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Author Topic: Contribute to Bitcoin Confidence  (Read 10307 times)
NewLibertyStandard
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February 04, 2010, 02:03:11 AM
 #1

A currency is only as strong as people's confidence in that currency. I don't have enough funds to create the same level of confidence as a government which can draw funds from millions of people. But if many people unite together, we can create confidence in the bitcoin currency.

My theory is that if a dozen or more different people each run a personal currency exchange and invest an inconsequential amount of another currency to their available balance each day while while saving the same value worth of bitcoins, then two important things will happen.

First, consumers and merchants will have enough confidence to use the currency because there will always be sufficient funds available.

Second, exchangers will have more confidence because each exchanger will have the same value worth of bitcoins saved as he has invested and the other exchangers will collectively have enough funds available in other currencies to recoup his investment.

You are welcome to use my exchange service as a template and customize it as little or as much as you'd like. I use a Google docs spreadsheet to keep track of my exchange rate. The columns that I use are essentially A-Date, B-Daily Number of Bitcoins Generated, C-Daily Cost, D-Exchange Rate =AVERAGE(B#:B#)/AVERAGE(C#:C#) where # is the first and last rows, E-Reverse Exchange Rate =50/D# where # is the first row.

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February 04, 2010, 06:26:39 AM
 #2

I think we should direct our thinking towards *why* would consumers and producers want to use bitcoin in the first place. Currently, for example, almost everyone accepts paypal, while almost noone accepts bitcoin. How would you get a paypal user, or a user not subscribed to any system yet, to prefer bitcoin?

As suggested before, Satoshi needs to focus on sudo-anonymous services for transactions rather than paypal. I argue that >95% of bitcoin users will be only using it because it's private and non-traceable. Once one can exchange BTC for these services (eg. eGold/LibertyReserve etc) then it will become practical to use BTC. This way, we will have someone offering a service which he would like to stay anonymous to third parties when providing, and on the other side someone willing to buy this service and would like to stay anonymous to third parties as well. The solution? Bitcoin of course!

But under the current system, money only goes in-and-out through nonprivate services (paypal, moneybookers, paypay, etc). And even worse: Only 1 or 2 exchangers exist, making any money going in and out of the system easily monitored (I tackled this in my suggestion thread also). So why would anyone bother to pay with, or accept bitcoin under these conditions?
NewLibertyStandard
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February 04, 2010, 06:53:21 AM
 #3

I think we should direct our thinking towards *why* would consumers and producers want to use bitcoin in the first place.
Here's a partial answer from a discussion on my website.

Quote from: Anonymous
why?

whats the point?
Quote from: NewLibertyStandard
1. Because some people are not satisfied with the status quo.

Some people don't like that fiat currencies allow money to be created out of thin air. Using a commodity based currency like bitcoins shrinks the fiat economy and increases the commodity based economy. There's a growing movement in a the United States centered around ending the Federal Reserve and returning to a commodity based currency.

Some people don't like that all electronic financial transactions have to go through and be approved by a large financial institution. Bitcoin transactions don't go through any financial institution, so there's never a fee and transactions can't be declined.

Some people don't like that the government can subpoena your complete financial history and companies can review your credit history without your permission. Bitcoins are like cash in that transactions can be made anonymously and thus can't be subpoenaed by the government or reviewed by companies.

Some people like to earn a little cash on the side with virtually no work required. It's as easy as clicking 'Generate Coins' and opening a PayPal account.

Some people believe bitcoins are a good investment. There are more than a few people interested in using bitcoins and that's all that is needed to guarantee that they will increase in value over time.

Some people use bitcoins because they think that they are an interesting experiment and want to see how and by whom bitcoins will be adopted.
Quote from: Anonymous
2. RE: Because some people are not satisfied with the status quo.

Some people want to organize political resistance without attracting attention.

Some people want to transmit value in trade for drugs and weapons.

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February 04, 2010, 11:04:23 AM
 #4

Some people don't like that fiat currencies allow money to be created out of thin air. Using a commodity based currency like bitcoins shrinks the fiat economy and increases the commodity based economy. There's a growing movement in a the United States centered around ending the Federal Reserve and returning to a commodity based currency.
Noone, or very few people, would trade their convenience and/or risk their money for these ideological reasons.

Some people don't like that all electronic financial transactions have to go through and be approved by a large financial institution. Bitcoin transactions don't go through any financial institution, so there's never a fee and transactions can't be declined.
There's the paypal (or whatever you'll be using to move the money in and out) transaction fee. Paypal must also approve the transaction. If bitcoin started getting known and was used by a lot of people, paypal can and will cause Satoshi legal headaches. He will not be left alone; governments don't like this sort of activity. Paypal (along with moneybookers etc) will be more than happy to provide the government with transaction logs which will end up with Satoshi or anyone utilizing their services in trouble. I can imagine the headlines now:
Inventor of a new money laundering technique used in fraud; purchasing child porn; and funding terrorism arrested.
Thanks to the cooperation of paypal with the FBI, the founders of "Bitcoin" have been brought to justice. Bitcoin is a new money laundering technique which was used by criminals to... etc

Some people don't like that the government can subpoena your complete financial history and companies can review your credit history without your permission. Bitcoins are like cash in that transactions can be made anonymously and thus can't be subpoenaed by the government or reviewed by companies.
Under the current system, with very few brokers who are also using non-anonymous "converters" (methods to convert BTC to cash & vice-versa), transactions are practically known: If I buy $150 worth of BTC from Satoshi today and tommorow someone sells $147 worth, paypal will know (if they want) that I was sending $147 to that person. Granted, technically they can't "prove" it, but they couldn't also prove Al-Capone was the Mafia's head; that didn't stop them from getting him because they knew.

Some people like to earn a little cash on the side with virtually no work required. It's as easy as clicking 'Generate Coins' and opening a PayPal account.
It also costs electricity. Sooner or later it will hit the equilibrium so that it's virtually profitless.

Some people believe bitcoins are a good investment. There are more than a few people interested in using bitcoins and that's all that is needed to guarantee that they will increase in value over time.
That might make some people stash bitcoin, but not use it in transactions. Not good enough.

Some people use bitcoins because they think that they are an interesting experiment and want to see how and by whom bitcoins will be adopted.
And we are trying to make the experiment successful here Smiley. This is impossible without anonymity.

Some people want to organize political resistance without attracting attention.
Some people want to transmit value in trade for drugs and weapons.
Especially those type of people will not be very happy using BTC if the only way to put and pull money from it was paypal!
sirius
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February 04, 2010, 12:34:46 PM
 #5

Yes, the exchange of money from your bank account for Bitcoins will not be anonymous as long as your bank account isn't. That goes with any digital currency. The idea is to make Bitcoin a commonly accepted currency so that you can use them in many places instead of always needing to convert them to euros or dollars.

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sirius
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February 04, 2010, 12:45:54 PM
 #6

Anyways, I'm considering Liberty Reserve as one option for the exchange service I'm building. Credit card processing companies don't seem too eager to deal with an e-currency exchanger.

And btw, the existing exchange services aren't run by Satoshi  Wink

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NewLibertyStandard
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February 04, 2010, 12:47:39 PM
 #7

There is a large movement in the United States to end the federal reserve. I assure you that there are many many thousands of people who are willing to put up with more than a little inconvenience and risk if it's detrimental to the Federal Reserve.

PayPal has to be used for my personal exchange service. That has nothing to do with bitcoin. You or anyone else is more than welcome to run an exchange service without PayPal. In fact I've laid out exactly how to do it and have even given you permission to use my text as a template for your own.

Money laundering is only an issue if you knowingly accept or spend money which was obtained criminally. Cash can also be used for money laundering, but as long as you are not participating in criminal activity, there is no reason to fear using cash or bitcoins.

You don't have to non-anonymously buy or sell bitcoins. You can anonymously generate bitcoins and your can anonymously buy and sell bitcoins. If you want an anonymous exchange service, START ONE!!!

The base value of bitcoins is how much it costs to generate them. But that doesn't mean that it is profitless. You might be able to generate 500 bitcoins per day today but if in two months you can only generate 50 bitcoins per day then you have made a killer profit. Bitcoins are very cheap right now and the user base IS growing. The value will continue to increase because people have a genuine interest in bitcoins.

Bitcoins for the sake of investment is good enough by itself. That is essentially all that has fueled the current growth. And there is growth. But to add to that, the next version of Bitcoin is most likely going to have a command line interface and hopefully also a web interface which will make it much easier to use for automatic transactions and transactions from mobile phones.

Bitcoins are infinitely more anonymous than any other digital currency on the market. You can obtain and spend bitcoins completely anonymously. Just because I use bitcoins non-anonymously does not mean bitcoins are not anonymous. Bitcoins without the SOCKS proxy are for all practical purposes completely anonymous. Absolutely no one will be able to correlate your transactions with your IP address. Bitcoins with the SOCKS proxy over Tor is LITERALLY completely anonymous. No one can even begin to suspect you if your IP address never shows up in the swarm.

I repeat, bitcoins are in no way shape or form at all related to PayPal. One person who is investing a big $0.90 per day happens to use PayPal. That has absolutely nothing to do with bitcoin. Go ahead and create an anonymous exchange service and invest $1.80 per day and your exchange service will have twice the capital and thus twice the influence as mine. Really, please do! That's what my first post is all about. I really want you to run an exchange service. It doesn't cost much. All you have to invest is whatever is an inconsequential amount for you. Feel free to just invest $0.25 per day.

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The Madhatter
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February 09, 2010, 04:07:46 PM
 #8

Lol! I find a lot of this laughable. Tongue (All in good taste, guys.)

If you want true anonymity on bitcoin, generate the coins yourself and spend them on digital goods (giving up shipping details would be counter-productive). If you don't have the CPU power, rent or buy more CPUs. Tongue When all of the coins are generated, buy coins from one of your friends in person with cash. Mow their lawn for bitcoins. Whatever. Tongue

The ideal way would be to have exchangers in jurisdictions where they could easily accept cash in and out of the postal system. The reasoning for this is: no fees (besides a stamp), no banks to deal with, no 3rd parties such as paypal, it's anonymous, they can't claim 'commerce', OR subject matter jurisdiction over you. The value from the received fiat could be re-patrioted by mailing it back out to bitcoin users, purchases of goods in foreign markets that are sold online again for bitcoins/cash in a different currency/paypal, etc. (Really depends on what you are trying to achieve).

Courage always beats fear. Hands down. That said, exchangers need to be courageous. They need to know the law. They need to understand jurisdiction and commercial law (possibly property law and extradition laws as well) inside-out and backwards. If they don't, they are doomed to fail. I am talking from experience here.

If any of you think for a second that you can simply deal paypal/moneybookers/etc for bitcoins and not attract attention from the law (or those who provide the money transmitting services including banks) -- you are MISTAKEN. You may be able to run it for a while without attention, but it will happen eventually. (Again, this comes from experience.)

They try all sorts of underhanded tactics to defend the banking system. They'll demand that you need a license to be a money transmitter. They'll demand that you need a permit to operate within a particular city. They'll claim that you accepted cash proceeds from a crime and try you with criminal charges.

I've seen and heard it all.

It all starts with knowing the law and being courageous.

I wish you all the best. Smiley
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February 09, 2010, 04:09:52 PM
 #9

Side note: Liberty Reserve is a scam. They are fractional reserve lending on a fractional reserve currency.
sirius
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February 09, 2010, 05:05:05 PM
 #10

Side note: Liberty Reserve is a scam. They are fractional reserve lending on a fractional reserve currency.

I've been considering to exchange for LR. Now that I dig more into it, there are some scam warnings and controversy about its reliability on the net. Do you have some more information to back up your claim?

How about Pecunix? It seems more reputable and better established, although the web UI is not as pretty. Pecunix has the advantage that I could hold my reserves as gold, not as euros which suffer from inflation. The transaction fee is also lower, 0,5% instead of 1%.

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February 09, 2010, 07:01:25 PM
 #11


I have information that I can't share here.

Pecunix is good. My only stipulation would be that tungsten gold-plated 400oz bars have been found in the LMBA bullion banking system. There is evidence that gold is being stolen.

If you are just using Pecunix/LR as a "pass-through", you'll be fine. Smiley

Side note: Liberty Reserve is a scam. They are fractional reserve lending on a fractional reserve currency.

