from the i'd-buy-that-for-a-dollar dept.
After the last of the Dirty Harry films, The Dead Pool, was released in 1988, libertarians began to discuss the potential for crypto-currency prediction markets to become crowdfunded assassination markets. Many schemes were proposed and many were unworkable. The main complication is an assassin using zero-knowledge proof to claim a bounty without implicating any other party. This arrangement ignores betting exchanges where anyone can lay or back bets and no-one on a given exchange may be involved in assassination. Discussion has been sparse regarding secondary markets for fake death followed by new identity.
Whether or not a dead pool is bloodless, ire has been most often directed at government officials and the actual use of lethal force. When a BitCoin dead pool launched in 2013, Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, became subject of the biggest bounty. Perhaps it was obvious with hindsight that libertarian capitalists in possession of digital currency would focus on the person directly responsible for managing the world's largest, centralized, debt-based, nation-state, fiat currency.
Anyhow, given that a real assassination market has supposedly been running for four years, where are the high-profile deaths? Or disappearances? Is digital currency too complicated for soldiers of fortune? Too risky? Too ephemeral? Are the rewards too small? Will digital currency's increased value and flight to safety encourage libertarianism not previously seen? Or are people wimps?
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Something odd is going on in finance this week. One unit of BitCoin briefly exceeded the value of a troy ounce of gold before it fell back. However, this occurred during Ethereum rallying to its current peak above US$100. Perhaps this is like comparing apples, oranges, and dog-biscuits but — as of this week — we now have a situation where Ethereum is well above the US$1 credibility threshold of most alternative digital currencies and, to a simpleton, BitCoin was more valuable than gold.
What changed? Nothing obvious. Banks have teams of shirking resume builders working on trendy projects and they've been working on digital currencies for years. Likewise, tranches of investments funds have been going into technology for decades. However, after puffing and bursting a housing bubble and educational bubble, is this the next place to jub other people's money? Is it Charles Stross' Accelerando coming to life? I don't know but I'll be very concerned if there is a financial wobble within the next month.
[Ed Note: Asking what is Ethereum? Me too. Additional information on the above topic can be found at the IB Times]