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Last post Author Topic: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?  (Read 184110 times)

40hz

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Re: Bitfloor - 4th largest bitcoin exchange shutting down indefinitely?
« Reply #225 on: April 19, 2013, 07:23:23 AM »
Ask anybody who's tried minting their own stable-resource-backed money, like the banks used to do in the good/bad old days.  

Uh-huh. Back in the late counter-culture/commune days (1969-1975) it was tried fairly often. I had...um...a friend...who was involved with some folks who made a very serious attempt at doing just that.

The only result was a rather sharp lesson in realpolitik, the mind-bogglingly awesome power of government, and what sort of response you can expect from 'authority challenged.'

That's when I lost my girlish laughter and romantic illusions about social activism. Bringing about social change is not a polite parlor game. It's a tough, often ugly, and very very real struggle at the best of times. And when it succeeds, it invariably comes with a pretty steep price tag attached.

That hasn't stopped me from still getting involved from time to time. But when I do, I no longer have any illusions about the other side playing fair or being constrained either by its own laws or constitutional limits. When sufficiently questioned and challenged, virtually every government goes into "wounded rhino" mode and viciously attacks everything in sight.

That's why I thought that the bitcoin revolutionaries and Libertarians had no idea of what they were getting themselves into if they planned on pursuing a "pirate" agenda when it came to money. Anything which might destabilize national currencies simply won't be tolerated. Period.

Quote
When I first heard of BitCoins, I said to myself that this was eventually going to happen.
It always does... :(

Yep. Always.

Something my...uh...friend learned first hand some years ago. ;)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 07:33:33 AM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #226 on: April 19, 2013, 07:45:15 AM »
And a good snippet from that article that mirrors a lot of the reasons behind BitCoins...

Quote
The Gold Reserve Act had economic ramifications far beyond national finance. At that time many contracts stipulated that their monetary terms could be demanded in gold. Such gold clauses were intended to protect against the United States devaluing the dollar.

40hz

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Re: Bitfloor - 4th largest bitcoin exchange shutting down indefinitely?
« Reply #227 on: April 19, 2013, 07:57:11 AM »
If anybody cares to read a real Libertarian wet dream novel about an economic revolution succeeding, take a gander at Schulman's book Alongside Night.

Alongside_Night_1979_Crown_Cover1.jpg

Quote
The story is set in United States experiencing economic collapse, with inflation increasing rapidly and the government struggling to keep its power. Trading in foreign currency has become illegal and many shops are subject to rationing. As a result there is a black market for most goods. The setting represents the world as Samuel Edward Konkin III conceived it would be just prior to a successful agorist revolution.

The story begins with Elliot Vreeland, son of Nobel Laureate economist Dr Martin Vreeland (an economist of the Austrian school) hearing of his father's apparent death and being rushed home from school. He discovers quickly that the death is fake, a plot concocted by his father (after receiving a tip-off) to escape arrest by the FBI who are collecting "radicals" accused by the government of worsening the economic crisis...

It's a fun read that fits right into the long tradition of picaresque storytelling. It's also less likely to get you put on a government 'watch list' than online purchases of old Loompanics titles probably will.
 :tellme:

I understand they're also making a movie which is due out in July of this year. Be interesting to see where you'll be able to catch it. I'm guessing it will end up going straight to DVD.

Stephen66515

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Re: Bitfloor - 4th largest bitcoin exchange shutting down indefinitely?
« Reply #228 on: April 19, 2013, 02:41:13 PM »
This whole BitCon Bitcoin fiasco is fun to read about :P

Stephen66515

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #229 on: April 19, 2013, 02:41:45 PM »
much the same way it once outlawed individual possession of gold coins and bullion.

wait...what?  You guys can't own gold?!  Since when? o.0

@Stephen - we can now. Couldn't for a good number of years starting in 1933 and ending in 1975. See here.

Remember, this is the land of the "free" and the home of the brave.
 (see attachment in previous post)

 ;D

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Bitfloor - 4th largest bitcoin exchange shutting down indefinitely?
« Reply #230 on: April 19, 2013, 03:09:25 PM »
I wouldn't call it a Fiasco, since I bet a few smart people are making a bundle on the fluctuations.

Just overall, a "imaginary digital new form of money"?! Really?! The main thing for me is how it "survived" this long in our "OMG Terrorist" age, except if a few Powers That Be saw a few million bucks profit by playing a Long Game.


