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Crypto currencies- good, bad, ugly? What do the permies think?  RSS feed

 
Josef Theisen
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I was wondering what the Permies crowd thinks of the fairly new phenomenon of crypto currencies that are making waves across the financial landscape? Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin and about 100 or so others are out there gaining momentum as we speak and I am fascinated by it. On one hand I am a bit horrified by the thought of so much electricity being used in this type of encryption arms race to secure these digital currencies. Millions of people out there setting up computing power online in massive networks in order to "mine" the coins and ensure that no one has enough computing power to succeed with a brute force hack. On the other hand I see so much potential in this decentralized trading concept to be a democratic force, allowing common people a secure way to trade without dependance on banks and such. This could be the start of a massive redistribution of wealth and power. I think of all the other things people are doing with computer power for pure entertainment and suddenly using it to solve the real human need of currency doesn't seem so bad. So what say you? Is this justifiable as appropriate tech? or a waste of resources?
 
Johnny Niamert
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I also am curious, mainly in regards to Bitcoin. A buddy of mine is all about them. I actually searched the term on here yesterday, and there isn't much discussion.

To me, paper money is worthless, so why not trust something equally as worthless as 1's and 0's?
I think of it as another step out of the control of bureaucracy.

I just need to familiarize myself with them a bit more, know the ins and outs, security, back-up HD, etc....
 
mick mclaughlin
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Ok I will ask the dumb question, what makes bitcoin etc.. more valuable/ stable then good ol dollar bills?

I know how we all basically play with monopoly money, but I can still trade us currency for about anything I want, just about anywhere I want to.

I gotta be honest, if I am gonna go in any direction, it's away from some type of electronic /digital money. No money is worth anything, until it is turned in to something material. Beans may only be beans, but at least I can eat them. Chickens can lay eggs, until I eat them. Land can grow beans and chickens. These things I trust, not so sure about others.

I don't believe in the gold/silver bs, either. Those folks are always way too willing to trade it for dollar bills, and it's unhandy to buy a cup of coffee with.

I do not like the fed, and everything behind the US dollar, but I don't understand the benefits of the other forms, either. I mean, ain't ya still giving someone else power over yours?

Not trying to be derogatory, just trying to get my head wrapped around the advantages here for the average bear.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Johnny Niamert wrote:

To me, paper money is worthless, so why not...


Oh good !!! I have a nice little shipping box that I would like to fill with spices and then send to you. It will come with prepaid return postage. Take out the spices and load the box with all of your worthless money. These are really nice spices that I'm sure have some value, so you'll be ahead of the game.
 
Johnny Niamert
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mick mclaughlin wrote:Ok I will ask the dumb question, what makes bitcoin etc.. more valuable/ stable then good ol dollar bills?
...
I do not like the fed, and everything behind the US dollar, but I don't understand the benefits of the other forms, either. I mean, ain't ya still giving someone else power over yours?


These currencies are not under the control of a private bank. That's kind of the one of the main appeals.

There, supposedly, is a limited number of Bitcoins that will ever exist. So a private bank cannot 'print' more in times of need. Every user/owner of Bitcoin has access to an open/public log of every activity related to them. With a limited number, the price is theoretically more stable, because the market cannot be purposely flooded with more; or more cannot be found laying in the ground which would affect the price. Silver, gold, diamonds, etc...

It's like access to news media prior to and post internet. Before, you had to eat what the talking heads told you. Now you can access news from any source you wish, good or bad, and form a logical opinion on your own, not based on mass media bias.

But who was convinced that people would order toilet paper and diapers off amazon instead of driving to the store 15 years ago?
Who was convinced 15 years ago that publishing and newsprint would essentially be dead now?

I'm sure there are chances for fraud and abuse, but that is also inherent in any form of currency. I'm not completely sold on them either, yet.
Not sure how many commodities you can buy with beans, but maybe it's just the area I live in.

Dale Hodgins wrote:Oh good !!! I have a nice little shipping box that I would like to fill with spices and then send to you. It will come with prepaid return postage. Take out the spices and load the box with all of your worthless money. These are really nice spices that I'm sure have some value, so you'll be ahead of the game.


Actually, the spice cabinet is pretty full at the moment.
I may be in the market for some shinny metals I can do nothing but look at; or maybe some sea shells, BUT I would only be interested in ones which are very pretty. Possibly some magical beans, but I'm currently in negotiation with another user about magical beans. Stay tuned, Dale.
 
mick mclaughlin
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No, I get that beans are not a form of currency, but I bet they taste better then bit coins or dollar bills. Just saying numbers on a screen have no real value, anymore then gold.

