A few interesting stories, the first of which is from The Economist, “The dollar’s sterling work.” One notable passage from the article is, “people exaggerate the importance of the yuan. Just $0.3 trillion of Chinese assets are open to foreign investors, compared to $56 trillion of American ones. That makes the yuan a poor candidate for a global reserve currency.”
As I explored in chapter 13, Bitcoin adopters who continue to claim bitcoin will become a reserve currency usually do not understand how or what foreign currency reserves are. The Chinese RMB, not bitcoins, has a more probable future as a reserve currency and as discussed by The Economist and others cited in chapter 13 (such as Patrick Chovanec), this is not going to happen anytime soon for the RMB, if ever.
I also recommend reading through “Inside Visa’s Data Center” published last year to give you an idea of the quality and security of their network. Significantly different (42 firewalls, mirrored center in Midwest) than the cartoon caricature that some vocal “decentralize the worlders” claim it as.
Thanks to Izabella Kaminska and others for a couple of the links.
- DigitalBTC Preliminary Final Report for FY14 (look at the line item: “Depreciation of segment assets”)
- BIP0064 – Not yet. from Conformal
- Freedom of choice, bitcoins and legal tender from OECD (some cogent arguments about why a cryptocurrency probably won’t become a national currency)
- Creative Cops: Why China’s Police Chiefs Are Racking Up Patents from The Wall Street Journal (clever kickback scheme; tangent: How the SATs may undermine China’s Communist Party from Washington Post and Investor Visas Soaked Up by Chinese from The Wall Street Journal)
- Bitcoin is having its moment but there are better sustainable currencies from The Guardian (from about 2 months ago; five alternatives though not sure it’s an apples-to-apples comparison as they are not really p2p)
- [ANN] Huobi Passes Proof of Solvency Audit by Stefan Thomas (he also audited OKCoin a week ago; may become an industry standard way to do so each quarter)
- These numbers will remind you that doing a startup is brutal from Tech In Asia (large amount of failures, though that’s probably expected since entrepreneurship is more of a black box and not necessarily scalable)
- Well I’ll be damned by Preston Byrne (the jump in activity started with the casual conversation with Vitalik and Daniel two weeks ago, then snowballed onto Chinese-language based forums including QQ, Wechat and even BitShares own forum where the Chinese-language section has more posts than any other subforum. getting trolled on twitter by Bitshares holders is probably not a good sign either.)
- Hal Finney being cryopreserved now from Extropy Institute (brilliant human, see also: Nakamoto’s Neighbor: My Hunt For Bitcoin’s Creator Led To A Paralyzed Crypto Genius and Bitcoin and me (Hal Finney))
- Hedgy a Boost VC startup (“eliminate bitcoin volatility”)
- The Role of Trust in the Stellar Network by Alex Browne
- FoldingCoin: Mining for Medicine at Home by Robert Ross (see also: 5 Global Problems Bitcoin’s Proof of Work Can Help Solve by Daniel Cawrey)
- BlockSign Utilises Block Chain to Verify Signed Contracts from CoinDesk
- Citigroup’s Englander: Mining Arms Race Adds Volatility to Bitcoin from Barron’s
- Proof-of-burn and Reputation Pledges from OpenBazaar
- The Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm by David Schwartz, Noah Youngs and Arthur Britto (they published a white paper explaining it, commentary on the forum)
- The (sizable) Role of Rehypothecation in the Shadow Banking System by Manmohan Singh and James Aitken (apropos the comments from Robert Sams)
- Ed25519: high-speed high-security signatures
Interesting that VisaNet in 2013 had the capacity to handle 30,000 transactions a second with 377 servers, or less assuming that some servers are used for the non-payment functions mentioned in the article. Bitcoin has over 7,000 distributed full nodes, but not rationally connected except for the largest mining pools, exchanges and payment processors. Furthermore, VisaNet considers only two datacenters, both located in the USA as sufficiently redundant and geographically distributed, to handle the majority of the worlds payment card transactions. As grand as VisaNet’s datacenters appear to be, they are certainly lower cost than the sum of today’s industrial bitcoin mining datacenters which consume much higher power and must constantly upgrade their mining equipment.
One wonders how VisaNet can secure their private transaction ledger at much lower cost than Bitcoin secures it public transaction ledger given the 3000x difference in daily transaction quantity.
Thanks for the comments Stephen. My understanding is that VisaNet operates a processing center in the UK to handle its European operations: http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/Visa_%28V%29/Processing_Infrastructure
Regarding digitalBTC, its interesting to learn that this industrial miner is achieving return on investment within approximately four months. Probably there is a short window of opportunity subsequent to the ROI point during which bitcoin can be mined profitably before the relentless growth of difficulty forces the replacement of the equipment while buyers can still be found.
I figure that digitalBTC mined 2% of the bitcoins generated during the calendar quarter.
Regarding the depreciation line item, please clarify what I am supposed to see. I suppose that digitalBTC is depreciating capital assets using the allowed method with the largest first year depreciation amount. I would rather know the difference in price between what digitalBTC pays for a mining rig and what they sell it for at the time of replacement.
I suspect that digitalBTC has a preferred customer arrangement with BitFury that puts them early in the delivery pipeline for new rigs, and makes it more difficult for smaller players, e.g. individual miners, to achieve the same ROI. Additionally, digitalBTC faces competition from more vertically integrated industrial miners that manufacture and mine – thus shortening the ROI duration.