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Bitcoin breaks $3K to reach new all-time high (techcrunch.com)
178 points by janober 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 199 comments

That was quite a stair step up around 8pm PDT. Anyone know what happened? http://imgur.com/a/W6m6n

In the last week there was a fear of the Bitcoin Cash fork splitting the community. The fork failed so spectacularly that the biggest problem for Bitcoin / Bitcoin Cash holders was how to dump Bitcoin Cash when all reputable exchanges are afraid of implementing Bitcoin Cash. Now it's clear for most people that Bitcoin Cash failed.

Also Segregated Witness will lock in on Aug. 8 with a very high probability, and activate at the end of August.

> The fork failed so spectacularly

Really? How do you quantify this? Most people who are pro big blocks felt it went well (r/btc) and it'll take a while to make it profitable for miners to mine it. Many people who are against big blocks thought it'd immediately dive to $1, which is 1/200 of where it is currently at. It also seems like many pro-Blockstream people would dump Bitcoin Cash regardless, just because they don't believe in the rationale for it (r/bitcoin threads about how to sell Bitcoin Cash w/o analysis).

You could argue about market liquidity etc, but 4B market cap is hardly a failure. This doesn't mean it is a success. It is more accurate to call it undecided for the time being. To call it a failure is definitely premature and uncharitable, though.

> people who are pro big blocks [...] > people who are against big blocks

Please don't play up this narrative unnecessarily. It's an easy narrative, but it's also wrong and misses important things about governance and identity. It makes it sound like the Segregated Witness proposal, which won supermajority support on the development list, does not increase block size (which it does, just in a backwards compatible way).

It has been known for quite some time that apart from a bug in the software, that could destroy value in an instant, the biggest challenge will be managing an open source project in the face of competing interests. It's the first time the IETF governance model meets fintech, and if Bitcoin continues to grow it will make the patent drama round rtcweb look like child's play.

> pro-Blockstream people

This is also simplifying beyond what's reasonable. Bitcoin is an open source project. There is a mailing list. You can join it.

It's not always roses and civilized technical discussion, but every argument can be heard out and there are enough people lurking the sidelines to act as a guard against abuses of power.

The Blockstream narrative plays down the contributions of Lau, Lopp, Lombrozo and dozens of others which do a lot of the development and release management of the software.

Using the Blockstream narrative to dismiss contradictory ideas is basically how r/btc maintains their belief it's a success. It's been very entertaining watching them seize on every big block as proof the "small-blockers" are wrong that nodes couldn't keep up even though the overall transaction rate is actually a small fraction of Bitcoin's right now and arguing that the price going up was a sign that everyone claiming they'd dump their BCH was lying back when no exchanges were accepting deposits.

Also, as you point out big block isn't really the defining characteristic of the Bitcoin Cash fork since in principle Bitcoin is having a block size increase in the near future too. The bigger difference is ripping out the SegWit fix for transaction malleability, with the stated intention of making Lightning Network off-chain payments which require malleability to be fixed not work. In an interesting attack of irony, the ViaBTC exchange (one of its main proponents) just has to stop withdrawals because transaction malleability was breaking them: https://twitter.com/ViaBTC/status/893744282087047168

> The bigger difference is ripping out the SegWit fix for transaction malleability,

Sure, and as ironic as it may be that BCH deposits was malleability attacked earlier today, I still don't think it is a good idea to focus on the technical features of these forks. Who is behind the fork is more interesting than what is in the fork.

This is not a conflict among developers, with a few notable exceptions. This is a governance conflict. That is why the conflict is not very visible in the developer community, but rather outside in social media.

The open source project is a multi stakeholder model which can be very foreign to people who consider themselves influential. In many ways it looks more like academia than a corporation. Everyone would like the developers on their payroll, but no one wants to pay for it. Pretty much like academia, I suppose.

SegWit is not just a malleability fix. Bitcoin Cash removed SegWit but they do plan to fix malleability and enable second-layer scaling solutions; they just don't like arbitrarily limiting on-chain scaling to force second-layer adoption, or using complicated solutions when simpler ones will do.

One source: this interview with a dev of the main Bitcoin Cash client: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/future-bitcoin-cash-int...

It's not just a narrative. There are multiple sub-communities and they have radically different worldviews. The fact that BCH exists is one proof of that.

This quite real and significant divergence of worldviews is one of the biggest challenges that civilization faces, and, I believe, is also the primary thing holding back wider deployment of innovative technologies, rather than technical or financial limitations.

This is not to say that people shouldn't have different views. But identities are tied up together with communities and the general belief system that goes with them. It's just human nature and no technology is immune to it.

The market cap figure is meaningless precisely because of the lack of liquidity. You could make your own bitcoin clone, put it up for trade at some unknown exchange for $1000 and claim that you have a $17B "successful fork".

Market cap is a somewhat flawed metric, I agree, and it should not be looked at in isolation.

The daily volume tells you that Bitcoin Cash is traded (or maybe dumped?) quite a bit. It's volume is about that of LTC currently which really is not too shaby.

Don't forget that Bitcoin Cash was an as friendly fork as possible. I don't think anybody realistically expected that it would overtake Bitcoin right away. I'm not even sure if the initiators expect it to overtake Bitcoin at all. In a slightly conspiracy theoristic view, it might just have been a rehearsal for if the 2X part of Segwit2X doesn't happen and a hostile takeover might be tried.

Cryptocurrencies don't easily die and so far, Bitcoin Cash is doing okay. Calling it a failure at this point is premature.

What does Blockstream have to do with anything?

Very little. They are just used as a boogieman to focus the narrative of those who don't agree with the path toward layered scaling or who have an ulterior motive to cause conflict within the community

Actually there are loads of reputable exchanges where you can sell BCH. The problem is that the networks is so slow and unreliable for now, that it takes ages to move your BCH to those exchanges.

Source? I see up to 2-3 blocks some hours, 1sat/byte fees being accepted.

2-3 blocks "some hours" is not good enough, and most exchanges require 20 confirmations.

Anyway, there was a difficulty adjustment in the last hours, so things should improve.

is there a nice summary of what happened with the fork anywhere? I want to read a neutral, unbiased summary, as i haven't really been keeping up with the bitcoin community for a while now (and i don't want to read the drama/politics, just what happened).

There's no summary that I am aware of, but a nice trick is to go to https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/ (against fork) and https://www.reddit.com/r/btc/ (pro fork), sort by most popular last week and read what they have to say in the stickies/FAQ. They are both biased, but if you read both accounts you can form your own opinion.

This is a good heuristic in general. Everyone has an agenda and it is very hard to find an unbiased source of anything, especially for contemporary news. It is often better to find sources where the bias is clear, as opposed to hidden. Then find the strongest contradictory argument and compare the two.

UPDATE: Parent asked for a summary, not a technical deep dive. Here it is from "/r/btc" (pro fork) POV: https://i.imgur.com/uJ9XE06.png and from "/r/bitcoin" (against fork) POV: https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/6r05nm/megathread_... Follow the mentioned links if you are interested to get into more details.

The S/N ratio of Reddit is slightly above 4chan, I find it mostly an exercise in image macros and copy paste. No development takes palce there. If you are interested in the protocol and the software, I would recommend lurking the IRC channels and/or mailing list. There is drama there too, but it takes the form of rational arguments and walls of text.

Two possibilities come to mind. One, perhaps potential buyers were nervous about the BCH fork. And after BTC price didn't crash, they jumped in. Two, perhaps some large BTC holders are buying more BTC with their windfall BCH. I mean, what else would they do with it?


the price to dollar is mostly controlled by the exchanges supply and demand, which are mostly opaque.

if I were to bet: price collusion to dump it before every miner jumps into the new chain exclusively.

But where's the evidence of miners switching? The block-mining-reward for BCH is very low - and from what it looks consumers looking to use BitCoin for retail transactions will have a hard time with BCH because very few, if any, retailers support BCH compared to BTC.

again. I don't know. you don't known. the real btc/bth to dollar offer and supply is not transparent. miner can move either way in any second. I don't follow all of the public groups. and there are mostly private big miners now anyway.

you might be right on the reason. only the exchange knows. the trick is that the dollar to btc is a known value for them only.

> But where's the evidence of miners switching?

Why does this matter? If you're concerned about double spend, just wait for more confirmations and treat it as a slower to resolve chain. In any case, double spend problems could only happen if miners _did_ switch, so then you wouldn't need to be worried about miners not switching.

Not saying the alternative (fiat) is a substantially better alternative, but this is what happens when markets aren't regulated.

My prediction: There are going to be a lot of naive poor folks who are going to become poorer, maybe even dirt poor, and some very savvy wealthy people who are going to be even more wealthy when this is all said and done.

A better prediction: There's going to be a bunch of random movement that causes random fluctuations in holdings of various people.

Yes, but there are also large players clearly manipulating the markets on the various exchanges, unhindered by regulations. It is definitely more than just random movement.

Imo they can only sell and buy, is that manipulation?

If these people did the same things (quote stuffing and layering in general, spoofing, etc) on the regular stock exchange, the SEC would have them arrested. It is illegal to do the things on the regular stock exchange that some of these people are doing on the cryptocurrency exchanges. As someone that's been involved in Ethereum and Bitcoin (bot) trading on various exchanges for at least a couple of years now, I am tracking several groups or individuals ("players") that do this kind of thing all day, every day. I personally don't have a problem with it, but don't think for a second that this would be legal on the regular stock exchange.

> the SEC would have them arrested

No they wouldn't. I worked as an equities trader for years. Saying something is illegal is meaningless if people do it anyway and the enforcement body has little to no power to stop it. Spoofing is rampant in the equities market regardless of its legality. Watching GDAX for the last week, there is definitively less spoofing in the ETH/USD market than in the equities markets as a whole.

We could list the one case prosecuted each year if you'd like, but that won't make it any more significant. I was at a small firm with 50 traders. I guarantee there were a handful that were spoofing. The NYSE alone is worth $25 trillion. Bitcoin altogether is worth $55b. One or two arrests every year isn't "regulation", nor is it even a minor deterent. The SEC is far and away one of the weakest regulatory bodies in the US.

I provided an example showing that your assertion is wrong. They do have the enforcement power to arrest people for the things I mention.

You gave an example, I gave you 10% of my trading floor. You can say what you want about rules and regulations, but if people don't PRACTICALLY enforce them, the rules are irrelevant. The SEC just needs a poster child every now and then. I'm sure you looked and saw how many arrests there have actually been. I'm curious, how many people doing it would make you believe that arrest is statistically insignificant? Regardless of an example, there are also large players clearly manipulating the markets on the various exchanges, unhindered by regulations applies to both.

Also publish blog articles and tweets and such about it. That is manipulation. There's also option-style trading on some platforms, plenty of people have been short BTC and gotten squeezed recently, however.

lol, not all markets are perfect or random.

Never implied it. Only that BTC is that way for 99.9999% of evaluators.

People have been making these predictions since 2011. You have no way of knowing your prediction is any better then the thousands of other failed predictions.

The more that I think about banks the more I realize they are no longer relevant. Why do I need to pay a "bank" to keep my money that is simply stored as a digital record? Seems absurd once you stop and think about it.

That's the thing. You don't pay the bank, the bank pays you. Otherwise no one would have bothered.

except when you practically remove cash and introduce negative interest rates, like it's tried in few countries already (Sweden)

Not absurd at all. Consider all the cases when someone steals your money from your computer or from the exchange. Or when people send ethereum by typing in the address and losing money. Someone did this with five figures of USD worth. And that's just those that we hear about.

Theory is nice but practice is even nicer.

Cryptocurrencies are for when we want to be responsible for our selves. I don't think either extreme (banks vs crypto) works for all cases. I just want the choice.

I always understood that Bitcoin have appealed to the Ayn Rand followers. But what Ayn Rand have advocated for is selfishness and not a society. You can dress that as "be responsible for our selves" but in this case, much as with a lot of cases, spreading out the cost of building and operating a secure system across many people have proven to work much better than individuals doing the same.