Something is only worth what someone will give ya for it, or what you can use it for.

I am not knocking bitcoins, just saying I don't get them.

I am still uncomfortable with giving anyone control over my currency.
 
Kelly Smith
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can anyone tell me the hash used in the bitcoin encryption algorithm?
as i understand the bitcoin is encrypted with a SHA-2 (SHA-256), which was developed by the NSA,(reference) thus leading my to not trust the bitcoin block change. [i assume there is a backdoor in anything NSA developed]
who created bitcoin? why isnt he available to answer questions about its structure?
as you can see, i am skeptical by nature. i dont trust money that springs up from essentially nowhere. i do not see the value in it.


bitcoin can be anonymous, but isnt so by default. if you know what you are doing you can transact anonymous, but for the most part, the transactions are traceable. (as i understand it)
i fear if we move to a digital currency what we will get is a system that can track [thus tax] every transaction.

i will stick to gold/silver/energy/necessities as things of value. at a minimum they are things that cant be printed/created out of air.
 
Kelly Smith
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
Johnny Niamert wrote:

To me, paper money is worthless, so why not...


Oh good !!! I have a nice little shipping box that I would like to fill with spices and then send to you. It will come with prepaid return postage. Take out the spices and load the box with all of your worthless money. These are really nice spices that I'm sure have some value, so you'll be ahead of the game.


federal reserve notes (there are NO United States Dollars in circulation at this time) are great as a currency, but horrible as money, mainly because they do NOT hold value over time [by design imo].

i dont want to turn this into a currency vs money debate, but there is a big difference.
 
Johnny Niamert
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I think a big factor to the debate, which one may indirectly but not directly reveal, is what their personal outlook on the future is.

If we assume the world is going to continue as is for the foreseeable future, I would see Bitcoins being viable, especially as the world moves towards a global economy.
If we assume the world is going to 'end' as we know into some Red Dawn/Mad Max/Walking Dead type scenario, beans and gold are gonna be your best bet.

I was a Boy Scout; their motto "Be Prepared". Not just for the end of the world, but also for it's continuation and changes that will happen in the future.

I have supplies for the 'end', but I don't let it rule my daily thinking.
Gold and beans are nice for these times, but so is ammo, medicine, lighters, matches, etc....

Safeway, Amazon, the gas station, etc aren't gonna take your beans or gold as payment. They will eventually take Bitcoins.
Of course government is going to try to control them, that's what governments do: control us. Everything online is in view of the NSA. It's the Yin and the Yang. Good always comes with evil.
 
D. Logan
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This video has a pretty good breakdown of what they are and how they work. Personally, while I might mine for them, I would probably never take them as a vendor.

 
Tom OHern
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Kelly Smith wrote:can anyone tell me the hash used in the bitcoin encryption algorithm?
as i understand the bitcoin is encrypted with a SHA-2 (SHA-256), which was developed by the NSA,(reference) thus leading my to not trust the bitcoin block change. [i assume there is a backdoor in anything NSA developed]

SHA-256 is only used for the Proof-of-work aspect in the mining process. Wallet encryption uses a combination of AES-256-CBC, SHA512, and OpenSSL's EVP_BytesToKey. It is quite secure, even if someone manages to get quantum computing working.

who created bitcoin? why isnt he available to answer questions about its structure?
as you can see, i am skeptical by nature. i dont trust money that springs up from essentially nowhere. i do not see the value in it.

Yes, the initial developer, Satoshi Nakamoto, was a pseudonym and we don't really know who he/she is, but that doesn't really matter since the protocol is open source. Actually, pretty much the entire base client code has been entirely re-written by subsequent dev teams, and you can go see all of their code changes since then, and follow all of the discussion threads on the dev mailing list. And if you still don't trust your code, you can write your own code based on the protocol established in the white paper and implement that (and in fact many people have done this with alternative clients such as Electrum and Armory.

bitcoin can be anonymous, but isnt so by default. if you know what you are doing you can transact anonymous, but for the most part, the transactions are traceable. (as i understand it)
i fear if we move to a digital currency what we will get is a system that can track [thus tax] every transaction.

Buy your bitcoins in cash from localbitcoinscom and load them into a wallet that has no other transactions. It is actually really simple!

i will stick to gold/silver/energy/necessities as things of value. at a minimum they are things that cant be printed/created out of air.

