It’s Time to Evolve Beyond Credit Cards

photo credit: Anthrocopy - cc

photo credit: Anthrocopycc

A California DMV credit-card breach was confirmed.

In the old days (20 yrs ago) there was massive paranoia that packet sniffing hackers would steal credit card numbers passing over the wire.

As it turns out, the use of credit cards for online payments is insane for a different reason: E-commerce system databases themselves are vulnerable. Credit cards were never built for this. Better systems exist: Paypal, Dwolla, Bitcoin.

The universe is sending us a message: it’s time to evolve.

Corollary: Giving your credit card info to an online merchant in 2014 is the data equivalent of unprotected sex. For the love of God, please stop.

Source: Tweets – 1,2,3,4,5


Venice May Elect To Secede From Italy

From the National Post’s recent article – More sovereignty votes: Referendum may see Venice elect to secede from Italy:

“Sunday referendum may see Venice elect to secede from Italy…La Serenissima ‘Most Serene Republic of Venice’ was an independent trading power for 1,000 years before the last leader was deposed by Napoleon in 1797…Campaigners have been inspired by the example of Scotland, which will hold its referendum on independence in September, and Catalonia…Activists say that the latest polling shows that 65% of voters in the region are in favour of cutting ties with Rome… For decades, there has been a deep-seated dissatisfaction in the rich northern regions of Italy with [perceived] inefficient and venal rule from Rome… If it passes, [the region may] start taking steps to withhold taxes, in what would effectively be a unilateral declaration of independence.”

Source: Andreessen’s tweets – 1,2,3,4,5,6

Bridging The Divide Between Techies and Non-Techies

Friends in the press are asking me why the Newsweek story has so many techies so upset. I will attempt to explain a generalized view…

  • First, the perpetuation of nerd stereotypes (wording in article, NOT Dorian himself): weird, loner, maladjusted, libertarian, odd hobbies.
  • Second, it transforms what many techies think of as an important tech breakthrough into a human interest freak sideshow devoid of substance.
  • Third, the story attempts to deliberately out the real Satoshi against his/her will, when he/she has done nothing wrong or harmful at all.
  • Fourth, the reporter evidently made little effort to learn anything about Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, or cryptography or math or programming.
  • Fifth, assuming this story is right, this so-called forensic analysis behind the story is a complete joke.

Each of these would still be offensive to techies *even if the Satoshi story were right*. But if story turns out to be wrong, doubly so. If story is wrong (not saying it is, but if), then even worse: An innocent man was falsely outed, exposed, made vulnerable, and his life was changed forever.

The broader reason this all matters? There’s a growing CP Snow-style divide between techies and non-techies. We must bridge it, not expand it. We must build communication, build rapport, build trust. Many great reporters do this every day and are heroes. More of that, less of this.

Source: @pmarca tweets1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10


Questionable Forensic Analysis of Nakamoto’s Identity

I don’t know who Satoshi is, but I do know this “forensic analyst” simply does not know what she is talking about. First, modern systems designers talk about disk space all the time. It comes up constantly for engineers building large scale systems.

Second, modern systems designers talk about Moore’s Law all the time. It’s one of the key drivers for thinking about scalability over time. In our office at A16Z, there are probably 20 conversations a day about disk space and/or Moore’s Law. And they’re not getting less frequent.

Odd: “Moore’s Law is an old maxim that computing power will double. We’ve gone exponentially away from Moore’s law, [since] that interim period.” You don’t go “exponentially away from” the law that says that what you are dealing with grows exponentially. Who is this person?

Source: @pmarca tweets1,2,3,4,5,6