Bitcoin as troll killer

October 21st, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

For years, Slashdot has used its moderation system to filter out the trolls. The “mods” are given “mod points” intermittently in a feedback mediated system that keeps the site clean. This does not stop people from making troll posts, it keeps them out of sight to an extent that you can choose, using a threshold selector. If you have set your threshold low, you will see all the noise and trolls like, “first post”, and “Free BSD is dying” and other staples of Slashdot. If you set your threshold high, you will only see posts that have scored highly.

But there is another, better way to moderate posts, and Reddit has almost done it first:

By using Bitcoin as mod points, troll posts will not only be better controlled, they will diminish in number. It will literally be worth your while not to troll or waste peoples time, and if you are insightful, you could actually make some Bitcoin that you can use to buy real things in the real world. Slashdot has its own internal currency called “Karma”. You cannot take it away with you, you cannot spend it, even on Slashdot, and it is entirely meaningless to everyone in the world except the users of Slashdot who are paying attention or who even care.

Bitcoin is a different matter however. You can spend it in places other than Slashdot; it has a life outside of the site. The reward for posting thoughtfully in such a system is therefore, many times greater than collecting Karma.

As I have said before, Bitcoin does not have to take over the entire world for it to be a successful project. If it is used in only a small fraction of all transactions world-wide, it will change everything. Its not hard to imagine a world where the thumbs up and group moderation systems that are found in tools like Discus no longer exist, replaced entirely with Bitcoin. Given the number of blogs and newspapers that use these systems, and the number of comments that are made every day on them, it is not hard to imagine just how huge a market and Bitcoin driver this could become.

Bitcoin is going to monetize areas of life online and off that are not immediately obvious, and each one has the potential to make adoption of Bitcoin wallets go viral. Furthermore, the effect of Bitcoin adoption is beneficial wherever it touches; it is an instant international money transfer medium, a potential spam moderation facilitator, and many more things that are hard to imagine.

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Bitcoin and the generational divide

September 21st, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

This video is a visual representation of the difference between the Austrian School Bitcoin detractors and the people who understand what Bitcoin is, what it can do, and how it is the biggest thing since email.

On the right, you have James Turk the head of GoldMoney, who is old, and on the left you have Felix Moreno de la Cova, who is young. The old man doesn’t understand computers, cryptography or the internet. The young man does. They have a very illuminating and friendly conversation about Bitcoin and money, without confrontation, rancour or irrational nonsense like, “I just don’t like the product”.

This is how discussions should take place, and I have alot more sympathy for Mr. Turk now, because he is genuinely reaching out to understand something that is clearly incomprehensible to him, and he is not intimidated or defensive, is eager to learn and is patient and thoughtful.

We need people like James Turk, because he has a vast amount of experience to offer, and once he understands Bitcoin, I would say that his presence on a board of directors would be invaluable.

Compare and contrast this gentlemanly interview with the appalling article that just appeared at The Daily Bell (which I will not link to; one click from me is quite enough) where every sort of fallacy and nonsense is trotted out in what is a blatant attack piece trolling for clicks.

As I have said before at length, GoldMoney is a fundamentally flawed idea:

http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=3103

and it is now suffering from its exposure to the State, and is becoming harder and harder to use thanks to suffocating regulations. The exact opposite is true of Bitcoin, which is becoming easier and easier to use, with better software and more outlets accepting it every day, and a response from the State which amounts to a shrug of the shoulders.

When the economic collapse starts to bite, I am betting that GoldMoney will be forced to shut down entirely, because it serves its customers against the interests of the State. The gold confiscation of 1933 is a precedent that can happen again in a heartbeat; this is not beyond the realms of possibility. People who hold real money with third parties are going to face the institutionalized theft of their savings. Bitcoin on the other hand, will never be shut down by the State, it cannot be confiscated en masse or stopped, just as Bittorrent will never be shut down.

Whatever your opinion on what Bitcoin is or is not, it is here to stay, and it is going to change everything. Wether or not you take advantage of it is up to you, but the future is not going to wait for you to wake up and catch up.


The Friction-Free Bitcoin Economy

August 25th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

As the barriers to competition evaporate, the world is becoming Bitcoin’s oyster.

Guess who it is you’re fighting now? Everybody.

In his old book, The Road Ahead, Bill Gates wrote of “friction-free capitalism,” a type of marketplace that he argued will be ushered in by the spread of a technology like Bitcoin. This is like heralding the Net as a harbinger of instantaneous transaction while dispensing with hard cash and the credit card. Forget the Banks — we already inhabit what has become a remarkably low-friction internet economy. That’s why today’s marketplace feels so competitive. And it’s why some businesses are prospering beyond all expectation while others are wondering who changed the rules of the game.

Economic friction is everything that keeps markets from working according to the textbook model of perfect competition: Distance. Cost. Restrictive regulations. Imperfect information. In high-friction markets, customers don’t have many suppliers to choose among, or are restricted to suppliers hampered by regulation. Owning a factory — or a store with a good location — counts for a lot. It’s hard for new competitors to get into the game. The marketplace moves slowly and predictably. Low-friction markets, as are found on the internet, are just the reverse. New competitors crop up all over, and customers are quick to respond. The marketplace is anything but predictable. Bitcoin exacerbates these effects exponentially, because it removes barriers to securely collecting money from customers.

