funbux per joule

A couple of months ago we looked briefly at comparing energy and bitcoin.  After all, bitcoin is created and secured by "proof of work" and work has units of energy.  Our analysis took two alternative routes to a valuation or pricing of a Joule of energy:

1)  The open market of stored energy (as hydrocarbons).

2)  The amount of energy required to produce a new bitcoin through mining.

We note that "open market" does not indicate anything about the openness of markets in terms of how they are operated, but rather just the typical price a man on the street will pay if he needs a gallon of gasoline or a killowatt-hour of mains power.

The conclusions were that a Joule of energy is worth about 10 millisatoshi, and the estimates from the two avenues agreed within a factor of three.  Considering the various errors present in the very cursory analysis, I considered this to be quite good agreement.

Today we're going to do the same analysis using another exchange commodity token, a hypothetical United States Dollar or funbuck.

First, lets consider how much a Joule costs on the open market.  A gallon of gasoline can be obtained for 2 USD:

2.00 USD = 1GallonGasoline = 120MJ = 33kWH

1J = 2/1.2*10^8 = 1.67*10^{-8} USD

So, a little less than 20 nanobucks per Joule.

Now lets consider the cost of producing or mining the USD.  While some big producers have apparently made quantities in the trillions, we will be ultra-conservative and consider here production a factor of a million less than that.  Million dollar loans and accounts are surely much more common.  So, what is the energy cost of producing a million dollars?  Of course we are talking here about M1 dollars, not black market M0 dollars.  We're talking about the kind of dollars people might use to buy gasoline, houses, F35s, deep sea oil rigs, etc.  Not paper bills and zinc coins but digital "cash" in the language of realtors.

In fact the amount of energy required is that to create and fund the account, that is to flip a single bit representing the amount.  One might be tempted to consider the Landauer limit here, but we don't want to get too theoretical.  This is a cursory, practical, and conservative estimate.  We're going to use a floating point operation to generate the cash, and lets say we are using off-the-shelf hardware (nothing special) as in e.g. this analyis which found ~ 18 watts/GFlop.

18W/GFlop = 1.8*10^{-8} W/flop

And therefore if we are burning a single watt of power (1J/s) we produce:

1 J = 1J * 1/1.8*10^{-8} * 1MUSD = 5.5*10^{13} USD/sec

That's ~50 Terabucks per Joule.

Wait a minute, is something wrong here?  When we compared two routes to the price of Joule for bitcoin, we were off by a factor of a bit less than three.  Now when we do the same comparison for USD we are off by:

50Terabucks/20nanobucks=2.5*10^{21}

more than twenty one orders of magnitude.

How's that for a markup? The conclusions here are quire far-reaching, but it might be best I let you draw them yourself. If you thought government agencies bringing sugar from the south at 20000% markup was an important economic driver, consider the implications of a business which can mark their product up at

250000000000000000000000% of cost.

 

Wotarianism

The wotarian prefers to consume food and drink which were produced from with the wotarian's web of trust [WOT].  Like other dietary choices, this can be pursued with various degrees of strictness, and never to perfection.

Wotarianism is inclusive of all other choices, in that the products could be of any class.  The important thing is that one knows who grew the spinach, pressed the oil, roasted the beans, or what have you.  At least one could in theory follow the web of trust and find the person or place where the thing originated.

Cryptographic signatures upon delivery or even in formalizing the WOT are not necessary.  Something as simple as "that guy with the old green pickup who sells onions in the parking lot" is enough to claim a wotarian dish.  Onions with a label stating "grown organically at 1800 Zwiebelnstrasse" and purchased at a shop do not yet appear wotarian.  If you know the guy who owns the shop, and he says "oh yeah, I got those from Tim", now the onions are wotarian.

The goal of wotarianism is to be assured in the knowledge of what you are eating and drinking.  Do you trust the labels?  Have you run a mass spectrometer and set up agar dishes of various types with samples?  Probably not.  Therefore wotarianism is the only solution short of growing everything yourself.  Growing everything yourself is known as L0 wotarianism.

Bon appetit!

 

 

Butthurt corpse-munchers can't get it up

You like that?  I made it up myself; quite proud of it actually.

This headline can go up in place of a massive percentage of other tag-lines, headlines, tweets, blogs, threats, titles, and more.  It describes very well a lot of homo sapien behavior at present.

That's all for now.

Climate change for morons

It has come to my attention that some people think "anthropogenic climate change" is pseudoscience. Some people think it's not a real issue. Please excuse me while I borrow from the vocabulary used by some of these people: Hey! You're a fucking retard!

Lets start with the so-painstakingly-obvious-only-willfull-self-deception-and-not-neurological-conditions-can-explain-your-ignorance. "Klima" is a German word for climate.  Go and do an image search for this term, you'll find pictures of air conditioners.  Get it?  Anthropogenic climate change is so blindingly obvious that the word "climate" itself is already an implication of the anthropogenic nature.

Look, I know you have PhDs, lots of wampum, big important stocks, furrows of worry, a rap career, and millions of fans visiting your USG owned domain name.  And why would you care right?  You after all can have sex now and that is all any adolescent should care about.  But seriously: have you been to see the Aletchgletcher?  I mean like getting off your ass and going up to look at it?  See for yourself the amount of ice that has disappeared since they built the Concordiaplatzhütte (replace these with any glacier on the planet for similar effect).  Or have you considered the ski industry over the last 50 years?  I know it snowed and you'd love to maintain that blisteringly important small mindset, and draw conclusions without any kind of reasonable review, but seriously, this is getting embarrassing.

Tell me the climate was similar in Dubai even 20 years ago.  Go ahead.  How about the climate in Manhattan?  Any different today than a century or two ago?  Beijing?  Any of thousands of other large geographic areas come to mind?  How about midwest north america?  Any climate change over there?  Not really huh?  Still the same rich ecosystem, massive herds of buffalo, amphibians and reptiles, diverse flora and fauna contributing to maintaining a thick covering of arable land forming the body of Gaia.  Right?

Go visit the cedars of Lebanon and send me a postcard.  Go swim with the Chinese river dolphin.  Why not do some fishing in the Mississippi river delta?  How about go diving and look at the coral, anywhere in the world, and ask it for yourself.  Or maybe you just have too many reddit posts to look at today, so you don't have the time for these trips.  Just one more level right?  That would feel better than actually asking yourself challenging questions.  Maybe you could look around and find somebody dumber than you, that would feel great eh?  A lot easier than traveling too.  Well then, how about just going to look at your local landfill.  What's the climate like?  Any hint of changes due to actions of primates?

 

 

1) Survival should be a prime concern in our decisions of what to do with our time here on middle Earth.  You know, look both ways before you cross the street and things like that.

2) Climate is the life support system of our spaceship.

You with me on these two ironclad slam dunk gold plated facts?  Can you draw some conclusions here for yourself and adjust your endeavors accordingly?  That'd be swell, thanks.

 

How to read

Today's post is just a quote of an excellent and inspirational speech by Marcus Garvey. Enjoy!

Use every spare minute you have in reading. If you are going on a journey that would take you an hour carry something with you to read for that hour until you have reached the place. If you are sitting down waiting for somebody, have something in your pocket to read until the person comes. Don´t waste time. Any time you think you have to waste put it in reading something. Carry with you a small pocket dictionary and study words whilst waiting or traveling, or a small pocket volume on some particular subject. Read through at least one book every week separate and distinct from your newspapers and journals. It will mean that at the end of one year you will have read fifty-two different subjects. After five years you will have read over two hundred and fifty books. You may be considered then a well read man or a well read woman and there will be a great difference between you and the person who has not read one book. You will be considered intelligent and the other person be considered ignorant. You and that person therefore will be living in two different worlds; one the world of ignorance and the other the world of intelligence. Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden. Therefore, remove yourself as far as possible from ignorance and seek as far as possible to be intelligent.Your language being English you should study the English language thoroughly. To know the English language thoroughly you ought to be acquainted with Latin, because most of the English words are of Latin origin. It is also advisable that you know the French language because most of the books that you read in English carry Latin and French phrases and words. There is no use reading a page or paragraph of a book or even a sentence without understanding it.If it has foreign words in it, before you pass over them you should go to the dictionary, if you don´t know the meaning and find out the meaning. Never pass over a word without knowing its meaning. The dictionary and the books on word building which can be secured from book sellers will help you greatly.I know a boy who was ambitious to learn. He hadn´t the opportunity of an early school education because he had to work ten hours a day, but he determined that he would learn and so he took with him to his work place every day a simplified grammar and he would read and memorize passages and the rules of grammar whilst at work.After one year he was almost an expert in the grammar of his language. He knew the different parts of speech; he could paraphrase, analyze and construct sentences. He also took with him a pocket dictionary and he would write out twenty-five new words with their meanings every day and study these words and their mords [forms?] and their meaning. After one year he had a speaking vocabulary of more than three thousand words. He continued this for several years and when he became a man he had a vocabulary at his command of over fifteen thousand words. He became an author because he could write in his language by having command of words. What he wrote was his experiences and he recorded his experiences in the best words of his language. He was not able to write properly at the same age and so he took with him to work what is called in school a copying book and he practiced the copying of letters until he was able to write a very good hand. He naturally became acquainted with literature and so he continued reading extensively. When he died he was one of the greatest scholars the world ever knew.

Apply the story to yourself.There is nothing in the world that you want that you cannot have so long as it is possible in nature and men have achieved it before. The greatest men and women in the world burn the midnight lamp. That is to say, when their neighbours and household are gone to bed, they are reading, studying and thinking. When they rise in the morning they are always ahead of their neighbours and their household in the thing that they were studying[,] reading and thinking of. A daily repetition of that will carry them daily ahead and above their neighbours and household. Practice this rule. It is wise to study a couple of subjects at a time. As for instance a little geography, a little psychology, a little ethics, a little theology, a little philosophy, a little mathematics, a little science on which a sound academic education is built. Doing this week after week, month after month, year after year will make you so learned in the liberal arts as to make you ready and fit for your place in the affairs of the world. If you know what others do not know, they will want to hear you. You will then become invaluable in your community and to your country, because men and women will want to hear you and see you everywhere.As stated before, books are one´s best companions. Try to get the[m] and keep them. A method of doing so is every time you have ten cents or twenty five cents or a dollar to spend foolishly[,] either on your friends or yourself [,] think how much more useful that ten or twenty five cents or dollar would be invested in a book and so invest it. It may be just the thing you have been looking for to give you a thought by which you may win the heart of the world. The ten cent, twenty five cent or a dollar, therefore, may turn out to be an investment of worth to the extent of a million dollars. Never lend anybody the book that you want. You will never get it back. Never allow anybody to go to your bookshelf in your absence because the very book that you may want most may be taken from the shelf and you may never be able to get one of the kind again.If you have a library of your own, lock it when you are not at home. Spend most of your spare time in your library. If you have a radio, keep it in your own library and use it exhaustively to listen to lectures, recitals, speeches and good music. You can learn a lot from the radio. You can be inspired a lot by good music [lines repeated]. Good music carries the sentiment of harmony and you may think many a good thought out of listening to good music.Read a chapter from the Bible every day, Old and New Testaments. The greatest wisdom of the age is to be found in the Scriptures. You can always quote from the Scriptures. It is the quickest way of winning approval.

Marcus Garvey

Log supply vs bitcoin supply

Lets start with the current block heights:

LOG - 291644
BTC - 394574

Due to the target 2 min. block time of the woodcoin network, and the 10 min. block time of bitcoin, LOG will catch up to BTC in about 6 months.  Somewhere around block 420,000, by sheer luck 🙂  Let's call this Milestone 1.

Due to variance on the network, this could be a bit later, perhaps 450,000 or so.

Current target coinbase rewards per day:

LOG ~ 2448
BTC ~ 3600

This is an interesting time, as fewer LOGs are being produced than BTCs. This will eventually stop, because the logarithmic supply curve reward decreases much slower than the geometric series.  When they cross will be our Milestone 2.

Lets see how this will look after BTC reaches block 420,000.  At this point the coinbase rewards per day will be:

LOG - 1715
BTC - 1800

Look at that..  still fewer LOG than BTC.  BTC reaches block 630,000 sometime in 2020 or so.  At this point woodcoin, picking up blocks five times quicker, will have put another 1.05 million blocks on the chain, so it will be near block 1,470,000.  The coinbase rewards per day will be:

LOG - 489
BTC - 900

Still, fewer LOG than BTC.  OK lets look at the next BTC halfing, 2024 or so.  BTC block 840,000.  LOG block 2,520,000.

LOG - 286
BTC - 450

Still, fewer LOG produced than BTC.  The next halfing, 2028.  BTC block 1,050,000.  LOG block 3,570,000.

