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BitCoin updates for 31/03/2011

tl;dr – Several interesting updates, including buying drugs via bitcoin. Read ahead to find out more.

Only a few days ago I blogged about BitCoin for the first time.

Since that, I have a few updates.

  • At least two-three of my friends opened bitcoin accounts, and are considering investing.
  • I created a proposal on Stack Exchange for a bitcoin Q&A site.
  • You can buy one copy of Portal 2 at 20% discount via bitcoin.
  • There’s a proof-of-concept for bitcoin bond trade. grondilu, a reputable member of the bitcoin forums, is offering the first known bitcoin bond. Every participant bids how many bitcoins he is willing to pay grondilu now in order to get 100 bitcoins in approximately four weeks. I bid 93.5 BTC (hey, it’s not like I have a lot of other uses for my bitcoins right now).
  • If you were still confused after my last post, perhaps this introduction to bitcoin will help.
  • I learned of the existence of Silk Road, a bitcoin-powered online drug store. You can buy LSD for anywhere between 24 and 150 BTC. One of the good and bad things about bitcoin that it will enable total consumer freedom. Things that were once impossible, will be possible soon. Repeat after me – “a totally anonymous and untraceable method of payment.” I don’t want to open the ideological debates here, but like all progress, a lot of good and a lot of evil will come of it. My personal belief and hope that the good outweighs the bad.
  • My blog has been acting kind of slow lately, so I’m willing to pay 15 BTC to anyone who optimizes it.
  • An example not directly related – A useful service I found via bitcoin is Torrent Traveler. It’s a service that offers to download torrents for you, and send them to you as email attachments (useful if you’re on a trip and don’t have consistent internet). They don’t support bitcoin yet, but it serves as an example for a good service that depends on efficient micro payments (they charge $0.25 per GB).
  • The bitcoin / us dollars ratio has hovered around 0.8 BTC per dollar. I think there is a psychological barrier at $1. There’s still time to hop on the bitcoin train…


  1. Anna:

    I wonder about the drug store – how do they ship the LSD to you? – I doubt that Israel Mail or UPS will agree to ship it 🙂

  2. ripper234:

    @Anna – see this thread for a detailed discussion.

    The mail service cannot check the contents of each package. Since shopping with BTC is much cheaper, because there is no middleman, a drug dealer can afford two copies of each package – one to the recipient, and one to a random address. This way, the mere act of receiving drugs will not implicate you. Let’s assume the mail busts 5% of the packages. For these cases, the customer (who doesn’t receive the package) complains to the drug store, who will issue a refund (another 5% cut in efficiency – still a hell of a lot more efficient than existing distribution methods).

  3. Anna:

    Does not sound reasonable. Packages are usually traceable, and if the mail service does open them, they will easily reach the source of the drugs – i.e. the store gets busted.
    Even if the “send to two random people” thing is done, the police can find that you were receiving drugs, and follow you in the future, should you decide to order more.

    I am not convinced.
    On the other hand, I don’t really know how the drug business works, maybe it is as easy to catch somebody dealing drugs in person.

    I read some of the thread. These guys are real anarchists. Amusing.

  4. ripper234:

    I’m not familiar with the specifics of mail orders, so it might be possible or not. One method that I saw proposed is using geo-caching. The seller stashes the drugs at a random desreted location, notes the GPS coordinates, and sends them to the buyer, who later goes to pick them up, without any direct contact between seller and buyer.

    There’s a lot of idealogy involved in some of the bitcoin threads, it might be some of the reasons that led to it’s creation. Still, it’s just a tool, and there are plenty of not-ideological (or not radical) people involved with bitcoin.