Contracts and Economic Majority
"So the ability for a protocol change to be successfully implemented ultimately rests with those who accept bitcoins in exchange for value." "So by default, ultimately a protocol change has to be welcomed by those who hold bitcoins."
These are, of course, probably two different types of people in the near- to medium-term.
Agents who accept BTC for value, "vendors," are generally going to be most concerned with price stability; they want to be able to quote prices that are predictable. Agents who hold BTC for more than the short term, at this time, are mostly speculators, and they want appreciation. There's nothing that prevents us, technologically-advanced folk that we are, from producing new price quotes daily (or every minute for that matter), like a gas station, based on any number of underlying market conditions -- convertibility to sovereign currency, input commodity, specie, whatever -- but it'd be a huge cultural shift for a contractor, who's primary input is labor, to have to quote a different rate on a regular basis.
Also worth considering is that there is a whole class of users that don't exist now but probably will in the future: people who hold futures contracts denominated in BTC, in and out of the money. A service provider who makes a long term deal -- for instance, his wages over the term of a contract -- will want BTC's values to stay as predictable as possible, just as commodity vendors at the end of a growing season will want predictability, if not BTC deflation relative to his negotiated deal. On the other side of the equation are people who hold out-of-the-money contracts on the value of the BTC, which is just a fancy way of saying "debtors." Loans aren't a BTC phenomenon yet, and with the engineered deflation they aren't liable to be a phenomenon for a while, but employers and commodity speculator/brokers, people who negotiate long-term deals in BTCs, will likely be constantly trying to bend the value curve flatter, because it means they win more value.
Contracts and futures can hold significant notional value, perhaps several multiples of the total capitalization of the market.
Question: Do people who don't hold BTC, but hold contracts in BTC, deserve a say in changes? And how would we recognize this? Do we favor people who hold in-the-money bets, like employees or lenders, or out-of-the-money bets, like debtors or employers. --Sigaba (talk) 05:19, 13 August 2012 (GMT)
Those who already hold coins vs. those who will acquire coins
The Economic Majority theory says that the power to control the Bitcoin protocol is held by those who [own] bitcoins.
But the article then goes on to read:
The ability for a protocol change to be successfully implemented ultimately rests with those who accept bitcoins in exchange for value. So that refers to investors and those who aren't immediately spending or cashing out the coins they receive as income or revenue.
But that power doesn't lie with those who already hold the coins but instead it lies with those who are willing to accept the newly issued coins under the revised protocol or coins with taint from coins issued under a revised protocol.
So, is the Economic Majority those that already hold bitcoins or is it instead just those who will hold the bitcoins generated following a change to the protocol? If so, how would that be best worded?
- Actually, the people who already have bitcoins are not a significant part at all in the economic majority. Starting the page with "by those who hold bitcoins" is completely wrong.
- The constituents of the economic majority are traders/investors willing to buy bitcoins for other currencies and merchants willing to accept bitcoins for products. Since many of those do it by proxy, the proxies (exchanges, payment processors and other services) have a large influence.
- I think this requires a complete rewrite of the page. Holy-Fire (talk) 09:12, 30 May 2013 (GMT)
- I removed the following part:
- Just as a consumer has the ability to boycott a business if the consumer has a problem with how they operate, Bitcoin consumers have the ability to boycott merchants as well. Thus a Bitcoin merchant might not adopt a protocol change that would not be welcomed by its consumers.
- So by default, ultimately a protocol change has to be welcomed by those who hold bitcoins.
- I don't believe it is true. People who hold bitcoins have very little bargaining power - if most everyone else switches to a new protocol, stakeholders need to follow suit or their bitcoins will be worthless. Holy-Fire (talk) 13:38, 8 August 2013 (GMT)