Just a little bit more Bitcoin trouble

There has been so much tumult in bitcoin and cryptocurrency over the past few days! Interest and concern extends beyond online communities. Motives vary.

screenshot of bitcoin mining in Windows

Bitcoin miner GUI running Windows 7

Anonymous and decentralized

There are two conceptual pillars of trust that uphold bitcoin as being superior to fiat currency. (The fiat currency of reference is primarily the US dollar. Why? Because the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, for now.)

The first is anonymity. US dollars held as cash are bearer instruments. Ownership and use is anonymous, but only until one wants to use them for commercial transactions of significant size as defined by anti-money laundering rules. Bitcoin does have some anonymity shortcomings, as transactions on the blockchain are actually pseudonymous, but there may be tractable remedies. Further details have been widely covered elsewhere.

The second conceptual pillar of bitcoin is decentralization. The US dollar is highly centralized. As ideological (but not market) confidence in the dollar diminishes, the appeal of an apolitical, alternative currency increases, especially one that is a fungible store of value.

All markets are game theoretic. Bitcoin is too.  I really wish we could ask Professor John Nash what he thinks of bitcoin! Nash wrote a pleasant, accessible article that described bitcoin-like currency, titled “Ideal Money” a few years ago.

I mention game theory because monopolists and cartels can assert control over bitcoin production. This is playing out right now.

Centralization of bitcoin

Currently, Bitcoin’s most acute concern is loss of decentralization. This is due to the documented, persistent existence of a 51% majority mining pool controlled by gHash.io. gHash is owned and operated by private entity cex.io. gHash’s market dominant behavior was noted in March 2014, however the situation was transient. That has since changed. (more…)

Evolution Robotics

Bias is bad. My prior post could be misconstrued as pejorative commentary, unfairly targeted at Tweetup, an innocuous, and free-of-charge, client application for users of the Twitter micro-blogging service.  Twitter certainly is responsible for the silly avian-themed jargon that is steadily seeping into common vernacular, undermining my ability to sound impressive when pretentiously blathering away, as I’m doing right now. However, Idealab, the owners of the Tweetup social influence metric software did not create the Cult of the 140 Character communication standard.

Tweetup is actually one of many applications, services and bona fide products offered by holding entity Idealab.  This Pasadena, California based company has a refreshingly original and diverse assortment of creative product offerings. In fact, Idealab is no parvenu, having existed as a going concern since the 1990’s, all the while fostering an impressive  range of mostly feasible technical innovations.

Supermarket Loss Control by Evolution Robotics

Supermarket Loss Control by Evolution Robotics

I was quickly riveted by the Idealab site’s video demo of their TunnelHawk system. TunnelHawk’s design imperative is to mitigate retail store losses due to customer and employeee theft.  To make clear that I am not predisposed against Idealab (in the aftermath of my earlier Tweetup monetization tirade), I am featuring a product video of IdeaLab’s clever response to supermarket petty theft,  the robotically driven TunnelHawk supermarket checker.

Idealab: Evolution Robotics Retail TunnelHawk Video.

Published in: on July 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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