http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlWyTqL1hFAProf. Dr. Stefan Katzenbeisser
(working in the Security Engineering Group of the Computer Science Department at the Darmstadt Technische Universität, Germany) & Prof. Dr. Kay Hamacher
(working in several departments at the before mentioned university) hold a lecture on Bitcoin at the 28th Chaos Communication Congress on the 27th - 30th of December 2011 in Berlin. Economical, technical and anonymity issues are addressed and analysed.
Its a good run down on all these issues from a scientifical point of view. I would suggest to everyone being interested in the future capacities and issues bitcoin is going to face, to watch it. (After a newbe explanation of 'what bitcoin is', the real action starts at around 12:40)
This thread shall provide a place to review and share oppinions on the points made in the video.
(for better clarity & referentiality, Ill group every point of controversy named in this thread with a numberand time code)
Although not having watched all of it, I already would like to point out some statements made in the video, that I disagree with:
#1: At 18:43 Hamacher concludes from his analysis of bitcoin use, that Bitcoin is a luxurious good (superior good) because its used more, as it becomes more expensive.
He fails to realize, that bitcoin is predominantly (my assumption) used as a medium of speculation. Naturally more of it is used (volume) as prices go up.
#2. At 22:15 Hamacher states, that Bitcoin will vanish ultimately, because of loss of bitcoins (lost backups, forgotten passwords,..). He predicts at a rate of 5% loss per year that bitcoin will vanish around 2031.
He misses the fact, that 1 Bitcoin can be divided infinitely. Therefore even 1 Bitcoin in existence would suffice as medium of exchange in a world economic relying on bitcoin on a daily basis. Also: If every year (according to his statement) 1% of all Bitcoins not "lost", would be lost, we would never hit zero. If I loose 1 Bitcoin this year, starting with 10 BTC and keep loosing 1% of what I have every year, I would still have 3.6603 BTC after 100 years!