back to article We MUST be told: How many Bitcoins do I need to kill a melon-head?

Banks. Bastards, all of ’em, yah boo sucks. Of course, not everything to do with banks is hateful. The big metal safe in a bank’s basement isn’t a bastard. Nor are those intrepid customer-facing men and women who are employed at the high street branches to fulfil the thrilling role of holding a clipboard and saying “hello” …


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  1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Cowboys and idiots

    Just because it kept getting robbed in cowboy films doesn’t make it untrustworthy.

    No, it's when they started employing the cowboys as CEOs and in their boardrooms that the problems started...

  2. Thecowking

    The real message here

    is that sitting down at a gig where poeple aren't singing in a foreign language and pretending to be telling a story is a bad idea.

    Standing or it's not worth it ta.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: The real message here

      Surely 'Tribute' is telling a story.

  3. Frankee Llonnygog

    You stupid, lanky, melon-headed cunt

    I don't have anything to say. I just wanted the pleasure of pasting that in as the title of a comment.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Re: You stupid, lanky, melon-headed cunt

      Fine, but I wouldn't tweet the death threat he added at the bottom box... People have been jailed or at least extensively tried for far less specific threats.

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: You stupid, lanky, melon-headed cunt

        This comment page is now top (and only) Google hit for the phrase, "You stupid, lanky, melon-headed cunt".

        I can close down my day's work with a real sense of achievement for once

        1. Frankee Llonnygog

          Re: You stupid, lanky, melon-headed cunt

          Sadly if you do a Google image search on that phrase, you just get a picture of Mr Dabbs - sorry Alistair! (fnar, fnar)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I feel your pain

    I was at that concert and just behind me was someone constantly whinging

  5. JimmyPage
    Black Helicopters

    Interesting POV.

    Of course if people did just use Bitcoins to avoid transaction fees, and for cross-border payments, then it's volatility is less of an issue. You just but whatever value of bitcoins you need for the transaction (say £50 worth) and then transact. It's immaterial whether that £50 bought 1 or 0.00001 bitcoins.

    Which is exactly what the banks *don't* want.

    I wonder if part of the hype surrounding bitcoins is pushed by a shadowy cabal of bankers hoping there will be a bubble-burst which will put people off digital currencies ?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Interesting POV.

      Virtual Currencies are quite intriguing.

      They're not backed up by physical resources, but given our banks and governments are just creating more traditional money out of thin air in spreadsheets through "quantitive easing" and other bullshit terms to mask the reality or just by creating a circle of unfeasible promise-based-lending that amusingly often included the same organisation multiple times... why not?

      IMHO a unit of currency is nothing more a token of value. If enough people agree that the token has some value, whether to be exchanged for goods or services then it does genuinely have value (one step removed from bartering). The token has to be harder to reproduce than to generate otherwise the less-savoury types will just make more of their own but that's it really.. And yet in modern society, probably in excess 99.9999% of the money is unseen and virtual, nothing more than a line in a database somewhere and it's been heading this way for years. e.g. You work and your salary goes into your bank account, money leaves your bank account to pay off a mortgage... you never see the money, no actual monetary tokens ever get exchanged, it's just lines in a database and it's all trust based. Does anybody know exactly how much money there is meant to be compared to exactly how money there is reported to exist? The Bank of England (or similar licenced organisations) ought to know the first answer exactly, but as to the second?

      1. fandom

        Re: Interesting POV.

        "Does anybody know exactly how much money there is meant to be compared to exactly how money there is reported to exist?"

        Yes, they track it

    2. Marvin the Martian

      Re: It adds another layer of gambling.

      The volatility is such that if you transact money in bitcoins, it may arrive as 10% less or more (on average, more -- for now) even if the recipient re-dollarizes (or whatever's the verb) the sum within hours.

      1. sam bo

        Re: It adds another layer of gambling.

        Sure , but the same thing happens now anyway, when I pay for something offshore. Exchange rates are volatile, then add in all the various commissions and a 10% variation within hours can seem generous.

