1857 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009
Note that most sellers who currently accept Bitcoin probably sell them as soon as possible anyway - so as far as effects on price are concerned, it makes no difference whether current hoarders start spending their Bitcoin, or start selling them (though the former does at least raise more awareness of Bitcoin and show it being used, I don't see it would be a difference in terms of effect on Bitcoin price).
The inequality of Bitcoin distribution is a problem, but the only way out of that is from them to sell or spend - and it doesn't matter which, selling Bitcoin will do the same job of redistribution. It seems odd to complain both of people hoarding, and that the hoarders might sell...
Re: Tulips ! @ Jonathan 29
So use one of those examples then.
But you won't, because things like property, dotcoms etc, whilst they've had bubbles, are still things that recover, and indeed go on to boom. The Internet was a bubble, but not in the sense that it disappeared - far from it.
No, Bitcoin critics cling to the Tulip example not because of the bubble aspects of Bitcoin, but because they want to compare it to something utterly laughable, as well as something that's useless as a currency or store of value (even though none of the reasons for that apply to Bitcoin).
Re: Tulips !
Note that downloading/storing the entire blockchain is no longer a requirement for a bitcoin wallet.
Re: These pirates are thieves, not 'leftists'
What about those who rip a legally bought DVD they own so they can watch it on their Windows PC, Android phone or tablet, or smart TV, and don't want to deal with the DRMed online offerings that only let you watch on some subset of devices? (Illegal to rip copy-protected DVDs in the US at least; in the UK even doing this for even non-copy-protected stuff was illegal, though I think they recently changed that.)
What about those who pay for TV, but download the programme anyway to watch at a more convenient time (i.e., timeshifting), as it's less hassle than video recording?
All copyright infringment, but are they all thieves? If these are what you see as hilarious justifications, then do said people stop buying DVDs and paying for TV?
Re: Flawed assumptions
Wow, no one thought of that before!
Oh wait - https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability
In particular, note the 7tps is an artificial limit.
Did people say that?
Perhaps a few did, but I also remember people being very enthusiastic about the ability to buy online, and people pointing out how Amazon had huge advantages, because they didn't have to have the costs of shops and shopworkers, they just ship from a warehouse. There was tonnes of hype about this. On top of that was the large amount of money flowing into it - the only negative criticism being that Amazon seemed to be overvalued for a company that had yet to turn a profit back then.
Given that the concept of sending things through the post was hardly new back then (e.g., mail order), I find it odd that anyone would struggle to grasp the concept of ordering one online. Maybe some people did, but I don't remember it being the general sentiment. Some people might prefer to buy in shops, but that's still the case now (e.g., getting it instantly, or not having to deal with delivery companies for things that can't fit through a letterbox).
Re: Plex is a big deal
It's a step forward, though hopefully other more open/free solutions will follow (e.g., DLNA for all its ills is something that has plenty of different servers to choose from on multiple platforms, including Android, as well as having out of the box support on Windows at least, and works better with the large amount of DLNA-receivers already available - I'd rather not have to run two media servers, one of Plex and one for DLNA...)
Re: This is not the bus you remember...
"so wouldn't the protesters be better served taking up the issue with whatever quango handles that?"
Perhaps, but who says they aren't also doing that. Would "People write strongly worded letters to local Government" make headline news around the world, or make Google even aware of the issue?
"The price of one Bitcoin recently surged to more than $1,000, although it slumped to about $970 after the Chinese central bank announced its decision."
A bit post hoc. A change of only $30 in a day is relatively stable for Bitcoin; over the last few days, it's been going above $1000 and below $900 multiple times...
Re: Someone totally missed what "money" is
Also, it's possible that something is getting lost in the translation, but the way I read it makes it sound like any foreign currency is also not a currency - it isn't issued by the monetary authority, you can't use foreign currency to pay debts, and presumably they wouldn't want it circulating as a currency in China either.
Presumably banks in China are allowed to offer services of foreign currency exchange though...
If I could transfer that base unit anywhere in the world without long delays or fees or reliance of 3rd parties, sure. If that base unit could be used to buy/sell online without having to pay fees to and rely on 3rd parties, great.
Currently the pace of moving money exchange into the 21st century has been "Well um, maybe we should get rid of cheques at some point. But we don't have a clue of something good to replace them with" (or look at the US, where modernising cheques means you can scan a cheque with your phone...). Bitcoin may not be a Government backed currency, but it has solved some useful problems.
I agree that these predictions are often quite useless and seem quite simplistic, based on simple linear extrapolation.
Though on the Windows prediction for 2013 - what are the actual sales so far for 2013 then? Q3 2013 was over 10 million ( http://www.windowsphone-news.com/windows-phone-tops-10-million-sales-in-last-quarter/ ). First two quarters were less than this, but whilst it clearly won't be as high as the predicted 50 million/year, I wouldn't say that this prediction is "really quite wrong" - I'd say it's not bad, considering this was made 4 years ago.
What they didn't see was the complete loss of Symbian (due to Nokia switching to WP, which in fact is what has fuelled the recent growth of WP), or the demise of Blackberry, with iphone being slightly ahead of WP, and Android way ahead of everyone. And I suppose if you want to be completely pedantic, their Windows Mobile prediction was completely wrong, because it's now Windows Phone...
For posting to Facebook, Twitter (or The Reg), I still find something with an actual keyboard far better than an annoying touchscreen keyboard. Plus it's more comfortable to have something that sits on my lap rather than having to hold in my hands. (And I know you can get stands/keyboards for tablets, but these mean you then have to use it on a desk - kind of ironic that most "desktops" OSs these days are used on people's laps, and handheld "tablets" end up being used on a desk...)
I agree with you on cost - this is one factor that will make tablets become very popular. It makes the elusive $99 personal computer finally possible. Plus I suspect it means people will upgrade them more often, especially as they are also a newer technology (which means more sales, but not necessarily a larger installed userbase).
I just hate the whole "tablets vs PCs" thing. I love the Nexus 7 I bought this year, but it didn't stop me using my laptop, it's something I use in addition. If tablet sales overtake laptops, that doesn't mean laptop sales have fallen to zero. The new 2-in-1/convertibles make the whole distinction a bit blurred anyway - is the Asus T100 counted as a "PC" or a "tablet" in these stats? Did we have the whole "PCs are dying" doom and gloom when laptops started selling more? No, it was just a different form of personal computing.
How (honest question)?
Google maps did have the feature, but then it was removed - I don't know if it's been re-added.
Also the implementation was terrible - you could only select a few city-sized areas, which was limited to an arbitrary number, even if you had GBs of free space. On Nokia maps you can download countries or continents at a time. This is more useful if you might be travelling about in another country, as well as being easier than faffing about resizing and trying to select the largest square you can to download.
The clip (that I never used) broke off mine after a few months, but I'm still happily using the device 4 years later...
MS have given Office away free for 10" devices, so there's no reason to think this is any additional cost for ASUS, so probably doesn't affect the price.
I'm tempted to get one of these as a replacement for my aging netbook (though waiting for 64GB - why ASUS isn't this released yet in the UK?) - the tablet feature is a nice bonus, even if I purely use it as a netbook it's a nice upgrade. I love netbooks for being small, long battery life, and having a keyboard; this would give a better resolution, and a significant CPU/GPU upgrade.
It is a shame that it isn't possible to buy a pure netbook at a lower cost. This would also have advantages - one of the problems of tablet convertibles is that all the tech has to go in the tablet portion, making it top-heavy unless the keyboard is also weighted, but then that makes the overall device heavier. ASUS have done a fantastic job of making a full x86 tablet PC that's around 550g in weight, so even the total device with keyboard is just over 1kg (most tablet convertibles are around 1.4kg or more; 1kg though is slightly lighter than most netbooks were). But, imagine if they just did a straightforward netbook, which didn't have to carry dead weight in the keyboard, meaning potentially a netbook less than 1kg?
But given last years news of netbooks apparently being dead, I'll gladly take this.
Re: Cynical - me?
New most-expensive phone faster than older ones, shock horror. And when the next top end competing phone is released, it'll be faster still - same thing happened over the last year.
I don't see what was wrong with criticising the 2010 ipad - it's an opinion, agree with it or not. All I remember was endless hype about how it would change everything, but tablets didn't even become mainstream until 2 or so years later, not with the original ipad; and now it's 7-8" devices becoming immensely popular, the form factor Apple claimed was too small.
