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I'm going to take the time to respond to you because you were the first reply to my comment.

Beanie Babies are collectibles, cryptocurrencies are money. Both have had bubbles but only one of them is tied to a brand name and there have been plenty of great new collectibles that have taken its place since.

Cryptocurrencies on the other hand are a new solution to a new problem (digital native representation of value) and even if the current offer isn't perfect their development hasn't stoped or even slowed down in any considerable way and there's no reason to believe we won't continue to grow and make better products and solutions. Money isn't going away anytime soon.




"Beanie Babies are collectibles, cryptocurrencies are money."

It's been established over and over again that cryptocurrencies are not money. They are a collectible like Beanie Babies. Cryptocurrencies vary too much in value to be used as money. Would you go into a Starbucks and spend $4 USD dollars to buy a coffee, if there was a chance that the $4 might gain 10,000% in value over the next year? Of course not.

There have been dozens of good articles over the last two years comparing money to cryptocurrencies and detailing all of the differences. If you still don't understand the differences, at the end of 2018, then you are keeping yourself willfully misinformed, and I suspect no comment on Hacker News will be able to change your mind.


>t's been established over and over again that cryptocurrencies are not money.

Sorry but that's not true. You may be confusing "money" with "currency" though.

There's at least one US state that allows paying taxes in cryptocurrencies and there are a few countries here in Europe where cryptos are legal tender.


[citation needed]



Do you have any references to support the claim that bitcoin is legal tender?

Legal tender must be accepted to extinguish a debt, by any party.

Just because bitcoin is not illegal doesn't make it legal tender. It may be used if all parties agree.

I understand the first link you gave says that Germany accepts Bitcoin as legal tender, but that is from a misunderstanding of what legal tender is. German vendors are within their rights to refuse it and insist upon real legal tender.


You're just going to run into loads of people who don't understand what "legal tender" is and, when you explain it, will insist that you must be wrong because they've heard that phrase and attached a different meaning (generally: a vaguely positive aura plus "it's money")

For those reading along, a useful baseline to get you straight on legal tender is in countries where fiat currencies are just broadly assumed to be valuable any legal tender laws are basically just ornamentation. Scotland, for example, doesn't have any bank notes as legal tender, just some old coins. Nobody in Scotland doubts that the notes they have are valuable, but its laws don't bother explicitly privileging this as "legal tender". Nevertheless if you get on a bus in Edinburgh with a goose and some shiny rocks and try to barter, well, you'll be lucky if the other passengers let you back off in one piece, let alone to get an actual ride. "Exact cash fare only".


>Do you have any references to support the claim that bitcoin is legal tender?

Yes I have linked to it.

edit: In German: https://www.scribd.com/document/372651554/2018-02-27-Umsatzs...


No, you've linked to something that says it is OK to use it. You are misunderstanding what legal tender is.

The European Commission says [1]:

"Within the euro area, only the euro has the status of legal tender."

"Yet...contractual parties are free to use...virtual currency schemes (e.g. Bitcoin). Although these are not official currencies and have no legal tender status, parties can agree to use them".

Germany has not made Bitcoin legal tender. Don't fool yourself.

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/euro-area/eu...


Within the Euro area only the Euro has the status of legal tender but businesses settle in USD all the time.

The link I provided is jurisprudence in Germany but it doesn't impact the whole of the EU. Malta might soon join though.


If you want HN and other people to take Bitcoin seriously, it's in your interests not to make false or inaccurate claims.

If there are "a few countries here in Europe where cryptos are legal tender" then this is a big deal and you need to provide a reference.

Otherwise you just come across badly. Terms are important.


The German source you provided explicitly states that it is not legal tender, but "just" treated similarly as other currencies: buying bitcoin is recognized as exchanging other currencies, it can be used similarly in contracts, ...


Can you tell me where? I must have honestly missed it and so must have all the other people who think this https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/19/bitcoin-u... is true.


The Guardian article doesn't say it is legal tender either. Legal tender has a very specific meaning.

The German source says that for some purposes it is "treated equally to legal tender" and that "exchanging virtual currencies to legal tender and back is tax free". Neither statement makes sense if it were legal tender.

Its status for some purposes is similar to that of other non-Euro currencies (e.g. contracts between private parties agreeing on it etc), none of which are legal tender in Germany.


Ok that difference makes sense, thank you for the explanation.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are treated equally to legal tender in Germany.


> Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are treated equally to legal tender in Germany

I’m sceptical that you spent 20 years in fintech without learning the definition of legal tender.

If you go to a restaurant, eat your meal (thereby accumulating a debt) and slap legal tender on the table, the restaurant must accept it. They may also accept other things, like Visa credit cards or Ethereum. But they aren’t obligated to. The former is legal tender. The latter is a way to pay. Obligations around settling debt are the sole defining characteristic of legal tender, so it doesn’t make any sense to say one thing is “treated equally” to legal tender if it lacks this core characteristic.


I'm familiar with the definition but I learned today that I was mistaken in the translation. The articles I had previously read and linked said bitcoin was legal tender but the actual legal document provides a slightly but importantly different definition.

If you travel abroad you may have to exchange your currency to pay for a meal, because your coin is not treated equality to legal tender locally, and the defining characteristic is that it settles the debt at the time of exchange. I believe that's a function that cryptocurrencies fulfil by design and if the court states they are to be treated equally to legal tender that seems to prove my point.


In UK, Scotland is issuing it's own fiat money that is not a legal tender. See here https://www.scotbanks.org.uk/banknotes/legal-position.html


The german article just regulates sales / value added tax IF you do business in bitcoin. It nowhere states that bitcoin et. al MUST be accepted as a means of payment.


Thanks!


> Cryptocurrencies on the other hand are a new solution to a new problem (digital native representation of value)

I'll bite. "Digital native representation of value" isn't a problem, it's a solution. Cryptocurrencies are a medium of facilitating that solution. No one would think to themselves, "I have a problem: I need a digital-first store of value or currency, now how can I do this?"

Instead they might think to themselves, "I have a problem: I need to do <thing>; this can probably be accomplished if I use a digital-first store of value." I don't see why you would care about how your money or asset is being represented unless you have another problem that forces you think about it.

With that out of the way, this leads me to my actual point - what is an actual problem you see being solved by a "digital native representation of value"? For example, a common one I see a lot is distrust of governments due to control or censorship.


>'ll bite. "Digital native representation of value" isn't a problem, it's a solution. Cryptocurrencies are a medium of facilitating that solution. No one would think to themselves, "I have a problem: I need a digital-first store of value or currency, now how can I do this?"

How about HTTP 402?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HTTP_status_codes#4xx_...


How is a status code that almost nobody uses a problem.

Randomly posting a quote and a link is not discussion, nor is it an argument.


Well no one actually uses that status code... because there was no solution to guarantee that a digital payment is ever truly "done" until Bitcoin was invented.

I posted a link that people who are familiar with the development of the internet and HTTP will remember that there was a big problem back then.. we didn't have a digital native representation of value and all digital data structures can easily be copied so the fear of double-spends is what caused Digicash, Bitgold and a few other earlier digital currencies fail.


It's still a solution in search of a problem. In a marketplace, there are two fundamental fears to be addressed: the seller's fear that the customer will not pay the money for the goods, and the customer's fear that the seller will not actually provide the goods. The classic solution to this problem is escrow, where the seller and the customer both agree on a trusted third party who will hold the customer's money until the seller delivers the goods.

In modern times, credit cards and the like provide an adequate solution the problem (there's definitely strong dislike over things like fees, though). Early digital currencies failed because they weren't trustworthy as third parties, or they failed to gain a wide enough userbase to keep fees low. But it's not like they all failed--PayPal is with us today. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies suffer as a payment method in that they don't solve the customer's problem, particularly in cases like ransomware where there is strong reason to doubt the seller's ability to deliver.


I see it as an alternative to the current web tech stack that in my opinion isn't very secure and won't scale to match a machine-to-machine economy and that unfortunately can, and in some countries is used to monitor us.


> because there was no solution to guarantee that a digital payment is ever truly "done" until Bitcoin was invented.

Except blockchain based currency can't solve the "402 problem" as you call it. They are far to expensive and would never scale to the transaction volume required.

And if you are going to say "oh yeah well Lightning Network will save us!". Lightning Network is the biggest pile of vaporware I've ever heard of. It's been "just around the corner" to save bitcoin for almost as long as bitcoin has been a thing. ...I do love the solution to scaling the blockchain is to not use it--a real ringing endorsement of Satoshi's Glorious Block Chain if I ever heard one!


Which blockchain are you talking about? Most have probabilistic finality within seconds and CC transactions can take weeks to clear for the merchant.


"Cryptocurrencies on the other hand are a new solution to a new problem"

The solution may be new but the problem is not at all new. The first solution to that problem was proposed in the 1980s and there is a large body of academic work on cryptographic approaches that preceded Bitcoin.




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