Do You Own Bitcoin?

As suggested yesterday, we are going to follow up on my Bitcoin post with a poll of the AVC readers today. It’s a simple question: Do You Own Bitcoin?

If you don’t own Bitcoin and would like to, just head on over to Coinbase and they can help you out if you live in one of these fourteen countries.

#hacking finance

Comments (Archived):

  1. Frank Chen

    (this message brought to you by Coinbase’s seed investor)

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, i couldn’t help myselfmy friend Kirk calls me a “pimp”

      1. Twain Twain

        Fred, you eat the dog food — just like the team you invest in. That’s a critical factor to their successes.Investors who just throw cash at startups but don’t have a clue, don’t use it and don’t know how to encourage the team to improve on it let the team and themselves down.I signed up to Coinbase. I believe there can be more than 21 million Bitcoins because something is coming down the mathematics innovation pipeline which will change our constructs of Hopfield’s theory and bits.

        1. John Parkes


          1. Twain Twain

            John — do you see my personal logo? It’s not a pyramid, is it? It embodies head, heart and soul and the ethos of trying to make sense of the world and ourselves.Logic and intuition in synch.Please note Fred’s behavior: he calls out and expresses concern about unnecessary and exorbitant cash burn by startups.If it was pyramids, he wouldn’t care as long as he was earning his carry and mgmt fees. He would stay schtum, let us stumble along in blind ignoramus and not share as openly as he can with us.Moreover, in pyramids, investors never write down or devalue (down round) anything and there’s a Sun god at the top.In case it’s not obvious, Fred doesn’t act like a potentate and whilst we each respect him in our own ways, we don’t agree with everything he says or “drink the Koolaid”.

          2. Twain Twain

            AVC community is here to share startup perspectives, have independent opinions, challenge each other’s views to gain more insights, keep each other (including Fred) on our toes and honest and prevent anyone from “running the table” so that democracy prevails.That’s about as far from pyramids as possible.

      2. Twain Twain

        Walking in the shoes of the user and alongside the startup team enables the investor to see and experience truths that passive investors simply don’t get from static, retrospective monthly notes from board calls.I was board observer on 20+ tech investments in my 20s. I too tried to “eat the dog food” and when I didn’t like the dog food I communicated that and then I wrote down the investment and drafted recommendations not to re-invest.The value is in being proactive and walking with the team. It’s not pimping. It’s gaining and then giving a user and strategic perspective they might not immediately see.

      3. kirklove

        Said with loving affection ;)In all seriousness worthy of a longer response/post in the vain of Twain below. Long story short – pimp on. If I had a company USV invested in and you didn’t pimp it I’d be nervous.

        1. fredwilson

          Yeah. I think a lot about that last bit.

          1. LE

            I’d be waiting for the time when someone you invest tries, at the last minute, before the deal is signed, before the fat lady sings, to get you to guarantee a certain number of mentions in exchange for the pleasure (speaking of pimps) of allowing you to invest in their nascent company.

          2. JamesHRH

            There is a certain amount of organic discussion, but I would be more be more nervous if you invested in my startup and then wouldn’t shut up about it on AVC (a little uncertain maybe?)We come here because you talk about the industry & how you see it. Only a con man would not have his professional & personal money follow his professional investment beliefs.So, a little promotion just has to happen.I mean, can you imagine how choked the cats @ Coinbase would be if you ran out a competitor today? Sheesh, Fuggetabuddit.

        2. Twain Twain

          I’d been through the career cycle of hedge fund => startup employee (product) => strategic investor (+ platform creator) => VC by 30.As a founder now, I’d choose the investor who’s proactive, “eating the dog food”, consistently using my system (so “gets it”) and passionate enough to present it as an option for other people.That’s smart money.

      4. John Parkes

        Pimping is fine as long as you disclose…Otherwise you’re just using your notoriety to sell stuff.A bit like Dr Oz…

        1. Tim

          Go to . They are quite transparent

        2. LE

          Pimping:a man who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them, taking part of their earnings in return.This is not pimping. It’s an endorsement or perhaps in context an advertisement. You can tell that just by the way it’s worded.If you don’t own Bitcoin and would like to, just head on over to Coinbase and they can help you outI don’t get why people seem to think that a business guy, writing a blog about venture capital, is doing anything wrong and should somehow be held to the New York Times ethics standards. [1][1] Which by the way I have a few writers for the NY Times that were glad to take, even with those standards, freebies from me that they shouldn’t have.

          1. LE

            Oh I’m aware of that obviously. I’m just not a fan of ghetto culture, drinking culture, drug culture, sex culture (to name just a few) as a way to describe things. I think it adds to much legitimacy and “fun” and makes light of things that should be considered and actually reinforced as negative. Such as with drinking “throw one back” “get hammered” with drugs “get wasted” or maybe with cheating “indiscretions”. [1]In this case it’s different because (in my opinion of course) there is nothing being done wrong here or that needs to be apologized or made light of at all. And it bothers me to see people calling Fred out something that he supports for whatever reason.[1] Oh yeah and with sex abuse “boys will be boys”.

          2. jason wright

            ethics standardswhat are they?

    2. Tim

      Well duh

  2. Liban Mahamed

    Where can I buy and what can I do with Bitcoin?People educate me here please? In simple jargons also.

    1. William Mougayar Where do u live?

  3. OldNick28

    “…they can help you out if you live in one of these fourteen countries.” The problem is though, I don’t live in one of these fourteen countries. You need to roll out quicker.

    1. fredwilson

      Trying. We need a local banking partner in each country

  4. jason wright

    so why is the UK not one of the fourteen?

    1. fredwilson

      No banking partner for pounds yet

      1. William Mougayar

        Also, not available in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Hmm…all Commonwealth countries 🙂

        1. John Parkes

          Also very stable banking systems. Just sayin’

          1. Mike

            Do you have a vested interest in current banking system?

        2. jason wright

          hmm, the empire strikes back.

      2. jason wright

        HM Treasury directive.

  5. Brian Crain

    44% so far. Wow! That’s surprising.

    1. jason wright

      skewed audience.

      1. Brian Crain

        Of course, this audience is very different from the general population, but it still surprised me. (I think if you polled a startup-focused audience in Berlin or London much fewer people would own bitcoin.)

  6. pointsnfigures

    I haven’t taken the plunge yet. The trader gut in me wants to buy it cheaper.

    1. fredwilson

      Dollar cost average into itImpossible to find the bottom

      1. John Parkes

        0 is the bottom.

      2. Richard

        Here is one of the messaging problems for Bitcoin. Pitch it as an investment (dollar cost average) or as a means of exchange.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Couldn’t respond earlier today. Drove up to Madison, WI to mentor at TechStars Patriot Boot Camp. Did talk to some entrepreneurs about Bitcoin.One logical thought I had is this. I understand dollar cost averaging. Heck, I had many a position where if you were in trouble you could always double. But, if we are correct about the Startup market being frothy-and we are similarly correct about the actual stock market being a bit frothy, when both fall out of bed Bitcoin value should really go south because of the illiquidity of the market-and if the stock market drop gets bad enough worse because people will sell Bitcoin to turn it into fiat currency which is considered more stable at this point.

          1. mike

            i think the opposite will happen. think gold in ’08 – ’09

    2. William Mougayar

      You have to. And try at least 2-3 wallets. I’m not talking to you about Bitcoin anymore til you buy a couple, and make some transactions.

      1. pointsnfigures

        hahahaha. I have a couple of wallets but moth’s are flying out of them right now.

    3. Tom Labus

      The investor in me wonders why own it at all at this point. Extreme volatility is not something I normally seek out

      1. Mike

        The price volatility is no different than say buying amazon or LinkedIn at their ipo’s. Granted, you could argue they had more proven business models.

