The Magical Thinking Of Bitcoin

bitcoinAlex Payne lays out the Bitcoin agenda:

Bitcoin has become synonymous with everything wrong with Silicon Valley: a marriage of dubious technology and questionable economics wrapped up in a crypto-libertarian political agenda that smacks of nerds-do-it-better paternalism. With its influx of finance mercenaries, the Bitcoin community is a grim illustration of greed running roughshod over meaningful progress.

A person’s sincere interest in Bitcoin is evidence that they are disconnected from the financial problems most people face while lacking a fundamental understanding of the role and function of central banking. The only thing “profound” about Bitcoin is its community’s near-total obliviousness to reality.

If Bitcoin’s strength comes from decentralization, why pour millions into a single company? Ah, because Coinbase provides an “accessible interface to the Bitcoin protocol”, we’re told. We must centralize to decentralize, you see; such is the perverse logic of capital co-opting power. In order for Bitcoin to grow a thriving ecosystem, it apparently needs a US-based, VC-backed company that has “worked closely with banks and regulators to ensure that the service is safe and compliant”.

And Coinbase certainly feels, uh, compliant. It took me over a week to use the service to turn US dollars into a fraction of a Bitcoin, an experience that coupled the bureaucratic tedium of legacy consumer financial services with the cold mechanization of notoriously customer-hostile PayPal, but with the exciting twist that I have no idea from moment to moment how much my shiny new Internet money is actually worth.

Silicon Valley has a seemingly endless capacity to mistake social and political problems for technological ones, and Bitcoin is just the latest example of this selective blindness. The underbanked will not be lifted out of poverty by conducting their meager daily business in a cryptocurrency rather than a fiat currency, even if Bitcoin or its ilk manages to reduce marginal transaction costs.

In Bitcoin, the Valley sees another PayPal and the associated fat exit, but ideally without the annoying costs of policing fraud and handling chargebacks this time around. Bankers in New York and London see opportunities for cryptocurrency market-making. In other words: Bitcoin represents more of the same short-sighted hypercapitalism that got us into this mess, minus the accountability.

104 Comments on "The Magical Thinking Of Bitcoin"

  1. “Minus the accountability”. can you point to the accountability you find in the “legitimate currency”? Does a currency have to fund both sides of every genocidal war in the 20th century to be “legit?” And since when is anyone accountable in that system? Every day of quantitative easing [cough] is another day an entire population of talentless coke fiends getting a free ride.

    Unlike the current dominant system, Bitcoin is voluntary. No one is forcing anyone to use it, and wars are not being funded by it. Try to be grateful that you get to witness these attempts and experiments, and maybe a little less jealousy about not being the one who knows how to figure out how to do things like this.

    • Jin The Ninja | Dec 26, 2013 at 9:41 am |

      Does a currency have to fund both sides of every genocidal war in the 20th century to be “legit?”

      interesting question. in our insane cultural logic, probably. which is why the move to decentralisation is a GOOD thing. the problem thing is, as per the article, bitcoin is becoming highly centralised and regulated. crypto-libertarian logic dictates we MUST develop alt. currencies outside of the dominant economic paradigm; HOWEVER by allowing those currency to emulate ‘legit currency’ and participate in the perverse financial logic of our times, makes alt. currency devoid of radicalism, and simply another fan-driven vehicle that rationalises the system of domination and oppression (capitalism by any other name).

      “Every day of quantitative easing [cough] is another day an entire population of talentless coke fiends getting a free ride.”

      you mean those same finance guys who we now call ‘bitcoin speculators’?

      “wars are not being funded by it”

      actually, being engaged in the dominant financial system perpetuates both its dominance and its dominant political forms- i.e. economic imperialism and war for profit.

      “Try to be grateful that you get to witness these attempts and
      experiments, and maybe a little less jealousy about not being the one
      who knows how to figure out how to do things like this.”

      whoa, kim kardashian. i didn’t know calling people ‘jealous h8terz’ was a ‘legitimate’ countre-argument….

      • the use of a term like this: “crypto-libertarian” deems you immediately unintelligible and phony, because you do not know the meanings of the words you use. and insulting me by calling me kim kardashian just reveals you as a troll.

        • emperorreagan | Dec 26, 2013 at 11:08 am |

          “Try to be grateful that you get to witness these attempts and experiments, and maybe a little less jealousy about not being the one who knows how to figure out how to do things like this.”

          Well, the other way to put it is that you’re committing an ad hominem fallacy.

          I am all for making “jealous haters” a specific subclass of the ad hominem argument called the Kim Kardashian, though.

          • I think there is definitely a jealousy sub-class. There is, so much, a jealousy sub-class. So much.

            Only you know if it applies to you. I would have no idea.

            But the point being Bitcoin was a nice effort at some kind of peaceful alternative, while it lasted. Tearing it down is cheap and ignorant.

          • emperorreagan | Dec 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm |

            You’re misunderstanding the point.

