14 votes

Live Bitcoin Debate Challange

Is there any credible DP'er here who is anti-Bitcoin that would like to do a live video debate so we can thrash things out?

I am sick of the endless name calling that gets thrown around in every bitcoin thread.

If you are brave enough to face me in a live video debate for all the DP world to see, then step forward and prove your case for why Bitcoin is a:
1) Scam
2) Ponzi
3) disaster in the making
4) fools gold or,
5) any other slander you can throw at it.

Sorry for the frustrated tone, but the passionate ignorance and lack of curiosity of the uninformed is just far too painful to read.

Not to mention slowing down the move to end Fiat.

***Post update***

Doggy-dog world has asked that I define the debate specifically, and have it in a medium other than video.

Here are my suggestions.

The debate topic

Engaging in the Bitcoin community is the best example of activism for the majority of freedom lovers.
I am in the affirmative. Looking for a naysayer.

To give you a heads up of my strategy. I will be employing the following chain of logic.

Crypto-currency, is the most powerful tool in the Libertarian arsenal to create a free world, and Bitcoin is at present the most likely brand of that tool to succeed.

As for the format. I dont care so much. If you want to make it formal
3 mins each, 5 mins each, 5 mins each,5 mins each.

If you are happy to let a moderator just try to make it the most enjoyable and entertaining debate possible, I am happy to do that also.

Or if you want to treat it as a Super informal Q&A, you can just throw objections at me and we can discuss them like adults.

As for the medium. I will be on video, because I think putting the debate on youtube will help lots of others understand the power of Bitcoin.

If you are uncomfortable with video, then you can just phone in.



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technical question

i have a few questions that are out of my area of expertise and thought maybe you could help...

does bitcoin log ip address for every transaction or some transactions? i read that some nodes do but i did not know how that worked, i've heard people getting around it by using a vpn service.
in the this video this guy claims they log ip and it's totally not anonymous.
http://www.dailypaul.com/307033/back-in-2011-bitcoin-develop...

Official Daily Paul BTC address: 16oZXSGAcDrSbZeBnSu84w5UWwbLtZsBms
Rand Paul 2016

Looks like a lot of people trying to 'get rich' to me...

It might not have started off that way...

You don't tend to 'get rich' buying gold - you beat inflation. But reading about bitcoin - it seems everyone is getting into it to 'make a buck.'

How about this headline on the DP:

"Welcome the newest group of Multi Millionaires"

I suggest you follow the lead of another DP post:

"I Sold My Bitcoin -Guess What I Bought"

And read this WSJ article... here is a quote from the article about the guy hoping to 'make it big':

Mr. Thomas started trading the digital currencies from his home outside Boston earlier this year. He said he is convinced this is his ticket to fortune, even after an earlier attempt—investing in Internet stocks during the dot-com bubble—ended in disaster.

"I think this is a point in history that will never be repeated," said Mr. Thomas, who is in his 50s. "These things will take off like nobody will imagine."

Emphasis added... tell me this guy isn't inflating the bubble? I mean, he just doesn't learn! I think the vast majority of folks 'trading' crypto-currencies are inflating a bubble...

Bubbles are hardest to see from the inside ;)

Just had a thought about gold

AS I understand it gold has some industrial use in the modern era, but very little. Perhaps only 3% of mined gold is for industrial purposes and 1000 years ago there was none.

Most gold use is jewellery and as bullion (store of wealth).

Gold historians suggest that because gold was used as jewelery and already had value, and because it had other cool properties(fungible, divisible, etc) then it was chosen as money.

But that theory suggest had gold have been an ugly color, like lead or copper, then it would not be jewellery and therefore not be money.

That thought made me question it. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Was gold used as jewellery because it was money and people liked to display their wealth or did it become money because it was jewellery?

Has anyone ever questioned that or have any reason to not?

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Is Bitcoin backed by

Is Bitcoin backed by anything, or is it just created out of thin air?

Why should people consider it to be valuable?

