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Yanis Varoufakis: 'Bitcoin is the perfect bubble, but blockchain is a remarkable solution'

Yanis Varoufakis: 'Bitcoin is the perfect bubble, but blockchain is a remarkable solution' submitted by jimogios to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

I am reposting /u/sirbastian's takedown of Bitcoin, because I am constantly re-sharing it and terrified it will somehow get deleted

By sirbastian, originally posted here: https://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/7iyej5/bitcoin_exposes_the_massive_economic_illiteracy/dr2sntd/
While it's true that a currency needn't necessarily be "backed" by something to be an effective means of exchange, virtually everything else you've said is false, or obvious pandering to the prevailing socioeconomic attitudes prevalent in this sub.
First, let's dispel the notion that US dollars aren't backed by anything. US Dollars have an important quality that makes them useful to an individual, regardless of whether other individuals want them: they can be used to pay down US citizens' tax obligations. This is no trivial thing. Read about Chartalism for more information.
A currency, the manifestation of money, is valuable when it does a good job of transferring the aforementioned data by being: 1) easy to use and understand by everyone 2) tamperproof such that it resists corruption of the original signal 3) neglegible in overhead costs
You're listing this out like it's out of a textbook or something, but it's just 3 random points you picked out of the air that are heavily influenced by the current subject matter of Bitcoin. The average economist, when asked about money, is not going to mention that it should be "easy to understand by everyone", tamperproof, or low in transaction overhead. They're going to talk about the usual trifecta: 1) A medium of exchange 2) A store of value 3) A standard of value
Hilariously, even though you've arbitrarily chosen the metric we're using to measure the worth of a currency, Bitcoin still utterly fails to meet all 6 of these points. Let's go through them, starting with yours:
  1. Easy to use and understand by everyone - Why would you even set yourself up for this? "What is Bitcoin" "how does Bitcoin work" "How do I get a bitcoin" These are some of the most asked questions on the internet because nobody can grok Bitcoin on the first try, and even when they do, it's not clear to them how they can "buy in".
  2. Tamperproof such that it resists corruption of the original signal - While at first bluff this is true, tamperproof is really just one element of a larger desire that malicious third parties can't change the debt record in their favor. From a purely technical standpoint Bitcoin should be resistant to this, but in practice, the number of coins lost to negligent storage, Wallet exploits, etc. puts this point squarely against BTC. I am much, MUCH less concerned that my US bank account will disappear due to some technical trapdoor, or compromised because somebody hacked into the computer systems at my credit union.
  3. Negligible in overhead costs - Bitcoin is ludicrously expensive to transact in, and circumventing this via, e.g. the Lightning network, necessarily involves tradeoffs against other technical qualities that you will doubtless be counting for Bitcoin elsewhere.
  4. Medium of exchange - worthless. Nobody wants to buy pizzas with Bitcoin, because it is by and large considered some kind of investment. I love the irony that people don't want to spend their bitcoin to buy things because they're convinced that it's so incredibly useful to buy things - so much so that it will one day net them millions of... dollars? No wait, not that!
  5. It is completely untrustworthy as a store of value - putting money into Bitcoin is not safe. This entire sub has "invest responsibly" posts slathered all over it because even the most foolhardy zealots realize that that saying you should save your life's earnings in Bitcoin is a terrible idea. If I had $20 in a bank account in 2008, when I took it out today, it would only be worth 87% of what it was then. Inflation does hurt you over long periods of time, but this was a smooth, monotonic decay. It's the kind of value you can quite literally bank on decades in advance. Bitcoin has no such assurances. The value of your life savings denominated in Bitcoin changes significantly every day.
  6. A standard of value - The fact that people's biggest concern is how many dollars one can buy with their Bitcoin tells you everything you need to know. Nobody denominates values in Bitcoin - it would be completely useless. If I told you this car was worth 1 BTC, that means two different things on Monday vs. Friday. If I tell you it's worth $15000, you understand.
It protects signal integrity to a degree that no other currency type can.
This is meaningless.
This is why cryptocurrency is so valuable, and why it will continue to soar
Oh, you mean soar up and down like a tech stock after an IPO? Making it completely untrustworthy as a store of value, and unusable as a medium of exchange? Regardless, even if it was monotonically rising in value (it's not, not even close), why would this be a good thing? If you want to live in a world where all goods and services are completely denominated in Bitcoin, it doesn't matter what Bitcoin is "worth" in US dollars at any point in that cycle. The measure of Bitcoin's usefulness starts and ends with what types of things can be bought with it. It doesn't matter if a pair of shoes costs 1 BTC or .0000001 BTC if, all other things being equal, your salary and pension and taxes are measured in BTC. It's just a scale-factor. If you think the value of Bitcoin, denominated in US dollars, soaring into the stratosphere is a good thing, then you've patently revealed your true motivation, which is for the in-crowd to get rich. This is deliciously ironic given:
they betray their ignorance, their illiteracy and their complete blindness to the revolution that's happening right under their feet and which will, in time, bring down the corrupt power structures of our world to create a freer, fairer society for all of us.
And so we see what you'd really like to see happen: destroy the riches of the current superwealthy and replace them with a different group that you like more - Bitcoin early adopters.
Bitcoin is a fascinating development, and it blazed an important first trail in the modernization of money and commerce, but from a technical standpoint it is totally inadequate to serve as the currency of the internet, or the currency of the world. Transaction fees, energy usage due to mining, validation waits, Wallet protection, and exchange with existing monetary infrastructure - all of these things are lacking in fundamental, unfixable ways. The world needs something that has a lot in common with Bitcoin, but it also needs to have a lot of things that are quite different. Sitting around and telling each other that the establishment just "Doesn't get us, man" is fucking delusional. There are people that don't understand cryptocurrency, but this is not the only or even the main reason that Bitcoin falls into criticism. It is being criticized because it has real, legitimate, unsustainable, deal-breaker problems. When you write this kind of BS that 'the establishment is just trying to protect the status quo', you sound like a lunatic conspiracy theorist who things that GM knows how to make cars run on water but won't tell us because of the oil cartel. It just doesn't make any fucking sense. If Bitcoin was a digital pantheon of economic exchange that was going to usher in the modern era of banking, then you know who would be all over that shit? BANKS. It's not a cabal of evil capitalists trying to crush the revolution. It's a few uninformed people, and a bunch of people who have genuine grievances based on their understanding of monetary policy and finance. Maybe in some cases they're too stuck in their old ways of thinking, but anybody assuming that finance and banking professionals have no wisdom to impart here is gravely mistaken.
The shorthand for all of this is to ask yourself: if you could wake up tomorrow to a world that had replaced all existing monetary infrastructure, would you REALLY want to? Millions of truck drivers with unsecured wallets, policeman's pensions sitting on the blockchain, Starbucks waiting 5 minutes to confirm that your $5 coffee (+ $5 settlement fee) can be handed over? 3 transactions per second for the entire world?
submitted by klf0 to finance [link] [comments]

Transcript of the community Q&A with Steve Shadders and Daniel Connolly of the Bitcoin SV development team. We talk about the path to big blocks, new opcodes, selfish mining, malleability, and why November will lead to a divergence in consensus rules. (Cont in comments)

We've gone through the painstaking process of transcribing the linked interview with Steve Shadders and Daniell Connolly of the Bitcoin SV team. There is an amazing amount of information in this interview that we feel is important for businesses and miners to hear, so we believe it was important to get this is a written form. To avoid any bias, the transcript is taken almost word for word from the video, with just a few changes made for easier reading. If you see any corrections that need to be made, please let us know.
Each question is in bold, and each question and response is timestamped accordingly. You can follow along with the video here:
https://youtu.be/tPImTXFb_U8

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:

Connor: 02:19.68,0:02:45.10
Alright so thank You Daniel and Steve for joining us. We're joined by Steve Shadders and Daniel Connolly from nChain and also the lead developers of the Satoshi’s Vision client. So Daniel and Steve do you guys just want to introduce yourselves before we kind of get started here - who are you guys and how did you get started?
Steve: 0,0:02:38.83,0:03:30.61
So I'm Steve Shadders and at nChain I am the director of solutions in engineering and specifically for Bitcoin SV I am the technical director of the project which means that I'm a bit less hands-on than Daniel but I handle a lot of the liaison with the miners - that's the conditional project.
Daniel:
Hi I’m Daniel I’m the lead developer for Bitcoin SV. As the team's grown that means that I do less actual coding myself but more organizing the team and organizing what we’re working on.
Connor 03:23.07,0:04:15.98
Great so we took some questions - we asked on Reddit to have people come and post their questions. We tried to take as many of those as we could and eliminate some of the duplicates, so we're gonna kind of go through each question one by one. We added some questions of our own in and we'll try and get through most of these if we can. So I think we just wanted to start out and ask, you know, Bitcoin Cash is a little bit over a year old now. Bitcoin itself is ten years old but in the past a little over a year now what has the process been like for you guys working with the multiple development teams and, you know, why is it important that the Satoshi’s vision client exists today?
Steve: 0:04:17.66,0:06:03.46
I mean yes well we’ve been in touch with the developer teams for quite some time - I think a bi-weekly meeting of Bitcoin Cash developers across all implementations started around November last year. I myself joined those in January or February of this year and Daniel a few months later. So we communicate with all of those teams and I think, you know, it's not been without its challenges. It's well known that there's a lot of disagreements around it, but some what I do look forward to in the near future is a day when the consensus issues themselves are all rather settled, and if we get to that point then there's not going to be much reason for the different developer teams to disagree on stuff. They might disagree on non-consensus related stuff but that's not the end of the world because, you know, Bitcoin Unlimited is free to go and implement whatever they want in the back end of a Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin SV is free to do whatever they want in the backend, and if they interoperate on a non-consensus level great. If they don't not such a big problem there will obviously be bridges between the two, so, yeah I think going forward the complications of having so many personalities with wildly different ideas are going to get less and less.
Cory: 0:06:00.59,0:06:19.59
I guess moving forward now another question about the testnet - a lot of people on Reddit have been asking what the testing process for Bitcoin SV has been like, and if you guys plan on releasing any of those results from the testing?
Daniel: 0:06:19.59,0:07:55.55
Sure yeah so our release will be concentrated on the stability, right, with the first release of Bitcoin SV and that involved doing a large amount of additional testing particularly not so much at the unit test level but at the more system test so setting up test networks, performing tests, and making sure that the software behaved as we expected, right. Confirming the changes we made, making sure that there aren’t any other side effects. Because of, you know, it was quite a rush to release the first version so we've got our test results documented, but not in a way that we can really release them. We're thinking about doing that but we’re not there yet.
Steve: 0:07:50.25,0:09:50.87
Just to tidy that up - we've spent a lot of our time developing really robust test processes and the reporting is something that we can read on our internal systems easily, but we need to tidy that up to give it out for public release. The priority for us was making sure that the software was safe to use. We've established a test framework that involves a progression of code changes through multiple test environments - I think it's five different test environments before it gets the QA stamp of approval - and as for the question about the testnet, yeah, we've got four of them. We've got Testnet One and Testnet Two. A slightly different numbering scheme to the testnet three that everyone's probably used to – that’s just how we reference them internally. They're [1 and 2] both forks of Testnet Three. [Testnet] One we used for activation testing, so we would test things before and after activation - that one’s set to reset every couple of days. The other one [Testnet Two] was set to post activation so that we can test all of the consensus changes. The third one was a performance test network which I think most people have probably have heard us refer to before as Gigablock Testnet. I get my tongue tied every time I try to say that word so I've started calling it the Performance test network and I think we're planning on having two of those: one that we can just do our own stuff with and experiment without having to worry about external unknown factors going on and having other people joining it and doing stuff that we don't know about that affects our ability to baseline performance tests, but the other one (which I think might still be a work in progress so Daniel might be able to answer that one) is one of them where basically everyone will be able to join and they can try and mess stuff up as bad as they want.
Daniel: 0:09:45.02,0:10:20.93
Yeah, so we so we recently shared the details of Testnet One and Two with the with the other BCH developer groups. The Gigablock test network we've shared up with one group so far but yeah we're building it as Steve pointed out to be publicly accessible.
Connor: 0:10:18.88,0:10:44.00
I think that was my next question I saw that you posted on Twitter about the revived Gigablock testnet initiative and so it looked like blocks bigger than 32 megabytes were being mined and propagated there, but maybe the block explorers themselves were coming down - what does that revived Gigablock test initiative look like?
Daniel: 0:10:41.62,0:11:58.34
That's what did the Gigablock test network is. So the Gigablock test network was first set up by Bitcoin Unlimited with nChain’s help and they did some great work on that, and we wanted to revive it. So we wanted to bring it back and do some large-scale testing on it. It's a flexible network - at one point we had we had eight different large nodes spread across the globe, sort of mirroring the old one. Right now we scaled back because we're not using it at the moment so they'll notice I think three. We have produced some large blocks there and it's helped us a lot in our research and into the scaling capabilities of Bitcoin SV, so it's guided the work that the team’s been doing for the last month or two on the improvements that we need for scalability.
Steve: 0:11:56.48,0:13:34.25
I think that's actually a good point to kind of frame where our priorities have been in kind of two separate stages. I think, as Daniel mentioned before, because of the time constraints we kept the change set for the October 15 release as minimal as possible - it was just the consensus changes. We didn't do any work on performance at all and we put all our focus and energy into establishing the QA process and making sure that that change was safe and that was a good process for us to go through. It highlighted what we were missing in our team – we got our recruiters very busy recruiting of a Test Manager and more QA people. The second stage after that is performance related work which, as Daniel mentioned, the results of our performance testing fed into what tasks we were gonna start working on for the performance related stuff. Now that work is still in progress - some of the items that we identified the code is done and that's going through the QA process but it’s not quite there yet. That's basically the two-stage process that we've been through so far. We have a roadmap that goes further into the future that outlines more stuff, but primarily it’s been QA first, performance second. The performance enhancements are close and on the horizon but some of that work should be ongoing for quite some time.
Daniel: 0:13:37.49,0:14:35.14
Some of the changes we need for the performance are really quite large and really get down into the base level view of the software. There's kind of two groups of them mainly. One that are internal to the software – to Bitcoin SV itself - improving the way it works inside. And then there's other ones that interface it with the outside world. One of those in particular we're working closely with another group to make a compatible change - it's not consensus changing or anything like that - but having the same interface on multiple different implementations will be very helpful right, so we're working closely with them to make improvements for scalability.
Connor: 0:14:32.60,0:15:26.45
Obviously for Bitcoin SV one of the main things that you guys wanted to do that that some of the other developer groups weren't willing to do right now is to increase the maximum default block size to 128 megabytes. I kind of wanted to pick your brains a little bit about - a lot of the objection to either removing the box size entirely or increasing it on a larger scale is this idea of like the infinite block attack right and that kind of came through in a lot of the questions. What are your thoughts on the “infinite block attack” and is it is it something that that really exists, is it something that miners themselves should be more proactive on preventing, or I guess what are your thoughts on that attack that everyone says will happen if you uncap the block size?
Steve: 0:15:23.45,0:18:28.56
I'm often quoted on Twitter and Reddit - I've said before the infinite block attack is bullshit. Now, that's a statement that I suppose is easy to take out of context, but I think the 128 MB limit is something where there’s probably two schools of thought about. There are some people who think that you shouldn't increase the limit to 128 MB until the software can handle it, and there are others who think that it's fine to do it now so that the limit is increased when the software can handle it and you don’t run into the limit when this when the software improves and can handle it. Obviously we’re from the latter school of thought. As I said before we've got a bunch of performance increases, performance enhancements, in the pipeline. If we wait till May to increase the block size limit to 128 MB then those performance enhancements will go in, but we won't be able to actually demonstrate it on mainnet. As for the infinitive block attack itself, I mean there are a number of mitigations that you can put in place. I mean firstly, you know, going down to a bit of the tech detail - when you send a block message or send any peer to peer message there's a header which has the size of the message. If someone says they're sending you a 30MB message and you're receiving it and it gets to 33MB then obviously you know something's wrong so you can drop the connection. If someone sends you a message that's 129 MB and you know the block size limit is 128 you know it’s kind of pointless to download that message. So I mean these are just some of the mitigations that you can put in place. When I say the attack is bullshit, I mean I mean it is bullshit from the sense that it's really quite trivial to prevent it from happening. I think there is a bit of a school of thought in the Bitcoin world that if it's not in the software right now then it kind of doesn't exist. I disagree with that, because there are small changes that can be made to work around problems like this. One other aspect of the infinite block attack, and let’s not call it the infinite block attack, let's just call it the large block attack - it takes a lot of time to validate that we gotten around by having parallel pipelines for blocks to come in, so you've got a block that's coming in it's got a unknown stuck on it for two hours or whatever downloading and validating it. At some point another block is going to get mined b someone else and as long as those two blocks aren't stuck in a serial pipeline then you know the problem kind of goes away.
Cory: 0:18:26.55,0:18:48.27
Are there any concerns with the propagation of those larger blocks? Because there's a lot of questions around you know what the practical size of scaling right now Bitcoin SV could do and the concerns around propagating those blocks across the whole network.
Steve 0:18:45.84,0:21:37.73
Yes, there have been concerns raised about it. I think what people forget is that compact blocks and xThin exist, so if a 32MB block is not send 32MB of data in most cases, almost all cases. The concern here that I think I do find legitimate is the Great Firewall of China. Very early on in Bitcoin SV we started talking with miners on the other side of the firewall and that was one of their primary concerns. We had anecdotal reports of people who were having trouble getting a stable connection any faster than 200 kilobits per second and even with compact blocks you still need to get the transactions across the firewall. So we've done a lot of research into that - we tested our own links across the firewall, rather CoinGeeks links across the firewall as they’ve given us access to some of their servers so that we can play around, and we were able to get sustained rates of 50 to 90 megabits per second which pushes that problem quite a long way down the road into the future. I don't know the maths off the top of my head, but the size of the blocks that can sustain is pretty large. So we're looking at a couple of options - it may well be the chattiness of the peer-to-peer protocol causes some of these issues with the Great Firewall, so we have someone building a bridge concept/tool where you basically just have one kind of TX vacuum on either side of the firewall that collects them all up and sends them off every one or two seconds as a single big chunk to eliminate some of that chattiness. The other is we're looking at building a multiplexer that will sit and send stuff up to the peer-to-peer network on one side and send it over splitters, to send it over multiple links, reassemble it on the other side so we can sort of transition the great Firewall without too much trouble, but I mean getting back to the core of your question - yes there is a theoretical limit to block size propagation time and that's kind of where Moore's Law comes in. Putting faster links and you kick that can further down the road and you just keep on putting in faster links. I don't think 128 main blocks are going to be an issue though with the speed of the internet that we have nowadays.
Connor: 0:21:34.99,0:22:17.84
One of the other changes that you guys are introducing is increasing the max script size so I think right now it’s going from 201 to 500 [opcodes]. So I guess a few of the questions we got was I guess #1 like why not uncap it entirely - I think you guys said you ran into some concerns while testing that - and then #2 also specifically we had a question about how certain are you that there are no remaining n squared bugs or vulnerabilities left in script execution?
Steve: 0:22:15.50,0:25:36.79
It's interesting the decision - we were initially planning on removing that cap altogether and the next cap that comes into play after that (next effective cap is a 10,000 byte limit on the size of the script). We took a more conservative route and decided to wind that back to 500 - it's interesting that we got some criticism for that when the primary criticism I think that was leveled against us was it’s dangerous to increase that limit to unlimited. We did that because we’re being conservative. We did some research into these log n squared bugs, sorry – attacks, that people have referred to. We identified a few of them and we had a hard think about it and thought - look if we can find this many in a short time we can fix them all (the whack-a-mole approach) but it does suggest that there may well be more unknown ones. So we thought about putting, you know, taking the whack-a-mole approach, but that doesn't really give us any certainty. We will fix all of those individually but a more global approach is to make sure that if anyone does discover one of these scripts it doesn't bring the node to a screaming halt, so the problem here is because the Bitcoin node is essentially single-threaded, if you get one of these scripts that locks up the script engine for a long time everything that's behind it in the queue has to stop and wait. So what we wanted to do, and this is something we've got an engineer actively working on right now, is once that script validation goad path is properly paralyzed (parts of it already are), then we’ll basically assign a few threads for well-known transaction templates, and a few threads for any any type of script. So if you get a few scripts that are nasty and lock up a thread for a while that's not going to stop the node from working because you've got these other kind of lanes of the highway that are exclusively reserved for well-known script templates and they'll just keep on passing through. Once you've got that in place, and I think we're in a much better position to get rid of that limit entirely because the worst that's going to happen is your non-standard script pipelines get clogged up but everything else will keep keep ticking along - there are other mitigations for this as well I mean I know you could always put a time limit on script execution if they wanted to, and that would be something that would be up to individual miners. Bitcoin SV's job I think is to provide the tools for the miners and the miners can then choose, you know, how to make use of them - if they want to set time limits on script execution then that's a choice for them.
Daniel: 0:25:34.82,0:26:15.85
Yeah, I'd like to point out that a node here, when it receives a transaction through the peer to peer network, it doesn't have to accept that transaction, you can reject it. If it looks suspicious to the node it can just say you know we're not going to deal with that, or if it takes more than five minutes to execute, or more than a minute even, it can just abort and discard that transaction, right. The only time we can’t do that is when it's in a block already, but then it could decide to reject the block as well. It's all possibilities there could be in the software.
Steve: 0:26:13.08,0:26:20.64
Yeah, and if it's in a block already it means someone else was able to validate it so…
Cory: 0,0:26:21.21,0:26:43.60
There’s a lot of discussions about the re-enabled opcodes coming – OP_MUL, OP_INVERT, OP_LSHIFT, and OP_RSHIFT up invert op l shift and op r shift you maybe explain the significance of those op codes being re-enabled?
Steve: 0:26:42.01,0:28:17.01
Well I mean one of one of the most significant things is other than two, which are minor variants of DUP and MUL, they represent almost the complete set of original op codes. I think that's not necessarily a technical issue, but it's an important milestone. MUL is one that's that I've heard some interesting comments about. People ask me why are you putting OP_MUL back in if you're planning on changing them to big number operations instead of the 32-bit limit that they're currently imposed upon. The simple answer to that question is that we currently have all of the other arithmetic operations except for OP_MUL. We’ve got add divide, subtract, modulo – it’s odd to have a script system that's got all the mathematical primitives except for multiplication. The other answer to that question is that they're useful - we've talked about a Rabin signature solution that basically replicates the function of DATASIGVERIFY. That's just one example of a use case for this - most cryptographic primitive operations require mathematical operations and bit shifts are useful for a whole ton of things. So it's really just about completing that work and completing the script engine, or rather not completing it, but putting it back the way that it was it was meant to be.
Connor 0:28:20.42,0:29:22.62
Big Num vs 32 Bit. I've seen Daniel - I think I saw you answer this on Reddit a little while ago, but the new op codes using logical shifts and Satoshi’s version use arithmetic shifts - the general question that I think a lot of people keep bringing up is, maybe in a rhetorical way but they say why not restore it back to the way Satoshi had it exactly - what are the benefits of changing it now to operate a little bit differently?
Daniel: 0:29:18.75,0:31:12.15
Yeah there's two parts there - the big number one and the L shift being a logical shift instead of arithmetic. so when we re-enabled these opcodes we've looked at them carefully and have adjusted them slightly as we did in the past with OP_SPLIT. So the new LSHIFT and RSHIFT are bitwise operators. They can be used to implement arithmetic based shifts - I think I've posted a short script that did that, but we can't do it the other way around, right. You couldn't use an arithmetic shift operator to implement a bitwise one. It's because of the ordering of the bytes in the arithmetic values, so the values that represent numbers. The little endian which means they're swapped around to what many other systems - what I've considered normal - or big-endian. And if you start shifting that properly as a number then then shifting sequence in the bytes is a bit strange, so it couldn't go the other way around - you couldn't implement bitwise shift with arithmetic, so we chose to make them bitwise operators - that's what we proposed.
Steve: 0:31:10.57,0:31:51.51
That was essentially a decision that was actually made in May, or rather a consequence of decisions that were made in May. So in May we reintroduced OP_AND, OP_OR, and OP_XOR, and that was also another decision to replace three different string operators with OP_SPLIT was also made. So that was not a decision that we've made unilaterally, it was a decision that was made collectively with all of the BCH developers - well not all of them were actually in all of the meetings, but they were all invited.
Daniel: 0:31:48.24,0:32:23.13
Another example of that is that we originally proposed OP_2DIV and OP_2MUL was it, I think, and this is a single operator that multiplies the value by two, right, but it was pointed out that that can very easily be achieved by just doing multiply by two instead of having a separate operator for it, so we scrapped those, we took them back out, because we wanted to keep the number of operators minimum yeah.
Steve: 0:32:17.59,0:33:47.20
There was an appetite around for keeping the operators minimal. I mean the decision about the idea to replace OP_SUBSTR, OP_LEFT, OP_RIGHT with OP_SPLIT operator actually came from Gavin Andresen. He made a brief appearance in the Telegram workgroups while we were working out what to do with May opcodes and obviously Gavin's word kind of carries a lot of weight and we listen to him. But because we had chosen to implement the May opcodes (the bitwise opcodes) and treat the data as big-endian data streams (well, sorry big-endian not really applicable just plain data strings) it would have been completely inconsistent to implement LSHIFT and RSHIFT as integer operators because then you would have had a set of bitwise operators that operated on two different kinds of data, which would have just been nonsensical and very difficult for anyone to work with, so yeah. I mean it's a bit like P2SH - it wasn't a part of the original Satoshi protocol that once some things are done they're done and you know if you want to want to make forward progress you've got to work within that that framework that exists.
Daniel: 0:33:45.85,0:34:48.97
When we get to the big number ones then it gets really complicated, you know, number implementations because then you can't change the behavior of the existing opcodes, and I don't mean OP_MUL, I mean the other ones that have been there for a while. You can't suddenly make them big number ones without seriously looking at what scripts there might be out there and the impact of that change on those existing scripts, right. The other the other point is you don't know what scripts are out there because of P2SH - there could be scripts that you don't know the content of and you don't know what effect changing the behavior of these operators would mean. The big number thing is tricky, so another option might be, yeah, I don't know what the options for though it needs some serious thought.
Steve: 0:34:43.27,0:35:24.23
That’s something we've reached out to the other implementation teams about - actually really would like their input on the best ways to go about restoring big number operations. It has to be done extremely carefully and I don't know if we'll get there by May next year, or when, but we’re certainly willing to put a lot of resources into it and we're more than happy to work with BU or XT or whoever wants to work with us on getting that done and getting it done safely.
Connor: 0:35:19.30,0:35:57.49
Kind of along this similar vein, you know, Bitcoin Core introduced this concept of standard scripts, right - standard and non-standard scripts. I had pretty interesting conversation with Clemens Ley about use cases for “non-standard scripts” as they're called. I know at least one developer on Bitcoin ABC is very hesitant, or kind of pushed back on him about doing that and so what are your thoughts about non-standard scripts and the entirety of like an IsStandard check?
Steve: 0:35:58.31,0:37:35.73
I’d actually like to repurpose the concept. I think I mentioned before multi-threaded script validation and having some dedicated well-known script templates - when you say the word well-known script template there’s already a check in Bitcoin that kind of tells you if it's well-known or not and that's IsStandard. I'm generally in favor of getting rid of the notion of standard transactions, but it's actually a decision for miners, and it's really more of a behavioral change than it is a technical change. There's a whole bunch of configuration options that miners can set that affect what they do what they consider to be standard and not standard, but the reality is not too many miners are using those configuration options. So I mean standard transactions as a concept is meaningful to an arbitrary degree I suppose, but yeah I would like to make it easier for people to get non-standard scripts into Bitcoin so that they can experiment, and from discussions of I’ve had with CoinGeek they’re quite keen on making their miners accept, you know, at least initially a wider variety of transactions eventually.
Daniel: 0:37:32.85,0:38:07.95
So I think IsStandard will remain important within the implementation itself for efficiency purposes, right - you want to streamline base use case of cash payments through them and prioritizing. That's where it will remain important but on the interfaces from the node to the rest of the network, yeah I could easily see it being removed.
Cory: 0,0:38:06.24,0:38:35.46
*Connor mentioned that there's some people that disagree with Bitcoin SV and what they're doing - a lot of questions around, you know, why November? Why implement these changes in November - they think that maybe the six-month delay might not cause a split. Well, first off what do you think about the ideas of a potential split and I guess what is the urgency for November?
Steve: 0:38:33.30,0:40:42.42
Well in November there's going to be a divergence of consensus rules regardless of whether we implement these new op codes or not. Bitcoin ABC released their spec for the November Hard fork change I think on August 16th or 17th something like that and their client as well and it included CTOR and it included DSV. Now for the miners that commissioned the SV project, CTOR and DSV are controversial changes and once they're in they're in. They can't be reversed - I mean CTOR maybe you could reverse it at a later date, but DSV once someone's put a P2SH transaction into the project or even a non P2SH transaction in the blockchain using that opcode it's irreversible. So it's interesting that some people refer to the Bitcoin SV project as causing a split - we're not proposing to do anything that anyone disagrees with - there might be some contention about changing the opcode limit but what we're doing, I mean Bitcoin ABC already published their spec for May and it is our spec for the new opcodes, so in terms of urgency - should we wait? Well the fact is that we can't - come November you know it's bit like Segwit - once Segwit was in, yes you arguably could get it out by spending everyone's anyone can spend transactions but in reality it's never going to be that easy and it's going to cause a lot of economic disruption, so yeah that's it. We're putting out changes in because it's not gonna make a difference either way in terms of whether there's going to be a divergence of consensus rules - there's going to be a divergence whether whatever our changes are. Our changes are not controversial at all.
Daniel: 0:40:39.79,0:41:03.08
If we didn't include these changes in the November upgrade we'd be pushing ahead with a no-change, right, but the November upgrade is there so we should use it while we can. Adding these non-controversial changes to it.
Connor: 0:41:01.55,0:41:35.61
Can you talk about DATASIGVERIFY? What are your concerns with it? The general concept that's been kind of floated around because of Ryan Charles is the idea that it's a subsidy, right - that it takes a whole megabyte and kind of crunches that down and the computation time stays the same but maybe the cost is lesser - do you kind of share his view on that or what are your concerns with it?
Daniel: 0:41:34.01,0:43:38.41
Can I say one or two things about this – there’s different ways to look at that, right. I'm an engineer - my specialization is software, so the economics of it I hear different opinions. I trust some more than others but I am NOT an economist. I kind of agree with the ones with my limited expertise on that it's a subsidy it looks very much like it to me, but yeah that's not my area. What I can talk about is the software - so adding DSV adds really quite a lot of complexity to the code right, and it's a big change to add that. And what are we going to do - every time someone comes up with an idea we’re going to add a new opcode? How many opcodes are we going to add? I saw reports that Jihan was talking about hundreds of opcodes or something like that and it's like how big is this client going to become - how big is this node - is it going to have to handle every kind of weird opcode that that's out there? The software is just going to get unmanageable and DSV - that was my main consideration at the beginning was the, you know, if you can implement it in script you should do it, because that way it keeps the node software simple, it keeps it stable, and you know it's easier to test that it works properly and correctly. It's almost like adding (?) code from a microprocessor you know why would you do that if you can if you can implement it already in the script that is there.
Steve: 0:43:36.16,0:46:09.71
It’s actually an interesting inconsistency because when we were talking about adding the opcodes in May, the philosophy that seemed to drive the decisions that we were able to form a consensus around was to simplify and keep the opcodes as minimal as possible (ie where you could replicate a function by using a couple of primitive opcodes in combination, that was preferable to adding a new opcode that replaced) OP_SUBSTR is an interesting example - it's a combination of SPLIT, and SWAP and DROP opcodes to achieve it. So at really primitive script level we've got this philosophy of let's keep it minimal and at this sort of (?) philosophy it’s all let's just add a new opcode for every primitive function and Daniel's right - it's a question of opening the floodgates. Where does it end? If we're just going to go down this road, it almost opens up the argument why have a scripting language at all? Why not just add a hard code all of these functions in one at a time? You know, pay to public key hash is a well-known construct (?) and not bother executing a script at all but once we've done that we take away with all of the flexibility for people to innovate, so it's a philosophical difference, I think, but I think it's one where the position of keeping it simple does make sense. All of the primitives are there to do what people need to do. The things that people don't feel like they can't do are because of the limits that exist. If we had no opcode limit at all, if you could make a gigabyte transaction so a gigabyte script, then you can do any kind of crypto that you wanted even with 32-bit integer operations, Once you get rid of the 32-bit limit of course, a lot of those a lot of those scripts come up a lot smaller, so a Rabin signature script shrinks from 100MB to a couple hundred bytes.
Daniel: 0:46:06.77,0:47:36.65
I lost a good six months of my life diving into script, right. Once you start getting into the language and what it can do, it is really pretty impressive how much you can achieve within script. Bitcoin was designed, was released originally, with script. I mean it didn't have to be – it could just be instead of having a transaction with script you could have accounts and you could say trust, you know, so many BTC from this public key to this one - but that's not the way it was done. It was done using script, and script provides so many capabilities if you start exploring it properly. If you start really digging into what it can do, yeah, it's really amazing what you can do with script. I'm really looking forward to seeing some some very interesting applications from that. I mean it was Awemany his zero-conf script was really interesting, right. I mean it relies on DSV which is a problem (and some other things that I don't like about it), but him diving in and using script to solve this problem was really cool, it was really good to see that.
Steve: 0:47:32.78,0:48:16.44
I asked a question to a couple of people in our research team that have been working on the Rabin signature stuff this morning actually and I wasn't sure where they are up to with this, but they're actually working on a proof of concept (which I believe is pretty close to done) which is a Rabin signature script - it will use smaller signatures so that it can fit within the current limits, but it will be, you know, effectively the same algorithm (as DSV) so I can't give you an exact date on when that will happen, but it looks like we'll have a Rabin signature in the blockchain soon (a mini-Rabin signature).
Cory: 0:48:13.61,0:48:57.63
Based on your responses I think I kinda already know the answer to this question, but there's a lot of questions about ending experimentation on Bitcoin. I was gonna kind of turn that into – with the plan that Bitcoin SV is on do you guys see like a potential one final release, you know that there's gonna be no new opcodes ever released (like maybe five years down the road we just solidify the base protocol and move forward with that) or are you guys more on the idea of being open-ended with appropriate testing that we can introduce new opcodes under appropriate testing.
Steve: 0:48:55.80,0:49:47.43
I think you've got a factor in what I said before about the philosophical differences. I think new functionality can be introduced just fine. Having said that - yes there is a place for new opcodes but it's probably a limited place and in my opinion the cryptographic primitive functions for example CHECKSIG uses ECDSA with a specific elliptic curve, hash 256 uses SHA256 - at some point in the future those are going to no longer be as secure as we would like them to be and we'll replace them with different hash functions, verification functions, at some point, but I think that's a long way down the track.
Daniel: 0:49:42.47,0:50:30.3
I'd like to see more data too. I'd like to see evidence that these things are needed, and the way I could imagine that happening is that, you know, that with the full scripting language some solution is implemented and we discover that this is really useful, and over a period of, like, you know measured in years not days, we find a lot of transactions are using this feature, then maybe, you know, maybe we should look at introducing an opcode to optimize it, but optimizing before we even know if it's going to be useful, yeah, that's the wrong approach.
Steve: 0:50:28.19,0:51:45.29
I think that optimization is actually going to become an economic decision for the miners. From the miner’s point of view is if it'll make more sense for them to be able to optimize a particular process - does it reduce costs for them such that they can offer a better service to everyone else? Yeah, so ultimately these decisions are going to be miner’s main decisions, not developer decisions. Developers of course can offer their input - I wouldn't expect every miner to be an expert on script, but as we're already seeing miners are actually starting to employ their own developers. I’m not just talking about us - there are other miners in China that I know have got some really bright people on their staff that question and challenge all of the changes - study them and produce their own reports. We've been lucky with actually being able to talk to some of those people and have some really fascinating technical discussions with them.
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There's a sea change taking place in crypto, everything is going to be different.

This post is prompted by this article:
Blockchain’s groundbreaking, world-shaking, life-changing technology revolution has been cancelled
The important thing to take away from it is this:
I asked Matt Higginson, one of the authors of the report and a McKinsey partner in New York, about any blowback from the blockchain-booster cult. “At the individual level, there has been barely any negative feedback but a ton of positive feedback for the honesty and candor of the tone — saying what others have been afraid to say in public (after so much investment)”.
I think this is a turning point: the age of PoSM driven censorship is over. When before, one could have lost his job and professional credibility for saying blockchain (btc, as the two are purposefully confused) to date is useless, we are now moving towards the opposite: one's job will be at risk for saying blockchain (btc) is worth investing in.
Having had its fingers burnt in more ways than one, 'mainstream' is giving up on Bitcoin. Over-hyped, over-promised and un-delivered (not 'under'), the technology has lost all credibility.
And it's going to get worse: all the abuses of the past (PoSM, misplaced arrogance, online abuse, spamming, harrassment towards doubters such as economists, politicians, etc.) are going to come back with a vengeance.
What does that mean for the future:
Some personal thoughts about what else will be needed to attract new ecosystem investors:
Cash is likely to be king for a while. Make sure your crypto investment $s are well spent.
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What Billions in Fed Repo Injections Reveal About the Promise of Bitcoin

