Hello /r/IAMA!

I'm Andreas M. Antonopoulos, author of 'Mastering Bitcoin' published by O'Reilly Media. I am a computer geek specializing in security and distributed systems. I've spent the last three years working exclusively in bitcoin, exploring the fascinating world of decentralized digital currencies. I co-host Let’s Talk Bitcoin, teach and frequently speak at technology conferences and local bitcoin meetups.

I am passionate about bitcoin because I believe it is one of the most exciting inventions of the last two decades and is a platform for building de-centralized trusted applications for financial services, commerce and governance. Much more than just a currency, bitcoin is the Internet of Money. Currency is only the first app!

I'll also be talking about bitcoin more at the upcoming O'Reilly Radar Summit 'Bitcoin & the Blockchain'

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/4684ch5.png

EDIT: Here's a discount code for 30% off on the book at the O'Reilly site link above - REDDIT30. Thanks for the great AMA. I will continue to answer questions here and also at the upcoming conference in San Francisco on January 27th.

EDIT: I won't be able to answer any more questions in this AMA. Exhausted. I hope to continue the discussion also on twitter. I am @aantonop. Thank you for all the great questions!


Comments: 1062 • Responses: 56  • Date: 

peoplma104 karma

Hi Andreas, thanks for doing this AMA. I wanted to ask your thoughts on the scalability issues surrounding bitcoin, is it a problem that needs to be addressed sooner, or later? Just yesterday, as the number of bitcoin transactions is reaching new highs, there was a queue for processing transactions almost 4MB long (4 blocks, 40min wait to be processed). The lead developer of bitcoin, Gavin Andreson, favors a hard fork in bitcoin to address these issues, among others. If bitcoin forks sometime in the future, how do you think it will affect the bitcoin infrastructure of merchants, exchanges and other services the community uses, will everyone be able to update and get on the right fork in time? Finally, what are your thoughts on altcoins such as dogecoin, litecoin, and others that can bring new features to crypto and are able to scale better (dogecoin holds the record for most transactions in a day)? Are they a threat to bitcoin, or does their existence help bitcoin by lessening the strain on the network and bringing in new people to crypto, or are they just interesting (or dumb) experiments that should be stuck on a side-chain of the bitcoin blockchain? Thanks for your time!

andreasma63 karma

There are many competing proposals to address scalability. For the most part I don't think scale is an issue right now, though it might become an issue quite quickly.

Bitcoin's consensus algorithm requires a very conservative approach to change, so I certainly think it is best to solve problems when they are actually problems and not before. Optimization and scaling should be done much later in the lifecycle of a technology, right now we're in the experimentation stage.

However, it is important to continue to research possible optimizations and make sure that no design limitations are introduced.

gavinandresen87 karma

Will I see you at the Financial Crypto conference in Puerto Rico in a couple of weeks?

andreasma50 karma

Sorry, I couldn't make it. Maybe next year. I hope to see you in Boston at the foundation conference in a month.

Thank you so much for your support and contributions on the book. Also, thanks for all the hard work you do for the bitcoin community.

x99x65 karma

Bitcoin is often equated by its supporters with the early internet and important innovations such as email. There are a number of cryptocurrencies based on the same blockchain scheme as bitcoin, yet people such as yourself seem to exclusively promote use of bitcoin.

If cyrptocurrency technology is so important, why only promote bitcoin? Supporters of the early internet did not insist that one email client or web browser dominate all communications. Is it because you and others in the bitcoin community stand to gain financially from its use?

andreasma79 karma

It is actually very difficult to bootstrap a successful currency that is necessary to back the security of the network. It took 3 years for bitcoin to evolve to a level where attacks against the consensus algorithm became very difficult.

Bitcoin has a tremendous "network effect", in my opinion, which may give it an insurmountable early-mover advantage. In technology it is often not the best technology that "wins", but the one that achieves broad enough adoption and recognition early enough. Good enough beats best if deployed broadly.

routefire58 karma

Hi, Andreas!

Here's the inevitable question: what was the cause for the recent price drop? Every one has their theories- from 'this was coming' to 'this is temporary' to 'this is manipulation'.

Your thoughts? I understand that this is a subjective question and that your response will be your personal opinion.

andreasma31 karma

Sentiment disconnected from fundamentals driving a tiny pool of liquidity into a whiplash reaction. Bitcoin continues to work at a broad range of prices and is dynamically adapting to the price change. Bitcoin will remain, in my opinion, a relentless anomaly that refuses to go away - a black swan that cannot be ignored or extinguished.

datcointho57 karma

Why should an average user pick up bitcoin?

andreasma71 karma

To experience the future of money. To gain a glimpse into an exciting technology. To learn about how money could be in the future and also become aware of how limited money and banks are today.

For the "other 6 billion" who don't enjoy international, control-free banking as we do, bitcoin represents an opportunity to become part of a global economy which up till now did not exist. For those users, bitcoin is more than just a curiosity, it might be a doorway to connect to the world.

mindtehgap5 karma

For the "other 6 billion" who don't enjoy international, control-free banking as we do, bitcoin represents an opportunity to become part of a global economy which up till now did not exist.

I'm curious about what economy you mean by this. The only thing that I can think of that fits the description is darknet sites like Silk Road. What other global economy has been spawned as a result of Bitcoin?

andreasma8 karma

Clarification: "The opportunity" did not exist. "The global economy" is the existing one, from which a huge number of people are effectively cut-off

Froghurt54 karma

Despite the huge media attention last year at the height of the bitcoin price, using bitcoin is still way too difficult for your average economic agent.

The volatility is still incredibly big, and as a result bitcoin still isn't accepted throughout society. Given the lack of media exposure now, where do you see bitcoin heading in a year, as a currency?

andreasma66 karma

It's still far too early. Bitcoin is at the same stage as the Internet in 1992-1993. At that time, it took UNIX command-line skills to send email. No way near ready for mainstream adoption.

However, while it took almost 20 years from the day I sent my first email until my mom used her new iPad to send her first email, bitcoin is likely to be adopted on a much more accelerated schedule. After all, there is no need to deploy much infrastructure - you can just download an app.

Overall, I expect people will be surprised by how fast the technology and adoption evolve, rather than the opposite.

CaptainParanoia51 karma

Hi Andreas, what is you opinion on Reddit Notes?


TL;DR: Reddit investors promised to give back 10% of the newest shares to the community. So there will be ~950,000 Reddit Notes. Those Notes will be distributed randomly among active users. Notes can be kept in a wallet, given to others etc.

Reddit admin /u/ryancarnated has plans to implement Reddit Notes either as colored coins or a sidechain of Bitcoin.

andreasma51 karma

I am very excited to see how Reddit uses the technology of de-centralized currency. Ryan is a smart guy and reddit is a great testbed for this tech

gonzobon46 karma

Huge fan. Thanks for doing this AMA. Thanks for all your work in the Bitcoin sector.

What do you think about Bitstamp and their lack of proving their reserves and liquidity?

What can we do to demand transparency from our exchanges?

Can you comment on the Silk Road trial?

Also, can you explain in more detail what happened with your departure from Blockchain?

andreasma40 karma

Exchanges face a difficult compromise:

  • They can't keep bitcoin offline or easily de-centralize control of keys without severely limiting their liquidity and execution time

  • The hot-wallet/cold-wallet solution doesn't scale and exposes exchanges to enormous risk

  • Users tend to leave bitcoin on the exchanges, using them as wallets

The most important thing exchanges can do is discourage the use of their accounts as wallets and discourage holding large balances unless actively trading. This of course limits their liquidity, so it is not an easy compromise.

Decentralized exchanges would be best, but despite hard work from many, such a system has not been built so far.

I cannot comment on the Silk Road Trial.

I cannot comment on my departure from Blockchain further than my published statement.

dvartanov43 karma

Hi Andeas, 3rd world country ("the other 6 billion") is here.

There is a problem with bitcoin-based remittances to a distant, small and poor country:

When bitcoins flow into a country, it creates a great supply of bitcoin in the country, but there is no demand for bitcoint which can catch up with a growing supply.