Gold and silver also good stores of wealth but they are horrible currencies due to the difficulty of transport and lack of divisibility.
 
Kelly Smith
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@ Tom -

thanks for the info.
i am familiar with how to make bitcoins anonymous, and have used them a few times in the last few years. i agree they do have a place in the market, i just dont think its the solution to the problems with money as i see them today.

to me the issue is being able to trust the encryption that all of this is based on. after seeing how the nsa gets access into ALL encryption algos, i dont trust ANY encryption.
i am familiar with the "creator" of bit coin, but the anonymous natures just adds to my suspicion.
 
R Scott
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There is something profound about the fact an open source digital code has as much trust than government backed currency.

 
Johnny Niamert
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R Scott wrote:There is something profound about the fact an open source digital code has as much trust than government backed currency.



If you want something done right, do it yourself.

 
mick mclaughlin
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I don't plan on trading my beans for anything. I plan on eating them, and planting them!
 
Kelly Smith
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Johnny Niamert wrote:I think a big factor to the debate, which one may indirectly but not directly reveal, is what their personal outlook on the future is.


i would also add it depends on what the problems you see with the current monetary system are, and whether or not bitcoin solves those problems ( or moves them forward)

a currency like bitcoin that comes into being WITHOUT creating a debt elsewhere (unlike the dollar) is a good start imo.
 
mick mclaughlin
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Tom OHern
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That Shrem was arrested really means nothing as to the viability of the currency. It basically comes down to the fact that other people used his business to acquire bitcoins to use on a bitcoin black market. And then he also bought some mail order drugs. Most people had already stopped using BitInstant long before they shut down do to horrible customer service.
 
mick mclaughlin
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Oh i know. Only pointing out that if people are involved......

What is bitcoin's value exspressed in?
 
Josef Theisen
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OP: So I finally managed to organize my thoughts on this and wrote a new blog post on the subject. Rather than post the fairly long text here, I'll just provide a link so those who are interested can read it. The short version is that yes, I feel crypto currencies can be considered appropriate tech by permaculture. Comments are most welcome.
http://wholeviewfarm.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-crypto-who.html
 
Alan King
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What happens to bitcoin usage if the grid goes down for long periods? You basically are broke until the electricity and Internet come back on.
 
Tom OHern
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Bitcoin is not a currency for a collapse script scenario, but neither is cash in your bank account nor anyone's credit cards. But the chance of a grid down situation is extremely small and a long term grid down situation is almost zero. Bitcoin is a currency for every other situation except that very small possibility.
 
Alan King
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The more I think about bitcoin the more I distrust it. It has no intrinsic value just like our dollar. It is the same thing as a dollar except it has been limited to a certain number of bitcoins for circulation. At least, right now, I can trade a dollar for something and not need a computer to do it. Also, there is a problem going on right now with bitcoin. Something about wallets receiving a bitcoin but showing it did not receive, so the bitcoins are resent.
 
Josef Theisen
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You are correct, Alan, in that the system requires both electricity and a working internet to function. Though it is also quite resiliant in some ways. Since every user can have a copy of the blockchain, it is unlikely that a power outage could do more than disrupt transactions. As long as users take precautions and have their private keys safely backed up, they can go back to where they left off once services are restored. It is unlikely that we will face such a service outage on a global level at any one time. I do think that energy is going to get more and more expensive as time goes on, but economic activity is important enough to warrent power usage, even after entertainment uses have been priced out of the market entirely. At least I hope that is the case as the vast majority of our fiat money only exists in computers at the moment. Also, credit cards, paypal, and everyother form of modern payment processing are also dependant on electricity and connectivity.

You raise another great point in that, just like the dollar, euro, or any fiat currency, crypto currency has no intrinsic value. It is not backed by any physical good, and only carries the value of the faith it's users give it. I do see having a hard cap on the total number of coins in existance as a problem for bitcoin. Though since the coin can be divided into infinate decimals, it can still be useful for small transactions no matter how high value gets. Dogecoin, I think, has a much better approach in that it will have a huge number of coins generated. This keeps the value of each coin low so people can deal in whole numbers instead of fractions. There will also be additional coins generated on a steady schedule even after the origional 100billion are mined. While this is bad news for those hoarding coins and waiting for massive price increase, it makes for a much more stable and useful currency overall.

