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Author Topic: [ANN] Freicoin: demurrage crypto-currency from the Occupy movement (crowdfund)  (Read 56426 times)
smoothie
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July 01, 2012, 06:32:01 AM
 #101

Or here's a thought: why don't you troll somewhere else?


I'm happy to respond to any reasonable questions about the economics of the proposal. But let's keep the discourse level-headed and rational, okay?

No Loup is right this idea is not going to work.

Remember the term Open-source and free kind of go hand in hand. Asking people to fund your project goes against that very concept. Grin Grin

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maaku
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July 01, 2012, 07:03:13 AM
 #102

Remember the term Open-source and free kind of go hand in hand. Asking people to fund your project goes against that very concept. Grin Grin
That couldn't be further from the truth. These days only a small minority of free or open-source software is developed and maintained as weekend/hobby projects.

But anyway, why should the quality of the idea represent a legitimate demand on my personal time and resources? I thought we were mostly libertarians here--what's wrong with seeking even minimal compensation just to cover the cost of production? Is there something inherently unethical about donating specifically to the cause of creating a open-source/free software project? Would you object to someone making a similar donation to the Debian foundation? What about the Google Summer of Code interns? Are they scum for accepting stipends for the work they do? I really don't see the logic of that argument.

We priced the Indiegogo as low as we could make it while still doing a top-notch job, accomplishing all the goals listed in the timeframe specified. You might not believe it, but servers cost money to build and run, marketing artwork takes resources to make, and code takes time to build. $28k is our conservative, at-cost guestimate of how much it would take to complete the proposal and to do it right (no cutting corners), plus the Indiegogo fees and taxes.

I'm an independent developer working on bitcoin-core, making my living off community donations.
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July 01, 2012, 07:05:35 AM
 #103

Remember the term Open-source and free kind of go hand in hand. Asking people to fund your project goes against that very concept. Grin Grin
That couldn't be further from the truth. These days only a small minority of free or open-source software is developed and maintained as weekend/hobby projects.

But anyway, why should the quality of the idea represent a legitimate demand on my personal time and resources? I thought we were mostly libertarians here--what's wrong with seeking even minimal compensation just to cover the cost of production? Is there something inherently unethical about donating specifically to the cause of creating a open-source/free software project? Would you object to someone making a similar donation to the Debian foundation? What about the Google Summer of Code interns? Are they scum for accepting stipends for the work they do? I really don't see the logic of that argument.

We priced the Indiegogo as low as we could make it while still doing a top-notch job, accomplishing all the goals listed in the timeframe specified. You might not believe it, but servers cost money to build and run, marketing artwork takes resources to make, and code takes time to build. $28k is our conservative, at-cost guestimate of how much it would take to complete the proposal and to do it right (no cutting corners), plus the Indiegogo fees and taxes.

Okay then why don't YOU fund the entire project yourself???

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maaku
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July 01, 2012, 07:13:21 AM
 #104

Because I'm dirt-poor? Do you know how little government workers make? And it doesn't help that the cost-of-living adjustment for Mountain View is an inadequate joke. I'm living paycheck-to-paycheck, with two extra mouths to feed.

But that isn't even the point. If people think it's a good cause, that we're the right people to do it, and if they've got some cash to spare, they'll donate. That's an ethical transaction between us and them; why should you care?

This will be my last post on the subject. But feel free to engage me in a discussion about the merits of the proposal or demurrage currencies per se.

I'm an independent developer working on bitcoin-core, making my living off community donations.
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July 01, 2012, 07:26:42 AM
 #105

Because I'm dirt-poor? Do you know how little government workers make? And it doesn't help that the cost-of-living adjustment for Mountain View is an inadequate joke. I'm living paycheck-to-paycheck, with two extra mouths to feed.

But that isn't even the point. If people think it's a good cause, that we're the right people to do it, and if they've got some cash to spare, they'll donate. That's an ethical transaction between us and them; why should you care?

This will be my last post on the subject. But feel free to engage me in a discussion about the merits of the proposal or demurrage currencies per se.

Translation: Pity me and support my project because I'm poor. Give me your money so I can make you more money.

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herzmeister
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July 01, 2012, 08:41:00 AM
 #106

do you really think a globally targeted currency with demurrage is a good idea @maaku?

Demurrage is intended to fuel consumption, and in this day and age of overproduction, planned obsolescence and discussion about sustainability, this sets the wrong signal.

As said before, demurrage may make sense for a regional currencies as this would result in more local economic cycles, which has all kinds of ecological benefits. But when the currency is global, this positive effect is gone and will probably result in a consumer-ish slave-like lifestyle not much different to today.


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July 01, 2012, 03:39:30 PM
 #107

Give me your money so I can make you more money.


I don't think you seem to understand this concept very well. He's not offering to develop a speculative, get rich quick asset that will "make you more money." He's offering to make one that's better for exchange than Bitcoin.
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July 01, 2012, 06:43:23 PM
 #108

Sorry that opening discourse with an opposing viewpoint is "trolling" to you, but, that really is par for the course with the occupy mentality... anyone who doesn't embrace the philosophy of gimme, gimme, gimme and don't ask me to do anything for it is the enemy and to be ridiculed for being a 1%er. Fine. I am one of the 1%. Have been for over 30 years. Have the colors to prove it. And I'm part of your vacuous shadow of a 1% too. I embrace personal gain from personal effort. I resist the attempt to seize my accumulation because you "think it is fair to take from others because you want what they have".

This coin idea is an abortion of a concept twisting the philosophy of an open, anonymous currency based on free exchange by turning it into something based on an artificial construct of centralized theft, with a few destroying the value of those who produce for their own benefit.

And the fact that you would have the shameless audacity to come here and beg for $28,000 to promote this bullshit concept sickens me. You are the lowest of the low, a filthy beggar looking to cobble together a con based on a couple of concepts you read about in the news and think you can fleece some unsuspecting dupe into throwing some coins your way. Vermin like you are the basis of most of the scams in online commerce your blood-sucking is unwelcome.

Fuck off scammer, your idea is outed as a con, you are a scammer, and the concept sucks.

And that, little jackass, is not trolling, that is a prima facia ad hominem attack on you and your absurd, unworkable and bullshit idea of a coin.

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July 01, 2012, 07:20:32 PM
 #109

I'm going to assume that LoupGaroux is feeling injured because his first post, the only one not filled with hateful invective, was ignored. So, assuming good faith (a real stretch at this point), I'll attempt to answer his criticisms.

Sorry, but the whole concept of artificially implementing demurrage into a a mechanism of trade and value storage is antithetical to what having a free-floating value is.
How? You haven't specified how these definitions are exclusive.

It is not a means to keep currency flowing around in the economy, it is a means to have an authority (be it your General Assembly, or your blockchain structure, or your whip-yielders in government) to force the loss of value over time.
Yes, the blockchain structure is an authority, even in Bitcoin. Because you disagree with what is being accounted for by the blockchain does not invalidate the idea. I think the blockchain structure authority is greatly preferred to some other forms of authority.

Those in such an economy, having only the ability to spend to avoid an artificial devaluation of their labor or investment, will actively seek an alternative to that economy.
Actually there is an economic "law" that states the exact opposite. It's called Gresham's law, but it doesn't apply here because this currency exists without a state setting its exchange rate. However, it suggests that in practice nobody would like to spend their more valuable currency.

Far from investment in entrepreneurial experimentation, a demurrage-based coin will do nothing but bolster all OTHER currencies as a means to avoid having an external power destroy some of the value of my work.
Sorry, but just as capital has time-value, so too does the value of your work. Your desire for a system where its possible to coast off of personal wealth without contributing doesn't exist anywhere and can't exist. As the Bobby Dylan song goes "you gotta serve somebody."
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July 01, 2012, 11:43:41 PM
 #110

@herzmeister, first let me quote jtimon from his post introducing the idea of Freicoin over a year ago. He did a good job listing the advantages of a demurrage currency, and more importantly included links to the relevant economic theories:

Freicoins can be created forever as an incentive and still have a fixed monetary base if the amount of newly created reward for miners is equal the amount of destroyed freicoins.
How can freicoins be removed from circulation?
Each time a transaction is done a percentage of the freicoins in the transaction are destroyed depending on how much time the freicoins have been hold since the last transaction. This is called demurrage.

