to them, there is a lively US$ 80-90M market cap growing exponentially - I am sure some of the non-convertible currencies present bleaker investment prospect to the money market traders than Bitcoin, but they still get traded.

and I can go on and on

So, which is the particular characteristic of Bitcoin, so different from the current physical moneys the society uses will make it fail in the long term?

Failing to solve all social and political problems and provide enduring world peace?

How?

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benjamindees
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July 06, 2011, 11:27:25 AM
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I actually take the view that Bitcoin is more likely to help solve these issues, simply for the fact that it cannot be used as a fig leaf to hide them, unlike conventional currencies.

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July 06, 2011, 11:30:03 AM
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bitcoins are not anonymous. sorry. every 'coin' is tracked in the blockchain.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
realnowhereman
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July 06, 2011, 11:57:29 AM
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bitcoins are not anonymous. sorry. every 'coin' is tracked in the blockchain.

They are a little bit anonymous.

Think of the blockchain as like footprints.  If I had a way of seeing every footprint on the street, would it matter?  No, because I couldn't link any particular footprint with a real person.

However, I could follow the footprints...  if I then found a shop were those footprints had been, and I had the full power of the law behind me, I could look at the security camera footage and link the footprint to an individual.

If the footprint owner had been careful and made sure every time they went anywhere they always walked through a stream on their way to the next place; then I wouldn't learn very much.

Bitcoins are the same.  They themselves are anonymous; it's all the places that you might use them that aren't.  Streams are available in the form of mixing services; and you can use them as you see fit.

"Bitcoins are not anonymous" is wrong.  There is no place in the bitcoin system or protocol to write my name, address, or social security number.  It's not bitcoins that are not anonymous, it's the rest of the world.

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kokjo
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July 06, 2011, 12:09:35 PM
 #5

bitcoins are not anonymous. sorry. every 'coin' is tracked in the blockchain.

They are a little bit anonymous.

Think of the blockchain as like footprints.  If I had a way of seeing every footprint on the street, would it matter?  No, because I couldn't link any particular footprint with a real person.

However, I could follow the footprints...  if I then found a shop were those footprints had been, and I had the full power of the law behind me, I could look at the security camera footage and link the footprint to an individual.

If the footprint owner had been careful and made sure every time they went anywhere they always walked through a stream on their way to the next place; then I wouldn't learn very much.

Bitcoins are the same.  They themselves are anonymous; it's all the places that you might use them that aren't.  Streams are available in the form of mixing services; and you can use them as you see fit.

"Bitcoins are not anonymous" is wrong.  There is no place in the bitcoin system or protocol to write my name, address, or social security number.  It's not bitcoins that are not anonymous, it's the rest of the world.
then its called pseudonymity, instead of anonymity. it requires only one link between the real you and the pseudonym, to say its you.
and that link exists, its called mtgox.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
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July 07, 2011, 12:07:22 AM
 #6

then its called pseudonymity, instead of anonymity. it requires only one link between the real you and the pseudonym, to say its you.
and that link exists, its called mtgox.

1. Send contaminated coins with long history to online btc wallet service (OBWS).
2. Create a 1-time Mt. Gox wallet by logging in the deposit page
3. Use 1-time Mt. Gox wallet as the withdrawal address on OBWS
4. You have anonymous bitcoins in your Mt. Gox balance that appear to originate from OBWS with a completely random history.

Or if you want a 1-step program:

1. Mint your own, unused fresh coins by mining. No history, no way of knowing who 'created' them.

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sergio
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July 07, 2011, 03:53:27 AM
 #7

Bitcoin solves many issues, it does not solve everything, but it is an step in the right direction.

In reduces fraud, it creates a solid currency system, and much more.

Other issues that have to be solved are the creation of jobs, the increase in production, elimination of debt, fair distribution of taxes, social issues, funding of education, health care, etc, but that is up to the people, bitcoin is not going to solve all the problems in the world, but it will help.

Once you have a solid economic system it is easier to solve other problems that exist in society today.
Think of Bitcoin as a tool for solving many problems, but for many others it depends on the people.
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July 07, 2011, 08:09:23 AM
 #8

then its called pseudonymity, instead of anonymity. it requires only one link between the real you and the pseudonym, to say its you.
and that link exists, its called mtgox.

1. Send contaminated coins with long history to online btc wallet service (OBWS).
2. Create a 1-time Mt. Gox wallet by logging in the deposit page
3. Use 1-time Mt. Gox wallet as the withdrawal address on OBWS
4. You have anonymous bitcoins in your Mt. Gox balance that appear to originate from OBWS with a completely random history.

Or if you want a 1-step program:

1. Mint your own, unused fresh coins by mining. No history, no way of knowing who 'created' them.
the gorvernement is likely to have control over OBWS, too...

how do you think banks operate today? there will be governement restrictions, sadly.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts." -Bertrand Russell
gopher
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July 07, 2011, 11:10:02 AM
 #9

I see mixing anonymity with repudiation here - and ability to repudiate a transaction is inherent in the current physical moneys, not only in the electronic currency.

There are many physical money transactions where people do not care about the ability to repudiate - paying for goods with cash and demanding that invoice is issued to the person or company.

Also, there are many transactions where physical money is used in completely anonymous manner, which allows the transactors to repudiate that transaction at will.

Let me model a transaction - I think one should be able to change BTC with USD for example and it should make no difference to the nature of the transaction.

Hence my point - that bitcoins are not more or less anonymous that the physical moneys, therefore they should have same effect when used by the society, not different.


