|Let's say someone was looking for a stay at home computer job, would you recommend doing what you do? Is it something you can hop into, or is it something a lot of time must be put into before considerable income comes?||You handle risk and pressure well, and you don't let your emotions guide your decision-making. Professional Poker and TCG players often develop this skillset.|
|You have experience working with stocks, bonds, derivatives, foreign exchange, or other financial instruments. If you have a strong mathematical background, that would also likely fulfill this.|
|You can invest significant capital into trading while remaining financially secure if it all suddenly vanishes.|
|You are capable of constantly monitoring a situation, waking up in the middle of the night if an alarm goes off, etc. It requires serious dedication.|
|You are good at keeping up with news, understanding market psychology, and "feeling" shifts in attitude and perception among other market participants.|
|Of those, I'd be most cautious if you don't meet no. 3. Going bust is a real possibility--day-trading a volatile commodity is inherently extremely high-risk. Nos. 2 and 4 are the easiest to learn or force through routine. No. 1 requires a person who approaches things in an emotionally detached manner. No. 5 is something that comes with investing enough time.|
|Second question: I'm answering this after that big block of text because this answer will come off like a get-rich-quick scheme. Yes, you can hop into it very quickly, and you can start making very high profits very quickly. I put in a small initial investment to test the waters, and made 10% on it in a few days. If you have the right skillset, composure, and resources, yes. It is a potentially very lucrative and exciting stay-at-home job. It is not for everyone, though.|
|As much as it would be beneficial for me (being in the industry and all), to tell everyone it's easy and that it will help them provide for themselves I feel that people need to know the real risks that are involved.||Regardless, that's all a little irrelevant. We're not playing the house, and we're not flipping coins. We're playing other investors, and we're making actual decisions. You keep saying things like "98% lose money" and "Go onto any FOREX forum, and you will see from the users posts that they pretty much all lose money" but you don't back it up. Cool, yeah, it's a zero-sum game with a rake: a little more than half of the players will lose. That's expected. They'll probably complain about it, too, huh?|
|Retrospect can have a very positive effect. Got any real account trading statements I can have a look at? Let's see how fast you can come up with excuses not to show me ;)||I only have and need one: I have chosen not to disclose my personal valuation for privacy reasons. Same reason I've had all along. I instead publicly disclose my trades, as they happen, on my website. The posts are timestamped, and the ones that are the start of a position contain the price I entered at. Go check the posts, then go check the charts, then go check my archive. But feel free to continue to arbitrarily call my credibility into question--that makes your argument better!|
|What leverage do you use? In Australia the leverage is typically 100:1, perhaps that's why your not seeing how risky I deem it to be.||First, our argument so far has had nothing to do with risk. Second, I told you I am leveraged 2.5:1, two posts ago. Third, you realize I'm trading Bitcoin, not ForEx, correct? And that no one in their right mind would offer 100:1 leverage on Bitcoin due to its volatility?|
|What's your last year's hourly salary?||A year ago I was finishing up college and extricating myself from the TCG business I'd co-founded. I took very little in take-home pay over that period, but kept part ownership of the continuing business. Money isn't just about the number on your bank account--it's also about residual future income.|
|How many hours a week are you typically on a computer?||On a computer, probably 50-55, if you add in time I spend on my phone, I'd say 65-70. Day trading takes constant watchfulness. I imagine it's like an easier version of taking care of a baby.|
|What are your favorite to sources of news besides waiting for it to get to the front/hot page of /Bitcoin when it's several hours old?||I have an IFTTT for /BitcoinMarkets and /Bitcoin that notifies me early on about some posts.|
|What's the weirdest thing about your mom?||She started a bookselling business online in her 50s and makes more money than me.|
|She's a little old lady who loves gadgets and technology.|
|What are your thoughts on Dogecoin and other bitcoin competitors? Do you think any have staying value?||LTC.|
|Coins that offer something different or that have a strong community to them can be valuable prospects.|
|LTC is the first-mover scrypt coin - DOGE has the most non-techies interested in its success and is spreading quickly as a result - NXT is a cool generation two coin that has a lot of features BTC doesn't have - VTC is ASIC-resistant|
