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10-16 02:23 - 'Hurling Rocks at Caimans: A Cowboy's Tale' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/mine_myownbiz13 removed from /r/Bitcoin within 56-66min

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In 1991, my mother had the foresight to leave Venezuela for the United States. She sacrificed a medical profession, her family, her friends, and the comforts of her own land and culture. It was before Chavez, before communism, before famine, before societal collapse. She didn’t know it at the time (perhaps she felt it), but she was saving our lives. Recently, I was asked by her brother, my uncle, to give some words of advice to his youngest son, whom he sent to live in upstate New York earlier this year in the hopes that he might find some opportunity there. He’s 17 and fascinated by cryptocurrencies, but knows next to nothing about them. I wrote this letter for him.

Hello Cousin,
I write you in the hopes that you will take away something useful from my own experience.
There’s a saying in English that’s always stayed with me, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” In other words, nothing in life is easy, not money, not love, not anything. Nothing worth your time is ever going to be easy. There’s no free lunch!
I first got into trading in 2008. Your dad had heard from a friend that Citigroup stock was going to pop soon and that he should buy it. The US Stock Market can only be traded by U.S. citizens and special types of corporations, so he asked me to act as a proxy for his investment, and I did. I did it because I thought it would be a get-rich quick rich scheme that I could learn to do on my own. At this time I was in graduate school and unsure of what to do with my life. I’ve always been good at school. It’s easy for me. I had professors telling me I’d make a great scholar or a great lawyer, but at the time I was teaching middle-school English in a poor neighborhood of Miami. I had a big decision to make.
Naturally, I decided to get rich quick! I spent 2-3 months reading books on stock trading and executing simulated trades on practice accounts. I learned to work a variety of trading platforms so that I could trade several markets around the world, which I did. I quit my job in the fall of 2008 and took my entire life savings of $20,000 into the market. The broker gave me 3.5 times leverage on my money and I had $70,000 of available trading capital. When your dad made his deposit my account had a trading capacity of over $2,000,000. With that kind of margin, I was able to turn $20,000 into over $160,000 in less than 9 months! I was making over $15,000 a month. As a teacher, at the time, I think I made about $2,700 a month. So, as you can imagine, I thought I was a genius! I was getting rich quick, right?
Wrong. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. When your dad sold his share of stock being held in my account I was also forced to liquidate my own positions. I had bought call options on the future price of Apple stock, and the way that kind of trading works is that your money is locked until the future event you are betting on occurs. If you liquidate before a certain date there may be a penalty to pay. In my case, it was $35,000. After this, I had the good sense to step away for a moment, to cash out my chips and think about what came next. Also, I didn’t have a $2,000,000 trading desk anymore, and without the added margin, there was no way I could continue to trade the way I wanted to. I wanted to make medium to long term trades, because one of the first things I learned along the way is that short term trading (day-trading, scalping) is, for the most part, a scam. There are technical reasons for this, but trust me, short-term trading any market, be it cryptos, stocks, or commodities is a bad idea. You will lose money with an almost 100% guarantee.
I walked away from the stock market in 2009 with $150,000 cash but no market to trade it in. So, I did the next best thing: I bought a nice new car (in cash), took a crazy trip to Europe, and consumed over $25,000 worth of shit I didn’t need, and when it was all said and done, I went back to teaching. I taught at an even poorer neighborhood this time. I had gang members in my class. There were arrests on a monthly basis. Some of the kids had psychological problems, emotional problems, learning disabilities, and many of them were being abused at home in one way or another. This was a middle school. Twelve year-olds. I did that job and others like it because I believe in morality and in helping people. That’s the reason I’m writing you this letter, because I want to help you, and I think it's the moral thing to do. And you’ll see what I mean by that when I tell you about cryptocurrencies and the blockchain later on. Anyway, during that year of teaching I discovered a new market to trade. One that would give me 100 to 1 leverage on my money. One where I could manage a $5,000,000 trading desk with only $50,000! That market is called FOREX, and its the global “fiat” currency market. It’s the opposite of the crypto market, which is the global “digital” currency market. More on what all that means later, but for now just understand that FOREX is the most liquid and highly traded market in the world.
After the school-year ended in May of 2011, I took that summer off to research the FOREX market. I read many new books on trading, which were specific to the currency markets. I watched hundreds of hours of video on technical analysis and even more hours of “financial news,” which is mostly economic propaganda, but I won’t digress here. The point is that by late August of 2011, I was once again ready to dive head-first into trading. This time, I thought, it would be even better, because I’d have even more money to “play” with! This time, I thought, I’m going to get rich!
I’ll stop here and tell you that the journey up until this point had not been the smoothest. While trading stocks there were many days when I lost hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars in hours, sometimes in minutes! You may imagine the added level of stress I had to deal with because I was trading with my entire life’s savings and my wife had just given birth to our son, Sebastian. He was a toddler at the time. I’ll give you a brief example of trading’s unpredictable nature, and the unpredictability of financial markets in general: I had spent several months preparing for my first live trade. I’d read many books and practiced my ass off until I thought I was ready. I had a system, a strategy. I was going to get rich, quick! The first week I traded stocks I lost $10,000 in 3 days. I will never be able to fully articulate what it feels like lose 50% of all the money you’ve ever had in less than 72 hours. All the while knowing that if you fail, it will be your family who suffers the most.
