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Old 05-16-2011, 05:08 PM   #1
dmross
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Default Bitcoin: global peer-to-peer currency system

No longer a fringe cyber idea. It's going viral.

http://launch.is/blog/l019-bitcoin-p...t-weve-ev.html
Quote:
L019: Bitcoin P2P Currency: The Most Dangerous Project We've Ever Seen
Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 12:37PM

by Jason Calacanis and the LAUNCH team

A month ago I heard folks talking online about a virtual currency called bitcoin that is untraceable and un-hackable. Folks were using it to buy and sell drugs online, support content they liked and worst of all -- gasp! -- play poker.

Bitcoin is a P2P currency that could topple governments, destabilize economies and create uncontrollable global bazaars for contraband.

I sent the 30 or so producers of my show This Week in Startups out to research the top players, and we did a show on Bitcoin on May 10. Since that time the number of bitcoin stories has surged.

After month of research and discovery, we’ve learned the following:

1. Bitcoin is a technologically sound project.
2. Bitcoin is unstoppable without end-user prosecution.
3. Bitcoin is the most dangerous open-source project ever created.
4. Bitcoin may be the most dangerous technological project since the internet itself.
5. Bitcoin is a political statement by technotarians (technological libertarians).*
6. Bitcoins will change the world unless governments ban them with harsh penalties.


Let’s Make Some Predictions
============
We are 100% certain that governments will start banning bitcoins in the next 12 to 18 months. Additionally, we’re certain bitcoins will soar in value and a crush of folks will flood the system and start using them.

Currently there are 6M coins at $6.70 each for a total economy of about $40M. Bitcoin speculation and hoarding will also cause a massive spike in bitcoin value. For example, if 10M people find out about bitcoins in the next year and want to buy $100 worth, $1B will be infused into the bitcoin economy.

Finally, there will be massive breakage in bitcoins. If your laptop crashes and you didn’t back up your bitcoins, well, you’re SOL. If someone steals you laptop that has 10,000 bitcoins on it you won on Bitcoin Poker, you’re SOL. Lost your USB drive with 500 bitcoins on it after a night out on the town? You’re SOL.

Sites like 99designs, eLance and oDesk will start accepting bitcoins for payment. If they don’t, they will face competition from folks who do.

Bottom line: The world is going to be turned over by bitcoins unless governments step in and ban them by prosecuting individuals.

This is about to get really interesting, everyone.


Relevant content starts at 7min mark (I've added a time seek to the url for your convenience)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwNfBgwbqng#t=7m


Official site:
http://www.weusecoins.com/



CN: nerds create un-hackable (so far) peer-to-peer currency system with built in algorithm for scarcity, reality slowly becomes a 90's cyberpunk novel
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:11 PM   #2
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I want to hear Q's take on this.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmross View Post
CN: nerds create un-hackable (so far) peer-to-peer currency system with built in algorithm for scarcity, reality slowly becomes a 90's cyberpunk novel
Bolded the important part. Nothing is unhackable
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:15 PM   #5
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This thread isn't complete until MKS blows his chartload over it.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:27 PM   #6
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I don't get it...especially the mining part. And why are they not based on an actual current currency? Having common folk trying to determine if it is worth it to buy something for 3 bitcoins or buy it on Amazon for $10.

So far, it looks like the article in the OP is just hype or conspiracy theory crap.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:31 PM   #7
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How do I use this to get rich?
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:33 PM   #8
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Sounds like something that no one besides nerdy people would trust, and is therefore doomed to stay small or fail.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=C=- View Post
I don't get it...especially the mining part. And why are they not based on an actual current currency? Having common folk trying to determine if it is worth it to buy something for 3 bitcoins or buy it on Amazon for $10.

So far, it looks like the article in the OP is just hype or conspiracy theory crap.
This was my initial reaction too. Keep reading, watch video.

