Bitcoin - Critiques Of Libertarianism

51% attacks are morally justifiable

In this short post I want to set out my case for the moral justifiability of 51% attacks against proof of work cryptocurrencies. In the past, a 51% attack was a theoretical construct that most people didn´t seem to think would be practically achievable or lucrative. This has now changed, as hashpower can be rented on sites like Nicehash and Mining Rig Rentals for a few hours at a time. The attack delivers the attacker two prominent opportunities:
-You can orphan blocks of ¨legitimate¨ miners. This essentially means that whatever work was produced by legitimate miners during your attack became worthless. Mine a secret chain of two hours worth of blocks, release it and you orphaned 2 hours worth of blocks by your competitors. By the time most of the miners have noticed their blocks were orphaned in an attack, their nodes will have been automatically mining on your own chain for a while and it will be too late for them to do anything about it. The amount of money they lost would be equivalent to the amount you had to spend to produce your chain. Because mining is an industry with tight margins, the economic impact on these miners can be very big. The cost may be sufficient in case of a very long attack, to persuade them to quit their endeavor and get a real job.
-The more important opportunity is that you´re able to double spend your coins. This is potentially, incredibly lucrative. How lucrative it is tends to depend primarily on the inflation rate of a cryptocurrency. A low inflation rate means relatively little ¨work¨ is done to maintain the security of the system. A high inflation rate on the other hand, turns the cryptocurrency into a very poor long-term investment. As a consequence, most cryptocurrencies face declining inflation rates, that delay the problem of their ultimately unsustainability into the future. The bank of international settlements explains this issue here.
When it comes to the moral justification of a 51% attack, we first have to ask ourselves why proof of work is morally unjustifiable. There are two main reasons for this:
-Proof of work has an enormous environmental impact, that ensures future generations will have to deal with the dramatic consequences of climate change. There is no proper justification for this environmental impact, as it delivers no clear benefits over existing payment systems other than the ability to carry out morally unjustifiable actions like blackmail.
-Proof of work is fundamentally unsustainable, because of the economic burden it places on participants in cryptocurrency schemes. Cryptocurrencies can´t produce wealth out of thin air. The people who get rich from a cryptocurrency becomes rich, due to the fact that other people step in later. In this sense we´re dealing with a pyramid scheme, but the difference from regular pyramid schemes lies in the fact that huge sums of wealth are not merely redistributed, but destroyed, to sustain the scheme. The cost of the work to sustain the scheme is bigger than you might expect, because the reality is that relatively little money has entered bitcoin. JP Morgan claims that for the crypto assets at large, a fiat amplifier of 117.5 is present, as a purported $2 billion in net inflow pushed Bitcoin’s market capitalization from $15 billion to $250 billion. You have to consider that the Digiconomist estimates that $2.6 billion dollar leaves the Bitcoin scheme on an annual basis, in the form of mining costs to sustain Bitcoin. The vast majority of retail customers who entered this scheme ended up losing money from it. In some cases this lead to suicides.
The fact that proof of work is morally unjustifiable doesn´t directly lead to a moral justification for a 51% attack. After all a sane society would use government intervention to eliminate the decentralized ponzi schemes that are cryptocurrencies. There are a few things that need to be considered however:
-Governments have so far failed in their responsibility to address the cryptocurrency schemes. Instead you tend to see officials insist that proof of work might suck and most cryptocurrency is a scam, but ¨blockchain technology¨ will somehow change the world for the better. Most libertarians who saw these schemes emerge insisted that it´s stupid to participate in them because the government would eventually ban them and round up the people who participated in them. This didn´t happen because of the logistical difficulty of suppressing these schemes (anyone with an internet connection can set one up) as well as the fact that suppressing them would lend credence to the anti-government anarcho-capitalist ideology on which these schemes are based. Goverments might say ¨these schemes facilitate crime, ruin the environment and redistribute wealth from naive individuals to scammers¨, but anarcho-capitalists would insist that governments have grown so tyrannical that they want to ban you from exchanging numbers on computers.
-Because cryptocurrency is fundamentally an online social arrangement, governments have very limited influence over the phenomenon. Binance seeks to become a stateless organization, not subject to the jurisdiction of any particular government. Just as with regular money laundering and tax evasion that hides in small nations that can earn huge sums of money by facilitating these practises, governments are dependent on the actions of individuals to address these practices. Whistleblowers released the panama papers and the tax evasion by German individuals through Swiss bank accounts. Through such individuals, the phenomenon could be properly addressed. In a similar manner, cryptocurrency schemes will need to be addressed through the actions of individuals who recognize the damage these schemes cause to the fabric of society.
-The very nature of a 51% attack means that it primarily punishes those who set up and facilitate the cryptocurrency scheme in the first place. The miners who pollute our environment to satiate their own greed are bankrupted by the fact that their blocks are orphaned. The exchange operators are bankrupted due to double-spend attacks against the scams that they facilitate. When this happens, the cryptocurrency in question should lose value, which then destroys the incentive to devote huge sums of electricity to it.
Finally, there´s the question of whether 51% attacks are viable as a response to cryptocurrency. There´s the obvious problem you run into, that the biggest and oldest scams are the most difficult to shut down. In addition, cryptocurrencies that fell victim to an attack tend to move towards a checkpoint system. However, there are a few things that need to be considered here:
-51% attacks against small cryptocurrencies might not have a huge impact, but their benefit is nonetheless apparent. Most of the new scams don´t require participants to mine, instead the new schemes generally depend on ¨staking¨. If people had not engage in 51% attacks, the environmental impact would have been even bigger now.
-51% attacks against currencies that implement checkpointing are not impossible, if the checkpoints are decentrally produced. What happens in that case is a chain split, as long as the hostile chain is released at the right time. This would mean that different exchanges may get stuck on different forks, which would still allow people to double spend their cryptocurrency.
-There are other attacks that can be used against proof of work cryptocurrencies. The most important one is the block withholding attack. It´s possible for people who dislike a cryptocurrency to join a pool and to start mining. However, whenever the miner finds a valid solution that would produce a block, he fails to share the solution with the pool. This costs money for the pool operator, but it can be lucrative for the actor if he also operates a competing pool himself. In the best case it leads to miners moving to his pool, which then potentially allows him to execute a 51% attack against the cryptocurrency.
-It´s possible to put up a 51% attack bounty, allowing others to do the work for you. This works as following. You make transaction A : 100 bitcoin to exchange X, for a fee of 0.001 BTC. Once this transaction has been included in a block, you immediately broadcast a conflicting transaction with another node: You´ŕe sending those 100 bitcoin to your own wallet, but you´re also including a 50 bitcoin fee for the miners. The miners now have a strong incentive to disregard the valid chain and to start mining a new chain on an older block that can still include your conflicting transaction. Provided that pool operators are rational economic agents, they should grab the opportunity.
-Selfish mining in combination with a Sybil attack allows someone to eclipse the rest of the network, while controlling less than 51% of the hashrate. Your malicious nodes will simply refuse to propagante blocks of your competitors, thereby giving you more time to release your own block. Selfish mining will always be possible with 33% of the hashrate and as far as I can tell there are no pathways known currently to make the scheme impossible for people with 25% of the hashrate. This potentially makes a 51% attacks lucrative without having to carry out double-spend attacks against exchanges. Although double spending is a form of theft, it´s not clear to me whether a selfish mining attack would get you into legal trouble or not.

Conclusion:

The dreaded 51% attack is a morally justifiable and potentially lucrative solution to the Nakamoto scheme.
submitted by milkversussoy to Buttcoin [link] [comments]

Slack chat with James Lovejoy (VTC Lead Dev)

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
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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.
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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
submitted by beerfinger to vertcoin [link] [comments]

Best of Buttcoin: 2014

There's been some fantastic work done in this subreddit spreading disinformation researching, criticising, and debunking bitcoin and its sacred cows over the past year, which I would like to celebrate.
So here's some posts I saved on bitcoin-related topics. But I started saving things too late... So if you have and/or remember any great posts from the past year, dig them up and post them here.
Also, unironically, maybe someone should start a buttcoin wiki

First, three pieces of investigative journalism from Buttcoin's top minds. Here Charlie_Shrem examines the environmental impact of bitcoin mining. Key finding: For every Bitcoin transaction, 47 kilograms of CO2 is released into the atmosphere from the miners alone.
Current hash rate: 261,900,382 GH/s
Number of transactions per day: 71,331
If we assume rather conservatively that 1GH/s = 1 watt on average, then this would mean 261,900,382W is being used to power the network. We can simplify this to 261,900 kW.
Some miners can do better than 1W per 1GH/s, but many if not most do worse (i.e. 2W per 1GH/s to 10W per 1GH/s).
Going by the figure of 0.527kg CO2 / kWh found on this page,
0.527kg CO2 x 261,900 kW x 24 hours = 3,312,511.2 kg CO2 per day
Now,
3,312,511.2 kg CO2 / 71,331 transactions = 46.44 kg CO2 per transaction
For comparison, even going by this Coindesk Article, an ATM produces daily 3.162kg in CO2 emissions.
0.25kwH x 0.527kg CO2 x 24 hours = 3.162kg/day.
That means that the carbon emission for one Bitcoin transaction is equivalent to about 15 ATMs processing perhaps hundreds or thousands of transactions in a day combined.

Earlier this month Frankeh abruptly interrupted remittance-focused annular onanism by issuing a challenge: to find a single instance where bitcoin works out cheaper than a fiat alternative. In case you need to ask... Nope.
Right, there's a bunch of circlejerking happening in /Bitcoin right now so I think it's time to cut through the bullshit one way or another.
Country to send money to.
The biggest remittance markets are China, Indian and the Philippines.
I believe that since /Bitcoin often gives the Philippines as an example of successful Bitcoin remittance then it is the perfect country to use in our challenge.
Country to send money from.
According to this wikipedia article Malaysia and Canada have the biggest expat Filipino communities. 900,000 and 500,000.
So I think we should do the calculations based on both countries.
The methodology
Most people are not paid in Bitcoin. This is a fact. So for our calculation you must start with fiat, and end in fiat. We're not doing these calculations based on future utility of Bitcoin (No, neo. I'm saying...), we're doing them on the current utility.
We will also be doing a bank to bank remittance, because that is nice an constant. We don't need to take into account pick up locations Bitcoin remittance allows and pick up locations normal remittance allows. They'll vary too much.
Time will also not be taken into account, as time doesn't actually matter when it comes to remittance. Now, Bitcoiners might shout about this particular rule but let me explain my logic behind this.
A foreign worker gets paid every Friday. They start the remittance process on the Friday and regardless of if it takes 0, 3, or 5 days their family back in their home country just needs to base their life around money coming in on remitters pay day + 0, 3, or 5 days. Time taken is of no real value when it comes to remittance. All that matters is that it consistently arrives on day x.
As such, any remittance services that take over 5 working days are to be ignored for the sake of this challenge.
The amount
The amount is going to be 25% of the average wage in each of the countries. This isn't extremely scientific because it doesn't particularly need to be, and the figures are hard to come by.
So 1826.75 MYR for Malaysia and 1,398 CAD for Canada.
Don't bother complaining about these, they're just examples.
Few more ground rules
  • We're going to be going from bank/bank card to bank regardless, so we're not interested in banking fees on either side. They will be the same regardless of Bitcoin or WU (for example)
  • It must be from local fiat to foreign fiat.. You can't palm off the conversion fee to the receivers bank to keep fees down.
  • Any remittance service can be used, as long as Bitcoin is involved for people fighting the Bitcoin corner and Bitcoin isn't used for people fighting the WU (or similar) corner.
  • You must go through the process and document all the fees for each. Fees to look out for are currency spreads, transaction fees on exchanges, etc

Finally a recent thread, but commendable all the same. Hodldown presents some research leading to facts overturning years of knowledge in the bitcoin wiki. Even us shills have been laughing at bitcoin's pathetic capability of 7 transactions per second. It turns out, we were out by at least a factor of 2:
The average number of transactions per block right now is: 665 transactions
The average block size is 0.372731752748842mb.
That means the average transaction is 0.00056049887mb. Which means 1mb of transactions (the limit) is 1784 transactions
Assuming a 10 minute block (a whole other can of worms) that means there is 10*60 seconds.
1784/600 isn't 7. It's a 2.97.
Bitcoin at a technical level can not handle even 3 transactions per second.

In one of the frequent bitcoin user invasions, PayingWithActualMone outlines why the "solution in search of a problem" isn't that great of a solution to much either.
On the transaction side: the Bitcoin community seems convinced that banks are ripping them off (which imo they are not), and that it can be fixed by applying some magicsauce over a transaction that is facilitated by banks regardless. So far in practice I haven't seen any evidence of the 'fast' 'cheap' and 'easy' transactions, like most recently with Mollie. They usually compare the fees of BTC>BTC transactions to the fees of Chase Mastercard > a fucking nomad in the Sahara (with consumer protection) to prove their point. The community also seems convinced that the entire world banks the way America does, not realizing that in Europe banking has been dirt cheap for years.
And the security... oh boy the security. Half the population can't manage to go without a virus for one year (not an actual statistic), and now you expect them to secure their coins? People are dumb as shit, and software is always one step behind the exploits. We could of course create Bitcoin banks, but then there isn't much left of the original idea.
On the 'intrinsic value' side: what the hell is wrong with people. If the underlying product is no good in any aspect, why is it worth much? Right now (that's like 5 years after introduction mind you) BTC is used in 3 types of transactions: Silk Road, SatoshiDice & extremely questionable transactions. It does its job well in that aspect, and that's all it will ever be. The community just turned the technology into a giant ponzi, and they don't care as long as they get paid. The people actually doing business in Bitcoin probably don't care about the price that much.

Someone who deleted their account, on the argument that merchant adoption is a cause of the price drop:
That's just an excuse butters use for the price going down.
There's no real difference between selling bitcoin for fiat and exchanging bitcoin for goods and services. Both are a form of sale of bitcoin, an expression of preference for something other than bitcoin.
If on balance, there's more flow of bitcoin into fiat, goods or services than there is a corresponding opposing flow, then it is simply the market expressing the view that bitcoin is overvalued. Therefore, the reduction in the value of bitcoin (as valued in fiat) is a sincere expression of the market's view of what the correct price for bitcoin is.
Think of an example: A true believer has 20 BTC. He exchanges 10 BTC with Dell for a whizzy server. Dell (or another intermediary) sell the 10 BTC at an exchange in return for fiat. The market price of BTC goes down.
The price goes down, simply because a true believer cut his bitcoin holding, he got out. He thought having a server now was worth more to him than 10 tickets to the moon. Which is an expression of a negative view of the future value of bitcoin. A simple "aggressive" sale in trading parlance.

A late entry from jstolfi. A concise description of the Satoshi/Bitcoin origin story .
My understanding is that "Satoshi" had been trying to solve the technical problem of convincing a bunch of anonymous, volunteers to maintain and protect a distributed ledger, with no central authority.
He thought that he had a solution, in the form of a protocol that included PoW, miner rewards, longest chain, etc. The solution seemed to work on paper; but, as a good scientist, he started an experiment in order to check whether it would also work in practice.
For that experiment to be meaningful, it would have been enough if the coin was mined for several years only by a few hundred computer nerds, with the cooperation of some friendly pizza places and bars.
The US$ price of the coin was not important to the experiment, and it was never meant to be a weapon for libertarians, a way to buy drugs or evade taxes, a competitor to credit cards or Western Union, a sound investment or item for day-trading. All those "goals" were tacked onto it afterwards.

bob237 comments on the the absurdity of coinbase and it's touted 'rebuy' scheme,
It gets even better than that, actually. A lot of bitcoiners don't like 'losing' bitcoin, and so coinbase added a popular 'repurchase bitcoin' feature that automatically debits your bank account to replenish the BTC in your coinbase account after a purchase.
The ultimate result then is that you pay coinbase fiat, they take their cut, and then send that fiat on to the merchant. All 'bitcoins' used in the middle of the transaction are not really bitcoins, but just abstractions in coinbase's internal [off-chain] accounting system.
It's a crap version of paypal, no consumer protection and a ton of fees hidden in the spread when you buy your chuck-e-cheese tokens from them.

saigonsquare explains why ubiquitous tipping isn't the the killer app that it has been touted as, and why bitcoiners may fail to grasp this
Most people understand that there are different sorts of interaction. There are purely social interactions, there are quid-pro-quo interactions, and there are market interactions. Mixing those up causes embarrassment and insult. I wouldn't try to pay my mother-in-law ten bucks for cooking Christmas dinner, and I certainly wouldn't try to pay her ten cents. If a waiter suggests I try the raspberry tart, I won't get away with offering to bake him some cookies next week in compensation; if an office mate suggests I have a slice of her birthday cake, I'll be insulted if she brings me a bill for it. If I spend an hour helping my friend move apartments and he thanks me, I'm fine; we're friends helping each other out. If he pays me two bucks, I'm insulted; he's canceled the social nature of the interaction and instead simply bought my labor for a fraction of its going rate. I'm up two bucks but down a friend.
Ancapspergers, not particularly understanding any sort of interaction more complicated than buying a cheeseburger at Wendy's, assume that all interactions are a form of market transaction, and set pricing accordingly. Normal humans get offended by a penny shaving, because it cancels the social nature of the interaction and turns it into a market transaction--and then informs the recipient that his contribution to the transaction was of negligible value.
submitted by occasionallyrude to Buttcoin [link] [comments]