        1. Tom Labus

          I can also get their current financial statements and examine them as a public co. Bitcoin is deliberately secretive. Too much hype here for me. Something not right

          1. Mike

            Fair enough. Just a thought, you can track transaction volume which may be good indicator of demand (

          2. Tom Labus

            Thanks, Mike. Will check it out

          3. Joe

            Bitcoin is the antithesis of secretive. It’s developed in the open, every line of code is open to the public, every transaction is part of public record, and any individual is allowed/encouraged to contribute to its infrastructure. Its infinitely less secretive than Amazon or LinkedIn.

          4. SubstrateUndertow

            All that being true the effort to drill down into all that is prohibitive for most of us !

    4. LE

      That’s funny the thing that is keeping me from trying it is really having to have another login and something to keep track of. I hate hate hate signups.

      1. William Mougayar

        Well, part of the experience is to try it, even it’s painful.

  7. William Mougayar

    I also own some Ether (Ethereum’s currency).

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      That is a knockout currency 🙂

      1. William Mougayar

        Nothing is guaranteed. Lots of risk everywhere still…Adoption will be key.

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          It was a pun on “ether” the knockout gas 😉

  8. William Mougayar

    A couple of follow on questions might be. 1) If Yes, what have you used Bitcoin for? 2) How many crypto wallets do you have?Owning Bitcoin and transacting in Bitcoin are 2 different things.

    1. ErikF

      I agree and think “have you used bitcoin” is a more important question than “do you own”.Do you think mobile bitcoin transactions are more popular today with android users or iOS? Clearly iPay will eat into the iOs population.

      1. William Mougayar

        Not sure what the segmentation of wallets looks like, but it would be interesting to find out. iPay sets the bar high for seamless , frictionless payments.

  9. awaldstein

    Just ran across this TED talk on Bitcoin by my buddy Mark Jeffrey.Mark is doing a good job of educating his audience on Bitcoin. Straight consumer, street talk view of it.He’s a really good storyteller with astounding huge networks.Might be worth a look.

    1. John Parkes

      More importantly, Bitcoin is a subject that will be discuss at SIBOS next week (Swift)To be continued on Monday…

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks.Whenever you have a product or platform that has huge interest from the industry and almost no understanding by even the upper ranks of the mass market and their markets, you need to step back and think about how to connect the dots.

    2. William Mougayar

      Bitcoin without users is not going to go far.If you own Bitcoin, tell 2 friends to get Bitcoin, and have these 2 friends tell 2 others friends, etc…

      1. awaldstein

        I don’t think it is anywhere near ready for virality.Viral distribution demands that the nodes on the human chain care enough to share what they receive.Otherwise it’s just swag in a trade show bag.Without understanding or reflect usage that satisfies, this is not how I think it is going to happen.

      2. John Parkes

        Or structure it in a four tiers communication where you are the “captain” then you tell your “co-pilots” who tell the “crew”, and ultimately the “passengers”. Works well in Albania.

      3. LE

        Will give the same suggestion that I made for Dwolla (disclosure: Another USV investment that Fred “advertised”):Get the community to evangelize and sell to merchants (to be the salesforce) on accepting bitcoin by offering either remuneration, badges, bitcoin, prizes, whatever. With the target specifically being small business. Particularly small business that is in a position to get the Coinbase logo on either a website or in a bricks and mortal store on main street.

  10. Tim

    There’s a lot of doubt all the way to animosity re Bitcoin. Is this level if animosity typical for new technologies?

    1. John Parkes

      It is whenever one suspects that the complexity of a financial product might lead to fraud. There is no economic fundamentals for this product which is labelled a currency.

      1. Mike

        Fixed supply. Not the case for USD or its counterparts. Much less complex than what’s going in central banks around the world.

