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Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential
/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential/////
Marketing. It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community. It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers. This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community. This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential. Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome. I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.
Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested. Multisig Multisig has recently been merged! Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero. Kovri Kovri is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy. Mobile Wallets There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon. Hardware Wallets Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018. There is a recent update here too. Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20! In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here. TAILS Operating System Integration Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers, and consequently, darknet market users. In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01 has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow. Mandatory Hardforks Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post provides more information. Dynamic fees Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees! Tail Emission and Inflation There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains that Monero's "main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant "tail emission" of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore. Monero Research Lab Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here and here. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here.
///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest///
Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero". Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!. Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here to see for yourself. I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology."
Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World As outlined on GetMonero.org, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity. A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted by u/ViolentlyPeaceful:
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain. The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key with their accountant for tax purposes. Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero" and said it has "very strong engineering". In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro". Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments. There are reports that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted:
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin. Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero. Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money is aware of Monero and gradually filtering in. The Bitcoin Flaw A relatively unknown blogger named CryptoIzzy posted three poignant pieces regarding Monero and its place in the world. The Bitcoin Flaw: Monero Rising provides an intellectual comparison of Monero to other cryptocurrencies, and Valuing Cryptocurrencies: An Approach outlines methods of valuing different coins. CryptoIzzy's most recent blog published only yesterday titled Monero Valuation - Update and Refocus is a highly recommended read. It touches on why Monero is much more than just a coin for the Darknet Markets, and provides a calculated future price of Monero. CryptoIzzy also published The Power of Money: A Case for Bitcoin, which is an exploration of our monetary system, and the impact decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero will have on the world. In the epilogue the author also provides a positive and detailed future valuation based on empirical evidence. CryptoIzzy predicts Monero to easily progress well into the four figure range. Monero Has a Relatively Small Marketcap Recently we have witnessed many newcomers to cryptocurrency neglecting to take into account coins' marketcap and circulating supply, blindly throwing money at coins under $5 with inflated marketcaps and large circulating supplies, and then believing it's possible for them to reach $100 because someone posted about it on Facebook or Reddit. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Monero still has a low marketcap, which means there is great potential for the price to multiply. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, Monero's marketcap is only a little over $5 billion, with a circulating supply of 15.6 million Monero, at a price of $322 per coin. For this reason, I would argue that this is evidence Monero is grossly undervalued. Just a few billion dollars of new money invested in Monero can cause significant price increases. Monero's marketcap only needs to increase to ~$16 billion and the price will triple to over $1000. If Monero's marketcap simply reached ~$35 billion (just over half of Ripple's $55 billion marketcap), Monero's price will increase 600% to over $2000 per coin. Another way of looking at this is Monero's marketcap only requires ~$30 billion of new investor money to see the price per Monero reach $2000, while for Ethereum to reach $2000, Ethereum's marketcap requires a whopping ~$100 billion of new investor money. Technical Analysis There are numerous Monero technical analysts, however none more eerily on point than the crowd-pleasing Ero23. Ero23's charts and analysis can be found on Trading View. Ero23 gained notoriety for his long-term Bitcoin bull chart published in February, which is still in play today. Head over to his Trading View page to see his chart: Monero's dwindling supply. $10k in 2019 scenario, in which Ero23 predicts Monero to reach $10,000 in 2019. There is also this chart which appears to be freakishly accurate and is tracking along perfectly today. Coinbase Rumours Over the past 12 months there have been ongoing rumours that Monero will be one of the next cryptocurrencies to be added to Coinbase. In January 2017, Monero Core team member Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni presented a talk at Coinbase HQ. In addition, in November 2017 GDAX announced the GDAX Digit Asset Framework outlining specific parameters cryptocurrencies must meet in order to be added to the exchange. There is speculation that when Monero has numerous mobile and hardware wallets available, and multisig is working, then it will be added. This would enable public accessibility to Monero to increase dramatically as Coinbase had in excess of 13 million users as of December, and is only going to grow as demand for cryptocurrencies increases. Many users argue that due to KYC/AML regulations, Coinbase will never be able to add Monero, however the Kraken exchange already operates in the US and has XMfiat pairs, so this is unlikely to be the reason Coinbase is yet to implement XMfiat trading. Monero Is Not an ICO Scam It is likely most of the ICOs which newcomers invest in, hoping to get rich quick, won't even be in the Top 100 cryptocurrencies next year. A large portion are most likely to be pumps and dumps, and we have already seen numerous instances of ICO exit scams. Once an ICO raises millions of dollars, the developers or CEO of the company have little incentive to bother rolling out their product or service when they can just cash out and leave. The majority of people who create a company to provide a service or product, do so in order to generate wealth. Unless these developers and CEOs are committed and believed in their product or service, it's likely that the funds raised during the ICO will far exceed any revenue generated from real world use cases. Monero is a Working Currency, Today Monero is a working currency, here today. The majority of so called cryptocurrencies that exist today are not true currencies, and do not aim to be. They are a token of exchange. They are like a share in a start-up company hoping to use blockchain technology to succeed in business. A crypto-assest is a more accurate name for coins such as Ethereum, Neo, Cardano, Vechain, etc. Monero isn't just a vaporware ICO token that promises to provide a blockchain service in the future. It is not a platform for apps. It is not a pump and dump coin. Monero is the only coin with all the necessary properties to be called true money. Monero is private internet money. Some even describe Monero as an online Swiss Bank Account or Bitcoin 2.0, and it is here to continue on from Bitcoin's legacy. Monero is alleviating the public from the grips of banks, and protests the monetary system forced upon us. Monero only achieved this because it is the heart and soul, and blood, sweat, and tears of the contributors to this project. Monero supporters are passionate, and Monero has gotten to where it is today thanks to its contributors and users.
///Key Issues for Monero to Overcome///
Scalability While Bulletproofs are soon to be implemented in order to improve Monero's transaction sizes and fees, scalability is an issue for Monero that is continuously being assessed by Monero's researchers and developers to find the most appropriate solution. Ricardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni recently appeared on CNBC's Crypto Trader, and when asked whether Monero is scalable as it stands today, Spagni stated that presently, Monero's on-chain scaling is horrible and transactions are larger than Bitcoin's (because of Monero's privacy features), so side-chain scaling may be more efficient. Spagni elaborated that the Monero team is, and will always be, looking for solutions to an array of different on-chain and off-chain scaling options, such as developing a Mimblewimble side-chain, exploring the possibility of Lightning Network so atomic swaps can be performed, and Tumblebit. In a post on the Monero subreddit from roughly a month ago, monero moderator u/dEBRUYNE_1 supports Spagni's statements. dEBRUYNE_1 clarifies the issue of scalability:
"In Bitcoin, the main chain is constrained and fees are ludicrous. This results in users being pushed to second layer stuff (e.g. sidechains, lightning network). Users do not have optionality in Bitcoin. In Monero, the goal is to make the main-chain accessible to everyone by keeping fees reasonable. We want users to have optionality, i.e., let them choose whether they'd like to use the main chain or second layer stuff. We don't want to take that optionality away from them."
"Monero has all the mechanisms it needs to find the balance between transaction load, and offsetting the costs of miner infrastructure/profits, while making sure the network is useful for users. But like the interviewer said, the question is directed at "right now", and Fluffys right to a certain extent, Monero's transactions are huge, and compromises in blockchain security will help facilitate less burdensome transactional activity in the future. But to compare Monero to Bitcoin's transaction sizes is somewhat silly as Bitcoin is nowhere near as useful as monero, and utility will facilitate infrastructure building that may eventually utterly dwarf Bitcoin. And to equate scaling based on a node being run on a desktop being the only option for what classifies as "scalable" is also an incredibly narrow interpretation of the network being able to scale, or not. Given the extremely narrow definition of scaling people love to (incorrectly) use, I consider that a pretty crap question to put to Fluffy in the first place, but... ¯_(ツ)_/¯"
u/xmrusher also contributed to the discussion, comparing Bitcoin to Monero using this analogous description:
"While John is much heavier than Henry, he's still able to run faster, because, unlike Henry, he didn't chop off his own legs just so the local wheelchair manufacturer can make money. While Morono has much larger transactions then Bitcoin, it still scales better, because, unlike Bitcoin, it hasn't limited itself to a cripplingly tiny blocksize just to allow Blockstream to make money."
Setting up a wallet can still be time consuming It's time consuming and can be somewhat difficult for new cryptocurrency users to set up their own wallet using the GUI wallet or the Command Line Wallet. In order to strengthen and further decentralize the Monero network, users are encouraged to run a full node for their wallet, however this can be an issue because it can take up to 24-48 hours for some users depending on their hard-drive and internet speeds. To mitigate this issue, users can run a remote node, meaning they can remotely connect their wallet to another node in order to perform transactions, and in the meantime continue to sync the daemon so in the future they can then use their own node. For users that do run into wallet setup issues, or any other problems for that matter, there is an extremely helpful troubleshooting thread on the Monero subreddit which can be found here. And not only that, unlike some other cryptocurrency subreddits, if you ask a question, there is always a friendly community member who will happily assist you. Monero.how is a fantastic resource too! Despite still being difficult to use, the user-base and price may increase dramatically once it is easier to use. In addition, others believe that when hardware wallets are available more users will shift to Monero.
I actually still feel a little shameful for promoting Monero here, but feel a sense of duty to do so. Monero is transitioning into an unstoppable altruistic beast. This year offers the implementation of many great developments, accompanied by the likelihood of a dramatic increase in price. I request you discuss this post, point out any errors I have made, or any information I may have neglected to include. Also, if you believe in the Monero project, I encourage you to join your local Facebook or Reddit cryptocurrency group and spread the word of Monero. You could even link this post there to bring awareness to new cryptocurrency users and investors. I will leave you with an old on-going joke within the Monero community - Don't buy Monero - unless you have a use case for it of course :-) Just think to yourself though - Do I have a use case for Monero in our unpredictable Huxleyan society? Hint: The answer is ? Edit: Added in the Tail Emission section, and noted Dan Bilzerian as a Monero investor. Also added information regarding the XMR.TO payment service. Added info about hardfork
I was going through old emails today and came across this one I sent out to family on January 4, 2018. It was a reflection on the 2017 crypto bull market and where I saw it heading, as well as some general advice on crypto, investment, and being safe about how you handle yourself in cryptoland. I feel that we are on the cusp of a new bull market right now, so I thought that I would put this out for at least a few people to see *before* the next bull run, not after. While the details have changed, I don't see a thing in this email that I fundamentally wouldn't say again, although I'd also probably insist that people get a Yubikey and use that for all 2FA where it is supported. Happy reading, and sorry for some of the formatting weirdness -- I cleaned it up pretty well from the original email formatting, but I love lists and indents and Reddit has limitations... :-/ Also, don't laught at my token picks from January 2018! It was a long time ago and (luckliy) I took my own advice about moving a bunch into USD shortly after I sent this. I didn't hit the top, and I came back in too early in the summer of 2018, but I got lucky in many respects. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Jan-4, 2018 Hey all! I woke up this morning to ETH at a solid $1000 and decided to put some thoughts together on what I think crypto has done and what I think it will do. *******, if you could share this to your kids I’d appreciate it -- I don’t have e-mail addresses, and it’s a bit unwieldy for FB Messenger… Hopefully they’ll at least find it thought-provoking. If not, they can use it as further evidence that I’m a nutjob. 😉 Some history before I head into the future. I first mined some BTC in 2011 or 2012 (Can’t remember exactly, but it was around the Christmas holidays when I started because I had time off from work to get it set up and running.) I kept it up through the start of summer in 2012, but stopped because it made my PC run hot and as it was no longer winter, ********** didn’t appreciate the sound of the fans blowing that hot air into the room any more. I’ve always said that the first BTC I mined was at $1, but looking back at it now, that’s not true – It was around $2. Here’s a link to BTC price history. In the summer of 2013 I got a new PC and moved my programs and files over before scrapping the old one. I hadn’t touched my BTC mining folder for a year then, and I didn’t even think about salvaging those wallet files. They are now gone forever, including the 9-10BTC that were in them. While I can intellectually justify the loss, it was sloppy and underlines a key thing about cryptocurrency that I believe will limit its widespread adoption by the general public until it is addressed and solved: In cryptoland, you are your own bank, and if you lose your password or account number, there is no person or organization that can help you reset it so that you can get access back. Your money is gone forever. On April 12, 2014 I bought my first BTC through Coinbase. BTC had spiked to $1000 and been in the news, at least in Japan. This made me remember my old wallet and freak out for a couple of months trying to find it and reclaim the coins. I then FOMO’d (Fear Of Missing Out”) and bought $100 worth of BTC. I was actually very lucky in my timing and bought at around $430. Even so, except for a brief 50% swing up almost immediately afterwards that made me check prices 5 times a day, BTC fell below my purchase price by the end of September and I didn’t get back to even until the end of 2015. In May 2015 I bought my first ETH at around $1. I sent some guy on bitcointalk ~$100 worth of BTC and he sent me 100 ETH – all on trust because the amounts were small and this was a small group of people. BTC was down in the $250 range at that point, so I had lost 30-40% of my initial investment. This was of the $100 invested, so not that much in real terms, but huge in percentages. It also meant that I had to buy another $100 of BTC on Coinbase to send to this guy. A few months after I purchased my ETH, BTC had doubled and ETH had gone down to $0.50, halving the value of my ETH holdings. I was even on the first BTC purchase finally, but was now down 50% on the ETH I had bought. The good news was that this made me start to look at things more seriously. Where I had skimmed white papers and gotten a superficial understanding of the technology before FOMO’ing, I started to act as an investor, not a speculator. Let me define how I see those two different types of activity:
Investors buy because the price is less than the value they see in the investment. Speculators buy because they think that someone will pay more in the future than they are paying now.
Investors trade on information (The white paper was really well-written, had a clear technical advantage over other alternatives, and addresses a need that I can understand and value.) Speculators trade on sentiment. (Buy the rumor! Sell the news!)
Investors usually look at the investment and themselves and can describe why they purchase in those terms (ABC-Coin provides (service) that isn’t addressed yet and matches (requirements) for an investment.) Speculators usually describe why they bought something in terms of how other people think (I think that other people think that the price will rise, so I want to get ahead of that.)
Investors don’t necessarily check the price every day. The can, and very often I do, but it isn’t required because fundamentals don’t often change on a dime. Speculators need to be glued to a price feed, because sentiment very often changes on a dime.
Investors like ideas, people, business plans, and market opportunities. Good ones are like Spock. Speculators like trends. They are tribal.
Investors have a longer time horizon than speculators. In cryptoland, the notion of a “longer” time horizon is still laughably small (months) compared to traditional markets, but it certainly isn’t weeks or days or hours, which is whre speculators often live.
So what has been my experience as an investor? After sitting out the rest of 2015 because I needed to understand the market better, I bought into ETH quite heavily, with my initial big purchases being in March-April of 2016. Those purchases were in the $11-$14 range. ETH, of course, dropped immediately to under $10, then came back and bounced around my purchase range for a while until December of 2016, when I purchased a lot more at around $8. I also purchased my first ICO in August of 2016, HEAT. I bought 25ETH worth. Those tokens are now worth about half of their ICO price, so about 12.5ETH or $12500 instead of the $25000 they would be worth if I had just kept ETH. There are some other things with HEAT that mean I’ve done quite a bit better than those numbers would suggest, but the fact is that the single best thing I could have done is to hold ETH and not spend the effort/time/cost of working with HEAT. That holds true for about every top-25 token on the market when compared to ETH. It certainly holds true for the many, many tokens I tried to trade in Q1-Q2 of 2017. In almost every single case I would have done better and slept better had I just held ETH instead of trying to be smarter than Mr. Market. But, I made money on all of them except one because the crypto market went up more in USD terms than any individual coin went down in ETH or BTC terms. This underlines something that I read somewhere and that I take to heart: A rising market makes everyone seem like a genius. A monkey throwing darts at a list of the top 100 cryptocurrencies last year would have doubled his money. Here’s a chart from September that shows 2017 year-to-date returns for the top 10 cryptocurrencies, and all of them went up a *lot* more between then and December. A monkey throwing darts at this list there would have quintupled his money. When evaluating performance, then, you have to beat the monkey, and preferably you should try to beat a Wall Street monkey. I couldn’t, so I stopped trying around July 2017. My benchmark was the BLX, a DAA (Digital Asset Array – think fund like a Fidelity fund) created by ICONOMI. I wasn’t even close to beating the BLX returns, so I did several things.
I went from holding about 25 different tokens to holding 10 now. More on that in a bit.
I used those funds to buy ETH and BLX. ETH has done crazy-good since then and BLX has beaten BTC handily, although it hasn’t done as well as ETH.
I used some of those funds to set up an arbitrage operation.
The arbitrage operation is why I kept the 11 tokens that I have now. All but a couple are used in an ETH/token pair for arbitrage, and each one of them except for one special case is part of BLX. Why did I do that? I did that because ICONOMI did a better job of picking long-term holds than I did, and in arbitrage the only speculative thing you must do is pick the pairs to trade. My pairs are (No particular order):
I also hold PLU, PLBT, and ART. These two are multi-year holds for me. I have not purchased BTC once since my initial $200, except for a few cases where BTC was the only way to go to/from an altcoin that didn’t trade against ETH yet. Right now I hold about the same 0.3BTC that I held after my first $100 purchase, so I don’t really count it. Looking forward to this year, I am positioning myself as follows:
ETH will still be my core holding. It is the “deepest in the stack” crypto investment that I have. “Deep in the stack” is a programming term that gets at the idea that most software is built on other software. If you just think about your notebook, you have your OS, and programs run on that. But even inside the OS there is a stack. The bottom of your stack is the kernel, and on top of that are the drivers, protocols, and other layers that allow the programs to talk to the OS, the hard drive, the screen, the mouse, your printer, etc. You can change your mouse or printer easily. Changing things deeper in the stack becomes harder and harder. ETH is deep in the crypto stack, so is very hard to dislodge – Around 60 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap run on top of Ethereum, so getting rid of Ethereum is something that would take a long time to do.
DNT, QTUM, ZRX, and OMG are all, to varying degrees, “deep in the stack” tokens that, once established, will be very hard to dislodge.
That said, I am peeling away some of my holdings into USD right now, because big changes are afoot and they are going to cause market disruptions. I’m going to come right out and admit that this is speculative, but I’m also going to back it up with some non-speculative facts.
The SEC has been sending out hundreds of subpoenas to cryptocurrency organizations over the past 3-4 months. These subpoenas are simply asking for information and nobody has been charged with any crimes or misdoings, but it is clear that the SEC is getting together information so that they can begin to regulate cryptoland. When that happens, other countries will follow, and that means:
Some tokens will be deemed outright scams and people will be prosecuted.
Some tokens will be deemed securities and will be regulated.
Some tokens will not be deemed scams or securities and will continue as they have.
Looking at this, it is clear to me that the tokens that escape prosecution and regulation should do better, but the short-term impact will be brutal and ugly. It would not surprise me at all to see a 50% drop in overall market cap within Q1-Q2, with Q1 being more likely.
Cryptoland has always been a bit nuts, but it is more nuts now than I have ever seen it. Back in 2011-2014 it was a freaks-n-geeks show where people were all about the technology and I would sit around for a 3-day weekend installing a *nix VM on my Windows machine so that I could compile the most recent source and run a CUDA SHA-256 routine rather than thrash my CPU. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you wouldn’t have even thought about being involved.
Now, people see Bitcoin advertisements in their Facebook feed and think “I gotta get on the BTC train!” before going to Coinbase and buying some with a credit card. They don’t know anything about crypto, and they are getting eaten alive – It is no coincidence that BTC peaked after the Thanksgiving holidays when people sat around the table and Janice got Uncle Mike and Cousin Bob all excited as she talked about going to Cancun for Christmas because of her crypto winnings. Huge amounts of fiat got transferred from newbies to BTC whales during this period, and once the whales were done, BTC had dropped from $20,000 to $12,000. It’s now back at $15,000, but for people who bought at a higher level, this sucks. As a result many have moved from BTC to ETH, with the single biggest money flow in crypto in December being the BTC à ETH flow. As a result, it’s no coincidence that ETH is at all-time highs now. The thing is, though, that even most people that moved from BTC to ETH really have no idea what they are doing. They are acting on buzzwords and emotion. They are speculators and are going to get crushed.
The stock market is quite high right now, but people are starting to worry that it is too high and that we are going to enter into a period of inflation again. This has caused gold to go up a lot the last quarter and is likely also responsible a bit for the rise in cryptos. If this view is correct, then cryptos stay stronger than if that pressure wasn’t there. If wrong, then cryptos will swing down as money exits cryptoland for more traditional markets.
I am spending most of my time and money on the arbitrage effort. The nice thing about arbitrage is that it works as the markets go up, and it works as the markets go down. When markets are too volatile, however, arbitrage can get very messy and dangerous, with each trade generating a loss instead of a profit, so I am working right now to tune the algorithms to take into account rate-of-change and add in some circuit breaker triggers. Once this is done I will expand those operations.
I am getting much more serious about systems security.
I have a Nano Ledger and recommend that anyone with >$1000 of crypto have one. The Trezor is also supposed to be good, but I haven’t used it.
I will set up a dedicated *nix notebook that is used for nothing except my crypto work. All it takes is one keylogger to get on your PC/Mac and your crypto is gone. What is on your Nano Ledger will be OK, but they will sweep out your exchange account or Coinbase account faster than you can type. A standard Linux installation with Chrome and nothing else is as about as secure as you can get in the civilian world.
If you don’t use LastPass or a similar password manager yet, you need to do that. Your password to LastPass should be at least 16 characters long and should not have a recognizable English word in it. If you think that “Iluvu4evah” is a secure password, you’re wrong.
Hackers know that “4”=”for” and “u”=”you”. Writing a script to substitute those in is trivial if they want to write the script, but it’s much easier for them to download one of the many, many programs out there that already do this.
If your password contains any string of numbers from anything that can be associated with you at any time in your life, it is insecure. Take those numbers out of the character count because they are an insignificant barrier to cracking your account.
The good news is that you probably won’t be targeted, but if you ever mention online that you are doing anything significant in crypto, that chance increased enormously.
*Never* talk with *anyone* about how much you have in crypto. You’ll notice that I haven’t here. There is no reason to tell even a family member how much you have unless you are sharing a tax form. Sure, you may trust them, but all it takes if for someone to overhead someone else mention at a party that a relative got into crypto a long time ago and made a bunch of money. That person can also then be subjected to the $10 hack and force you to send all your crypto to them.
Your password to LastPass (Or equivalent.) should look something like this -> 6k0jQMoziX&D#4W8
Yes, it’s a headache. Imagine your headache, though, were you to open your account one day and find all of your money gone.
Looking at my notes, I have two other things that I wanted to work into this email that I didn’t get to, so here they are:
Just like with free apps and other software, if you are getting something of value and you didn’t pay anything for it, you need to ask why this is. With apps, the phrase is “If you didn’t pay for the product, you are the product”, and this works for things such as pump groups, tips, and even technical analysis. Here’s how I see it.
Technical analysis (TA) is something that has been argued about for longer than I’ve been alive, but I think that it falls into the same boat. In short, TA argues that there are patterns in trading that can be read and acted upon to signal when one must buy or sell. It has been used forever in the stock and foreign exchange markets, and people use it in crypto as well. Let’s break down these assumptions a bit.
i. First, if crypto were like the stock or forex markets we’d all be happy with 5-7% gains per year rather than easily seeing that in a day. For TA to work the same way in crypto as it does in stocks and foreign exchange, the signals would have to be *much* stronger and faster-reacting than they work in the traditional market, but people use them in exactly the same way. ii. Another area where crypto is very different than the stock and forex markets centers around market efficiency theory. This theory says that markets are efficient and that the price reflects all the available information at any given time. This is why gold in New York is similar in price to gold in London or Shanghai, and why arbitrage margins are easily <0.1% in those markets compared to cryptoland where I can easily get 10x that. Crypto simply has too much speculation and not enough professional traders in it yet to operate as an efficient market. That fundamentally changes the way that the market behaves and should make any TA patterns from traditional markets irrelevant in crypto. iii. There are services, both free and paid that claim to put out signals based on TA for when one should buy and sell. If you think for even a second that they are not front-running (Placing orders ahead of yours to profit.) you and the other people using the service, you’re naïve. iv. Likewise, if you don’t think that there are people that have but together computerized systems to get ahead of people doing manual TA, you’re naïve. The guys that I have programming my arbitrage bots have offered to build me a TA bot and set up a service to sell signals once our position is taken. I said no, but I am sure that they will do it themselves or sell that to someone else. Basically they look at TA as a tip machine where when a certain pattern is seen, people act on that “tip”. They use software to see that “tip” faster and take a position on it so that when slower participants come in they either have to sell lower or buy higher than the TA bot did. Remember, if you are getting a tip for free, you’re the product. In TA I see a system when people are all acting on free preset “tips” and getting played by the more sophisticated market participants. Again, you have to beat that Wall Street monkey.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus, think about it this way: If TA was real, Wall Street would have figured it out decades ago and we would have TA funds that would be beating the market. We don’t.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus and that its real and well, proven, then you must think that all smart traders use them. Now follow that logic forward and think about what would happen if every smart trader pushing big money followed TA. The signals would only last for a split second and would then be overwhelmed by people acting on them, making them impossible to leverage. This is essentially what the efficient market theory postulates for all information, including TA.
OK, the one last item. Read this weekly newsletter – You can sign up at the bottom. It is free, so they’re selling something, right? 😉 From what I can tell, though, Evan is a straight-up guy who posts links and almost zero editorial comments. Happy 2018.
Apologies for typos and grammatical errors; wanted to get this out as soon as possible for those that weren't able to watch the live stream. Cleaned up formatting to make it more readable.
While this isn't a 100% word-for-word transcript, the overtone of the meeting should have been conveyed. SEC and CFTC want protections for consumers, but don't want to outright ban crypto. I was under the impression that both agencies were well-educated, but understaffed. They both want to introduce protections for customers and investors and go after scam artists, but don't want to impose any restrictions or regulations that would be bad for crypto as a whole (both from a security perspective, and a technological innovation perspective). Overall a huge positive.
Touched on the definition, use, history, all-time-high, market cap, negative news
Mentioned that the techonology has positives to transform the financial landscape, transfer risk
Volatility, 1000% rise, 60% fall, compared to DOW Jones
touched on scam artists/hackers, undereducated market participants
mentioned there are regulatory gaps, potentials for abuse
neither SEC/CFTC has authority to police all aspects
mentioned some analogies to the dotcom bubble
may be used to fund illicit activity
says they need to do more to get ahead of the curve
"don't forget your day jobs to pursue and punish misconduct", mentioned the 3 big banks being punished recently
crypto brings us to a new age, but don't overlook the princilpes of going after the bad guys and being tough
estimated highest market cap $700 bn; promising new technology
great efficiencies, including capital markets; seek to WORK WITH those who seek to bring innovation
Crypto currencies - replacement for dollars
widely known introduced as substitutes
make it easier and cheaper ot buy and sell goods
verification and fees/costs eliminated
ICOs - stock offering
stocks and bonds, under a new label
security being offered is a virtual token
"if it functions as a security, it IS a security"
doesn't mean you are investing in blockchain ventures
market have less oversight than traditional securities
if it looks like a stock exchange, don't take comfort
no capital and conduct requirements
many ICOs are conducted illegally
creators not following securities laws
those who try to circumvent the SEC are in their crosshairs
do not have control over the regulation of the markets that exchanges exist in
"do not view this as a request for increased SEC jurisdiction"
"I believe every ICO I have seen is a security"
we are working with the DOJ to enforce laws
story about how his kids recently showed an interest in Bitcoin
"we must foster their interest, but crack down hard on those that abuse"
response should have several elements:
learn as much as we can - Lab CFTC to engage with innovators
put things in perspective - as of this morning, Bitcoin 113 bn market cap. less than the market cap of McDonald's. sometimes compared to gold; value of gold dwarfs Bitcoin at 8 trillion market cap
educate consumers - podcasts, webinars, visits to libraries, outreach to seniors
legal authority - "The CFTC does not regulate the dozens of cryptocurrencies"; through their authority, they have enforcement over spot coin markets; analyze manipulation
tough enforcement - they have already launched civil actions, more will follow overall take: wants to work to foster education but introduce protections
Suggesting that perhaps one or both of SEC/CFTC may or should have full control
we should all come together and have a coordinated plan for dealing with the virtual currency market
far from how the stock market is addressed
asked by Crapo if there needs to be additional measures, responded "we may"
FINCEN has been active with AML/KYC
there isn't a comprehensive structure to deal with this
cross-border and international concerns; what challenges?
international nature means patchwork is not sufficient
FINCEN reports that these currencies are used for
encourages FINCEN to continue pursuing this
Markets have been global
Challenge working with overseas and bringing regulations
Challenge requires a lot of new thinking
Encourage to work together to decide how the regulation should look
ICOs raised $4bn globally
SEC focused to protect investors
not clear how much was raised in the U.S., due to unregulated basis; "significant portion"
cooperation between SEC and CFTC regulating Bitcoin but doesn't mention consumer protection bureau CFPB
we're in the enforcement perspective, i can check on that
report that "SEC has stopped enforcement actions against wall street firms"
"I saw that report"; found it annoying; gestation period is 22-24 months, latency period
we've put out a comprehensive report; i'm happy with that
we're pursuing our securities laws vigorously
troubled by a statement "SEC might lose 100 of its enforcement staff by not hiring those who leave"
how are you going to stay on top of everything else we've talked about as well as virtual currencies
personnel is my biggest challenge at the moment
we have a hiring freeze - natural cost, trouble finding people, etc
would receive the "greatest return for additional bodies"
is that the message that you're not the cop it should be?
not at all
I hope you will ask for money and flexibility
I've been very straight about money and value that can be added
Federal reserve is the biggest bank regulator we have
how are you going to put together a task force to deal with crypto currencies before this gets out of control
treasury secretary has brought us together to talk about this
"the funny thing is, they only work for their purported purpose if they're integrated with the financial service"
we are going to be coordinating responses; needs to be clear as to what we're doing
do you need additional legislation
we may be back to ask for that
virtual; go to a virtual doctor, virtual currency, etc
"i started out with pencil and paper in school"
Lack intrinsic value, lack liquidity
gained money going up, lost money going down
don't know where the floor is
relation between Bitcoin value and the cost of mining
charts plotting the correlation
the floor isn't zero, because there is some cost
"think there is something to the value of the crypto exchange"
"I'm not seeing the benefits manifesting themselves in the market yet"
"I'm interested in protecting the main street investors; they should see that"
in the securities world, there are rules that dictate how much you have to tell someone about what they're investing in
we will give you every tool you need to do your job and to hire every person you need to execute that
(essentially) do you have any cryptologists?
emerging area; could always use more horsepower
hired the industry's first "chief innovation officer"
started Lab CFTC
formed virtual currency task force
brought 3 cases against bitcoin fraudsters
used bypass authority for additional resources (13% over budget)
Bitcoin isn't the only one; there are seemingly new ones every day
are you tracking them all?
is someone looking at the long-term systemic effects
eerily similar to late-90s derivatives
Bitcoin is one of many; important to know that many are fraudulent
"MyBigCoin" which became known as "MyBigCon" - Ponzi scheme; we went after them
relatively small market, but we have to watch it
we have had to watch it because they're integrated with the markets we do oversee
on systemic - agrees with Giancarlo
if people are getting ripped off, that is an issue
"I used a pen and pencil as well"
fascinating to see how things are moving
we keep coming back to dollars and cents
new type of exchange; bartering
could avoid determination of the value of the dollar and cents
how do you tax? how do you recognize income?
seems that have to be filled, but basics that a lot of us don't understand
how do you respond to ICOs?
definition of a security is broad
"when you're offering me something and i give you money and the purpose of me giving you money is to profit from your actions going forward"
is Bitcoin a commodity or a security or is it both?
has characteristics of both
is a "medium of exchange, store of value, or a means of account"
we hear a lot of people holding - "HODL - hold on for dear life"
30 year old niece bought some years ago, is holding on
in this regard, it's a commodity
we are looking for fraud and manipulation so that people like his niece are protected
Jan 26th Bloomberg "SEC weighs a big gift [...] blocking class action lawsuits"
wants to get a straight yes/no - "do you support this enormous change in SEC policy"
bottom line - "I can't dictate whether or not this issue comes to us, but I'm not anxious to see a change in this area"
change can't happen without your approval
I'm only 1 of 5 votes
I'd guess there will be at lest 2 votes against it
It would take a long time
I'll let you get away with that
SEC's mission is to protect; not throw under bus
advisers that put fees, kickbacks for recommending product ahead of interest of clients
I want to know that you will not weaken the protections for retirement savers
that's what I'm trying to do - the relation between a broker and their client is regulated by no less than 5 people (the SEC)
want to make sure you're not jeopardizing investors
insufficient standard, lack of clarity, "the standard is only as good as the remedy available"
what dollars do you actually collect when someone does you harm?
if you want to strengthen it, i'm with you
who pays for frivolous lawsuits?
regulatory arbitrage, hard to trace
South Korea, China
was a largely unregulated space
each country is now taking regulatory measures
there's a lot happening beyond the understanding of your average investor
what do we need to do to combat this?
regulatory arbitrage, price arbitrage
different regional and international market
regulation - i think some time ago there was a perception Bitcoin was off the regulatory grid
enforcement / ICOs - we're using our full authority
we will go after misconduct
pump and dump
unregulated exchange, ability for price manipulation
we've taken 3 cases in the last few weeks, more to come
digging deep, learning a lot, seeing a lot
we are working the beat hard
what about retail investors?
formed partnership with CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
Bitcoin is one of the most frequently searched term on library computers
enhancing outreach to educate people coming to the library
getting the word out - financial intermediaries
are you protecting retirement investments
seniors seem to be the prey of choice - not just for Bitcoin
we seek to prosecute these predators
article from Kentucky "Bitcoin is my potential pension"
what would you do to protect them?
troubling, which is why we're putting out so much material
"if it sounds too good to be true, it is"
"if you're giving them money, you'd better be prepared to lose it"
disruptive technologies, but you shouldn't bank on it
pumping all of your money into a disruptive technology has a very high probability of not working out
"there will be winners, but there will be many losers"
want to ensure it's not used against terrorist groups and countries like N Korea
working with FBI; will require cooperation among multiple organizations
also has a dark web working group
when was the last time you bought a fund?
a year or two ago, index funds
did you read the fine print?
not cover to cover
so what's the point of all this over-disclosure if nobody's reading it?
why do we want to do the same for Bitcoin?
adequacy of full disclosure
"I don't think the disclosure we have right now works"
good for lawyers / financial advisers, but right now, we over-disclose
how far should we go to protect people from themselves?
how far do you think we ought to go here? should we just go after the shysters and fully disclose?
what is the right way to deal with this new technology?
we want to deal with ICOs; don't want to go too far
our securities laws work pretty well, but disclosure can be improved
we have to have disclosure that works, and helps the helpless people
if we see the same continued growth, we may see the market cap at 20 trillion dollars by 2020
we may see the same transformation take place
we are going to have to wrap our hands around this
not sure what the right answer is, but this could systemically rise to an FSOC-level event
if this does keep going, is this a systemic issue?
want to go back to separating these two things
should regulate ICOs like securities
false disclosure is fraud, period
so much more to be done
Ethereum - creating "file sharing or extra computer time"
are these in your realm?
if it's an ICO that promises to deliver server time, it's a security
worried that we need a much more coordinated effort
could be as transformational as wireless technology
it is important; we are all working to understand our authorities
bitcoin futures are different; fully transparent and regulated, compared to Bitcoin that's opaque and unregulated
ICOs should be taken under our regime
Putting aside Bitcoin and other distributed ledger, what do you think the value is?
