Anti-Bitcoin "Bitcoin Apps" Part 3: Gliph in particular (Updated)

In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned that Gliph is anti-Bitcoin and CoinDesk is little more than a dumb, lubricated tube for VC press releases, but didn't elaborate on the point. Then I followed with Part 2 in which the idea of what a wallet is gets established. Now it is time to take some of the ideas from Part 2 to support the idea that Gliph gets bitcoin fundamentally wrong.

Gliph does wrong in doing what their founder and CEO describes in this quote "We deliver an experience that no one else has come remotely close to, which is this in-line, no-wallet or intra-wallet function that enables you to send between wallets seamlessly" which is as nonsensical in their description and implementation. The three "wallets" Gliph supports are Coinbase (which Gliph defaults to), BIPS (Edit: Hacked), and which may be problematic seeing that Coinbase and BIPS are more properly currency exchangers. To be fair I do consider a wallet of sorts, as mentioned in the comments to part 2.

Why Gliph goes wrong is that in "seamlessly" providing transfers between these services, Gliph forces users to value the Bitcoin held by these services equally. Bitcoin held in the trust of different counterparties really shouldn't be valued equally and the current spread of Bitcoin prices between MtGox and other exchanges illustrates this. Specific concerns about MtGox were laid out in April by Mircea Popescu though he had criticized MtGox before and after then. Since April MtGox has been the center of a lot drama involving their lack of withdrawals to the United States which can probably been attributed to their being short $10 million with around $5 million being with the Feds and a further $5 million having been deposited with Coinlab before that drama blew up. Ripple does this valuing every counterparty's Bitcoins the same way, but with its own scammy and unfeasible elements that Gliph can at least not be shamed for.

So how does this lead to Gliph being anti-Bitcoin? Well, Gliph has no provision for sending Bitcoin to an actual Bitcoin address. Sure, you can send to an address from the underlying services (at least for now), but how long is this going to be true? This is in conflict with what is an essential property of Bitcoin being Bitcoin "By definition the rightful owner of any coins is 'he who can send them'. If you take issue with that, please stick to fiat. You are not ready for Bitcoin yet." Beyond that Gliph's messaging feature is probably architecturally insecure through its encrypting messages via AES keys held on the server and probably has further problems which will eventually be uncovered a la Crypto Cat.

In the way it insulates itself entirely from Bitcoin addresses and works to normalize a constant embrace of counterparty risk, Gliph sets itself against Bitcoin.

9 thoughts on “Anti-Bitcoin "Bitcoin Apps" Part 3: Gliph in particular (Updated)

  1. Bitcoin held in the trust of different counterparties really shouldn’t be valued equally and the current spread of Bitcoin prices between MtGox and other exchanges illustrates this.

    This is a very good point, and sufficient on its face to show exactly why the so called "CEO" is not in fact a CEO, nor for that matter qualified to do intellectual work.

    More generally, the subtleties of correctly handling Bitcoin are mindboggling. It is unfortunate but at least amusing that the clueless are cocksure of their ceoself.

    • Apparently the VC outfit has a whole stable of unfortunate sources of amusement.

      This particular class of newb with money is most likely entirely incapable of taking the no less than six months of reading moar and lurking moar necessary to have a merely survivable understanding of correctly handling bitcoin, much less bitcoin which is at least nominally if not quite actually other peoples.

    • There are quite a few visual things here I'm playing with on my offline WordPress install. Some things will change fairly soon, and others won't.

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