    2. John Parkes

      if interested in more info…: « The 47% is Now 43% and FallingThe Costs of Debt Limit Brinksmanship »Do Bitcoins Violate a Fundamental Economic Law?September 3, 2013 by DonaldWant to buy a bitcoin?If you click over to Mt. Gox, the most famous bitcoin exchange, one unit of the crypto-currency will set you back $145. But at Bitstamp you would pay only $129. (At time of writing; prices can change quickly.)Mt. Gox traders are thus paying a 12% premium for their bitcoins.That spread seems to violate a fundamental economic law. When transaction costs are low, identical items should trade at nearly identical prices. Otherwise, arbitrageurs would step in to buy cheap and sell dear until the price gap narrows.But that isn’t happening.The “law of one price” used to hold. Last fall and winter bitcoin prices at the two big exchanges typically differed by less than 2 percent, a reasonable range given exchange fees and the cost of money transfers (click here if you don’t see the chart or want it bigger) (…)”

      1. Mike

        I lost a few coins at mt gox but unlike wall st I didn’t get bailed out and it was empowering

    3. fredwilson

      the more animosity the more powerful the technology

  11. Mario Cantin

    Ha ha ha, I love the shameless plug! When I bought my bitcoins — that I’m hoarding (confession) — Coinbase wasn’t servicing Canada and I had the #%*^ of a time getting mine.

    1. Alex Murphy

      This is a great video.Early on, he talks about how it had to be created by an individual. I think it is very interesting how he comes to the conclusion, essentially calling out the individual as much more capable than a committee.

    2. SubstrateUndertow

      @ 1:07:55 ” the greatest threat to the system is its successthe magnitude issuehow can it possible go on this wayfor millions of transactions a day let alone millions of transactions per secondthe transaction storm may out swamp the software meant to handle itboth in the mining that is the finalization of transactionsand the size of the block chainhow can this method conceivable handlethe million of transactions contemplated per-day per-secondbeats me but Satoshi has been right in so many judgements of magnitude that I’ll bet on himif the internet survives and if mankind survivesboth of which I consider unlikelythen bitcoin will too”I’d really like to believe in the church of Bitcoin/Blockchain/networked-culture.To believe in the idea that these new organic mechanisms offer up a potentially evolutionary social pathway into a promise land of massive distributive-trust-mediation, free from the historical headlocks of endless rent seekers.But that quote above puts a real dent in my ability to enjoy the cool-aid !Satoshi may be brilliant but still not worthy go blind faith!Can anyone point to a good counterpoint for that issue ?

      1. mike…People claiming that “Bitcoin Doesn’t Scale” are theoretically correct: you still need O(n) bandwidth and CPU to fully validate n transactions-per-second.Someday, when Bitcoin is the number 2 payment network in the world, we might have to start worrying about that. Here are a couple of back-of-the-envelope calculations that show that we should be able to scale up to n=15,000 transactions per second before running into that O(n) bandwidth limit.For perspective, the number 1 payment network in the world today (Visa) handles about 212 million transactions per day; 2,500 transactions per second on average. Their peak processing capacity, needed on the busiest shopping days, is reported to be 40,000 tps.My home Internet connection is getting about 90 megabits download bandwidth per second right now. An average Bitcoin transaction is about 2,000 bits, so my current consumer-level Internet connection could download 45,000 transactions per second, over ten times average Visa transaction volume.While it is nice to know that I could run a full node handling more-than-Visa-scale transaction volume from my house, running a dedicated machine in a data center somewhere makes more sense. 15,000 250-byte transactions per second works out to about 7 terabytes of bandwidth per month. One of my hosting providers charges $20 per month for a virtual private server with 8 TB of bandwidth per month– or $240 per year to handle MasterCard-level transaction volume today (August 2014).

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          That does no address the key computational challenges ?The really challenging computational over head resides in the mandatory services needing to be performed by multiple competing bitcion-miners in order to properly validate transactions and finalize blockchain’s open ledger blocks.