You might be wondering: “Shit, why’d you do it?” or “Why’d you keep doing it?” That’s understandable. After all, my academic background is in history and political science, not finance and economics, not statistics. Well, cousin, I did it because I’m a cowboy. A risk-taker. I’ve always been one. I remember being four or five, at our grandfather’s farm, and lassoing calves in the cattle pen by myself. Men were around, but they let me do it. Although, in retrospect, some of those calves were twice my size and could have easily trampled me, I don’t ever remember feeling scared---I loved that shit! I remember sneaking out and walking down to the pond, then going up to the water’s edge to see if I could spot the caiman that lived there. I would even hurl rocks at it sometimes, just to see it move! Another time, I found myself alone in the dark with a 15-foot anaconda not more than a yard away, and all I could do was stare at it, not out of fear, but wonder. Again, in hindsight, probably not the best of ideas, but I’ve never been scared to follow the path laid out by my own curiosity. I am a natural risk-taker. I tell my city-slicker friends that it's because I come from a land of cowboys, where men are born tough and always ready for a challenge. Cowboys are risk-takers by nature, they have to be, the land demands it of them. There’ll be more on risk-taking and the role it plays a little later, but for now, let’s focus on FOREX and what I learned from it.
After the school-year ended in May of 2011, I took that summer off to research the FOREX market. I read many new books on trading, which were specific to the currency markets. I watched hundreds of hours of video on technical analysis and even more hours of “financial news,” which is mostly economic propaganda, but I won’t digress here. The point is that by late August of 2011, I was once again ready to dive head-first into trading. This time, I thought, it would be even better, because I’d have even more money to “play” with! This time, I thought, I’m going to get rich!
Trading FOREX was not easy. The hardest part was that it had to be done between 3:00 am - 11:00 am, because these are peak trading hours in London and New York, where the majority of the market’s money resides. This means major price moves, the price swings that can be traded, for the most part, happen during this time window. For me, this meant I had to live a type of quasi-vampiric lifestyle, waking up at 8:00 pm and going to sleep at noon, every day. At first, it takes a toll on your social life, and eventually starts to affect you mentally and emotionally. There is a certain degree of isolation that comes with it, too. You are awake when your friends and family are asleep, and asleep when they are awake. It can get lonely. However, my first six months of trading FOREX were OK. I wasn’t making $15,000 a month anymore, but I was making more than I would have been, had I been teaching. However, I had a deep-rooted feeling of uncertainty. Although I’d had some initial success in trading stocks, and now currencies, I’d always felt, at the back of my mind, that I’d just been lucky, and nothing more.
This fear materialized itself in June of 2012 when the strategy I’d been using for some time was no longer profitable. I panicked. I started experimenting with new strategies, which only made matters worse, and lead to even more panic. It is no exaggeration to say that trading is one-third mathematical, and two-thirds psychological. No amount of books, videos, or paid mentorships, which I also consumed, had prepared me for this eventual reality check: I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. I had no clue.
I left FOREX humbled, with barely enough money to buy a decent car, much less trade any time soon. The next two years, 2013-2015, were some of the hardest of my life. Harder even than 1991-1993, which, up to that point, had been the worst couple years I’d ever experienced. Those were my first years in the United States, and they were full of hardship. A type of hardship I’d never experienced before, and never have since. Remember the school I mentioned? The one with the gangs and the troubled kids and all the poverty? Well, I attended schools just like that as a kid, too, until I turned 15. I had many more encounters with caimans and anacondas there, except now they had first names, and for some reason, were always more prone to strike! Anyway, those were tough times, but not as tough as the post-FOREX experience.
Failure at FOREX took a mental toll on me. After all, I had gambled everything, my entire future on the bet that I could earn a living as a professional trader. I realized I had failed because of my own intellectual laziness. I always knew I had been lucky, and instead of using the wonderful gift of leisure-time the universe had granted me through that initial success to fill the knowledge gaps I knew would keep me from true and long-lasting success, I let my ego convince me otherwise, and talked myself into making decisions I knew to be extremely dangerous and outside my expertise. I wanted to wrestle the caiman! Cowboy shit. Irrational, youthful folly. Needless to say, I lost 80% of my account, which was also my family’s savings, in less than four months.
Now, I had a real problem. How was I going to pay the bills? What was I going to do with my life? I was 30 years old, had a five-year old son, very little real-world work experience and a college degree in history and political science. How was I going to make money? Serious money? Enough money to help my mom retire and give my son all the advantages I never had? Enough to deliver on the promises I had made to my wife during all those years she put up with my crazy hours and wild ideas about getting rich quick? What was I going to do now? I tell you, cousin, these are the kinds of questions you will find yourself asking if you do not heed my advice.
I didn’t want to teach anymore. I didn’t want to do anything anymore. I was depressed. I had what we call here in the United States, “a quarter-life crisis.” I abused alcohol and drugs to cope with the pain of my failure. I was weak. I was unprepared for the realities of life. I did not yet understand, even at 30 years old, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I won’t dwell on the specifics of the hardships I endured during these two years, except to say that I almost lost it all, including my life, but I’m grateful I didn't.
However, it was also during this period, 2013-2015, that I began to fill gaps in my knowledge about markets, economics, and the nature of money itself. Gaps I knew would need to be filled one way or another, if I was ever going to trade or invest in anything again. Luckily, towards the end of my FOREX days, I had come to realize there was something wrong with all the information I had been given by the mainstream media, specifically on the topics of economics and finance. I noticed that nothing they ever said about the markets turned out to be accurate, that mainstream financial “news” could not be trusted for investment purposes. It took tens of thousands of dollars in losses and several years of headaches before I learned that lesson. I’m glad I finally did.
I decided to use the last bit of money I had left to buy some gold and silver (by this time I had begun to understand the definition of sound money) and to open up a brick and mortar business. I did not want to work for anyone else, only for myself. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The trouble was that the only business I had enough money for was a mobile car wash. So, a friend and I bought a van, some pressure cleaners, a whole bunch of soap and got to work! We were going to hustle hard, work warehouse and shopping center parking lots, save enough to reinvest into our business and go after the luxury car market. We were going to charge rich people $1000s to detail Ferraris and Lamborghinis, and it was only going to take six months, tops! Great plan, no? Easy money, right? Well, we washed cars for exactly one day before we realized what a terrible mistake we had made. It turns out car-washing is a backbreaking, low-paying, and degrading business. There’s no free lunch, remember that.
My friend and I were lucky. We quickly transitioned our business from a mobile car wash to a painting/pressure cleaning company, and had immediate success. In less than two months we were hired as subcontractors by a much larger company and I was more or less making what I had made teaching, but working for myself. After a couple of months, my partner and I were already envisioning the hiring of our first employees. Cool, right? No. About a year after we started the business, my partner, a high-school friend of mine, a guy I’d known for more than ten years, decided he didn’t want to do it anymore. That he was too tired of the hardships that come with that kind of work. Tired of making the constant sacrifices required to be successful in business. So, he quit. I lost everything I had invested, because without him, I could not operate the business on my own, and our corporate partner dropped us. I begged him not to quit. I told him that business takes time, that there’s no free lunch, and that we would be rewarded at some point for our hustle and hard work; that we would be able to hire laborers to do the work in less than 6 months, and that we would then focus on sales, and start to make some real money. He did not care. He had his own demons, and chose to steal from me and end our friendship instead of facing the hardship head-on. By this time, however, I was already used to failure, and although I was still coping with the mental stress of having failed at something I once had thought would be my profession, it still did not stop me from following my curiosity, as I always have.
It was during these years that I first learned about Bitcoin. About blockchain. About the nature of money, economic history, the effects of monetary policy on financial markets. I’d wake up at 6:00 am every day, paint houses, pressure clean dirty sidewalks and walls, spend over 2 hours commuting back home every night, and then stay up for as long as my body would allow learning about macroeconomics and the history of markets. I researched the nature of debt and gold a medium of exchange. I read about counter and Austrian economics. I became a libertarian, later, an anarchist, and, after almost two years study, I began to discover legitimate sources of financial news and information, intelligent voices that I could trust. I had acquired enough knowledge and experience to discern the truth from the propaganda, and it was during these same years, these terrible times of hardship, that I finally learned a most valuable lesson on money and markets: capital preservation is the key.
Remember, when I said we’d come back to risk-taking? Well, the trick is not to take it, but to manage it. The secret is education, knowledge. Knowledge truly is, power. Traders are only as successful as the depth of their own knowledge, because it's the only way to keep in check that inherent, paralyzing fear which “playing” with money eventually engenders. As a trader, you must have complete confidence in your “playing” abilities, and this is something only achieved through much study and practice. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, ever.
I want you to know that Bitcoin, the blockchain, and cryptocurrencies are NOT get-rich-quick schemes. They are NOT Ponzi schemes either. They are cutting-edge financial technology, and an emerging asset class. The blockchain has been compared to the agricultural revolution of the Neolithic age and the invention of writing by ancient Mesopotamians, in terms of its importance and potential impact on human civilization. It is a technology which will eventually affect and reshape almost every single industry in the global economy. In the next two decades, all types of industries will be impacted and disrupted by this technology--banking, real estate, healthcare, the legal industry, politics, education, venture capital, just to name a few! This technology allows for something called “decentralized store of value.” Basically, it allows for the creation of an alternative financial system, one where power resides in the hands of the people, instead of corrupt governments and corporations, so that currency crises like the one Venezuela has recently experienced, may one day be completely eradicated, like polio, or bubonic plague.
I will tell you that, at 17 years old, you have an amazing opportunity to set yourself up for incredible success in this brand new industry called the blockchain. There are entire professions that will be birthed into existence in the next 5, 10, and 20 years, in the same way the internet made possible millions of people around the world to work from home, wearing their pajamas, doing a million different things--things which were unimaginable to those who knew the world before the advent of the internet. Of course, it will require a great deal of work and effort on your part, but I assure you, it will be totally worth it!
Today, I am 35 years old. I run a successful ghostwriting business that I manage from the comfort of my own home. I invest exclusively in Bitcoin and precious metals, and hope to retire by the time I’m 40. Well, not really retire, but start on a much-anticipated new phase of my life, one in which I don’t have to worry about financial independence anymore.
To that end, cousin, here is my advice:
  1. Forget about getting rich quick. There’s no free lunch!
  2. Learn the English language, it is one of the tools you'll need for success.
  3. Work or go to school. Either way, dedicate yourself to learning about this new technology as much as you can, and begin to save, as much as you can, in Bitcoin.
I reviewed the website you told me about, [[link]3 , and while I respect, and to a certain extent admire what those gentlemen are doing, I can tell you, unequivocally, that taking those courses won’t turn you into a trader. It won’t make you rich quick. Far from it. In fact, there is nothing that these "warriors" will teach you, that you could not teach yourself for free at [[link]4 .
I’ll end it here. Hopefully, you made it to the end and took away a nugget or two. Please feel free to ask me anything you want about any of it, cousin. I’m always here to help.
'''
Hurling Rocks at Caimans: A Cowboy's Tale
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Author: mine_myownbiz13
1: ww*.cri*toguerre*os*c**/ 2: w*w***bypips.com/ 3: www.criptoguerreros.com]^^1 4: www.babypips.com]^^2
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[Table] IAmA: We Are the Hosts of the Let's Talk Bitcoin! Show! We just spent 4 days at Bitcoin2013, Ask Us Anything!

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Date: 2013-05-24
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Questions Answers
Hi all! I was wondering, what do you think it would take to get bitcoin from a niche currency used mainly by internet denizens to go mainstraim? I know the slow creep of more small companies accepting bitcoin helps, but what do you think that final cusp will be, and will it ever come to that? Thanks for taking the time to do this! There are several potential tipping points, but my favorite one is a large corporation accepting Bitcoin.
Amazon has an incredibly small operating margin, less than 1% - They have more than that in transaction costs, so if they were to accept Bitcoins for product and offer Bitcoins as payment to their affiliates it would cause a rush of other companies to jump onboard for the same reasons.
Once that happens with one large company, it sets a precedent. Doing something new is scary, and when the regulatory environment is uncertain like it is with Bitcoin the choice to accept could potentially cost you a lot of money later if it's retroactively made not OK and the value of the currency plummets.
But once a company like Amazon or Google jumps in, they have enough political swing and momentum that attacking Bitcoin becomes attacking them, and they'll fight that tooth and nail if it's saving them money.
Another example of a tipping point would be a country, ANY country, adopting it as their formal currency OR issuing a new currency with Bitcoins as the transparent backing of it. With bitcoin you can have a functional gold standard, because the gold doesn't need to be hidden from sight.
It is the hiding that makes gold standards dangerous - The people who issue currency with the gold as backing have no reason to issue the correct amount when only they know how much is out there, and how much gold they have.
I guess the Supreme Court has decided this does not apply to taxes, which is crap. Or are you talking about other countries? Thank you :) I actually mean something along the lines of "It is illegal to trade dollars for any cryptocurrency that does not have a real name and social security associated with it"
Will bitcoins ever be able to be traded like other recognized currencies in similar ways to Forex? More specifically, will there ever be retail brokers offering margin trading accounts that allow you to buy and sell bitcoin with leverage? There are already really small niche sites you can trade Bitcoin at leverage with, but it's just a bad idea. With a "normal" commodity market, like say chickens, if you think chickens are undervalued and want to profit from them you can buy forward production of say, a million chickens. Then when the option comes due, if you're on the profitable side of the trade you can essentially sell it for cash and the chickens never need to be delivered. In that way, it almost doesn't matter if the chickens ever existed to begin with because you never intended to take posession. With Bitcoin, it's different - Converting a bitcoin options contract into US dollars, yen, whatever actually is more expensive and time consuming than just "accepting delivery" of the bitcoins themselves. You can still sell them for whatever currency you want, but it is at the time of your choosing rather than at the point of settlement. What that means is that if you sell an option and the Bitcoins don't really exist, you could be screwed. You either default or buy them at market price which can be very painful given how volatile the pricing is right now. It is a bad idea to play with leverage in Bitcoin because if you lose, you potentially lose very big. Additionally, it's bad to buy an option because you introduce the possibility of the counterparty (supply) not being able to deliver, whereas if you just bought Bitcoins you have the Bitcoins.
Do you believe bitcoin is important locally as well as on the internet? If so, how are you promoting bitcoin in your local communities? Cryptocurrencies (of which Bitcoin is the most prominent) are the first real competition to the types of money we've used all our lives. With Dollars, Yen, Whatever - Ultimately there are a handful of people who get to decide how and why the currency should be managed.
If they did a good job, it might be fine - But the reality is the decision made affecting all users of the currency are to the benefit of a very few , at the cost of the many.
Bitcoin is different - The rules that govern it, are the rules that govern it. Nobody can break them, and if they're ever broken it's because more than 51% of the distributed power in the system (anyone can buy a mining rig and join this group). For me, that's incredibly important. Rules should apply evenly to everyone because otherwise they're not rules at all.
Local communities can benefit because it removes payment processors from merchant relationships, removes chargeback risk, and basically acts like Cash on the internet.
What are some of the more exciting things you (each of you?) envision for Bitcoin in the short to medium term? Discounts :) We've been talking about the deflationary business model, and during this period where the value is going to go up pretty fast (over the next several years) as adoption ramps up, businesses are going to be giving major discounts to those who choose to spend them.
From the merchants perspective, this is actually a huge win - They get to have lower prices than their US Dollar (or local currency) competitors, and the value of the Bitcoins they receive goes up over time instead of going down with printed currencies. Once this becomes pervasive in the Bitcoin economy, it will mean that even at those discounted prices they are STILL profitable because their suppliers are also offering them discounts to pay in Bitcoin.
Right now we're at the beginning of this cycle, you can see BitcoinStore.com is attempting it (Disclosure - They have sponsored us in the past, we run a 30s advertisement for them per show) but it's hard to be the first one doing it because it looks like you're sacrificing yourself when really it's just the model that makes the most sense.
Not to be the doom and gloom person but in the future what do you think will/would be the "last nail in the coffin" for Bitcoin? It depends what you mean by "last nail in the coffin"
How did you meet/find Andreas and Stephanie and how did you persuade them to be part of your show? I put out a call for staff several months ago, Andreas found me through that and joined the team initially as a correspondent providing expertise and commentary while Mt.Gox was having a lot of problems. Once we re-started the show as a twice-weekly, he graciously offered to join the hosting staff and gladly took him up on it.
I found Stephanie through her show Porc therapy, and a listener named Justus - He mentioned she did voicework, and I hired her to do some of our early introductions and advertising spots. When we went through the re-organization I offered her an occasional hosting role, and never bothered finding other hosts because I was so happy with our dynamic and varied viewpoints.
Both of the other hosts on the show are real professionals, and it's been my distinct pleasure to work with them.
Thanks for responding! Andreas is my fave (though I enjoy yours and Stephanie's comments too). Everybody has their favorite :) I think the fact that we all have people disagreeing with us at times means we're doing the job, and providing multiple and varied perspectives.
What recording tools are you using? We started off using Skype, Virtual Audio Cables (VAC) and Adobe Audition (creative suite)
Now we use Mumble instead of Skype, but the rest is the same.
I edit the host segments for content (sometimes we go on and on and on) and I edit the interviews for presentation, rarely removing any content. Many times the skillset that enables you to have a really smart idea is not the same skillset that lets you present that idea, perfectly, the first time. Our interview subjects tell me all the time "I love how smart I sound" and I get to say "You are smart, I just removed the brain processing noises"
Assuming bitcoin reaches critical mass, how does bitcoin cope with the criticism of rewarding early adopters? Do you see a potential uproar about inequity? Is there outrage against people who bought Apple stock at $30? Bitcoin is a currency that right now, and for the next few years, acting like an IPO. People who got in early got in cheap, but there was a whole lot of risk because people weren't using it much, there wern't vendors accepting it, so the use case is much more speculative.
We're very much still in the early adoption phase right now - Less than %.01 of internet users are Bitcoin users, as that number grows while the number of coins being added to the total pool grows at a much slower rate, the price per coin has to go up. If Bitcoin fails and everybody abandons it, this works the opposite way - but it actually solves a number of problems (microtransactions, fees, international money transfers, automated payment systems) so I'm not super concerned about that.
One of my favorite quotes, by Douglas Adams.
>It is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent >blindingly obvious. The cry 'I could have thought of that' is a very >popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn't, and a very >significant and revealing fact it is too.
What do you make of the download trend of the bitcoin client software in China? Isn't this a big story? China has lots of restrictive controls on their local currency, so Bitcoin has a real use case there. This is one of many scenarios where given even 1% adoption, the price must go very much above where it is now.
You commented on a recent episode about how Satochi Dice was going to block US traffic to the site due to uncertain regulations. Can't bitcoin work around that? If you send bitcoin to the addresses of the various bets - it still works right? Thanks for your show - I await each new podcast. Yes, if you already have the specific betting addresses it doesn't matter where you are in the world. It is only the website that does not allow US IPs, they did this to be very clear they were trying to respect the US gambling laws.
I spoke with Erik Voorhees about this among other things at the conference, you can find that interview here Link to letstalkbitcoin.com
I'd like to thank all three of you for doing this podcast, it's always thought provoking and fun to listen to. Plus, Stephanie does have a very sexy voice... But I do have a question, Right now, I don't know the answer to that question.
How do miners determine which transactions will be confirmed first and which get put to the back of the line? Shouldn't they be confirmed in a 'first come, first serve' basis? But the development team has made it clear they're moving towards a market-based mechanism where Miners set the minimum transaction fee they will accept, and process on a first-come/highest-fee model. People who want their transaction to process fast will put a higher fee and it will be prioritized, while people who don't care about delivery time will be able to send no fee and be subsidized by those paying higher fees.
