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Poenald Palen

Has anyone used Bitcoin with SL, via Virwox? What is this all about?

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Basically, I wonder what this is all about. I hear of bitcoin and it seems it might be a good way to keep my money seperate from RL money, plus there is a trading rate issue because it has a value all of it's own ect. The markets that exist that take it might have an advantage. Besides, this is intriguing because of it's odd position in the worlds markets.

Does anyone know anything about this cryptocurrency, please? I mean, besides the basics on the wiki...um, what ideas of uses have you found for it? Did you find it risky, useless or useful?

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Yeah, some groups have been passing around links about it lately in SL.

It seems it works by having a computer or several computers running all of the time. How that earns "bitcoin" I have no idea. It seems very geek-tech.

The whole appeal was supposedly that it would be an international, anonymous, government-less currency. But, now with people buying it by Paypal, I don't think any of that applies any more to those people. (Also it seems it could always be tracked by IP and MAC, or am I wrong?)

I haven't heard of anyone using it in SL yet, though if it's bought and sold in Paypal I suppose it could be happening indirectly.

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No normal person really has a chance to mine bitcoins. The creation process is simply to mimic real commodities like gold or silver. Eventually, there will be no mining at all, or extremely little. Currently, the bitcoin is no different than a linden, in the eyes of most governments, and hopefully it stays this way. I doubt it tho.

My guess is that it will get huge quickly. If you like betting, this would be the 1 to bet on. Of course, unless the governments shut it down, which they will try to when they realize the potential. Imagine, no processing fees, or never carrying money around at all. It is kind of a revolution for money.

Oh, and you can just throw away your account and get a new 1 in minutes, much like SL. This is why it can be completely anonymous.

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Poenald Palen wrote:

Does anyone know anything about this cryptocurrency, please? I mean, besides the basics on the wiki...um, what ideas of uses have you found for it? Did you find it risky, useless or useful?

The "coins" are generated by solving a complicated math problem.  Once generated, they are divisible into small fractions of a coin, so can function as a microcurrency like L$.  They are traded using "addresses" which are 192-bit numbers, so pretty hard to guess at random.  Validity of transactions are done by P2P network - numerous checks are done per transaction, so it is very difficult to spend the same coin twice.  Takes about an hour to verify a transaction.

Virwox appears to be trading Bitcoins for L$, so there is a way for SL people to trade in them.

@ Medhue, normal people can mine coins using a fast graphics card to process the math problem, and participating in a "mining pool".  A single graphics card might not "discover any coins" (solve the problem) for months, but a pool of people can earn coins much faster and split the income. I am giving it a test.  I know how much power my graphics card uses, and thus the cost to run it per hour.  I will try mining for some hours, and see how much income it generates.  If it's not enough to cover the electricity, then it's worthless for me.

 

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Yeah, I read about it more. Mining seems to be basically find the greatest Proccessing Unit (um, GPU's are the commonest taht can do this type of math BUT I remember another) and set about crunching numbers. You have electricity usage and instruction set or some other specifics (why GPU's are used...I think China has a super computer that has a bunch of GPU's, it is also one of the more recently copleted. There are other proccessing units that are low power, but GPU's are even used in big scientific super computers because of the math they do.

One cool thought! These mining operation people will upgrade thier GPU's all the time, meaning TONNES of totally well used cards will be on the market! Cheap GPU's for all! You can imagine they might overclock them. That might cull the weakest, survival of the fitest GPU cards lol. SO, the ubergpu cards will be surviving and available for low costs? lol. Cool, maybe I can use some lindens and exchange them and buy a GPU card cheap for SL!!!? I at least found some reason lol.

Clustering a bunch of GPU's is expensive though. I mean, compared to a 'normal' desktop computer. You might make more building a render farm? Heck, when your render farm is not making customers happy it can be "mining" for some extra cash? There is even a peer to peer render farm out there, so this is obviously interestin gto me! Computing power become a commodity. So, in the future you can let your toaster crunch numbers for some university and get enough to buy the bread to ut in it?

It shows how money grows in some ways. Fascinating, but a bit of a roller coaster for me. Plus, as the money grows you just adjust and trade percents worth. So, you see people already on marketplaces offerign services for fractions of a bitcoin and the dollar equivelent seemed on par or less than other markets I have seen that offer a little bit of anonymity.

