Bitcoin

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  • Deleted user 20 May 2011 16:34:45
    I honestly don't know if this is genius or a whole world of trouble, or just one of those things that will never take off, but I've seen a little swell of buzz about this in the tech circles I keep and read up on:

    http://www.weusecoins.com/

    Really interested to hear anyone's opinion on this, trying to get my head round it but economics and finance is a bit of a horror to me :)
  • Dirtbox 20 May 2011 16:46:18 77,457 posts
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    I've been using this, it's an interesting concept that's likely to take off.

    It uses your computer to crunch numbers, and act like a server and you earn coins. Sort of like WoW gold mining, with a bot.

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  • Deleted user 20 May 2011 16:56:08
    Aren't there huge implications like potential for money laundering though? I mentioned this to an accountant mate and he was of the opinion it'd swiftly be hurt by governments stamping on currency exchange stuff they mention apparently.
  • Dirtbox 20 May 2011 16:57:30 77,457 posts
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    Well, considering you can't turn money into coins, only the other way around, I would assume not.

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  • mal 20 May 2011 16:59:56 22,332 posts
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    It's an interesting idea. Bitcoins are easy to test for validity, but hard to make, thanks to them using public key cryptography. What I didn't understand at first was how they are transferred - anything on a computer is easy to copy. From their wiki's front page:

    A coin contains the owner's public key. When a coin is transferred from user A to user B, A adds Bs public key to the coin, and the coin is signed using A's private key. B now owns the coin and can transfer it further. A is prevented from transferring the already spent coin to other users because a public list of all previous transactions is collectively maintained by the network. Before each transaction the coins validity will be checked.

    I think this public list is likely to be the weak point in such a system.

    Also, anything using public key cryptography is going to be wiped out if they ever get quantum computing to work. Despite some interesting noises on that front I don't think that's likely to happen any time soon - possibly not in my lifetime. But odds are it will happen, so if bitcoin does take off, it'll be an interesting day when someone programs a quantum computer to generate bitcoins, and wipes out everyone's bitcoin accounts.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • mal 20 May 2011 17:01:23 22,332 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    Well, considering you can't turn money into coins, only the other way around, I would assume not.

    Of course you can turn money into coins. That's the function of money laundering. Use money to buy tat on ebay, then sell it back to other people, assuming ebay supports bitcoins in the future. Bingo, you've used money to get bitcoins.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Dirtbox 20 May 2011 17:03:39 77,457 posts
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    I suppose! There has to be some loophole it's exploiting or something. Hard to say really, but it's been going for a while without problems.

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  • Deleted user 20 May 2011 17:14:32
    I guess it's a question of if it really explodes in popularity and makes an impact on 'real' currencies. At the moment it's small scale enough it's not a problem to banks and government. I can see how it could be though.
  • mal 20 May 2011 17:18:16 22,332 posts
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    I don't quite understand how they're planning to stop the production of bitcoins in the future. Apparently there's an annual limit which halves each year, so if I understand what they're doing, it's not just a factor of the computing power you throw at it. Since the software is open source, you could modify it to ignore the limit, and I don't see how they can tell it's not playing nice.

    Hmm, I suppose if it's using public key cryptography, they're probably signing it using something that needs to be got from the bitcoin network. Just a guess, but that might work.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Deleted user 20 May 2011 17:25:13
    The only thing I can think of that stops it being easy to compromise yet still distributed rather than centralised is if it relies on some kind of comparison to the integrity of other instances of the software polled at random?

    This is far from my field of expertise though so that's very much a semi-educated guess

    Edit: I think that's perhaps just what you said in your last sentence mal, reading back
  • Deleted user 20 May 2011 17:27:14
    The problem is more that governments have no idea how to tax these so if it becomes too popular then they'll look to shut it down, if they aren't looking already.
  • Dirtbox 3 Jun 2011 00:26:31 77,457 posts
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    "It's a scam"

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  • Craig0702 3 Jun 2011 08:56:55 2,178 posts
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    Coincidentally I was just reading about this yesterday on Reddit. Seems that it's the preferred method of currency for "Deepweb" and all that murky stuff where it's swimming in CP (not 4chan style, like serious paedophiles). Definitely dodgy as I'd imagine it's untraceable so if there's any problems then you're fucked.