Can your stash of Bitcoin be hacked and stolen by an app or wireless device?

Never be afraid to ask simple questions.

HI Zoo,

Great questions.

They have all been answered below though. If you are genuinely interested, I think you will really enjoy all the comments below. Lots of good questions and answers.

If you have any follow up questions ask them at the top of the thread though.... I cant go back through all those pages sifting for new questions all the time. :)

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wolfe's picture

Me and another programmer...

Once mused about how to sell GUIDs to idiots.

GUID's are effectively sold to idiots in the form of SSL certs, backed by "trust", so we mused about how we could find another way to sell them.

Bitcoin found it, not backed by "trust", but instead backed by the technical idiocy of it's purchasers.

P.S. I accepted the challenge and even offered a handicap. So I await the details.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

wolfe's picture

Ok...

Let's go.

I'll even guarantee that I am about a fifth down to bring it even close to even.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

Ding Ding Ding Ding. We have a contender.

Awesome. Nice to meet you Wolfe.

I have no idea what a fifth down means. I actually only have 1 day I can do over the next 10 days, but I Am free all of that day.

does anytime Tuesday the 26th work for you?

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wolfe's picture

Probably.

Although, the facts of it are pretty simple so I am not sure how much of a "debate" it would be without it drifting into emotionalism, gambling "strategy", and other nonsensical ad pitches that they have made.

A fifth down, means I'd put down a fifth of scotch before having the debate. :) It was me being an ass when I said.

Let me know the details of how/what you want to do.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

Bitcoin vs. Gold - intrinsic value ???

Published on Nov 21, 2013
"With the surging popularity of Bitcoin, Peter Schiff sees another bubble in the making. Peter explains why Bitcoin is not "gold 2.0" and why you are assuming significant risks by "investing" in it"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L7SOPDOvvI#t=14

Challenge Mr. Schiff...
Just a thought.

Does a personal check with my signature have intrinsic value?

Does it provide utility? in the form of purchasing power.

Free includes debt-free!

Unfortunately, not if your bank account is empty

Though that never concerns Congress, which has the Federal Reserve to "cash" its blank checks with a bit of electronic coin.

BitCon is exactly that, a con.

It is not a currency for the obvious reason you cannot use it outside a tiny number of on-line operations. Putting that aside, it fails the basic tests of a currency. The first being it is not self-validating. The issuing authority has to verify it. This means there is always a third party in the room when transacting in Bitcoins. Imagine having to call the bank every time you accepted cash and you see the dilemma.

What's worse, and why many libertarians are morons, is using it requires you to give up your privacy. The reason is the validation. The only way to validate a coin is to trace it back to its birth. That means logging every transaction the coin was used in since it was minted. That means the state can and will know all of that information.

The libertarian response to the first point is always to veer off into a rant about counterfeiting. Sure, you cannot counterfeit Bitcoin, but who cares? That does not change the fact that you have to get permission from the issuing authority every time to you conduct business. They never address the privacy issue because they can't without sounding like nuts.

The hilarious part of all of this is that the Bitcoin bubble we see today is the argument against it. A good currency offers price stability. That's the argument against fiat money. The state always debases the currency eventually. A currency that is inherently unstable is the sort of thing a lunatic supports.

"If this mischievous financial policy [greenbacks], which has its origin in North America, should become endurated down to a fixture, then that government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off its debts and be without debts. It will hav

rebuttals

1. Its not a currency. Regression theorem explains this. Regression theorem explains that all free market (non-fiat) currency starts as a commodity. At some unspecified depth of market penetration a commodity becomes currency. How many merchants need to accept bitcoin before you will call it a currency? Decide now, because it will eventually.

2. No privacy. There is no reason to link identities to wallets. Itis true that most users through ignorance give up anonymity, but as time goes by the tools will be created so that anonymity is easier and more prolific. (You just gave me a great business idea. Thanks.)

