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Old 03-30-2013, 09:26 AM   #1
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Default The new world currency - BitCoin

This thread is a place to explore the new currency known as BitCoin.

What is it?

How does it work?

Is it safe?

PS Shout out to Arkie for suggesting we give this BitCoin discussion buried in another unrelated thread it's own thread.

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Old 03-30-2013, 09:28 AM   #2
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Bitcoin (sign: BTC) is a decentralized digital currency[8][9] based on an open-source,[10] peer-to-peer internet protocol. It was introduced by a pseudonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.[11]
Internationally, bitcoins can be exchanged by personal computer directly through a wallet file or a website without an intermediate financial institution.[12] In trade, one bitcoin is subdivided into 100 million smaller units called satoshis, defined by eight decimal places.[4]
Bitcoin does not operate like typical currencies: it has no central bank and it solely relies on an internet-based peer-to-peer network. The money supply is automated, limited, divided and scheduled, and given to servers or "bitcoin miners" that verify bitcoin transactions and add them to a decentralized and archived transaction log every 10 minutes. The log is authenticated by ECDSA digital signatures and verified by the intense process of bruteforcing SHA256 hash functions of varying difficulty by competing "bitcoin miners." Transaction fees may apply to new transactions depending on the strain put on the network's resources. Each 10-minute portion or "block" of the transaction log has an assigned money supply. The amount per block depends on how long the network has been running. Currently, 25 bitcoins are generated with every 10-minute block. This will be halved to 12.5 BTC during the year 2017 and halved continuously every 4 years after until a hard limit of 21 million bitcoins is reached during the year 2140.[1][11]
Bitcoin is the most widely used alternative currency.[3][13] As of March 2013, the monetary base of bitcoin is valued at over $800 million USD.[14][15] The large fluctuation in the dollar value of a bitcoin has evoked criticism of bitcoin's economic suitability as a currency.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:33 AM   #3
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Bitcoin: How An Unregulated, Decentralized Virtual Currency Just Became A Billion Dollar Market
RIP EMPSONThursday, March 28th, 2013119 Comments
Hang around in the tech industry long enough and you or someone you know will be heard saying, “that’s so crazy it just might work.” Two years ago, if you’d have told me that an open-source, P2P currency would soon be a thriving, billion-dollar market, I would’ve told you that you were on a lonely bus headed to CrazyTown, U.S.A. But today, Bitcoin officially became a crazy idea that’s actually working.

Today, all the Bitcoin in circulation — some 10.9 million of them — have collectively crossed the billion-dollar mark. As it is wont to do, the value of Bitcoin (and its exchange rate) has fluctuated wildly today. At one point, it hit a dollar value around $78, then pushed into the mid-nineties. As of this minute, it’s hovering around $90.

Okay, it’s still a tiny fraction of Google’s market cap, but this is something — especially for a largely unregulated, decentralized virtual currency. (Say that three times fast.) The world’s most popular controversial crypto-currency, mind you.

Bitcoin supporters will scoff and tell you that this is no news, and that Bitcoin has been alive and thriving for years. In fact, it first appeared back in 2009, and has been slowly gaining steam since. But Bitcoin has largely remained outside the realm of mainstream media attention, because no one has been quite sure what to make of it. Is it a passing fad, a hilarious geek-driven phenomenon, or the real deal?

In fact, it has really been relegated to the realm of the uber geeky, or seen as the currency of anarchists or crazy digital libertarians. The black market marketplace known as Silk Road, which allows pretty much anyone to anonymously sell “alternative products” (i.e. large quantities of one’s drug of choice), uses Bitcoin for its currency. Something which hasn’t exactly helped Bitcoin’s “cross over” appeal.

And geeks have had a point: Eventually, with the increasing popularity of P2P networks, virtual currency and digital marketplaces, it was only a matter of time before these entities would collide and a virtual currency of record would emerge. No government control?! Even better!