    3. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Interesting POV.

      For avoiding bank fees on international transactions I have to recommend CurrencyFair - no affiliation but a very satisfied customer, and if I have any complaints it's that they didn't exist a few years ago. I've have saved a small fortune in shit bank fees and considerably shitter exchange rates.

    4. Charles Manning

      "It's immaterial whether that £50 bought 1 or 0.00001 bitcoins."

      It is very material if the price is in BC.

      If I'm buying something then I want to be able to translate the price into my local currency so I know if I'm paying £1 or £1000 for a loaf of bread.

      It would be immaterial if the BC was just an immediate conduit. I see a price in £, click buy, it turns into BC, then automatically turns back into £/$/whatever at the other side. But as soon as BC is exposed as an actual currency, people will hoard it, speculate in it, save it just like with £/$.

      With a high volatility BC, the pub selling beer in BC needs to change prices every day to make sure they are still going to be covering expenses.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Of course futures themselves are a good thing, as every farmer who has secured a price for his crop before buying fertiliser knows well. The system goes wrong when hedge funds try to create a monopoly by buying futures in things whose only interest to them is how much money they can make by driving up the prices and so profiting from the futures. But governments won't get together to ban pure speculation.

    Everything in banking - even derivatives - is like an explosive; it can be used for good or evil, for quarrying or killing. The difficulty as I see it is that politicians don't understand what is going on and are always behind the innovation curve, as with 3D printers, and so are unable to legislate effectively to separate out the responsible bankers from the psychopaths.

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: Futures

      Maybe there's a solution that if you dabble in commodities you actually have to take custody of the underlying asset for a while. No worries for a farmer, (s)he has the grain/milk/whatever there anyway.

      No worries for the supermarket, they get the milk (or whatever) at a fixed price.

      Big problem for bankers, suddenly having 127 million gallons of semi-skimmed dropped off in central London, Skinny latte anyone?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To answer the question: ฿10?

  8. a pressbutton Silver badge

    Just as Humorous but more informative

    ftalphaville on bitcoins

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Just as Humorous but more informative

      Humorous, informative and behind a paywall.

      1. Chris Miller

        More of a nagwall

        You just have to register on and you can view 6(?) articles a week. Use a disposable email if you prefer.

  9. bear_all

    A lie on a lie

    Bitcoins are vauable because they are placed against the value of the dollar / pound / euro.

    If global currencies are a lie and liable to crash at any moment, building your house on the sand of these currencies in the form of bitcoins doesn't seem too smart!!!!!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: A lie on a lie

      I think the point here is that it is quite unlikely that all of those global currencies are going to crash at the same time. In this case, if, for instance, the dollar crashes against the euro and pound, I'd rather have my assets in the bitcoins, than the dollars.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: A lie on a lie

        If the dollar crashed, the US economy would go tits up too and there's a chance it could take much of the Internet with it. So your Bitcoins would be temporarily useless until someone rebuilt Western civilisation so that there'd be enough connected computers to start allowing transactions again.

        1. SoaG

          Re: A lie on a lie

          If -> When & would -> will.

          US debt + unfunded liabilities is up to what? About $125T give or take? And that's just their federal government. If they used the same accounting rules as business they'd have been in bankruptcy court ages ago. They're way past the point of no return. Charles Ponzi was an amateur.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A lie on a lie

        No, they could crash together, if the dollar does, because it is still treated as a de-facto international reserve currency, so most stuff is actually priced is dollars, so people will panic, thus domino effect! The dollar could crash, because FED dollar QE is at insane levels, and other country central banksters have to do competative QE to combat this, in a currency war, so that their export goods prices are affordable enough!

        Bit Coins are just another worthless fashion bubble currency; this is why I have real physical Gold and Silver aka historical Money of last resort, not any currency, as my financial insurance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A lie on a lie

          "The dollar could crash, because FED dollar QE is at insane levels"

          You know, you can't just shovel some finance terms into a sentence, add 'fed' and 'insane' while stirring madly, and expect the result to make any sense. Here, I'll do the tech equivalent of what you wrote:

          "Apple could go out of business, because iPhone RAM is at processor online."

          See? Doesn't work so well when you know what the words mean, does it?

  10. Rich 11 Silver badge

    "This Mail Online story"

    You could have stopped right there; we'd have guessed the rest.

  11. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    As I understand it, the maximum possible number of Bitcoins will be 21 million, and not that for a few years yet. That's simply not enough to run a digital economy, it will be just enough for the minorities (geeks and drug-dealers).

    1. resudaed

      Re: Meh.

      Bitcoins are usable up to 8 decimal places, $21m *10^8 is probably enough to be usable for quite some time.

    2. STGM
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Meh.

      How much is enough?

      Not trying to be a smartass - more likely being a dumbass - I'm curious to know what happens to monetary systems if an absolute ceiling is imposed?

      Say all 21 million are out there and I have 1. My 1 bitcoin buys 1kg of Civet coffee beans, fast forward a year or two, how many BTC would I need for 1kg of freshly pooed (poo'd?)?

      How would a larger or smaller arbitrary ceiling affect this?

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Meh.

        "Not trying to be a smartass - more likely being a dumbass - I'm curious to know what happens to monetary systems if an absolute ceiling is imposed?"

        The standard argument is that it kills growth and tanks the economy, which is why many countries left the gold standard, which is essentially the same thing.

        The theory says that, as the economy grows, the price of everything must fall as the same amount of money still exists. This deflationary pressure means that you are better off waiting to buy things as the price drops, so people delay purchases. Normally this causes an economic death spiral a la Japan, and hence why the QE inflationary attack when it looked like Britain was heading for a deflationary period. However, as the amount of money is fixed, this should correct the deflationary contraction of the economy.

        And one big question: how would debt work in such an economy? FRB coud still exist, but with a fixed monetary supply interest payments cannot work. Moreover, with deflation one would have constantly falling wages so that young people get completely screwed over.

        1. drongobongo

          Re: Meh.

          That theory that we have to have inflation in order for our economy to prosper, and that deflation would be a death knell of some sort, is questionable on the surface, and revealed to be nonsense when basic common sense is applied.

          According to inflation, i.e., central bank, apologists no personal user should have ever bought a PC, because you have always been able to get a more powerful machine for fewer nominal dollars (or euros, etc.) next year. That, folks, is deflation. By the same theory, during a general deflation I would live at the edge of starvation and otherwise put off buying anything except what is needed to survive because food and everything else are expected to be cheaper next year.

          Think of it this way: Holding cash in a deflating monetary unit is the equivalent of earning a real rate interest rate in a conventional currency. Positive real interest rates are the norm. (Today's situation is not normal, in case you had not noticed.) Do they lead to too much saving and not enough consumption? No. They engender a healthy balance between current consumption and future consumption, or "consumption" and "saving/investment" in the standard semantics, which leads to sustainable growth and rising standards of living across all economic classes. Today's central bank orchestrated negative real interest rates represent a desperate attempt to keep the current game going by moving future consumption into the present. It is metaphysically ordained to fail, in my opinion, for self-evident reasons.

          In the face of deflation driven by increasing productivity and lower costs being passed on to the buyers, as opposed to a credit contraction (as in Japan, e.g.), people will make an incremental purchase whenever they value the current consumption more than the greater future consumption sacrificed. Unmanipulated interest rates balance those time preferences.

          In a generally inflationary situation, OTOH, people might choose to buy now what they would otherwise prefer to defer on in order to hedge against one or more price increases. Unless you like to keep machine tools or other capital goods around the house, this beggars future consumption at the expense of current. This cannot go on forever, so eventually it will stop.

