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Risk

Bitcoin, Meet Darwin: Crypto Currency's Future

First-movers rarely survive, but some experts see a real future for government-issued crypto currency.

Image credit: zcopley on Flickr.
Image credit: zcopley on Flickr.

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Saturation
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Saturation,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2014 | 3:16:27 PM
Bitcoinitis
Currently all the furor over Bitcoins assumes it will the top player in the growing field.  But anyone can create another Bitcoin protocol, each upgrading either the protocol's flaws or flaws in the human component: regulation and organization.  Even if a less regulated, less traceable version of bitcoin survives to allow clandestine money flow, countries can easily outlaw it to create and nurture their own bitcoin currency or at least, those it sanctions.  A true world wide currency can exists that in science fiction were referred to as 'credits'.  In a global market, as all country economies are affected by each other's economic activities, it more unlikely for a currency to exists outside of the world system; consider the effect of being outside the world economy to the North Korean won or the Cuban peso.  The bottom line is the government controlled versions are more likely to flourish, so there is even more odds for bitcoin to not succeed in the long term.

 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2014 | 3:26:33 PM
So, is the model a DMZ?
Is the big-picture that you store your cryptocurrency offline, then when you want to spend some, you move it into a "DMZ" or airlock en route to the payee? Only a small amount is vulnerable, and only for a short period of time?
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2014 | 3:32:47 PM
Bitcoin/Napster
What do you think of the Bitcoin/Napster comparison, readers? Will the second movers be more likely to win your trust?
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2014 | 4:11:02 PM
Re: Bitcoin/Napster
The analogy is somewhat fair, though while Napster clearly violated copyright law, I don't think Bitcon is illegal outside of separate incidents of money laundering or other financial crimes.

The thing I find difficult to understand is why one would want a currency that exists outside of a government. Governments exist in part to protect those who pay into the system. If you're rejecting governance out of some libertarian notion of freedom, it seems odd to expect any help from the government when the hackers come for your Bitcoins. You're on your own, for better or worse. And lately Bitcoin seems to have more worse than better.
ZedicusJones
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ZedicusJones,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2014 | 5:38:18 PM
Re: Bitcoinitis
You could probably ban exchanges effectively, but the peer to peer nature of the blockchain means that there's no effective technical way to prohibit or reverse a transaction.

 

The beauty of these various blockchains is that they operate by consensus. If a government sticks thier hands in it, and modified it to protect the role of banks,  and mucks it all up (to put it politely), why would anyone go for it over current supplies.

Banks and big corps are never going to willingly accept the public nature of the blockchain either.


So at best we can expect governemnts and banks to adopt some of the technological measures that bitcoin uses, but they aren't going to adopt any of the big revolutionary ideas.
ZedicusJones
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ZedicusJones,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2014 | 6:05:33 PM
Re: Bitcoin/Napster
Bitcoins are not more worse than better. The markets are learning and improving. Hardware devices are appearing to make transactions more secure.  The free coinage of money is going to be a wonderful boon the the market economy, and the idea of this public distributed blockchain is what makes this idea practical. 


This is a case of buyer beware. The weaknesses of the Bitcoin system that these attacks are expoiting are well known and publicized, and are for the most part easily avoided.

 

It is logically possible to believe government should punish criminals but should not issue money. People are expecting the government to track down the theives as theft is a crime, however nobody sane is expecting the government to indemnify losses due to theft, as those by default are borne by the owners of a property. Just as if I take cash out of the bank, I'm responsible for losses, but I'm still going to file a police report if somebody mugs me and takes my wallet.
g33ksupport
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g33ksupport,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/13/2014 | 9:09:32 AM
Re: Bitcoin/Napster
I guess first we would need to distinguish between second movers and copy cats.  There are plenty of other cryptocurrencies that have tried to jump on the band wagon yet offer little more than Bitcoin.

The biggest issue it currently has is the comparisons and exchange rate with fiat currenciesl.

For example, if I buy an some components for 1 btc and then sell the assembled item for 2 btc, I have made 100% profit.  But when I start factoring in exchange rates, depending on when I obtained the bitcoin will massively impact my profit.  For it to work, everyone using it has to be on the same page and not be interested in cashing in when things are good or bad.
Whoopty
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50%
Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
3/13/2014 | 11:00:29 AM
Re: Bitcoinitis
That's a good point and I'm not really sure Bitcoin could ever go the way of Napster and in essence be killed off in its original form. Even if Bitcoin doesn't become a world wide, regularly used currency, as long as it maintains some semblance of stability, whatever that value is, it has potential for use a way of trading instantaneously. There might be better alternatives in the future, but I think Bitcoin is going to be arounnd for a long time. 
ZedicusJones
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ZedicusJones,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/13/2014 | 2:32:19 PM
Re: Bitcoin/Napster
In a way cryptocurrencies are the second movers of non-governmental electronic payment systems, after failures like e-gold.

 

Stability should increase as more vendors and employeeds accept it at payment, and as secondary markets mature (being able to against hedge agains sudden shifts in value). In some ways these cryptocurrencies have been too successful, increasing in value faster than you want in a unit of account.
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