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Marc Andreessen On Why Bitcoin Matters (And A Critique) 332

New submitter Ramtek writes "Marc Andreessen writes an interesting editorial on how he how he believes Bitcoin is the first practical solution to the Byzantine Generals Problem and why that is important. He also addresses many of arguments against its future by its critics such as its current limited use by ordinary consumers, its current volatility, its potential lack of acceptance by merchants, and many other issues. While politically agnostic the piece is squarely in support of Bitcoin but presents a more mature perspective than many current Bitcoin editorials." eggboard wrote in with a rebuttal: "Marc Andreessen wrote an essay in the New York Times in which he tried to make the case for Bitcoin going mainstream for payments, if not as a currency. After comparing Bitcoin to the rise of personal computers and the Internet, he tries to explain how it eliminates fraud and will solve global money transfers and the plight of the unbanked. I wrote a critique of these and other points in his essay."
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Marc Andreessen On Why Bitcoin Matters (And A Critique)

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  • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @12:22PM (#46036119)

    Oblig: http://xkcd.com/927/ [xkcd.com]

  • Bitcoin inequality (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bhlowe ( 1803290 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @12:33PM (#46036241)
    With BitCoin, the wealth of the entire system has already been largely distributed to a handful of early adopters. For a global currency, BitCoin is hoarded by a large, mostly geek community. The government doesn't have any, which is why the government will do its best to take it down.. and its easy to "take it down" by auditing any company that advertises on the web that they accept bitcoin. (Accepting BitCoin for merchandise has pretty much meant that the transaction(s) will go unreported, including taxes.)
  • Re:The Problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hodet ( 620484 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:19PM (#46036811)

    Oh boy, it really will be an education for some.

    Yes bitcoin is unstable, it is also a very new technology. Things should stabilize as the currency matures.

    No regulation is not all about disadvantages. There are many advantages as well like not being subject to the whims of a transasction processor to hold your payments or deny your business. Bitcoin fills a need but is not meant to replace every other currency out there. Crime is crime my friend. If somebody picks your pocket who do you go cry to to get your money back. Bitcoin is cash and you should be careful who you do business with.

    Bitcoins being a solution in search of a problem; I disagree, they are a solution to the many problems that plague the financial industry today. You don't see it as a problem that Visa and Mastercard take a 2% to 3% cut out of every transaction? That is billions of dollars being syphoned off of people and merchants every year just because there is no other convenient way to pay somebody besides cash. Ya, our banking system works well in first world countries but tell that to an immigrant who can't get a bank account and if forced to pay Western Union a big chunk of the remittance they are sending home to support families living in poverty. Bitcoin has the potential to divert billions to people who need it in poorer countries, to feed, clothe and shelter themselves.
    Also tell that to Argentinians who are seeing their life savings being eroded at a rate of 30% a year. Bitcoin is a safe haven for all those people who don't have the connections to store other currencies offshore. Tell them there are no problems that need a bitcoin solution
    Frankly your view on this is a first world view.

    Anonymity: Bitcoin are pseudonymous. Anonymity is not the main goal of bitcoin. They are more anonymous then paypal, visa et al. but less so then cash. But if you want to deal with Paypal and their ridiculous fees be my guest. If you like having paypal be the judge, jury and executioner of your transactions, withholding your payments, freezing your account at any whim without explanation to you then that is your right I suppose.

    Investments. Bitcoin is no doubt a high risk investment. What's the problem here, you can still buy bitcoin as you need for spending without holding large amounts. Junk bonds and penny stocks are also risky, but people still buy them. Many people invest in bitcoin because they believe in the long term potential, that is their choice, as it is yours to invest in some geek which is a noble thing to do.

    Intrinsic value; People only value US dollars because other people value it. While dollars are backed by government, bitcoin is backed by math. You can't counterfeit it, you can't create more then 21 million of them by the year 2140. It is backed by a whole community of people that believe in it and the infrastructure being built right now around it. If you assign it 0 value then that is your choice, many people feel otherwise because they see bitcoin as uncorruptible by central banks who infuse billions of dollars monthly into the econonmy out of thin air.

    I encourage you to read the whitepaper on bitcoin written by Satoshi himself (google it) , get to understand stuff before you bash it. If you think bitcoin the currency is all the rage, get to know the protocol. Wait until the protocol is used for loans and contracts. It has the potential to replace entire industries in banking and law with a 100 lines of python code.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor