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Thursday
Mar062014

Newsweek uncovers its own lack of integrity in alleged “Satoshi Nakamoto” discovery reporting

Newsweek just released a story, “The Face Behind Bitcoin” (6 March 2014), claiming to have found Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. I remain doubtful. Whether they have or not, though, I think their story reflects a lack of professional integrity, which is why I am not personally even including a link to it.

The person they targeted clearly did not want to be identified, but the magazine nevertheless published photographs not only of the person, but also of where he lives, along with the identities and locations of his major family members. The same story could have been published with less identifying and location information out of respect for the obvious wishes of the primary person involved (as in: he called the police when the reporter showed up uninvited at his house).

Now as to whether this story is to be believed, the article does come off as convincing at first read, but on reflection, here are some reasons I have doubts.

Many of the points made about the person targeted in the article do match up to elements of what is known about Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. There is, however, one very large problem. Given all of the alleged sophistication and use of untraceable emails, why would such a person use a real name? It is possible, but would be a spectacular contradiction to everything else that is known about Bitcoin’s Nakamoto, and for that matter, the person targeted in the article.

The article is a collection of circumstantial evidence, an ex post effort to line up characteristics and dates. However, one should ask: Which characteristics and dates that did not match the story’s objective were omitted or went unnoticed? What is the total statistical set of persons in the world who would match up on characteristics and dates in a similar way?

Meanwhile, zero direct evidence of this man’s involvement in Bitcoin was presented, only multiple coincidences of interests and skills. Nevertheless, the article is written and titled as an unqualified direct truth claim: “this is.”

So far as I can see, every piece of evidence presented also matches the thesis that this is not the creator of Bitcoin. Moreover, the real-name relationship to the person targeted in the article tends to support the thesis that this is not him, rather than that it is him. Are we to believe that “the” Satoshi Nakamoto, out of an unending list of possible pseudonyms, would have instead used a real name right along with the rest of his consistently tight operational anonymity?

Either way, what there is overwhelming evidence for is that those responsible for this article, in pursuit of traffic and their print magazine relaunch, have displayed abysmal judgment and a lack of professional integrity by giving away specific location and identifying photographic information about this man, regardless of whether he was the inventor of Bitcoin or not.

Thursday
Feb272014

MtGox fiasco highlights advantages of Bitcoin and damage from regulation

The bankruptcy of a centralized Bitcoin exchange, such as the MtGox collapse, is a prime example of the type of “trusted third party” risk to which Bitcoin itself was designed to provide an alternative. Although the original Bitcoin white paper particularly pointed out problems with people having to trust some third party to conduct financial transfers, an exchange facilitating impersonal market trading is also a type of trusted third party.

Customers of such exchanges do not maintain direct control of their bitcoins, but instead exchange these for entries in a customer account on an internal corporate system. Customers then rely on the particular quality and reliability of the internal management, data, and auditing systems of their chosen exchange to the extent and duration to which they leave balances there.

Bitcoin was designed to be a new type of solution to the kind of counterparty trust/risk problem that the MtGox news brings to light, although the same issues are all too familiar to students of the long history of fractional-reserve bank runs and systemic financial crises (importantly, this one is not systemic, but company specific). One objective of Bitcoin’s design was to reduce or eliminate the need for end users to rely on any such centrally managed (or mismanaged) credits—whether centrally issued monetary units themselves (first from banks of issue and later from central banks) or the particular internal accounting entries of specific service providers.

Users who directly control the keys to their own bitcoins, such as by using paper wallets, client software, and to a large degree also legitimately client-side encrypted web wallets, carry no trusted-counterparty risk (but still risk of user error and theft). However, if users do not hold bitcoins in some such direct way, they do not hold them at all. Rather, they hold a claim on a specific exchange company or secure-storage service.

MtGox customers were holding what were essentially Goxcoins, that is, MtGox-brand bitcoin credits (and/or MtGox-brand fiat account credits). They were not holding bitcoins. Such services can and should be sound of practice and strong of reputation, as appears to be the case with a number of other existing services. For example, Bitstamp-brand bitcoin account credits and Coinbase-brand bitcoin account credits have attracted none of the fear and discounting of MtGox-brand bitcoin account credits. All of them have the same status from a purely economic-theory point of view and none of them equate to the direct holding of bitcoin itself. However, their qualitative differences, from brand to brand, on the market have become increasingly vast.

One key innovation of Bitcoin was eliminating from within its own design any single point of failure from centralization in the core protocol and network. This has eliminated for users the need to rely on what I call a “trusted fourth party” that is, a centralized currency-unit issuer. However, next to broad Bitcoin-community enthusiasm about the potentials for decentralized designs, this does not necessarily imply a need to eliminate any and all points of centralization, such as the ordinary business design of competitive third-party services, whether centralized or decentralized. (De)centralization is negative when misapplied and (de)centralization is positive when well applied.

That said, Bitcoin does raise the competitive bar for financial service providers in original ways. It gives users an unprecedented opt-out path from the third-party financial services market as a whole. From a user standpoint, Bitcoin eliminates the need to necessarily rely on any third party whatsoever to aid in conducting one’s financial affairs. One who does not find some third-party service helpful can choose instead be one’s “own bank.”

I contrast, the traditional banking system’s only true opt-out path for end users is to be “unbanked” and thereby excluded from significant opportunities to engage with extended commercial society. With no true opt-out path for customers, but only a choice of fundamentally similar Bank A and Bank B, banking systems became increasingly cartelized over the course of centuries in the pursuit of coordinated inflation at the long-term expense of end users. Bitcoin has now provided end users exactly such an alternative to the familiar array of cartelized non-choices in financial services. It has also provided an opt-out path from the need to use reliably value-losing fourth-party-issued currency units.

A cause of certain irregularities

As MtGox has shown (to varying degrees for years and only now to its clearest extreme), particular third-party service providers can be unsound in their business practices. What is somewhat more mysterious is that such entities could continue to exist despite a long-standing negative business reputation, as well as the parallel presence of at least some apparently sounder alternatives.

One major factor in this is the high degree of regulatory risk and uncertainty in financial services in many countries. This has held back—by years—the entry of additional and higher-grade competitors, including not only start-ups, but potential new service offerings from existing firms. Many firms that could have easily started offering more professional Bitcoin services much sooner, did not do so due to risk avoidance in the face of a pervasive climate of regulatory fear and uncertainty.

Such companies—the market entry of which no one ever witnessed because it did not happen (Bastiat: “that which is not seen”)—had an abundance of just that expertise in systems, internal controls, and financial management in which MtGox seems to have been painfully deficient. In any less hampered market than financial services, such a company as MtGox should have easily been outcompeted and/or acquired by superior entrants long before reaching such a significant scale and being in a position to be a conduit for as much damage to its customers as it has.

“Regulation,” far from being a comfortable universal-savior solution, is in this way squarely to blame as a major factor in setting up the competitively hobbled business climate that helped enable such a weak firm to remain in business far past its expiration date. That stronger firms are now growing and new ones appearing is a positive development for the Bitcoin ecosystem. That more and stronger new entrants were missing in action starting at least two years ago owes a great deal to the artificial ex ante political blockades to social progress collectively known as “regulation.” The up and down tides of market sentiment regarding the range of potential regulatory actions have also played a major role in amplifying bitcoin price volatility. This component of volatility is then naively blamed on “bitcoin” instead of on the irrational and unpredictable regulatory climate, market expectations about which shift with every passing “official” mumbling, musing, or rumor from anywhere in the world (though much less now than in the past).

Constructive work is underway to apply the conceptual and technical solutions that Bitcoin has brought into the world to the specific business of exchanging global bitcoin for various local monies. These include a range of decentralized exchange protocols, and methods of using the blockchain to confirm customer reserves. Contracting for independent third-party audits would also seem a reasonable business measure for participants in a competitive exchange landscape. Offering such audits could be another un- or under-tapped potential business opportunity. Once again in this case, progress has been impeded by regulatory fears that have helped prevent relevant established professionals from getting involved much sooner just where most needed—in an entirely new world-changing start-up industry.

As the less content-oriented among media participants scramble to conflate as thoroughly as possible the emerging disasters of the MtGox company with their own vaguely formed fantasy images to which they attach the word “Bitcoin,” I take note that the really existing Bitcoin was designed as an innovative solution to the centuries-long institutional problems of users having little choice but to trust some “trusted third party” in their financial affairs. What has been dubbed “Empty Gox” is only the latest particular manifestation of this long-running problem, to which Bitcoin itself has arrived on the historical scene as a significant new class of solution.

 

Suggested reading: “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” Satoshi Nakamoto (Oct. 31, 2008) [PDF]

Friday
Feb142014

Summary update on Bitcoin transaction malleability adjustments

Here is a quick summary of the current state of the response to transaction-malleability attacks on some exchanges, based on what I have gathered mainly from Github, Reddit, and Twitter discussions. One note on terminology at the outset, transaction-ID malleability would probably make this easier to understand for the general public at first glance—the substantive content of transactions cannot be alterned at all through this issue.

The MtGox exchange was still hardest hit in its particular implementation, but more importantly, it is mainly suffering in addition due to a general lack of market confidence in its business and solvency, which has built up over a very long period. The “price” it currently displays is not really a “Bitcoin price,” but mainly a market risk assessment of the likely state of the exchange’s own solvency. The current issue and MtGox’s response have come as a “last straw” for the market’s view of this company. This business-specific factor has also amplified the wider public impression of how significant the actual general technical issue itself is (this is typical for Bitcoin news, but still).

That said, MtGox’s infamous Monday press release blaming the Bitcoin protocol for its own woes was not entirely fanciful after all, and some wider adjustments are being made to tighten up this issue at some other exchanges and even in the reference implementation itself. These code adjustments in response to transaction ID malliators (those taking advantage of the situation to reissue transactions with altered transaction IDs) are taking shape and are in the process of being approved and implemented.

What we are apparently getting is a new “normalized transaction ID” field in transactions. This reflects the substantive content of the transaction itself and is therefore immune to the malliation to which the standard ID is subject prior to confirmation. To clarify for those who have not followed this closely, this issue has never had any direct effect on the content of transactions, that is, on who gets what. The exploit is only a way to fool some wallets into not seeing that a confirmed transaction has in fact been confirmed.

The work underway is precisely to fix these particular implementations so that they correctly perceive that confirmed transactions actually have appeared on the blockchain. These implementations had been relying on the initial standard transaction ID for this function. Not everyone understood that during a window after initial submission to the network and before confirmation, a transaction could be copied and the copy reissued with an altered transaction ID by changing the format of the signature.

Reference wallet features to make use of this new normalised ID are well in process. These include detecting copies of the “same” (in terms of hard content) transactions with differing standard transaction IDs. This is called “Walletconflict detection.” “Conflicted” transactions, that is, versions of a transaction that did not confirm due to ID malleation, are to be reported as “confirmations: -1 and category: ‘conflicted.’” This status is based on detection of multiple transactions with the same (new) normalised transaction ID as one another (only one such transaction can ever be confirmed, but this new feature brings any ID-malleation attempts to the ‘attention’ of the wallet software by showing all malleated and non-malleated versions that carry the same content).

The Bitstamp exchange announced Friday morning (in Europe) that its system adjustment, built with support from core developers, had passed internal testing and that it is likely to resume withdrawals later in the day.

There is more to be done to support more complex and as yet rarely used Bitcoin features in terms of the standard transaction ID issue, as this ID is what is used in inputs to future transactions. This is complex, because the malleability of the standard ID could also have positive uses in the future in facilitating certain types of complex transactions. The current adjustments with the addition of the normalized transaction ID and related code should be a sufficient immediate adaptation to the issue.

Monday
Jan132014

Legal and economic perspectives in the action-based analysis of Bitcoin

Well before getting “distracted” by the theoretical interpretation of Bitcoin for most of 2013 and probably well beyond, one of my central projects, still ongoing, has been to explicitly apply the action-based methodology of Ludwig von Mises and Hans-Hermann Hoppe to the philosophy of law. This is a project that had already been greatly advanced by the work of Stephan Kinsella, in my view, and I have tried to make this approach even more explicit and systematic, naming it action-based jurisprudence. This has led to some additional clarifications, foremost, what I consider a clearer differentiation between the respective natures and roles of legal theory and ethics, as well as clearer divisions between legal theory, legal practice, and (forthcoming) criminology.