Without Bitcoin, there would be nothing. everything grew out of it.
applications range from financial services and banking, to charity dollars are spent, refugee, access to banking for those who don't have it
66 million tons of soybeans were traded using Bitcoin
allow regulators to do really close market surveillance with precision
challenges, but the potential is significant
agree the potential is significant
hope people pursue it vigorously
DOW Jones fell 4.6%; dollar seen 2% inflation or less; Bitcoin seems to be very volatile in comparison
we have seen volatility but in our world, we're used to it
emergence of futures to provide those who are exposed to it
don't really know what's driving the volatility
not related to foreign currencies
must be something different
lot of volatility compared to what they're supposed to be a substitute for
(essentially) so how does that bode to its claim?
it would not be a very effective means of exchange
with the volatility and delays, there's a significant risk
(quick shout out to) rogue nations, hackers, etc
under what circumstances do the SEC and CFTC have a role in regulating this?
fraud and manipulation - will not hesitate to take authority
what about manipulating to avoid U.S. sanctions?
I'll have to look into that
are there gaps that could create vulnerabilities?
part of a virtual currency task force; includes the fed and FINCEN
meeting with FINCEN this week to get some discussion of cooperation started
seen increase in ICOs; investors using digital tokens
grew from $96mil in 2016 to $4bil in 2017
celebrity promotion - Floyd Mayweather, Kardashian, et al
investors may not understand true risk when they see a product promoted by celebrities
we put out an alert that if you promote a security, you are taking on securities law liability
can you walk us through why the SEC is not comfortable with approving ETFs with crypto currencies?
we've made it clear that there are some issues - price discovery, custody, volatility
don't want to approve an ETF product with a cryptocurrency underlier without working out these issues
don't ETFs mitigate those concerns? are crypto currencies different?
MGT act - modernizing government technologies
create a fund for federal agencies to rid themselves of legacy technology
allows access to dollars; move to cloud
i would be delighted that there isn't a SEC/CFTC hack in the papers soon; advise strengthening cyber security
Kodak and Burger King investments
companies are using block chain as an opportunity to pump up stock prices
Long Island Ice Tea - Long Blockchain
nobody should think it's okay to chain your name to something that contains block chain when you have no idea what you're doing
any time there's something new that can raise the value of their stock without the underlying goods being there, it's not good
ICOs misrepresenting their affiliation where there are wild claims
"Our big task is bringing in enforcement cases and letting people see that"
3bn Bitcoin have been hacked, $500bn hack weeks ago, MtGox
what can buyers do to get their money back?
when you engage in investing online with an offshore entity, the chances that we can do anything to get your money back are very low
for the underlying spot markets, we don't have the authority to enforce safeguards and protections; this is a problem
"It's the old axiom "buyer beware"."
(in regards to the stock market) "Is this perhaps more than ordinary correction?"
I asked my staff and the federal government the same question
nothing to indicate any of our systems didn't indicate properly
largest volume since 2016
Neither single stock nor circuit breakers triggered
Nothing that came out of this are concerning
Is it profit taking? Is it a spook?
Interest rates? Fed has info we don't have?
Economy high, unemployment low?
Combination? Can we really say?
I can't really say. Lots of opinions.
Our job is to look at the systemic risks.
I've not seen anything.
"Markets up? More people bought than sold. Market down? More people sold than bought."
Markets are very complex. Fundamentals are sound. Doesn't appear to be any significant breeches.
Some ICOs are legitimate, some are just Ponzi schemes
"It's now so bad that Facebook recently banned all ads for virtual currencies"
How do we make ICOs safer?
Companies raised more than $4bil
How many companies registered with SEC?
Can you say just a word as to why that's so?
the gatekeepers haven't done their job. we've made it clear what the law is.
there are thousands of private placements. we want them to raise capital. but we want them to do it right.
folks somehow got comfortable that this was new and it's okay.
Repost - I hate my Fucking Mining rig! (Not really)(Long)
Wanted to write a short write up on my journey of Crypto mining for some of the newer people and people who want to get into it. Not trying to discourage anyone from starting, but want to show the progression of a newbie. So I am a good with computers and learned of Bitcoin when it was about $7 a coin. Laughed at the idea of some computer doing some math and getting some BS currency. Million dollar mistake on my part, but hindsight is always 20/20. Anyways, Learned about ethereum in May. Bought some at around $180 and bought all the way up to $330. Now to the mining rig. Ran all of the calculations and with a 180 hashrate and 900 watts I was gonna get 6-7 Eth per month. Shit was gonna be profitable in under 3 months. I was gonna be a fucking crypto allstar and be rich as fuck! Bought all of my parts literally the day before they were nonexistent. Literally bought the last RX480's from Amazon. Here is a list of my parts. Asrock board Pentium dual core processor 4 Gb of ram 128 gb SSD 1200 watt Rosewill PSU 6 Sata to Molex PCI Risers (Junk) 6 RX480's - 2 Asus Strix, 4 Gigabyte Total cost - Roughly $2,500 (Pennies compared to my future ROI) Please keep in mind that I am not posting every single miner issue that I ran into such as fucking with Wattman for a few weeks before learning about Trixx and Afterburner. I've built computers before, so that part wasn't hard. Set everything up and get windows 10 running. Problem 1 - Computer doesn't see all of the cards. Had to run the drivers a few times and tweak some shit, but got all 6 cards seen. Miner hurdle (See what I did there) but off to the races. Let's get this bitch running so I can begin planning my retirement. Get Claymore running, Got Trixx to overclock. Ran my cards at -96, 1200, 2200 fans at 85% (Cause I'm cool like that.) Major stability issues from the start. 1 card (Asus) would crash all the time. Didn't know about the watch dog feature in claymore that would restart my rig when a card crashed. Great feature but my computer would go into this state of having power, but not loading the operating system. Even if it did restart, most of the time claymore would get stuck right before setting the dag's and would just lock up. (Claymore program is awesome by the way, this was my rigs fault) Could not get this fucking Asus card to stop crashing, even on stock settings. Sent the bitch back RMA style. Asus said something was wrong and sent me a new one. Awesome, lets get this bitch running. I need to start looking at sick houses in Costa Rica to move to once I am rich as Fuck! New card makes things better for a few days. Not 100% stable but better. Go to vegas for a driving thing (Race cars - Future rich guy stuff) and this mechanical demon starts crashing every few hours. Luckily I had Google remote desktop installed so I could log on and restart it or change settings in Trixx. Had to have my GF unplug it and plug it in a few times. Get back home, fuck with this thing but still random crashes on random cards. Decide it is the PCI risers. Contact seller who will send me some more for free. Slow boat from china took two weeks to get them. They arrive but still some of them are bad. Can't seem to piece together 6 good ones. Did some research online (Ethereum Forum and Reddit) and decided to get some new style of risers V007 6 Pin to Sata ($70) and they take a month to get here. Plug them all in and they seem to be working much better. Decent stability, But I ain't got time for fucking stock bios. Let's ramp these bitches up and get 32 MHs per card at 600 watts from the wall! Actually flashing the bios was pretty easy. Thank you 6 pound 9 ounce baby jesus! Long story short had some major stability issues and bounced around with some different timing straps before finding the right ones. (Uber 3.1 for Samsung memory) So now that we've got some good hash speeds and decent stability let's ramp this private ATM up a little bit by dual mining some Decred. Get dual mining up and running. go to sleep. Wake up the next morning expecting to see myself on the top 100 forbes list. look at my mining rig stats on my phone and see that it died roughly and hour after I went to sleep. Walked toward my rig on the red carpet I had just installed and saw that it was off. Flicked on the light to check it out. No light, WTF? Well I'll be god damned, no power in this whole fucking room. Checked my breakers and sure enough this metal motherfucker tripped my breaker. No worries though. I'm smart as fuck. I'll just undervolt the shit out of it to get the power down. No way in hell I am just mining ether. I'm going balls to the wall! As you can expect I had many days of stability issues and tripped breakers. But fuck it, I have homeowners insurance. Burning it to the ground will be covered. (Didn't happen) My surge protector must be maxed out. Let's buy a bigger one ($25). Same issues. Fuck Decred, I'll mine SIA, less power. Damn I'm smart. Rig is more stable with Sia and no tripped breakers. Family medical emergency, have to fly north for a few days. But my rig has been fairly stable and I've got remote desktop if anything goes wrong. Arrive at airport, check mining stats, rig is down. No worries remote desktop. FUCK, not responsive, no way to remote into the rig and no way to remotely power it off and on. Lost 4 days of mining. But no worries the difficulty is only, Holy shit that's high! But the price of Ether will make up for it. Ether crashed to the $200's. Oh well, maybe a 10 room house in Costa instead of a 12. No sweat. Get back to my house and this whore of a machine is just sitting there in a computer coma. It's on but it's not. LED lights glaring at me like "Fuck you human, I ain't doing your stupid math problems!" Fuck you machine, I'm your master. You will do my math problems and you will fucking like it. My AMD Drivers seem to disappear and the computer goes into a coma like state. Someone on Reddit suggested using the 16.9.2 drivers. Installed and they worked better. Still random crashing. This shitty PSU must be maxed out. Fuck you PSU, I'm getting you a little brother (EVGA 750 gold $120.) What do you mean you have to jerry rig a second PSU so it starts without being connected to a motherboard? 2 more hours of my life wasted. But finally some stability. On my way to being fucking rich. I start looking at people in bentley's and can only laugh. You dumb fuck, I'm gonna be way richer then you. Gonna get a Bugatti for each day of the week. Damn this difficulty is a bitch. Fuck you Genesis Mining and your pallets of GPU's. You're killing me smalls! But anyway, on my way to rolling around in my fuck you money! Fuck you dag file 135, you're killing my future millions. Fuck you dag 138, you dropped me to 167 mhs. Thank god AMD was there to save my ass with their dope ass blockchain drivers. download, run DDU, Restart, install drivers, restart, run pixel patch, restart. Perfect, I'm in the money now! I can taste the caviar and champagne already. Now my cards only run 4 Mhs each. WTF? Try a bunch of the other new drivers. Same shit. Roll back to 16.9.2 and they run fine, just at 167 instead of 180. Someone on a forum said he had the same issue and did a fresh install of windows 10 and it worked. So I'll just reformat my SSD (Windows wouldn't do a fresh install within the operating system. Fuck you Bill Gates! Gonna buy you once I get this thing running at 180.) Format SSD, plug back in, throw in my gangster ass boot USB drive. Ramdisk error. Fuck you Bill Gates! Reformat SSD multiple times, lots of forum reading. Install windows from another computer through command prompt (I'm a coder now as well.) This shit has got to work, I did it in command prompt bitches! Same fucking error. Now down to an 8 bedroom house in Costa and only 6 Bugattis. Let's try unplugging my 6 cards and see if that works. Thank you 6 pound 9 ounce baby jesus. Windows installed. New drivers work and I'm back at 180! Raking in the cash now. With those speeds my Asus cards crashed. Had to dial down the hashrate to 177.5 for them to be stable. So now going to use some commands in claymore to run the Asus cards at lower speeds while letting my other cards mine harder. I wrote this to let people know that mining isn't all Bugatti's and caviar. These machines are fickle little cunts that do what they want. No system is the same. So when you post on a forum, people will give you advice on what may work. But what works for them, may not work on your rig. In the end it's up to you to figure it out. I have spent countless hours after work and on weekends working on this bitch. Hell I've probably spent a few hours just staring at it and thinking about all of the ways I could destroy it slowly. While I love Etheruem and do value the knowledge gained, I would have made more money just buying Eth and holding. The guys you see on youtube building sick rigs with crazy specs have been at it for a while. They have worked through the process and know how to solve all of the problems. You have not and will have to work them out on your own. My whore of a rig will pay for itself soon. But I would suggest that if you want to start building a new mining rig. Check the difficulty chart and make sure you have tons of free time to fuck with it. I'd post my wallet address for donations since I just saved you $2,600. But I am afraid hackers will steal my monies :) Hope you enjoyed my mining life story from the past few months. Edit - Had an Asus card die on me and replaced it with a 1070ti. Nvidia is so much easier! My rosewill 1200 watt PSU melted the 8 pin port and cable. Had to drop $300 on Amazons last 1300 EVGA. But my rig has well surpassed it's cost and is still mining away like a champ. Eth for life!
