phathash, I agree with you on most of your points, especially the ones explaining that bitcoin should be easy to use. However, I disagree on one point (at least at this point in time):
I can assure you, tell the average person that it is possible to "own" a unique chunk of ones & zeros on a USB stick, and they will believe you. They don't care about the double spending problem.
I've explained bitcoin to at least 2 "average joes" I know. They immediately suspected something was fishy and came up with the question of wether or not their bitcoins would be secure and actually asked how this was supposed to be defended against.
It was not sufficient to point out that the software was programmed by a genius and that I myself "analyzed" the "algorithm" and came to the conclusion that double-spending was impossible.
It took a while, but I had to explain proof of work and the block chain, mining, difficulty, asymmetric crypto... all that stuff.
Here's the change in attitude I've observed before and after the person "getting it" (the rough inner workings of the holy block-chain)
- before: "Meh, I might buy some just to shut you up and to insure against the rare event that this turns out to be a non-scam, so you can't say 'I told you so'"
- after: "Dude, I think this can totally work and screw over these banksters! This is like: "peoples money" Will you sell me some bitcoin, how can I start mining, quick, before everyone else realizes!"
I've experienced people buying bitcoin from me for exactly 2 resons:
- real understanding of bitcoin and the fact that we will need good money (basically what cyphedoc aims at) and that the private banksters are screwing us over
While it makes that dirty little bastard in me laugh his ass off and it feels very good from a laissez-faire free market perspective, I don't want people to get into bitcoin solely for buying gardening supplies from SR with. I'd ideally want them to get into bitcoin for the other reason, namely the insight that we need a good commodity money for a well-functioning free market economy.
Since when does the average BitTorrent user understand the finer aspects of distributed hash tables and fair file share schemes? BitTorrent + Pirate Bay = free movies and porn. It is useful.
I don't want average users to understand the intricacies of sha256 or the merkle root. I want them to have a basic understanding of the principles. The average bittorrent user has a pretty good understanding of the underlying principles, mainly that he's donwloading the file from a bunch of peers that already have it and that he is one of them and that his client sends part of the file to others himself.
Do users really need to trust the Bitcoin protocol and blockchain?
yes, I think so. Before some sort of proxy trust can really take hold (I trust bitcoin because obviously 100 million others do so) and we're still in the "early adoption" stage, I really do think it's necessary for people to trust it on the functional level.
A billion people on Facebook, but do users really trust it? Friends use Facebook. It is useful.
That's different. People do not
trust facebook to keep their info safe. They trust facebook to distribute their info,... that's the idea. There is no need
to trust facebook.