Bitcoin As An Alternative Currency? - Libertarian Vs Pragmatist

Tyler Durden's picture




 

One question that keeps popping up, and was addressed to some extent by NAB's recent report, is whether all the elements of the current Bitcoin are necessary for a viable alternative currency.  And, as Citi's Steve Englander asks (from a libertarian and pragmatic perspective), if they are not, or can be improved on, where does that leave Bitcoin’s first mover advantage?

 

Via Citi's Steven Englander,

The libertarian streak in me likes the anonymity of Bitcoin transactions, but there  is a rational part of me that asks whether that aspect is essential if I am paying for a latte in Soho.  Similarly if the Bitcoin wallet can be made more secure by dropping  anonymity, how many transactors will give up transactional security for libertarian principle? Giving up anonymity may make Bitcoin transactions more secure, and I suspect almost all transactors will value security much more than anonymity.

Going further, Bitcoin’s decentralized nodes are not needed, if there was less concern about keeping Bitcoin outside the current payments/fiat currency system. The nodes allow transactions to be validated by the Bitcoin community, but you can have efficient transactions without the particular validation system used by Bitcoin.   The secure ledger of transactions can be centralized rather than decentralized. Bitcoin’s particular approach may be attractive for those who really want to operate outside the current financial system. There may be both legitimate and illegitimate reasons for this, but the vast majority of  transactions do not have this need

Going even further, if Bitcoin or an alternative currency embraced the financial regulatory system to make it more secure, how much payments efficiency is lost? You can still have secure, instantaneous transactions but inside the financial system there may be more security against fraud and more recourse if your Bitcoins are contained in your PC which gets hit by a meteor.

So there is this story about a special recipe for potato fritters (a very good recipe that I have tried). When a chef is handed the recipe, she decides to  ‘improve’ it by replacing each ingredient one-by-one with something more familiar. Having done so, she and her husband decide that the final result isn’t nearly as good as advertised and is pretty close to what they prepare all the time.  In eliminating anonymity, decentralization and non-regulation, much of the original intent of the Bitcoin developer(s) is being thwarted. The question is whether the core innovation of Bitcoin has been compromised or whether unneeded baggage is being  dropped.

For the record, mining Bitcoin is waste of resources from a social perspective. The amount of CPU and electricity needed to mine Bitcoin is high, and from a social viewpoint about as valuable as building defenses against attacks from Mars. What the mining  does is decide the allocation of the limited amount of Bitcoin produced each period and encourage the ledger to be kept. There is a  real social cost to the decentralization designed into Bitcoin.

If Bitcoin is a payments technology, much of what makes it efficient and attractive can be retained, while dropping some features that most users find unnecessary. Bitcoin may become less attractive to illicit users as a result, but that is a sacrifice many will be willing to make. Culturally, the developers of Bitcoin may find this evolution extremely unattractive, because the distrust of the financial system and of financial authorities was one of the motivations for its development. However attractive philosophically, many users will vote for pragmatism over principle and a Bitcoin clone that satisfied this pragmatic streak could be able to overcome the first mover advantage.

So far I have ignored Bitcoin as a store of value, but the proponents of Bitcoin as a store of value/speculation crucially need Bitcoin to be unique and have strong barriers to entry, despite the replicability of the technology. If it turns out that investors/miners will arbitrage between Bitcoin and other mined alternative currencies, the outcome will be that there are many perfect or near perfect substitutes for Bitcoin, and the effective supply will be much larger than would be suggested by the gradually increasing and ultimately capped supply of the original Bitcoin.  This will mean that valuations will be very fragile because in the long-term there will be no ability to limit the supply of Bitcoin lookalikes ... unless some subset of Bitcoin-like currencies gain government/central bank endorsement which gives them an advantage over non-endorsed Bitcoin-like currencies.

