Which type of curren(t) do you want to see(cy)? An analysis of the intention behind bitcoin(s). Part 3
Part 1 Part 2 So I have been subbed to /bitcoin since it had less than two thousand subs but haven't posted there in years. I think I took a break from researching bitcoin to take a foray into the world of conspiracy around 2014 and only got back in to it around the beginning of 2017 but with a bit of sense of skepticism and cynicism about everything. I think I returned to /bitcoin around that time but there had been a rift that had emerged in the community between those that said that bitcoin was censoring any discussion around big blocks but then also just censorship in general. This lead to the formation of /btc which became the main spot for big blockers to gather to talk about protocol development. Following the fork of Bitcoin Cash and SegWit (BTC) in August 2017 the camps were further divided when the fence sitters were denied their SegWit2x compromise. Many from the fence sitters then deferred back to the incumbent bitcoin as citing muh network effect, liquidity, and hashpower while some who felt betrayed by the failure of getting S2X through went to support BCH for some attempt at on chain scaling rather than through pegged side chains or Lightning Network. Bitcoin cash initially went with a modest doubling of the blocksize to 2MB but implemented some other features like a new more rapidly adjusting difficulty algorithm to protect themselves against hashpower fluctuations from the majority chain. In about July of that year I had seen what I potentially thought was someone LARPing on /biz/ but screencapped, that segwit2x which was scheduled for november 2017 would be called off and then hashpower would switch to BCH causing congestion and chain death spiral on BTC and BCH would pump massively. I was partial to the idea as the game theory and incentives on a big block bitcoin should attract miners. About a month after SegWit2x was indeed called off while the BTC blockchain was hugely congested, BCH went through a violent pump reaching 0.5 BTC/BCH on a European exchange called Kraken while it also pumped ridiculously on American exchange coinbase. Shortly afterwards the market took a giant dump all over those people who bought the top and it has since retraced to roughly 30:1 or so now. After that pump though BCH kind of gained some bagholders I guess who started to learn the talking points presented by personalities like Roger Ver, Jihan Wu, Peter Rizun and Amaury Sechet. Craig S Wright by this time had been outed as Satoshi but had in 2016 publicly failed to convince the public with the cryptographic proof he provided. To which he later published the article I don't have the courage to prove I am the bitcoin creator. In essence this allowed many to disregard anything he offered to the crypto community though his company nChain was very much interested in providing the technical support to scale what he saw as the true implementation of bitcoin. Following debate around a set of planned protocol upgrades between a bitcoin node implementation by his company nChain and the developers of another client Bitcoin ABC (adjustable block cap), the two parties both dug their heels in and wouldn't compromise. As it became clear that a fork was imminent there was a lot of vitriol tossed out towards Wright, another big billionaire backer Calvin Ayre and other personalities like Roger Ver and Jihan Wu. Craig's credibility was disregarded because of his failure to provide convincing cryptographic proof but still people who wanted to pursue the protocol upgrades that nChain were planning (as it best followed their interpretation of the bitcoin white paper) pursued his variant, while others who followed the socia consensus deferred to the positions of their personalities like Wu, Ver, and Sechet but even developers from Ethereum and other protocols chimed in to convince everyone that CSW is a fraud. This was referred to as the hash war and was the first time that the bitcoin protocol had been contentiously hard forked. Hashpower is the CPU cycles you can commit to the Proof of Work function in bitcoin and the majority will generate the longest chain as they have the most proof of work. To win the contentious hard fork legitimately and make sure your chain will always be safe going forward you need to maintain your version of the blockchain with 51% of the hashpower on the network and force the other parties to continue to spend money on building a blockchain that is never going to be inserted in to the majority chain. As well as this you need to convince exchanges that you have the majority chain and have them feel safe to accept deposits and withdrawals so that they don't lose money in the chaos. This is how it would play out if both parties acted according to the rules of bitcoin and the Nakamoto Consensus. There was a lot of shit talking between the two parties on social media with Craig Wright making a number of claims such as "you split, we bankrupt you" "I don't care if there is no ability to move coins to an exchange for a year" and other such warnings not to engage in foul play.. To explain this aftermath is quite tedious so It might be better to defer to this video for the in depth analysis but basically Roger Ver had to rent hashpower that was supposed to be mining BTC from his mining farm bitcoin.com, Jihan Wu did the same from his Bitmain Mining Farm which was a violation of his fiduciary duty as the CEO of a company preparing for an IPO. In this video of a livestream during the hashwar where Andreas Brekken admits to basically colluding with exchange owners like Coinbase, Kraken (exchange Roger Ver invested in), Bitfinex and others to release a patched ABC client to the exchanges and introducing "checkpoints" in to the BCH blockchain (which he even says is arguably "centralisation") in order to prevent deep reorgs of the BCH blockchain. >"We knew we were going to win in 30 mins we had the victory because of these checkpoints that we released to a cartel of friendly businesses in a patch so then we just sat around drinking beers all day". By releasing a patched client that has code in it to prevent deep reorgs by having the client refer to a checkpoint from a block mined by someone who supported BCHABC if another group of hash power was to try to insert a new chain history, this cartel of exchanges and mining farm operators conspired in private to change the nature of the bitcoin protocol and Nakamoto Consensus. Since the fork there have been a number of other BCH clients that have come up that require funding and have their own ideas about what things to implement on the BCH chain. What began to emerge was actually not necessarily an intention of scaling bitcoin but rather to implement Schnorr signatures to obfuscate transactions and to date the ABC client still has a default blocksize of 2MB but advertised as 16MB. What this demonstrates for BCH is that through the collusion, the cartel can immediately get a favourable outcome from the developers to keep their businesses secure and from the personalities/developers to work on obfuscating records of transactions on the chain rather than scaling their protocol. After the SegWit fork, many from the BCH camp alleged that through the funding to Blockstream from AXA and groups that tied to the Bilderbergs, Blockstream would be beholden to the legacy banking and would be a spoke and hub centralised model, so naturally many of the "down with central banks anarcho capitalist types" had gathered in the BCH community. Through these sympathies it seems that people have been susceptible to being sold things like coin mixing and obfuscation with developers offering their opinions about how money needs to be anonymous to stop the evil government and central banks despite ideas like Mises’ Regression Theorem, which claims that in order for something to be money in the most proper sense, it must be traceable to an originally non-monetary barter commodity such as gold. What this suggests is that there is an underlying intent from the people that have mechanisms to exert their will upon the protocol of bitcoin and that if obfuscation is their first priority rather than working on creating a scalable platform, this demonstrates that they don't wish to actually be global money but more so something that makes it easier to move money that you don't want seen. Roger Ver has