3. Inconvenient validation check. Most times I spend a $100 note the cashier holds it up to the light and performs a check or two to validate it is genuine. Its not really the worst thing in the world. Likewise, pinging the network, is not really that big a deal. If art were currency and we had to hire an art specialist every time we traded to make sure it was a genuine Picasso then you may have a point. But pinging the network is easier than visa/ mastercard, and those bogus signature checks and about as easy as holding a $100 note up to a light

4. Volatility. The high delta is a function of market size and transition period from fiat to crypto. I gold had a market cap of $5 Billion and was only 4 years old, it would do the same. As it grows and more people understand the delta will shrink.

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Does it have purchasing power in the market?

As long as it has utility it lives.

If it doesn't nothing to bother about.

Free includes debt-free!

Not anti-Bitcoin but...

I'm not anti-Bitcoin at all - it is what it is. However, it's not *money* and can never become *money*. To understand why that is so you have to understand the regression theorem and why it's true. Not just understand how regression works, but actually understand why the theorem is true. Then you need to understand why Bitcoin fails the regression theorem. See my other posts on this topic on the DP.

IMO, there has been no credible economist who believes Bitcoin is, or can ever become, money. By credible I mean one who is well versed in Austrian monetary theory. The closest thing bantered about with respect to this is Surda's thesis but when pressed, Surda himself admitted his understanding of monetary theory was woeful and he had more of a sociological interest in virtual 'currencies' than an economic one (see discussions on LvMI).

Let me say again that recognizing that Bitcoin fails as money does not make one 'anti-bitcoin'.

Debate Specifics.

Doggy-dog world has asked that I define the debate specifically, and have it in a medium other than video.

Here are my suggestions.

The debate topic

Engaging in the Bitcoin community is the best example of activism for the majority of freedom lovers.

I am in the affirmative. Looking for a naysayer.

To give you a heads up of my strategy. I will be employing the following chain of logic.

Crypto-currency, is the most powerful tool in the Libertarian arsenal to create a free world, and Bitcoin is at present the most likely brand of that tool to succeed.

As for the format. I dont care so much. If you want to make it formal
3 mins each, 5 mins each, 5 mins each,5 mins each.

If you are happy to let a moderator just try to make it the most enjoyable and entertaining debate possible, I am happy to do that also.

Or if you want to treat it as a Super informal Q&A, you can just throw objections at me and we can discuss them like adults.

As for the medium. I will be on video, because I think putting the debate on youtube will help lots of others understand the power of Bitcoin.

If you are uncomfortable with video, then you can just phone in.

Has that helped doggy-dog?

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(1) Most powerful tool in the libertarian arsenal

This: "Crypto-currency, is the most powerful tool in the Libertarian arsenal to create a free world, and Bitcoin is at present the most likely brand of that tool to succeed."
is essentially two claims, so I'm splitting it up and addressing each separately.

Crypto-currency, is the most powerful tool in the Libertarian arsenal to create a free world,

"Most powerful" sounds like a strong claim but it's really too vague to know what to make of it. Powerful in what sense? Most by what metric?

I wouldn't disagree with something like: "Crypto-currency is a disruptive new technology with the potential to further libertarian goals by making anonymous, global electronic economic transactions possible."

I would argue that if the goal is libertarian disruptiveness then it would be far smarter to actively promote competing digital currencies, using as wide a variety of technologies as possible, and the ability to exchange easily between them. Do you agree with that?

Excellent points.

That is the purpose of a debate. These things come out.

I disagree that it is more beneficial to freedom to promote multi altcoins for the average person.

If we fast forward 20 years, and some genius Mr X, invents Xcoins and that is what brings about a free world, then certainly the Mr X's time was best spent building Xcoin.

But for the average person, there using bitcoin, helped MrX identify what was lacking, where the weak points were, and what attributes Xcoin needed.

Further, By growing the bitcoin network you are increasing the pool of people who understand crypto currency, and will help Xcoin get quicker market penetration.