Further, the Fed is now started on tapering and the BoE is talking about tightening, however slowly. Whatever sins major central banks commit, they are forgiven rapidly when they show any sign of moving back to orthodoxy,  provided they have not hugely compromised price stability, and sometimes even when they have. Improved confidence in some G4 fiat currencies is giving gold bad days, and the willingness to take the risk on alternative currencies may be inverse to how unrestrained major central banks are in their reserves creation.  Investors and central banks are looking for improved stores of value beyond fiat currencies, and Bitcoin possibly may be one of them. There are scenarios in which it could work as a store of value  but there are clearly many, many outcomes in which Bitcoin is one of a bunch of alternatives with a very indeterminate value.

Bottom line, there is the possibility that Bitcoin represents a big step forward in payments technology, but there are also seem to be straightforward ways to improve on its security, make it less attractive to criminals and more attractive to governments. It is far from guaranteed that that it will emerge as a stable store of value. Either function would be enhanced if it were within the financial system and embraced by the authorities, but it is unclear whether the Bitcoin philosophy will change fast enough or whether an alternative alternative will pip Bitcoin’s original first mover advantage.

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Mon, 12/30/2013 - 22:41 | 4287229 VD
VD's picture

almost could have been written by the likes of Paul Krugman! what a douche! and a total faux libertarian!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 22:53 | 4287254 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

No not really. I didn't get that from the article. What I got was the practical issues of BitCoin becoming an accepted means of implementing transactions. One area that the author did not cover was settlement time. How long does it take t be confirmed that one's transaction is completed for X BitCoin, and that transaction was executed at a Bitcoin rate of abc / usd.

Business pay apporx 3% for credit card transactions which they would love to save thru BitCoin. The issue becomes howlong do they have to hold the Bitcoin received from the customer before transacting that Bit Coin into USD. 

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 22:56 | 4287261 VD
VD's picture

yes, really. and if you'd learn about BTC some, you'd know that transaction time is nearly instantaneous and yet another superior feature.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 23:05 | 4287284 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

From what I understand .. confirmation of trade price takes  more thasn 15 minues and sometimes a day ... depending on the amount of BiTCoin.

Drop the smug reply VD ya douche. I have seen you post and you and not an expert on anything.  

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 23:42 | 4287364 MSO
MSO's picture

You are correct. Each transaction must be confirmed at least 6 times before it is validated.  Each found block must be confirmed 100 times (100 new blocks) before it becomes official and I thought transactions did too. But whatever the 6 confirmations are, they're not new blocks.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:17 | 4287444 Prisoners_dilemna
Prisoners_dilemna's picture

"Either function would be enhanced if it were within the financial system and embraced by the authorities, " do I need to comment on this one?

"For the record, mining Bitcoin is waste of resources from a social perspective. The amount of CPU and electricity needed to mine Bitcoin is high, and from a social viewpoint about as valuable as building defenses against attacks from Mars." ?!?!  And auditing the blockchain has absolutely nothing to do with preventing a double spend aka counterfeiting. Oddly he doesn't mention any other form of wasteful spending. Bitcoin is an egregiously wasteful system we have?!?! Really?? This might also be the only libertarian thing he said.... because didn't Paul krugman suggest we should war against Martians to improve GDP?? Going against Paul Krugman gives at least 1 point towards being a libertarian.

In eliminating anonymity, decentralization and non-regulation, much of the original intent of the Bitcoin developer(s) is being thwarted. The question is whether the core innovation of Bitcoin has been compromised or whether unneeded baggage is being  dropped.  I can protect myself from fraud by individuals fairly well. I feel victimized by a certain group of fraudsters and they didn't use Bitcoin to abuse me or my countrymen.

The secure ledger of transactions can be centralized rather than decentralized.
There may be both legitimate and illegitimate reasons for this (decentralized blockchain), but the vast majority of  transactions do not have this need. Whether any consumer knows it or not, they are better off by a return to honest money. The vast majority of transactions these days are probably between cronies and criminals, most of the are connected in some way to the money spigot known at the Fed.

