Crypto is NOT a Ponzi scheme

I never tried it, but, once upon a time (when Bitcoin transaction costs were zero) were there not there a few [legitimate] online stores selling consumer electronics, another selling web services, things like that, where you could pay via Bitcoin, therefore you avoiding having to provide a credit-card number and the store avoiding processing fees? Of course, you had to get those coins from somewhere, and the store had to deal with them on their end. Micropayments, or even larger, are not an insane idea (before the communist revolution at least). Especially when not everybody’s bank offers free instant wire transfers (NB bitcoins are not instant)

ETA there are already (variations going back decades) places where you can use the same smart card/phone to buy a drink from a vending machine, then pay for a bus ride. People use it and it obviously uses crypto, or should be. Often there is a server validating the transactions, but (at least theoretically) there are ways to allow it to work even with the Net offline.

If you consider that VPN services are legitimate, there are some VPN services which are paid for in Bitcoin. That’s not a bad use for it for people who truly want their activity to be anonymous. For example, someone in China might not want their name associated with their payment method for their VPN purchase. It might be cheaper and more efficient to pay in traditional currencies, but those would have the downside of being easier to link back to the person. Using Bitcoin for the transaction to remain anonymous has some value that makes it worth the premium for using Bitcoin.

Bitcoin can make it easier to transact with people around the globe. An individual in a distant country can provide services for anyone in the world and take Bitcoin for their services. They don’t have to worry about complications from using traditional currencies like bank transfers, credit card processors, money wire services, etc. Someone who does graphic design, translation services, computer programming, etc. can just have payment made to their Bitcoin wallet.

Of all the crypto currencies, Bitcoin seems to be the one that has the most legitimacy as a currency. The others seem like they exist just for speculation and have no real-world value. There was a lot of speculation that boosted up Bitcoin’s price, but even without speculation, Bitcoin would be used for real-world transactions. That gives it some inherent value that the other crypto currencies don’t have.

Thanks, both!

ETA: @DPRK 3 posts above.


In a slightly alternative timeline Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency might have become the answer to internet micropayments. But it did not. Instead we got paypal, venmo, zelle, etc.

To some degree a metaphorical corollary to Gresham’s law applies. Not bad currency driving out good, but bad actors driving out good.

In any un-policed space, the constant human desire for criminality will find a ready venue. Whether that’s the ungoverned wilds of Afghanistan or Yemen providing havens for terrorists and warlords, the ungoverned corners of the internet providing havens for Pirate Bay, malware spreaders, cyber-blackmailers, etc., or cryptocurrencies and their ungoverned exchanges providing havens for embezzlers, pump-n-dumpers, money-launderers, etc. Or 4chan and perhaps soon Twitter providing havens for vicious anti-social nastiness of all stripes.

The utopic hope of the crypto pioneers was that legitimate use would grow quickly enough to crowd out the bad actors, leaving no room for their evil seed to take hold. Just as some of the www visionaries imagined an online world where falsity would be drowned out by a resounding chorus of shining truth.

Needless to say, it didn’t work out that way.

Human nature is the reason we can’t have nice things. Or at least the nature of some hefty fraction of humans is the reason. All of us can wreck more than we can build. Ony some of us are inclined to do so. But that “some” has an outsized impact on the rest of us.

The first part does, but it also mentions how you can trade the Sudoku puzzles for heroin, so it addresses the marketplace transactions too.

But Bitcoin is fundamentally unsuitable for micropayments - for one thing, the payment takes upwards of an hour to verify, but the bigger obstacle is the transaction cost - isn’t it about $25 per Bitcoin transaction at this point? I guess if the price of a Bitcoin were cheap enough, the transaction cost would be less?

More like $173.

The only way bitcoin becomes a useful currency in that alternate reality is if transaction costs were more like $0.01 (and even that is expensive compared to ordinary banking costs, but I think it would be acceptable).

A single Bitcoin currently runs for almost $17,000 USD at this moment, it’s like mining high quality diamonds.

New York State just imposed a moratorium on new fossil fueled crypto mining.

It’s flatly impossible to square limiting global warming with Bitcoin mining and difficult to do so even with most of the newer coins with less electric usage. Instead of Just Stop Oil, the protesters should be Just Stop Crypto and tossing soup on their computers.

While I have no problem with NY’s efforts to kick out crypto miners, this is just dumb. In some future where we have stopped burning fossil fuels, crypto miners can have at it as far as I’m concerned. It is the not burning oil (and gas) that is the important part.

$2.13 trillion of crypto’s (alleged) $3 trillion in value has recently gone up in smoke.

That may not be a Ponzi-level crash, but is still impressive.

Crypto may ultimately be spoken of in the same breath as the Tulipomania and Southsea Bubble, as examples of human folly.

How could you ignore the Beanie Baby crash of 2001? Surely that was the peak of human folly.

Bitcoin isn’t nearly as anonymous as some people think it is. Here’s a great story about how crypto tracing took down a child porn ring.

It’s not necessarily a Ponzi scheme.

But, so far, that seems to be the only thing it has been used for effectively. That and few other schemes that would be illegal with real money, like pump and dump.

It seems at least theoretically possible for it to be used as currency, or in some other honest way, but as far as I can tell that sort of usage is still rare as hen’s teeth.

I’m not seeing a lot of legitimate usage yet, as a currency or otherwise. It’s mostly just a speculative investment used by the rich to part less wealthy fools from their money, by preying on their economic ignorance.

Not much different from those late night infomercials about gold (i haven’t watched broadcast TV in ages – are those still a thing?).

Indeed. Bitcoin is literally a ledger. It keeps records of all transactions. That’s how it works. Bad people can work to hide their identity but the record of the transfer is there for everyone in the world to see.

That said, some crypto has been made to be more opaque.

I agree. I just refer to it as, “fake money.” LOL

Is US currency fake money?

It’s a piece of paper. If the zombie apocalypse happens that paper will be worthless and we’ll be back to a barter economy.

US currency only has value because the US government says it does and we all, collectively, agree it does.

I understand your points, but don’t tell me that bitcoin is the same as U.S. currency.

I wondered if bitcoin existed in any other form other than digital say-so, so I googled, “Is there physicial bitcoin”. This is the ludicrous result:

Most people who create physical bitcoins use a 3-D printer. The design itself varies as they are created by enthusiasts, not a centralized organization. Some coins are metal-plated, and some use pure silver or gold.

Sereiously? Does it say, “Monopoly”, on the front? LOL

So, the physical bitcoins aren’t even worth shit? They’re just decorative playthings? LOL

My understanding is Bitcoin was never, ever meant to have a physical token.

The theory was to not be beholden to governments which fiddle with their monetary system (e.g. futz with interest rates) and to be able to move money without banks as intermediaries that charge expensive fees and are slow.

The promise never lived up to the reality (no surprise there). As soon as crypto became popular private entities like FTX and governments stepped in to mess with it.