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Author Topic: Public Relations  (Read 13406 times)
Longmarch
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May 21, 2011, 05:27:17 PM
 #61

Something that just occurred to me that might provide clarity in the public discussion of bitcoin... and hopefully hasn't been said already:

Bitcoin "miners" aren't really mining, of course.  What they are doing is actually acting as the bankers.  Instead of a central bank, Bitcoin has a distributed bank comprised of people who have taken it upon themselves to participate in processing and maintaining the records of the bank.  The power to create money in this system is semi-randomly distributed among these "bankers" with favor given to those who contribute more processing power.

... because after all, this whole concept of "mining" bitcoins is confusing a lot of people who seem to be looking for a reason to dismiss Bitcoin.  

And I'm still surprised at the tone of anger and aggressive condescension in all these criticisms of Bitcoin that I read on the web.    
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evoorhees
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May 21, 2011, 05:29:54 PM
 #62

 

And I'm still surprised at the tone of anger and aggressive condescension in all these criticisms of Bitcoin that I read on the web.    

Haterz gonna hate.
Mike Hearn
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May 23, 2011, 08:49:51 PM
 #63

I tried to sum up some of these points in a wiki page, see here:

http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=9546.0
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June 03, 2011, 01:12:18 AM
 #64

BTW, bitcoin'ers, start expecting a more probing press.

I got a bit of it on the BBC World News radio interview just finished.

The only two things they want to talk about are (a) Silk Road and (b) LulzSec hack of Sony soliciting bitcoins: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504943_162-20068460-10391715.html

I've been pushing back a bit on "totally anonymous and untraceable!!!" with all the Silk Road, and now LulzSec, stories, for a few reasons:

1) Bitcoins will best succeed if it is ideology-neutral.  If bitcoins are associated with nothing but criminality, it will remain in that niche.  IMO, bitcoin is far more revolutionary and empowering, and a fantastic new concept in currency.  Marginalization by the press is one way bitcoin could fall into that criminality niche and never escape.  The world deserves more Smiley

2) To be truly anonymous and untraceable, you have to take many additional steps, within and external to bitcoin.  Most new bitcoin users, using the default download in the default configuration, will not have such protections, so that's setting expections too high.  I really wouldn't want a human rights dissident thinking they are anonymous, simply by downloading and running bitcoin.  I've been pointing reporters to https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Anonymity with regularity.

3) IMHO, the bitcoin story is more about the attributes of the currency: highly efficient, highly secure, instant, nearly free, with a predictable and stable currency supply.

And on an odd note, nobody is interested in mining.  Very few if any questions about that.  It's all Silk Road and lulzsec and "zomg untraceable!!!"
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June 03, 2011, 01:26:13 AM
 #65


Good work Jeff.

It is so sad to see the lame-stream media fulfill their stereotype, and jump straight into the old "sex 'n drugs sells" sensationalism, and completely miss the point of what bitcoin means to a free world.

It maybe they are trapped in a moment of disbelief, like when wikileaks started dropping the bombshells.

What if they were titillated with bitcoin tips? And then we send them a link to the block explorer showing where their bitcoin tips came from and that their bitcoins are in fact more publicly traceable than their own bank accounts.

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June 03, 2011, 02:40:14 PM
 #66


At some point, probably if bitcoin becomes adopted wider, the fact that bitcoin establishes a mechanism for citizens to enforce their right to financial privacy is going to have to be made clear, in a PR-friendly manner or otherwise. Intrusive governments violating their citizens right to financial and communication privacy are prone to destabilisation, from past history, so I think this is the most "destablising" aspect of the technology. It would be good if Jon Matonis could weigh in somewhere about a good approach of how this news should be broken to the establishment so they don't freak out too much.


I just noticed this thread so I thought I would post here as well to contribute to the overall discussion started by Gavin. Here is my post from the Press Hits thread:

Bitcoin is a nonpolitical decentralized cryptocurrency with user-determined anonymity and transaction irreversibility. Most people are happy transacting on the Internet with VISA/MC/AMEX when it comes to plane tickets, hotels, gifts, etc, so bitcoin is not really a breakthrough for spending on the Internet. Terrorists, pornographers, and drug dealers already use $100 bills but that is not the fault of the innocent anonymous $100 bill and they haven't banned the $100 bill (yet). Bad guys use the roads and phones, too.