So I stand by, the best form of activism for most libertarians is to engage in the bitcoin community, even though Bitcoin may not be part of the solution.

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(2) Bitcoin is at present the most likely brand to succeed

and Bitcoin is at present the most likely brand of that tool to succeed.

That's a weak claim, considering that it's a new technology space and bitcoin is the first to make it big.

Note that
(a) "bitcoin is the most likely [of the current competitors] to be the big winner among digital currencies ten years from now"
is a *very* different statement from
(b) "bitcoin is very likely to be the big winner among digital currencies ten years from now."

I think the most likely thing is that some digital currency that hasn't been invented yet, or several, will eventually dominate, so having to pick from the current brands makes no sense.

How often do the inventors of a new technology foresee everything clearly enough to get it right the first time? Does that ever happen at all? Can you think of any new protocol or any new technology of any kind in which the first big mover didn't lose out to innovating competitors?

And that's with first movers who could adapt as a better understanding of how it would all play out became clear. Bitcoin, by design, is hard to change, and it has to be hard to change because things like the 21 million limit are essential to its success.

I agree with all of these points...

But as above, engaging in bitcoin is still the most productive use of time for most libertarian activists.

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Agreement makes for boring debate

So we're agreeing that in the long run, bitcoin is likely to lose out to some competitor, and that competitor is likely to be one that hasn't been invented yet? Let's dig further into the implications of that.

If bitcoin is likely to lose out to some future competitor, then the value of bitcoins will fall off at some point. In fact if there are multiple competing currencies (at some future point where the infrastructure makes it easy to exchange between them, easy for merchants to accept multiple currencies, etc) then the value of bitcoins will fall off even if it is still the leader -- the 21 million limit doesn't work as many bitcoin proponents suggest if there are competing digital currencies with easy exchange between them.

So, first, if that's true, then arguments for bitcoin going to $100,000 are out the window. The idea in those arguments is to look at some hugely optimistic ideas about uses for bitcoin, estimate the size of that market, and divide by 21 million. If bitcoin is vulnerable to competition that way then the most optimistic suggestions about future roles for bitcoin don't make sense. Moreover, if the 21 million limit doesn't function as they're assuming due to competing and easily interchanged alternatives, then that part of the argument fails also.

Second, I'd like to hear more about what you mean by "engaging in bitcoin". If what you mean is that people who have their own business should look into accepting bitcoin (and other digital currencies if possible) then we're back to boring agreement. I think that's a great idea.

People looking for business ideas, who have the technical background, and libertarian-minded venture capitalists, might consider looking at the infrastructure to support digital currencies. No matter what digital currencies are the long-term winners there's some big money to be made in the b2b part of it.

But bitcoin isn't something you'd want to encourage people to buy and hold long-term. It won't function as a store of value like gold. People can certainly buy it as a speculation rather than an investment, but hopefully they understand the difference between investment and speculation, and will take into account that the "bitcoin to $100,000" arguments are hype based on faulty premises. A lot of the people pushing bitcoin are trying very hard to give a different impression (just to be clear, I don't mean you here).

Bitcoin (or other digital currencies) can however function and function well as a facilitator of electronic transactions, independent of the official banking systems. That's what bitcoin was designed to do, and something gold can't do, and that's the exciting thing about digital currency. It can't do what gold can do, and gold can't do what it can do.

Maybe there's something in the above we can disagree about? :-)

I found something :)

In order for me to achieve the previously stated goal of Libertarian activism is best served, I did not need to prove Bitcoin would be around in 20 years and that it would be worth a million per coin.

That is not to say I dont think those things will happen.

So now to keep things interesting we can change the focus to...
Will Bitcoin remain the dominant force in Crypto currencies for 20+ years? Or... Is bitcoin a good investment as opposed to a speculation?

So first let me state that I am not suggesting bitcoin will with certainty be around in 20 years. But I certainly think its possible.

