Inflation, Bitcoin development, PR Review Club

The costs to society of an incorrectly calculated inflation rate

Yesterday I had to go to the dentist to have a tooth removed. When I rang up to make the appointment they told me that they do not accept medical cards any longer.

I found out the reason too. The Irish government are only willing to pay dentists €30 for an extraction for people with a medical card. So the Irish Dentists Association, which has been representing Irish Dentists in discussions with the government, decided to advise its members to no longer accept the medical card for procedures. I was charged €80 for the extraction on my way out the door.

This is just another example of the problems that can be encountered when we fail to accurately measure inflation. The government, in talks with the Association, are claiming that inflation has been quite low (1-2% per annum) since that last negotiations took place. However, cost inflation as experienced by Irish dentists has been much higher.

So now, in the absense of an agreement between the two parties, Irish medical card holders must pay €80 for an extraction and perhaps more for a filling. Again, the policies implemented by those higher-ups in society - the political class - hurt the people at the bottom of the food chain or pecking order (medical card holders) most prohibitively.

Checkout shadowstats.com for an idea on correct inflation numbers.


Getting started in Bitcoin Development

I've been thinking about getting into Bitcoin development for quite some time now, and recently it's been taking shape.

For those of you interested in getting into Bitcoin development, there is a github page here https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/blob/master/CONTRIBUTING.md on the subject.

The first thing this page says is that 'new contributors are very welcome and needed'. This is a very positive beginning. I personally would be regarded as a 'new contributor'.

To give you some background, I have some experience with HTML and CSS, but not very much. I part-completed a course provided by freecodecamp a couple of years ago so I have a certain amount of knowledge with these two languages.

However, when it comes to C++ and Python, I have no clue. I read a book on Python some time ago but it made no sense to me whatsoever.

Reviewing and testing Pull Requests is the best way to start contributing to Bitcoin Core. Bitcoin Core is regarded as being the Reference Implementation of Bitcoin. A Reference Implementation is a program that implements all requirements from a corresponding specification. I don't know what that specification this, but presumably it came with the Bitcoin whitepaper released by Satoshi Nakamoto.

There are other Bitcoin development projects that you or I could get involved in also, such as the Lightning Network or BTCPayServer. But I think I'll focus on Bitcoin Core to begin with. That's where the majority of Bitcoin development efforts are concentrated at the moment.

There is an introduction to Bitcoin Core development here https://bitcointechtalk.com/a-gentle-introduction-to-bitcoin-core-development-fdc95eaee6b8 that's worth reading. Noob's such as myself need to start out testing and reviewing code before we start submitting Pull Requests on Bitcoin Core.

The key thing to remember about Bitcoin is that it's open-source. That to my mind means that there is no way of making it go away, by banning it or some such. I think Andreas Antonopolous and his peers in the Bitcoin community use the term 'immutable' to describe this property.

The discussion in the Bitcoin development community on Taproot activation is in its final stage, with just the activation parameter LOT remaining to be agreed upon. Taproot promises to bring improved privacy and flexibility to the Bitcoin protocol.


Bitcoin Core PR Review Club

On Wednesday I attended the weekly Bitcoin Core PR Review Club meeting, hosted at webchat.freenode.net. I asked a few questions and learned that PR stands for Pull Request. IBD stands for Initial Blockchain Download. And BRD stands for Breadwallet. I need to prepare for these weekly meetings by reading up on the pull request on github. There is a way on github of ordering the threads in terms of good first issue. It is a way of getting started in Bitcoin Development.