often expressed sentiments of injustice about the treatment of Silk Road found Ross Ulbricht and donated a large amount of money to a fund for his defence. I initially got in to bitcoin seeking out the Silk Road and though I only wanted to test it to buy small quantities of mdma, lsd, and mescaline back in 2011 there was all sorts of criminal activity on there like scam manuals, counterfeits, ID, Credit Card info, and other darknet markets like armoury were selling pretty crazy weapons. It has been alleged by Craig Wright that in his capacity as a digital forensics expert he was involved with tracing bitcoin that was used to fund the trafficking of 12-16 year olds on the silk road. There have been attempts at debunking such claims by saying that silk road was moderated for such stuff by Ulbricht and others, but one only has to take a look in to the premise of pizza gate to understand that there it may be possible to hide in plain site with certain code words for utilising the market services and escrow of websites like the silk road. The recent pedo bust from South Korea demonstrates the importance of being able to track bitcoin transactions and if the first thing BCH wanted to do after separating itself from Satoshi's Vision and running on developer and cartel agendas was to implement obfuscation methods, this type of criminal activity will only proliferate. Questions one must ask oneself then are things like why do they want this first? Are some of these developers, personalities and cartel businesses sitting on coins that they know are tarnished from the silk road and want to implement obfuscation practices so they can actually cash in some of the value they are unable to access? Merchants from the silk road 1 are still being caught even as recently as this year when they attempted to move coins that were known to have moved through the silk road. Chain analytics are only becoming more and more powerful and the records can never be changed under the original bitcoin protocol but with developer induced protocol changes like Schnorr signatures, and coinjoin it may be possible to start laundering these coins out in to circulation. I must admit with the cynicism I had towards government and law enforcement and my enjoying controlled substances occasionally I was sympathetic to Ross and donated to his legal fund back in the day and for many years claimed that I wouldn't pay my taxes when I wanted to cash out of bitcoin. I think many people in the space possess this same kind of mentality and subsequently can be preyed upon by people who wish to do much more in the obfuscation than dodge tax and party. Another interesting observation is that despite the fact that btc spun off as a result of censorship around big block scaling on bitcoin, that subreddit itself has engaged in plenty of censorship for basically anyone who wants to discuss the ideas presented by Dr Craig Wright on that sub. When I posted my part 2 of this series in there a week ago I was immediately met with intense negativity and ad hominems so as to discourage others from reading the submission and my post history was immediately throttled to 1 comment every 10 mins. This is not quite as bad as cryptocurrency where my post made it through the new queue to gather some upvotes and a discussion started but I was immediately banned from that sub for 7 days for reason "Content standards - you're making accusations based on no evidence just a dump of links that do nothing to justify your claims except maybe trustnodes link (which has posted fabricated information about this subreddit mods) and a Reddit post. Keep the conspiracy theories in /conspiracy" My post was also kept at zero in bitcoin and conspiracy so technically btc was the least censored besides C_S_T. In addition to the throttling I was also flagged by the u/BsvAlertBot which says whether or not a user has a questionable amount of activity in BSV subreddits and then a break down of your percentages. This was done in response to combat the "toxic trolls" of BSV but within bitcoincashSV there are many users that have migrated from what was originally supposed to be a uncensored subreddit to discuss bitcoin and many such as u/cryptacritic17 has have switched sides after having been made to essentially DOXX themselves in btc to prove that they aren't a toxic troll for raising criticisms of the way certain things are handled within that coin and development groups. Other prominent users such as u/jim-btc have been banned for impersonating another user which was in actual fact himself and he has uploaded evidence of him being in control of said account to the blockchain. Mod Log, Mod Damage Control, Mod Narrative BTFO. Interestingly in the comments on the picture uploaded to the blockchain you can see the spin to call him an SV shill when in actual fact he is just an OG bitcoiner that wanted bitcoin to scale as per the whitepaper. What is essentially going on in the Bitcoin space is that there is a battle of the protocols and a battle for social consensus. The incumbent BTC has majority of the attention and awareness as it is being backed by legacy banking and finance with In-Q-Tel and AXA funding blockstream as well as Epstein associates and MIT, but in the power vaccum that presented itself as to who would steward the big block variant, a posse of cryptoanarchists have gained control of the social media forums and attempted to exert their will upon what should essentially be a Set In Stone Protocol to create something that facilitates their economic activity (such as selling explosives online)) while attempting to leverage their position as moderators who control the social forum to spin their actions as something different (note memorydealers is Roger Ver). For all his tears for the children killed in wars, it seems that what cryptoanarchists such as u/memorydealers want is to delist/shut down governments and they will go to any efforts such as censorship to make sure that it is their implementation of bitcoin that will do that. Are we really going to have a better world with people easier able to hide transactions/launder money? Because of this power vacuum there also exists a number of different development groups but what is emerging now is that they are struggling for money to fund their development. The main engineering is done by self professed benevolent dictator Amaury Sechet (deadalnix) who in leaked telegram screen caps appears to be losing it as funding for development has dried up and money raised in an anarchist fashion wasn't compliant with laws around fundraising sources and FVNI (development society that manages BCH development and these donations) is run by known scammer David R Allen. David was founder of 2014 Israeli ICO Getgems (GEMZ) that scammed investors out of more than 2500 Bitcoins. The SV supported sky-lark who released this information has since deleted all their accounts but other users have claimed that sky-lark was sent personal details about themselves and pictures of their loved ones and subsequently deleted all their social media accounts afterwards. There are other shifty behaviours like hiring Japanese influencers to shill their coin, recruiting a Hayden Otto that up until 2018 was shilling Pascal Coin to become a major ambassador for BCH in the Australian city of Townsville. Townsville was claimed to be BCH city hosting a BCH conference there and claiming loads of adoption, but at the conference itself their idea of demonstrating adoption was handing a Point of Sale device to the bar to accept bitcoin payments but Otto actually just putting his credit card behind the bar to settle and he would keep the BCH that everyone paid. In the lead up to the conference the second top moderator of btc was added to the moderators of townsville to shill their coin but has ended up with the townsville subreddit wanting to ban all bitcoin talk from the subreddit. Many of the BCH developers are now infighting as funding dries up and they find themselves floundering with no vision of how to achieve scale or get actual real world adoption. Amaury has recently accused Peter Rizun of propagandising, told multiple users in the telegram to fuck off and from all accounts appears to be a malignant narcissist incapable of maintaining any kind of healthy relationship with people he is supposed to be working with. Peter Rizun has begun lurking in bitcoincashSV and recognising some