Winning Slowly

There are plenty of podcasts that will tell you how the latest tech gadget or “innovation” will affect the tech landscape tomorrow, but there aren’t that many concerned with the potential impact of that tech in a decade—much less a century. In a culture obsessed with now, how can we make choices with a view for tomorrow, next year, and beyond? 25–35-minute episodes released the first and third Wednesdays of the month.


episode 9: 6.09: Granular Levels of Tomato Tracking

Blockchain, the necessity of regulation, and the regulatory challenges posed by truly global technologies.

Show Notes

Blockchain and the associated currencies and techniques derived from it have been in the news a lot for the last few years. And it’s an incredibly interesting technology, which basically only has benefits for individual users – but has some profoundly distortive effects at scale, on everything from economics to energy consumption. So what do we do about it?

  • Cryptokitties

  • Chinese Bitcoin Miners getting relocated to… Canada.

  • ICOs (“initial coin offerings”) explained

  • “Smart Contracts”

  • current regulatory approaches

    • in Europe

    • in South Korea, including the latest as of the show’s publication

    • related: the relationship between trade agreements and regulation

  • Blockchain and triple-entry accounting

    • that’s exactly what it is!

    • that’s not what it is
  • Bitcoin will use 0.5% of the world’s electricity by the end of 2018

  • Terrorists have (unsurprisingly) already been using cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin in your (rural!) neighborhood

  • On the basically-asymptotic difficulty of “mining”:

    • “Is the asymptotic performance of bitcoin O(n) relative to the block chain length?”

    • “How many bitcoins will there eventually be?”

      Every block introduces 50 new coins in the system. This quantity (50) halves every 210,000 blocks. So, getting the limit of coins it is possible to generate is quite easy: it’s the sum of a geometric series.

      The total number of bitcoins that can ever be created is 21,000,000.

We also discussed the importance of regulation in some detail in a couple episodes in season 5:

  • 5.09: Regulate All the Things - on regulations and the open internet
  • 5.11: Fences, Neighbors, Etc. – on vaccinations and the application of force
  • “Heavy Eyes” by Palm Ghosts. Used by permission.
  • “Winning Slowly Theme” by Chris Krycho.

Many thanks to the people who help us make this show possible by their financial support! This month’s sponsors:

  • Andrew Fallows
  • Kurt Klassen
  • Jake Grant
  • Jeremy W. Sherman

If you’d like to support the show, you can make a pledge at Patreon or give directly via Square Cash.


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 2018-07-08  34m