    Reddit post for reference
  • funkstar 3 Jun 2011 11:50:56 1,194 posts
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    theres a few bitcoin exchanges... lets you sell bitcoins directly for cash

    i know a couple of people who have bought new GPUs just to harvest bitcoins (in a triple crossfire setup) and apparently they have made their money back and profiting already (although obviously this could be bullshitting on their part if they just wasted a bunch of cash)

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  • Yossarian 14 Jun 2011 10:18:39 8,401 posts
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    Is this really the only thread about Bitcoin on this board.

    I thought you people were supposed to be creditable geeks.
  • Deleted user 14 June 2011 11:39:01
    I bet there is a thousand post developer forum thread somewhere on whether it should be backed by gold or not

    there's a not-bad overview of some potential problems here http://www.quora.com/Is-the-cryptocurrency-Bitcoin-a-good-idea
  • mal 14 Jun 2011 13:16:34 22,332 posts
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    Apparently Bitcoin crashed last Friday, with $2M worth of trades as people rushed to get their money out. The value of that one exchange dropped 30% at one point, although it did bounce back slightly.

    Just trying to connect to the exchange referred to in the article, to see how the value has responded this week, and the server appears to be down, or at least under a heavy load. Uh uh!

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Yossarian 14 Jun 2011 13:16:38 8,401 posts
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    The response by Sean Lynch below is good. The original article is filled with misconceptions about how bitcoin works/is intended to work.
  • Yossarian 14 Jun 2011 13:20:04 8,401 posts
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    And the Brandon Smietana post is even better.
  • Tom_Servo 16 Jun 2011 00:49:02 17,262 posts
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    $500k of Bitcoins stolen
  • Deleted user 20 June 2011 20:16:16
    2nd heist causes massive crash

    60,000 accounts stolen. Can't imagine this'll be around much longer.
  • mal 20 Jun 2011 21:07:52 22,332 posts
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    I like how they brought the value down to practically 0 by selling a lot of coins. Meanwhile, loads of geeks stocked up on cheap coins as they got cheaper and cheaper, then the exchange closed and they're currently trying to reverse everything to the moment before the hacked accounts started selling. Which is pissing off all the geeks with their cheap coin :)

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Deleted user 21 June 2011 20:32:03
    [I]Mt GoX, the biggest BitCoin exchange site on the internet (until it was taken down today), used to be a Magic: The Gathering collectible card game exchange website.[/I]
  • Fixxxer 21 Jun 2011 21:30:43 1,303 posts
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    There's an article about Bitcoin in this week's Economist which I won't link to for convenience.
  • FWB 21 Jun 2011 21:35:23 43,797 posts
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    It was never going to work. Hackers were always going to target it.
  • Ginger 15 Nov 2011 22:30:12 6,826 posts
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    it's still around. I'm thinking of speculating a bit as it's volatile as hell... And given the state of the stock market at the minute, I can't do much worse...

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  • BudBrain 28 Mar 2013 13:24:34 18 posts
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    Old thread is old, but just seen an article on the BBC about this.

    What are people's thoughts now? Thinking about buying 1 just for science.
  • cubbymoore 28 Mar 2013 14:33:11 36,468 posts
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    11 hours ago.

    3 hours ago.
  • Deleted user 28 March 2013 14:58:44
    I'll look into this, sounds interesting :)
  • nickthegun 28 Mar 2013 15:02:32 58,782 posts
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    Its now the only method of payments for nzbn and torrent sites since paypal have stopped dealing with them.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    He totally called it

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