  12. John Parkes

    The 14 countries include Greece, Latvia, Cyprus (??), MaltaIs there any moral considerations?

    1. Mike

      Just immoral govt’s who have debt problems

  13. anonymous for this

    No, but I would like to change that.As a dual citizen (US and Europe), even today I need a easier and cheaper system to transfer money from one place to the other. Not to mention the rather absurd (in my opinion) US regulation on disclosing foreign assets.

  14. LE

    This page needs to be modified to reinforce the fact that small merchants can and do accept bitcoin: it stands it seems like a big company solution.Note what paypal does (featuring an obvious small business and yes I know they are at a different point on the adoption curve..):

  15. jonathan hegranes

    I used to own Bitcoin, but sold during the last frenzy… Thinking of getting back in though.

  16. JLM

    .No party really gets going until someone starts a fight or someone falls or gets pushed into the pool; and, hey, it’s Friday!I just don’t get Bitcoin. I think it is one of the biggest head fakes in the history of the world. I am not aware of anything that can be done with Bitcoin which cannot be done by Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo Bank or USAA insurance.Neither do I think it will survive the regulatory hammer drop or its corrupt and criminal history. It will be regulated down to the toothpaste level.It is a solution looking for a problem and it will be a colossal failure — he said with a mean and provocative gleam in his eye.The only thing that gives me any pause about bitcoin (no more capitalization henceforth) is the bevy of very smart folks who are smoking it. Betting against Freddie and the AVC salon is a bet one should consider carefully; however, I have a few more years of experience and think I can tell chicken salad from chicken excrement so I believe what I say.I am reasonably intelligent (first in my class in engineering and still know how to do calculus), educated and thoughtful and for the life of me cannot understand the attraction to bitcoin.I have studied the little beastie. I have read what others have told me to read but the message is not getting through. I am not failing to understand. I am failing to be seduced. I deal in cold logic and it doesn’t meet that standard.A bad idea held by a majority is not a good idea.I want to be at the cool kids table but if bitcoin is on the menu I’m sitting in the corner by myself.Have a great Friday and do something nice to some unsuspecting friend.JLM.

    1. mike

      love this… “The only thing that gives me any pause about bitcoin (no more capitalization henceforth) is the bevy of very smart folks who are smoking it. “I’m not one of the very smart folks, but i am smoking it.

    2. Tom Labus

      Geek Porn?

      1. JLM

        .Yeah, like turkey bacon.JLM.

    3. SubstrateUndertow

      Ok…Ok… I’ll bite :-)What’s your main beef ?1- “It is a solution looking for a problem”Every monetary trust-mediator from Caesar on down has been systematically leveraging inflation to shave value off everyone else’s pile thus repeatedly spiralling value-exchange/store systems down into collapse.2- “I am not failing to understand. I am failing to be seduced. I deal in cold logic and it doesn’t meet that standard.”I sense you indeed may be on firmer ground here but you could add more value here if you were prepared to be more specific about that “cold logic” ?

      1. JLM

        .Perfect bitcoin comment.”Every monetary trust-mediator from Caesar on down has been systematically leveraging inflation to shave value off everyone else’s pile thus repeatedly spiralling value-exchange/store systems down into collapse.”I have absolutely no idea what that statement means. Having been in business for a third of a century, it does not relate to anything real I have ever experienced, witnessed or done.There is nothing that I have ever heard bitcoin being utilized to do that I cannot currently do with Schwab, WFB or USAA in real time and with greater security and certainty.These companies deliver their services over the internet and 24/7 and are not going to allow bitcoin to steal their markets.The magnitude of bitcoin is so tiny as to be insignificant. You cannot color the ocean red with a single drop of food color.JLM.

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          I have absolutely no idea what that statement means. Having been in business for a third of a century, it does not relate to anything real I have ever experienced, witnessed or done.Come on Now !Your a pretty smart gay by my reading.I think your just being difficult :-)Otherwise, if your serious, I could explain the poetic licence I’ve taken here.

