Stage n: Bitcoin exists.

Monday, 04 February, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

A particularly strong headed but rather brilliant idiot (whom I've linked before) came up with an algorithm-looking history of the past and future of Bitcoin. It goes like this :

Stage 1: Bitcoin does not exist. Stage 2: Bitcoin exists, but is worthless. Stage 3: Bitcoin exists, and is used by strange and desperate weirdos and geeks. Stage 4: Bitcoin is used by Slashdot readers, perhaps slightly less desperate. (You are here.) Stage 5: Bitcoin is used by criminals. Stage 6: All Bitcoin exchanges are shut down by USG. Stage 7: Bitcoin exists, but is worthless. Stage 8: Bitcoin does not exist.

USG, for the roughly eight billion readers of Trilema who do not happen to know or happen to care, is short for United States Government. And since we're on that note, SCOTUS is short for the Supreme Court of that same state and POMPOUS is short for the current mulatto-in-chief.i I hope this little shorthand list may serve, tho I can scarcely imagine whom and how.

Moving right along, I would like to ask the otherwise brilliant idiot, and quite publicly at that, what's the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter ? Perhaps if he were to apply his algorhythmiaii to this rather simple problem we might arrive at some equally simple, 8 step solution. For me personally this solution would be useful.

In the interim, while that solution is no doubt being prepared, we will employ our time struggling with the difference between malum in se and malum prohibitum.iii It's quite simple, really : something's the first if it's clearly bad, on its own. Something's the second if it's only bad 'cause a text somewhere says so.

Well now... wait just a minute here. What's the difference between these two again ? What's this "on its own", a sort of "in itself" ? How did it get to be anything "in itself" other than through a bunch of people reading it in a text somewhere ?iv There's still no intrinsic ethics-in-being, in spite of thousands of years and billions of pages wasted in a pursuit of the matter. An is is an is, a should is a should, never the twain shall meet.v

So here are the real layers to the problem : things that can be done are split into three categories : a. things nobody cares about ; b. things "the people" think are fine but "the state" thinks are not fine ; c. things that both "the people" and "the state" think are not fine.

Now, who are the criminals ?

Well, according to "the state"vi, anyone who does anything b or anything c. According to "the people", anyone who does anything c (especially if done to the speaking member of the people, personally). This last paranthesis also explains why crime fightin' is never a "the people" affair, in case you're curious. It's not some sort of evil conspiracy to keep "the citizens" ("the people" call themselves that when unsure of their footing) from exercising "justice". It's just that practically, left to their own devices, "the people" couldn't care less.

What shall we do ?!

The enemies of the state will always be "criminals". There's no difference here between Stalin and Reagan, as some airplane pilots and whatnot found out. There may be states which have naturally fewer classes of enemies and less populous ones at that, there may even be states with no enemies at all (at least as a theoretical construct). There shall never be states whose enemies are not "criminals". That's the whole story.

Bitcoin is. Much like gravity, sunlight during daytime or meteors-in-waiting in the Kuiper belt, Bitcoin just is. There's nothing it can do or abstain from doing, it's not an entity, it's a rule.

Unlike Bitcoin, both states collectively and the people making them up individually are entities, and as such they can do or not do things. One thing states can do is add Bitcoin to the list of their enemies. Another thing states can do is avoid populating their list of enemies with things that aren't entities, for the very simple reason that nobody's yet won the pissing in the wind and staying dry competition. One thing people can do is support states. Another thing people can do is not support states. In most cases this is statistically based on the list of enemies of each state, and their respective strength. For instance, not many people were supporting the American Confederacy a few years back.

As far as experience shows, people don't tend to support states that either stupidly or unwittingly include rules among their enemies. You can't win a war against math, or against drugs, or against "social injustice", or "kulaks". Soon after the Soviet government moved its focus from entities to rules, it lost the support of the people. Soon after the other-Soviet government moved its focus from entities to rules, it also lost the support of the people. There weren't that many people burning American flags in 1860, you know ? Why do you think not ? You can support a government killing Indians, or bison. You can't support a government fighting chemical compounds.

Seeing how that other-Soviet governmentvii is already widely engaged in a battle with the rules of the world it inhabits, it seems generally a waste of time to stop and consider what it does or doesn't do, whom it classifies as what and all that jazz. Its days are numbered. The people currently supporting it are likely to - on average - survive longer than it.

So let's make the best sort of bet there is : a bet for token consideration. At that time when Bitcoin is worthless, I will pay you 10`000 Bitcoins - thats 0.1% of the Bitcoins that currently exist. At that time when the USD is worthless, you will pay me 20 billion dollars - that's 0.1% of the dollars that currently exist (roughly speaking). This bet has no specified date of closure, it's either party's own and free decision when this "worthlessness" event has occured. Remarkably, neither party has any interest to lie : once their side is truly worthless the closing of the bet is, from a game theory perspective, a rational, +EV move.

Any takers ?

  1. Isn't it funny when members of stereotyped groups end up living to the stereotype ?! []
  2. A portmanteau of the greek word for thinking and the turk word for diarhea. Do you happen to know what "making love to your wife turkish style" would mean ? []
  3. Random link somewhat related, if you read Romanian : Pedofilia si raul. []
  4. For the purposes of this discussion, obviously all communication whatsoever is "a text". We're living the poststructuralist years, baby. Intertextuality and whaddafucknot. []
  5. Quite illustrative point : most native English speakers will consider something like the butchering of a cute fluffy rabbit for the purpose of making a point quite malum in se. Most of the people in most of the world today (and all of the people for practically all of the world's history) would not see any malum in killing an animal, any animal whatsoever, for any purpose whatsoever. []
  6. For which "USG" is a particularly crude symbol, showing a certain... mental primitivism on the part of our brilliant idiot, similar to what would be the case if one said "digit" when they meant "number". []
  7. OSG, right ? []
Category: Bitcoin
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9 Responses

  1. Sure, states can't fight Bitcoin or statistics. They can, however, fight people that use Bitcoin, much like they can fight against statisticians who spout False Data about the dear gov't.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 4 February 2013

    Sure. So ?


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