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Author Topic: like it or not, the SR is only killer application of bitcoin since it was born,  (Read 3241 times)
casascius
Mike Caldwell
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November 09, 2011, 02:16:37 AM
 #21

Other practical applications where I believe Bitcoin has serious value in ways existing payment systems just don't work or have large fees - that just haven't yet been realized:

1.  Getting around the restrictions imposed by banks, such as for gambling transactions even where they're legal.  (e.g. PokerStars offering bitcoin poker)
2.  Remittances (families sending money home to Mexico etc.), save on the hefty fees, assuming the BTC exchange rate can become stable.
3.  Anything a bank wire is good for (due to its relative irreversibility), without the bank wire fee.  (For example, buying gold and silver, or any other scenario where someone wires good money as a show of good faith as opposed to doing check/ACH/etc.)
4.  Anything Western Union is good for, without the Western Union fee.
5.  Anything where foreign exchange is a factor (such as import/export of wholesale goods... if you're going to be trading a foreign fiat currency, BTC is no more difficult).
6.  Pornography, both legal (e.g. someone who doesn't want to share their CC# or personal details with a porn site, such as for fear of getting persistently rebilled or receiving unwanted communication), and illegal (such as in countries where all porn is strictly forbidden)
7.  Online pharmacies, for same reason as #6
8.  As a way for citizens behind oppressive firewalls to buy themselves access to personal unpublished VPN services.  (e.g. instead of trying to GPU mine, any John Doe in USA can receive bitcoins out of thin air just for running something on his router that lets someone in China forward traffic off his IP).  This would be valuable because China can automatically block all the tor nodes, but can't really block every John Doe whose IP is privately given to a small number of paying customers in China.
9.  Sort of like #8... As a way for communications equipment to negotiate and buy communications services on an automated basis.  Example, a cell phone or internet access that can roam absolutely anywhere, because a client can pay its own way anywhere without need for any sort of agreement or reconciliation with a wireless carrier.  Services such as pay-as-you-go WiFi - where anyone can provide or consume services - would be possible.  This would be the over-the-air equivalent of shoving quarters in a pay phone.  A radio-frequency device could simply broadcast offers to pay X BTC for delivering message Y to recipient Z, and any device that understood the offer could accept it.
10.  Antispam stamps.  Put a Bitcoin private key in a message header, guaranteeing that the recipient can be paid for receiving it if he so chooses, and a server can whitelist the message on that basis alone.  If the recipient doesn't redeem the private key (e.g. they don't consider it spam), the sender can eventually take it back.

There are also some more illegal applications that I believe could drive the fundamentals behind Bitcoin even if I obviously can't condone them.  For example, bitcoin enables anonymous racketeering and extortion.  The sniper guy who ran around Washington DC a decade ago demanded funds on his VISA, if he could have demanded Bitcoins he would be far less traceable.  In addition, I seem to regularly read in the news about Internet cafes being busted as being gambling operations.  Bitcoin would enable plausible deniability for such operations, because a single internet cafe could sell bitcoins (or could send people across the street to buy bitcoins) and offer internet services where people are encouraged to gamble bitcoins at some preferred gambling website, without any provable link that the website has any relationship to the internet cafe.  Obviously I don't think that these things are good for the world, but they are something I consider inevitable in that the "cryptocurrency genie" is out of the bottle, and something I still consider reasonable to factor into my sense of what my bitcoins are worth in terms of what someone will pay for them.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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November 09, 2011, 02:29:17 AM
 #22

Yeah the only problem is that several of those uses you stated are illegal. If you're talking about all uses; practical, illegal or otherwise, then yes they are all extremely useful.

Bitcoin itself could simplify many processes, but all it needs is an extremely simple way of purchase for more usage.

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November 09, 2011, 03:14:49 AM
 #23

Most of what casascius said would be legal (in most places).  And I think he has just touched on the tip of the iceberg.

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November 09, 2011, 04:13:12 AM
 #24

Casascius is spot on. As for the morality... well, we are who we are. I've been thinking about a scratch-off Bitcoin Bingo game for raising money for charities. There are so many possibilities.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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November 09, 2011, 04:24:09 AM
 #25

For example, bitcoin enables anonymous racketeering and extortion.  The sniper guy who ran around Washington DC a decade ago demanded funds on his VISA, if he could have demanded Bitcoins he would be far less traceable.  

Is anyone else surprised no one has coded an assassination market on Tor/Bitcoin yet? http://www.reddit.com/r/HackBloc/comments/i10zt/is_anyone_else_surprised_no_one_has_coded_an/

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November 09, 2011, 05:16:08 AM
 #26

I agree that Silk Road was the best thing that ever happened to Bitcoin. Unfortunately, it was also Silk Road that attempted to kill Bitcoin. $31 to $2.46 you can lay directly at their door for their response to some idiots who said some worthless words on TV.

Would you care to expand on that? Was this to do with the 2 opportunistic US politicians who said they wanted to shut down Bitcoin? What was SR's response?

The internet is freedom to communicate without permission. Crypto is freedom to trade without permission.

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November 09, 2011, 12:08:53 PM
 #27

I like SR, though I have never used it. What is there not to like about Pareto efficiency?
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November 09, 2011, 04:04:29 PM
 #28

Online Bitcoin poker would be hugely killer if someone set it up right. Hundreds of thousands of people stopped playing online poker when the US government passed the Safe Ports and Harbors act that outlawed credit card payments for online poker.

Do not waste your time debating whether Bitcoin can work. It does work.

"Early adopters will profit" is not a sufficient condition to classify something as a pyramid or Ponzi scheme. If it was, Apple and Microsoft stock are Ponzi schemes.

There is no such thing as "market manipulation." There is only buying and selling.
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November 09, 2011, 06:44:38 PM
 #29

I agree that Silk Road was the best thing that ever happened to Bitcoin. Unfortunately, it was also Silk Road that attempted to kill Bitcoin. $31 to $2.46 you can lay directly at their door for their response to some idiots who said some worthless words on TV.

Would you care to expand on that? Was this to do with the 2 opportunistic US politicians who said they wanted to shut down Bitcoin? What was SR's response?

Silk Road actually shut down for several days. When it came back up, new user registration was disabled.

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November 09, 2011, 08:45:18 PM
 #30

Sportsbetting is a killer app. But not in the way it has currently been implemented. Is there a way to make sportsbets matched between users that are embedded in the blockchain and then correctly graded and paid out by the network/miners? Perhaps this is an idea for an alternate cryto currency? sportsbetcoin.

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November 09, 2011, 09:37:42 PM
 #31

Sportsbetting is a killer app. But not in the way it has currently been implemented. Is there a way to make sportsbets matched between users that are embedded in the blockchain and then correctly graded and paid out by the network/miners? Perhaps this is an idea for an alternate cryto currency? sportsbetcoin.

It is possible, could be implemented with distributed contracts. The tricky part is that SOMEONE has to call the bet, so it can't be 100% decentralized. We could have multiple "bookies", each voting for a multisignature transaction. Further reading here:
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Contracts
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=47122.0 (I consider sports bets to be a subset of prediction markets)

The good news is that we won't need yet another alternative cryptocurrency for this. Multisignature transactions are already available on testnet, and may be available for general use soon. Once that has been shown to work, we can expand from there. If I had the skills I'd be coding this myself right now.
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November 10, 2011, 09:35:43 AM
 #32

I see this as THE killer app for bitcoin:

http://www.mondonet.org/

It doesn't have to be mondonet specifically though.  It could be any network that must fulfill all of the following 10 properties (quoted from the mondonet website):

    DECENTRALIZED
    UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE
    CENSOR-PROOF
    SURVEILLANCE-PROOF
    SECURE
    SCALABLE
    PERMANENT
    FAST
    INDEPENDENT
    EVOLVABLE

I would go as far as saying that any network that has all the properties stated above, cannot be and could not be built before the invention of a p2p cryptocurrency.
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