 

I read to the end. It seems Englander is not a libertarian and does not yet understand bitcoin except as a payment system. "How is this bitcoin different from our current digital form of federal reserve notes?" he asks. As I read his words I got the impression he thought our current monetary system is sound and so bitcoin brings nothing to the table.... except for those darn silk roaders.

His hubris prevents him from seeing the disruptive nature of this technology. I'm glad.

One more banker who will be caught with his shorts down.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:20 | 4287447 fonestar
fonestar's picture

This article was crap.  He's not a libertarian (definitely not a crypto-anarchist) and doesn't understand what Bitcoin is.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:02 | 4287519 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Now that is the kind of rebuttal that keeps me coming back to ZH!

/sarc

Regards,

Cooter

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 02:06 | 4287616 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Fonestar, I am going home after working late and I was really looking forward to your response. In its absence, I will follow up with a more thoughtful critique of your post.

Your previous argument really came across (to me anyway) like this ...

Do you see the light?!?!? Preach the word to the herd, brother! Can I get an amen?!?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZVhzVTBDvA

Let us step away from faith and have a logical "come to Jesus" discussion, shall we? Bitcoin is just a phase in the ABG strategy of central banks. It is not accident and is all by design. There are mountains of fiat to pour into bitcoin (merchants, exchanges, etc) as time goes by to capture the imagination (i.e. greed) of the general public, thus keeping them from taking a fancy to something that can't be (literally) conjured out of thin air. And when bitcoin loses steam (it will) another will step up and keep the music playing for a while longer.

If you like to gamble, there is a lot of upside left to come, but in the end it will go to zero. Just. Like. Fiat.

So, rather than ad hominem attacks, why not address a central theme in the article ...

... the proponents of Bitcoin as a store of value/speculation crucially need Bitcoin to be unique and have strong barriers to entry, despite the replicability of the technology. If it turns out that investors/miners will arbitrage between Bitcoin and other mined alternative currencies, the outcome will be that there are many perfect or near perfect substitutes for Bitcoin, and the effective supply will be much larger than would be suggested by the gradually increasing and ultimately capped supply of the original Bitcoin.

This is ECON 101 (i.e. supply/demand) ... why don't you attack *that* and show how bitcoin is the *only* digital currency that could ever exist? This is precisely what is wrong with fiat. The key issue is not that bit coin is limited (it is), but that there can be infinite digital currencies with many of the same or identical qualities.

This is the opening act in the ABG strategy by central banks ... I am certain there will be more to follow ...

Regards,

Cooter

ABG = Anything But Gold

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 04:57 | 4287714 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

Spot on Cooter.

I made a few bucks speculating (which was fucking hard work mind you), but Bitcoin sure ain't a precious individual snowflake.

Unlike PMs, there are infinite bitcoin wannabes just waiting, and ALL have the exact same utility.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 06:22 | 4287749 fredquimby
fredquimby's picture

But none have four years experience of resisting being broken.

When they do, bitcoin will be nearly 10 years old.

You can't buy that.

 

 

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 07:38 | 4287782 imbtween
imbtween's picture

I predict Doge Coin will assume the mantle of top coin only because they are based on a stupid, yet lovable, internet meme.

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 02:54 | 4290449 aminorex
aminorex's picture

They do not have the same utility because they are not a tiny fraction as secure as bitcoin nor do they have a tiny fraction of the network size that bitcoin has.  The value of a network node rises as the square of the number of nodes in the network.  The value of the bitcoin network rises linearly with increasing hashing power.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 06:03 | 4287743 debtor of last ...
debtor of last resort's picture

Quite right. I said the same a month ago in the article with a list of crypto currencies.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-28/bitcoin-parabola-continues-10-1...

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 06:23 | 4287750 TheHound73
TheHound73's picture

There would be some warning signs if Bitcoin begins to lose it's first-mover advantage:

Hashpower:  Miners provide security for the Bitcoin network.  If Miner's drop off the bitcoin network and start to mine another currency, this can be observed.  A weakly mined currency can be destroyed by attackers with more computing power. (This is also theoretically possible with bitcoin and should be factored into everybody's risk profile for BTC).