It means that someone has to take those bitcoins, sell them in a different country and, most important, bring cash back through customs, which effectively ruins everything (imaging taking a bag of cash through corrupted border officers).

Question: Please explain, how it is done in Uganda, Argentina, Philippines and Kenya? How did they manage to deal with this problem?

andreasma29 karma

Most of the countries with large incoming remittances flows are also countries with severely restricted currency outflows (currency controls). In those countries, many wealthy people have the need to convert their money into foreign currencies. These are counter-flows but they are asymmetric. For example, a single wealthy person extracting 10000 currency units a week could support 1000x poor people importing 10 currency units from immigrant workers abroad or contract work for foreign companies.

Successful remittances depend on matching these two needs and creating balanced flows in both directions.

Egon_142 karma

What is your view on the centralization of bitcoin mining?

andreasma41 karma

It ebbs and flows. I don't see it as a problem, I trust the market to dynamically adapt. The consensus algorithm creates a set of incentives that reward good actors and punish bad actors. So far, it is working better than anyone expected.

jtos337 karma

What can be done about Bitcoin addresses? My grandparents will never figure out how to send me money if they have to send to 1gdj4n4...what will get less techy people to use Bitcoin?

andreasma44 karma

When I first used the Internet, I had a list of IP addresses folded up in my wallet. Those were the days before DNS. My first email was sent to an IP address.

There are already many active proposals to replace and hide addresses. I expect they will disappear just like IP addresses are hidden from most user's view.

MaxcoinOhio33 karma

When are you going back on The Joe Rogan Show again?

andreasma33 karma

Probably 2-3 months from now. I promised him on the first show that in less than 3 months I'd have more to say because bitcoin moves so fast. He's invited me back twice more since.

BullyingBullishBull30 karma

Hey Andreas! Huge fan, listen to LetsTalkBitcoin and your presentations all the time. Here's my question, what are your thoughts on other decentralized protocols building on top of their own blockchain, like ethereum and maidsafe?

andreasma29 karma

I am very excited to see the enormous breadth of innovation occurring on top of bitcoin and in parallel platforms. I see them as synergistic with bitcoin and I think they further validate the technology and increase the value of bitcoin.

JustStopDude26 karma

As a small business owner, what is the major selling point for bitcoin over the traditional banking means I currently have?

Were I to use bitcoin, how do I overcome the major issue of non-reversible charges?

andreasma23 karma

Non-reversible charges can be addressed in a number of ways. I recently did a presentation in Sydney Australia where I talked about using automated escrow with multi-signature addresses and time-locked transactions to achieve simple consumer protection and chargebacks on the bitcoin protocol. It's programmable money, the possibilities are endless.

Butters_B_Pimpin25 karma

I've always felt that Bitcoin was like the MySpace or Friendster of crypocurrencies and that a "Facebook" (in terms of scale of adoption) would someday come along and be much more appealing for the mass market. Do you think thats the case or do you believe Bitcoin is as good as it gets?

andreasma45 karma

That might be the case if bitcoin was just an application. But it is a protocol, a network and a standard. It is also a very strong brand. While possible, I don't think it is likely that bitcoin will be eclipsed by another technology any time soon. It takes a lot of differentiation to unseat the early-mover and brand awareness advantages.

pinhead2625 karma

As the price drops, lots of miners are switching off their hardware and the difficulty is dropping. At some point, there will be all this mining hardware "locked and loaded," waiting in the wings while the difficulty drops... Is there a potential attack vector in which a big miner can take advantage of a significant drop in difficulty?

andreasma34 karma

Its unlikely that there will be such an opportunity. A big drop in difficulty will be predictable several days before it happens. The difficulty re-targeting algorithm is known to all and its outcome can be predicted with increasing certainty as the date of re-targeting approaches (every 2016 blocks).

dwdoc25 karma

Your presentation to the Canadian Senate seemed very well received. Any future government presentations anticipated?