I believe that this technology will stick around. That is not to say that any of the coins in use will necessarily last, but the idea is really quite revolutionary and will persist in some form. Let's face it, people have consistantly failed to manage monetary systems fairly. No we have the option to play this game with open source software managing the rules instead of corrupt bureaucrats. We can trade without gatekeepers skimming off of the flow. Bankers may have just become obsolete, and that almost sounds like real progress.
 
Josef Theisen
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I found a video from the Milwaukee, WI Bitcoin meetup two weeks ago that is just fantastic. It's a talk from Andreas Antonopoulos, a network security specialist. The more I learn about this, the more I realize what a revolutionary force it is. This is going to really empower content creators; writers, photographers, musicians, programmers, including growers and artisans of every type. Now we can create those residual income streams that Paul is always going on about directly, with each other, no middle man taking a cut, no personal information exposed, over a decentralized network based on math. Amazing, this is going to rock the world.

The video has a very long and useless intro, so I recommend starting at about 47 minutes in.

 
Andy Reed
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Steer clear of crypto currencies. They are a fad, nothing more. Only useful if you want to launder money or conduct illegal activities. Even worse then stocks or bonds as a speculative asset because they have no income stream, just the concept of a greater fool willing to pay more to buy it off you later. If you plant a few fruit trees they will yield for many years, or you can sell the fruit to buy things you want.
There have been a couple of bitcoin dealers that have taken client money or had it stolen, and there is no protection for those that lost money, silk road, sheep marketplace and Mt Gox have all seen owners of bitcoin lose all of them. Considering the brief time period involved it's a pretty bad investment.
Far better to take pleasure from things that are real, like a garden, some animals, some trees, land etc. These things can be used as money in a pinch or produce things you can exchange for money.
I can't understand why crypto currencies are so popular, same goes for stocks, especially stocks of companies that have yet to make a profit. Not rational at all.
I hold a bit of silver, but it is the second most useful commodity in the world after oil, and just its antibacterial properties alone mean it will always have value, at least to me.
 
Josef Theisen
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I can understand your reluctance Andy, but I have to disagree with you. Since all the transactions are published publicly on the blockchain, it is actually easier for law enforcement to track instead of the laborious task of getting subpoenas for documentation from dozens of private institutions. The technology makes it harder for them to do ubiquitous surveillance but easier to do targeted searches.

I wish you would watch the video because Anreas really explains it well.
 
Paul Ewing
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As someone who played in this industry in the early days with e-gold I am very hesitant to mess with them again. I took e-gold as payment on my handmade jewelry website from 1999-2008 or so. It actually worked well because of the irrevocable nature of the transactions. This meant that customers in areas that I would not usually send a $200-$300 piece to like Asia because of rampant credit card fraud could still place orders. I never did a lot of e-gold transactions, but it was enough to make it worthwhile. There were a couple of factoring businesses that would take e-gold for purchases at Amazon and other places. There needs to be a lot of trust in this type of currency. The problem came when the US government decided that it was getting too popular and started arresting people and impounded the gold and silver reserves backing the currency. We just got our funds back last month that had been held by the US government since 2009 after a very intensive identification process.
 
Josef Theisen
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They will always do that when there is a central authority to take control of. The difference here is that there is no center to control. This is decentralized peer to peer currency. This is the bit torrent of money. The only way they can seize your funds is if you give them your private keys.
 
Bryan Jasons
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This is all theoretical, but here it goes: Bitcoin will probably be a victim of intense speculative influence. Paper currencies associated with a government will have backing by that government's allies and trading partners, with the intent of keeping the currency, and subsequently it's government, stable. A wealthy country might bail out a smaller one, so that it doesn't have to default on it's debts. I'm guessing central banks try to give currencies at least an appearance of stability as well. The USD is a good example, because it's the global reserve currency. The US is *relatively stable* compared to some other countries, and so by default people invest in the USD. It's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy; with more influence comes more wealth to influence things with. Without all the influences that a regular currency has, bitcoin seems kind of untethered.. Who knows what it will do.

I don't really know what intrinsic value is exactly, just to let y'all know ahead of time:

I think fiat currency has an intrinsic value, as a medium of exchange, regardless of it's current, past, or future buying power. This money stuff is not entirely arbitrary; gold and paper currencies have been used not because of some large scale mistake or misunderstanding, but because gold never rusts, it's identifiable, it's rare, and so it makes a good store of value compared to other things, and paper money works great as a medium of exchange, much better than gold. Could be the morning caffeine speaking though.
 
Josef Theisen
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I think you're missing the bigger picture here. Bitcoin does things no other money has ever done before. Good or bad, people are going to use this because it is advantageous for them to do so. As Andreas explains in the video, An immigrant living here and sending money home no longer has to pay as much as 30% to send funds to their families. $74Billion dollars in fees is about to get taken from the hands of banks and money changers and put directly into the hands of the poorest people on earth. This has the potential to defund the existing structures of power and make real change in other areas possible.
 
Josef Theisen
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So.... someone just sent a tweet worth almost $12,000 to a fundraiser that is building 2 wells in Kenya. Amazing.

http://doge4water.org/

http://www.reddit.com/r/dogecoin/comments/20isy2/usavethemhood_just_finished_the_doge4water_drive/
 
Sean Henry
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Lots of people say that using Crypto currencies is a waste of resources since computers are sitting there all day running and wasting energy, no one ever states how wasteful printing money is.

A fed note it made of about 75% cotton and 25% linen. Are the bills printed on organic cotton? I think not. "Cotton covers 2.5% of the world's cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world's insecticides" http://www.ota.com/organic/environment/cotton_environment.html

On top of that we have processing the plant, shipping, processing the material, shipping, printing, shipping to banks.
That in all of that we have the inks the ribbon that is in the bill, plus all or the manual entry into payment systems once cash has been delivered to the bank (by the customer not the fed).

I could go into more things that add to the waste of producing a bill that would not be there if it was all electronic.
 
Josef Theisen
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Wow, I had not even considered the impact of printing and handling paper money but you make a great point, thanks Sean!

I bet if this had come out before Paul got so damned busy, we'd be trading Permies coins by now.
 
Nick Kitchener
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A few things about crypto currencies...
They aren't exactly anonymous. Every transaction ever conducted is accessible to every bitcoin user. They are however encrypted.

The encryption used is based on a mathematical equation that is statistically so difficult to solve that it would take a very long time to find the decryption key. But computers get faster all the time and so people like the NSA, can simply record the encrypted information and store it until such time as they can economically break the code.

Physical currencies nowadays have their value based on nothing more than the faith and promise of the government issuing the currency. Currency is essentially an IOU by the government and they promise to make good on it. Interestingly, there is not one fiat currency throughout all of history where the issuing government has not broken that promise.

You would think that governments would be hell bent on destroying crypto currencies because they threaten their centralised control. That isn't necessarily the case. With a crypto currency, entire economies can finally go cashless. This means that every penny can be taxed. Every purchase monitored.

The globe is facing a serious deflationary situation. But they can't set interest rates negative at the moment because people would simply withdraw their cash from the bank and the whole thing would collapse. With electronic currency, things are different. nobody can take cash out of the bank any more. The only way to withdraw funds from a bank is to spend it. So governments would be free to drive interest rates as negative as they wanted and the people can't do anything to protect their savings.
 
Josef Theisen
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You bring up some interesting points. My understanding is that it is easier for law enforcement to do targeted surveillance, but more difficult to do ubiquitous surveillance. Right now, in order to send money anywhere, we rely on a system of verification based on our identity. This leads to situations where a store is now responsible for storing personal information; name, address, social security number, ect. This is a burden to the store, and allows hackers or government to track us across multiple platforms fairly easily. With this amazing new invention of digital trust, we can now do transactions using only anonymous account numbers.

Now if law enforcement gets an account number during an investigation, they can follow that money through the blockchain (and so can we). They can do it from any computer on the net and do so without a warrant. This is a huge improvement from having to get warrants to search records at perhaps dozens of different institutions and study them. This could save quite a bit of manpower on such an investigation. However, since there is no easy way to associate an account number with a person, and no way to know if money is being sent to yourself or someone else, attempts to decode the entire blockchain get confused pretty quickly. The blockchain is an ocean of data, unless you have a specific target, forget about it.

The transactions are not encrypted at all, they are actually published publically. The encryption protects the network form attack, in order to break it you would need more computing power than the entire network. Right now bitcoin has a 10 petahash network working off over 100,000 computer systems all over the world. That is more computing power than the worlds best 600 supercomputers combined, and is far more power than any government on earth currently possesses. Since there is an economic incentive to mine, greed will keep it this way. Even if someone managed to get enough juice to corrupt the network, they could profit from using it to secure the network instead. It would be like killing the goose that lays golden eggs.

Not sure about the interest rates and all that, but I am convinced that QE 1, 2, & 3 are going to devalue the dollar massively as those trillions of dollars work their way out of the derivatives market and into the economy of real goods and services.
 
