Archive for August, 2017

The Argentinian

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

The (poorly named) Sacramento Bitcoin meetup is run by an Argentinian. That alone should be enough to deter anyone from attending - but not knowing this, I attended two meetups there, the last of which (and the one in which I discovered it was run by an Argentine) turned into a shitcoin boiler room recruitment session. When the direction things were going became clear, I explained to the room their idiocy and left.

The item of interest that compelled me to return to the meetup the second time was that the Argentinian claimed to have something of a Bitcoin ATM side business going, about which he provided some interesting demos - namely that his primary customer base is whores who need Bitcoin to pay for ads on Backpage. Any legitimate1 economic activity involving Bitcoin interests me so I decided to investigate the business further by going to one of his ATMs and testing it out by selling a small sum of dollars.

At the middle of the day in the middle of the week I made the trip to Sacramento. The ATM turned out to be located in a liquor store in a run down neighborhood. As I approached, I saw that the Argentinian just happened to be dropping by to check on his ATM. As I walked in he kind of recognized me - one would think one would remember being shown to be an idiot - but just barely. In any case we struck up a conversation that very shortly went off the rails. This is a paraphrased reconstruction of the important part (and keep in mind he spoke exactly like a very short Ricardo Montelban):

Argentine: “You didn’t know that segwit was already enabled?2 I know this because all my recent transactions only took a few seconds. You should come to my meetup and learn some things.”

Me: “Mabye you could actually learn a thing or two from me.”

Argentine: “Vanity! That is your problem!”

Here I attempted fruitlessly to explain to him how the blockchain concept works. Giving up I took out my phone to use to accept Bitcoin from the ATM. I commented offhand that the phone wasn’t online so I’d have to verify that I received the btc later. He took this as a sign of undue mistrust I think and got a little miffed. I mostly only use the thing as a podcast player or Uber caller.

Argentine: “Why don’t you use use a smartphone? Why do you use that ancient flip phone? Don’t you know people would laugh at you if they saw you using that?”

Me: “Is your phone secure?”

Argentine: “Ah I see your problem. You have OCD. You should seek help. You are not in touch with reality. Everyone uses smart phones.”

Me: “…”

Things devolved from there. In his mind I was out of touch with reality for understanding how Bitcoin, smartphones, etc. actually work. And he was in touch with reality because he had meditated for several years at some buddhist retreat.

It is more clear to me now that those who read cross an ever widening gulf over which no words may pass to be understood by those on the other side.

  1. Activity in which fiat is sold for Bitcoin, or where fiat is completely excluded from the transaction. I’m specifically not interested in redditard apriori masturbation about the unbanked and all that. []
  2. In fact at the time of that encounter it hadn’t and as of this writing it still hasn’t been. Not only that, its use is completely optional even after being activated. As the leader of a Bitcoin meetup, he was completely unaware that in fact segwit has no affect on average time for inclusion in a block, and yet I was the one who needed to come to his meetup to learn a few things. []

Vox Day GPG

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

For posterity, here is what I wrote to Vox Day in an email on Aug. 16th, 2017:

On the topic of your latest periscope, I’d like to humbly request that you publish a gpg key that your followers can use to verify that publicly posted signed messages from you are actually from you when, eventually, your blog, domains, et. al are seized. Gpg gives you an online identity that you own independently of any third party. 1.4.x is the best version to use.

I recieved no response.