[bitcoin-dev] Bitcoin, Perceptions, and Expectations

Vincent Truong vincent.truong at procabiak.com
Fri Jul 24 14:37:15 UTC 2015

"Fast transactions"
Fast transactions implies it is slower than Visa, and Visa is 'instant' by
comparison from the spender's POV. Bitcoin is still very instant because
wallets still send notifications/pings when transactions are first seen,
not when it goes into a block. We shouldn't mislead people into thinking a
transaction literally takes 10 minutes to travel the globe.

Maybe this feels like PR speak. But being too humble about Bitcoin's
attributes isn't a good idea either.

If we're going to look at perception, image and expectations, perhaps we
can start to look at redefining some terminology too. Like confirmations,
which is an arbitrary concept. Where possible we should describe it with
finance terminology.

"0 conf transaction"
0 conf is the 'transaction' - just the act of making an exchange. It
doesn't imply safe and I believe using the word 'settle' in place of
confirmations will automatically click with merchants.

"1st conf"
A 'confirmation' is a 'settlement'. If it is 'settled', it implies final
(except by court order), whereas confirmation usually means 'ah, I've seen
it come through'. I rarely hear any sales clerk call credit card
transactions confirmed. More often you will hear 'approved' instead.
Although 1st conf can be overtaken, so...

"n confirmations"
This term can probably stay since I can't come up with a better word.
Settlements only happen once, putting a number next to it breaks the
meaning of the word. "Settled with 4 confirmations" seems pretty clear.
Alternatively I think instead of displaying a meaningless number we ought
to go by a percentage (the double spend improbability) and go by
'confidence'. "Settled with 92% confidence." Or we can pick an arbitrary
number like 6 and use 'settling...' and 'settled' when reached.
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