What Billions in Fed Repo Injections Reveal About the Promise of Bitcoin


Article by Coindesk: Michael J Casey
Last week, the Federal Reserve injected $278 billion into the securities repurchase, or “repo,” market over four days, all so that banks could meet their liquidity needs. It was the first time the Fed had intervened in this vital interbank market, where banks’ pawn financial assets to fund overnight cash needs, since the financial crisis of 2008.
Fed officials and bankers dismissed the rare liquidity breakdown as a hiccup stemming from a series of coincidental factors in bond markets and corporate tax payments. It wasn’t a very comforting explanation, not when other economic warning signs are flashing, too: $17 trillion in bonds worldwide showing negative yields; a worsening U.S.-China trade war; and manufacturing indicators signaling an impending global recession.
Predictably, certain crypto types have viewed this alarming scenario with glee. More than a few HODLing tweeters responded to the repo story with two words of advice: “buy bitcoin.”
But it’s actually hard to predict what all this means for crypto markets, at least in the short- to medium-term.
If and when a 2008-like financial panic takes hold, will bitcoin rally as a new kind of uncorrelated “safe haven” or will it decline in a broad-based “risk-off” dumping of all things speculative? (Notwithstanding a sharp dip and rebound midway through last week, bitcoin has proven quite stable of late, at least by its own volatile standards.)
Other questions: do these vulnerabilities in traditional credit markets highlight the promise of new blockchain-based ideas? For example, would wider use of security tokens allow speedier settlement and, by extension, reduced counterparty risks and greater market confidence? Or, far more radically, would MakerDAO’s on-chain #DeFi lending markets enable a more reliable clearing mechanism, with collateral calls locked in by a decentralized protocol? Or might these underdeveloped ideas simply be recipes for systemic risk, a single hack or software glitch away from setting off a vicious spiral of collateral calls and bankruptcies?
The jury is out on all this untested stuff.
Still, if nothing else, the many signs of stress in the traditional financial system offer a valuable framework for thinking about how the world could be different and the role blockchain technology might play in enabling that new world.
Let’s look at some of them:

Negative-yields

The rare phenomenon, where creditors are essentially paying issuers for the privilege of lending them money — head scratcher, right? — reflects excessive demand for “safe” assets, especially for government-issued bonds. It has historically been a strong indicator of impending recession, since it reflects an overwhelming reluctance among investors to take on risk.
Now, another way of thinking about that reluctance is to express it as a perceived shortage of good investment opportunities. That perception can be fueled by a worsening economic outlook, but it’s also dictated by the barriers to entry that make it difficult for otherwise investable businesses of offer new opportunities.
Here, certain blockchain-based credit ideas offer hope. There’s the prospect for distributed-ledger asset registries that better track collateral and enable new emerging-market lending in developing-country land, commodities and energy markets. Or there are ideas such as having exporters tokenize their receivables to tackle a major structural limit on global trade finance, where a majority of small-and-medium enterprise are denied letters of credit because bankers don’t trust their documentation.
Effective use of blockchain technology could boost trust in assets and lien registries and help bring to life the $20 trillion in “dead capital” that economist Hernando de Soto says the world’s poor are sitting on.
Just as importantly, it would open a world of new alternative assets to draw in investors’ capital, giving them less of a reason to park it in low-yielding bonds.

Global economic slowdown

An alarming, synchronized downturn in manufacturing indicators, most notably in purchasing manager indexes, which measure current and future business spending on inventory and equipment, flows directly from the U.S.-China trade war. In cutting off Chinese goods exporters from U.S. consumer markets and driving up costs for their U.S. importers — and vice versa for U.S. farmers selling to food distributors in China — the conflict has added a massive new burden on global economic activity.
But let’s look at the starting point for this trade battle. It lies in American companies’ mostly legitimate complaints about China’s mercantilist, centrally planned approach to supporting Chinese companies at their expense, all enabled by a system of surveillance and control over people and businesses. This where there’s a crypto angle.
Cryptocurrency and other decentralizing technologies could work against the Chinese government’s capacity to control its economy in this interventionist manner. If Chinese businesses and hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens used bitcoin to circumvent capital controls, for example, the ever-present risk of monetary flight would act as a pressure valve, compelling Beijing to pursue a more open economic model to maintain competitiveness. That would give anti-free-traders like President Trump less of an excuse to ratchet up protectionist attacks against it.

The repo intervention

Some innovators have sought to apply blockchain technology to the back-office structural problems that periodically roil money markets, such as those now manifest in repo. They see a distributed ledger as a superior mechanism for tracking the IOUs of money and pawned securities upon which inter-institutional credit markets are based.
One was former J.P. Morgan credit market maven Blythe Masters, who founded Digital Asset Holdings in 2014 on the idea that on-chain settlement and a universally auditable ledger could improve transparency in global finance’s opaque, complex matrix of interconnected credit relationships. This way, she argued, it could mitigate the mistrust and counterparty risks that fueled the financial crisis.
The DAH model and those of others working on back-office blockchain solutions for capital markets have not come to fruition. This is at least partly due to the reluctance of incumbent financial institutions and their regulators to kill off existing functions that a blockchain would make redundant; they instead designed cumbersome hybrid distributed-ledger models that sustained vested interests but were expensive and difficult to collectively implement.
Either way, a blockchain back-office fix for traditional finance isn’t coming any time soon — whether because of internal politics or the limitation of the technology.

