[cryptography] Digital cash in the news...

Ian G iang at iang.org
Sun Jun 12 19:26:15 EDT 2011

On 12/06/11 10:55 PM, Nicholas Bohm wrote:

> Ah well. I joined bitcoin quite early, seeing it as like donating spare
> cycles to an interesting experiment.

I do agree whole heartedly that this is a great fun experiment, and 
worthy of attention.  It has pushed the boundaries of what we've known 
and is possible.  Its solution is indeed elegant.

> I ended up with quite a substantial
> balance, at no cost that I can identify.

> Now I find I can exchange a little over five bitcoins for a £50 Amazon
> gift certificate that Amazon seems happy to credit to my account.

Hmmm!  So the innovators invested rather little, and came out with a 
lot.  Always attractive :)  And from PLC, we can agree that the 
innovators may deserve some compensation for the risk of a dodgy product.

However.  Unless the laws of financial conservation have been repealed 
by the design, those who follow have to invest a lot and come out with 

> I quite see the force of the critical comments made here; but they
> remind me of a (probably apocryphal) remark attributed to the late
> Garret Fitzgerald when Prime Minister of Ireland. After a new scheme had
> been outlined to his cabinet, and greeted with enthusiasm by several
> ministers, he remarked, "Well, it's all very well in practice; but will
> it work in theory?"

Sounds like a very perceptive man, I wonder what he would have thought 
of Ireland today?

In every bubble, there are those that see it is working in practice, and 
are benefitting from it.  (E.g., the banks really loved subprime.... I 
mean, they *really truly loved subprime* !!!)

Then there are those who are to come, later, and lose.  Finally, there 
are those who have to clean up.

When Fitgerald asks whether the theory is against the new innovation, I 
suspect he's asking whether the supporters/beneficiaries are expecting 
him to be in the last group, the clean up crew [1] ?

In this context, the practice tells us what is happening now.  $10 and 
rising!  Yoo hoo!

The theory will tell us what is likely to happen in the future.


[] Keynes replies from his grave, "in the long run, we're all dead."

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