[WriteLog] WriteLog 11.22 released AND a special sale...

Wayne, W5XD w5xd at writelog.com
Fri Sep 19 11:30:45 EDT 2014

>Bitcoins sound a little bit sketchy to me...
>http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-28/mt-gox-exchange-files-for-bankruptcy.html  <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-28/mt-gox-exchange-files-for-bankruptcy.html>

Yes, it does sound sketchy. Here are some facts to ponder:

mt-gox is (was) a bitcoin exchange where "exchange" is an important word to understand.
It was "like" a bank in the sense that bitcoin owners entrusted their private keys to
a third party (mt-gox) who treated them in an insecure way (i.e. the private keys were
stolen). This is analogous to taking a pile of cash to a bank, who put it in a safe, but
the cash disappeared from the safe. The keeper of the safe declared bankruptcy because
he didn't have the resources to pay back the depositors.

Would we allow ourselves to say cash is "sketchy" and we should not use it? Every
individual has to make a choice, but the underlying choice is one of trust: do
you trust (a) the technology behind the "cash" or the "digital currency"? (b) the
keepers of the keys to lock to the safe? (c) that the "cash" is itself not counterfeit?
or (d) the cash won't be inflated to zero value by the time you want it back?

My understanding of bitcoin, based on my own technical expertise, is that its technology
meets basic standards of trustworthiness. But there is no absolute standard of
trustworthiness. Each of us has to make a relative judgement of whether one choice is
more trustworthy ("secure") than another. In this case, the choice is between bitcoin
and the US dollar. Each offers a very different set of technical tradeoffs, and a very
different set of human judgement tradeoffs (that is, you have to predict the future
behavior of people in order to make a decision about who to trust.)

Wayne, W5XD

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