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Seed Lady

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Hi all ---


Our magazine is actually doing a story on Bitcoin.  I have read 3 stories so far, trying to

comprehend them.  Thought I did understand it as a "token-like" currency, but was then

told they are not tokens.  You get more of them by "mining them" .... ? Who runs the "mine"

so to speak ?


I figured you cutting edge types that transact with China may actually have used these.

Could you explain to muggles what it really is, if its is not a token-type "currency" that you buy ?




I read the Bloomberg, the Economist and Wired recent stories on it.  Thxxx

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i tried to buy some and had every problem you could ever imagine.  


take all the b.s. of dealing with paypal.  now imagine having to go through 3 different paypal companies, some of which are foreign and have extra hurdles from the government for account validation.


i would have earned over half a million by speculating, but simply did not have time to deal with all the hurdles.

i had the capital, had the accounts, but couldn't pass the hurdles in time.


i dont like bitcoin.

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From the little I understand, you used to use many computers usually with many video cards (better at parallel processes I think) to "mine" bitcoins from intensive hashing of data. It used to be profitable to mine, but now hardware costs plus the cost of electricity for running and cooling in most places make mining unprofitable. They have since tried to move to using Field Programmable Gate Arrays it seems. There are a ton of used up video cards used to mine for sale on eBay.




I saw a plugin on Reddit the other day that I believe was allowing users who had it set up to "tip" people with percents of bitcoins using a command in their comment they both had their accounts connected to their Reddit profile, so its getting faster and looser with the rules. I don't predict it will be a trusted form of currency much longer from all the hacking and viruses targeting bitcoin users combined with its growing attention.

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If the wikipedia article is correct, "...each new ledger update creates some newly-minted bitcoins..."


(involuntarily shudders)


Yeah, if just a simple ledger update spontaneously creates bitcoins, it is indeed a pyramid scheme.  Also, what's it backed with, if anything?  Presumably in 2140, everyone is going to want to cash theirs in, as they no longer have any redeeming value.


Good luck with that.


No, I've never used bitcoin, this is the first I heard of it, but I will definitely be keeping an eye on it.  Seems like a cybercrime waiting to happen.


Bonnie, in answer to your question, I think the wiki article is fairly revealing, if typically inaccurate, but it should at least give you the concept so that you can read the other articles with more understanding.  It's supposed to be a peer-to-peer digital money system, but the truth is, in order to maintain singular copies of each bitcoin subdivision, it needs to be registered with the Bitcoin miners.  In the referenced article, I still don't grasp what stops both parties in the "take a picture" transaction from maintaining that they own said bitcoin subdivision.  So I don't grasp the entirety of it yet.


Reminds me of a bit of the in-game currency in Reamde.  I wonder if Neal Stephenson has anything to do with this...

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Ars Technica has a fairly nice writeup on bitcoin. It was written in 2011 so it doesn't have any current even context to it, but it does a decent job on explaining how it's supposed to work.


There's also this infographic that shows the process graphically:




(leaving as a link b/c it's fairly large)

Edited by Nebby
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I lent it to my ex just to get her back on Neal Stephenson, because she was so turned off by Quicksilver that she never finished it.  She liked it, too.


He's dabbled with the world before -- look at Cryptonomicon -- offshore data store plays a big part in that one.


Huge Stephenson fanboy here.

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Well shoot, I didn't even realize Stephenson had a novel after Anathem. And know I see Reamde was released, what, two years ago? Crap on me, been spending too much time rereading GRRM and Joe Abercrombie.


And I love the Baroque Cycle, but I can see how a Stephenson fan could be turned off by it.


I don't know nothing bout no bitcoin. 

Edited by postjack
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Well, that's the thing, she wasn't a fan before...not to say that she didn't like him, she just hadn't read anything by him before.  I have since fixed that.  I gave her Snowcrash and Diamond Age, and of course, she liked those.


Oh, and here's a funny bit -- she still hasn't returned the Baroque cycle.  I keep asking her if she wants to give up, telling her not to force herself, but she says she wants to give it another chance.  I'm alright with that -- she's not the kind of person not to return something when I specify I want something back.  But we always ask, because most of her books she only reads once, then gives away to someone else to read, and when I moved, I gave away a lot of my books, so don't buy books so much any more.

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