It reduces interest rates. Concretely, it attacks the basic interest or liquidity premium. Defined as
gross interest = basic interest + risk premium + inflation premium
Demurrage has other benefits. For example, money with demurrage is crisis resistant: it will continue to circulate even with deflation. Deflation discourages real capital accumulation and demurrage can solve it.
Also, interest makes the financial market "think" in the short term.

For more information about demurrage you can read Silvio Gesell's main book on the web or in pdf.
I think the main flaw of Gesell's proposal is that he wanted the government to issue his freigeld, but there wasn't the block chain back then.

With merged mining, freicoin can co-exist with bitcoin.

One can say that demurrage is worse than inflation for savers, but I think that's not true.
Others claim that demurrage and inflation have the same effect. Inflation is worse at all lights.
Other common criticism is that no merchant would accept a money with demurrage, but there's many local currencies with demurrage operating today.

Do I think a global demurrage currency is a good thing? Yes, for the same reason that any global currency that is free of control from central bankers is a good thing. I feel that the local currency movement is misguided in trying to fight globalism, and the lack of similar restrictions on Freicoin is a good thing. Of course it is an opt-in proposal, so anyone can use it (or not use it) as they see fit.

Demurrage does not do anything specifically to fuel consumption--one could just as easily buy bonds, equities, bitcoins to get rid of unwanted freicoins. It does however incentivise long-term thinking and the acquisition of real capital when compared with high-interest currencies like deflationary Bitcoin or inflationary fiat. Here's a classic example:

Quote from: Charles Eistenstein
Whereas interest promotes the discounting of future cash flows, demurrage encourages long-term thinking. In present-day accounting, a forest that has the capacity to generate one million dollars a year every year into the foreseeable future is considered more valuable if immediately cut down for a profit of 50 million dollars. (The net present value of the sustainable forest calculated at a discount rate of 5% is only $20 million.) This state of affairs results in the infamously short-sighted behavior of corporations that sacrifice (even their own) long-term well-being for the short-term results of the fiscal quarter. Such behavior is perfectly rational in an interest-based economy, but in a demurrage system, pure self-interest would dictate that the forest be preserved. No longer would greed motivate the robbing of the future for the benefit of the present. The exponential discounting of future cash flows implies the "cashing in" of the entire earth as opposed to an immediate wholesale “liquidation” of our remaining resources.

So one could say that the “type” of consumerism encouraged by demurrage currencies (investment in real capital for increased production) is actually beneficial.

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July 02, 2012, 12:06:16 AM
 #111

Actually I think a larger quote from Eistenstein may be of value here in explaining the “why”:

Quote from: Eistenstein
"Gesell's phrase, "... a monstrous hallucination, the doctrine of 'value'..." hints at another effect of demurrage—it makes us question the notion of “value.” Value assigns to each object in the world a number. It associates an abstraction, changeless and independent, with that which always changes and that exists in relationship to all else. It is part of humanity's descent into representation, the reduction of the world into a data set. Demurrage reverses this thinking and removes an important boundary between the human realm and the natural realm. When money is no longer preferred to goods, we will lose the habit of defining a thing by how much it is worth.

Whereas interest promotes the discounting of future cash flows, demurrage encourages long-term thinking. In present-day accounting, a forest that has the capacity to generate one million dollars a year every year into the foreseeable future is considered more valuable if immediately cut down for a profit of 50 million dollars. (The net present value of the sustainable forest calculated at a discount rate of 5% is only $20 million.) This state of affairs results in the infamously short-sighted behavior of corporations that sacrifice (even their own) long-term well-being for the short-term results of the fiscal quarter. Such behavior is perfectly rational in an interest-based economy, but in a demurrage system, pure self-interest would dictate that the forest be preserved. No longer would greed motivate the robbing of the future for the benefit of the present. The exponential discounting of future cash flows implies the "cashing in" of the entire earth as opposed to an immediate wholesale “liquidation” of our remaining resources.