The single most significant change in the economy over the past 36 years has been a wholesale reduction in friction, affecting nearly every industry. Some of the factors are obvious: increased air travel, overnight delivery, credit cards, cellphones, the internet. They put faraway companies on a competitive par with local ones; they enable Lands’ End, Amazon and a hundred other mail-order houses, for example, to match the convenience and price of a neighbourhood store. Other factors are less visible but no less important: Deregulation opened up many industries; local truckers, for instance, may face competitors from half a world away. The growth of high-risk, high-return capital markets has transformed other fields. Today a local Bitcoin entrepreneur must worry about the entrepreneur in Kiev showing up two clicks away in her browser.

Sure, the Internet will grease the market’s machinery still further. But friction is declining every day anyway. Banks face new competition not just from the occasional startup fiat money site (like Linden Dollars) but from distant competitors using Bitcoin technology. Entrepreneurs in Kansas or New York, according to the Wall Street Journal, must now compete with entrepreneurs from Bangalore and China, whose Bitcoin services are only a click away.

There’s little need to elaborate on the threat posed by a low-friction economy; it means more competition, often from unexpected parts. The opportunity is pretty plain as well. In principle, at least, the world is any small company’s oyster. Bitcoin services selling in Dallas can be offered in Dakar or Bangladesh with zero extra time and expense. The thing is, the rules of a low-friction marketplace are different. And if you’re not playing by the right rules, you’re out of the game before it starts.

Rule Number One is merely a caution: Don’t expand blindly. The fact that you can open up a plethora of locations or launch a public relations operation or even integrate into the mainstream banking system doesn’t mean that you should. After all, everybody else can do the same, or something new and disruptive that will outmanoeuvre you. You may be able to peddle your products or services in Minneapolis or Brooklyn, but nobody has to buy them. Having 100,000 outlets is meaningless when it comes to being outflanked by a more nimble competitor.

Rule Number Two: Offer a distinctive something to your customer. This seemingly trite piece of advice is more revolutionary than it sounds. Your job is to take care of the customer — to deliver good value. All the business gurus harp on that one theme, albeit in many variations: Quality. Service. A fair price. In a low-friction marketplace, however — particularly if you’re expanding — the old nostrums are nowhere near sufficient. You have to have something that sets you apart from all the other suppliers offering quality, simplicity, service and a fair price. What should the something be? In the internet age, the company that provides the best privacy and usability wins, especially with Bitcoin.

There’s a hidden secret of the low-friction marketplace, which I’ll call Rule Number Three: What you sell doesn’t need to be a unique product or service. It can simply be the ability to do something better than anybody else. If that puzzles you, think of Google. None of Google’s strategies — search, webmail, storage — is exactly a secret. Indeed, most of the big search engines have at one point or another tried to be Google, only to discover they can’t. They just don’t know how to do what Google does and still make money at it.

You can be a lot smaller than Google and still do things that leave most competitors baffled. New, agile Bitcoin Businesses, will learn how to guarantee, for example, the delivery of Bitcoin in 30 minutes, without fuss or privacy issues. You think people wouldn’t welcome that capability? There will be many market players entering the Bitcoin space who will offer friction free services that will be a no brainer when you compare them to the stifling complexity and Orwellian surveillance state features of other services.

We get dazzled these days by glossy visions of information superhighways and electronic bazaars fuelled by Bitcoin. No doubt we’ll all have to deal with the commerce of Bitcoin sooner or later. Meanwhile, the friction-free economy is already here. The entrepreneurs who recognise what it means are the entrepreneurs who are going to prosper.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/19960601/1690.html


Examining the new site ToS;DR ‘Terms of Service; Didn’t Read’

August 14th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

There is a very exiting new service online called ToS;DR ‘Terms of Service; Didn’t Read’. With it, companies offering services over the web have their TOS pages parsed and line items rated.

Here is an example of some of their rated services:

GitHub Class B
↑ Changes can happen any time, even without notice
↓ Your personal information is used for limited purposes
→ GitHub requires cookies
→ Choice of law: California
↑ Your account can be suspended and your data deleted any time for any reason
↓ You don’t grant any copyright license to github
↑ You must provide your legal name
↑ You shall defend and indemnify GitHub
↓ GitHub will notifiy you before transfering your information in event of merger or acquisition
↓ Transparent security practices

Delicious Class D
↑ Only for personal and non-commercial use
x No Right to leave the service
↑ Your content can be exploited
↑ Non-transparent use of cookies and third party ads
↑ Your personal information are an asset for business transfers
↑ Third Parties

Twitpic Class E
↑ Reduction of legal period for cause of action
↑ Your content is for Twitpic and their partners
x Deleted images are not really deleted
→ Jurisdiction in Delaware
↑ You indemnify Twitpic from any claim related to your content
x Twitpic takes credit for your content

Those familiar with Libertarianism and BLOGDIAL can guess what we are going to say about this.

First of all, the people who run this service do not know what rights are. In the Delicious entry for example, they say that users have ‘No Right to leave the service’. There is no such thing as a ‘right to leave a service'; you may have have the power to leave a service and to stop using it, but not a ‘right’.

The promises made to you under contract on a website are a private matter of contract between you and the people or company that owns that site. If they give you the power to delete your account, that is a good thing, but you have no right to other people’s property, and no right to force them to offer you a service on any particular terms.

The difference between a right and a power is an extremely important one because (separate from mistaking a right for a power being entirely wrong) when you assert that someone has a right to something, the next step is that the violent State is called in to force people to do what they would rather not do, like force websites to offer an opt out on cookies.

Lets go through these bad entries one by one:

Github:

“Changes can happen at any time, even without notice”
Github is a privately owned website. The people who run it have the absolute right to change anything at any time. If you do not like it, do not use it and go and create your own web service based on Git.

GitHub is not lying to its users. It tells you in advance what it is going to do with the data you store there. They are completely free of evil in this respect. They are responding to the needs of their users at a very high standard. This is why they are hugely popular, and why they come to the attention of people who want to attack them.

