Bitcoins, Money (and Credit) - London - 16.8.2011

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wineandcheese's picture
wineandcheese
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Aug 10 2011 16:05
Bitcoins, Money (and Credit) - London - 16.8.2011

What: Bitcoin is a virtual currency whose claim to fame is that some US politicians became aware of its use to buy drugs on the Internet. However, the Bitcoin project is much more ambitious than merely providing a somewhat anonymous way to buy stuff on the Internet. Bitcoins are meant as a new currency: a new money for the Internet age. In fact, this new money is based on different principles than all modern currencies, i.e., credit money.

Because of this ambition, the project provides splendid opportunity to ask what money is. That is, we claim that Bitcoin reflects on various qualities of money which are usually taken for granted by addressing them as “technical challenges”. In particular, the Bitcoin design is an attempt to solve the “technical” problem of how to exclude people from social wealth and how to maintain a permanent conflict of interest. Hence, we want to present how Bitcoins work and discuss what these technical innovations imply about the social conditions known as the “free market”.

Furthermore, the Bitcoin protocol is an expression of scepticism against credit and credit money. For example, the total amount of currency that can ever be created is fixed to the arbitrary magnitude of 21 million. Hence, a lot of discussions about Bitcoin focus on the imminent “deflationary spiral”. On the contrary, if there is time left, we want to discuss the question why all modern currencies are credit money. That is, why does capitalism lead to the development of a credit system and in the last instance credit money. Instead of discussing the advantages/disadvantages of a new gold standard we want to discuss why there is no gold standard any more.

No prior knowledge of computer science, finance or Bitcoin is necessary to participate.

When: Tuesday, 16.8.2011, 7pm

Where: LimaZulu, Unit 3J, Omega Works, 167 Hermitage Rd N4 1LZ London

Web:
- http://www.junge-linke.org/en/bitcoins-money-and-credit
- https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=245815378774307
- http://limazulu.co.uk/

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
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Aug 11 2011 15:26
Quote:
Instead of discussing the advantages/disadvantages of a new gold standard we want to discuss why there is no gold standard any more.

Just a difficulty I see; how can you discuss the absence of something (a gold standard) without explaining, to wit, your Gegenstand?

Klaus
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Aug 11 2011 15:32

There's a difference between discussing the advantage or usefulness of something for something else and what it is.

Or put differently: it's a different question to ask "should we change this and that" and to ask "why is it what it is".

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
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Aug 11 2011 15:34

Yes, but how can you know it is absent in the first place, without knowing what it is?

Klaus
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Aug 11 2011 15:37

The gold standard means: the central bank guarantees that its banknotes are exchangeable for gold at a fixed rate. This guarantee is not made any more. I am not sure how your question relates to the announcement though.

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Tojiah
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Aug 11 2011 15:48

Bitcoins is a scam whose purpose is to provide its progenitors with easy money taken away from libertarian* idiots, propped up by illegal trade. Hence most of the supply is owned by the early adopters, especially the designer. Certain graphics card companies may also be involved.

But don't trust me. Trust Something Awful.

----
* Libertarians in the American sense - that is Randroids and their ilk.

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Aug 12 2011 07:40

Looks very interesting. Are there any plans to record it?

Tojiah, thanks, that's a great article. Found a bunch of interesting stuff about Bitcoin from there. Hoping to see a spectacular BitCoin crash soon. I think WoW gold makes more sense as a currency.

Arbeiten's picture
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Aug 12 2011 11:02

Apart from the authors saying that Bitcoin is different from credit, I don't know how Bitcoin is that different from credit, am I missing something?

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soc
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Aug 12 2011 14:31

There are always people who like to demonize the monetary system, and the monetary system only to explain the evils of capitalism. Down on that road, many got excited to jump in to an alternative exchange system, but credit money did not come about because of the "evil capitalists", but there was a need to boost the speed of exchange for a booming production system. The control of the money flow became a major political position in current capitalism (well, it has always been really) but bringing new alternative monetary system doesn't change the fact how capital, and its exploitation works.

Klaus
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Aug 12 2011 15:23

Sure, but these things have to be explained instead of just posited.

Bitcoins offer the opportunity to demonstrate that the free market itself means exclusion and competition, it points to it in its own construction. Hence, instead of abstractly saying that people should stop getting into alternative currencies, one can take a more in depth look at one of these currencies and show why it is a bad idea.

Klaus
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Aug 15 2011 20:48

*bump* tomorrow

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jura
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Aug 15 2011 21:00

Will there be a recording or some notes? (Or perhaps an article later on?) There are some people I know who are kind of into this little scheme, it could be interesting to show them a critical account of it.

Thumbs up for choosing this topic BTW, it can be useful to demonstrate some important points.

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Aug 17 2011 19:43

Klaus, apologies for having to leave before the meeting ended. I left about 10 when the discussion on credit was getting underway. Did it continue much after that?