LOL, you've never heard of civil forfeiture, have you?
It is certainly true in my area, but only for the "limited basic" cable tier, and only because the township negotiated a rate for "limited basic" that is lower than the penalty they charge you for going internet-only. None of the "triple plays" are cheaper than internet-only.
The full block chain has been growing at an average of 700 MB/month the past year. At the cost of my last hard drive purchase, that is 2.5 cents a month. If I save mailing one paper check, that pays for two years of block chain storage (49 cents for postage, and 20 cents for check printing and envelope). I can deal with that flaw for a while. Eventually people will come up with a solution. The simplest would be dedicated block chain servers, who do nothing else but store a copy, and people subscribe to using it.
Freedom is now, has always been and always will be, an illusion given to the masses to keep them pacified.
Why do you think you've lost something?
You are neglecting the "Network Effect", the reason there is only one big auction market or social network at any given time.
Bitcoin had about a three year head start on other cryptocurrencies, therefore the client software is better developed, more merchants accept it, more users have wallet apps on their smartphones, etc. Your statement about "nothing prevents a new one popping up" is true, and has already happened: http://coinmarketcap.com/
They list 53 coins so far, but the top two, bitcoin and litecoin, represent 98% of the total market value. It's definitely possible for another coin to be a better product, and eventually overtake bitcoin, but it won't happen next week. I expect it to take years to overcome the leader's head start.
> The inability to charge back is the #1 reason that prevents any consumer from perceiving it as a safe currency against vendor fraud.
Although they dealt in illegal products, the now closed Silk Road marketplace solved that problem. They had to, because vendor fraud is an especially high risk buying an illegal product online from an unknown seller. The solution was simple. The Silk Road held the payment in escrow until the buyer reported receipt and posted a positive review. A seller that racked up too many negative reviews (a) didn't get paid, and (b) stopped having customers. That was a good enough incentive that very few people got screwed over, reportedly less than with in-person deals.
It's true that bitcoin transactions are irreversible, but that does not stop you from using a third party who can send the money back. Think of it as programmable money. At an assembler language level, moving data from one memory location to another is not reversible when you only look at a single line of code. But nothing prevents creating more complex results by using longer programs. Similarly, you can build more complex payment methods on top of the atomic one way transactions. In fact, the bitcoin protocol has scriptable transactions with conditional events, though they are rarely used so far. People are too busy building payment networks and smartphone apps so you can more easily use it. They haven't had time to do fancy transactions.
Does $100 million in merchant transactions make it real enough?
Between BitPay and Coinbase (the two large merchant processors), they have 32,000 merchants accepting bitcoin. That's nowhere near the acceptance of bank cards, but it's growing fast. And these are not just mom and pop retailers, through http://www.gyft.com/bitcoin/ you can use them a 150 major national brands,
If you are in the US, you can sign up with https://coinbase.com/ They just got $25 million of venture funding: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-12/bitcoin-startup-gets-25-million-in-andreessen-led-funding-round.html so they are not a fly by night outfit.
You have a choice to keep your bitcoins on their system, which is OK for small amounts, or transfer it to a personal "wallet" on your own computer. All bitcoin balances actually live on a distributed database called the "block chain", which every full copy of the client software audits independently. A wallet contains the private cryptographic keys that allow you to *move* a balance from your address to another one in the database. Thus wallet files are pretty lightweight, and can be backed up onto pretty much anything, including paper. Bitcoin wallets should be treated like house keys - have backup copies, but don't lose them, because then someone else can steal your stuff/bitcoins.
The distributed database is why bitcoin transactions are so cheap. A transaction is basically a message that says "Move X bitcoins from address A to address B", which is signed by your private key. The block chain database includes every past transaction, so everyone can audit your current balance simply by adding up all the past transactions for that address. If your balance is too low to cover the new transaction, it gets rejected. If it meets all the audit tests, it gets passed along to everyone else on the network. Since everyone now knows you spent your balance, you can't spend it again.
Bitcoin balances are tracked to 8 decimal places, so you don't have to deal in whole bitcoins. These days people are transitioning to reporting in millibitcoins (mBTC) since those are closer to dollars and other fiat currencies than a full bitcoin is these days.