Liquidity: Crypto-currency users will only want to acquire a currency they have hopes to be able to trade with in the future.  This includes over-all user base who might be willing to acquire more currency as well as Merchants acceptance in return for goods or services.

For both of these features Bitcoin is a few orders of magnitude ahead of the nearest competition and there is every indication it will extend the lead in the near to medium term.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 13:39 | 4287876 fiftybagger
fiftybagger's picture

"why don't you attack *that* and show how bitcoin is the *only* digital currency that could ever exist?"

Because we don't have to show that.  Bitcoin being the only one, or the best one, is only an argument for how high its price may eventually go when all the holders of state fiat come rushing in, not for its utility.  Bitcoin has the same utility at one dollar as it does at one million dollars.  Get it?  Probably not.

Think of it this way.  Let's say that I invent a teleportation machine which can instantaneously send anything anywhere on the planet.  How much value would that have?  Now imagine that I start selling these things.  Would you expect a large demand?  Now imagine a competitor duplicates my machine and starts selling his for half price.  Even though my potential profit has decreased, in what way has the utility of my machine decreased?

Now imagine a world where everyone has one of these machines.  How disruptive to the current order would that be?  So is Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Channel

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:48 | 4287596 Fail2Deliver
Fail2Deliver's picture

I stopped reading when I saw the article was quoting someone from Citi. I have zero faith in anything a bankster is spewing.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 06:56 | 4287754 Anasteus
Anasteus's picture

... and your decision was right. The whole article is nothing but a hidden bankster's anti-bitcoin propaganda and an insidious attempt to confuse bitcoiners by enumerating objections that are in fact prerogatives, while pretending sort of 'interest' in some aspects of the virtual currency. The deliberation on 'how to manage the currency to attract the authorities' speaks for itself.

I wonder how one can even consider the main statist agent like Citi to be worth mentioning as regards the merits of bitcoin.

-100 for the article.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 11:16 | 4288227 davidgdg
davidgdg's picture

Transactions are confirmed by the network in 2-3 seconds. For transactions of less than about US 20,000, this is sufficient because the cost and difficulty of a successful double spend would far exceed any gain. The reality is that it is quite unnecessary to wait for confirmations except for ultra-high value transactions (eg cars or houses) when a delay of a few minutes is neither here nor there. This is far superior to any existing payment method.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 23:10 | 4287298 Seer
Seer's picture

Poor reply.  Simple as that.  For two reasons:

1) You failed to read what was written;

2) So far BTC proponents (such as yourself) have tended to sidestep the issue of clearing.

On this second point is what I have issues with: well, someone should slap you up-side the head the first point.  I'd been there and done that with crypto-currencies.  Development ALSO boasted cheaper transation costs.  Trouble is, however, it wasn't ours to really cost out; this is the same for the BTC folks- in no way can you cost it out.  This leaves the whole "cheaper transaction costs" argument/selling point as null and invalid.  Yes, I get it that peer-to-peer transactions can be done "instantaneously" and with basically no cost, but, again, if you read the article you should catch the ramifications of having this all go mainstream- absolutely will need to have some clearing party in the mix, and w/o knowing what their costs are likely to be you cannot say that such a feature will be cheaper: perhaps so, but how much? (those pitching new things always tend toward over-externalizing costs [under acknowleding true costs]).

BTW - The writer of this article needs an editor.  Really shoddy work... painful to read.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 23:23 | 4287325 bobert
bobert's picture

It seems that GS is vying for the clearing house job.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 02:52 | 4287654 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

At least GS seem to have 'gotten it' about bitcoin more than the other bankers for whatever reason.  Looks like they know how to just come in and play the game the way it is suppose to be played.  What they will do after they get their claws in might be another story but the other bankers seem to just 'be mad' that they can't control it from the start.

 

 

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 06:55 | 4287765 malikai
malikai's picture

Yup.

