Comment: > Is it really organic

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> Is it really organic

> Is it really organic grassroots?

There is a lot of desire out there for untraceable digital transactions. That's causing some buzz.

> Who wrote Bitcoin?

The developers are listed at bitcoin.org. The anonymous Japanese developer may be one or more of those people.

> Does open source mean peer reviewed?

No, open source doesn't guarantee any review. And even reviewed software cannot be proven to be 100% secure. And would you trust the reviewer? This is a problem for all crypto.

> Who has the credentials and qualifications to peer review the code?

There are many people who do, and I look forward to reading their findings.

> Can you know if a vulnerability was coded by accident or coded with malice?

Sometimes, but those kinds of vulnerabilities are very obvious.

> Who are these people who spend their entire days vehemently defending Bitcoin? What are they getting out of it?

One can ask the same question of those who endorse the use of gold. I think it's better to focus on the technical: Are there weaknesses in the protocol? Are there weaknesses in the implementation?

No doubt the original creators of Bitcoin have a lot of them and they would stand to gain the most from increased acceptance of it, just as a lot of people who own gold stand to gain the most from increased acceptance of that.

> Is it fair to brand it as an Austrian school of thinking?

While we don't know if the designers heard of Austrian economics, in my opinion it's fair to brand it that way. Both believe that money should exist outside of state control. Both say it's better that money cannot be arbitrarily inflated. On the other hand I'm not sure it's possible to design a decentralized non-double spendable digital currency that supports unlimited inflation.

> Do these people even have a clue about sound money to begin with?

Who? The ECB obviously has a clue and is very opposed to the idea. The designers of bitcoin may or may not have set out to design a system with the limit. They may have only cared that it's decentralized, not double spendable, and can be anonymized. The limit on the number of bitcoins, which makes it Austrian, may a technical artifact which they retroactively promoted as a feature.

> What exactly is Bitcoin backed by?

Nothing but the markets willingness to buy it. Anti-money laundering laws and restrictive banking rules certainly contribute to that demand.

> A scratch beneath the surface and you discover this program comes from an unknown/untrusted source

It's important to distinguish between the protocol and the implementation (the program).

If there were any obvious problems in either one we would have heard about it already. It's not the first crypto currency. It's only notable because there *haven't* been any problems. The hacking of the bitcoin exchange has nothing to do with the security of bitcoin. You could have a computer system with records of gold on it, and that computer could be hacked. Records could be changed, changing the ownership of the gold.

Even a bug in the bitcoin.org software itself is not enough, because bugs happen and they can be patched. Bugs can be mitigated by storing the bitcoins offline or using different software.

To say it isn't secure, you have to come up with a way to double spend or to reliably tie bitcoin transactions to real world transactions. If someone comes up with a double spend attack then we'll know about it very quickly. And bitcoin would be instantly worthless. If someone comes up with a way to trace it, we won't necessarily find out about it for a long time.

Of course, it's perfectly sane to decline to use bitcoin because you don't understand it in detail, and because you do understand that more often than not protocols and software are found to be vulnerable to attack after they gain widespread acceptance. That said, one day you may find the risk of holding bitcoin for a very short time in order to facilitate a transaction to be worth the risk.

After all, TCP/IP itself and all of its implementations have had enormous problems and yet here we are.