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

by gox (#49454239) Attached to: MIT May Help Lead Bitcoin Standards Effort

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

by gox (#49454039) Attached to: MIT May Help Lead Bitcoin Standards Effort

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

by gox (#49410873) Attached to: How To Make a Bitcoin Address With a TI-89 Calculator

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

by gox (#49409333) Attached to: How To Make a Bitcoin Address With a TI-89 Calculator

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

by gox (#48512597) Attached to: MasterCard Rails Against Bitcoin's (Semi-)Anonymity

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

by gox (#48360091) Attached to: Online Payment Firm Stripe Boots 3D Gun Designer Cody Wilson's Companies

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

by gox (#47458721) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

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

by gox (#47454865) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

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

by gox (#46444029) Attached to: Hackers Allege Mt. Gox Still Controls "Stolen" Bitcoins

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.

Comment: Re:How long would it take (Score 1) 126

by gox (#46422971) Attached to: Police Say No Foul Play In Death of Bitcoin Exchange CEO Autumn Radtke

I agree with most of your analysis, but I think you are overlooking the fact that the number of lost coins per a constant time interval is likely to shrink with the money supply, assuming you aren't also shrinking the user base. You will likely see a percentage of the total money supply lost per year, and that will almost certainly get lower with better use of the technology.

it is an endgame few people have talked about.

The reason you don't see it come up very often is that it is not an endgame, but rest assured that it is being talked about at least since Bitcoin first appeared on Slashdot.

However, one problem could be the uncertainty caused by the amount of coins that stop moving, so I would agree that having an overwhelming majority of coins in "probably lost" status is not desirable.

Comment: Re:How long would it take (Score 2) 126

by gox (#46420233) Attached to: Police Say No Foul Play In Death of Bitcoin Exchange CEO Autumn Radtke

Actually, the unit of account called a Bitcoin is an arbitrary magnitude in unit value used in the network, and it is actually represented by the number 100000000. So, considering you currently have 12.5 * 10^14 units in circulation, even removing the overwhelming majority of units won't be enough. If push comes to shove, you can just update the protocol and add a variable integer coefficient.

Whether there will be massive deflation after stability, or whether there will be any stability remains to be seen, but until then, considering the huge volatility the current market endures (more than 10x price increase two years in a row), even removing half of the money supply overnight probably wouldn't make a huge difference. Besides, deflation depends on people wanting to hold the currency, and if shrinking money supply (or any other thing really) became a problem, I imagine people wouldn't want to hold it.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel