The Economist Asks: Will Bitcoin’s Blockchain Change The World?

The Economist Asks: Will Bitcoin's Blockchain Change The World?

Legendary news publication “The Economist” has seen fit to not only acknowledge the innovations of Blockchain’s technology but produce a feature story on it for the current October 31 weekly edition. The cover story’s title is called, “The trust machine – How the technology behind bitcoin could change the world.” Here we go over some excerpts and the basic tenor of the piece.

The Economist is one of the Western world’s oldest and most trusted publications

As you may already be aware, Bitcoin does not have a sterling reputation within the mainstream media, if that fact has alluded you to this point, The Economist makes sure you get that realization stated up front as fact within the story’s first sentence, which succinctly reads “Bitcoin has a bad reputation.” The online edition fails to reveal a name of an author for this story.

This first sentence sets up the article with a short summary of why the generally negative reputation has been established, so far. By the middle of the second paragraph, it does not refute any issues with the public image Bitcoin. They seem to have little interest in disputing its validity, but they rush to the defense of the technological flavor-of-the-month, Bitcoin’s revolutionary Blockchain technology, whose impressive skip set is attracting venture capitalists and banking magnates like moths to a flame.

An original point of view was the use of Napster as the progenitor, the guiding light, for all future peer-to-peer networks, be it Napster, Spotify or Bitcoin. The article covers the broad strokes of what a blockchain is and how it may help businesses become more efficient in a multitude of business fields, from banking to real estate registry in Honduras. A swing at Bitcoin, while catapulting “The Blockchain” is pretty much a prerequisite in such an editorial piece.

“Bitcoin itself may never be more than a curiosity. However, blockchains have a host of other uses because they meet the need for a trustworthy record, something vital for transactions of every sort. Dozens of startups now hope to capitalize on the blockchain technology, either by doing clever things with the bitcoin blockchain or by creating new blockchains of their own.”

It has some other facets of the interaction between the mainstream and the blockchain that I won’t spoil. The representation of how a major pillar of the mainstream media with 1,400,000 weekly readers covers a revolutionary technology like Bitcoin and its blockchain is worth a read. The piece is generally quite positive, if fairly predictable, but the idea of promoting the blockchain over Bitcoin reminds me of something my favorite Bitcoin guru Andreas Antonopoulos said. He said the following at a recent Wired Money Bitcoin education seminar in July that is quite salient, to put this in perspective.

Antonopoulos:

“The Blockchain, in itself, is boring technology. It’s a slow ledger. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the disruptive potential of Bitcoin, and so you can get some watered-down, CompuServe-like, smooth jazz, soft version of it that feels nice and comfortable at the executive Board Room. There are two places you can be. You can be Blockbuster or your can be Netflix. That’s why Bitcoin is the important thing, not The Blockchain.”

Reading The Economist piece is a good idea, as is watching the video of Andreas’ dissertation at Wired Money. Take in the arguments from both sides of the aisle, and make a decision on where your digital future is headed. Will you be much more educated listening to Andreas for twenty minutes over reading the referenced article for 7 minutes through the link above? Absolutely, but inquiring minds might want to know what the mainstream’s latest spin looks like in print, however short-sighted it may be.

The Economist Asks: Will Bitcoin’s Blockchain Change The World?.

Preppers should know how to recognize dangerous people – Baltimore prepper | Examiner.com

There are sociopaths who have decided to feed off of others’ productive efforts. They feel that they do not need to prepare for future disasters because, with their guns, they will just take what they need to survive. This article discusses how to quickly recognize and avoid such dangerous people who may have a strong potential for violence and crime. This article will give some specific clues to consider, but one of the best ways to recognize dangerous, crime prone people and the violence they bring is by being aware of your own gut feelings.

No matter how exciting or entertaining some people seem to be, think twice about staying involved with them if they:

1. Are alcohol or drug abusers who easily can lose control of themselves, especially when they are under the influence of their drugs or when they are in desperate need of their drugs.

2. Show little or no evidence of empathy.

3. Seem to be incapable of feeling guilt.

4. Seem to be hostile and impulsive.

5. Appear to have a strong preference for action instead of thought.

6. Exhibit rapid and extreme mood swings.

7. Tend to project blame from themselves unto others.

8. Seem to live mainly for the present and have little appreciation for the future consequences of their actions.

9. Exhibit a sense of entitlement.

10. Show resentment toward authority figures and do not conform to normal social customs and laws.

11. Have friends who are similar to them.

12. Casually mention past altercations, arrests, or incarcerations.

13. Believe more in fate than in their ability to determine their futures and to avoid crime.

14. Have facial scars that possibly came from their past, violent encounters.

As an early warning system, these clues are imperfect. There are some types of dangerous people who may exhibit some of these clues, but not all or even most of these clues. There are even normal people who may display some of these clues, but who never will resort to violence and crime. Nevertheless, the more of these clues that you detect, the more you should be on your guard and the more you should avoid extended association with such a potentially violent, crime prone person. It is probably better to be too suspicious than to be too naïve and trusting as this young woman discovered.

Matthew 26:15 reads, “All who draw the sword will die by the sword. Sociopaths will get what they deserve. Being associated with a sociopath in any way also can put innocent people at risk.

Preppers should know how to recognize dangerous people – Baltimore prepper | Examiner.com.

How Can We Make Bitcoin Mainstream?

bitcoin mainstream

Bitcoin now has PayPal integration and dedicated global banking to go along with its natty logo. Regulators are taking notice of it, and noted retailers are accepting it.

If you think bitcoin is mainstream, though, think again. According to an analysis earlier this year, there were only 1.2 million bitcoin addresses holding anything other than dust as of February.

Even its advocates admit that it has a long way to go. Curtis Fenimore’s attempt to promote bitcoin to the masses has stalled. Bitcoin Bigfoot, his grassroots effort to get posters and other materials promoting bitcoin out into the community, “hasn’t been all that active or relevant lately,” he admitted.

Fenimore raised all of the bitcoins for his public awareness effort when the price was over $700. Then, he spent the funds on Bitcoin Bigfoot after the price fell under $700. It was just the luck of the draw.

In the meantime, many people are still blissfully unaware of bitcoin. “We still have a very long way to go in absolute terms,” he suggested.

The perception problem may have more to do with depth than breadth. Bitcoin entrepreneur Erik Voorhees argued that around half the people he spoke to are aware of bitcoin, but only a small fraction understand it.

This is normal and expected, said Voorhees:

“Both the Internet and Paypal had a long period where people heard of it and sort of knew what it was, before they really tried it out.”

Conquering the learning curve

How will the understanding of bitcoin grow among the masses that have heard of it, but know little about it? We’re still in the speculation phase, where people hope to make a fast buck. This early, immature phase could work to the cryptocurrency’s advantage, said Voorhees.

Successive price bubbles create an effect called the ‘tide theory’. When prices spike, people wake up, smelling a potential money-making opportunity, and flock to bitcoin hoping for profit. That may be a short-term reaction, but it sparks a new wave of user adoption.

When the price slumps again, many of the people who arrived in that wave will slide away, but some will stay. Those remaining will have gained a deep understanding of bitcoin and its technology. With each successive bubble, the pool of adopters that continue to use the payment network increases.

via How Can We Make Bitcoin Mainstream?.

Rich Survivalists are Buying Fancy Condos in Old Nuclear Silos – Doomsday Prepper Porn

807d7ae3d7dacfb09cbce87f4af69a92.jpg

Kudos to developer Larry Hall for finding an inventive way to sell $3M luxury condos he built in a stretch of desert near Concordia, Kansas. His trick? Siting them in decommissioned missile silos strong enough to survive a nuclear attack.