I've been considering to exchange for LR. Now that I dig more into it, there are some scam warnings and controversy about its reliability on the net. Do you have some more information to back up your claim?

How about Pecunix? It seems more reputable and better established, although the web UI is not as pretty. Pecunix has the advantage that I could hold my reserves as gold, not as euros which suffer from inflation. The transaction fee is also lower, 0,5% instead of 1%.
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February 15, 2010, 05:12:10 AM
 #12

Imagine the following Scenario:

A Man walks into a liquor store--he strolls up to the counter and stares the clerk right in the face, but says nothing.  The man has a pocket, in his pocket is a cell phone or other mobile device, on this device is the latest BITCOIN App (in the future, his mobile device might even have on the fly encryption, who knows).

In the Clerk's pocket is the very same App.

The cell phones identify one another and trigger a bitcoin transaction!

The Clerk takes a bottle of Jack Daniels off the shelf and hands it to the man.

"On the house" he says.

The Clerk does not record the exchange as a sale, in fact, he writes it off as a loss  Grin

The man is pleased that he was able to purchase his booze cheaply without the annoyance of sales and sin taxes.

The man returns to his place of work, he is a high-level engineer and yet his salary is only $6000 a year!  barely enough to tax!

However, every other Friday he receives a a large donation of BITCOINS from an anonymous "secret santa" that may or may not be his boss.  He then buys more liquor, and, in the same manner, hemp bedsheets, and organic groceries!  His tech-saavy landlord takes bitcoin as rent and as a result, does not technically own an 'apartment complex" but rather a large private home filled "roomates" who stay there for "free".  This of course is suspicious and attracts attention and one of the phony "tenants" even breaks down and confesses the whole thing to the cops. Problem is, even with all his bitcoin data they can't trace his transactions back to the landlord and thus have no evidence of wrongdoing other than one witnesses testimony and circumstantial evidence. 

Suddenly tax evasion is about as dangerous as internet piracy.

I also have an idea that the number of panhandlers will explode.  You see, let's say you need some bitcoins but all you have is cash.  You go down to the park and see a bunch of homeless people begging.  You come near the homeless people and suddenly your phone vibrates, alerting you to some bitcoin activity!  A message from bitcoin appears on the screen, it is a randomly generated string of words:

"The Color Blue's frangibility is a necessity"

Suddenly, one of the homeless beggars (who seems oddly well-dressed) shouts "the color blue's frangibility is a necessity!"  To onlookers, it sounds like just more crazy homeless talk, to you it sounds like you want to put a 100 dollar bill in his tin cup.  He takes the bill and pushes some buttons on his cell phone.  You are alerted to a fresh batch of bitcoins (the equivalent of 100 dollars) dropped into your account by yet another 'secret santa".  This might also happen with people "e-begging' for paypal money.

These are the revolutions bitcoin, or programs like it, will bring upon us.
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February 15, 2010, 03:15:23 PM
 #13

Exciting scenario Smiley

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February 16, 2010, 02:20:33 AM
 #14

Imagine the following Scenario:

What anarchists tend to forget is that this is already possible via using cash, so why can't everyone evade taxes by using cash today?? I only see bitcoin as web-transferable green bills with an added factor of anonymity when no physical goods or detectable services are involved (such as purchasing WoW accounts, which is only a very small part of the economy).
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February 16, 2010, 03:18:00 AM
 #15

Cash still suffers from the fact that it is physical (difficult to store securely, manage) and that its value is controlled by Governments (devalued through inflation.)  Bitcoin has the potential to allow all the benefits of money (medium of exchange, store of value, unit of account, etc...) in a digital form not susceptible to centralized manipulation.  Just like an objective standard of monetary value like Gold, but without any of the physical handicaps.

The great thing about I-am-not-anonymous's post is that each action described was in the interest of the committing agent.  Each small transaction benefited the individual directly and immediately (lower prices, less taxes, less regulatory compliance), but also starves the state of resources and control.  As those small transactions add up, the counter-economy (the agora) grows and the state shrinks.  This is the basic idea behind the Agorist method of achieving liberty.