            Addressing someone’s argument by suggesting something about them/their character as though that impacts the validity of an argument is fallacious – it’s an ad hominem fallacy.

            Suggesting that jealousy has any bearing on the validity of critiques of bit coin is a fallacious argument. Calling a critic “cheap and ignorant” because they’re “tearing something down” is likewise fallacious because it fails to address the critique and instead attacks the critic.

            Jin referencing Kim Kardashian and my joking about a sub-class of ad hominem has nothing to do with actual jealousy. It’s addressing the propensity of Kim & other celebrities of her stature to address critiques by calling people haters or jealous, as though (even if true) that somehow impacts the validity of the critique.

          • again, you’re not real. you are arguing to argue. i am not saying what you say i am saying. I am saying what I am actually saying.

            i will let you speak for the imaginary me, I will speak for the actual me.

          • emperorreagan | Dec 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm |

            Yes. Your argument speaks for itself:

            “But the point being Bitcoin was a nice effort at some kind of peaceful alternative, while it lasted. Tearing it down is cheap and ignorant.”

            “Try to be grateful that you get to witness these attempts and experiments, and maybe a little less jealousy about not being the one who knows how to figure out how to do things like this.”

            I’m simply pointing out the fallacy in your argument. And of course I’m arguing for the sake of argument.

          • Thank you for reiterating my point.

        • Calypso_1 | Dec 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm |

          “Crypto-libertarian” is well understood in many circles and has been used in academia & journalism alike.
          On one hand you express that others with different beliefs should be grateful to the intellectual talents of those you admire and at the same time you deem them ‘unintelligible’ with the use of a single word outside of the domain of your experience.
          How then do you expect your opinions to be seen as stemming from an intellect worthy of exploration vs an expression of hero worship?

        • You remind me of someone else that posts here. Who uses the same redirection tactic. Shame on you.

          • nope, i am the one who is not redirecting. they keep trying, and i just stay right where it is. but hey, maybe the three of you can go have a nice little session or something. i’ll stay out of your way. heck, i won’t even be there for it.

          • You can continue to argue something I am not even saying, if that makes you feel bettter.

        • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 1:14 am |

          actually, crypto-libertarianism is a so-called “(anarcho)-capitalist” economic philosophy that seeks completely anonymous financial transactions between parties in order to engage in exchanges of goods and services that may or may not be considered legal, ethical or moral by the dominant culture.

          i think whatever the purported intention of bitcoin, it is representative of this philosophy. perhaps even more ironically so, if the ‘purported’ goal is a mask for other more dubious intentions.

          if you cannot weather critique, best to get off the horse (or the forum, as it were) now. and if, as demonstrated below, you cannot form any sort of rational response to inquiry- you deserve to be called Kim Kardashian or even worse, Rob Kardashian. As emperorreagan eloquently pointed out: many ‘celebrities’ of a certain type, have a predisposition to calling even the most legitimate, most accurate critics “h8erz” and “jealous.” it is simply a way of inarticulate persons to quiet discontent, rather than openly engage with it.

          • no. i don’t have to engage with it, and people who do not want, and who are not interested in inviting it should not have to be called names because you say so, it must be weird to think that way. i’m not intetrested in engaging you and you think I owe it to you or something. Anarcho-Capitalist is an oxymoron, just like so many crypto-fake-a** words people make up. I don’t have discussions about things that are not real. When I am interested in fiction I read it. I’m just not going to sit around here while you make stuff up when real life is happening and I am involved with that.

            The monetary system you prefer is, and was created for the purpose of committing crimes and exploitation. That is the reason it was created. It is not clear what the intention of the people who started Bitcoin is, but it was not crime. What a silly thing for you argue, as if there are no crimes committed with “real money”. You should learn about the history of your money system before you discourage experimentation like Bitcoin. I don’t even do Bitcoin and I can see the value of it, and other things like it. Feel free to continue to badger me, but don’t act like I owe you some of my time.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 2:10 am |

            actually, the reason i put emphasis around ‘anarcho-capitalism’
            because-like or perhaps unlike you, i am a left-anarchist (or simply ‘an anarchist’) who is totally opposed to our current economic and social paradigm. i disagree with the co option of that term, but i cannot ignore its descriptive, academic use in referring to a particular strand of libertarianism.

            i prefer a voluntaryist arrangement free of capitalism, coercion and state-manufactured consent.

            let me know how/when/where i can expect bitcoin to buy a world where that exists.

            your shrill proclaimations are quite meaningless, they certainly do not represent my views or even the comments i’ve written in reply to you- i’ve never attempted to disguise my opinions on this board, now or anytime in the past. i’m sure even my harshest critics (ted, are you out there?) would attest to that fact. i despise the current financial system, it is not humane, democratic or holistic. quote me on that.

            if you don’t ‘do bitcoin’ why be a shill for it?
            why be a shill for a parallel and intersecting form of monetary control? i believed in the potentiality of bitcoin in years past. possibly as a way to lessen centralisation and democratise economic relationships. however, i see it now, as a another commodities trading market. simply another way for internet schemers and bankers to ‘get rich quick.’ the moment it entered public consciousness and awareness. the moment you were able to convert bitcoin into common currency, bet on it like gold, oil or coffee, is the exact moment it lost ALL radical potential.

            if you have time i’d like a response detailing why that isn’t true, how bitcoin being engaged with the state, with the dominant economic system, with trading- still allows it to be ‘experimental’ (your word) or ‘radical’ (my word).


