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Open Source The Almighty Buck Google Java Software Technology

Google Engineer Releases Open Source Bitcoin Client 280

Posted by timothy
from the gold-standard-in-non-gold dept.
angry tapir writes "A Google engineer has released an open source Java client for the Bitcoin peer-to-peer currency system, simply called BitcoinJ. Bitcoin is an Internet currency that uses a P2P architecture for processing transactions, avoiding the need for a central bank or payment system. Cio.com.au also has an interview with Gavin Andresen, the technical lead of the Bitcoin virtual currency system." Update: 03/23 16:22 GMT by T : Confused? BitcoinJ author Mike Hearn points out this video explanation of how Bitcoin works.
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Google Engineer Releases Open Source Bitcoin Client

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  • So will he be treated same as this man? [slashdot.org]

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      No, that guy was doing something that was borderline counterfeit. He was intentionally trying to pass his currency off as Federally-backed and issued tender.

      There are plenty of alternate currencies [wikipedia.org] about that are perfectly legal.

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        There are plenty of alternate currencies [wikipedia.org] about that are perfectly legal

        Given that the exact currency that has seen the guy being referenced convicted is in that list, what makes you so certain all the other ones aren't also going to be treated the same way by the government?

        • by wisty (1335733) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @08:54AM (#35585636)

          18 U.S.C. 486:

          "Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."

          OK, so it's not made from metal, or an alloy of metal. It's just data.

          Unless they decide that the "coins" are made of bits of the hard drive, and the hard drive is an alloy of metal ... just a minute, there's someone at the door...

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            That's not the only thing they charged him with though (I have no idea what things he actually got convicted of).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by roman_mir (125474)

        Did you even read the wiki page you referred to?

        # Barter clubs or corporate barter organizations are an example of alternative currency systems.
        # BerkShares ........
        # Liberty Dollar is a private currency backed by silver, designed to be a nationwide alternative currency in the United States.

        The guy is releasing SILVER DOLLARS. By definition they are worth much more than whatever garbage the Fed is printing.

        The real counterfeit operation is what the Fed is involved in. This guy wants sound money back, and the Fed is destroying him for it.

        • by DrXym (126579)

          Did you even read the wiki page you referred to?

          # Barter clubs or corporate barter organizations are an example of alternative currency systems. # BerkShares ........ # Liberty Dollar is a private currency backed by silver, designed to be a nationwide alternative currency in the United States.

          The guy is releasing SILVER DOLLARS. By definition they are worth much more than whatever garbage the Fed is printing.

          The real counterfeit operation is what the Fed is involved in. This guy wants sound money back, and the Fed is destroying him for it.

          No they're not. If they were worth more than US dollars, why can you buy them with US dollars? Why is the value of the silver in a Liberty worth less than the face value on the coin? I bet the guy running this scam looks at his bank balance and laughs at all the idiots who fell for it.

          If you absolutely had to purchase a precious metal as a form of security against currency fluctuations there are far more secure ways to go about it.

          • by tmosley (996283)
            So I guess American silver eagles, released by the US Mint, are a scam too, since they have a face value of $1, while they are currently trading for about $40?

            Shill more.
            • by Thud457 (234763)

              So I guess American silver eagles, released by the US Mint, are a scam too, since they have a face value of $1 , while they are currently trading for about $40?

              That demonstrates a clear disjoint from reality.
              Interestingly, you can't buy them directly from the Mint at face value, either.

            • by DrXym (126579)
              Maybe you should read what I said, to wit - "If you absolutely had to purchase a precious metal as a form of security against currency fluctuations there are far more secure ways to go about it."

              I am not saying that purchasing gold / silver is a bad thing. Just that if you do so through liberty dollars or some shady gold exchange in response to exhortations of Glen Beck then you are an idiot. There are far better ways to buy and sell precious metals. Liberty dollars were and are just a glorified MLM scam

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        He was intentionally trying to pass his currency off as Federally-backed and issued tender.

        [citation needed]. As far as I can see, the guy went out of his way to say they were not legal tender.

        In any case, it seems far more honest than most of the rather dubious dealings which go on in the financial sector, but what's truly amazing is the language used in the case: "a unique form of domestic terrorism", "conspiracy against the United States", "organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government". What the fuck? Whether or not you agree with his right to sell

        • by roman_mir (125474)

          Well that's the thing. Those who print money have real power.

          If all of a sudden whatever it is they print is not recognized as actual money by actual people in real life, they do not have that power anymore.

          They are fighting this with the biggest guns they have - terrorism accusations (that's because they can't stick child molestation to it yet) because they are afraid of losing power over what money is and over what they can do by printing it.

