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Question: Will you support Gavin's new block size limit hard fork of 8MB by January 1, 2016 then doubling every 2 years?
1.  yes
2.  no

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Author Topic: Gold collapsing. Bitcoin UP.  (Read 1803733 times)
Zangelbert Bingledack
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March 15, 2015, 04:37:53 PM
 #22001

I get the analogy to gold vs. gold-backed dollars, but in Bitcoin's case I can't think of any specific changes the Feds could make to a fork that would allow it to both (a) obviate almost everyone's need for Bitcoin and (b) be enough different from Bitcoin for the government to be satisfied with it (and hardcore bitcoiners to be dissatisfied with it).

Well one change they could make is to declare the fork is legal, while the original is illegal with significant +10 years jail time for using it.

It's not that different from simply declaring Bitcoin illegal. In either case the incentive to use Bitcoin is affected similarly, to the extent that FEDCoin lacks Bitcoin's key features. (And again, to the extent that it doesn't lack Bitcoin's features, it's wonderful - just not for Bitcoin investors - but also highly unlikely to happen.)

More than that, banning Bitcoin and using a FEDCoin lacking many of Bitcoin's key features just hamstrings the US in the economic race. It's a giveaway to other countries.

Any fork could start out as an un-changeable supply. The FED's dollar was originally convertible to gold and thus had a fixed supply. Then during the next crisis they can default and fork again to increase the supply through default "for the common good".

This is a dream scenario for Bitcoin: they've familiarized the general public with some or most of the benefits of Bitcoin, now they are corrupting their own fork, driving people to use Bitcoin (or, if the original FEDCoin is sufficiently Bitcoin-like to keep people away from Bitcoin, then people will just keep using the more Bitcoin-like fork; if they also ban the original FEDCoin fork, then we're back to the "Bitcoin ban" scenario mentioned above).

So I can't see any move toward FEDCoin not helping Bitcoin, or at least advancing the cause of cryptoledgers.
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March 15, 2015, 05:56:21 PM
 #22002

So I can't see any move toward FEDCoin not helping Bitcoin, or at least advancing the cause of cryptoledgers.

Agreed.

This inevitably leads to competition between the two monetary system. It all boils down to people now having a legit alternative that is uniquely accessible, hard to confiscate and absent, at least to some degree, from the corruption of banks and the state. Something gold has ultimately failed to offer.

If you believe Bitcoin's monetary features to be sound then it should win based on economic merits alone.


"I believe this will be the ultimate fate of Bitcoin, to be the "high-powered money" that serves as a reserve currency for banks that issue their own digital cash." Hal Finney, Dec. 2010
Zangelbert Bingledack
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March 15, 2015, 06:30:15 PM
 #22003

On forkability in general, I see it as a great strength, not a weakness. It means that the economic majority is always in control even when major changes have to be made.

As a side note, I find it cumbersome during deeper analysis to think in terms of "Bitcoin." Rather, I think more fluidly in terms of the economic majority ledger (currently known as the Bitcoin ledger). Forking the protocol is largely powerless* to affect the economic majority ledger, because - by the same logic as in my previous two posts - the new protocol fork only retains control of the economic majority ledger to the extent that the protocol change is compelling to the economic majority.**

Since every differentiated protocol fork (here I mean altcoins) has so far created an entirely new ledger, of course they aren't very compelling to the economic majority, receiving at most tepid investment interest. A spin-off would be based on the economic majority ledger, so it would have a great advantage over an altledger/altcoin, though if it wasn't compelling it would just be sold off by bitcoin holders for more bitcoins.

If a substantially different protocol fork or spin-off is ever more compelling to the economic majority, and of course using the same ledger is the first requirement for that, it would be adopted. The economic majority retains their ledger with their wealth in all cases. Bitcoin-the-protocol may be no more, but the ledger stays so bitcoin holders have nothing to fear except a re-naming.

Suppose a substantial segment of the economic majority shows interest in some change you find repulsive. Likely many others will agree with you, so in some unlikely scenarios you will potentially have two ledgers form over time.** If this does occur, it's the most amazing form of democracy (not voice democracy, but exit democracy) because everyone can use the system they want without compromise. However, again, there is a strong tendency to simply converge on ideal money based on the wisdom of (investing) crowds.

For instance, if we suppose a substantial segment of the economic majority shows interest FedCoin, then the legal situation may make it likely that the two coexist, with Bitcoin either on the black market in that country or competing directly with FedCoin. In that case, again, exit-democracy prevails and the Feds have no more tools to corrupt cryptocurrency than they do now (see the arguments in my two previous posts).

Here's another important implication of thinking in terms of the economic majority ledger: Bitcoin issuance is not limited to 21 million coins because of the protocol, but because of the exit-democratic consensus of the economic majority. It is incorrect to say we have moved from an era of control by central bankers to an era of control by mathematics. We have moved to an era of control by the economic majority.

This is a great advance, but not because "no one" can change the protocol, but because no one can force any group of people to stop using it. To effectively change the coin limit, you have to either convince the economic majority to do so, which is a herculean task, or convince some subset of the economic majority - but then that doesn't affect the rest of the people. That means the coin limit could change (for example, in 50 years to deal with mining incentives), but not without a reason that is so incredibly compelling that it sways all or most of the economic majority - in which case the typical bitcoiner should probably not worry, despite how bad it sounds, because the economic majority has those same reservations to overcome. And also we know that the change wouldn't allow for any net-harmful degree of continuing inflation or other effects, because the wisdom of the economic majority would be behind it.***

This is the kind of guarantee Bitcoin provides; it's essentially a decentralized governance where voice vs. exit is fully exercised at all times. What Bitcoin provides is not a guarantee by code or math, rather code and math are what enforce the "edicts" of this decentralized governance structure subject to the continual pressures of voice and exit backed by investment flows.

If, for example, the economic majority believes that increasing max_blocksize to 20MB or shorter block times or Turing completeness will make the protocol for updating the economic majority ledger more compelling, a fork incorporating these changes would thrive and beat out the Bitcoin Classic protocol.

So to me, all that's required for Bitcoin-the-ledger to survive in perpetuity and make every investor rich is for the protocol to be upgraded if and only if the economic majority deems it truly compelling, with all the prudence about viability that that entails. Forking makes that happen, giving that critical exit option to balance voice, which in Bitcoin is already vastly superior to government democracy voice since it's backed by actual money.

*So far around 90% powerless, considering the combined market cap of all the altledgers compared to the economic majority ledger (Bitcoin).

**Although some kind of 50/50 or 40/60 split could happen in theory, the incentives involved make it seem unlikely in practice - and even if it does happen (because both forks are highly compelling in their own right), the market can only support a few such splits because there are only so many protocol feature sets to compete on through differentiation.

***If you're skeptical of the wisdom of the economic majority, first realize this is what controls Bitcoin right now, in fact, as is the theme of this post. Secondly realize this is as good as it gets; there is no way to create a system smarter than the economic majority, at least not without centralization (and in my opinion not even then). Third, if you're convinced that prediction markets are a huge deal, this should be appealing for the same reasons. If you're not sold on prediction markets, read the five numbered documents here. Although Truthcoin may be a misguided system, Paul Sztorc's arguments on the importance of prediction markets are impressive.
brg444
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March 15, 2015, 06:48:47 PM
 #22004

On forkability in general, I see it as a great strength, not a weakness. It means that the economic majority is always in control even when major changes have to be made.

As a side note, I find it cumbersome during deeper analysis to think in terms of "Bitcoin." Rather, I think more fluidly in terms of the economic majority ledger (currently known as the Bitcoin ledger). Forking the protocol is largely powerless* to affect the economic majority ledger, because - by the same logic as in my previous two posts - the new protocol fork only retains control of the economic majority ledger to the extent that the protocol change is compelling to the economic majority.**

Since every differentiated protocol fork (here I mean altcoins) has so far created an entirely new ledger, of course they aren't very compelling to the economic majority, receiving at most tepid investment interest. A spin-off would be based on the economic majority ledger, so it would have a great advantage over an altledger/altcoin, though if it wasn't compelling it would just be sold off by bitcoin holders for more bitcoins.

If a substantially different protocol fork or spin-off is ever more compelling to the economic majority, and of course using the same ledger is the first requirement for that, it would be adopted. The economic majority retains their ledger with their wealth in all cases. Bitcoin-the-protocol may be no more, but the ledger stays so bitcoin holders have nothing to fear except a re-naming.

Suppose a substantial segment of the economic majority shows interest in some change you find repulsive. Likely many others will agree with you, so in some unlikely scenarios you will potentially have two ledgers form over time.** If this does occur, it's the most amazing form of democracy (not voice democracy, but exit democracy) because everyone can use the system they want without compromise. However, again, there is a strong tendency to simply converge on ideal money based on the wisdom of (investing) crowds.

For instance, if we suppose a substantial segment of the economic majority shows interest FedCoin, then the legal situation may make it likely that the two coexist, with Bitcoin either on the black market in that country or competing directly with FedCoin. In that case, again, exit-democracy prevails and the Feds have no more tools to corrupt cryptocurrency than they do now (see the arguments in my two previous posts).

Here's another important implication of thinking in terms of the economic majority ledger: Bitcoin issuance is not limited to 21 million coins because of the protocol, but because of the exit-democratic consensus of the economic majority. It is incorrect to say we have moved from an era of control by central bankers to an era of control by mathematics. We have moved to an era of control by the economic majority.

This is a great advance, but not because "no one" can change the protocol, but because no one can force any group of people to stop using it. To effectively change the coin limit, you have to either convince the economic majority to do so, which is a herculean task, or convince some subset of the economic majority - but then that doesn't affect the rest of the people. That means the coin limit could change (for example, in 50 years to deal with mining incentives), but not without a reason that is so incredibly compelling that it sways all or most of the economic majority - in which case the typical bitcoiner should probably not worry, despite how bad it sounds, because the economic majority has those same reservations to overcome. And also we know that the change wouldn't allow for any net-harmful degree of continuing inflation or other effects, because the economic majority would be behind it.

This is the kind of guarantee Bitcoin provides; it's essentially a decentralized governance where voice vs. exit is fully exercised at all times. What Bitcoin provides is not a guarantee by code or math, rather code and math are what enforce the "edicts" of this decentralized governance structure subject to the continual pressures of voice and exit backed by investment flows.

If, for example, the economic majority believes that increasing max_blocksize to 20MB or shorter block times or Turing completeness will make the protocol for updating the economic majority ledger more compelling, a fork incorporating these changes would thrive and beat out the Bitcoin Classic protocol.

So to me, all that's required for Bitcoin-the-ledger to survive in perpetuity and make every investor rich is for the protocol to be upgraded if and only if the economic majority deems it truly compelling, with all the prudence about viability that that entails. Forking makes that happen, giving that critical exit option to balance voice, which in Bitcoin is already vastly superior to government democracy voice since it's backed by actual money.

*So far around 90% powerless, considering the combined market cap of all the altledgers compared to the economic majority ledger (Bitcoin).

**Although some kind of 50/50 or 40/60 split could happen in theory, the incentives involved make it seem unlikely in practice - and even if it does happen (because both forks are highly compelling in their own right), the market can only support a few such splits because there are only so many protocol feature sets to compete on through differentiation.

prolific posting once again. thank you for sharing this. beautiful extension of Balaji's original comments.

"I believe this will be the ultimate fate of Bitcoin, to be the "high-powered money" that serves as a reserve currency for banks that issue their own digital cash." Hal Finney, Dec. 2010
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March 15, 2015, 06:51:02 PM
 #22005

Good understanding ^
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March 15, 2015, 08:15:58 PM
 #22006

*So far around 90% powerless, considering the combined market cap of all the altledgers compared to the economic majority ledger (Bitcoin).

Likewise bitcoin is 99.9% powerless against the fiat ledger.

Explain why, other than "technical considerations" (as in how the hell do you do it) perhaps, Bitcoin should not have been created as a spin-off of the fiat ledger. Economically speaking, Bitcoin essentially did exactly what altcoins are accused of doing: failing to respect the existing ledger and instead attempting to impose its own. This gets attacked in both cases as pump-and-dump scams. The similarity should be quite apparent.

Vitalik makes an argument somewhere that you can get a sort of equilibrium if coins done as spin-offs only respect the ledgers of other coins that have themselves respected previous ledgers. By that standard no one should spin-off from Bitcoin.
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March 15, 2015, 08:47:54 PM
 #22007

*So far around 90% powerless, considering the combined market cap of all the altledgers compared to the economic majority ledger (Bitcoin).

Likewise bitcoin is 99.9% powerless against the fiat ledger.

Explain why, other than "technical considerations" (as in how the hell do you do it) perhaps, Bitcoin should not have been created as a spin-off of the fiat ledger. Economically speaking, Bitcoin essentially did exactly what altcoins are accused of doing: failing to respect the existing ledger and instead attempting to impose its own. This gets attacked in both cases as pump-and-dump scams. The similarity should be quite apparent.

Vitalik makes an argument somewhere that you can get a sort of equilibrium if coins done as spin-offs only respect the ledgers of other coins that have themselves respected previous ledgers. By that standard no one should spin-off from Bitcoin.