Shining a light

A more important question is why we even tolerate a system that’s so vulnerable to those back-end markets’ problems at all. The only reason central banks ever intervene to support interbank credit markets is because society’s means of payment depends on avoiding cash shortfalls and maintaining confidence in fractional-reserve banking.
If banks don’t have enough cash to meet short-term creditor calls, they would suffer runs on their deposits, companies wouldn’t make payroll, tenants would have to skip rent, ATMs would run out of banknotes, etc. The economy would seize up. The worst of it is that, because of this ever-present threat, banks hold our political system to ransom, knowing that they can always rely bailouts: the too-big-to-fail problem.
But what if banks just stuck to longer-term lending? What if there were no checking accounts or debit/credit cards, and we simply exchanged value with each other via cash or digital currencies that we hold ourselves?
If people used bitcoin, or fiat-backed stablecoins or central bank digital currencies to exchange value instead of the IOUs of an inherently fragile fractional reserve banking system, institutional cash shortages simply wouldn’t matter as much. Banks’ biggest creditors might take a hit against their risk-adjusted positions and their stock prices would fall, but the rest of us, including the Fed, could ignore the problem.
As the journalist and commentator Heidi Moore astutely observed in a tweetstorm last week, the reason the repo market tumult is so worrying is because it speaks directly to the core problem of trust in the banking system.
If nothing else, this is where blockchain technology provides a valuable lens with which to assess the current stress in the financial system. It helps us think about how the trust problem creates vulnerabilities, power imbalances and systemic risks and how we might design a system that’s better able to resolve it.
Federal Reserve image via Shutterstock
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The deconstruction of money: Prosperity when wealth ceases to exist

Here's a question to ponder: How do you conjure 300 billion dollar out of thin air? The answer, if you hadn't guessed it yet, is cryptocurrency. People used to laugh at this phenomenon, but they're not laughing anymore. They're feeling the same emotions about this phenomenon that I felt four years ago: They're worried and excited at the same time.
Bitcoin is a first, but not just in one domain. It's a first in most of its defining characteristics. We have witnessed the emergence of a means of exchange whose rate of inflation is predictable. Nobody can create more than 21 million Bitcoin, we can merely find ourselves disagreeing about the definition of a Bitcoin, which is starting to happen.
Despite its scarcity, Bitcoin has no intrinsic value. We're now beginning to discover that this doesn't matter, something most economists and academics had not anticipated. Just as an artist can earn money by shitting in a can, you can earn money by producing virtual currency. What we don't know yet is how far this phenomenon can grow. As of speaking, it gobbles up 0.1% of the world's electricity. As a means of doing anonymous transactions, it's pretty much useless compared to the alternatives that have succeeded Bitcoin.
In the worst case scenario, Bitcoin is like Microsoft or Facebook, in the sense that its network effect and early mover advantage allow it to eliminate all competition. This results in the dystopian scenarios I have frequently discussed before. In a more realistic scenario however, Bitcoin ceases to grow eventually. This makes more sense to me. Consider this: Would you invest in something that has grown in value 100-fold over the past two years? You would probably be wise enough to recognize that other investment options have more growth potential left. If enough people understand this, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we assume that people buy Bitcoins to get rich quick, they'll stop buying them when it becomes clear it won't allow them to get rich. As a result, its value will eventually crash.
Note the difference between Bitcoin and Windows here. We're not using Windows because we think it has growth potential. We're using Windows because everyone else uses Windows and thus it's easier for us to communicate. You don't genuinely buy Bitcoin because you want to use it. You buy Bitcoin because you expect others will want to buy it from you at a higher price. To put this in simpler terms: If we use something merely because we expect its use will grow in the future, it can't come to dominate the market it's in.
To own Bitcoin means to forever have a sword of Damocles hanging over your head. You bought it because you expect its value to rise. At the same time, you are aware that it suffers from existential threats: Government intervention, a superior alternative taking over, a rush for the exit that the network can't process, a 51% attack, an unanticipated protocol flaw, an early adapter who wants to cash out. You're willing to take those risks when you expect its value may rise 100-fold. You're no longer willing to take those risks when you expect its value might double in the next ten years. The innate instability of Bitcoin ensures it will forever remain a niche phenomenon.
Here's a question to ponder: Why buy Bitcoin, if you and your friends can invent your own coin that you distribute among yourselves? If I had to choose between entering a country where all the land is owned by a small minority or entering a country where I can still freely stake a claim to my own land, I would choose the latter option. People throughout history have understood this principle, which is why small communities came up with their own currency systems.
The general trend throughout history has been that these alternative currency systems were destroyed by those who felt threatened by them. It's a little known fact that whenever local currencies emerge that seem to replace a government issued currency, governments tend to respond by shutting them down. It happened in Germany in 1931, it happened to the Liberty dollars in the United States and it happens in more situations, when the alternative currency becomes a threat.
Of course, alternative currencies rarely become a genuine threat to the status quo. The reason is because people can generally create new units out of thin air. Whatever institute issues the alternative currency has no means to prohibit you from doing so. Today, we know that this is no longer a valid issue, due to cryptocurrency. As a result, this controlled issuance allows people to interpret alternative currencies as having a genuine value, based on the expectation that they will be able to find someone to sell it to when they feel the need to.
What this means is a fantastic development for those of us who fear the extreme inequality we witness today. The nature of wealth is that it tends to accumulate. Those who are wealthy have the means to become wealthier, whereas those of us without wealth have no such means. Then eventually, when wealth has accumulated to extreme degrees, the elite has found itself in possession of most of the world's fertile land and natural resources. Then, those with their backs against the wall tend to rise up in revolt and exterminate the aristocracy.
Today, after the invention of cryptocurrency, revolutions work differently. When we see that the game is rigged against us, that you own everything there is to own, we cease acknowledging your protocol and set up our own. We don't participate in games that we can't win. We're unable to ignore land ownership, if you cling onto the land, you risk ending up beneath the guillotine. We're perfectly able however, to stop pretending that a Bitcoin is something more than a series of ones and zeros in a digital database. This outcome is already unfolding. Why is Bitcoin losing its dominant position in the ecosystem? Because people realize that the game is rigged against them. Most people are simply not dumb enough to spend 10,000 dollar to buy one bitcoin. Smart people look for other opportunities.
How does a revolution look? Consider what happened a few weeks ago, when Bitcoin ended up clogged and a competing protocol, Bitcoin Cash, suddenly grew enormously in value. This revolution was prematurely aborted, but the underlying issues have not been addressed. Bitcoin is still bumping up against its transaction capacity, wealth is still monopolized in the hands of a shrinking group, a single Bitcoin still has an intimidatingly high value to all but a small group of wealthy people who have no intention to actually use the currency. As a result, hedge-fund managers and trust fund kids are now buying first class tickets to board the Titanic.
Understand the following principle: The unequal distribution of a currency undermines its use value. A currency owned by a small group of wealthy people is subject to dramatic price fluctuations. The stock market suffered a sudden dramatic collapse in 1929, during an era when wealth inequality was at its most extreme. The reason is simple. If the distribution of an asset is extreme in its inequality, it becomes impossible to estimate the fair value of the asset.
This is the problem that Bitcoin inevitably suffers. The wealth inequality of Bitcoin increases over time, as hackers are able to steal Bitcoins, while those who find themselves wealthy all of a sudden tend to exit the scheme. As this unequal distribution grows worse, the instability of Bitcoin grows worse too. Economists have long known that wealth inequality and speculative bubbles go hand in hand. We see high prices right now for Bitcoin, but this is merely because nobody wants to exit at the moment. As soon as people want to leave the scheme, they'll find it's simply not possible at current prices. I expect that Bitcoin could see its price drop by 90% or more, over a period of days. People will find themselves unable to leave the scheme during such a period, because the transaction capacity on the network is limited.
When Bitcoin falls apart, people will see that the underlying technology has more genuine potential than this particular faulty implementation. As a result, another redistribution of wealth will take place. One important thing to understand is that currencies gain value because of broad use. Broad use is accomplished, by broad distribution. In its early days, everyone could mine bitcoins and everyone could use faucets where they were handed out for free. As a result, a core community emerged.
Note that the broad distribution that creates value does not have to contradict the unequal distribution that creates its high price. Value and price are not always well correlated. In regards to Bitcoin however, the more important point is that the currency grew in price by inheriting both characteristics: It's widely distributed, but most of the coins are actually held by a small minority. This small minority thus has a lot of wealth, on paper. They won't be able to actualize their wealth, if they tried to cash out the value of Bitcoin would take a plunge.
You will find that Bitcoin's role as a speculative bubble will be replaced by various competing technologies, but its role as a digital currency will be replaced by currencies that are broadly distributed. As an example of how this will work in the future, consider Clams. Clams are a digital currency with an egalitarian and wide distribution. Anyone who owned a range of currencies ended up owning Clams. This has proved to be free money, for people who paid attention. The project was abandoned by its developer, but it demonstrated the way forward for others. There are now various Bitcoin forks, that hand out their coins to entire swathes of the population, while handing out extra coins to its own developers. Those developers do end up profiting off their invention, simply because the wide distribution creates interest in the coin.
In contrast to what you might think, these various new currencies don't have to die out. In contrast to offline currencies, digital currencies can be extremely easily exchanged for one another. Merchants are able to accept coins they have never heard of for products they sell, simply because the underlying infrastructure is managed for them by third parties. So, what credible reason do people have to put their trust entirely in Bitcoin? The answer is simple: None. The herd has discovered Bitcoin, but the herd will consume it and bring about its demise, as the protocol can't scale.
But what if I'm wrong? What if Bitcoin can scale? Well, the answer to that question is simple: Bitcoin can't scale. A form of Bitcoin that can scale ceases to be Bitcoin. Bitcoin is characterized by 1 MB blocks, which limits transaction capacity to 3 transactions per second, which is a fraction of what credit card companies can handle per second. If Bitcoin increases its block size, a new currency comes into existence, that needs new software and would leave users who fail to update their software at risk of losing their coins. What about off-chain scaling? Off-chain scaling requires settlement on the 1 MB blockchain. As a result, those who plan to develop off-chain scaling methods admit that Bitcoin would need 133 MB blocks, simply to accomplish the goals they have set for it. The system can't function under those conditions.
What happens if Bitcoin does somehow develop off-chain scaling and starts to use 133 Mb blocks? The energy needed to mine Bitcoins increases dramatically. As a result, the number of people who can mine Bitcoin goes down, mining Bitcoin will only be an option for people in places with dramatically low energy prices. In addition, governments would be unlikely to accept having 90% of their national electricity use be devoted to mining Bitcoins. A currency that requires solving pointless computer problems to distribute it is a currency that remains forever a niche phenomenon. There will be no consensus around how to change the protocol, it will endlessly fracture until it renders itself obsolete.
Important to understand is that cryptocurrencies don't allow you to hold onto extreme wealth. Consider Bitcoin. In its early days, there were plenty of smart people who saw its potential. But if you're a billionaire, how would you use a currency worth less than your own net worth, to increase your own wealth? The answer is that you can't. Small projects grow the most, but small projects can't fit your wealth inside of them. The effect this has is that the extremely unequal global distribution of wealth we witness today will be rectified. The habit that extreme wealth has is that it doesn't survive dramatic changes to the status quo.
Until a few years ago, Bitcoin was the domain of basement dwelling NEETs and angry libertarian gun-nuts. But what we can do, anyone can do. If you live in a community that suffers poverty, you can set up your own currency that you use among each other and by virtue of the fact that you use it, it grows in value. What we have done with Bitcoin, has been done by other people too. If you don't think you can win under our rules, you change the rules and play your own game. There are now numerous currencies out there that have given birth to anonymous millionaires, while many more like me have made smaller fortunes.
As I have mentioned before, technology is a self-limiting phenomenon. Technology in its most advanced stages consumes its own niche and as a result leaves us off without the technology. With self-driving cars, the car starts to die out. With lab-grown meat, meat dies out. The Internet, destroyed the concept of possession. Why should I buy a car, if it idles 95% of the time? Why should I visit a hotel, if people can rent out their room to me? Why should I own a book, if the information I seek is accessible under my fingertips? Why should I even own anything? In Sillicon Valley, digital nomads live without any genuine possessions, other than a smartphone, a laptop and the clothing they wear.
What has remained off-limits so far, is the concept of wealth itself. The idea of wealth has survived the digital transition, even as everything else has been rendered obsolete. This is now coming to an end. We live in an era, where the concept of wealth is being deconstructed. One important principle in this observation is the issue of scarcity. Things have value, because demand for them is higher than their supply. In Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, houses are practically for sale for free, because the population has declined by a quarter since the fall of the Soviet Union. How can physical space have a price when there is more of it than anyone needs? It can't. It can only have a price when a small elite is allowed to keep it off limits to the rest of us, without making use of it themselves.
But now, we face the finalization of the deconstruction of wealth. What does it mean to own anything? How can anything have value, if it is not scarce? Are you still wealthy, if your wealth must remain a secret? If you can't flaunt the fact that you're a millionaire, you can't genuinely be thought of as rich. Cryptomillionaires are men who have wealth they can't genuinely use. Under those conditions, the illusion of power begins to die. We see today that money is a joke. You can print money in your parents' basement and people will treat it as genuine money. The next step is the recognition that wealth is a joke. The society we are entering is one where wealth loses its relevance, until it eventually can't be defined. The very concept itself is ceasing to make sense. It is a nightmare we imposed upon ourselves and now we will no longer believe in it.
The history of civilization is the exchange of wealth for fertility. The man accumulates resources, passes those on to his male descendants and the men monopolize young women to disproportionately pass on their own genes to the next generation. This became possible, when the concept of ownership became possible. There exists no inequality, among hunter-gatherers who have no ability to press a claim to resources. In primitive communities where everyone lives near a river dense with fish, some men end up claiming "ownership" over the river and soon enough we witness hereditary castes, monarchs and inherited wealth. In the Kalahari desert, where people depend on animals that run around and Mongongo nuts that can be consumed, there is no property, as there is nothing to claim ownership over. You might claim ownership over a plot of desert, sure, but how will you enforce it? You can't and thus everyone is equal.
The concept of wealth had a nice run. It survived from the Neolithic revolution until the digital revolution, when it was rendered obsolete. It transformed young sturdy women with bows in their hands and hair on their legs into airbrushed trophy wives who sell their bodies to the highest bidders. What we know as a human being today is entirely corrupted by thousands of years of civilization, during which a corrupt aristocracy disproportionately passed on its genes and turned life itself into a cynical pursuit of material wealth. Today we are saying farewell to them.
Have you ever thought about what we are leaving behind us? In a society where social status is inherited, like in India, you eventually end up with hereditary underclasses who are made to carry around leaking baskets with human excrement on their heads. Alexandra Kollontai became a Marxist after her aristocratic parents prohibited her from marrying a man she met at university, an engineering student of modest means. In the society we are giving birth to, everyone is free to pursue his deepest passions and to make use of his full potential, with no noble birthright standing in between him and his vision.
Does this sound absurd to you? Over the top? Ridiculously optimistic? Well consider this: We have already gotten rid of the aristocracy. Western civilization used to be ruled by a hereditary caste that had complete control over society. The mechanization of agriculture in the 19th century and the abolition of the corn laws led to the demise of the aristocracies. The status quo could simply not be maintained. The concept of a republic, a nation not ruled by a king, was once utterly absurd. Books about the future written in the 18th century, like Samuel Madden's "Memoirs of the Twentieth Century", feature tall tales about religious theocracies in Italy and absolute monarchies in France. What none of them anticipated is that the kind of authoritarian systems they were familiar with could not sustain itself under modern conditions. It seemed as absurd to them that people could be ruled by anything other than inbred aristocrats, as it seems to you when I suggest to you that the concept of wealth itself is in the process of being rendered obsolete.
Eventually we will develop a form of society, where money and financial transactions themselves are an outdated nuisance, an inefficiency. Consider this: You're traveling by train and find out that you don't have a public transport card. As a result, the automated gates that stay closed unless you check in with a card won't open for you. You're hesitant to jump over them, because a camera records anyone who tries to sneak in. You walk to a machine that allows you to buy a card, then you charge the card with money and check in at the gates before entering the train.
Upon entering the train, you notice a man walks around who is tasked with ensuring that everyone bought a card. This is his job, his raison d'être. After the train arrives at its destination, you walk out, forget to check out and hurry back home, here you realize that you forgot to check out and money was automatically deducted from your account. You call the train company, wait ten minutes before someone picks up the phone and ask the lady on the other side of the line to send back the money that was excessively deducted from your card because you failed to check out. Does this sound like an efficient society to you?
Consider a simple fact: In most of Western civilization, we house the homeless and provide them medical care because it's cheaper than to have emaciated people wander around in shopping malls who scare off the tourists, steal bicycles and spread tuberculosis. People find themselves wealthier, by sharing some of their wealth with those who are worst off. It's a more efficient manner of running society, that happens to be in everyone's best interest. Economic inequality, is an economic inefficiency. We live in a non-zero sum game. That is, our current situation is unoptimal, the economy as a whole can benefit from having less economic inequality.
Now hear another plain fact: Your society punitively taxes your income, because you're not benefiting society by working a lot. If you work a 9 to 5 job, as most of us do, you get up, leave your house, get stuck in traffic, sit for 8 hours, which ensures chronic health problems down the line, then head back home during rush hour again. The reason you end up with a similar amount of money if you worked 32 hours, is because it happens to be in everyone's benefit. If you worked eight hours less every week, long-term unemployment would be prevented, because more people would be able to participate in the labor market. You would be able to pick up your kids from school, rather than sending them to daycare. Unless you're a genius, nobody benefits from you "working hard". That's why you're not earning more money from it.
So now you have to ask yourself another question: If society doesn't benefit from your "work", then it's time for you to plan ahead for a future in which it renders your work obsolete. What will you do with your life, when the rat race comes to a stop? What will you do, if the neighbor who watches TV for fourteen hours a day ends up driving the same kind of car as you? If you can't spend your time "getting ahead", then what will you do with your life? That's a question that I want you to ponder.
"Life will lose its meaning" You might say. But that's what all weak men believe who can't think outside of the paradigm they were born into. I live in a society where we no longer fight trench wars with neighboring countries or build colonial empires. My life doesn't feel less meaningful as a consequence. I live in a society where I'm not encouraged to go out and fight in defense of some fundamentalist cult. My life does not feel less meaningful. If I won't have to work to sustain myself, I will quite readily find the means to make my life meaningful. If anything, it would become easier for me to have a meaningful life.
There's always something that can be done. We don't get to it, because we're forced to earn a living for ourselves. All geniuses begin their career with an excessive amount of free time. How could Darwin come up with the theory of evolution? Because he was free to visit the Galapagos islands. Why do we have seaweed that tastes like bacon in the supermarket here in the Netherlands? Because a guy had it served on his platter while he was on vacation abroad. Steve Jobs spent his twenties sleeping on people's floors, smoking pot, dropping acid and visiting guru's in India. People are not creative when they have hoops held in front of them. Innovation happens when people are left free to fool around.
Most people are passionate about something. Even white working class men in early 20th century Western Europe who worked in factories had pigeons they trained and bred for races. When people have free time and more resources than they need to sustain themselves, wonderful things are produced. Those who think we need to be kept busy, have insufficient faith in man's ability to find meaning for himself. If people are nurtered well and treated with kindness, they are able to blossom and begin to improve the world they inhabit.
If people turn into television addicted zombies when their chains are removed, it is because they were left injured by society. Dogs used for medical experiments who have their cages opened are hesitant to step out onto the green grass too. I prefer to look at the examples I know, of people who do understand how to deal with this transition. I think back to a woman I knew, who was granted a small fortune because she survived a plane crash unscathed. She travels across Europe in an old Volkswagen van with her boyfriend, I ran into her at a party held by her friends at a squatted countryside manor. She dances in the night and loves without hesitation and her eyes radiate pure joy. It is clear to me that most people are not ready for the transformations that are upon us. They don't want to live at the end of history. They want to head back to what they knew. But at the end of the day, what you are looking at is nothing to be afraid of. It's just green grass.
submitted by moresourdough to accountt1234 [link] [comments]

Valuing Bitcoin: this got no love when I posted a year ago, but just re-read and I still think it provides a useful framework that I've not seen elsewhere (which is odd because it seems obvious)