          In reality they should be MUCH more scared of Bitcoin than of th

  • by phantomcircuit (938963) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @01:17AM (#35583104) Homepage

    I've been working on a full client implementation in python https://github.com/phantomcircuit/bitcoin-alt [github.com]

    Just so people know BitcoinJ is not a full p2p node.

  • Is it just me, or is "don't say you're minting" an "<a>" without a "href"? I know the editors here aren't great, but I thought if they could do anything right it would be html.
  • Emperor Norton the first, of the USA and Mexico would be proud.

    Not Peter Norton, he ran out of ideas and sold his company to pay for freezing himself in suspended animation until the economy of the world got better.

    So far Peter Norton is still frozen. Needs his girlfriend to dress up as a bounty hunter, and her brother the farmboy who wants to be a pilot/Jedi to rescue him with his Wookie first mate an

  • by no known priors (1948918) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @01:29AM (#35583154)

    I really like BitCoin, But the biggest problem is the "goldrush" is over. While new bitcoins can still be mined, it's expensive, and takes time. Oh, the other big problem is that not enough people accept them. But, meh.

    More implementations of the software are always good. But, they don't actually matter. It's the blockchain that matters. So long as the various implementations use the same blockchain (which is the cryptographic chain that indicates which address has how many bitcoins), things will stay together.

    The biggest potential problem is Google, or another big organisation, starting a new blockchain, and splintering the bitcoin community. Google actually probably has enough processing power to mine quite a lot of bitcoins from the current blockchain anyway.

    • I really like BitCoin, But the biggest problem is the "goldrush" is over.

      The biggest problem for you, you mean, since there's no "free money" any more. For Bitcoin as a currency, it's a good thing. There's little value in something that can be easily produced.

    • More implementations of the software are always good. But, they don't actually matter. It's the blockchain that matters. So long as the various implementations use the same blockchain (which is the cryptographic chain that indicates which address has how many bitcoins), things will stay together.

      I saw someone else say this was not a full P2P implementation. One concern I see is if too many user run "client only" implementations then the network may fall apart.

      Bitcoin uses cryptography to verify who performed an action but it uses a P2P network of many cooperating nodes to track what transactions have happened so far and reject transactions that would conflict with previous ones (the "spending money you have already spent" scenario). Without this tracking the system would fall apart.

    • The goldrush is certainly not over.

      It is at the moment still quite profitable to mine on AMD GPUs, assuming your electricity costs are about $0.10/kWh. You will easily recoup at the very least half the price of a high-end video card if you jump in right now. Also the network continuously self-adjusts itself to distribute coins over a long period of time, as this graph shows: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/File:Total_bitcoins_over_time_graph.png [bitcoin.it] As you can see, we have only generated about 5 million coins so
    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      Why is splintering bad? It provides alternative currencies, each with their own inflation rates and relative values. The currency market among them is easy to automate, also distributed without a controlling middleman, so holding multiple alternatives at once doesn't prevent liquidating any into another. The result is the purest free market for value possible, so long as the information used to value items in the market is freely available.

      Multiple alternatives after "splintering" sounds like the logical ex

    • by harks (534599)

      I really like BitCoin, But the biggest problem is the "goldrush" is over. While new bitcoins can still be mined, it's expensive, and takes time. Oh, the other big problem is that not enough people accept them.

      Difficulty of generating new Bitcoins is a feature, not a bug. If it were easy, they would have no value. The purpose of Bitcoin is to function as a form of money for saving and exchange, not to get rich by using your processor to print money. But you're right on the second part, the biggest obstacle is the lack of businesses that accept them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't see a problem with bitcoin in theory... but throughout history no currency has been stable without an army to enforce its existence. Disband the USA police/Army and the dollar would collapse. Gold and other universally liked-by-all-humans minerals retains its value for the new owners if someone steals it. Cant say the same about BC.

    That's why this will never go anywhere... look at e-gold, it was doing millions of dollars a day in transactions and then as soon as the owners ran into legal trouble (wh

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The thing with bitcoin is that there is no central authority to control it. New bitcoins come about by "mining", not by some central authority minting new coins, or printing new notes. Gold too has collapsed in value before.

      What makes a currency worth something, is that people are willing to accept it in exchange for goods. Gold is only worth as much as it is now, because people are all like "ooh, shiny". It's intrinsic value (what it can be used for), is not anything like how much people are willing to pay

    • by Burz (138833)

      Its enforced by cryptography.