Whereas interest tends to concentrate wealth, demurrage promotes its distribution. In any economy with a specialization of labor beyond the family level, human beings need to perform exchanges in order to thrive. Both interest and demurrage represent a fee for the use of money, but the key difference is that in the former system, the fee accrues to those who already have money, while in the latter system it is levied upon them. Wealth comes with a high maintenance cost, thereby recreating the dynamics that governed hunter-gatherer attitudes toward accumulations of possessions.

Whereas security in an interest-based system comes from accumulating money, in a demurrage system it comes from having productive channels through which to direct it – that is, to become a nexus of the flow of wealth and not a point for its accumulation. In other words, it puts the focus on relationships, not on "having". The demurrage system accords with a different sense of self, affirmed not by enclosing more and more of the world within the confines of me and mine, but by developing and deepening relationships with others. It encourages reciprocation, sharing, and the rapid circulation of wealth.

In today's system, it is much better to have a thousand dollars than it is for ten people to owe you a hundred dollars. In a demurrage system the opposite is true. Since money decays with time, if I have some money I'm not using right now, I am happy to lend it to you, just as if I had more bread than I could eat, I would give you some. If I need some in the future, I can call in my obligations or create new ones with anyone within my network who has more money than he or she needs to meet immediate needs. As Gesell put it:

Quote from: Gesell
With the introduction of Free-Money, money has been reduced to the rank of umbrellas; friends and acquaintances assist each other mutually as a matter of course with loans of money. No one keeps, or can keep, reserves of money, since money is under compulsion to circulate. But just because no one can form reserves of money, no reserves are needed. For the circulation of money is regular and uninterrupted.

No longer would money be a scarce commodity, hoarded and kept away from others; rather it would tend to circulate at the maximum possible "velocity". The issuer would ensure stable prices (P) according to the equation of exchange (MV=PQ) by regulating the amount of currency in circulation (M) to correspond to total real economic output (Q). The same result could be achieved by linking the currency to a basket of commodities whose level corresponds to overall economic activity, as proposed by Bernard Lietaer.

The dynamics of a demurrage-based currency system ensure a sufficient amount for all. This is in contradiction to today's economy in which a surfeit of material goods is coupled with their grossly unequal distribution. Hence the deeper contradiction in which, on the one hand, there are hundreds of millions of people who are unemployed or engaged in trivial, meaningless jobs, while on the other hand there is much important, meaningful work left undone—highlighting a disconnect between human creativity and human needs. "With Free-Money demand is inseparable from money, it is no longer a manifestation of the will of the possessors of money. Free-Money is not the instrument of demand, but demand itself, demand materialized and meeting, on an equal footing, supply, which always was, and remains, something material."

This is from a larger work, Money: A new beginning.

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July 02, 2012, 12:59:44 AM
 #112

This is from a larger work, Money: A new beginning.

Wow, that's a brilliant find. Very succinct and accessible.
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July 02, 2012, 01:15:39 AM
 #113

This is from a larger work, Money: A new beginning.

Wow, that's a brilliant find. Very succinct and accessible.

Yeah, I just wish it wasn't attached to a site about shamanism, astrology, and new-age mumbo-jumbo :\

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July 02, 2012, 01:35:25 PM
 #114

Actually I think a larger quote from Eistenstein may be of value here in explaining the “why”:

It seems like all of the benefits the author perceives from the use of demurrage only come about when there is no interest bearing or neutral alternative, otherwise instead of losing wealth to demurrage, the holder of money will just exchange it to a more suitable store of value. Additionally, it seems like the author forgets that one of the purposes of money as a store of value is that it does not spoil as do most consumable goods. Especially given the ease with which one block chain tokens can be exchanged for another, if Freicoin becomes popular I don't forsee anyone with significant wealth holding on to them for any significant amount of time.
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July 02, 2012, 01:38:35 PM
 #115

Actually I think a larger quote from Eistenstein may be of value here in explaining the “why”:

It seems like all of the benefits the author perceives from the use of demurrage only come about when there is no interest bearing or neutral alternative, otherwise instead of losing wealth to demurrage, the holder of money will just exchange it to a more suitable store of value. Additionally, it seems like the author forgets that one of the purposes of money as a store of value is that it does not spoil as do most consumable goods. Especially given the ease with which one block chain tokens can be exchanged for another, if Freicoin becomes popular I don't forsee anyone with significant wealth holding on to them for any significant amount of time.

