Daily Archives: January 21, 2014

Why Bitcoin Matters

The New York Times has the article Why Bitcoin Matters by Marc Andreessen.  It is hard to pick just one of the reasons to quote here from all the reasons that Andreessen makes clear in his article.  Here is one that I thought might get your interest.

In addition, merchants are highly attracted to Bitcoin because it eliminates the risk of credit card fraud. This is the form of fraud that motivates so many criminals to put so much work into stealing personal customer information and credit card numbers.

You have to read the article for many more reasons why Bitcoin matters.  One that particularly interests me because I have talked about it on this blog a number of times is:

A third fascinating use case for Bitcoin is micropayments, or ultrasmall payments. Micropayments have never been feasible, despite 20 years of attempts, because it is not cost effective to run small payments (think $1 and below, down to pennies or fractions of a penny) through the existing credit/debit and banking systems. The fee structure of those systems makes that nonviable.

My first discussion of micropayments was in my proposal in the post Monetizing Internet Content.  I then tried another post to get alternative news media to consider micropayments instead of begging for subscriptions in Alternative News, Please Stop Your Pathetic Begging.

Bitcoin can be a major component in my proposed solution for monetizing internet content.  The “Publisher’s Clearing House”, “Google”, “Amazon”, or “PayPal” type of company could create a business using Bitcoin internally to offer the service to small operations trying to monetize their internet content.  With Bitcoin, a small startup could make a business providing this service before the big guys even figure it out.  For all I know Marc Andreessen’s venture capital firm may already be funding such a startup, since he already mentions this use in his article.

For all you people who are having trouble getting your mind around fiat money, Bitcoin ought to boggle your mind.  Marc Andreessen’s article make take a little of the boggle out.

Other previous posts that have touched on Bitcoin are The Behavioral Economics of Bitcoin and The One Crucial Detail That Could Sink Legal Pot in Colorado.

This Andreessen article may dispel a myth that might have come to mind in the legal pot article.  That is that Bitcoin makes these transactions anonymous and untraceable.  In that one way, it makes Bitcoin unlike a $20 bill.  Oh by the way, the traceability also does not make it like a credit card transaction either.

Thanks to Cedric Flower for posting a link to this article on his Facebook page.

What Happens when Poor People get Cash? An Empirical Study.

The Daily Kos has the article What Happens when Poor People get Cash? An Empirical Study.  The bottom line is:

So applying money to the problem of native poverty DOES work as far as native children are concerned.

There is much detail in the article about what exactly happened and why that is important to read beyond the conclusion quoted above.

I find the segment below a little silly and distracting.

about half the casino profits went to infrastructure and social services, including free addiction counseling and improved health care. Ann Bullock, a doctor and medical consultant to the Cherokee tribal government, argues that these factors together — which she calls the exercising of “collective efficacy” — also may have contributed to the improved outcomes. She describes a “sea change” in the collective mood when the tribe began to fund its own projects. A group that was historically disenfranchised began making decisions about its own fate.

Professors Costello and Akee continue to think that cash made the difference,

Why can’t it be just as good that trying two solutions to a problem has better results than one solution? It may be of academic (and some practical) benefit to know which change had the most impact. For the lives of the people involved it would have been an immoral exercise to try to find out if the people could have done nearly as well with less help.

Ownership of WaPo by CIA Contractor Puts U.S. Journalism in Dangerous Terrain

The Real News Network has the interview Ownership of WaPo by CIA Contractor Puts U.S. Journalism in Dangerous Terrain.

The mythology is that that doesn’t matter, because who owns a newspaper doesn’t affect the atmosphere or policies or reporting that come out of the newsroom. But in the real world, this is a new structural relationship that, unlike in the past, is not only built on personal relations or ideological connections or some stray business affinities; this is a direct conflict of interest, where the owner of what some believe is the most powerful political media outlet in the country is not only gaining more wealth from a big contract with the CIA, but is also eager to gain even more business from the CIA, because Amazon has said, hey, the $600 million from the agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, is just a start. We look forward to, Amazon says, in its words, “a successful relationship with the CIA.”

So this is, I think, at the crossroads of a contradiction between an ostensibly free press and a corporate-digital-governmental tacit alliance that is about using digital power to keep some data secret and to extend the surveillance state, to gather data and to use it, among other things, in the service of ongoing warfare across much of the planet.

The video references an article on Truth Out Why the Washington Post’s New Ties to the CIA Are So Ominous.

Should we be afraid, very afraid? Or should we just think “So what else is new?”

Income inequality is not a concern of Wall Street’s money addicts

Occasional reader WayneP sent me links to two articles related to the same reports on income inequality.

The Los Angeles Times has the article Income inequality is not a concern of Wall Street’s money addicts.

The richest 1% of Earth’s citizens own 46% of global wealth. That news comes to us from the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Even more dramatic is this statistic: The planet’s 85 wealthiest people have wealth equal to that held by the poorest half of all humans.

Restated with all the zeros on display, that is a ratio of 85 to 3,500,000,000.

cartoon illustrating the pig of  wall street

The second one is The Sun Daily article World’s rich threaten democracy says Oxfam in pre-Davos report.

The World Economic Forum, which organises the Davos talkfest, warned last week that the growing gulf between the rich and the poor represents the biggest global risk in 2014.

Income inequality is not a concern of Wall Street’s money addicts

I address one of the ways to tackle this problem in my previous post Adapting Society To The Age Of Robots .