of the ideas coming from BSV as having merit while Roger has started to distance himself from the creation of BCH. Interestingly at a point early in the BCH history Roger believed Dr Craig Wright was Satoshi, but once CSW wouldn't go along with their planned road map and revealed the fact he had patents on blockchain technology and wanted to go down a path that worked with Law, Roger retracted that statement and said he was tricked by Craig. He joined in on the faketoshi campaign and has been attempted to be sued by Dr Wright for libel in the UK to which Roger refused to engage citing grounds of jurisdiction. Ironically this avoidance of Roger to meet Dr Wright in court to defend his claims can be seen as the very argument against justice being served by private courts under an anarchocapitalist paradigm with essentially someone with resources simply being able to either flee a private court's jurisdiction or engage a team of lawyers that can bury any chances of an everyday person being able to get justice. There is much more going on with the BCH drama that can be explained in a single post but it is clear that some of the major personalities in the project are very much interested in having their ideals projected on to the technical implementation of the bitcoin protocol and have no qualms spouting rhetoric around the anti-censorship qualities of bitcoin/BCH while at the same time employing significant censorship on their social media forums to control what people are exposed to and getting rid of anyone who challenges their vision. I posit that were this coin to become a success, these "benevolent dictators" as they put it would love their new found positions of wealth/dominance yet if their behaviour to get there is anything to go by, would demonstrate the same power tripping practices of censorship, weasel acts, misleading people about adoption statistics and curating of the narrative. When the hashrate from Rogers bitcoin.com minging operation on BCH dropped dramatically and a lot of empty blocks were being mined, his employer and 2IC moderator u/BitcoinXio (who stepped in to replace roger as CEO) was in the sub informing everyone it was simply variance that was the reason when only a few days later it was revealed that they had reduced their hash power significantly. This is not appropriate behaviour for one of the primary enterprises engaged in stewarding BCH and encouraging adoption nor is the inability to be accountable for such dishonest practices as well. It seems bitcoin.com treats btc as their own personal spam page where Roger can ask for donations despite it being against the sub rules and spin/ban any challenge to the narrative they seek to create. Let's see how the censorship goes as I post this around a few of the same places as the last piece. Stay tuned for the next write up where I take a deep dive in to the coin that everyone doesn't want you to know about.
The biggest announcement of the month was the new kind of decentralized exchange proposed by @jy-p of Company 0. The Community Discussions section considers the stakeholders' response. dcrd: Peer management and connectivity improvements. Some work for improved sighash algo. A new optimization that gives 3-4x faster serving of headers, which is great for SPV. This was another step towards multipeer parallel downloads – check this issue for a clear overview of progress and planned work for next months (and some engineering delight). As usual, codebase cleanup, improvements to error handling, test infrastructure and test coverage. Decrediton: work towards watching only wallets, lots of bugfixes and visual design improvements. Preliminary work to integrate SPV has begun. Politeia is live on testnet! Useful links: announcement, introduction, command line voting example, example proposal with some votes, mini-guide how to compose a proposal. Trezor: Decred appeared in the firmware update and on Trezor website, currently for testnet only. Next steps are mainnet support and integration in wallets. For the progress of Decrediton support you can track this meta issue. dcrdata: Continued work on Insight API support, see this meta issue for progress overview. It is important for integrations due to its popularity. Ongoing work to add charts. A big database change to improve sorting on the Address page was merged and bumped version to 3.0. Work to visualize agenda voting continues. Ticket splitting: 11-way ticket split from last month has voted (transaction). Ethereum support in atomicswap is progressing and welcomes more eyeballs. decred.org: revamped Press page with dozens of added articles, and a shiny new Roadmap page. decredinfo.com: a new Decred dashboard by lte13. Reddit announcement here. Dev activity stats for June: 245 active PRs, 184 master commits, 25,973 added and 13,575 deleted lines spread across 8 repositories. Contributions came from 2 to 10 developers per repository. (chart)
Hashrate: growth continues, the month started at 15 and ended at 44 PH/s with some wild 30% swings on the way. The peak was 53.9 PH/s. F2Pool was the leader varying between 36% and 59% hashrate, followed by coinmine.pl holding between 18% and 29%. In response to concerns about its hashrate share, F2Pool made a statement that they will consider measures like rising the fees to prevent growing to 51%. Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 94.7 DCR (+3.4). The price was steadily rising from 90.7 to 95.8 peaking at 98.1. Locked DCR grew from 3.68 to 3.81 million DCR, the highest value was 3.83 million corresponding to 47.87% of supply (+0.7% from previous peak). Nodes: there are 240 public listening and 115 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 57% on v1.2.0 (+12%), 25% on v1.1.2 (-13%), 14% on v1.1.0 (-1%). Note: the reported count of non-listening nodes has dropped significantly due to data reset at decred.eu. It will take some time before the crawler collects more data. On top of that, there is no way to exactly count non-listening nodes. To illustrate, an alternative data source, charts.dcr.farm showed 690 reachable nodes on Jul 1. Extraordinary event: 247361 and 247362 were two nearly full blocks. Normally blocks are 10-20 KiB, but these blocks were 374 KiB (max is 384 KiB).
Update from Obelisk: shipping is expected in first half of July and there is non-zero chance to meet hashrate target. Another Chinese ASIC spotted on the web: Flying Fish D18 with 340 GH/s at 180 W costing 2,200 CNY (~340 USD). (asicok.com – translated, also on asicminervalue) dcrASIC team posted a farewell letter. Despite having an awesome 16 nm chip design, they decided to stop the project citing the saturated mining ecosystem and low profitability for their potential customers.
Changenow announced the option to buy DCR with fiat.
TokenPride: "We are seeking feedback on the general setup of our payment processor. We have tried to make it simple and user friendly. 10% of all purchases made in Decred will be donated to the Decred Development fund - and we will be releasing original Decred designs in the future".
BlueYard Capital announced investment in Decred and the intent to be long term supporters and to actively participate in the network's governance. In an overview post they stressed core values of the project:
There are a few other remarkable characteristics that are a testament to the DNA of the team behind Decred: there was no sale of DCR to investors, no venture funding, and no payment to exchanges to be listed – underscoring that the Decred team and contributors are all about doing the right thing for long term (as manifested in their constitution for the project). The most encouraging thing we can see is both the quality and quantity of high calibre developers flocking to the project, in addition to a vibrant community attaching their identity to the project.
The company will be hosting an event in Berlin, see Events below. Arbitrade is now mining Decred.
Campus Party in Brasilia, Brazil. @girino, @Rhama and @matheusd talked about Decred. Matheus was interviewed by a TV channel. Check this quick report about the event, click "Show newer" to continue reading. (photos: 123)
Blockchain Summit in London, UK. This was not a full blown presence with stand but rather investigation of opportunities by @kyle and @Ani. The resulting detailed report is a good example of a document advising to stakeholders whether it is worth spending project funds.