As the Wall Street Journalreports, Hall has not only done enough prep work for doomsday-minded Americans with money to burn—outfitting the facility with a hydroponic vegetable garden, “sophisticated water and air-treatment facilities, state-of-the-art computer network technology and several alternate power generation capabilities”—but he knows his clients will want to keep up a certain standard of living should the world become a blasted radioactive hellscape. Which is why the underground luxury condo has a 17-seat movie theater, a swimming pool, a dog park, and a gym. It even has its own little jail!

Cabin fever getting to you? Each of the units comes with “windows,” i.e., video screens that can show a few outdoor scenes reminiscent of a Windows background image, so occupants can lose themselves in pastoral scenes while the world outside burns.

Hall completed construction on his first luxury bunker in 2012. All seven of the 1,820-square-foot floors have been sold—the Journal has a nifty diagram of a cross-section of the facility—four of them to the executive of a tobacco-product firm, who paid $12M in cash. A Florida nightclub owner who bought a full-floor unit in a second compound that’s currently under construction maintains that he is not at all the “tinfoil hat-wearing” type. Tinfoil being the poor man’s response to irrational fears.

Hall is currently considering silos in Texas and elsewhere for additional developments. So business is booming! Here’s a look inside one of the completed complexes, which owners are free to live in full-time while they wait for the worst.

Rich Survivalists are Buying Fancy Condos in Old Nuclear Silos – Doomsday Prepper Porn – Curbed National.

‘Bitcoin is Better than Currency’ – Bill Gates

When Bill Gates introduced the Windows® operating system it changed how we use computers forever and made Gates one of the wealthiest men on the planet.

But it was also Gate’s unique business model that made Microsoft the powerhouse that it is today. Instead of hiring programmers to write his code he chose mathematicians, physicists and other scientists under the theory that if they were that smart computer programming would be a piece of cake. Gates was most certainly correct as the company’s success amply demonstrates. Now this software legend is adding his thoughts on Bitcoin and what it might mean to the future.

Gates has been mostly silent on the issue of Bitcoin, which is a bit strange considering his background in both tech and business, but he finally broke his meditation about Bitcoin in a recent interview with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg TV’s Smart Street show recently. Schatzker asked his opinion of cryptocurrencies during the interview and Gates replied:

“Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”

But the richest man in America did not stop there. He went on to talk about the bad reputation that Bitcoin  has gotten from a media that only seems to  report when something bad happens, such as Mt. Gox and Silk Road. While Bitcoin has been used by criminals over the years, in today’s world this is simply no longer as true because more and more ordinary citizens are adopting it with enthusiasm. Gates shed light on this aspect, stating:

“The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous. They’re willing to be known, so Bitcoin technology is key and you can add to it or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution where people feel comfortable that this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering.”

Gates also spoke at the Sibos 2014 financial-services industry conference in Boston recently and while his support for a new age in finance was not apparent, he was most definitely in favor of using Bitcoin as a payments solution at the very least. During his speech he made it clear that he believed virtual currencies will take the forefront leading to all financial transactions being “digital, universal and almost free.”

via ‘Bitcoin is Better than Currency’ – Bill Gates.

COTE: Why do liberals mock preppers?

Every so often there is a natural disaster, terrorist incident, or major crisis that throws parts of the country into temporary chaos. Many times everything people own is wiped out as was the case with Hurricane Katrina, Super-storm Sandy, and the Joplin tornado. When these things happen, you see society at its worst with looting, violence, and mass chaos. Given Americans’ history of rioting over small things like Black Friday sales and sporting events, it makes sense that this would happen in the event of a major disaster. Those that prepare for these events are being prudent and should be commended.

To the governments of the world, it is about control. The establishment does not like any movement that is outside of their control. For example, in Venezuela, the government has called on prosecutors to target people who are “hoarding” basic staples in the event of a natural disaster or economic crisis. In the U.S. an executive order gives the federal government the authority to seize, confiscate, or re-delegate resources from companies or individuals as deemed necessary in the event of a national security emergency or disaster. In Los Angeles County, codes officials raided the homes of hundreds of people who were growing and storing their own food and producing solar power. The county officials informed them that they could keep their land but they would have to clear everything off of it and would not be allowed to live there.

 

COTE: Why do liberals mock preppers? – Gate House.

Survivalism: The stark ideology that may have led to killing of a Pennsylvania state trooper

This undated PennDOT identification photo released Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Eric Matthew Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Penn., being sought in Friday's shooting that left one trooper dead and another critically wounded at a state police barracks in Blooming Grove. A gunman killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass outside the barracks during a late-night shift change, then slipped away. (AP Photo/PennDOT via Pennsylvania State Police)

The man alleged to have shot two Pennsylvania police officers on Sept. 12 stalked them on a cool night under a gibbous moon. He hid in woods at the edge of game lands in rural Blooming Grove, Pa. And, at around 10:50 p.m., he fired, killing one man and seriously wounding another.

Eric Matthew Frein, 31, of Canadensis, Pa., has been charged with this inexplicable crime. But state police said he has a philosophy: survivalism.

What is it?

In short: a stark worldview that fuses, in varying degrees, millennialism, Second Amendment and hard-money advocacy, environmentalism and racism. It’s an ideology with many godparents, including Henry David Thoreau, Ludwig von Mises and Charlton Heston. And its proponents think the world as we know it will end soon — and we must be prepared.

Hence their nickname: “preppers.”

We’re living in a time of instability,” one told Emily Matchar, who wrote for Outside magazine. “It doesn’t take long for people to turn into animals.” (For the record: Matchar wrote preppers “don’t like being called survivalists — that word has dark, kooky connotations.”)

Another definition of survivalist from survivalist.info: “One who has personal or group survival as a primary goal in the face of difficulty, opposition, and especially the threat of natural catastrophe, nuclear war, or societal collapse.”

For survivalists, Armageddon comes in many flavors. Nuclear war. Famine. Oil crisis. Plague. U.S. dollar crash. Black-on-white race war. And zombies.

Something is coming, whatever it is.

“The biggest problem we suffer here in North America is complacency,” a prepper told CBN in 2012. He added: “People figure since nothing has happened in ‘x’ amount of years, nothing bad will ever happen. So they get comfortable, and they get lazy and then unpreparedness comes in. Then you have other people who look at history.”

 

Survivalism: The stark ideology that may have led to killing of a Pennsylvania state trooper – The Washington Post.

The Bank Of England Just Said It Thinks Bitcoin Could Be Huge

The Bank Of England Just Said It Thinks Bitcoin Could Be Huge

The Bank of England has devoted two papers to the rise of digital currencies. It’s another demonstration of Bitcoin’s transformation from niche cyber-libertarian intrigue to a subject of mainstream interest.

More significantly, the Bank suggests that the key innovation is not the digital currency itself — which is subject to wild fluctuations — but the “distributed ledger,” which tracks Bitcoin transactions. That ledger has the potential to revolutionize the financial system, the bank argues.

Although there has been a great deal of innovation and new technology in payment systems, the Bank says ” the basic structure of centralised payment systems has remained unchanged.” At the core of the system is a central ledger (usually a central bank) that records and settles transactions.

Bitcoin, and other digital currencies, works on a completely different decentralized model. Instead of a central ledger digital (crypto)currencies operate with a publicly visible ledger, with copies shared between all participants. The advantage of this system is that it avoids the problem of people spending the same money multiple times without having to have centralized monitoring of the process. Or as the Bank puts it:

Since anybody can check any proposed transaction against the ledger, this approach removes the need for a central authority and thus for participants to have confidence in the integrity of any single entity .

This removes two key risks of a centralized system — credit risk and liquidity risk. Credit risk arises where one of the banks in a system goes bust, leaving unpaid debts to other institutions in the system. Liquidity risk comes about when a firm is fundamentally sound (it has the necessary assets to pay off its debts) but at a particular time it is unable to convert those assets to cash in order to meet its debt payments.

via The Bank Of England Just Said It Thinks Bitcoin Could Be Huge – Yahoo Finance.

