Thoughts on 21?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Idea was thrown around back in days of gpu mining, idea to have your washing machine, tv, central heating running as normal but with a bitcoin miner added to it.

Yes can bring btc to the masses, people could cover usage cost of running such machines by the btc generated. Problem is obsolete hardware. My 60gh bfl miner uses a lot more electricity than the latest miners for the gh return and its a year and a bit old, none would want to buy be washing machine just because the embedded btc miner is now out of date.

I think its a clever way of selling mining shovels and pick axe’s to the public when they buy every day items. Nice to have option but I think the btc difficulty charts should show just how profitable this would be over long periods.


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From an onboarding perspective it makes total sense to me. Since people will not have to exchange USD for bitcoins (perhaps without even knowing it, they will instead pay for electricity) or go through any other kind of such hassle, many more people will be mining for bitcoins and also start using bitcoins.

From a usability perspective it also makes total sense to me. Turn on the electricity to get coins and then when using the coins, you don’t even have to spend them.

Let’s take an example:
You want to sell Internet connection to people. You give people a device, for free, which enables them to use your Internet connection. So the only thing people need to do, is to feed the device electricity and now they can use your service. You make money on the coins being mined which the devices. People that knows nothing about bitcoins, nothing about setting up mining, nothing about computers at all actually, they will still be able to use this device because everything will “just work automatically” and they never have to pay anything. Well… they will need to pay for the electricity, but they would have to do that anyone.

That was probably the worst ever business plan… I just tried to come up with something that sheds some light on features that the 21 tech offers that I haven’t seen people discussing too much.

I’m sure other people will be able to come up with much better ideas and that is what I think will make or break this technology. When people invented the home computer no-body knew you needed it for facebook, peercointalk and youtube. Perhaps it will be same in the future? To be able to vote in the elections, you maybe need a 21 device? I don’t know… :))

Anyway, this is all about putting even more work at work in Proof of Work. I fail to see how putting Proof of Work machines in the hands of people who knows nothing about “securing the blockchain” will improve security (besides the nice looking upwards trending difficulty that makes people feel secure though it has nothing to do with issues related to centralization).

One thing though, IF 21 goes mainstream it will make it even harder for Bitcoin to change the protocol to PoS. At times I’ve heard that if PoS was proven to be a better technology then PoW, Bitcoin could just “fork it”, but things like this makes me wonder if it’s really that simple.

EDIT: oh and if it wasn’t clear I share Fuzzy’s critique.

I don’t think it’s known yet whether all the hashing power from these devices would go directly to one pool or not. If so, then that’s not good.

I think you’re right. With something like this, there would be so much invested into the current system of PoW that it would be difficult to easily change.

I’ve done some more thinking about 21 INC and what is all about. This might be a wee bit abstract here and also I still haven’t researched their company (besides like reading a few lines on their site) at all, so I also don’t know what they are actually doing. :-/ Anyway…

Imagine a future where all things in the world are connected and are talking to each other (the internet of things). It will be so massive and so complex, that a single server is not enough to handle all the communication. Just like internet is a distributed network, so will the internet of things.

When looking at the entire network from a distance, though the things are only indirectly tied to each other being all distributed and so forth and so on, it will be one giant network of computation.

Now all the participants in this network will be fighting for resources and will compete with each other. Perhaps they will even collaborate from time to time. But how should the resources be most efficiently allocated? Who gets to do what and when? Who decides?

We humans have already solved that problem, by using money. Though we are all separate entities and some of of live long distances from each other, the flow of money is a major part of creating consensus on what to do and what not. I.e. money is driving internal self-organization.

Instead of having ONE computer collecting all information out there and calculating and deciding on how everything should be, we have a swam of small computers coming together. What will make this possible is micro-payments, because money is a way to allocate resources and so forth and so on.

It is only fitting that we then should not have ONE single miner, but instead all of these small computers in the massive network, contributing their own mining power.

In this way of thinking, the whole mining thing is only means to an end. I.e. the mining device in your snowboard is not generating coins for profit really, but creating coins so that it can then communicate with and come to agreements with other computers - perhaps the left that will take you up the slope or something…

I really don’t see how it will scale, I fail to see how the devices will generate enough satoshis to pay for the tx fee and I don’t see why one could not simply load devices with PoS generated coins instead or creating some sort of contracts to achieve the same thing. Well, I guess 21 INC could pool all the mining and run things off-blockchain but that would defeat the purpose.

It’s a grand vision though.

(I wonder how close I am to 21 INCs actual vision.)

EDIT: I don’t know if the source can be trusted: