A Review of the Bitcoin Category on trilema.com

March 27th, 2020 by Diana Coman

~mp_en_viaje: diana_coman, i guess you're stuck with a much larger chunk than originally contemplated, unexpectedly enough.~

The context of this review is the recent closure of TMSR by its founder, Mircea Popescu, after ~9 years of pouring his own time and resources into it. In the immediate aftermath of that closure, I asked those I knew involved and still around if they cared to say their mind on it at all. Some left their own silence on this speak for itself and some talked through it with me in #ossasepia and/or with others in other venues, or wrote about it on blogs and in comments. Others I didn't even know were reading my words in chan followed up with questions in the comments on the Closure article. As for myself, I said in #ossasepia as much:

diana_coman: [...] there's [...] the significant part that the republic failed to exist and so the whole context is changed and so far it hasn't even been reviewed as such; which is pre-requisite for *any* thinking of any related work, whether os or anything else anyways; I'll probably end up doing the review too since apparently nobody even considers it needed or something but that's besides the point.

Where does one even start though to review a project on the scale of TMSR, even considering for starters only all the publicly1 available information and documents on it? I have of course the significant advantage of having been part of it and well active in it over quite a few years but this is just... not enough in itself for a review, it never is, no.

Looking at it broadly, there are the logs of #trilema and of the related irc chans or "castles", the blogs of all those involved and the websites & various resources of different projects such as they were attempted (Qntra, The Bitcoin Foundation and Pizarro most prominently). Of all of those, the projects' websites hold mainly specific information and while a review of it can certainly turn out instructive for someone setting out on similar projects, I don't see a lot of *new* information for me to be obtained from pouring the time in reviewing them in detail currently.

I have arguably freshest in mind the logs of #trilema and of my own #ossasepia chan, by virtue of reading and re-reading them daily and even summarising them at times. Those same logs are however a mixed bag, not only as topics under discussion (which wouldn't be a problem at all, quite the opposite) but more importantly as amount of noise, especially in the early days. So from my point of view and for my own needs, they don't make the best starting point either since there's less that is likely I overlooked/am not that much aware of in there and it needs to be extracted from a huge amount of text mixed with significant noise.

Having excluded both projects and the logs, I'm left with the blogs of those involved and given my reason for this review, the Trilema blog specifically. To further narrow it down, I chose to focus for now on the Bitcoin category on Trilema - for one thing, it's the most relevant to TMSR anyway and for the other, the way I see it, what came to be known as TMSR grew in fact quite organically and therefore gradually out of MP's public involvement with Bitcoin. While one can point to one moment or another as "the start of TMSR", I'd rather look at it as a process, aiming to clarify for myself first of all what and how was attempted rather than what ended up being (or arguably failing to be) - to the extent that such a thing can even be gleaned at all from the articles on Trilema's Bitcoin category, of course.

The Bitcoin category on trilema.com contains currently 224 articles, written between the 20th of March 2012 (a brief discussion in Romanian of Bitcoin's ability to recover from events that would have sunk fiat currencies such as the Euro or the US Dollar) and the 14th of March 2020 (a detailed explanation of some events after the announced closure of TMSR, raising also quite a few pointy questions on the Republic's actual effects on those involved). I had read all of those before, of course, but for the purpose of this review I read them now again2, yet another time and with pen and paper in hand too. And then I re-read my notes a couple of times too, going back at times to the original articles referenced in my notes - for more details when and as needed, for potential links that weren't obvious the first time, for checking whether some inferred link is indeed supported by the article itself and not just an artefact of my notes. This is just part of my reviewing process and it's not even all of it but I'm setting those steps down here explicitly simply so that they *are* set at least here as such - who knows, perhaps they are of *some* use to someone else too at some point, wonder of wonders3.

As to what came out of all the above, there's for starters my classification of what those articles are about - my aim with this was to see how it all started, what was attempted and how it evolved over time. The categories therefore reflect this aim of mine and the classification itself is of course something you may disagree with at any point and on the grounds that it's a poor choice of classes to start with or that any given article is incorrectly classified. In some cases I might not even disagree with your disagreement, if that does anything for you.

Category Articles
Educating/ explaining matters
  1. On Bitcoin's ability to weather trades that would sink fiat currencies (2012)
  2. On perpetual mining bonds (2012)
  3. On why bitcoin securities can't be regulated by the sec with a concrete -if abridged- framework from MPEx's own legal arguments on the matter.
  4. On the practical matter of enforcing contracts (2012)
  5. On various perceived "problems of Bitcoin" and how they are problems of the speaker's rather than of Bitcoin in any way. (2012)
  6. On current "economics" being more of a fashion (in both approach and age) than a science and the major problem of current society being the exponential consumption curve that is driven by the inflationary nature of fiat. (2012)
  7. On Bitcoin being outside human agency, like fate, like Maths and as such entirely unconcerned with people's fears, needs, desires, lack of resources, abilities or inabilities.
  8. On likely Bitcoin market drivers at the time: mining, silkroad, gambling, finance, retail, store of value(2012)
  9. On why and how mining is not and never was the way out of poverty as imagined from a distance (2013)
  10. On how to hedge as a miner (2013)
  11. On Bitcoin being rather than doing and MP's offered bet on it. (2013)
  12. On MPEx and why it works the way it does in answer to Datskovskiy's4 review of MPEx (2013).
  13. On the Buttcoins5 (2013)
  14. On Bitcoin price and the inelasticity of Bitcoin supply with three proposed potential resolutions: consumers yield and submit; consumers revolt and governments intervene resulting in a fight; consumers revolt and entrepreneurs intervene resulting in a lot of complexity and confusion that makes Bitcoin entirely out of reach for the "ordinary person".6
  15. On why Bitcoin is strictly for the elite and why pushing Bitcoin (or power in the more general case) on everyone is a bad idea first and foremost for the everyones in question - the equivalent of giving young children a really big and sharp knife, why should they use only small and blunt knives -if any- after all? (2013)
  16. On the very different effects of similar events in fiat vs Bitcoin markets, serving as clear illustration of how Bitcoin preserves property rights and is for this reason a better system, so set to win in a competition with any lesser system.7 (2013)
  17. On government attacks on money and financial networks, the pillars the whole system rests on (population increase and debasement of everything) and how Bitcoin makes it all impossible to continue as it is. (2013)
  18. On how markets work as a mechanism to make the most of intellectual contributions of those active in it provided that such contributions exist in the first place above a minimal threshold. Below such threshold (when there are for instance too many clueless active, effectively drowning rational activity overall), markets don't work as they effectively don't have what to work with in the first place. (2013)
  19. The price of not listening to those with a proven track record of being right, illustrated with the losses of those who didn't heed Mircea Popescu's earlier warnings regarding MtGox. (2013)
  20. On Bitcoin's resistance to people's pressure towards making it more of what they are familiar with, contrasted with the troubles the same sort of pressure cause in fiat systems and illustrated with a failed equity bubble followed by the equally failed price bubble of 2013 in Bitcoin. (2013)
  21. On common mistakes of clueless "investors" and the similarity of their investment process to pure gambling. (2013)
  22. The basic point that any evaluation of a business is strictly about its business plan and nothing else. (2013)
  23. On how and why banks lie, scams are well planned to leave the scammed without actual recovery route, scammers are always in a hurry and trust cannot be established by talking beyond the limited case of low value intangible benefits. (2013)
  24. Schopenhauer's text on books and reading adapted to investment and money through quite minimal changes. There are no comments on this article. (2013)
  25. Why Bitcoin is the only available way to actually keep your own money, illustrated with the case of a US family who got their money seized through civil forfeiture without any charges of any crime. (2013)
  26. On the practical 0 value of "having lawyers", illustrated with the losses of what amounts to a "lawyer warehouse", namely JPMorgan Chase & Co. (2013)
  27. An anthology of MPOE-PR correctly and repeatedly calling out scams on bitcointalk forum. (2013)
  28. On why fiatists perceive Bitcoin's actual strengths as weaknesses (and especially so its lack of physicality) and how long it might perhaps be until Bitcoin itself ends up replaced by something even stronger (similarly to how Bitcoin has replaced gold, on the strength of its unique immunity to human agency) (2014).
  29. On blockchain being essentially the only history that will matter and how Bitcoin splits people based on whether they can write into that record of history or not and what weight their signature in it carries. (2014)
  30. On the importance of one's own history, truthful and timely communications, one's own actual competence and experience (as opposed to dreamt qualifications) and the difference between a judgement call vs a dream call especially when getting involved in business; illustrated with the case of Peter Lambert. (2014)
  31. On how reusing Bitcoin addresses can strengthen Bitcoin user anonymity. (2014)
  32. There's no end to idiots and consequently no point in waiting patiently for the world to run out of them on its own, either; illustrated with a "SEO Reputation Management warning" and a ransomware email received by S.BBET. (2014)
  33. On how Bitcoin makes it possible again to have full control of one's own life, as an individual person8. (2014)
  34. On the importance of context for meaning, with specific discussion of what is required for meaningful measurement and data. (2014)
  35. On identity being strictly a personal matter and sovereignity being personally invested. (2014)
  36. On why exactly there can not be multiple cryptocurrencies9. (2014)
  37. On why selling oneself as an asset is a terrible idea for the self in question; illustrated with Gavin's case. (2014)
  38. On the crucial difference between actual Bitcoin corporations and fiat-based pretenders or more to the core of the matter between adult children and infantile children10. (2014)
  39. On how and why places may matter and be relevant - through being such as to attract and keep those that matter; illustrated with a part of the logs for #bitcoin-otc and #bitcoin-otc-expats. (2014)
  40. Addressing point by point pseudo-arguments for one of Gavin Andressen's proposals. (2015)
  41. Further point by point discussion of pseudo-arguments raised by supporters of Andressen's proposal; the important distinction between the centralized nature of Bitcoin as a concept and the decentralization of the *implementation*. (2015)
  42. On the choice between an ideology that empowers the self or one that further empowers the established powers11. (2015)
  43. On disruption being the forced change of everything one is familiar with rather than the pleasant change of what one happens to want to change. (2015)
  44. A summary of significant matters changed by Bitcoin with explicit disclaimer as to the need to read the full references and not rely on the summary itself. (2015)
  45. Further point by point discussion of various pseudo-arguments brought by supporters of Andressen's proposal to raise the block limit; includes also the plain statement that Bitcoin is about money and power, not about opinion and social media. (2015)
  46. A dissection of a statement on Bitcoin by Gerald Davis. (2015)
  47. An adnotated failed introduction of a newcomer to #trilema. (2015)
  48. Asking for the source of a very apt meme: I Just Heard About Bitcoin I'm Here to Fix It!. (2015)
  49. Making the illustrated point that sanity is the actual requirement for participation, not intelligence with plenty of brilliant people being nevertheless "inescapably stupid". (2015)
  50. Illustrated example of those who don't belong in Bitcoin. (2015)
  51. Reiterating that it's people that have to change, not Bitcoin, as it's always people losing out by not participating, not Bitcoin. (2016)
  52. A top of the best introductions to the #bitcoin-assets chan. (2016)
  53. On why and how a properly implemented WoT is a significant incentive for honest behaviour. (2016)
  54. A detailed explanation of the equal lack of value in all non-Bitcoin forks. (2016)
  55. A listing of concrete available ways to obtain Bitcoin: playing Eulora, writing for Qntra or going topless. (2016)
  56. On why "the community" doesn't belong saying anything about Bitcoin, illustrated with evidence from reddit and the bitcointalk forum. (2016)
  57. A meanwhile obsolete guide to concrete ways to participate and become part of TMSR: reading the logs, playing Eulora, paying taxes, standing up a node, learning to program and using V, writing for Qntra, evangelizing, establishing credentials with the Republic, participating in design discussions or doing own thing. (2016)
  58. An illustrated explanation of how credit cards actually work, what the actual security of that "working" is worth in real terms and how it compares to using Bitcoin. (2016)
  59. An example of someone going bankrupt for not following the advice to not buy scam debt despite the issue having been explained to him directly on irc as to why it's unlikely there will be any partial repayment of the debt since the incentives are always aligned to not pay at all rather than pay back partially. (2018)
  60. An explicit set of questions and answersrelated to working properly in general and with V & the forum in particular12. (2018)
  61. A pun on Mircea Popescu's surname and the long list of his gains -known as "pops"- in Eulora due to the latest bot from Mocky. (2018)
  62. An explication of a fragment of the logs noting specifically the important difference between magic and technology, between something that works vs something that works well. Awareness of this difference is itself a strict requirement to make the Republic even possible and the very reason why the Republic is an integrating whole that can't be meaningfully broken into separate parts to pick and choose since discarding any part breaks the full chain on which meaning is built. (2019)
  63. An older discussion of Bitcoin from the logs, including how it doesn't actually need people in general to use it (quite the opposite), how it is least good as a medium of exchange and how its change and control of everything is more likely to happen through the shaping of the new forms of things as they change rather than in a pedestrian interpretation of Bitcoin being used or directly useful as such for anything and everything. (2019)
  64. A review of early logs of the Republic from January 2014 with an attempted structured summary, examples of using scripts for such work and the approach of publishing incomplete work when out of time since there's no possible downside to that and only the possible upside of someone else perhaps finishing the work, if it's of any interest13. (2019)
  65. A brief review of important points about Bitcoin and most importantly the fact that it is not fractionary. (2019)
  66. A brief post-mortem of some Republican affairs with some pointy questions about the observed evolution of people involved. (2020)
Exposing Scams
  1. On BDK.BND on GLBSE (2012)
  2. On GLBSE (Nefario and Theymos) (2012)
  3. On GLBSE "discussion"(2012)
  4. On Nefario (2012)
  5. On a pretend conference involving Nefario & co. (2012)
  6. On Icbit.se based on direct experiment with concrete data and explanations as to why and how the scam is meant to work. (2012)
  7. On calling out Patrick Harnett as involved in online fraud.
  8. Transcript of Amir Taaki's talk of Bitcoin (2012)
  9. A detailed timeline of known losses to theft, fraud and stupidity in Bitcoin between June 2011 and December 2012 (2012).
  10. On Bitmarket.eu and how all the rest of the exchanges will follow too, for good reasons14. (2012)
  11. On Butterfly Labs (2013)
  12. Putting together macroeconomic data in the Bitcoin space based on Bitcoin's price against fiat, S.MPOE actions price and the MPBOR, noting the similarities to what the US enjoyed at the time when it was set for taking over the world. (2013)
  13. On yCombinator, its irrelevancy and false claims of "bringing Bitcoin to Wall Street". (2013)
  14. On PrimeAsic (2013)
  15. On the inevitable path to scamming for kids who severely overestimate themselves in the Bitcoin world, illustrated with the case of TradeHill. (2013)
  16. On Avalon, including evidence of others promoting the founder on the btctalk forum as most ethical and trustworthy. (2013)
  17. On Pietila's claimed competence vs stark numbers showing him selling silver at its lowest price point in the relevant interval to buy Bitcoin at its highest price point in the relevant interval. (2013)
  18. On Mercado Bitcoin, a Brazil-based Bitcoin exchange that ran code allowing infinite withdrawals. (2013)
  19. Specific concerns re MtGox's operations including self-trading, deceitful communications, huge trade engine lag and arbitrary "waiting queue". (2013)
  20. A discussion of Bitcoin inflation as strictly linked to market processes and economic activity, aimed at the perceived influx of people other than programmers. (2013)
  21. A dissection of how and why Ripple is such a bad idea that it's doomed to fail. (2013)
  22. On the total irrelevancy of so-called Bitcoin conferences by total noobs to Bitcoin15. (2013)
  23. On Pirateat40, those who supported him and why usual Ponzi operators tend to do very well in the beginning mainly due to their obvious high level of discipline that people simply want to associate with. (2013)
  24. A full description of the usual way IPO scams are made, with the illustration provided by btcgarden.com. (2013)
  25. On exposing LabCoin as a scam in real time in the irc chan. (2013)
  26. Detailed exposure of Cryptostocks being a scam rather than an exchange. (2013)
  27. On PicoStocks failing as MPOE-PR had previously publicly predicted. Links the "story of your loss" article by MPOE-PR on bitcointalk.org forum. (2013)
  28. Dogecoin and Business Insider. (2014)
  29. BTCJam. (2014)
  30. bitcoinshop.us aka Hotel Management Systems Inc., noting that due dilligence in the Bitcoin space is in fact as simple as showing up in #bitcoin-assets and actually reading the log + asking intelligent questions16. (2014)
  31. On a potential problem with unqualified keeping of secrets, illustrated with the released transcript of a conversation with gigavps' failed attempt to "stick MPEx investors with the bill for his various GLBSE scams".. (2015)
  32. On Bitfinex' misadventure. (2015)
  33. On Bitpay and their lies, stating again the importance of strategic superiority in the field. (2015)
Feedback & Reviews
  1. On Bitpay's spamming by ignoring the choices they supposedly offer subscribers as to whether to receive emails or not. (2012)
  2. On CoinURL17 (2012)
  3. Excerpts from MPOE-PR's activity on the btctalk forum and some reactions to the transcript of Amir Taaki's "talk of bitcoin" (2012)
  4. On a JavaScript game, The Biggest Fish with a discussion of how the Gambler's Ruin problem is insufficiently addressed by the current implementation and what changes could be made to address it better perhaps. (2012)
  5. On the correct and incorrect ways to do business and business communications in Bitcoin, illustrated with examples and counterexamples. (2013)
  6. A review of the best investments in Bitcoin including only Asicminer as the only non-MPEx based entity (2013).
  7. Making fun of some clueless showing off in Bitcoin.
  8. On Just-dice.com that collected in 3 days of operation around 5k BTC available capital for covering bets, as a result of Dooglus' previously earned reputation and his skillful adaptation of MPOE bonds to his needs. The article notes that this is effectively a form in which useful work still pays off even if it can't be directly or immediately remunerated (as was the case for Dooglus with his previous analysis of S.DICE data). (2013)
  9. How the technically brilliant Asicminer business failed through inept handling of the financial side, including at some point the attempt to build their own stock exchange. (2013)
  10. The sad state of what passes as business in the Bitcoin space, illustrated with a detailed review of Cryptorush and specifically used as a warning and reference point to anyone wanting to actually do business as opposed to adding to the same pile of sad. (2014)
  11. A damning review of the state of the Bitcoin codebase and the coining of the term Powerfully Retarded Rangers. (2014)
  12. A proposed submerged solution for the overheating issue plaguing bitcoin miners operating in usual datacentres. (2014)
  13. On Bitcoin in Argentina. (2014)
Governance/ Organisation
  1. On the divide between those aiming to include Bitcoin in the structures of the pre-Bitcoin world and those aiming to re-structure the world around Bitcoin (2012)18
  2. On bribes working in Bitcoin as the clear criterion of Bitcoin having fully won (2012)
  3. On the problem of Bitcoin's ease of use combined with youngsters' tendency to disregard reality and think themselves more than they are and a possible solution through renounciation of anonymity (2012)
  4. On scamming in Bitcoin not being worth it (2012)
  5. On Bitcoin being freedom with direct illustration of S.MPOE apparent woes in the marketplace that are a sign of life rather than a reason to worry. (2012)
  6. On MP having nixed p2p, colored coins and similars with the rather important observation that it would have been both easier and more useful for those involved had they asked him about it *prior* to engaging in it, since they'd have gotten the same feedback without wasting their time and effort on a doomed attempt19 (2013)
  7. On concerted DDOS attacks on every major piece of BTC infrastructure and what that means, with a request to knowledgeable people (e.g. sysadmins) to weigh in on the matter. I find it interesting to note that the request went largely unanswered - there are 23 comments but not much weighing in on the matter. (2013)
  8. On MP's warning to Bitcoin developers regarding the state of the codebase and their correct role as opposed to imagined role, including also the pointed observation on the effects of being nice to everyone at all times compared to the effects of disproportionatelly and visibly punishing offenses. (2013)
  9. On strategic superiority as correct implementation of a full solution, including hidden and forward looking parts vs the shallow "successes" based on replicating what seems to work without understanding the hidden resorts that make it work in the first place. (2013)
  10. On children vs adults and how most coders involved in Bitcoin (and generally coders that think more coding is some sort of solution to practical problems) are firmly in the children category. (2013)
  11. Making the case for people to stop buying Bitcoins at $100+ 20 as further pressure of that sort can kill the whole project given its significant weaknesses at the time: the codebase, self-styled developers, network state and lack of effective decentralisation.
  12. In detail on all sorts of observed problems with MtGox with the conclusion that, as a result, MtGox is doing more of a disservice to Bitcoin than any sort of service and effectively leeching money with very little contribution to the ecosystem in which it operates21. As a bonus, the article explains the reason for the previous nixing of a premature rally, namely to avoid the shock of the subsequent crash.
  13. Argued position on just how and why the press does not and can not matter in Bitcoin, reiterating also the fact that Bitcoin is a construct of math rather than one of language and therefore coercitive in nature as opposed to persuasive. (2013)
  14. Proof of previous claim regarding the number of Bitcoins coming to market turning out to be correct. (2013)
  15. An early warning on what it takes to decide who will have any say in any Bitcoin regulation and the concrete reasons why it seems set to be more likely the Chinese rather than the Americans. (2013)
  16. On Bitcoin making untenable the current state-bank conglomeration and the two possible answers to that, depending on whether aimed specifically against banks or against the state. (2013)
  17. Exposing Gavin Andresen's attempt to effectively break Bitcoin by having a server allow transactions. The article also makes the point that one should pick an old Bitcoin client and stick with that, never upgrading it. (2013)
  18. Noting that the relevance of the US as regulatory authority in Bitcoin is further diminishing and illustrating it with a ruling that the possibility to use Bitcoin as money makes Bitcoin money and therefore this in turn makes investment of Bitcoin an investment of money. (2013)
  19. Proof of Mircea Popescu's earlier correct evaluation of Silk Road's lack of relevancy for Bitcoin's market. (2013)
  20. Statement of June 28th as Levison day for his turning over of private SSL keys as an 11 pages printout in 4-point type. (2013)
  21. A discussion of the Levison court record pointing out that the judge resisted what amounts to an effective attempt to take over but that the judge in question is also quite old and unlikely to have younger colleagues that are able or willing to do the same. There's a research job offered with a starting bounty of 25 BTC and a mechanism for further donations (either anonymous or signed) to support the work. The job closes about 3 years later with just one additional donation of ~1.77 BTC from Mod6 and some amount of work performed by mats and checked at some points by hanbot (so the 2 split the bounty with 2BTC going to hanbot and the rest to mats). (2013)
  22. On Bitcoin overcoming the only real roadblock in its way and becoming the most important human activity to date, as the Chinese and the US government start mining Bitcoin at roughly the same time. (2013)
  23. Summary of several scams exposed and meanwhile confirmed as scams as well as a clear statement of having laid down the law in the Bitcoin space. (2013)
  24. On Bitcoin as a replacement of *everything*, including the electoral system, stating that "any Bitcoin business is a sovereign government, making policy decisions in autocratic manner". (2013)
  25. A meme. (2013)22
  26. On chances to matter in the Bitcoin space narrowing and reducing as time passes, and choices having the same impact (on the people making them, not on Bitcoin), whether made deliberately or through omission. (2013)
  27. Setting the record straight on MtGox's history serving as an otherwise recognisable blueprint of incompetence, dishonesty and delusions of self-importance resulting in the usual scams and losses for everyone who fails to learn. (2014)
  28. On the importance of Bitcoin being fully fungible, with detailed discussion of both theory and practice. (2014)
  29. On the correct way to interact with the forum (bitcoin-assets at the time) and with Bitcoin more broadly, including the dangers of making untenable claims or promises. (2014)
  30. A warning essentially, on how and why collaboration with the enemy has always turned out badly for the collaborator, illustrated with the historical case of Georg Ritter von Flondor. (2014)
  31. Mircea Popescu states his disagreement with Warren Buffett's optimism regarding the future of the US and sets his money by it too, through a bet on Bitcoin surpassing Berkshire as an investment. (2014)
  32. A clear indictment of the so called "Bitcoin Foundation" and specifically Vesseness and Hearn for their role in promoting spammers, creating hardforks, attempting to introduce vulnerabilities in the code and generally being harmful to the Bitcoin space through every action they attempted. (2014)
  33. The clear statement of Bitcoin being sovereign, the importance of deeds (and the total lack of importance of verbiage otherwise), the lack of anybody else having *done* something concrete towards the implementation of Bitcoin as a sovereign and the very point of the Republic to strengthen and empower participants: "None of this to in any way diminish the simple and hopefully obvious fact that without Satoshi, this entire discussion would never have happened. So yes I am great for having had shoulders of giants to climb on. The point is : climb ye in turn on the shoulders of giants that are so you may be great in turn, instead of screaming in your own head / padded cell / desert, like a madman. We're not going for a collection of madmen over here, we're going for the greatest republic that ever was, that ever could be, with liberty and justice for all."23 (2014)
  34. The 3rd bitcoin conference. (2014)
  35. The stark imposition of change that Bitcoin forces on everyone, illustrated with an interaction between Mircea Popescu, Andreas Antonopoulos and Scott James. (2014)
  36. On Bitcoin being worth at least 10`000 dollars and the old age "strategy" of "clever" people aiming to come in late and enjoy all benefits while avoiding all the struggles involved with getting in early. (2014)
  37. Proof of correcteness for MP's previous and very prompt claim regarding governments getting involved in mining Bitcoin and the launch of S.WOL (with mike_c). (2014).
  38. An illustration by means of Bitlicenses of the ridiculousness of various attempts to claim authority over Bitcoin by mere statement of laws and licenses. (2014)
  39. The Bitcoin Lordship List. (2014)
  40. On Mircea Popescu's influence in Bitcoin vs others' pretenses to the same, illustrated with market charts set against the timings of his relevant public articles. (2014)
  41. A stern warning that all forks of Bitcoin will sink. (2014)
  42. On Bitcoin not being a commodity, Gavin Andressen having no real responsibilities in Bitcoin and the Financial Times being clueless on Bitcoin. (2015)
  43. Updated lordship list. (2015)
  44. On the real state of the Bitcoin network with concrete data from Mircea Popescu's own private records24. (2015)
  45. On Satoshi's article on the old mail list stating his disagreement with pretender-Bitcoin developers (2015).
  46. The Basic Bitcoin Competency Certification. (2015)
  47. Mircea Popescu's commissioned artwork of well-known characters in the Bitcoin space. (2015)
  48. On Bitcoin taking over and changing everything, justice system included. (2015)
  49. Mircea Popescu offers through a signed message a 1 Bitcoin reward for the death of Pieter Wuille. (2015)
  50. Illustrated history of the failed attempts at wrecking Bitcoin and Mircea Popescu's role in thwarting them. (2016)
  51. Plain statement of what is required as a prerequisite for any change to the Bitcoin protocol. (2016)
  52. The third update to the lordship list. (2016)
  53. The start of a list of rogue states with the US as the first and only entry, added by Mircea Popescu (the list was open to proposals from the lordship list but there were never any proposals made). (2016)
  54. A further update to the lordship list in its third year due to the split following BitBet's dissolution and the resulting move away from #bitcoin-assets and to #trilema. (2016)
  55. A republican thesaurus (2016).
  56. Setting the record straight on how #bitcoin-assets came to be and Mircea Popescu's role in it. (2016)
  57. How the CIA factbook on TMSR would look like, for full illustration of what crap such factbooks are. (2016)
  58. On the unfairness and meaninglesness of the power to give names and the inevitable interplay between said power, people doing their best being at times not enough and human nature including complaining.. (2016)
  59. On how the result of the 2016 election in the US was decided in the Republic's forum. (2016)
  60. The 4th version of the lordship list (2017)
  61. A clear statement on how Mircea Popescu single handedly protected Bitcoin from all the attempts at subversion and a pointed question as to why are there none others coming forwards to join in. (2017)
  62. A Republican Glossaurus aka Glossary + Thesaurus together. (2017)
  63. The translation to English of a S.MG boardroom discussion on choosing an encryption solution for Eulora, given that there is no Republican solution and no meaningful way to even evaluate the options otherwise. (2017)
  64. On the problem of a job board given the interplay between the cost of specifying a job and the exam-taking practice. (2017)
  65. On why integration is bad for Bitcoin, with a discussion of Bitpay's attempts as example and noting that any attempt to include a third party in the payment structure or break the protocol (for any reason) is effectively breakage and not to be tolerated. (2017)
  66. On the attempts to have the shape of things without their essence, with concrete example in the claim of a Republic without MP or a WoT without the WoT. (2018)
  67. On technology and governance, as originally stated by Blaise Pascal and with direct application to daily life in the Republic as everyone has to be good at both technology and governance. (2018)
  68. The 5th year of the lordship list. (2018)
  69. On the Republic having reached the point where it can and therefore it has to run conversion engines, illustrated with concrete data from Mircea Popescu's own conversion engine for girls and noting that the very creation of an environment in which such conversion can happen is concrete proof of development. (2018)
  70. On sovereignity being effectively "constructed, first and foremost, out of mandatory translation of events into meaning" and how this is worked in practice by the Republic when it rejects the interpretations of events as given by fiat pretend-sovereigns. (2018)
  71. The 6th version of the lordship list. (2019)
  72. Evidence showing that all freenode servers are owned by the US and questions on whether to move off freenode directly or peer the servers for now in the idea of moving later. There is an animated discussion in the comments at this and a general consensus on moving off freenode but in practice the move fails to ever happen. (2019)
  73. The temporary closure of #trilema for lack of working infrastructure (logs in particular). There's some discussion in the comments between me and Mircea Popescu touching on education and the design of Trilema as an elevator to take people all the way to the top - as opposed to only as high as they were initially prepared to go. (2019)
  74. The licensing of TMSR castles coming naturally after the proposed change to the voice model to move away from one centered on a bot to one centered on the owner of the chan. (2019)
  75. The closure of the TMSR project for reasons related to the wider environment that made it essentially impossible in the form it was designed to be. (2020)
Infrastructure, Business, Tools and Tech Design & Dev.
  1. On the lack of reliable infrastructure with the stark conclusion that "either I make one or there's none" (2012)
  2. On GPG contracts25 (2012)
  3. On MPSICs (2012)
  4. On a unified protocol for BTC security exchanges based on MPEx's set of commands. (2012)
  5. On a code review and insurance service (2012).
  6. On some potential troubles for business operating in Bitcoin due to Bitcoin's anonymous (rather: pseudonymous) nature, illustrated with S.DICE's case of being unable to prove it didn't indulge in insider trading. MP offers 100 BTC bounty for anyone coming up with a solution (and even a split for a partial solution) but neither bounty is never claimed. (2013)
  7. On a free cash machine as a concrete and visible implementation of how Bitcoin splits human society into haves and have nots. (2013)
  8. On a brain wallet hidden among innocuous pictures. (2013)
  9. The problem of useful work that can't be directly paid for, illustrated with the case of Dooglus' statistical analysis of S.DICE data (while S.DICE would have gladly paid for such work, it effectively could not do it without damaging the credibility of the work itself). (2013)
  10. A complete solution for processing Bitcoin payments, explained in detail and including a discussion of its vulnerabilities and ways of addressing them. (2013)
  11. On why social engineering is the main threat one faces both as a customer and as a service provider, illustrated with a concrete example of phishing and complete with actionable strategies to protect oneself. (2014)
  12. The Web of Trust and how it works. (2014)
  13. On the usefulness of Bitcoin for discreet escorts. (2014)
  14. The move from the broken "web forum" to the better solution of a two-parts "forum" consisting in a shared, real-time communications channel (#bitcoin-assets at the time) and a collection of personal libraries (the blogs). The article lists the advantages of this approach (resilience, security, quality) and mentions the fact that this was not an overnight move but one planned and pushed for by Mircea Popescu for more than a year. (2014)
  15. Trilema adverts and War of Life (S.WOL). (2014)
  16. The launch of The Bitcoin Foundation meant to maintain the core values of the original author of the Bitcoin implementation and foster community growth and development around those values. Mircea Popescu contributed 10BTC to the new Foundation and clearly stated his availability to contribute more, provided that the funds are used efficiently and effectively26. (2014)
  17. The deeds system (in bitcoin-assets at the time). (2014)
  18. The neat graphical representation of the Republic's WoT after the latest update to the lordship list. (2015)
  19. The first introduction of the Bitcoin ISP27. (2015)
  20. The introduction of V and the statement of its fundamental principles: software being "the property of the people running it, and part of the systems running it"; identity being "constructed, upon a fixed support, by others' view".
  21. Setting out plainly and explicitly some of the warts of Bitcoin code. (2016)
  22. A competition for a block cipher with a prize of 10BTC offered by Mircea Popescu. The prize could not be awarded, for lack of entries. (2016)
  23. The clean closing statement for BitBet. (2016)
  24. The closure of X.EUR due to David Francois leaving Paymium. (2016)
  25. The description of Permanence as "the world's first AAI" (autonomous artificial intelligence) to be worked towards. (2016)
  26. A draft of an ideal Bitcoin wallet with an invitation to further discussion. (2016)
  27. The draft specification of Gossipd, a protocol (and its implementation) for communications relying on RSA challenges for identification. (2016)
  28. The specification of requirements for a bot to be voiced in #trilema. (2016)
  29. The specification for a trade bot for Eulora. (2016)
  30. On the different options on how to cut the wallet from the rest of the Bitcoin code with an explicit invitation for further discussion in the comments section. No discussion follows in the comments. (2016)
  31. On the need for Republican DNS and a simple way to do it, with a direct call to action, asking who wants to do it. There's some discussion in the comments with the few commenters essentially voicing out the reasons why "it won't/can't work" and Mircea Popescu pointing out how it can nevertheless be made to work28. (2016)
  32. A proposal for trb-i addressing with explicit invitation to comment and discuss it further. There's very limited discussion in the comments with Stanislav Datskvskiy. (2017)
  33. The detailed recipe of how to stand up a constellation of Bitcoin nodes, coming as a result of a failed attempt to do so. The article praises The Bitcoin Foundation and specifically mod6's work on the code base. (2017)
  34. The early draft of TMSR-RSA encryption scheme29 (2017)
  35. An initial draft of GNS in the wider context of a Republican OS complete with V and Gossipd, inviting further discussion. (2018)
  36. The implicit clients of a Republican OS: TRB, replacement ircd, AMP (from LAMP), Eulora, TMSR-PGP, some coreutils. (2019)
  37. The description of the proposed changes to the voice model to center them on the owner of a chan as opposed to a bot. (2019)

Having re-read and thought through all the above articles again and looking once more at an even wider picture, there is a striking similarity that I can see in how both MPEx and essentially Bitcoin itself went from operating in plain view and offering a widely open avenue of access and involvement at first to operating in the end essentially behind closed doors and with very narrow avenues left for involvement - if any at all, indeed 30. On top of this and not unrelated, it seems to me that there has been throughout a continuous decrease in the level at which support and education aimed for facilitating access was provided, not for lack of willingness on part of the provider but for lack or insufficient numbers or capacity of takers. I dare say that's not exactly surprising, after all31.

The above review of all those articles provided me with a much clearer picture regarding first of all the huge amount and diversity of resources, approaches and support that was offered32. And for my own needs, I accept this as indisputable evidence of that old, old lesson that I should have learned already for all its bitterness: offering cannot do anything33 when lacking the matching request. So if there's anything to be done indeed, it's first the request that needs to be grown, teased out, brought forwards itself - and the same experience reviewed above points to the fact that there's precious little request-capacity to be found as such in the current environment. Nevertheless, there still is, if not in those too old to want to grow, then in those too young to not want to grow34.

The way I see it, the extensive and quite exhaustive attempt to build the Republic, for all its failure in reaching the original goal, left nevertheless a significant inheritance, of which the knowledge and lessons contained in the articles reviewed above are only a part. What is done with this inheritance - if anything - and what comes out of it though depends on what one does and how, as it's always the case. I plan to make use of it though, especially in the form of learning from what has been made available and not attempting to reinvent the wheel at any point.

My work remains fully focused on Eulora. My personal project, the Young Hands Club, remains fully focused on providing -indeed on carving even, if need be- the sort of learning space that I can't see anywhere else around, aimed at figuring things out, not at "being right/comfortable" and focused on changing oneself for the better not on protecting oneself from change. While I can't change a whole environment overall, I can still provide this different space and I intend to do it indeed. As there is no TMSR anymore though, Young Hands changes too in that it can't aim for the nonexistent Republic, nor can it provide anymore direct access to a wealth of knowledge, resources and expertise beyond my own. And it further changes in that it has to stand entirely on my own authority such as it is, without the previous backing of a license from a higher authority and therefore without recourse to the same authority for any of those involved.

As to more minute changes to Young Hands and how it operates, I'll take the time to further mull over the relevant lessons from the TMSR experiment before I fully decide on the exact shape that each part of this project of mine is going to assume moving forwards. So far I'll say only that I see usefulness to it and I still stand by my original statement in #ossasepia:

diana_coman: fwiw and for as long as there is a use to it that I can see, I'll still be here.

  1. And if you didn't even consider that the publicly available is not all there is or was to it, then you are indeed either very young and inexperienced or terribly shallow. 

  2. Yes, this is a basic requirement for a review - to actually re-view stuff, no matter how well you think you know it, no matter how many times you "viewed" it before, no matter *what*. And no, it's still not *enough by itself* either, I'm not giving "recipes" here for you to follow to the letter while missing the substance and then claiming you "did what it said". 

  3. A side effect of having re-read all those articles is that I got a significant dose of seeing a LOT of effort at stating things clearly getting even more clearly ignored instead of used. Can you tell? 

  4. asciilifeform on irc. 

  5. I admit I had a problem as to where does this article belong exactly, among my categories. Upon reflection I decided it counts best as education - the sort with drawing pictures for explaining matters. 

  6. Seeing how the 3rd proposed resolution goes as far as to mention the end of 2015 and it's 2020 already, what would you say happened in the end? 

  7. I further find of interest here MP's clear note regarding the lack of a different actual voice in the space and how time is running out for such voice to have any space left to say anything since he will soon have covered the whole thing: "Time is ticking away, in the sense that during the past four years there's not yet been an actual criticism of Bitcoin published by anyone anywhere, in spite of a lot of ridiculously uninformed gargle being regurgitated wherever the brightly stupid meet. If you wait much longer I'll have covered the whole field and there won't really be any room to even try anymore. Hurry up, clocks are ticking away." 

  8. Re-reading this in 2020, it's really one sentence that pops out for its... understatement perhaps of the trouble it points out: "And so yes, the larger society which has prevented their individuation to date is in fact all encompassing, and all-"powerful", and ready to meddle some more." 

  9. The point of "multiple options" existing unmolested for as long as they are either only theoretical or otherwise small and inconsequential enough so nobody really cares about them is perhaps true in a wider context than just cryptocurrencies. Just saying here. 

  10. Go and read the whole thing and then re-read it a couple of times for good measure too. I'll keep here the core statement though because it explains more than I wish it did:

    The adult children wish to start a house of their own. The infantile children do not, absolutely, as the chief point in their mind, wish to start a house of their own. This is actually the last thing they could possibly want, because they do in fact depend on the support of their parents (here in the form of welfare redistributionsiv) to survive. They do however still wish for all the things people commonly desire : a greater measure of control of their surroundings of interest coupled with a lesser degree of responsibility for their surroundings of interest, and the estimation of their betters. Not of their peers, infantile offspring is not yet advanced enough to have peers, which is exactly why they're not ready yet to have their own house, either. They wish the estimation of their betters, and their betters are, universally, the food dispenser and the punishment machine.


  11. Linking this to the infantile vs adult children kind of spoils most of the surprise of the outcome really. 

  12. Looking back at this now, it seems to me it rather got almost entirely overlooked, despite being the very clear and plain statement of *how to even work* effectively and fully leverage the forum and the others that were available. 

  13. On reflection this strikes me to have been the original idea of "open source" itself really - except of course those mythical continuators of work didn't materialise for open source as they didn't materialise for Republican work and possibly don't ever materialise for much at all just for it being made available. 

  14. It's funny to note though that, at the time, Mircea Popescu still considered that MtGox was not in the same bucket, "on account of its old age and well known brand". Needless to say - from the vantage of now as opposed to then - the old age and well known brand went poof soon enough after that. 

  15. You'd think this was obvious but then again, what is indeed obvious depends on who is looking really. 

  16. Looking back at this from 2020 and noticing that it's not even the first time when it's stated plainly, I really wonder just why and how did such a simple thing turn out to be in practice such a nearly impossible thing to do for most. And the plain and clear lack of value attached by so many over all those years to *having this option* even is yet another thing to look long and hard at because it clearly has deep roots and it's not going anywhere any time soon. 

  17. Ad delivery paid for in Bitcoin. 

  18. And I'll note here this tiny bit that carries now perhaps way more meaning than it seemed to carry back in 2012:

    pigeons you live in a place where fighting back worked. the rest of us live in the rest of the world where we got crushed.


  19. Does this sound familiar to you in 2020, 7 years later? If not, maybe in another 7 years or 70 years or 700 years, what's time to you after all, right? 

  20. It was 2013, not 2020. 

  21. Do compare and contrast this with any of the businesses that have been at any point listed on MPEx. 

  22. Could go into "education" too I suppose, but as this very short article says "they never listen", so I decided to set it as governance instead, there. 

  23. Were the giants too tall? Was the climbing too abrupt, were the winds too windy that high up and the air too rarefied and the years too many or too few or just not right, the sun too bright, the stars too cold and so on and so forth? Was it really something missing in the structure, would you say? And then pray tell - what exactly was it missing in *it*, what? But don't hurry to answer, take your time instead and go patiently through it all, take your time to collect bits and pieces like this, set them one next to the other as they gradually build the picture of what was meant to be, of what was built awaiting those able to make it be and then go and look at what and how it all turned out instead, years later. Keep both the start and the end at the same time in mind and see what that does, what it says, what answer it gives really all by itself. Or what answer you prefer to choose perhaps, instead of reading it from such stark record. That choice is an answer too, of course it is. 

  24. There's only ONE single comment to this and that one doesn't go terribly far either. 

  25. And I'll note here the fragment that sounds to me in hindsight as the very statement of the vision that was at the root of TMSR itself, the vision that carried within itself the assumption that it was indeed the tools that were missing and not the people: "Man at the center of all things. Man, the willing enforcer of his own promises. Man, the willing contributor to the wealth of an obviously much reduced, but by that fact probably much nicer, lovable and huggable cute little state." 

  26. No, they weren't used and it's not even that they weren't used efficiently and effectively but simply that the funds were never used. At all. Why exactly? What had those funds missing so that they were ignored essentially, just not used at all? 

  27. It took ~2 years for this idea to get a practical attempt through BingoBoingo's ISP in Uruguay that failed nevertheless to thrive and closed down in 2019. 

  28. To me it sounds especially painful on re-read because it reminds me way too much of some conversations I had with 5 year olds. Seriously, they are adamant that "it won't work" - when they either don't want to do it (for whatever reason) or they don't want to admit that they had no idea it could be done. And what they generally want is reassurance that it was/is indeed a terribly difficult task in itself rather than a lack of theirs making it seem difficult to them - once *that* given, *some* will at least move on and do it. But I'm talking of 5 year olds here, ffs. 

  29. This was implemented in EuCrypt for Eulora. 

  30. For Bitcoin, TMSR was precisely the wide open avenue of access and its failure and closure means not at all the failure or closure of Bitcoin - what silliness is that - but simply the closure of that previously open access. For MPEx, compare the initial plan with the situation 5 years later, at the time of the closing statement for MPEx and see for yourself if there's any similarity or not. 

  31. It does perhaps beg the question as to what level is left now or just how low can the level meaningfully go anyway, before there's no point to spending resources on it but this is a question that those spending the resources answer for themselves after all, not some generic question on which everyone and anyone is called to give their "opinion" of words that cost them nothing at all. 

  32. I shall not attempt to make some itemized list here as I'll end up re-writing that Bitcoin category if I go for completeness and otherwise I think it's best if anyone interested just goes through the entries in the table above and extracts their own list, as they see fit for whatever specific perspective on this they may have in mind, anyway. Or if you really can't see what was offered, just ask a clear question in the comments I suppose - that's how things get clarified anyway, through questions and answers, after all. 

  33. Other than frustrate I suppose, on both sides really. 

  34. And note that I'm saying this based on a whole lot more than what is visible online as experience with helping people learn. Sure, it may still be that I'm just an optimist or anything of the sort. There are no guarantees upfront for anything, there never can be. 

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10 Responses to “A Review of the Bitcoin Category on trilema.com”

  1. How much can happen in a mere two weeks [provided they're not an engineer's "two weeks", of course]...

    PS. Very impressively robust pingback sender you seem to have there, did you meanwhile figure out the ancient mystery of wtf makes it fail sometimes ?

  2. Diana Coman says:

    Thank you, I was actually wondering if/how well this record number of pingbacks will make it. There was some code cleaning I did some time ago if memory serves but it's still a wtf/open problem on my list, as I can't say I figured out exactly what & when fails there.

    As there are already quite a few number of things adding up on my mpwp-related list, I will probably get to digging into all of it in more detail sooner rather than later so maybe I can kill this trouble then too but so far it's sadly still there and playing up at times as far as I can tell.

  3. Actually thinking about it, I only got 65, out of what turns out to have been 224, so it's not actually doing any better, it just had a larger sample to fuck up.

  4. Diana Coman says:

    Myeah, at ~ 1 in 4 it's actually quite close to the usual "working", even so close that I wouldn't be surprised if I end up finding somewhere the root trouble to be similar to that PS approach of "send 1 message in 10 'cause sending all is too much".

  5. For some reason your 20th footnote lost its sup tag in the article body ?

  6. Diana Coman says:

    Thanks for pointing it out, fixed it now. It turns out I had set the footnote within the anchor tags for the link and that meant no sup tag in the article body.

  7. Very nice list, will bookmark, thank you!

  8. Diana Coman says:

    Glad to hear it and thank you for reminding me of this, actually.

  9. [...] My personal project, the Young Hands Club, remains fully focused on providing -indeed on carving even, if need be- the sort of learning space that I can't see anywhere else around, aimed at figuring things out, not at "being right/comfortable" and focused on changing oneself for the better not on protecting oneself from change. [...]

  10. [...] I can do is seed you with some links, you could start with his CV or Diana's review of the Bitcoin category or JFW's top 130 picks or if you're into films, there's Trilematograf or if [...]

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