#BUTTCOIN

A reader emailed me one time and said they wanted to donate a Bitcoin to me. At the time they were worth around $160 of non-pretend (but, honestly, ACTUALLY pretend) US currency. I replied back stating that I was not a robot, and did not have a data port installed for cryptocurrency upload, nor did I understand how to convert a gifted Bitcoin into, say, an Amazon gift card or something besides an abstract digital concept. That reader never replied. Now Bitcoins are worth several times what they were back then, but still no one has figured out how to spend them.

As far as I understand, Bitcoins are like if you could spend your Twitter followers. Which means Dogecoins are like if your job payed you in upvotes. Actually Dogecoins, a silly joke currency for digital laughs and dogeital ha ha’s, are now ¬†apparently real money, so I guess we just aren’t taking the concept of currency seriously anymore as a species.¬†Whatever man. Do what you want, I guess. “Live and let spiral helplessly into gullible digital financial ruin,” is what I always say.

COMMENTERS: I suppose everything you see on the Internet is currency now. Please make up your own Internet trope or meme-based monies in the comments. Also, please let me know if you’ve ever successfully earned, kept and spent a Bitcoin. HOW DO YOU EVEN DO IT?

Patrons got to read this comic (in a half finished state) a day early.

becomepatron

Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , .

84 Comments

  1. Bitcoins; For when you absolutely, positively, never want to be able to buy anything w/currency of value (or get laid), ever again!

  2. If you would accept dogecoin, I could send you a tip for this very nice comic.
    Without having a paypall account or a credit card and without the considerable (3%+) fees these companies would charge me for tipping you!

  3. Haha, its adorable how the bitcoin proponents think their imaginary money is actually a real thing. Like an imaginary friend, except everyone hates you for constantly tring to barter for things with it.

    • you think your dollars (or whatever national currency) aren't imaginary?

      All they are are bits of (non precious) metals, and paper that's no more than an IOU, that represent the possibility of transfer of some numbers from your account in some bank's database to someone else's.
      Those numbers in that database? They're only worth something because your bank, your government, the people you buy stuff from, the people who buy from you and you yourself say they are.

      I'm not arguing that digital currency isn't preeety useless, cos it is right now. But it's no more imaginary than "real" currency, except for the fact that governments don't believe in it. yet.

      • Atleast those imaginary numbers have n actual representation, bitcoin might as well be using monopoly money.

        • It's about faith. If no one believes in it, it's useless. You could use monopoly money to trade for stuff, but nobody believes in its real value. They can't accept it if other people won't. Money is a social construct.

          Let's just go back to trading items, like 5 apples for a bucket of water. Like they did in 'the olden days'!

          • Wait, isn't that Kyle's message to his "disciples" in that South Park episode where the town thought The Economy was an angry vengeful god?
            I like that one.

      • Yes, all money is "imaginary" in the sense that it is based on agreements between entities and perceived worth.

        What generally differentiates the "internet moneys" is that those entities are individuals, and as such the value of the money is VERY volatile (there are also a lot of issues regarding being able to spend those without converting to fiat, but I won't get into that).

        When you have 1 USD, it is worth ~0.7 euros, and that isn't going to change drastically over the course of a week. It might fluctuate, but that is over years (barring major global financial issues)

        When you have 1 bitcoin, it was worth ~308 euros two days ago and is worth ~320 euros today, and this is "normal" fluctuation. Next week it may be down to ~300 euros or even less. Having that much volatility in your money is not a good thing.

        • I agree, but the fluctuations have actually been decreasing with time. The problem has been speculators; as bitcoin ballooned, more folks saw it as a way to get rich quick, which further ballooned it. As the goldrush is dying down, so are the fluctuations, which in turn further discourages the speculators, so hopefully soon the feedback loop will operate in reverse.

          • When I was a kid, gasoline was 0.80 per gallon. In Chicago now it is hovering near 5.00 per gallon. I am 36 and not quite a geezer yet. What was your point about fluctuations again?

            • Gasoline is not a currency, it's a commodity. That's a pretty important distinction, because it means that it's used to fulfill needs directly, rather than being used an intermediary bartering tool.

      • As of May 1st my bank is charging me $5 if I move some of that imaginary, digital money into or out of that account. Even (and this is the part that really ticks me off) if I do it myself on their website over the Internet.

        No one has to go into the vault, find the box labelled "Kryss – Savings," open it, take out the money I want to move, close it, put it away, find the one marked "Kryss – Chequing," open it up, put the money in there, close it, put it away again, and make a note of the transaction in some kind of ledger book. It's all imaginary numbers! And when I do my banking over the Internet instead of in person or over the phone then I'm not even involving any real people! I'm doing all the work of telling their database which account my money should come out of and go into myself. How in the HELL should that cost me ANYTHING let alone five bucks every time if I do it more than once a month?!

        Urgh. I'm old enough to remember the days before ATMs, when if you wanted to get money out of your account you either wrote a cheque or went to the bank and stood in line, with everyone else trying to do it at the same time. The line-ups were ridiculous. And then they introduced ATMs, where, sure, you had to do all the work yourself but you could do it 24 hours a day (instead of during your lunch–when everyone was also trying to do it, or Saturday morning before you went shopping; this being before Sunday shopping was a thing and when just about everyone worked 9-5 and so only had Saturday to shop–you have NO idea how busy downtown was). And the ATMs were free to use but then you had to start paying a fee if you used the teller instead, because they had to pay for the employees, see. And then they phased out a lot of jobs there and then started charging fees all over the place. Know what? Back when I was a kid, you didn't get charged fees. I mean, sure, there was a fee for writing a cheque, but the banks had free use of your money while you stored it with them so they could finance loads and stuff, so yeah, there was a slight interest paid on it; but they didn't then CHARGE you to store your money with them.

        And now they want to charge me ridiculous fees for moving digital money around myself.

        –I really need to call my bank and talk to them about this. I am obviously way angrier about this than I thought. Darn kids. *Shakes cane*

        • It's true they don't have to pay a person to do that. But they do have to pay a person to maintain their webpages, security, servers, and customer service, should something go wrong. That said, $5 might be a little hefty, but it's easy to forget the lab monkeys that have to maintain the things that run the programs that let you do these things "yourself".

  4. I'm not sure when the internet passed me by – I mean, I've been on some version of the internet since the mid-80s, I was there for LOLcats, and Leeeeeroy Jeeeeenkins, and so many others. But when I see the entire goddamn internet losing their everloving minds over a picture of a dog, and not even a particularly interesting or amusing picture, I think I have to just walk away, pull my pants up to my nipples, and find a random teenager to harangue about the volume of their music.

    And to everyone insisting that my government-backed, FDIC-insured "real" money is every bit as imaginary as your DogeCoins, or McKaylaMoney, or PedoBearPesos: you're adorable.

    Though having said that, I'd buy into Fancy Bastard Francs…

    • The worth of bitcoins is roughly as imaginary as the worth of gold, though.

      Now, there are legitimate uses of gold, but that's a small fraction of the value. The overwhelming majority of the value contained in gold is the result of scarcity and perception.

      Bitcoin is like that, but slightly more invented (arguably bad), yet way easier to transfer over the internet (arguably good).

    • There was a time when US dollars really didn't have any of the things you describe there. Government backed? at first it was only related to a gold standard and the government didn't have a thing to do with that, it was the banks, FDIC-insured? The FDIC was not created until 1933, http://www.fdic.gov/about/learn/symbol/.. And there were several currencies in the US backed by different companies, states etc..

      And later Greenstamps were actually considered a currency for a while. All money is made up, just a group of people or organizations that actually say this money is the "standard" and products are worth "X" number of this money..

      • Yeah. Joshua Abraham Norton (first of his name), self proclaimed Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico printed his own paper currency which was largely accepted by Bay Area merchants. Like all things in this world, money, whether it's a shiny rock or slip of paper, is worth exactly what you can get for it.

      • During the Civil War I believe there were several competing currencies and once it ended the values of the 'losing" currencies started to decline rapidly. Or Im remembering that wrong.

      • When the US currency was on the gold standard the paper money was backed by gold and silver in the nation's vaults. The paper money was an IOU for gold and silver and redeemed for what the government held in reserve. When we went off the gold standard the US $ became worth as much as people's trust in the government.

        FDIC doesn't insure your money but your bank account. If your bank goes bust the FDIC insurance will give you US $ that the bank owed you but if the US $ became worthless that really doesn't help.

    • Krugerrands are an actual currency. A value-based one, no less, since they are actually made of gold. What was your point?

      • Archer, Season 5, Episode 6 – Dr. Kruger starts his own cryptocurrency and calls them "Krugerands". The joke was that there is an actual currency by the same name. I mention them here because it's a series of comments made-up types of crypocurrency

        My point is now thoroughly explained, and therefore funnier. *high-fives self*

  5. Bearbucks – You can use them to get head and tail after you fail to score at your bearbash. Also good for payporn on the interwebs.

  6. Google Stock.

    It's pretty much the same thing, being a virtual commodity that can be exchanged for cash but has no inherent value and lacks a nation-state to maintain that it has value.

  7. For those of you who insist that US Dollars are imaginary, I am currently exchanging them TOTALLY WITHOUT SURCHARGE for RichterBucks at a two to one price!
    Indeed, you can be in on the beginning of this fledgling new currency, and for every USDollar you send, I'll give you two Richter-bucks, veritably doubling your cash on hand!
    Just think how women will flock to you when you lay down RichterBucks(tm) at your local Ferarri dealership! (Italians are known to trade almost exclusively in imaginary money.)
    For those who think this is a scam, you'll all be sadly left behind when your local Starbucks refuses to take your existing dollars, and RichterBucks are the exclusive means of trade. Unlike most currently currencies, I can vouch that no animals were harmed in the making of RichterBucks, although several egos were potentially bruised.
    In Joel's case, since I'm right across town, he can currently and without reservation come exchange RichterBucks(tm) for a beer and hearty handshake of admiration.

  8. Bitcoins get stored in a wallet. You can have a local wallet by running the bitcoin program, or get a cloud wallet from someone like Blockchain.info.

    As to spending them, that's actually pretty simple for the most part. It's gotten way easier since they first started becoming popular, where you had to deal with shady websites that looked like something on Geocities. These days you have options like Gyft.com which will trade bitcoins for all manner of gift cards, from Amazon to *insert some company that begins with Z here*. You can also buy games from the HumbleBundle guys, they have a bitcoin option on checkout, which is generally how I buy my bundles.

    I look at bitcoins like any other stock, you can try to day trade it, or you can buy in and hope it goes up over the long run. I don't purchase it, I have a bitcoin miner, which I bought with bitcoins that I mined with my video card. Yes, it's mostly imaginary currency, but seeing as how the IRS has rules to tax it, it's not so imaginary that they're willing to ignore it.

    As to the US Dollar, yeah, it's imaginary too, but there's a much bigger organization backing it, which is the government. FDIC insurance only insures you against your bank collapsing, it doesn't insure that your money won't become worthless. If it did, what would they give you? More worthless money?

    • They'd have to insure you with a currency that never loses it's value… how about food? If the government can't recompensate you for money becoming worthless they can give you cans of food the more money they owe you the more food/better quailty

  9. Y U No Pesos? Probably a case of First World Francs. I mean, One Does Not Simply Shillings, but it does make me a Grumpy Guilder Cat.

  10. OMG, so much seriousity in the comments!

    That last speech is my new e-mail signature! And yes, I'm quoting you, not just stealing it…

    • I saw incoming links from there as soon as I put the comic up, but I know better than to read the comments.

  11. I'm not ashamed to admit that I snorted/choked when I read "ehrmegerd crerdert cerds" in the list of unacceptable currencies.

  12. Forever Alone Florins
    Dey Toork Our Jobs! Dollars

    I've been suspicious of Bitcoins since day 1, thinking the whole thing's a huge scam in the making. I read in, I think WIRED, that Bitcoins are so far used to buy drugs, endangered animal meat, and other illicit merch, but it may have quoted someone else's anti-Bitcoin argument. The only thing I can compare it too is paying good, real American Dollars for Cartel Coins in STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC to buy stuff in the game I can't buy with the credits I earn for, you know, playing.

    • Bitcoins are used for shady online deals because they're anonymous. It's like people using cash IRL for similar transactions. Assuming the bills aren't fresh from the bank, if the transaction's found, they can't be traced back to the buyer.

      It mainly stands out compared to other online monetary options, which all have records and logs. It's not something inherently evil about Bitcoins.

  13. I converted all my money into IDontEvenDollars and haven't looked back since! (Although the exchange rate on GrumpyCatGold is outstanding right now…)

  14. I'm a business professor and just last week a significant part of a lecture I gave my students centered on the idea that money is only money because we all agree that its money. That goes for bitcoins too. Its just a question of to what degree we all agree. Its generally higher for US$ than bitcoins but that could potentially change and then they would be more real than the dollar.

    • Exactly. Currency is faithbased, and most of the world currently has no faith in Bitcoin. The MTGOX thing didn't help. 10 years from now? Who knows?

        • "Yes sir," said Riddle. "What I don't understand, though – just out of curiosity – I mean, would one military be much use? Can you only have one army backing your currency? Wouldn't it be better, make it stronger, to your currency defended by several armed forces?"

          And that's how the euro was born.

  15. Just to throw down my thoughts on this and see if they make sense. Isn't the 'real' currency guaranteed against an actual store of valuable stuff. There is a bank somewhere, some kind of reserve of the federal kind and the country is trading in the guarantee that the 'bills' are a representation of some actual worth – we promise to pay the bearer and all.

    Isn't the worth of that actual stuff held by the government based upon the rarity and difficulty of obtaining said material.

    And isn't the bitcoin also based upon rarity and difficulty in 'mining'? the only problem being not many people actually perceive or understand the process of what the bitcoin represents?…

    Too many questions. Sorry.

    • Yeah, as Stranger said, not anymore. There's not enough gold in existence to exchange the money for.

      Actually, the humor novel "Making Money" by Terry Pratchett conveys the idea wonderfully.

      A dollar's worth a dollar because the backing government says it's worth a dollar and will continue to be worth a dollar, even if the dollar's worth changes. It holds together because of faith that the government won't collapse (making the money worthless), and because people agree to agree it's worth a dollar (so you don't get places where it's not accepted…at least within the country).

      • Exactly. No gold standard and no REAL worth to money means everyone just has to keep agreeing that it has worth. The good news for commerce is 90% of people in the world NEVER EVER consider how fragile this system is, which keeps it relatively strong. Bitcoin is actually a decent idea and could replace our current monetary system within a generation if it picks up enough steam because it's no more fake than what we're doing now. What makes it 'silly Internet Money" is that it started in the seedy underbelly of the Internet, and continues to be plagued by high profile fraud.

        At least the cash I keep in my bank is FDIC insured. There are enough people that believe in it, that its worth is almost universally agreed upon (for now). Bitcoin has MILES to go in order to compete with that.

  16. The World Trade Franc (WTF). It has Capt. Picard on one side and a random WTF moment on the other. Collect them all!

    Also, #monetizedwilwheaton can be broken down as such:
    100 Wesleys= 5 Wils, whereas 5 Wils = 6.5 Wheatons
    You can definitely "Stand By" this currency!

  17. I love how David is just sitting in the corner staring at nothing. Like an Android in sleep mode waiting to be activating by conversations about transformers. @damnyouwillis

  18. I have been interested and involved with both Cryptocurrencies that you happen to mention in your post. I never got in early enough to have a true, substantial, "Geek made rich by being geeky" amount, but I have spent a bit of Bitcoin for Humble Bundles.

    What's amusing is that you mention about exchanging these internet monies for Amazon Gift cards, and there is legitimately a site for doing that. gyft.com if I recall correctly. They started as a place to buy gift cards for many places, ranging from restaurants to online shops, but they have at least started taking bitcoin for the purchase of these gift cards, making it the easiest way to take Bitcoin, and use it to buy yourself a burger.

    These things are still dealt with a bit oddly with our law structure, but at least the US is open to the idea, even though they aren't openly embracing it. It would be a way to pay someone online or in person without the huge fees associated with credit cards or paypal. I got into it because I liked the technology that it is based on, so if you do want to ask more technical questions, I can try to answer myself. If nothing else, I can direct you to some good informative materials for anything I don't explain well.

  19. Last year Canada stopped producing pennies, making the nickle our smallest coin. The weird thing is, though, that while they aren't really legal tender anymore, and cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents, if you're paying electronically you still pay to the whole cent. So when I buy my tea at Timmy's, if I pay cash it's $1.60, but if I use debit or my Tim card it's $1.61.

    Which makes Canada the only country (so far as I know) with imaginary coins. Which is pretty cool. Plastic bills with space stations on them, braille bumps on our bills, and imaginary pennies. We have the best currency, ha ha ha (even if the new loonies do look like they came from a Chuckie Cheese).

  20. Would you accept Don't Be a Dick Dollars? Last I checked the exchange rate in the WSJ, they were going at 10 Wesleys to the DBDD (or "Double Ds", as the kids call them), or approximately 0.65 Wheatons.

Leave a Reply