          People could save themselves from trying to make sense of the pronouncements of economics charlatans, and learn something to boot, if they engaged in this thought process: Behind the money curtain is real economic activity. How much of this year's corn crop do I eat and how much do I save to plant next year? Depends on the output I can expect next year and, if I plan to trade some the crop, how much other real goods and services I can exchange it for. Any money candidate which provides a stable unit of value will make the calculation easier, among other benefits. If the said candidate is at the effect of some controller who subjects it to consistent degradation (inflation) of random size, does that help you? I didn't think so.

          Bitcoin being an inherently deflationary monetary unit is NOT a legitimate issue. Anything this potentially disruptive to the beneficiaries of the current financial system is going to face challenges. Let's not worry about fake "problems" that would be incurred in the event of its success.

  12. TheProf Silver badge

    Folding money?

    "The anonymity also explains why the currency has, for most of its five-year existence, been widely used by criminal gangs looking for a way to finance a trade in drugs, guns or child pornography."

    Read more:

    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Whatever did criminals do before the invention of Bitcoin?

    Also, where did the second paragraph come from in the above? I just did a cut 'n' paste of the bit in quote marks.

    Also also, stop linking to articles to Mail Online. It's getting beyond a joke now.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Folding money?

      I choose Mail Online because, indirectly, they are one of my clients. As The Register's motto goes, "Biting the hand that feeds..."

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. TheProf Silver badge

        Re: Folding money?

        That's as may be but you're 'biting' your readers with that celeb-porn site.

  13. Naughtyhorse

    excellent article.... except.....

    Never in my entire life have I, nor will I ever watch more of the x-fucter than it takes to find the remote, or in extremis stick my foot through the telly.

    never goin to happen, they can make it as big as they like, have it on 50 channels 7 nights a week. I would put out my eyes with a spoon, and ream out my ears with a corkscrew before entertaining the idea. Saw the trailer - however many years ago, said fuck that for a game of soldiers! don't feel the need to be proved right at anytime.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: excellent article.... except.....

      Not X-Factor...this is "Britain's Got Talent"; but sometimes amongst the dross is hidden a moment of pure gold:

      ...the fact that the judges hated it so much just makes it better.

  14. Herby

    Currencies in general...

    Ought to have a nice Army behind them. One of these days the Bitcoin people might, but until then, the value just wanders around.

    At least slot machine tokens can be traded back into "real money" at the cashier's window.

  15. Stevie Silver badge


    "My brother-in-law works in futures and he’s a top bloke. Contrary to public opinion, bonuses are earned by very few. His office is not lined with babies on pitchforks or illuminated by burning kittens."

    You say that but I can't help noticing:

    a) he's related to you

    2) And it's nearly Xmas, the gift-giving day

    On the evidence of my *own* brother in law, also up to his neck in the world of high finance, I have to categorize this as an attempt to get some expensive tat under the tree.

    Burn them all, if only for pulling out the "no one else can understand our code" job-preservation argument.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once someone really manages to purchase a hit with Bitcoins

    A wealth of imaginative fiction suggests such services to be available in exchange for cash. You'd also generally expect half the cost to be up front, with another similar contract to be taken out if one or the other party renege on the execution or final payment. Dread Pirate Roberts of Silk Rd fame is alleged to have paid an undercover FBI agent to carry one out using Bitcoins. But the moment a real hit is obtained by such means you can be sure governments will be closing down the conventional money to Bitcoin exchangers everywhere, as effective accessories and underwriters.

  17. OzBob

    is it just me or is there

    a lot more swearing on Alistair's articles these days? The trainspotting motif hoves back into view.

  18. Hagglefoot

    Bird in the hand and the wind in the bush

    The bit I don't get.

    You start with some money in your pocket, you spend it to pay for the electricity bill and the hardware to run in a race to gain a bitcoin, if your lucky you are the last calculation that releases the coins to you or you pally matey pool. at which point you claim your value in $/£ to spend.

