[LINK] "Harry Potter And The Cryptocurrency of Stars"

post by shminux · 2014-08-05T20:57:27.644Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 3 comments

A blog post by Patrick McKenzie/patio11, a frequently cited here blogger/entrepreneur/SEO wiz/etc. about Stellar, a new currency exchange protocol. [EDIT: apparently not that new.] He explains it in the ELI5 (or, more accurately, ELIRW, explain-like-I'm-Ron-Weasley) way. With plenty of humor. Bonus: a comment from Eliezer.

Some quotes:

Harry Potter:  [...] Stellarmus, I trust Ron Weasley with one Weasley!GBP.

Ron Weasley: Stellarmus, send Harry Potter a quid!


Harry Potter: Stellarmus, what currencies does Hermione Granger accept?

Stellarmus rattles off a long, long list.

Harry Potter: What on earth is a Tokyo!ABL?

Hermione Granger: It’s a claim against an online Magic: The Gathering exchange headquartered in Tokyo for one Alpha Black Lotus, which is a card that I’ve wanted for a while.

Ron Weasley: You’d trust a random company in Tokyo to send you magic cards?

Hermione Granger: They’re not magic cards, they’re Magic cards, and yes, I’d trust that company to hold Magic cards for me.  Nothing else though.  It would certainly be dreadfully stupid to say “Stellarmus, I trust The Company That Must Not Be Named for 50 million USD.”

Harry Potter: Why do I get the feeling you know more about this topic than I do?

Hermione Granger: Welcome to life, Harry Potter.  I know more about every topic than you do.

(Note that this is Canon!Harry, not MoR!Harry, though the defense professor is a lot closer to MoR!Quirrell.)


Hermione Granger: I like you, Ron, but not enough to trust you with money.  Save my life a few times first and maybe we’ll talk.


Harry Potter: Wait, why do Hogwarts faculty trust the Defense Professor when the first rule of wizardry is “Don’t trust the Defense Professor?”

Defense Professor: Because the Hogwarts faculty are fools.  Trust is for the weak, anyhow.  The only real currency is a totally trustless currency.


Defense Professor: Granger is, of course, trusting that The Adversary never controls Hogwarts, Gringotts, and the Ministry of Magic at the same time.

Ron Weasley: That seems pretty reasonable, though.

Defense Professor: You think a far-reaching conspiracy can’t simultaneously capture all your trusted institutions?  I love the young and naive.


Defense Professor: [...] By the eldritch rites of Satoshi, transfer to my exchange’s account three infinitely divisible currency units.  I’ll bounce a fraction of them off your toy network into something that the Stellarmus spell will trade for a ChoChang!JPY, swap that for a cryptocurrency with actual value, and turn you into a value pump.



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comment by gwillen · 2014-08-05T21:07:08.757Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As I posted on HN: I'm not sure whether patio11 is aware of the existence of Ripple. But if he is, it's a curious omission from the story, and if he's not, it's curious that he's writing the story at all. (Ripple is the previous system that Stellar is an exact clone of, even having one of the founders in common -- Jed McCaleb, who was also the original founder of the ill-fated MtGox.)

I happen to be a big fan of Bitcoin, but I also think Ripple/Stellar is a clever idea -- which puts me somewhat at odds with what I think of as the Bitcoin Establishment, which largely does not. But I think a reasonable account of Stellar has to acknowledge the history, both positive and negative, that already exists, and not pretend that Stellar is something newly-formed.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-08-06T09:14:42.742Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

which puts me somewhat at odds with what I think of as the Bitcoin Establishment, which largely does not.

People in the Bitcoin Establishment have a vested interest in Ripple not succeeding. They also don't like the trust model.

comment by gwern · 2014-08-05T21:24:29.827Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Man, patio11 really hates Bitcoin.