*edit: As well, do you still plan on using some time on the show to go into more detail about mining? I think it was mentioned a few weeks ago that the topic might be explored in further detail. There will be fewer miners who accept free or very low fee transactions, so there you go.
How would Bitcoin change our financial system as we know it? In the same way the automobile changed the horse-and-buggy system as they knew it. If you play out the logic, one functionally obsoletes the other. I was talking with a financial reporter the other day who has been coming around to bitcoin, and he said to me "You know, if they were building the banking system from scratch today I think this is pretty close to what it would look like"
Andreas answered a question below about bitcoin and self driving cars, fixing spam on the internet by using Bitcoin addresses with tiny amounts of BTC in them to prove you're a real person and not a single-use bot, there are so many crazy and impossible things that become actually probable when you're talking in the context of a world built on decentralized, rules-based, cryptographically secured, instantly transmittable, person to person internet cash.
I have never been so hopeful for our future as I am now that I've thrown my days into bitcoin. Bitcoin 2013 was a fine conference and a wonderful experiance, so many very smart people have quit their jobs or left their studies to do the same thing I have.
We know we're building the future, and it's a better one than we have today.
Have any of you heard about how in Africa much of the exchange in value is done with mobile phone minutes? It seems to me - whatever the US attempts to do with Bitcoin - there will be other places that it will bubble up in. What about Argentina and other places where they actually understand what damage a desperate government can do to a currency? I would agree with you. Until recently it's been impossible to use Bitcoins on a "dumb cell phone" - That changed recently with Link to phoneacoin.com and others.
Bitcoin solves problems that the world has had for decades, it takes the power to destroy the currency away from government so they cannot do it no matter how much they want to, or how desperately they think they need to.
No government wants to destroy a currency, they just don't want to acknowledge they've trapped themselves with debt and have no way out.
Who invented Bitcoin? What is to stop whoever did so initially issuing themselves the equivalent of $79 zillion in Bitcoin currency prior to it taking off? Is there commission charged on each transaction that occurs? If so, how much, and who receives this? The true creator is not known, he went by a false name "Satoshi".
He actually holds about 250,000 coins if I recall correctly because he was the first miner. Bitcoin is a protocol, a set of rules. It's open source, and anyone who wants to look at it can see that there is not a mechanism to just create more coins by typing in a magic word. There are no commissions, although there are fees that go to the miners who process and verify transactions.
Great podcast, can't wait for the next one! It depends on the mesh. If the mesh was never connected to the internet, it would be a parralel Bitcoin network able to transact with itself but if it was ever connected to the larger network any conflicting transactions would be "lost" as the two ledgers (the big one, and the disconnected one) try to reckon their differences. Only one winner, so that means there is a loser.
You discussed mesh networks in 3rd world countries and how bitcoin could be used in such a scenario. If the [mesh] network is disconnected from the internet, how would transactions on the blockchain be verified? Couldn't the time the mesh network was disconnected make it vulnerable to hacking the [mesh network's] blockchain? More interesting might be disconnected communities running their own fork or version of Bitcoin, that way if they're ever connected it can be an exchange process (trading their coins for "bitcoins" rather than a reckoning (Seeing who has a bigger network and canceling out transactions on the smaller one that conflict)
1) The price for one Bitcoin seems to fluctuate quite a bit. The most successful currencies remain relatively stable over time (e.g. the Dollar). Will Bitcoin ever need to reach a certain level of stability to be a successful unit of trade? and if so, what do you think needs to happen before then? 1 - Yes! Once everyone who has purchased Bitcoin has purchased them, the price will stabilize. In practice this will start happening long before absolute stability, and as soon as people start thinking about prices in terms of BTC instead of their local currency it almost doesn't matter.
2) If Bitcoin ever becomes a widely accepted form of payment (seems a lot of businesses already accept it), how do you think the US government will proceed/react/regulate/etc. considering that technically only the feds can issue currency? 2 - "The Feds" are not the only ones who can issue currency - They have legal tender laws which mean people MUST accept their money, but nothing prevents you from circulating a voluntary currency like Bitcoin.
Do you foresee companies like paypal incorporating bitcoin into their businesses in the future as a more credible exchange than these ones that are currently running? No. Paypal again is the proverbial horse-drawn-buggy manufacturer- Sure they might go to the worlds faire and while observing the new fangled automobiles say to themselves 'we might integrate this into our existing machines!' when the fact is that it obsoletes those existing machines.
Paypal makes their money by standing in the middle of transactions collecting fees, Bitcoin serves its function by connecting people who want to do commerce directly to one-another, and what fees are paid are a tiny fraction of what Paypal does. If paypal accepted Bitcoin, it would not be Bitcoin any more because they would have mechanisms to freeze accounts at the very least to mitigate risk. That is not possible with Bitcoin by itself.
Thanks for the well thought out response, I genuinely appreciated that you took the time for this! I do have a follow up question, how does one get bit coin in an easy way? Lets say I have 300$ that I want in bit coin.. whats the best way to approach this? Probably a company like bitinstant.com, bitstamp.com, or btcquick.com - For larger amounts they don't make too much sense but at that level its your best bet.
Not to be rude, but how do you expect for a currency without a standard like gold silver etc. to not crash down in a blaze of glory? What standard is your currency backed by?