40hz

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Re: Bitfloor - 4th largest bitcoin exchange shutting down indefinitely?
« Reply #231 on: April 19, 2013, 03:15:00 PM »
  wass0226nationalization-copy.jpg

Edvard

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Re: Bitfloor - 4th largest bitcoin exchange shutting down indefinitely?
« Reply #232 on: April 19, 2013, 06:49:00 PM »
@Mouser: In the dark recesses of my memory, I believe now it was an article from an issue of Paranoia Magazine (I was quite the conspiracy buff in my youth).  Perhaps issue #7 (I remember reading the Chappaquiddick article), the "Funny Money" article (maybe, can't read the rest on the cover scan).  

If anybody cares to read a real Libertarian wet dream novel about an economic revolution succeeding
...
@40Hz: I'm gonna have to look that one up!  Austrian economists FTW!!  :tellme:

Want a taste of mid-90's Paranoia?  They posted issue #1 for free as a celebration of their website relaunch:
http://www.paranoiam...MAGAZINE_Issue_1.pdf
Enjoy!

*edvard backs slowly out of the room with a dusty candelabra and a salacious grin*
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 07:01:50 PM by Edvard »

kyrathaba

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TaoPhoenix

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #234 on: May 06, 2013, 08:51:59 AM »
Bleh.
Bitcoins is an example of someone with IQ 150 behind the math, who will lure in the geek crowd, and someone else with IQ 180 behind the Social Construct campaign, who will fleece them to make a killing!
 ;)

40hz

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #235 on: May 06, 2013, 09:24:54 AM »
^+1! Truer words were never spoken.

And all is not well in the Brave New Utopia of crypto-currencies either:

There's now a $75 million lawsuit between Coinlab and Mt. Gox (the largest Bitcoin exchange) over a contract dispute. Coinlab was supposed to manage Mt. Gox's American and Canadian accounts. Coinlab is alleging Mt. Gox is in violation of the terms of the contract by refusing to allow Coinlab to manage these accounts, as well as for Mt. Gox's refusal to grant Coinlab adequate access to it's exchange data as agreed to in the same partnership agreement. More here.

As Forbes staff writer Kashmir Hill observed: "Lawyers are about to make a killing on Bitcoin, even if it’s not the currency they get paid in."

Yup! It's just like Cyndie Lauper so wisely sang: Money changes everything. 8)

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #236 on: May 06, 2013, 10:00:42 AM »
It's fascinating to watch, because it's all taking place rather slowly. If I were more connected and smarter in the early days etc I "shoulda/woulda" gotten my early Bitcoins then sat on them to make a living!

"Limited number of bitcoins" - so did no one else remember the story of the Black Lotus in Magic the Gathering?
8)


wraith808

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #237 on: May 06, 2013, 10:14:08 AM »
It's fascinating to watch, because it's all taking place rather slowly. If I were more connected and smarter in the early days etc I "shoulda/woulda" gotten my early Bitcoins then sat on them to make a living!

"Limited number of bitcoins" - so did no one else remember the story of the Black Lotus in Magic the Gathering?
8)



You mean that same Magic the Gathering that I paid for part of college off of my collection?

Investment = $450.  Return = $6000+, plus a pretty fun game.

kyrathaba

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #238 on: May 06, 2013, 11:20:09 AM »
Quote
You mean that same Magic the Gathering that I paid for part of college off of my collection?

Investment = $450.  Return = $6000+, plus a pretty fun game.

I'm a MTG oldster as well. Still have some killer decks. But nobody around my rural community, that I know of, plays the game.

wraith808

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #239 on: May 06, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »
Here you go.

It's pretty cool, too!

kyrathaba

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #240 on: May 06, 2013, 04:05:56 PM »
Thanks for the link. Looks pretty cool.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #241 on: May 06, 2013, 05:23:11 PM »
It's fascinating to watch, because it's all taking place rather slowly. If I were more connected and smarter in the early days etc I "shoulda/woulda" gotten my early Bitcoins then sat on them to make a living!

"Limited number of bitcoins" - so did no one else remember the story of the Black Lotus in Magic the Gathering?
8)



You mean that same Magic the Gathering that I paid for part of college off of my collection?

Investment = $450.  Return = $6000+, plus a pretty fun game.

Sure, which means you did it right, just like any "speculation", it's always possible to do it right. But then you get late "players" (in the speculation! though I see the pun!), who having finally heard about it, then do it backwards and get hosed!