LOG - 201
BTC - 225

Still, fewer LOG produced than BTC.  Next halfing, 2032.  BTC block 1,260,000.  LOG block 4,620,000.

LOG - 155
BTC - 112

Aha!  We have found Milestone 2.   It will come in Julian year 2032 or so.  That's when the real advantage of the logarithmic supply function starts to kick in.

Just for fun, let's look at where we will be a century after Milestone 2.  At this point, BTC rewards drop to zero.  Fees only will support all network security.  At this point woodcoin will have roughly 31,000,000 blocks.  The per block reward will be 0.032 LOG and the daily coinbase rewards for both coins will look like:

LOG - 23.3
BTC - 0.0

A century later, LOG coinbase will be cut in half again.

This brings us to Milestone 3.  Milestone 3 is when the LOG supply passes the BTC supply.

 {1000000}*(log(n)+\gamma )-{5187377.51763962} = {20999999.9769}

Solve this for the block height n.

 n=132541525667

You've got about 500k years before this happens, so go ahead and take your coat off and stay a while.

 

 

Equality

Lets open this up with a quote:

"If you have something to say, write an equation.  If you don't have anything to say, write an essay".  -- Paul Erdös

You see, we need equality to write an equation.  We need the notion of equality to conceive of a tonal world, a world which symbols can describe.  It turns out the "real world" is not tonal.  Symbols never give you precise reality; the map is not the territory.  However, seeing as you are "reading" at this very moment, and things seem to at least partially be "working", lets continue.  Why not?  Communication, though imperfect (see Shannon for details), is something worth doing.  To do so requires equality - on many levels.  In fact, we can phrase a stronger statement:

For all objects A and B chosen from any sets SA and SB, there exists an infinite set of functions fi such that:

 f_i(A)=f_i(B)

Or more simply put:  all things are equal, for an infinite number of metrics.  To not see a myriad of ways that any object is equal to another is to simply have a broken imagination.  How is 100 like 1?  How is the sun like an electron?  How is an apple like another apple, or like a racecar?  It's called thinking.

Now that we have established that all things are equal (and that it's possible to think) lets look at the converse: all things are unequal.

For all objects A and B chosen from any sets SA and SB, an infinite set of functions gi exist such that:

 g_i(A)\neq g_i(B)

This seems obvious, but consider the case when A and B are the same object.  Does such a function exist?  In fact it does.  Is it possible that:

 g(A) \neq g(A) ?

Well yes.  The A on the left is "on the left" whereas the A on the right is "on the right".  Is that enough?  Also there exist functions such as:

g(x)=h(x,y)

where y increments upon every evaluation of h. For such functions, we can easily construct an h and g such that :

g(0)==g(0)

is false.

So lets review.  All objects have equality under some metrics.  No objects have equality under all metrics.

Now go write some equations.

 

 

 

How to tell you are low class

Mea Culpa

This one is bound to offend those low class folks who are easily offended by class-calling so be forewarned.  The trouble here is that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and a good deal of which side you are on is determined by which side you want folks to think you are on at the moment.  Classes are whatever the hell you want them to be, as any good object oriented programmer knows.  Sometimes everybody wants to be low class, because that's where the real people are.  Other times, you want out of there when there's been a bit too much reality thank you very much, and you try to get to higher ground.  Lets see if you can get out of there.  Anyway, in no particular order, here's a list of ways to tell you are low class.

1)  You've never 4th classed any 5th class terrain

What is it, constantly afraid of your own incompetence and unable to trust yourself for a moment?  Maybe just inflated self-importance leading to intolerance for risk and general inaction?  Or just, never been exposed to any exposure at all?  Never heard of the Yosemite decimal system?  Either way, it doesn't sound good does it.  To be fair, you can probably weasel out of this one by saying you once climbed a ladder without a rope and harness on.

2)  You imagine expensive objects will make you higher class

Can you think of anything lower class than wearing a giant diamond on your finger?  It's hard isn't it.  "But wait the advertisment said...  "  Lets not go there.  On this topic I often wonder how it is that baseball players have come to wear necklaces.  It happened quickly.  Nobody would have done that a couple of decades ago.

