2011-09-19

Bitcoin: creating a truly free coin

I recently finished writing this paper about bitcoin, the internet commodity/currency/thing. In it, I take the (somewhat odd, for me) position that we need a coin like this that (only sort of!) has a measure of inflation built in. Here is the abstract:

A commonly held belief is that bitcoin exchange values will either go down to nearly zero, as interest in the currency wanes, or will explode upwards by many orders of magnitude as the currency becomes a major player in the economy. This paper outlines a third endgame, whereby a bitcoin-like cryptocurrency becomes a major player in the economy, yet the exchange value remains relatively stable. I argue that bitcoin will not acheive widespread adoption without one key change, and that those who understand the potential of bitcoin as a force for good have a moral imperative to make this change. I further argue that competitive market forces will either promote a successor to bitcoin, or force bitcoin to evolve, driven by the key feature of value stability.

2011-09-17

today is Consititution day!

Today, September 17th, is Constitution Day. So I decided to read the Constitution! Go figure.

I was reading through Article 2 (that's the part about the executive branch of government -- the presidency), and all of a sudden I got to the end. I was like "what, that's it?!" Indeed, there's relatively little written about the presidency, and the powers enumerated are quite restrictive.

Here's the abbreviated version of Article 2:

Section 1. There's a President. He gets elected, he gets paid, and he swears to uphold the Constitution.

Section 2. He's in charge of the army, he gets to pardon people and make treaties with Senate consent. He also appoints Senators to fill vacancies.

Section 3. He is a congressional cheerleader: he delivers the State of the Union, and makes policy recommendations. He executes the laws that Congress wrote.

Section 4. He can be impeached.

And that's it!

So during presidential debates, all this talk about this policy and that policy ("here's how I'll fix health care!"), running the economy ("check out my business credentials!"), and starting wars ("I'll make the world safe for democracy!"); all this talk is fluff in light of the actual powers of the Constitution. The president gets to cheerlead Congress on policy, but other than that he only has the right to enforce the laws that already exist.

So like, if you haven't read the Constitution recently, you might give it a read. It's really quite short and accessible.

Edit: Whoops! I forgot article 1, section 7: the president gets to veto laws.