Bitcoin crossing the $1 billion threshold may not seem like much, but if anything, it seems to be a sign to anyone listening that the crypto-currency is ready to be taken seriously. Of course, there are still a lot of concerns, as John Biggs laid out in 2011.

But why has Bitcoin become a billion-dollar market?

First off, startups are beginning to carry the torch. As Alex wrote yesterday, Expensify announced that it is now supporting Bitcoin “to give international contractors an alternative to PayPal and the high fees associated with the service.” Reddit has jumped on the bandwagon, too, along with WordPress and Namecheap, among others.



Adam Draper, the founder of Menlo Park-based accelerator, Boost VC, recently announced that the team would be focusing on Bitcoin-focused startups for its summer class. As he laid out in a post today, one of the other big reasons Bitcoin is beginning to take off — besides, of course, that it allows secure digital transactions without transmitting personal information — is that investor confidence is growing. Bitcoin startups are beginning to raise, and Draper claims that their fund is far from being the only one that’s interested.

What’s more, the government has finally realized that it needs to start taking virtual currency seriously and develop a strategy for dealing with these types of currencies. FinCEN recently put out a series of “Guidelines,” which will inform future regulation, but also works to establish trust and credibility for virtual currency, particularly Bitcoin.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:37 AM   #4
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From wikipedia:

Quote:
According to Reuters, undisclosed documents indicate that banks such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have visited bitcoin exchanges as often as 30 times a day.
There are some serious profits being made by the elite already. That quote was from Reuters in April, 2012 when bitcoins were only $4.88 each.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:44 AM   #5
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Digitalized currency? Brings up interesting questions. For instance, don't the corporations who control access to the internet control as well access to the currency?
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:50 AM   #6
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Who's to say the fed isn't just printing and buying?




An article from 2012. Offering a different angle.



More than three-quarters of the digital coins in the Bitcoin digital currency scheme aren't circulating because they remain dormant in user accounts that have never participated in outgoing transactions, a recently published study has found.

The figure translates to more than 7.019 million BTCs, the term used to denote a single coin under the digital currency, which uses strong cryptography and peer-to-peer networking to enable anonymous payments among parties who don't necessarily know or trust each other. Based on exchange rates listed on Mt.Gox—the most widely used Bitcoin exchange—the coins have a value of more than $82.87 million. On May 13, the date the researchers analyzed their data, there were slightly more than 9 million BTCs in existence.

Mathematician Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir (the "S" in the widely used RSA cryptography scheme) arrived at that finding by downloading the entire Bitcoin history and following the trail of some 180,000 transactions. They found there were about 3.12 million accounts, which are known as "addresses" in Bitcoin parlance. They belonged to about 1.5 different owners, on average, since there's no limit on how many addresses a single individual may possess. More than 609,000 of those addresses had received a significant portion of the outstanding BTCs without once making a payment, the researchers reported.

"However, if we sum up the amounts accumulated at the 609,270 addresses which only receive and never send BTCs, we see that their owners have actually put aside in some kind of 'saving accounts' 7,019,100 BTCs, which are almost 78 percent of all existing BTCs," the researchers wrote. Almost 60 percent of those coins were "old," meaning they were received more than three months prior to the May 13 cut-off date for the project.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2...s-study-finds/

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Old 03-30-2013, 09:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meck77 View Post
Who's to say the fed isn't just printing and buying?




An article from 2012. Offering a different angle.



More than three-quarters of the digital coins in the Bitcoin digital currency scheme aren't circulating because they remain dormant in user accounts that have never participated in outgoing transactions, a recently published study has found.

The figure translates to more than 7.019 million BTCs, the term used to denote a single coin under the digital currency, which uses strong cryptography and peer-to-peer networking to enable anonymous payments among parties who don't necessarily know or trust each other. Based on exchange rates listed on Mt.Gox—the most widely used Bitcoin exchange—the coins have a value of more than $82.87 million. On May 13, the date the researchers analyzed their data, there were slightly more than 9 million BTCs in existence.