I recently came across some interesting comments that reminded me of how this background influenced the way I approached understanding Bitcoin right from the beginning. Jorge Casanova in a thread in Spanish, referenced my 2011 paper, “Action-Based Jurisprudence” (links to that and related work here) and makes some good points, tying this to larger themes. The key insight is that phenomena under investigation are wholes and it is our own methods that illuminate different aspects of them (rather than the aspects being as separable as they might casually appear from attempting to reference only one field). He also cites, as I did, the example of money, which cannot be understood well without applying both economic and legal concepts (whether done explicitly or unconsciously):

[Google translated]: “There is a nature of money as a whole, with economic and legal implications, but inseparable from each other since the phenomenon (the money, or the bank if any) is absolutely inseparable from its legal and economic nature as a whole.”

A couple of years after writing that first action-based jurisprudence paper, I have just recently used legal status as the basis for proposing a new approach to monetary typology that can account for Bitcoin, which appeared for the first time in the video “Bitcoin Decrypted” Part III (December 2013). In this model, the most relevant thing about the category of “commodity money” is that it is a market good that requires no particular legal status that differs from that of any other good. Other types of monetary objects often rely on some form of legal status to prop them up, and this usually entails some degree of artificial legal privilege.

Another important factor in “commodity” is that a commodity good is one that is interchangeable with other units and is basically as easy to either buy or sell at the going market price. This is distinguished from other items, foremost specialty items, for which the relative positions of buyers and sellers differs widely. For most—non-commodity—goods, it is easy to go to a store and buy something, but much harder to turn around and sell it again. New cars, for example, famously take on a substantial price discount as soon as they are “driven off the lot.” On a commodity market, however, the relative positions of buyers and sellers are much closer in terms of the relationship between price spreads and relative ability to have transactions executed in a timely way.

In contrast to these two factors (a legal one and an economic one), it seems to have become more typically understood that the important thing about “commodity” in monetary thought is its apparent reference to the tangibility or materiality of historical commodity monies. However, I argue that this is turning out to be an incidental historical characteristic, rather than a theoretically fundamental one (See On the origins of Bitcoin: Stages of monetary evolution” (PDF, 3 November 2013 revised edition).

It is interesting to note in this connection that tangibility is a type of physical characteristic. As such, it requires neither economic theory nor legal theory to define it. It can be defined in terms of the natural sciences, referencing certain physically measurable properties, or their absence.

Legal status, in contrast, must be understood on the back of some kind of legal theory, while degree of liquidity/marketability/saleability is an economic-theory conception. In sum, these two factors, legal status and liquidity, both properly belong to the (“praxeological” or action-based) social sciences, whereas questions of tangibility or materiality (or the identification of one metal as contrasted with another) are first of all natural-science questions. In the same sense, the identification of cryptographic properties such as those of cryptocurrencies is first of all a mathematical and cryptographic issue, likewise not a social-science issue, per se (only secondarily, in that acting people are reflecting such elements in their actions and value scales).

 

What follows is the original comment in Spanish for those who can read it or run it through an online translation widget, which seems to create something at least vaguely comprehensible in the case of Spanish to English (as opposed to the hilarity that ensues from Japanese to English machine translation):

No hay tal cosa como la economía por un lado y el derecho (o en un sentido más amplio el entorno institucional) por el otro. De hecho, resulta muy ilustrativo el sensacional trabajo de Konrad S Graf titulado “Action-Based Jurisprudence: Praxeological Legal Theory in Relation to Economic Theory, Ethics and Legal Practice” publicado en Libertarian Papers (Vol. 3, 2011)… y cuya primera parte me parece uno de los más brillantes razonamientos sobre teoría legal praxeológica que he leído hasta la fecha. En resumidas cuentas, Graf señala que la praxeología se divide en tres “niveles” (raíz, tronco y ramas, usando la metáfora de un árbol) y que las dos ramas fundamentales (cada una con varios elementos) son la teoría económica y la teoría legal, y señala además que hay determinados fenómenos (el primero de los cuales es el dinero y banca) que no pueden entenderse sin aplicar simultáneamente las implicaciones de ambas ramas, la económica y la legal. No es posible, al tratar el fenómeno monetario hablar de una naturaleza económica del dinero y de una naturaleza legal (o institucional) del mismo, ni tan siquiera en términos analíticos y teóricos. Existe una naturaleza del dinero como un todo, con implicaciones económicas y legales, pero indisociables entre sí pues el fenómeno (el dinero, o la banca en su caso) es absolutamente inseparable de su naturaleza jurídico-económica como un todo. Desde el momento mismo en que la praxeología no es solamente ciencia económica, sino que es ciencia de la acción humana en general (y a partir de los trabajos que venimos desarrollando personas como Josema C España y un servidor, estamos cada vez más cerca de hablar de todo un paradigma de filosofía primera incluso, lo que va aún más allá del método de una serie de ciencias en particular) no es posible disociar un elemento puramente económico del más general elemento de acción humana.

