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Author Topic: The contradictions of Bitcoin  (Read 4485 times)
niko
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September 02, 2011, 07:46:50 AM
 #1

*EDIT: removed references to libertarianism that were too vague or distracting*

Throughout the forums there is an obvious collision of two ideologies.  On one side are the relative minority who come from cultures or cultural enclaves where sharing and community are valued over personal interest. On the other side are people who represent a broad spectrum of individualist cultures. The latter view is also what all the pathetic, sleazy scammers and dishonest "entrepreneurs" use as a lame excuse for their actions. You know, those with leadership skills and initiative driven by hidden and exclusively personal agendas: get rich fast, buy more dope, get your dick polished in Pattaya, etc. Their schemes, self-promotion (I totally understand why Bitcoin "discussion" was removed from TED forums after only a few days), and salesmen mentality are turning the idea of Bitcoin into its opposite: a chaotic free-market shithole full of greed, con artists, obsession with "privacy," and paranoia (especially in the form of projecting own character traits as a universal human nature). Sounds in many ways like current capitalist banksters that we all supposedly despise.
There is also this omnipresent fear of "government" while the fearful are being repeatedly scammed and gangbanged by private entities. This is apparently not a problem because deep inside we don't really want to change the system: deep down we are hoping that some day we will be the ones on top, living (even more) easy lives magically supported by "smart" investments (Bitcoin). Examples of just and equitable systems such as socialism or resource-based economy therefore frighten us - and not in a way "I wouldn't fit in, but I can see how some people would," but to the point of absolute rejection.
It is the way it is. Bitcoin is doomed to succed or to fail - in both cases by virtue of being infected by the very virus it was designed to attack: selfish, short-term profiteering through exploitation of others.

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September 02, 2011, 07:49:44 AM
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It boils down to one simple fact.

Bitcoin can change the implementation of money, but it can't change the definition of money.

"MOOOOOOOM! SOME MYTHICAL WOLFBEAST GUY IS MAKING FUN OF ME ON THE INTERNET!!!!"
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September 02, 2011, 08:19:16 AM
 #3

If someone is happy when others around them are happy and not when they are not then it doesn't matter much about other stuff.

I'm totally 100% self interested, one of my main goals is to be with happy people. Screwing people doesn't get me what I want.

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September 02, 2011, 08:39:57 AM
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Throughout the forums there is an obvious collision of two ideologies.  On one side are the relative minority who come from cultures or cultural enclaves where sharing and community are valued over personal interest. On the other side are people who represent a broad spectrum of libertarian, self-centered, individualist, selfish, or plain greedy cultures. This "libertarian" side is also where all the pathetic, sleazy scammers and dishonest "entrepreneurs" crawl out from. You know, those with leadership skills and initiative driven by hidden and exclusively personal agendas: get rich fast, buy more dope, get your dick polished in Pattaya, etc. Their schemes, self-promotion (I totally understand why Bitcoin "discussion" was removed from TED forums after only a few days), and salesmen mentality are turning the idea of Bitcoin into its opposite: a chaotic free-market shithole full of greed, con artists, obsession with "privacy," and paranoia (especially in the form of projecting own character traits as a universal human nature). Sounds in many ways like current capitalist banksters that we all supposedly despise.
There is also this omnipresent fear of "government" while the fearful are being repeatedly scammed and gangbanged by private entities. This is apparently not a problem because deep inside we don't really want to change the system: deep down we are hoping that some day we will be the ones on top, living (even more) easy lives magically supported by "smart" investments (Bitcoin). Examples of just and equitable systems such as socialism or resource-based economy therefore frighten us - and not in a way "I wouldn't fit in, but I can see how some people would," but to the point of absolute rejection.
It is the way it is. Bitcoin is doomed to succed or to fail - in both cases by virtue of being infected by the very virus it was designed to attack: selfish, short-term profiteering through exploitation of others.

Im a libertarian. I am a libertarian because I believe in sharing and community as opposed to force and violence.
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September 02, 2011, 08:56:41 AM
 #5

Quote
the very virus it was designed to attack

I'm not sure BitCoin was designed with any agenda in mind.  My theory is Satoshi had an idea for a neat hack and threw it out there to see what would happen.  I think he's getting everything he wanted: it's been damned interesting.

I'm really not sure where I fall on your spectrum.  Some people call me a socialist, others say I'm a libertarian.

What I want out of BitCoin is a decentralized currency so I can send money to whoever I please.  I want to do so anonymously, so I can donate to worthy (but politically unpopular) organizations without The Man breathing down my neck.  I want to do it peer-to-peer, rather than paying a percentage for the privilege of obeying the rules and whims of some middleman like Visa or PayPal.  So that kind of falls under your "libertarian" bracket.

But I don't have a self-centered, sleazy, scammy agenda.  I'm a very generous person.  I take care of my community.  I can't really prove that without handing out more information than I care to post publicly, but since I'm not begging for a BTC loan, perhaps you can take my word for it.

How does it really matter, though?  It's money, and people are going to do what they always do around money: lie, cheat, steal, and get all bent out of shape over small percentages of value that they'd never care about in any other part of their life.  The rest of us will ignore them and go on producing an economy and try to grow everyone's wealth.

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Bitcoin is the Devil's way of teaching geeks economics.  --Revalin 165YUuQUWhBz3d27iXKxRiazQnjEtJNG9g
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September 02, 2011, 09:18:09 AM
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the very virus it was designed to attack

I'm not sure BitCoin was designed with any agenda in mind.  My theory is Satoshi had an idea for a neat hack and threw it out there to see what would happen.  I think he's getting everything he wanted: it's been damned interesting.

Check what Satoshi posted in this forum before he decided to stop using that nickname. Youll see that there was some intention.
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September 02, 2011, 09:23:17 AM
 #7

Boy, the OP surely knows how to accurately characterize those s/he doesn't agree with...

 Roll Eyes


I feel like I, and many other people who post here and use bitcoin, belong in neither of your "sides." I think that it's because, while I'm not a collectivist, I'm also not a greedy pseudo-banker scammer who wants to use bitcoin to make myself rich and fuck everybody else.* Hmm...


*I have also never been one to spout out Randisms about greed, I think all of that is horseshit
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September 02, 2011, 10:52:24 AM
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1. The same characteristics that make Bitcoin work well for honest people, also make it work well for dishonest people.

2. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt about whether/how Bitcoin will be tolerated/attacked by government discourages honest users of Bitcoin to a greater extent than it discourages dishonest users of Bitcoin.

3. Therefore, society would benefit if law enforcement would focus on CP and the like, rather than the currency used to facilitate it, and if the use of Bitcoin itself is legally unencumbered.

4. This is unlikely to happen.
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September 02, 2011, 11:31:20 AM
 #9

Check what Satoshi posted in this forum before he decided to stop using that nickname. Youll see that there was some intention.

I just skimmed through everything he wrote, and I didn't find anything like that.  Most of it's technical.  Here's most of what he said about other issues:

Other ecurrencies: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=87.msg807#msg807
Cornering markets: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=242.msg2078#msg2078
Microtransactions: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=287.msg7524#msg7524
Escrow: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=635.msg7385#msg7385
Power wasted by mining: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=721.msg8114#msg8114
Intrinsic value: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=583.msg11405#msg11405

Only at the very end did I see the slightest mention of politics:

WikiLeaks: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1735.msg26999#msg26999
WikiLeaks 2: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2216.msg29280#msg29280

And then the CIA executed him or whatever the current theory is.

So in all that reading, I found only two things that had any bearing on his intentions or goals:  #1, he supported anonymity (implicitly, by making TOR support a goal early on; I forgot to grab the link for that one); #2, he wanted BitCoin to stay in beta and out of the spotlight as long as possible (and promptly disappeared when the lights came on).

I can't find where he said anything about long-term goals or reasons he started the project.  Is there something I'm missing?

      War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.  --Ambrose Bierce
Bitcoin is the Devil's way of teaching geeks economics.  --Revalin 165YUuQUWhBz3d27iXKxRiazQnjEtJNG9g
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September 02, 2011, 11:39:48 AM
 #10

I can't find where he said anything about long-term goals or reasons he started the project.  Is there something I'm missing?

Yes, I cant be bother to look for it though.

I remember, f.e., the initial prhase of the Bitcoin blockchain comes from a news announcing the UK bank bailouts.
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September 02, 2011, 11:50:18 AM
 #11

Yes, this was in the Genesis Block: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks".

It proves that the blockchain started on or after that date, and suggests that he disapproves of the current state of banking, but it's sort of a reach for anything else.

I'd love it if anyone could provide any more information.  It's mostly for my curiosity, but I did put in some time reading through all his history, so I'm not asking just 'cause I'm too lazy to look for myself.

      War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.  --Ambrose Bierce
Bitcoin is the Devil's way of teaching geeks economics.  --Revalin 165YUuQUWhBz3d27iXKxRiazQnjEtJNG9g
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September 02, 2011, 03:12:50 PM
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OP is right on the money.  Great post.  Bitcoin has become extremely ironic.

Enjoying the dose of reality or getting a laugh out of my posts? Feel free to toss me a penny or two, everyone else seems to be doing it! 1Kn8NqvbCC83zpvBsKMtu4sjso5PjrQEu1
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September 02, 2011, 03:27:40 PM
 #13

Its not really fair to blame libertarians for Greed, Fraud and all the evils of the world.  Bitcoin is a corrosive concept in that if it works, it will force a rethink of how society runs.  Naturally,  it will attract the type of person who bought the early Macs, who used the Internet in 1995 and generally is interested in new life-changing ideas.  But that is nothing to do with fraud. 