Meetup in Berlin, Germany on July 18. @jz will give a talk and Q&A about Decred and chat with Ele from @oscoin about incentivizing developers. Hosted by BlueYard Capital.
Hey guys! I'd like to share with you my latest adventure: Stakey Club, hosted at stakey.club, is a website dedicated to Decred. I posted a few articles in Brazilian Portuguese and in English. I also translated to Portuguese some posts from the Decred Blog. I hope you like it! (slack)
Decred Assembly - Ep20 - Governance: Driving the Future (youtube) @cburniske and @traceagain discuss the importance of governance protocols being foundational and problems with delegated proof of stake
"I think that developers in the future are going to base their decision on where to build on the basis of governance and community. And so I look for good governance mechanisms and strong communities in blockchains." (@decredproject)
What is on-chain cryptocurrency governance? Is it plutocratic? by Richard Red (medium)
Apples to apples, Decred is 20x more expensive to attack than Bitcoin by Zubair Zia (medium)
What makes Decred different and better from other cryptocurrencies? (cxihub.com)
Community stats: Twitter followers 40,209 (+1,091), Reddit subscribers 8,410 (+243), Slack users 5,830 (+172), GitHub 392 stars and 918 forks of dcrd repository. An update on our communication systems:
Matrix chat logs are nowviewable on the web with the exception of some channels that are not bridged. The new web logs means our chats are now fully public and indexed by search engines.
Slack had an outage on Jun 27 that disturbed communications for a few hours, discussions continued on Decred's bridged platforms.
Jake Yocom-Piatt did an AMA on CryptoTechnology, a forum for serious crypto tech discussion. Some topics covered were Decred attack cost and resistance, voting policies, smart contracts, SPV security, DAO and DPoS. A new kind of DEX was the subject of an extensive discussion in #general, #random, #trading channels as well as Reddit. New channel #thedex was created and attracted more than 100 people. A frequent and fair question is how the DEX would benefit Decred. @lukebp has put it well:
Projects like these help Decred attract talent. Typically, the people that are the best at what they do aren’t driven solely by money. They want to work on interesting projects that they believe in with other talented individuals. Launching a DEX that has no trading fees, no requirement to buy a 3rd party token (including Decred), and that cuts out all middlemen is a clear demonstration of the ethos that Decred was founded on. It helps us get our name out there and attract the type of people that believe in the same mission that we do. (slack)
Another concern that it will slow down other projects was addressed by @davecgh:
The intent is for an external team to take up the mantle and build it, so it won't have any bearing on the current c0 roadmap. The important thing to keep in mind is that the goal of Decred is to have a bunch of independent teams on working on different things. (slack)
A chat about Decred fork resistance started on Twitter and continued in #trading. Community members continue to discuss the finer points of Decred's hybrid system, bringing new users up to speed and answering their questions. The key takeaway from this chat is that the Decred chain is impossible to advance without votes, and to get around that the forker needs to change the protocol in a way that would make it clearly not Decred. "Against community governance" article was discussed on Reddit and #governance. "The Downside of Democracy (and What it Means for Blockchain Governance)" was another article arguing against on-chain governance, discussed here. Reddit recap: mining rig shops discussion; how centralized is Politeia; controversial debate on photos of models that yielded useful discussion on our marketing approach; analysis of a drop in number of transactions; concerns regarding project bus factor, removing central authorities, advertising and full node count – received detailed responses; an argument by insette for maximizing aggregate tx fees; coordinating network upgrades; a new "Why Decred?" thread; a question about quantum resistance with a detailed answer and a recap of current status of quantum resistant algorithms. Chats recap: Programmatic Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW) discussion; possible hashrate of Blake-256 miners is at least ~30% higher than SHA-256d; how Decred is not vulnerable to SPV leaf/node attack.
DCR opened the month at ~$93, reached monthly high of $110, gradually dropped to the low of $58 and closed at $67. In BTC terms it was 0.0125 -> 0.0150 -> 0.0098 -> 0.0105. The downturn coincided with a global decline across the whole crypto market. In the middle of the month Decred was noticed to be #1 in onchainfx "% down from ATH" chart and on this chart by @CoinzTrader. Towards the end of the month it dropped to #3.
Please note: we will not accept any kind of payment to list an asset.
Bithumb got hacked with a $30 m loss. Zcash organized Zcon0, an event in Canada that focused on privacy tech and governance. An interesting insight from Keynote Panel on governance: "There is no such thing as on-chain governance". Microsoft acquired GitHub. There was some debate about whether it is a reason to look into alternative solutions like GitLab right now. It is always a good idea to have a local copy of Decred source code, just in case. Status update from @sumiflow on correcting DCR supply on various sites:
To begin with, none of the below sites were showing the correct supply or market cap for Decred but we've made some progress. coingecko.com, coinlib.io, cryptocompare.com, livecoinwatch.com, worldcoinindex.com - corrected! cryptoindex.co, onchainfx.com - awaiting fix coinmarketcap.com - refused to fix because devs have coins too? (slack)
About This Issue
This is the third issue of Decred Journal after April and May. Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research. The new public Matrix logs look promising and we hope to transition from Slack links to Matrix links. In the meantime, the way to read Slack links is explained in the previous issue. As usual, any feedback is appreciated: please comment on Reddit, GitHub or #writers_room. Contributions are welcome too, anything from initial collection to final review to translations. Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee and Richard-Red. Special thanks to @Haon for bringing May 2018 issue to medium.
Why I believe we're on the cusp of the 3rd great Bitcoin bubble
We've recovered from the last crash You might think it's a bit early (based on the time frame for the last recovery), but things are looking a lot different than in 2011. I would suggest its because the last bubble popped prematurely due to Mt. Gox's failure of a trading engine. Interest in buying Bitcoins has gone up to its highest point since the last bubble. There's a similar spike in general interest. Partly helped along by the Silk Road news. The network is being used at the same rate as during the last bubble. The Bitcoin ATM story (see below) is causing Bitcoin to trend in Canada on Google (was #1 for a bit). The $27 story (see below) will almost certainly cause a large spike worldwide in Google trends once they're updated up to yesterday. Lots and lots of new businesses now accept Bitcoins One legitimate criticism of Bitcoin last year was the lack of places to spend them. We basically just had Alpaca Socks, Reddit and Wordpress, we've grown a lot since then!