They mad, bro.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:31 | 4287480 digi
digi's picture

I don't understand what you mean? The miners clear the transactions. If Goldman Sachs wants to mine thats good for them, they will have to follow the rules of the protocol like everyone else or make their own coin and convince everyone they should use it instead. For the next couple decades the mining transaction fee will remain low as it is of trivial cost for a miner to include a transaction as long as they are receiving the block reward. As for what happens once the block reward diminsishes, no one is quite sure yet but there are plenty of developers pondering over it and they have a decent chunk of time to figure it out.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:01 | 4287510 Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

digi - This what I was trying to get answered, and Seer touched upon it. For businesses to accept BitCoin and tus "save" their 3-5% credit card charges, the3y need to be able to:

  1. Recognize that their offer of $100 for their product (for example) has been hit / transacted upon. Receive the $100 equivalent of Bitcoin.
    1. How does business connect to BitCoin ? How does customer send $100 of BitCoin to Business? 
  2. Now that buisness "owns" $100 equivalent of Bitcoin, how does business manage the price risk / volatility of its present $100 of BitCoin?
    1. Presumably business wants to immediately sell the BitCoin for at least $100. How long will it take for the business to do that?   
Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:11 | 4287543 Prisoners_dilemna
Prisoners_dilemna's picture

I suggest you read up on the Bitpay service and ask their 15,000 merchants. That was one of the three payment processors that Overstock.com was considering working with. That's bitcoin as payment processor.

 

Bitcoin as libertarian money has a slightly different answer...

"If I accepted a strong currency as payment would I convert any of it to a weak currency except for the portion that I have to for taxes etc"

 

The CEO of overstock.com did a second interview and his libertarian side came out. I will not be at all surprised to see target employees receive partial payment in bitcoin. Overstock.com isn't the first company to do this, but they might be the largest.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:21 | 4287567 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

They can't because the denominator is (really) in gold?

Regards,

Cooter

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 07:43 | 4287770 digi
digi's picture

You can do all of those things yourself or you can have a 3rd party payment processor do them for you. Both of these are beneficial compared to the current system. Before there was no DIY option of accepting online payments short of convincing your customers to mail you some cash through the postage. And the barrier of entry to becoming a bitcoin payment processor is much lower than becoming one for USD via credit cards.

If going the DIY route which is the true idea behind bitcoin, p2p. The business would download the client and setup their wallet. They then give the wallet address to the customer, who using their own client software would send payment from their wallet to the business. All of this can and is automated in software down to a couple of clicks or less. The business can now decide to hold the bitcoins or transact with them. If they choose to trade back in to fiat they would most likely use one of the exchanges where the mess of the fiat transfer system will have them getting their dollars in around about a week.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:18 | 4287562 TheHound73
TheHound73's picture

Once a transaction is broadcast, it can't be taken back.  The main issue with clearing is double-spending... A customer broadcasts two transactions simultaneously hoping the second transaction being sent to his own address is the one that gets accepted into the blockchain while walking away with the goods "paid for" by the first transaction.  While extremly rare, blocks can be discarded. 6 blocks (about 1 hr) settlement time is used when absolute settlement is required.  For most cases, receiving the initial broadcast message or waiting for 1 block is acceptable.  

Note: The main bitcoin payment processors, Bitpay and Coinbase, take on double-spend risk as well as currency volatility risk on behalf of their merchants.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 03:19 | 4287664 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

depends on the accounts..   it seems that if an account on coinbase is verified you will get your bitcoins instantly even without any confirmations. (sending from another wallet)

 

I know since I have done it many times and able to sell during peaks with no wait.

 

there is way more to learn with bitcoin by actually using it than reading from a bunch of hater essays

 

 

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 06:33 | 4287757 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

VD:    One nasty cyber attack or hack or loss of power and thus internet from storms, earthquakes, solar flares, meteors, aliens and especially the Central Government you're trying to thwart in pumping Bit Shit.. Will instantaneously wipe out all the "superior features" of it!

But please stay in your little cyber fantasy world cause we don't need you freaking out in the real world where real shit happens.

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 02:57 | 4290451 aminorex
aminorex's picture

The fact that the bitcoin network is vastly more secure against these threats is precisely why inferior coins are relatively worthless.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 08:16 | 4287803 Hong Kong Phooey
Hong Kong Phooey's picture

False.  I traded between two exchanges last night (Bitstamp and ANX) looking for some price arbitrage.  Took over 30 minutes to make the transfer into BS, then another 45 into ANX. Not even close to instantaneous. Maybe faster than a wire transfer but 1h15 is a long time when you're hitting the refresh button every 30 seconds and watching the order book move against you.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 08:22 | 4287813 silvermail
silvermail's picture

- If I created Bitcoin, so I can change the algorithm and thus abused in the my selfish interests.
- If a group of people created Bitcoin, then this group can change and thus abused in the selfish interests of the entire group.
- If a person has created something, then people can change it in the selfish interests.
- Gold was created by God. A person can not change the will of God.
In the text of the Bible and in the text of the U.S. Constitution, there is no word about Bitcoin.
Bitcoin - it is only new scam and new fraud.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 23:00 | 4287272 TheHound73
TheHound73's picture

Citibank is free to build centralized features on top of the bitcoin protocol and hope for clients to flock to these "value-added" services.  Or Citi could build a new centralized currency from the ground up.  Whatever, better get crackin' Citi-dudes, clocks a'tickin.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:15 | 4287431 chemystical
chemystical's picture

Yeah, gotta agree with the faux libertarian assessment.  I'm far from a Btc fan, but this snippet says it all:

"embraced the financial regulatory system to make it more secure"

That's as big an oxymoron as you'll ever read, and anyone who proposes it with a straight face is a trojan horse.

 Then this:

"...make it less attractive to criminals and more attractive to governments"

That's like throwing the baby in with the bathwater.  The second that government confers its blessings and adopts it, is the second that it's dead as a freedom vehicle.  Libertarian?  If you claim to be a libertarian - particularly today - then WTF are you seeking liberty from if not government?  Otoh it's always good to see who is a shill.

 

 

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 22:41 | 4287236 buckethead
buckethead's picture

A libertarian that values security over anonymity? VD has it. <(little pun)

A rather statist view of currency for a libertarian

 

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 23:50 | 4287397 Spigot
Spigot's picture

HE.DOESN'T.GET.IT

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:16 | 4287446 pipes
pipes's picture

...or he does.

 

And he's deliberately misrepresenting circumstances, fudging definitions, creating strawmen, making leaps of logic, and generally protecting the staus quo.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 03:21 | 4287665 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

oddly ex-GS'er has dove in with no worries but the other bankers all talking shit,....  interesting development

 

 

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 22:42 | 4287237 seek
seek's picture

I disagree that mining bitcoins is a waste or a social cost. Mining keeps the ledger up-to-date and makes if difficult for the ledger to be manipulated, and prevents bitcoins from being a fractional reserve currency. I have no doubt whatsoever that eliminating the ability to naked short the currency, and eliminating the ability to do fractional reserve banking, is a social gain. Likewise, decentralization is a gain, as it prevents a central authority from controlling the currency.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 22:58 | 4287265 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I was going to be my usual rude self and cut in above, but seek here raises a great point.  My understanding (limited) is that BTC becomes stronger and so valued more not just as more are mined, but as more are used/spent.  I must have missed what Englander wrote about social cost, or maybe it was just so bogus that my mind skipped right over it...

Any decentralization nowadays is a gain, a big net plus.

Printing money, whether linen or electrons, takes energy as well.

***

One day, I hope that a top-flight math guy can come to ZH and write up just how secure (or not) BTC really is.   It's OK with me (and I hope to The Tylers That Be) if he writes a "long version (a la FOFOA).  

Lay it all there, Zero Hedge and the NSA need to know!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 23:51 | 4287390 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

I think all of us realize that there is no security on the internet, thus there is no security with bitcoin.