You must provide your legal name
I absolutely loathe sites that require your legal name. I closed our account at Quora and deleted all of our thoughtful answers there because Quora admin demanded that we use real names and not the user name ‘Irdial’. Nevertheless, the position on this is clear; Quora owns their servers and service, and I have no right to demand anything from them. It is up to me to either change my user name or quit the service. The same goes for GitHub. If you do not like their ‘Real Names’ policy, do not use GitHub.

You shall defend and indemnify GitHub
Once again, if you do not want to defend and indemnify GitHub, do not use their service. Also, try and think about it from their point of view; if some user ‘steals’ source from somewhere and posts it on GitHub, this exposes the owners of the service to the possibility of an infringement lawsuit and crippling damages. In order to protect themselves from this, they need to add this language to protect themselves from stupid or malicious users. This is perfectly reasonable and logical, and is in no way an attack on GitHub users.

Conclusion
There is nothing in the GitHub TOS that is unreasonable. They are open about what they are doing, and provide an extremely useful service that you do not even have to own an account on to be able to pull some source. They, as the property owners of the service, can operate it under any terms that they like.

Delicious:

Only for personal and non-commercial use
Non commercial use restrictions make perfect sense; they have to find a way to monetize the service. If you don’t like it, store your bookmarks elsewhere, like in your browser.

No Right to leave the service
There is no such thing as a ‘right to leave the service’, and if you delete all of your entries, that is the same as leaving, and you can do that. Once again, use the word ‘rights’ correctly and understand property rights. Every item where this fallacious ‘Right to leave the service’ is listed as a defect in a TOS, ToS;DR is in grave error.

Your content can be exploited
What does ‘exploited’ mean? This service is out to make a profit. If you are socialist, and do not believe that people or companies should make a profit, that’s fine, but you cannot force other people to live by your standards or contract under terms that are not acceptable to them, and it is dishonest to condemn or vote a site’s TOS down due to this. And again, if they tell you in advance that they are going to use your bookmarks to make money, you can choose not to use their site and service. Some people take this bargain and accept it as the price of using the service. There is nothing inherently wrong in this.

Non-transparent use of cookies and third party ads
The browser running on your computer can be set to refuse cookies. It is up to you to make this setting, and to refuse to accept cookies from sites. You do not need the State or anyone to hold your hand like a child, and if you do, that is your problem, not the problem of Delicious. Caution must be the default on the web.

Your personal information are an asset for business transfers
Once again, business as a practice is not in and of itself unethical, and if you believe so, that is a personal prejudice that you should keep to yourself, if you want to remain objective. Business is not harmful!

Third Parties
With tea and cake presumably.

Twitpic:

Reduction of legal period for cause of action
Twitpic needs to do this to protect themselves from Ambulance Chasers and hostile collectivist users who like Class Action Lawsuits. If they do not have this clause, the service will be attacked for sure. There is no standard legal period for a cause of action, and in jurisdictions where there is, there should not be. Its up to you to either accept or reject these terms.

Your content is for Twitpic and their partners
They need to find a way to monetize the content on their service, otherwise it will cease to exist. This is entirely reasonable, and you have advance warning that they are going to do this.

Deleted images are not really deleted
Once you upload your pics to their service, they can do with them what they like under the terms of service. It they are lying about deleting photos, this is fraud, and they should not do that. This is a correctly flagged item, of the kind this site should focus on.

You indemnify Twitpic from any claim related to your content
Same as for Delicious. Content in a copyright world can be a hostile trojan horse, and they need to protect themselves. If you really want to make these clauses redundant, advocate for the end of the State.

Twitpic takes credit for your content
If you give your content to Twitpic under terms that say they will own your pics after you upload them, this is an explicit contract. IF they do so without telling you explicitly they are going to do this, once again, this is fraud, or ‘passing off'; its illegal and immoral. Once again, this is a true example of a correctly flagged flaw.

This is a great idea for a service clarifying and distilling TOSes for the masses, but there are some problems with the thinking behind the categorisations and descriptions of the problems described in each TOS where a fault is found.

Some faults are not faults at all, but simply terms of service designed to protect the service owners, and others are actual flaws. A clear set of ethical standards needs to be applied to each TOS, one that is free of bias.

It would be interesting to write a plugin that flags up TOS flaws or changes on every site you visit, so that as you surf the web, you are alerted to potential offences against your sensibilities.

On sites where you already have an account, where the TOS has changed, you could be alerted that this has happened for you to review. Im sure someone has already though about this.

If these people want to really help both users and the sites they visit, they need to think hard about their assumptions on the basic parts of this idea; who owns websites, what are rights, what obligations do sites have to users of their services? All of the answers to this can be found in ‘For a New Liberty‘ which spells out very clearly in simple language, everything you need to know when writing your TOS.


Sit down and shut up!

August 13th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Jon Matonis has another great article up at Forbes which replies to Fred Wilson the venture capitalist and principal of Union Square Ventures question about Bitcoin.

Below is the text of our comment on this post, spurred on by a man asking people to essentially “sit down and shut up with the Anarchism jive”.

Before I copypasta, something interesting related to this has just happened. Australian-based trading firm @SpendBitcoins has decided to pull out of the U.S. market, citing “regulatory obstacles”:

https://spendbitcoins.zendesk.com/entries/21806042-spend-bitcoins-out-of-the-us-market

Just what those obstacles are are not specified; in fact, there are no regulations or laws covering Bitcoin buying selling or transferring anywhere in the world. Bitcoin is unregulated, free of legal constraints and its up to the people who use it to do what they want with it on whatever terms they see fit.

