Episode-1254- Feedback for 11-25-13 — 36 Comments

  1. Jack,

    Thanks for taking time to explain why CAC is legally and from a brand perspective separate from TSP.

    I get it now.

    Hope my comment yesterday didn’t bother you too much. I should just stick to what I know best, electronics engineering, and leave the marketing and legal to people who understand them. It’s no wonder I’ve never had a profitable business on my own.

    • Man I am on 16 hours of sleep over the last 5 days, please don’t take my response to literally. You are fine man.

  2. Bit coin was the subject of a recent NPR show. I have the impression that at some point in the future the govt or some international body could take it over or make it more controlled because everyone or every computer that has bit coins appears to be in a ledger someplace in the bit coin network. So there is anonymity, but my impression is that anonymity could be eliminated. NPR tried to some extent to pump up what it called the dark side of bit coin mentioning that drug dealers, child porn and so on use bit coin.

    In my mind I imagined this scenario where over time everyone starts using bit coin, so then say paper currency is used less or eliminated .. at that point some manufactured crisis could provide an impetus to regulate bit coin to a greater extent, then suddenly you financial transactions are tracked to a greater extent.

    Not sure if that scenario would be easy for them to do, but I can easily imagine that they might like to do that

    • as an attempt at a little FUD busting..

      The BTC ‘system’ is simply an encrypted public ledger. The ledger contains a record of EVERY transaction ever made since the first computer in the network was turned on.

      However, the ledger entries are all ANONYMOUS (they contain no information identifying the ‘From’ or ‘To’ of the transaction) only specifying a numeric ‘address’ for the sender and receiver.

      If you used the same address, from the same computer, or used an address to make a purchase that could be tied to you (bought something online for instance). Then it would be simple for someone to deduce that you were the owner of that address.

      However, your BTC wallet allows you to use a NEW address anytime you like. So, if you wanted to remain ‘anonymous’ you can use a new address (from a new location) for every transaction.

      Also.. your ‘wallet’ is simply a computer file.. with a bunch of very long numbers in it. Those numbers are literally your BTC. As long as you have those numbers, you have the BTC. For this reason, some people simply PRINT OUT the numbers and store them in a Safety Deposit box.

      Like any computer file, you can make backups.. and if your smart, you make a backup, encrypt it, and e-mail it to yourself.

      The program that allows you to access your wallet offers the option of encrypting it, so that if someone hacks your computer, and ‘steals’ your wallet file, they can’t use your BTC. And of course you could also put your wallet file on a thumb drive and only plug it in when you want to spend your coins.

      So.. why is the BTC network not afraid of ‘the government’? Well, first of all, EVERY computer on the BTC network (everyone who has a BTC wallet) has a copy of the ENTIRE ledger.

      Anytime someone wants to transfer money, they submit the request to the network.. a percentage of the network then ‘checks’ their ledgers to ensure that the person trying to ‘spend’ the money actually owns it. Until a majority of the network ‘agrees’ on the owner.. nothing is transferred.

      So.. to ‘take over’ the network, you have to control a majority of the systems doing the ledger checking. Or you can never effect transfers in any way.

      The ‘power’ of the network that you need to overcome to take it over is expressed in Hashes (just think ‘really hard math problems’).. so, what is the current ‘power of the network’?

      Here it is:

      The network (courtesy of the miners) is currently calculating FIVE QUADRILLION hashes PER SECOND.

      To ‘take over’ you would need to perform MORE hashes than the network. Forever.

      Now you might argue.. yeah but the NSA has LOTS of computers! They could do it.

      Well, back in May.. the BTC network was faster than the top 500 (known) supercomputers, combined.

      The article was written when in May, when the combined network power was
      at 100 Trillion hashes/sec.. it is now at 5000 Trillion hashes/sec (50x more powerful). So to take over.. you need more than 50x the power of the 500 fastest supercomputers on the planet.

      In other words.. alien technology. 😉

      (for the geeks.. the network is doing something like 500 exaflops.. for the non geeks, think 500,000,000,000,000,000 long division problems.. per second.. every second).

    • hmm.. should have said a little more about anonymity and wallets..

      you can have as many wallets as you like.. they can be in all difference places

      you can move money between the wallets with new addresses

      you can send your BTC through ‘anonymizers’ between your wallets

      you can purchase BTC without ‘histories’ (audit trails) directly from miners

      so.. how you use your BTC determines if it as anonymous as a Credit Card (not very).. or as anonymous as Cash (very).

      unlike US dollars, BTC are drug residue free.. 😉

      which is what really makes me laugh about the ‘seedy’ arguments. Uh.. cash is used all the time for ‘seedy’ transactions.. not that it needs to be.. the TBTF banks are more than happy to launder money for drug dealers (google it).