    4. William Mougayar

      Ah, so we haven’t moved the needle yet on your Bitcoin position!

    5. falicon

      The fact that it’s tied to money is both why it’s hyped and why it’s over-hyped…forget the money part for a second and think about a technology that allows for third-party verification *without* a central and controlling party…*that’s* the bit that excites me.Voting without the ability to corrupt the polling party…contracts without having to be notarizing or overseen by an official/government.The internet is great because no one knows your a dog…bitcoin is great because everyone can know your a dog…It’s the same thing…but backwards…and that’s actually pretty exciting…

      1. falicon

        p.s. All that being said as someone who had to vote above with the “Doesn’t own bitcoin.” and as a developer who is *not* actually building or thinking about building anything on top of BitCoin right now…so take my ‘excitement’ with at least a small grain of salt…

      2. JLM

        .If I must be a dog, I would like to be a black lab or an Airedale. Most have more character than 85% of the men I know.JLM.

    6. HLTGRP

      It’s funny how “I think Bitcoin is stupid” is always preceded by “I don’t get Bitcoin”. The two pretty much always go together.

    7. JamesHRH

      Its a bad idea held by a majority of the technorati, who are a sliver of a minority of the whole of us.It is not a problem in search of a solution, it is an incredibly elegant solution to a long standing, intransigent, incredibly hard theoretical problem……for which there may be no practical application that has any market demand.I have not studied the beastie, but from my limited understanding, the Blockchain eliminates the middle man in just the type of transactions where people see real value in having a middleman.And, in many jurisdictions like Canada (unlike the USA), the middle man is Uncle Sam. By a house – land titles required. By a car? CDN version of DMV requried.However, here is one guy I would call to have a chat with about The Blockchain:

    8. fredwilson

      Hi Jeff. I have to say that this comment really makes me happy to see. You are a very intelligent person, with an open mind, and a lot of experience in business and life.The few home runs I have hit in my life were nutty things that made no sense to intelligent open minded people such as yourself.That gives me great confidence that Bitcoin will turn out to be yet another home run. And I’d like to have another one.

      1. JLM

        .JLM spreading happiness wherever he goes. That’s the play.Only too glad to assist and I will be rooting for you.Bon chance!JLM.

    9. Simon Edhouse

      There are commercial processes that have been shoe-horned onto the internet, (like credit card services, newspaper sites, or content silos like iTunes ) they sort of work, but they are carrying a lot of heavy baggage. Then there are other processes that were born on the internet, like P2P file sharing (Bittorrent) , P2P telephony (Skype) and P2P money (Bitcoin). These service propositions that were born on the internet have superior natural advantages, but that doesn’t mean they have had a free pass. P2P file sharing has been neutered, by vested interests that were threatened by it, but it is far and away the best content-discovery and content-distribution technology on the planet. ~ I can give you an example.A few years ago I demonstrated the power of P2P discovery to an Indian colleague, sitting in my office in Australia. I asked him to name 4 Indian songs (in Hindi) from his parents generation that he hadn’t heard since childhood. We typed the names into a Limewire P2P client, and within 10 minutes we had all 4 songs. He was absolutely shocked.Now, let me explain about Bitcoin. Imagine an invisible monetary exchange portal, like a worm-hole that can spontaneously open up between you and any other party, anywhere on the planet, through which, if you wanted to, you could push $100k through, and it would reliably be there on the other side of the planet in moments. This is rock solid, dependable technology that works, and is being used right now to do exactly this. (in fact on 22nd of Nov last year someone transferred $147,000,000 worth of Bitcoin in exactly the same way… How do we know, because like all Bitcoin transactions, its there for anyone to see via The blockchain is the public ledger for Bitcoin. It is transparent, and facilitates a system without ‘middlemen’ between parties.Now consider the concept of ‘trustless transactions’ and consider what that means. It means that you don’t have to trust the other party, nor any of the intermediaries that have entrenched themselves in conventional transaction systems. Admittedly this doesn’t lend itself to charge backs, and ESCROW has to be built on top, if its needed, but at it’s heart it operates just like cash. You pay cash for something, its gone, they have the cash, you have your stuff. Except this is people-powered digital cash.There’s a massive amount of other things that Bitcoin and Blockchain technology will enable, but many are inherently non obvious. The most exciting ideas are still underneath most people’s radar. But they will underpin monetary exchange in the most massive global systems in the coming years, simply because they will do their job so much better than previous systems.