Mathematician Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir (the "S" in the widely used RSA cryptography scheme) arrived at that finding by downloading the entire Bitcoin history and following the trail of some 180,000 transactions. They found there were about 3.12 million accounts, which are known as "addresses" in Bitcoin parlance. They belonged to about 1.5 different owners, on average, since there's no limit on how many addresses a single individual may possess. More than 609,000 of those addresses had received a significant portion of the outstanding BTCs without once making a payment, the researchers reported.

"However, if we sum up the amounts accumulated at the 609,270 addresses which only receive and never send BTCs, we see that their owners have actually put aside in some kind of 'saving accounts' 7,019,100 BTCs, which are almost 78 percent of all existing BTCs," the researchers wrote. Almost 60 percent of those coins were "old," meaning they were received more than three months prior to the May 13 cut-off date for the project.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2...s-study-finds/
So, if I'm reading this right, it means that some guy invented a unicorn, and if he can get enough people to believe in the unicorn with him, he might be able to monetize it and have the market cornered on unicorns?
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:31 AM   #8
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This could really be the people's currency. I just don't trust cyberspace. Do the people really have control, or will the privileged find a way to control it? This is the soundest currency possible if its secure. It increases on a logarithmic scale (not exponential like USD) that reaches a limit in 2140. So in other words, there's no way to inflate it without a decrease in the human population.

Quote:
The network is programmed to increase the money supply as a geometric series until the total number of bitcoins reaches 21 million BTC, by issuing them to nodes that verify transaction records through intense bruteforce hashing with computing power.[3]
Currently, 25 bitcoins are generated every 10 minutes. This will be halved to 12.5 BTC within the year 2017 and halved continuously every 4 years after until a hard-limit of 21 million bitcoins is reached within the year 2140.[1][11] As of March 2013 over 10.5 million of the total 21 million BTC had been created; the current total number created is available online.[46] In November 2012, half of the total supply was generated, and by end of 2016, three-quarters will have been generated. By 2140, all bitcoins will have been generated with the last one consisting of fractional parts. To ensure this granularity of the money supply, clients can divide each BTC unit down to eight decimal places (a total of 2.1 × 1015 or 2.1 quadrillion units).
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
So, if I'm reading this right, it means that some guy invented a unicorn, and if he can get enough people to believe in the unicorn with him, he might be able to monetize it and have the market cornered on unicorns?
To be fair most currencies operate on the same premise. They only have value because people believe that they have value.

I do have a few bitcoins, not because I think they will ever replace current fiat money, but because I think the belief in bitcoins is going to continue to rise for a while. Unfortunately, this is also one of the main problems with bitcoins. Most people that have bought bitcoins don't have them to actually transact with them, but instead they see them as a worthwhile investment. If this continues there is absolutely no question that the value will crash, the only question is when will that happen. I believe that we still have a while before that happens.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:06 PM   #10
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The vast majority of "use" of Bitcoin is currently:

* People trying to get rich quick, riding the bubble.
* Drug dealers, child pornographers, and anyone else interested in doing online transactions "anonymously".

The problem is

a.) There is absolutely nothing backing the value of Bitcoin other than people think it has value. At least a USD is backed by the U.S. economy. Roh's comment about unicorns pretty much sums it up. Bit coin has a high probability of having zero value tomorrow. It's happened before and will happen again when various nodes in the system were compromised. The USD and other fiat currencies, as vulnerable as they are, will not lose all their value because someone hacked a single server.

b.) Bitcoin isn't actually anonymous. Every transaction (including what 'addresses' were involved) are recorded permanently. The only way to gain anonymity is to attempt to prevent whomever from knowing that you are the owner of a particular 'address'. Use of tools like Tor, and technologically complex solutions (i.e. splitting a single transaction into thousands of individual transactions), etc. can help, but at the end of the day you have to get someone to convert Bitcoins into whatever currency you actually want, which means you have to tell someone what 'addresses' you own.


In addition, there is no way to "insure" bitcoins like in a bank with USD. Get your computer compromised and have someone take all your bitcoins? To bad! Good thing it's not trivial to compromise the typical computer user's system with real simple things like clicking on the wrong link from the Mane!
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodigal19 View Post
To be fair most currencies operate on the same premise. They only have value because people believe that they have value.
There is a difference between a fiat currency, which at least represents a nominal value within a national economy, and a completely unbacked virtual currency.

The USD can plummet if the U.S. economy gets screwed up badly. The Bitcoin value will plummet simply when the fad is over -- or if the Bitcoin system is compromised enough (which has already happened several times).
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Fedaykin View Post
There is a difference between a fiat currency, which at least represents a nominal value within a national economy, and a completely unbacked virtual currency.

The USD can plummet if the U.S. economy gets screwed up badly. The Bitcoin value will plummet simply when the fad is over -- or if the Bitcoin system is compromised enough (which has already happened several times).
You can just as easily say that gold and silver are unbacked currencies. Neither have much of an intrinsic value. It doesn't stop people from investing in them. At least bitcoins can easily be traded.

The bitcoin system itself has not been compromised, exchanges and websites that deal with bitcoins have. This is why it is dumb to have an online wallet. This problem alone will not cause the downfall of the bitcoin.

There is no reason to believe that this "fad" will end any time soon. As long as people think the bitcoin has a reasonable chance to be an alternative currency it will have value and as long as it has value it will be an investment opportunity. Even if its value were to drop drastically tomorrow, it would recover most if not all of that value extremely quickly as people jump in to buy cheap bitcoins.

The thing that probably will result in the death of the bitcoin is some governments decisions to make them illegal. I believe we still have a ways to go before that happens though.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:16 PM   #13
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I'll stick to hard physical metals at this point, as the money printing continues, interest rates are suppressed, spending continues into oblivion, banks fail and start getting raided by governments and socialism fails worldwide its the one safe bet. Just as with everything else governments will move to regulate, tax, steal and spend everything they can get their hands on. If I can't buy it and hold it I don't want it.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Prodigal19 View Post
You can just as easily say that gold and silver are unbacked currencies. Neither have much of an intrinsic value. It doesn't stop people from investing in them. At least bitcoins can easily be traded.
Ehh, no sorry. A bitcoin is an entirely virtual contsruct. Has no value, no use, indeed it doesn't actually exist as anything other than an idea.

At least gold and silver have a use. Or other physical things that might be used as currency.

Quote:
The bitcoin system itself has not been compromised, exchanges and websites that deal with bitcoins have. This is why it is dumb to have an online wallet. This problem alone will not cause the downfall of the bitcoin.
The system has been compromised when massive impact can be had on the value of the Bitcoin. Doesn't matter if it's just one exchange.

Quote:
There is no reason to believe that this "fad" will end any time soon. As long as people think the bitcoin has a reasonable chance to be an alternative currency it will have value and as long as it has value it will be an investment opportunity. Even if its value were to drop drastically tomorrow, it would recover most if not all of that value extremely quickly as people jump in to buy cheap bitcoins.

The thing that probably will result in the death of the bitcoin is some governments decisions to make them illegal. I believe we still have a ways to go before that happens though.

No reason to believe it can't end soon. It's an extremely risky bet to jump on the bitcoin wagon. Even the creator says don't buy bitcoins with money you can't 100% afford to lose. It's an experiment. An interesting experiment that could prove very useful, but still an experiment.

If you have money to burn, go for it. If you're trying to make a real investment, do it with something else. Some people are going to make a lot of money. Most people will probably lose it all.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:42 PM   #15
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Ehh, no sorry. A bitcoin is an entirely virtual contsruct. Has no value, no use, indeed it doesn't actually exist as anything other than an idea.

At least gold and silver have a use. Or other physical things that might be used as currency.



The system has been compromised when massive impact can be had on the value of the Bitcoin. Doesn't matter if it's just one exchange.




No reason to believe it can't end soon. It's an extremely risky bet to jump on the bitcoin wagon. Even the creator says don't buy bitcoins with money you can't 100% afford to lose. It's an experiment. An interesting experiment that could prove very useful, but still an experiment.

If you have money to burn, go for it. If you're trying to make a real investment, do it with something else. Some people are going to make a lot of money. Most people will probably lose it all.
I agree with this.

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Some people are going to make a lot of money. Most people will probably lose it all.
But not this. It's speculation, possible but at this point speculation.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodigal19 View Post
You can just as easily say that gold and silver are unbacked currencies. Neither have much of an intrinsic value. It doesn't stop people from investing in them. At least bitcoins can easily be traded.

The bitcoin system itself has not been compromised, exchanges and websites that deal with bitcoins have. This is why it is dumb to have an online wallet. This problem alone will not cause the downfall of the bitcoin.

There is no reason to believe that this "fad" will end any time soon. As long as people think the bitcoin has a reasonable chance to be an alternative currency it will have value and as long as it has value it will be an investment opportunity. Even if its value were to drop drastically tomorrow, it would recover most if not all of that value extremely quickly as people jump in to buy cheap bitcoins.

The thing that probably will result in the death of the bitcoin is some governments decisions to make them illegal. I believe we still have a ways to go before that happens though.
Gold is the only currency that has intrinsic value. In contrast the $1 bill has the exact same intrinsic value as a $100 bill. USD has 0 intrinsic value.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Arkie View Post
Gold is the only currency that has intrinsic value. In contrast the $1 bill has the exact same intrinsic value as a $100 bill. USD has 0 intrinsic value.
And a "gold backed currency" has exactly the same intrinsic value: 0
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:58 PM   #18
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Gold is the only currency that has intrinsic value.
Gold has no intrinsic value.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:10 PM   #19
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Gold has no intrinsic value.
y

May I have your gold
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:13 PM   #20
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Gold has no intrinsic value.
Gold has had intrinsic value for the last 5000 years and will continue forever or until he human race dies out.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:19 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkie View Post
Gold has had intrinsic value for the last 5000 years and will continue forever or until he human race dies out.
Gold has an intrinsic value that is distinct from the extrinsic value we designate for it. Same with any precious metal, gem, etc.

In other words, gold has a value based on what we can do with but, but that worth is not $1600/oz. Despite it's extrinsic value increasing, the intrinsic value of gold is declining as we find better materials to do the things we used to use gold for.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:24 PM   #22
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Gold has no intrinsic value.
There is a reason countries are demanding repatriation of their gold supplies overseas, China and other countries are buying gold and silver in huge quantites and the government is suppressing the price of metals by any means neccessary right now. Everyone knows fiat worldwide is in a death spiral and they are searching for a medium that holds its value no matter what stupid things the federal reserve and other supposed smart people are passing for monetary policy these days. Bernanke is printing $85 Billion a month right now to prop the system up, when that stops so does whats left of the economy. Gold and Silver have value and that value will jump to extreme values in a short amount of time.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:30 PM   #23
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Gold has had intrinsic value for the last 5000 years and will continue forever or until he human race dies out.
Keep in mind you are responding to a paid globalest shill.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:33 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Broncojef View Post
There is a reason countries are demanding repatriation of their gold supplies overseas, China and other countries are buying gold and silver in huge quantites and the government is suppressing the price of metals by any means neccessary right now. Everyone knows fiat worldwide is in a death spiral and they are searching for a medium that holds its value no matter what stupid things the federal reserve and other supposed smart people are passing for monetary policy these days. Bernanke is printing $85 Billion a month right now to prop the system up, when that stops so does whats left of the economy. Gold and Silver have value and that value will jump to extreme values in a short amount of time.
Boom goes the hammer!!
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:46 AM   #25
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BitCoins are retarded, just don't worry about them.
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