          • Online retailer Overstock to accept Bitcoin

   is not a part of the system!

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 2:20 am |


            i suppose all the faucets and light fixtures i am able to now purchase with my woo-woo money must then be radical. i demand subversive goods ! a range of milty friedman linens and ayn rand needlepoint throw pillows. oh how i love capitalism.

          • Next it will be Bed, Bath, & Beyond, The Pottery Barn, and Trader Joes. They’re so edgy.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 2:29 am |

            didn’t you know? only poor anarchists shop for their abandoned squats at pottery barn. it’s oh so seattle ’99. the trend au courant is restoration hardware. faux vintage and phony industrial. it’s absolutely de rigeur to have foreign servants…erm workers… make things all shiny and new. made in america is overrated. vintage? too dirty. industrial? too long-lasting. longevity is also overrated. give me planned obsolescence and a fake veneer. a squat isn’t a squat without a cart coffee table and a well-placed linen chesterfield…

          • don’t feed the trolls.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm |

            i only feed them with bitcoins and virtual bread. nourishing?

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 2:41 am |

            also if it is easier for you to engage with me, pretending i’m some illiterate internet troll- i’m game;). it doesn’t offend or insult me, i just wonder why you can’t respond to actual content as opposed to feigning offense at the first word you didn’t know, and couldn’t take the time to select-search-google. and for the record if i wanted to call you ‘names’ i would- i don’t. i had a potentially biting quip to one comment in your first post. hardly an ad hominem that makes. i must ask, why post on a forum at all if you’re seeking an echo chamber or a captive audience?

          • i don’t care about you, and i don’t want to have a discussion with you. you are a waste. i am a grown-up and I do things in real life.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 11:11 am |

            oh i see, which is why you’ve been trolling this forum the last 3 days.

          • the article is less than a day old. you are a troll.

            don’t feed the trolls.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

            oh i’m sorry, i was implying you were the same stooge running around with different aliases on any article pertaining to bitcoin. seems to be a lot of those around.

            if i’m a troll-
            a) why would i waste my time on someone who isn’t a regular commentator
            b) what is my agenda- political or otherwise?
            c) why have i asked you questions- to which you’ve failed to respond?

            simply put- i don’t hate bitcoin, but i hate the idea a bunch of anarcho-caps are prancing around the interwebs acting as if society has suddenly decentralised all the while thousands of bankers and traders are making millions from bitcoins… it’s a little ominous if i do say so.

            tell me WHY i’m wrong if you’re invested in your argument. explain in calm and rational manner (sans ad hominem) why i should be compelled to embrace bitcoin. i am certainly open to arguments that are intellectual and thoughtful.

          • Running out of deep arguments, Sifl? or is it Olly? So playful. like a coyote. Tedious, though.

          • Aw…I loved that show…

          • It was rather strange.

          • i don’t have any arguments.. i just have an opinion that has 16 UP votes and there are a couple people who are mad that i don’t want to argue with them about it.. It’s not that big a deal, it’s just my opinion, I already know what my opinion is, I don’t need to talk about it with anyone.

          • Then why type at all?

          • Trying on a new a sock, breaking in a new shoe. Me thinks.

          • Alright cool. My thought on Bitcoin is that it’s synonymous with illegal activities, and likely to attract attention. It’s sort of cool in a cyber punk sense. However I want nothing to do with it.

            The Reasor ” it’s a ponzi scheme” argument makes sense to me. So does Jin’s argument, that placing some moral importance on it is absurd. I fully expect it to be totally absorbed by the mainstream, which is good news for the people who created the technology, also the people who have created the processors for mining. Or I expect it to be outlawed.

            Before you start stroking your e-peen in my direction. I will be the first admit I am not an expert. Also as noted earlier, I don’t see bitcoin as important. Hey, it seems useful as a way to launder money. Have at it.

          • I am not going to spend a lot of time explaining why Bitcoin is not a ponzi scheme, but that the Federal Reserve -is- a ponzi scheme.

            I am also not going to argue that people don’t use it for crimes. That would be inane, currency is always used for crimes.. like.. duh right, are we kidding?

            But what kinds of crimes are more or less acceptable, based on the type of currency, is there a difference? So my position there is that it’s a non-argument and can’t be responded to. People commit crimes and they use whatever mediums they can to do that. Hey I know to some people these are “fightin’ words” but I don’t think the Feds need any help from Bitcoin finding the hookers and coke.

            What follows from that is a matter of course then, that Bitcoin will get/ is getting swallowed. To me, again, a non-argument. What else would happen?

            All of that being said…

            A lot more people in the US think a -lot- differently about money today. There are 300 Million of us.

            People want solutions. They are going to try to create solutions. It’s going to be fun to watch and it is probably going to get a lot weirder.

          • I accept progress, but I do not see this as progress. I see it as a fancier copy of something that is already there. One that makes it easier for illegal actvity due to it being easier to hide. To sum it up, It is adding to the problem. Perhaps someone will come up with a way to use it as a solution.

          • I agree with your point about it being a nicer copy, and I think the worst crimes are with the most visible, accepted currency, because that is the one people keep choosing for those crimes, and that is the one that funds the very worst, most atrocious crimes at the global level.

            But for me, even just seeing that people are thinking differently about money, and about the source of the money is progress. So I’ll take that. I call it a net gain even if slight, because those crimes in Bitcoin would have happened anyway, even with the “real” or “other” money, since it is all the same.

          • I can dig that, thank you. The comment by Uppallnite offers some data that is interesting to me. In the end, to be clear. I don’t trust bitcoin, nor consider myself a plutomaniac. However I am layman on this topic, and ok with that.

          • I like the Uppallnite post too. I think I commented on it. Money has never been a big deal to me either. The more you make the more they use for death. “Richness” on the other hand.. well.. semantics. 🙂

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm |

            what i said wasn’t in total disagreement. it was raising issues i felt were problematic. i didn’t waste my time downvoting a single comment of yours, nor would i. your first comment was a bit obtuse. i made a joke out of it. 16 upvotes is great; however you called me out on having 9500 upvotes. why though? what was the point of this exercise? by all means, welcome to the site, share your opinions. but do not try to shut down ensuing discussion. if you don’t reserve your opinions, why expect or even demand others do the same? i suppose my expectation for this site, is that if i disagree or others disagree with me- tell me WHY i am incorrect- WHY my points were non-intellectual, ahistorical or incorrect by laying out valid points or if i missed something critical in my critique. i can admit being wrong. i don’t LIKE it persay, but i am ABLE to do it. i am also open to future exchanges w/ you, and hope you stay around if you’re willing to engage with the community.

          • Psst…”grown ups” don’t say things like “i am a grown-up and I do things in real life”…even ironically.

            You sound like a 5 year old saying “I’m big now! I can tie my shoes! I’m going to school! I can reach the light switch!”

      • Does the bartering system address the issues that the bitcoin misses?

        • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 12:58 am |

          this is the thing, i am all for MULTIPLE alternative systems. bartering may indeed be an easier, more humane way to engage social and economic relationships. i put no stock in 1 solution, 1 system. i think a multi-faceted approach is best. simply my opinion nothing more.

    • Calypso_1 | Dec 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm |

      Not to attribute any moral position to a means of exchange but it is specious to posit that bitcoin derives any legitimacy as exclusive from war funding given its role in less than noble black market operations.

  2. Tchoutoye | Dec 26, 2013 at 9:46 am |

    This reads like it was written by a Federal Reserve tool.

    • “Vice Chairman Alan Blinder’s testimony at that time made the key point that while these types of innovations may pose risks related to law enforcement and supervisory matters, there are also areas in which they may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.”
      -Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, Tool

      “Bitcoin solves two challenges of digital money–controlling
      its creation and avoiding its duplication–at once . . . it represents a remarkable conceptual and technical achievement, which may well be used by existing financial institutions (which could issue their own bitcoins) or even by governments themselves.”
      -François R. Velde, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Tool

      Sorry to ruin everyone’s persecutory delusion.

  3. American Cannibal | Dec 26, 2013 at 9:46 am |

    Fuck money. Lose yourself to dance…

  4. Nicholas Jenness | Dec 26, 2013 at 10:27 am |

    This dude does not read like a Nerd, more of a Jerk, who’s
    lacking the technical understanding needed to allow any level of authority of
    comment let alone understanding for projecting future trends for this technology.

    Further more Silicon Valley, Libertarianism, PayPal or Coinbase don’t mean shit
    to anyone not a Sepo, Bitcoin is already global.

    • VaudeVillain | Dec 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm |

      The core of his argument is that Bitcoin attempts to use technology to solve a problem that is not technological in nature. It then follows that he views the technological backings of Bitcoin to be functionally irrelevant.

      Your counter argument, that he does not properly understand the technology, is one I have seen in essence stated by many Bitcoin boosters. The problem is that you are making a counter argument which is simply irrelevant. I’ve not seen much of anything in the way of *technological* criticism of Bitcoin: to the best of my knowledge, there exist no serious concerns regarding its cryptographic strength or other specifications.

      Since we all agree that it does what it says it does, technologically, the argument is now about what exactly that *means* for its use as a currency or investment vehicle. That isn’t a question that can be answered through Computer Science, and any attempt to do so will be fundamentally crippled by that fact.

      • Nicholas Jenness | Dec 27, 2013 at 2:11 am |

        ‘problem that is not technological in nature’ – what is the
        “nature” of the problem then? and how would you solve this problem without a new or existing technology?
        ‘Bitcoin to be functionally irrelevant’ – If one does not understand the
        technological nature of a thing, how can one judge its relevant function?
        Skipping over the double speak and attempts to make academic arguments in paragraph 2 and 3, I’m not debating you I’m too lazy and autistic for that.
        Like the main author you have nice prose and are clearly an
        academic, however neither of you seem to understand the tech and so have no authority commenting on it directly or future developments.

        ps Please don’t think I want those ‘?’ answered.

  5. upallnight | Dec 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm |

    Almost every major critique of bitcoin seems to miss the big picture. Despite what the users or critics or even the inventor(s) might say, bitcoin is not really a currency. Or at least that is just one aspect of it and not actually its most crucial feature. Bitcoin can be used as a unit of measurement, like a currency, to compare dollars and euros or yen etc. Sure. But that isn’t its core feature. Bitcoin is a system for processing transactions and money services. Because it uses certain security techniques to move money around electronically, it is necessary to convert dollars or such into btc so that you can use these features. The system uses these units of btc because they can now be transfered securely, with better anonymity, in a timely fashion, and between independent parties without the help of a third party financial institution. If the US dollars or euros had crypto hashes on them instead of regular serial numbers, then there would be no need for btc as a unit of measure to exist. But the entre system could still be used the same way with those instead. Bitcoin as a currency only exists for the same reason gas stations sell gas and not uranium. Both are potential energy sources, but their functions aren’t cross-compatible with each others machinery.

    So bitcoin is a system, not a coin. It isn’t much different than other systems we have like credit cards, checking accounts, travelers cheques, or Western Union Moneygrams and on and on. All of those are services that consumers or merchants will accept and pay to use, and we all see how they provide a useful function for one or both parties. All of them have advantages and disadvantages. Bitcoin isn’t perfect for every transaction, but it combines a lot of the useful features of things like cash and checks and credit cards. It eliminates some of the annoying things about those other systems, like it allows people to make transactions electronically without having to go through a bank or credit card. When people say bitcoin “has no inherent value” that is fundamentally incorrect. It actually has a lot of inherent value *if you need the types of services that bitcoin can provide*. And it seems that many people understand that value. There is absolutely no magical thinking involved. The value is things like “with bitcoin, I can send money to my relatives in a foreign country without their evil government finding out” or “I can store money myself without a bank,” or “I can process transactions from my customers without paying fees to a credit card company”.

    This is why bitcoin is already very successful and will probably continue to be successful in the future. All this other ideological ranting from both sides about libertarian masturbatory fantasies or magical thinking, speculation, and ponzi schemes is entirely beside the point and mostly meaningless. The point is bitcoin works and it works very well for certain things. Bitcoin will never be a complete replacement for any other currency or payment system, so any criticism that it isn’t perfect is like saying checking accounts have no value because the corner market doesn’t take checks anymore. We all understand those issues. Considering the advantages of Bitcoin, it should be absolutely no surprise that many people see business investment opportunities.

    • I agree wholly with you here and I think people who dismiss it out of hand are just knee-jerkers. It does some things really well, and it is a nice attempt at getting us somewhere. I think it would be nice to find a medium of exchange that is not associated with politics and other crimes. So if we keep trying maybe we’ll get it right.

  6. Andrew Delamarter | Dec 26, 2013 at 7:15 pm |

    This article really makes no sense. I get the impression it was written on an airplane, in coach, on 15mg of Ambien, and facing deadline? Just sayin’.

    • Alan Morse Davies | Dec 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm |

      Agree, I couldn’t understand what the basis of the argument was either. Thanks for putting that more kindly.

  7. VaudeVillain | Dec 27, 2013 at 1:09 am |

    Has anyone else noticed that whenever a Bitcoin article shows up, about a half dozen people who don’t normally comment here show up to defend it and argue?

    I’m sure that at least a couple of the regular commenters are into Bitcoin, but frankly I can’t think of any boosters off the top of my head, where I can most certainly name at least a few who are consistently critical of it if not absolutely opposed.

    The really weird part is that I can’t even recall any of these people showing up in the comments to more than one article, even when more than one has seen meaningful activity.

    Maybe it’s a coincidence; it is certainly food for thought.

    • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 1:17 am |

      probably not coincidence. i scarcely believe in those anymore.

    • I’ve noticed it too. I saw the same behavior on a number of forums during the most recent Ron Paul presidential candidacy; fans were googling their candidate’s name to find arguments to take part in.

      An easy way to check and see if some of the new faces here are doing the same, of course, is to simply look at their Disqus profile and see what else they’ve been posting and where. Democratize the privacy-free Brave New World by making it work for you!

      • VaudeVillain | Dec 27, 2013 at 2:10 am |

        Liked your idea, so I checked up on it:

        Of the woodwork denizens in this thread, one actually appears to comment here somewhat regularly, their “defense” of Bitcoin was limited to a single comment, and was not (in my opinion) terribly committed. I hadn’t recognized the name, but it looks legit… mea culpa. The others appear to be people who have only commented on other sites, and generally not within the past 3 months or so: this strikes me as highly suspect in a bunch of ways, but I’m not what, exactly, I should be suspicious of. It just seems odd.

        Another article which was posted here a short time ago featured many comments from (disclosure, several of them were arguing with me, I concede some level of personal vendetta here). I scanned through a decent chunk of his comment history and saw nothing but pro-Bitcoin arguments on articles from several websites, but only the one here on Disinfo.

        I may keep digging, just to see what patterns emerge. I’m seeing a lot of red flags so far.

      • i see a of people doing this weird thing where any time someone says something they don’t like they try to associate the person saying the thing they don’t like with Ron Paul as a non-sequitur.. it just kills good discussions because the person who does that is obviously not a thinking person and can’t make an argument, but they get to kiil the discussion because no one wants to talk about Ron Paul. It’s really childish, like “do you still beat your wife?” kind of stuff.

        • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

          so you supported ron paul?

        • I think you’ve posted enough here to make your own pattern of calling posters childish names in an attempt to derail the discussion, than raising the deflector shields when called out for ad hominem attacks, perfectly clear.

          I’ll likely not bother commenting in response to you again – not because you’ve undone me with your rapier wit, but because you’re a one trick pony with little to actually say.

          • you are correct, I have not said much. I’ve only said one thing, and I am not up for a discussion about it,. i have speant most of my time on this thread, WAY TOO MUCH for my own good asking people to leave me alone after they insult me or get mad because i don’t want to engage them.

            Do you feel like you owe it to everyone who wants to argue with you to engage them? That must be hard if you do, but i see you are not in the 3K comment club (good lord) so at least I know you are not insane.

            If just one of these people maybe decide to go get something done today that would be a success.. whatever the discussion.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 29, 2013 at 11:48 am |

            “I’ve only said one thing, and I am not up for a discussion about it”

            not the point of the internet, rob. neither the point of a forum. certainly not the point of a site like disinfo.

          • you are an unimportant cuckoo clock that keeps bad time.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm |

            maybe, so what does that make you- with all the time you’ve now spent literally refusing to engage an initial response that contained one sardonic quip, but plenty of material with which to engage?

            a sore loser? a shill? a flamebaiter? a quieter-of-dissent? …a paid troll?

          • at this point i am amused, but I am also questioning the value of a technology makes so much information available to vacuous non-producers. The best thing it accomplishes is keeping you off the streets, where you would likely get involved in politics or some other dubious activity. What do you think you’d be doing if you did not have Disqus to go around harassing people with?

            There’s a documentary waiting to happen.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm |

            ‘harassing people.’

            it’s interesting to me that you have delusions of persecution and martyrdom.
            you’ve stated this a few times.
            i think it may be a complex of yours.(at best).

            “vacuous non-producers. ”
            the best insult a crypto-libertarian can manage.
            i’m not a banker. so frankly, it’s more of a loaded compliment;)

            “politics or some other dubious activity”

            politics would be an interesting choice, however. do you think a city of ‘vacuous non-producers’ would really elect an anarchist on a radical platform? if you do, would you be willing to campaign for me? i can’t trust you with pr, at least not yet, until you’ve figured out how the interweb works.

          • yep, you just reinforce my points with every post. ok.. guess what.. it’s time for me to go use some -skills- so that i can be a productive person and contribute something useful for society. good luck with the jonny.. i guess that’s the salutation for a troll?

            anyway.. it’s never too late to get good at something so i wish you luck and hop you figure it out.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm |

            “it’s never too late to get good at something so i wish you luck and hop you figure it out.”

            if you’re going to directly quote me a response i’ve already made to you, i’d appreciate a citation. thanks.

    • I agree with you. I think what you have on Disinfo these days, in some
      of their articles is something similar to Raw Story. It attracts people
      who are really good at being critical of things, but not much else. The
      banks that control our world are real, it’s not theory, so it is no
      surprise there is a disconnect in the “academic” realm, and I will not
      use the term “intellectual” to describe this crowd, even though it
      certainly applies to individuals within it.

      Bitcoin is a cool experiment, and it accomplishes a lot of the intent I think the people who put it together wanted. But the idea that because some people do bad things with it, therefore it is bad, is for very slow minds. Bad people do bad things.. and you would have to be braindead to think the Feds and the DEA need bitcoin to show them where the hookers and cocaine are.. they totally know where that stuff is..

      The worst crimes in the world, the biggest wars, genocide.. all of those things are funded by the Banks that have the “real” money. We certainly don’t see any ‘law” enforcement people running those people down now do we?

      Bitcoin is a good try, and it is something to learn from, and maybe the next try will be better.

      • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm |

        “Bitcoin is a good try, and it is something to learn from, and maybe the next try will be better”

        i agree mostly. not one comment on the forum declared banking or ‘legit’ currency to be useful to a humane, democratic society. in my case the exact opposite. just an fyi- if you want to take subtle digs, you should read comments in full;)

        • and as usual, don’t indulge the trolls.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm |

            if trolling = i am in agreement with your reply (without of course the sly remarks on the character of regular posters)- cool bro.

            funny you don’t see the irony on calling a 5148 comment regular disinfo commentor a troll, while you’ve never made a single comment here before yesterday.

          • If you don’t wish to “feed the trolls”, then why do you keep replying to people you believe are trolls? You just seem nuts.

          • i was responding to this clown before i realized his comment count is +5000. That is the definition of a troll. I am realizing that on Disinfo, if you are not rabid about something, and just have a simple point to make, You get attacked and called names anyways.. This is one of those sites where the loonies lurk. Whatevs.. I leave them to their phantasms.

          • Jin The Ninja | Dec 29, 2013 at 11:45 am |

            not the definition of a troll actually,
            in the end, what we had is a ‘flame war.’
            i’ve been using disqus for more then 3 years.
            i’ve accumulated some quantity of posts.
            however, you are the one unwilling to respond to
            inquiry with substance. ; hit and run’ is the expression for a ‘poster’ like you. the ultimate troll. passive aggressive and weak-minded until the end.

            run. robert. run.

          • No. No it isn’t. +5000 comments is the definition of a regular. Everyone here who is also a regular is familiar with Jin and for the most part, is capable of carrying on rational conversations with him.

            A person with very few comments is more likely to be a troll. A troll is someone who “trolls” around (good job figuring out that part) leaving out “bait” in the form of *INTENTIONALLY INFLAMMATORY* comments, for the *exclusive purposes* of pissing off people.

            This doesn’t apply to Jin, whether or not you are personally offended by his comments. I think you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

            You were the one who came in here initially with the rude comments and irrational generalizations. (Psst! We can still see your comments, dude.)

            Here are the reasons you are being “attacked”:

            1.) “Try to be grateful that you get to witness these attempts and experiments, and maybe a little less jealousy about not being the one who knows how to figure out how to do things like this.”

            You just said that anyone who disagrees with you is jealous and should be grateful. That is a stupid and shitty position. Why are you surprised that people don’t like to be talked to that way?

            2.) “…as though I would waste time arguing for a point I am not making”

            “…and wars are not being funded by it.”

            You denied that you had made the point that Bitcoin should be considered more legitimate simply because it does not fund wars as though the rest of us couldn’t just scroll back up to your first comment and see, yeah, you did say that.

            3.) “the use of a term like this: “crypto-libertarian” deems you immediately unintelligible and phony, because you do not know the meanings of the words you use. and insulting me by calling me kim kardashian just reveals you as a troll.”

            Attempts to actually discuss your points have been met with random, made-up-on-the-spot rules, such as “anyone using such-and-such word will not be responded to because you’re a poop-face” and other, generally childish behavior.

            It’s true, you don’t have to respond if you feel you’ve been insulted, but to claim that the reason you are not responding is because of the use of a particular word that *you* think the other person doesn’t understand, when laughably, it’s YOU who doesn’t understand the meaning…well, you’re digging your own grave.

            4.) Even though you keep saying “don’t feed the trolls”, you keep “feeding” people you consider to be trolls. It seems as though you *LITERALLY* cannot understand what the phrase “don’t feed the trolls” actually means…it means: DON’T TALK TO TROLLS.

            There are other reasons, but I’ve run out of patience.

            Either you’re a troll yourself (and not a very good one, because you’re not funny and you are only making yourself look like a fool) or you’re seriously mentally challenged and/or incapable of basic reading comprehension. Almost every response you have given seems as though you ARE INCAPABLE OF UNDERSTANDING what has been said to you.

          • You just said that I said “anyone who disagrees with you is jealous and should be grateful. ”

            No, I did not say that, you said that I said that. You are a bold-faced liar. What I actually said is this: “Try to be grateful that you get to witness these attempts and experiments, and maybe a little less jealousy about not being the one who knows how to figure out how to do things like this.”

            If that applies to you it applies to you, if it does not, it does not, only you know the answer to that, kid.

            My post was in response to the article, and the person who wrote it. I think they are jealous, that is my opinion. Disagree? NEAT!! i don’t care!

            Also, Bitcoin is not funding wars, the Federal Reserve is funding
            wars. It is a matter of public
            record and metrics, and for that reason I am not interested in your

            I am not going to respond to the rest of your spasm, because it is equally, or exceedingly, inaccurate, irrelevant and unimportant.

          • Again, concerning the point about whether or not Bitcoin is funding wars, you literally could not understand what I had said.

            Maybe your initial snark was in response to the article, but you did not make that clear in your writing and we are not psychics.

            Out of every single person who has communicated with you thus far, I alone made an honest attempt to show you why you are being treated like you have been–because I felt sorry for you.

            Take it or leave it, but I hope you at least have learned that you are using the word “troll” incorrectly. You don’t know the definition of that word. Please stop using it until you know better.

          • In the first sentence above you say: “you literally could not understand what I had said.”

            But then in the very next sentence you say: “we are not psychics.”

            It would seem contradictory…

            … because since you are able to know that i “literally could not understand” whatever brilliant genius point you are making that is so germane to everything in my life, then let me assure you, you certainly -ARE- a psychic and it’s time to pack for Hogworts!!!

            Good for you!! You found a skill!!



            “I AM NOT PSYCHIC.”


          • Matt Staggs | Dec 30, 2013 at 10:36 am |

            We do have a very lively group of commenters but I don’t think you’re being treated unfairly here, unless you consider people disagreeing with you to be a form of persecution. In that case, I strongly suggest you disengage with the conversations that you find upsetting.

          • I think when i get called names after posting an innocuous opinion, and then when I object to that, being told I have to accept it because it’s my fault, and then being badgered and hounded for two days by them is 100% thuggery by losers with no lives. It is also one hundred percent irresponsible for you to condone that behavior. Can you think of any situations in society where that kind of thing is OK?

          • Oh, you can’t be serious…all anyone has to do is scroll up and see that you were rude first. You were not called names until *after* you dismissed people’s responses to you as “irrelevant”, etc.

            You were a jerk; just own up to it.

          • The definition of a troll lies not with the number of comments, but with their intent.

    • Now that you mention it, yes.

    • something I have learned from this thread is that there are people with a heck of a lot of time on their hands to troll the internet and just make rude comments to strangers. 3K to 5K + comments on their profiles, double the number of votes. “Trolling” is the right word for it. I used to think they meant “trolls” like the mythological figure, but it’s more like a little boat, trolling around.

      If I were one of these people with that kind of time on my hands I’d go go try to learn something, or get good at -something- before my life ends. Maybe solve a problem instead of screeching from a high-chair.

      • Jin The Ninja | Dec 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm |

        yes, kim, great idea! why not go out into the world and discover what you’re good at. maybe a talent or a new language! maybe you can be of service to someone other than the paps and the hapless millions who follow your every move. in fact, i’m sure you could even become a UN ambassador or an investment banker if you tried!! good luck!

      • You seem to have enough time to argue all comers.

  8. Just because some people feel the need to use Coinbase, doesn’t mean that Bitcoin itself is “magical thinking”. Bitcoin isn’t Coinbase, nor will it ever be. This article is distorted and fallacious beyond all reason.

    • The article It looks like it was written by an impulse blogger, it seems to be agenda driven and so are a lot of the commenters… Anyone who says anything nice or different about bitcoin just gets hacked on. it’s weird, these people are weird. I wonder if this is just a traffice generating thing where they post some ill-formed thoughts, wait for comments and just get off on the arguing about nothing.. that being said Disinfo ha some good articles, you just have to remember the people trolling around with not much to do in life. I come back to this thing in between clients and it is incredible, the lack of organized thinking, and the lengths people will go top try to attribute to someone some point they want to argue.. like they show up and want to argue about a certain thing, so they find a way to twist something someone said into their parameters to try to get th person into a rabbit hole with them, and then when you don’t go into the rabbit hole you get attacked again for not wanting to explore their dementia.

      • ” Anyone who says anything nice or different about bitcoin just gets hacked on.”

        Now who’s a bald-face liar? No one else has been “hacked on” (that also doesn’t mean what you think it means) except you, because your attitude is shitty.

        No one has challenged Timothy Mathias, the guy you just responded to, for example. Two up-votes and none down.

        Hm, could it be because he was less sloppy in his comment than you were, and made it clear from the beginning that he was criticizing the article alone instead of the other commentators?

  9. Alan Morse Davies | Dec 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm |

    I think Bitcoin is brilliant as a social and economic experiment. I’ve always viewed it as an interesting prank, rather than being revolutionary.

    We all have fractional reserve currencies, going into fractional reserve banking systems… we have a faith based currency system worldwide… we print it every day and it loses value over time. The U.S. has about 3% of the gold required to back its currency. The U.S. banking system creates about $8 of debt for every newly printed $1 (which is backed by 3c of gold).

    Bitcoin has attempted to do the reverse.

    I’m not defending Bitcoin, I just find it fascinating

    “Bitcoin is a limited edition currency where we print less and then stop…. act now!”. You know who acts now? Arseholes and idiots.

    It’s a marketing play backed with a great joke…. “what, it’s a limited edition? One of few, twice the price?”. Yes, I’d love to buy one.

    It’s entirely fascinating snake oil, and they’ve managed to attract the people they most hate.

    I want to see the final chapter unfold.

    I’m 99% convinced that it will end in a monopoly, where the final owner of bitcoins will realise that no-one believes in his currency.

    All currency is faith.

    If you want to argue against a currency that has caused harm, go pound, then go dollar.

    And I still want to see what happens at the end. It’s 21 million real estate lots.

  10. thank you, my point exactly. money is not bad, currency is not bad, people can be bad.. very well put.

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