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Bitcoin Currency Surpasses 20 National Currencies In Total Value 583

Velcroman1 writes "More than $1 billion worth of bitcoins now circulate on the web – an amount that exceeds the value of the entire currency stock of small countries like Liberia, Bhutan, and 18 other countries. Bitcoin is in high demand right now — each bitcoin currently sells for more than $90 U.S. — which bitcoin insiders say is because of world events that have shaken confidence in government-issued currencies. 'Because of what's going on in Cyprus and Europe, people are trying to pull their money out of banks there,' said Tony Gallippi, the CEO, which enables businesses to easily accept bitcoins as payment. 'So they buy gold, they put it under the mattress, or they buy bitcoin,' Gallippi said."

Comment Re:Crypto, value, etc. (Score 1) 398

Well, I certainly don't think its value will 'only increase'. I think that the ideal scenario has a more or less smooth S curve in which the value increases to a certain level then plateaus. After that, I would expect the value to fluctuate up and down a bit, and on average increase slowly.

Anyway, we'll likely see how it all pans out. There are enough businesses now that accept it that it's not going away in a heartbeat. And a secure way to pay for things with your smartphone with a similar level of anonymity as cash would be very nice to have.

Comment Re:What's bitcoin? (Score 1) 398

That is an interesting take. And you might be right. I'm not sure. I know that I intend to spend bitcoins. I will do that because if I don't they won't end up having any value at all. But that requires a certain amount of long-term thinking that hasn't generally characterized our modern financial institutions.

Comment Re:misuse of sentencing (Score 1) 761

Did I claim the laser pointer guy should've been charged with 60 counts of negligent homicide? I don't think so.

And the law rightly distinguishes between actions you take and things you don't take proper care with (aka negligence). Actions you purposely take that are illegal are generally punished more harshly than negligence.

You can, in fact, be charged for negligently allowing your attention to wander while driving for precisely the reason you outline.

Comment Re:Dislike (Score 1) 398

Under this system virtually all "new money" loans would come from the central bank. The central bank, being an arm of the federal government, could then control the growth or decline of the economy using a variety of tools: amount of loans, interest rates, federal spending in social programs, tax rates, etc.

This is an absolutely awful situation. Essentially a government run organization is now responsible for decided which things people want to do are worthy of extending credit for. You've suddenly killed any kind of creative or disruptive debt-based investment right there.

Comment Re:Crypto, value, etc. (Score 4, Interesting) 398

  1. 1. Crypto - It has been casually audited by several people. I know several people who've been closely associated with the cypherpunks crown who have looked the protocol over and found it fairly secure. Dan Kaminsky is one of these people. I have also personally audited it. Though I think my opinion is worth far less than the other people I've mentioned. The problem here, of course, is who do you trust to do the audit? Why?
  2. 2. Security - This is a good point. They are Open Source projects, so they are available to anyone's inspection. Some flaws have been found in the code, though none that are network breakingly serious (the block size flaw introduced in 0.8.0 is the most notorious here, but that was fairly trivial for the network to handle once it was found). More effort could go on in this area. Again though, who do you trust to do the audit? And why?
  3. 3. Obscurity - Who cares who created it? Why does it matter at all? Everything is up for public inspection. There are no hidden secrets here. For all you know, it was created by a respected cryptographer. I can well understand why someone who created a system like Bitcoin would want to remain anonymous. Phil Zimmer was certainly treated extremely poorly for having created PGP.
  4. 4. Economics - The deflation (Do not mix that up with inflation. The two effects are opposites and have a very different effect on the economy.) problem is interesting. I have not seen any convincing arguments for whether it's a blessing or a disaster. Everybody is expecting it though, and I suspect that will make it better. And while I think it will significantly hamper the availability of credit, I don't necessarily think it will stamp out investment. But those are questions that are pretty hard to answer a priori. One interesting thing is that if enough people think that deflation is really bad, the protocol can easily be altered to allow for currency creation again. But all the participants have to agree.

Comment Re:misuse of sentencing (Score 3, Insightful) 761

There are a lot of reasons for punishment. Deterrence is a valid reason. The possible harmful consequences of this action are extreme. This kind of reckless behavior could easily result in multiple deaths. I think a little bit of extreme deterrence is warranted.

Aaron Schwartz's behavior might've hurt someone's profits someday, and really didn't hurt anybody. It took up the time of a few admins who decided to try to stop him and that's about it. There is no societal need for a high level of deterrence there.

Comment Re:Don't deter it (Score 1) 687

Ahh, re-read the OP and realized my answer wasn't fully relevant. For software like that...

Release it as Open Source. Put it up on an app store someplace relevant to your target audience for a small fee. Trademark key elements of the interface to force people who try to just clone your project and sell it themselves to avoid using any of your branding.

Again, stop trying to force people to give you money. Just make it really easy for them to do so. Gentle encouragement works. Trust that people know the equation and will support you if they like what you make. Remind them if they seem to forget.

Comment Don't deter it (Score 1) 687

Charge enough for the game before you make it that you won't lose money if all the copies after you make it are pirated. That's the very best way to handle piracy. As a bonus for this strategy, you can make sure people who pre-paid get something nifty (but preferably not gameplay unbalancing) for their faith in you before you even had a product.

Barring that, just ignore it. If you can't make enough money on the game, tell people that you weren't able to make enough money to pay for your time and are thinking of leaving the business. Give figures on how much you made (not on what percent you think was pirated) so people can see that you made squat on making something decent and useful for them.

If you want to, you can try offering people who can prove they don't have a pirated copy stuff that isn't necessary to play the game, but is nifty and shows off that they bought it. This works especially well if your game has a strong online component. This works even better if there's some sort of way to allow people to purchase this item in-game for the cost of the game.

Charge for access to the server if it's an online game.

Set it up so players are solving some random problem for you by playing the game. Make money selling that solution.

Stop trying to force people to give you money. Trust in them to give you money if you make something good enough. People know how it works. And a gentle education is usually all that's needed if they forget.


Bitcoin Hits New All-time High of $32 339

Sabbetus writes "Bitcoin tops its previous all-time high of $31.91 and in doing so it proves to be quite a resilient virtual currency. To the supporters of Bitcoin this does not come as a surprise, since we have seen the likes of WordPress, Reddit and Mega embrace it. Recently Namecheap also confirmed that they will start accepting bitcoins. The new record price was reached on the same day that Mt. Gox, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, reached an agreement with CoinLab to manage the exchange's operations in the U.S. and Canada." A far cry from the end of 2011.

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