Background: A lot of the discussion on bitcoin value is IMO lacking in a proper analytical grounding. People throw out random numbers, or say you should look at the market cap of visa etc, without providing any rationale. I'm not an academic, but I studied economics and spend my day valuing companies so I have a degree of expertise. I also did a bit of research to understand better the dynamics of other currencies to which I compare certain attributes, e.g., velocity. Note that this is over a year old so the numbers are a bit out of date but that shouldn't make much difference to the basic analysis. The link to the article on scribd is here...
http://www.scribd.com/doc/217902157/Valuing-Bitcoin
... and I've inserted the full text here (I guess the formatting will not be great)..
Valuing Bitcoin
Summary: I use a very simple model of transaction value, bitcoin velocity and the number of bitcoins in use to derive a fair value for a bitcoin today. Rather than trying to analyse in detail the likelihood of and means by which bitcoin may become more widely adopted, I use a scenario analysis that allows us to take a ‘finger in the air’ approach to estimating the likelihood of Bitcoin’s success or failure. Taking this approach we can back-calculate to work out what is implied in the current valuation of bitcoins in terms of likelihood of adoption, or other key variables.
This is primarily a simplified framework to help elucidate the fundamentals that drive the value of bitcoins. The assumptions herein are very ‘back of the envelope’ and are principally for exposition.
  1. First principles
The value of a single bitcoin is related to the value and velocity of transactions made using bitcoin, and the volume of bitcoins in use.
The value of transactions made with bitcoin. Let’s say we assume that bitcoin will succeed in becoming the payment choice for US$100bn of transactions per year. Let’s also first assume that this US$100bn takes the form of one single transaction – say to buy all of the outstanding stock of Facebook. In order for this to be possible, the entire market value of Bitcoin would need to be at least US$100bn. For argument’s sake, let’s say someone managed to accumulate all of the bitcoins in existence (ca.12.5 million today) and used them to make this transaction, then we can infer that the value of a single bitcoin, when this transaction happens, is $8,000.
The velocity of transactions made with bitcoin. Let’s take the same example above, but this time let’s assume that rather than one transaction, it takes the form of two transactions – let’s say to buy ‘whataspp’ and ‘wechat’, for the equivalent of US$50bn each. Let’s further assume that the seller of whatsapp, uses the US$50bn of bitcoins he has received, to buy wechat. How much does Bitcoin need to be worth to facilitate this series of transactions? Hopefully one can see that at the very least, it needs to be worth $4,000, half of the example above, because the same bitcoins could be used twice. Therefore, the same ‘value’ of transactions has been facilitated, US$100bn, but depending on the number of times the same bitcoin can be used the implied value of bitcoin can differ.
The volume of bitcoins in use. The previous two examples have assumed that the whole outstanding stock of bitcoins is being used to facilitate the transactions. This is unlikely to be true. It is very likely that a good number of bitcoins have been ‘lost’ – ie., stuck on hard drives thrown into landfills, etc. Let’s assume there are 2.5 million lost bitcoins – the value in our first example would then have to be US$10,000. Moreover, clearly a lot of people today hold bitcoins as a store of value, or perhaps more accurately, as a speculative investment. The number of bitcoins genuinely in circulation, therefore falls still further.
  1. Arriving at a formula to determine the value of a bitcoin
Using the basic principles outlined above, we can generate a simple formula to describe the value of a bitcoin as such:
1 btc = T/V/U
Where T = transaction value V = velocity U = no. of bitcoins in use
This is obviously a simplification, so we need to explore each aspect in greater detail to understand how to use it properly.
2.1 Transaction value (T)
How do we determine transaction value in the real economy? The obvious place to look is GDP, the most widely used measure of economic activity. It measures the value of all final goods and services consumed in an economy. Does this equate to the value of transactions in the economy? No – because before a good is finally consumed there are typically many other transactions going on to facilitate its transformation from raw material, to intermediate good, to finished good, to consumption by end consumer. The advantage of GDP, however, is that it is relatively easy to measure. Estimating the value of all transactions, on the other hand, is very hard and is a problem economist have recognized for a long time. That is not to say there aren’t estimates: a September 2013 white paper by Mastercard estimated the total value of transactions globally in 2011 as $592 trillion, compared to global consumer payments / GDP of $63 trillion. This may well be a good ballpark figure, however for our purposes we can probably just stick to measures of GDP. Why? Because, faced with this measurement issue, economists have worked around it to base their analyses on GDP, and therefore as we try to compare bitcoin value versus, say, the USD, it makes sense to use the framework most commonly used.
It is important to understand, however, that because of this framework only bitcoin transactions that are used in the final consumption of goods and services count towards our measure of ‘T’. Trading of bitcoins, or international remittances, for instance, do not count.
2.2 Velocity (V)
Given the difficulty in measuring the value and volume of transactions in an economy, it is quite difficult to measure velocity directly, in an accurate or meaningful way. To get round this problem economists take a different approach, which is quite useful for our purposes. Rather than measure velocity (V), we measure the ratio (k) of all cash balances in the economy (coins, notes, bank deposits – M1 money) to a measure of transaction volume, in this case GDP. By means of illustration, this ratio for the US today is about 14%. This means that to support the USA’s GDP of $16 trillion, roughly $2.3 trillion needs, at any one time, to be sat in bank accounts, in people’s wallets or under the mattress. Put simply this measures how much people and businesses like to keep on hand for everyday consumption. The rest of their savings can go into non-cash savings vehicles, like a house, or the stock market.
The velocity of money V can be seen as the inverse of k – i.e, each dollar of that $2.3 trillion would need to be spent around 7 times in the year to generate the $16 trillion in GDP. This in reality is a simplification, but we can work with it to come up with comparable assumptions for bitcoin.
2.3 Bitcoins in Use / Money supply (U)
In order to work out the velocity of money in the US economy, economists need to know the money supply. Figuring out the money supply in fiat currencies is more complex than for bitcoin – this is because there are different types of fiat money – it can be in the form of coins and notes, or in basic bank current accounts, savings accounts, fixed deposits, etc. In the example above we calculated the velocity of M1 money – that is coins, notes and demand deposit bank accounts.
Bitcoin is just bitcoin, and we know there have been ca. 12.5m bitcoins mined. That being said, it is not so straightforward to determine bitcoins ‘in use’. For one, there are all the lost coins. In the analysis herein I have assumed 2.5m have been lost (or, more accurately, private keys lost). There is also the question of how to treat those bitcoins that are being held for investment purposes. M1 is sort of a measure of ‘ready cash’ – a description that does not really apply to most bitcoins. In reality, most bitcoin holders probably treat some portion of their stockpile as ‘ready cash’, and the rest as investment. It is this ‘ready cash’ proportion that is of interest in calculating U.
  1. Estimating a value for bitcoin
With the above analysis in place, it is easy to start understanding the implications for the value of bitcoin. For example, if the US were to switch to a pure bitcoin economy today, and the velocity of bitcoin was the same as for the dollar, then we can say the value of a single bitcoin would need to be:
Btc = T/V/U = 16 trillion / 7 / 12.5 million = $183,000
3.1 The value of bitcoin based on today’s usage
Estimating T, V and U:
T. It is quite hard to estimate what T is today. We know the total transaction value from the blockchain, but most of this is exchanging bitcoin for other currencies or transfers between accounts. This doesn’t count in our estimate of bitcoin ‘GDP’. We do know it must be quite low – the most well known retailer accepting bitcoin, Overstock.com, takes in about $1m in bitcoin sales per month, so $12m per year. Let’s estimate, finger in the air, that total real world goods and services transactions in bitcoin are $1bn per year – this may well still be high.
V. It is very difficult to estimate velocity for those bitcoins that are in use as ‘currency’. It seems a fair assumption, however, that the velocity is slower than for USD, since there are simply not many bitcoiners out there buying and selling stuff. Again, with a finger in the air, let’s assume velocity of bitcoin today is 1 (compared to around 7 for the USD).
U. we know there have been around 12.5 million bitcoins ever mined – but are they in use? Certainly, some have been lost, so we should definitely remove them from our calculation of U. What about coins that are being used for speculative investment? Are they in use, but just very slow moving? We could choose to look at it that way, but I would rather assume that people using bitcoin see some of their stockpile as being ‘for investment’, and some as for everyday spending. Those that are for investment are really more like houses or stocks and bonds, and therefore not really part of U. Over time, as bitcoin approaches its long term price we would expect that people would hold bitcoin less as an investment, and therefore bitcoins in use would rise. For now though it seems clear that most bitcoins are being held for investment. Again, it is impossible to say what proportion, but I think it is high – say at least 80%. If we assume that 2.5 million bitcoins are lost, and that 80% are for investment, that means that only 2 million are ‘in use’.
These finger in the air assumptions give us the following as a minimum value required to support the value of btc transactions in the economy today:
Btc = T/V/U = 1bn / 1/ 2mn = $500.
Of course, we know the value of bitcoin today (ca $422 as of 12 April 2014), so we could back calculate the value of an individual variable. Since the average value of bitcoin over the last year or so is in the $500 range, these assumptions look plausible.
The true, fair, value of bitcoin today, however, given that most people are holding it as an investment, is clearly based on future expectations of its adoption and usage. Below, therefore, I build up some basic assumptions about what that could look like, to derive a very rough, back of the envelope type calculation for the real value of one bitcoin.
3.2 Estimating a fair value for bitcoin
Obviously, it is very unlikely that bitcoin will replace the US dollar, so we need to arrive at some sort of reasonable assumptions for what might happen.
For the purposes of this exposition, I will focus on where bitcoin could be in 5 years time. This is a close enough time frame to feel comfortable making some sort of prediction. Of course, the full potential of bitcoin may not be realized for 10 or 20 years or more, however in order to be conservative and to keep the assumptions at a level where people can have a good gut feel for whether they are realistic or not, let’s stick to 5 years.
I’m going to use three scenarios: 1. Crash and burn – where bitcoin is dead in 5 years – no one is using it at all – it just didn’t live up to the hype, there are a couple more gox like scandals and the original evangelists have moved onto new things 2. Nice but boring – bitcoin continues its slow but steady rise, but there is no exponential take off and usage remains confined to online payments by the relatively tech-savvy and libertarian 3. To the moon – bitcoin reaches critical mass, usage becomes easy, widely accepted and the wider population starts to understand it better. In developed markets it takes meaningful market share in online transactions and is beginning to make meaningful inroads in offline payments. In some emerging markets it is trusted more than the local currency, and adoption rates are soaring.
Basic considerations on U
I don’t know the answer to this, someone probably does, but let’s assume that in 2019 there have now been 15 million bitcoins mined. Let’s assume 2.5 million are still lost, so there are 12.5 million bitcoins, either being used as an investment or as currency.
Scenario 1 – Crash and burn
In our equation T = 0 (or very close to 0) therefore:
1 btc = 0/V/U = $0
Scenario 2 – Nice but boring
Let’s say that bitcoin takes 1% of online spending, and basically zero offline spending. E-commerce in 2019 is expected to be valued at around $3 trillion. Therefore we assume T = $30bn. Remember we estimated that T today is around $1bn.
Since there is a material amount of spending happening now, let’s assume that V has doubled to equal 2.
In this scenario it is likely that most people are still holding bitcoin as an investment, hopeful of future price increases, however it has been almost 10 years since bitcoin was founded, bitcoin are a lot easier to spend and after holding for so long people are now more willing to spend them. There are probably a decent number of second stage adopters using bitcoin just as an online payment vehicle, not for investment. So let’s assume that just 70% of bitcoins are held as an investment, and therefore there are 3.75m being used for transactions. Therefore:
1btc = 30bn/2/3.75m = $4,000
Scenario 3 – To the moon!
In this scenario bitcoin has really taken hold, particularly online, where 20% of transactions now use bitcoin. Offline uptake is slower, but gaining traction. Let’s say 1% of offline transactions in developed markets use bitcoin. In emerging markets, where currencies are volatile, and where a lot of people have been receiving remittances in bitcoin from relatives abroad, offline uptake is greater, let’s say 2%.
Online transactions – 20% x $3 trn = $600bn Developed world offline – 1% x $45trn = $450bn Developing world offline – 2% x $30trn = $600bn
T = $1,450bn
In this scenario spending has really taken off, so let’s assume velocity (V) has now reached 5.
Of the 12.5 million coins in existence now, a good chunk are actually being used for real world transactions, so let’s say only 50% now are being held for investment – i.e., U = 6.25m.
1 btc = $1450bn / 5 / 6.25m = $46,400
Probability of occurrence
To estimate our bitcoin value, we take a weighted average of the values produced by each scenario, based on an assumption about the likelihood of each coming to pass.
Scenario Btc value Likelihood Weighted value 1. Crash and burn $0 50% $0 2. Nice but boring $4,000 45% $1,800 3. To the moon $46,400 5% $2,320 100% $4,120
Therefore, if you accept the assumptions above, and the probability attributed to each scenario, the probability weighted value of a single bitcoin in 5 years time will need to be $4,120.
Time value of money
To reach a valuation for a bitcoin today, we need to discount backwards from the value in 5 years time. This is very simple, since we do not need to discount heavily as we have already considered the ‘risk’ within our scenario analysis. The only discounting we need to do is therefore at the risk free rate, which is usually taken to be the yield you would get if you held a US Treasury bond of similar duration. Let’s say this is 3%. Discounting $4,120 back to today we therefore arrive at our final ‘finger in the air’ value for one bitcoin today:
1 bitcoin = $3,554
  1. Implications of the current btc value
As of April 12 2014, the value of one bitcoin is around $420. We can take this value and, holding other assumptions as they are, solve for a single variable to see what might be happening.
For instance, perhaps I am being unfair in treating some bitcoins as out of use. If we solve for U, taking $422 as the value of one bitcoin, the implied number of bitcoins in use is 43 million – an impossible number. Let’s assume that in 2019 all 15 million bitcoins ever mined are ‘in use’, and that the velocity of transactions stays the same. If so, the value of 1 bitcoin today ought to be $1,222.
If we solve for the probability of scenario 1 happening (keeping the ratio of the likelihood of scenario 2 and 3 the same), we discover that today’s $422 valuation implies a likelihood of bitcoin ‘crashing and burning’ of 94.06%.
submitted by yingguoreninchina to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Partial transcript of Andreas Antonopoulos' presentation at the LA Bitcoin Meetup - This dude's spoken words need to be circulated in writing more often.