At first it is tempting to take this at face value.  The player is not comfortable with their big salary and bank account, because of course these are counterparty risk arrangements.  If the bank run were to arrive mid-game, what would the third baseman do?  Well thankfully, he is wearing a big piece of gold and so will do fine if his banks all go under and he is forced after the game to trade for passage on a ship out of N. America, or for food for his daughters, or whatever else.  Better safe than sorry right?  Better keep some gold on your person.

Well that might be the traditional reason for wearing the gold but in this case the psychology is perhaps more subtle.  Consider: The player is trying to appear low-class.  After all, it's not like there is any need to advertise financial success here.  The guy's salary is being discussed on 660 AM.  So the reason could be to counteract this and appear like a lower class person.  It's like a throwback to the struggling gangsta.  Right?  "Look at me I wear brands and chains and stuff, I'm really a prole not some snooty elitist", could be the statement.  Or maybe these guys just like how it feels and looks, and I'm being a low-class schmuck for reading too much into it.  You decide.

Other signs of low class living in this category: all luxury goods, including designer handbags, caviar, lobster, swiss watches, lamborghinis, etc.  Oddly enough, these things are usually purchased not to attempt to look high class but to attempt to appear low class.  And people will pay anything for that privilege.  "I am so gangsta.  Check these Air Jordans.  Jeeves get the check for that."  Right.

I admit it.  I like high class women.  This is why all it takes is the sight of an expensive brand name handbag and I am out of there.  No thank you.  Oh it's fake you say?  Lets get a cup of coffee.

3)  You care too much about what class you are

This one is obvious.  Why do you care what these other folks think about you in this regard?  I mean, if you have a reason such as you are trying to rob them or get them to not notice you for a whatever reason, then that's great.  If you have a job to do, then do it.  If not, then stop caring.  It's low class.  Go do something useful instead, such as build personal power rather than cast it aside for nonsense.  I mean seriously, some dwarf on the internet said you are low class and this is somehow a problem?

4)  You don't know what biological class you are.

It's absolutely mind blowing how many people consider themselves "not animals" and simply have no clue at the most basic level what wetware they are running on.  I'm not talking about more advanced analysis of what is the self, the ego, the id, resonating your consciousness up to the level of Gaia etc.  Just the absolute kindergarten basics here.  Your class is fucking Mammalia.  Now that you know it, you no longer classify for this entry on the list.  You can still pretend though.

5)  Excessive Patriotism

This one is obvious as hell.  If you put a sports team logo as the major influencing factor in your life, there's not much else there, is there.  That's some low class shit.  Flag waving is a proud voodoo tradition so I won't include that in generality but when it's a so-called "nation" and football isn't involved, you're either really low class, or pretending to be so.  If you have a job to do, do it - but don't go overboard.  Or go ahead and go overboard, after all if you want to look like lower class just chant the name of any tax regime totally out of context.  This usually works.

6)  You handle fiat currency

Yet another no-brainer.  The amounts you deal with don't matter in the slightest.  The point is that you are spending your time and effort dealing with some units, either on websites, on paper notes, in exchange for labor, wherever or whatever it is.  Use expressions like "worth a million dollars".  Meanwhile, the higher class folks are simply creating these units at no cost.  You think the queen of England ever needs to count GBP?  "My guy will tip you.  Meanwhile he will tip himself."  That's more high class.  I mean, anyone with a legacy consumer bank account is obviously low class.  Right?

7) You are mortal

This one is more subtle but if you are willing to accept an axiom then it becomes the most solidly grounded in logic item on this list.  The axiom:

There exists a living individual that is low class.

Got it?  Think of one and picture him/her/it in your head.  It could for example be an ant you saw earlier perish under your boot.  Or maybe that stray dog, or an armored cop, or whomever you like.  Now consider this: this individual was suddenly born, and will suddenly die.  Just like you.  You are in fact the same class aren't you.

8)  You own a car and drive it often.

This one might be controversial.  Of course, if you are a hobbyist, afficiando, mechanic, this doesn't apply.  I'm talking about the poor suckers who are sitting in their wheelchairs on the parking lot at rush hour, unable to read a book or stretch their legs.  Waiting in lines to be dropped off by mom and dad right at the door of the school, because nobody trusts you could withstand exposure to the world.  Speaking of which:

9)  You've never been out of doors.

This means specifically you've never knelt and drank water directly from a mountain stream.  Or never taken a shit in the woods.  Or never fallen asleep while watching the stars.  Well this isn't really low class, more like just sad really.  What world could such a person imagine themselves to be a part of?