Hi There. I was at the San Jose convention hall last weekend attending Big Wow Comicfest and that's where I saw Bitcoin2013! Mostly Bitcoin 2013 was an opportunity for people building the future of Bitcoin to meet each other and network. There were speakers talking about a wide variety of issues, and vendors of Bitcoin services who were showing their latest innovations and systems.
What information was presented at this event that couldn't be done justice disseminated over the internet? The information will eventually be online, but the probably 200 people I got to meet in real life will not (in real life)
What resources do you think I should review as a total newbie to bitcoin? Or if possible, what's the one sentence pitch to get a newb involved? For people brand new, www.weusecoins.com is a good place to start For people who want to learn how it works, www.letstalkbitcoin.com/learn will direct you to the Bitcoin Education Project, which is a series of free and very high quality lectures that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know and more about Bitcoin, How it works, and all the little sub-topics that you'll eventually want to learn about.
The pitch is "It's like cash that lives on the internet, and is as easy to spend on the internet as buying a candybar in a store with a dollar"
Would any of you hazard a guess at the bitcoin exchange rate at the end of 2013? Sure, i'll make a wild guess.
$1000.
If and when a large user comes onboard, I think thats the next price at which we'll bounce around for a while, just like 100 became the sticky point after the last major bout of adoption.
How do bitcoins relate to the law? For example, what would be the crime if somone hacked your account and stole your bitcoins? It's not exactly theft of money, or is it? Bitcoins are your property, it's illegal for someone to steal your property whether it is money or not. Right now there is little that can be done about theft, but eventually I expect a class of "Blockchain Forensic Investigators" to emerge who will track down your stolen coins for a % based fee.
On your last show you mentioned the diversity of the Bitcoiners who attended BitCoin2013 - which nation was most represented in your opinion? Were there any Chinese nationals present (we've heard that they've suddenly gotten the bitcoin bug in the last month)? Did the other nations talk about regulatory problems or is that just a US concern? I met the gentleman from BTC-China, but other than that I actually didn't see any obvious chinese nationals. We saw lots of eastern europeans and south americans.
Other nations are not talking about the regulatory issue as far as I can tell, it seems like everyone is waiting to see what the US does, which is not abnormal in a very new situation like this.
Isn't having an inherently deflationary currency a terrible idea? How is bitcoin different from geeky goldbuggery? Because you can't divide a gold coin into .0001 without incurring cost and expense. That's not the case with Bitcoin, so the deflationary aspect of it is largely moot.
There is a tendency to listen to modern "economics" which makes this arguement, saying that the money supply must expand because otherwise it drives down profitability in a race to the bottom.
I think in practice we'll find that people don't work against their own best interest, and while during the initial adoptions stages of Bitcoin there will be significant discounts offered to those who pay with Bitcoin vs. legacy currency, once the market becomes saturated and the price levels out those discounts will be scaled way back.
Right now it makes sense to heavily discount, because the expectation is that the value of the Bitcoins will go up during this period of adoption, that won't always be true and the discount is a reflection of anticipated future returns.
Was it bad when people saved money in banks that paid 10% interest? No, that's called capital formation. There is a thought that given a deflationary currency nobody will spend any money, that's nonsense. Just because your currency gains value over time doesn't mean that you no longer have costs that must be paid for. What Deflationary currencies do is say "Ok, you could spend it on that, but is it worth it relative to what you'll gain by not?"
That's a good thing. Our system right now works on the opposite theory - Spend money NOW because if you're dumb enough to keep it in the bank it will actually lose value over time between the couple points of "official" inflation and less than 1% artifical interest rates. The situation is like this now because the fed is trying to make people spend as much money as possible with the hope that the flows will "restart the economic engine"
Too bad this isn't how things work, not that it'll stop us from trying it over and over again.
In the 2008 financial crash, govts bailed out the banks because there was no other way to maintain the whole financial ecosystems of payrolls, invoices and trade, all of which go through the banking system. Honestly? No. Bitcoin would be great in this role, but governments around the world rely on their ability to expand the money supply (print money, or sell debt) in order to fund their deficits. They also manipulate interest rates to be low so that debt is very inexpensive.
Can you envisage another financial crash in the future where govt says, "We don't need to do a bailout, as we've got this alternative payment system" and then instructs businesses and employees to just get themselves a bitcoin address and work through the Bitcoin system? Bitcoin doesn't have a central control mechanism, so there is no group or person who can say "OK - the interest rate is 1%" - If that's really what the interest rate wants to be based on market forces, it'll be that - But if not, there isn't much anyone can do to stop it.
What type of notes and agenda does the team coordinate on before a show? We use Basecamp, and it really depends. Right now we have a show prep thread that has 30+ posts in it for episode 11, we'll probably use 5 of those.
The agenda is really basic - As we get near recording time topics are selected (generally by me, but I like to get the other hosts to do it since they provide most of the commentary in Host segments) and I form a schedule, then we run through the recording session hitting each topic.
Over the last weeks we've brought two researchers onto the team, so that has helped a TON.