Ethereum is almost certainly the number 2 coin in comedy gold. It will likely surpass Bitcoin in comedy gold long before it passes it in market cap. Thanks in large part to a spam-based marketing campaign on Reddit, it also has a dedicated base of critics. After its IPO, it was known as “Inthereum” for a while, infinitely powerful of course, as vaporware can do anything. It had a major version release, then another. Finally, a major smart contract, in terms of valuation, came along: The DAO. Not to be confused with other DAOs, before and after. The DAO was the biggest. It was going to be the best; it already was the best! Euphoria was off the charts. Until just a few months in, a bug was found. And the killer app became the flash point. What could they do? Well, hard fork and give the money back, of course! And so they did. “Code is Law”; but this is actually good for Ethereum because “[a]lthough some do question the analogy ‘code is law’. I do not. We just found out that we have a supreme court, the community!”  After the D'OH, Ethereum struggles to top its ATH comedy gold, but there is still a bright future for popcorn and comedy gold from Ethereum.
5 Largest Veins of Comedy Gold
Here are the largest comedy gold veins in Ethereum in potential reserves in our estimation in approximately descending order:
Cultlike euphoria - Now, this can certainly be said to be common to almost all cryptocurrencies. But Ethereum seems special here, even more than Bitcoin's community. There is a real belief here that this coin is going to change the world. This helps play into a "this is very good for Ethereum" mindset, wherein even the D'OH fork was a great success!
Vitalik Buterin - The best name in cryptocurrency! Young genius central to Ethereum and almost universally seen as the most important leader in the project. In our view, his endorsement and leadership during the D'OH fork led to that route being taken. That is, we believe if he had opposed it from the start, he may have been able to prevent it or at least have led to what is now called ETC being the dominant of the two.
And so in our view, Mr. Buterin runs a billion dollar cryptocurrency right now. He and his team seem to have done reasonably well so far; it seems likely they'll continue to thrive. To the best of my knowledge, confirmed on /ethereum, there hasn't been a drug market implemented in Ethereum or trading with ETH so far. But while it seems like a terrible idea, because of the lack of privacy and proven mutability of contracts, it seems like eventually there's going to be a major drug market accepting ETH just because it has such a high value. And, they point out, monero and zcoin’s core privacy feature will apparently be available on ETH after this next fork, so look forward to anonymous ETH fueling drug markets! And then the interesting question will be raised of how Chief Justice Buterin will rule on the case, whether it is worthy of an intervention or not. If not a drug market, then another buggy and hacked contract. Or a hacked exchange, and the question of whether to make it or its users whole, or "let the hacker win".
DAOs - From the beginning, it was proposed that Ethereum itself and its reserve fund would be turned into a DAO. How exactly this was going to happen would be figured out later of course. There was an initial estimate of 2016 for the transition.
Of course, in 2016, The DAO and the D'OH happened. I'm not aware of a current further push to put all of ETH's future funding into a DAO. But I'm sure the topic will resurface. And it will be hilarious on so many levels. The DAO actually collapsed too soon for peak comedy gold extraction. It had been predicted that there would be no consensus on any proposals and that nothing would be funded, and that there would be gold from that. But it was just a few months in when the bug was found. And while the D'OH fork was certainly a rich vein of comedy gold, it wasn't as rich as what the DAO could have been if it had floundered around for a year or so before the hack. Surprisingly, there's actually a running, apparently working DAO on ETH that was started even before The DAO: digixDAO. If it keeps on running, it will continue to be hilarious as other DAOs fail to learn from it. If it fails, there's all the more hilarity for Ethereum, making it the platform where anything complicated enough to look like an original use case will break. The very existence of digix is proof-of-comedy-gold.
Immutability - The whole central notion of immutability is going to be a recurring question for Ethereum after the D'OH. While there was a lot of sentiment of "just this once and never again" at the time, there will someday be another major issue, and the precedent will mean that at least a major debate among the community will be had. Ethereum is "mostly immutable". Bitcoin is far better protected here, because while it's true they've hard forked to fix a bug before, that was years ago and the community is far more fractured now. Ethereum has a demonstrated capacity to do both routine and controversial hard forks. This strength is also a challenge, as it will invite constant legal and ethical questions about when it's appropriate to modify the chain itself with a fork: that is, rolling back some or all transactions after major bugs, thefts, frauds, and so forth.
Concentration of funds - This one I'm just guessing at. Although rich lists do exist, obviously one entity like an exchange could pool funds in an address without one person owning that much, or one person could splits their coins among many accounts. But it gives a rough guide. In Bitcoin, the top 113 addresses, having more than 10,000 BTC, in total are 17.46% of the current supply [ 2 ]. And in Ethereum, it's true that the top two accounts are marked as exchange accounts [ 3 ]. Still, having lots of funds concentrated in a single exchange wallet seems to still have some potential for comedy gold. In Ethereum, the top 50 addresses have more than double the proportion of the top 113 in Bitcoin, a bit over 40% of the current supply. My guess would be there are still a lot of people who invested heavily in the initial ICO who have held onto a significant portion of their initial ETH. While some of these top addresses are exchanges, I think there are probably many individuals represented in here as well, and every one of them is a multimillionaire from this account alone.
Of course, so far, because ETH is still smaller than BTC in overall market cap, these top addresses aren't as huge as the top addresses in Bitcoin in current market value. But if ETH were to overtake BTC's current position with a relatively unchanged distribution, there would be some real comedy gold coming off this factor. Cribs could have a spin-off Ethereum series. This concentration was a part of making The D'OH what it was in my view as well: in Bitcoin, there would never have been so much of the coin tied up in one particular venture, at least not now. But in Ethereum, this concentration and groupthink can combine to hilarious effect.
A Brief History of Comedy Gold in Ethereum:
“Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made” - John Godfrey Saxe In the beginning, there was an offering. The greatest coin the world had ever seen; step right up and buy it! There was even code; this is no vaporware! Sure, there was more work to be done, but the ICO would fund that work, the founders would get a little, and create a reserve for the future and the rest would be mineable. There was also some of the most vociferous objections on BCT, declaring that the stake allocated to the founders was too large, pointing to other coins which had done smaller or done without. Arguing against the reserve; arguing against having a presale at all. Some people, of course, completely failing to read the documentation accurately to see what was even being proposed. And an almost complete radio silence from this large team working around the clock on Ethereum. It took some months from when the initial ANN was made until the sale actually started, but by the time they had their sale, they had perhaps the best documentation at launch to-date. Of course, there were some areas which seemed to lack some detail, like the budgeting, but never mind that, it was finally launching! Launching the sale, at least. In July and August of 2014, Ether was first sold. It was described as “fuel” for the virtual machine they were going to build [ 4 ]. And then, a year later, Ethereum was released live. By July 2016, it had already had its first major crisis after The DAO was hacked and the D’OH fork introduced in response. But the fact that Ethereum was ever released, and that it was released so quickly, is truly incredible. There was more than one person who thought that the stated goals of Ethereum were not possible. And, of course, many initial goals and deadlines didn’t happen. But unlike the railbirds on BCT were convinced, the team did not fail nor did it run off with the money. They were given a blank check, and they actually delivered a working product which has been successful so far financially. Of course, having its flagship smart contract go belly-up quite so quickly after having finally gotten a “killer app” seems rather unfortunate. The oracle problem (the question of how to reliably relate smart contracts to the outside world) seems unresolved, but partial solutions are inevitable and can only serve to make increasingly complex and thus popcorn-loaded contracts possible. Right now, all seems relatively quiet. But rest assured, there remains plenty of euphoria and gas to drive many more cycles of comedy gold production. Ether huffers need something to throw their ETH at. The more complicated; the better! Given some of the creations that have been made in NXT, for instance, a few more years of creativity on ETH should yield some very complicated and pop-corn rich smart contracts.
I was relaxing in my office, waiting for business. It was a dingy little one-room affair, but it would serve for now. Particularly with no clients. I had poured myself a double shot, and was about to enjoy it, when suddenly the door opened. A man walked in, familiar somehow although I couldn't place him. I reached out my hand instinctively, and instead of shaking it, he handed me a dollar. "Hello?" He pointed at the sign in the window, advertising a promotional one dollar gold survey for the first client. Always astute, I quickly surmised he wished to hire me. "Of course, sir! What coin would you like?" "Ethereum." "Certainly! And may I have your name for the log?" "Tyler Durdan." And with that, my newest client left. I downed my double and poured a generous triple to follow it. This was going to be a long day. Ethereum was the ultimate prize in my line of work. The coin which proved the adage that truth is stranger than fiction; which had proved itself a lucrative source of comedy gold. And who am I? Guy Noir, private comedy gold surveyor. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Premined scamcoins crashing on noname exchanges. I watched popcorn glitter in the dark on forgotten the BCT threads. Popcorn junkies strung out on a high, and I've delivered them more comedy gold, popcorn, salt and butter. There is never enough. A dark night in a world that never sleeps and knows how to keep its secrets...But on the 12th Floor of the Acme Building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions: Guy Noir, private comedy gold surveyor. Thank you, Narrator. Now, as I was saying, Ethereum is overloaded with gold. But the core is pretty straightforward: Ethereum promised "smart contracts". Immutable. Turing-complete. This was what Bitcoin lacked. The bee's knees. Crypto 2.0. What could go wrong? We'll skip over the "Inthereum" period. Perhaps the vaporware criticism was never fair: from their version, they had Proof-of-Concept code; they went through some iterations and eventually got to release. Let's note clearly that there was plenty of time to determine some sort of official policy for what to do about a buggy or improperly written contract losing money. In Bitcoin, every hack has been a SFYL event, although it’s true that a bug in the coin itself was hard forked away before. Mt. Gox tried to blame malleability, but there was never a fork to try to recover funds. In Ethereum, immutability was often talked about. So far as I saw in skimming, “what if” scenarios to undo bugs wasn’t brought up front-and-center. Nor was immutability being debated that I saw. So Ethereum releases. A major contract is launched, The DAO, which gets an astonishing portion of ETH invested. The world's largest crowd sale as they ultimately called it. All the major players in ETH buy into it, including Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum and the best name in cryptocurrency. Just as they're starting to get into the comedy gold that The DAO doesn't really have a purpose, a bug is discovered. And just as its leader is assuring everyone that no funds are at risk, the funds start being drained out of the contract by an unknown party. And suddenly immutable means "immutable unless we screw up on the biggest contract which everyone important has invested in heavily". Ethereum ultimately hard-forks to return investor funds and basically unwind The DAO. After claiming that the bug was in the contract, the coin itself is hard forked to fix the issue. And the first Ethereum clone results, one which simply does not follow the new hard fork. So the natural question is: when can a contract be changed? In the first page of the Ethereum launch, this question was implied by asking about what would happen if there were an assassination market hosted by a smart contract on Ethereum. Of course, in reality, Ethereum is not really functional enough at present to enforce such a contract, but the question remains in case Ethereum were to actually attain a functioning smart contract platform. Attempted reference to Tears in rain monologue, credit to Rutger Hauer Guy Noir and narrator text lovingly stolen from Prairie Home Companion's Guy Noir, by Garrison B. Keillor.
Filed for psych eval Twenty pages into the BCT ANN, I believe I have contracted cancer, again. I’m reminded of why I don’t generally go on BCT. As bad as altcoin forums tend to be for their circlejerking, it’s almost better than the, well, there’s really no way to put it other than FUD that inevitably appears in response to anything. Of course, it’s not paid shilling so much as it is willful and vocal ignorance. For all the critiques in that thread, most of them are utter nonsense and simply are misreading the initial information. On the other hand, it’s January 27th in the thread by now, with February 1st and the pre-sale start, and they don’t have their “prospectus” up yet. I also haven’t seen the change in mining rate yet. Side note: eMunie; wtf? I guess I missed something? Either it’s gone through a namechange or it’s dead, because a quick coinmarketcap search didn’t find anything. A comedy gold mining project for another day. Great; spoiler alert: fundraiser delayed apparently, so even more cancer to read through in that thread on the way to getting to a prospectus! The first 44 pages of the thread was summarized thus: “I want to believe. Why are you not speaking to us? Throw me a bone. Just tell me what I want to hear, and I'll gladly throw my money in.” [ 5 ] Would that I had only had to read that quote rather than all 44 pages, and facing many more. Pages and comments dragged on as I waded through the low-grade popcorn. When would this prospectus be released, so my torment would end? Oh god: a side-thread shows that by the time they get to April, there’s still no prospectus or presale date or estimate of when there may be a date [ 6 ]. It’s time to give up on reading through the cancerous mainthread on BCT and start jumping ahead pages to find the pre-sale and prospectus. Okay, finally, in July, they release documents and start the sale [ 7 ]. Good enough. I have mountains of links on my desk. Comedy gold is overflowing, but this is a survey expedition, not a mining operation. But by the time it’s surveyed, there’s always so much gold lined up to mine it gets hard to leave it behind and leave with the samples. It’s time to hammer out some copy and close this file. Folks, we hope you’ve enjoyed this descent into madness and comedy gold brought to you by the Comedy Gold Survey Company and our patron Tyler Durden. Do you need more comedy gold in your life? Of course you do! So please donate today; every $1 helps! I’ve added a new special: $5 lets you choose the next coin to be surveyed! Thanks again to Tyler Durden, and I will now be re-watching Fight Club and questioning my sanity. Cheers y’all! Resources:
[ 6 ] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=448923.msg6438910#msg6438910 - April 28th, 2014; Ursium says “We won't issue further comments regarding the Ether Sale, until we have completely finalized the framework for it. In the meantime enjoy the free technology, people are already building apps on it, which is exciting Smiley” ; this official Q&A thread then abandoned; these guys clearly hates BCT as much as I do
[ ] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=412878.msg4497464#msg4497464 charleshoskinson, January 14th, 2014; “Current plans are for a 60 day fundraiser, starting from Miami on; however, we are still exploring this and thus will set something in stone closer to the conference.” - fundraiser launches in less than a month but date not even set yet; also “No, the rate of inflation is always decreasing and comparable with bitcoin.” and “In terms of ROI, this should be reflected with a positive ROI.” ; also “As for P2P exchange, we have a close relationship with Open Transactions and combined with a namecoin style contract provided in the whitepaper and bitmessage makes a significantly more efficient distributive exchange than is possible with BitShares. Trust is not required as auditing can be done on Ethereum blockchain and we wouldn't suffer any bloat. “
[ ] https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/White-Paper - Accessed Feb 12, 2017; shows a different version of the issuance model, including the variable presale price modification and reduced future mining. But constant mining reward is still shown and fixed.
[ ] https://forum.ethereum.org/discussion/2007/whitepaper-pdf - Thread from April 2015 where Stephen Tual says changes in whitepaper were “as to how significant these were, probably not much”; “We had a hosted copy of the WP on our .org website, but that is now pointing to the github (as the pdf, by definition, was static).”
[ ] https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php/topic,1854.0.html Thread which goes into Bytemaster response to initial Ethereum proposal; points out that running something complicated like Bitshares on Ethereum would be cost prohibitive. Also predicts Ethereum becomes PoS.
[ ] https://github.com/slockit/DAO “Our Standard DAO Framework allows people to create Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) governed by the code in this repository written immutably to the blockchain.”
[ ] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=428589.msg4690140#msg4690140 - “I think this whole project will get forced underground onto the Tor network in short order because the illegal stuff will be in the blockchain instead of externalized. It will have to directly compete with bitcoin with both hands tied behind its back because it will be hard for people to even find a safe copy of the program to download. Am I to understand that you will not have a legal opinion supporting what you are doing?” - Seth Otterstad
[ ] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=428589.msg4718951#msg4718951 “We will switch our PoW from Dagger to a hybrid PoW/PoS system to be developed via a bountied competition conducted by our university partners and open to the general community for participation. The terms will be announced in late february including judges, specifications and the university partners.” - jubalix quoting some Ethereum promotional document
[ ] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=428589.msg4740396#msg4740396 “Creating the platform with new features is one thing. Competing in the real world of hype, adoption, and social marketing with Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin is a completely different beast. Especially, when every coin is based on ever changing software. The software is secondary to the marketing and socialization at this stage in the ballgame.” - DieJohnny
Is anyone else freaked out by this whole blocksize debate? Does anyone else find themself often agreeing with *both* sides - depending on whichever argument you happen to be reading at the moment? And do we need some better algorithms and data structures?
Why do both sides of the debate seem “right” to me? I know, I know, a healthy debate is healthy and all - and maybe I'm just not used to the tumult and jostling which would be inevitable in a real live open major debate about something as vital as Bitcoin. And I really do agree with the starry-eyed idealists who say Bitcoin is vital. Imperfect as it may be, it certainly does seem to represent the first real chance we've had in the past few hundred years to try to steer our civilization and our planet away from the dead-ends and disasters which our government-issued debt-based currencies keep dragging us into. But this particular debate, about the blocksize, doesn't seem to be getting resolved at all. Pretty much every time I read one of the long-form major arguments contributed by Bitcoin "thinkers" who I've come to respect over the past few years, this weird thing happens: I usually end up finding myself nodding my head and agreeing with whatever particular piece I'm reading! But that should be impossible - because a lot of these people vehemently disagree! So how can both sides sound so convincing to me, simply depending on whichever piece I currently happen to be reading? Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just a gullible idiot? Just Do It? When you first look at it or hear about it, increasing the size seems almost like a no-brainer: The "big-block" supporters say just increase the blocksize to 20 MB or 8 MB, or do some kind of scheduled or calculated regular increment which tries to take into account the capabilities of the infrastructure and the needs of the users. We do have the bandwidth and the memory to at least increase the blocksize now, they say - and we're probably gonna continue to have more bandwidth and memory in order to be able to keep increasing the blocksize for another couple decades - pretty much like everything else computer-based we've seen over the years (some of this stuff is called by names such as "Moore's Law"). On the other hand, whenever the "small-block" supporters warn about the utter catastrophe that a failed hard-fork would mean, I get totally freaked by their possible doomsday scenarios, which seem totally plausible and terrifying - so I end up feeling that the only way I'd want to go with a hard-fork would be if there was some pre-agreed "triggering" mechanism where the fork itself would only actually "switch on" and take effect provided that some "supermajority" of the network (of who? the miners? the full nodes?) had signaled (presumably via some kind of totally reliable p2p trustless software-based voting system?) that they do indeed "pre-agree" to actually adopt the pre-scheduled fork (and thereby avoid any possibility whatsoever of the precious blockchain somehow tragically splitting into two and pretty much killing this cryptocurrency off in its infancy). So in this "conservative" scenario, I'm talking about wanting at least 95% pre-adoption agreement - not the mere 75% which I recall some proposals call for, which seems like it could easily lead to a 75/25 blockchain split. But this time, with this long drawn-out blocksize debate, the core devs, and several other important voices who have become prominent opinion shapers over the past few years, can't seem to come to any real agreement on this. Weird split among the devs As far as I can see, there's this weird split: Gavin and Mike seem to be the only people among the devs who really want a major blocksize increase - and all the other devs seem to be vehemently against them. But then on the other hand, the users seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of a major increase. And there are meta-questions about governance, about about why this didn't come out as a BIP, and what the availability of Bitcoin XT means. And today or yesterday there was this really cool big-blockian exponential graph based on doubling the blocksize every two years for twenty years, reminding us of the pure mathematical fact that 210 is indeed about 1000 - but not really addressing any of the game-theoretic points raised by the small-blockians. So a lot of the users seem to like it, but when so few devs say anything positive about it, I worry: is this just yet more exponential chart porn? On the one hand, Gavin's and Mike's blocksize increase proposal initially seemed like a no-brainer to me. And on the other hand, all the other devs seem to be against them. Which is weird - not what I'd initially expected at all (but maybe I'm just a fool who's seduced by exponential chart porn?). Look, I don't mean to be rude to any of the core devs, and I don't want to come off like someone wearing a tinfoil hat - but it has to cross people's minds that the powers that be (the Fed and the other central banks and the governments that use their debt-issued money to run this world into a ditch) could very well be much more scared shitless than they're letting on. If we assume that the powers that be are using their usual playbook and tactics, then it could be worth looking at the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins, to get an idea of how they might try to attack Bitcoin. So, what I'm saying is, they do have a track record of sending in "experts" to try to derail projects and keep everyone enslaved to the Creature from Jekyll Island. I'm just saying. So, without getting ad hominem - let's just make sure that our ideas can really stand scrutiny on their own - as Nick Szabo says, we need to make sure there is "more computer science, less noise" in this debate. When Gavin Andresen first came out with the 20 MB thing - I sat back and tried to imagine if I could download 20 MB in 10 minutes (which seems to be one of the basic mathematical and technological constraints here - right?) I figured, "Yeah, I could download that" - even with my crappy internet connection. And I guess the telecoms might be nice enough to continue to double our bandwidth every two years for the next couple decades – if we ask them politely? On the other hand - I think we should be careful about entrusting the financial freedom of the world into the greedy hands of the telecoms companies - given all their shady shenanigans over the past few years in many countries. After decades of the MPAA and the FBI trying to chip away at BitTorrent, lately PirateBay has been hard to access. I would say it's quite likely that certain persons at institutions like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs and the Fed might be very, very motivated to see Bitcoin fail - so we shouldn't be too sure about scaling plans which depend on the willingness of companies Verizon and AT&T to double our bandwith every two years. Maybe the real important hardware buildout challenge for a company like 21 (and its allies such as Qualcomm) to take on now would not be "a miner in every toaster" but rather "Google Fiber Download and Upload Speeds in every Country, including China". I think I've read all the major stuff on the blocksize debate from Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn, Greg Maxwell, Peter Todd, Adam Back, and Jeff Garzick and several other major contributors - and, oddly enough, all their arguments seem reasonable - heck even Luke-Jr seems reasonable to me on the blocksize debate, and I always thought he was a whackjob overly influenced by superstition and numerology - and now today I'm reading the article by Bram Cohen - the inventor of BitTorrent - and I find myself agreeing with him too! I say to myself: What's going on with me? How can I possibly agree with all of these guys, if they all have such vehemently opposing viewpoints? I mean, think back to the glory days of a couple of years ago, when all we were hearing was how this amazing unprecedented grassroots innovation called Bitcoin was going to benefit everyone from all walks of life, all around the world:
wealthy individuals trying to preserve and transport their wealth across space and across time
iPhone and Android users who want to buy a latte on their smartphone at Starbucks
Venezuelans and Argentinians and Cypriots and Russian oligarchs and Greeks and anyone else whose state-backed currency sucks
unbanked Africans who will someday be texting around money via SMS messages on their cellphones
online content providers who will finally be able to get paid via micropayments
smart contracts and stock brokering and lawyering and land deeding and the refrigerator calling out to order more milk and distributed anonymous corporations (DACs) automatically negotiating and adjusting driverless taxicab fares in the Uber-future of the Internet of Things