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #242 on: May 06, 2013, 05:24:53 PM »
Quote
You mean that same Magic the Gathering that I paid for part of college off of my collection?

Investment = $450.  Return = $6000+, plus a pretty fun game.

I'm a MTG oldster as well. Still have some killer decks. But nobody around my rural community, that I know of, plays the game.

Exactly, meaning the "value" is becoming erratic! And even in areas that do have players, a lot of the ones I used to go to began quietly "not holding" Type 1 tourneys, thus making all of those Super Cards "valueless", which was the point I was hoping to make.


wraith808

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #243 on: May 06, 2013, 05:35:33 PM »
Exactly, meaning the "value" is becoming erratic! And even in areas that do have players, a lot of the ones I used to go to began quietly "not holding" Type 1 tourneys, thus making all of those Super Cards "valueless", which was the point I was hoping to make.

The value is as erratic as the market in anything.  There is no intrinsic value in anything, other than what the market will put on it.

mouser

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #244 on: May 11, 2013, 12:09:02 PM »
An interesting read on alternative new crypto currencies:
http://arstechnica.c...er-cryptocurrencies/

IainB

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Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins?
« Reply #245 on: June 07, 2013, 07:32:04 AM »
The Bitcoin cryptographic protocol is an unconventional agnostic and rational form of currency, not easily subject to the political whims of regulatory or policy bodies charged with controlling/manipulating monetary policy for economic benefit and/or Treasury benefit - e.g., bailing out failed/corrupt banking systems.
Here's an interesting set of discussion points by Detlev Schlichter, on the subject of conventional monetary policy:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Is present monetary policy rational?
By Detlev Schlichter On May 8, 2013

While the stance of monetary policy around the world has, on any conceivable measure, been extreme, by which I mean unprecedentedly accommodative, the question of whether such a policy is indeed sensible and rationale has not been asked much of late. By rational I simply mean the following: Is this policy likely to deliver what it is supposed to deliver? And if it does fall short of its official aim, then can we at least state with some certainty that whatever it delivers in benefits is not outweighed by its costs? I think that these are straightforward questions and that any policy that is advertised as being in ‘the interest of the general public’ should pass this test. As I will argue in the following, the present stance of monetary policy only has a negligible chance, at best, of ever fulfilling its stated aim. Furthermore, its benefits are almost certainly outweighed by its costs if we list all negative effects of this policy and do not confine ourselves, as the present mainstream does, to just one obvious cost: official consumer price inflation, which thus far remains contained. Thus, in my view, there is no escaping the fact that this policy is not rational. It should be abandoned as soon as possible.

The policy and its aims

The key planks of this policy are super low interest rates and targeted purchases (or collateralized funding) of financial assets by central banks. While various regional differences exist in respect of the extent of these programs and the assets chosen, all major central banks – the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan – have been engaged and continue to be committed to versions of this policy. Its purpose is to facilitate exceptionally cheap funding for banks and to affect the pricing of a wide range of financial assets, in particular and most directly government bonds but also mortgage bonds in the US and real-estate investment trusts and corporate securities in Japan. There is an ongoing debate in the UK and in the Euro Zone, too, about directly boosting prices of other, ‘private’ securities, that is, to have their prices manipulated upwards by direct purchases from the central banks.

To the wider public this policy is described as ‘stimulating’ growth, ‘unlocking’ the flow of credit and ‘jump-starting’ the economy. If that is indeed the aim, this policy has already failed.

We have now had almost five years of near-zero interest rates around the world. If such low interest rates were indeed the required kick-starter for the economy, we should have seen the results by now. ‘Stimulus’ is something that incites or arouses to action, a kind of ‘ignition’ that sets off processes, in this case, one assumes, a self-sustained economic recovery. But if the world economy was really fundamentally healthy and only in need of a dose of caffeine to stir it back into action, then dropping rates from around 4 to 5 percent to zero, as happened already 4 or 5 years ago, should have done the trick by now.

Defenders of the policy will argue that we would all be in much more of a bind without it but this is not the point here. This is something we can discuss when comparing costs and benefits. There is no escaping the conclusion that this policy has failed if its aim is to provide a required ignition – the stimulus – to ‘jump start’ the economy.

