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<nettime> Now also bankers know what bitcoins are
Jaromil on Thu, 7 Apr 2011 16:34:46 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Now also bankers know what bitcoins are

re all,

FYI: http://www.dyndy.net/2011/04/bitcoin-presented-to-the-old-world/

Bitcoin presented to the Old-world

   Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2011

   Filed under Conference, Currency
   Tagged with cash, crypto, P2P, public

   Related articles:
     * [23]Action in London, Revolutionary Credit Cards
     * [24]Process Ecology: the lesson from Nature for assessing the
       Monetary System

   Just back from the 10th edition of the [25]EPCA conference held in
   Amsterdam, where I was a shoulder for my friend Genjix: bitcoin
   developers were invited to talk about [26]Bitcoin to a specialized
   audience of mostly >50 years old banker types in suits, with very few

   Genjix presenting bitcoin in EPCA2011

   The incipit of the conference booklet recites: âOver 200 transaction
   services professionals from all over the world will attend, discuss and
   experience this leading platform. For the last 10 years we have been on
   top of trends and developments in payments. We focus in particular on
   strategic innovation and break-through developments in on-line
   transactionsâ. And in fact it looked pretty well populated for that
   kind of context: besides the white-male-with-suits first scary
   impression, especially for those who value variety, from the written
   documentation available (I havenât attended talks) one can tell these
   people run quite some businesses â at least they did until now <g>- and
   quite successfully.

   The brochures of the conference talk about transaction systems,
   RFID/NFC payment devices and all flavors of bank related products along
   the names of âMobile Moneyâ, âSecure SDâ, âePassportâ and âAutomated
   Fare Collectionâ.

   Our guy Genjix is a colorful and open minded type, witty and messy, a
   good mix that entertained the people present despite it being the last
   presentation of the day; he did a good (unpaid) job presenting some
   quite impressive information on the growth and usage of Bitcoin, making
   people present progressively interested (or pissed, but then hard to
   notice behind the suits) at this crypto-cash system that seems to be
   there to stay or, one could argue, to multiply in different flavors in
   the near future.

     âBeing shown an anonymous digital currency with its own laundering
     service. Used for selling drugs. Bit-coin, you have cheered me up.â
     Michael Price

   The presentation didnât hide even the most controversial aspects of
   bitcoin, pointing out to some very extreme usage: something that seemed
   to relieve the audience, considering that banker types are pretty
   beaten up by corporate ethics evangelists nowadays. In such cases
   Bitcoin tends to show that anonymity is used in the âworstâ way, which
   is still half of the story. We are still far from developing a positive
   narrative on anonymity and continuing on this track will likely move
   policy makers into massive identification campaigns, as it has been now
   since the 9/11 sad facts.

   Still on the good side for bitcoin is its working implementation of a
   distributed system relying on an âopen source algorithmic contractâ:
   something definitely inspiring that knocks off the hegemony of
   old-world currencies â and one can hardly imagine how theyâll ever
   recover from this manifest process ultimately due to the unstoppable,
   immanent influence of the digital dimension.

   Bitcoin is a messenger and the message it carries doesnât originates
   even from a person, or a group of people, not even an organization or a
   company: itâs a Geist (or Zeitgeist, should we say) that impersonates
   the ultimate dissolution of centralized governance: everything that was
   solid melts into thin air, should we mourn once again, while all those
   who were on the deregulation train in 1984 have now to face their kids
   reminding them how their World is made of lies â and dreams,
   apparently, still alive.

   Following a materialist point of view (and crypto-agnostic, weâll
   argue) bitcoin can surely be interpreted as a [27]Rube-Goldberg machine
   for buying electricity â and this was even our very first reaction at
   DYNDY when we got to know it the first time. Surely these are times
   when materialism is needed, as opposed to more abstract financial
   blabbering, but then consider that the processing power in bitcoin
   serves to strengthen the network authentication: all that electricity
   is energy invested by participants to enforce the integrity of the
   network. Now consider how old monetary systems keep their integrity: a
   huge government building with armed guards along the perimeter, to not
   even mention the huge investment of resources and infrastructure to
   distribute this money (street level access) and authenticate it at
   transaction time. Remember prof. Greco? weâve been talking about thisâ

     Bitcoin is a âdisruptive technologyâ, but disruptive for whom? as a
     human creation, it inherits human problems that are also present in
     older systems; still P2P currencies as bitcoin let us save energy
     rather than consume more, also substituting the violence of armed
     guards with agile and cryptographic communications.

   Ultimately, the positive message that bitcoin also carries is that of
   more possibilities in engineering currencies, that of a future in which
   complementary currencies can make economic systems more resilient to
   the the disruption of capitalist behaviors, while closely relating
   people to their community values and maybe even revolutionize the way
   we contribute to the common good â paying taxes for what we really
   care, rather than not paying them, let me add.

   Quoting Wei Dai in [28]one of bitcoinâs founding texts: âItâs a
   community where the threat of violence is impotent because violence is
   impossible, and violence is impossible because its participants cannot
   be linked to their true names or physical locations. Until now itâs not
   clear, even theoretically, how such a community could operate. A
   community is defined by the cooperation of its participants, and
   efficient cooperation requires a medium of exchange (money) and a way
   to enforce contracts.â

   Now Iâm wondering how people present at the EPCA 2011 conference feel,
   threatened or pleased by this epiphany? in either case it might be
   interesting to watch reactions. The transaction products I read of are
   stacking on technological complexity and seamless design that is
   ultimately undermining the very possibility for people to trust them.
   On top of that now there are on-line grass-root communities actively
   building new systems in a decentralized fashion. Will the monopoly of
   violence enter this game to defend the old-system, despite the
   squeaking sounds of its carcass, the diffused lack of trust for old
   hierarchies and the lack for collective agency within its cheated
   rules? We will see where this ends up: after all today it felt like one
   of those historical days marked by such a talk made by a little
   provocative guy wearing a t-shirt and nail polish speaking in front of
   a old and well dressed audience â but then no-one was really scared.

   IRC excerpt from #bitcoin-dev during the conference:

<jaromil> sirius-m: i'd expect some more fashion happening
<topi`> jaro: they just don't know how :)
<sirius-m> thanks for being there, it's a new important audience for bitcoin
<sirius-m> people who otherwise might not hear about the project
<jaromil> true but knowing the types i think they are thinking how to fork it in
 their own advantage
<jaromil> prolly wasted effort
<topi`> at least they start talking about it:)
<topi`> good luck finding ways to exploit the system
<krytzz> hopefully they cant fork the network
<krytzz> only could start a seperate one :(
<sirius-m> nah, it's good that you're spreading the word :)
<topi`> if there *will* be some threat coming from corporate sector, then we'll
	finally find out how resilient the whole architecture is :)

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   Visible links
  23. http://www.dyndy.net/2011/03/action-in-london-revolutionary-credit-cards/
  24. http://www.dyndy.net/2011/03/the-analogy-with-process-ecology-for-assessing-the-monetary-system/
  25. http://www.epcaconference.com/
  26. http://bitcoin.org/
  27. http://trustcurrency.blogspot.com/2011/03/bitcoin-rube-goldberg-machine-for.html
  28. http://weidai.com/bmoney.txt

   Hidden links:
  88. http://www.dyndy.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/genjix_bitcoin_epca11.jpg
  89. http://www.dyndy.net/wp-content/pdf/newspaper.pdf

jaromil,  dyne.org developer,  http://jaromil.dyne.org
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