Zach Bradshaw
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It's an extremely interesting concept which is moving us (in my opinion) the right direction. I have a business which does accept bitcoin as an option and will continue to do so with any future business I have.
 
Mark Thomas
Posts: 23
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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Andy Reed wrote:Steer clear of crypto currencies. They are a fad, nothing more. Only useful if you want to launder money or conduct illegal activities. Even worse then stocks or bonds as a speculative asset because they have no income stream, just the concept of a greater fool willing to pay more to buy it off you later. If you plant a few fruit trees they will yield for many years, or you can sell the fruit to buy things you want.
There have been a couple of bitcoin dealers that have taken client money or had it stolen, and there is no protection for those that lost money, silk road, sheep marketplace and Mt Gox have all seen owners of bitcoin lose all of them. Considering the brief time period involved it's a pretty bad investment.
Far better to take pleasure from things that are real, like a garden, some animals, some trees, land etc. These things can be used as money in a pinch or produce things you can exchange for money.
I can't understand why crypto currencies are so popular, same goes for stocks, especially stocks of companies that have yet to make a profit. Not rational at all.
I hold a bit of silver, but it is the second most useful commodity in the world after oil, and just its antibacterial properties alone mean it will always have value, at least to me.


Personally I like shares as you do "own" physical assets and get dividends and is easily converted to cash. Just don't buy penny stocks, have a diverse portfolio in a few sectors and remember the golden rule - it's time in the market NOT timing the market. I prefer assets that work for me so would not buy silver or gold or speculate on plots of land - if I did want too speculate I would consider stamps or art. At least stamps are very smuggable, I would be interested in property to rent out but as it is very hard to evict a person have opted for buying shares in listed property companies in South Africa and the UK.
 
Rus Williams
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Location: Zutphen, The Netherlands
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Josef Theisen wrote: Let's face it, people have consistantly failed to manage monetary systems fairly. No we have the option to play this game with open source software managing the rules instead of corrupt bureaucrats. We can trade without gatekeepers skimming off of the flow. Bankers may have just become obsolete, and that almost sounds like real progress.


This is the reason for my very recent interest in crypto currency. I love open source, and the idea of an open source money system is very appealing. Especially as it runs alongside the existing formal and informal systems, better resiliency and choice for us all.
Many people are taking part cash and part crypto for their goods/ services. The cash covers the costs and the crypto the profit (or at least some of it) This is a very interesting idea.
 
Mike Brunt
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Josef Theisen wrote:You bring up some interesting points.  My understanding is that it is easier for law enforcement to do targeted surveillance, but more difficult to do ubiquitous surveillance.  Right now, in order to send money anywhere, we rely on a system of verification based on our identity.  This leads to situations where a store is now responsible for storing personal information; name, address, social security number, ect.  This is a burden to the store, and allows hackers or government to track us across multiple platforms fairly easily.  With this amazing new invention of digital trust, we can now do transactions using only anonymous account numbers. 

Now if law enforcement gets an account number during an investigation, they can follow that money through the blockchain (and so can we).  They can do it from any computer on the net and do so without a warrant.  This is a huge improvement from having to get warrants to search records at perhaps dozens of different institutions and study them.  This could save quite a bit of manpower on such an investigation.  However, since there is no easy way to associate an account number with a person, and no way to know if money is being sent to yourself or someone else, attempts to decode the entire blockchain get confused pretty quickly.  The blockchain is an ocean of data, unless you have a specific target, forget about it. 

The transactions are not encrypted at all, they are actually published publically.  The encryption protects the network form attack, in order to break it you would need more computing power than the entire network.  Right now bitcoin has a 10 petahash network working off over 100,000 computer systems all over the world.  That is more computing power than the worlds best 600 supercomputers combined, and is far more power than any government on earth currently possesses.  Since there is an economic incentive to mine, greed will keep it this way.  Even if someone managed to get enough juice to corrupt the network, they could profit from using it to secure the network instead.  It would be like killing the goose that lays golden eggs.

Not sure about the interest rates and all that, but I am convinced that QE 1, 2, & 3 are going to devalue the dollar massively as those trillions of dollars work their way out of the derivatives market and into the economy of real goods and services.


I realize this is some time back yet it interests me because there was a Permaculture targeted cryptocurrency called "Permacredits" which launched in 2014 and then fizzled out.  Personally I think it could benefit our community greatly if we had a value exchange mechanism in permaculture.
 
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