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Author Topic: Some issues with Bitcoins that could affect beginners  (Read 1387 times)
imperi
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July 09, 2011, 08:07:19 AM
 #1

I've been involved with Bitcoins for over a month now, and here is what I see as issues for beginners. These can all be fixed.


It's difficult to know how and where to buy Bitcoins. I would have probably bought them in early May if someone spelled it out. There's no place that just spells out "Sign up at Dwolla. Go here. Do this."

There is a general fear that you will enter the wrong address, or make some installation or configuration mistake that will erase all your coins.

It's difficult to know whether your Bitcoins are truly secure or not, regardless of how many precautions you take. Maybe it's just me, but I'm always checking my balance to see if someone managed to steal my coins. I am pretty sure that it's an irrational fear, like when you're on a rollercoaster and it feels dangerous but really isn't.

It's unclear that updating the client with a new version will not delete the current data.

There is a graph showing the number of coins estimated to be in circulation by year, where the number produced declines more and more. It's unclear that the value of the coins does not also follow this graph, to someone not really thinking about it.

The forums are quite childish in general and make this all seem like some sort of game, or something amateurish that is risky to put money into.

The client needs to clearly say when it is ready to process transactions. It's very confusing to people when only 10k blocks are downloaded and the money won't go through.

The Wiki for the businesses doesn't show the traffic to each one, or people's ratings of them. It's very hard to know which sites are good or not other than randomly guessing.
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sadpandatech
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July 09, 2011, 08:20:42 AM
 #2

All very good points, m8


Especially, "The forums are quite childish in general and make this all seem like some sort of game, or something amateurish that is risky to put money into."
which I've been guilty of as well....

"The client needs to clearly say when it is ready to process transactions. It's very confusing to people when only 10k blocks are downloaded and the money won't go through,"

Could not agree more. Instead of just showing how many blocks are loaded, which to anyone who does not know what the block thing is all about mean nothing. It should display 'Loading Transactions  -  # of # loaded' or 'Loading Transactions  -  % until client is ready to transact'  or something more meaningful to the average user anyhows.

If you're not excited by the idea of being an early adopter 'now', then you should come back in three or four years and either tell us "Told you it'd never work!" or join what should, by then, be a much more stable and easier-to-use system. - GA
It is being worked on by smart people. -DamienBlack
istar
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July 09, 2011, 08:22:34 AM
 #3

Very valid points.

Quote
The client needs to clearly say when it is ready to process transactions. It's very confusing to people when only 10k blocks are downloaded and the money won't go through.

This one is acctually very important and should be really easy to fix.
Just a message, explaining how it works and when its done.


I know a lot of people who did not buy bitcoins because they thought it was to difficult.

Over time, these issues will be fixed.

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hugolp
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July 09, 2011, 08:26:06 AM
 #4

All excellent points.

The Wiki for the businesses doesn't show the traffic to each one, or people's ratings of them. It's very hard to know which sites are good or not other than randomly guessing.

This one is risky though. If the Bitcoin wiki allows for a rating system it opens itself to be blamed later on when something goes wrong with some business that had good ratings in the wiki. Let some other web handle that. The trade list wiki page is only there because its convinient now, but in the future it wont be necesary probably.
IlbiStarz
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July 09, 2011, 08:26:55 AM
 #5

All very true, the ones I've experienced are:


There is a general fear that you will enter the wrong address, or make some installation or configuration mistake that will erase all your coins.

It's difficult to know whether your Bitcoins are truly secure or not, regardless of how many precautions you take. Maybe it's just me, but I'm always checking my balance to see if someone managed to steal my coins. I am pretty sure that it's an irrational fear, like when you're on a rollercoaster and it feels dangerous but really isn't.

It's unclear that updating the client with a new version will not delete the current data.


And still do on that last one, so I'm still on 0.3.21 lolz.

It's better to be pissed off, than to be pissed on.
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dikidera
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July 09, 2011, 08:27:59 AM
 #6

Imperi, didn't you post a similar thread before? If you didn't why post a dupe thread, when it has been posted by another member before?
imperi
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July 09, 2011, 08:30:26 AM
 #7

Imperi, didn't you post a similar thread before? If you didn't why post a dupe thread, when it has been posted by another member before?