|Ok, let me spell it out to you. The retail forex market only makes up 5% of the total forex markets liquidity. The other 95% is from hedge funds and institutions. Therefore, 99% of the retail market losing their money is very possible, as that only makes up 4.95% of the whole market. Is it possible that 4.95% of the market generally loses? Yes. How is that infeasible?||Nope. That's a false equivalence. It is possible that 4.95% of the market loses. It is not feasible, that, say, 99% of people with blue eyes lose. What, exactly, in empirical terms, is the difference between retail investors and hedge/institutions that causes this INCREDIBLE disparity? Would you care to respond to my above empirical argument that demonstrates that a zero-decision system is flipping a losing coin? Do you consider it feasible for 99% of people playing a 45-55 game to lose?|
|Are there options and/or futures markets for Bitcoin?||Not really yet, but there will be more prominent ones soon. I hear about a new one pretty regularly, it seems, but nothing that seems truly legitimate has come out. I'm certainly excited for them, though.|
|Eventually, once Mr. Lawsky and co. get things sorted out, I'm certain we'll see a big-name investment bank start offering them.|
|From the time you started trading until today, what is your overall percentage return?||In USD, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 300% over a little more than 2 months.|
|In BTC, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 425% over a little more than 2 months.|
|Using my average per-coin buy-in price, if I had just bought-and-held, I would have lost about 27% of my initial investment value.|
|Ben, i told you I'd be here and asking about Hearthstone first. If there's one class that needs a bit of tuning, up or down, which is it and why?||I think Mage needs basic, class-level tuning. I'm not sure what needs to be done exactly, but I don't like what the Mage class power does to gameplay. I've thought some about how different it would be if it could only hit minions, and I'd want to know if Blizzard had tried that out. The Mage power is too versatile, and over the long-term I think it will prove to be problematic.|
|What's your favorite card?||Lord Jaraxxus is my favorite card. He has a truly legendary feel to him when you play him, but your opponent can still win, even though he's very powerful.|
|So, where do you think we go from here?||I'm currently short, but I don't expect to be so for a lot longer. I don't think we'll get past 550. I also don't expect this drop to hold on for a really long time.|
|I haven't seen a good, substantive rationale for what the MtGox situation really has to do with Bitcoin price. Yes, it looks bad, it certainly doesn't help with our legitimacy, but is it really worth the incredible price declines we continue to see? I don't think so. I think we are seeing these impressive declines because the price on MtGox (which is a reflection of trust in MtGox relative to Bitcoin price, not just Bitcoin price) has been declining heavily. I don't expect it to continue forever, especially not with things like the Winkdex and the accompanying ETF launching.|
|MtGox is basically dead to me, for now at least. The sooner everyone stops paying attention to it, the sooner we can all get back on track, which I, for one, will be quite happy about.|
|Do you think that it's a good thing for a game when the developers of that game discourage certain playing styles (e.g. mill decks or decks that try to win in unconventional manners) whether in hearthstone, MTG, or other TCGs?||It can be. I don't want the developers metaphorically over my shoulder outlawing strategies, but I don't mind if the strategies that are "less fun" for your opponent (Draw/Go, Mill, or Hard Combo from MTG, for example) are also less powerful. Most players prefer a game where the best decks are also among the most fun, because it means that they are playing against fun decks more often. Clearly the 2-cost 3/3 will be played most often. If you fix this by making both 2-cost guys 2/2s or 3/3s, or by making one a 2/3 and the other a 3/2, then you've done something--but it's not that interesting. If you instead make the 2-cost 2/2 have text that says "While you control the 3-cost 3/3, this gets +2/+2" and you give the 3 cost 3/3 text that says "While you control the 2-cost 2/2, it has Taunt" you now have more complex cards that reward players for doing something other than just playing the best stand-alone card.|
|Which do you think is a better option to encourage diversity in TCGs; improving/buffing cards/decks that hardly see any play versus weakening/nerfing cards that are overwhelmingly played?||This is obviously a very simplistic example, but I hope it makes the point. Games are more fun when you give players more relevant choices: buffing and nerfing cards tends not to do that as well as promoting synergies does.|
|Where/what is the actual money behind bitcoin? If it does exist.||You might need to rephrase your question for me to understand what you're asking. If you're asking why a Bitcoin has value, the answer is the same as any other good: because someone is willing to pay it.|