1. Alice creates new bitcoin address in her wallet

2. Bob also creates new bitcoin address in his wallet

3. Alice sends Bob some BTCs using newly created addresses

4. they don't tell anyone else about the transaction they just conducted.


Everyone can scrutinise the public records of that transaction, but unless there is a record of the two newly created Bitcoin addresses and who they belong to, there is no way to ascertain who the originator and who the recipient of that transaction are.

And I do not see that happening without coercing Alice and Bob to open their Bitcoin address books to scrutiny by the investigating party.

So there is always option for Alice and Bob to repudiate that they conducted that transaction, unless (1) they are coerced by someone to disclose their address books or (2) they themselves compromised the inherent Bitcoin anonymity somehow during the transaction - if they reused the bitcoin address, for example.

Is not it?
neptop
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July 07, 2011, 12:08:30 PM
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Actually it's great that Bitcoin solves (or at least tries to do so) a number of shortcomings of other currency. I don't really think anything can simply solve a problem by existing. The most important factor in most cases is the social one. Even if a technology exists it doesn't mean it will be used. There are so many examples to illustrate this. See condoms for example. They are very available and there is a good reason for using them. If they'd be in use more often there wouldn't really be a need for so many charities to even exist, but many people don't use them for social reasons.

So it's a tool one can use to make things better. To make this tool used it has to be simple to use and people need to be informed about it's benefits. Since most people (for a good reason) think about its short time benefits people should first of all be informed about them. It's like the internet. People access it for e-mail, chat, Wikipedia, porn, ... They don't do so because it is a good way to provide information to pretty much everyone or because of what happened in the north of Africa. Also it is sometimes very hard to predict what a technology will be used for. To stay with this example the Internet, as most of us know was originally intended solely for military, later for universities and research institutions. The same is true for GPS.

So I guess the truth is Bitcoin is a tool with lots of potential one should unleash and exploit as much as possible. This way we will find out what capabilities there are.

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realnowhereman
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July 07, 2011, 12:14:59 PM
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You've missed a vital fact in your example:

I see mixing anonymity with repudiation here - and ability to repudiate a transaction is inherent in the current physical moneys, not only in the electronic currency.

1. Alice creates new bitcoin address in her wallet which contains 0.00 BTC

2. Bob also creates new bitcoin address in his wallet which contains 0.00 BTC

3. Alice sends Bob some BTCs using newly created addresses

4. they don't tell anyone else about the transaction they just conducted.

Is not it?

In order for Alice to send Bob some coins she must first receive some.  Once Alice touches the rest of the economy, she leaves a trace.  Then sending the coins to Bob leaves her trace on him.

This is the essential problem with Bitcoin anonymity

However; the problem can be solved.

  • Bob creates a new address
  • Alice wants to pay Bob secretly
  • Alice sends money to $MIXER_SERVICE
  • Alice commands $MIXER_SERVICE to send to Bob's new address

Now there is no public transaction that can be viewed to connect Alice to Bob.

The problem still exists if $MIXER_SERVICE can't be trusted to erase all logs; but if it can, then those mixed coins are anonymous.  Alice could even send them back to herself and have a source of anonymous coins.

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July 07, 2011, 02:34:03 PM
 #12

Hells yeah!


Brother, can you spare a Bitcoin? 18Xe5KqJhmgw5cTjosek2YwnqzG6tDWKNU
neptop
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July 07, 2011, 11:25:12 PM
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Looking forward to this. Wink

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deuxmill
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July 08, 2011, 11:36:33 AM
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No it can't.

There is no one thing that can solve all social/political issues.
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July 08, 2011, 11:58:46 AM
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I'll try to give you a short, simple and explicit answer:
No

Ciao.
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July 10, 2011, 07:25:26 AM
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Nobody was asking.

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realnowhereman
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July 10, 2011, 01:05:16 PM
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Nobody was asking.

"can bitcoin solve all social and political issues?"

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July 10, 2011, 01:23:52 PM
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"can bitcoin solve all social and political issues?"


ever heard of rhetorical questions? you don't answer them. especially if the OP specifically states that "who cares".

i am satoshi
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July 10, 2011, 03:52:50 PM
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Unless you are a completely blithering idiot that blindly believes that EVERY social and political issue is tied to currency, you would be stupid to make the claim that it will solve EVERY problem. Do people even consider what they are asking when it is so absolute in nature? OBVIOUSLY the answer is a : NO

Do I think the Bitcoin a HUGE step in the right direction? YES.
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July 11, 2011, 03:37:14 AM
 #20

Hello everyone, this is my first post out of the newbies section!
Welcome Smiley

So, which is the particular characteristic of Bitcoin, so different from the current physical moneys the society uses will make it fail in the long term?
  • Selfish people in power (NOT all powerful people), create resistance. Bitcoin is most susceptible to social attacks.
  • The arms race of security between cracking Bitcoin and securing it. I've heard this mentioned little on the forums. It can be enhanced with stronger algorithms, but every single digital device has the potential to be cracked/hacked, contrary to what you may think. There are known vulnerabilities to Bitcoin.
  • Unknown social reason
  • Disruptive technologies that may may pose a threat/opportunity to Bitcoin.

etc.
Basic two categories are social and technical, with many scenarios in each one.
I am very eager to see Bitcoin succeed, however, for that, all issues should get attention.

I do believe that Bitcoin is very secure, robust and sound, but I'm simply stating there are those that seek to dismantle it. It may be an easy race, but its a race non-the-less.

The last point of disruptive technologies could be a big one, however, we can't see the future.
 
Failing to solve all social and political problems and provide enduring world peace?
Out of scope.

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