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Question: The fact that 25% of BTC are already in circulation, but far less than 0.1% of Bitcoin's ideal mature community is here...
Makes for interesting trivia, but it's not a concern - 10 (33.3%)
May turn off newcomers, but let's not fix what's not broken. - 5 (16.7%)
May make BTC less fair than intended (enriching earlier participants at expense of later), but still nothing should be done - 4 (13.3%)
May make BTC less fair than intended, but anything we could do would be more harm than good - 3 (10%)
It is bound to be a growing problem, and might entice newcomers to fork or restart the blockchain. - 8 (26.7%)
Total Voters: 30

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Author Topic: Coin distribution vs community size  (Read 3481 times)
casascius
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March 29, 2011, 07:09:33 AM
 #1

Thought I would present this in the form of a poll.

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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March 29, 2011, 07:29:43 AM
 #2

Quote
The fact that 25% of BTC are already in circulation, but far less than 0.1% of Bitcoin's ideal mature community is here...

Not sure what that means maybe my English fails me here...

For your information 0.1% of 5 000 000 is 5000. Maybe you could clarify what "facts" you are referring to?

Sure.

25% of BTC... this is fairly easy to establish.  Circulation 5.778M / 21M = 27.5%, a more accurate number.

"Mature community" is just a guess.  Take your own guess.  When Bitcoin is a mature currency, seen by the world as being like gold or some other asset - how big will the Bitcoin community be?  Ten million?  A hundred million?

There's 5,264 people registered on the forums, and perhaps several times that who use Bitcoin but who do not use the forum.  I used the number 0.1% as a guess, it could just as easily be 0.01% or 1%.  This number represents the proportion of the people here NOW versus the people who will use Bitcoin at some point in the future.

Whatever the number is, it's far less than 27.5% of the population of the industrialized world, and far smaller than how big the community will have to be for BTC quotes to appear, say, in the Wall Street Journal or on CNNMoney.com next to quotes for gold and oil and pork bellies.


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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March 29, 2011, 07:44:23 AM
 #3

what i don't get is, what this has todo with fairness?
"wealth-distribution" will never be fair, no matter what currency we use.

casascius
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March 29, 2011, 07:55:43 AM
 #4

what i don't get is, what this has todo with fairness?
"wealth-distribution" will never be fair, no matter what currency we use.

One of the appeals of Bitcoin is protection from inflation at the hands of the Bernanke types who can print money on a whim.  An abuse, you could say, to the tune of 5% to 10% per year, even though they claim it's less.

The ratio of 25% to 0.1% (big circulation, little community) just happens to enable a different kind of abuse.  One where holders of BTC are able to wipe out the value of your holdings anywhere from 5-95% in an instant, you just never know when that will be.  Penny stock pump-n-dumpers are familiar with it.  Sure, Bitcoin has inherent value that makes it far more useful than a penny stock, but it's highly volatile and easily manipulated because of that ratio.

Case in point, I can personally afford (in BTC) to wipe out all the visible outstanding buy orders on MtGox.  And I'm one guy, holding a fraction of 1% of the BTC circulation.  How many people use BTC now, hundreds, thousands?  As one guy, I can make your and everyone else's BTC worth at least 25% less on a whim in minutes.  How's that for fair?

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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March 29, 2011, 08:22:39 AM
 #5

it's highly volatile and easily manipulated because of that ratio.
it's not easily manipulated because of that ratio,
it's easily manipulated because of the small economy-size of just around 5million USD,
every "one guy" with a couple of million USD to spend can manipulate the market.
to distribute the coins in some different way wouldn't change anything.

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March 29, 2011, 08:29:31 AM
 #6

it's highly volatile and easily manipulated because of that ratio.
it's not easily manipulated because of that ratio,
it's easily manipulated because of the small economy-size of just around 5million USD,
every "one guy" with a couple of million USD to spend can manipulate the market.
to distribute the coins in some different way wouldn't change anything.


I agree, and take it one step further: the market can be manipulated with far fewer amounts than $millions!

With $6000 in BTC, I can make this 5 million USD economy into a 3 million USD economy.  Doesn't something seem wrong with that?

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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March 29, 2011, 08:32:57 AM
 #7

No, your assumption is wrong. It’s not a 5 million dollar economy. It’s just a number of the current Bitcoin trading price projected at all Bitcoins in existence in an abstract manner and I think you know that.

Nothing is wrong with you clearing the orderbook if you want to. Nothing at all.

"Bitcoin had been transformed from an anarachistic challenge to the financial status quo, to the crypto spawn of Satan, fuelled by cut-throat greed and delusions of avarice." - MatTheCat
"these people don't seem to want to stop till Bitcoin is completely destroyed and left like an old cum rag in the corner of the room." - ShroomsKit
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March 29, 2011, 08:33:30 AM
 #8

So basically, casascius's point is that a small minority of future potential bitcoin population has grabbed significant share of total bitcoin wealth and this is portrayed as bitcoins disadvantage and unfairness.

Proposed solution is to somehow change rules of the game now so that "jonny's come late" get bigger piece of the pie without taking much risks.

What disregarded is amount of risk early adopters took allocating significant part of their resources, be it time or money, to a high risk venture while protecting initially vulnerable bitcoin network.

Now it is proposed to change the rules of the game to redistribute wealth away from early adopters to jonny come laters or else jonny come laters will revolt and start their own currency.

Right, this is perfectly understandable, it sounds like you feel we deserve to be enriched at others' expense because of all the risk we took.  (Which was what, exactly, by the way?)

Bernanke probably feels the same way...  After all, printing money is tiring and risky and at the end of the day, he and all his buddies deserve to be compensated for that lavishly with the fruits of others' labor.

The thing about Bitcoin is that "jonny come late" has free access to the kitchen.  If "jonny come late" doesn't like that only 1% of the pie is on the table but that he must pay for the whole pie, he might just start some cookin.

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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March 29, 2011, 08:35:40 AM
 #9

it's highly volatile and easily manipulated because of that ratio.
it's not easily manipulated because of that ratio,
it's easily manipulated because of the small economy-size of just around 5million USD,
every "one guy" with a couple of million USD to spend can manipulate the market.
to distribute the coins in some different way wouldn't change anything.


I agree, and take it one step further: the market can be manipulated with far fewer amounts than $millions!

With $6000 in BTC, I can make this 5 million USD economy into a 3 million USD economy.  Doesn't something seem wrong with that?

You sure couldn't do it for very long.
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March 29, 2011, 08:37:40 AM
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So basically, casascius's point is that a small minority of future potential bitcoin population has grabbed significant share of total bitcoin wealth and this is portrayed as bitcoins disadvantage and unfairness.

Proposed solution is to somehow change rules of the game now so that "jonny's come late" get bigger piece of the pie without taking much risks.

What disregarded is amount of risk early adopters took allocating significant part of their resources, be it time or money, to a high risk venture while protecting initially vulnerable bitcoin network.

Now it is proposed to change the rules of the game to redistribute wealth away from early adopters to jonny come laters or else jonny come laters will revolt and start their own currency.

Right, this is perfectly understandable, it sounds like you feel we deserve to be enriched at others' expense because of all the risk we took.  (Which was what, exactly, by the way?)

Bernanke probably feels the same way...  After all, printing money is tiring and risky and at the end of the day, he and all his buddies deserve to be compensated for that lavishly the fruits of others' labor.


Were the late immigrants to America unnerved by the fact that they would be increasing the value of the US dollar? And that they had no US dollars to begin with?
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March 29, 2011, 08:38:56 AM
 #11


I agree, and take it one step further: the market can be manipulated with far fewer amounts than $millions!

With $6000 in BTC, I can make this 5 million USD economy into a 3 million USD economy.  Doesn't something seem wrong with that?

You sure couldn't do it for very long.

Well hopefully when I do it, it will be to make this 50 million USD economy into a 30 million one.  Then, with all my profit, I will maybe go buy a new house for myself on the backs of other Bitcoin users.  I am glad nobody sees anything wrong with that.

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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March 29, 2011, 08:43:00 AM
 #12

This sort of volatility will be unavoidable in the early days of our currency. It's a downside to having an entirely free market, an entirely free non-inflationary currency. I can see where you're coming from: an inflationary currency would help counter the problem of too much necessarily being in the hands of one or a few. It would require a person do more than sit on the currency they got in the beginning until their sitting on it helps drive the price up, at which point they could release all their currency and drive the price back down. Rinse and repeat. But eventually the malicious will run out of funds. The market will settle. It's a rough road, potentially, but it's the one we've chosen. If the majority of the early adopters have the best interests of our economy at heart, they'll bleed their wealth slowly and avoid dumping it all at once.

There may well be a market for an inflationary currency. Start up a branch, if you like. Nobody is stopping you.
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March 29, 2011, 08:55:20 AM
 #13

If the majority of the early adopters have the best interests of our economy at heart, they'll bleed their wealth slowly and avoid dumping it all at once.


That's a very big if... (emphasis mine, of course)

And I believe the effect will be exactly the same whether they dump it slowly or at once... we'll just notice it less if they do it slowly, the way a frog doesn't notice warming water.

If I were here telling you that I worked very hard and was smart to take the risks I took for my 26k BTC and deserve to be rewarded for having done so... where would I sit on the scale of selfish versus looking out for the bitcoin economy?

Of course, nothing against Vladimir, a reasonable rational self-interested motivated human being just like the rest of us.  But, may I ask... what should someone be doing with their stash of BTC that brings the greatest net benefit to the economy?

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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March 29, 2011, 09:03:59 AM
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Indeed, the problem in my opinion is that Bitcoin is advertised and defended by the ones that have the biggest financial interest of it being popular. When (if) it becomes popular, newcomers might find this unfair and fork the blockchain and have competing bitcoins. I expect that newcomers may fork client and/or blockchain locally, maybe at a national level, or even more local levels, or maybe based on some other grouping criterion like being part of a certain community (especially if I'm not all that interested in dealing with the entire world).