|If you're asking why someone is willing to pay that amount, my answer would be utility.|
|I just got started on Bitfinex (using your referral link) and am a little intimidated. What types of trades would I recommend I try as a beginner?||From there, just keep careful watch, and see what happens. Be neutral and objective toward your own hypothesis, just like in science. Don't be biased by your hopes, be focused on the reality.|
|So far I've only done a liquidity swap offer to try it since it seemed (nearly) risk free. Have you done any liquidity swap or is it too low in profit?||If I'm not going to be able to check my computer for a day or two, or I'm uncertain of what's going to happen the next few days, I do use the liquidity swap function. It's actually very profitable, relative to traditional investments. And you're right, it is low-risk. I'm a fan. Good job selecting it if you were intimidated--that's a good place to start. As far as actually starting trading, do science. Start with a hypothesis. If you were up at 5 AM today when MtGox published their announcement, a good hypothesis might have been something like: "This announcement is going to be a blow to their credibility, and might panic the markets. We'll probably drop by some amount as a result." Invest based on it, figure out around what price you want to take profits, and at what price you'll cut your losses and get out. Stick to those determinations unless something substantive changes. The time you tell yourself you can afford to not close your position because it will "rebound" back to where you want is also the time you lose your shirt.|
|Is it true that you like Balloons?||No, I <3 them.|
|Lol to the question about your mom... Ben, from my understanding Bitcoin is anonymous, does this mean that you can avoid taxation when receiving payment?||Bitcoin isn't anonymous. That's actually a common misconception. It's actually pseudonymous, like Reddit. You end up with an online identity--a wallet address--that you use with Bitcoin.|
|If I walk up to you on a street corner and buy Bitcoin with cash, then I'm pretty much anonymous. If I buy it from a large institution like Coinbase or some other company, they will have records of the address my Bitcoin was bought for. As a result, you can trace them down, generally speaking.|
|As for avoiding taxation, that's a general no.|
|What do you think Bitcoin's biggest hurdle is and how do you think it can be overcome? Are there any misconceptions about Bitcoin that you think people have?||The biggest hurdle for Bitcoin to overcome is governments. Governments have a variety of reasons not to want an alternative currency. We seem to have done pretty well on that front here in the US, but for other countries (China) that is not the case. Past that, the other major hurdle is something I consider an inevitability: consumer adoption. Business adoption has begun in earnest, consumer adoption hasn't. It will when enough businesses take Bitcoin to give it sufficient utility for the average customer.|
|What trading platform do you use to daytrade Bitcoin? What is the standard margin that Bitcoin brokers offer? what's the typical ask/bid spread?||I primarily use Bitfinex.|
|Very few Bitcoin brokers currently offer leverage, Bitfinex offers 2.5:1. Over time, I anticipate it will become more like current Forex, where 10:1 or greater leverage is common.|
|It varies by exchange depending on their fees. Huobi charges 0% fees, so their spread is generally tiny. Some exchanges can be as wide as 1.5%. Typically, I see spreads between .5 and .7%.|
|Do you invest in any other type of cryptocurrency? if so, which is your favorite besides bitcoin?||I currently have no other holdings, but I've held DOGE and LTC at points and am considering VTC and NXT. DOGE is probably my favorite, because if the community can keep this up for a little longer it will snowball into amaze.|
|Can you trade me a Jace?||TMS WWK, TMS FTV, Beleren, MA, or AoT?|
|Beleren.||M10, M11, LOR, JVC, JVCJPN, or Book Promo?|
|M10 and if not possible then M11.||Sure.|
|I've been reading your blog for quite some time and especially like your summaries for recent events. Keep up the good work! Do you use strict stop-loss orders for your trades? When do you decide to close a trade? Especially in situations where you can basically see you profit/loss grow by the minute. When is enough? Do you have a longterm bitcoin investment you don't touch or do you use everything you have for trading?||I do use relatively strict stop losses, but they're not stop loss orders. My conditions usually aren't just the price hitting a certain point, but instead it sustaining for a brief period, or hitting it with a certain volume, or with a certain amount of resistance to retreat. I don't want my stop loss to be triggered by some idiot who dumps 300 BTC and temporarily drops the price 15, but only ends up really dropping it 3. I am very strict with myself about this, though, generally speaking--if I can't trust promises I make to myself, what good am I?|