That being said, if there were regulations controlling Bitcoin, we can see by this abandonment of the US market exactly what the effect of regulation would be.

Entrepreneurs would not be able to enter the market and compete, thanks to artificial barriers to entry. This is great for early entrants, who also happen to be the advocates for regulation. This is called ‘Crony Capitalism‘; where businessmen use the violence of the State to keep competition out and entrench their positions so that they are unassailable.

Bitcoin is going to be a different case when it comes to the Crony Capitalists and their plans to dominate the market by the force of the State. Because it lives on the internet, and is essentially a new hybrid between pure information, money and a certificate of ownership, the dynamics of the internet and telecoms, specifically Warez (MP3s Torrents), Instant Messaging, SMS and email are going to come into play.

When we look at all of these unregulated services, it is clear that Bitcoin will be absolutely unstoppable, and the Crony Capitalists will not be able to dominate because each computer and mobile phone on Earth will act as an input and output point, circumnavigating them. They will be as Apple’s iTunes DRM files are to the pirate music scene; large in number and market penetration, but dwarfed by the total amount of transacting going on world-wide. For certain, this State sanctioned walled garden Bitcoin world is a goal of such massive proportions that any business man would kill to be the owner of it. What I am saying is that it is not ethical to use the State to get to that position of domination.

Bitcoin will see regulation as damage and it will route around it.

In the end, only the inured 5% will move their Bitcoin in systems that are expensive and regulated, whilst the rest of the world will live and profit in a Bitcoin ecosystem that is pro-human, unregulated, open and free.

That is the scenario where the pro-regulation camp ‘wins’.

And now, on to the reply:

*******

First of all, Bitcoin is not money. If you receive it in exchange for goods and services, it is more like an intangible barter instrument rather than money. Since it is intangible, you can argue successfully that you have received nothing in exchange for your work. It is therefore not possible to be taxed on income when you have taken Bitcoin (nothing) in exchange for your work, any more than you can be taxed for receiving the telling of a story or a concert of music, or a soft whisper in your ear in exchange for your labor.

This is obviously different to receiving physical precious metals issued by the State in exchange for your work, and yet, we can look to a recent case that went to court on this very act for insights in to how Bitcoin might be treated if people were to be paid in it.

In the Kahre tax case, a company paid its workers in US Government issued gold and silver coins. Since the face value of these coins is one thousand times less than the Federal Reserve Note value (in the case of gold), all the wages of the workers at that company fell beneath the reporting and taxation thresholds. They were taken to court by the State on multiple counts of tax evasion and other ‘financial crimes’, and won:

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/10/366287.shtml

In the light of this, it would be hard to argue that wages paid in Bitcoin were more taxable than silver and gold dollars issued by the United States Mint, when the State does not even recognise Bitcoin as money in the first place.

While we are at it, it might be possible to bring a case for tax evasion on gold and silver coins paid as wages by valuing them at the spot price on the day the wages were paid, but this is not how Federal money works; the face value of the money paid in wages is the value for reporting. That is why they won.

Do you see what they did there?

Then there is the matter of who owns Bitcoin as a system and the perception of it. The developers of services that run on Bitcoin do not own the Bitcoin system and are not responsible for what other people say about it or do with it. There is no pecking order that puts developers and their opinions above the opinions of the users of Bitcoin.

Some people believe in tight integration with the state, through licensing, registration, ‘compliance’ and other forms of disgusting, degrading destructive, irrational and anti-human regulation. Others believe that Bitcoin users and service owners would be better served by the ecosystem growing as the internet did; organically and exponentially, without regulation or interference from the computer illiterate luddites of the State poking their noses into other people’s private business.

To say that linking Bitcoin with tax evasion is, “not helpful”, implies that there is a central aim to Bitcoin that everyone must be on board with. Helpful to whom exactly? If someone’s aim in developing Bitcoin and promoting it is to defund the State, then promoting Bitcoin as a way to prevent having your money stolen by the State is an extremely helpful thing. Everyone should promote Bitcoin to their constituencies and not concern themselves with what other people are thinking or are doing. Of course, the flaw in this logic is abundantly clear when you consider that the State will not let people who do not conform to its ideas live in peace. But that is another story.

Jon’s pieces in Forbes, are the best pieces of writing on Bitcoin to date. They are compact, crystal clear, factual and informative, without being bombastic or overtly skewed to a political philosophy. Reading between the lines, I sense a pure Rothbardian hatred of the State, but that is probably just me projecting my own philosophy on his words.

Bitcoin changes everything. All of your assumptions about money, how it is moved, what it is and is not are blown to pieces by it. Rather than trying to squeeze Bitcoin into a Procrustean Bed, it is better to embrace it on its own terms and build services that work on those terms, and not on the assumptions and qualities of physical money or the demands of the State. Its analogous to designing a surf board to surf waves, or an aircraft to fly. What you would prefer these things to look like is of secondary importance to aero and hydrodynamics. The aim of a surfboard is to allow you to shoot the tube at Teahupoo and live. The aim of Concorde is to get you to London from New York in three hours instead of six. Bitcoin is designed to destroy the State. It is designed to destroy Western Union. It is designed to wipe out the banks. This mission is implicit in its architecture and design.

Accepting Bitcoin for what it is, on its terms, will enable you to build better, revolutionary and disruptive services that better serve people. You wil be able to identify these services by how close they bring you to the core of the service. The most innovative services will balance and blur the distance to the ‘raw network’ and the user experience. This is the sort of Bitcoin entrepreneurialism that we are going to eventually see, and it will not come from people who are trying to build a new kind of Bank.

[...]

In reply on Google +


Attention statists: You lost. Give up. Start learning.

July 13th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

This is just too good not to share:

[...]

I can’t believe that I still have friends who still accept the state as either legitimate or necessary. Statism, or the religion of government, is the belief that a coercive government is necessary for social order and is a legitimate institution.

I’ll put this challenge out there: if you are a statist, get your smartest statist friends, get your political science professor and your [insert non-austrian school of economics] professor together, in one place and i’ll debate all of you, at once, and I will guarantee my own victory. How can I make such a statement? two things:

  1. You can’t justify the rule of one man over another.
  2. You can’t overcome the calculation problem.

There; I just beat you. Both philosophically and practically (they’re both tied together, really), I just showed that the state can’t work and is unjustifiable, even if it could.

  1. Now, from now on, I don’t want to hear about how i’m stupid because, obviously, without government,
  2. Who’s gonna build the roads, dummy?
  3. You’ve gotta have some kind of defense from terrorists and invasions!
  4. Oh, you don’t want there to be schools (as your drool gets all over the irony)?
  5. You want warlords, feudalism, etc. to take over?
  6. Etcetera.

Look, those questions aren’t even good questions. they’re crap you thought of right off the top of your head in less than 5 seconds. do you really think that in the hundreds of thousands of pages of scholarship on the subject, we haven’t considered that stuff? when I mentioned the calculation problem above, you didn’t even know what I was talking about (admit it), but you thought of something we haven’t thought of after thinking about it for zero seconds? get a clue.

This post is for the hard cases: folks who just won’t let go of the love of violence against peaceful people. I could go on and on about why government (in the common usage) can’t work and is unjustifiable (and I do), far beyond the two simple points above, but really, they’re all you need to know.

So, from this point forward, you should know to ask questions and get educated about market anarchism. I’m happy to help you understand things as best I can, or you could use the wealth of information available on the internet. If you have an objection, instead of letting me know you’re a moron by spouting off some condescending yet ignorant bullshit to me, try that website called www.google.com to find the answer. I know it isn’t something that will come overnight. People need time to overcome the decades of indoctrination they’ve endured. It’s ok to start from scratch. We all had to. If you’re too lazy or don’t care to learn (there’s nothing wrong with that), then please, for the sake of the rest of us, assume i’m right and forget all your statist ideas and opinions.

I often say that there are three kinds of people: libertarians, the ignorant, and the evil. You are in one of those categories. There’s nothing wrong with being in two of those categories, but if you’re in that third one, maybe you should take a long look at yourself.

The battle was over long ago. Statism lost. now it’s time to start understanding why. I am at your service.

From http://the-empyre.com/?p=384

… AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!


2022: Bed blockers ‘put Obama Care in danger of collapse’

July 12th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The Obama Care system is at risk of “collapse” as cuts to Obama Care budgets have triggered a rise in bed blocking and emergency admissions, a poll of health managers has found.

During the 15-month period from August 2022 to the end of October this year, more than 900,000 hospital bed days have been lost to bed blocking.

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor

Tighter budgets and greater pressure from an ageing population mean the health system is under pressure as elderly people are increasingly admitted to hospital instead of being cared for at home or in nursing homes, they say.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the Obama Care Confederation which represents the majority of health service organisations, was speaking ahead of the publication of the Obama Care white paper due tomorrow.

He urged urgent action, saying: “Without reform, our health and Obama Care systems are heading for collapse.

“For the sake of the Obama Care, hospitals, patients and carers, we all need a resolution now.

“The public need open and honest information about what costs in the future will be covered by the state and what costs will be covered by individuals.”

He said the Obama Care system was ‘broken’ and must be mended.

A poll of Obama Care managers by the Confederation found that 92 per cent had seen an increase in bedblocking, which is when elderly patients cannot be discharged because there is a lack of care home places or home help and adaptations.

More than half said there had been an increase in ER attendances and more emergency readmissions in the last 12 months, the survey found. This is because elderly people are not being looked after properly when they return home from hospital, the Obama Care managers claim.

Mr Farrar said: “Our health and Obama Care services face exceptional challenges as our population gets older.

“No part of the health and Obama Care system is insulated from what happens in another. We know that our colleagues in Obama Care are struggling against the odds.

“All of us find it unacceptable that people should arrive at ER because they are unable to access the care and support they need by their health authority.

“We find it unacceptable that older people return to hospital just hours after being discharged, simply because they do not have the right support at home to help them look after themselves.

“Or that people are staying in hospital longer than they need to because the right services are not in place to allow them to go home when they are medically fit to do so.

“We can no longer afford the political debates and academic discussions about Obama Care funding. This is a real issue that is having a detrimental impact on people’s lives, now, today. This is the time for action.”

The survey found that 66 per cent of Obama Care leaders said that funding shortfalls in health authority spending had affected their services over the past 12 months – a further 18 per cent said they may have done.

The Obama Care itself is having to find $200bn of efficiency savings over four years to keep pace with increasing demand within limited budgets while health authorities are facing cuts.

Of those who felt there had been an impact from the funding shortfalls:

Meanwhile a report from the Department of Economics at the Harvard Personal Social Services Research Unit found $625m of taxpayers’ money could be saved if more stairlifts and handrails were installed in people’s homes allowing them to stay independent for longer.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9389092/Bed-blockers-put-NHS-in-danger-of-collapse.html


McDonalds Money: the solution to the banking and monetary crisis

July 12th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

It seems that another crack in the dam has appeared:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/thoore-scandalous-than-libor/

How long can it be before it cracks all the way and the whole creaking edifice bursts and the pressure is relieved?

