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Bitcoin is exactly like the Linux kernel.

Invented by a genius that wanted to solve his own problem, it quickly attracted a bunch of enthusiastic geeks, contributing to it and calling it the future.

There was high and down in its history. The enthusiasts were really thinking that it would become mainstream as it is.

But it was definitely too complicated, too hard to understand. Even the "easy" interface were just ugly geekish toys.

Bypassing all those interfaces, all those geeks layers, some people start to see the real use of linux itself. They built their own solution using linux as simple foundation.

And it worked. 

Most people don't even know it but they are currently using Linux, right now.

I predict that the same will happen for Bitcoin. Nobody will know they are using bitcoins, they will not care. 

But it will be bitcoins nevertheless…
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Mark Knight's profile photoSylvain Munaut's profile photoJules Barrell's profile photoHugo Mercier's profile photo
27 comments
 
Interesting to note BItcoins have taken some new recently, there is a Pizza takeaway service that excepts then, MEGA will also accept them. 

Looks like they might be about to arrive for the general population. 
 
I doubt it. If memory serve, several people have shown multiple issues with bitcoin (including some scalability issues if it were to grow to handle any significant amount of the world's transaction).

Now .. this is bitcoin, some other improved crypto currency could take over.
 
+Sylvain Munaut  Bitcoin scales very well, they just a just the number of decal places if things get crazy. 
Clever implementation, after all the point is is to replicate Gold, what all most currency currency is still based on.
 
+Sylvain Munaut > exactly the same criticism was done for linux: it could not scale, it was not able to use X processors, etc.
 
+Sylvain Munaut If an 'improved Bitcoin' is devised there is nothing stopping Bitcoin implementing those improvements in itself. Bitcoin has infrastructure and a growing user base already. Solutions have been proposed for many of the perceived flaws... which one are you thinking about?
 
+Sylvain Munaut > Compatibility break is an option with bitcoin. There were different scenarios studied about this. The only problem is that anyone wanting to use his bitcoin would have to ugrade but, currently, this is still a perfectly possible scenario. 

One could even imagine forgink the whole blockchain, at which point, you would have the same amount of bitcoins in every blockchain. But one would eventually bypass the other.
 
Bitcoin is a deflationary system. Value of a BTC will continue to rise. It encourages hoarding. So, would people invest rather than keeping their BTC in their wallet ? It is a complex system, albeit brillant, but it is not really 'fair': it gives power to early adopters.
Moreover, it is based on natural resource burning just for the money to 'work'.
About scalability issues, what will happen when all the 21 millions BTC are issued ? Will we start to pay fees to miners ? So the "we don't want to pay fees to banks" argument would not stand.
It is a very interesting system and it introduced many questions about money, which is good. But I find it a bit ... unsatisfactory.
I found Ripple more 'fair' and more promising (ok, I know, nobody uses it, but ... still:)
 
+Benoit Boissinot All currency originated on the exchange of precious metal, in the UK £1 coins are coloured Gold as they used to be made from Gold, the weight of the Gold being there value. Same with the Silver and Bronze coins. 

Why do you think the USA has the Federal Reserve, the US governments Gold reserve? 

It may not look like it now, but all currency originated from this exchange, over time bank notes replaced the coins as tokens of a promise of exchange of value, although I'm not so sure the Bank of England would allow you to with draw you moneys in Gold any more ;)
 
+Benoit Boissinot, +Hugo Mercier Good read thanks for the link. Everyday is a learning day.

Principal of exchange of goods for a limited valuable resource still holds and I do think Bitcoin is a rather clever system for replicating this digitally.

 
+Hugo Mercier:
Bitcoin is deflationary, but that is not a problem per se. During periods when interests on savings are greater than inflation, that doesn't stop people from spending their money.

And Bitcoin favors early adapters, but I think that period mostly passed already. Only people with very specialized hardware can mine Bitcoins nowadays, it already moved from CPUs to graphical cards and later to FPGAs, and it's said that it will move to custom silicon in the near future.

"Moreover, it is based on natural resource burning just for the money to 'work'." -> That is comparable to the gold standard (when it was still used), you mine gold, an useful material, but you just put it away in a safe, never to be used for anything.

When all 21 millions BTC are issued the system will run merely on fees, yes. This was anticipated from the beginning. Notice the current reference implementation already uses a transaction fee by default in most cases. You can choose not to pay the fee if you want, I think most miners still accept transactions without a fee. The fee is typically 0.0005 BTC.
 
Except that linux kernel is used in most smartphones/tablets/servers. Bitcoin is used... nowhere... I think the comparison is better with what we usually call "linux": the whole thing that run on a PC.
 


Yes, mining bitcoins compares to mining gold and is the main justification for the waste of resource. But, hmmm, if we reinvent money, could we find something better ?

Value of bitcoin will continue to rise as new adopters come. For the last month, it is just crazy. It has almost doubled. You cannot invest anything, you better keep your btc and push for new adopters to come. This crazy speculation may slow down a bit, but if everybody wants to use bitcoin, we have to share 21 millions between all of us, so it probably would not slow down. So, it will continue to favor early adopters for a while ...
 
+Xavier Claessens > A few years ago, Linux was running nowhere but on some geekish hardware. Same applies for bitcoin, with a few years of latency…
 
I doubt bitcoin will ever have as much users than android... but only future can tell :-)
 
+Xavier Claessens > Same was said exactly that way for Linux, a few years ago. "Linux will never have as many users as Windows". 

What happened ? A real paradigm change. And Linux being used as an invisible foundation.

So will be bitcoin : you will have plenty of online paiement solutions, people will use them without realizing that there are some bitcoins underneath.
 
The only problem that could stop that, IMHO, is the discovery of a fundamental flaw in the bitcoin algorithm. Like an attack allowing double spending.
 
I'm not sure I want bitcoin taking over, just because the scheme let people hoard resources early on. Assuming it becomes the main currency used worldwide, it seems crazy to let people own a significant (> 1%) portion of it.

Historically besides kings, I think only few person owned more than a few percent of a country GDP (e.g. Rockfeller).
 
+Benoit Boissinot > It's unlikely to ever happen because, at some point, people hoarding bitcoins will start to spend or sell them.

Say that you have now 100.000 bitcoins that you bought/generated for a cheap price. You can currently sell them for $3 millions. Would you keep them all knowing that it might completely crash tomorrow? No, you would sell/spend a least a good part of it. And the more the value increase, the more you will sell.
 
+Lionel Dricot: I don't think there's a logical argument preventing people from doing the long term bet (and it might be the scenario that the founders envisioned).

Especially since for those people the initial investment was small, so they don't lose anything by hoarding it. And once it reaches a big enough value, you can always convert enough to cover all your future expenses.
 
+David Leben Trust me David, it is still at early adopter stage. It's value has doubled in the last two months...you don't need to mine to benefit, it could easily double again this next year. 
 
+Benoit Boissinot I don't think BTC are meant to replace any major currency. They are set to be the currency of the resistance! Still a huge market...think along a similar lines to torrents. Gray area, but hard to stop.
 
+Jules Barrell: Is it really hard to stop? Assuming governments start being serious about preventing bitcoin exchanges, if the only way to exchange bitcoin is cash, it would probably have a very tiny market.

All major exchanges rely on traditional payment processors and banking system.
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