All mobile phones are "smart"
There has never been an objective difference between "smart" and "feature" phones, just one of marketing - both of these do Internet, apps, run operating systems. Once upon a time we called them all smartphones, but the term "feature" phone was introduced around 2003-2004 to distinguish the new lower cost phones from the high end. This is not at all anything to do with the "dumb" mobile phones which were just mobile phones (I don't think those even exist, anymore). Whilst "feature" tends to be used for lower end phones, if we're comparing to lower end "smart" devices (which may involve poor quality devices, as the comments suggest), the difference is less clear.
It's better to compare by platform - and what this tells us is that Android is getting increasing market share. The labels that we apply are irrelevant - "half of all widgets now have arbitrary label X rather than arbitrary label Y".
By any sensible definition, all mobile phones today are smart, in the sense of being mobile computers (and the same sense of "smart TV" - no one talks about feature TVs), it's just a question of what OS they run, and how powerful they are.
Re: I'm always surprised at the naivity of people
I think the OP comments about source code is wrong, but I disagree with several of your points too.
Open source does have the benefit that even if I don't understand the source code, there are many independent people who do. (So, for an on-topic example, trusting the official bitcoin clients because they are open source).
Developers and the IT community include those that work for the big multinational companies, so it's unclear who you're arguing for or against here - you can't really separate into two distinct groups.
For "gatekeepers" vs "walled gardens", i.e., pre vs post approval, each has their pros and cons. It's unclear that one is more secure than the other: gatekeepers may miss exploits until they are reported - certainly this has happened with things like copyright violations (e.g., VLC on IOS) which have then had to be dealt with the same as on Google Play. On Apple, the gatekeepers have abused the power to block all sorts of things, nothing to do with stopping malware. On Amazon, the gate means far fewer people put their software there at all. All reported malware on Android have AFAIK not been hosted on Google Play.
I think people should be free to choose a moderated (whether pre or post) application site - indeed, that's why it's best of all if people have the choice. So on Android, if you think Amazon is more secure, you can do so; but a Kindle Fire user can't decide to use Google Play. On platforms like Windows and Linux, you have your pick of sites and communities to download from.
I don't see that this has anything to do with EULAs though - you're right, users shouldn't have to read complicated EULAs, but IOS's software site has its own EULA/TOS that is required to be placed on all applications. Indeed, the Open Source you criticise is one of the few examples of software that does not require you to agree to anything (unfortunately some apps do insist you agree to the GPL, but the GPL explicitly states you don't have to - it's a licence, not a contract).
I don't think anyone claims Bitcoin is as stable as UKP.
The point is it's not an either/or - the trustworthyness of a currency is a sliding scale. For early adopters, Bitcoin is risky to hold (though accompanied by a reward if the currency goes mainstream). But there is nothing magical that makes the worth of a ten pound note fundamentally different to Bitcoin.
There is the difference of state-backed currencies - those do indeed have the advantages you describe.
People who have already got stupidly rich will want to cash out - and one way to do that is to spend them.
At the moment, it's more a case of people speculating for future value/use than its use today, but as the rate of increase drops in future years, it will be more viable as a currency.
Can't it be both? Gold is both a commodity, and something that can be used as a means of exchange.
I also wouldn't be surprised if it was American-centric anyway. The problem faced by Google is that although worldwide Android has passed the 80% share point, leaving iphone and WP to fight for the remainder, the US seems to be split 50/50 between Android and IOS, so concentrating there makes sense. And it isn't just one country - the problem is that the US heavily influences media coverage, even in other countries like the UK, as well as leading decisions on things like apps.
There's nothing wrong with it, just don't call it a smartphone. Mobiles with extra frills, but ultimately everything controlled like that, used to be called feature phones (and even then, you could install 3rd party Java apps). Just like an ipad is better seen as a handheld appliance, not a tablet PC (even Apple fans have made that argument).
A lot of this is matter of opinion, but that in itself is worth a point - to get attention of people who have never looked at Android.
On screens, well, by Apple's own metric of "PPI", the iphone now lags way behind. In 2010, according to Apple fans, screen resolution was the single most important factor in a phone, funny now that it's now.
(I would like a phone/tablet with a matte display though...)
And I'm still waiting for more answers :) Thanks for yours, but I was curious to see if anyone else had an input, especially as there are other OSes too than Linux. This is not a problem that has magically been solved since last week.
In this case, it wasn't a raw exe, but distributed as a zip. So because people have got used to exes being blocked in email, they're used to having to unzip it. I don't see that as harder than doing right click and select it to be executable (as can be done on Ubuntu) - if Windows used that method, the knowledge to do that would be commonplace too. So I still don't see that Linux (at least, versions which allow the bit to be set via the GUI) to be better. (OOI, are executable bit settings always lost when archived and downloaded on Linux?)
One answer is to make it really hard for average users to run an executable at all, though this has to be balanced with all the criticisms that Windows then gets for daring to make it slightly harder (e.g., Apple and its fans ridiculing it for having to click "Allow" - so imagine if people had to type commands for example). Windows 8 makes it harder still, e.g., applications downloaded from webpages don't run at all if deemed "untrusted" unless you go to an advanced tab to allow it. They could go further an make it so it doesn't run at all unless they run a command on it, but then that's frustrating for developers like myself who distribute free software, and need to explain to average users how to type in commands to get it to work...
There is also the problem that as restrictions on all executables are added, users simply learn the ways round them too.
I think it would be better to make sure that the full filename is shown by the email client (since that's where it's run from), independent of any setting in Explorer. I forget off hand what various email clients do on Windows (including say, Thunderbird)...
How do other OSs handle this btw, since the filename on other platforms gives no clue whatsoever about the executable status?
And then in the UK, you can spend some years in prison for not handing over your password.
Do we know that it wasn't encrypted? Also note that Bitcoin will report on the number of Bitcoins in a wallet even if it's encrypted, the password is just needed to retrieve them, IIRC (which isn't necessarily a flaw - since all transactions are public anyway). Though yes, if I had that much, I'd be extra paranoid and put the whole thing in another encrypted file, so people wouldn't even know I had a Bitcoin wallet on there at all, let alone how much.
The solution is easy, just use a unit like milli Bitcoin or micro Bitcoin.
It's surprising how many people (even among Bitcoin users) get hung up on the idea of "1 Bitcoin" as if it was something special (e.g., "if a Bitcoin costs that much, most people won't be able to afford it!")
Re: Samsung Ordered By Jury To Pay Apple $290M In Patent Damages
As then there's the company who put their logo onto almost every US TV show and film in the last 10 years, along with product placement in other people's adverts, and getting their logo and brandnames appear at every opportunity - and still almost everyone buys Android...
Re: Samsung Ordered By Jury To Pay Apple $290M In Patent Damages
Thing is, this isn't criminal law, this is a civil issue. Surely it should be about damages. With criminal law, it's an issue if a rich person can get away with breaking the law. With a civil issue - well, damages are damages. (Never mind that the whole thing is ludicrous to start with.) If it's decided that someone should be "punished", I don't see why a mega-rich 3rd party should be the recipient.
Re: Yeah, right
I remember when Jobs died, that quote going around something like "Jobs cared about making products, unlike other companies that just cared about money". Yeah right. And the next day, these same people were back to saying how wonderful Apple were for being the richest company in the world. (The quote was also misleading to conflate a person with other companies - there are people behind other companies, and many of them care about making products too.)
Because clearly average user who can't even follow "don't run untrusted applications" knows how to run Linux commands!
Windows will inform that it is an application when they try to run it anyway (unless this one has found a way round that, or there is some loophole for some email programs?)
In what circumstances will the executable return permission denied?
Honest question - how would other operating systems avoid the problem, if such a virus were to be targetted at them? Wikipedia says "A ZIP file attached to email contains an executable file with filename and icon disguised as a PDF file, taking advantage of Windows' default behaviour of hiding the extension from file names to disguise the real .EXE extension.", but other operating systems don't use the extension for file types anyway, so the user would be no more aware (and Windows would report it as an application when trying to run it - at least, I always get warned, I don't know if there's a way round this in some email programs that this has exploited?)
If the user is warned about running an app, but decides to run it anyway, it's unclear there's much you can do - you can make it harder with a password, but people will get used to doing that anyway. Indeed, Apple and its fans have been taking the piss out of Windows for asking users to confirm ("I'm a PC" etc), so god knows how insecure that platform is (or if OS X does ask for confirmation, then that just shows them up as hypocritical in their arguments). You could avoid it by saying all apps must be distributed by a single site, which is what Apple and MS want for their OSs, but I don't think anyone here would think that was a good thing either...
One way round might be to say apps must always be installed, but users would get used to clicking okay to that too, and it would limit the use of "portable" apps (which are possible on other OSs anyway, I believe).
The files affected are documents, i.e., in user space, so would be expected to have user permissions, not admin permissions.
Standard rules apply: don't run apps you don't trust (especially from email attachments), and backup your data.
Re: Off line
And the alcoholic who can't get clean, or the kid with parents who are drunk all the time...
Yes, it's true that they can cause misery, but it's also wrong to imply this is alway true in every case - or at least, I hope to be consistent you and the OP never go near drink or support pubs, if that's what you believe - so it seems fair to point out the other side too.
Re: @Evil Auditor - a better analogy
The flaw with stamps/cards for currency is that there's no limit to how many could be produced. If you say they're protected from copying, and can only be made by one entity, it's then a currency that is controlled by that one entity. Neither of these points are the case with Bitcoin, so they are not analogous.
If there was a thing that were limited in supply, but not simply due to a single entity's control, then that would be a better analogy. You know, like gold.
Re: I'm shocked, shocked to find that ...
"Somebody else does the hard, expensive work of the initial design, market research, marketing and so forth."
Yep. Just like LG and HTC who released touchscreen phones in 2006, only to have it copied...
"It is distinctly unusual that the Macbook Air inspired laptops from other firms are not much cheaper than the MBA."
High end ultra-portables existed years before Apple joined that market. (MBA? Why do Apple fans always have to speak in acronyms that are meaningless to the rest of the world? Just call it a laptop.)
And the innovation that makes these things possible and become more popular is the decreasing size and lower power usage of technology like CPUs (Intel), SSDs (Samsung), RAM (Samsung), as well as other innovations such as in displays (oh, Samsung again).
"Its best known competitor is Pebble, which has been shifting smartwatches since a high-profile crowd-funding campaign kicked off in 2012. As of 6 November 2013, some 190,000 Pebble smartwatches have been shipped to buyers, the company claims."
So 25,000 a month of Samsung (even if it was true), for a device with a market of 5 million, is a total flop, but 19,000 a month, for a device with a market of over a billion, isn't?
Of course you'd expect Samsung, a much larger company, to do better, but I don't think that factors into the judgement of popularity.
Re: Never going to work
" Internal market prices/wages should NOT change in response to the external exchange rate (or at least only slowly, over time)."
So they do change then. Yes, it's a problem that Bitcoin is deflating so rapidly, but that would have to slow as it moves towards mainstream usage (as there's only a finite population/market).
"I may as well just use the dollars in the first place and avoid the exchange costs."
Of course at the moment Bitcoin's uses are limited - I don't think anyone's denying that. However I can see uses growing - e.g., as an alternative to Paypal, or for international transfer. You have to compare the exchange fee (0.5% at Bitstamp) to things like Paypal or bank fees. There is also the point that as Bitcoin becomes more mainstream and widespread, competition may well force exchange fees down.
"Bitcoin is just a speculation investment"
It is a speculative investment, but it is not only that - it is a new technology with plenty of potential. Few technologies magically spring out of thin air with mainstream acceptance and lots of uses.
"has all the appearance of a south-sea bubble one at that"
I look forward to it bursting then. So far all the so called bubble crashes have resulted with a stable value far higher than before that bubble started growing.
Re: Never going to work
There's nothing special about "1 bitcoin". The fact that 1 USD costs 62.36 Rupee doesn't make it more expensive to get into dollars, it's just different units.
The thing about Bitcoin is that it is a deflationary currency - a Bitcoin will become worth more with time, where as most currencies become worth less. There may well be valid arguments why this is a bad thing, but it doesn't mean things will become more expensive for people to start using it. People who convert $1000 to Bitcoin will always get 1000 dollar's worth of Bitcoin, which they can use to buy 1000 dollar's worth of goods. If Bitcoin is deflating in value, then anything priced in Bitcoin will drop in price. (Similarly, the fact the normal currencies inflate doesn't mean things become cheaper.)