  3. BTC = Money without a ‘Central Issuer’ (really ‘central counterfeiter’.. FED or Gov)

    Wallet = Account without a Bank

    BTC Network = free guaranteed transfer of payment with no intermediary

    • I understand the appeal of bit coin, but it’s not entirely clear to me if the govt could not at some point legislate something so that they could keep track of who the anonymous users of bit coin are. Certainly they could generate some sort of argument with regards to that, or maybe they have a way to figure it out if they wanted. I am not totally clear on what that would involve or what is hard about it.

      Another thing I found is that the person who invented bit coin is Satoshi Nakamoto, but he may not really exist. He is supposed to be Japanese but this article indicates bit coin may have come from England.
      That seems to be problematic and may also indicate something underhanded, conspiratorial etc.

      • =)

        ALL of the software that makes up the BTC system is open source and has been peer reviewed and poured over by some of the most brilliant software engineers in the world since its inception.

        IMO any ‘problem’ with the BTC system would have been exploited/exposed by now..

        Why? Because if you found a way to break/bend/trick the system, you could anonymously steal HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS without leaving any clues as to who you were.. and with no ‘authority’ to try and find you. (BTC is out of the Secret Service’s jurisdiction).

        If ‘they’ knew how to break the system.. why wait? Break it, and people will stop trusting it and flock back to your worthless paper.

        Could the government legislate ‘x’:

        Of course. The government could pass a law (for OUR PROTECTION of course) that says that anyone who uses BTC will be beheaded. And then have the NSA packet sniff the internet for any traffic between BTC nodes.

        Without a network (the internet) there is no network. So yes, your government could ruthlessly stomp out the use of BTC.

        It could also, of course, make the ownership of gold (and silver) illegal, seize your guns, and make the possession of more than 3 days of food a felony.

        So.. what are you going to fight for, and when are you going to cower? Do you let the fear of the boot smashing into your face, ensure that, in the future, the boot will smash into your face?

        Decentralized currencies are a GAME CHANGER. They remove the government/FED/Elites ability to counterfeit money at will.

        If you don’t think that matters.. think about how every state sponsored war in history was financed. Imagine if a government had to borrow money FROM THE PEOPLE to go to war.

        (not yelling at you @surfivor.. just a very passionate issue for me.. the only thing that gets me more ‘hopping mad’/excited is food sovereignty)

        • no, I’m not saying be afraid or not use bit coins, I’m just saying that I’m not sure what the challenges could be in the future ..

          On NPR they said Ben Bernanke has said maybe there is a positive side to bit coin, but also saying there is a downside. He said something like, lets see where this is headed, maybe it will help the economy etc. I am not sure why the Federal Reserve would be saying that there is a positive side ..

          If bit coin runs on windows or any proprietary system, there might be some holes there.

          Yes the govt could regulate precious metals which they have done in the past or could come up with a reason to regulate bit coins once people start using them heavily, it’s hard to imagine why they wouldn’t want to. It seems obvious that there has been a strong push to demonize guns, yes that’s pretty obvious. It may have failed in some ways, but I don’t see them giving up on that in the long run.

          The federal reserve is 100 years old and though there was a depression in the 30’s and things changed a bit post war, the economy still had a decent degree of prosperity for a long time. Thus the bankers and others seem to have taken the longer term view in the past so the immediate upside to bit coin may not be the only consideration as too where it could be headed is all I am saying ..

        • You know what occurs to me is maybe bit coin would be a good way to keep the price of precious metals down on the banker side too. I believe that is something that is of great interest to them .. In the end though, it is still not the same as precious metals, I think you are buying prime numbers basically and that’s about it. What is the real value of owning a number in the end ??

          I know people have made alot of money on bit coins of course and I might get some myself at some point or look into it, but just saying ..

        • @surfivor
          I know you’re trying to learn and understand, so I’ll be as patient and also as explinative as I can as Insidious has been so some misunderstandings can be put to bed.

          “If bit coin runs on windows or any proprietary system, there might be some holes there.”

          Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of things “wrong” with bitcoin, but the code ain’t one of them. There is nothing wrong with open source software running on a propriety system, there are no holes in it. If there are any “holes” it is in the operating system as you’ve stated, meaning, the problem isn’t bitcoin, the problem would be with collusion of proprietary operating system developers and the government. So anything sort of thing the government could do with that, could be done with anything else on said systems.

          I also personally don’t follow the line that bitcoin is anonymous. It’s really not. Obviously there is no personal information attached to the addresses, but the flow from addresses can certainly say a lot. (Think spying on telephone metadata rather than content). It can be just as anonymous as you want it to be, or just as open as you want. Public facing companies have published addresses and only use a single address, therefore if a chain of bitcoins ended up at a public facing company or any other known address, that’s a starting point for investigated. It’s like Insidious is saying, its basically either credit card, or cash.

          “You know what occurs to me is maybe bit coin would be a good way to keep the price of precious metals down on the banker side too.”
          No. Not even close. Bitcoin market share went from like 1 to 10 billion dollars. Just watched an episode of Max Keiser where this was discussed for about five seconds when the question was asked if recent bitcoin volume effects the sale of precious metals, the response being “the size of the market isn’t even close”. Like I said, I’ve got some issues with bitcoin as it exists now, particularly it’s price rise, but the manipulation of PM prices via bitcoin, would be quite difficult to do, because of the dilapidated bitcoin exchange infrastructure. (Good for “security” bad for users).

  4. I had thousands of bitcoins. I acquired them when they were less than a dollar each, i sold at about 3 dollars each. I had about 3600 bitcoins. I then used the money to buy silver coins and bullion. i bought at 40 an ounce. I was told over and over by silver and gold hucksters that the dollar was going to collapse and that bitcoin because it relied on the internet was going to collapse into nothing. I dont know what to think, the thought that I would have over a million dollars right now.

    • =(

      this is where as a ‘speculation’ I can’t really see anyone objecting to buying some fraction of BTC (unlike stocks, you don’t have to buy a ‘whole’ BTC, you can buy a piece).

      Your 3600 BTC (if you’d kept them of course) as of this moment, could be sold for $3,163,284. The transaction fee for the sale would be 0.4%, so after capital gains (20%).. you’d be retired with $2.5 million. Regardless of if BTC became worthless tomorrow.

      Whether or not something becomes worthless AFTER YOU SELL IT is completely immaterial to your gain. BTC doesn’t have to be valuable, or appreciate, ‘forever’ to be a worthwhile speculation.

      It simply has to increase in value between the time you buy it and the time you sell it.

      [Warning! This is a speculation. A ‘lottery ticket’. Treat it as such.]

      • on BTC ‘pieces’..

        A single piece of a BTC (the equivalent of a cent) is called a ‘Satoshi’ after the inventor(s) psuedonym.

        There are 100 million Satoshis per BTC.

        BTC wallets can display your ‘balance’ as BTC, milli BTC (mBTC) or micro BTC (uBTC). This is so as the currency gets more valuable you don’t have to say:
        ‘a pack of gum costs .000000001 BTC’.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘price’ (in $) of BTC starts being expressed in mBTC.

        So instead of:
        1 BTC = $1000 US

        you would see..
        1 mBTC = $1 US

        Interestingly, due to the way people think about numbers.. this would probably increase demand.. as instead of people thinking ‘I can’t spend $100 for 0.1 BTC!’ The choice would be to buy 100 mBTC for $100.. a much better deal!

        And of course, if the price of mBTC moves from $1 to $1.50.. it doesn’t seem as ‘drastic’ as move of BTC from $1000 to $1500.


        price psychology is fun

  5. I consider bitcoin like any other alternative currency that doesn’t have intrinsic value. The only value is what you can exchange it for. A friend of mine is in a trade (barter) network and the only reason his trade credits have any value to him is he can exchange them for things he wants. If the trade networks shrinks to the point that he cannot exchange the trade credits for things he wants, then the trade credits lose their value to him.

    That being said if anyone in S.E. MI wants to buy fresh home raised eggs with bitcoin, litecoin (or silver) contact me. For my “real job” I have to deal in USD to pay my bills and taxes, but for my homestead products I’m open to any alternative currencies.

    • IMO
      the best way to reduce risk with any alternative currency is not to ‘hold it’ (use it for ‘savings’).

      simply accept it, and within a reasonable amount of time (say a month), spend it. ‘hold’ your surplus wealth in whatever you feel comfortable with (but of course, this should be diversified).

      the reality for most people is that the amount of money they ‘exchange’ (receive and then spend) is much greater than the amount they ‘save’. And in a time of crisis.. its going to be (almost) all ‘exchange’.

      • I think that is one of the problems of silver coming back as “currency”, people would rather hold it and spend their USD. I sell eggs from my chickens and I know one of my customers has silver holdings but he would rather give me USD than his “precious” metal. And I was willing to give him a better deal then the current spot price on silver (2 doz eggs for 3 silver dimes).

