(Embedded assumption: Home Monitoring is all about surveillance. Using your smart phone to access your home. Through NSA and PRISM-susceptible networks, you and your kids will now be monitored in house, with your consent, and, talk about audacity, at your expense!)
The brilliance of Homeland Orwellian Preemptive Excision 3.0 is that it assumes Main Street will 'choose' the final implementation of uber-surveillance believing it protects their latchkey-offspring.
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PS: If you doubt the intent, I suggest you review the associated budget numbers.
... part 3 continues next month.
I've watched the tweetsters, blabsters and blogsters debate privacy for the last several months.
The invective against government-sponsored intelligence gathering is colourful, but not very helpful. Meanwhile, their opponents see every wish for anonymity as a sign of tax evasion, money laundering, terrorism or pornography.
But they won't be able to link that information to individual identities on their own any more.
Epidemiologists will love the enhanced profiling ability and patients will relish their absolute control over who peeks at their personal records.
continue to part 2 :
Felix Salmon's mainstream article for Reuters on Bitcoin pretends to be more thoughtful than most.
The rhetorical deception is subtle. He doesn't try to fool us with lies. He just leaves out the truth.
He doesn't mention that due to its already indispensable advantages when moving funds internationally, BTC can no longer disappear overnight. Even if an equally independent but improved digital currency emerged and seemed the more likely candidate for a new global standard, the transition would be orderly. People would have ample time to exit one and enter the other, likely with acquiescence and cooperation of both systems. There would be no more cost, probably significantly less, in making that transition than Forex currently charges for any routine currency exchange.
The article is rife with other sins of omission, deliberately under-representing bitcoin's most important elements.
It makes no mention of the well pre-planned divisibility of BTC into Satoshi(s), the established term for 0.00000001 BTC that exchanges and retail payment engines will eventually use, not BTC itself. In fact, the term Bitcoin will likely recede lexically or semantically to refer more to its underlying technical architecture, not the unit of currency.
Further, the length of time during which BTC will continue as the vehicle for large inter-currency exchanges and as an inflation-proof form of commodity-as-capital storage will be substantial, even after it cedes primacy to the Satoshi for smaller retail payments. Bitcoin itself will increasingly shoulder the longer term responsibilities of Gold and Silver, but with the added advantages of effortless divisibility and portability.
I do agree the history of commodity and stock bubbles suggests that BTC is likely to ease up, back up, and consolidate at various stages, but the monetarily savvy will patiently continue to participate until and unless an alternative not only appears, but matures.
Until then, the shrill voices of people like Mr. Salmon will try to distract us with their vested interests and frantic need to delay their own vulnerability.
Bitcoin users who started out around $11/BTC, dropped as low as $3-4, then climbed to where things are today, did so by thinking of the dollar as fluctuating, not BTC. That thinking will continue to allow a remarkable degree of calm amid the cries of purported 'bubble' and extremes.
Why don't otherwise competent financial analysts chart Bitcoin compared to earlier vanguard infrastructure technologies like silicone chips, microcomputers, operating systems, email, mobile telephones, and social media?
Instead, they persist in describing it as a single stock or commodity caught in a speculative bubble.
While bursting bubbles certainly appear in the price charts of individual companies providing services using various components of global infrastructure, do such bursting bubbles really appear in the growth of infrastructure itself?
Doesn't quantum-leap evolutionary significance occasionally produce sustainable parabolic exceptions? Might not the 'nothing goes up forever' mantra have its own exceptions?
I honestly don't know the answer; I only mean to decry the lack of inquiry into this possibility by professional commentators who seem not to ask whether 'bitcoin', (judicious use of lower-case 'b'), might be less a brand name and more an underlying standard that is soon to embed into a number of fundamental human transaction types.
I suspect bubbles are more likely to burst in specific 'speculative' applications of bitcoin (sic) infrastructure, not in the underlying technology itself.
For that reason, while ordinary investors should certainly treat individual 'Bitcoin' ventures with the same caution they would any other start-up or penny-stock investment, they should take a stake in the legitimate underlying 'bitcoin' infrastructure.
For about a year now, as a mental exercise, I have tried to think and, more importantly to feel in my gut, differently about my meager pension and bank savings.
I have never paid much attention to daily news reports about the fluctuating prices of stocks, or bonds, or mutual funds, or real estate, or commodities. I've never owned much of any of them except for a share in our house.