Thursday
Nov072013

Hyper-monetization reloaded: Another round of bubble talk

‘Tis the season again when the Bitcoin exchange rate rises fast and “bubble” talk resumes among some journalistic and other Bitcoin skeptics. Around the height of the previous most dramatic Bitcoin exchange rate movements of March and April 2013, I posted an article called “Hyper-monetization: Questioning the ‘Bitcoin bubble’ bubble,” which was widely circulated at the time and still referenced now. What follows is a blend of brand-new material and thoroughly revised highlights from the earlier article.

The objective was, and is, not to give advice or make predictions, but to draw on theory to develop alternative perspectives on what exactly a “bubble” may or may not be in relation to the distinctive case of a brand-new rising-value medium of exchange. “Medium of exchange” is fancy economic jargon for something one can pay for goods and services with. I define a money as the common unit of pricing and accounting in a given context (see my “Bitcoin as medium of exchange now and unit of account later: The inverse of Koning’s medieval coins,” 14 September 2013).

Behind popular price-bubble discourse often lies a thinly or not-at-all veiled general debate on whether Bitcoin is a valid system. Some degree of bubble-talk functions as a pop proxy for this. In April, some Bitcoin critics were citing rapid price movements in support of the contention that Bitcoin, as such, was only a bubble. When this bubble popped, the story went, Bitcoin units would supposedly return to their “inherent” value, which they claimed to be…nothing.

Of course, Bitcoin failed to oblige them once again. Yet each time Bitcoin does not fulfill this pop empirical prediction, and instead eventually goes much higher in price later on, one nevertheless hears the same prediction repeated the next time around. In contrast, there are several ways to take a much longer-term view, one that is able to both account for price manias and also acknowledge the possibility that Bitcoin could be a valid system, and an ever more reliable one in the making.

Hyper-monetization reloaded

Many observers have likened the rise of Bitcoin to an asset bubble. Another less common word introduced in this context is hyper-deflation. Some say such a thing is horrible, others that it is great. I suggest a quite different interpretive concept to apply in addition: hyper-monetization.

I came across the term hyper-deflation, intended in a positive sense of rapidly rising value, when Bitcoin’s exchange rate was climbing fast from the low thirties to the high thirties over a few days in early March 2013. While a few specialists of a certain persuasion understand “deflation” to be a great thing for ordinary people, the word still has major problems. It has several possible definitions. It can refer to price-level changes or to quantity of money changes, depending on who is talking or when. It is assigned a quite negative interpretation in most conventional economics circles. Finally, it has a general public-relations problem. It just sounds depressing as a word. Whatever its real net effects on society might be, “deflation” just sounds like a bad thing no matter what. Which child most wants a deflated balloon?

The word hyper-monetization occurred to me as a more positive alternative to hyper-deflation, one that also provides an antonym to the catastrophic hyper-inflations that have repeatedly killed off fiat paper monies throughout history. The exact opposite of the death of an old money at the debt-dripping hands of state/bank alliance managers would be the birth of a new medium of exchange at the creative hands of the market.

The term de-monetization denotes the more general concept of a widely used medium of exchange ceasing to function as one. A total hyper-inflationary collapse is one way this can happen. Another is bimetallist legal-tender price-fixing schemes driving one precious metal, say silver, out of circulation in favor of another, say gold, or vice versa. Yet another historical example is when a pure fiat paper standard is created after monetary authorities permanently “suspend redemption” of legal tender notes into the precious metals that had been promised in exchange for such notes (that is, note-issuer default is “legalized”). Paper and account entries then remain as money, while the metals that had formerly “backed” them are de-monetized and trade as commodity assets, bought and sold in terms of what replaced them in the actual role of money. The rhetorical line from some well-meaning sound-money promoters that “gold is money” is simply untrue, except, of course, in regard to those times and places where it actually was.

The opposite process, “monetization” in this sense, denotes something that was not a money beginning to function as one. When euros took over the jobs of various European national currencies, euros were monetized and the previous national currencies de-monetized. The French franc and Italian lira do not now function as monies; they are historical relics.

Something that gains its own exchange value from scratch on the open market contrasts sharply with any such forced legal conversions. When a freely chosen unit monetizes through market processes, and does so quite rapidly, it might then reasonably be described as being in a process of “hyper-monetization” (for a detailed treatment of origin-of-money issues, see my recent paper, “On the origins of Bitcoin: Stages of monetary evolution,” revised version, 3 November 2013, PDF).

A problem with the “bubble” bubble

Bitcoin’s high price volatility is unquestioned. However, it is unsurprising for at least two reasons. First, it is not widely understood as a technology and is in a very early stage of development. Second, its exchange value (market price) tends to react to news that highlights regime uncertainty. It should be noted that this is a type of “government failure” in that the scope and variability of policy uncertainty across multiple jurisdictions greatly increases market uncertainty.

Something else to consider in relation to the eternally-recurring “Bitcoin is a bubble” claim is that in a normal asset bubble, certain key factors differ. To whichever height the prices of typical bubble assets such as houses climb, a given house remains the same good in a physical sense as when it exchanged for less money. In the case of a monetization event, in contrast, the actual utility of the trading unit—which is mainly its utility as a trading unit—may actually rise. This is due to monetary network effects, named in reference to the value that comes from the extent of the network of people willing and able to deal in a particular trading unit.

To imagine how this special case of medium-of-exchange utility growth might differ from an ordinary asset bubble in, for example, housing, it would be as if not only the prices of houses were rising during a buying rush, but in addition, their actual sought-after qualities as physical houses were improving as well. Such fantastic houses might sprout new rooms with no one building them. New paint jobs might appear mysteriously overnight without any painters having visited.

For a medium of exchange, a rising general usability for facilitating the purchase of goods and services (separate from the relative value of each unit) is not directly tied to its exchange rate against other monetary units. Still, this aspect is likely to positively influence such exchange rates. Conversely, rising exchange rates, if they generate news and wider attention, can then lead to enhanced network effects through increased recognition, creating a network-growth cycle.

For those who have been following Bitcoin news closely, for months on end there have been seemingly daily announcements of new ways and places for consumers to spend bitcoins, new or improved wallet services to manage bitcoins, new or improved payment processor services to receive bitcoins, and new exchanges at which to buy and sell bitcoins—all on a global basis. Bitcoin payment processor BitPay announced in September that it had 10,000 merchant customers, up 10x from 1,000 a year earlier. In the past 12 months, the number of wallet accounts listed at the popular Blockchain.info My Wallet service has risen 13.9x from 38,460 to 534,575. These are just two specific services and do not reflect horizontal expansion in the number of competing services or the direct use of the Bitcoin network to facilitate transactions on the part of consumers and merchants using directly controlled software without intermediated assistance from service companies.

“Is” a bubble versus “is in” a bubble phase

Bitcoin does have its manias and crashes. The hyper-monetization concept seems useful especially in a longer-term perspective for addressing the view that Bitcoin is nothing more than a speculative bubble. The most insistent proponents of this view elaborate along these lines: “Bitcoin has no ‘intrinsic’ value and is therefore ultimately destined to fall to its ‘inherent’ value, which is zero.

However, claiming that Bitcoin is a bubble (total dismissal of the system as such) is quite different from claiming, perhaps helpfully, that Bitcoin’s exchange rate may be showing signs of being in a temporary bubble phase or mania at a given point in time. That said, every significant rise in price cannot just be reflexively attributed to a mania. There is certainly more to this story and there are many specific matters of degree and interpretation. Among these is recognizing that a young currency such as this would naturally vary in price quite a bit more as it is being discovered in waves than later after it has gained more widespread adoption.

At a theoretical level, unlike a simple asset bubble mania, the more people begin using or expanding their use of a particular medium of exchange, the more its actual utility rises, and the more valuable it actually is in this function from the point of view of its users. The exchange value of a medium of exchange unit is related to, among other things, each holder’s expectations of being able to use the unit in future exchanges. How many people will accept the unit, how readily, and for what?

At least when it comes to the aspect of monetary network-effect growth in any season, ‘tis the more the merrier.