In support of my conclusion that this policy has failed as a ‘kick-starter’ of self-sustained growth I can quote as witnesses the very officials and experts who advocated this policy in the first place and who are still implementing it. Not a single one of the major central banks is even close to announcing the successful conclusion of these policies or is even beginning to contemplate an exit. 5 years into ‘quantitative easing’ and zero interest rates, the Fed last week began to openly consider increasing its monthly debt monetization program. Although the week ended on a bright note, at least for the professional optimists out there, as the unemployment rate came in a tad lower than expected, manufacturing data during the week was disappointing and the US economy is evidently entering another growth dip.

Still, many argue that the roughly 2 percent growth that the US economy may achieve this year is nothing to be sniffed at. Yet, for a $15 trillion dollar economy that is just $300 billion in new goods and services. In the first quarter of 2013, the Fed expanded the monetary base by $300 billion alone, and the central bank is on course for $1 trillion in new money by Christmas, while the federal government will run a close to $1 trillion deficit despite the ‘sequester’. That is very little growth ‘bang’ for a lot of stimulus ‘buck’. Self-sustained looks different.

Last week in the Euro-Zone, the ECB cut its repo rate to 0.5%, a record low. If suppressing interest rates from 3.75% in 2007 to 0.75% by 2012, has not lead to a meaningful, let alone self-sustaining recovery, or at a minimum the type of underachieving recovery that would at least allow the ECB to sit tight and wait a bit, what will another drop to 0.5% achieve?

Shamelessly, some economists and financial commentators cite high youth unemployment in countries such as Spain as a good reason to cut rates further. The image that is projected here is evidently one of countless Spanish entrepreneurs standing at the ready with their investment projects, willing and eager to employ numerous Spanish young people if only rates were 0.25% lower. Then all their ambitious investment plans would become potentially profitable, and the long promised recovery could finally commence.

The number of young Spanish people who will find employment thanks to the ECB cutting rates close to zero cannot be known but I suggest a number equally close to zero is a reasonably good guess.

The ‘benefits’ – or are they costs?

This is not to say that this policy has no effects. It even had benefits, for some.

By suppressing market yields and boosting the prices of financial assets this policy has delivered substantial windfall profits for owners of stocks, bonds, and real estate. Those who did, for example, speculate heavily on rising property prices in the run-up to the recent crisis, then were put through the wringer by the financial meltdown, now find themselves happily resurrected and restored to their previous wealth, if not more wealth, courtesy of central bank charity.

The 0.25% rate cut from the ECB may not lift many young Spaniards into employment but it surely makes ‘owning’ financial assets on credit cheaper. For every €1 billion of assets the rate cut means a €2.5 million saving per year in cost of carry, as duly noted by the big banks, ‘investment’ banks and hedge funds. After the ECB rate cut, German Bunds reached new all-time highs as did, a few days later, Germany’s main stock index.

That we are witnessing strange and dangerous deformations of the capitalist system, if we can still even call it capitalist, and that new bubbles are being blown everywhere, is not only evident by the increasingly grotesque dichotomy between a woefully underperforming real economy perennially teetering on the brink of renewed recession and a financial system, in which almost every sector is trading at record levels, but also by the fact that the high correlation among asset classes on the way up to new records is beginning to strain the minds of the economists to come up with at least marginally plausible fundamental justifications for such uniform asset inflation. ‘Safe haven’ government bonds that would usually prosper at times of economic pain are equally ‘bid only’ as are risky equities and the grottiest of high yield bonds. The common denominator is, of course, cheap money. And if cheap money for the foreseeable future is not enough, then how about cheaper money – forever?

A conflicted conscience or outright embarrassment are now stirring some financial economists to suggest that the joys of bubble finance should be brought straight to the economic war zones in the European periphery, and that in order to have a bigger impact on the ‘real’ economy, the ECB should buy private loans and other local assets in these regions and thus more directly interfere in their pricing. The manipulations of the monetary central planners are too blunt, they need to be more fine-tuned. These suggestions are dangerously wrongheaded. Extending the addiction to the monetary crack cocaine of cheap credit beyond the financial dealing rooms of London, New York and Frankfurt and to the economy’s productive heartland is not going to solve anything, at least not in the long run, and that is a timescale that may still matter to some people, at least outside of the financial industry. Spain needs nothing less than a new artificially propped up real estate boom. The aforementioned Spanish youth would only swap today’s dependency on state hand-outs for dependency on never-ending cheap-credit policies from the ECB and ongoing asset-boosting price manipulations. This has nothing whatsoever to do with sustainable growth, lasting and productive employment and real wealth creation.

The fact that trained economists today seriously contemplate these policies and are willing to dress them up as ‘solutions’ only goes to show how far the new ’entitlement culture’ on Wall Street and in the City of London, where everybody now feels entitled to cheap credit and ongoing asset-boosting policy programs as the universal cure-all, has affected economic thinking. The speculating classes are beginning to feel generous: “Hey, this free cash is great. Let’s extend it to everybody.”

Would a deflationary correction be better?

Back to our cost-benefit analysis. The defenders of the present policy will argue that without it GDP in the major economies would have dropped more, that asset prices and lending would be more depressed, and that we might even be in the middle of some dreadful debt deflation. Maybe so. But to the extent that the present GDP readings are the result of central bank pump priming and not the result of renewed growth momentum, they are simply artificial and thus ultimately unsustainable. In fact, the mere suspicion that this might be so must undoubtedly depress optimism and thus the willingness to engage in the economy and put capital at risk. Nobody knows any longer what the real state of the economy is.

While the unemployed Spanish youth may not benefit – or only very marginally so – from record high German stock prices and their own government’s renewed ability to borrow yet more and yet more cheaply – they may in fact ultimately benefit from a deflationary clear-out that would cause prices on many everyday items to drop. Deflation is not such a bad thing if you have to live on your savings or a modest, nominally fixed payment stream. Additionally, reshuffling the economy’s deck of cards could also offer opportunities. Tearing down the old structures and allowing the market to price things honestly again, according to real risks and truly available savings, may at first cause some shock but ultimately bring new possibilities. The present monetary policy is inherently conservative. It bails out those who got it wrong in the recent crisis at the expense of those who didn’t even participate in the last boom. Some Schumpeterian creative destruction is urgently needed.

I am not advocating deflation or economic cleansing for the sake of deflation and contraction, or out of some sense of economic sadism, or even out of moral considerations of any kind. However, it strikes me that what ails the economy is not a lack of money or lack of a powerful ‘kick-starting’ stimulant, and it may not suffer from unduly high borrowing costs either. Wherever borrowing costs are still high in this environment of ‘all-in’ central bank accommodation they may be high for a reason, maybe even a good one. What ails the economy are the structural impediments that are well established and that had been long in the making, such as inflexible labor markets with their permanently enshrined high unit labor costs and excessive regulation that have always protected current job-holders at the expense of those out of work or entering the labor market. Overbearing welfare systems, high tax rates and outsized public sectors have long held back major economies. Easy money that, for some time, enabled high public sector borrowing and spending, and facilitated local property booms, helped cover up these structural rigidities. Now these issues simply come to the fore again. New rounds of easy money will not make these problems disappear but only create a new illusion of sustainability.

I haven’t even touched upon the growing risk that never-ending monetary accommodation will end in inflation and monetary chaos but it is apparent already that this policy has no convincing claim on rationality. Nevertheless, it is almost certain that it will be continued.

This will end badly.

Tinman57

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Bitcoins Can Be Regulated
« Reply #246 on: August 08, 2013, 08:08:36 PM »

Quote
Sorry, libertarians: Bitcoins are currency and can be regulated under U.S. law, says judge

08.08.2013 7:11 AM

If Bitcoins are the currency of choice for a computerized Wild West, the sheriff in town is trying to impose some order.


http://www.pcworld.c...-law-says-judge.html

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Bitcoins Can Be Regulated
« Reply #247 on: August 08, 2013, 08:13:49 PM »

I wasn't surprised at that news at all. The Govt doesn't like anything to be wild-westy anymore.

40hz

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Re: Bitcoins Can Be Regulated
« Reply #248 on: August 08, 2013, 09:28:06 PM »
I wasn't surprised at that news at all. The Govt doesn't like anything to be wild-westy anymore.

It's not really quite that simple. Unregulated currencies generally don't work well. There's just too much temptation to start gaming the system without regulation. And it's only a matter of time before it happens. The real problem with today's regulated currencies is deciding whom to trust to handle the regulating. Because governments have proven they can't be trusted not to game the system either.

No real easy answers except to demand honesty, even handedness, and consideration of the greater good when regulating money.

Yeah, I know. Good luck getting much of that.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Bitcoins Can Be Regulated
« Reply #249 on: August 08, 2013, 11:24:24 PM »
So it all comes down to the price of the suit the guy that bends you over is wearing.