Oh no, my artisanal collection of inefficiently solved math problems is now worthless! Why did I think trading away real money for fake money was a good idea?

Wait, I never did that. Never mind. I'm good!
Something legally recognized as tender for all debts public and private.

Now, I could buy a hamburger with a chicken if I could convince someone to take it in trade, and I could pay my debt with Pokemon cards if the lender agreed, but that's barter.

Check again, friend. The robust and reliable US dollar will get you a LOT more bitcoins today than it would yesterday, if those are your favorite flavor of beanie baby.

And frankly, "printed out of thin air" is a great thing. The environmental cost of the US government spending the "value" of a bitcoin into existence, as USD, is far, far lower than the environmental cost of "mining" one bitcoin.
When someone asks me a question that I believe to be of general interest or that I suspect other people will ask, I quote tweet the response so that I only have to answer it once.

Yes, I agree that modern money is very environmentally friendly.

Oh, it appears my learned correspondent has opted to absent himself from the discourse. Not before declaring that Bitcoin is "sound money", which... it isn't. It sounds like money, but it's not sound money. What it is, is sub-fiat money.
Sound money is, very roughly, money that is a stand-in for something specific that is valued, like the dollar bill as a gold coupon. A "pound sterling banknote" being a note from a bank for one pound of sterling. This was the transition from metal money to paper money.
And fiat money is money that's valuable because an authority says "This is money." The modern US dollar is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government, which... okay, I don't trust them for much, but "money MEANS something" is like their whole deal.
Now, which of those does Bitcoin sound like? Its backers say its "sound money" because much like a promissory note for gold, the Bitcoin represents a lot of expensive effort someone went through to extract value.

But the gold actually exists. You can trade a sound note for it.
The energy-inefficient math problems that "back" a Bitcoin aren't worth anything. You can't trade the Bitcoin in at a reserve bank to get the processing power back, if the processing power is what you need. So the Bitcoin isn't backed! Not by anything of value, not by fiat.
Fiat money is a great concept. Very useful, and it's been very successful, and we've really only traced the edges of how it can be used. But the key is that money, as a universal means of exchange, works best when it's on a centralized standard.
If every US state had its own currency, but some were in regional collectives with mutual recognition pacts, and then some large cities also had their own, and then we also had to deal with company scrip... doing business would be a nightmare.
But that's the reality of cryptocurrency! Currency is currency because it's current; it flows. The more different branches and forks of crypto there is, the less current it becomes.
And you know, I think the rise of cryptocurrency is a casualty of the way our financial politics has completely demonized inflation as a concept, made it out to be a universally bad thing to be feared and avoided at all costs.
Because Bitcoin was designed to be deflationary: there's only ever going to be a set finite amount of it, and getting more of that limited supply becomes harder and more expensive (in energy and real money) over time.
Because Bitcoin becomes harder to acquire over time, then the same amount of demand results in a higher price over time, which makes it appear to be an appreciating asset.

But as its only use is something you can trade for money, its value is ephemeral.
The more Bitcoin is used, the more widely it's adopted and the more coins are mined and then traded around, the harder Bitcoin becomes to use. The computer time and energy needed to process each transaction goes up the more "successful" Bitcoin is as a pseudo-currency.
That means there's going to be a point where Bitcoin is no longer worth it, and I don't mean "the market price has gone down" because that's cyclical. There's a wall in the future past which no one will find it worth using.
"Well at that point we'll all just sell out and move to another fork."

I am trying to think of a "Sell to who, FUCKING AQUAMAN?" reply for this and there's not even a fictional character who fits the bill.
Bitcoin is an interesting thought experiment but as a "currency" it was essentially designed to fail. Will some people get rich along the way? Sure. By convincing other people that it's the future and selling them Bitcoins... for actual money.
Yeah, basically, you have to make up a fictional character who eats 10,000 Bitcoins a day to have someone who would buy Bitcoin once it goes over the deflationary cliff.

And maybe you think you're a savvy speculator who can ride the money train right up to the edge of the cliff and then get off it, but so does everybody else in your subreddit and they're all chanting "Hold the line!" with you and calling anyone who cashes out a cuck for whales.
...just realized there's a sick joke at the heart of the crypto scam: they say it's "sound" because it's "backed" by the proof-of-work of "mining" the math problems.

As if our society actually intrinsically recognizes the value of labor.
Okay, I would pay real money to watch Brewster's Bitcoins. Man is given ten billion dollars in cryptocurrency and will inherit a larger fortune in USD if he can spend it all with nothing to show for it by the deadline.

The publicity around the new "crypto billionaire" drives the price up and increases adoption and activity in such a way that the more he spends, the more value in crypto he has, and it looks like he's going to lose.
And on the last day, he meets with his accountant and his eccentric great-uncle's lawyer and the accountant reads off the contents of his cryptowallet, one minute before deadline, and then gets a phone alert and reports the value of the wallet is now zero dollars and zero cents.

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More from @AlexandraErin

20 Jul
So the thing we do now when we have contractors in is we put the cats in Jack's office, which they're not *not* allowed in but which they have only irregular access to... and after a second time I think they've figured out what's going on, but are chill with it.
I think they're like, "Oh, we got uninterrupted access to the Secret Room of Secrets? With special convenient on-site refreshments and litter? No humans allowed? Sign me up!"
Which is convenient, for as long as they don't change their minds about it.
Read 5 tweets
20 Jul
Weird how the same business guys who say that laws and regulations shouldn't apply in outer space also want to move businesses into outer space
And the thing is, while the memes about "pollute space instead" are funny... that's not even getting at half of what's wrong here. He says it himself: HEAVY industry. We'd wreck the planet faster lifting it into orbit, if we could.

(Blocking people who say "space elevator".)
Like, let's say just for the sake of Jeff's argument that water is a gimme. Let's assume that we can get enough ice in space that all the water needed for industrial processes is just there.
Read 6 tweets
20 Jul
Oof. So sounds like we're going to have to have our sewer line dug out and replaced, and in the process get rid of my favorite tree (which has betrayed me by sending roots into the sewer line, among other issues with the pipe).
Oh, I definitely can't, both in the sense that it's not that type of tree and in that I definitely don't have the means... someone could perhaps weave a basket out of it, but I don't need a basket.

To be very clear, and I'm sure that was kindly meant, but me being wistful about a tree isn't a problem that I need strange men on the internet to solve for me.
Read 9 tweets
20 Jul
So, Skyward Sword on Switch... anyone know what they did with all the motion controls? Because they prevented me from being able to play the game when it first came out.
Okay, but I can't actually play with motion control and I've played a lot of Zelda games without any camera control so I'm not seeing the downside.

Read 7 tweets
20 Jul
Whitey Very Slightly Closer To The Moon
That scene in The Crown where Philip, in a fit of ennui following the moon landing, flies his plane a bit higher than is safe for conventional aircraft, takes on a new poignancy in the era of the Whacky Space Race.
I'm honestly glad there are so many Whitey on the Moon references today because there's also a lot of people talking about how "everybody" used to rally around space flight, which I get what they mean but, like absolutely all absolutes, it does erase nuance.
Read 11 tweets
20 Jul
So, I read the most ridiculously prescriptivist tweet about how to use Twitter, telling people that they need to have so many original tweets for every one that they retweet.

The dude apparently works in social media software development? Big deal. I work in actual social media.
And when I say I work in actual social media, I mean that my job for, like... five years... now has been to be on Twitter. That's been my biggest and most consistent source of income, which is weird. I'm nobody's social media employee. I just make my living being here.
And I say that to emphasize that if anyone is in a position to give "Twitter ProTips", it is me, the professional Twitter user, not some social media app "idea guy" who is trying to wrangle himself a guru rep.
Read 14 tweets

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