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Author Topic: Lost money?  (Read 1188 times)
freebullets
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April 17, 2011, 04:32:53 AM
 #1

I just found out about bitcoins, so you'll have to excuse my potential ignorance. Can bitcoins be removed from the economy be becoming "lost?" I heard that your "wallet" is stored as a file on your computer and can be deleted (or stolen?). Is this true? If so, what happens to the bitcoins?
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theymos
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April 17, 2011, 04:43:42 AM
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This has been asked hundreds of times.

http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5603.0
http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5893.0

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freebullets
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April 17, 2011, 06:10:07 AM
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The first topic has a good point. I don't see this currency being scalable to the world market. What happens when billions of people use it and people want to trade for smaller denominations than the system allows? It's definitely "good enough" for now, but I worry about the large scale applications of it.
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April 17, 2011, 06:23:28 AM
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If a satoshi (i.e. smallest unit of divisibility) were valued at one cent, then the maximum valuation of the entire Bitcoin economy would be $21 trillion.  Even if 90% of bitcoins were to be lost, that would still be $2 trillion.

What this means is, even in the extreme scenario of 90% of bitcoins being lost, the bitcoin economy could still grow to about 350,000x its current size before the value of the smallest unit would be more than the current value of a cent.  (3,500,000x if no coins are lost.)  And it's feasible to have an economy where the smallest possible direct transaction is more than a cent (auxiliary or intermediary currencies can be used for smaller transactions) - the US economy wouldn't collapse if they stopped minting pennies, after all.

Vires In Numeris.
freebullets
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April 17, 2011, 06:30:40 AM
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When rich people die and don't leave their bitcoin info, over time that will cause deflation. You're right that, currently, it can't be a problem. If we do need to change bitcoin's precision in the future, will it be possible?
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April 17, 2011, 08:40:43 AM
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If we do need to change bitcoin's precision in the future, will it be possible?

Yes. As long as everyone agrees to the change, it will be slowly phased in over years and there will be no problems.

If this ever becomes necessary, we'll all be so rich that we'll be able to hire teams of people to worry about it for us.

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