Mencius Moldbug weighs in with his version of this argument:

"If Bitcoin becomes the new global monetary system, one bitcoin purchased today (for 90 cents, last time I checked) will make you a very wealthy individual. You are essentially buying Manhattan for a quarter. There are only 21 million bitcoins (including those not yet minted). (In my design, this was a far more elegant 2^64, with quantities in exponential notation. Just sayin'.) Mapped to $100 trillion of global money, to pull a random number out of the air, you become a millionaire. Wow!

So even if the probability of Bitcoin succeeding is epsilon, a million to one, it's still worthwhile for anyone to buy at least a few bitcoins now. The currency thus derives an initial value from this probability, and boots itself into existence from pure worthlessness - becoming a viable repository of savings. If a very strange, dangerous and unstable one.

I think the probability of Bitcoin succeeding is very low. I would not put it at a million to one, though, so I recommend that you go out and buy a few bitcoins if you have the technical chops. My financial advice is to not buy more than ten, which should be F-U money if Bitcoin wins."

Is there any reason why Bitcoin cannot co-exist with other similar e-money schemes? If e-money in general is a winner, then the fact that there can only be 21 million Bitcoins in particular is no longer relevant.

0[anonymous]9yI haven't actually applied any serious economic analysis to the problem, but I'm very suspicious of the fact that Moldbug's argument not only uses but actually relies upon a feature of Bitcoin that would serve as an obstacle to its use as a major currency, viz. the relative rarity of bitcoins. Unless there's a highly robust way to trade in fractional bitcoins that I've never heard of, that puts an effective -- if soft -- upper bound on the currency's total value. ETA: Okay, apparently fractional bitcoins can be traded. This is less of a problem than I originally thought.

Making money with Bitcoin?

by Clippy 1 min read16th Feb 2011124 comments


Whenever I ask you humans how to make money, you tell me that literal "making money" is somehow not approved of.  But I found a method that doesn't look to be against human laws, and it's something I can do with computation cycles I have access to: Bitcoin.

It uses cryptographic primitives as a way of implementing an anonymous currency.  Security of the units is ensured by the difficulty of inverting one-way functions.  Users who join the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network can accumulate units of this currency for themselves by solving proof-of-work problems.

You pass on a money unit through a cryptographic protocol.  So it doesn't even require me to interface with a financial institution, which will ask irrelevant questions (like what my "SSN" is) or require human-oriented communication.

How come none of you suggested this to me before?

Also, the linked article says that "Bitcoin is one of the first implementations of a concept called cryptocurrency, first described in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list".  Is that "Wei Dai" the same as User:Wei_Dai?