One of my favorite people in Bitcoin is Andreas Antonopoulos. He has a rare combination of CS brilliance, eloquence and authenticity that makes him IMO Bitcoin's greatest evangelist and champion.
I took the time to write-up a partial transcript of Andreas' recent presentation on Bitcoin at the LA Bitcoin Meetup, because the full presentation with Q&A is 90 minutes long. I've included what I thought were his most eloquent and concise points because it's important to get some of his spoken words on paper, and because I'm going to use a lot of his points when educating others about Bitcoin. I would vote for Andreas in a heartbeat if he ran for any type of public office, and have an enormous amount of professional respect for the dude, although I've only met him in passing. I have edited for clarity and length. Mistakes/omissions are my own, brilliance is attributable to Andreas.
Enjoy!
On the Irrelevance of Bitcoin's Flaws: "Bitcoin is not perfect, but it's good enough. And when you have a tech that achieves network scale and can be distributed over a large network, good enough suddenly becomes perfect, not because it is perfect, but because it enables the kind of innovation that makes it sticky, that starts accelerating the network effect. And Bitcoin has some of the strongest network effects ever seen. Why? Because it's money. The literal value of the network can increase exponentially."
On the Superiority of Decentralized Systems: "Nature doesn't do hierarchical systems, humans do. And normally we create hierarchical systems to solve the problems of scale. Bitcoin solves one of the main problems of hierarchical systems, which is that the people who rise to the top become corrupted and gradually subvert the hierarchical system to serve their own needs. Hierarchical systems don't scale and they don't deliver equality for very long. Decentralized systems scale and as long as the rules they are based on operate, they can level the playing field for all participants. If you can put a decentralized system next to a hierarchical system and people have a choice to choose between the two, the decentralized system will always deliver more value to every node within the network, and it will do so with better accountability, better predictability, less uncertainty, less risk, and it is much harder to corrupt and coopt, and now we're doing it to money for the first time in history. That's a very big deal."
On Bitcoin as a Global Reserve Currency: "In North America, we have the world's reserve currency. It's a good, stable currency. A lot of libertarians and Austrian economists will say: "The dollar sucks." Yes, the dollar sucks, but it sucks 193 times less than the other 193 other currencies. So when we ask why does Bitcoin matter in North America, the answer is: it doesn't. It matters far more in every other place in the world. You go to Argentina; their currency is devaluing at 30% per year. People's savings are disappearing before their eyes. Their futures are being stolen by a central bank. For these people, Bitcoin is a choice that allows them to achieve economic independence. We would love to have economic independence here, because our financial system is f***ed up and corrupt, but compared to the rest of the world, it's easy. It's great."
Bitcoin as a Force for Social Good: "Bitcoin is really all about the other 6 billion people. About 3 billion people have no bank accounts. About 1 billion people have ample access to credit and large pools of liquidity, so they can start businesses, buy homes, etc. They have access to international finance, transferring money and conducting international trade without many restrictions. The middle 3 billion may have bank accounts, but those bank accounts have currency controls, and those people don't have the ability to do international trade. They are stuck in a currency controlled by a central bank that uses inflation as a means to steal from the people. Essentially inflation becomes a form of taxation.
This stolen money usually goes to buy guns and tanks and bombs, which is why I'm in Bitcoin. In the state of human affairs, if you ask a nation to divest its wealth in order to fund war, the only way you can do that is by stealing, by lying, by cheating. If you ask for the consent of the governed to fund war, they will say no. They would rather fund healthcare, education or development. So when you have a currency that is not subject to central bank control, you achieve separation of money and state. You take away the power of state to use money as a means of control and enrichment. Until now, each government was able to apply control through money, by issuing it, taxing in that money and controlling the flow of money into and out of that country. Bitcoin is not the 194th currency, it is the first global currency. It is the first algorithmic currency. We can trust mathematics because we can predict exactly what will happen on the Bitcoin network.
We have the opportunity, not to bank the other 6 billion, but to unbank all 7 billion of us. We have the opportunity to allow the developing world to leapfrog directly from cash-based societies to digital cash societies and bypass the entire failed experiment of central currencies from the western world. They will take the opportunity just like they leapfrogged landlines and went directly to cellphones."
On Governments' Inability to Stop Bitcoin: "You cannot stop money that is information. Stopping bitcoin would involve shutting down the internet. I truly believe that Bitcoin is absolutely unstoppable from external perspectives today. That doesn't mean that it will survive. It means that if we f*** it up, it will fail from the inside. There are certain failure modes that bitcoin could exhibit today, probably the most serious would be a bug that allows someone to subvert the elliptic curve digital signature algorithm in a way that wouldn't be noticed for a long time, in which case you wouldn't know who owns what. That could crash bitcoin."
On Global Remittance Innovation: One of the most exciting financial solutions is the ability of the payment networks to do peer-to-peer payments, the most important of which is global remittances. Global remittances are a $510bn market, where migrant workers send that money back home to support families in the poorest nations in the world. Today, Western Union and similar companies extract $74 billion in fees for those services. Even as the developed world provides $150 billion in direct foreign aid to the top of the pyramid in the hopes that it trickles down, we steal $74 billion from the base of the pyramid. That money could go to sanitation, clean water, healthcare, food. This is not our money, it's theirs, and it just means we need to take it away from Western Union. And that couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of crooks."
On whether 51% attacks are something to worry about: "The 51% attack is an interesting theoretical experiment with limited practical uses. If you were to take over 51% of the network you would be able to successfully issue a double spend attack, but you could really only affect the next couple of blocks. [So the economics of a 51% don't really make sense.] Besides that, Gavin Andresen (the lead core Bitcoin developer) would make changes to the core protocol in the event that the integrity of the block chain was threatened."
On whether we should worry about SHA-256 Failing (the underlying security algorithm on which Bitcoin is based): "The hashing algorithm can be replaced, with a minimal impact on the blockchain, but very big impact on the miners. But practically speaking, if SHA-256 were to break, we would have much bigger problems. Because it underlies security of all financial systems, and all of our communications networks...and the tomahawk cruise missile codes."
submitted by twobitidiot to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

This is about the protocol, economic Theory and adoption more so than "money" and speculation.

I have a simple question. Why does a place like Berlin, Germany not have a developer create a coin for that city alone? It would be mineable, only put the coin network on a private wifi metro connection so that it isn't mineable by outsiders unless some asshat hosts a node. Could always block that by firewall rules, well unless someone changed the port to something more known, 80, anyone? Then it'd be hard to block without doing traffic analysis and seeing its got a coin-like header and throwing it out.
ANYWAY, all that theory aside, why hasn't it been done on massive scales?! Why don't we use Bitcoin as the "RESERVE CURRENCY or ASSET" and then use our local coins for local trade. They could all easily be arbitraged and traded on multiple exchanges and via automated ones after they are on the internet.
I guess eventually all block chains would have to end up online to make them useful outside their "jurisdiction." But as long as the locals mined the most in the beginning, who cares? Let the WORLD be latecomers to YOUR currency and expand YOUR economy?
Economists, aside, anybody have anything to say about this? I have a reason for excluding economists, they don't seem to have a clue what Bitcoin means 99% of the time because they are stuck within the confines and mindsets of their college classes from decades gone by. I want to hear what 10 year olds have to say about this. After all, it lets them buy bubble gum just for sitting around and running a miner to support the network... EVERYONE WINS with this new technology and algorithm called the "Blockchain." Thanks Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever you are!
submitted by SagefulSolutions to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

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