The $27 story is going massively viral I think the attention this story is getting took a lot of us by surprise. We're thinking "of course if you bought Bitcoins in 2009 you're rich" and it didn't make much of a splash. But to the rest of the world it's a very novel and interesting story.
Institutional money is coming Afraid with the price at $200 that it will be hard to find enough moms and pops to keep money coming in faster than miners are selling? Don't be, there are individuals out there with a net worth higher than the entire Bitcoin ecosystem.
Governments are explicitly saying it's not illegal More and more governments are either saying Bitcoins are legitimate currency, or releasing guidelines for exchanges to comply with anti-money-laundering laws.
New generation of exchanges Mt. Gox's terrible trading engine was a huge factor in the last crash. They couldn't keep up with all the new interest. This time around there are more exchanges in more countries, and not a single point of liquidity.
Thought I would share this chat I had with James Lovejoy last night. Super generous of him to provide this much access and time answering questions. I was already a HODL'er, but this solidified it. beerfinger [1:28 AM] Just read through the entire rebranding thread in the Vertcoin subreddit. Earlier today I also watched some of Crypto Hedge's interview of James Lovejoy from last August on YouTube. I understand both sides of the rebranding argument and have tried to play devil's advocate. Right now I do believe that the argument against rebranding is stronger. Full disclosure: I've worked in marketing/advertising my whole career and just recently got into cryptos. With that said, there are two questions that keeps nagging on me: [1:28] 1. this coin has been around since 2014, so nearly 4 years. James seems like an incredibly smart and capable chap, but I'm just going to go ahead and assume the he hasn't always been the Lead Dev while he was in high school. Presumably there was someone before him and, after he graduates and moves on to whatever it is he's going to do with his life, there will be someone after him. Yes? So, with all due respect to James, as an investor in VTC, what assurances are there that this isn't merely an interesting side-project for a brilliant MIT student with little interest/incentive in its value as an investment portfolio? If the value of this coin to James is that of a college project, that is something I as an investor would like to know. jamesl22 [1:32 AM] Hey! [1:33] I've been the lead dev since Nov 2014 [1:33] (while I was in high school) [1:33] And I've kept at it through college, I certainly don't intend to go anywhere [1:33] Plus, there are more who work on this project that just me beerfinger [1:33 AM] 2. I've read complaints about Vertcoin from people who poopoo its usefulness. Decrying it as "just another coin trying to be Bitcoin with not much differentiating it." People don't seem to view the ASIC thing as a big enough differentiator to make VTC stand out. There seems to be a kernel of truth to that as part of the argument against rebranding seems to be a tacit acknowledgement that it should not occur until a major change in the development is launched. So my question again stems back to James' motivations and incentives here. Is this a convenient use case for some college thesis? Or is the team really working on coming up with a major change in development? [1:34] hey James! wow, thanks so much for your quick response [1:34] great to actually communicate with you. and I stand corrected. very impressive that you started on this so young. I can see why MIT accepted you :slightly_smiling_face: [1:36] my questions still stand though: I'm not trying to insult you so I hope you don't take it that way, but as someone who considers VTC part of my investment portfolio, I am very curious to hear about your incentives. You clearly have noble intentions. But what is your ultimate goal? What's the end game? Is it the same as Satoshi's was? (assuming he was really one person who existed) [1:37] Or is there something else? jamesl22 [1:37 AM] I think it's the same as Satoshi's [1:37] To recreate the financial system in a fairer, more distributed way [1:37] My research at MIT is totally separate to my work on VTC, though the two are complimentary (both are in cryptocurrency) [1:38] In my ideal world everyone runs a VTC miner and full node in their home, banks become narrow banks and clearing houses/stock exchanges are a thing of the past [1:39] The rewards of the financial system (in the form of transaction fees) will be distributed to the people, rather than siphoned off by banks or ASIC manufacturers as happens now (edited) goodminer [1:40 AM] :thumbsup: beerfinger [1:40 AM] I see. That is compelling. So, being that's the case, that sounds to me like something worthy of a brand, no? [1:41] Unless you think there are other coins on the market with the same goals. In which case, what will differentiate VTC? jamesl22 [1:42 AM] I don't think there are any on the market with as strong of an ideology as us [1:42] Or any that can demonstrate that it follows through on its commitments [1:42] The way I see it, VTC went from being worth $0.01 last year to 100x that now [1:43] I don't see how a rebrand can possible accelerate already parabolic growth [1:43] Bear in mind, that until a few months ago we had 0 marketing, that is where our focus should be now beerfinger [1:44 AM] Fair. I'm curious, what do you think it SHOULD be worth? [1:44] I mean right now, at this moment. jamesl22 [1:44 AM] I don't think I should say, the SEC might be watching us beerfinger [1:44 AM] Not in the future. [1:44] haha [1:44] ok [1:44] Can you say if you feel it is undervalued? [1:44] or overvalued jamesl22 [1:45 AM] I will say with confidence that 95% of the top 100 is severely overvalued beerfinger [1:45 AM] coins you mean jamesl22 [1:45 AM] Yes [1:45] On coinmarketcap [1:45] If you visit most of their websites, there is no code at all [1:45] Yet it's worth many times what VTC is worth [1:46] Where VTC has been established for nearly 4 years, bug free and features well demonstrated [1:46] VTC also had LN and SegWit on main net before LTC or BTC (edited) beerfinger [1:46 AM] Yes I mean your statement doesn't surprise me. It's a nacent market. Lots of snake oil, clearly. [1:47] I guess to steer this back towards the branding/marketing of your coin though, you clearly feel strongly about it and have a clear vision. Do you feel that as it stands the branding conveys that sentiment? jamesl22 [1:47 AM] When you say branding, I assume you mean "vertcoin" and the logo? beerfinger [1:48 AM] yes. logo, color scheme, etc... [1:48] name even [1:49] also to clarify one point, when I say that you clearly feel strongly about it, the "it" refers to your coin (not the marketing of it) jamesl22 [1:49 AM] I think it's largely arbitrary beerfinger [1:49 AM] why is that jamesl22 [1:49 AM] Most coin names have no meaning whatsoever [1:49] Google, the largest tech company in the world has a silly name [1:50] Litecoin (whose name ought to imply it has fewer features) is #4 beerfinger [1:51 AM] I wouldn't underestimate the amount of strategy that went into branding Google (and continues to this day) jamesl22 [1:51 AM] What's most important is the pitch, how can you convince someone who knows nothing about the technicals behind cryptocurrency, that ASIC resistance and decentralisation is important? [1:51] Yes, but the original branding was arbitrary and haphazard [1:52] Yet the technology spoke for itself [1:52] Now it's in the dictionary [1:53] Spending lots of time and money on a new name/logo, trying to get community consensus on that and then redesigning the website/subreddit/wallets/other services to reflect the changes is not where I think we should focus our small resources [1:54] My goal over the next year or two is to take VTC from speculative value to real-world value [1:54] So point of sale, ease of use, that's the focus now [1:55] I aim to over time provide complete solutions for merchants to implement VTC at point of sale, for laymen to set up nodes and miners in their homes [1:55] As well as potentially enterprise support if we get big enough beerfinger [1:55 AM] It sounds like this is your intended career path then, yes? jamesl22 [1:55 AM] In some shape or form, yes beerfinger [1:55 AM] Wonderful [1:55] When do you graduate, James? [1:55] If you don't mind me asking slackbot Custom Response [1:55 AM] I AM talking to you aren't I ! jamesl22 [1:56 AM] Charlie Lee worked at Coinbase for several years before returning to LTC a month or two ago [1:56] 2019 beerfinger [1:56 AM] So you're a Sophomore? Or are you in graduate school? jamesl22 [1:57 AM] Junior chuymgzz [1:58 AM] @beerfinger can you imagine when people first heard the word "dollar" like WTF is a dollar where did it actually came from. It actually comes from Czech joachimsthaler, which became shortened in common usage to thaler or taler. Don't pay much attention to the name Vertcoin, just take a look at the tech. If you buy into this coin's ideology, you will actually start to like the name. jin [1:58 AM] Hey guys :slightly_smiling_face: [1:59] @chuymgzz but not everyone looks purely at the tech, if we look at the top 100 coins, you would know whats going on :stuck_out_tongue: beerfinger [1:59 AM] Cool well thanks for indulging me, James. I really appreciate it. Hopefully this conversation continues in the future. While your probably right that right now is probably not the right time, that doesn't mean at some point in the future it won't be. In the meantime, I'll take comfort in the knowledge that I've invested in a worthy cause. chuymgzz [1:59 AM] Longer term only the functional ones and the ones that deliver will survive and a whole ecosystem will be built around it jin [1:59 AM] buzz and hype is unfortunately a large part of it beerfinger [2:00 AM] *you're jin [2:00 AM] that is true, but without marketing to draw in attention (which leads to usage and so on etc) it will be difficult for a functional one to survive even beerfinger [2:07 AM] @james122 One more thing: how do you feel about regulation? Pro or con? Do you feel that the idea of nation states like the US and China (ergo the ICO ban) taking it upon themselves to place restrictions on the market to try and make them safer is anathema to the idea of decentralization? Are you a full on libertarian in that respect? Or do you welcome regulation because it'll separate the wheat from the chaff? jamesl22 [2:07 AM] I think we need a sane amount of regulation [2:08] ICOs are clearly illegal imo [2:08] Unless they are performed under the same rules as an IPO [2:09] Plus I don't want to create a safe harbour for child pornographers, people traffickers and terrorists to store their money [2:09] However I do think the state has no right to spy on you without a warrant (edited) beerfinger [2:09 AM] You mean you don't want to be Monero? :slightly_smiling_face: jamesl22 [2:09 AM] No [2:10] I will pursue privacy features that make the pseudoanonymity provided by the blockchain easier for people to use effectively [2:11] That way, it is not obvious to anyone your holdings or transactions publicly (edited) [2:11] But things like sting operations would still be theoretically possible beerfinger [2:13 AM] Love it. I still feel the branding thing will need to be revisited at some point. I don't know what that means, exactly. Whether its as small as a font change to something bigger like a new color scheme, logo or even name, I'm not sure of. The ideology is strong, but as it stands Vertcoin doesn't have a clear differentiator in the market. I'm not sure that matters so much yet at this time, but it will. [2:15] You clearly have a strong vision, I'm just not sure it's being communicated effectively yet. Hence, haters who say Vertcoin is just trying to be another Bitcoin. workstation [2:15 AM] beerfinger might be a huge whale sniffing out Vertcoin before a huge loadup. Not that, that's a bad thing :stuck_out_tongue: beerfinger [2:15 AM] haha... I wish jamesl22 [2:16 AM] Vertcoin is trying to be another Bitcoin lol [2:16] It's picking up where Bitcoin left off [2:16] If people want a decentralised cryptocurrency, they should use Vertcoin [2:17] Bitcoin just isn't one anymore [2:17] Neither is Litecoin (edited) beerfinger [2:20 AM] Semantics really, but if that's the case then that means Vertcoin isn't trying to be another Bitcoin. Bitcoin is already Bitcoin, which is a coin that did not fulfill it's promises. Vertcoin, on the other hand, like you said picks up where Bitcoin left off. I'm not sure that's being communicated by the brand (yet). Doing so may have nothing to do with rebranding (unless rebranding generates a bigger social following who then helps you communicate that). workstation [2:20 AM] You've continued on a great coin James and no doubt Vertcoin has great features vs other coins, however without widespread use and adoption, Vertcoin might just become another coin without much use. The marketing side is sometimes even more important than the development side. Just need to look at history for that. E.g. Early version of Windows was buggy, bluescreen of death plagued it. But with heaps of $$ and marketing, Windows is pretty rock solid these days. atetnowski [2:21 AM] joined #marketing. jamesl22 [2:22 AM] Yes, agreed to both statements [2:22] We're working on it, but it takes time and money [2:23] But really, adoption is pointless until point of sale works properly [2:23] When you can get it into people's physical wallets, or phone and they can spend it in a store, that's when it takes off (edited) [2:23] Walmart, Target, all the big retailers hate Visa and Mastercard workstation [2:24 AM] Thats a long way off... Even Apple and Samsung are struggling in that area jamesl22 [2:24 AM] They would love a solution that opted them out of having to pay their fees beerfinger [2:25 AM] @workstation To play devil's advocate for one sec, most successful people in the world don't achieve success because they tried to achieve success. Success is merely a byproduct of their passion. I do believe that James' commitment to the ideology can be sufficient. But it is true that the branding should communicate his vision. That is a constant conversation, too. workstation [2:25 AM] yes, true jamesl22 [2:26 AM] What we really need is talented content creators to make compelling media that explains the vision in a layman friendly way [2:26] Thus far the message has been far too technical [2:26] But in the past, the space was mostly populated by technical people so that is understandable [2:26] It is only in the last 6 months that the general public