I first learned about Bitcoins on an episode of The Good Wife. The one with Jason Biggs as the creator of BitCoin. Have you watched that episode and how accurate does that episode portray what's happening with Bitcoin in terms of legal stuff? Not having seen it but knowing TV, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say "not very well" Satoshi has not been identified, was a throw-away identity that was cryptographically secured, so probably never will.
Are there any conferences in Chicago anytime soon? I think a Q&A in public would be helpful for your show as well as bitcoin. I'll be speaking at an event in NYC on July 30, there will be one or two meetups while I'm there. There is also an event in October in Atlanta. I remember talking with a guy at Bitcoin2013 wearing a shirt that said "BitcoinChicago" so I'd suggest looking for a user-group.
We're planning on doing Q&As often, but none of us are really near Chicago so it's tough. Happy to do virtual Q&As over skype, live or recorded.
Oh dear. You're not all perfectly grammatical orators on the first try? I'm crushed! I really value my own time, and I know other people out there do too. I try to make the show as information dense as possible, thats the criteria we've been operating under from really day one.
We're actually talking about cutting the show in half and releasing it more often (still recording the same amount) because people can get tired of listening to such dense content for an hour or more.
US Treasury recently issued a directive stating they would be monitoring any entity attempting to exchange virtual currency for USD (or any other currency, goods, or services), indicating that federal authorities take a dim view of what amounts to private coinage. Do you anticipate a Supreme Court case here defining what is and is not private coinage? 2.And given bitcoin's noted extra-legal uses, do you have any indication it is being decrypted by NSA? 3.Taking it a step further, do you think it could be a national security-sponsored international sieve for money laundering? It may eventually go to Supreme Court.
I think the market has done fine for bitcoin so far. I think the market will continue to take care of bitcoin. The idea of giving in willingly to regulation makes me cringe. There are two camps. Some people think that regulation is inevitable, and since it's going to happen anyways it's better to participate in the process and try to make it less bad. The other side thinks that by participating, you accept their authority to regulate it when really they have no right to regulate money and have proven to do a very bad job at it now for quite a number of years.
Thanks so much for doing this, I love the Bitcoin system, but hate the volatility. How do you recommend dealing with that? I've heard to convert it quickly to the currency of choice after any exchange has been made to avoid any more changes to the price. The easy solution is just buy and hold - If you need to buy something, do it when you need to and not before. Do not pre-order anything.
What is your prediction of the price for 1 btc in USD, exactly one year from now? Just for fun, since I know it is impossible to even guess the day to day price swings. As a wild guess number I'd say $1000 or less than a dollar. Very little middleground because if it's regulated out of existence it will still exist, but be hard to find and cheap - If adoption continues to path the price should accelerate with wild spikes up and down.
My partner is buying into bitcoin as well as litecoin. Any advice for him? (I personally don't understand it) Don't panic, invest for the long term, and don't buy any more than you can afford to lose 100% of because there are still things that could dramatically reduce the price of bitcoin (mostly regulatory stuff, I answered this elsewhere in the thread)
Hello, I just wrote a long post about the functions of using BTC to facilitate a 'free bank' using the principals of free money, similar to the WIR bank. Link to en.wikipedia.org Do you think that something like this would be possible using Bitcoin? Probably. Not really my area of expertise.
Why did bits take a dive at the same time gold took a tank? I don't pay attention to price, sorry.
We take full credit for any rise and blame others for any decline. Feel free to tip us from your gains! Lol.
Just wanted to say I love your show. I encourage you to please continue making high-quality podcast episodes. Thank you. I'm really excited to be able to be a journalist in such an exciting field in a time when journalism is under attack. Not sure if you've been following the so-called "AP scandal" but now is a weird time to be trying to report the truth in this world, and we couldn't have picked a more controversial topic to the global macro picture.
Bitcoins are the stupidest investment anyone could ever make. Pass. Link to static.quickmeme.com
Unfortunately, quickmeme doesn't let you copy image urls directly. Link to i.qkme.me
Yes, but they started being worth a set value. bitcoin was never backed by anything so its value was kind of made up. how do you expect to make a non goverment currency anybody with a computer can print to retain value? Because the pie is only so large, the more people who have computers devoted to the work just each get a smaller and smaller piece.
The rate of issuance for Bitcoin is currently 25 bitcoins every 10 minutes. Only one person or pool gets the whole 25 bitcoins, it's a race to find them. If there are 10 people looking, chances are pretty good you'll find some. If there are 100,000,000 people looking, chances are much less good that you'll find them first, but if there are that many people looking those 25 coins are probably worth a whole lot more.
The system is self balancing in this way, unlike the government currency system where they create 65 billion USD worth of new value every month to buy mortgage backed securities for face value to try and prop up the market. With more than a trillion USD being added in this way each year, how can a government currency retain its value?
Because the governments "pie" does infact have limits to making it, and only dropped gold standard after over 150 years of the doller having a defined worth, unlike bitcoin, where a random hacker can just print endless money. I'd direct you to security researcher Dan Kaminsky. Link to www.businessinsider.com
You'll find it's a little harder than you're describing. Like, impossible.
Last updated: 2013-05-29 11:06 UTC
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