----

Well this list can go on and on forever but I'll stop here while I'm behind.  Class dismissed.

 

RIP "The News" 1704-2013

"We are gathered here today on this sorrowful occassion to say goodbye to the dearly departed. He was dearly and he has departed. Thus, that's why we call him the dearly departed. In other words, the nigga's dead" ((Richard Pryor, Minister of Education)).

Yes, it is with a tear in our eyes that we turn the pages of history and move forward.  As we must.  For there is that in the world which is something that happens to us, and to not recognize said happening is to live in denial.  Instead dear friends, let us accept the passage of the dearly departed.

"The News" is no longer a thing.

The words inherent therein revert to their default and original meaning: information that has relevance to you personally - relayed by somebody you know personally.  Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  The cycle of life continues.

For a time, which we mark the start of with the publication of the first "newspaper" in 1704, information marked by the moniker "The News" took on a larger meaning.  It became a united social set of information, blessed with the mark of benevolence and stamped with official insignias of truth.  It was a different time then.  Let us remember:

"Did you hear The News?  We won The War."

It was a time that such a statement could have real significance when spoken by an unknown personage.  The "we" was assumed as understood, like many aspects of the dearly departed, and was not to be questioned.  Far-off events, real or imagined, packaged and labeled, could create an importance which affected the noosphere like a needle in living tissue.  It became the world, or rather The World.  Hearst would have his battle in Cuba:

"You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war."

Later, The News even furnished its own pictures.

The News was what had happened, whether it was election results, scientific results, or courtroom results.  And perhaps more importantly, it determined what was popular.  During the heyday of The News, one didn't go out to hear what people were singing, or even talk to people at all, to know what music was popular.  One simply saw it on The News, and it was so. You didn't cross the News, because if you did - everyone would know you were Hitler.  After all, it's in the News.  Have you heard of Hitler?  Did you see The News?

The dearly departed was not only all-knowing but all-powerful.

The body of The News was originally dominated by print, though later it became dominated by an audio/video mix known as television.  In its later years, The News even had some life on the internet.  There were many who referred to it as "The Media", and in it's still later years, "The Mainstream Media" (MSM).

Like many creatures, it overextended, and left exposed its gross weaknesses.  It reached into Hollywood, into Yahoo and Google, and into recording artistry.  But productions became shabby, and the raw lie of the whole operation became clear.  Truth does not always come with insignias.

The first signs of trouble were first obvious in the manipulation of The News by SOPS (statally operated pseudojustice systems).  The citizens taxed by such corporations as the Soviet Union, the Republic of China, and the United States may have been the first to see The News stumble and fall, as it became clear to many that this was not exactly a vehicle for benevolent truth-telling.

The News was held together for many years through its delinquency by one man: T. Hermann Zwiebel.  In running a tight ship in his The News operation, he extended the lifespan of a failing enterprise by some 20 years.  While still speaking The News, they yet catered to literate folks, and left out the raw claims to supreme power which had begun to ring so hollow.  Even through the sad operations of The News through Sept. 2001, the Zwiebel estate kept the beast alive.  However in the end even this great injection of life and language could not hold The News together.  Whether it was the Sandy Hook reportage of late 2012 or simply combined systemic failures that claimed its life in the end, we may never know.  On June 25, 2013 the final newspaper was printed.

Today the corpse of this creature is visible before you.  In airport lounges, it appears on screens which nobody watches.  It speaks out from headlines nobody reads on newsstands which only sell tobacco.  It speaks from the past in collections of propaganda and wise pundits who had ideas for its recovery, such as Bill Hicks and Huey Louis.

Though we grieve now, we also celebrate.  We celebrate the trust that humanity has had for one another, and also the boon to that trust that the death of The News will give - as it is checks and balances that can make us stronger in the end.

Now you may ask how the word of this passage will get out.  It is an interesting question.  The news will get out, but it won't be covered in The News.  The News will be eventually be replaced by its more modest relative: the news.

 

 

On the Resolution of the Bitcoin Experiment

Sometimes people get overextended in a space and the pressure becomes difficult to take.  Reddit rage sets in.  That's the take-home message I got from Mike Hearn's recent post.  That being said it brings up some points I will comment on, carefully taking the author out of context.