To provide a concrete example, I use Bitcoin where I don't trust a provider to not charge me again in the future.

Some banks give you some tools to protect against this case like generating debit card numbers with an exact balance on it. But Bitcoin generalizes over the case.

Your comment is the sort of all-or-nothing mentality that I don't understand. I look at banking institutions vs cryptocurrencies as different options just like credit cards vs cash: I want to be able to choose, and I don't want to be limited to one single solution.

It's kinda of like the decision between an iPad vs a techie's laptop. I think the most common cases (e.g. my parents' needs) are best served by an iPad or a banking institution, but it's dangerous when someone begins telling me that I don't need such a powerful laptop.

All too often I see cryptocurrencies dismissed with the condescending implication that nobody is capable of evaluating the trade-offs.

I would love to not have to use a bank.

You still need to keep your cryptocurrency private keys secured - a bank can provide that service, while also loaning out your capital and paying you back interest. Banks do more than just hoard capital.

Another advantage is government-insurance of savings.

The interest isn't enough to cover the costs of inflation.

The primary purpose of banks in our society is not storing money, but lending it out.

Of course. But then why am I paying bank fees for a checking account? And savings accounts don't even pay enough interest to cover inflation.

Have you bothered to read the requirements for waving the bank fees? And if you are concerned with beating inflation, you are supposed to look into, at the very least, bonds or something similar.

Savings accounts are more suited for money you will need at any moment.

Of course I have. I need to keep $3000+ in my checking account. Either way I'm paying for the account either by lending them the $3000 or by a $15 a month fee. Either way I lose out especially since I don't think I'm getting any value from my bank. I'm planning on switching banks.

I have some money in other investments but I just think banks are a rip off.

And creating it in a regulated way (this is very important for controlling the money supply and thus the economy).

Not at all saying that it's not the kick in the pants the governments of the world need. In fact it's probably exactly what they need. I think it's absolutely insane that in today's world we can't freely exchange currency world wide without being charged exorbitant fees.

I think the first stable government that promises this to the world (probably at first via country to country agreements) is going to see their value spike (in relative terms). Not exactly sure where this would ultimately leave Bitcoin...

I don't understand what you are saying.

Governments don't charge money to change currency. That is done by private companies which charge a fee for it, in the same way blockchain exchanges charge a fee to trade between blockchain currencies.

I agree the currency exchange fees are higher than they should be, but... if you think that's a big need it isn't too hard to start a company to compete and lower the fees. That's what XE.com did for example.

I'm confused what you think a government should do?

I think there should be one world gov't, with one single currency, and a unified monetary policy. People who do arbitrage of currency are simply a less efficient version of a unified world currency anway.

If you aren't trolling, you could do with a little macroeconomics study before you rearchitect the world. It's not as intuitive as it seems.

You are probably right. Governments and financial institutions are separate entities. And the process of starting up a compliant financial institution to compete against entrenched interests is almost frictionless.

You cynicism and attacks on an easy target doesn't make your point any clearer.

The fact is plenty of companies have setup as currency exchanges.

The fact that you assume my comment was cynical proves I've made my point perfectly well.

> I think it's absolutely insane that in today's world we can't freely exchange currency world wide without being charged exorbitant fees.

So true. Where I am now the best option for sending / receiving money to the US is either a 50$ wire transfer, or Western Union gouging you to death. Even Paypal is not available here, and the ATM fees add up. It definitely hurts the people of poorer countries immensely to have a middleman in between all international payments. I imagine the typical case is people sending money back home to family members.

A possible trajectory that might eventually meet your prediction is the "e-residency" of Estonia [0]. Estonia is busy creating a kind of "digital citizenship" program which is pretty clearly aimed at attracting innovators and startups. If you haven't looked into it, it's worth a few minutes of your time just as an interesting thing happening.

[0] https://e-resident.gov.ee

I don't understand what you're suggesting would be different if it were regulated.

When you unbound the supply of a currency, it naturally inflates. Inflation being relative to the value derived from any given indicator. Speculation drives confidence drives speculation, forever.

That's the exact opposite of bitcoin. The supply is very clearly bounded to 21 million coins total, with a predefined distribution rate that can't be changed.

Not to belabor the obvious, but it is not the opposite. It's a case study, of the effect.

The number is not 21 million. It's currently 21*10^8 via fractional transactions and expandable (meaning practically and theoretically infinite).

Do you think that increasing the number of decimal places actually increases the supply?

If everyone started talking about cents instead of dollars that wouldn't mean there's 100x as much money... 1 cent would still be worth 1/100 of a dollar.

Likewise, if you started dividing down to 1/1000 of a dollar it wouldn't be inflation. Each 1/1000 of a dollar would still be worth 1/1000 of a dollar.

Edit: and if you suddenly replaced every dollar with 1000 newdollars, those newdollars are also worth 1/1000 of what they were before.

    It's currently 21*10^8 via fractional transactions
First, if by fractional transactions you meant satoshis, the math is 21 * 10^14 (21 million bitcoins * 10^8 satoshis per bitcoin).

Second, there is no question that Bitcoin is deflationary in the long term. The fact that it can be split in smaller units doesn't change that at all.

So, if I divide a pizza into 2e8 pieces I have more pizza than if I only split it in half?

Pizza has intrinsic properties, like physics that constrain it. You have more pizza pieces numerically, yes. I'm wondering why you think this is a compelling analogy.

When people say they expand the money supply it means diluting the existing holders. The actual unit of accounting doesn't really matter. Subdividing bitcoin units does not dilute existing holders.

Can someone explain how old Bitcoin works post-fork? Can you sell the same old Bitcoin twice now? Is this already priced in somehow and still going up?

Bitcoin works the same as it always did. However, anyone who had N Bitcoin on a particular time on August 1 also has N "Bitcoin Cash" using the same private keys, and can go spend that separately on the forked blockchain, without in any way affecting their existing Bitcoin. Both have their own price and market, and they don't interconvert beyond that one-time thing except by selling/buying/trading between them.

Thanks! Isn't this something a currency should fundamentally prevent? I don't know of any real-world currency that can be used twice.

It's more like if someone created a new currency and gave each owner of an existing currency (say, the dollar) an equivalent nominal amount of the new notes.

Bitcoin Cash is a separate project and currency from Bitcoin. You can't pay someone who is expecting Bitcoin by sending Bitcoin Cash to them or vice-versa.

Bitcoin's code is open source and the balances of all addresses are public, so anyone could create a fork (a new separate currency based on it, optionally starting with the same balances).

Right, but presumably a reasonably large merchant would find that they need to accept both though, right? And now you would have more purchasing power with them which feels a bit weird, since the old Bitcoin and the new Bitcoin would not have the same purchasing power...

Right now, the exchanges have only just allowed Bitcoin Cash deposits. I'm not aware of any merchant that accepts Bitcoin Cash. I believe that because of the massive price difference (purchasing power) between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, merchants would have to accept them just like merchants accept different currencies in Hong Kong (RMB, HKD, USD).

You can just convert your BCH to BTC.

True! But that alone usually isn't enough for merchants to want to accept a cryptocurrency. (e.g. very few merchants accept ETH or LTC).

Sure. But my point is that there's no need for merchants to support BCH. Or to keep supporting BTC. As long as it's easy to exchange one for the other. As it is with ShapeShift.

Merchants don't need to accept Bitcoin Cash any more than they need to accept any other altcoin (e.x. Litecoin)

Maybe, maybe not. Bitcoin might have been 200$ higher without the fork.

Merchants find they need to accept any popular currency their users demand. Being forked from the Bitcoin chain is beside the point.

if merchants accept bitcoin cash, logic dictates that they must increase their price to match the new supply of money created by this fork, so that the total amount of purchasing power that any particular individual has pre-fork and post-fork remains the same.

I'm unaware of any merchant accepting alt coin that isn't immediately converting to fiat. The btc price you see is always pegged to the price at the exchange.

>but presumably a reasonably large merchant would find that they need to accept both though, right?

Bitcoin Cash isn't the first new or even nearly the most popular altcoin. Ethereum has actually overtaken Bitcoin in some indicators at times, though not in number of accepting merchants. Nothing has gotten close to Bitcoin in terms of how many places accept it.

The closest thing I can think of is the old Australian "holey dollar" and the "dump", which was punched out from it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holey_dollar#British_colony_of...

There are some vaguely similar things if you think of Bitcoin as something more like store or credit card points or frequent flyer miles.

Sometimes those points give you the rights to some other associated company points without spending the original points.

Also worth noting is that sometimes these points are effectively unspendable because of availability of rewards etc. Just like how Bitcoin Cash is "worth" $700 (or whatever), but you can't actually exchange it for anything at that price.

Imagine tracking your bank balance in git, and then you branch off.

Now you have two balances - two diverging branches with shared history. You can't spend either twice, that is, create two commits with the same parent that don't diverge again.

It's not being used twice though on any individual fork. Plus the value would have to split for any fork.

Right, but you can get yourself a BCH wallet, and import the keys from your existing BTC wallet. Then convert BCH to BTC, if you like. Using shapeshift.io perhaps, which requires no account.

Just to make it clear to others, "convert" here means sell BCH in exchange for BTC. It's not some sort of mathematical operation.

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this. Once you use your private key to complete a transaction on the BCH blockchain, won't that reveal the private key publicly and allow others to spend the corresponding unspent bitcoin on the BTC blockchain? Sorry if I'm overlooking something obvious, but it was my understanding that once someone used their private key it should never be used again...

Not at all. You never reveal private keys when transacting. You will reveal addresses, however. The only BTC addresses that have BCH value are those that existed at the fork. So before using them in the BCH blockchain, it would be prudent to first spend them in the BTC blockchain. Doing this is a double spend in some sense, but they happen in different blockchains, so they don't affect each other.

Yes you can - bitcoin held prior to the fork is valid on both chains. And yes it is still going up. An alternative scaling solution (to the big blocks proposed by the 'new' fork) Segwit will be going ahead - aiding the scalability of 'old' Bitcoin fork, which may explain some/all of the price rise. Along with the uncertainty reduction post fork.

'New' and 'old' here are somewhat arbitrary/controversial ways of thinking of the fork. Proponents of Bitcoin cash might argue having no limit was closer to Satoshi's original intention - the block limit was originally added in as a temporary measure. Lots of politics going on around that.

Been long bitcoin since 2013. I felt like I was late but it has been awesome .glad I ignored the headlines about bubbles . the news is useless. for every bubble they call correctly, the get 10-20 of them wrong. Bitcoin is like General Electric..its not going anywhere. Against all odds it succeeded and surpassed everyone's expectations.

> Bitcoin... is not going anywhere.

Exactly. Bitcoin needs only to survive to gain long-term credibility in the public's mind. I've been long since 2011. Here's what I wrote back then:

"If Bitcoin passes the harsh tests of crisis again and again, it will slowly gain credibility in the public’s mind, both as medium of exchange and store of value. Over a period of many years or even decades, as the world gradually learns via trial-and-error how to use Bitcoin, becomes familiar with its properties, and ultimately comes to trust it, nothing can prevent it from gaining as much credibility as, say, gold.

The world’s existing legal and regulatory regimes may not welcome Bitcoin at first – few governments are likely to take kindly to the emergence of a decentralized, anonymous, global currency beyond their control. Sooner or later, however, governments will adapt to the changing circumstances, as they always do. I would expect governmental acceptance of Bitcoin to occur initially in less developed countries, as many of them are already used to having their fortunes tied to a global currency beyond their control: the US dollar.

If I am right, in the long run, as man-made crises of all kinds erupt all over the planet from time to time, global adoption of Bitcoin should gradually expand from niche markets to the broader population. Ultimately, global adoption for Bitcoin should be enormous."[0]

[0] https://cs702.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/on-the-potential-adop...

What I dislike about posts like that is how little depth is in it. The whole point can be reduced to

> BTC will be popular and grow because it's popular and winning right now

This sound circular-ish to me. How about a different interpretation?

- BTC is overhyped to the point of completely non-technical people in distant countries buying BTC "to get rich quick" (this narrative is pushed hard by both media and BTC fans).

- so there is a constant influx of USD into the BTC ecosystem from those folks. Note that it happens regardless of any technical or economical analysis and drives BTC price up

- however, that influx is clearly limited (by the number of naive people) and predicated on constant growth [1]. The only real purpose of BTC for those "investors" is to get rich quick, they will never buy coffee with it. As soon as USD:BTC flattens out (and it inevitably will), they will try to cash out, crashing the markets in the process. It didn't happen yet just because there were so many people to be convinced (or fooled), but it's going to happen.

[1] side note: in this sense it's literally similar to ISIS, which amuses me a bit

It will crash, its only a matter of time. It's also to be seen if it'll crash to a value lower than it currently is. Even if bitcoin becomes a major currency there will be overshoot in its value.

It's currency speculation, one of the most notoriously dangerous things to invest in. It's also completely unregulated and so no organization will be able to halt trading if it crashes 70% ... it will just keep going.

Also for every bitcoin millionaire there's countless people like me who didn't buy and sell at the right time. You see it go up 10%, you have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow, so you say "oh, this is a fine roi." Trusting the market has ruined many more fortunes than it's made and greed is rarely a bearer of good luck.

And finally, trading is like coming up with passwords. You may think you're clever but in reality, your innovative strategy was likely programmed as an algorithm 30 years ago and your perceived edge is likely imaginary. TA bots, arbitrage systems, pump-and-dump commenting botnets, and sentiment analysis of big-data for leading indicators have been used by traders heavily since, well, the beginning - remember where bitcoin came from; everyone who had a coin in 2009, before you ever heard of btc, was likely also savvy enough to leverage all of these.

Also, Do Not Keep Too Much In Exchanges. If history has taught us anything, it's private wallets on private computers that are turned off most of the time is the safest place to store them. If I was a criminal with a 0-day exploit, the very first thing my code would do on a victim's computer is look for wallet.dat.

So have fun, trust nobody, don't panic, and it's probably best not to invest too deep.

This type of prediction comments always strikes me as nonsense and containing zero actual information. If you believe this, either post fundamental analysis that argues your case and have the hope of providing some valuable insight, or - even better - put your money where your mouth is.

The same thing happened when people claimed to be 99.999% sure Trump would never be president, but of course they never actually bet any money on it.

One could argue the grandparent doesn't argue their point either, but they definitely seem to put their money where their mouth is. All these people who are so against crypto and like to sit at the sidelines moaning about a bubble, why don't you either short it or bet against it? A la http://blog.samaltman.com/bubble-talk

You can be right that it will crash and still lose your shirt if you short it, if you are wrong about the timing. As Keynes said: “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.”

There is an inherent asymmetry between going long and short. If you're going long, your losses are capped at what you put in, and your gains are unlimited. The opposite is true if you are going short: your losses are unlimited, but your gains are limited.

That's a good counter argument, thank you. This is why I also mentioned betting against over a multi-year period, which you can do manually like Sam Altman did with tech valuations, or using something like longbets.org. You can also structure the bets so your losses or gains are limited or unlimited on whatever side you want, assuming you find a counterparty who is willing to take the bet.

It is definitely more work though and maybe not something most people are willing to do unless they have strong reasons to believe they are right and can profit from it.

(Another way is also to do proxy bets/investments, i.e. go long on things that are inversely correlated with X, but this is less practical in the case of cryptocurrencies for various reasons.)

You don't have to sell short, you can buy puts which give you far greater (not unlimited) upside than your capped downside.

True, but then your timing is even more crucial. You can be right about a coming crash, but if it happens after your put option expires, it won't do you any good...

My money is staying away from the volitility of crypto currency.

It's very hard to predict this market in the long and the short term. As far as I can tell speculation is the only driving factor in bitcoin. Not something I want to bet on or against it's too random for me.

it crashed many times and recovered in each instance. Overshoots and volatility are part of owning it . But given how much money is at stake now, I predict the crashes will become smaller. if someone or some firm is buying $100-200 million of bitcoin they are not going to sell it on a whim.

He no doubt rebalances his portfolio as things change. It's not free money.

How can you tell this isn't a speculative bubble? It has all the hallmarks of one - exuberance without strong fundamentals is a classic sign.

> without strong fundamentals

I've used Bitcoin to buy medication from India. When ppl say shit like this, I get confused. Literally sit there & use it whilst ppl say it can't work. Really odd.

It works. I've used it. It works. I'm not sure exactly what it takes to get through. A functioning system doesn't seem to suffice.

"Works" isn't sufficient for broad adoption. It has to create value by solving a widespread problem much better than alternatives. See this classic tech marketing book for more: https://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Chasm-Marketing-High-Tech-Ma...

I've been asking for positive examples for years, and I still see no signs that Bitcoin is poised for more than niche adoption. Sure, if you want to do something modestly illegal, like buying gray market prescription drugs, Bitcoin may fill a niche. But it hasn't caught on for legal transactions, and its traceability makes it bad for seriously illegal activities. And even if you're only doing something modestly illegal, you have to be pretty technical and pretty dedicated to make it work. For most people it's way easier to give cash to their friendly local drug dealer.

So yes, it doesn't have strong fundamentals. The underlying commodity, long integers, is freely available. Despite years of "Bitcoin will be widespread soon" puffery, the use value is very weak compared with alternatives. At least you could plant tulip bulbs.

It's legal to import prescription drugs to the UK.

P2P payment is a big one. I think kids may use it, since they can't get PayPal et al(?). Thought of that yesterday. That's a generation growing up with crypto.

Investing in startups around the world is new (via token sales).

Investing in uncorrelated assets is valuable. Eat gold.

Browser micropayments could get big (Brave browser). Ppl may even get paid for attention in the future.

Iota for the internet of thing (haven't looked into that much).

Hedge against fiat inflation.

Internet ported to decentralised infra if Trump etc start pulling 1984 bs.

Self-driving cars paying toll road via crypto (just made that up).

Solar panels off-setting their cost via crypto-mining. Then ppl have crypto to spend.

Decentralised file systems.

Decentralised storage.

That's a few whilst I whale on my legs.

These are mostly hypothetical use cases.

And that's my big problem with Bitcoin advocates. I ask, "How is Bitcoin creating value today?" And 98% of the answers I get are, "Tomorrow will be amazing!!1!" I have received that consistently for eight years.

Strong fundamentals don't include "might be amazing one day". I too enjoy science fiction, but...

Just checked. Most of them are real

Edit: you seem to not know they are real, because you haven't looked into it. Because you don't think it's real. Maybe someone else told you when you asked, but you didn't listen?

Edit2: Howard Marks -- the investor -- recently said bitcoin wasn't real. So you're not alone in thinking x-real-thing isn't real!

Let's see your data. For things that drive fundamentals, I'm looking for data that a given use for Bitcoin has at least 1% market share versus competitor technologies, and hopefully above 15%, so it's clear that the idea has crossed the chasm.

By 15% penetration, I don't think I can get a 100x return. I've invested aggressively. Don't think that's possible even @ 1%.

I'm probably going to be holding some of the assets for a decade. Something like that. Unless the whole thing tanks.

Good investment opportunities don't come around vary often. By the next one I should have made the money back (& more).

The entire crypto-economy is worth something like 70B. Way smaller than Facebook/Goog/aapl. If you want a sure thing, crypto ain't it! I do think it's a good bet, though (asymmetric).

I've used Bitcoin again instead of a wire. Wires don't go on the weekend.

I'm glad you are happy with your investments, but that seems entirely beside the point we are discussing.

To review, gray-area suggested Bitcoin could be a speculative bubble because there's strong exuberance and weak fundamentals. You objected to that phrase, claiming that "it works". I said that "works" is too low a standard for strong fundamentals; for that you need significant use driven by a user value proposition stronger than the alternatives.

You claimed, as best I can tell, that significant use is occurring. I am asking you for data demonstrating that. I have been asking Bitcoin advocates for that for years and never received any. You haven't given me any either. Do you have it?

Not significant use. Use. I guess there's two questions; 1) does something work? 2) is it popular for a given case(s). This relates to the delta vs substitutes. In the long run.

1 is yes. 2, I believe it will be. We haven't seen 2 much yet b/c time hasn't occured.

A) wires are better, as far as I can tell. For speed.

B) traditional VCs are investing in token sales, today.

C) crypto hedge funds are open today.

I never claimed there was significant use. I would argue it's a functioning system & there are strong value props (better than alts).

You know there isn't significant use. You want to wait? Wait. I'm fast follower. I like to benefit from new technology. Startups/hackers. That sort of thing. I think other ppl can benefit if they have a look. 99/100 hype is bs. Sometimes though.

It's good to be sceptical. I was.

I strongly suspect that your argument is dishonest. Most probably you just bought some modafinil from a couple of sellers who give big discounts when you pay them in BTC (because they are aware of the grey zone they are in). It's not really an argument for general BTC utility.

I bought some rapamycin. It's an immune suppressor for an autoimmune disorder.

& A few other anti-inflammatory medications. & Other bits & bobs.

I've given a list of other use cases.

I've bought modafinil before. That's legal, also. I try & be open about things. Helps against cunts who try & attack me.

Edit: bought the Moda with a CC, I think. Not from a pharmacy.

I'm sorry for my empty suspicions then. This was pretty vicious, I apologize.

OK. Good of you to apologise.

The concept of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has a strong fundamental value to people.

The value of a Bitcoin itself is only indirectly linked to this -- it is very possible that another cryptocurrency will prove more useful (cf. ETH), and people will switch to using that other currency for their cryptocurrency needs.

Yes, Bitcoin is great and enables new things. Bitcoin "investment" / speculation is another thing entirely.

Correct. Which is why I stay on the ball.

I said nothing about whether it works. A functioning system with the shortcomings and usage patterns of bitcoin does not warrant the large rise in price over the last 12 months IMO.

Buying medication from India was already possible with credit cards before Bitcoin. Next argument, please?

Are you suggesting credit cards also don't have value?

Well, to whom? Legally, only the owner, and they're using it to create debt.

I think you just strengthened GPs argument.

The fact that you can use it to buy real things doesn't means that is has a strong fundamental. To contradict the statement that BTC doesn't have a strong fundamental you should tell which this fundamental is and why it is strong. NOTE: don't take me wrong, I don't have a clear opinion about this topic. I think there's a concrete possibility that BTC will crash when it reaches the limit of 21 million BTC but I'm not sure it will happen, I think we have to wait until that moment to see what happens.

What does 'a strong fundamental' mean?

A global payment system which is faster than a wire transfer. An uncorrelated hedge for assets. P2P payment. Things like that?

A different (more modern?) cryptocurrency could serve all of those needs, which is a threat to the fundamental value of Bitcoin.

For comparison, the "fundamental" value of USD is a trust in the US Government to maintain its value. Comparing that to the fundamental value of Bitcoin would be a fun discussion to have, but the fact remains that the US has done it for 225 years and Bitcoin has done it for less than 9 years.

Actually, by that reasoning, I guess the fundamental value of Bitcoin is the distributed self-interest and capability of Bitcoin holders to maintain Bitcoin's value, which is obviously a powerful force.

>A different (more modern?) cryptocurrency could serve all of those needs

People always underestimate the power of network effects. People have been predicting the demise of facebook for the last decade. Surely something better will come along at eat its lunch, right? Wrong. Network effects are and always will be king.

Why haven't network effects brought to Bitcoin mass adoption already, then? The very nature of network effects is that they are an accelerant for adoption, why hasn't this happened? It's been 8 years.

Network effects isn't about adoption necessarily, its about defense. If a cryptocurrency is going to be mainstream, it will be bitcoin barring some massive self-inflicted wound or some new game changing technology. But adoption hasn't reached critical mass because there are still many usability barriers. Hopefully with segwit we'll start to see those barriers fall away.

Like I said, I stay on the ball. I'm not going to lay out my investment thesis here.

But the point is that a "strong fundamental" means that there is a widespread long-term belief in whatever backs the currency. Bitcoin is too new to have this in human timescales.

Can you make money speculating in Bitcoin? Obviously. But it is not fundamentally backed by something that people have long-term trust in -- it is only worth what you can trade it for at that moment.

I trust cryptography & networks. I've lived a large part of my life on networks. Never talked to a politician.

> but the fact remains that the US has done it for 225 years and Bitcoin has done it for less than 9 years.

The USD was backed by gold until Nixon, you can only count the last 40 something years against Bitcoin's 9.

The USD was backed by your trust in the government to give you its gold upon demand, not an intrinsic ability to physically convert a note into gold, so nothing really changed with Nixon.

Mind blown, right? :)

You do realize the expected date date for the mining limit to be reached is 2140 right?

there are strong fundamentals. maybe they're not strong for you, but hey, that's why there is a market. nobody forces you to believe in it...

>Bitcoin is like General Electric

How do you not realize how biased you are? That comparison is ridiculous.

The total crypto currency market cap is $100 billion. It's not something that can just vanish (it could but it seems exceedingly unlikely). There are huge commercial infrastructures behind bitcoin as well as other currencies. It's not some flash in the pan. If Bitcoin was going to die, it would have happened in 2011. Why did Bitcoin come back so strong:? Because it serve multiple functions: hedge against inflation, safety, commerce,

> It's not something that can just vanish (it could but it seems exceedingly unlikely)

The fact that you have to concede the point you're making so immediately is evidence you are being irrational.

>Because it serve multiple functions: hedge against inflation, safety, commerce,

Money laundering, tax evasion, drug sales...

You can hardly call it safe either. Most of the exchanges have been full of shady and fraudulent activity. I have no doubt the exchanges are probably filing orders and doing other sketchy things to drive the price up.

General Electric produces electricity, Bitcoin wastes it.

Energy spent with a purpose is not waste. This is the case if you spend energy to build a car, and also when spending energy to calculate a proof that prevents altering historic information.

In the former case, consumers pay car manufacturers to spend energy to produce cars, in the latter case bitcoin buyers pay miners to spend energy to secure the blockchain. In both cases, if the end-user of the (virtual) good ceases their activity — consumers buying cars/people buying bitcoins — the good in question will automatically stop being produced (miners don’t burn off energy to produce bitcoins if they can’t sell them for a profit).

In this way, Bitcoin works just as any other consumer good: the (bitcoin) buyers finance the activities of the producers (Bitcoin miners) in order to produce a useful tool (electronic cash).

Fiat currency takes time and materials and energy to produce too, is that wasted?

It provides me value so its not a waste.

A rising tide lifts all boats and I can imagine this breakout boosting the entire cryptocurrency market. Just wait until we enter a bear market, we'll start seeing just about every cryptocurrency spike in value.

All boats, except for the ones with holes in them. And some of those boats don't look like they can handle stormy weather…

Perhaps if you measure in USD. Measured in BTC, Bitcoin Cash has been nothing but falling for the past couple of days: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin-cash/#BTC

Bitcoin Cash is only a few days old. It is going to take some time for the market to find it's true price. That will take more and more exchanges supporting it so that markets function more smoothly. In the meant time it would be expected that there are wild price fluctuations and differences in price globally.

Bull market, you mean?

i think the idea is that if theres a bear market in the real economy, more people will flee into the virtual one

has not helped etherium and many others

This link posted a couple days back may be of interest:


Yeah, but look at the trading volumes - at least an order of magnitude lower than 2 years ago!

24h volume 2 years ago was around 22 million USD [0] Trading volume in the last 24 hours is 1.6 billion

[0] https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin/#charts

OP meant the Bitcoin trade volume, not the US-Dollar volume. The BTC trading volume is extremely low currently. [0]

0: https://data.bitcoinity.org/markets/volume/2y?r=week&t=a

He said "the trading volumes." Could have been either, but BTC trading volume is even more meaningless than USD trading volume. An inflation-adjusted aggregate volume is probably the best metric, which is closer to the USD trade volume than BTC.

thats not the same thing

...it's exactly the same thing.

it really isn't. Volume is the amount traded, independent of price.

10 bitcoins when they first came out, would have the same the volume as 10 bitcoins today.

Outside of speculation and low-class investing, interest in Bitcoin is steadily declining.

You should see what the trading volumes (measured in BTC) were back when a bitcoin was $2.50! Measured in USD, though, volume has only gone up.

Programmable money makes coders powerful.

For some reason, a large fraction of HN hates crypto. They seem to like getting fucked up the ass by everyone. Groveling to VCs for funding. Looked down on my MBA-types.

Coders/hackers should be embracing what's happening. Finally, merit > dick sucking.

Would you please stop posting uncivil and/or unsubstantive comments to HN? We've warned you before, and continuing to do this will get your account banned.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14934569 and marked it off-topic.

What merit?

Investment. Tokens sales are going to fund projects without gatekeepers. Personal brand is going to become more important.

You're on an investment website -- for startups.

This sort of language doesn't make for a good HN comment.

buying all that afghani heroin 10 years ago really fucked me out of being a millionaire

Legendary. Huge thanks to all of the engineers behind segwit.

But segwit isn't active yet is it? Is it likely to go ahead?

I usually check the status here: https://www.xbt.eu Since 100% of the blocks mined during this period has been SegWit, I would say it's very likely that it gets activated!

It’s not a matter of probability. Miners decide what to do, and right now a majority of them will ignore non-SegWit blocks. Doesn’t mean they can’t change their minds, though.

Because of BIP91, any miners who fail to signal segwit will have their blocks orphaned. It's pretty much a done deal at this point.

But is there agreement on the block size? As I understand it, th SegWit BIP and BIP91 (SegWit2x) disagree on block size limit.

BIP91 is not segwit2x. It is just the lower threshold activation of segwit.

It had to reach an all-time high, otherwise there's no way there's going to possibly be any money to back Bitcoin Cash, since I'm pretty sure the people that forked it have no real assets to back up this currency otherwise.

I'm not sure if this is a joke, but certainly I hope so.

Where'd the sudden money come from to back Bitcoin cash? Who put in the initial currency valuation? Did you watch the quick and near-parity change in price between Coin and Cash, only for Cash to suddenly double and then drop right back toparity with BC, then the jump to over 3,000 on Coin to nearly-mirror the needed missing reserve to back Cash?

It's pretty simple - follow the money. The pattern is BEYOND evident.

So it's 2009-2010 and someone has $6000 laying around. Hears about Bitcoin and buys 100,000 shares at 6 cents each. Wakes up in 2017 and miraculously all is there, in the old computer. $6000 to $300,000,000 in 7 years.

Have we ever seen such appreciation in an investment /speculation?

Oh, it will crash, as soon as a 'better' cryptocurrency comes in. It has value for as long as people buy it.

I'm curious - if you actually had $300m worth of bitcoin and started selling it, would you be able to actually sell everything off for that price before the price started dropping like crazy? Would whatever exchange you're using even be able to wire $300m USD to your bank account after the sale just like that?

Well you'd have 100,000 BTC which is handily also approximately the daily trading volume looking across all the exchanges (at a cursory glance; I expected it to be higher). So it would take more than a day but not a significantly long time to shift them.

Via the OTC trading desks and somewhat private brokers that would be open to you with $300m worth of btc, you would have no problem liquidating $25m or more per day at the current ask. This would require extremely minimal effort, a skype call basically.

Based on the current order book at Kraken you could probably sell off about 1000 BTC and it would drop the price about 5%. Poloniex looks to be about the same. So across all the major exchanges maybe you could sell of 5-10k BTC at once, without dropping the price too much.

A private equity deal could be negotiated..it's not like bitcoins must be sold on exchanges

Presumably you would do a private sale or sell little by little.

It all depends on how fast you sell it. If you market sold it on a single exchange sure you could flash crash the price to close to zero for a moment that wouldn't be in your interest though.

More likely you would implement a strategy to sell off a little bit every day. It would take some time to liquidate it all at the best possible price. This isn't any different than the problem faced by any wealthy person with a large position in a publicly traded company would face. You can't market sell 300 million of anything in an instant and not more the price. Bitcoin also has private markets where high touch trading desks match large sellers with large buyer so it is conceivable you could use something like that as well to get a good price and exit your position relatively quickly.

That said if you you are the person who had the vision and stomach to hold that position all that time it's unlikely you would find yourself wanting to sell it all in an instant just because the price crosses 3k. You almost certainly believe 5 figure Bitcoin is possible if not likely and a 6 figure Bitcoin price isn't out of the question. I could seem a person in that position selling a bit to make life comfortable but not panic exiting their position entirely.

I personally know someone that bought $100,000 worth of BTC at <$1/btc.

But honestly when it was six cents no one was really stocking up on it other than Satoshi.

I'm a board member and founder of https://www.bitcoinwednesday.com/

What happened on 1 August and with the prices immediately after suggests how the conflict over the blocksize has been widely misreported.

Bitcoin was not ripping itself into two in a civil war, but innovating new forms of governance and token distribution for new projects.

We now have a technically proven, and from the looks of it, established new method of token distribution that is arguably far superior to crowd sales and ICOs.

If you don't like the BCH or Bitcoin implementation, there are already hundreds of other cryptocurrytencies, but you can also fork your own from the biggest, original (and arguably most widely distributed).

BCH now has a "market cap" of about $3.7 billion dollars, probably a world record for a startup (open source project) that was literally released to the world a few days ago.

If you own bitcoins before the fork, you should now own equal amounts on both sides of the coin, and (hopefully) soon will be able to buy or sell either token, depending on your preference.

Bitcoin itself has a $52 billion dollar market cap right now post fork not only because it survived the challenge and may soon implement Segwit, but because it will be one of the best chains from which to fork new projects.

There is no need to take sides from this perspective. Just sell the token you don't like and use the gain to buy more that you do like. OTOH, it's perfectly fine to like and hold both just like it was once okay to use more than one web site.

[post edited: BCash to the more neutral BCH ]

> BCash now has a "market cap" of about $3.7 billion dollars, probably a world record for a startup (open source project) that was literally released to the world a few days ago.

You made me giggle. Market cap is a measure already debatable for Bitcoin, but for a currency for which most of the holders aren't yet able to sell, it's completely meaningless. As a matter of fact I made already 150% return by shorting it. I plan to make even more as people are slowly able to unload their BCH.

Agreed, I put "market cap" into quotes for just this reason.

And congratulations on the trading. Please buy more Bitcoin with the profit. It's all good for the industry. just wait and see.

Thx. By the way I reached 200% yesterday with those shorts :D

Regarding BTC, I'm trading various cryptocurrencies depending on the opportunities I see ;)

Using the term "bcash" when talking about Bitcoin Cash makes you look like a fool or at the very least shows you are not a neutral source of information. That term is a misinformation gimmick invented by people who want to see the fork fail and are using it in order to confuse people about what Bitcoin Cash actually is. As other have pointed out Bcash is actually a fork of zcash and nothing to do with Bitcoin Cash.

BCash is a fork ZCash.

For running a bitdoinwednesday you seem to be misinformed about what bitcoin is.

Indeed I stepped right into the next "civil war" by using "BCash" instead of its symbol, BCH.

Chill out, please. I don't want to see it fail at all.

Read my original remark more closely. This is good for the whole industry. We are holding both.

Are you saying that this "established new method of token distribution" is to make a copy of the current state of the main BTC chain?

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