Fancy that!

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.

Fancy that.

Philosophy of Bitcoin

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."

Oleg Andreev


Bitcoin matters, folks. A lot!

Greetings everyone.

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.

Three days!

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.