My miserably few savings are sitting at the bank, in simple cash, as an ordinary expense account.
What I began doing, however, in June 2011, is to 'virtually' track the value of that bit of cash as if I had cleverly converted it into gold and bitcoin back then, in June 2011.
As the months creep by, I've been intrigued to notice that my wee bit of capital, had I allowed it to simply stagnate as inert gold and electronic bitcoin, would now be worth quite a few more dollars.
Conversely, my little pool of hard earned cash, even including accumulated interest, could not possibly buy the amount of gold or bitcoin it could have in June 2011.
I seldom reprint the writings of others in this space, preferring to merely link to the original source. But this is the clearest take on bitcoin I've come across so far and I want to save you the effort of even that one link. From Oleg Andreev, here are his words unaltered:
"There is no philosophy in Bitcoin. It is not anarchic, libertarian, Austrian or anonymous. It is just an internet protocol and a bunch of people that use it to transact between each other.
The protocol has purely technical and monetary measures to prevent spam, DoS, double spending and reversal of transactions. Transactions themselves do not advertise their purpose or identities of people involved.
It is not “against Bitcoin spirit” to have non-anonymous service built on top of Bitcoin. It is not a “hack” to use Bitcoin addresses generated not from random numbers, but from document hashes to implement secure document timestamping.
You can do whatever you want with Bitcoin as long as your transactions are compliant with the protocol and you pay the fees when needed. You can use it as a currency. Or as a payment system. Or as an investment. Or not use any of its monetary properties whatsoever, but use it to register predictions about the future. You can use it in clear to accept donations for a good cause, or you can use it through Tor network to buy illegal stuff. You may require others to identify themselves before accepting payments, or you may allow your customers to hide their identities from you. After all, you can avoid the whole thing completely and live a happy life.
If there is a single philosophical thing about Bitcoin, it is this one: voluntarism. On the internet, across oceans and thousands of walls, you cannot force another person to do what you want. And neither can he or she. Therefore, to make a deal with another person, you have to negotiate and find consensus. And if you envision risks and potential problems, you are free to creatively find voluntary solutions to them, which will also be part of negotiation. No amount of unilateral declarations, laws or appeals to objectivist philosophy will make another person send you bitcoins. Only negotiation and reasoning give you a chance to get what you want."
It's been a while since I've posted here. Six months ago I suddenly tired of what Facebook had become and decided to re-evaluate Twitter. In the process, I'm sorry to say, I abandoned this blog ... and you too for a while.
Well, recent encounters with the worlds of finance, parcel post, banking and service industries in general have drawn me back to you. I'm furious, frustrated, and looking forward to your comments.
Two weeks ago, for the first time in decades, I needed to receive and send some money to two distant acquaintances. My bank insisted their 'wire transfer' service would meet my needs. For fees between $25.00 and $47.50 they could deliver the money within three days. They said.
Now, understand, I'm not talking about shipping actual physical currency here. No dollar bills, no metal coins, no gold bullion or anything like that. Just electrons. Bits and bytes traveling as electronic pulses at the speed of light over satellites and fiber optic cables.
Now get this. The incoming wire to me, originally sent on December 28th, 2012 for $500, ended up as only $429.75. That was due to $70.25 in intermediary correspondent banking fees. But in addition to that, the process gobbled up two and a half working days of my time chasing the transaction after my bank 'lost it' in a manual sorting queue, following which it took a total of 46 days to arrive!
The outgoing transfer did get to its destination within 48 hours as promised, but it also cost an outrageous $47.75 in fees and I wasted an hour and sixteen minutes standing at a teller window in my local bank before bank staff figured out how to complete the task using their slow-as-mollasses-in-February computer systems.
Now get this.
Yesterday, without leaving my home even for a moment, without even getting dressed, I sent $ 273.87 to a business colleague in San Diego California. The transfer took me 47 seconds. My colleague acknowledged receipt in two minutes and fourteen seconds. And the total cost was ZERO! Nada! Zip. Nothing. I didn't even have to convert from CAD to USD.
How did I do it? One word: *Bitcoin* !
Now if you can give me one good reason why banks, credit cards, PayPal and Western Union shouldn't be scared shitless of this stuff, I'll give you an ear full of reasons why Amazon, eBay, Craigslist and Ottawa's Metro Glebe grocery store should start accepting Bitcoin as one of their favourite payment methods.