    There is an itch I want to scratch here, other than the ability to avoid taxation on purchases or transfers of monetary bundles worldwide where have you gained any value other than the accumulated value of the effort (therefore the money) spent to mine them by all the miners; of which let me remind you, you had the money in the first place. It strikes me this is akin to the 1p bidding for product sites that claim a single person has purchased a bargain while all the other bidders have paid the value+ of the sellers cost.

    If ever there was an emperor has no clothes moment surely this is it. The gullible contribute to making the rich richer (those with the biggest mining rigs) and are left with nothing more then the mining rig they thought they had invested in.

    In True Dragons Den style I'd say I'm out! Spend your effort and money more wisely.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bird in the hand and the wind in the bush

      "you spend it to pay for the electricity bill and the hardware to run in a race to gain a bitcoin, if your lucky you are the last calculation that releases the coins to you or you pally matey pool."

      Wrong. You are the BOFH and have told all the employees using the network you administrate to leave their computers on over the weekend for upgrades while they are doing this. Alternatively you control a very large botnet to be used for this purpose when not spamming or being rented out for DDOS blackmail. Or you may be one in a very large matey mining pool of spotty headed teenagers using their parents' electricity. You don't think the recipients of the newly mined Bitcoins pay these electricity bills do you ? This cost is an externality.

  19. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Most of the financial system is a Mafia Ponzi Slavery scheme, including most currencies!

    Before the world went fiat and Ponzi currency insane, there use to be Money i.e. it was either something valuable or was a certificate for something valuable, and the financial system was quite stable and the economies did will, with only muted booms and busts. Unfortunately the governments wanted to spend far far beyond their means, to fill their pockets and bribe voters, and the bankers wanted a lot more profit too, so government introduced infinitely printable fiat currencies, and did a deal with the bankers to help hide this, the bankers got a cut from all the new currency issued, we got taxed loads more (e.g. Income Tax) to pay for this excessive state debt and effectively compounded interest, and the banks got fractional reserve (colossal fraud) lending, with the ancient fraud cancer usury metastasized into exponentially fraudulent compounded interest!!! So WTF does the interest come from, but exponential new debt, because capital does not grow exponentially? This is why older civilisations either had Jubilees, or collapsed like Rome did!

    If anyone says anything about the "Trickle Down Economics" I will swear so much that the air will become brightly coloured, because it is such funking BS! Why, because more currency (aka QE) is inflation, and the earlier you get newly created currency units, the more you can buy with it, and the later you get it, the less you can buy with it, due to progressive compensating market price rises, thus a hidden wealth transfer tax to the rich!

    We are funking interest/tax and price/interest slaves, to mafia states and banks.

    Bit Coin is just a Ponzi currency and a probable privacy invasion ledger to pawn any idiot which uses it and to rip-off the fools with Bit Coins when it finally crashes.

    Real money has value irrespective of confidence, currency 'value' is a confidence trick.

    I realised this in 2007, so have Money of last resort, and loads of patience.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Most of the financial system is a Mafia Ponzi Slavery scheme, including most currencies!

      "Why, because more currency (aka QE) is inflation, and the earlier you get newly created currency units, the more you can buy with it, and the later you get it, the less you can buy with it, due to progressive compensating market price rises, thus a hidden wealth transfer tax to the rich!"

      I'm with you on trickle-down, but after that you get into tin foil hat territory rapidly. Tell me, what is inflation right now? 2.1% or so? This is hardly dancing on the backs of the bruised territory here. And the amount of QE is, relatively speaking, a pittance. And what's more, it's not like the dough is being deposited straight in the pants pockets of the gilded class; the Fed is buying bonds, not flinging around handfuls of cash at rowdy trilateral commission parties.

      All QE is is a way to lower interest rates below zero, which encourages investment. N amount of QE is functionally the same as N amount of lowered interest rates, but when the Fed drops rates we don't get an internetful of goldbugs screaming bloody murder about fiat currencies and Peugeot currencies and Renault currencies.