andreasma9 karma

None planned right now

Kalifilm24 karma

Hi Andreas, thanks for doing this AMA. We're a tiny film production company based in Berlin and last week we launched the first ever Bitcoin crowdfunding campaign for a horror film. We believe that Bitcoin has the potential to revolutionize funding for the arts and we aim to prove this by financing the entire film solely in Bitcoin. There's a thriving Bitcoin community here in Berlin and we've received a tremendous show of support so far, from individuals and businesses alike, so we believe our goal is eminently achievable. Do you have any advice/constructive criticism for us as we set out on our campaign and what other applications can you foresee Bitcoin having in the arts world?

andreasma14 karma

Great! I'm very excited to hear about the impact that digital de-centralized currencies like bitcoin can have. Content creators now have a new way of financing their creativity, without depending on advertisers or media channels. Bitcoin can help with the evolution of kickstarter, indiegogo and other crowdfunding tools into global, borderless and massive systems for funding the arts and creative content. I can't wait!

rstonex22 karma

Hi, Andreas. Do you think bitcoin can ever be a viable currency if people are using it for speculation purposes? It seems to be that the "buy and hold" philosophy of a lot of bitcoin fans seems to go against the philosophy of using it as a currency that can and should be spent. Instead, you mainly see transactions on exchanges, and any shop who has set it up as a payment method sees very little transaction volume.

andreasma35 karma

I expect bitcoin's volatility will decline in direct relation to the size of the currency market. As bitcoin is adopted more broadly, it supports a bigger economy, more people rely on it and price things in it, it becomes harder and harder to "push it around" for speculators. That of course assumes transparent markets (exchanges) that are not manipulated.

granatheus20 karma

The internet has changed the world profoundly. Do you believe, as is often said, that bitcoin holds a similar promise of change and disruption?

andreasma33 karma

Not only will bitcoin have a huge impact, it will also fundamentally transform the Internet and fuel its impact even more. Money on the Internet means new ways to fund Internet infrastructure, content and innovation.

SoapSuds-bitcoin19 karma

Hey Andreas! I'm the president of the Penn State University Bitcoin Club and Director of Mid-Atlantic Relations for the College Cryptocurrency Network. My club and I would love for you to come up to PSU and give a presentation on bitcoin, blockchain tech, and the future of the digital currency. Would that be at all possible this semester?

andreasma19 karma

I would love to do that. I will send you a message with my email. Thanks for the invitation!

Rub3X18 karma


andreasma30 karma

Bitcoin has a dynamic algorithm that governs (regulates!) the consensus algorithm (mining) difficulty. If the hashrate declines, the difficulty adjusts downward after 2016 blocks (becomes easier to mine profitably). Conversely, if the hashrate increases, the difficulty adjusts up to make it harder.

As a result, mining approaches a price equilibrium, as expressed in difficulty per killoWatt-hour that makes it marginally profitable at the current price for a block target of 10 minutes. It's a self-adjusting market that balances supply/demand automatically.

The algorithm resembles a PID control circuit (as @justusranvier recently pointed out), similar to a primitive cruise-control circuit in a car.

etsolow17 karma

How do you secure your personal stash of bitcoins?

andreasma20 karma

Paper wallets and hardware wallets, for 99.99% of my bitcoin. Less than 0.001% is ever online (mostly on a Mycelium mobile wallet on my phone).

andreasma8 karma

Offline generated paper wallets and hardware wallets (testing Trezor and Ledger currently).

bobthesponge116 karma

What is your prediction regarding the amount of public VC investments in Bitcoin technologies for 2015? (See here for past investments.)

andreasma20 karma

I think the investments in bitcoin startups and the related ecosystem will grow even faster in 2015. Most exciting technology is not only attracting investors, but also some of the smartest techies, devs and designers I've ever met.

tbonesteaks16 karma

What was the first thing you ever bought with bitcoin? What was the last thing you bought with bitcoin?

andreasma18 karma

First: I bought a pound (lb) of coffee, for about $1200 in today's money, in 2011 ;-)

Last: A physiotherapy session for about $80, yesterday.

Draithljep15 karma

Mandatory IAMA question: Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?

Really though, I just wanted to thank you for opening this rabbit-hole for me with this video, you have changed my life.

andreasma39 karma

100 duck-sized horses. Ducks are aggressive and predatory and are used as livestock guards in farms in England because of their aggressive temperament. Horses are by nature docile prey animals that are easily spooked and risk averse. I wouldn't fight, I'd just go "BOO!"

typicallydownvoted15 karma

what are the things we aren't allowed to ask you about?

andreasma35 karma

My hair

realhacker14 karma

Hello Andreas, do you think it would be possible for the miners to do productive work instead of just solving hashes for artificial difficulty?

andreasma22 karma

Mining on an algorithm that has "dual purpose" is risky. Mining is not "non productive", it serves to secure the bitcoin network and does so very well. The risk of adding another purpose to the mining is that it introduces a price-externality, a secondary source of value that may distort the incentive structure of the consensus algorithm. For example, if you are finding primes and suddenly a new application is discovered that makes primes very valuable, then the consensus algorithm is now subject to a completely external market for prime numbers that has nothing to do with the security of that blockchain.

There are alt-coins that attempt to do this. See Curecoin, Gridcoin, Primecoin

yujmnh14 karma

Hi Andreas! I live in Argentina, I'm too a computer geek, and passionate about bitcoins. I'm a software developer, I also work with robotics, I'm a musician, programming teacher, and in about a few months, i hope to become a professional writer :D I'm writing my first book, and it's of course about bitcoins. In fact I'm editing it right now, and I will translate it to english, because i would feel ashamed about myself if I wouldn't. It's an introduction to the bitcoin world, not very technical, as I want it to be just a push to a person that wants to get into this and does not have the time, will, or hability to search the net for that information. Also, it has a wiki-like format, trying to make something between a wiki and a book :)

I hope to publish it in mid 2015, and it would be a great honor to me if you would agree to receive a digital copy. Would you be so kind of sending me via private message an email where I can send to, and be sure you will receive it?

Thank you for taking the time to read my comment and for doing this *AMAA

andreasma11 karma

I'd love to get a copy. Thank you!

podium201514 karma

Do you think of bitcoin more like the internet or more like the web?

Is bitcoin more like mid-90's internet development or early dot-com web companies?

andreasma20 karma

More like TCP/IP, it's a foundational protocol for value and ownership registration. Other protocols (more akin to HTTP) are layered on top of it: Counterparty is a good example of that.

TheWinningMove13 karma

Blockchain.info have lost hundreds of bitcoins recently due to bad random events, a bug that has been known about for years but is apparently still causing problems. A significant number of people have also been hacked via remote desktop software or email and have had coins taken from Blockchain wallets. As former Chief of Security at Blockchain and board advisor do you believe it is safe to keep bitcoins there? If I can't rely on web wallets can you clarify once and for all the best way to keep bitcoins secure, but still easily accessible. I only have a few coins so it is not worth buying expensive hardware.

andreasma11 karma

I have stored most of my bitcoin on offline-generated paper wallets for years.

I am no longer involved with Blockchain Limited and I cannot comment on any past or present operations there, sorry.

pinhead2613 karma

Thanks for AMAAing, Andreas:

In your opinion, how important is decentralization to the future of Bitcoin? Is it in your top 10 concerns about Bitcoin? What could lead to "bad" centralization, what do we need to do to prevent that and what are the trade-offs in ensuring Bitcoin stays decentralized?

andreasma32 karma

De-centralization is one of the prevailing geopolitical and technological themes of this century. The fight for de-centralization of control and information is playing out on the Internet in every country in the world. It is, in my opinion, the most important fight as it will determine the freedom (or lack of) for billions of people. We are heading in a good direction overall. We have replaced kings, despots and tyrants with institutions. Now we are replacing many institutions with protocols and networks, empowering individuals. But those who benefit from centralized control over power will not sit idly by while we take away their power. They use fear and violence to exert control and deepen their power structures. They fool us into submitting to unearned authority and give up our rights and freedoms by exploiting security fears. Bitcoin is only part of the puzzle, but it is a very powerful part.

