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Comment Re:"Cashless" is meaningless (Score 2) 294 294

Certainly possible. Ecuador had plans to do that, but I don't know how it went.

However, I think states around the world will prefer having an extra layer of protection in the form of licensed private entities, and this system is pretty much already established, particularly in favor of the western world.

Citizens are required to use one of these, they can still be made worthless but the bureaucrat(s) in your example will be shielded from any potential backlash.

You don't need to pass laws to change the world into whatever you favor and you won't even risk being the bad guy. Everyone will continue to hate banks and intermediaries, but their place will continue to be guaranteed. Similar to the current state of affairs, but more efficient.

Comment Re:"Cashless" is meaningless (Score 1) 294 294

5. Government can control you if you do not have access to your own money, and it can prevent you from doing anything they don't like and punish you for doing anything they don't approve of.

They already can do that, so I think it's important to clarify the distinction. Governments do not handle your money directly, but they restrict you to licensed entities, like banks, payment processors, etc. These entities are subject to broadly defined rules which make them responsible about not only identified crimes, but potential future crimes. On top of that, in many countries these entities are aligned to particular political groups, and in the case of multinational entities, foreign powers or international organizations. Basically, you can be instantly screwed because of your behavioral pattern or political activity, without being charged with any crime.

I don't think we will be "fucked" in the sense that confiscations will be prevalent. We will and do adjust our behavior and expectations from life. We will and do move to a monopolar world much faster than everyone imagines.

Comment Re:"everyone from PayPal merchants to Rand Paul" (Score 1) 67 67

What I said does not have anything to with people using Bitcoin in their morally questionable endeavors.

I however said that Bitcoin does not require a centralized power's backing. Not only that, it is allergic to that sort of thing.

You can buy a gun with Bitcoin and kill a man. However, using it by itself does not require guns or killing.

Comment Re:"everyone from PayPal merchants to Rand Paul" (Score 3, Interesting) 67 67

Bitcoin is an experiment in getting people to agree on something (be it notarization, settlement or just exchange value) without the need for a central enforcer.

It's not a bug, it's a feature, i.e. you won't see Bitcoin bombing children to "reinforce" the position of its currency. No one should be surprised that this brings many limitations with it.

So no matter what the majority of Bitcoin community thinks, it's a collective experiment and will always depend on actions that are just for the sake of it succeeding. Network effect just won't cut it. Fortunately, there is a lot that makes sense in leaving behind central enforcers and decision makers.

Another problem I find in your analysis is, publicized thefts and the mechanics of Bitcoin are completely separate. There is plenty of way to go, but the currently lacking advancements in these areas are naturally complementary.

Comment Re:Not many devices (Score 1) 56 56

I assumed wonkey_monkey is talking about making smartphones temporarily offline. So it does become online with your consent. It could also connect without you even noticing.

Also, any device is vulnerable, but not equally. A lot needs to happen for the encrypted data on my old laptop with no wi-fi capability to leak out.

Comment Re:Not many devices (Score 1) 56 56

I don't think anyone would go through all this trouble for security, it is just a geek entertainment thing.

Having said that, keeping around an offline device for secure storage is not too bad an idea. If you have a RasPi lying around, it's all you need to generate secure keys, store 2FA secrets, and anything else that is best preserved cold.

Comment Re:I agree (Score 3, Interesting) 111 111

all of the protections disappear with bitcoin type anonymity

Reversing transactions requires arbitration, which is quite possible with or without anonymity (although, you wouldn't want to provide delivery receipts for physical items if you need to remain anonymous).

Actually, decentralized & pseudonymous systems like OpenBazaar which work with Bitcoin provide trustless (i.e. the notary can't steal your funds, unlike a trusted escrow) arbitration services. This sort of opt-in protection is better than what you get with Mastercard, but considering the technology is immensely more complex than what is used in centralized systems and that it is mostly open source (negligible funding), more time is needed until it matures.

I have no need of anonymous financial transactions for credit cards.

