Bitcoin the Manual Way (and, yep, some Ukraine updates)

Ukraine stuff… um, not sure what they’re smoking if they think a peace deal will hold without Yanukovych’s resignation. “No More Yanukovych” is the ONLY demand every single demonstrator agreed on!

Also, more signals intelligence for the people… protesters intercepted the radio transmissions of the police snipers that killed a good 70-100 people yesterday, posted it to YouTube. No translation yet.

(Side note, it feels REALLY WEIRD to be covering something from the same angle as Twitter’s authoritative source of US intelligence disinformation, a guy by the name of Schindler. Warning — he’s really good at twisting you into believing crazy stuff, use a condom if you’re gonna look him up. And just think, there are guys like him running around the Internet without letting on they’re professional spies…)

Before I move on to regular security stuff, one last thing. For those of you who like ‘power to the people’ but don’t like the nationalist overtones of Ukraine’s uprising, word on the street is check out Bosnia.

With that out of the way…

“Don’t trust anything you don’t understand” most certainly applies to how you send your money, and doubly so when there’s no friendly lady at customer service to refund it when something goes wrong.

As some of you are probably using Bitcoins by now, the following article is a highly recommended read.

The author essentially built his own Bitcoin client step by step, manually creating a transaction and feeding it into the system to make it work. In the process, he learned a LOT about the cryptocurrency which tons of people use and evidently few understand.

For example, did you know Bitcoin contains an entire (not quite Turing complete) scripting language? The currency is capable of much more than simply sending money from point A to point B, but can also be used to enforce many kinds of contracts.

(I’m most certainly NOT saying you should consider relying on Bitcoin contracts for your business! Ordinary payment processes are easy to replace with other ones if something goes wrong, but if you depend on cryptocurrency contracts you’re playing with fire.

Technical issues aside, there are some distinct similarities between Bitcoin and Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s almost-certainly-going-to-collapse-in-the-medium-future banking system, except that the uncountable wealth here goes to libertarian computer nerds instead of a banking family from Frankfurt am Main. As long as they cash out in time, ’cause while this is gonna make a lot of people rich, I don’t think it’s going to last as long as the banks…

Also, while I think Bitcoin is an excellent replacement for things like wire transfers — fucking 30 EUR fees! — if cryptocurrencies get widely required for day to day transactions, you and everyone else basically has to have a smartphone. UH… NOPE. MAKE THAT, DEFINITELY, NOPE. *runs away*)

Anyway, the article is a good tour through the occasionally bizarre complexity of Bitcoin.

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