The wilkelvoss are trying to make bitcoin legit according to esquire magazine

Every idea needs a face, even if the faces are illusory simplifications. The country you get is the president you get. The Yankees you get is the shortstop you get. Apple needed Jobs. ISIS needs al-Baghdadi. The moon shot belongs to Bezos. There's nothing under the Facebook sun that doesn't come back to Zuckerberg.
But there is, as yet, no face behind the bitcoin curtain. It's the currency you've heard about but haven't been able to understand. Still to this day nobody knows who created it. For most people, it has something to do with programmable cash and algorithms and the deep space of mathematics, but it also has something to do with heroin and barbiturates and the sex trade and bankruptcies, too. It has no face because it doesn't seem tangible or real. We might align it with an anarchist's riot mask or a highly conceptualized question mark, but those images truncate its reality. Certain economists say it's as important as the birth of the Internet, that it's like discovering ice. Others are sure that it's doomed to melt. In the political sphere, it is the darling of the cypherpunks and libertarians. When they're not busy ignoring it, it scares the living shit out of the big banks and credit-card companies.
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It sparked to life in 2008—when all the financial world prepared for itself the articulate noose—and it knocked on the door like some inconvenient relative arriving at the dinner party in muddy shoes and a knit hat. Fierce ideological battles are currently being waged among the people who own and shepherd the currency. Some shout, Ponzi scheme. Some shout, Gold dust. Bitcoin alone is worth billions of dollars, but the computational structure behind it—its blockchain and its sidechains—could become the absolute underpinning of the world's financial structure for decades to come.
What bitcoin has needed for years is a face to legitimize it, sanitize it, make it palpable to all the naysayers. But it has no Larry Ellison, no Elon Musk, no noticeable visionaries either with or without the truth. There's a lot of ideology at stake. A lot of principle and dogma and creed. And an awful lot of cash, too.
At 6:00 on a Wednesday winter morning, three months after launching Gemini, their bitcoin exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss step out onto Broadway in New York, wearing the same make of sneakers, the same type of shorts, their baseball caps turned backward. They don't quite fall into the absolute caricature of twindom: They wear different-colored tops. Still, it's difficult to tell them apart, where Tyler ends and Cameron begins. Their faces are sculpted from another era, as if they had stepped from the ruin of one of Gatsby's parties. Their eyes are quick and seldom land on anything for long. Now thirty-four, there is something boyishly earnest about them as they jog down Prince Street, braiding in and out of each other, taking turns talking, as if they were working in shifts, drafting off each other.
Forget, for a moment, the four things the Winklevosses are most known for: suing Mark Zuckerberg, their portrayal in The Social Network, rowing in the Beijing Olympics, and their overwhelming public twinness. Because the Winklevoss brothers are betting just about everything—including their past—on a fifth thing: They want to shake the soul of money out.
At the deep end of their lives, they are athletes. Rowers. Full stop. And the thing about rowing—which might also be the thing about bitcoin—is that it's just about impossible to get your brain around its complexity. Everyone thinks you're going to a picnic. They have this notion you're out catching butterflies. They might ask you if you've got your little boater's hat ready. But it's not like that at all. You're fifteen years old. You rise in the dark. You drag your carcass along the railroad tracks before dawn. The boathouse keys are cold to the touch. You undo the ropes. You carry a shell down to the river. The carbon fiber rips at your hands. You place the boat in the water. You slip the oars in the locks. You wait for your coach. Nothing more than a thumb of light in the sky. It's still cold and the river stinks. That heron hasn't moved since yesterday. You hear Coach's voice before you see him. On you go, lads. You start at a dead sprint. The left rib's a little sore, but you don't say a thing. You are all power and no weight. The first push-to-pull in the water is a ripping surprise. From the legs first. Through the whole body. The arc. Atomic balance. A calm waiting for the burst. Your chest burns, your thighs scald, your brain blanks. It feels as if your rib cage might shatter. You are stillness exploding. You catch the water almost without breaking the surface. Coach says something about the pole vault. You like him. You really do. That brogue of his. Lads this, lads that. Fire. Stamina. Pain. After two dozen strokes, it already feels like you're hitting the wall. All that glycogen gone. Nobody knows. Nobody. They can't even pronounce it. Rowing. Ro-wing. Roh-ing. You push again, then pull. You feel as if you are breaking branch after branch off the bottom of your feet. You don't rock. You don't jolt. Keep it steady. Left, right, left, right. The heron stays still. This river. You see it every day. Nothing behind you. Everything in front. You cross the line. You know the exact tree. Your chest explodes. Your knees are trembling. This is the way the world will end, not with a whimper but a bang. You lean over the side of the boat. Up it comes, the breakfast you almost didn't have. A sign of respect to the river. You lay back. Ah, blue sky. Some cloud. Some gray. Do it again, lads. Yes, sir. You row so hard you puke it up once more. And here comes the heron, it's moving now, over the water, here it comes, look at that thing glide.
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The Winklevoss twins in the men's pair final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. GETTY There's plenty of gin and beer and whiskey in the Harrison Room in downtown Manhattan, but the Winklevoss brothers sip Coca-Cola. The room, one of many in the newly renovated Pier A restaurant, is all mahogany and lamplight. It is, in essence, a floating bar, jutting four hundred feet out into the Hudson River. From the window you can see the Statue of Liberty. It feels entirely like their sort of room, a Jazz Age expectation hovering around their initial appearance—tall, imposing, the hair mannered, the collars of their shirts slightly tilted—but then they just slide into their seats, tentative, polite, even introverted.
They came here by subway early on a Friday evening, and they lean back in their seats, a little wary, their eyes busy—as if they want to look beyond the rehearsal of their words.
They had the curse of privilege, but, as they're keen to note, a curse that was earned. Their father worked to pay his way at a tiny college in backwoods Pennsylvania coal country. He escaped the small mining town and made it all the way to a professorship at Wharton. He founded his own company and eventually created the comfortable upper-middle-class family that came with it. They were raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the most housebroken town on the planet. They might have looked like the others in their ZIP code, and dressed like them, spoke like them, but they didn't quite feel like them. Some nagging feeling—close to anger, close to fear—lodged itself beneath their shoulders, not quite a chip but an ache. They wanted Harvard but weren't quite sure what could get them there. "You have to be basically the best in the world at something if you're coming from Greenwich," says Tyler. "Otherwise it's like, great, you have a 1600 SAT, you and ten thousand others, so what?"
The rowing was a means to an end, but there was also something about the boat that they felt allowed another balance between them. They pulled their way through high school, Cameron on the port-side oar, Tyler on the starboard. They got to Harvard. The Square was theirs. They rowed their way to the national championships—twice. They went to Oxford. They competed in the Beijing Olympics. They sucked up the smog. They came in sixth place. The cameras loved them. Girls, too. They were so American, sandy-haired, blue-eyed, they could have been cast in a John Cougar Mellencamp song.
It might all have been so clean-cut and whitebread except for the fact that—at one of the turns in the river—they got involved in the most public brawl in the whole of the Internet's nascent history.
They don't talk about it much anymore, but they know that it still defines them, not so much in their own minds but in the minds of others. The story seems simple on one level, but nothing is ever simple, not even simplification. Theirs was the original idea for the first social network, Harvard Connection. They hired Mark Zuckerberg to build it. Instead he went off and created Facebook. They sued him. They settled for $65 million. It was a world of public spats and private anguish. Rumors and recriminations. A few years later, dusty old pre-Facebook text messages were leaked online by Silicon Alley Insider: "Yeah, I'm going to fuck them," wrote Zuckerberg to a friend. "Probably in the ear." The twins got their money, but then they believed they were duped again by an unfairly low evaluation of their stock. They began a second round of lawsuits for $180 million. There was even talk about the Supreme Court. It reeked of opportunism. But they wouldn't let it go. In interviews, they came across as insolent and splenetic, tossing their rattles out of the pram. It wasn't about the money, they said at the time, it was about fairness, reality, justice. Most people thought it was about some further agile fuckery, this time in Zuckerberg's ear.
There are many ways to tell the story, but perhaps the most penetrating version is that they weren't screwed so much by Zuckerberg as they were by their eventual portrayal in the film version of their lives. They appeared querulous and sulky, exactly the type of characters that America, peeling off the third-degree burns of the great recession, needed to hate. While the rest of the country worried about mounting debt and vanishing jobs, they were out there drinking champagne from, at the very least, Manolo stilettos. The truth would never get in the way of a good story. In Aaron Sorkin's world, and on just about every Web site, the blueblood trust-fund boys got what was coming to them. And the best thing now was for them to take their Facebook money and turn the corner, quickly, away, down toward whatever river would whisk them away.
Armie Hammer brilliantly portrayed them as the bluest of bloods in The Social Network. When the twins are questioned about those times now, they lean back a little in their seats, as if they've just lost a long race, a little perplexed that they came off as the victims of Hollywood's ability to throw an image, while the whole rip-roaring regatta still goes on behind them. "They put us in a box," says Cameron, "caricatured to a point where we didn't really exist." He glances around the bar, drums his finger against the glass. "That's fair enough. I understand that impulse." They smart a little when they hear Zuckerberg's name. "I don't think Mark liked being called an asshole," says Tyler, with a flick of bluster in his eyes, but then he catches himself. "You know, maybe Mark doesn't care. He's a bit of a statesman now, out there connecting the world. I have nothing against him. He's a smart guy."
These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. But underneath the calm—just like underneath the boat—one can sense the churn.
They say the word—ath-letes—as if it were a country where pain is the passport. One of the things the brothers mention over and over again is that you can spontaneously crack a rib while rowing, just from the sheer exertion of the muscles hauling on the rib cage.
Along came bitcoin.
At its most elemental, bitcoin is a virtual currency. It's the sort of thing a five-year-old can understand—It's just e-cash, Mom—until he reaches eighteen and he begins to question the deep future of what money really means. It is a currency without government. It doesn't need a banker. It doesn't need a bank. It doesn't even need a brick to be built upon. Its supporters say that it bypasses the Man. It is less than a decade old and it has already come through its own Wild West, a story rooted in uncharted digital territory, up from the dust, an evening redness in the arithmetical West.
These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. Bitcoin appeared in 2008—westward ho!—a little dot on the horizon of the Internet. It was the brainchild of a computer scientist named Satoshi Nakamoto. The first sting in the tale is that—to this very day—nobody knows who Nakamoto is, where he lives, or how much of his own invention he actually owns. He could be Californian, he could be Australian, he could even be a European conglomerate, but it doesn't really matter, since what he created was a cryptographic system that is borderless and supposedly unbreakable.
In the beginning the currency was ridiculed and scorned. It was money created from ones and zeros. You either bought it or you had to "mine" for it. If you were mining, your computer was your shovel. Any nerd could do it. You keyed your way in. By using your computer to help check and confirm the bitcoin transactions of others, you made coin. Everyone in this together. The computer heated up and mined, down down down, into the mathematical ground, lifting up numbers, making and breaking camp every hour or so until you had your saddlebags full of virtual coin. It all seemed a bit of a lark at first. No sheriff, no deputy, no central bank. The only saloon was a geeky chat room where a few dozen bitcoiners gathered to chew data.
Lest we forget, money was filthy in 2008.
The collapse was coming. The banks were shorting out. The real estate market was a confederacy of dunces. Bernie Madoff's shadow loomed. Occupy was on the horizon. And all those Wall Street yahoos were beginning to squirm.
Along came bitcoin like some Jesse James of the financial imagination. It was the biggest disruption of money since coins. Here was an idea that could revolutionize the financial world. A communal articulation of a new era. Fuck American Express. Fuck Western Union. Fuck Visa. Fuck the Fed. Fuck the Treasury. Fuck the deregulated thievery of the twenty-first century.
To the earliest settlers, bitcoin suggested a moral way out. It was a money created from the ground up, a currency of the people, by the people, for the people, with all government control extinguished. It was built on a solid base of blockchain technology where everyone participated in the protection of the code. It attracted anarchists, libertarians, whistle-blowers, cypherpunks, economists, extropians, geeks, upstairs, downstairs, left-wing, right-wing. Sure, it could be used by businesses and corporations, but it could also be used by poor people and immigrants to send money home, instantly, honestly, anonymously, without charge, with a click of the keyboard. Everyone in the world had access to your transaction, but nobody had to know your name. It bypassed the suits. All you needed to move money was a phone or a computer. It was freedom of economic action, a sort of anarchy at its democratic best, no rulers, just rules.
Bitcoin, to the original explorers, was a safe pass through the government-occupied valleys: Those assholes were up there in the hills, but they didn't have any scopes on their rifles, and besides, bitcoin went through in communal wagons at night.
Ordinary punters took a shot. Businesses, too. You could buy silk ties in Paris without any extra bank charges. You could protect your money in Buenos Aires without fear of a government grab.
The Winklevoss twins leave the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011, after appearing in court to ask that the previous settlement case against Facebook be voided. GETTY But freedom can corrupt as surely as power. It was soon the currency that paid for everything illegal under the sun, the go-to money of the darknet. The westward ho! became the outlaw territory of Silk Road and beyond. Heroin through the mail. Cocaine at your doorstep. Child porn at a click. What better way for terrorists to ship money across the world than through a network of anonymous computers? Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Mexican cartels. In Central America, kidnappers began demanding ransom in bitcoin—there was no need for the cash to be stashed under a park bench anymore. Now everything could travel down the wire. Grab, gag, and collect. Uranium could be paid for in bitcoin. People, too. The sex trade was turned on: It was a perfect currency for Madame X. For the online gambling sites, bitcoin was pure jackpot.
For a while, things got very shady indeed. Over a couple years, the rate pinballed between $10 and $1,200 per bitcoin, causing massive waves and troughs of online panic and greed. (In recent times, it has begun to stabilize between $350 and $450.) In 2014, it was revealed that hackers had gotten into the hot wallet of Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo. A total of 850,000 coins were "lost," at an estimated value of almost half a billion dollars. The founder of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht (known as "Dread Pirate Roberts"), got himself a four-by-six room in a federal penitentiary for life, not to mention pending charges for murder-for-hire in Maryland.
Everyone thought that bitcoin was the problem. The fact of the matter was, as it so often is, human nature was the problem. Money means desire. Desire means temptation. Temptation means that people get hurt.
During the first Gold Rush in the late 1840s, the belief was that all you needed was a pan and a decent pair of boots and a good dose of nerve and you could go out and make yourself a riverbed millionaire. Even Jack London later fell for the lure of it alongside thousands of others: the western test of manhood and the promise of wealth. What they soon found out was that a single egg could cost twenty-five of today's dollars, a pound of coffee went for a hundred, and a night in a whorehouse could set you back $6,000.
A few miners hit pay dirt, but what most ended up with for their troubles was a busted body and a nasty dose of syphilis.
The gold was discovered on the property of John Sutter in Sacramento, but the one who made the real cash was a neighboring merchant, Samuel Brannan. When Brannan heard the news of the gold nuggets, he bought up all the pickaxes and shovels he could find, filled a quinine bottle with gold dust, and went to San Francisco. Word went around like a prayer in a flash flood: gold gold gold. Brannan didn't wildcat for gold himself, but at the peak of the rush he was flogging $5,000 worth of shovels a day—that's $155,000 today—and went on to become the wealthiest man in California, alongside the Wells Fargo crew, Levi Strauss, and the Studebaker family, who sold wheelbarrows.
If you comb back through the Winklevoss family, you will find a great-grandfather and a great-great-grandfather who knew a thing or two about digging: They worked side by side in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. They didn't go west and they didn't get rich, but maybe the lesson became part of their DNA: Sometimes it's the man who sells the shovels who ends up hitting gold.
Like it or not—and many people don't like it—the Winklevoss brothers are shaping up to be the Samuel Brannans of the bitcoin world.
Nine months after being portrayed in The Social Network, the Winklevoss twins were back out on the water at the World Rowing Cup. CHRISTOPHER LEE/GETTY They heard about it first poolside in Ibiza, Spain. Later it would play into the idea of ease and privilege: umbrella drinks and girls in bikinis. But if the creation myth was going to be flippant, the talk was serious. "I'd say we were cautious, but we were definitely intrigued," says Cameron. They went back home to New York and began to read. There was something about it that got under their skin. "We knew that money had been so broken and inefficient for years," says Tyler, "so bitcoin appealed to us right away."
They speak in braided sentences, catching each other, reassuring themselves, tightening each other's ideas. They don't quite want to say that bitcoin looked like something that might be redemptive—after all, they, like everyone else, were looking to make money, lots of it, Olympic-sized amounts—but they say that it did strike an idealistic chord inside them. They certainly wouldn't be cozying up to the anarchists anytime soon, but this was a global currency that, despite its uncertainties, seemed to present a solution to some of the world's more pressing problems. "It was borderless, instantaneous, irreversible, decentralized, with virtually no transaction costs," says Tyler. It could possibly cut the banks out, and it might even take the knees out from under the credit-card companies. Not only that, but the price, at just under ten dollars per coin, was in their estimation low, very low. They began to snap it up.
They were aware, even at the beginning, that they might, once again, be called Johnny-come-latelys, just hopping blithely on the bandwagon—it was 2012, already four years into the birth of the currency—but they went ahead anyway, power ten. Within a short time they'd spent $11 million buying up a whopping 1 percent of the world's bitcoin, a position they kept up as more bitcoins were mined, making their 1 percent holding today worth about $66 million.
But bitcoin was flammable. The brothers felt the burn quickly. Their next significant investment came later that year, when they gave $1.5 million in venture funding to a nascent exchange called BitInstant. Within a year the CEO was arrested for laundering drug money through the exchange.
So what were a pair of smart, clean-cut Olympic rowers doing hanging around the edges of something so apparently shady, and what, if anything, were they going to do about it?
They mightn't have thought of it this way, but there was something of the sheriff striding into town, the one with the swagger and the scar, glancing up at the balconies as he comes down Main Street, all tumbleweeds and broken pianos. This place was a dump in most people's eyes, but the sheriff glimpsed his last best shot at finally getting the respect he thinks he deserves.
The money shot: A good stroke will catch the water almost without breaking its seal. You stir without rippling. Your silence is sinewy. There's muscle in that calm. The violence catches underneath, thrusts the boat along. Stroke after stroke. Just keep going. Today's truth dies tomorrow. What you have to do is elemental enough. You row without looking behind you. You keep the others in front of you. As long as you can see what they're doing, it's all in your hands. You are there to out-pain them. Doesn't matter who they are, where they come from, how they got here. Know your enemy through yourself. Push through toward pull. Find the still point of this pain. Cut a melody in the disk of your flesh. The only terror comes when they pass you—if they ever pass you.
There are no suits or ties, but there is a white hum in the offices of Gemini in the Flatiron District. The air feels as if it has been brushed clean. There is something so everywhereabout the place. Ergonomic chairs. iPhone portals. Rows of flickering computers. Not so much a hush around the room as a quiet expectation. Eight, nine people. Programmers, analysts, assistants. Other employees—teammates, they call them—dialing in from Portland, Oregon, and beyond.
The brothers fire up the room when they walk inside. A fist-pump here, a shoulder touch there. At the same time, there is something almost shy about them. Apart, they seem like casual visitors to the space they inhabit. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long.
The Winklevoss twins speak onstage at Bitcoin! Let's Cut Through the Noise Already at SXSW in 2016. GETTY They move from desk to desk. The price goes up, the price goes down. The phones ring. The e-mails beep. Customer-service calls. Questions about fees. Inquiries about tax structures.
Gemini was started in late 2015 as a next-generation bitcoin exchange. It is not the first such exchange in the world by any means, but it is one of the most watched. The company is designed with ordinary investors in mind, maybe a hedge fund, maybe a bank: all those people who used to be confused or even terrified by the word bitcoin. It is insured. It is clean. What's so fascinating about this venture is that the brothers are risking themselves by trying to eliminate risk: keeping the boat steady and exploding through it at the same time.
It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. For the past couple years, the Winklevosses have worked closely with just about every compliance agency imaginable. They ticked off all the regulatory boxes. Essentially they wanted to ease all the Debting Thomases. They put regulatory frameworks in place. Security and bankability and insurance were their highest objectives. Nobody was going to be able to blow open the safe. They wanted to soothe all the appetites for risk. They told Bitcoin Magazine they were asking for "permission, not forgiveness."
This is where bitcoin can become normal—that is, if you want bitcoin to be normal.
Just a mile or two down the road, in Soho, a half dozen bitcoiners gather at a meetup. The room is scruffy, small, boxy. A half mannequin is propped on a table, a scarf draped around it. It's the sort of place that twenty years ago would have been full of cigarette smoke. There's a bit of Allen Ginsberg here, a touch of Emma Goldman, a lot of Zuccotti Park. The wine is free and the talk is loose. These are the true believers. They see bitcoin in its clearest possible philosophical terms—the frictionless currency of the people, changing the way people move money around the world, bypassing the banks, disrupting the status quo.