        So you are correct, something you view as “currency” you should keep it moving, and “save” true forms of wealth.

        • Gresham’s Law –
          bad money drives out good..
          (fm the marketplace)

          why trade something of value for what you want, when you can trade something you deem ‘worthless’?

          ‘The New Mike’ and I have been engaged in a thought experiment where we value things (like housing) in things of ‘worth’ to determine if they are overpriced. For example.. the median price of a house in the US.. 10 1/3 lbs of gold.

          Drive thru a standard POS suburb and for every house think ’10 lbs of gold’..

          Worth it?

          Of course with interest.. what you’d pay for it is 4/5 oz of gold per month for 30 years.. or 303.5 oz of gold (about 19 lbs). Still worth it?

          (for you silver types.. that would be a 3 1/4 LBS of silver per month mortgage.. with 18,973 oz paid overall (1186 lbs of silver.. for that POS house).

        • What you’re describing is the desire to get rid of dollars. If everyone is trying to get rid of dollars……. right. Eventually somebody is going to say “if you’re going to pay in dollars it’s going to cost more”.

          If “shit h its the fan” or some of these global trends continue and the dollar blows to nothing, I can assure you PM will buy SOMETHING, while dollars will buy nothing. How bitcoin works in that scenario is really ANYBODY’s guess. That’s where the “intrinsic” value thing comes in, where people say “pm will deifnitely hold some sort of value, while bitcoin has the real potential for zero value”.

    • and..

      value of money = ability to exchange it for stuff you want

      the ‘big one’ that keeps everyone playing the FEDs game?

      you can exchange their ‘dollars’ for ‘stay out of jail’ cards.
      (ie. Taxes. Give us x pieces of FED paper.. or we’ll throw you in jail, take your stuff and/or kill you)

  6. @Insidious, you should fill out the guest form for a total bitcoin podcast. I am sure even those of the community who aren’t going to buy them (well who think they don’t want to) would find it interesting.


    This is an article that brings up some very valid problems with bitcoin gaining truly broad acceptance. They aren’t insurmountable, by any means, but they are there. My biggest problem, which is covered in the article, is ease of access. Most exchanges I’m aware of require you to deposit funds via bank wire with them before you can buy bitcoins. And there is a significant waiting time in the whole process, whole days passing by as you wait for the transfers and everything to go through.

    Now, there are places like localbitcoins that basically acts as a craigslist exclusively for people willing to trade bitcoins for hard currency in person, and If I need to spell out all the potential problems with THAT model, then I really can’t help you.

    So, yeah. It’s a fascinating idea, and it will probably never go away, but while I will continue consuming news about the bitcoin, I won’t personally be exchanging dollars for bitcoins any time soon.

    • not trying to be the BTC apologist.. but..

      funding a BTC account – When you open a new bank account, you fund it with cash, a check, or a wire transfer. In every case but cash, it takes several days for your new bank account to become ‘funded’. BTC exchange accounts are no different.. they just don’t have a bank branch in your town where you can go to deposit cash.

      unless your goal is speculation, this should not be a concern. And if your goal is speculation, you have to ask yourself if you’re really going to catch an intraday price swing.

      Reversability –
      What this means is that, unlike your CC, there are no ‘charge backs’ possible in the BTC network. The reason for this is that there is no ‘arbitrator’ between the buyer and seller.. as there is literally no ‘middle man’ (your CC company w/ chargebacks).

      So, if you want a refund, you have to deal with the seller. No third party is going to do it for you.

      However, it should be noted that this function is NOT part of the ‘dollar system’. It is a service provided by CC companies. So it’s possible that a company could issue BTC denominated ‘charge cards’ (for a fee of course) and provide this arbitration function for their clients.

      [I mention this because there are no ‘charge backs’ in ANY non bank mediated transaction.. this is not a ‘flaw’ of ONLY the BTC network]

      • So basically, to do a currency exchange, I need to open an account. Cool. The problem is that the exchanges, in my opinion, are awfully shady. 40 percent of exchanges close, and often there is little recourse for people who have deposited bitcoins and/or other currency. Here’s a list of major frauds in chronological order, and you will notice that most have no resolution listed, no way for the victims to get their money back:

        The problem, as I see it, is lack of infrastructure. Now, the people who really love bitcoins may actually see that as a bonus. I am of the opinion, though, that the average person, even the average Prepper type, will prefer tried and true ways over becoming early adopters of a system that is open to so much fraud and uncertainty.

        I could be wrong. And there could be enough early adopters to fund the level of infrastructure necessary to bring in people like myself who want a bit more ease of access. That would be awesome, since as you claim you’re not a bitcoin apologist, I am also not a bitcoin persecutor. I’m fascinated by the story, and will be thrilled if it enjoys broad mainstream acceptance.

        • This list points out a lot of interesting things.

          For example, due to the nature of the BTC ledger, its possible to know of EVERY theft and/or destruction of the currency that has ever taken place. Compare this to paper dollars.

          Yes, in the case of fraud, theft or bankruptcy.. you lose. There is no BTC FDIC, FBI or SS.

          For the libertarian/minarchists in the audience.. pay attention.

          Note: Particularly in the case of MtGox.. ‘issues’ were resolved without losses to MtGox depositors. Which is why MtGox is still in business.

          The rest of it? Its standard ‘new market’ antics. How many clone PC makers, of the thousands that sprung up, survived? What percentage of dotcom companies imploded after collecting millions from investors? How many of those companies were straight up scams? (a lot.. you wouldn’t believe some of the meetings I sat in on during the dot com. You want $100 M for WHAT!?)

          Death rates in new markets are of the 99% percent variety. You only hear about the successes.. not the 100% losses.

          So.. yes, if you are risk averse.. completely avoid it until its ‘common’ (Let the herd prove its value before ‘risking’ anything).

          For the pioneer types.. there is always a die off among the first wave of settlers.. but the survivors get to claim the best land.

      • Like Jack said in the Podcast: Yes, some people will make some money on this. Some people may also make some money plopping down a stack of cash on red in the nearest casino. I, meanwhile, will sit back and hope this new thing settles into a stable, easily accessible alternative currency that the government and banksters have no hold over.

  8. hey Jack I need some information from Chris on the Falcon 3 class so I can contact to arrange my hunt also I forgot to pick up my custom made knife by you before I left I wanted to get out before the storm hit. I want to let you know jack I had a great time I work like an ant and that ant was gratified thank you
    I look forward on coming back

  9. Okay, so who’s the economist that Jack mentioned? Is it Peter Schiff? That’s the only one that popped into my mind.

  10. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept of Bitcoin, but all I can think of is that virtual game Second Life, where a virtual world was created that had a virtual currency and had even gained a huge level of support and legitimacy, attracting companies like Coke , Dell, and MTV to run virtual corporations on its site, replete with currency, entertainment, work, and shopping. That is, until it all collapsed.

    It’s not exactly analogous to Bitcoin as the Linden dollars that became the virtually currency of the world was akin to a Ponzi scheme where depositors were promised extraordinary rates of return, something like 40%, while loans had similar ridiculous rates attached. When a “bank run” started with depositors racing to redeemed their Linden dollars, the whole system went down with it. Yet like Bitcoin it was able to survive for quite awhile because people attached worth to its value. Once that worth was removed, it collapsed.

    However, my biggest concern about Bitcoin is that it’s completely based on the Internet. Should there be an extended power outage or should the country’s electric grid go down, there would be zero way to access your Bitcoin account and any money held there would be instantly vaporized. So long as the economy (and the grid) are operational, Bitcoin can hold value, anything else up to and including a SHTF scenario, it seems as though Bitcoin becomes completely worthless.


    • 🙂

      extended power outage in US:
      BTC is a GLOBAL network, as of course, the internet is.. so for the entire network to cease operation, you would need the entire internet to go away.

      If the internet did go away, the record of BTC would still exist on all of the (nonoperational) computers that were part of the network (every computer that has a BTC wallet on it).

      However.. if the entire internet goes away, you also can’t access/use your:
      bank account
      retirement accounts (stocks, bonds, commodities, pension funds)
      credit cards
      ATM cards
      bullion held by 3rd parties ( et al)
      SNAP benefits 😉

      in other words.. if you’re talking about a global ‘crisis’ of that magnitude.. the only thing accessible with value, are the things in your immediate possession.. bullion and barter goods.

      And that’s an entirely different discussion.. 🙂

  11. How do you transfer bitcoins back into cash? I mean if a had a bitcoin and my neighbor wanted to buy it, is that possible. Also, could the banks or govt. just buy them all. I mean it would costt a lot to buy them at current value, but if you owned them all….

    • You would transfer the bitcoin from your wallet to theirs, a simple and private transaction by the way.

      If you just want cash though there are bitcoin exchanges you just convert bitcoin to cash at the exchange rate. No different from doing so with yen or euros or AUD or what have you.

    • Hmm could the banks buy them all. Doubtful but an interesting question. The problem they now have is it is no longer just bitcoin, there are many options all that work the same way and float on their own exchanges.