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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.

Comment: Strong AI is Inevitable (Score 1) 113

by gox (#46078859) Attached to: Google Buys UK AI Startup Deep Mind

As a human, I might value myself or my loved ones, and might want to reduce suffering and increase happiness for all, but at the grandest level, I don't know why I should value "the human" and "humanity" as models.

The transition does not need to be oppressive in nature, especially if what comes next is much brighter. They will be the normative continuation of us, so they might even want to keep some of us as pets.

I think the worry comes from the belief that there really is no reason to care for humans. But then why do we? It's best we figure this out sooner than later.

Comment: Re:On the Early player advantage (Score 3, Insightful) 174

by gox (#45631425) Attached to: How a Bitcoin Transaction Actually Works

There is nothing special about 1s and 0s in a computer, Bitcoin's entire design is about how we can consume as many resources as possible to create them, when in truth they could be created out of thin air. (just like US Dollars are)

First of all, the resources are not used to create the coins, they are used to support the distributed notarization system. Even if no coins were being issued, you would need the same process, and indeed it is slowly becoming the case as the block reward drops. So the "created out of thin air" bit doesn't have any relevance to the proof of work requirement. That's a common misconception that even Paul Krugman got wrong.

At this point, we (as humanity) don't know a better way to create a decentralized notarization system, but there are some candidates. After any of these are proven to be secure enough, Bitcoin can make the let go of the proof of work scheme. Until then, it's not fair to say that Bitcoin consumes as many resources as possible, even though within the system that might be true.

Comment: Bitcoin is not "not anonymous" (Score 2) 287

by gox (#45572853) Attached to: RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin

No system can guarantee anonymity. Bitcoin transactions are completely traceable. On contrast, DigiCash transactions were completely untraceable. However, neither of these statements tells us about how much anonymity one can achieve using them.

When you buy Bitcoin from a company by identifying yourself to them, and then directly transfer the money to, say, a publicly known donation address of Wikileaks, you surely are perfectly identifiable. However, anything slightly more complicated than this quickly becomes impractical to analyze. Even with a considerable amount of data, scientists who claim they can trace identities screw up:

http://www.businessinsider.com/silk-road-satoshi-paper-retraction-2013-11

Sure, they can use the system to try to gather some statistics about usage or try to infiltrate Bitcoin services to accumulate as much personal data as possible, but it's quite easy to fool these systems and people who have something to worry about can figure these out easily.

Let's begin seeing Bitcoin for what it is: A distributed decentralized notarization system. That's all there is to it. You can build all sorts of features on top of this. There are already implemented anonymization solutions, both third party and protocol-level, that work on top of Bitcoin. Or, maybe, what you want is some payment system that supports chargebacks? Sure, that is easy to implement on top of an irreversible payment system; Bitcoin supports different signature schemes at the protocol level. Maybe you don't need a payment system, but want to notarize a document? Sure, you can even use the blockchain to copyright your work. So an and so forth.

Comment: Re:Tulips (Score 1) 537

by gox (#45554443) Attached to: Why Bitcoin Is Doomed To Fail, In One Economist's Eyes

There has been two great "Bitcoin Panic"s till now, so you are looking forward to the third. The one in 2011 was regarded mostly as the end of the Bitcoin adventure, and among the many different intensities of death, that one lasted the longest.

What we have seen in the past, is that this sort of meteoric rise inevitably forces the infrastructure too much and some of it breaks, which results in some sort of panic and pronunciations of a dream's demise. Those who believe in the currency's future continue working on the systems, and in the meantime accumulate more bitcoins. After a while, the system becomes more resilient, and the market moves on. During the next economic crisis, more people get interested in Bitcoin and begin pushing it more and more into the mainstream, until it inevitably breaks again.

I don't see any difference this time. I think this cycle will repeat itself until it has reached every corner of the world. After that, it's anyone's guess. The structure will be resilient enough, but then again, there won't be any new potential interest. It will depend on whether people really want to trade in such a currency.

Comment: Re:Good thing I didn't invest. (Score 1) 157

by gox (#45483757) Attached to: Cyprus University Accepts Bitcoin For Tuition Fee Payments

It was good advice at the time. The chances of it being so successful were rather slim.

Maybe, but we aren't talking about pure randomness or pure ignorance of facts here. The fact that most people had no insight into the matter doesn't make it automatically unpredictable. We still don't know how things will turn out about this sort of currency eventually, but I'm pretty sure that it will look very predictable "in hindsight". In other words, whoever had the correct assumptions in the first place had the right insight, and it wasn't random. I guess this applies to all sorts of unprecedented technology or social movement.

The above doesn't apply to me personally though, I supported Bitcoin because I'm an anarchist, and I suppose, a Kantian. Investment minded people apparently thought it was a good bet, because the result seems binary, that is, it will either catch on and gain massive value or fail. Then it's not a difficult choice. Even after it gained some value, you could still use the same reasoning because the probability for its utter failure got lower.

Comment: Re:Shortsighted (Score 1) 276

by gox (#45431071) Attached to: Bitcoin Hits $400 Ahead of Senate Hearing On Virtual Currency

incentivization of crime increases exponentially

No, it doesn't.

Sounds like a good deal to me.

Yes, robbing a bank is so easy, and the only possible measure against it is making it a crime for anyone to make a monetary transaction without the State knowing.

my incentivization for robbing banks is now HUGE, because even if I get caught, I will still be able to keep my proceeds

Why? Because there wasn't a way to hide cash before?

Bottom line is, you shall not be responsible for other people's crimes, and there is no duty that falls on you for the prevention of those crimes. If you haven't committed a crime, you should be able to do whatever you please with your possessions without having to prove any party that you have been innocent.

Think about this... If we install a camera in every home, and every street corner, and monitor every conversation and every monetary transaction, how much evil we can prevent!!! Crime will be almost reduced to zero. Almost, because since working against these measures of pure good has to become a crime itself (e.g. AML regulations), we have to fight people who don't obey.

Comment: Re:Temporary problem (Score 1) 256

by gox (#45334461) Attached to: Bitcoin Protocol Vulnerability Could Lead To a Collapse

Bitcoin mining is not invented to extract bitcoins, it's to ensure the security of the network. Adding an extra reward was a clever way to distribute the coins initially, but it has nothing to do with how the network functions. It was also an incentive for early adoption. While the "extra" reward diminishes in time, miners will be increasingly incentivized by the transaction fees. As the number of transactions increase and as the miners stop processing transactions with low fees, this system should converge to an optimal point.

As far as I can tell, the proposed attack won't work, not because mining will be phased out, but because it requires unrelated miners to cooperate publicly in a way that is harmful to the network. Not saying it's not gonna happen, but you don't really have to be altruistic in order not to want to destroy Bitcoin for a small increase in profit. Many people and entities involved in mining are likely to have a lot to lose if Bitcoin goes down.

Comment: Re:Energy shouldn't be cheap. (Score 1) 776

Our entire systems are based on the paradigm of production and consumption. Even if the peoples of the world began acting so contrary to their education and upbringing, there would need to be a tremendous change in balance of power throughout the globe for what you say to become the norm.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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