Bitcoin Adventures.

The Bitcoin Kill Switch is quite alive, well, and waiting to be pressed:

“I can’t assure with 100% certainty that the all the black dots are owned by Satoshi, but almost all are owned by a single entity, and that entity began mining right from block 1, and with the same performance as the genesis block. It can be identified by constant slope segments that occasionally restart. Also this entity is the only entity that has shown complete trust in Bitcoin, since it hasn’t spend any coins (as last as the eye can see). I estimate at eyesight that Satoshi fortune is around 1M Bitcoins, or 100M USD at current exchange rate. I’m sure there will be plenty of people that will carefully analyze the source data set and come up with the exact figure, which will be very close, but nevertheless they will scream at me again.”

BITSLOG: “The Well Deserved Fortune of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin creator, Visionary and Genius.”

How many U.S. dollars / bricks of cocaine / alpaca socks are there, in total, circulating in the Bitcoin economy?  How many of them does one man deserve to be able to vacuum up at his pleasure? Evidently, if you ask Bitcoin users: all of them, and then some…

In February, I wrote a review of a Bitcoin-based stock exchange:

A reader from Romania, one Mircea Popescu, asked me to try out his MPEx, a stock and futures exchange working entirely in Bitcoin.  He presented me with a free account [1] containing one bitcoin, operational from Dec. 21, 2012 to Feb. 5, 2013.

What exactly did I do with my demo account on MPEx?  I am afraid the answer is rather boring.  Given that a single bitcoin is rather short of what one might need as collateral funds in futures trading, I focused solely on stocks.  That is to say, I picked the two best-performing stocks on MPEx and bought a small quantity of each.  These were, unsurprisingly: MPOE (MPEx’s own stock) and DICE (Satoshi Dice, a kind of casino.)  In the end, I ended up with ~1.4 BTC.  Popescu’s service works exactly as described.

“A Review of MPEx, the Bitcoin Stock Exchange.”

Mr. Popescu’s company is still in business and doing rather well.  Though apparently not quite as well as before.

I admit that I’ve sometimes wondered who else might have been asked to review MPEx.

Behold, we have (one) answer:

I’ve lived my life so far without the vaguest idea as to who Scott Locklin might be. It turns out he’s an ex biker/factory worker who lately fancies himself some sort of financier, scientist and whatnot – practically speaking yet another Kludge. I don’t happen to particularly care, the world is full of people toiling under the burdens of unwarrantedly high self esteem.

Our paths on this Earth crossed about an hour ago, when my PR asked for permission to tell him off, which resulted in my review of their communication so far. It’s an amusing little adventure, which I’ll retell presently, but first allow me to give a little context.

To : Scott Locklin

Date: Thursday, December 20, 2012, 7:15 AM


Would you be interested in publishing a review of MPEx, the Bitcoin securities exchange? Compensation is available. You wouldn’t be expected to write anything other than the truth.

Let me know.

Mircea Popescu: “How to fail – the Scott Locklin method.”

Looks like Locklin, an ex-physicist and occasional reader of this site, was also contacted by Popescu’s slave girl. [1] I am certain that he will be a bit surprised – and entertained – to learn that he had in fact spent his life toiling away in a factory.

The slave asked of Locklin the very same thing she asked of me, in the same words, and on the same day. And personally, I have no problem with reviewing various oddities, so long as the oddities are interesting. And, having experimented with Bitcoin in various ways (not involving spending money) since 2010, I had quite a bit of fun trying out MPEx and writing down my impressions thereof.

But it turned out that Locklin isn’t much of a Bitcoin enthusiast:

From : Scott Locklin

Date: Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

I’m not a huge fan of bit coin. Can’t think of any real purpose to trading them held in escrow. If you had exchanged backed contracts, it might be a different story, but it appears you don’t.

Bit coin escrow I do not care for I have to ask me, what’s it there for?

Mircea Popescu: “How to fail – the Scott Locklin method.”

Whether Locklin is an overall cryptocurrency skeptic, or simply isn’t ready for the Brave New World of trust-free electronic commerce, I cannot tell. But the fact remains: he wasn’t terribly interested in playing with Mr. Popescu’s service, except as part of his day job.

And, learning this, Popescu proceeded to reason from the assumption that Locklin is an idiot – which he isn’t. Instead he is a skeptic and a “zoological” hater of anything which stinks of trendiness, in much the same way I am. Were I not an amateur cryptographer with a fairly good mathematical understanding of Bitcoin and its technological implications, I am not certain that I would find it the least bit appealing. [2] Certainly not in its present state: that of being covered head-to-toe in trendoid piss.

One interesting detail is that Popescu is worth (by his own – quite believable – admission) around $200M (U.S.)  He sees himself as royalty, and truly does pity us poor buggers who work for a living:

Since we (by which I mean MPEx in this case) have a lot of money at our disposal, and since I’m one of those weird types who still believes money should be used to promote socially valuable projects (as the monthly MPEx reports do attest), I’ve ordered a number of fringe bloggers be approached with an offer to discuss MPEx and make a little change for their efforts. The idea is that poverty and unemployment in the anglophone world and the United States especially being at record highs, and centripetal forces in the anglophone world and the United States especially being at their strongest in many years, it may be salutary to give a little rope to those least apt to survive on their own, which is to say those outside of the corporate and governmental mesh which compose the emerging new socialism.

I’ve never reviewed the list, I’ve never reviewed the exchanges, I’ve never reviewed the results in any systematical manner. I simply never cared. This to my detriment, because lo and behold what sort of gems I’m missing out on…

Mircea Popescu: “How to fail – the Scott Locklin method.”

And so it turns out that the ~1.4 BTC I got from MPEx wasn’t quite equivalent to a free video card which a computer magazine might receive in exchange for a review.  It was really something else:

“The problem with this is, of course, that he [Locklin] wasn’t being offered money for his opinion. He was being offered money for charity. There is a difference, even if the aforementioned burdens of unwarrantedly high self esteem demand it not be recognised.

This would have normally been the end of it, my prominent position in the most important thing to happen since electricity (yes, Bitcoin is more important than the semiconductor) makes me the target to a lot of confused communication from a lot of confused individuals, which in ninety nine cases out of the hundred go exactly nowhere.”

Mircea Popescu: “How to fail – the Scott Locklin method.”

Make no mistake, I am rather fond of Popescu, whether or not he imagines himself a Napoleon; and I am glad that he lives. (How many people are there with whom one could have a conversation like this one?)  I don’t even believe, at the present time, that he is a scam artist, or even a potential scam artist.  In fact, I fully agree with this customer’s colorful comment:

“Shady ROMANIAN character opens up unregistered bitcoin options exchange (complete with HTML from 1993) on his personal website (which also hosts porn) and charges exorbitant fees just to join, while constantly accusing pretty much everyone else in the bitcoin community of being a scammer, and, along with his (possibly virtual) -PR lackey, acts like a loudmouthed douchebag … but apparently scams no one.” (yet?)  Thank you Mircea for your services to the bitcoin community and for apparently being an honest and trustworthy entrepreneurial businessman. (Making you perhaps the only honest and trustworthy Romanian I know.)”

(Quoted by) Mircea Popescu: “The Bitcoin Drama Timeline.”

But, my dear readers, I will have you know that today I sent back Mr. Popescu’s 1.41421096 BTC.  Not because I dislike him (even if I did, this alone would not be reason enough: pecunia non olet and all that) – and not because I like him – though I hold him in some esteem: he’s rather unlikely to notice an extra BTC or two.

Instead, I did it because I would like to teach a little something to the man who does not believe that anyone else (and certainly anyone not worth >=$200M) has anything left to teach him.  Popescu might have an atomic icebreaker, while I would then have only a rowboat.  But the rowboat does not need anything from the icebreaker.  Not everyone is a charity case [3], and not everyone who disagrees with a clever man is an illiterate idiot.

[1]  Mr. Popescu claims to own actual slaves. I’ll take his word for it.
[2]  People who claim to find Bitcoin interesting, while comparing it in any way to, say, Warcraft gold, aren’t thinking about Bitcoin at all, but rather some weird mental chimera of their own.
[3]  Yes, there is a BTC donation address on this page.  It is there on the off chance that someone is a wealthy oddball who wants to put serious money behind my ideas.  Stranger things have happened. This would be a truly insane thing to do: especially considering that any legal ownership of the results by the donor is permanently off the table. But I do not presently lack for money, food, FPGAs, luxuries, etc. – only free time.  Donations which cannot buy me free time (by freeing me from commercial work) will merit a “thank you” but will not bring the Loper architecture any closer to completion. At any rate, I no more expect such donations than I expect to find hundred-dollar bills on the asphalt. But I still refuse to ignore the asphalt entirely, perhaps out of childhood habit.

This entry was written by Stanislav , posted on Wednesday April 17 2013 , filed under Bitcoin, Distractions, Hot Air, NonLoper, Philosophy . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

8 Responses to “Bitcoin Adventures.”

  • I gave up on Bitcoin mining because I could not afford an ASIC mining rig and many of them were defective anyway. I am doing litecoin mining now with my GPU.

    • Stanislav says:

      Dear Orion Blastar,

      As I understand, Bitcoin mining is presently a loser’s game unless you have a botnet – or a currently-existing bag of ASICs (vs. having the latter once a great many people do, raising the difficulty factor substantially.)

      Litecoin is only safe until somebody wires a stick of DRAM to a Litecoin ASIC. A simple matter of time. And there is reason to think that Litecoin mining is even now dominated by botnets. (I have lately been involved in studying botnets commercially, and Litecoin miners are apparently a-dime-a-dozen in the malware world.)


  • It’s kind of amusing that a man of MP’s alleged wealth and power is that …. sensitive … that he takes out time from his busy day to not notice poor lil’ nobodies such as myself.

    • Stanislav says:

      Dear Scott Locklin,

      MP spends an astonishing amount of time on IRC (freenode, #bitcoin-assets) paying attention to an entire legion of nobodies.


      • Yeah, in doing my dillegence on him and his “exchange,” I found a lot of such stuff. I guess I remember wasting that much time on internet idiocy: I kind of want those hours back. Maybe he’ll feel the same some day.

        I am not sure how far my principal’s interest in BTC will go, or how much longer I can maintain interest in the subject, but it is good to know you’re a potential resource.

        • Stanislav says:

          Dear Scott Locklin,

          Feel free to ask questions, keeping in mind that I am not exactly a world-famous expert on Bitcoin (unlike Popescu and friends.) And if your organization is interested in blockchain analysis (that is, BTC de-anonymization) put them in touch with me directly.


  • The post makes myself pondering if the price of bitcoin btc will rise drastically and if the result might hurt the gaming industry?

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