* Posts by the_madman

18 posts • joined 12 Oct 2009

Bitcoins: A GIANT BUBBLE? Maybe, but currency could still be worthwhile

the_madman

Re: Worthwhile for Whom?

Bitcoin provides a number of advantages over current electronic means of transferring value. It is faster, it is cheaper and it can prevent certain kinds of payment fraud:

1. A Bitcoin payment is irreversible after approx. 1 hour, a bank transfer can be reversed several days after the time of payment;

2. A typical wire transfer costs ~£20-£30 to complete, with many current accounts costing £6 a month at the bank. Paypal takes a 10% cut from transactions from merchants, and VISA providers can charge as much as 5%, with a greater charge if the payment is reversed. One can send several thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin around the world for a cost of ten cents.

3. Because the payments are irreversible after one hour, certain high-risk businesses, such as delivery of high-cost international products (http://www.howtoacceptbitcoin.com/2013/01/eliminate-fraud-from-internet-payments.html) or otherwise accepting custom from international customers (http://www.howtoacceptbitcoin.com/2012/10/low-risk-international-payments-for.html) can accept Bitcoin to attempt to reduce the risk of chargeback fraud.

With its current volatility, it is not useful to fix a product to a Bitcoin price. However, as a means of transferring dollars, sterling and other traditional currencies, it provides a robust solution to current problems merchants face.

the_madman

Re: If you don't know who the sucker is...

You are incorrect in stating that exchanges are not regulated. Exchanges have to follow the regulations set down in the countries in which they operate.

Deflation in a currency only acts as a disadvantage if it is sudden and unexpected. Deflation in Bitcoin is an expected natural consequence of its design and is highly predictable. Please see https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Deflationary_spiral. Please note that current volatility due to speculation is not representative of deflation in a saturated economy.

the_madman

Bitcoin itself has no single central point of failure: the weakness you're describing is in a central point of failure in the layer between Bitcoin and conventional currencies.

As a merchant, I could accept Bitcoin to a Bitcoin wallet without fear that it would be hacked.

However, you're correct that this would be a problem. A lot of people are looking toward the Ripple project to provide a decentralised method of exchanging conventional currencies into Bitcoins and back. However, that isn't finished yet, so for now, they will have to make do with centralised exchanges.

the_madman

The Bitcoin protocol is more akin to a wire transfer than a payment processor like VISA or Paypal. In the background, these payment processors still takes several days to verify with banks that the money is to be transferred. Especially in the case of Paypal, where the recipient is likely to be receiving straight to a Paypal account, Paypal merely increases their value of their account on an internal database. This is why chargebacks are possible for several days/weeks after the payment has been, "sent": it isn't instant, and it hasn't been verified.

With Bitcoin, after an hour, the payment is (considered) *truly irreversible*. Even after a single verification, it is very difficult for an individual without access to large amounts of computing power to double-spend.

the_madman

Transactions are logged immediately. You can't take out a transaction that's already been sent. The best you can hope to do is try to double-spend, but in this case you are still sending the same Bitcoin. The transactions are *irreversibly* verified after 1 hour.

Especially in exchanges, where the exchange, not the users, controls the private keys that actually own the Bitcoins, it doesn't take an hour for the exchange to go through, it happens immediately. If the exchange is centralised (as most are today), they don't even have to send it out to the Bitcoin network and can instead just record who owns how many internally, only broadcasting a transaction to the network when users want to withdraw them to a different address - which users cannot reverse, as they do not hold the appropriate private key.

Ultimately, the amount of time a crash takes is completely arbitrary. It can be based on the speed (or lack thereof) of the exchanges processing orders, the rate of the decrease or the amount/reach of news spreading panic and any number of other factors. Just like the sharp increase, the popping of the bubble isn't a rational thing.

the_madman

Re: Heisenberg-coin

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/ba/Centralised-decentralised-distributed.png

Decentralised. Not distributed, decentralised.

Opera and Firefox downloads soar after IE alerts

the_madman

Obviously don't know how FOSS projects work

I should bloody well hope Firefox is patched - and more than once every week. Same with Google Chrome and other open browsers. That's kinda the point.

On the other hand, how often they release the changes is a different matter... I find the time between upgrades (on Windows) is closer to months than every week.

IT admins: we don't need no stinkin' servers

the_madman
Thumb Up

I'm one of those people

... That loves server management and website design. No, I don't understand it either. Why can't they just find someone passionate about websites, online services and the internet in general? O.o

Windows XP on netbooks to lose life support?

the_madman
Thumb Down

You don't say?

Of COURSE the marketing will be behind Windows 7 Home Premium... Starter Edition/Home Basic just plain suck. When the users buy the netbook and realize, "crap, this isn't the Windows 7 I heard so much good stuff about", they'll either want to upgrade it, which will cost $80/£60 (or some-such) or have Windows XP back on it.

Why can't they just ship, "THE Windows 7" and be done with it?!

the_madman

Re: "Well lads...I've got Win 7 Ultimate running on an MSI"

Wait, wait, wait... that's a web browser, mail client, a chat client, an explorer window and media player. That's my limit?! What, so I have to close my web browser if I want to view an image with those running?

You'll understand if that doesn't appeal, right?

Vint Cerf: 'Google doesn't know who you are'

the_madman
WTF?

What's the problem, then?

Google have outright stated exactly how it keeps track of your searches to show your behaviour - so what's wrong with using private browsing mode, or clearing your cookies, if you're so interested in privacy?

Admittedly, I don't see people turning to Tor as a valid solution for the I.P address logging, but your I.P address is pretty much public information anyway - any website you visit can have access to it.

Dell details 'world's thinnest' laptop

the_madman
WTF?

Designed to compete...

Sorry, but how was this designed to compete with the Macbook Air? They're not competing in price or power... maybe the only thing they care about is the removable battery...

Or MAYBE it's competing because it's running Windows! That'll get them to separate the cash from their wallets, because, you know... it's more logical to spend a four-digit amount of cash on something less powerful then something that's £300.

Gmail users howl over Halloween outage

the_madman

@Stu_The_Jock

That makes you the third luckiest person...

the_madman
Thumb Up

Weird...

Not only does Google Mail work for me, but it's started importing my contacts from my Hotmail account *properly*, while this didn't work fully before. Awesome! One less reason to use Hotmail.

Ubuntu's Karmic Koala bares fangs at Windows 7

the_madman

@Pete 2

New stuff? Won't get that in standard Ubuntu... Gnome doesn't do, "new".

The, "new" stuff is in KDE. Might want to go to Mandriva or OpenSUSE for that, though... Kubuntu's fine, but not all the features work out-of-the-box (nepomuk, anyone?), which is a real ball-ache.

Dell refunds PC user for rejecting Windows

the_madman

Guess what?

Guess who's doing that with his next PC?

UK fatties demand 'hate crime' status for lardo-baiting

the_madman
Happy

Best bit of the article

Full disclosure: The author is 6'3" and 16 stone, ie one of the overweight. He feels able to survive in today's hefty-hating climate without special legal protection, however; though the memory of being refused a place as cox of a ladies' rowing team many years ago still stings.

So he's being discriminated against because he's fat AND male! Oh, the outrage! XD

PC tune-up software: does it really work?

the_madman
WTF?

Re: programs on Linux

Something I don't understand is that the applications listed here, as well as many other popular applications, are effectively already cross-platform.

Microsoft Office runs on both Windows and Mac OS, meaning it either must be cross platform or in fact two products under the same name - which wouldn't make sense, given how many resources it would waste (though that actually wouldn't surprise me, given Microsoft's take on resources...);

The full Adobe suite is written in Qt specifically so that it can be cross-platform while only needing a single code base - available for Windows, Mac OS and... NOT Linux....

EA Games writes most of its games in OpenGL so that they can be cross-platform, but in a different way - they run on the X-box, Playstation, Nintendo Wii (the latter two of which ONLY use OpenGL for 3D graphics), Windows, Mac OS (feel free to correct me here, but I'm sure some games are available for Mac users) and... NOT Linux...

Seriously, what's wrong with a single recompile? A wrapper script online for Linux/unix users that requires the Windows version of the CD and requires you enter the product key to install?

And before you start throwing out the, "Linux users don't like to pay for crap" argument, what do you think Linux RUNS on, air and penguin shit? We aren't just prepared to BUY computers, ranging from massively powerful and expensive to netbooks (as any Windows user would be willing as well), but we're willing to pay for something we don't even want/need - Windows - with it. Many Linux users already pay for extra Dropbox storage (as do many Windows users), for Flickr Pro accounts as an example (both my parents pay for this anyway), pay for music from Magnatune, Jamendo and Last.fm etc. etc. so on and so forth, so what makes people think we wouldn't pay for Dreamweaver on our servers, or for music from iTunes, or for World of Warcraft/Call of Duty 5/Sims 3 etc.? Hell, that's why the Wine project exists - if Linux users didn't want to pay for this stuff, we wouldn't be working so hard to get it working.

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