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The reason graphics cards are being used is the math for processing a "block" is all "floating point operations".  This is similar to what graphics cards do when processing 3D graphics images.  Graphics cards have many "pipelines" to work on different bits of an image in parallel.  For example my Nvidia 260 has 216 pipelines.  Thus it can do 216 floating point operations at one time.  My intel i7-920 can do 12 (3 at a time x 4 cores).

What makes graphics cards very efficient for doing graphics also makes them very efficient for some types of scientific calculations, i.e. those that require a lot of floating point math that can be divided into parallel tasks.  So yes, they are coming into use for that purpose.  Nvidia sells a "Tesla" brand card, which is basically a regular gaming card with added memory (3GB) for scientific work, since those type of tasks often have very large data sets, but any of their recent "CUDA" enabled cards will work.

Currently some tens of thousands of graphics cards are being used in the bitcoin network (including my own at the moment).  This is a small fraction of the 50 million graphics cards per year (~200 million total suitable cards).  So it is having a negligible effect on the graphics card market.  A new popular game that makes people buy new cards would have more effect.

If you want to mine bitcoins, what you want is the most efficient card per watt of electricity.  The math processing eats power, which is your main cost, and earns coins at a given rate.  You want to minimize power use by the rest of the PC, so a low wattage CPU paired with one or more efficient graphics cards (in a multi-GPU capable motherboard like mine) would be optimal.  If I got serious, I would buy an efficient card to add to the GTX-260 I have already, and run bitcoin on that, and leave the 260 and the rest of my PC for what I do with it the rest of the time (create 3D models, and run Second Life).

Money is just an accounting system to trade goods and services.  Before money was invented, you needed to find a person who has the meat to trade for your grain, or whatever you wanted to trade for.  Finding a matching item to trade in a barter system is difficult.  Money simplifies trading by acting as the universal barter item.  If everyone is willing to trade something for money, you only have to find a seller with what you want who will take your money in exchange.  The actual thing the money is made of does not matter, as long as everyone accepts it.  It was gold and silver in the past, paper currency and bank accounts now, and possibly data blocks with bitcoins.  If lots of people accept bitcoins, it becomes a form of money, just like the L$ is widely accepted in SL. A few land barons require PayPal rather than L$, so it is not *universally* accepted, but enough people take it.

To be accepted, a form of money needs certain properties.  It should not wear out - so bananas are a poor form of money, gold is good.  It should be scarce - air or water would be bad since anyone can get lots of it.  It should be hard to counterfeit and secure from theft.  A relatively stable barter value is another nice feature - how much other stuff you can trade it for. Also it should be easy to transport and divide into various size units.

 

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Ohh, the government doesn't like currency other than the stuff they make! I mean, one of the issues with the American Civil War was currency. Each area had it's own and this made it a point of manipulation. 

The whole thing reminds me a little bit about the "Information Currency" that was made by Bedell, a man whom attacked the Pentagon, argued on wikipedia (among other places) about the government, made a linux OS, proposed a Inusrgent MMORG to google code and left a document about amunition from DARPA on his software that was for Information Currency. Irony, the system used a component made for DARPA. I think it was called Couger, but at his projects sourceforge page he had a pdf of a DARPA or pentagon paper about Mirv. Odd because the guy who shot him had 'marv' as part of his name. 

Weird, considering he drove accross country and had ammo in his car, left for ? He wanted to be lighter? Only had a few targets? Planned on getting the guards guns (how french resistance of him?!) or...who knows.

Very strange case, but basically...uh, he wanted to destroy the US governments ability to control it's peoples freedom with removing money from the equation and possibly smuggling pot everywhere via trades and such lol. He had a funny (not intended to be a little funny) video on youtube, not sure if it is still up.

 Yeah, "Information Currency" was an idea and like a barter intermediate system thingy...I think. 

Free people from US dollar + Smuggle and push pot anonymously ='s destroyed government and people are all free from tyranny. I am not sure, but I don't think it is that simple. But then again, I guess his MMORG would have helped us all realise revolution just takes people to show up and some pot sales to aquire materials? We will never know now lol. He got zero kills, no headshots and totally did not get to try the secret bonus levels! Suicide by cop is another thing. But if he had of taken out 2-3 guards the whole "we can do it, 2 for one and they run out of people" thing doesn't take into accout so much...so it looks so much more like suicide to get attention. Hey, you never heard of Mirv or Marvin whomever....or Bedell. Maybe the message was messages, the ability to make them and his system. He just wanted people to use his software and take over the goverment!?

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