A comedy show is being run out in the backyard. A scruffy young man wanders in and out, announcing over and over again that he is half-baked. A well-dressed Asian girl sidles up to the bar. She looks like she's just stepped out of an NYU business class. She's interested in discovering what bitcoin is. She is regaled by a series of convivial answers. The bartender tells her that bitcoin is a remaking of the prevailing power structures. The girl asks for another glass of wine. The bartender adds that bitcoin is democracy, pure and straight. She nods and tells him that the wine tastes like cooking oil. He laughs and says it wasn't bought with bitcoin. "I don't get it," she says. And so the evening goes, presided over by Margaux Avedisian, who describes herself as the queen of bitcoin. Avedisian, a digital-currency consultant of Armenian descent, is involved in several high-level bitcoin projects. She has appeared in documentaries and on numerous panels. She is smart, sassy, articulate.
When the talk turns to the Winklevoss brothers, the bar turns dark. Someone, somewhere, reaches up to take all the oxygen out of the air. Avedisian leans forward on the counter, her eyes shining, delightful, raged.
"The Winklevii are not the face of bitcoin," she says. "They're jokes. They don't know what they're saying. Nobody in our community respects them. They're so one-note. If you look at their exchange, they have no real volume, they never will. They keep throwing money at different things. Nobody cares. They're not part of us. They're just hangers-on."
"Ah, they're just assholes," the bartender chimes in.
"What they want to do," says Avedisian, "is lobotomize bitcoin, make it into something entirely vapid. They have no clue."
The Asian girl leaves without drinking her third glass of free wine. She's got a totter in her step. She doesn't quite get the future of money, but then again maybe very few in the world do.
Giving testimony on bitcoin licensing before the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2014. LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS The future of money might look like this: You're standing on Oxford Street in London in winter. You think about how you want to get to Charing Cross Road. The thought triggers itself through electrical signals into the chip embedded in your wrist. Within a moment, a driverless car pulls up on the sensor-equipped road. The door opens. You hop in. The car says hello. You tell it to shut up. It does. It already knows where you want to go. It turns onto Regent Street. You think,A little more air-conditioning, please. The vents blow. You think, Go a little faster, please. The pace picks up. You think, This traffic is too heavy, use Quick(TM). The car swings down Glasshouse Street. You think, Pay the car in front to get out of my way. It does. You think, Unlock access to a shortcut. The car turns down Sherwood Street to Shaftsbury Avenue. You pull in to Charing Cross. You hop out. The car says goodbye. You tell it to shut up again. You run for the train and the computer chip in your wrist pays for the quiet-car ticket for the way home.
All of these transactions—the air-conditioning, the pace, the shortcut, the bribe to get out of the way, the quick lanes, the ride itself, the train, maybe even the "shut up"—will cost money. As far as crypto-currency enthusiasts think, it will be paid for without coins, without phones, without glass screens, just the money coming in and going out of your preprogrammed wallet embedded beneath your skin.
The Winklevosses are betting that the money will be bitcoin. And that those coins will flow through high-end, corporate-run exchanges like Gemini rather than smoky SoHo dives.
Cameron leans across a table in a New York diner, the sort of place where you might want to polish your fork just in case, and says: "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." He can't remember whom the quote belongs to, but he freely acknowledges that it's not his own. Theirs is a truculent but generous intelligence, capable of surprise and turn at the oddest of moments. They talk meditation, they talk economics, they talk Van Halen, they talk, yes, William Gibson, but everything comes around again to bitcoin.
"The key to all this is that people aren't even going to know that they're using bitcoin," says Tyler. "It's going to be there, but it's not going to be exposed to the end user. Bitcoin is going to be the rails that underpin our payment systems. It's just like an IP address. We don't log on to a series of numbers, 115.425.5 or whatever. No, we log on to Google.com. In the same way, bitcoin is going to be disguised. There will be a body kit that makes it user-friendly. That's what makes bitcoin a kick-ass currency."
Any fool can send a billion dollars across the world—as long as they have it, of course—but it's virtually impossible to send a quarter unless you stick it in an envelope and pay forty-nine cents for a stamp. It's one of the great ironies of our antiquated money system. And yet the quark of the financial world is essentially the small denomination. What bitcoin promises is that it will enable people and businesses to send money in just about any denomination to one another, anywhere in the world, for next to nothing. A public address, a private key, a click of the mouse, and the money is gone.
A Bitcoin conference in New York City in 2014. GETTY This matters. This matters a lot. Credit-card companies can't do this. Neither can the big banks under their current systems. But Marie-Louise on the corner of Libertador Avenue can. And so can Pat Murphy in his Limerick housing estate. So can Mark Andreessen and Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs. Anyone can do it, anywhere in the world, at virtually no charge.
You can do it, in fact, from your phone in a diner in New York. But the whole time they are there—over identical California omelettes that they order with an ironic shrug—they never once open their phones. They come across more like the talkative guys who might buy you a drink at the sports bar than the petulants ordering bottle service in the VIP corner. The older they get, the more comfortable they seem in their contradictions: the competition, the ease; the fame, the quiet; the gamble, the sure thing.
Bitcoin is what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. What seems indisputable about the future of money, to the Winklevosses and other bitcoin adherents, is that the technology that underpins bitcoin—the blockchain—will become one of the fundamental tenets of how we deal with the world of finance. Blockchain is the core computer code. It's open source and peer to peer—in other words, it's free and open to you and me. Every single bitcoin transaction ever made goes to an open public ledger. It would take an unprecedented 51 percent attack—where one entity would come to control more than half of the computing power used to mine bitcoin—for hackers to undo it. The blockchain is maintained by computers all around the world, and its future sidechains will create systems that deal with contracts and stock and other payments. These sidechains could very well be the foundation of the new global economy for the big banks, the credit-card companies, and even government itself.
"It's boundless," says Cameron.
This is what the brothers are counting on—and what might eventually make them among the richest men in America.
And yet. There is always a yet.
When you delve into the world of bitcoin, it gets deeper, darker, more mysterious all the time. Why has its creator remained anonymous? Why did he drop off the face of the earth? How much of it does he own himself? Will banks and corporations try to bring the currency down? Why are there really only five developers with full "commit access" to the code (not the Winklevosses, by the way)? Who is really in charge of the currency's governance?
Perhaps the most pressing issue at hand is that of scaling, which has caused what amounts to a civil war among followers. A maximum block size of one megabyte has been imposed on the chain, sort of like a built-in artificial dampener to keep bitcoin punk rock. That's not nearly enough capacity for the number of transactions that would take place in future visions. In years to come, there could be massive backlogs and outages that could create instant financial panic. Bitcoin's most influential leaders are haggling over what will happen. Will bitcoin maintain its decentralized status, or will it go legit and open up to infinite transactions? And if it goes legit, where's the punk?
The issues are ongoing—and they might very well take bitcoin down, but the Winklevosses don't think so. They have seen internal disputes before. They've refrained from taking a public stance mostly because they know that there are a lot of other very smart people in bitcoin who are aware that crisis often builds consensus. "We're in this for the long haul," says Tyler. "We're the first batter in the first inning."
GILLIAN LAUB The waiter comes across and asks them, bizarrely, if they're twins. They nod politely. Who was born first? They've heard it a million times and their answer is always the same: Neither of them—they were born cesarean. Cameron looks older, says the waiter. Tyler grins. Normally it's the other way around, says Cameron, grinning back. Do you ever fight? asks the waiter. Every now and then, they say. But not over this, not over the future.
Heraclitus was wrong. You can, in fact, step in the same river twice. In the beginning you went to the shed. No electricity there, no heat, just a giant tub where you simulated the river. You could only do eleven strokes. But there was something about the repetition, the difference, even the monotony, that hooked you. After a while it wasn't an abandoned shed anymore. College gyms, national training centers. Bigger buildings. High ceilings. AC. Doctors and trainers. Monitors hooked up to your heart, your head, your blood. Six foot five, but even then you were not as tall as the other guys. You liked the notion of underdog. Everyone called you the opposite. The rich kids. The privileged ones. To hell with that. They don't know us, who we are, where we came from. Some of the biggest chips rest on the shoulders of those with the least to lose. Six foot five times two makes just about thirteen feet. You sit in the erg and you stare ahead. Day in, day out. One thousand strokes, two thousand. You work with the very best. You even train with the Navy SEALs. It touches that American part of you. The sentiment, the false optimism. When the oil fields are burning, you even think, I'll go there with them. But you stay in the boat. You want that other flag rising. That's what you aim for. You don't win but you get close. Afterward there are planes, galas, regattas, magazine spreads, but you always come back to that early river. The cold. The fierceness. The heron. Like it or not, you're never going to get off the water—that's just the fact of the matter, it's always going to be there. Hard to admit it, but once you were wrong. You got out of the boat and you haggled over who made it. You lost that one, hard. You might lose this one, too, but then again it just might be the original arc that you're stepping toward. So you return, then. You rise before dark. You drag your carcass along Broadway before dawn.
All the rich men in the world want to get shot into outer space. Richard Branson. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. The new explorers. To get the hell out of here and see if they—and maybe we—can exist somewhere else for a while. It's the story of the century. We want to know if the pocket of the universe can be turned inside out. We're either going to bring all the detritus of the world upward with us or we're going to find a brand-new way to exist. The cynical say that it's just another form of colonization—they're probably right, but then again maybe it's our only way out.
The Winklevosses have booked their tickets—numbers 700 and 701—on Branson's Virgin Galactic. Although they go virtually everywhere together, the twins want to go on different flights because of the risk involved: Now that they're in their mid-thirties, they can finally see death, or at least its rumor. It's a boy's adventure, but it's also the outer edge of possibility. It cost a quarter of a million dollars per seat, and they paid for it, yes, in bitcoin.
Of course, up until recently, the original space flights all splashed down into the sea. One of the ships that hauled the Gemini space capsule out of the water in 1965 was the Intrepid aircraft carrier.
The Winklevosses no longer pull their boat up the river. Instead they often run five miles along the Hudson to the Intrepid and back. The destroyer has been parked along Manhattan's West Side for almost as long as they have been alive. It's now a museum. The brothers like the boat, its presence, its symbolism: Intrepid, Gemini, the space shot.
They ease into the run.
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The Assassination Of Bitcoin