This might be amplified by following facts :
- Bitcoin is spreading from the richer countries to the less rich countries and then the poorer countries (because of it being computer based). This might be perceived as very unfair, while I think this feeling is starting to grow more and more worldwide.
- People may dream that their forked blockchain is taken as reference later by a group of people, potentially making them very rich. Moreover, it must be thrilling to be generating 50 btc every minute. You can get a group of people to work on a forked blockchain during 3 days, hoard thousands of btc just in case they manage to join more people to their own blockchain. Otherwise you can just lose these 3 days mining, for it would be worth only a few btc on the normal block chain.


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March 29, 2011, 09:05:35 AM
 #15

"wealth-distribution" will never be fair, no matter what currency we use.

2 things:

"wealth-distribution" will always be fair, no matter what currency we use.
"wealth-distribution" will never be even, no matter what currency we use.

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March 29, 2011, 09:10:26 AM
 #16

my bad, but you got the idea.  Wink

casascius
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March 29, 2011, 09:17:05 AM
 #17

The only real motivation for starting a fork of bitcoin and attempt to create a competing currency is to install creators and/or early adopters of this fork into the same position as bitcoin "early adopters" and Bernanke and Ko. Which is perfectly understandable and even acceptable.

Even better if there were no preferred or beneficial positions.  Where the coins were programmed to distribute the fastest at the zenith of adoption, rather than at the start.

But for this to be worthwhile the new currency must  ultimately succeed. This is very difficult to make a reality due to disadvantage of being a "jonny come late". Such new currency must be somehow significantly better than bitcoin to have a fighting chance.

Which is why I'm highly unlikely to start it.  Ideally, the Bitcoin community will wise up to the risk that somebody will start it later, and pre-emptively eliminate the reason they'd want to do it.  Someone who comes later will be a lot more adept at doing than me, and probably won't be a some-"one", and will have a much better chance than me pulling it off.

Basically it is up to free market to decide what's better fiat, bitcoin or casasciuscoin.  What I would like to avoid is this new casasciuscoin using bitcoin infrastructure while trying to bootstrap itself off bitcoin. I would consider it as an attack.   The code is open source, if someone feels that he has a better idea how to do p2p crypto currency he should be free to fork the code and do it his way,  but without parasitising on bitcoin, please.

Can't have it both ways.  That's just the nature of open source.  Credit Satoshi for that one.  The license agreement says it all.  There will never be a casascius coin, but my ideas could get adopted into some other coin.  If community consensus down the road is overwhelmingly that it needs to be forked, modified bitcoind for everyone will be a drop-in replacement for all merchants and users worldwide.  The infrastructure being built every day by merchants for purpose of accepting Bitcoin will work for its successor all the same, if one comes about.  Not much anybody can do about that.

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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March 29, 2011, 09:43:10 AM
 #18


2 things:

"wealth-distribution" will always be fair, no matter what currency we use.
"wealth-distribution" will never be even, no matter what currency we use.


I think a lot of normal, non greedy people are interested in alternative economic systems, because they realize the actual ones enslaves the number for the few. A number of alternatives concepts exist such as the concept of Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS). https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Local_Exchange_Trading_Systems

I think this interest in alternative systems will grow rapidly, with the growth of the alter-globalization movement. In a certain way, the concept of Bitcoin could attract those people, but with the actual client/blockchain, Bitcoin just replaces an 'unfair system' with another rather unfair system.

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March 29, 2011, 10:10:12 AM
 #19

A new currency will be worth little in the beginning. If it succeeds it will become worth a lot. If it fails it will become worthless. Most people who hear about Bitcoin think the risk is too high it will fail and don't buy any.

It is the same kind of unfair that some people invested early in Intel while most didn't. They got rich off the backs of computer users everywhere who were happy to make them rich in exchange for computers. Not perfectly fair but still all for the good.

Bitcoin is more fair than any other currency. I can't think of a better way to launch a currency but if anyone can, don't hesitate to create one and make the world a better place.
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March 29, 2011, 10:17:35 AM
 #20


I agree, and take it one step further: the market can be manipulated with far fewer amounts than $millions!

With $6000 in BTC, I can make this 5 million USD economy into a 3 million USD economy.  Doesn't something seem wrong with that?

You sure couldn't do it for very long.

Well hopefully when I do it, it will be to make this 50 million USD economy into a 30 million one.  Then, with all my profit, I will maybe go buy a new house for myself on the backs of other Bitcoin users.  I am glad nobody sees anything wrong with that.

So do it. I don't think you'd be successful as I (and others) would probably buy up some of your BTC and not give them back. I've noticed that there are far fewer large blocks forsale than there used to be. If you take out all the buy orders there are still only a few sell orders on the market, all above your sell price. You can't buy those at a profit, so you're going to have to wait for other sellers to come onto the market. Would there be any? Probably not enough to get your coins back.
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