      The reason why police/soldiers don't have to guard transactions carried over SSL is the same reason why they're not required by a currency like Bitcoin.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I don't see a problem with bitcoin in theory... but throughout history no currency has been stable without an army to enforce its existence. Disband the USA police/Army and the dollar would collapse. Gold and other universally liked-by-all-humans minerals retains its value for the new owners if someone steals it. Cant say the same about BC.

      Armies do not enforce currency or value. At best, they can create a stable environment for an economy to fluorish.

      Let's say the local military forces the town's smith to

    • I don't see a problem with bitcoin in theory... but throughout history no currency has been stable without an army to enforce its existence. Disband the USA police/Army and the dollar would collapse.

      You almost hit Bitcoin's problem spot on. The reason that fiat money like the US$ is viable is that there is an entity - the US government - that can force a US$-denominated debt on you via taxation. This taxation creates demand for the money, which is what ultimately underpins the money's value, once you go beyond all the circular reasoning of "You work for US$ because Walmart accepts US$ in payment for goods because Walmart needs US$ to pay its suppliers because the suppliers need US$ to pay their employe

      • because nobody has the power to jump-start the economy out of a recession by unilateral stimulus spending.

        And when has 'unilateral stimulus spending' ever 'jump-started any economy out of a recession'?

        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          One example that is difficult to disagree with is the unilateral government spending in the late 1930s that ended the Great Depression.

          There are plenty of other good examples, but some people find them easier to disagree with.

          • There is good reason to disagree with your example as well. The biggest problem with your argument is that unilateral government spending started immediately and yet the economy did not recover until the late 1930s. There had been other depressions which were significantly shorter with no unilateral government spending. Ultimately, it is very hard to make a good argument about causes and solutions to the Great Depression because the various economic factors were so complicated. You had the stock market cras
    • Bitcoin's existence is essentially technically insuppressible at this moment: it is fully peer-to-peer, there is no central server or company that can be shut down.

      The only risk is social: in other words people could simply lose interest in it. But its network strength (hash rate) has demonstrated a remarkable exponential growth recently. It has doubled every 27 days, continuously, in the last 15 months: http://blog.zorinaq.com/?e=49 [zorinaq.com] This implies, of course, popularity. So I would say it is very improbab
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @01:42AM (#35583192) Homepage

    This might potentially be a solution for spam. To send an email, you need a bitcoin. Bitcoins are easy to get in small quantities, maybe even free, but hard to get in bulk.

    As a payment system, I don't see it. DigiCash [cryptome.org] had more promise as a distributed payment system, but Chaum blew the negotiations repeatedly.

    • Your post advocates a

      (x) technical (x) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

      approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

      ( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
      (x) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
      (x) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the mone

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Your responses are wrong. They do not accurately describe the anti-spam system that was proposed.

        The idea of "email stamps" to directly counter the essence of spam's advantage (bulk messaging is extremely cheap) is a solid one. Indeed it underlies the limits on junk postal mail, which are reversed to encourage junk that subsidizes individual items' postal delivery.

        Your form response is a good example of the lack of imagination and abundance of inertia that leave us with a badly managed spam problem.

        • The idea of "email stamps" to directly counter the essence of spam's advantage (bulk messaging is extremely cheap) is a solid one

          Actually, he's right, and it's not. The idea was beaten to death years ago, although he missed a few.

    • That any negotiations were needed to get DigiCash to succeed suggests to me it was doomed from the start. Bitcoin has no central authority, and therefore no company to take the entire currency down with it when it inevitably goes under.
  • ...between bitcoins and WoW gp?

    Why bother creating a new electronic currency when there is a perfectly viable one already in existence...

    rgb
    • by metacell (523607)

      Actually, I think using World of Warcraft gold as currency should work very well in the short term for those who want to trade real-world goods of lesser value, but it has a number of drawbacks:

      1. It's dependent on a centralised server, so can be easily tracked or disrupted.
      2. It's controlled by a single company, so it may lose its value the day Blizzard decides to discontinue the game.
      3. The supply isn't fixed, but may be changed at a whim when the rules of the World of Warcraft game are changed. This coul

    • A better question what is the exchange rate between Bitcoins and a schrute buck [tobyhilden.com]?
    • by Toze (1668155)
      Because we don't want Blizzard to own the wallet and the cash? Because Blizzard is concerned with game balance and profit from players, not arbitrating an international currency? Because we don't want to pay an extra $15 a month to participate in the digital economy? Because we don't like currencies with inflation rates of over 1000%? Take your pick.
  • by this great guy (922511) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @06:01AM (#35584244)
    Here is a video, for non-technical persons, to help understand Bitcoin:

    http://www.weusecoins.com/ [weusecoins.com]

    It was just made very recently (today!)

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