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If you're not familiar with the digital currency BitCoin, you can check out WeUseCoins.com. There is a push to launch a StackExchange site for it here where one of the comments has been to ask if it can be folded in to a general money site in order to limit fragmentation. Because BitCoin combines money (PayPal-like) and technology (an open-source project) it can be hard to place. Would asking and answering questions about this be a good fit for the money.stackexchange.com community?

There have been a couple other bitcoin-related questions here already so perhaps people have existing opinions about this.

  • This belongs on meta. – mbhunter Apr 1 '11 at 6:58
  • @eMansipater: Questions about what questions are valid on the site need to be asked on the meta site at meta.money.stackexchange.com – Dheer Apr 1 '11 at 7:59
  • I wanted to, Dheer, but don't have enough points to do so! – eMansipater Apr 1 '11 at 14:11
  • Speaking of points, does anyone know why this question has received 5 upvotes but I still only have 1 point? I'm not even allowed to upvote the answers below! – eMansipater Apr 21 '11 at 16:53
  • @eMansipater - Reputation on meta is from the parent site. You can ask, answer, up vote, downvote on meta without changing your reputation. – Alex B Apr 29 '11 at 18:00
  • @alex do mean that the five upvotes my question has received don't affect my reputation because this is on meta? I'm now able to upvote because I got a +100 bonus from exceeding 200 on another site, so it doesn't matter so much. – eMansipater Apr 29 '11 at 18:15
  • @eMansipater: Correct. Upvotes on the main money site will yield 5 points a piece. Upvotes on meta are useful, but don't give any reputation bonus. – Alex B Apr 29 '11 at 18:32
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    The public beta for Bitcoin is now open. I'm not sure what effect this should have on Money.SE, but I imagine migration should be slow since neither proposal has graduated to being a full site yet. – Michael McGowan Sep 7 '11 at 19:26
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There are already several BitCoin questions on the site, and I have written at least one answer that I recall.

From my perspective, if we treat BitCoin like any other currency, then questions of a general nature are OK.

We have answered questions about brokers in various countries, I can see questions here like "I want to convert BitCoin to Euro, what is a good dealer in France".

So I would vote that we continue to allow the questions, and just watch for those that are unanswerable.

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    Good point sdg--some bitcoin questions would be okay, but something like "how do I change the configuration of X" would be off-topic. – eMansipater Apr 21 '11 at 16:52
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Check out my proposal for a Q&A site dedicated to bitcoin. Please follow it & vote on questions if you're interested in BitCoin.

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    Wow, I just checked! Your proposal now has 100% commitment and is on its way to beta status. – Ellie Kesselman Aug 23 '11 at 4:13
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I think another question with the same answer is "Is this a good place to ask and answer questions about silver or gold or other popular commodities?" The answer is "somewhat". Commodities have a small but limited role in personal finance. They are more suitable as a general money topic. A few questions here and there discussing how commodities like gold and silver relate to money and investment vehicles suitable for individuals are clearly appropriate. BitCoin questions should probably be treated similarly.

BitCoin is mildly controversial. (Heck, investment strategies using gold and silver and other commodities can be controversial too). StackExchange is not Wikipedia but a modicum of Wikipedia's "neutral point of view" technique is helpful here: document the controversy, but try not to feed the controversy. Discussion of the issues which people find controversial about BitCoin is appropriate; extensive debate about it really isn't.

In-depth questions on how to use BitCoin are probably completely off-topic. I generally approve of the BitCoin StackExchange proposal to create a more appropriate venue for these conversations. If and when this BitCoin stackexchange is created, it may be appropriate to move more BitCoin-related questions there as a matter of convenience, even questions which might otherwise be on topic here.

  • Agreed, that the BitCoin StackExchange site proposal is a step in the right direction. It will probably generate a lot of interest. It also will be more likely to involve people who are well-informed about features unique to BitCoin e.g. cryptography. That topic would not be an otherwise natural fit with, nor easy to integrate into, the bulk of other money.stackexchange content. – Ellie Kesselman Aug 23 '11 at 4:11
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I disagree that BitCoin discussion should be encouraged here.

In my opinion, it's a ponzi scheme with a small, vocal minority of fans/believers who like to spend devote much time talking about it, but those discussions tend to degrade into broader criticisms of the world financial system. Most of the bitcoin-related questions on the site today are very broad questions not well suited to the site.

Also note that 4/9 questions currently tagged with "bitcoin" are asked by 1 user.

Substitute the word "BitCoin" for another commodity. Would you consider questions like the ones below on topic?:

  • Will aluminum become a mainstream company?
  • What is the true value of winter wheat?
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    First of all, stop calling it a Ponzi scheme when it's not. A Ponzi scheme requires fraud, and the open-source nature makes that quite difficult with Bitcoin. If you want to trivialize Bitcoin and its followers, call it a "speculative bubble" or "a pump and dump" or something that might at least be technically correct if your beliefs are accurate. You can't just call something a Ponzi scheme because something you think is worthless has gone up in value...that's not what "Ponzi scheme" means. – Michael McGowan Jul 5 '11 at 20:41
  • Also, you are substituting commodities to make the questions look silly when Bitcoin was designed not as a commodity but as a currency (though it has characteristics of both). I think it is perfectly legitimate to ask on a money site, "What is the true value of the USD?" The answers could address supply and demand, the gold standard and current lack thereof, etc. Note that a similar question that does deal with a commodity instead of currency ("Why does gold have value?") has received 17 upvotes...so it seems the community doesn't mind such questions. – Michael McGowan Jul 5 '11 at 20:43
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    I call Bitcoin a ponzi scheme because the early adopters generated a little less than half of the currently existing Bitcoin in 2009. Now we're in a PR/hype cycle where the unknown parties who happened to generate bitcoin when it was easy to do so are able to cash out for actual money. – duffbeer703 Jul 10 '11 at 18:19
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    Bitcoin is absolutely a commodity -- the entire premise of Bitcoin is that shares the properties of gold and other commodity monetary systems. (versus fiat money) Like gold, there is a limited supply and an increasingly slow addition of supply over time. – duffbeer703 Jul 10 '11 at 18:26
  • I don't think it is unreasonable to ask a question about the true value of winter wheat, for purposes of educating about commodities (not trading strategy). But the last thing that money.stockexchange should be focusing on is anything that is not regulated, not well understood, and just... "new fangled"! After the recent fraud incident associated with the BitCoin Mt. Gox exchange (or clearinghouse, I don't know), I feel even more strongly about this. BitCoin is more than mildly controversial. A Bitcoin StackExchange is a much better idea. – Ellie Kesselman Aug 23 '11 at 4:03
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Found this question from a "bitcoin" search on Google.

I didn't know about money.stackexchange.com, but it seems to be open and registration-free, so I guess it's as good a place as anywhere else to talk about bitcoin.

First thing I should say about your post is that bitcoin is not "Paypal-like". Paypal is more of a method of payment than a currency. Or, if you really want to consider it as a currency, then it is a pegged currency.

Bitcoin is not just a method of payment. It is a currency by itself. It is NOT pegged by anything. Bitcoins are nothing but digital secured tokens for decentralised exchange.

  • Hi grondilu. Just trying to describe some aspects of BitCoin without going all technical on the poor peeps ;) – eMansipater Apr 1 '11 at 6:53
  • -1 Saying this is a "good place to talk about bitcoin" because it's "open and registration-free" is approaching it from the wrong angle. It says you're a Bitcoin fan looking for a forum and wondering if this would be convenient for you. This decision should be based on whether it's convenient for you, but whether or not it's a suitable topic of conversation given this site's charter. – user296 Jun 15 '11 at 19:46
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    Also, meta is the wrong place to talk about BitCoin's qualities, which you are doing here. The main money.stackexchange.com site might be a suitable place (this question is meant to determine that). – user296 Jun 15 '11 at 19:47

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