...basically the entire human race transacting everything into the blockchain. (Although let me say that I think that people's focus on ideas like driverless cabs creating realtime fare markets based on supply and demand seems to be setting our sights a bit low as far as Bitcoin's abilities to correct the financial world's capital-misallocation problems which seem to have been made possible by infinite debt-based fiat. I would have hoped that a Bitcoin-based economy would solve much more noble, much more urgent capital-allocation problems than driverless taxicabs creating fare markets or refrigerators ordering milk on the internet of things. I was thinking more along the lines that Bitcoin would finally strangle dead-end debt-based deadly-toxic energy industries like fossil fuels and let profitable clean energy industries like Thorium LFTRs take over - but that's another topic. :=) Paradoxes in the blocksize debate Let me summarize the major paradoxes I see here: (1) Regarding the people (the majority of the core devs) who are against a blocksize increase: Well, the small-blocks arguments do seem kinda weird, and certainly not very "populist", in the sense that: When on earth have end-users ever heard of a computer technology whose capacity didn't grow pretty much exponentially year-on-year? All the cool new technology we've had - from hard drives to RAM to bandwidth - started out pathetically tiny and grew to unimaginably huge over the past few decades - and all our software has in turn gotten massively powerful and big and complex (sometimes bloated) to take advantage of the enormous new capacity available. But now suddenly, for the first time in the history of technology, we seem to have a majority of the devs, on a major p2p project - saying: "Let's not scale the system up. It could be dangerous. It might break the whole system (if the hard-fork fails)." I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, maybe someone else could enlighten me, but I don't think I've ever seen this sort of thing happen in the last few decades of the history of technology - devs arguing against scaling up p2p technology to take advantage of expected growth in infrastructure capacity. (2) But... on the other hand... the dire warnings of the small-blockians about what could happen if a hard-fork were to fail - wow, they do seem really dire! And these guys are pretty much all heavyweight, experienced programmers and/or game theorists and/or p2p open-source project managers. I must say, that nearly all of the long-form arguments I've read - as well as many, many of the shorter comments I've read from many users in the threads, whose names I at least have come to more-or-less recognize over the past few months and years on reddit and bitcointalk - have been amazingly impressive in their ability to analyze all aspects of the lifecycle and management of open-source software projects, bringing up lots of serious points which I could never have come up with, and which seem to come from long experience with programming and project management - as well as dealing with economics and human nature (eg, greed - the game-theory stuff). So a lot of really smart and experienced people with major expertise in various areas ranging from programming to management to game theory to politics to economics have been making some serious, mature, compelling arguments. But, as I've been saying, the only problem to me is: in many of these cases, these arguments are vehemently in opposition to each other! So I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of them, one by one - which means the end result is just a giant contradiction. I mean, today we have Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, arguing (quite cogently and convincingly to me), that it would be dangerous to increase the blocksize. And this seems to be a guy who would know a few things about scaling out a massive global p2p network - since the protocol which he invented, BitTorrent, is now apparently responsible for like a third of the traffic on the internet (and this despite the long-term concerted efforts of major evil players such as the MPAA and the FBI to shut the whole thing down). Was the BitTorrent analogy too "glib"? By the way - I would like to go on a slight tangent here and say that one of the main reasons why I felt so "comfortable" jumping on the Bitcoin train back a few years ago, when I first heard about it and got into it, was the whole rough analogy I saw with BitTorrent. I remembered the perhaps paradoxical fact that when a torrent is more popular (eg, a major movie release that just came out last week), then it actually becomes faster to download. More people want it, so more people have a few pieces of it, so more people are able to get it from each other. A kind of self-correcting economic feedback loop, where more demand directly leads to more supply. (BitTorrent manages to pull this off by essentially adding a certain structure to the file being shared, so that it's not simply like an append-only list of 1 MB blocks, but rather more like an random-access or indexed array of 1 MB chunks. Say you're downloading a film which is 700 MB. As soon as your "client" program has downloaded a single 1-MB chunk - say chunk #99 - your "client" program instantly turns into a "server" program as well - offering that chunk #99 to other clients. From my simplistic understanding, I believe the Bitcoin protocol does something similar, to provide a p2p architecture. Hence my - perhaps naïve - assumption that Bitcoin already had the right algorithms / architecture / data structure to scale.) The efficiency of the BitTorrent network seemed to jive with that "network law" (Metcalfe's Law?) about fax machines. This law states that the more fax machines there are, the more valuable the network of fax machines becomes. Or the value of the network grows on the order of the square of the number of nodes. This is in contrast with other technology like cars, where the more you have, the worse things get. The more cars there are, the more traffic jams you have, so things start going downhill. I guess this is because highway space is limited - after all, we can't pave over the entire countryside, and we never did get those flying cars we were promised, as David Graeber laments in a recent essay in The Baffler magazine :-) And regarding the "stress test" supposedly happening right now in the middle of this ongoing blocksize debate, I don't know what worries me more: the fact that it apparently is taking only $5,000 to do a simple kind of DoS on the blockchain - or the fact that there are a few rumors swirling around saying that the unknown company doing the stress test shares the same physical mailing address with a "scam" company? Or maybe we should just be worried that so much of this debate is happening on a handful of forums which are controlled by some guy named theymos who's already engaged in some pretty "contentious" or "controversial" behavior like blowing a million dollars on writing forum software (I guess he never heard that reddit.com software is open-source)? So I worry that the great promise of "decentralization" might be more fragile than we originally thought. Scaling Anyways, back to Metcalfe's Law: with virtual stuff, like torrents and fax machines, the more the merrier. The more people downloading a given movie, the faster it arrives - and the more people own fax machines, the more valuable the overall fax network. So I kindof (naïvely?) assumed that Bitcoin, being "virtual" and p2p, would somehow scale up the same magical way BitTorrrent did. I just figured that more people using it would somehow automatically make it stronger and faster. But now a lot of devs have started talking in terms of the old "scarcity" paradigm, talking about blockspace being a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" - which seems kinda scary, and antithetical to much of the earlier rhetoric we heard about Bitcoin (the stuff about supporting our favorite creators with micropayments, and the stuff about Africans using SMS to send around payments). Look, when some asshole is in line in front of you at the cash register and he's holding up the line so they can run his credit card to buy a bag of Cheeto's, we tend to get pissed off at the guy - clogging up our expensive global electronic payment infrastructure to make a two-dollar purchase. And that's on a fairly efficient centralized system - and presumably after a year or so, VISA and the guy's bank can delete or compress the transaction in their SQL databases. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if some guy buys a coffee on the blockchain, or if somebody pays an online artist $1.99 for their work - then that transaction, a few bytes or so, has to live on the blockchain forever? Or is there some "pruning" thing that gets rid of it after a while? And this could lead to another question: Viewed from the perspective of double-entry bookkeeping, is the blockchain "world-wide ledger" more like the "balance sheet" part of accounting, i.e. a snapshot showing current assets and liabilities? Or is it more like the "cash flow" part of accounting, i.e. a journal showing historical revenues and expenses? When I think of thousands of machines around the globe having to lug around multiple identical copies of a multi-gigabyte file containing some asshole's coffee purchase forever and ever... I feel like I'm ideologically drifting in one direction (where I'd end up also being against really cool stuff like online micropayments and Africans banking via SMS)... so I don't want to go there. But on the other hand, when really experienced and battle-tested veterans with major experience in the world of open-souce programming and project management (the "small-blockians") warn of the catastrophic consequences of a possible failed hard-fork, I get freaked out and I wonder if Bitcoin really was destined to be a settlement layer for big transactions. Could the original programmer(s) possibly weigh in? And I don't mean to appeal to authority - but heck, where the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto in all this? I do understand that he/she/they would want to maintain absolute anonymity - but on the other hand, I assume SN wants Bitcoin to succeed (both for the future of humanity - or at least for all the bitcoins SN allegedly holds :-) - and I understand there is a way that SN can cryptographically sign a message - and I understand that as the original developer of Bitcoin, SN had some very specific opinions about the blocksize... So I'm kinda wondering of Satoshi could weigh in from time to time. Just to help out a bit. I'm not saying "Show us a sign" like a deity or something - but damn it sure would be fascinating and possibly very helpful if Satoshi gave us his/hetheir 2 satoshis worth at this really confusing juncture. Are we using our capacity wisely? I'm not a programming or game-theory whiz, I'm just a casual user who has tried to keep up with technology over the years. It just seems weird to me that here we have this massive supercomputer (500 times more powerful than the all the supercomputers in the world combined) doing fairly straightforward "embarassingly parallel" number-crunching operations to secure a p2p world-wide ledger called the blockchain to keep track of a measly 2.1 quadrillion tokens spread out among a few billion addresses - and a couple of years ago you had people like Rick Falkvinge saying the blockchain would someday be supporting multi-million-dollar letters of credit for international trade and you had people like Andreas Antonopoulos saying the blockchain would someday allow billions of "unbanked" people to send remittances around the village or around the world dirt-cheap - and now suddenly in June 2015 we're talking about blockspace as a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" and partially centralized, corporate-sponsored "Level 2" vaporware like Lightning Network and some mysterious company is "stess testing" or "DoS-ing" the system by throwing away a measly $5,000 and suddenly it sounds like the whole system could eventually head right back into PayPal and Western Union territory again, in terms of expensive fees. When I got into Bitcoin, I really was heavily influenced by vague analogies with BitTorrent: I figured everyone would just have tiny little like utorrent-type program running on their machine (ie, Bitcoin-QT or Armory or Mycelium etc.). I figured that just like anyone can host a their own blog or webserver, anyone would be able to host their own bank. Yeah, Google and and Mozilla and Twitter and Facebook and WhatsApp did come along and build stuff on top of TCP/IP, so I did expect a bunch of companies to build layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol as well. But I still figured the basic unit of bitcoin client software powering the overall system would be small and personal and affordable and p2p - like a bittorrent client - or at the most, like a cheap server hosting a blog or email server. And I figured there would be a way at the software level, at the architecture level, at the algorithmic level, at the data structure level - to let the thing scale - if not infinitely, at least fairly massively and gracefully - the same way the BitTorrent network has. Of course, I do also understand that with BitTorrent, you're sharing a read-only object (eg, a movie) - whereas with Bitcoin, you're achieving distributed trustless consensus and appending it to a write-only (or append-only) database. So I do understand that the problem which BitTorrent solves is much simpler than the problem which Bitcoin sets out to solve. But still, it seems that there's got to be a way to make this thing scale. It's p2p and it's got 500 times more computing power than all the supercomputers in the world combined - and so many brilliant and motivated and inspired people want this thing to succeed! And Bitcoin could be our civilization's last chance to steer away from the oncoming debt-based ditch of disaster we seem to be driving into! It just seems that Bitcoin has got to be able to scale somehow - and all these smart people working together should be able to come up with a solution which pretty much everyone can agree - in advance - will work. Right? Right? A (probably irrelevant) tangent on algorithms and architecture and data structures I'll finally weigh with my personal perspective - although I might be biased due to my background (which is more on the theoretical side of computer science). My own modest - or perhaps radical - suggestion would be to ask whether we're really looking at all the best possible algorithms and architectures and data structures out there. From this perspective, I sometimes worry that the overwhelming majority of the great minds working on the programming and game-theory stuff might come from a rather specific, shall we say "von Neumann" or "procedural" or "imperative" school of programming (ie, C and Python and Java programmers). It seems strange to me that such a cutting-edge and important computer project would have so little participation from the great minds at the other end of the spectrum of programming paradigms - namely, the "functional" and "declarative" and "algebraic" (and co-algebraic!) worlds. For example, I was struck in particular by statements I've seen here and there (which seemed rather hubristic or lackadaisical to me - for something as important as Bitcoin), that the specification of Bitcoin and the blockchain doesn't really exist in any form other than the reference implementation(s) (in procedural languages such as C or Python?). Curry-Howard anyone? I mean, many computer scientists are aware of the Curry-Howard isomorophism, which basically says that the relationship between a theorem and its proof is equivalent to the relationship between a specification and its implementation. In other words, there is a long tradition in mathematics (and in computer programming) of:
separating the compact (and easy-to-check) statement of a theorem from the messy (and hard-to-check) details of its proof(s);
separating the specification of a system from its implementation(s); and
being able to prove that an implementation does indeed satisfy its specification.
And it's not exactly "turtles all the way down" either: a specification is generally simple and compact enough that a good programmer can usually simply visually inspect it to determine if it is indeed "correct" - something which is very difficult, if not impossible, to do with a program written in a procedural, implementation-oriented language such as C or Python or Java. So I worry that we've got this tradition, from the open-source github C/Java programming tradition, of never actually writing our "specification", and only writing the "implementation". In mission-critical military-grade programming projects (which often use languages like Ada or Maude) this is simply not allowed. It would seem that a project as mission-critical as Bitcoin - which could literally be crucial for humanity's continued survival - should also use this kind of military-grade software development approach. And I'm not saying rewrite the implementations in these kind of theoretical languages. But it might be helpful if the C/Python/Java programmers in the Bitcoin imperative programming world could build some bridges to the Maude/Haskell/ML programmers of the functional and algebraic programming worlds to see if any kind of useful cross-pollination might take place - between specifications and implementations. For example, the JavaFAN formal analyzer for multi-threaded Java programs (developed using tools based on the Maude language) was applied to the Remote Agent AI program aboard NASA's Deep Space 1 shuttle, written in Java - and it took only a few minutes using formal mathematical reasoning to detect a potential deadlock which would have occurred years later during the space mission when the damn spacecraft was already way out around Pluto. And "the Maude-NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) Protocol Analyzer (Maude-NPA) is a tool used to provide security proofs of cryptographic protocols and to search for protocol flaws and cryptosystem attacks." These are open-source formal reasoning tools developed by DARPA and used by NASA and the US Navy to ensure that program implementations satisfy their specifications. It would be great if some of the people involved in these kinds of projects could contribute to help ensure the security and scalability of Bitcoin. But there is a wide abyss between the kinds of programmers who use languages like Maude and the kinds of programmers who use languages like C/Python/Java - and it can be really hard to get the two worlds to meet. There is a bit of rapprochement between these language communities in languages which might be considered as being somewhere in the middle, such as Haskell and ML. I just worry that Bitcoin might be turning into being an exclusively C/Python/Java project (with the algorithms and practitioners traditionally of that community), when it could be more advantageous if it also had some people from the functional and algebraic-specification and program-verification community involved as well. The thing is, though: the theoretical practitioners are big on "semantics" - I've heard them say stuff like "Yes but a C / C++ program has no easily identifiable semantics". So to get them involved, you really have to first be able to talk about what your program does (specification) - before proceeding to describe how it does it (implementation). And writing high-level specifications is typically very hard using the syntax and semantics of languages like C and Java and Python - whereas specs are fairly easy to write in Maude - and not only that, they're executable, and you state and verify properties about them - which provides for the kind of debate Nick Szabo was advocating ("more computer science, less noise"). Imagine if we had an executable algebraic specification of Bitcoin in Maude, where we could formally reason about and verify certain crucial game-theoretical properties - rather than merely hand-waving and arguing and deploying and praying. And so in the theoretical programming community you've got major research on various logics such as Girard's Linear Logic (which is resource-conscious) and Bruni and Montanari's Tile Logic (which enables "pasting" bigger systems together from smaller ones in space and time), and executable algebraic specification languages such as Meseguer's Maude (which would be perfect for game theory modeling, with its functional modules for specifying the deterministic parts of systems and its system modules for specifiying non-deterministic parts of systems, and its parameterized skeletons for sketching out the typical architectures of mobile systems, and its formal reasoning and verification tools and libraries which have been specifically applied to testing and breaking - and fixing - cryptographic protocols). And somewhat closer to the practical hands-on world, you've got stuff like Google's MapReduce and lots of Big Data database languages developed by Google as well. And yet here we are with a mempool growing dangerously big for RAM on a single machine, and a 20-GB append-only list as our database - and not much debate on practical results from Google's Big Data databases. (And by the way: maybe I'm totally ignorant for asking this, but I'll ask anyways: why the hell does the mempool have to stay in RAM? Couldn't it work just as well if it were stored temporarily on the hard drive?) And you've got CalvinDB out of Yale which apparently provides an ACID layer on top of a massively distributed database. Look, I'm just an armchair follower cheering on these projects. I can barely manage to write a query in SQL, or read through a C or Python or Java program. But I would argue two points here: (1) these languages may be too low-level and "non-formal" for writing and modeling and formally reasoning about and proving properties of mission-critical specifications - and (2) there seem to be some Big Data tools already deployed by institutions such as Google and Yale which support global petabyte-size databases on commodity boxes with nice properties such as near-real-time and ACID - and I sometimes worry that the "core devs" might be failing to review the literature (and reach out to fellow programmers) out there to see if there might be some formal program-verification and practical Big Data tools out there which could be applied to coming up with rock-solid, 100% consensus proposals to handle an issue such as blocksize scaling, which seems to have become much more intractable than many people might have expected. I mean, the protocol solved the hard stuff: the elliptical-curve stuff and the Byzantine General stuff. How the heck can we be falling down on the comparatively "easier" stuff - like scaling the blocksize? It just seems like defeatism to say "Well, the blockchain is already 20-30 GB and it's gonna be 20-30 TB ten years from now - and we need 10 Mbs bandwidth now and 10,000 Mbs bandwidth 20 years from - assuming the evil Verizon and AT&T actually give us that - so let's just become a settlement platform and give up on buying coffee or banking the unbanked or doing micropayments, and let's push all that stuff into some corporate-controlled vaporware without even a whitepaper yet." So you've got Peter Todd doing some possibly brilliant theorizing and extrapolating on the idea of "treechains" - there is a Let's Talk Bitcoin podcast from about a year ago where he sketches the rough outlines of this idea out in a very inspiring, high-level way - although the specifics have yet to be hammered out. And we've got Blockstream also doing some hopeful hand-waving about the Lightning Network. Things like Peter Todd's treechains - which may be similar to the spark in some devs' eyes called Lightning Network - are examples of the kind of algorithm or architecture which might manage to harness the massive computing power of miners and nodes in such a way that certain kinds of massive and graceful scaling become possible. It just seems like a kindof tiny dev community working on this stuff. Being a C or Python or Java programmer should not be a pre-req to being able to help contribute to the specification (and formal reasoning and program verification) for Bitcoin and the blockchain. XML and UML are crap modeling and specification languages, and C and Java and Python are even worse (as specification languages - although as implementation languages, they are of course fine). But there are serious modeling and specification languages out there, and they could be very helpful at times like this - where what we're dealing with is questions of modeling and specification (ie, "needs and requirements"). One just doesn't often see the practical, hands-on world of open-source github implementation-level programmers and the academic, theoretical world of specification-level programmers meeting very often. I wish there were some way to get these two worlds to collaborate on Bitcoin. Maybe a good first step to reach out to the theoretical people would be to provide a modular executable algebraic specification of the Bitcoin protocol in a recognized, military/NASA-grade specification language such as Maude - because that's something the theoretical community can actually wrap their heads around, whereas it's very hard to get them to pay attention to something written only as a C / Python / Java implementation (without an accompanying specification in a formal language). They can't check whether the program does what it's supposed to do - if you don't provide a formal mathematical definition of what the program is supposed to do. Specification : Implementation :: Theorem : Proof You have to remember: the theoretical community is very aware of the Curry-Howard isomorphism. Just like it would be hard to get a mathematician's attention by merely showing them a proof without telling also telling them what theorem the proof is proving - by the same token, it's hard to get the attention of a theoretical computer scientist by merely showing them an implementation without showing them the specification that it implements. Bitcoin is currently confronted with a mathematical or "computer science" problem: how to secure the network while getting high enough transactional throughput, while staying within the limited RAM, bandwidth and hard drive space limitations of current and future infrastructure. The problem only becomes a political and economic problem if we give up on trying to solve it as a mathematical and "theoretical computer science" problem. There should be a plethora of whitepapers out now proposing algorithmic solutions to these scaling issues. Remember, all we have to do is apply the Byzantine General consensus-reaching procedure to a worldwide database which shuffles 2.1 quadrillion tokens among a few billion addresses. The 21 company has emphatically pointed out that racing to compute a hash to add a block is an "embarrassingly parallel" problem - very easy to decompose among cheap, fault-prone, commodity boxes, and recompose into an overall solution - along the lines of Google's highly successful MapReduce. I guess what I'm really saying is (and I don't mean to be rude here), is that C and Python and Java programmers might not be the best qualified people to develop and formally prove the correctness of (note I do not say: "test", I say "formally prove the correctness of") these kinds of algorithms. I really believe in the importance of getting the algorithms and architectures right - look at Google Search itself, it uses some pretty brilliant algorithms and architectures (eg, MapReduce, Paxos) which enable it to achieve amazing performance - on pretty crappy commodity hardware. And look at BitTorrent, which is truly p2p, where more demand leads to more supply. So, in this vein, I will close this lengthy rant with an oddly specific link - which may or may not be able to make some interesting contributions to finding suitable algorithms, architectures and data structures which might help Bitcoin scale massively. I have no idea if this link could be helpful - but given the near-total lack of people from the Haskell and ML and functional worlds in these Bitcoin specification debates, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't throw this out - just in case there might be something here which could help us channel the massive computing power of the Bitcoin network in such a way as to enable us simply sidestep this kind of desperate debate where both sides seem right because the other side seems wrong. https://personal.cis.strath.ac.uk/neil.ghani/papers/ghani-calco07 The above paper is about "higher dimensional trees". It uses a bit of category theory (not a whole lot) and a bit of Haskell (again not a lot - just a simple data structure called a Rose tree, which has a wikipedia page) to develop a very expressive and efficient data structure which generalizes from lists to trees to higher dimensions. I have no idea if this kind of data structure could be applicable to the current scaling mess we apparently are getting bogged down in - I don't have the game-theory skills to figure it out. I just thought that since the blockchain is like a list, and since there are some tree-like structures which have been grafted on for efficiency (eg Merkle trees) and since many of the futuristic scaling proposals seem to also involve generalizing from list-like structures (eg, the blockchain) to tree-like structures (eg, side-chains and tree-chains)... well, who knows, there might be some nugget of algorithmic or architectural or data-structure inspiration there. So... TL;DR: (1) I'm freaked out that this blocksize debate has splintered the community so badly and dragged on so long, with no resolution in sight, and both sides seeming so right (because the other side seems so wrong). (2) I think Bitcoin could gain immensely by using high-level formal, algebraic and co-algebraic program specification and verification languages (such as Maude including Maude-NPA, Mobile Maude parameterized skeletons, etc.) to specify (and possibly also, to some degree, verify) what Bitcoin does - before translating to low-level implementation languages such as C and Python and Java saying how Bitcoin does it. This would help to communicate and reason about programs with much more mathematical certitude - and possibly obviate the need for many political and economic tradeoffs which currently seem dismally inevitable - and possibly widen the collaboration on this project. (3) I wonder if there are some Big Data approaches out there (eg, along the lines of Google's MapReduce and BigTable, or Yale's CalvinDB), which could be implemented to allow Bitcoin to scale massively and painlessly - and to satisfy all stakeholders, ranging from millionaires to micropayments, coffee drinkers to the great "unbanked".
Missing Bitcoin, Image by Forbes. To put things better into perspective, most of the times, coins are lost for the following reasons: users forgetting their private keys, users spending BTC when its price is low, users throwing away computers/hard drives containing their private keys, or exchanges dealing with stolen funds.. Once coins are lost, there is little to nothing that can be done in ... Drug dealer loses $58M in bitcoin after landlord accidentally throws codes out. The codes were printed onto a piece of paper and stuffed into a fishing rod case. Daniel Van Boom. Feb. 23, 2020 9 ... That means the bitcoin stored on the hard drive would have been worth around $975,000 at the time the device is said to have been ditched. Today, they would be worth $85,125,000 (£63,284,463). Bitcoin Price BTC USD Chart Bitcoin US-Dollar; I’m a commentator for a tournament of nightmares. I’m not sure the participants are willing. You’d think being a psychiatric ward for 38 months would be enough to deter a guy from ever going back to a sport that involves watching human beings at the height of their physical prowess beat the living shit out of each other. Sometimes ... Oh god what have I done — IT pro says he threw out 7,500 bitcoins, now worth $7.5 million As Bitcoin hits $1,000, man says bitcoin-filled hard drive is in a landfill.
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