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About alexreeve

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    Millennium man

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    Surrey, UK
  1. An anonymous, untraceable ebay where you can buy and sell anything using bitcoin. Is this the killer app that gives Bitcoin an astonishing USP? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-15/welcome-silk-road-mind-blowing-interview-dread-pirate-roberts Roberts also has a political agenda: He sees himself not just as an enabler of street-corner pushers but also as a radical libertarian revolutionary carving out an anarchic digital space beyond the reach of the taxation and regulatory powers of the state–Julian Assange with a hypodermic needle. Mix up your coins in one of many available laundering services–Silk Road runs one automatically for all transactions on the site–and it becomes very difficult to follow the money. Even the FBI, according to one of the bureau’s leaked internal reports, worries that Bitcoin’s complexity and lack of a central authority “present distinct challenges” for tracking criminal funds. The result is a currency as convenient as PayPal and theoretically as anonymous as cash. “We’re talking about the potential for a monumental shift in the power structure of the world,” Roberts writes. “The people now can control the flow and distribution of information and the flow of money. Sector by sector the State is being cut out of the equation and power is being returned to the individual.” Bitcoin did more than enable the modern online black market, Roberts says. It also brought him and Silk Road together. Roberts isn’t actually the site’s founder, he revealed in our interview. He credits Silk Road’s creation to another, even more secretive entrepreneur whom he declined to tell me anything about and who may have used the “Dread Pirate Roberts” nom de guerre before it was assumed by the person I interviewed. When I ask Roberts how he defines his role at Silk Road–CEO? Owner?–he tells me that he considers himself “a center of trust” between the site’s buyers and sellers, a tricky task given that all parties want to remain anonymous. Silk Road has slowly demonstrated to users that it isn’t a typical counterfeit-drug scam site or a law enforcement trap. It’s made wise use of the trust mechanisms companies like eBay and Airbnb have popularized, including seller ratings and an escrow that releases payment to sellers only after customers receive their merchandise.
  2. alexreeve


    I have just finished "Progress and Poverty" by Henry George. It is probably the most insightful, visionary book I have ever read. Written in 1879, some of the predictions it makes you now see have played out perfectly, such as the decline to replacement level birth rate amongst affluent. Absolutely brilliant!
  3. alexreeve


    Really because it looks horrendous: http://www.usdebtclock.org/
  4. alexreeve


    Can the US government keep refinancing their debt, and finance their deficit with interest rates at 5%? What about 10%? What about 20%? What is the point at which elevated interest rates become politically unacceptable? What happens to the Fed's balance sheet if the US government defaults on its debt obligations? I don't know the answer to these questions. I think you have rather misunderstood the primary obligation of the central bank if you think they can completely ignore government funding needs to deal with inflation.
  5. alexreeve

    1984 (steps to Orwellian doom)

    It would be really useful for tracking the potential spread of an epidemic. Sadly it would be useful all the rest of the time for rather more nefarious purposes.
  6. alexreeve


    It's a fair point. I certainly thought the banking crisis would eviscerate both USD and GBP in short order. What I failed to appreciate was the ubiquitous nature of the problem. It did not occur to me that every significant central bank in the world could/would co-ordinate so effectively to prevent catastrophic exchange rate fluctuations. However I still don't see any liquidation of the bad debt (and corresponding credit) that cannot be repaid. I do not see any progress towards a resolution to the financial crisis, just still growing imbalances. Do you feel that the financial crisis is over, and we are seeing the green shoots of healthy recovery?
  7. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-21/tectonic-plates-and-markets-are-shifting-asia
  8. alexreeve

    1984 (steps to Orwellian doom)

    I know it's not about new laws, but shows the uglier side of progressive thought raising its head again. http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2013/07/punishing-fundamentalists/
  9. Also on the syllabus for the new national curriculum http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23222068
  10. I think it would be obvious why they would be interested in crowdsourced reports of unidentified tech flying round the globe, both their own and that of other world powers, regardless of any belief in ET visitors.
  11. How much were the private companies paying the government for the franchise + VAT on ticket sales etc. It is more than possible that despite making a loss they were contributing £300 million/year. Also the government will "self-insure", which is to say not take out insurance against catastrophic losses. Does this risk get accounted for? Also there's accounting trickery, they will be able to capitalise investment costs differently than is possible on a fixed lease, showing healthy balance sheets in the short term. Having said all that I don't see a great deal of benefit to licensing out a monopoly with the risible justification of "competition driving down costs".
  12. http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/04/google_has_a_single_towering_obsession_it_wants_to_build_the_star_trek_computer.html
  13. alexreeve


    First bitcoins then gold coins. It's like someone is playing whackamole.
  14. Note the absence of Switzerland. By virtue of having a huge level of gun ownership and hardly any murders it has to be omitted...