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September 02, 2011, 04:17:47 PM
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Why are all you respondents feeding this giant troll?  Huh

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September 02, 2011, 05:13:49 PM
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On one side are the relative minority who come from cultures or cultural enclaves where sharing and community are valued over personal interest.

niko
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September 02, 2011, 05:44:23 PM
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OP here. I am glad most of responses were not focused on categorizations that I used, and some of you pointed out the obvious: while you may consider yourself self-interested, you are nice folks and not irrational assholes that my post was describing.  For those who were staring at my finger while it was pointing to the Moon, I'll clarify that I consider myself in many ways a libertarian - not least because of the fact that that's where I fall in the Political Compass test.
  
In retrospect, my statement about the presumed "purpose" of Bitcoin was not justified, as political motifs of those who initiated the idea are not that clear at all. It all boils down to (among a few other things mentioned in the replies) this question: what kind of people are attracted to Bitcoin? This will define the sociopolitical impact of the idea. Bitcoin, like most other tools, is morally neutral - it's about how we use it.

The way things are now, there are too many  assholes who are either actively damaging the system for personal gains, or at best scaring away interested public with scam-sounding sales pitches.  One reason for this imbalance may be that public image of Bitcoin is often related to what is labeled as libertarian, anti-government, and such. Not only does this contradict certain technical aspects of bitcoin (for example, the accountability stemming from publicly available block chain, or the centralized software development), but it simply alienates many potentially interested folks who don't see themselves in that light.

 


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September 02, 2011, 05:54:02 PM
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One reason for this imbalance may be that public image of Bitcoin is often related to what is labeled as libertarian, anti-government, and such. Not only does this contradict certain technical aspects of bitcoin (for example, the accountability stemming from publicly available block chain, or the centralized software development), but it simply alienates many potentially interested folks who don't see themselves in that light.

How does a publicly available block chain conflict with being a libertarian or anti-statism (not all government is bad, just the involuntary kind known as states)? Also, you're confusing the Bitcoin protocol with the original Bitcoin client. There's nothing centralized about the protocol itself. You're free to implement your own client with your own bootstrapping mechanism. Others have done just that.

As for alienating people, I have more faith in my fellow humans. I think they can figure out that a tool and what it can be used for are separate issues. You can use a hammer to build a house or bludgeon someone to death. How you use it is up to you.
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September 02, 2011, 06:07:47 PM
 #18

Throughout the forums there is an obvious collision of two ideologies.  On one side are the relative minority who come from cultures or cultural enclaves where sharing and community are valued over personal interest. On the other side are people who represent a broad spectrum of libertarian, self-centered, individualist, selfish, or plain greedy cultures. This "libertarian" side is also where all the pathetic, sleazy scammers and dishonest "entrepreneurs" crawl out from. You know, those with leadership skills and initiative driven by hidden and exclusively personal agendas: get rich fast, buy more dope, get your dick polished in Pattaya, etc. ... turning the idea of Bitcoin into its opposite: a chaotic free-market shithole full of greed, con artists, obsession with "privacy," and paranoia (especially in the form of projecting own character traits as a universal human nature). Sounds in many ways like current capitalist banksters that we all supposedly despise.
There is also this omnipresent fear of "government" while the fearful are being repeatedly scammed and gangbanged by private entities.

I consider myself in many ways a libertarian - not least because of the fact that that's where I fall in the Political Compass test.

Multiple Personality Disorder? Or is this your way of telling us that you are a "self-centered, individualist, selfish, or plain greedy get rich fast, buy more dope, get your dick polished in Pattaya?"

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September 02, 2011, 06:42:21 PM
 #19

Throughout the forums there is an obvious collision of two ideologies.  On one side are the relative minority who come from cultures or cultural enclaves where sharing and community are valued over personal interest. On the other side are people who represent a broad spectrum of libertarian, self-centered, individualist, selfish, or plain greedy cultures. This "libertarian" side is also where all the pathetic, sleazy scammers and dishonest "entrepreneurs" crawl out from. You know, those with leadership skills and initiative driven by hidden and exclusively personal agendas: get rich fast, buy more dope, get your dick polished in Pattaya, etc. ... turning the idea of Bitcoin into its opposite: a chaotic free-market shithole full of greed, con artists, obsession with "privacy," and paranoia (especially in the form of projecting own character traits as a universal human nature). Sounds in many ways like current capitalist banksters that we all supposedly despise.
There is also this omnipresent fear of "government" while the fearful are being repeatedly scammed and gangbanged by private entities.

I consider myself in many ways a libertarian - not least because of the fact that that's where I fall in the Political Compass test.

Multiple Personality Disorder? Or is this your way of telling us that you are a "self-centered, individualist, selfish, or plain greedy get rich fast, buy more dope, get your dick polished in Pattaya?"

Relax and read again. You are missing my points.

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September 02, 2011, 07:34:03 PM
 #20

Bitcoin does not make better people who use it, but it does take central banks and government out of the loop.

This means these institutions and private banks do not have the possibility to profit from inflating the money supply anymore. Inflation of money supply has typically been used in the past to finance wars. The Vietnam war is one typical and well-proven example of this. After inflating the US$ to finance the Vietnam war Nixon had to close guaranteed gold exchange rate in 1971 because there were simply too many dollars around.

That is why I support Bitcoin.

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