Posts Tagged ‘Bitcoin’

Twitter cuts (#43)

(Time-travelers from the future might need to know that it’s responding to this.)

A singularity is crossed there, whether or not it’s widely noticed.

ADDED: Some Bitcoin thoughts from Jim.

January 15, 2016admin 22 Comments »

Quote note (#211)

At Nathan Cook‘s new blog:

Bitcoin is not a Marxist reification. Bitcoin reifies in the rare sense of ‘ex nihilo, actually create a physical object’. Bitcoin reifies property. Property before bitcoin is an abstraction, a social relation treated provisionally as an object, but never attaining that status (Property is Impossible). Bitcoin quite literally makes property into something physical. Anything that can store a private key and keep it secret, and can use it to create and emit transactions, can own Bitcoin. The relation ‘X owns Bitcoin’ is spatially local and temporally persistent; in other words, it more closely resembles relations like ‘X is made of wood’ or ‘X weighs 20 kilograms’ than it does relations like ‘X is a dollar billionaire’. Property is possible — when property is Bitcoin.

Prior to functional, distributed crypto, ‘property’ was nothing but confused political pleading. Now it’s something else.

ADDED: Still a rocky road ahead. “What was meant to be a new, decentralised form of money that lacked ‘systemically important institutions’ and ‘too big to fail’ has become something even worse: a system completely controlled by just a handful of people. Worse still, the network is on the brink of technical collapse.”

January 14, 2016admin 21 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy

21 Bitcoin Computer

In case XS hasn’t put out an all-in ‘It’s going to be huge’ announcement on this yet, it’s past time to do so. (More at Amazon.)
A critical piece of the near-future Internet just crystallized.

November 28, 2015admin 15 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Coordination
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Beyond IP Addresses?

The technical competence required to evaluate this (MegaNet) initiative far exceeds my capabilities (that’s what you lot are for).

(a) If doable, it’s huge.
(b) It seems to follow the grain of The Process (and cross-link not only to Bitcoin, but also to Urbit).

According to Kim Dotcom, the key to a safer, more secure and decentralized Internet will lie within blockchain technology, or a version of Bitcoin’s original concept. He has spent two years working on the program, and basically turning the Internet into a encrypted, decentralized smartphone app. In general terms, here’s how it works: […] “If you have 100 million smartphones that have the MegaNet app installed, we’ll have more online storage capacity, bandwidth and calculating power than the top 10 largest websites in the world combined,” Dotcom claims. “Over the years with these new devices and capacity, especially mobile bandwidth capacity, there will be no limitations. We are going to use very long keys, systems that will not be reverse engineered or cracked by any supercomputer. […] … Dotcom says it will use a faster version of blockchain technology to exchange data globally. There will be no IP addresses within MegaNet, like the current Internet IpV4 protocol uses for enhanced user security. Yet, it will use the current Internet protocol initially as a “dumb pipe” to get the ball rolling. He and his staff are working on a new type of encryption that will work regardless of how MegaNet is accessed. Bandwidth would come from Wi-Fi use and when the phone is idle, so no charges would come through an IP.

Another source.

Pirate credentials.

November 3, 2015admin 13 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Technology
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Satoshi Nakamoto Night

On October 31, 2008, this happened.

(The first XS Bitcoin horror story.)

October 31, 2015admin 2 Comments »


“Protocol governance can come in many forms, these include bureaucratic rules, literal interpretations of religious texts, democracy, proposed block chain or P2P governance, statistics based governance, rule of law, and any other form of governance which seeks to provide a protocol as being ultimately sovereign as opposed to ultimate human judgement,” writes NIO.

The meaning of ‘protocol’ here? I’m assuming, until corrected, that it’s something like: A formalized procedure. If so, it elides a critical difference, because while “bureaucratic rules, literal interpretations of religious texts,” and constitutions tell people what to do, “proposed block chain or P2P governance” doesn’t.

A set of instructions opens itself to derision, if it ‘demands’ human compliance, without possessing the means to compel it. Constitutions, laws, and bureaucracies are massively — and demonstrably — vulnerable to subversion, because they require what they cannot enforce. It is exactly this problem that has propelled the development of software protocols that are intrinsically self-protective. The longest section of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin paper (#11) is devoted to an examination of the system’s automatic defense capabilities. The problem is a serious and complicated one, but it is certainly not susceptible to resolution by armchair philosophizing about the essence of sovereignty, however much this latter proclaims its possession of the truth.

Claims to ‘truth’ demand trust, and trust is a social and technical problem (of ever increasing urgency). Mere assertion is certainly incapable of generating it. Only a trust engine can, and that has to be built, if it cannot be simply preserved, which — on this at least we are surely agreed? — it could not.

