DAO duh Cha-Ching

A group of Russian programmers decided to set up a new blockchain platform. The new platform would improve on Bitcoin by allowing arbitrary contracts to be specified, rather than just the simple transactions supported by Bitcoin. It would have its own cryptocurrency, which people would be able to purchase with real money. The platform would be called ‘Ethereum’, the currency ‘ether’. Initial purchase of ether started in 2014, and by earlier this year more than a billion dollars of the virtual commodity had been sold.

Bitcoin update

Mike Hearn was a Bitcoin developer for 5 years. He’s given up… So yes, it turns out that organizations, community and culture are important. I expected Bitcoin to be taken over by a corporate interest, but what’s happened instead is that a handful of people, mostly in China, have taken control and steered it into the ground. Transaction capacity was identified as a major problem for Bitcoin a long time ago.

Bitcoin: Where the impossible takes slightly longer

Late last year I wrote about forking and extending Bitcoin to increase the number of coins. Since then, numerous tulipheads have angrily informed me that I’m an idiot, that Bitcoin cannot be forked, and that you’d need to control more than 51% of the mining capacity even if it could be. Martin Fisch via Compfight Well, funny story: An anonymous individual now runs a mining pool which controls 51% of the Bitcoin mining capacity, and people are talking about the necessity of the minority “investors” carrying out a hard fork so that they aren’t subject to the whims of Bitcoin’s anonymous de facto controller.

Bitcoin: Other dissenting voices

I haven’t even begun to cover all the reasons why Bitcoin fails as a currency, so instead here are some links. Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology by Alex Payne. Why I want Bitcoin to die in a fire by Charles Stross. The Bitcoin bubble and the future of currency by Felix Salmon. Recovering stolen bitcoin: a digital wild goose chase. Bitcoin: Whatever It Is, It’s Not Money! by Steve Forbes.

The future of Bitcoin

[One of a series of articles.] So far I’ve talked about Bitcoin myths and how Bitcoin is in a speculative bubble. In this article I’m going to discuss Bitcoin’s future. My view regarding the long term future of Bitcoin is fairly simple: I maintain that it doesn’t have one. And not just because there are pre-existing superior digital cash systems. No, the fact that better digital cash systems were invented in the 90s points at the fact that there are specific reasons why they haven’t taken off, and that it’s not to do with technology.

Bitcoin and quantitative easing

Update 2015-08-16: People told me I was wrong, and Bitcoin could never be forked. And then suddenly, Bitcoin was deliberately forked… Update 2017-12-01: Bitcoin was forked again, and the fork was a success (i.e. it kept value). So now, inevitably, there are half a dozen more forks planned. Original 2013 article follows: It’s frequently stated that Bitcoin is finite, that there can be exactly 21 million Bitcoins, and that’s it. Bitcoin fans like to point this out to distinguish it from normal currency, where the central bank can just print more money.

Explaining Bitcoin

[One of a series of articles.] You’ve probably heard about Bitcoin. You might not really understand what it’s all about though, so here’s my non-technical explanation. Imagine you’re growing tulips. Anyone can grow tulips, but it takes time and energy, which puts a limit on the number of tulips around. However, they have no intrinsic value; you can’t use them to heat your home or feed your kids. But, people like them, they’re pretty.