... existing ledgers were clearly and irrevocably broken in 2008 when Congress suspended GAAP for the major money center banks so they could trade while insolvent without fear of criminal prosecution. Others would also say the ledgers were broken earlier when USA (Nixon shock) reneged on international gold convertibility commitments in 1971 or earlier still when Fed suspended convertibility of Federal Reserve "redeemable" debt notes for gold to private citizens in 1933.

What obligation does any new ledger really have to "respect" any existing ledger?

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March 15, 2015, 08:52:21 PM
 #22008

Explain why (...) Bitcoin should not have been created as a spin-off of the fiat ledger.

Is this a trick question  Huh

"I believe this will be the ultimate fate of Bitcoin, to be the "high-powered money" that serves as a reserve currency for banks that issue their own digital cash." Hal Finney, Dec. 2010
Zangelbert Bingledack
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March 15, 2015, 09:03:33 PM
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Explain why, other than "technical considerations" (as in how the hell do you do it) perhaps, Bitcoin should not have been created as a spin-off of the fiat ledger. Economically speaking, Bitcoin essentially did exactly what altcoins are accused of doing: failing to respect the existing ledger and instead attempting to impose its own. This gets attacked in both cases as pump-and-dump scams. The similarity should be quite apparent.

You seem to think I'm making a fairness argument; I'm not. I'm simply saying that it is a recipe for failure to not employ the spin-off method using the primary ledger when it can be done.

And if that could have been done with the transition from fiat to Bitcoin, it would have. And that is basically what mining is. I don't think there is anything closer to spinning off that could have been done with Bitcoin. It is only now that Bitcoin exists that perfect spinning off is possible for the first time. The "technical considerations" you mention are exactly the reason.

Vitalik makes an argument somewhere that you can get a sort of equilibrium if coins done as spin-offs only respect the ledgers of other coins that have themselves respected previous ledgers. By that standard no one should spin-off from Bitcoin.

That's pretty hilarious coming from him. Besides, if you're going to make a fairness argument, there is absolutely nothing wrong fairness-wise with a freely mineable coin like Monero (whereas Ethereum's IPO was arguably a bald money grab). It's just that it's an ineffective way to launch a coin versus the spin-off technique.
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March 15, 2015, 09:23:31 PM
 #22010

Explain why, other than "technical considerations" (as in how the hell do you do it) perhaps, Bitcoin should not have been created as a spin-off of the fiat ledger. Economically speaking, Bitcoin essentially did exactly what altcoins are accused of doing: failing to respect the existing ledger and instead attempting to impose its own. This gets attacked in both cases as pump-and-dump scams. The similarity should be quite apparent.

You seem to think I'm making a fairness argument; I'm not. I'm simply saying that it is a recipe for failure to not employ the spin-off method using the primary ledger when it can be done.

Actually I wasn't, it was more of an argument about likelihood of success. Fairness enters into it in so far as those who's economic interests aren't respected don't support the spin-off. I think you made this exact same argument.

Quote
And if that could have been done with the transition from fiat to Bitcoin, it would have. And that is basically what mining is.

Fair points. Mining is more like proof-of-burn (almost literally!) than spin-off, but there is certainly a similarity. A conventionally mined altcoin can be obtained from Bitcoin via using the Bitcoin to pay for mining right?

It is interesting to think about the subtle differences between these methods.

Quote
Vitalik makes an argument somewhere that you can get a sort of equilibrium if coins done as spin-offs only respect the ledgers of other coins that have themselves respected previous ledgers. By that standard no one should spin-off from Bitcoin.

That's pretty hilarious coming from him.

I see it as having a bit of credibility since it contradicts, in a way at least, rather strongly with what was done with Ethereum.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how you ever bootstrap this, since there doesn't seem to be an obvious way to spin off from fiat.

Zangelbert Bingledack
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March 15, 2015, 09:51:14 PM
 #22011

Mining is more like proof-of-burn (almost literally!) than spin-off, but there is certainly a similarity. A conventionally mined altcoin can be obtained from Bitcoin via using the Bitcoin to pay for mining right?

I think both proof of burn and straight mining are perfect ways to distribute altcoins as far as fairness goes. Proof of burn is nicer for BTC holders, though, since it increases bitcoin scarcity.

So we can look at at least three aspects of the various methods of distributing a new altcoin:

1) Effectiveness for long-term success of the innovation

2) Fairness

3) Favorability to Bitcoin investors

My view is that the IPO method is worst in all three, straight mining is good for 2 but not so good for 1 and bad for 3, spin-offs are good for all three (though not 3 if you think Bitcoin distro is unfair), and proof of burn is decent for 1 and good for 2 and 3. As for sidechains, it depends on the implementation but it could be anywhere from bad for all three to good for all three.

