W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments@w3.org > September 2013

Re: Tradehill Bitcoin exchange shut down for 2nd time in 2 years

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 19:56:24 -0400
Message-ID: <522E6028.3060901@digitalbazaar.com>
To: Joseph Potvin <jpotvin@opman.ca>
CC: Web Payments CG <public-webpayments@w3.org>
On 09/08/2013 09:56 PM, Joseph Potvin wrote:
> That's why the
> financial system incumbents will not let bitcoin be the sort of
> bitcoin that its community envisions, because that would require that
> the incumbents cede part of their field to bitcoin geeks, who would
> thereby get to make the de facto laws. The incumbents are not going to
> let that happen.

I think you may be surprised by the number of people in "incumbent"
institutions that are very interested in Bitcoin and want to see it
succeed. These people are not very forthcoming with their opinions in
public, but their personal desire to see the worlds financial system
improve the condition of millions of individuals around the world
exceeds their desire to keep things status quo.

That is not to say that there is some truth to what you say. I wouldn't
state it as strongly as you seem to above. I'm sure you didn't mean it
to sound as strongly as you do above (based on what you wrote that follows).

> My recommendation is
> to anticipate and discuss such civil code matters early on, so that
> deep business architectural bugs don't get built into the application
> layer.

Absolutely. That is vital.

> It seems to me that nothing in a W3C Web Payments standard or
> reference implementation awaits resolution of any virtual currency
> issues at all. The requirement is simply that the standard and
> reference implementation "must not exclude" currencies issued from
> other than central bank sources.

Yes, correct.

To be clear, my concern was that the danger we run with technologies we
create here is that regulations could make it such that only a very
small fraction of very large multinational organizations could use it.
For example, certain implementations of PaySwarm (at the moment) are
only implementable by Federal Credit Unions, large banks, and large
multinational organizations.

That isn't a problem if we all love those organizations, trust them with
our financial infrastructure, and know that they will do their best to
establish a level playing field and push financial innovation on the
Internet. Historically, that has not been the case. We want the
technologies we create here to be implementable and useful to as many
people as possible.

You can setup your own web server, install open source software, and run
a website with minimal effort and cost today. Can we create the
equivalent for our financial network? Can we create software standards
here that put people in charge of some significant portion of the
software that manages their financial resources? Can we make the concept
of a personal bank and payment processor a reality on the Web? I think
we certainly can from a technical standpoint. It's the regulatory aspect
that is going to be the problem.

That doesn't mean we don't create the technical solution. It just means
we have to be aware of the limitations of that solution based on the
current regulatory environment in states and countries.

-- manu

-- 
Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Meritora - Web payments commercial launch
http://blog.meritora.com/launch/
Received on Monday, 9 September 2013 23:56:55 UTC

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