      1. JLM

        .Thank you for your thorough response. I identify myself as a “skeptic” as it relates to bitcoin. I am acquainted with all that you have written in regard to bitcoin.One of the fundamental beliefs of the bitcoin catechism is the notion that the presence of a “middle” man is typically an ill visited upon parties to a transaction. I do not fundamentally agree with that notion.When I use a credit card, I take great comfort in the presence of a third party who will absolve me personally of any fraud on my card. It is a benefit to me. In addition to fraud, I appreciate the leverage available (dispute resolution and other services) should I not be fully satisfied. The presence of this particular middle man benefits me and I want them there.As an aside one other benefit of a credit card transaction is the simple presence of credit rather than an accounting transaction which is simply a debit to an account. It is an extension of credit. A bitcoin transaction is a debit transaction.Approximately 20% of all the world’s wealth is held in real estate. [BTW I have read that repeatedly and the only seemingly valid source for that fact is a study of some 15 years age out of Yale. I have also seen it said that 20% of all the world’s wealth is in “commercial” real estate.]I developed, bought and sold high rise office buildings for some considerable period of time and I could not contemplate the absence of middle men (title, due diligence, escrow, insurance, estoppel, legal, financing, etc) in such a transaction. There is further a duty to ensure that the buyer is, in fact, a legitimate “person” authorized to conduct such business both for criminal and tax purposes. The is a duty to withhold proceeds when the beneficiary is a foreign person for US tax purposes.The absence of middle men in such a transaction would be a disaster.The ability to verify a transaction by reference to the blockchain is of questionable value in such a transaction as it is historic and one has in hand such conveyance documents as a deed, a recorded filing, a financing statement and other documents which provide evidence that the deal really happened. I am not sure what efficacy the blockchain would provide in such circumstances.As to public knowledge of the transaction, my knee jerk reaction would always be complete and total confidentiality in every possible aspect including the simple fact that the transaction had taken place. In real estate, of course, this is difficult if there is any lien on the property as it would be recorded locally. The deed would also be recorded under any circumstances though the identity of the deed holder can be obscured through the use of vague corporate identities.As an honorable and simple minded businessman, it is difficult to contemplate a transaction in which a “trustless” transaction would provide any benefit to me.Lastly the idea that governments which have legitimate law enforcement, recording and taxation interests in the flow of money between and among its citizens, corporations and others would ever turn a willful blind eye to the flow of commerce and, therefore, money strikes me as both adverse to the public interest and not bloody likely.Transactions which are taxed at the transaction level — VAT, general sales tax, real estate transfer fees — require both intimate knowledge of the transaction itself and the identification of the parties in order to be administered fairly. For this reason, I cannot contemplate the anonymity of bitcoin transactions surviving first contact with the enemy.Even with all of the above, I am open minded and prepared to be convinced. I am not an opponent, I am a skeptic.I do not believe the moon is made of blue cheese but it would be a lovely surprise to find out I am wrong. I love blue cheese.As an aside, there is a body of experience which is very similar and that is the issue of commercial barter which had some of the same characteristics. The IRS gutted all the benefits within a single decade. It was great while it lasted.JLM.