Money going digital does not mean that we have to give up any of the features that already exist with the paper $100 bill. Yet, that is the way things are being positioned by the establishment --- "give up the privacy and untracability elements of the $100 bill and we will give you the nirvana of a digital, cashless society." This is such bullshit!  MOA, I'm not sure if this news about privacy can be broken to the establishment in a delicate way, but it can be based around the common theme of liberty (i mean, come on, who doesn't believe in liberty?):

Regarding the media, I believe that bitcoin needs to be positioned as a way to restore financial privacy to the individual:

1. Secrecy does not equal concealment, but rather secrecy equals privacy;
2. Large-scale private value transfer should not be impeded across national boundaries (money laundering is a pejorative term);
3. Individuals should have freedom from confiscation and immoral tax levies;
4. Individuals should have freedom from money being used to track identity;
5. Individuals should have protection from the depreciating nation-State political currencies.

Then, using general themes like PayPal freezing accounts and reversing legitimate transactions will be certain to resonate with Joe Q. Public. Then, if you really, really want to get everyone on your side, mention how the Jews under Hitler would be labelled as 'money launderers' today simply because they attempted to move their wealth to Austria in order to avoid confiscation. The Jews in Hitler's Germany certainly would be bitcoin advocates.

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I also cover the bitcoin economy for Forbes, American Banker, PaymentsSource, and CoinDesk.
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June 03, 2011, 04:50:39 PM
 #67

I am willing to argue that better welfare will be provided if Bitcoin took over. People naturally love to give and will have more to give if they have more money in their pockets.

Perhaps, but then you'd have to convince them first that the free market can take care of them better than government, which is an even harder sell (bordering impossible).

Bitcoin won't be what does the convincing. In my experience the thing that brings liberals around to accepting the free market is when they reject the violence which is the state's only means of accomplishing anything.

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June 03, 2011, 04:51:12 PM
 #68

I think "grass-roots" is a better word than "democratic".
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June 03, 2011, 05:03:16 PM
 #69

BTW, bitcoin'ers, start expecting a more probing press....
Good stuff. It's nice to know there are some grown ups here to shape the future of bitcoin. When I have finished my presentation notes I will post them here for others to use.

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Giulio Prisco
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June 07, 2011, 03:40:28 PM
 #70

I think "grass-roots" is a better word than "democratic".
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June 07, 2011, 04:00:41 PM
 #71

I think the analogy is the Internet and pornography.  People try desperately to lower transaction costs.  The internet did that for porn and in the early years porn traffic dominated net usage. Anecdotally I've heard there is around a 20% haircut for black market transactions (drugs, money laundering, etc).  So we should expect the majority usage early on for bitcoins will be for black market transactions.  I don't think that's a bug, it's a feature.  It's hard to get people to change behavior.  There is big motivated market that like it or not is very incented to adopt new solutions. Bitcion is what it is.  What better beta testers than the black market. ; )

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June 07, 2011, 04:09:29 PM
 #72

Has anyone noticed that the press has been almost universally bad for four days and bitcoin has barely dropped $0.50/BTC??  If that's the best the haterz can do (even using a sitting Senator!), the I think we are in pretty good shape.

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June 09, 2011, 04:28:37 PM
 #73

I wonder how bad the "bad" press has been? As mentioned above, it has not dropped the market. Indeed there has been a rally. The people who show up here after hearing about silkroad may be moving beyond that once they realize the real power and utility of bitcoin.
Not all these people are haters. Some of them are just skeptical about the claims they have heard, and ignorant of the real facts. let's not treat them as outsiders. Let's adopt them and bring them into the fold. That is how we change minds. Save your fight for PayPal and the banks.

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June 09, 2011, 04:30:18 PM
 #74

From where I sit, I see lots of quite smart and intelligent people coming in... lots of interest and excitement.

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June 10, 2011, 01:06:40 PM
 #75


I think the real question is whether or not bitcoin will appeal to the majority of people who are happy with our current financial system. If it doesn't, bitcoin may fade away or end up as a niche currency used for a tiny percentage of global financial transactions.


Even if bitcoin ended up being used in only as 1% of financial transactions, at a global GDP of over 50 trillion, 1 bitcoin would be worth more than 2 million dollars. That's a market niche I can live with.

The impact of Bitcoin will still be much larger than it's actual use.   Bittorrent lowers the price of "legal" online music even though "legal" purchases are a larger market share. Tax havens keep the taxes of other countries lower. Sometimes just the credible threat of competition keeps the potential monopolists in line.

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