From the start, I’ve always said the same thing: Bitcoin is an experiment and like all experiments, it can fail. So don’t invest what you can’t afford to lose. I’ve said this in interviews, on stage at conferences, and over email. So have other well known developers like Gavin Andresen and Jeff Garzik.

Absolutely right and these guys get credit for saying it.  It might also be worth pointing out that fiat money is an experiment, officially begun in 1971, though with more ancient roots (counterfeitable and unverifiable tokens with not even the usual pretend claims to convertibility into an asset was an experiment officially announced by the Nixon administration).  Indeed: don't invest what you can't afford to lose!  We are seeing a lot more people rage quitting that experiment than people like Mike Hearn who claim to be rage quitting bitcoin.  The thing is, everybody knows the fiat experiment is broken.  Nobody tells investors to hold large amounts of dollars.  Hackers at all levels of the chain produce untold dollars, pounds, and yuan every second.  It's not a secret.  Pundits discuss on TV how many new units might have been added to the supply over the last decade.  Bitcoin however is public - one can check the history of every coin in existence and count them all.  Anyway, it's still money.  And money is BY DEFINITION THE LEAST VALUABLE THING TO YOU.  The thing you'd part with FIRST in any deal.  Just saying.  See, I can shout too!

But despite knowing that Bitcoin could fail all along, the now inescapable conclusion that it has failed still saddens me greatly. The fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards. I will no longer be taking part in Bitcoin development and have sold all my coins.

Well this seems rather extreme for somebody who surely has read most of the entries over at one of the collections of bitcoin obituaries.  The hash rate is up to 0.8 EH/s, record high.  The number of transactions per day is at near record high.  His comment here is very similar to "that restaurant is way too popular, too many people in there.  It's over for that restaurant.  I've sold my shares."  Why would popularity lead to decreasing price?  Why should we pay any attention to what somebody says they bought or sold in a blog?  The price of a dollar is still less than a bitpenny.  That's over a hundred times less than it was about five years ago.  You think fiat is going to regain that value?  I don't.

Think about it. If you had never heard about Bitcoin before, would you care about a payments network that:
  • Couldn’t move your existing money
  • Had wildly unpredictable fees that were high and rising fast
  • Allowed buyers to take back payments they’d made after walking out of shops, by simply pressing a button (if you aren’t aware of this “feature” that’s because Bitcoin was only just changed to allow it)
  • Is suffering large backlogs and flaky payments
  • … which is controlled by China
  • … and in which the companies and people building it were in open civil war?
I’m going to hazard a guess that the answer is no.
Phew, that was a lot.  Before the bullets begin the problems begin.  We refer to Bitcoin as "a payments network".  This is a common error.  Bitcoin is (also) (at least) a unit of account.  Considering a system which enables a verifiable public unit of account to be similar to Halal, Visa, or Swift, is really like hammering nails with a microscope.  Electronic gold, they call it.  You know, gold - the payment network.  Right.  It's a lot more than a payment network don't you think?  There are lenses in there.
Bitcoin can move my existing money, at least it can move the bitcoin.  The network isn't supposed to move anything else!  I made a few transactions today and they worked immediately.  The thing isn't a general payment network!  It isn't supposed to move hours of work, gold, ren min bi, special drawing rights, monopoly money, fideral re-serve notes, or funbux.  It is supposed to move bitcoin.  That's what it does.  A million or so got moved today.
The "wildly unpredictable fees" are going to be more of an issue in the future.  For the time however, this is nonsense.  Leaving out the coinbase inflationary fee (that is certainly predictable) we are left with required fees under 1 mBTC.  I used .0002 today and that worked fine.  Seriously, is this worth complaining about?  OK, we should talk about the future but it appears he's talking about the present here.  I dun see it.  At all.
How about this "allowing people to take back payments" thing?  Lets note first that he is talking about the least reversible digital payment system in the world.  Compare to a credit card or a check here and see that bitcoin is by far the least reversible.  A lot of folks complain it isn't reversible enough.  Anyway, zero conf double spend has always been possible, it was originally called a "Finney attack".  This is never going to be as big an issue as the "eat and run" attack.  Last I checked restaurants still give people menus before they pay.  If you really don't trust the customer with the amount, wait for a confirmation eh?  Maybe get her name and a photo and license plate number?  Seriously, have you heard of shoplifting?  Guess what: business goes on despite this GLARING SECURITY HOLE.  Omg I am gonna ragequit retail because Peter Todd made it easier to sew on pockets!  Scheiner said it best: commerce is strong against security holes.  People want to do business and make it work.  In the case of bitcoin the holes are remarkably smaller than anything else in existence.
Oh and what is this "bitcoin was just changed to allow it"?  That is nonsense.  Nothing changed.  5 year old software still validates the chain.  Miners mine what they want to as always.
As to the large backlogs and flaky payments, I'm generally not so shocked.  People doing business generally looks like that.  Bitcoin payments are less flaky than any other, because they are publicly verifiable and come with triple accounting built in.  What, angry that your verification took an hour?  Guess what - there ARE NO VERIFICATIONS EVER with your fiat funbux.  Have fun!
Is controlled by China?  What on Earth could this mean?  Bitcoin cares not one whit who you pay taxes to, what language you speak, or what groups of people claim you live on "their" land.  Nor what color your nazi papers are, or the shape of your nose or eyes.  How could it?  Miners are miners and they move the coins where they choose to, using whatever power and equipment then can get.  Follow the coins and the people, not the false corporate imagery the people hide behind.  There's no Santa Claus or Uncle Sam nor some guy called China that "controls bitcoin mining".  The idea is too broken to even consider.
If you haven’t heard much about this, you aren’t alone. One of the most disturbing things that took place over the course of 2015 is that the flow of information to investors and users has dried up.
I really don't follow this at all.  Would that it were true!  We live in an era that the flows of information are far too voluminous.  In all cases the difficulty lies not in obtaining flows but in filtering them.  In this case in particular bitcoin remains largely unchanged and so there isn't much news of importance other than the big news:  bitcoin still works.  Five year old software still verifies the existence and current possession of all coins on the network, just as it did then.
Eventually, some users found their way to a new uncensored forum. Reading it is a sad thing. Every day for months I have seen raging, angry posts railing against the censors, vowing that they will be defeated.
But the inability to get news about XT or the censorship itself through to users has some problematic effects.
He goes on and on here, presumably talking about some commercial forum company like reddit or facebook.  Whatever.  He reads it every day for months?  Hmm..  take a break yo!  Go for a walk.  Without some hours alone in a wilderness setting, how the fuck do you expect to recharge your batteries?  Anyway, these kind of sites are always censored once they become popular.  If people can use them to get together or exchange information, fine.  Otherwise, they are probably best ignored.  Obviously the author understand this and does the right thing: publishes himself.  Well, sorta.  Instead he used "medium".  Maybe he doesn't get it.
One of them, Gregory Maxwell, had an unusual set of views: he once claimed he had mathematically proven Bitcoin to be impossible. More problematically, he did not believe in Satoshi’s original vision.
This is a very interesting point worth reading about!  Indeed, the Byzantine General's problem or Distributed Consensus was proven to be impossible.  Thus, bitcoin shouldn't work.  Go read about it, GMaxwell was not the only author to claim impossibility of finding a distributed consensus in systems including various degrees of uncertainty.  The take home story here is that these proofs were correct:  bitcoin doesn't achieve 100% consensus.  The consensus is always probabilistic.  The relevant formula for how close to 100% one can get with enough confirmations is in the original whitepaper.  One might say that bitcoin is not an ideal object but a real object.  There is always a small chance that certain elements of your consensus tally are "wrong" in that a longer chain will emerge that shows a different history.  Neat huh?  Sounds crazy, but the remarkable thing is that it works.
But Bitcoin Core is an open source project, not a company. Once the 5 developers with commit access to the code had been chosen and Gavin had decided he did not want to be the leader, there was no procedure in place to ever remove one. And there was no interview or screening process to ensure they actually agreed with the project’s goals.
Nor is there any procedure in place to ensure that Mike Hearn's post or my comments on it will agree with your goals.  It's just information thrown up in an unreliable channel.  Not even cryptographically signed!  Lol right?  What project?  What goals?  Everyone has their own dreams and ambitions.  Expecting github to just serve up your solutions is likely to lead to frustration.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate everyone who contributes to open source projects, not just bitcoin.  These people give hope to humanity in difficult times.  That goes for Mike Hearn too: thanks!  Go back to enjoying writing useful code and just ignore whoever it was on whatever troll box that pissed you off.