I didn't (edit: just checked my post history). And I don't keep track of every thread posted by other people.
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July 09, 2011, 08:56:03 AM
 #8

The client needs to clearly say when it is ready to process transactions. It's very confusing to people when only 10k blocks are downloaded and the money won't go through.
This is a already a lot more clear in my client, which shows:

- A progress bar for the initial block download

- A "freshness indicator" (how long ago was the last block that was received generated) instead of raw # blocks

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July 09, 2011, 09:17:39 AM
 #9

People should take some of the comments as a need they should fill.   Wiki site should never have ratings on it, however I would look into the positives of having a good top site / directory more than what is offered.  If people are not finding the current listings sites, then those sites need to figure a way to ensure that people looking for the top bitcoin sites will find them.

wareen
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July 09, 2011, 11:40:03 AM
 #10

It's difficult to know how and where to buy Bitcoins. I would have probably bought them in early May if someone spelled it out. There's no place that just spells out "Sign up at Dwolla. Go here. Do this."
I started using Bitcoin in April/May as well and quickly stumbled over the page BitcoinMe.com - there you have all the info you need on Bitcoin and how to get some. They even have a video which really spells out every step (it was with Mt. Gox back when I started but otherwise basically the same).
joepie91
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July 09, 2011, 02:25:38 PM
 #11

I've been involved with Bitcoins for over a month now, and here is what I see as issues for beginners. These can all be fixed.


It's difficult to know how and where to buy Bitcoins. I would have probably bought them in early May if someone spelled it out. There's no place that just spells out "Sign up at Dwolla. Go here. Do this."
There is a list of exchanges on the Bitcoin wiki, there are links to exchanges on sites like WeUseCoins (as far as I know). You can't really do much more.
There is not a central responsible entity where you can 'buy Bitcoins'. That's the very nature of a decentralized currency.

Quote
There is a general fear that you will enter the wrong address, or make some installation or configuration mistake that will erase all your coins.
This is inherent to new things that are 'unknown' to people, there isn't much you can do about it... As a good example, look at the installation wizard for Ubuntu and OpenSuSE. It really can't be any simpler than that, and literally anyone can understand it, but because people never install an OS they are afraid of it. The issue is not that they don't understand it, but that they *think* they don't understand it. That's not something you can fix with a simple software update. The best way would be to just educate people, and teach them to not be afraid to do something they didn't do before.. but that's a whole different thing.

Quote
It's difficult to know whether your Bitcoins are truly secure or not, regardless of how many precautions you take. Maybe it's just me, but I'm always checking my balance to see if someone managed to steal my coins. I am pretty sure that it's an irrational fear, like when you're on a rollercoaster and it feels dangerous but really isn't.
Same as above, it's a new thing. People have to get used to it. Not very much you can do about it.

Quote
It's unclear that updating the client with a new version will not delete the current data.
Valid point.

Quote
There is a graph showing the number of coins estimated to be in circulation by year, where the number produced declines more and more. It's unclear that the value of the coins does not also follow this graph, to someone not really thinking about it.
You can't really predict the value of coins, so you can't just make a graph of it. The crucial point here is 'someone not really thinking about it'. The only way you can solve this is by making people think about it.

Quote
The forums are quite childish in general and make this all seem like some sort of game, or something amateurish that is risky to put money into.
I wouldn't call it childish, but yes, people are playful. That's most likely because Bitcoins stand so far from fiat currency (in the way they work, etc.), that it's hard for people to attach the concept of 'hard currency' to it. Not to mention there are a lot of people here who are interested in the technical aspect, and like playing around with technical things. Again, not much you can do about it.

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The client needs to clearly say when it is ready to process transactions. It's very confusing to people when only 10k blocks are downloaded and the money won't go through.
Absolutely agreed. And a progress bar (if technically possible) would be very nice as well.

Quote
The Wiki for the businesses doesn't show the traffic to each one, or people's ratings of them. It's very hard to know which sites are good or not other than randomly guessing.
I don't think this is something bitcoin.org should be involved with. "Customer review" sites typically tend to attract a lot of fighting, slander, abuse, and other annoying consequences, and it would be a bad idea to distract the people taking care of Bitcoin.org and the wiki in general, by something like that. There are already review sites for Bitcoin businesses.

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LokeRundt
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July 09, 2011, 09:34:11 PM
 #12


Quote
The Wiki for the businesses doesn't show the traffic to each one, or people's ratings of them. It's very hard to know which sites are good or not other than randomly guessing.
I don't think this is something bitcoin.org should be involved with. "Customer review" sites typically tend to attract a lot of fighting, slander, abuse, and other annoying consequences, and it would be a bad idea to distract the people taking care of Bitcoin.org and the wiki in general, by something like that. There are already review sites for Bitcoin businesses.

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joepie91
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July 10, 2011, 10:55:46 AM
 #13


Quote
The Wiki for the businesses doesn't show the traffic to each one, or people's ratings of them. It's very hard to know which sites are good or not other than randomly guessing.
I don't think this is something bitcoin.org should be involved with. "Customer review" sites typically tend to attract a lot of fighting, slander, abuse, and other annoying consequences, and it would be a bad idea to distract the people taking care of Bitcoin.org and the wiki in general, by something like that. There are already review sites for Bitcoin businesses.

Ageed, I'm just waiting for blackandyellowpages.com to come online
There's http://www.bitcoinsreview.com/, there's also another site of which I forgot the name/URL (anyone?), and there's the Bitcoin Shitlist coming up.

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mizike29
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July 10, 2011, 04:52:44 PM
 #14

I pointed the steps out to buying bitcoins in another thread, that alone seemed tough, bank account to dwolla to MTGOX with a pretty big delay when trying to buy bitcoins at certain prices.

Another problem that just got me last week where I messed up, is on MTGOX I was trying to put a buy order in for bitcoins at 12.4 USD per coin but I accidently hit sell bitcoins and it sold all my bitcoins for 12.4.  Then that part is instant of course, no time for mistakes, no one to call to retract it, no confirmation to make you read over the decision and confirm like most spots use. 

THe wallet is a mystery for most, mining is pretty technical for sure as a newbie, if you dont know coding or writing a script, it gets pretty tough.

I am glad to see all these new places popping up to buy items with bitcoins and some forums for support outside of just this one, so things should get better for the young ones in the bitcoin game.

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July 10, 2011, 05:05:48 PM
 #15

Yes, the bitcoin developers should take user-friendliness more seriously.

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joepie91
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July 10, 2011, 05:11:38 PM
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I pointed the steps out to buying bitcoins in another thread, that alone seemed tough, bank account to dwolla to MTGOX with a pretty big delay when trying to buy bitcoins at certain prices.
This may be an issue specific to US people... personally I could just do a regular SEPA transfer to an exchange I believe, and have the funds in my exchange account fairly quickly.

Not to mention that the focus should IMO not be on 'buying Bitcoins' at all - they're not Facebook credits. It's way more productive if you actually sell products or services for Bitcoin, or accept them as donations, etc.
Quote
Another problem that just got me last week where I messed up, is on MTGOX I was trying to put a buy order in for bitcoins at 12.4 USD per coin but I accidently hit sell bitcoins and it sold all my bitcoins for 12.4.  Then that part is instant of course, no time for mistakes, no one to call to retract it, no confirmation to make you read over the decision and confirm like most spots use. 
That is an exchange-specific issue, has nothing to do with Bitcoin itself.
Quote
THe wallet is a mystery for most,
Of course it is, it's something new. Just back it up and encrypt it (this should be easier with built-in encryption) and you should be fine.
Quote
mining is pretty technical for sure as a newbie,
If you don't understand mining, you should probably not be doing it - in fact, mining is NOT an essential part of using Bitcoins as an 'end-user'. A lot of people are blinded by the whole 'mining earns me money' thing, and when they don't earn a fortune in a few days, they ditch all of Bitcoin. I think that is more of an issue than the difficulty of starting to mine.
Quote
if you dont know coding or writing a script, it gets pretty tough.
Pretty tough to do what?

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I just can't wait for fall/winter. My furnace never generated money for me before. I'll keep mining until my furnace is more profitable.
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July 10, 2011, 05:20:12 PM
 #17

Yes, the bitcoin developers should take user-friendliness more seriously.

It is opensource, code something more user-friendly, and have it pushed in.
Though these are very important issues, these guys don't get paid for coding this software.
spruce
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July 10, 2011, 05:38:33 PM
 #18


It's difficult to know whether your Bitcoins are truly secure or not, regardless of how many precautions you take. Maybe it's just me, but I'm always checking my balance to see if someone managed to steal my coins. I am pretty sure that it's an irrational fear, like when you're on a rollercoaster and it feels dangerous but really isn't.


Agreed. I didn't feel at all secure about mine until I took them offline. My wallet balance on my computer right now is 0.028 BTC, which is totally fine by me. I don't even have wallet.dat encrypted. Smiley

I think the best place for saving bitcoins is in a paper bitcoin wallet, like those sold by Casascius.
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July 10, 2011, 05:42:23 PM
 #19



all of this old news.

you're not the first one to bring any of these points up.

the bitcoin project isn't going to move as fast as people here want it to.
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