Don't know about groceries yet, but I can spend bitcoin in my local pub.
Re: Well they didn't exactly help themselves..
They bought a Samsung Note 3 companion product, and complained it doesn't work with the S3?
I don't know why they've limited the market - perhaps initial production runs are small, perhaps they want to refine it to get it right before testing it on a larger market, perhaps research showed Note owners would be more likely to buy it, so would be a better choice if they initially only were targetting one phone.
Indeed, I find it curious the way that the media declare certain figures to be successes or failures. "One million in 76 days" is declared a runaway success for Apple, but the same figure is a "failure" for Nokia's first Lumia, or for the Surface Pro's equivalent 400,000 in a month.
Though given that the true figure for a Gear seems to be 800,000 not 50,000 (see my other comment - therefore on par with the iphone, Lumia 800 and Surface Pro), I wonder if this kind of article works in Samsung's favour - the standard has been set at 50,000, and then Samsung reveal the true figure at over 10 times higher, it makes it look a lot more impressive. Yet if the initial report was for 800,000, a journalist wanting to report it negatively could have declared it a "failure" if they so chose.
Samsung disagrees - claims 800,000 in two months
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-11/19/galaxy-gear-sales - and lots of other news reports.
It wouldn't have surprised me if the Gear's sales were low - I think there is a big market for watches eventually, but the Gear is limited (initially) to one phone, and has a high price. But still, it seems that the Register have jumped to the wrong conclusion on this, as Samsung say it's selling quite nicely.
As an aside, I think the last paragraph is wrong? 50,000 out of 7.125 billion is 0.000007 as a fraction, so 0.0007%. Sales of 800,000 would be 0.01%. So in other words, the Register got it wrong by over three orders of magnitude...
We can answer that question today with laptops - why not plug into a TV and pick up the bluetooth controller?
As someone who prefers PC games anyway, I do wonder this. I think the answer falls into:
1. Can't be bothered to plug it into TV, want something just sitting there already plugged in.
2. Like the kind of games released on consoles.
3. Prefer that you can buy a specific console and be guaranteed to have games run on it for years, rather than having to worry about specs and upgrading.
4. Games are far more likely to be written to support controllers, that every console ships with.
1 would still apply. 2 would apply far more so - whilst there are plenty of fun games for phones, these tend to be a very different style than those on consoles. And although there are more free games, there are also fewer games made with large budgets.
For 3, whilst phones don't have the widly different specs of customisable PCs, there are large numbers of different models, as well as an upgrade cycle far faster than even PCs.
4 would apply even more so - how many games are written for bluetooth controllers, as opposed to written for pure touch that the majority of people will be using on a phone?
We might see that the technology delivered by the phone market could be used by manufacturers to create their own competing consoles, without having to roll their own technology and OS - e.g., as seen with the Ouya. Potentially this could lead to the market increasing in size (more choice, lower costs) rather than reducing.
Sympathy for Sega
It's not as if Sony are some small company, or a console-only company - they're a massive multinational with a presence in many markets (indeed I'd argue that Sony have a broader presence than MS, when you consider all the different hardware products they make - yes you can label it all "entertainment", but you could label Microsoft as "technology").
Sony themselves were a giant who got into gaming in 1995, where the existing companies Nintendo and Sega were primarily doing games consoles, so Sony did just the same thing that you accuse MS of (not to mention that this is what loads of big companies do). Microsoft got into gaming just 6 years later - by 2013, they've both been in it a long time.
Nintendo were a card company that got into computer gaming...
Re: Simple answer
If windows didn't use extensions for file types, presumably the Trojan would then also just figure out the file types too using the same method, anyway.
Re: I really don’t understand?????
Actually, due to the way banks relend out the money that they've been given, the total money supply is great than the physical amount of cash. If I transfer you £1 online, it's not really clear that this relates to a physical pound coin going from me to you. And if everyone tried to withdraw their money to get their physical pound coins, the banking system would collapse.
Yes, Bitcoins are purely electronic, but it is still a thing that exists - I don't see why this makes the usefulness of currency that you describe go away?
What is the value of the pound? Because it isn't backed by gold anymore.