KevlarYarmulke12 karma

What online service do you recommend for buying bitcoin easily and anonymously?

knight22213 karma

https://localbitcoins.com/ or Mycelium trading app

andreasma12 karma

This ^

sumBTC12 karma

Hello Andreas,

I think storage AND usage of bitcoins at home is only really safe if transactions need to be signed by a hardware wallet (like the Trezor) plus an independent program running on your computer (compiled with software you can check). My aim for 2015. Your thoughts as a security expert?

Hardware wallets: some third party trust, no viruses

(checked) program on computer: no third party trust, possible viruses.

andreasma27 karma

Security is both the biggest issue in bitcoin and the biggest opportunity in bitcoin. Solve it and you may create a massive new industry.

In 1997, the biggest problem on the Internet was finding anything. Now, "search" is a $400 billion industry.

In the eyes of entrepreneurs, big problems, if solvable, are enormous opportunities.

umbawumpa12 karma

If you had infinite resources available (money, programmers, servers), what would be the next most important project for bitcoin?

andreasma18 karma

International remittances and SMS-based bitcoin wallets and merchant/PoS systems

odal_limbs10 karma

Hi Andreas

You are truly inspirational. Your talks got me interested in bitcoin. My question is with the steep drop in price which leads to many miners switching off their unprofitable ASICs, what is to prevent rogue miners from carrying out a 51% attack?


andreasma16 karma

If the difficulty drops enough to make it possible to do a 51% attack, then the miners who turned ASICs off, turn them back on to make money again to pay the bills. There no time-gap opportunity to exploit. The difficulty changes can be predicted days in advance.

wellpaidbankershill9 karma

If bitcoin doesn't care what you think and is antifragile and will eventually win by its own virtue, why do you feel the need to promote and pump it so much?

andreasma18 karma

Because I think it can really help billions of underbanked and unbanked people and break the banking monopolies. Also, I'm a geek and I get very excited by cool technology, so I'd rather work in this space that slave at a desk all day working for wellpaidbankershills

tracss8 karma

Hi Andreas. How do you prepare for your speeches?

andreasma17 karma

I give speeches.

I've been doing public speaking for more than 20 years. At first I was shy and mediocre. I got better with practice. Nowadays, I speak at events weekly and I try out new concepts and ideas with each speech, extemporaneously. It's all improvised with 80% old content and 20% new "test" content, gradually cycling. A lot of my best ideas are off-the-cuff while I am speaking and I gauge the audience reaction and then repeat them when successful.

jonesyjonesy8 karma

51% attacks are a real issue. We've seen it almost occur a few times in the past year. This makes me believe Bitcoin's version of cryptocurrency is inherently flawed. Why do you disagree?

andreasma12 karma

Because "almost" isn't an attack. There is a huge gap between almost and actually and that gap is very hard to overcome in a dynamically adjusting market balanced very tightly on a game-theory equilibrium of incentives and rewards.

naturalfruitjelly7 karma

You often make comparisons of Bitcoin to the early days of the Internet, or other great inventions like the car, or electricity; What will be the event or moment that shifts people's perspectives on Bitcoin?

For those who still haven't grasped the concept, What is bitcoin?

andreasma7 karma

Similar to those other technologies, public acceptance was neither automatic nor immediate. In fact, most people regarded each of those (electricity, autos, Internet) as weird, dangerous and unimportant for a decade or more.

Time and continued innovation/evolution is what makes technologies mainstream. Bitcoin has enormous innovation and evolution. All it needs to become mainstream is time.

benjamiller7 karma

Do you see Bitcoin as more of a currency or a transaction service?

andreasma5 karma

I see it more as a technology platform and protocol for de-centralized registration and transfer of ownership. Currency is just the first app.

CoinCadence6 karma

Hi Andreas, what do you consider the best way to store bitcoin for the average person?

I use a Trezor for long term storage and have Bread Wallet on my iPhone for day-to-day spending. Any suggestions for improvements?

andreasma4 karma

That's pretty similar to my setup. I also have (legacy) many BIP-38 encrypted paper wallets with copies distributed to multiple locations. Not for the average user, but very secure in practice.

fearLess6176 karma

Hello Andreas,

How long do you think it'll take for consumer adoption to catch up to the rate of merchant adoption? There's a clear lag between the two and I feel as if consumer adoption is very important.

dadamn2 karma

Perhaps a better question than the speculative "how long do you think it'll take" is "What do you think it will take increase merchant adoption?" In terms of actions, practices, legal rules.

andreasma9 karma

It will take time. In western developed economies, the use of bitcoin for retail shopping offers only small advantages over credit cards, while being difficult to learn, use and secure by the average user. In the developing world, bitcoin can fill a massive void of banking services but there are infrastructure, UI, device and awareness barriers. These gaps will become narrower over time.


deeraroo75 karma

What would be the best excerpt of the book you could share here that would make everyone go out and read the book?

routefire6 karma

The book is available in its entirety on github: https://github.com/aantonop/bitcoinbook

andreasma12 karma

One of my guiding principles in life is that knowledge must be shared. I am a strong support of open source. Everything I do, in every forum is released under open source licenses, usually CC-BY-SA (creativecommons.org). The book was developed on github in an open community-driven project. I still appreciate it if you buy the book, if you can afford to. Code REDDIT30 will give you a 30% discount on the O'Reilly site linked in the OP.

SDJX224 karma

It you had only one tweet (140 characters) to explain how to start mining bitcoins, what would you say?

andreasma12 karma

Don't. It's a very high risk and specialized business, only suitable for those who don't need to ask this question.

escapevelo4 karma

Hi Andreas,

What do you think about the idea that digital goods like music, video games, e-books, or even event tickets can be stored in cryptocurrencies allowing them to be easily traded on the Internet. There is at least $100 billion in digital goods wealth locked in centralized systems like iTunes or Amazon. Wouldn't benefit the consumer if they could unlock this wealth?

andreasma8 karma

Bitcoin and blockchain-based applications can offer a much better way of allocating resources and trading virtual goods. I see bitcoin as fuel for Internet content creators. It's one of the biggest potential markets for this technology

m3kw4 karma

Hello, newbie Bitcoin user here, I wanted to ask is the only known vector for hacking Bitcoin is the use of brute force key guessing? I want to invest in Bitcoin and just afraid one day someone finds a magic key to easily mine or steal all coins.

andreasma4 karma

Most bitcoin attacks occur against the computer used by the end-user and involve malware, trojans, keyloggers, social engineering or phishing attacks. Don't worry about encryption being broken - worry about your computer being compromised. I assume mine is and I have 20 years in security.

I recommend offline-generated paper wallets or hardware wallets for large bitcoin holding.

KingOfRye3 karma

Since Bitcoin can be as anonymous as we want to make it, can we compromise with regulators to comply with traceability for purposes of trading with fiat?

andreasma5 karma

Bitcoin is weakly pseudonymous and can be traced perfectly well in targeted and warrant-based investigations. Bitcoin is somewhat resistant to wholesale and indiscriminate surveillance which is both illegal and immoral. There's no need to weaken it's privacy protections. Privacy is consumer protection and breaking privacy never serves consumers, no matter how hard they try to sell it as such. Financial privacy may be seen as a privilege in some countries but it is a matter of human liberty and life/death in dozens of countries. Bitcoin is theirs too and we can't forget that.

flitterio3 karma

I would extend the question to ask if you support totally anonymous transactions? Do you think stealth addresses are sufficient long term?

andreasma4 karma

Whether I support them or not, there are plenty of technologies, both on bitcoin and other currencies that support strong anonymity and privacy. I support strong financial privacy, I believe it is a fundamental human right and giving it up is extremely dangerous

ItsAMeMitchell3 karma

So...how do I master BitCoin?

andreasma18 karma

My book can be downloaded for free from the original source on github, under an open source license

bobthesponge13 karma

Hi Andreas. What do you have to say regarding the European Banking Association's (EBA) Opinion on Virtual Currencies? What developments do you see in the European regulatory space?

mango_fruit2 karma

Also, any info regarding ECUREX P2PFISY? Sounds like a very interesting workshop, involving regulators, academics and businesses. https://www.ecurex.com/p2pfisy/

andreasma4 karma

I will be attending ECUREX P2PFISY!