Chronicle of a Visionary's Journey Through a Skeptical World

Thanks to intriguing stories of quickly-made fortunes, online drug sales and financial scandals, everyone has heard of Bitcoin. Strangely, nobody knows who created it.

It all began with a paper written by “Satoshi Nakamoto” and quietly published via a cryptography mailing list in 2008. The author laid out a plan for an “electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust”. It was methodical, neat and sagely predicted future problems. It was also well-written in perfect English. Clearly this was no sketch on a napkin: it took intelligence, experience and time.

But Satoshi Nakamoto was a pseudonym – a male Japanese name that loosely translates as “wise”. No such person exists. The paper may have one author or many, but whoever it was has diligently kept it secret for years. And they left precious little in the way of clues.

There was an email address in the paper: satoshin@gmx.com. In the early days someone would reply and answer technical questions. It also pointed to a website, http://www.bitcoin.org, but the domain had been purchased through an anonymous service.

In some correspondence he had used the phrase “bloody hard”, steering us away from an American towards a Briton. Clever analysis of when he made appearances online suggested that he was usually asleep from 5am to 11am GMT, contradictorily suggesting an American – or a nocturnal programmer. At other times he claimed to be 37 and confirmed that he was Japanese, but this was met with scepticism because of his use of slang. Oddly, he once left a link to a Times article in the blockchain, possibly to add weight to its dating.

via Who is the reclusive billionaire creator of Bitcoin? – Telegraph.

Like other Bitcoin evangelists, Ken Shishido is ready to write off the money he lost in the bankruptcy of Tokyo-based virtual currency exchange Mt. Gox as the price of revolutionising global finance.

“In the early days of the automobile, there were traffic accidents because you didn’t have traffic lights or pedestrian crossings,” he said hours after Mt. Gox said on Friday it had lost up to half a billion dollars of investor funds, including some of his own. “But we didn’t ban automobiles.”

Shishido, who lives in Tokyo, was one of about 10,000 investors in Japan who became creditors in Mt. Gox’s bankruptcy when the company capped a tumultuous period of weeks by filing for bankruptcy on Friday.

(Also see: Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange files for bankruptcy, hit with lawsuit)

He lost about a tenth of his investment in Bitcoin in Mt. Gox, he said, and expected none of that money to come back.

Early enthusiasts for the five-year-old crypto-currency were drawn to its revolutionary ideals of transparency and a lack of central or official control. There was also a heady mix of geek chic – the currency is “mined” through a process involving complex computer math – and laissez-faire Austrian economics.

Mt. Gox’s loss is eye-popping but so too is the number of creditors – 127,000 – in what had been the world’s biggest exchange. That means the average trader lost the equivalent of $3,500 in the bankruptcy at current Bitcoin prices, assuming no money is recovered in the court-supervised restructuring in Tokyo set to play out over the following months.

Value spikes, crashes, takes off again

Bitcoin’s value spiked in April 2013 as the crisis-racked Cyprus government clamped down on withdrawals and seized deposits, rattling faith in “fiat” currencies.

The crypto-currency soon crashed back. Late last year, as the number of exchanges and the virtual money’s name recognition grew, it took off again.

Bitcoin gained wider acceptance – and took off again in price – late last year. It attracted high-profile proponents, like the investor twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss of Facebook fame, and speculators.

(Also see: Mt. Gox: A quick rise and even faster fall)

Investors interviewed after the exchange collapsed faulted the Tokyo exchange and Mt. Gox’s French CEO Mark Karpeles, but they remained committed to the Bitcoin idea.

Roger Ver, a big investor in Mt. Gox, said he did not know if he would ever get any of his lost Bitcoin back.

“But the important thing to realize is that Mt. Gox is just one company using Bitcoin. The Bitcoin technology itself is still absolutely amazing,” he said.

“Even if one email service provider is having a problem that doesn’t mean people are going to stop using email. It’s the same with Bitcoin.”

via Bitcoin true believers unfazed by losses in Mt. Gox collapse | NDTV Gadgets.

The Entrepreneur and the Investor continue their repartee with the Investor skeptically probing the mechanics of the new Moneeey system and the Entrepreneur confidently explaining why and how the new Moneeey Revolution will transform the way money is created, used and shared.

