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Issue #448: Push v. Pull

Mar 26, 2019
Marty's Ƀent

Issue #448: Push v. Pull

I'm right there with ya, Mr. Hodl. The topic of push v. pull systems has been touched upon in this rag many moons ago, but I do not have the time to use my Macgyver'd archive system to find the particular issues right now. With that being said, it's never a bad time to remind oneself of this aspect of Bitcoin's value prop, especially for merchants and citizens who are subjected to having their money pulled from their bank accounts via negative interest rate policies.

When one makes a traditional payment via credit or debit card at a store, the merchant's point of sale system is interacting with a number of other intermediaries to communicate with your bank so that they can pull the necessary funds from your account, layering fees and complicated settlement schemes behind each transaction. With Bitcoin, this interaction is completely different. When you purchase something with Bitcoin, a merchant isn't communicating with your wallet to signal that you have okay'd some funds to be pulled from it. You sign your private key, sending a combination of one or more UTXO's to the wallet address of the merchant, pushing your funds to them and receiving change from the Bitcoin network if the UTXO(s) you send isn't the exact amount requested (which will be the case in most instances).

This seemingly small distinction has massive implications for some aspects of commerce. One which jumps to the top of the list for people who discuss this topic is merchant chargebacks. People stealing credit cards, using them at merchants, the original owner claiming fraud, and having the money pulled from the merchant's account. There is also scum out there who will claim fraud after making a legitimate purchase that they later regret. Another way funds are pulled from individual accounts outside of chargebacks would be NIRP or forced asset seizure by governments who feel you did not pay enough taxes. The fact that Bitcoin is a push system neuters these capabilities of the State and gives a bit of leverage back to the individual when it comes to negotiating taxes. It is impossible for governments to pull UTXOs from a Bitcoin wallet without having access to the private keys. Yes, they could go door to door and try to force individuals to sign their private keys and send funds to Uncle Sam, but that seems like a logistical nightmare that could only be implemented if the US Government went full Gestapo (don't count it out, freaks).

The opportunity to shift to a physical cash-like push system in the digital world is an overwhelmingly enormous development and opportunity that not many people grasp yet. The tools that we need to help push the pendulum of power back towards the individual exist today. They just aren't widely known or evenly distributed. In due time.      

Final thought...

I don't get tan. I get red.


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