Don't bother maaku with facts. He lives in his own dream world.

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July 02, 2012, 03:35:21 PM
 #116

Actually I think a larger quote from Eistenstein may be of value here in explaining the “why”:

It seems like all of the benefits the author perceives from the use of demurrage only come about when there is no interest bearing or neutral alternative, otherwise instead of losing wealth to demurrage, the holder of money will just exchange it to a more suitable store of value. Additionally, it seems like the author forgets that one of the purposes of money as a store of value is that it does not spoil as do most consumable goods. Especially given the ease with which one block chain tokens can be exchanged for another, if Freicoin becomes popular I don't forsee anyone with significant wealth holding on to them for any significant amount of time.

That wasn't forgotten--that was explicitly mentioned in the article and by myself in the proposal and this thread. Freicoin is a medium-of-exchange currency only. If you have excess freicoins and you convert those freicoins into bitcoins, fiat, commercial paper, or whatever, that is both expected and inconsequential. Remember that the counter-party to that transaction now has freicoins that they want to get rid of, keeping the money in circulation.

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July 02, 2012, 04:53:48 PM
 #117

@maaku

I'm kind of worry that you're asking for that much money. I'm not saying that you're going to runaway with the money, but the very basic (implementing demurrage and adding the merged mining that is already coded for namecoin) is much cheaper than that. I mean the pruning algorithm sounds great, but I don't think that's necessary for freicoin, just a cool thing for both bitcoin, freicoin and all the other cryptocurrencies: it could be placed in another campaign. The film, the pool, the exchange...all great and necessary things. I just don't need they're necessary for the first step.
Anyway, I hope you have more luck than I had with my old bounty.

For some of the common criticisms that have been repeated here (I didn't read the full thread)...
Some of them discussed here (but I've improved my English and knowledge in economics since then, thank you bitcoiners).

Freicoin is equivalent to expocoin (proportionally constant inflatacoin/timecoin)
If you're only thinking about miners reward, yes. But price deflation would be expected through growth instead of exponential price inflation (which is clearly an inconvenience).
And the most important thing: expocoin doesn't do anything against the basic interest. An inflation premium will be just added to the gross interest, but the basic interest won't disappear.
A more detailed explanation can be found here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=36450.msg469848#msg469848

Demurrage leads to consumerism
No. If fact demurrage make us think in the long term by rducing the time preference.
A higher interest rate means a "higher short-term thinking".

Tree Metaphor
http://www.wuala.com/jtimon/temp/what%20do%20we%20invest%20in.png

Imagine you plant a tree. In ten years, that tree can give you $100 in lamber and in 100 years, $ 1000.
Now from the financial perspective.

With a currency that yields 5% interest, $100 in ten years are equivalent to $ 61.39 today. And $1000 in 100 years are equivalent to $ 7.60 today.

If the currency has 5% demurrage, $100 in ten years are equivalent to $ 167.02 today. And $1000 in 100 years are equivalent to $ 168,903.82 today.

With interest, the same stuff in the future is valued less than today. With demurrage, the same stuff in the future is valued more than today.

This proves that the structure of money has an impact in our way to value things over time.

With demurrage we have more incentive for conservation AND therefore to save.

How can you say that?, demurrage is a direct attack against savers

No. Hoarding is not the only way to save, you can store real goods instead of blocking the medium of exchange. You can also lend your money.
Gesell explains that the average saver will be able to save much more from the interests that he's saving on all its purchases (most savers pay more interest than they receive, it's just that they don't see it) here: http://www.community-exchange.org/docs/Gesell/en/neo/part4/5g.htm
There's an open discussion on the deflation thread on whether hoarders create wealth or not. I think only lenders/investors create growth, not money hoarders.