So what is my burden of proof in this conversation? If bitcoin is the shiznit of crypto in 20 years, I think you probably agree with me that it would be worth even $1 million per coin by then. But lets be conservative and say $100,000. At todays price of ~$1k per coin, I need only demonstrate than bitcoin has a better than a 1 in 100 chance of dominating crypto and it would be e good investment with money you can afford to lose. In the same way getting paid 5 to 1 on a coin toss is a good investment.

By those standards, really the burden is on you to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that bitcoin will not be the crypto gorilla in 20 years.

I don't think you would want to take that position, but that is for you to answer. SO the questions become?

1. Do you accept that it is a good investment with money you can afford to lose?

2. You want to try to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will not be a cypto-gorilla in 20 years

Or 3. You can concede the "good investment" point, and we can just go balance of probability (50-50) Will Bitcoin be the crypto gorilla in 20 years? I will go the affirmative to keep it interesting, but I am not super confident of this point. But hopefully we arrive at a destination where we have learned more.

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Nope

If bitcoin is the shiznit of crypto in 20 years, I think you probably agree with me that it would be worth even $1 million per coin by then.

Why? If there are no significant competitors even after 20 years, then the sky's the limit, but in what scenario are there no significant competitors? The more successful it is, the more motivation there will be for competition. If there are competitors, and exchanges and so on make it easy to move between them, then the argument for high valuation no longer works even if bitcoin is the most popular among them.

I need only demonstrate than bitcoin has a better than a 1 in 100 chance of dominating crypto and it would be e good investment with money you can afford to lose. In the same way getting paid 5 to 1 on a coin toss is a good investment. By those standards, really the burden is on you to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that bitcoin will not be the crypto gorilla in 20 years.

Burden of proof doesn't work that way. If you could show that bitcoin had a better than 1% chance of dominating crypto -- and dominating so much that there's effectively no competition so that the scarcity of bitcoin works as you're assuming -- then you'd have an argument. But, lacking an argument to support that, you don't get to just throw the burden to me.

And you've got a hard argument to make. Can you think of a single example of a first mover in any new technology being the long-term dominator? If you can, let's look at some examples and see what kept the competitors from getting a foothold. If you can't, then is there any reason at all to think bitcoin would be the first?

Compounding this is the fact that unlike most new technologies, bitcoin is designed to be difficult to evolve. So that makes it even less likely that it will be the dominant force in the long run. If it never happens for new technologies where the first mover has the ability to evolve in response to competition, how much less likely is that to work out for bitcoin under it's restricted ability to evolve?

And there are other risks as well so 1-in-100 seems *extremely* optimistic for the kind of outcome you need in order for your math to work out to make it a good risk. As speculation, however, if someone has money they don't mind losing, and won't regret losing, and they find that sort of speculation exciting, then why not?

hmmm.

So to confirm... your saying that even if Bitcoin is the most used crypto in 20 years, and previously you said you think crypto will be massive, then you dont think bitcoin valuation will necessarily be high.

So that raises an interesting question is it possible for bitcoin to exist and have a low value, because of a sea of competitors. And I don't think it can. If there is a sea of viable competing crypto's, I think it becomes obvious that crypto failed to achieve an scarcity. It is known to be of limitless supply.

So my initial thought is that bitcoin has to be either worth $1mill a coin or nothing, for the above reason. It either has prestige among crypto's or it is 1 of trillions of other crypto's. You think it can exist at a low value.

I guess you could argue that the computing power of the respective networks is the foundation of the coins value. So if bitcoin drops in value and its only worth mining if the network shrinks considerably then perhaps bitcoin could exist at low value.

Food for thought. I am not sure which side I take on this.

I am inclined to follow my instincts on this but I recognize I don't really have a slam dunk answer to this at all.

As to your other question. Can I think of an example. I will put some thought into it, but I cant at the moment and its not really my domain. I am not a tech person. I had never heard of Geocities, until either yourself or someone else mentioned it in another thread.

I Am on holidays for weekend so sorry for the lack of reply over the next few days. I look forward to your response when I get back or tonight, if you are still around.

