hi all. havent written on bitcoin in awhile. its surging in value at the beginning of the year. this isnt the first year that happened. a set of favorable circumstances is propelling it. it is known that china regulation has a lot to do with its value and that there are a lot of chinese holders. it appears that chinese regulatory climate looks newly favorable.
another pattern is that whereever there is economic crisis in a currency, bitcoin surges.[f18] it seems that theres always some kind of monetary crisis somewhere in the world, and bitcoin capitalizes on it. there is that old saying by rahm emanuel, “never let a good crisis go to waste”. a bit machiavellian sounding, yet bitcoin seems to embody some of this. another way to see it is as a sort of ambulance that shows up at bloody scenes.
it looks like the media has gotten past the wild alarm and surprise over bitcoin. maybe part of the hype has subsided for the moment. theres less feverish reporting on it. but that does not fully capture its steady pace of innovation.
hi all. wired reported last dec that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto,[a6] and then followed shortly after saying he “might be a hoaxer”[a13] and motherboard concurred[a10]. there is now a lot of press coverage.[a] a new wave of press coverage just burst forth mainly following on the heels of BBCnews.[a3] however as that article mentions he seems to have convinced other elite bitcoin participants including Andresen and Matonis. he was promptly hit with a tax raid/ confiscation on his properties leading to the natural question of whether he would have been better off without “coming out the closet”.[a9] Nakamoto is thought to be worth about $400M in bitcoins, pseudonymous or not (assuming the keys arent lost!). wright is highly educated, referred to as “australian professor”; [a2] points out he has 2 phds and 8 masters degrees. he says he doesnt care if people believe him or not (but then what is his motivation in disclosure?). the pseudonymous Nakamoto has now been nominated for a Nobel Prize (economics).[a12]
bitcoin technology/ ideology is continuing to advance with some bordering-on-feverish advocacy [b] and more sober/ restrained but still favorable/ optimistic povs.[c] its apparently outperforming currencies based on stability and/or gains [b13]. a new australian political party claims it will improve democracy,[b14] another a “fairer world”,[b10] another wonders if it could replace SWIFT,[c6] even the new yorker looking at it,[c11] and a new coursera course.[c12] a very thorough free article/ analysis showed up in london review of books.[c9] early signs are it seems to evoke a large possible role, maybe bordering on radical/ revolutionary, in remittances[c15] and currency exchange[c16] which are a very big deal in international finance.
scale and misuse/ spam [d9][d10] aspects is an increasingly gaping, bordering on critical problem [d][d13][d15][d17] as exactly as forewarned by Andresen.[d14][d18][d8] bitcoin was not necessarily built to scale early on, although so far its still working. [d4] says its growing 25% faster than early internet growth! there are issues with forked code.[d6][d7] serious academic researchers (Cornell etc) have gotten into the analysis with proposed solutions.[d12][d16]
hi all at this point the bitcoin revolution seems to be in major force, possibly unstoppable & reaching the point of no return. one cannot even really keep up with all the major developments/ shifts, its overwhelming, but a few stand out over the last few months tracked in these links.
a few days ago Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison. its a case of sometimes the most innovative individuals being nearly indistinguishable from criminals. Ulbricht started one of the worlds 1st genuinely virtual corporations. seems to me it does us no good to either demonize or idolize him, both are extremes. he is a multidimensional character. few will admit it but quite possibly Silk Road had a lot to do with the rising early bitcoin economy due to its massive amount of transactions. there appears to be a definite “bootstrapping” effect here. there are now very good/ detailed accounts of the whole story eg in Wired & in new book(s) coming out.[a]
wall st is seizing the day with increasing bitcoin integration into trading systems. at this point when wall st has a stake in it, one can be fairly confident it will never be ruled illegal or be subject to major/ extreme government crackdowns.[b]
the international news is somewhat surprising and something that was long speculated is now happening. argentina has a collapsing currency due to a variety of factors, and the public is switching in a major way to bitcoin. this is a pivotal, near revolutionary development, and is likely not the 1st time this will happen, possibly just the beginning.[c]
hi all its hard to keep up with bitcoin these days. this post collects dozens of links/ highlights over the last few months and is admittedly barely scratching the surface. you know its truly hit social critical mass if it makes it into a dilbert cartoon.
latest development (triggering this blog installment), Ross Ullbricht alleged Silkroad mastermind found guilty. currently expected to get a very harsh sentence in ~May. some are talking about a possible life sentence. its bad international PR for bitcoin but also a simple case of “if you play with fire, you might get burned.”[a]
the Silk Road tale is quite the lurid story, wonder if it will be turned into a movie, it has all the right hollywood elements. but lets also keep in mind that its also revealing extraordinary digital innovation such that it might be regarded as the worlds 1st virtual corporation (strong parallels to wikileaks). a complex topic being written about in bits elsewhere… more on that radical/ gamechanging/ paradigmshifting concept in a future blog.
saw a great movie/ documentary “rise & rise of bitcoin”, nice coverage, interviews top leaders such as Charlie Shrem CEO Bitinstant and Jered Kenna CEO of Tradehill, which was once the 2nd highest volume exchange after Mt Gox. surely the documentarians did not envision at the beginning of the movie the two would be involved in serious problems by the end of the movie. both fledgling companies shut down and Shrem was just sentenced to 2 years for money laundering. wow. Kenna said once he had more lawyers than engineers attempting to setup compliance but in the end it was apparently not enough.[l4][l5][m]
the other shoe has dropped and FinCen has clamped down in the last year and there is a lot of corresponding Fear Uncertainty Dread in the bitcoin arena. startups that previously could transact over bank accounts have had them closed based on FinCen classifications and there are tighter regulations. this caused an immediate out-of-country flight of some bitcoin startups.[d]
hi all. wild and crazy few weeks for bitcoin. future shock realized. many links below in sections.
[b] mt gox disaster/ failure/ crash/ implosion/ uncontrolled demolition! on an epic scale! they are estimated to have about ~$½B in BTC which at current valuations is roughly 1/16th the total market cap of BTC. the currency fluctuated up to an outsize ~¼ in total value! and then stabilized.