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Questions Of The Day (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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One thing the Bank of England ought to be doing is issuing a crypto-currency. There is now an unarguable place for these and the BofE would be able to avoid both of the major pitfalls.

ONE The fidelity of crypto-currencies is ensured by blockchain computer mining which is (a) not very fidelious because the process is so opaque and (b) not very good for the world's energy supplies because it requires stupendous amounts of electricity to do the mining. The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street does not have to do this, she has fidelity tattooed on her copper-bottom.

TWO This will enable crypto-currency users to break the ridiculous nexus between money as a means of exchangee and money as a store of value. People are forever going on about Bitcoin being worth x thousand dollars today when it was worth y thousand dollars six months ago. More fool them for holding it as a store of value. Anyone using Bitcoin as a means of exchange need only worry about a Bitcoin being roughly the same value now as it will be in five minutes when the purchase of the goods is wrapped up.

So come on, Bank of England, get with the programme. Here's an idea: you can call it Britcoin.
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Wile E. Coyote


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You lost me. You can already implement a crypto currency, which is not mined. That is because the fidelity of all crypto-currency is ensured by the use of blockchain technology, not by the mining. To implement and operate a crypto currency, mined or not, it is necessary to have a configured blockchain in place.
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Mick Harper
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For Chrissake, Wiley, you obviously understand these things better than I do, so work out the advantages of a central bank of high repute going in for crypto-currencying. I'll give you a seat on the board if that's what's worrying you.
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Grant



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“Britcoin” is good, damn good
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Mick Harper
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I like fawners. You can have Wiley's seat on the board.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
For Chrissake, Wiley, you obviously understand these things better than I do, so work out the advantages of a central bank of high repute going in for crypto-currencying. I'll give you a seat on the board if that's what's worrying you.


The advantages you have by using blockchain are well known, every single transaction is unique, so potentially you can monitor exactly what is happening, in multiple areas.....so lets say you wanted to know the exact % of the money that you allocated the NHS was spent on staffing costs you could do so. You could montitor the % sum Trusts were spending on Nurses rather than Equal Opportunity experts. You could also know the exact sum of money folks in receipt of disability benefits then spent on fags.....that is if you really wanted to. Its a technology that in the right hands with proper safeguards (not easy!) could do tremendous good, but in the wrong hands tremendous harm.

The real reason governments dont like crypto, is when these transations are hidden from them, they see this as hindering their fight against say terrorists, drugs, rogue states, imposition of sanctions and so on.

So you are probably going to see liberal governments' now enhance and embrace blockchains' but with safegaurds but not introduce a state crypto, or help support widespread use of other crypto. If AE plan to abandon Britain and set up on an island, then I will happily supply the board with refreshments, at my beach bar, whilst you and Grant work out the details' of the islands new Crypto, and Tax Haven status.....but only if you pay me in Bitcoin.
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Mick Harper
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The advantages you have by using blockchain are well known

Yes, but before we get into that, are blockchains necessary for crypto? Why can't the Bank of England simply announce The Britcoin, maintained at the value of a basket of currencies (and/or other things but which it has no control over). It will have no physical reality but can be bought and sold (with a small commission either way) on its official website. Then used like any other crypto-currency.

Which presumably it will soon drive out via Gresham's Law, the Britcoin being manifestly superior to all the other crypto-currencies out there.
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Mick Harper
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The real reason governments don't like crypto is when these transations are hidden from them, they see this as hindering their fight against, say, terrorists, drugs, rogue states, imposition of sanctions and so on.

Solved! The Bank of England can announce that there is a doodad built into every Britcoin that records any transaction it is used for and, on the application for a court order in the ordinary way, these details can be furnished to the police et al.

If it turns out that people won't use the Britcoin because of this, the Bank of England can issue (for a rather larger commission) a Britcoin Ultra that doesn't have the doodad. You wouldn't be any worse off but at least you'd have an idea of the scale of this presumably nefarious sector. And, meanwhile, be profiting from it.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
The advantages you have by using blockchain are well known

Yes, but before we get into that, are blockchains necessary for crypto?


You lost me. You can already implement a crypto currency, which is not mined. That is because the fidelity of all crypto-currency is ensured by the use of blockchain technology, not by the mining. To implement and operate a crypto currency, mined or not, it is necessary to have a configured blockchain in place.


In my opinion it's a yes they are. You are suggesting a crypto-currency without digital ledgers of unique transactions issuing and recording the use of the currency. If the plan is to keep records and issue using another mechanism, say people getting loans from the banks, and recording in bank accounts, you are close to reinventing something called currency.

If you don't plan to keep any records then there might be an issue of trust. I can't see this having any advantages at all.
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Mick Harper
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Well, look, it's not completely obvious to the layman why people use cryptocurrency in the first place. It is not close to a currency, it is a currency:

* You purchase some Bitcoins with dollars, pounds, euros etc. This transaction is recorded.
* You spend some of them buying things. instead of using dollars, pounds, euros etc. These transactions are recorded.
* The other party is left holding Bitcoins.
* You are holding the rest of your Bitcoins.
* They may have gone up in value or down in value in terms of dollars, pounds, euros etc next time you want to use them to buy something.

Until I can understand the advantage of this over dollars, pounds and euros and why I keep being offered 15% off if I buy something (not completely mainstream) with a crypto-currency, I can't set up Mickcoin.
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Mick Harper
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Over to Ben Chu at the Newsnight Wall

Filling the gaps with domestic workers is unrealistic especially as the workforce has declined by six hundred thousand in the wake of the pandemic due to rising ill health and many older workers taking early retirement

It is truly marvellous how complete new categories of skyvers (President: M J Harper) can join the ... um ... non-active sector.
"I had Covid." "You'd better go on the permanently unavailable due to ill health register. Here are your benefits."
"I had Covid." "You'd better go on the early retirement register. Here are your benefits."

So now we've got half a million plus new people who are not Unemployed because unemployed people are also on a register and under successive Labour, Conservative (and Lib Dem coalition) governments, Britain has enjoyed full employment, hasn't it? The envy of the world, isn't it? I wonder which party is going to risk being the Nasty Party and call a halt, even reverse, this ridiculous situation.

Come on, Britain, pull your socks up, and the ladder now I've safely climbed it.
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Mick Harper
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PS And raise the retirement age while you're about it. I don't know if you've noticed but life expectancy has risen a bit since Lloyd George decided it was 65 for men and 60 for women. We raised it to 65 for women and nobody much complained.

PPS Adding a year every five years would go a fair way to filling the long term Tax'n'Spending Deficit we've all been so exercised about lately. Then maybe it would be acceptable for people to 'take early retirement' in their late-sixties rather than, as it is at present, their late-fifties.
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Mick Harper
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We now have overwhelming evidence that, no matter how badly the British government behaves, half the Scottish population wants to be ruled by it. It is absurd of the SNP to maintain a position that as soon as 'half' equates to 49% it is fine to inflict on half the Scottish people something they do not want. Apart from anything else it will surely hamstring the new Scottish state in its endeavour to become a fine young country. Which for all I know, given a fair headwind, it will.

The SNP are entitled to argue that at present half the Scottish population are not getting what they want and, as soon as the 51% have their way, the others will fall in line when they experience the joys of independence. But even they know there is a great difference between the status quo and embarking on something radically new. They should take advantage of the current impasse to explore other avenues of advance. As shall I...
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Mick Harper
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If it is accepted that it is outrageous to inflict an uncertain future on half the population who didn't want it in the first place, then the SNP can start doing what I have been urging them to do all along. (The half and half has been there so long, we can assume it is structural.) They should seek a modus vivendi with Westminster that has the following features:

* The SNP can ask for anything they like short of full independence
* London will grant it if the SNP agrees not to seek full independence
* Everyone can see what works and what doesn't
* The fifty per cent will grow into an unstoppable force
* Full independence will be granted or abandoned depending which fifty per cent it is.
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Wile E. Coyote


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At this point the best way to end the Russo-Ukraine war is for NATO to grant Ukraine immediate membership, the reasons being:

1) For Russia to lose to NATO is acceptable to most Russians
2) For Russia to lose to Ukraine is totally unaceptable to all Russians
3)The only realistic way to guarantee any peace agreement is for it to be enforced by NATO, anything short of that will lead to Putin trying again.
4) NATO really needs to be able to control Ukraine from launching revenge attacks against Russia, on Russian soil, and Russia then escalating to nuclear. Getting Ukraine into NATO will achieve this.

Of course, if Wiley is wrong.....then the consequences are not nice.
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