Bad stuff is what happens when the state is involved in the production of money and the regulation of banking. Banking is no different to flipping and selling hamburgers; money is a commodity just like any other. The state should regulate neither banking nor burgers. If McDonalds was in the business of manufacturing money, there would be standardized, reliable, consistent money, redeemable everywhere on every high street, at a stable price.

As revolting an idea as this sounds at first, being people who know a little about good food:

it makes perfect sense. The McDonalds consistency ethic superimposed on the manufacture of money, free of regulation, would solve all the problems of unsound money.

Selgin outlines the foundation of this:

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Money-Birmingham-Beginnings-1775-1821/dp/0472116312

if you superimpose the Birmingham button maker money from the 1700s with McDonalds and modern computers, how this would work becomes instantly clear.


Dystopian Pingit from Barclays cannot win

May 23rd, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The Financial Services Club Blog has an interesting piece on Barclays Pingit:

http://thefinanser.co.uk/fsclub/2012/05/case-study-barclays-pingit-for-consumers-and-corporates.html

Pingit is the new service from Barclays that runs on iPhones and Android. In order to use it, you need to be a Barclays customer.

Barclays Pingit is growing fast. They have over seven hundred thousand users. They are using the PayPal “recipient becomes a user” as a way to spread the service. This is a fascinating trend, and they probably have so many initial users because they were able to target existing account holders directly in the branch or through the post or other points of contact to offer them their new free app.

Pingit is very interesting for anyone interested in Bitcoin, banking and liberty, for several reasons, and it is a bad product for anyone interested in the future of money transfers over devices that is beneficial to the users. Look at the onerous and invasive sign up procedure you have to go through to use Pingit, and you get a taste of what that service is all about; arbitrary controls and restriction:

As a non-Barclays customer you have to go through a very complex account verification process that involves not only a PayPal like penny drop into your current account with a reference number that you need to enter; but this is followed by a letter to your house via snail mail with another verification number.

More on this in detail below. None of this ‘account verification’ has anything to do with the utility of the product, how it works, its security or anything else. If Barclays did not have to do this, Pingit would be on the phones of seventy million people, not seven hundred thousand. And this is a very good thing, because once a service becomes entrenched it will be hard to displace it.

Or maybe not.

Everything has changed in the internet mediated world. Pingint might have seven hundred thousand users today, but there is nothing to stop another app developer creating a product that sits four millimetres adjacent to it on your iPhone’s home screen that does a better job without any nasty restrictions or requirements.

Pingit users could then move their money into that app and then never open Pingit again. Think of it as similar to MySpace users migrating to Facebook, and of course, all the people who are un-banked and who do not live in the UK are also on the same internet with the same mobile phones that Pingit users are on. The market for these users is bigger than the population of the entire UK. On this basis alone it is clear that Pingit will eventually reach an upper limit that is a subset of the UK population. The field is wide open to disrupt and capture the money on mobiles market, and the winner will not be Barclays Bank.

Imagine the following scenarios. Barclays doesn’t like what you are doing on your mobile phone. They can unilaterally or by order of the State, freeze your account and disable your Pingit access. They have total surveillance of every transaction you make, on both ends, to whom, when and from whom. Their 4,123 word long terms and conditions include the following arbitrary restrictions:

  • You need to be 16 or older to use Pingit.
  • You can send £1 or more but not less than £1.
  • You must have a UK current account.
  • You must give them your UK mobile number.
  • Pingit can reverse payments at any time.
  • There is a maximum daily limit of £300 for payments.
  • The payment can be made only once the Payee has registered for the service.
  • There is a maximum daily limit of £5,000 for all payments received through Pingit. Barclays will refuse to process a payment if it exceeds the arbitrary limit.
  • Barclays places arbitrary restrictions and limits on how you use your Pingit account.
  • Users may not be able to install or use the app on a jail-broken or rooted device.
  • You may not attempt to derive income from the use or provision of the service, whether for direct commercial or monetary gain or otherwise.
  • Pingit can refuse to process a payment if they believe that you have not met any of the conditions.
  • You must authorise Pingit to display the full name of the account and your mobile number to the payer when they input your mobile number into the app.
  • Depending on the information you provide when registering, Barclays may require you to complete registration at a Barclays branch or to provide us with further information before you can use Pingit.

Arbitrary, absurd, completely ridiculous and even astonishing.

These terms and conditions, and this is only a cherry picked selection of them, are unacceptable to all decent people with an intact moral centre, and none of them are needed for Pingit to work if it had been designed properly; they are made to surveil the user and to be compliant. People in other countries or of no country at all will not be bound by these arbitrary, anti human, anti market restrictions, and when an entrepreneur launches a rival e-money app, they will eviscerate Pingit and all other competitors that are spawned by banks.

This might be the reason why Blockchain.info’s Bitcoin app was removed from the iTunes store after having been approved. It is exactly the sort of app that is an existential threat to Pingit and products like it. Both Pingit and Blockchain.info’s apps are free, so there is no friction there. One surveils you and you cannot use it ‘out of the box’ upon download. The other works as soon as you run it and does not surveil you. Bitcoin allows you to send and receive very small fractions of Bitcoin. The arbitrary one pound limit, apart from being denominated in fiat Sterling, means that the world of micro-payments is forever shut off from Pingit. It is a major flaw. Blockchain.info’s app wins over Pingit.

Blockchain.info’s app and service has no KYC restrictions, no fees and no ability to arbitrarily shutdown your account. It is a friction free service. It has no default surveillance, and you do not need to identify yourself in order to use it. There are no limits to the amount of money you store on it. It is international, ‘instant on’ and interoperable with a plethora of different services. By any measure Bitcoin running in Blockchain.info’s app is infinitely superior to Pingit.

On top of all this, Pingit only allows you to send Sterling back and forth. This means that the money you use in Pingit is deflating, losing purchasing power on a monthly basis, by design. Quite apart from the fact that you cannot use this ‘money’ anywhere else but in the UK, the inflation tax is another reason why people will opt for Bitcoin rather than Pingit when the two apps are installed side by side on their phones.

This has implications for Apple also. If they continue to refuse to allow Blockchain.info’s app to be given away for free on iTunes, people will turn to Android phones where they will be able to run the apps that they need without any fear of arbitrary shut down. Imagine that you have 50BTC on your iPhone and you run iTunes to update your apps. Apple, because they have disallowed Blockchain.info’s app, prevents you from getting updated versions, and if you need to download it again, you cant. This is an unacceptable risk, quite apart from being insulting and anti consumer. Its clear that Android phones are the future when it comes to e-money provided by third parties, because Apple cannot be trusted to allow you to use your device for what you need it for. Add to the mix the rumours that Apple is working on iWallet, and you get a sense of what Apple’s motivations might be in removing Blockchain.info’s app. They don’t want any competition… CAPISH?

Barclay’s Pingit service is interesting because it means that money on mobiles is going to happen in a big way. Now it is a matter of who has the best product that will fit into the space, avoiding the bear traps like iTunes, the attacks from the banks (shutting down the accounts of Bitcoin businesses), the technical difficulties and the State.

On top of this, and perhaps the biggest barrier of all for Bitcoin, is the PR problem; getting the public to understand what Bitcoin is, how it works and why it is superior to services like Pingit. In order to make this happen, the merchants are the first line of attack. Bitcoin, if it is accepted in many places will trigger installation of the clients on phones, and a spread of the ecosystem. Blockchain.info’s app is potentially, a key piece of this puzzle.

It should now be clear to anyone with an interest in this that regulation and registration of Bitcoin services will not help adoption. If this is a race between services, clearly Bitcoin has the advantage and the better potential to go viral far more than Pingit or MintChip or any of these broken by design bank offerings.

In order for the chain reaction to happen, nothing must stop the flow of money in the system. Registration and regulation are carbon rods in the pile. What is needed is a runaway chain reaction so that the Bitcoin is spread everywhere, into every device in every pocket. Tying down Bitcoin into jurisdictional boxes, hampering it with onerous regulations, KYC and other arbitrary nonsense will allow Pingit and other services to mature, spread and solidify. Once again, this does not mean that their dominance will be permanent, it will simply mean that for a time, the market is broken and people are hurt. It would be far better for humanity if Bitcoin wins without going through a stage of broken e-money, and there is no reason why this should not happen.

Pingit cannot win. By popularising e-money on mobile phones, they are educating the users about money on mobiles. Once this information is spread everywhere, a new challenger can arrive and wipe them out in a matter of months, and there will be nothing they can do to stop it.


Bitcoin and the State: Asking permission to be free

May 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Should people who want to see the widespread and rapid adoption of Bitcoin seek tight regulation and integration with the State, or should they rely only on their skills as developers, marketers and entrepreneurs to create the rock solid, reliable and trustworthy products that people will use in their millions, like the other well known internet companies that have changed the way we do things?

*****

A Bitcoin innovator has just applied for and received a registry entry from the US Federal Government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network:

http://www.fincen.gov/financial_institutions/msb/msbstateselector.html

on that linked page you can read the following statement clarifying FinCEN’s position on each entry they list:

“The inclusion of a business on the MSB Registration Web site is not a recommendation, certification of legitimacy, or endorsement of the business by any government agency.”

This disclaimer appears on the certificate as the first paragraph, in large letters. The certificate also says that, “FinCEN does not verify information submitted by the MSB. Information provided on this site reflects only what was provided directly to FinCEN”. Read the rest of this entry »


TransferWise: limited, lacklustre and locked in to the State

May 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

TransferWise may or not be the next big thing, but as far as I can see their appeal is limited both in terms of who needs it, can use it, and the time it will take for them to be completely outflanked by superior services.

The VentureBeat press release:

http://venturebeat.com/2012/04/18/transferwise-undercuts-the-banks-with-crowdsourced-currency-exchange/

says “Banking is broken”; this is true, but what is needed to replace it is not ‘the AOL of banking transfers'; what is required is the open Internet of banking transfers, and that means Bitcoin.

Back before the internet permeated every home, AOL was the main way millions got online and used email. It was the consumer method of getting online. Anyone who knew anything about how the net really worked understood that AOL was garbage, and not the true internet. Similarly, anyone who had a friend that needed to get their contacts list out of AOL Messenger knew what a jail and walled garden it was. TransferWise is the AOL of money transfers. and I predict that it will end up just like AOL, even if it becomes massively popular for a short time.

TransferWise suffers from several problems. First, it is under complete control of the State. Look at its boast of full integration with the UK regulatory bodies. This means that all transactions are subject to complete surveillance and control.  Read the rest of this entry »


The heat is slowly building up against the Canadian Royal Mint’s Mint Chip

May 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Mint Chip, the Canadian Royal Mint’s attempt to enter the digital money market, is doomed to fail. It is being thoroughly attacked from all sides, the technical, the philosophical and economic.

Via a post on Slashdot, we are reminded of Bruce Schneier’s warning signs of Snake Oil, which the Mint Chip suffers from.

What is ‘Snake Oil’ I hear you ask? In cryptography, snake oil is a term used to describe commercial cryptographic methods and products which are considered bogus or fraudulent. The name derives from snake oil, one type of patent medicine widely available in 19th century United States.

There are several parts of Mint Chip that cause even those with a casual interest in cryptography to smell snake oil. Read the rest of this entry »


Unethical collectivist fail on steroids in the Grauniad

May 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Peter Beresford keeps referring to the ever elusive, imaginary ‘we’ in his piece, which is a typical Grauniad screed against liberty and the spirit of man.

There is no ‘we’. Man is an individual, he is not the same as a cell in algae, or a telepathic race of aliens who share consciousness. Beresford and his ilk have no right to co-opt people into his sick collective by force. His position is nothing less than advocating slavery.

The so called overclass is able to be an overclass because people Beresford cannot think. They cannot use reason to find the true nature of anything outside themselves, and even of themselves. They cannot understand economics, which includes the true nature of money. If they could, the superclass would not cease to exist, but instead, would be proportionally and symbiotically buffered by the billions of consumers all asserting their natural rights equally.

Ideas like this, to the economic illiterates and the people who do not know what rights are, are simply incomprehensible. They do not have the knowledge or language to understand these ideas, and make no mistake, this lack of comprehension has been deliberately nurtured by government schools. This brainwashing is used to keep people in their place; what is so appalling is that the truth of how everything really works is there and has always been there for the taking in libraries and now on the internet at near zero cost. Read the rest of this entry »


Bitcoin is voluntarist, not socialist

May 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

The idea of socialism is diametrically opposed to the core philosophy of a voluntary peer to peer system like Bitcoin. Peer to peer systems dis-intermediate the transfer of information and eliminate the need for an arbitrary governing authority or service provider. Bitcoin, like maths, has no philosophy and is neutral.

*****

Socialism’s basic premiss is that ‘property is theft’, and that all property, goods and services should be collectively owned for the benefit of all people in a coercive State with no opt out. Under a socialist system of forced organization, individuals do not have free use of their inherent rights, which are violently suppressed.

This is an inherently immoral proposition, where one group of people inevitably coalesce into an illegitimate ruling class to control and administer other people ‘for their own good'; the good of the collective. Even if this aggregation of power were not the case, no man or group of men has the right to force another man to relinquish his property.

Libertarians understand that there is no such thing as ‘the rights of the collective’ and that only a living individual human has rights. Chief amongst these rights, the ‘root right’, is the right of property. Read the rest of this entry »


The confusion over the nature of corporations

May 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

There is a great deal of deeply seated confusion about corporations, their origins and true purpose. People who are intelligent and well read in the field of the philosophy of liberty sometimes fall short when it comes to understanding what a corporation is, why people use them and what the true nature of them are. On the one hand, they are for voluntary association, and yet on the other, they rail against corporations. This is illogical.

As it is with anything complex, clear thinking is needed when you try to think about corporations. Lets begin by taking apart the myth that they exist as creatures of the State.

There is no reason that in a free society without a State that a group of people cannot band together to work on a project under rules that they select for themselves. They pool their risk, and (for example) decide that they do not want to put all their capital on the line should something go wrong and face a court, however founded, deciding that they are liable. Read the rest of this entry »


Using the proliferation of cameras to identify provocateurs

May 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

From BLOGDIAL, “The answer comes before the question” January 13th, 2009

http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=1517

[...]

Imagine this scenario. Someone somewhere sets up a Web 2.0 site that features photos of bad police and other officials, or those mysterious agent provocateurs that have been plaguing the useless demonstrations around the world. Imagine that the software behind this site (which could be connected to iPhoto 09) identifies all the bad people and exposes them to the public, nullifying all acts of political infiltration over night. Anyone setting up any sort of anti-state gathering or demonstration or action could, with a gauntlet of workers armed with iphones, vet every demonstrator as they turned up to weed out all the infiltrators, collaborators and provocateurs.

I guarantee you that this will happen, and not only that, but that someone is going to put into a copy of iPhoto 09, a huge archive of photos from demonstrations and political meetings going back decades to pick out the bad guys.

This explosion and convergence of technologies is a double edged sword, and since there are more of us than there are of them, it will be the case that all this technology and the networks that join them together will result in something totally unexpected; the tools may turn around and bite the state in the ass in an unexpected way. The very nature of networks says that this will happen; the population by virtue of its vast networked numbers can overpower any government in a scenario where the network is the power.

We are not powerless like the slaves in the Soviet Union were. We have fantastic tools, all of them free, right in our hands. Those tools, by the act of using them, change the game entirely, and the more the state pushes against the mass, the more dense and impenetrable it becomes.

This is a war that they cannot ever win.

[...]

Now look at the attached video, uploaded to YouTube by noshockdoc on Nov 11, 2011. Read the rest of this entry »


Why advocates for peace should support Ron Paul

May 17th, 2012 by Irdial 1DnwFLXczVZV8kLJbMYoheUrpqHesjxrSi

Take a look at this:

Stephan is a great thinker, but it seems that what he cannot do is empathise with other people.

While he is sipping coffee in his house in Canada, Hillary Clinton and Obama are at this moment concocting another lie / pretext to unleash mass murder on people, namely Iran:

http://politics.salon.com/2011/10/12/the_very_scary_iranian_terror_plot/singleton/

Canada, which he funds with his taxes by his own admission, will no doubt be a part of this criminal act.

Should Ron Paul become president before they are able to launch this mass murder, he will be able to prevent it.

For this reason alone, Ron Paul should be supported. Its all very well sitting in the safety of your own home in the empire, and paying taxes to support it, complaining that Ron Paul doesn’t want to dismantle the state, while your money is being used to kill Iranian children. Read the rest of this entry »