It doesn't matter, it won't be competitive. People will always prefer to hold bitcoins and therefore no merchant will accept it.

It's strange that chiemgauers can compete with euros then, since they're backed by euros and also have demurrage, anyway...
Then you don't have to fight against this, you can just wait for us fool idealists to fail on our own. No government will force you to accept it by decree.

2 different forms of free-money: Freicoin (free of basic interest because it's perishable), Mutual credit (no interest because it's abundant)
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July 02, 2012, 06:00:51 PM
 #118

@jtimon, as it stands now we have enough to finish the minimal Freicoin client (based on Bitcoin-Qt, not Armory) and release it without any fan-fare or associated services. And we will, even if donations stop today.

The goal of the Indiegogo campaign is to take it far enough that enough of an ecosystem exists for merchants to start accepting freicoins as-is, and to create marketing materials for people on the ground to use to explain and promote the currency. About 5-10% will be spent on the basic core, another 25-35% on services and features that are necessary for use, and about 40% on the website, video, and promotional material. The rest, unfortunately, goes to Indiegogo fees and taxes :\

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July 02, 2012, 06:58:39 PM
 #119

@jtimon, as it stands now we have enough to finish the minimal Freicoin client (based on Bitcoin-Qt, not Armory) and release it without any fan-fare or associated services. And we will, even if donations stop today.

The goal of the Indiegogo campaign is to take it far enough that enough of an ecosystem exists for merchants to start accepting freicoins as-is, and to create marketing materials for people on the ground to use to explain and promote the currency. About 5-10% will be spent on the basic core, another 25-35% on services and features that are necessary for use, and about 40% on the website, video, and promotional material. The rest, unfortunately, goes to Indiegogo fees and taxes :\

Thank you for explaining that. Does the 5-10% include merged mining with bitcoin and namecoin or that goes in the services part?

Is the reward for miners constant or there's complicated calculations at the time of the transaction?
I know you think your way is easier to implement, but I still disagree. A constant reward for miners and the following formula to check the balance of an output is much easier.

What I thought was necessary for libbitcoin (didn't test anything)

1)
We replace int64 CTxOut::getValue() for

int64 CTxOut::getValue(int nHeight) {
   return this.nValue - (this.nValue * DEMURRAGE_RATE * (nHeight - this.blockNumber));
}

2) replace

int64 static GetBlockValue(int nHeight, int64 nFees)
{
 int64 nSubsidy = 50 * COIN;

 // Subsidy is cut in half every 4 years
 nSubsidy >>= (nHeight / 210000);

 return nSubsidy + nFees;
}

for

int64 static GetBlockValue(int nHeight, int64 nFees)
{
 int64 nSubsidy = 50 * COIN; //or another constant
 return nSubsidy + nFees;
}

or something like this if you want the max base to be issued faster. I find my solution simpler and cleaner than yours. Also better for miners and the security of the network. Please, reconsider that decision too.

I don't want to seem distrustful, but I've already spent many hours promoting the concept and if I promote your campaign and then it ends up in nothing...that would be very harmful for all my previous efforts, adding "scam" connotations to the name of the currency itself.
I would prefer to code freicoin instead of the shit I code at work, but I don't care if you get pay to do it.
It's not about the credit neither. I don't like articles like this one in which "Freicoin, created by NASA engineers...", but seriously, is not about the credit.

For me It's all about the success of Freicoin.

When I see it working I will be happy to give up the domain freicoin.org, give you the small bounty I store and thank you a lot.
But until now I've only seen posts from you. I don't even know if you're a NASA scientist or a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

I hope you can understand my worries.

2 different forms of free-money: Freicoin (free of basic interest because it's perishable), Mutual credit (no interest because it's abundant)
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July 02, 2012, 07:22:24 PM
 #120

@jtimon, as it stands now we have enough to finish the minimal Freicoin client (based on Bitcoin-Qt, not Armory) and release it without any fan-fare or associated services. And we will, even if donations stop today.

That's great!  Make sure to at least post an update here once you code it up so people can start testing it out.
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