Obama’s Former Chief Economist Calls For An End To US Dollar Reserve Status

Fire_dollar

There are few truisms about the world economy, but for decades, one has been the role of the United States dollar as the world’s reserve currency. It’s a core principle of American economic policy. After all, who wouldn’t want their currency to be the one that foreign banks and governments want to hold in reserve?But new research reveals that what was once a privilege is now a burden, undermining job growth, pumping up budget and trade deficits and inflating financial bubbles.

To get the American economy on track, the government needs to drop its commitment to maintaining the dollar’s reserve-currency status.

The reasons are best articulated by Kenneth Austin, a Treasury Department economist, in the latest issue of The Journal of Post Keynesian Economics needless to say, it’s his opinion, not necessarily the department’s. On the assumption that you don’t have the journal on your coffee table, allow me to summarize.It is widely recognized that various countries, including China, Singapore and South Korea, suppress the value of their currency relative to the dollar to boost their exports to the United States and reduce its exports to them. They buy lots of dollars, which increases the dollar’s value relative to their own currencies, thus making their exports to us cheaper and our exports to them more expensive.In 2013, America’s trade deficit was about $475 billion. Its deficit with China alone was $318 billion.

Though Mr. Austin doesn’t say it explicitly, his work shows that, far from being a victim of managed trade, the United States is a willing participant through its efforts to keep the dollar as the world’s most prominent reserve currency.

When a country wants to boost its exports by making them cheaper using the aforementioned process, its central bank accumulates currency from countries that issue reserves. To support this process, these countries suppress their consumption and boost their national savings. Since global accounts must balance, when “currency accumulators” save more and consume less than they produce, other countries — “currency issuers,” like the United States — must save less and consume more than they produce i.e., run trade deficits.

This means that Americans alone do not determine their rates of savings and consumption. Think of an open, global economy as having one huge, aggregated amount of income that must all be consumed, saved or invested. That means individual countries must adjust to one another. If trade-surplus countries suppress their own consumption and use their excess savings to accumulate dollars, trade-deficit countries must absorb those excess savings to finance their excess consumption or investment.

Note that as long as the dollar is the reserve currency, America’s trade deficit can worsen even when we’re not directly in on the trade. Suppose South Korea runs a surplus with Brazil. By storing its surplus export revenues in Treasury bonds, South Korea nudges up the relative value of the dollar against our competitors’ currencies, and our trade deficit increases, even though the original transaction had nothing to do with the United States.

via Obama’s Former Chief Economist Calls For An End To US Dollar Reserve Status | Zero Hedge.

DigitalTangible Launches Crypto 2.0-Powered Gold and Bitcoin Market

DigitalTangible

DigitalTangible has announced the formal launch of its crypto 2.0-powered, decentralized marketplace for gold and bitcoin traders.While existing services allow bitcoin users to buy gold with bitcoin, DigitalTangible offers a novel innovation for the market, using an underlying crypto 2.0 protocol that issues tokens representing physical gold and attaches them to bitcoin addresses, thereby allowing traders to seamlessly move between bitcoin and gold.

DigitalTangible counts two of the more visible gold-buying services that cater to bitcoin users as partners – Amagi Metals, which recently announced it would cease to accept fiat currency by 2017, and Agora Commodities, which has sold more than $10m-worth of gold and silver for bitcoin to date.

The launch coincides with the formal unveiling of the firm’s partnership with Amagi, and to mark the occasion, the companies are offering all customers free overnight shipping on select gold products for a limited time.Lewis explained that both Agora and Amagi will sell gold on the DigitalTangible platform, competing for customers and thereby driving down costs for users. As the project’s lead vendors, Lewis added that the partnership is attractive for Agora and Amagi as they can increase sales and drive down marketing costs.

Of course, while bitcoin enjoys some support from the gold community, not all gold investors are enthusiastic about alternative digital stores of value. As such, DigitalTangible and its partners are investing in a marketing push that aims to fight against any negative perceptions of bitcoin.

via DigitalTangible Launches Crypto 2.0-Powered Gold and Bitcoin Market.