Archive for June, 2011

bitcoin supply

June 30, 2011

If a fiat currency is destroyed, money could be printed to replace the lost supply. In the case of BTCs however, the number of BTCs that will ever be “printed” will, at most, be 21,000,000. Additionally, there exists no central authority that can decide to “print” more BTC because someone say, failed to care properly for their wallet.

Nobody can ever be sure what quantity of BTC has been lost forever but surely some has. I lost a small fraction of 1 BTC when I failed to do a backup. Is this a drawback for BTC? The currency can be broken down to extremely small fractions, so there should be no worry of running out of BTC. However, the network can’t verify when BTCs have disappeared and can no longer be supplied. Is the fact that the amount of BTC in circulation can only be estimated a disadvantage of BTC?

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will Diaspora “succeed”?

June 30, 2011

Diaspora still lacks punch because proper implementation (i.e. as a personal web server, not joindiaspora.com et al.) is still for the wizards. But the beauty is, that when (if? (vaporware?)) it is properly implemented, it will differentiate itself from GooglePlus and Facebook in a way that offers value to mass market consumers in the form of privacy and data portability. If consumers could buy an easy-to-install, pre-configured wall-wart running FreedomBox/Diaspora with the option of gratis/paid services for specialized configuration or feature development, some would be willing and able to buy such a device.

Unfortunately, the issues around privacy and data portability/access are not issues that typically capture the mass market’s attention. Will enough users care to expend the energy to create an instance of their social life on Diaspora and learn its interface? I’m skeptical, but if Diaspora keeps developing like it is, I see no reason to leave. For me personally, Diaspora has been like Twitter on steroids. My “use” of Twitter has pretty much been reduced to my Diaspora posts being pushed out to Twitter automatically.

Putting aside social pull and the goal of market power, I think the success of Diaspora should be measured similarly to the goals of the GNU Project. While advocates of software like the GNU/Linux operating system enjoy hearing news of market success, they see the existence of free software itself as the most important success, rather than growing popularity. Maybe there will only ever be enough capital behind Diaspora to sustain a niche market or perhaps, it will come to the mass market. Regardless of that, even if a small network of users exist who can run their own privacy-aware, free personal web server, that’s a success too.