I made this modification to my macbook pro on the first day. I don't want a camera, and it stands to reason if someone can install keyloggers on my machine, they can compromise any hardware... Unfortunately there's not much to be done for the mic without voiding warranty.
I don't want either of these features, or at least i'm willing to buy special hardware for it if I need it.
> If anything, Bitcoin is a concordant currency, its value determined by agreement.
The Bitcoin network provides a useful service - moving money from one person to another. It does it faster and cheaper than many of the alternatives, therefore people value the *network*. In order to use the network, you need some of the bitcoin currency units. Thus demand to use the network also drives demand for the currency units. Since the number of units grows slowly (1.1% per month), but the demand measured by number of merchants and online wallet accounts grows fast (25-30%/month), the price of a unit is driven up by simple supply and demand at about 25% per month.
The number of units available to buy, and the demand for those units, both vary on a daily or even minute to minute basis, thus the market rate fluctuates. But seen on longer time scales of several months or more, it sticks to the expected average growth pretty well. Events like China caused in the original article create a predictable drop in demand (people can't use their Yuan to buy bitcoins) and an increase in supply (speculators dump their coins on the market before it drops), leading to the big drop in exchange rate we have seen.
But that is a temporary disturbance in the market. Once people return to their normal use of the network to move money around, supply and demand will come into balance at a "normal" price.
Tesla's market cap is 25% of Ford's. I really wish them the best, but the stock already prices in insane growth from where they are now.
You've clearly never driven on California's roads (unlighted freeways with big potholes through major urban centers - really California?). Plus I suspect the Tesla plant mostly uses the rail line it backs up against.
Anyhow, the portion of taxes that goes to roads and police and such is a tiny fraction that no one feels bad about paying. At the federal government level its about 14% of spending, and it's similarly low at the local level. Alameda county, where the Tesla plant is, needs to spend roughly 100% of it's tax revenue on funding pensions, and borrows additional money for it's alleged road spending. The City of Fremont finally saw the light (literally) about a year ago and scaled back pensions so that they could actually budget a few bucks to keep the street lights on.
tl;dr: the roads and police are not a significant government expense.
Since it's winter in the northern hemisphere, just think of the energy going into your mining hardware as partly heating your house. So basically it offsets the other heating system you have, and thus is free (minus wear and tear on the hardware).
The effect is the same whether it's one bank acting alone or many banks acting in concert. One dollar deposited at one bank leads to a series of loans and further deposits which eventually permit 1000 banks to make 1000 $1 loans and, all together, collect $10 worth of interest. Provided, of course, that no two individuals ever ask to withdraw "their" dollars at the same time and thus bring the whole house of cards crashing down.
Out of curiosity, do the banks really need to be different, or does money deposited by a bank's loan customer count toward that bank's deposits? It was my impression that all deposits counted and there was no need for the money to pass through many distinct banks.
Well, there's not much fear of a run on the banks since the FDIC was created and backed with the money-printing power of the Fed just to prevent that - I can't think of a reason I would ever withdraw my saving as physical cash. I might spend all my savings to buy gold or land or guns, but I've never heard of even the "preppers" hoarding cash.
No, it doesn't strictly have to be a different back, it's just quite likely to be. My only point was you can only loan out the total of your deposits so it's not "free money": you have to work to convince people to deposit that money in the first place, and you won't do that without offering something of value.
would prefer a clear dividing line between demand accounts, which the bank must be prepared to pay out in full at any time (full reserves), and time accounts, which should be clearly described as investments, loans to the bank which, like any loan, may not be available for withdrawal on demand and could end in default, costing you some or all of your principle. Current practice is to mix the two types in varying proportions, from interest-bearing checking accounts to CDs guaranteed against default.
The is a clear dividing line, it's just not the one you want. A "demand account" is for all consumer purchases the same as a "checking account" - allowing banks to pay interest on those started around 2000, but the interest has no bearing on it. (And the reserve requirements are pretty low for demand accounts too, their just not 0 like savings and CDs).
It's worth noting that in the current system, there's not really a risk that you can't get your money back because of fractional reserve banking, because a bank can meet withdrawal needs short-term by just borrowing the money from the Fed, which is willing to create infinite money to meet such demand. There's not enough physical currency to go around, but again I'm not sure that's relevant any more.