has started to get involved [2:27] Sadly "ASIC resistance" doesn't speak to them beerfinger [2:27 AM] @james122 While it's true that universal adoption is key, you can say that about ANY coin. Even dogecoin would suddenly become a real coin if everyone up and decided to start using it one day. What's your strategy for making VTC that coin? jamesl22 [2:27 AM] Whereas I think taking power from banks, chinese miners and giving it back to the people can be far more compelling workstation [2:27 AM] We take Visa and Mastercard at our stores. We only do it because it boosts sales. People these days are all borrowing on credit because they don't have enough.... Paying on their CC# lets them buy things now (instant gratification) and slowly pay later. They managed to get banks on board because they make so much money on the interest. There is a clear reason why those cards satisfy a demand. We get charged about 1.5% by VISA/MC. To be honest, it's not a real deal breaker. beerfinger [2:27 AM] haha, well, james you're talking to the right guy :slightly_smiling_face: [2:28] My career is content creation [2:28] I have nearly 20 years producing commercials and (lately) social content for global brands mikevert [2:29 AM] joined #marketing. beerfinger [2:29 AM] I would be happy to consult and provide any assistance I can [2:29] "taking power from banks, chinese miners and giving it back to the people can be far more compelling" - that's your modus operandi [2:29] you can definitely tell that story in a compelling way [2:30] Question: have any crypto's ever created any sort of ad before? Even just for social content? (sorry, I'm new to this space) jamesl22 [2:30 AM] Well we'd obviously be grateful for your assistance [2:31] I'd imagine so, though I don't follow many other coins' social media very much goodminer [2:31 AM] @beerfinger lets chat :smile: We've been working on a lot of initiatives over the last few weeks jamesl22 [2:31 AM] @workstation 1.5% to a huge retailer is a large sum of money though workstation [2:35 AM] I don't see any coin being widely used to be honest. They fluctuate way too much. Say a typical consumer whose after tax salary is $1000/week.. He buys groceries at the store for $1/Liter. This is simple maths for him, he knows it's going to cost $1 each week, inflation may make it rise to $1.10 next year, but he understands that. With coins, the price of his milk is too hard to calculate. [2:37] Why would Bob switch to using coins, when Visa/MC give him so much more? He doesnt pay the processing fee (1.5%), he gets free credit (these days, banks will easily approve 10k credits). Why would he switch to Vertcoin? jamesl22 [2:37 AM] @workstation, volatility is high because market volume is low [2:38] I think it will take another financial crisis or two though before people start to abandon fractional reserve banking (edited) workstation [2:42 AM] As long as bob gets his paycheck, he's not going to care what happens at the fed jamesl22 [2:43 AM] Bob ain't gunna get his paycheck one day though [2:44] Because the credit ponzi scheme economy will have collapsed workstation [2:48 AM] yes, the fed can print whatever it wants out of thin air... But its backed by US tax payers to the tune of 2+ trillion/year with most banks adhering to loan capital requirements. E.g. they need a certain amount of money deposited before they can loan more money out. What is Bitcoin/alt coins backed by? Seems like its somewhat of a ponzi scheme now, with everyone piling in thinking it will go up forever. I get that BTC is backed by real energy usage/capital requirements to mine it (asic equipment, datacenters, etc), so its more "real" than $1 USD, but they both service a purpose. axelfoley75 [2:49 AM] joined #marketing. workstation [2:51 AM] but whats the end goal because it seems they all become ponzi schemes. The only true coin will be one that will not allow any fiats be converted to to coin. [2:51] the only way to earn a coin, would be to mine it, wouldn't you think that that would be the truest coin? [2:52] right now people are just moving wads of fiat money into coins/alt coins, thereby skewing everything. beerfinger [2:54 AM] just jumping in here with one last comment before I go to sleep: money, whether we're talking salt, precious metals, fiat currency, or cryptos, is just something that we all agree to prescribe a value to. That being the case, how are you going to stop someone from trading that value for something they want? If someone wants to trade their cryptos for chickens, a latte, USD or anything else, they're going to do it. No point in trying to regulate what people spend their money on or how they do it. Seems the antithesis of the whole decentralization thing anyway workstation [2:57 AM] true aegisker [3:02 AM] I belive when crypto matures, has fast and easy payments solutions, volume will rise and price will be more stable. Current price is speculation due to news and new development. I dont belive that after 10 years we will be seeing such swings. beerfinger [3:04 AM] sorry keep thinking of new stuff... @jamesl22 your point about POS is salient. What's your perspective on coins like TenX that try to address that with payment platforms and cards? [3:05] is that what you mean? nuts & bolts, how would Vertcoin become a POS option? aegisker [3:06 AM] How is usdt keeping its price around usd? beerfinger [3:07 AM] don't they just keep up with USD inflation by making sure there's an equal amount of tokens to USD in the market at any given point? jamesl22 [3:07 AM] Integration of LN and AS is key [3:07] Then providing some hardware or software solution to integrate with payment processors [3:07] I haven't looked at tenx beerfinger [3:07 AM] so Vertcoin IS actively pursuing this then [3:08] interesting [3:09] perhaps there's some way to leverage things like ApplePay jamesl22 [3:09 AM] I doubt it [3:09] ApplePay's design is fundamentally different beerfinger [3:09 AM] I mean it doesn't have to be ApplePay itself. Can be a separate app lucky [3:09 AM] Having bitcoin or altcoins tied to your debit card isn't unbelievable jamesl22 [3:10 AM] Of course not [3:10] But it is suboptimal beerfinger [3:10 AM] yeah sort of kills the whole decentralization thing lucky [3:10 AM] in fact if we are going the whole hog and saying fiat collapsed. You'd be silly to think the banks would standby and let crypto take over without them beerfinger [3:10 AM] now we're relying on banks again lucky [3:11 AM] At the first sign of crypto succeeding fiat. Banks will take over [3:11] Because they can trade their fiat to coin [3:11] Government too aegisker [3:12 AM] Well, banks issues debt, whole market is built around debt. Crypto would take that away [3:12] This will be hardest transition jamesl22 [3:12 AM] If the crypto market ever gets to say $1tril, the banks will use their lobbyist army to squash it as best they can lucky [3:13 AM] Is it not possible crypto gets immediately regulated into the banking system as soon as it passed fiat in some way jamesl22 [3:13 AM] They don't care right now because the space is tiny compared to their own equity lucky [3:13 AM] Yes exactly James beerfinger [3:13 AM] i like the idea of leveraging NFC tech as a way to introduce crypto to POS purchases... everyone already has a smart phone so no need to reinvent the wheel... it's basically just an app lucky [3:13 AM] If finance is going to change politics needs to too [3:14] Nfc seems like the way. Yeag [3:14] Lots of the android wallets leverage it aegisker [3:14 AM] No need for nfc, nfc was kinda overhyped. Qr codes can work equally good jamesl22 [3:14 AM] @beerfinger I think LN will allow us to achieve that lucky [3:14 AM] Lol qr [3:14] Who has ever scanned a qr.... jamesl22 [3:14 AM] We just need a hardware implementation for the reader beerfinger [3:14 AM] sorry james, what's LN? lucky [3:14 AM] Apple made sure qr never worked jamesl22 [3:14 AM] Lightning Network beerfinger [3:14 AM] ah aegisker [3:15 AM] If u use your phone, why complicate with nfc, is there a security benefit? beerfinger [3:15 AM] the infrastructure is there... most readers i come across these days are already NFC compliant jamesl22 [3:15 AM] QR can work, but requires a high res display in the POS device [3:15] Which would increase costs [3:15] NFC is cheap af lucky [3:16 AM] Yep. Qr is extremely requirement heavy aegisker [3:16 AM] For example, pub: you get check with qr. U pay with your phone. Waiter sees on his computer that its payed. lucky [3:16 AM] Look at Asia and south America [3:16] Nobody can read qr aegisker [3:17 AM] I europe all checks already have qrs for tax checking lucky [3:17 AM] I work in global marketing. Qr is completely unadopted in the real world [3:17] Yes in no public scenario qr is used aegisker [3:17 AM] Where you from? lucky [3:17 AM] Uk [3:19] A decade in marketing I can tell you for sure Joe public doesn't scan qr codes [3:19] James is right. We need an alternative hardware solution [3:19] And I think I unique piece of tech in public would drive massive interest aegisker [3:20 AM] In slovenia, croatia, austria(i tjink) there is law that all transactions in coffeeshops or shops(everything with fiat transaction) is sent to tax authority as soon as check is printed. U get qr code on your check, so you can check if tax s paid for your service. This is to prevent black markets and unauthorized sellers. Works pretty well. If you frequently scan qrs you can get some bonuses.. [3:21] Public got used to this pretty fast. lucky [3:21 AM] So there's an incentive aegisker [3:21 AM] So also you could print qr shop wallet addr. lucky [3:21 AM] Kind of skews the ease of adoption stat we are looking for aegisker [3:22 AM] Costz nothing lucky [3:22 AM] Costs a smartphone with a quick camera [3:22] How about in a dark club beerfinger [3:23 AM] I came tonight with many questions about Vertcoin. Namely the incentives of the Devs and how it differentiated itself in the marketplace. All of those questions have been answered as best as I could have hoped. The only thing left is figuring out a way to tell that story. @jamesl22, all of the things you've said tonight are reassuring and exciting. They provide great promise for the future of this coin and even more - your goals, if realized, are truly category shifting. This is such a compelling story. TELL IT! lucky [3:23 AM] Asking every transaction to require an in focus photo capability is insane, imo aegisker [3:23 AM] uploaded and commented on this image: IMG_20170908_092307.jpg 1 Comment Thats how it looks lucky [3:23 AM] We need something similar to a contactless debit card [3:24] Good luck scanning that in the dark with a £100 smartphone. Though. aegisker [3:24 AM] For starters this is easiest solution for early adoption (edited) workstation [3:25 AM] why not something short like vCoin. Then u could make it go off V=Vendetta, sort of has a nice mystery, anti establishment aegisker [3:25 AM] You just need plugin for your pos software that checks your crypto wallet for received funds [3:26] Imo this is easiest way to implement first public purchases of beer or coffee beerfinger [3:26 AM] by the way, less is more when it comes to branding [3:26] look at apple [3:26] i love this example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUXnJraKM3k YouTube Brant Walsh Microsoft Re-Designs the iPod Packaging [3:31] and there's always something to be said for ad wars... apple's david vs goliath attack ads vs microsoft is what put them back on the map [3:31] that could be a great angle for Vertcoin... go after Bitcoin [3:31] make fun of it the way Jobs poked at Gates [3:32] that's just my 2 Vertcoins
Hi, it’s some weeks that I’m getting into Monero and I really see a great future for it. My problem is that I have a very low budget so my mining capability is a joke (around 80 h/s). I cannot help this coin to grow by mining it, so I’m making this FAQ hoping that can be useful for new users. If you want to support me, the tip jar is at the end of this post. Thank you!
I noticed a lot of confusion around Monero. Many of the most asked question are basically the same , so I collected some of them from /monero, /moneromining and monero.stackexchange and I made this Monero Faq. Please feel free to suggest any new frequently asked question or correction/modification/ (also about the grammar, my english is not very good), i’d like to keep this post updated.
Minergate is known for being linked to Bytecoin (read here and here ) and many users are noticing lower or differences in hashrates when using other miners (just make a research using the word “minergate” here on reddit). don’t be fooled by the nice graphical interface.
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".
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GAME OF NYANCAT, Episode 4... Thousands of Nyancoins to win this weekend, for free! Choose your kingdom, choose your job, and claim your share of the treasure: Let's make this the biggest game yet! (28 points, 274 comments)
I want to extend a huge thanks to Phecalfeliac who has successfully given us our very own tip bot! (nyantip) Please post in this topic so we can all tip you our thanks (with your own bot). (23 points, 80 comments)
We are going to 500 subscribers this weekend: I guarantee it. Nyancoin has exploded, and I just want you to look at how far you've come in just 7 days. (23 points, 34 comments)
Prepare to play... GAME OF NYANCAT. The Kingdom that wins will split a 1000 Nyancoin bounty, and all players are eligible for random tips. (22 points, 63 comments)
GAME OF NYANCAT, Episode 2 (1/27/14)... Play NOW for free and win free Nyancoins! Every player will get tipped coins, and the Kingdom that wins will split up to a 1,000 NYAN treasure! Let the quest begin! (21 points, 73 comments)
GAME OF NYANCAT, Episode 3 (1/28/14)... Play NOW for free and win free Nyancoins! Every player will get tipped coins, and the Kingdom that wins will split up to a 1,000 NYAN treasure! Let the quest begin! (20 points, 60 comments)
A generous Nekonaut just donated almost 1 BTC to Cryptsy Votes,that made us be the 7th place there.Our community must do something to help our little nyancoin added on Cryptsy,we deserve that!!If 1/5 of Nekonauts(nearly 200) donate 0.01BTC each to Cryptsy will let us achieve this goal! (18 points, 22 comments)
GAME OF NYANCAT, Episode 4... Thousands of Nyancoins to win this weekend, for free! Choose your kingdom, choose your job, and claim your share of the treasure: Let's make this the biggest game yet! by americanpegasus (28 points, 274 comments)
Nyancoin V 1.2 Out Now! Kimoto Gravity Well Implemented! MANDATORY UPDATE by nyancoin (28 points, 28 comments)
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