I would agree with this. Most of the problems with credit cards is because they are pull payments. The fraud levels would be immense if it became anonymous.

It's very convenient to not be required to give out personal info to prove you are not a fraud, though. It's also good for security: no "pull payment" info to steal when one of the companies you work with has a data breach. So I think from the consumer's perspective it is better in the case of push payments.

Comment Re:Bitcoin... (Score 1) 353 353

Bitcoin was already around, but Wikileaks didn't use it until 6 months into the blockade. Haven't read it myself, but here's a foonote from Assange's new book:

On the day of the conversation [with Eric Schmidt], Bitcoin had risen above the US dollar and reached price parity with the Euro. By early 2014 it had risen to over $1,000, before falling to $430 as other Bitcoin-derived competing crypto-currencies started to take off. WikiLeaks’ strategic investments in the currency saw more than 8,000 percent return in three years, seeing us through the extralegal US banking blockade.

Here, they are saying that it makes up the majority of public funding (as of Jan 2014 though).

Comment Re:No real surprise (Score 1) 710 710

I am frequently labeled as a socialist too. The "they" is just my lazy writing. I see a lot of people who complain about some other people killing the planet, and I don't really see them doing anything about it. At most, tricks that don't amount to anything; no real lifestyle changes that are actually necessary if we want to affect things. Maybe it's an unrealistic generalization, but this study at least seemingly supports my general impression. I'm not saying the attitude is derived from socialism, but rather that people who think this way incline towards socialism.

For a few years, I lived without a car, stopped eating expensive food (and meat altogether), stopped going on unnecessary trips and tried using the environment I live in optimally. People around me, most of who are "concerned" (unlike me btw.), typically continued consuming expensive "organic" food, bought new cars and bigger houses, had kids and increased their diet of expensive trips. The most striking thing about the experiment to me was the fact that people began to talk less about environmental concerns with me, presumably because of the sudden tangibility of the attached obligations.

Regarding your case; if you are increasing your financial savings by consuming less of something, then the incentive is already there. If savings were to be the only concern though, it would mean that you are only delaying the consumption until your retirement anyway, so there is no net gain. At that point, you are still a 'dupe' for not enjoying your final years if you are not going on a cruise with your lady. Or you are just a principled person whose values are not dependent on other people's behavior.

Comment Re:No real surprise (Score 1) 710 710

I don't think they are after a meritocracy. I'd argue that in a meritocracy, people would try to be a proof of concept for their proposed lifestyle.

Instead, the problem is good old cognitive dissonance. Basically, since they believe in the evils of the tragedy of commons so deeply, even if they claim to want to eliminate it, they do still want it to be an immense barrier that can only be taken down by the will of all the peoples united under a hierarchy of wise men. To them, saving individually is irrelevant, as others won't do it until forced anyway. It's a drop in the ocean, so not worth it.

I know very few people who identify themselves as socialists, that will act individually towards a common good regardless of what others are doing. Most just want others to act first. Actually, not wanting to be the dupe is the main source of their socialistic outlook, and it is also the main weakness of this sort of ideology.

Comment Re:Anonymous cryptocurrency, who to trust? (Score 4, Interesting) 228 228

the question is who can you possibly trust with something that can be so easily disappeared.

The answer is to never assign trust in a single point. That's the whole reason Bitcoin was designed for, and these thefts really show how backwards we are with regards to the technology we have.

Surprisingly few people actually know this, but Bitcoin addresses are actually little programs that calculate the required criteria to move money out of the "address". It's purposefully Turing incomplete. The simplest defense against malevolent or incompetent parties is to require multiple signatory entities. For instance, one could be the deposit institution itself, another party for dispute resolution (e.g. a lawyer), and finally the customer. You can require only two of three signatures to move the amount so that the customer can extract the money with the help of the arbiter even if the deposit institution disappears.

Other, more sophisticated solutions are also possible, and some of the businesses themselves can even become transparently automated. However, it seems like it won't be that easy to get there, even though the crucial technology is already available.

Bus error -- please leave by the rear door.