Sunday, December 11, 2016

Searching For A Use For Bitcoin

From Wired, Dec. 8:

The Future of Bitcoin Is Not as a Digital Currency
Circle unveiled itself at a bitcoin conference in 2014, vowing to take the digital currency mainstream. But like so many other startups that embraced this big idea at around the same time, its mission has changed.

In January, I met Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire for coffee in San Francisco. Even then, he was careful to paint his company not as a bitcoin operation but as an outfit that would help people easily trade good old-fashioned dollars with friends and family via a new smartphone app. And now, as it announced yesterday, Circle will no longer allow customers to buy and sell bitcoin.

Allaire says that Circle, a marquee startup backed by Goldman Sachs, never really saw bitcoin as a consumer technology. “When we founded this company three years ago, the vision was never to build a bitcoin company,” he says, comparing bitcoin to internet protocols like http or smtp. In other words, the company saw bitcoin as a behind-the-scenes technology, not as a mainstream digital currency that the average person would use to pay for goods online or in a physical store.

Well, all these years later, bitcoin is certainly not a mainstream digital currency. And Circle’s decision to stop operating as a bitcoin exchange is just the latest sign that it won’t become one anytime soon.
Despite big promises from early adopters, bitcoin is still plagued by tax and regulatory issues. And the bitcoin community is still fighting over its core technology—a fracas that could significantly hamper bitcoin’s ability to expand in the near future.

As it backs out of services that let people buy and sell bitcoin, Circle is pointing these customers to another exchange, San Francisco-based Coinbase. But Coinbase is also moving away from services for consumers. It’s now focusing on running a new exchange where large institutions, not individuals, can move bitcoin. And as far back as February, Coinbase said it didn’t really want to operate as a bitcoin wallet, meaning it didn’t really want to provide a way for individuals to hold the digital currency and actually buy stuff with it....MORE
The average  (across exchanges) price today is $772 and change, closing in on the 2016 highs from last June, $781.31.

Bitcoin: Andreessen Horowitz Backed Coinbase Has An IRS Problem
"Warning: If You Choose A Career In Bitcoin You Might Die Poor And Alone"
"Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology"
A Financial Times Journalist and a Writer For The Economist Beat Up On Marc Andreesen
"Bitcoin Is No Longer a Currency"
Incredible Growth In Effort Required Means Bitcoin Miners Face the Data Center Heat
Ye Olde Bitcoin Smithy*

...And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?...

*You probably guessed the painting is of the Bedlam Furnaces, Coalbrookdale England and not a dark Satanic Bitcoin mining rig.

As Far As Whores Go, Larry Summers Seems To Have Become....
...the Whore of Babble-on.

Seriously, what does this crap even mean:
“The 21 chip adds a whole new dimension to bitcoin’s potential utility. At first we will be struck by the presence of a technology like embedded mining; eventually we may be struck by its absence...."
Mr. Summers has joined Andreessen-Horowitz's Balaji Srinivasan at overfunded ($116 mil) bitcoin startup 21 Inc.
You can read a lot about Mr. Srinivasan in "The Silicon Valley Secessionist Clarifies His Batshit Insane Plan" or, for just a soupçon, we have on offer, "Climateer Line of the Day: Uh Oh Andreessen Edition":
...Bitcoins are like “tulips you can send anywhere in the world in arbitrary quantities”.
-Andreessen Horowitz partner Balaji Srinivasan, CEO 21 Inc.
Mr.Srinivasan may not be aware that, since ca. 1637 or so, tulips have not had the best connotation in the world of finance....