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Competitors

So that raises an interesting question is it possible for bitcoin to exist and have a low value, because of a sea of competitors. And I don't think it can. If there is a sea of viable competing crypto's, I think it becomes obvious that crypto failed to achieve an scarcity. It is known to be of limitless supply.

How could it be otherwise? There will be a market for competitors, and the more successful digital currencies are is the more true that will be. The scarcity thing is theoretically interesting but it's not analogous to the scarcity of gold when it's almost trivially easy to create a bitcoin clone, or a hundred.

But as with any competition in a free market, the number of competitors that survive, and the features that the winners offer, will be determined by the market. Certainly not trillions. Probably not even hundreds, I wouldn't think.

I guess you could argue that the computing power of the respective networks is the foundation of the coins value. So if bitcoin drops in value and its only worth mining if the network shrinks considerably then perhaps bitcoin could exist at low value.

If the value of bitcoin makes it cost more to run the mining hardware than it's worth, presumably rate of mining decreases. Who would notice except the miners who aren't making money off of their special hardware? Actually if it gets to the point where the miners aren't making money, then a coalition of miners who control 51% or more of the network will have strong motivation to come up with some protocol changes that don't seem severe enough to spook users (who will by that time mostly be non-techy) but do make their fancy hardware profitable again.

scarcity

The difference is scarcity. I cant think of anything, where scarcity is significant, like a currency.

If there are an infinite number of cell phones or laptops, they dont become useless. With currency they do. Infinite competitors make crypto useless. Assuming the public sees them as genuine competitors.

If the brand name of each crypto is irrelevant then they are all worthless. There can be no gorilla.

I go back tome previous point. either, a crypto proves itself as the shiznit and is worth a tonne or it is worthless.

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Scarcity

Scarcity could be a good thing, but the scarcity that matters in the case of digital currency isn't the scarcity of any one brand, but the scarcity of all the brands collectively that can be fluidly exchanged with one another. I think that competition is inevitable, and demand for more than one is inevitable, and the ability to exchange between them a natural feature to expect.

Given that, I don't see any scenario in which digital currency is scarce in a way that is analogous to gold.

However, I disagree that this means the number of competitors goes to trillions or infinity, as you suggest. Anyone can create a new digital currency, and give it new features / advertising / incentives to try to get market share, but it isn't significant player until it reaches a critical mass of users. There's utility in having competition, as with most things, but it will shake out into a manageable number of competitors (changing over time), as with most things.

Furthermore, the scarcity argument for digital currencies never made a lot of sense. The idea of bitcoin going to a billion makes speculators salivate, but it's like the toy of the year being scarce at Christmas and going for a thousand bucks on ebay. It's the opposite of what makes gold useful. The buying power of gold has been *roughly* constant for millennia -- the usual argument about an ounce of gold buying a good suit of clothes, for example, from Roman times until now.

So the non-scarcity of digital currency due to competition doesn't take anything away from digital currency, except the appeal to speculators. But again, the things that make it appealing to speculators are exactly the sorts of things that make it unsuitable for savings, long-term investment, etc. You put money you can afford to lose into speculation, not money that you're going to need next month to pay the bills.

In every other way, competition (as usual) is a very positive thing for digital currencies. There's no reason to think that the whole notion of digital currencies becomes worthless due to competition. All that is lost is something that was never real anyway, namely the idea of bitcoin becoming the reserve currency of central banks or the Forex currency against which everything else is compared or any of the other things that are being said in order to pump up speculation.

Still not interested in doing video

But if you want to have a video, and think I've made any points worth responding to, you could put them in text on the screen or read them yourself or something. The point is the debate, not the format, right?

I'll post my reply in a couple of pieces to try to keep the flow of discussion clearer.

Maybe I should just start another thread....

Live Bitcoin Q&A. Send in your questions now to be answered on Friday night...
or something like that.

Then I can get lots of questions from lots of sources.

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