Bitcoin Blockchain vs. BTC

There is a distinction between the system of the blockchain and the actual units of account on the ledger run on a blockchain. A blockchain may be valuable as a means of transacting under various conditions, however, the question then comes to what is being transacted.

The value of a particular blockchain ledger will depend on what is actually being transacted, since the ledger is simply a means of transaction. Therefore, Bitcoins cannot be valuable because the blockchain ledger allows for transacting, because this already presupposes that it transacts something valuable.

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14 Responses to Bitcoin Blockchain vs. BTC

  1. ProtegeAA says:

    Except that bitcoins are worth something, and have been since the first pizza was bought using them.

    Your continued insistence that they are worth nothing is based on a philosophy, but I’d point out that at a certain point, you have to realize that maybe your particular take here is incorrect.

    This seems similar to a gold bug insisting fiat money is worth nothing, without noticing the fact that it *has* had value since its inception. The gold bug may not believe fiat to work in the long run, but nevertheless it does.

    And so with bitcoin, which is bought and sold every day by thousands of people, many of whom have used it (or other cryptocurrencies) to buy goods and services, or to trade against other cryptocurrencies/blockchain tokens.

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  2. Zippy says:

    Blockchain is a ledger, but it is an especially poor one for numerous reasons. Chief among these reasons are that ledger entries are explicitly and deliberately “validated” on the basis of compute power “might makes right,” and that this non-validation approach to validation is a vast waste of resources.

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  3. ProtegeAA says:

    I’d actually like to describe an example I blogged about the other day. I have an account with Coinbase. I had some fiat in Coinbase that I wanted to move over to another crypto exchange. Normally, I can buy Ethereum on Coinbase and send it to another crypto exchange, and that takes maybe an hour. At that time, Bitcoin’s tx fees were high, and Ethereum was clogged (due to the Crypto Kitties being such a hit), so I used a token I generally avoid, Litecoin.

    I used Litecoin because it was a fast, cheap, easy way to tell the second exchange that I have about $XX in value. Litecoin was useful, even though it is not backed by any physical goods.

    If you want to transfer thousands of dollars from one account to another, cryptocurrency is your fastest and most trustworthy way to do it right now, period.

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  4. Quite right. It is not a means of transacting but a means of recording transactions.

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  5. ProtegeAA says:

    Hi Zippy-as an aside, your usury FAQ was incredible. Thank you for your service to the Church.

    I’d retort to your comment that digging up gold is a vast waste of resources.

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  6. ProtegeAA says:

    >It is not a means of transacting but a means of recording transactions.

    These two are inseparable in bitcoin.

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  7. Zippy says:

    Recording transactions yes, but where authenticity of records as the standard is replaced by compute power might-makes-right. To the extent blockchain succeeds in eliminating authority it succeeds in eliminating authenticity.

    Like all modern attempts to eliminate authority it ultimately fails to do so, instead creating a sociopathic authority severed from reason and accountability.

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  8. It is based on a philosophy backed by numerous arguments.

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  9. ProtegeAA says:

    >Like all modern attempts to eliminate authority it ultimately fails to do so, instead creating a sociopathic authority severed from reason and accountability.

    There’s definitely something worth pulling on here, and I find that a lot of technolibertarians view “blockchain” the way 19th century utopians viewed communism.

    At the same time, some of the problems of major centralization (Facebook, Google) may be solved with decentralized blockchains, so the jury is still out. I’m working through a blog post on tech as restoration (vs revolution) but it’s taking some time.

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  10. “If you want to transfer thousands of dollars from one account to another…”
    If by this you wish to prove there is a manifold of people willing to give valuable property for worthless things, then sure. If you mean by this that “… therefore unsecured crypto currencies are valuable,” your simply begging the question.

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  11. Zippy says:

    I’m glad you found the usury FAQ helpful.

    Gold is indeed valued perversely and to excess, but it isn’t nothing at all; whereas the property referenced by the bitcoin ledger is literally nothing at all.

    I’ve written plenty of posts on gold:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/?s=gold&submit=Search

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  12. Correct. Bitcoin is reducible to numbers on a ledger. Nothing is being transacted, just numbers moved on the ledger.

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  13. Zippy says:

    There’s definitely something worth pulling on here, and I find that a lot of technolibertarians view “blockchain” the way 19th century utopians viewed communism.

    One of the central projects of modernity is to eliminate authority and replace it with metaphysically neutral mechanism. Since this is impossible (we’ve discussed this quite a bit at my place) this project never succeeds: it merely “succeeds” in constructing sociopathic authorities divorced from accountability to the good, the true, and the beautiful.

    As each iteration fails, moderns refuse to give up their devotion to the anti-authoritarian project and instead embark on some new anti-authoritarian iteration, each more perverse and anti-realist than the last one. The last one then becomes the evil tyranny that the scrappy rebel alliance must overthrow.

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  14. Pingback: BTC and Subjective Theory of Value | Infinite Semiosis

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