|Let's say for example you have a sum x dollar and a sum y bitcoin on your trading account. How much % of x or y do you risk at every trade? I've seen a formula for the max. amount of investment and read numerous times that traders shouldn't risk more than one or two percent of their "bankroll". Do you generally have dollar and btc or just one of them at any given time?||100% of funds in every trade, so long as all funds are easily moved into the position. Common exceptions are lack of liquidity and funds being on other exchanges. My reasoning for being all-in all-the-time is that it's a profit-maximizing move. It is also risk-maximizing. My risk tolerance is infinite; most people's isn't. Only ever one. Generally BTC if I'm long, dollar if I'm short. I prefer to double-dip, as otherwise it would be in contradiction to the 100% plan. I use everything I have for trading. Again, profit-maximization, infinite risk tolerance.|
|I decide a closing price when I'm near either my stop loss or my profit aim. I place a limit order or multiple limit orders wherever I need to. I avoid market orders whenever possible. Enough is when I hit my goals or my loss tolerance. I decide these at the start, but I frequently re-evaluate them as news and market conditions develop.|
|What is a typical bid/ask spread for Bitcoin?||It depends what exchange you're looking at, but generally .5-.7%.|
|What's the best way to popularize Bitcoin among the masses? Add your own but would love your thoughts on: -microtransactions developing nations -gift economy (tipping)||I would suggest just running around shouting "You get to be your own bank" is probably the best way.|
|In all seriousness, though--we don't need to try. It's going to happen on its own from now on, as the news media slowly starts to pick up the story. People will start appearing on TV talking about it with more and more frequency. Things like the Dogelympic teams are great PR and help boost it up, as well, of course, but in general it's just going to follow the adoption curve of every other technology.|
|If it picks up in a few developing nations that have stable internet, it will be a massive revolution for them. Self-banking can do a huge amount of good for an economy like theirs. We might see reports on that. If a major newspaper decides to run a permanent paywall like what the Sun-Times tested recently, that could be big as well. The slow PR from tipping on Reddit is another way, to be honest. Every bit helps, but the cryptocurrency community is now large enough that we're going to do a significant amount of organic, word-of-mouth style growth.|
|Do you think that a magic game could beat harthstone?||If they do a good job, absolutely. They have to focus on the right things. It needs to be mobile-available, easy to pick up and play, and fun.|
|Is there a good crypto currency to get in on now, before it explodes like bitcoin did?||There are plenty of options. Check out coinmarketcap.com. Fair warning, there are plenty of horrible things there--treat it kind of like penny stocks. I like BTC, LTC, DOGE, NXT, and VTC.|
|Also, why is it such a pain in the ass to buy them with actual money? Like you have to have bitcoins to buy other crypto currency.||It's such a pain to buy them with USD because no one has made a good system to do it on, like Coinbase. If you think there's a desire, go do it!|
|Well the way I look at it, is how the hell else would you be able to buy them? Not everyone has piles of bitcoins lying around and I really don't want to spend $600+ on a single bitcoin just to buy some other currencies.||Ah, I see the problem! You can buy fractions of a Bitcoin using Coinbase--I think .01BTC (~$6) is their minimum.|
|The March 2013 appreciation was from American and European investors and November 2013 was mainly from Chinese investors. Which group of people do you think will be the next to buy (I hate using the word invest when talking about bitcoin) bitcoin for investment purposes?||American institutional and hobby investors. That is, Wall Street and people who pay attention to Wall Street.|
|Which do you think will be a better long term (~5 years) investment, Bitcoins, Litecoins, Dogecoins, Fetch Lands, Shock Lands, or Original Dual Lands? Does it change for ~10 years?||Either Bitcoin or Fetch lands for 5 years. For 10 years, Bitcoin. I'd be worried about the 10-year view for paper MTG.|
|Ive been mining Bitcoins for years now, i have a good sum im my wallet but i never plan to use them. Does this make me a bad person?||Approximately yes.|
|Ben, I should've simultaneously copied and pasted all of my questions from the Spreecast over to here but here are a few... It seems like the conspiracy crowd has really latched onto the idea of Bitcoin as being a discreet form of currency. If Bitcoin is backed up by the internet why would people choose having a currency that's being tracked over say cash, gold, different commodities?||Having a currency be tracked has negatives and positives, but it's overwhelmingly positive for the average consumer. Because it's tracked, you don't need to pay someone to move your money for you. There also are no chargebacks, which means merchants aren't getting scammed and passing those costs onto consumers. Theft costs everyone money. It's also very fast--transactions confirm in just 10 minutes, regardless of size or where it's going. Transferring dollars from here to China is very difficult--transferring Bitcoin? Just as easy as from anywhere else to anywhere.|