Authored by Dan Denning via Bonner & Partners,
As Bill reported last week, central banks are toying with the idea of launching a bank-backed cryptocurrency. Dan believes that outcome is all but assured. Only one thing stands in the way... bitcoin.
The collapse of bitcoin – down 68% year to date and 78% from its all-time high of $20,000, set in December 2017, when it traded at $4,200.22 earlier this week – may have a perfectly normal explanation.
_It’s a bubble that popped. Or it’s happened before and is nothing to worry about._As my colleagues have shown their readers in the last week, bitcoin dropped 94% in 2010, 94% in 2011, 85% from 2013 to 2015, and 76% in a three-month period alone in 2013.
Big price declines are great buying opportunities, according to the bull case. In bitcoin’s case, any time the issue of a “hard fork” comes up – where a blockchain has two paths forward and goes in both directions at once – you’ve seen big price declines.
But bitcoin has regrouped and rallied after each previous decline. It may do so this time as well. It may even be doing it as we speak.
Each of the previous rallies from a crash low came as the public became more aware of bitcoin. Awareness leads to liquidity and higher prices. This time around, for example, institutional interest in cryptocurrencies could be the catalyst for bitcoin to double from here (and then double again and again, if some of the crypto evangelists are right).

Crashes and Corrections are Normal for Cryptos, Right?


