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AR notes: physical bitboins

Posted on: Tuesday, 4 September 2012 @ 3:35pm
Blatting about

Some people have made them.  As far as I can tell from an extremely quick skim, they're all round coins and bills, familiar looking money.

The current block I'm working in uses local currency and bitcoin for a global currency.  While contemplating bitcoin and how it gets accepted/exchanged as readily as the local currency of any given area, I wondered if they had a physical version of it.  Which then of course had me wondering how cool it would be if they were dice.

5 dce from a Platonic solids set - Wikipedia image

Five dice from a platonic solids set - from Wikipedia

Satoshis could be small coins, round flat discs like what's common about the place.  Mikes and millies (the most common denominations used in the current block) could be embedded in 4 and 6 sided dice respectively.  I'm not sure how often centibits get used, but seeing as I've started using a Platonic solids set I may as well continue.  I like the idea of 1BTC being a 10-sided dice partially because it uses the metric system, mostly because of my own aesthetics, so 1 centibit can have the 8-sided dice.  12 and 20 sided dice wouldn't be that common (like $50 and $100 here in Australialand unless you've just been to an ATM and grabbed out a whole wad of cash, then maybe you have 50s at least til you use them), they would be embedded with decibit and hectobit respectively.  I figured they'd each have a value of one whatever and would be easy enough to tell which one was what from the shape when you stuck your hand into your pocket or moneybag or whatever.  Only problem of course is they'd be a bit tricky to fit into a wallet, so maybe people would be carrying around dice bags (on wallet leashes to deter cutpurses).

There are still the kilobits and megabits to assign to something, though they're stuck in my head as different coloured usb stick-sized blocks that are light and easy to carry around like everything else but distinctive enough that people are going to notice if you casually flick them out to pay for something, even if those people weren't paying attention to you beforehand.

When I presented this idea to Josh in the usual fashion (a rapid single breath mostly incoherent roughly translated thought dump vaguely comprehensible only to the two people fluent in bek), his response was to look at me oddly (not unusual) and mention that "coins were that shape for a reason".  The reasons I found from a DuckDuckGo search (had to add in the "and round" keywords as just asking why coins are flat got me nowhere fast) included:

  • historical: they've "always" been like that and people recognise coins of that shape as "money"
  • ease of manufacture: when a small molten lump of metal is hit with something large like a hammer, it becomes flat and round
  • ease of carrying: you're not going to get poked by round or mostly round (AU50c coins are not round) coins while carting them about
  • propaganda: those egotistical jerks rulers wanted their image and propaganda on the coinage

So I don't see any reason whatsoever why the coins couldn't be replaced by a dice-shaped lightweight composite.  The geeks ruled the nomenclature and to a degree the proliferation of lojban as the dominant IAL so bitcoin and dice coins makes complete sense.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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