      For god's sake, people, give it a rest! If the economy ever does implode, I will happily concede my error while I refuse to accept your lump of useless yellow metal in exchange for a gallon of well water.

      1. Hagglefoot

        Re: Most of the financial system is a Mafia Ponzi Slavery scheme, including most currencies!

        Kinda agree, at the end of the day the trickle down is to something that is a tangible asset that you place a worth to. In your case water for survival in a meltdown, and in much the same way as you would not build a house on shifting sands it would be foolish to invest in a virtual currency you can switch off or loose access to so very quickly.

        Your right about the water vs gold from a survival perspective however it would have to be bottled because if things did implode the lack of investment would most probably poison the supply, just look at Syria. I don't think it matters which way you look at it inflation is the only real constant for example:

        1. Deposit - Net monetary worth - Interest Rate Up - increase volume in circulation - prices increase to satisfy profits to support interest rates cost - inflation

        2. Debt - Zero or negative money worth - QE - interest Rate down - increase in volume circulation - Prices increase to satisfy devaluation of the currency - Inflation

        Two sides of the same coin. QE is just a reflection of the fact that the fiscal environment is a majority debt based one and politicians will do the one that keeps the majority voting for them, so at the moment the depositors suffer.

        However the view now turns to sustainability for the depositors and then you are back to the tangible asset and the choice is yours as to which, whether it be gold or water you can store until you want to release the tangible worth in exchange for your object of desire and the yellow metal carries a higher value because in terms of patrolling the security of its physical world presence it takes the least effort from a density of space occupied perspective.

        and here is a very good article on the BBC website to reflect that consideration -

        But as I say at the end of the day its down to the individual as to what they see as the best asset to reflect their ability to survive a cataclysmic outcome. And Bitcoin is certainly not it. I suspect Bitcoin is the representation of Hope at the bottom of Pandora's box.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Most of the financial system is a Mafia Ponzi Slavery scheme, including most currencies!

      Almost 100% spot on.

      The only things you're missing is that Banksters control Governments worldwide and not the other way around. ("Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild).

      And so far the reason why over 10,000 banksters worldwide haven't been frog marched to prison - although from what I understand, that event is coming to a country near you.

      Also Bitcoin is something that both Governments and banksters are s*** scared of because it takes control out of their hands. They are desperately trying to undermine it as they know the clock is ticking....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Most of the financial system is a Mafia Ponzi Slavery scheme, including most currencies!

        Case in point that things are starting to shift...

  20. cyrus


    Bitcoin, to me, is yet another step away from the gold standard, making it one step closer to truly worthless than printed U.S. currency. Pretty sure that could stand for the U.K. As well, but not certain. Why would you throw millions at anything less than gold. Fuck if I know, but then - not my problem.

  21. James Loughner

    Tulips any one

    A Dutchman told me they are a great investment

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: Tulips any one

      I've got a bulb here, its for a black tulip. Scouts honour. Shall we stat the bidding at 12000 bitcoins?

  22. Martijn Otto

    Cannot be backed up?

    What the heck are you babbling about? Of course they can be backed up! You just keep an offline (i.e. printed key) somewhere safe with the bulk of your savings (the stuff you won't need regularly). The smaller amount that you need to keep available you keep in a regular wallet on your phone/computer. And yes, that can be backed up. You can protect it with a passphrase so that if the phone/computer gets stolen they cannot transfer out the bitcoins.

  23. Sparkypatrick

    "Real money has value irrespective of confidence"

    Your 'real money' was backed by gold reserves. Gold has limited intrinsic value beyond being shiny. When the shit hits the fan, you'll be better off having put your money in chickens than lumps of bling.

    In the meantime, gold is a trade-able commodity and consequently its value fluctuates, sometimes quite wildly. This is one of the primary reasons why countries stopped using it to back their currencies. Confidence in the economy is often the biggest driver of fluctuations in the price of gold, as nervous investors perceive it as a safe haven for their money when other markets fall.

    In short, no money is 'real' and it all depends on confidence.

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