Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Has anyone noticed the disparity between how many articles get written about btc's price, and how little gets written about its real-life uses and benefits?

Idealistic view: BTC is used to create peer-to-peer marketplaces (OpenBazaar [1]) and the underlying blockchain tech can be used to implement smart contracts that can automate systems and remove humans from the loop (Samsung/IBM ADEPT [2], Filament [3]).

Realistic view: BTC is used as a speculative hedge, and to evade currency controls in China.

[1] https://openbazaar.org/

[2] http://rethinkresearch.biz/articles/ibm-samsung-unveil-adept...

[3] https://filament.com/technology/

Can someone explain why it's a good idea to use blockchains for IoT? The example they give is of a smart washer checking to see whether the washer is under warranty when it detects a part is about to fail... but why on Earth would a blockchain be better than any old database maintained by the company? Why on Earth use a distributed ledger?

in theory the block chain can be trusted by both parties whereas the company could modify it or be malicious.....

in practice you're correct because acting maliciously would make the company lose customers and potentially get sued

That hasn't stopped them so far.

Bitcoin is definitely useful for dark net marketplaces; I doubt they would be 1% the volume in a world without a popular cryptocurrency.

That's because Bitcoin is still today too cumbersome to be used for anything other than speculation and drugs. No one goes to the grocery store thinking "gosh, I sure wish I could transfer some money to an exchange, buy some BTC, set up a wallet, transfer the BTC, wait for confirmations, scan a QR code to pay, and wait for confirmations again to pay for my groceries". The only people that want this are early early adopters with a large stash that cannot be made liquid easily, but otherwise adoption doesn't seem to be going anywhere besides the existing use cases.

I've been asked a half dozen times in the past week to send (international) payments via Bitcoin. Not because the receivers are enthusiasts, but because it's the simplest way.

There's admittedly a high cost of learning/adoption, but once that is overcome it's not an issue. My guess is that (like most technology) bitcoin will eventually be easy enough to use that we don't have to understand or think about it, the same way I don't really understand how ACH or merchant processing works but I have a credit card.

I remember in 2013 there was a $148M bitcoin transaction. Instantaneous, 0$ in fees, no third-party involved, no currency exchanges. Granted, it was probably just moving money around the same organization's wallets, but that really opened my eyes. [1]

Someone described Bitcoin to me as the Internet of money. I'm guessing nobody at ARPA envisioned Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, or Google, but they created a platform upon which that innovation could occur. Bitcoin (or whatever) could be that platform for money.

Right now, I can see this being very useful for international remittances, like you have observed, commodity money (serving the role that gold does, as a hedge against currency devaluations, capital controls, etc), and in the informal sector esp. in the third world, where you have smartphones, but maybe not the financial institutions to bank with.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6782290

In my neighborhood there are bars that accept Bitcoin. I've paid several dinners with my Android BTC wallet. Quite convenient in a city where you usually can only pay with cash...

Quick question - from someone who hasn't looked at bitcion since it was between 10c and $5 - since your transaction doesn't clear until the block propagates how they handle double spends?

The same way that restaurants make sure you pay instead of just leaving the building. It's mostly just not worth the hassle to save a few bucks.

Double spends are overwhelmingly a theoretical issue. Credit card fraud, on the other hand, is pandemic.

>In my neighborhood there are bars that accept Bitcoin.

Something tells me you don't live in Nebraska.

>Quite convenient in a city where you usually can only pay with cash...

How is it more convenient than cash?

You cannot back up cash

You cannot securely send cash across the globe without depositing it into a trusted third party

You cannot program physical cash

Are you just listing a few random ways that Bitcoin is more convenient than cash? The OP was about spending money at a bar.

But okay, here's how cash is more convenient: I can walk outside my office and use this dollar bill at any store anywhere around me. It has apparent value to everyone I will talk to. I don't need the internet.

If you need to "program" or "backup" your money, I guess Bitcoin is your medium. No argument there.

Which neighborhood are you in?

He's probably in Berlin

I don't think this is accurate. The main use case for Bitcoin seems to be remittances and savings for the rich and middle-class in countries with unstable currencies, not grocery store payments. Compared to USD, it's cumbersome and expensive, but compared to gold or Western Union, it's clearly better.

Do you really believe more Bitcoin is used for this than evading the law?

Do you have any data that prove me wrong?

Do you have any data that prove you right?

I think that believing people are not criminals is the less extra ordinary case, considering how few people are criminals in the first place.

There would have be something extraordinary about bitcoin or the way it was represented to society at large that attracted criminals.

You don't understand how the law works. You are a criminal. In the u.s., for example, that shining city on a hill, it is estimated that a typical adult commits three felonies on an average day.

No, actually, I don't. I was just expressing an opinion backed up by my own evaluation of Bitcoin's strengths. User chc responded with such incredulity that I thought he might have some information I don't.

Ok. Just wondering. I actually have neither opinion nor data on the subject.

And compared to Ripple, it's still astoundingly clunky.

> No one goes to the grocery store thinking "gosh, I sure wish I could transfer some money to an exchange, buy some BTC, set up a wallet, transfer the BTC...

That cracked me up, because it sums up much of the Bitcoin experience... but in Australia at least, there's a card (Coinjar Swipe) that you can use to pay with Bitcoin in any store that accepts EFTPOS, which is most Australian stores. (The same card terminals that accept Visa & Mastercard usually accept EFTPOS.) You can even use it to convert Bitcoin to cash as Cash Out at supermarkets.


That is any topic ever.

Anyone can "contribute" to discussions on anything from the budget of the DoD to health care without having the slightest clue how anything actually works. All you have to do is instead of having to deal with those cumbersome details you just talk about "money" and suddenly everybody is free to join the discussion with great enthusiasm and unhindered by constraints of missing information or subject knowledge.

That's also why a lot of "solutions" to any problem work like this:

  Problem => Money => Solution
which actually means

  Problem => Magic => Solution
That is especially prevalent when talking about great societal problems, from health care to education. Or maybe it just feels that way because that's the kind of discussions I tend to see the most.

That's because writing about price changes requires little knowledge or research into how the system works.

I write meaty articles about Bitcoin; if that's what you seek, check out: http://www.coindesk.com/author/jameson-lopp/ and https://medium.com/@lopp

I feel like we're beyond pretending Bitcoin has said uses and benefits and have accepted its status as a technical commodity/investment instrument.

It could be because of the barriers to entry, even perceived barriers to entry, or barriers to said use that it's not actually being used for its intended "purpose", admittedly.

It saddens me that bitcoin's path towards a common payment network is so slow. I've always liked the technology (or the core ideas behind it), but its adoption is hindered by popular and factual association with illegal activities, and by the recent stagnation regarding scaling.

Plus it is hard to use and distributed network trust isn't particularly advantageous compared to a legal system.

Use of the legal system is restricted to corporations and HNW individuals (who typically have multiple corporations, so....)

No, most banks will reverse illegitimate transactions for run of the mill customers.

I see, so the banks are the new judiciary?

No, they are required by laws to do certain things and courts only have to come into it when they don't do them.

I didn't say "go to court", I said "a legal system".

Users of bitcoin can also use the legal system to do things. But then you are messing with bitcoin for what reason?

Because I want my grandchildren to be free humans, to live out their lives in productive, peaceful harmony (and yours). Debt-based currency and monitored, controlled transaction systems are fundamentally incompatible with this goal.

It'd be interesting to construct a model of bitcoin as debt, the debt being the future energy costs needed to run the network (which is necessary for bitcoin to have any value today).

If you are using Bitcoin as a store of value then price is a major part of its real-life use and benefit.

I strongly suspect (but haven't done the research to prove) that bitcoin is only viable as a currency because of the $ infusions from ransomware.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact