Electronic money

Ben Laurie ben at links.org
Sun Dec 7 10:50:34 GMT 2014

On Sun Dec 07 2014 at 10:34:27 AM Francis Davey <fjmd1a at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2014-12-07 10:17 GMT+00:00 Charles Lindsey <chl at clerew.man.ac.uk>:
>> AIUI, if you mine a bitcoin (and coincidentally someone else mines the
>> same one), then the first to register it in the Ledger takes preference
>> (AFAIK, the mineable bitcoins have no predefined order). Anyway, it is all
>> described in Wikipedia, and I don't think your situation would cause any
>> problem.
> I think what Ben is referring to (and I am just a humble lawyer who does
> not understand such things) is the fact that despite its ostensible
> decentralised nature, there is some central management of Bitcoin which
> precisely does handle such situations *because* in practice each node does
> not write its own client, a change to the client can affect everyone.

If each client did, this precaution would not become unnecessary, just more
obviously a problem.

For example, the six hour fork of Bitcoin on March 11 last year was, as I
> understand it, a bug in the upgrade between versions 0.7 to 0.8 of bitcoind
> - because the vast majority of users all used bitcoind this was an example
> of a central authority  The problem had to be "fixed" by (a) co-ordinated
> switching back to 0.7 (b) fixes to the software.
> As I understand it there was only one double-spend as a result of the
> fork, which was sorted out.

"sorted out"? By who? In a completely decentralised way? (Hint: probably
not, how would you?).

> The "checkpoints" that Ben alludes to are hard-coded into the client
> software by the software developers from time to time.
> I'd be interested in hearing Ben's views about what that means (and
> whether a decentralised system is possible really)

As I said, you should read my writings on the matter. The title of the
second one gives the game away, so clearly you haven't. :-)

"Decentralised Currencies Are Probably Impossible But Let’s At Least Make
Them Efficient"


> but my original question was not about Bitcoin for reasons explained (it's
> not "electronic money").

You have not really explained that, rather you have defined money in a
highly debatable way and decided Bitcoin does not fit your definition.

For me, its money: I can buy drugs and guns with it...
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