I agree with everything you said. It does reduce decentralization, no doubt about that. We also agree that it is coming if we like it or not. Bitcoin needs to be less Linux and more Apple to continue to grow.
I said "if we don't do this we will lose users" that's not the same as saying money guides my decisions. Do we want to make money.. yes, I wouldn't expect you to believe me if I say "no" to that one.
I believe we can make a lot of money while completely changing the financial system to benefit everyone more. Banks, credit cards and other organizations make a fortune charging way too much in fees.
I can write 5 pages about what I don't like about banks and why they're not fun to deal with. I'm sure I won't get too many arguments here on these forums. Simply put, if TradeHill doesn't grow it's user base by giving them what they want while maintaining our core values it won't expand. If it doesn't expand we can't move towards our dream of a far superior global financial system. My worst fear is a company motivated purely by profit that doesn't share our vision takes the lead and consolidates Bitcoin.
You have some really good points and I've enjoyed your posts.
If Bitcoin dies today, the eyes and minds that it has opened should be seen as a huge success but I believe this is just the beginning.
I personally have no issue with this sort of thing and have long argued that convenience and simplicity were key to mass adoption of Bitcoin. I only mentioned the below because I wanted to rub the faces of the libertarian crowd in the fact any success Bitcoin enjoys will have come about by these sorts of transaction opportunities and not some any adherence to some crypto-rebel ideology.
It is interesting to see you say that you were drawn in by the decentralization of Bitcoin but then go on to say, in effect, that making money is what ultimately guides your decsion. Truth be told, the person-to-person service you provide *does* reduce decentralization, even if there are a gajillion transactions occurring - such a service requires trust that Tradehill won't some day be forced to hand over transaction logs - and, if you are really serious about legal compliance as you say you are, you will most definitely be keeping such logs.
You are right, though. Noone is forced to use it... yet. The danger is that, as these services grow in popularity, the development of the Bitcoin client as a stand-alone service may well fall to the wayside. In the same way that walking around with a suitcase of cash to buy a car will almost invariably result in raised eyebrows, if not a visit from the cops, there may one day be the same behavior should someone choose to send money outside of a the established Bitcoin pathways.
Where's the decentralization, anonymity crowd? They must be upset!
Ideally we'll have plenty of exchanges which will keep it decentralized.
It's an option but not at all required. You can maintain your anonymity by sending BTC in a regular manner.