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Comment Re:They're just used as a transaction mechanism (Score 1) 600

With Mtgox (Japan-based), the largest exchange, you can use a service called Dwolla to transfer money from your US bank account to the exchange. They also accept bank transfers from many countries (but not the US.) There is a service called Liberty Reserve (Costa Rica-based.) You can also deposit cash at places like CVS and Walmart through a service called BitInstant.

Comment Re:They're just used as a transaction mechanism (Score 1) 600

IE - government can force Visa and Mastercard to shut down all bitcoin exchanges whenever they want to, effectively killing the currency for all intents and purposes. They only reason they don't do this is because it is not relevant enough to care.

Bitcoin exchanges don't accept Visa or Mastercard. Paypal specifically disallows its use for Bitcoin.

Comment Re:Third-party topics for third-party candidates (Score 4, Insightful) 221

From the NBC/WSJ link you posted, this is the poll question they asked:

"There are many important issues in this presidential campaign. When it comes to deciding for whom you will vote for president, which one of the following is the single most important issue in deciding for whom you will vote? The economy. Social issues and values. Social Security and Medicare. Health care. The federal deficit. Foreign policy and the Middle East. Terrorism." If "all": "Well, if you had to choose the most important issue, which would you choose?"

Climate change, the drug war, and civil liberties aren't even options in the poll! You can't use a poll that doesn't allow these options to conclude that people don't care about these options.

Comment Re:Why ever use Bitcoin in the first place? (Score 1) 232

Bitcoin enables a person, anywhere on Earth, to receive computer-based services from anyone anywhere on Earth, very quickly and with very little charged in transaction fees. Additionally you can send large amounts of money anywhere on Earth without incurring what banks charge for international wire transfer fees. I think it will also be good for micropayments - a website that wants to charge its visitors 15 cents doesn't have any good way of doing this presently without being destroyed by credit card fees.

Comment Re:Why ever use Bitcoin in the first place? (Score 1) 232

A stolen briefcase can be broken into, a stolen encrypted Bitcoin wallet file with a secure password cannot. Additionally, Bitcoin is supposed to be introducing two-factor authentication soon, which would, for example, require keys from both a smartphone and a PC to decrypt a wallet and send Bitcoin payments. While it's possible and feasible to make and distribute a trojan that could infect a computer and both copy the wallet.dat file and log keystrokes to determine the wallet password, it would be incredibly harder to do so on both of a single person's computer and smartphone. Whether that is easy enough and safe enough for the masses remains to be seen.

Comment Re:Why ever use Bitcoin in the first place? (Score 1) 232

The difference is that most of the reasons that people have for accepting silver/gold certificates instead of actual gold/silver coins do not apply to Bitcoin. Bitcoin can be carried anywhere (and sent anywhere in the world) without a weight or volume problem. You don't have to physically travel to a Treasury office to redeem Bitcoin certificates for real Bitcoins. You don't have to worry about counterfeit Bitcoins as you might with gold/silver coins. With a moderate amount of encryption and backup you don't have to worry about them being stolen from your computer.

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