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Summary: Bitcoin was invented by the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto as recently as 2008, but it is backed up by a rich intellectual foundation. For instance, The 1776 First Amendment separates church and state, and contemporary American liberation psychologist Nozomi Hayase (2020) argues that money and state should similarly be separated. Just as Isaac Newton’s study of alchemy gave rise to the international gold standard, so has the anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto's desire for a “modernized gold standard” given rise to Bitcoin. Indeed, Bloomberg's 2020 report confirms Bitcoin to be gold 2.0. Montesquieu (1774) asserted that laws that secure inalienable rights can only be found in Nature, and the natural laws employed in Bitcoin include its consensus algorithm and the three natural laws of economics (self-interest, competition, and supply and demand). J.S. Mill (1859) preferred free markets to those controlled by governments. Ludwig von Mises (1951) argued against the hazards of fiat currency, urging for a return to the gold standard. Friedrich Hayek (1984) suggested people to invent a sly way to take money back from the hands of the government. Milton Friedman (1994) called for FED to be replaced by an automatic system and predicted the coming of a reliable e-cash. James Buchanan (1988) advocated a monetary constitution to constrain the governmental power of money creation. Tim May (1997) the cypherpunk proclaimed that restricting digital cash impinges on free speech, and envisioned a stateless digital form of money that is uncensorable. The Tofflers (2006) pictured a non-monetary economy. In 2016, UCLA Professor of Finance Bhagwan Chowdhry even nominated Satoshi for a Nobel Prize.
Separation between money and state
The 1791 First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrines free speech and separates church and state, but not money and state. "Under the First Amendment, individuals’ right to create, choose their own money and transact freely was not recognized as a part of freedom of expression that needs to be protected," Japanese-American liberation psychologist Nozomi Hayase (2020) points out (1).
The government, banks and corporations collude together to encroach upon people's liberties by metamorphosing their inalienable rights into a permissioned from of legal rights. Fiat currencies function as a medium of manipulation, indulging big business to generate market monopolies. "Freedom of expression has become further stifled through economic censorship and financial blockage enacted by payment processing companies like Visa and MasterCard," to borrow Hayase's (2020) words.
Satoshi is a Modern Newton
Although most famous for discovering the law of gravity, Isaac Newton was also a practising alchemist. He never managed to turn lead into gold, but he did find a way to transmute silver into gold. In 1717, Newton announced in a report that, based on his studies, one gold guinea coin weighed 21 shillings. Just as Isaac Newton’s study of alchemy gave rise to the international gold standard, so has the desire for a “modernized gold standard” given rise to Bitcoin. "In a way, Satoshi is a modern Newton. They both believed trust is best placed in the unchangeable facets of our economy. Beneath this belief is the assumption that each individual is their own best master," as put by Jon Creasy (2019) (2).
J.S. Mill: free markets preferable to those controlled by governments
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) the great English philosopher would be a Bitcoiner were he still around today. In On Liberty (1859), Mill concludes that free markets are preferable to those controlled by governments. He argues that economies function best when left to their own devices. Therefore, government intervention, though theoretically permissible, would be counterproductive. Bitcoin is precisely decentralized or uncontrolled by the government, unconfiscatable, permissonless, and disinflationary. Bitcoin regulates itself spontaneously via the ordinary operations of the system. "Rules are enforced without applying any external pressure," in Hayase's (2020) words.
Ludwig von Mises (1958): Liberty is always Freedom from the Government
In The Free Market and its Enemies, theoretical Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises (1951) argues against the hazards of fiat currency, urging for a return to the gold standard. “A fiat money system cannot go on forever and must one day come to an end,” Von Mises states. The solution is a return to the gold standard, "the only standard which makes the determination of the purchasing power of money independent of the changing ideas of political parties, governments, and pressure groups" under present conditions. Interestingly, this is also one of the key structural attributes of Bitcoin, the world’s first, global, peer-to-peer, decentralized value transfer network.
Actually, Bloomberg's 2020 report on Bitcoin confirms that it is gold 2.0. (3)
Von Mises prefers the price of gold to be determined according to the contemporaneous market conditions. The bitcoin price is, of course, determined across the various global online exchanges, in real-time. There is no central authority setting a spot price for gold after the which the market value is settled on among the traders during the day.
Hayek: Monopoly on Currency should End
Austrian-British Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek’s theory in his 1976 work, Denationalization of Money, was that not only would the currency monopoly be taken away from the government, but that the monopoly on currency itself should end with multiple alternative currencies competing for acceptance by consumers, in order "to prevent the bouts of acute inflation and deflation which have played the world for the past 60 years." He forcefully argues that if there is no free competition between different currencies within any nation, then there will be no free market. Bitcoin is, again, decentralized, and many other cryptocurrencies have tried to compete with it, though in vain.
In a recently rediscovered video clip from 1984, Hayek actually suggested people to invent a cunning way to take money out of the hands of the government:- “I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take them violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop” (4). Reviewing those words 36 years hence and it is difficult not to interpret them in the light of Bitcoin.
Milton Friedman Called for FED to be Replaced by an Automatic System
Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman (1994) was critical of the Federal Reserve due to its poor performance and felt it should be abolished (5). Friedman (1999) believed that the Federal Reserve System should ultimately be replaced with a computer program, which makes us think of the computer code governing Bitcoin (6).[\](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Federal_Reserve#cite_note-:2-12) He (1970) favored a system that would automatically buy and sell securities in response to changes in the money supply. This, he argued, would put a lid on inflation, setting spending and investment decisions on a surer footing (7). Bitcoin is exactly disflationary as its maximum possible supply is 21 million and its block reward or production rate is halved every four years.
Friedman passed away before the coming of bitcoin, but he lived long enough to see the Internet’s spectacular rise throughout the 1990s. “I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government," said Friedman in a 1999 interview with NTU/F. On the same occasion, he sort of predicted the emergence of Bitcoin, "The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash, a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B or B knowing A." (8)
“Of course, Friedman didn’t predict the block chain,” summed up American libertarian economist Jeffery Tucker (2014). “But he was hoping for a trustless system. He saw the need.” (9).
Bitcoin Computer Code as Constitution in the Buchananian Sense
American economist cum Nobel laureate James Buchanan (1988) advocates constitutional constraints on the governmental power to create money (10). Buchanan distinguishes a managed monetary system—a system “that embodies the instrumental use of price-level predictability as a norm of policy”—from an automatic monetary system, “which does not, at any stage, involve the absolute price level” (Buchanan 1962, 164–65). Leaning toward the latter, Buchanan argues that automatic systems are characterized by an organization “of the institutions of private decision-making in such a way that the desired monetary predictability will emerge spontaneously from the ordinary operations of the system” (Buchanan 1962, 164). Again, "Bitcoin regulates itself through the spontaneous force of nature, flourishing healthy price discovery and competition in the best interest of everyone" (Hayase 2020).
Shruti Rajagopalan (2018) argues that the computer code governing how the sundry nodes/computers within the Bitcoin network interact with one another is a kind of monetary constitution in the Buchananian sense. One of Buchanan's greatest inputs is to differentiate the choice of rules from the choice within rule (Buchanan 1990). One may regard the Bitcoin code as a sort of constitution and "the Bitcoin network engaging in both the choice of rules and choice within rules" (Rajagopalan 2018) (11).
Tim May: Restricting Digital Cash may Impinge on Free Speech
Cypherpunks are activists who since the 1980s have advocated global use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political liberation. Tim May (Timothy C. May [1951-2018]), one of the influential cypherpunks published The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto in September 1992, which foretold the coming of Bitcoin (12). Cypherpunks began envisioning a stateless digital form of money that cannot be censored and their collaborative pursuit created a movement akin to the 18th Enlightenment.
At The 7th Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, Burlingame, CA. in 1997, Tim May equated money with speech, and argued that restricting digital cash may impinge on free speech, for spending money is often a matter of communicating orders to others, to transfer funds, to release funds, etc. In fact, most financial instruments are contracts or orders, instead of physical specie or banknotes (13).
Montesquieu: Laws that secure inalienable rights can only be found in Nature
In his influential work The Spirit of Laws (1748), Montesquieu wrote, “Laws ... are derived from the nature of things … Law, like mathematics, has its objective structure, which no arbitrary whim can alter". Similarly, once a block is added to the end of the Bitcoin blockchain, it is almost impossible to go back and alter the contents of the block, unless every single block after it on the blockchain is altered, too.
Cypherpunks knew that whereas alienable rights that are bestowed by law can be deprived by legislation, inalienable rights are not to be created but can be discovered by reason. Thus, laws that secure inalienable rights cannot be created by humankind but can be found in nature.
The natural laws employed in Bitcoin to enshrine the inalienable monetary right of every human being include its consensus algorithm, and the three natural laws of economics (self-interest, competition, and supply and demand) as identified by Adam Smith, father of modern economics.
Regarding mathematics, bitcoin mining is performed by high-powered computers that solve complex computational math problems. When computers solve these complex math problems on the Bitcoin network, they produce new bitcoin. And by solving computational math problems, bitcoin miners make the Bitcoin payment network trustworthy and secure, by verifying its transaction information.
Regarding economic laws, in accordance with the principle of game theory to generate fairness, miners take part in an open competition. Lining up self-interests of all in a network, with a vigilant balance of risk and rewards, rules are put in force sans the application of any exterior pressure. "Bitcoin regulates itself through the spontaneous force of nature, flourishing healthy price discovery and competition in the best interest of everyone," to borrow the words of Hayase (2020).
A Non-monetary Economy as Visualized by the Tofflers
In their book, Revolutionary Wealth (2006), futurists Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi Toffler toy with the concept of a world sans money, raising a third kind of economic transaction that is neither one-on-one barter nor monetary exchange. In the end, they settle on the idea that the newer non-monetary economy will exist shoulder-to-shoulder with the monetary sector in the short term, although the latter may eventually be eclipsed by the former in the long run. What both the Tofflers' The Third Wave (1980) and Revolutionary Wealth bring into question is the very premise of monetary exchange. The vacuum left over by cash in such a non-monetary economy may be filled up by Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency.
Satoshi Nakamoto Nominated for Nobel Prize by UCLA Finance Prof.
UCLA Anderson School Professor of Finance Bhagwan Chowdhry nominated Satoshi Nakamoto for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics on the following grounds:-
It is secure, relying on almost unbreakable cryptographic code, can be divided into millions of smaller sub-units, and can be transferred securely and nearly instantaneously from one person to any other person in the world with access to internet bypassing governments, central banks and financial intermediaries such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or commercial banks eliminating time delays and transactions costs.... Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Protocol has spawned exciting innovations in the FinTech space by showing how many financial contracts — not just currencies — can be digitized, securely verified and stored, and transferred instantaneously from one party to another (14).
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Ethereum as a bonded sidechain of Bitcoin with advantages over RootstockIn more recent news:
What is a sidechain?
According to block stream:
A sidechain is a blockchain that validates data from other blockchains
Ethereum already does that with BTC Relay. So how about pegged assets?
This is an idea for an Ethereum contract that makes Bitcoin-backed tokens without any softfork or trusted Bitcoin multisig managers. Instead, Bitcoin IOU's are created on the Ethereum blockchain and backed by Ether bonds which are governed by Ethereum contracts like BTC Relay or price oracles. The Bitcoin IOUs are backed by Bitcoins held by the escrow managers but if they steal/lose the Bitcoins (or refuse to redeem them) the Bonded Escrow Contract will observe their naughty behaviour and sell their Ether bond to redeem the Bitcoins from someone else!
- Two-way peg refers to the mechanism by which coins are transferred between sidechains and back at a fixed or otherwise deterministic exchange rate.
- A pegged sidechain is a sidechain whose assets can be imported from and returned to other chains; that is, a sidechain that supports two-way pegged assets.
Rootstock vs Bonded Escrow Contract on Ethereum
There are two methods that Rootstock developers plan to use for issuing Bitcoin IOUs (called "Roots") on their Bitcoin "sidechain". AFAIU the first involves merged mining and a multisig wallet that entrusts a quorum of Bitcoin miners with the entire basket of Bitcoin eggs that were "moved" to the Rootstock chain. The second method requires softforking the Bitcoin blockchain for a two-way peg.
Pseudonymous, distributed, untrusted issuers
Rootstock dev maaku7:
“It's a known trade-off made by any presently deployable implementation of the 2-way peg. It's also something that we were very upfront about in the sidechains paper, and part of the reason why many of us are so concerned about decentralization of bitcoin mining.says this about sidechain security:
In any non-SNARK, non-extension-block version of the 2-way peg a bitcoin node does not perform full validation of the sidechain as part of the consensus rules. Therefore it is perfectly possible (by design) for a threshold majority of the miners / signers to steal the coins in the peg pool, and censor any attempt to stop them. Why by design? Because that's the promise of sidechains: performant permissionless innovation at the cost of SPV trust in the honest majority of signers / miners.
Sidechains we are working on (e.g. Alpha, Liquid) and Rootstock, by the looks of it, make use of a fixed set of signers instead of or in addition to reliance on >50% honest hashpower. This is because while less pure, it is ultimately safer to work with known, contracted entities as functionaries rather than 50% hashpower which at the moment is just a small handful of unaccountable people.
EDIT: Although obviously the ideal end goal is fully decentralized mining, where creating a 50% hashpower cabal requires organizing thousands of people at minimum. In such a case we may be able to consider a pure SPV peg to have a reasonable security model. But we're a long way from there yet...”
“In any non-SNARK, non-extension-block version of the 2-way peg a bitcoin node does not perform full validation of the sidechain as part of the consensus rules. Therefore it is perfectly possible (by design) for a threshold majority of the miners / signers to steal the coins in the peg pool, and censor any attempt to stop them. Why by design? Because that's the promise of sidechains: performant permissionless innovation at the cost of SPV trust in the honest majority of signers / miners.”Ether bonds can remove most of the need for this trust and allow pseudonymous, permissionless participation in issuance and escrow management. Without anonymous, untrusted validators, distributed around the world, Bitcoin is looking more and more like Chinese Liberty Reserve or E-gold. …
Bonded sidechains decentralize pegged assets
Even with a Bitcoin softfork, Rootstock has just one Bitcoin IOU with all the Bitcoins sitting like a duck in one "wallet". Since Roots are just one Bitcoin IOU from one issuer, they can't be used to back/bond IOUs the way Ether can. If Rootstock's multisig/SPV wallet is robbed by it's signers/miners or (as they always say) hackers, the value of Roots become "zero" along with any asset or contract using Roots. Ether continues to have value if Bitcoins are stolen. Theft just thins out the herd and makes people more cautious. Ether bonds make issuers mostly responsible for their IOUs with IOU holders assuming some risk if Ether loses too much value to Bitcoin.
Issuing servers and indie issuers
A basic Bonded Escrow Contract is practically complete since BTC Relay does the difficult part. "Bonded Escrow Contract" is completely decentralized and requires no modification to Bitcoin. It would allow anyone to "anonymously" manage Bitcoin escrow wallets or issue Bitcoin IOUs. They only need to obtain Ether for the bond, send it to the Bonded Escrow Contract along with their Bitcoin escrow address and the terms of the IOU they wish to create. Indie issuers don't have to babysit a "server" (that needs to be online all the time) if they create IOU contracts that won't have harsh penalties if they take some time to redeem the tokens. IOU buyers who want faster redemption can buy IOU's from issuing servers. Issuers are free to choose alternatives to SPV such as prediction markets, to verify Bitcoin transactions.
Bonded Escrow Contract options
Here are some options that the Bonded Escrow Contract could make available: * Designate how much Bitcoin the IOU tokens are to be worth and how much Ether will back them. This may be a fixed rate or it may be based on other Ethereum price oracle contracts. If a price oracle is used the issuer may have to add Ether to prevent the IOU from going into default if the Ether price goes down relative to Bitcoin. * Set exchange or rental rates for the Bitcoin IOUs. These rates may be in Ether and/or Bitcoin and could be based on oracle/derivatives contracts.
When IOUs aren't redeemed (right away)
What happens if the IOU's are sent back to the issuer but the Bitcoins aren't released right away?
- Set grace period where there is no penalty. After this you have these options.
- Set the rate of an Ether stream that is sent slowly from the escrow contract until the value of the bonded Ether gets too close to the value of the Bitcoins in escrow. At this point, all the Ether is transfered from the issuer to the "creditor" (or to another contract).
- The user who is waiting on the Bitcoins may choose to take some of the bonded Ether instead. This option sets the rate to buy some of the bonded Ether from the Bonded Escrow Contract instead of waiting for the Bitcoins.
- The contract may automatically use the Ether to buy Bitcoins from a more reliable issuer. Or the creditor may be given the option to do this manually.
Add to this is that Ethereum's PoS will be far more scalable, with Casper development reaching high levels of sophistication.
- 2-way decentralized pegs do not yet exit.
- People are not going to be very elated about the FedPeg, but I don't suspect this will do much to inhibit RSK token exchange. ShapeShift will for instance allow for an RSK to BTC exchange.
- It merge mines with Bitcoin. OI VE! Talk about an anti-feature. This exposes RootStock to all the problems associate with the great firewall while trying to accomplish sub 10sec block times? What if it becomes obvious that RootStock is now worth more than Bitcoin and Bitcoin becomes this empty shell that does nothing but "burn" Bitcoins into RootStock?
- RSK trades at 1:1 to the Bitcoin. Think about this for a second. It's like going to college, studying a medical degree for 10 years and then equally distributing your income to all your family members and extended family. Even if RootStock is faster, better, more secure than Ethereum. This one single "feature" cripples it. The RootStock ecosystem will never see most of this value. They are giving all their money to rich Bitcoiners who took no risk building their network. ...
- It doesn't much matter that it is EVM compatible. I can launch another Ethereum blockchain today with no token value. The problem isn't compatibility but the value of the state of the blockchain. IE Digix will not only have to relaunch their network on RSK but they'll have to import and close off their state on Ethereum or write and move to Bitcoin.
- All the features they build can be forked by building a network that isn't 20% more expensive to fund it's development. RootStock will basically get a RootStock of its own.
"That said, counterparty is more closely linked to the bitcoin blockchain, so it's easier to make crowdsales that accept bitcoin directly; that's the primary point in favor of a bitcoin blockchain-based metacoin. Though now btcrelay makes up for quite a bit of that difference."
OK, so Bitcoin focused smart contracts and LISK are bad ideas, but sometimes bad ideas win, after all, bla bla "network effect"
- Not to mention that the LISK contracts will be stored in plaintext, which means they'll be vastly more expensive to publish.
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