Bitcoin is only a stepping stone, and the scale of the step it enables remains obscure at this point. What is already clear, however, is that the principle of trustless (or open-source, automatically self-policing) protocols is concrete, in large part technical, and invulnerable to a priori dismissal. The theoretical difficulties involved have been largely solved, based upon a series of radical innovations in cryptography — public key systems and proof-of-work credentials, among others — compared to which the recent ‘advances’ of political philosophy, let alone governmental institutions, have been risible at best. If Byzantine Agreement is realizable, protocol subversion is exterminable. What then remains is productive work, in the direction of automatic or autonomized agoras.

Carlyle is a lament (admittedly, a rhetorically attractive, and insightful one). Satoshi Nakamoto has built something. The former is vindicated by progressive socio-political decay, the latter by the escape of self-protective catallaxy from the ruins.

Within a few decades, most of what still works on this planet will be on the blockchain.

ADDED: This is excellent. (Adam Back, via Twitter, describes it as the “Best article yet on what Bitcoin *is* & why decentralisation is necessary”.) The proposal of this post is that the conflict it outlines is obviously of massive importance. Those who think the entire problem of decentralized protocols is an irrelevant distraction from other things, are surely compelled to disagree. The XS position here is that trustless decentralization is worth defending. Clearly, that presupposes it’s something real (and consequential). As far as the NRx discussion is concerned, I’m going to assume that’s the matter at stake.

September 17, 2015admin 76 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Political economy


Haidt: “We argue that the social conditions that promote complaints of oppression and victimization overlap with those that promote case-building attempts to attract third parties. When such social conditions are all present in high degrees, the result is a culture of victimhood in which individuals and groups display high sensitivity to slight, have a tendency to handle conflicts through complaints to third parties, and seek to cultivate an image of being victims who deserve assistance.”

Bitcoin: “What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.”

(XS emphasis in both.)

Insignificant coincidence? Or a key to the crucial conflict nodes of the 21st century?

This is the thesis I’m tempted by:

September 9, 2015admin 38 Comments »

Chaos Patch (#76)

(Open thread + links)

NIO on power (1, 2). Comments on Calvinism. Protective stupidity. Implosion, and Amerika’s enemies. Cryptic Nydwraccuracy. A Doolittle doormat. The weekly round.

Economic performance and regime legitimacy in China. Varieties of libertarianism. Vote with your feet. Death of the petrodollar.

A Bitcoin coup (more), and this economic overview is good. Mesh networks.

Provocative race fatigue. The Argentinization option. The pressure cooker. NYT losing its grip on the frame. A defense of stereotypes.

Families are unfair. Fierce farmers. Naomi Klein isn’t in it for the science (duh), also. Dangerous games (abstractly relevant). This theorization of intelligence seems strikingly important (but it’s daunting as hell). On overconfidence. Schizoanalysis at Buzzfeed.

The HPL disturbance (plus, Antarctic inspiration). When reading went quiet. Darwin under the aspect of eternity.

August 23, 2015admin 28 Comments »
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There’s a biblical blood moon omen hanging over September. Pure Satanism has conquered the culture of the West, to the posthumous laughter of the Mad Marquis. The Chinese economy is scaring people (a lot), and Tianjin just exploded. American “Recession Imminent.” Straight Outta Compton. Trump. Oil. Brazil’s economy is crashing even harder, and Russia is like a scene out of the Book of Revelation, with NATO and Russia rehearsing for war. (Still awaiting the India crisis news for the full BRIC meltdown). Germany is expecting 700,000 asylum seekers this year. “The international system as we know it is unravelling.” Googling ‘Middle East’ mostly turns up End Time prophecies, for understandable reasons (here‘s one secular story). Japan: “Be Afraid.” “The future of humanity is increasingly African.” There’s been a bomb blast in Bangkok, earth tremors in California. American race relations are falling off a cliff, probably because whites haven’t apologized enough yet, though some are trying. The UK has gone fascist (or something). Bitcoin is (needlessly) forking into the unknown. (Exotic and longer-term threats are a whole other story.) But the funny thing is …

August 17, 2015admin 33 Comments »
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Quote note (#161)

Make of this what you will:

Men make up an estimated 96% of the Bitcoin community, which means that if Bitcoin does end up succeeding, as its adherents think it will, and if the people who own Bitcoin see their holdings soar in value, then all of the profits will end up going to what Brett Scott calls the “crypto-patriarchy.” Not many men, to be sure: as Charlie Stross says, the degree of inequality in the Bitcoin economy “is ghastly, and getting worse, to an extent that makes a sub-Saharan African kleptocracy look like a socialist utopia.” But it’s not many men, and effectively zero women.

ADDED: Andrea Castillo responds to Salmon (I’m attaching a ‘massive scowling bitterness deficiency’ warning).

April 24, 2015admin 28 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations