After trying and failing to sponsor my old pal (and long-time writing role model) Jack’s Baruth and his fledglingi blog Riverside Green,ii he generously asked me to write a Bitcoin primer for his really rather active commentariat. I happily obliged him in two-part question-n-answer style articles (partido uno, partido dos) that was supplemented by one of Jack’s own on “Hashes Explained” pieces to fill in some gaps.
If you’re somehow new to the pages of Contravex specifically and Bitcoin in general, you might find these intro-to articles helpful, but otherwise it’s my fellow armchair anthropologists who will find interest and perhaps amusement in the kinds of comments that non-TMSR blog commenters have about our beloved destroyer of worlds in the Year of Our Lord 2018.
Without further ado, here are a few highlights from the fortyish comments between the two pieces, not including my own, adnotated herebelow for your enlightenment and entertainment with more hyperlinks, more detail, and with a little more edge, of courseiii :
Hope you guys will address the question of what use is Bitcoin if it isn’t private, is notoriously vulnerable to fraud, makes a lousy store of value and an awful medium for transactions, and couldn’t possibly replace fiat currency under any regime capable of collecting taxes. I mean I *love* the idea, really LOVE it. I hate governments and their meddling, but this just isn’t a solution
Bitcoin couldn’t possibly replace fiat currency in any regime capable of collecting taxes ? Except TMSR, of course, which is sitting on so much cash that it has positively no idea what to do with it all! Compare and contrast this fortune-feted fate with that of the pretend sovereigns in Washington, Ottawa, and everywhere else besides. As to Bitcoin being fraudy, it’s sadly sheeple that are so eager to be shorn, not string of letters and numbers that are to blame. Bitcoin, being merely a constructed matter of belief, can only reveal ; it cannot bring into being new aspects of human psychology.
I think that if it was truly private and untraceable and nontaxable, the Feds would have gone after it great guns by now.
Just wait until zcash adoption grows more mainstream.
You mean Zooko’s “private” coin that he himself has been undermining from the get-go ? Lol! Please, do a little more reading before commenting. While Contravex probably doesn’t get 1/100th the comments that RG does, personally I’d like to think that this is because I scare the shit out of people who don’t do their fucking homework first and make examples of the ones who type before they think. Isn’t that what online education should be all about ? A means and method that harkens back to the days when teachers still gave their kids the strap, back when adults could possibly be bothered to give a shit about the next generation ? I’d like to think so. As far as I can see, any other form of online “education” is just pretending not to be the TV that it really is.
Grumpy old man says : Sounds like bullshit to me . When I can buy new tires or a cold beer with it ! 7-11 stores, maybe I’ll consider it .
Grumpy old man is grumpy and old and doesn’t want to hear about whippersnappin’ new inventions. News at 11!
Here’s the reality: #1 NO ONE understands why cryptocurrency is. #2 NO ONE understands what Cryptocurrency’s future is.
This comment was a snippet from a much longer one wherein its author revealed that he’s made a small fortune trading BTC and altcoins, so we won’t dismiss his position entirely, but it’s still an awfully lofty appeal to ignorance to say that NO ONE understands Bitcoin and its future. There are plenty of people who do. Hundreds certainly – perhaps thousands – which by no means constitutes a mass majority but there’s a huge difference in this case between 0 and ~0. Why ? Because those who understand Bitcoin and its implications are shaping the world to come. That’s why. NO ONE understands how to get a manned rocket to the moon using only a slide rule except for those who do.
Who could have guessed that clicking on that W126 post some years ago would take me down this rabbit hole. A hole that runs deep. One of the best things I have done in years. For that and much more, thanks Señor Dushenski and TMSR.
“That W126 post” was of course this one, which Jack picked up here. It was a personal high watermark at the time because it was at that point that my blogging seemed to have shed its strictly car-oriented roots and had matured to the point where it was being recognised by more esteemed writers on a broader set of scores. Sadly, Saddam was recently put out to pasture, having fallen prey to intractable fuel distribution issues. He’s gone, but the way his doors slammed so solidly and the way his rear wheels drifted so gracefully on ice will not soon be forgotten. You also can’t have too many Bitcoin-shaped rabbit holes in your life.
I may not be 1 in a million smart like our host but I do test in the 99th percentile. I’ve read all three articles and I still don’t understand how it works or why it should be treated as something with value.
Sure, I think I’m pretty wonderful, but it’s still hard to believe that yours truly is a one in a million intellect (I’m really not that smart! And if I am in relative terms, we’re all super fucked!), but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there are four orders of magnitude difference in capability between the one in a hundred guy and the one in a million guy, which is itself twice the magnitude in difference between the one in a hundred guy and the one in one guy. In athletic terms, that’s like saying you can’t understand how Usain Bolt can run the 100-metre dash in 9.58 seconds because you won your neighbourhood track meet with a time of 12.58 seconds, but I guess the threshold for this particular competition is somewhere in between.
It took me ~6+ months to understand why it is valuable. Reading Debt: The First 5000 Years helped a lot.
I’m actually re-reading David Graeber’s sleeper hit at the moment and I have to say that while his politics haven’t aged so well, his understanding of finance, anthropology, philosophy, and history still stand as tall as ever. This book still very much deserves its second-to-top spot on my (unranked) Reading List. I can’t recommend it enough as a primer for understanding Bitcoin.
Those who want to buy in…have at it. I’m staying on the sidelines on this one…I have $100,000 in precious metals. They don’t perform; but they will endure. Long after this series of binary digits is recognized (IMHO) as the scam it is.
Nothing burns goldbugs quite like Bitcoin. Oh, the burns… they’re so deep! They scar! Oh, the scars… I kinda feel for them though. Goldbugs were just born into the worst possible century. The endurance of gold is all well and good, but who can honestly stomach its lack of market performance ? That takes a special kind of strong retard to be that persistent in 2018.
Thanks for this, Pete. Can you elaborate on why we should avoid Coinbase?
Since (somehow!) I don’t believe that I’ve explicitly spelled out the reasons why Coinbaseiv is a scam on these pages previously, I’ll just reiterate my original reply to this comment : Coinbase has a nasty habit (and a terribly long history) of cancelling orders when the price is skyrocketing, blocking doubleplusungood addresses, and snitching to the IRS on its users. They’re some of the biggest crooks in the space. Simple as that, really.
That said, coinbase has served an interesting function in my opinion. By effectively stopping any transactions through it due to “technical difficultiues” anytime there’s a major swing in price, I think you could craft a reasonable argument that they’ve stopped a crypto market crash.
To follow-up on my comment, however, was this little lulzgem. The idea that Coinbase “prices” have any influence on other exchange “prices” is just too farcical. Such a position can only come from the mistaken belief that i) serious money moves through online exchanges, ii) there are meaningful arbitrage opportunities between them, and iii) the “price” is anything other than a grossly if ineptly manipulated distortion intended to dissuade would-be buyers of the underlying asset at all costs, and yet at great cost. Coinbase serves only the function of playing rubes like musical instruments and whether that’s “interesting” or not is really no more than a matter of aesthetics.
Country or no there is a still potential for competition (potentially even more so) among populations/groups/factions to control the resource even if it isnt physical.
Indeed! This is one of the more intelligent comments (or snippets thereof). Little does this commenter realise that there’s been a political war raging in and around Bitcoin since Gavin Andresen was revealed to be a USG mole and a whole host of similarly unsavoury characters emerged almost simultaneously in an effort to capsize the fledgling project. Thankfully for the free world, they were vanquished in open battle. On behalf of TMSR, you’re welcome. The flood of ICOs and other altcorns couldn’t be stopped, however, but those are really more about fucking the middle class as per usual than anything else.
Thank you for this article, I am far more interested in Cryptocurrency now. You have inspired me to learn even more and focus on this a little more.
OMG. Maybe this blogging thing has a chance at working ?! Just maybe…
What’s bitcoin offer? If I understand it correctly, its mostly electronic so has no inherent beauty, and potentially threatened by hackers (there is always a way), or an EMP from a nuclear attack, while my gold bars and Picassos will still be in my vault along with my automatic rifles, 50,000 rounds of ammunition, 5 years of bottled water and freeze-dried meals and other survival gear. If the primary benefit is to thwart government control, then it will soon be taken over by criminal/terrorist entities (if it hasn’t already) as a way of hiding/transferring/exchanging ill-gotten wealth, and government crackdowns and control will follow.
First of all, gold and Picassos aren’t terribly portable, nor terribly discreet. Second of all, to reiterate my actual comment to this guy’s comment, Granting that there’s nothing particularly aesthetic about Bitcoin in the visual sense, certainly compared to fine art, it’s arguably blindlingly beautiful in the intellectual sense, like the solution to the Fermat’s Last Theorem. Third of all, Bitcoin was taken over by retired gangsters cum terrorists sometime in 2011. If that makes you uncomfortable, this isn’t the space for you. Plain and simple.
The ultimate coup would be if the Don could purge the dual citizens and America haters from the FRB.
Why not just come out and say that the Fed is run by grubby jooz ? Ah, I guess that’s not PC, even when being anti-Israel is pretty chic.
Good reads, Pete. There’s no question about the speculative potential, and long term, if the fundamental use-case of Bitcoin as money is proven en masse, it has the potential to revolutionize all voluntary exchange. So how do you see the problem of utility being resolved?
So get this : Bitcoin is the best borderless asset yet devised by man and it has a utility problem ? Seems to me that 2017 was a very rough year for the dollar’s utility, not Bitcoin’s. But I could see that BTC would make for shitty toilet paper in a pinch. Well, unless you have rolls and rolls of paper wallets kicking around. Such pootility!
And on that bombshell, we’ll have to do this again in a few years. I should feel plenty ancient in 2022, certainly enough to warrant smacking a few plucky grasshoppers into shape again. Nature has an endless supply.
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- Well, “fledgling.” RG is almost five years old now but the frequency of posts and the size of the writing staff there is experiencing something of a Cambrian explosion at the moment, so the whole thing feels more youthful and exuberant than its age may suggest.
Contravex, contrariwise, is entering something of a malaise, or perhaps more generously “mature,” period at the moment. Whereas I started with almost daily posts on these pages, it’s now all I can do to publish something of quality once per week. What happened ? The same thing that happened to CarEnvy apparently : I used up my first few years of fire in the belly and am now wandering lost through the dark forests of life until I can find it again.
Let’s pretend that it has to do with my internal filters improving over time until they’re periodically shattered and reset, mkay ? [↩]
- Turns out Google Ads are both visually rapacious and reasonably profitable with traffic no greater than what Contravex sees (then again, measurement of “traffic” isn’t as simple as you’ve been led to believe). Maybe I should be milking y’all for a couple $k a year! Be thankful I’m not, I guess. Ads funkin’ blow. [↩]
- Just because I’m a raging asshole on these pages, doesn’t mean I need to be a raging asshole at the grocery store, the synagogue, or on other people’s blogs, right ? Or maybe I’m just a two-faced borderline gemini sociopath criminal terrorist white supremacist nazi skinhead climate warming denialist. Tough to say. [↩]
- The problems with Circle, Blockchain.info, and countless others have been outlined on these fair pages, but somehow not Coinbase. Qntra used to have a fair bit of material on them but I guess that doesn’t count for much atm. [↩]