        1. Simon Edhouse

          Thank you for your response.. As I read it I find I am not in disagreement with you. All your points are valid.I don’t see Bitcoin as a perfect replacement for legacy financial services but nor are those legacy services perfect. We accept the convenience of credit cards, but let’s not forget that the Banks underwrite them to plug a very leaky system. According to Forbes, Merchants in the US are losing up to $190B in credit card fraud per year, Banks $11B and customers $4.8B link:…Bitcoin as a technology has not reached anything like its optimal form. It shows great promise, especially when compared with other attempts at digital currencies that have come along over the years, like e-Gold, p2pcash, emoney etc, which I watched with interest through those years.In 2005-06 I wrote my Masters thesis on future uses of digital currencies and worked with and sought advice from many computer scientists about which approaches were likely to work and/or fail. I/we came to the conclusion in 2006 that large transactions would be unlikely to succeed in these systems, but micro transactions were much more likely due to their representing a much much smaller hacking target. But… I was wrong. Bitcoin as a system supports very large transactions very well, but supports micro transactions very poorly.My current work in this space is all about redressing that anomaly and fixing Bitcoins problem with micro transactions. I see the greatest potential in the area of automated micro transaction systems to enable efficient automatic digital content trading platforms, due to efficiencies made possible only by these type of technologies. This would be a solution to ‘Coase theorem’, see:…So, for instance just like ‘packet-switching’, a technology developed by Cisco and others wasn’t good enough to be used in the voice telecommunications market, (because it was too slow; too asychronous). But little by little, it got better and better and gradually it enabled the sending of a voice signal over the Internet. (as ‘Moore’s Law’ gradually sped up data processing speeds etc.) Eventually packet switching combined with other systems, and gave rise to VOIP, which truly started to disrupt the telecommunications industry.Sometimes things move slowly, sometimes quickly… but change and improvement is inevitable.

    10. timraleigh

      Completely agree! Bitcoin has attracted way to much negative attention from government etc. to be effective. As Michael Lewis dramatizes “Flash boys”, the government (inadvertently) provides enough opportunities to create alternative exchanges.

    11. panterosa,

      I’m afraid I don’t get it either, without your study of it nor the calculus background. I guess I’d have to NEED bitcoin, and to date I don’t see for what. I realize It’ll move forward without me too…

    1. fredwilson

      you can’t keep bitcoin therebut its a great way to show people how to send it to youi’ve mapped my onename ( to my coinbase account, where i do store my coins, some in my wallet, some in my vault

      1. kenberger comment was a wink-wink-nudge reminder for the next time you’re in the mood to gift some coins, per a prior conversation 😉

  17. ShanaC

    Yes. I occasionally babysit for a wonderful family in Harlem. They pay in bitcoin. I find this funny.(they like me – I get homework done on time! )

    1. William Mougayar

      There you go! The easiest way to earn Bitcoin is to get paid in bitcoins!

  18. mike

    Some on here have suggested that bitcoin lacks a clear value prop. At a minimum, to those in Germany in 1923 who were using paper currency as waste paper … bitcoin clearly has a value prop. Or for those of us who are worried about this central bank chart, bitcoin may end up being much more valuable vis-a-vis gov’t backed currencies in the near future.

    1. mike

      Central bank balance sheets

  19. James Morgan

    …. or does it own me 😉

  20. Semil Shah

    Follow-up should be, of the 39% who own BTC, how many have spent it and on what?

  21. ParsnipCommand

    Fred, I think you guys are doing an amazing job. Bitcoin has been the best online shopping experience for me. It’s great having a personal bank, and amazing to know I can send money via email easily. You guys see the future, and hopefully you are well rewarded.

  22. cdh195077

    There is too many unanswer question about the bitscoin. How safe is your money and no bank will protect it from thief and any money crisis.

  23. kev polonski

    I suggest every person who doesn’t have a bitcoin to simply open up a coinbase account and buy 1 bitcoin. At current prices, it is not worth a fortune and you will forget to thank me later anyway.