Now 3 might seem like only a good thing for Bitcoin investors, but I think it does tie in with 1 because not detracting from Bitcoin's position tends to make it more popular with bitcoiners (note the near-total ban on altcoin submissions on /r/Bitcoin). Though it could also be argued that people who think Bitcoin is unfair or bad will be turned off by 3.

In summary, spin-offs seem like the natural way to do altcoins (in the case of spin-offs they're perhaps better called "alt-protocols for the Bitcoin ledger") now that Bitcoin exists.
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March 15, 2015, 09:58:03 PM
 #22012

Mining is more like proof-of-burn (almost literally!) than spin-off, but there is certainly a similarity. A conventionally mined altcoin can be obtained from Bitcoin via using the Bitcoin to pay for mining right?

I think both proof of burn and straight mining are perfect ways to distribute altcoins as far as fairness goes. Proof of burn is nicer for BTC holders, though, since it increases bitcoin scarcity.

I'm not sure about PoB being "better" for BTC holders. Proof-of-burn forces BTC holders to make an irreversible decision. If you mess that up, you lose out, potentially a lot. A spin-off allows you to do nothing and maintain your ledger position regardless.
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March 15, 2015, 10:52:14 PM
 #22013

There's always reason for gold to depreciate as new technologies find substitutes for industrial reasons to use gold.  Also, the economy is in a global uptick so there's even more reason for disposable incomes to explore bitcoin and other digital and crypto currencies.

BTC: 12MRgfQTP5wGXaaFyFm7CXS6ebeUyerA4u
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March 16, 2015, 01:18:42 AM
 #22014

http://wefivekingsblog.blogspot.com/2015/03/thoughts-on-valuing-bitcoin-as-network.html?m=1
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March 16, 2015, 02:24:22 AM
 #22015

Good grief that was long winded. Can we get a tldr concise version for the viewers or those that couldn't bare it? I read most of it and scanned the rest but most of the pricing charts were just lol boring and just plain Roll Eyes.
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March 16, 2015, 02:43:16 AM
 #22016

Good grief that was long winded. Can we get a tldr concise version for the viewers or those that couldn't bare it? I read most of it and scanned the rest but most of the pricing charts were just lol boring and just plain Roll Eyes.


The tldr for me was skimming to find that he was using the n(log n) interpretation of Metcalfe's Law, which is far more reasonable than n^2.

Bitcoin is the first monetary system to credibly offer perfect information to all economic participants.
But Bitcointalk & /r/bitcoin are heavily censored. bitco.in/forum, forum.bitcoin.com, and /r/btc are open.
Best info on Casascius coins: http://spotcoins.com/casascius
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March 16, 2015, 06:47:38 AM
 #22017

Good grief that was long winded. Can we get a tldr concise version for the viewers or those that couldn't bare it? I read most of it and scanned the rest but most of the pricing charts were just lol boring and just plain Roll Eyes.


The tldr for me was skimming to find that he was using the n(log n) interpretation of Metcalfe's Law, which is far more reasonable than n^2.

but it's still loadsa money!  Grin
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March 16, 2015, 01:37:48 PM
 #22018

Fiatcoin is nearly here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/12/us-bitcoin-ibm-idUSKBN0M82KB20150312\

Quote
Unlike bitcoin, where the network is decentralized and there is no overseer, the proposed digital currency system would be controlled by central banks, the source said.

"These coins will be part of the money supply," the source said. "It's the same money, just not a dollar bill with a serial number on it, but a token that sits on this blockchain."
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March 16, 2015, 01:49:41 PM
 #22019

Fiatcoin is nearly here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/12/us-bitcoin-ibm-idUSKBN0M82KB20150312\

Quote
Unlike bitcoin, where the network is decentralized and there is no overseer, the proposed digital currency system would be controlled by central banks, the source said.

"These coins will be part of the money supply," the source said. "It's the same money, just not a dollar bill with a serial number on it, but a token that sits on this blockchain."

Nice.  Now they won't even have to turn on the printing presses.  Just type in a big number and hit enter.

Counterfeit:  made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive:  merriam-webster
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March 16, 2015, 02:58:49 PM
 #22020

bitshares already has this and ive created cart plugins using it quite nice actually no volaltility risks.. u stay in the base currency.. ofcourse this assumes the peg holds which it has so far.. We dont need a centralized solution when decentralized fiat on blockchain exists
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