 

Stack On

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:22 | 4287439 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Ah, R.O.R., I've meaning to get around to responding to you.  

:)

Yes, physical gold in your own possession is the best single form of financial security in town.  And "Stack On" is excellent advice, especially as very few have gold, and even fewer have enough.

But, BTC and gold are complements to each other.  Gold is the Store of Value.  BTC is a nice experiment into a possibly new way of carrying on business (as a Medium of Exchange).  Or even bringing out capital quietly (on your flash drive) when bringing 20 oz of Gold Eagles in a tube has higher risks at the airport...

I concede that there is no final answer yet on security of Bitcoin, there could be exploitable flaws in its structure...

But, gold has its risks: theft and moving it out of the USA in quantity.

Using BTC to buy gold is a worthwhile experiment, which I will invesigate further.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:55 | 4287498 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

I have to agree that Bitcoin may be useful for exchange of goods or services but bitcoin is certainly not good for saving. It is the same as fiat currency, useful for exchange but not for saving.

Bearings would make a useful medium of exchange too, as long as the people doing the trading agreed to the medium. Espcially the balls and rollers without the races.

Gold and silver are not the only things I use to save money, diversification is necessary for safety.

And bitcoin is really nice for tracking money, gold, not so much.

 

Stack On DCRB

 

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:23 | 4287561 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Only a few bearings would work as medium of exchange in Peru: bearings for Daewoo Tico and our top sellers (each) of our other brands.  When we get those pieces, that is close to "instant money".

You may be interested to know that for reasons unknown to us that the component markets (steel balls) has dried up there, even though Mighty SKF (largest bearing company in the world) stopped bringing steel balls into Peru.  We had a shot a while back, but why there is no demand, we have not figured that one out.

Will do, roger that, stacking on.  Have been, since the 1980s...

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:43 | 4287487 digi
digi's picture

Bitcoin security is based upon math. It has nothing to do with the current structure of the internet. I can make a wallet and receive coins without ever going online. The odds of finding a certain number between 0 and 1*10^77 are significantly closer to 0 than the odds of finding a buried stash of gold on the surface of earth, not to mention a safe in someones house.

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:09 | 4287542 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

If your transactions are done via the internet then those transactions are not secure. Can you make a wallet and receive cons (oops, I meant coins) without electricity?

I don't need electricity to dig for gold. Any stick will do.  And I don't need electricity to trade that gold for some labor, or some food or shelter. Good luck trying to trade a bitcoin for a chicken to eat after the power has been off for three weeks.

Ask some guy from Toronto how life has been without electricity these last few days.

 

Stack On

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 01:36 | 4287551 Prisoners_dilemna
Prisoners_dilemna's picture

I asked him...

he said his gold taste delicious and he wishes he had more bic lighters.  The Official Money of SHTF.

 

Actually the friend near Watertown NY on lake Ontario said his wood stove was running fine and he expected the power would be on soon. He didn't try to offer his gold to the electric company to fix his current lack of electricity although I suspect gold is just as useless as bitcoin in Toronto right now.

 

"any stick will do"  I'm pretty sure that's wrong.

And good luck trying to eat a chicken after the power has been out for 3 weeks.

And when your neighbors on both sides are out of food, after 3 weeks, you're going to walk your gold to the 7-11 to pay for your bread?? That's still there after 3 weeks.

 

 

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 02:11 | 4287627 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

7-11 is about a three day walk, I'll get tired carrying all that gold. Chicken tastes mighty fine cooked on the wood stove, The city fuckers are the ones going to go hungry, not me, nor my neighbors.

In fact I'm skilled enough that I could make a pan from the bark of the stick, use the stick to dig the gravel to put in the pan, and use the bark pan to wash the gravel from the gold. That is one way to use a stick to dig gold.

 

I suspect your watertown friend could help you out in that regard, it sounds as though he has some wisdom.

 

Stack On

 

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