|My job is a mix of voodoo, intuition, science, and news.||In USD, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 300% over a little more than 2 months.|
|No, just gambling.||In BTC, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 425% over a little more than 2 months.|
|Anyway, how have the profits been from start to finish compared to the market?||Using my average per-coin buy-in price, if I had just bought-and-held, I would have lost about 27% of my initial investment value.|
|Are you willing to disclose how much you have in your trading portfolio/what kind of profit you turn both % and $ wise?||In USD, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 300% over a little more than 2 months.|
|In BTC, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 425% over a little more than 2 months.|
|Using my average per-coin buy-in price, if I had just bought-and-held, I would have lost about 27% of my initial investment value.|
|What would you say is the easiest method of shorting bitcoin or any other coin?||For shorting Bitcoin or Litecoin, check here.|
|For other coins, there isn't really a good way yet, to the best of my knowledge. A few exchanges have plans to add short-selling, but Bitfinex is really the only one I know of that has.|
|What did you have for breakfast today.||Didn't breakfast, was delicious.|
|Hey Ben, I know next to nothing about Bitcoin. I went to /bitcoin after seeing this AMA on your FB, and I noticed that everyone is going apeshit over "Gox". I have no idea what that means or why everyone is so sad/angry/suicidal.||MtGox (which originally stood for Magic the Gathering Online eXchange) was the first prominent Bitcoin exchange. They've been going through some rather rough times lately, some of which I was an early cataloguer of here. In short, everyone is freaking out because the exchange may be insolvent. It's not really a big deal to Bitcoin as a whole, but it's certainly an obvious blow to credibility. In my view, people are primarily upset because MtGox has been a part of Bitcoin for a very long time, and it can be hard to let go of what we're used to. I expect that they will either fix the issues or will go out of business officially very soon.|
|Please explain what happened.|
|Tell me every artist in your iTunes.||Daft Punk, detektivbyrån, Kid Cudi, Matisyahu, The White Panda.|
|Spotify for life, yo.|
|Follow up question, what % are you in BTC vs Fiat and when you are on the losing side of a trade do you find your self dumping in more to get right or do you pull the cord||Unless my positions are on different exchanges or in different coins, they're all always 100% of what I'll put into that trade at entrance and exit. As a result, I end up with a binary choice: stay or reduce/close. I very rarely reduce position size, nearly always preferring to just end the position instead.|
A Bitcoin FAQ for GBStldr: why don't you go buy beanie babies or a wayne gretzky rookie card instead?
1) Should I buy bitcoins?
2) But if they drop down to a dollar, then I can snap some up and
No. You are one of thousands of people who want to do this. Telling the thread that you are going to do this doesn't make you look smart.
3) How does this shit work? It doesn't make any sense!
No, it really doesn't. It's impossible to explain bitcoin in anything less than tl;dr terms so you should probably just not worry about it. Go do something useful instead of reading this awful thread full of socially inept people laughing at another group of socially inept people.
1) I really want to understand how bitcoin works. Please.
Okay, you asked for it. With some severe simplifications and a painfully neutral pov:
Bitcoin is a decentralized "cryptocurrency". It is a network of software that shares a common protocol designed to allow secure transfer of bitcoins between users. It uses distributed cryptography to verify transfers and balances.
Bitcoin is also the subculture that has sprung up around this software, which includes additional software that is not part of the core design. The most high-profile of these are trading services that allow users to buy and sell bitcoins using US dollars and other real-world currencies.
Bitcoins users have files called "wallets". This is sort of a misnomer, because these wallets do not actually contain anything except a cryptographic private key. One's bitcoin balance is actually recorded inside the distributed network, which is why you cannot edit your wallet file to give yourself more bitcoins. Bitcoins can be added to a particular balance using a public bitcoin address, which acts as a cryptographic public key. The private key is contained in the wallet, and bitcoins cannot be transferred out of a balance without that private key.
(If you don't understand public-key cryptography, do some reading because you can't understand bitcoin without it. While you're at it, read up on cryptographic hash functions.)
Transfers between wallets are recorded in "blocks", which are verified by the distributed cryptography system. The act of verifying transactions and then adding those transactions to the historical "blockchain" is called "mining". Transactions are stored in the blockchain using cryptographic hashing methods which allow the entire blockchain to be independently verified for consistency and integrity. In order to make blockchain verification an attractive prospect, the design of bitcoin gives "bitcoin miners" two reasons to tie up their computing hardware to maintain the network, both based around competition.
The first reason is that bitcoin transfers can contain optional transaction fees which are paid to the miner that verifies the transaction. Paying a transaction fee makes it more likely that your transaction will be processed in a timely manner, because those transactions are more attractive to the miners.
The second reason is that mining gives the miner a chance of receiving a batch of newly created bitcoins. The more cryptographic power one brings to bear, the more likely it is that the next batch of new bitcoins will be yours. There are a fixed number of bitcoins which can ever be mined, and the difficulty of the cryptography will continue to increase over time.
An important aspect of mining is that the network is designed to handle one complete block (containing a specific number of transactions) every ten minutes. If more computing power is added to the distributed network, making the blocks take less time to process, the difficulty of the cryptography increases. The inverse is also true. This scaling difficulty is meant to help prevent a single user or group of users from gaining complete control over the network by using more computational power.
The distributed verification process determines the "truth" of a transaction block by whether or not the majority of the network (as measured by contributed cryptographic work) considers it valid. The original designer thought it unlikely that any one user or organization could acquire a majority of the network's cryptographic power and therefore "cheat" the system in some way.
Bitcoin verification power is typically measured in the speed at which a system can perform cryptographic hashes, which are required to verify the blockchain and to add transactions to it. The difficulty of the mining process is determined by the amount of "hashing" required to add a new block to the chain.
These are the core aspects of the original bitcoin design. In short, bitcoins are assigned to "wallet" addresses, with balances stored in a distributed "blockchain". The accuracy of the blockchain is verified by "miners", who have a vested interest in doing so through a reward system. Attacks (such as double-spending) are prevented by the distributed nature of the network, where any invalid transactions will be caught by other mining systems.
2) That was painful to read.
It was painful to write.
3) So what went wrong?
A lot of things, some of which are due to problems with the original design, and others which are due to problems with the bitcoin community.
Bitcoin was originally a proof-of-concept project by an anonymous crypto specialist who used the pseudonym "Satoshi Nakamoto". It is unlikely that he was actually Japanese, but his identity still remains a mystery. Bitcoin was meant to be a testing ground for theories about how cryptocurrencies might work. Initially, bitcoin was a curiosity and there was little participation in the network, as bitcoins had no real-world worth.
This all changed as bitcoin was discovered by three types of people. First, there were the internet libertarian types who liked the idea of a currency that was not controlled by a government. For them, bitcoin represented an ideology. Second, there were people who wanted to use bitcoin as a semi-anonymous international currency for illegal transactions, such as drugs, weapons, or illicit pornography, as well as a possible method for laundering money. For them, bitcoin represented safety from the law. Third, there were people who viewed bitcoin as a method to get rich by getting in on the ground floor of a new kind of money. These people saw bitcoin as an investment.
The history of bitcoin is too complicated to go into detail here, but these three groups shaped the bitcoin network and community into what it is today, which is a gigantic goddamn mess of idiocy, greed, and bad decisions.
4) What happened to the neutral pov?
5) Well, then where is bitcoin right now?
Right now, the bitcoin community has been overwhelmed by the use of bitcoin as, essentially, a commodity to be bought and sold. Individual bitcoiners may talk about the future of bitcoin as a currency, but the vast majority of bitcoin transactions today are the buying and selling of bitcoins themselves using real-world money, and not the buying of goods or services using bitcoins. There is an extremely limited number of things you can spend bitcoins on without first converting them to dollars (or whatever), and many of those are done through third-party bitcoin-to-dollars systems where the merchant never sees any bitcoins.
Bitcoins are purchased and sold much like other commodities such as gold, petroleum, and the like. Exchange services are set up, where people who wish to buy the commodity put forth "buy orders", where they offer to buy a certain amount of the commodity at a given price, and these buy orders are matched with "sell orders" put in by people who wish to sell that commodity.
There are several bitcoin exchanges that let one buy and sell bitcoins using dollars and other currencies, but the most important one is "mtgox". Amusingly, Mtgox started life as "Magic: The Gathering Online eXchange", an exchange service for virtual Magic: The Gathering cards.
When someone says "bitcoin is at $50" or something similar, usually they mean that the most recent buy order on mtgox was for $50 a bitcoin.
The market prices for bitcoin have historically tended to rapidly inflate and then crash spectacularly. Bitcoin's market value has dropped by 50% in less than a day on multiple occasions.
Regardless, true believers in bitcoin (typically the libertarians or the investors, who are sometimes one and the same) keep throwing more money at the speculative market, in the hopes that one day their currency will be treated with respect by the world, or at least they'll eventually make up for their losses. Neither scenario is likely.
6) Why is this funny?
Because we're children who like laughing at dumb people, and bitcoin people are a truly spectacular level of stupid.
7) So could bitcoin ever be a real currency?
No, for one simple reason. Bitcoin does not scale. The network is already creaking under the weight of relatively few transactions, and more importantly, the blockchain size is increasing rapidly. The blockchain file is currently several gigabytes in size, and the entire chain must be downloaded in order to mine or verify your own transactions. You can use a third-party service to store and transfer your bitcoins, but these services have historically tended to get hacked or just suddenly vanish, taking all your internet funny-money with it.
If bitcoin actually became popular as a currency and not just as a speculative commodity, the network would rapidly become even more unusably slow than it already is, and the blockchain would swell to an absurd and unmanageable size.
8) Some people seem legitimately angry about bitcoin.
Bitcoin would appear to be a mostly harmless way for idiots to throw money at each other, except for the fact that bitcoin mining has (not surprisingly) become an arms race to see who can get the most hashing power online.
The original design of bitcoin did not account for the possibility of specialized, expensive hardware which could make mining without that hardware almost useless. Certain kinds of ATI Radeon video cards proved so effective at performing bitcoin hashing that mining solely on a general-purpose PC CPU gives negligible results, due to the vastly increased hashing difficulty. Miners purchased huge amounts of these video cards to create custom (and often hilarous) "mining rigs", essentially converting electricity into heat and bitcoins.
The stakes have been raised again with the advent of specialized bitcoin-only ASIC hardware which is even more effective than the video cards were. The future of bitcoin mining appears to be in the hands of a small minority of users who can afford this specialized equipment, making the "distributed" nature of bitcoin something of a joke.
The bitcoin network now must use vast amounts of power, far out of proportion to its actual usefulness and typically generated by fossil fuel plants, just to maintain itself. It is a tremendous waste of actual real-world resources that could be better used on something important (like, for example, watching cat videos) and this makes some people actually angry at the situation.
9) Wait, what about this "BFL" thing, and who's "Atlas"? What the hell are you people talking about?
Look at all these fucking words I've already written. God, what a waste of effort.
Also read: Bitcoin History Part 6: The First Bitcoin Exchange. No One Remembers the First Major Bitcoin Hack. Certain hacks have gone down in Bitcoin history on account of their magnitude and ... Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox in bother as virtual money vanishes Bitcoin Exchanges Try to Soothe Customers 4:26 Following the disappearance of Mt. Gox, the executives at six major bitcoin exchanges and ... TOKYO, JAPAN: The website of Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange MtGox went down amid reports of a theft worth hundreds of millions of dollars of the virtual currency. The reports have dealt a blow to ... Mt. Gox vanishes – Should Japanese authorities intervene in Mt. Gox insolvency . 02/25/2014 10:28 am Filed Under: BTC - Bitcoin by Andrew Moran. Bitcoin holders are scratching their heads Tuesday morning after one of the world's biggest bitcoin exchange platforms, Mt. Gox, might have vanished off of the Internet forever, its founder gone and its Tokyo-based office empty. Mt. Gox officials ... Those who follow virtual currency Bitcoin with even the slightest interest have no doubt read of the major breach and subsequent bankruptcy filing of Mt. Gox, formerly the world's largest Bitcoin ...
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With #bitcoin breaking above $11,000 there are many bullish cases for #btc now! There are many things pointing to new bitcoin all-time highs, let's take a look! My Top 3 Recommended Exchanges ... The website of major bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox was offline on Tuesday amid reports it had suffered a debilitating theft - a new setback for efforts to gain legitimacy for the virtual currency. Major cryptocurrency exchange platform accused of spam-attack on bitcoin. This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue. Watch Queue Queue Queue #Bitcoin finally breaks $12,000.... then it dumps :/ Are the #crypto markets heading for another major crash or is this just a temporary pullback before cont...