On Monday, 23 November 2015 at 14:02:30 UTC, Joakim wrote:
On Monday, 23 November 2015 at 12:11:36 UTC, Steven Schveighoffer wrote:
One could ask the same thing about any currency that isn't the one accepted at a store.


Sure, online is much less of a hassle, but it's still a little time to sign up and administer. Is that much of Ali's time worth spending for at least three donations, likely more? I bet it would be.

I looked with a tinge of fascination at what bitcoin was a while ago. I think there is a natural averse reaction to something that is valuable but that you cannot understand.
--snip--
I know bitcoin has real math and genius behind it, and this is a silly example, but for those who do not understand how it actually works (including myself), it seems very similar in nature. Dollars (or whatever local currency you use) are understandable, and generally accepted at places where I shop. It's easy to see how one cannot duplicate them without evidence of doing so (the fundamental characteristic of currency). Online bits don't seem so uncopyable.

I'm by no means steeped in the tech, but it's pretty straightforward to understand the broad strokes. It's just a giant distributed ledger with some crypto to keep it secure and hashing to avoid double-counting, ie the duplication you're worried about. But ultimately that doesn't really matter, as almost nobody knows how Dollars or other local currencies are created or what makes them tough to copy either. ;)

All that matters for a currency is that many buyers and sellers will accept it, or at least exchange it quickly and easily for your currency of choice, and bitcoin certainly passes that bar.

Regimes vary in how they accommodate some kinds of financial innovation. If you're dealing with dollars anyway, that's one thing, but quite another if you have to figure out the peculiar local tax treatment (which may well not yet be determinate or written down anywhere). Plus in some places it might invite unwelcome scrutiny.

So I agree that bitcoin is a very interesting technology, and this may be the real world application of an idea that goes back to the 90s of the new monetary economics (a book by cowen and kroszner), where the unit of account, medium of exchange, and store of value functions of money become unbundled. But its use unreasonable to expect people to behave in an optimising manner in every part of their lives, particularly when tax and regulation (and uncertainty surrounding them) get in the way.


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