Bitcoin Definition Bitcoin is a

BitSpot ! A brick & mortar Bitcoin exchange!

Pictures of our brick & mortar exchange!
Hello, Aaron @ BitSpot
We're a brick-and-mortar company based in Ashland, KY. We started as a small group of traders nearly a year ago and we exchanged Bitcoins for fiat currencies through various methods. Our objective in the Bitcoin community is allowing customers to create friction-less trades and be able to exchange Bitcoins from Fiat to Bitcoin or vice versa in a matter of 15 minutes. We want the transition in and out of Bitcoin to be as smooth, quick, and reliable as possible.
Through hard work and dedication we've managed to expand our operations and grow faster than imagined. We are nearly amazed at the amount of volume we process everyday for our clients, we had no idea that so many people actively bought and sold Bitcoins in relatively small quantity. All of our clients quickly fell in love with the concept of how we do business and that is: Personal. We develop working relationships with all of our customers and try to accommodate their needs and wants in any way possible. We've learned that people enjoy talking to an actual human being and that they prefer doing business with a person rather than an automated machine. Many of our customers are un-banked and would rather not deal with the organizations that are in place now such as: Bitstamp, Coinbase, BTC-E, etc. They are simply wanting to buy or sell only a couple Bitcoin at a time, but they are wanting to do it quickly. This is where we are able to fill the gap, we offer quick liquidity services to the community. About 3 months ago we finally pulled the trigger and acquired our building where we have a fully functional local exchange. Our building consists of 5 Offices, conference room, reception area, 2 bathrooms, and a lounge. We're hoping to have it become a "meet-up" or "hub" for Bitcoin activity within our area and we seem to definitely have the monopoly in the area.
The way BitSpot currently conducts it's exchanges is through a Broker-Client transaction. It involves a customer wanting to buy or sell Bitcoin and then having them contact their Broker, who is employed by BitSpot. The brokers reside here in our office where they are employed full-time much like a regular job but of course a lot better. The brokers buy and sell Bitcoins by using our companies pool of funds that are specifically used for this reason. We've reached a point now where demand and volume are starting to outpace our ability to process all of our transactions, so we are planning to do a over-haul and possibly implement some better strategies of how we can handle the growth. We never want to be faced with telling one of our clients that we can't handle that trade for them that day, or we don't have time. We've already scaled to the maximum potential as far as our building goes, it's just not logical at this point to hire anymore brokers. We've ultimately decided to take the route that the former company BitInstant took. We've been in talks and negotiations with Western Union & MoneyGram to see who could possibly offer us the best deal in order to accomplish our business plan. The new system we are proposing will allow Customers to send us money from nearly anywhere due to Western Union & MoneyGram's infrastructure globally. All the customer will need to do is attach a memo of the Bitcoin address they would like to receive their funds at or they could enter the transaction ID into an online portal along with the accompanying bitcoin address they'd like the funds to go to. This flexibility will allow all of our clients / customers to easily send money to us from anywhere around the world just as if they were paying a bill payment through Western Union for example. The fee would be minimal and cost around $5 but on the positive side the customer will receive their Bitcoins within minutes of sending the transaction or before they are even able to make it home. When it comes to selling Bitcoins to us, it would work nearly the same but in reverse. We're also in the works of launching a very large Bitcoin ATM network in the following areas: Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio. We have everything in place as far as compliance and regulation so at this point we are recruiting physical merchants to adopt them.
This system and infrastructure we've decided to pursue seems like the most logical step forward in our growing business. We don't see any other ways to keep up with the growth and demand of our services. We believe we can improve the speed of all of our transactions and possibly even bring them below the level of 15 minute transactions by using this method. We can still retain our core values of great customer service as well by re-focusing the existing brokers into this system and still treating our clients as our fellow friends. We've only encountered one problem that could possibly delay transfer times or be a negative to this switch in transaction processing. The new implementation of this system could easily stump our statistical analysis of future growth and we could easily reach our maximum funds limit. At the current state where we are dealing with our clients on an individual 1 on 1 basis we are easily able to predict our future transaction volume, how much funds are needed, and future profit. When we implement this new approach and it's successful we might become overwhelmed with an influx of new customers, especially if certain events were to arise in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Through this analysis and in hopes of growing our company and further strengthening the community we've come to the following decisions below.
We've decided to offer our company to the public and let them be a part of our business! This will help by allowing us to raise additional capital for our principal fund pool that is used solely for everyday transactions in and out of Bitcoin. We are at a stage where we are deciding upon the platform we should use to allow the public to become a part of our company. We intend on offering all investors regular dividends for each share they hold so they don't need to just speculate on the future value and growth of our company. We are already at this point a profitable company and future growth will only compound our success and revenue. The money will be used to process the transactions we handle daily and expanding existing infrastructure while increasing liquidity for our customers.
After researching different platforms and certain protocols, we've became greatly interested in Counterparty. It seems to be quite revolutionary and a real diamond in the rough. Counterparty meets and exceeds every expectation we need from a platform. We will be able to easily issue the shares of our company, allow dividends to be paid, and also callback our shares at a future date if wanted.
Right now this is just an announcement and we have yet to set the official date of our launch to private investors. We're wanting to make everyone aware of this upcoming event and poll the community upon our decision. We want to give back to our clients and our community and hopefully they too can partake in our business and reap some profits and rewards.
We're more than enthusiastic about Counterparty and the progress thus far. In our humble opinion we do believe this is the next step in the Bitcoin revolution and that's why we would like to use it as our platform to reach future investors and current clients. It's fairly simple, stable, and quick to work with while still having all the great qualities of the Bitcoin Blockchain. When we carve out all the details for our IPVO we will include a tutorial, step-by-step guide on how to operate Counterwallet and purchase assets.
Any suggestions, help, or questions are more than welcome.
If you're near the area code 606 and would be interested in coming by, feel free! We welcome all Bitcoiners anytime and all the time!
Thanks for taking the time to read! Aaron @ BitSpot
submitted by BitSpot to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

A simple, comprehensive guide for those interested in quickly acquiring bitcoins

I've been following bitcoin for a few years. Investing in BTC has a learning curve, but hopefully this guide will help you. I'll try to keep it as simple as possible. And please, if you have any questions post them, the bitcoin community is very helpful and I'm sure someone will be able to help. One more thing before I get started, I'd like to remind everyone that bitcoin isn't a get rich quick scheme. Think of it as a way to eliminate the middle men of money, the people that get rich off of manipulating fiat currencies at the cost of the societies and the world. Believe in bitcoin, not just for personal gain, but for positive effect it could have on the world. Check out this guy's great post: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1bhhjg/any_bitcoin_millionaires_here_on_reddit_if_so/c96rn3p
This method uses 'Mt. Gox' in conjunction with 'Bitinstant' which are both trusted sites. Double check that the Mt. Gox site you use has the https:// in the address bar.
Quickest method, using cash (you will own BTC in a few hours):
  1. Go to https://www.mtgox.com and make a new account. (you don't need to verify)
  2. Go to 'Funding Options' on the left and choose 'Bitinstant'.
  3. Copy the 'Exchange Account' number.
  4. Click on the 'Bitinstant' link on the bottom of the page.
  5. On the 'Bitinstant' page, there will be a drop down box where you can choose a location to make a cash deposit that will go into your Mt. Gox account. There are numerous places you can make cash deposits including: Walmart, CVS, Jewel/Osco, and Albertsons.
  6. After choosing the location to make a cash deposit, fill out the rest of the Bitinstant page, including a test or two to prove you are a human.
  7. Click next and after accepting the terms and conditions on the next page there will be a receipt that you need to print out and take to the store where you're making the cash deposit.
  8. Go to store, deposit, funds will pop up in your Mt. Gox account and you are free to trade! Yay!!
Slower method, setting up Dwolla for use with Mt. Gox (takes about 7 days to buy BTC):
  1. Sign up for dwolla at https://www.dwolla.com. Add you bank account information so that you can add funds to your account.
  2. It will take 2-4 business days to verify your bank account (Dwolla will deposit small transactions into your bank account and you will need to show how much they were), in the meantime sign up for a Mt. Gox account at https://www.mtgox.com
  3. Once your bank account is verified, you should fund your dwolla account, which will take about 3-4 business days for the funds to clear.
  4. Once they're cleared, go to Mt. Gox and click 'fund your account'.
  5. Follow steps '3' and '4' above.
  6. On the 'Bitinstant' site, choose 'dwolla' as the funding source.
  7. Follow the instructions on 'Bitinstant' and you will have money in your Mt. Gox account within minutes and are free to trade. Yay!!
Hopefully this guide has helped guide you through the process of buying bitcoin. It definitely has a bit of a learning curve, but I hope I could help. Now, for the long term, you'd want to verify your information on Mt. Gox so that you can make bank account deposits and without the percentage fee that Bitinstant charges, but that process can take a while, especially now that Bitcoin has increased in popularity. Also, once you have bitcoin, it is important to find a safe 'wallet' that you can keep your bitcoins in. There isn't a bank to protect your money for you, you have to be smart and responsible. There are always a lot of posts about good wallet services in /Bitcoin, make sure to choose one that is trusted.
submitted by andrewforlife to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Trying to figure out if I lost my bitcoins, advice appreciated.

Yes, I know this isn't /bitcoins but I thought I would ask here first anyway since it's related to SR.
I've been buying bitcoins using the bitinstant/zipzap to MtGox lately with no real issues. I went through the procedure yesterday that I've done a few times before, and I think I screwed it up, but I'm confused as to how.
In a nutshell, I've been buying bitcoins on MtGox and withdrawing them to an instawallet bitcoin address, then sending them to my SR bitcoin address. I've read varying advice about whether another step between MtGox -> SR is really needed, but it seemed prudent and has worked fine so far.
For those who aren't familiar, Instawallet gives you a secret URL associated with a bitcoin address. You access your bitcoins by going to the URL that theoretically only you know. If you lose that URL, you lose the associated bitcoins.
I have a couple copies of a text file with the URL in it stored safely. It has the URL and the bitcoin address....I know, now that I think about it, pretty dumb to store them together. Anyway, when I was going to transfer from MtGox to the Instawallet address yesterday, I (lazily) copy-pasted the bitcoin address from my text file into the destination field on MtGox's site. I really wish I had gone to the URL and copied the address from there, but I'm almost sure this is the same technique I've used a few times in the past. The transaction seemed to complete, but when I went to the URL, I had zero bitcoins. That's when I realized that the bitcoin address I sent the coins to from MtGox wasn't the one associated with that URL. When I got to my saved URL on Instawallet, the bitcoin address is totally different.
I can see from my MtGox history that I've transferred bitcoins out to that address several times in the past few months, so I'm pretty confident that it's the same one I've been using. At first I thought I had gotten my bitcoin addresses mixed up and accidentally put the SR bitcoin address (maybe an old one) in, but that doesn't appear to be the case. The coins never showed up at Instawallet or SR, even though blockchain.info shows the transaction for that address has a transfer of 10 bitcoins into it yesterday. Blockchain.info shows nothing for the bitcoin address associated with the URL I thought I was using, so I know I've never used that particular address before.