It's a purely fiat currency, the algorithm ensures scarcity and market will determine value. It is real, it exists. One of the developers who is interviewed mentions that he is invited by the CIA to speak about it next month at an In-Q-Tel conference.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:40 PM   #10
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I don't get it either. How do you create new bitcoins that have some value?

edit: I watched the video and read the mining section, but I still don't get it. All I got was that you create these somehow using a graphics card. Do you produce something with some real value, or is the "mining" just a way to limit supply? If the latter, how do you stop people with advanced computer skills from easily mass-producing bitcoins?

To me, if you wanted to start a global cybercurrency, it would make more sense to have it based on gold stored in 1 or more secure locations. You would convert your USD, Euros, yen, or whatever at the current exchange rate and then have a credit at the bank that you could use to do exchanges with other members. One unit might be--just as an example--one gram of gold, or a "gramau," currently worth about $US50
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMP RUN View Post
Sounds like something that no one besides nerdy people would trust, and is therefore doomed to stay small or fail.
It's not going to 'take off', for a couple reasons.

-It will be 'hacked' or otherwise undermined.
-Like everything else on the internet, as soon as it becomes remotely popular, alternative 'Bitcoin' type services will become available, each competing and stealing business from another.
-Obligatory no one cares about nerd money reason.

Question...how and why is this at all dangerous?
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:45 PM   #12
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It seems that it's largely governed by the power costs of generating the bitcoins. I think folks are assuming that computing power is free, but they're talking about using a laptop to generate a block of 50 bitcoins taking 5-10 years. It's an investment opportunity to bind a ****-ton of GPUs together to create the currency. You better be really good at math to see if it's worth it or not

This is pretty interesting the more I look into it...

-*
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:46 PM   #13
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I don't understand it but I think it's cool.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:46 PM   #14
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grain of wiki salt...

Quote:
Generating bitcoins

The Bitcoin network creates and distributes a batch of new bitcoins approximately six times per hour at random to somebody running the software with the "generate coins" option selected. Any user can potentially receive a batch by running it, or an equivalent program specialized for the equipment the user owns. Generating bitcoins is often referred to as "mining", a term analogous to gold mining.[4] The probability that a given user will receive a batch depends on the computing power he contributes to the network relative to the computing power of all nodes combined.[22] The amount of bitcoins created per batch is never more than 50 BTC (plus transaction fees), and the awards are programmed to decrease over time down to zero, such that no more than 21 million will ever exist.[15] As this payout decreases, the motive for users to run block-generating nodes is expected to change to earning transaction fees.

All generating nodes of the network are competing to be the first to find a solution to a cryptographic problem about their candidate-block, a problem that requires repetitious trial and error. When a node finds such a valid solution, it announces it to the rest of the network and claims a new batch of bitcoins. Peers receiving the new solved-block validate it before accepting it, adding it to the chain. Nodes can employ their CPUs using the standard client or use other software to take advantage of their GPUs.[15][23][24] Users can also generate bitcoins collectively.[25]

So that one block gets generated every ten minutes, each node separately readjusts the difficulty of the problem it tries to solve every two weeks according to any changes of the collective CPU-power of the peer-to-peer network.[citation needed]
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:50 PM   #15
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**** this. I don't even like buying XBL points.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:52 PM   #16
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I don't get it.

So my computer needs to be processing _____ when not in use, like folding at home?

And I can get free "money" by doing this...

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Old 05-16-2011, 05:54 PM   #17
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Basically you are trading "huge magic numbers". Since there are only a limited number of "solutions/coins" that fit the definition parameters, there is a potential market surrounding it. As long as enough people agree upon the value, this has potential to impact the use of regular currency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kebo View Post
It's not going to 'take off', for a couple reasons.

-It will be 'hacked' or otherwise undermined.
-Like everything else on the internet, as soon as it becomes remotely popular, alternative 'Bitcoin' type services will become available, each competing and stealing business from another.
-Obligatory no one cares about nerd money reason.

Question...how and why is this at all dangerous?
This is dangerous because it threatens the power base of the people who REALLY pull the strings. Every day, a group of people are making money off of each and every transaction taking place. This system seeks to impact that by creating a "cash" system for the future.

It's bit-torrent for money. There is no way to freeze accounts or stop the flow. I can give you something of value to someone on the other side of the planet with no one in between to monitor where it either side of the transaction took place or the real locations or identities of either party.

This is pretty huge.

-*
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:55 PM   #18
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It's interesting and seems to be entirely based on the belief of bitcoin value in that there's no exchange rates such as dollars to Euros. I know you could attempt to say that about dollars, but we know that if we bring cash to the store we can buy goods. If someone wants to send me 5 bitcoins for a guitar but I think bitcoins are rubbish, then it's a worthless system. They really have to get people to believe in these having any sort of value for them to be adopted in any real sense. Otherwise, it's all arbitrary.

Not having an actual account held anywhere but your hard drive is scary, too, with how often people recycle computers, hard drives fail, etc. If your bank account disappeared every time your computer **** the bed, you'd probably not use that bank account.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protege Menace View Post
I don't get it.

So my computer needs to be processing _____ when not in use, like folding at home?

And I can get free "money" by doing this...

Nerd "money". I think.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scaryfastskier View Post
How do I use this to get rich?
I still can't come up with a solution to this.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:56 PM   #20
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So initially you can "mine" bitcoins based on how much computing power you have, but after all 21 million have been issued they can only be used as a medium of exchange. Their "value" will be entirely fiat (not based on any real economic good) and thus will fluctuate entirely according to whether other nerds are willing to accept them or not. It seems as if illiquidity could be serious problem, eg

"DanboTheManbo Dan Tren
I'm desperate to shift the 867 #bitcoin I have - who'll give me $6700 for em?"
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:06 PM   #21
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CN: if your not rich enough to have a nice computer your SOL.

So its kinda like our currency right now
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorNick View Post
CN: if your not rich enough to have a nice computer your SOL.
If you're not educated enough to have a nice vocabulary, you're SOL.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:09 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protege Menace View Post
If you're not educated enough to have a nice vocabulary, you're SOL.
Grammar is vocabulary?
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protege Menace View Post
If you're not educated enough to have a nice vocabulary, you're SOL.
Quote:
Originally Posted by delongedoug View Post
Grammar is vocabulary?
bazinga
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:11 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Child View Post
Basically you are trading "huge magic numbers". Since there are only a limited number of "solutions/coins" that fit the definition parameters, there is a potential market surrounding it. As long as enough people agree upon the value, this has potential to impact the use of regular currency.
-How/Why would people agree on the value?
-If you use these to purchase a good or service...how does that in any way help the one providing it? A company can't pay their employees in bitcoins, they can't pay their bills in bitcoins...so unless some massive shift takes place, it is essentially an online-only barter system.

Quote:
This is dangerous because it threatens the power base of the people who REALLY pull the strings. Every day, a group of people are making money off of each and every transaction taking place. This system seeks to impact that by creating a "cash" system for the future.
-You don't think someone will come along and undermine this new system?
-You still didn't answer how this threatens that power base. The simple existence of another type of trade or currency does not threaten the rich. When Amazon started issuing 'amazon money'...gift cards...did the wealthy of the world start peeing their pants?

Quote:
It's bit-torrent for money. There is no way to freeze accounts or stop the flow. I can give you something of value to someone on the other side of the planet with no one in between to monitor where it either side of the transaction took place or the real locations or identities of either party.
So it's like money. You realize that cash is peer-to-peer, right? And you can transfer it electronically? Or you can hand it to someone? Or mail it? Fedex?

There are people in actual legitimate (and otherwise) professions, whose whole job every day is to move money electronically from one account to another.

Quote:
This is pretty huge.

-*
I don't see at all how this is huge. In fact, I'm wondering how this is any different from money in a game like WoW...except that you can buy and sell WoW money for actual cash.

It seems like the whole 'hugeness' of this whole thing is the hugeness of the assumptions that this is going to become a massively popular thing where people will be buying and selling actual goods and services using Bitcoin.
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