The story of the German Finance Ministry stating essentially Bitcoin is “legal tender” has been making the rounds all over the virtual currency and technology world. The German government recognizes the digital currency as a “unit of account” that can be used in Germany. This makes them a kind of “private money”, which can be used in multilateral clearing circles.The German Ministry of Finance has issued an official statement recognizing Bitcoin as “Rechnungseinheiten,” a legal designation that translates to “units of account”. This type of money is also referred to as “artificial currency” or “side payments.”“We should have competition in the production of money. I have long been a proponent of Friedrich August von Hayek scheme to denationalize money. Bitcoins are a first step in this direction,” said Frank Schaeffler, a member of the German parliament’s Finance Committee, who has pushed for legal classification of bitcoins.This is a very, very big deal. Not just because some bureaucrat seemingly “legitimizes” the crypto-currency, it is also the first commonsense approach from a major economy to-date. While the U.S. government specifically the New York Department Of Financial Services and the US Senate are putting in place appropriate regulatory safeguards for virtual currencies, Germany is merely accepting the obvious.The USA is not the only country to scrutinize Bitcoin operation; Thailand has also decided that Bitcoin is not a type of currency. Senior members of the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department of Thailand advised that due to lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets, Thai officials believe that Bitcoin transactions must therefore be illegal in Thailand.A positive step?Germany has gone ahead and given legal status to the Bitcoin, as it could become an alternative to the euro if the single currency ever ceased to exist. Schaeffler said “If the euro does go belly up the German authorities could potentially still collect tax if everyone started using the bitcoin” – that’s a good example of German forward-thinking!

via Germany Acceptance of Bitcoin Sets Standard for Other Countries | SiliconANGLE.

The term “fiat currencies” is strange and mostly not understood in this modern “progressive” era, where everything is transformed by political “Progressives” into fiat rather than natural forms, which continue to exist as long as so-called “Progressives” have the power to impose them.  So instead of Natural Law, we have fiat law, which is whatever those who currently have the political power say it is.  And instead of Natural Rights, the world today mostly recognizes only fiat rights, which are only the rights those in power say we have.  America was rooted in Natural Rights and Natural Law, which so-called Progressives have been rebelling against for more than 100 years, certain they had better ideas more suited to the modern world.And so today we have fiat money instead of natural money.  Fiat money is money with a government declared value, rather than a natural, inherent value.  That is how the government takes some paper, slaps some ink on it, and supposedly it has the value the government and the ink says it has. Bitcoins Are Digital Collectibles, Not Real MoneyLouis WoodhillContributorIts Not That Bitcoin Can Be Regulated As Money: Its That Now Bitcoin Will Be Regulated As MoneyTim WorstallContributor Dont Be Silly, The Entitlement State Wont Allow BitcoinHarry BinswangerContributor Bitcoin Is a Junk Currency, But It Lays the Foundation For Better MoneyNathan LewisContributorBut that fiat money also lasts only as long as the ruling class has the power to impose it on us.  That means the political power and the market power to do that.  At some point, the market power, which is more real and natural, can overcome the political power.  And that is the point we are reaching, when the innovation becomes more real and natural.

via The Federal Governments Reaction To Bitcoin Is An Acknowledgement Of The Dollars Vulnerability – Forbes.

This video concisely explains why we need to redesign our monetary system.

A social enterprise that taps into the hidden world of online sales referrals allows us to give to charity without opening our wallets  Through TheGivingMachine, charities that might otherwise directly ask for money are asking people for a small change in their online behaviour. Photograph: Alamy

Would you donate more to charity if it wasn’t coming out of your pocket? Thanks to the combination of several technologies and services, this is now possible through the social enterprise TheGivingMachine.

Every year, online shops pay hundreds of millions of pounds to other websites for sales referrals. This is a hidden pool of money to which we have all added by clicking on a link, buying a product and as a result unknowingly created a sales commission for someone else. TheGivingMachine taps into this established technique called affiliate marketing and enables you to generate a sales commission from buying what you were already going to buy from hundreds of the best known online shops. 75% of these commissions are then converted into free donations to the charities and schools you choose, with the remainder providing the income needed to operate the website and distribute the many donation payments every month.

via TheGivingMachine: how technology is making donating free | Social Enterprise Network | Guardian Professional.

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