In other words, I definitely sent them somewhere, but I'm confused about where that is. I thought maybe I had accidentally saved the wrong Instawallet URL (the site just gives you new one if you visit without specifying an existing address). On further thought, that's unlikely because the only way I would have gone to Instawallet is with the link I saved in the aforementioned text file, and I've done this process a few times in the past few months.
My fear is that I've lost the URL for the bitcoin address (and obviously my money) for Instawallet. I've sent an email to Instawallet support asking if the bitcoin address in question is one of theirs. I don't know if they can even tell me that, and I haven't gotten a reply. I've done an exhaustive search through my computer, email, browser history, etc. trying to see if there was another Instawallet URL somewhere that is linked to the bitcoin address I sent the coins to.
I'm not even sure who to ask about it. All MtGox will know is that they sent the coins to the address I provided. Instawallet probably can't/won't tell me anything about the transaction, which I now realize is one real glaring problem with using Instawallet. I wondered if the bitcoin address associated with the Instawallet URL could have 'cycled' as SR does routinely and the old bitcoin address would also still be associated with the URL, but I doubt that could be the case either.
Is there any danger to posting the bitcoin address or the blockchain info here for feedback?
I know the answer is probably going to be "Sorry, dude, you're out $300. Learn to bitcoin better", but I figured it would be worth a shot trying to get advice from someone on here who understands the process better than I do. I'll appreciate any advice.
submitted by 54catfoxgo to SilkRoad [link] [comments]

What's up with BitInstant? (YES...I HAVE CONDUCTED PLENTY OF RESEARCH) I need some guidance...

I'm making my first order within the next two days and I'm still really confused on which route to take for Bitcoins. Believe me when I say that I have done a TON of research on the topic and still don't have a definitive answer. BitInstant seems to be the most highly recommended, but the "send to account address" function is now gone and I would have to go through MtGox. The ID verification on there is really concerning, considering that I'm putting around $700 into Bitcoins, most of which belongs to friends. I need some guidance on this issue. Note: I am not within reasonable distance of a Bank of America, so BST/Bitfloor etc are out of the question. Help!!
submitted by Ign0ranceIsBliss to SilkRoad [link] [comments]

We could use a few more Spartans. Here's what you can do to help Bitcoin today!

BTC is being tossed around like a sex slave by traders lately. This is a guide to quickly investing in a small long position in BTC on Mt. Gox. This essentially raises the ante for the players. If you believe in BTC bu don't have any, this is how to put your money where your mouth is, and now is as good a time as any. On e person with deep pockets is nowhere near as powerful as a multitude of little people in this scenario, and the market is on an enforced pause.
If you have Bitcoin but don't want to sell them(or even open your wallet), this method will also work for you. If you have Bitcoin and do want to sell them, it doesn't surprise me that you are reading a wall of text that.....well, what can i say.
First the disclaimers.
First, there are some who believe that BTC dropping in value could be the best thing for it. I see why that is a possibility, but my counter is that i don't care about the price, i care about stability. Increased stability will lead to more adoption on all fronts (anyone want to do a merchant guide?) and increased likelihood of success. I am not encouraging day trading, i am explaining how to take a long position (a long term bet that BTC will go up vs. $USD). We are just trying to build a decentralized 'floor' to ease the sharp drops.
Second, i am not a financial or legal expert. I have read the so called 'guidance' and am very sure that this method is well within the law. I am just describing what has worked best for me so that you can hopefully avoid some of the many missteps i have made along my bitcoin journey. YMMV.
Third, yes i know that Mt Gox is having trouble lately, and not the best place to put your money. However, like it or not, Mt Gox is currently the public face of BTC value and where the battle for public opinion is being fought. That's where we nee d the Spartans the most.
Last, please post how long this process took you in the comments so that we can get a solid estimate on how fast Spartans can be added to the line in the future.
You will need: Pen & paper, cell phone, computer(not smartphone), two hours of time and a little money that you are willing to lose. DO NOT make a bigger bet than you can afford to lose. This is NOT A SURE THING, but every extra Spartan helps, especially right now.
Step 1. Go to Mt. Gox and create an account.
It's been a while since i made mine, so i don't know how long this takes these days. Don't bother with verification or anything you don't have to. The object is to acquire a Mt. Gox account number. It will be in the form of M********X, where *=numeral.
Step 2. Move some money in to the account.
If you live outside the control of the US gov't, just do what any normal person would do and move the money into an exchange with a debit or credit card. Enjoy your freedom. Otherwise......
This is the pain in the ass part where you will start to understand what 'freedom' really means. Some will disagree with me, but IMO right now BitInstant->Moneygram->Zipzap->Mtgox is the quickest way. It is the difference between 2 hours (24/7) and two business days. If you want to use a different method, more power to you.
Go to bitinstant.com, select your country, and select 'Cash Deposit' on the left. The drop down menu will list Moneygram vendors (CVS, Jewel/Osco, 7/11,Stater Bros, WalMart, etc). Select a vendor that is convenient. The right side should be defaulted to 'Mt Gox',which is what we want.
Call the Moneygram vendor to A) ensure that they are open B) ensure that they have a dedicated RED PHONE at their Moneygram station. If they have a kiosk instead of a phone, you're gonna have a bad time, so select another vendor and try again. Grocery stores seem to be the best. While you are on the phone you can continue with the dat entry.
Enter your information. They will ask for your Mt Gox account #, your legal name, a contact e-mail, and your date of birth. Don't lie, it's important to follow the law to the letter in a public environment. If you are looking for anonymity, this is not for you.
Enter the amount you wish to move. Low numbers are easy, big numbers are problematic. The butter zone seems to be $500. Anything higher and you are likely to get rejected further down the line, and have to start the process all over. The transaction limit seems to be 2/day. The truth is that there has been a lot of 'variance' in people's experience with this transfer, and there i no rhyme or reason to it. I am trying to show you what has worked for me. At $500 your transaction fees will end up at 4.75%, at other amounts it will vary because of the $3.95 fixed fee per transaction. If you have a better deal than 4.75% that can be done in less than 2 days, i would love to hear about it.
Play the little game to prove you are human by clicking and dragging the objects around. Vote for your favorites in the comments; i just got 'Put the animals on the ground' which i hereby down vote. There are much better ones.
Once you are certain that you Moneygram vendor will meet your needs (RED PHONE!), click the send funds button to move onto the next screen, which redisplays the info and gives you some transaction codes. Take a screenshot or copy the info(or not) and click 'Go' to move to the next screen.
Now we are at ZipZap. Enter your phone number and your area code and hit search. You will see a google maps style interface displaying Moneygram vendors. If you select any vendor other than the one you selected back at Bitinstant, you're gonna have a bad time. If your vendor is not available on the list, take note of the ones that are and go back to Step 1. Click 'Pay Here' next to your vendor and then click 'Create Payment Slip'.
The two most important numbers are the AMOUNT ($503.95 in my example) and the ACCOUNT NUMBER OF BILL TO PAY, the 9 digit number. If your 9 digit number contains any letters, stop and go back to Step 1. You will not be charged any money if you stop now, but if you try to use letter in the account number you're gonna have a bad time. The 4 digit RECEIVE CODE is also important, but it is a constant 9611.
Go to the Moneygram vendor. Tell the cashier you are there to pay for a money order, and ask if they are going to need a manager to complete the transaction, i.e. make sure they have their shit together BEFORE you pick up the red phone, otherwise your gonna have a bad time. If the transaction times out because they aren't ready to take your money, congratulations, you get to go back to Step 1 (tens timeouts seem to be getting longer, around 10 mins, but again, YMMV. My budget is 5 mins, just to be sure. the fine print is something ridiculous like 120 seconds or something).
Pick up the red phone and get ready to take the red pill.
Follow the prompts with the keypad to enter all your information. This will include your phone number, the amount, the receive code (9611) and the 9 digit acct #. Most likely that will not be good enough (you may get lucky, but definitely not your first time) and so you will be connected to a live Moneygram operator. They will repeat all the info you just entered back to you verbatim and ask you to confirm it. They will also ask for your address. They are looking to check against the address your driver's license (your tax dollars hard at work, the irony is delicious) before the send the money on to Ukraine, who will send it to Japan. They will also ask if you iive in a house or an apartment, IDK why but they do. Once they are satisfied, they will tell you to pay the cashier.
Pay the cashier. Cash, debit or a combination of the two. Credit cards may work, too, but idk for sure.
Go back to the Mt Gox website. Log in and click on Settings. The second menu item will allow you to be notified every time a trade is completed, which is what you want.
Wait for the money. IME it has been 10 to 30 minutes. If you missed ANY detail in the previous steps (i.e. omitted a middle initial in you name as it appears on your debit card, incorrect address spelling, etc...) you're gonna have a really bad time. You will get your money eventually, but you are going to end up in the customer service queue, and they are a wee bit busy at the moment due to this complicated process. You will be waiting a while, and your money will be trapped in transit.
Step 4. Set the position. I don't want to get into the details of trading or Mt Gox, i just want to keep it simple. Feel free to expand the discussion below. Here is the gist: you are going to buy low and sell high. Novel concept, i know.
Set your floor. This is the crux move. The floor is the price below which BTC will not drop, no matter what, its minimal market value. We want that to increase so that the volatility that just shut down Mt Gox goes away, and sane people start to consider entering the market. Your floor price is your floor price, and every individual person is different, but we can floor $100 if 1,000 follow these steps. Last time the floor was $5. It could get really ugly. That is what we are trying to prevent.
So, using my $500 example, i immediately spilt the position, meaning i buy $250 in bitcoin. I know it sounds crazy, but the price doesn't matter. You can duke that out in the comments, but it is true.
Now i have $250 in bit coin and $250 in cash, and i'm going withdraw the bitcoin out of mt gox to somewhere else (newbs seem to like blockchain.info). Now i have a minimal (but not zero) investment in bitcoin that is not on mt box.
Using my example again, i am going to bid(try to buy) 2 bitcoins at $100. If i am successful, i will still have $50 left, and therefore some cash in reserve. Now it doesn't really matter whether i buy a bitcoin or not at this point, because i have succeeded in establishing the THREAT of buying at $100, which the speculators can see. If enough people do this (and there are already a ton, maybe even enough, but it is too close to call, hence the volatility and the market shutdown) they won't even try to push that low, and we have established a floor. Pick your own floor number. Seriously, you have to pick the number that you really believe in for this to work, that way everybody's floor number is a bit different from everyone else. Now instead of a hard floor at $100 (speculators push price to $101 and then allow growth again) we have a soft floor that is more difficult to see and react to. It is the advantage of being decentralized, which we must continue to use.
The last piece of the puzzle is to ask to sell 10 bitcoins. You have none to sell, but mt gox will let you place to order all the same. Don't be greedy here! $60 is plenty of reward for your effort. If you try to take $100 out each time right now, you're gonna have a bad time.
The last important point is that every time you get an email that says a trade has been completed on Mt Gox, go back and reset the EXACT SAME trade, even if you lack the funds.
So, in my example, i have a bid of 2 coins at $100 and an ask of 10 coins at $140, and $250 cash and 0 BTC in my account, along with some BTC in reserve.
Let's run through all the possible scenarios.
PRICE goes DOWN and STAYS DOWN. I end up buying 2 BTC. PRICE goes DOWN and then UP. I buy two coins at 100, then sell them at 140. I pocket the $80. If the price goes down again, we can do it again. PRICE goes UP and STAYS UP. We win. There are more fights ahead but they are of a different nature. Cross that bridge when we get there. PRICE goes UP and then DOWN. I end up buying 2 BTC. PRICE dosn't move. This is what we want most.
As long as they keep manipulating the price, you keep pocketing $80. This is how the tool that is BTC works. You can't stop them from manipulating price, but they can't stop you from extracting money from them when they do. The less stable the market, the more
WARNINGS!!!! Here are the best ways to fuck this up! 1. Getting greedy. If you don't sell at 140 and try to hold on, you risk not having the funds to maintain your floor. don't be greedy. 2. Forgetting to reset the trades. Once a trade is made, you have to reset it to have it available again. 3. ????? Am i missing something? Let us know???
OK, my head hurts form typing, but that't the gist of it. I am sure i missed some details, particularly about Mt. Gox, cuz it's really not my thing, and i appreciate any clarifications y'all may have. Also, i'm not going back and proofreading this, so i am sure the grammar police will visit, and i thank them in advance.
If 1,000 do this in the next 8 hours we can start to be taken seriously as a currency, and we will surpass silver in terms of fixed value. Once BTC are worth more than silver, it's only one more step to being worth more than gold.
submitted by holyoak to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: IAM Peter Vessenes, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation. AMAA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2012-09-28
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Most proponents of Bitcoin seem to believe that there will be a point where one coin exceeds a value of $100 or even $1000. Sure, that is definitely possible and I can accept that it may happen one day. However, since each coin has this intrinsic potential value.. why would anyone spend them on trivial stuff like food now? How can you spend something that you believe will continue to grow in value effectively to infinity? That seems like a fair complaint to me, in general. In practice, and as opposed to Krugman's thoughts on the matter, we have many thousands of happy Bitcoin transactors, I think people like to spend their bitcoins with others, give them away, and use them for things. I do know some Bitcoin businesses that try never to spend their coins. That said, we have had some periods like last year where EVERYBODY wished they'd spent their coins.. To my mind volatility is a worse 'evil' than being deflationary. As I said above, I think most government economists wish an inflationary currency (and many bitcoiners hate this, and talk a lot about how much they hate it), but I think there's definitely a place in the world for a deflationary value system. An interesting thought experiment for you -- if you forked the Bitcoin blockchain and changed issuance so that it tracked say, USD or USD/EUR inflation rates for issuance, would it have the same uptake or not?
Every once in a while I hear stories about security breaches including 240,000 bitcoins that went missing the other month. How do you ensure security of account holders funds? The practical security aspects of running Bitcoin businesses are a REAL need, and it's something we want to help on with advice, and possibly opt-in certification at some point. I say more about this elsewhere in the AMA.
Furthermore, most sites I've came upon that sell goods seem poorly managed and difficult to use. Is there a Bitcoin equivalent to sites like Ebay and Amazon? Re: bitcoin site usability -- I agree, it's often terrible! I'm not sure why this is, except to say that bitcoins make transacting online so easy that even people who can't afford a designer can do it.
A: How does the intrinsic non-fiat nature of the currency affect its susceptibility to market fluctuation? I.E. Better or worse stability than fiat currency? So far, because market cap is so low, (Roughly $100mm of value), Bitcoin exchange rates are highly susceptible to people pushing it around. This is really tough for everyone. There are a bunch of businesses that might not be viable until you have some exchange rate certainties that extend beyond a short (one day-ish) window.
B: What can be done to improve the resistance to massive fluctuations in value stemming from exchange market manipulation or normal use? There are some macro-economic things that could be done, like exchanges publishing all trades to a central area, and implementing locks if prices rise / fall too suddenly, but those all have their own effects to consider. I think the fundamental thing to do is help Bitcoin acceptance and uptake grow, increasing the size of the pie until there are a much smaller number of parties that could push the price around.
C: Is there anything that can be done to the standard to improve stability or is it all up to the markets to implement safeguards? So, we all do have a part in that stabilization for sure. There's also the angle of creating whole supply chains that are bitcoin denominated -- paying our staff in Bitcoins only is an attempt to work on that angle.
What do you say to people that claim Bitcoin is nothing but a pump-and-dump pyramid scheme designed to benefit it's creators? That they're sitting on a huge pile of bitcoins obtained by them before the currency was made available to the public when mining was far easier then dumping huge batches of Bitcoins destroying the price over and over again to enrich themselves and fuck everybody else? And that they get more chumps into the system to inflate the price again, by going around the internet and promoting Bitcoins as an alternative currency rather than a complete fraud? This borders on the troll-ish, but I will say that the Bitcoin network autosizes coin generation based on how many people wish to do it. That is, people opt in to make the coins and secure the network. Nobody is forced to.
Is the Bitcoin Foundation a non-profit, tax-exempt organization in the United States? Who among the directors and the board has experience running a non-profit? Why is the ED also a member of the board? How does the ED have the time to run the organization given his obligation to CoinLab? Why haven't I seen any of the involved parties at either of the last two Bitcoin conferences? Can we get somebody who isn't a white male involved? We're a 501(c)6, Washington DC Nonprofit.
I have experience launching a non-profit, hence my job.
ED's typically get a salary and work full time at the job; we didn't know if we'd have budget to pay someone who could operate such a thing, so we went with this structure. I anticipate that I will step down from being the ED at the earliest moment we know we have someone better to do it; running CoinLab is plenty of work for me.
Our assistant director Lindsay Holland is not a white male.
In general, Bitcoin is a white male sausage-fest, though. I urge you and all Bitcoiners everywhere to work on changing that.
What is the future of bitcoins? Do you think they will ever make government-issued currency obsolete? I don't know the future of Bitcoin, but I hope that I and the Foundation are a part of it!
I don't believe Bitcoin will ever obsolete a government currency, but I only speak for myself when I say that. Bitcoin is a fascinating and novel technology with a HUGE number of potential benefits to the world, so I'm into it. I don't see a government wishing to cede control of its currency to anything like the technocratic / consensus model that Bitcoins are governed by, though.
That said, I do hope that Bitcoins will be able to help people in areas of the world that need better money features. Mpesa is a great example of something that helps Kenyans (and people from a few other countries) by changing how money is used. Bitcoin has the potential to help people like that, all over the world, whether or not the 'market' is large enough in that country.
I personally think that sort of thing is SUPER exciting.
Could you describe the bitcoin foundation for me? Sure! It's a trade organization, member-driven. Its goal is to promote, protect and help standardize Bitcoin. Our initial goals are to provide funding for the core development team, run a 2013 Silicon Valley Conference, and create some opt-in certification methods and best practices for businesses dealing with Bitcoin.
Join us.. :)
Standardize? I can tell you hate our goals, so I won't spend a long time trying to convince you. But, I will say that businesses often need a long, secure timeframe to make investment decisions, and they need to have some sense that what they work on or invest in will be roughly similar at the end of their investment to the beginning.
Why do you want to "standardize"? For instance, imagine ebay deciding to take bitcoins. The person-hours to get that done inside ebay are staggering to imagine, from wallet scalability issue to accounting treatments, refunds, ... It would be a major endeavor.
What gives you that authority? It would be great for bitcoin if ebay took bitcoins. Seriously great, but they can't right now until they feel there is some generally stable path going forward.
Why is the core development team so deserving of funding when they can't even make a decent client? You might hate everything about that, and that's cool. I urge you to go ahead, fork the code, advocate as much as you like for something else. Bitcoin's free, both the protocol and the software. Nobody is stopping you.
Is there any legal action to be done if someone steals your bitcoins? Yep, if you're in the US, file a police report, and call FBI Cybercrimes division.
As an individual member of the Bitcoin Foundation, what do I get? Any perks or privileges? Email aliases, voting rights, a newsletter, etc? Or are these memberships mostly a way of providing financial support to the foundation? The bylaws are up now, so you can read in great detail what the organization will provide its members: Link to github.com
In short, though, rights to vote people on / off the board of the Foundation, soon access to private forums, probably discounts to the bitcoin 2013 conference, happiness at supporting the dev team.
I would like to provide email aliases, we've got Patrick and Jon working on any possible gotchas there, though.
Many aren't taking bitcoin seriously because of the security issues some have had. What steps are you taking to legitimize this currency? Like Jeff says below, I would distinguish between fundamental protocol security and security practices.
Bitcoins fundamental protocol security seems pretty good at this point; I'm sure we'll all be keeping an eye on that quite intently into the future.
Practical Security has been, largely, terrible in the Bitcoin space for most businesses, Mt. Gox perhaps excepted. The amount of work it takes to secure 80 byte strings that may be valued in the million dollar range is non trivial. Think securing missile codes as to the level of security needed.
Many bitcoin businesses can't afford (or don't wish to) this sort of security. I'm hoping we can provide some tools and pointers for these businesses and their users to help people understand what they're getting into when they transact with a bitcoin business, and what their risks are.
The Bitcoin Foundation Membership (VIP) fees are definitely disproportionate. Why? Are we now heading for a two-tier bitcoin community? We got requests from large supporters to make a more expensive membership tier. I'm slow, but not so slow that I said 'no'.
I'm slow, but not so slow that I said 'no'. - So you said 'YES'? Someone said "Please make higher corporate member fees: Linux Foundation Top Tier member fees are $500k. Your plan is too low."
I said "OK, Thank you for that advice. We should do that."
Is the foundation primarily focused on US or also europe and the rest of the world? Right now Jon Matonis is considered our "Europe Expert" on the board. There's a huge amount of work to do just in keeping track of how Bitcoin is categorized and regulated around the world. I would expect the Foundation to put some time and energy into helping with that process, but it's not our first goal.
What would you or the Fundation do if the government declares Bitcoin ilegal? Advocate that such a thing is silly, unenforceable, and counterproductive.
Thats no answer to the question. Have you got any plans for the "unthinkable"? That really is what I would do. What do you suggest?
What are your thoughts on transparency of the foundation? How much revenue is there and how it is spent, will that info be public? We're aiming to be highly transparent. I proposed today that we publicize our cold wallet public keys so that people can check our balances. This got pushed back a month while we work on some logistics. I will follow up about this, though. I think having auditable books from day one is really cool.
What are your thoughts on fiat currency? I love it and wish more of it. I'm totally grateful that nations have standardized and created currencies for their people, so that I can travel and buy stuff without worrying about the reputability of a local bank when I go to exchange my money.
I read something recently about a Bitcoin based debit card system. How is that coming along? I don't know, but I want one! The Foundation would like one, too. We are trying to run the Foundation with only Bitcoins, so it would be nice to fuel up a debit card for some expenses.
Create an opt-in certification process for Bitcoin businesses. How will you be going about this? What will certification entail? TBD, But I am imagining that businesses could vet their processes and procedures against a set of published standards, pay for an audit, and then be able to help their users understand what level of security they provide, e.g. "Bronze certification -- the site could be trusted with 50 bitcoins of stored value per person."
Does the foundation intend to have control over bitcoin.org and thereby over the main distribution channel for Bitcoin-Qt? We're a member organization. Some of our members do have access to and influence over bitcoin.org and bitcoin-qt. I have no idea if they would like us to help manage bitcoin.org, since we just launched yesterday.
If the decision makers for bitcoin.org and bitcoin-qt want us to help out in those areas, I wouldn't mind. I don't think either of those things is super strategic to helping Bitcoin right now; there's more need for messaging and some financial security for the core team, and the other stuff we said we're going to work on this year. bitcoin.org and -qt publishing don't seem broken to me or risky right now.
Given that Mt Gox has a (rightfully deserved) place on he board, what steps can and will you be taking to ensure that independent exchanges are encouraged and not ignored? Also what steps, if any, can and will you take to ensure the public that the commercial interests of those on the board do not conflict with the decentralised ideals and paradigm of Bitcoin itself? I don't know how we'd encourage or ignore exchanges, since everyone is welcome to join.
I do think this individual / corporate angle is at the heart of the Bitcoin, though; it's got a lot of parties that care about it, passionately. Some are investing millions of dollars. Some are tirelessly advocating for Bitcoin. Many sit around and troll and waste people's time.
I guess that partly we expect our board members will act with integrity, and that if they aren't representing the needs of their member class, they'll get replaced with someone who will.
I also don't know how we would, practically, decentralize Bitcoin, even if we wished such a thing. I don't think anyone on the board thinks Bitcoin is doing badly. We're all really excited about it and want to help. I personally believe if corporations (a small group or just one) ever provably controlled Bitcoin, they would become vastly less appealing and useful. So, we're on watch.
Not as on watch as a paranoid bitcointalk forum troll wants us to be, but we're on watch.
Why do you require a real name and real address, when bitcoins core values are to be anonymous? The Foundation's core values include openness and transparency. I think the Bitcoin anonymous thing is overblown and a bit of a myth, by the way. Every bitcoin transaction links two addresses; often people can be determined from those addresses.
At any rate, we wish to make sure you can't stuff the ballot box during voting, and we wish civil productive discourse among our members, so we need real names and addresses.
If you just want to support us without joining, you can always send money to our vanity donation address: 1BTCorgHwCg6u2YSAWKgS17qUad6kHmtQW.
What is the current, largest obstacle when it comes to wider Bitcoin adoption? I think Bitcoin adoption is growing nicely. There seems to be a sort of stair-step function where people figure out something new and broadly appealing to do with them, and it makes a big jump. I expect we'll see that many times over the next five or ten years.
Doubts about the network's scalability, uncertain status about its legality or something else? Bitcoin's brand seems bad to me; mostly the highly publicized exchange attacks worry people. It's too hard to have a secure cold storage wallet for even a very smart individual. I'd like to see some of those things improved.
Does Bitcoin have any plan to combat criminals using the currency to purchase things on online black markets? I can't speak for Bitcoin, but the Foundation has no criminal combatant plans. We do want our members to use their real names and promise that they only engage in activities legal in their jurisdiction, though.
That's mostly just a way of us saying who we want to hang out with, and expressing some community values we think will help our organization be a success.
Did you expect for the Bitcoin concept to explode as it has? I sort of did, but I definitely didn't put my wallet behind that explosion. Sigh.
Also, where do you see it going in the future? I talk elsewhere in the AMA about what I'm hoping for Bitcoin.
Will the foundation be sponsoring Bitcoin software outside of Bitcoin.org? What do you mean? Like if Jeff Garzik made cool software that would help the Bitcoin world but didn't release it at bitcoin.org would we try and help him?
The answer is yes.
I.e., the Foundation would provide a service with recommendations such as wallet security for an exchange, but I don't think the Foundation should be in the business of "certifying". Yeah, there's an interesting set of questions there about certification. I would LOVE to see a certification that brought with it the ability to be insured against loss and theft. Think how nice it would be for an exchange or wallet business to be able to offer that insurance. That said, I don't know of any bitcoin company that has such insurance yet. I think we have some work to do vetting out the processes and procedures, and then some sales and relationship work with insurance companies first. At any rate, we won't be stumping up security for certified companies through the main Foundation corporate vehicle ever. But I think the membership will want to discuss what a good set of next steps is toward that goal, if we're all sold on trying to make it happen.
What's the advantage to using bitcoins over government issued currency, basically why should I invest my $US in bitcoins? Some people have ideological preferences for Bitcoins money issuance scheme.
Some are nerds, and like it for nerdy reasons.
Some just like being able to pay whom they choose when they choose.
Some deal with payment infrastructures that are scary (Paypal freezes are scary), or slow (wiring money in and out of small country central banks is REALLY slow).
Also, they're neat.
How does it feel to know that a kitten wearing a top hat has more upvotes than you? That kitten is so damn cute. I spent some of my AMA time going "AWWW"
How will you try to keep BIG businesses from buying their way into "THE" Bitcoin Foundation? Bitcoin is inherently free, it's peer to peer, it can be forked, it's not controlled by the Foundation, especially one that's one day old.
So, I look forward to large donations from BIG businesses. We will use that money to further the Foundation's mission. Our members will, no doubt, be highly engaged in discussions about what to do with large donations. I'm looking forward to it.
What is your opinion on Canada's new digital currency, "Mint Chip"? How does this affect Bitcoin? I don't know much about it, but I think it's cool from what I do know, (and is it technically flawed? I don't recall). I'm all for money system experimentation, as you might guess.
You are starting to get increased media/congressional notice. Are you at all worried about being shut down and prosecuted like E-Gold was? Who is we? The Foundation is a member organization, nothing else.
There are some bitcoin exchange operators that actively flout the same AML laws that got the E-Gold founders in trouble.
There are some that try hard to do the right thing, jurisdiction by jurisdiction.
Personally, I don't worry about the ones trying to comply, and I don't transact with the ones flouting the laws.
Why do you have different vote classes, is one class worth more then another? Corporate members vote their seats, Individual members vote theirs.
Anecdotally, there are fewer corporate members, so a corporate membership vote has a greater proportional influence over a board seat than an individual membership.
so a corporate membership vote has a greater proportional influence over a board seat than an individual membership. - So there may be poll when votes of both classes come together? Like asking ALL members to opt out changes to the source code? I would be stunned if we voted on source code, ever. I don't think anyone thinks that is in the remit of the Foundation.
Pragmatically, the dev team is one arm of bitcoin source code governance, and miners are the other, since they can refuse to work with code changes they don't like if they do it in bulk.
The board meets often, and should be listening to its constituents; sign up as a member, and then mail your appropriate rep. As a sample of what we discussed today: "Should we do an AMA? Who will get member signup confirmations out? Can we publicize Patrick's bylaws yet?" were the scintillating topics of conversation.
Will I be getting an e-mail with receipt for my payment confirming my membership subscription? Yes, we are ACTIVELY working on it. Apologies.
What's the dev's payroll? TBD, now that we know what our member signups are.
I don't know if we'll release payroll or budget numbers outside the membership -- something we have to discuss.
What power does this foundation have over Bitcoin? Why did you make Satoshi the founder without his permission? We have no power over Bitcoin whatsoever.
I think we felt a foundation that didn't somehow acknowledge Satoshi would be a bit churlish, like ignoring Linus completely while making the Linux Foundation. Satoshi is, as always, free to participate as he/she chooses.
Has there been a growth in algorithmic trading of Bitcoins in the past year? If so, is that growth in algos added stability to the Bitcoin Market? I have no idea. But I'm curious about this too!
Why hasn't (almost) anybody heard of you before today? I keep a low profile. Until yesterday. Also, I gave up on the forums a long time ago; not productive enough for me.
That was very informative, thanks. Not that hard to grasp when somebody spells it out. The reason you do it is to provide a second element of value to a chain of transactions; the first element of value is consensus -- what everyone else says happens.
Is there a reason for doing this? Or just a way to pace the grinding nature of mining bitcoins? The second, arguably more powerful one is provable computation time spent on creating the consensus. So you can look at a set of bitcoin transactions and say "Ah ha, that had roughly [say] $1mm worth of computation time put in to securing and validating it! I believe it's safe to consider my $55 transaction secure."
Just out of curiosity, do you have any idea how many people have applied so far? Yep. We'll release end of first-month member numbers in 29 days. :)
How does one go about buying bitcoins? Probably the fastest way is to ask a friend who has some.
Next would be to use a service like Link to bitinstant.com.
How long are terms for each board member? Two years.
Will the Bitcoin Foundation promote a Vulnerability Reward Program ? I would like to see that, but I think the first things to do in terms of importance are on our published list.
Will the funds for a permanent memberships be put into an endowment, or will they be spent immediately? We haven't discussed it. Budget discussions are next couple of weeks, now that we have our heads around some numbers.
We also have to discuss if the foundation wishes to go long bitcoin, or instead spend to its annual budget. All TBD; if you have opinions send them on to your member reps.
I'm curious about this too. I'm not sure I understand how they work entirely. Maybe somebody could Explain like i'm five... Totally. They are confusing; it's a truly novel solution. Essentially it mixes something non-intuitive and magical-seeming (public key cryptography) with something very hard to imagine a solution for (distributed timestamping among non-trusted parties).
We will be seeing the concept extended out into a number of technology arenas over the next 25 years I imagine. It's an incredibly powerful solution-space.
I spent maybe an hour on the wiki reading the FAQ and everything, and it still makes references to "blocks" and "mining blocks" and those that mine have the option of transaction fees.. and I'm still not really sure what is happening. Yep, like I said. I've been thinking hard about them for two years, I have a cryptography background, and I still have 'a-ha!' moments weekly, at the very least.
There are a couple pretty good bitcoin explanation videos out there, but I'm not up to date on what the best one is. Maybe someone helpful can post a link.
After establishing support for food and shelter for Gavin, will there be opportunities for other bitcoin developers to apply for grants - maybe for specific implementations or features desperately needed. I'd love it. I think Gavin will be working out the specifics of what we want to do. I'd LOVE to see money put into a huge test suite, personally.
Thank you for furthering the effort of Cryptocurrency, I have written several policy papers in this arena, and look forward to the day where the deep web stigma is removed from the currency. Thanks FapNowPayLater! We genuinely appreciate the support.
Last updated: 2012-10-02 22:30 UTC | Next update: 2012-10-03 04:30 UTC
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