As people begin to recognize bitcoins as a reliable means of transferring value, the possibilities in both the web world and the physical world are endless.

XC

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February 16, 2010, 03:24:59 AM
 #16

Imagine the following Scenario:
What anarchists tend to forget is that this is already possible via using cash

I wish this were true, but it is not, trust me, some of us have tried  Wink

While many people do use "cash under the table" to successfully outsmart the authorities, many more are caught and convicted.

This is because the IRS set up a "whistle blower program" (AKA, bounty hunter program).  Essentially if you see an employer peeling out Benjamins to an employee and not reporting it, you can turn his ass in and get a 15-30% cut of the loot when the IRS raids his business .

This has made tax evasion using "cash" extremely risky.  With bitcoin, all the Whsitle-blower can report is some furtive typing on cell-phone keyboards, or nothing at all.

Also, bitcoin could soon allow encrypted banking (operating an all cash business without a bank is risky), and the IRS monitors bank deposits to verify reported income.

Also remember that unlike Cash, Bitcoin is easily scalable.  The IRS goes after the biggest tax cheats first and then works their way down the chain.  It is awfully hard to conceal millions of dollars of cash income (just ask drug dealers).  It is (theoretically) as easy to conceal a billion dollars worth of bitcoins as it is to conceal the $0.15 I've generated so far (yay!)




NewLibertyStandard
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April 06, 2010, 02:30:24 AM
 #17

In my first post I mentioned that if people ran their own exchanges and injected an inconsequential amount of dollars into the bitcoin currency, it would create more confidence in and stabilize the bitcoin currency. Another, even easier way to contribute to bitcoin confidence is to occasionally purchase a small amount of bitcoins from me when you see that my available amount of dollars is low. If lots of people would purchase $0.50 worth of bitcoins once or twice a week when my available balance is under $10, then there would be more confidence for people who accept bitcoins for goods or services that they will be able to exchange their bitcoins for local currency. If you just want to make a few cents off your bitcoins, I will continue to inject dollars when my available balance is below $1.00, but if you want bitcoin to be a successful currency, occasionally spend some pocket change on bitcoins when you see there is a need.

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July 08, 2010, 04:49:51 PM
 #18

Don't manipulate the market.  Profit on it.

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July 08, 2010, 05:54:20 PM
 #19

A few more ways confidence could be boosted:

Application/Website:
* Perform a full security and privacy audit of Bitcoin, make the results publicly available, and act on any deficiencies found.
* Improve the website documentation and usability.
* Improve the application usability.
* Completely seperate the UI from the node kernel (I believe the JSON-RPC daemon does some steps toward doing this)
* Create a public API that allows you to open "bitcoin" files from a website in order to initiate payments. A more seamless way of implementing this could be a localhost webpage:

For example:

"Pay now!" links to http://127.0.0.1:5678/pay?dest=XYZ&amount=5

This would open up a new website which would contain a form saying "Pay XYZ 5 bitcoins?" with accept and reject buttons. All completely integrated within the website, but connected to the application via the local http server. No need to expose the full JSON-RPC library, either, which could be dangerous.


This last feature will also make it easier to implement currency exchangers and for websites to implement "pay us in bitcoin!"

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July 08, 2010, 06:00:17 PM
 #20

Elaborating on the last point:

""Pay now!" links to http://127.0.0.1:5678/pay?dest=XYZ&amount=5

This would open up a new website which would contain a form saying "Pay XYZ 5 bitcoins?" with accept and reject buttons. All completely integrated within the website, but connected to the application via the local http server. No need to expose the full JSON-RPC library, either, which could be dangerous."

This could be extended into an internet-public web interface, which you could access from any mobile phone or computer. The public interface would be sandboxed and restricted to a "web wallet", which would only contain those dollars you wanted to be public. This public interface could use dynamic DNS services (so you could have bitcoiner.bitcoinpayment.com which redirects the connection to your node).

Alternatively, you could place a few coins with a third-party in trust, but then you have to trust that they won't steal your coins.

This would be the second step, to allow you to access your wallet from anywhere without having to run a local bitcoin client. The first step mentioned in my previous post is even more important, in that it allows websites to seamlessly accept payment in bitcoin without copy/pasting.

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