In some sense, paper money are just "IOUs", but are made so that they are hard to duplicate. Writing "IOU" in an email is trivial to duplicate, but the point about Bitcoin is that although they are electronic, you can't just duplicate them.
Re: No, it's a good question ...
Or to use the Reg's own analogy, why don't the people selling spades use the spades themselves? Clearly, the spades must be a scam!
Or not. The flaw in this argument is ignoring the timescale - the machines are expensive, so my understanding is you will have to mine for some period of time to start making a profit. Perhaps the companies making these machines do keep some back for their own long term money, but their gain is making money in the shorter term.
There's also the speculation in Bitcoin as an investment - the people buying these machines are hoping Bitcoin will be worth a lot more in future, where as the people selling these machines aren't in it for investment, they're a business who want to make a guaranteed sale today.
Re: Enjoying every minute of this
"I don't have any solid evidence for my belief that Bitcoin will eventually crash and burn, just a gut feeling."
As I say, without any kind of timescale, it's not much of prediction - I believe that Bitcoin will _eventually_ crash and burn, but that could be anything from tomorrow to 100 years, or the end of the Universe :)
Do you think it's going to crash and burn (i.e., going to zero, or at least a tiny fraction of today's value) say, within the next 5 years? Or sooner, even?
"It seems to incredibly vulnerable to rampant inflation, you only have to look on eBay to see the silly money that people are bidding. I mean, $1200 for 2 BTC?"
There's nothing special about the price of "1" bitcoin, so there's no intrinsic reason why a Bitcoin at $600 should be expensive or cheap (note that the price on exchanges is around $400 - if people are paying more on ebay, that does seem odd). From the point of view of bitcoin as a currency, it has the curious property of having deflation (I mean, if the value of UKP drops so that prices for us go up, we call that inflation, even though it becomes cheaper for someone to buy UKP with USD).
"The optimism of a few years ago that soon every online retailer would accept Bitcoin doesn't seem to have borne fruit."
Again it's a question of timescale - neither has the prediction that Bitcoin would crash and burn come true. It has grown, and more places accept Bitcoin. Personally I think it's still way too early for mainstream use, but there's still lots of potential for growth. I don't think this will happen very soon (next year or two), but in 10 years, who knows. I think more exchanges are needed as a first step - currently many people (including in the UK) have to do an international transfer to buy/sell Bitcoin, which usually incurs fees, meaning you get lumbered with the worst aspects of ordinary currency, and negating one of the best potential uses of Bitcoin (if I could buy Bitcoin in the UK, I could then trivially send via Bitcoin anywhere in the world without any fees or 3rd parties, and the recipient could then transfer back to their local currency if they choose - there would be the cost of the Bitcoin exchange, but this would be typically far less than currency exchange rate costs, international Bank transfers or Paypal costs; also if Bitcoin was more commonly used, people wouldn't have to transfer to/from other currency).
I think that as people get richer, they start to spend some of their coins to cash in - someone who buys now won't want to spend anything; someone who's seen a 10x increase might decide to at least spend 10%, to recoop their investment. As Bitcoin becomes more mature, presumably the growth will then start to slow.
Also for businesses, the uncertainty over Bitcoin (as well as needing to spend the money) is a reason to sell coins - if a businesses receives payment as Bitcoins, they would presumably convert them to their usual currency to work with the rest of their business operations (a chain of pubs that accepts bitcoins in the UK operates this way - they accept Bitcoin, but these are sold on rather than hoarded). Business owners might decide they want to invest in Bitcoin, but that would be a separate decision for their savings, just like anyone else - people would be less willing to risk their business on it.
Re: Enjoying every minute of this
I'm not sure how it's different to existing currencies - theft of money may be just "moving around that system", but it's still theft. (In normal currencies, central banks can print more money, but I don't see why that's an important distinction here?)
Care to put a timeframe on that "eventually"? I mean yes, the currency may well be gone in 1,000 years time, but if in the meantime it becomes mainstream at 100x the current value, I'm not sure that would prove you right.
Bitcoin does have value, and I would have thought courts would see it as theft (though getting police to track it down may be another matter). Most currencies today have no intrinsic value; and even for physical goods, in many cases the cost is governed by supply and demand rather than an "intrinsic" worth.
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