I’ll leave the technical discussions to some of my colleagues who are more qualified to talk about them. They’re important to understand if you’re a long-term holder (HOLDR) of cryptocurrencies.
Today, I’d like to suggest another explanation for the crypto swoon: the assassination of bitcoin by global financial authorities.
Why?
Cryptocurrencies have proven that there is an appetite for both a cashless digital payment system _and_ digital assets. What central bankers and the world’s financial elite have figured out is that bitcoin stands in the way of this new world financial order.
It’s an order where centrally controlled digital money promises complete political power over the lives and choices of billions of people. They’re making their move to establish that order now.

Crypto Is the Evil Spawn of the Global Financial Crisis

A coordinated assault on cryptos took place over three days last week. Over those three days, from November 13 to 15, bitcoin broke through resistance at $6,330, fell to $5,508, and then, just kept on falling.
What happened? And in a moment, what happens next?
The Seven Deadly Paradoxes of Cryptocurrency: The first broadside fired at bitcoin came from the Bank of England’s blog, Bank Underground. Bitcoin is plagued by no less than seven fatal flaws, according to John Lewis of the Bank of England’s research hub.
Among these flaws is the fact that 97% of bitcoins are held by less than 4% of addresses, creating a hoarding mentality that limits the liquidity of bitcoin and its popularity as a payment option.
Another: Bitcoin can only process seven transactions per second. Visa does 24,000 per second.
Another: Innovators who build on the foundation laid by bitcoin will, by definition, improve and replace it. Its obsolescence and eventual destruction are the inevitable consequence of its conceptual success.
The Case for a New Digital Currency: Central banks should create digital currencies and play a critical role in the global payments system, including the settlement of transactions, argued International Monetary Fund president Christine Lagarde in Singapore on November 14. It was a subtle argument in its focus on potential public/private partnerships between commercial banks and central banks.
But the important point is that Lagarde publicly floated the idea that central banks – not the private sector – should create and manage digital currencies. Centralization allows for control. Decentralization does not.
Evil Spawn: Bitcoin was a clever idea, but not a terribly good one. Worse, it was the “evil spawn” of the financial crisis of 2009, according to Benoȋt Cœuré from the European Central Bank (ECB). Cœuré quoted Agustín Carstens, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements, who called bitcoin “a combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme, and an environmental disaster.” Cœuré’s speech called for further research into a central bank digital currency, but concluded it could be at least a decade away.
_Why the three-pronged full-frontal assault on bitcoin right now? Because it’s a threat? Because it’s vulnerable to a lack of public trust? Or because now is a perfect opportunity?_It’s a combination of all three. But the last more than the first two. True, bitcoin _was_ a response to the financial crash of 2009. It was a perfectly rational response to a system run by financial elites that holds your money captive, systematically destroys the purchasing power of your savings, and creates wealth-destroying booms and busts that are increasingly politically and socially destabilizing.
What fool wouldn’t want to get their money out of a system like that?
To the extent that cryptos could create a decentralized payment system/currency/asset class where trust is guaranteed by the blockchain, it’s a kind of sound-money, libertarian nirvana.
But the flip side is that the moment that decentralized system becomes an actual threat to the money system controlled by central banks, the full might and power of sovereign states and central banks would come down on it. That’s what’s beginning to happen now.
Is bitcoin vulnerable to a lack of public trust? Vast swathes of the public still don’t know about or understand bitcoin. The interest it has attracted in the last year is largely speculative. It’s not people betting on a new, disruptive technology or money system. It’s people trying to make a quick buck from higher prices. And by the way, you still have to sell back into a fiat currency to make that buck, yen, pound, or euro.
That leaves the last possibility. Last week’s attack on decentralized cryptocurrencies comes when the price action is bearish anyway. It also comes as central banks are ready to advance all the benefits of a central bank digital currency. Central banks aim to capitalize on the budding popularity of cryptos and then harness it for their own ends. So what are their own ends?

The War for Control of Digital Money

The financial elite took its attack on cryptos to the front pages of the paper this week. Economist Nouriel Roubini argued in _The Guardian_ for a central bank digital currency that replaces the current payments system and the money creation function of commercial banking (although not the lending, which would be fully funded from 100% reserves).
In Roubini’s version of a central bank digital currency (CBDC), there’s no blockchain technology at all (it’s not scalable, cheap, or secure, he argues). And in his version, decentralization is to be avoided. Centralization is a desired (and necessary) feature for monetary control.
There’s just one problem: What role do the banks play? You know, the banks that run Wall Street and control the Federal Reserve System. According to Roubini (emphasis added is mine):
The main problem with CBDCs is that they would disrupt the current fractional-reserve system through which commercial banks create money by lending out more than they hold in liquid deposits. Banks need deposits in order to make loans and investment decisions. If all private bank deposits were to be moved into CBDCs, then traditional banks would need to become “loanable funds intermediaries,” borrowing long-term funds to finance long-term loans such as mortgages.
In other words, the fractional-reserve banking system would be replaced by a narrow-banking system administered mostly by the central bank. That would amount to a financial revolution – and one that would yield many benefits. Central banks would be in a much better position to control credit bubbles, stop bank runs, prevent maturity mismatches, and regulate risky credit/lending decisions by private banks.
It’s all about control. Cryptos and bitcoin threaten that control. They have to go. Bitcoin gets knifed in the back by the IMF/SEC/NSA and we get a digital money system where cash disappears and the authorities have full transparency into our monetary affairs. Our worst nightmare, in other words.

A Forked Road

We’ve come to a fork in the road for the money system (since we were talking about forks). The traditional Wall Street money power controls the system because it’s the quickest means to vast wealth (as Bill has shown in the _Diary_ the last few weeks).
Control over money is sought for the purpose of wealth. The power of banks to create money is important, but incidental to the goal, which is filthy lucre.
But the centralizing, authoritarian, statist monsters, though, seek control of money because their real goal is political power. This is the War on Cash that Bill and others have written about for years. It is the systematic destruction of your ability to collect and hold wealth outside of the financial system.
Killing the direct convertibility of the U.S. dollar to gold was one step. The various laws and regulations, like civil asset forfeiture, which allow authorities to seize “suspiciously large” amounts of cash without due process, is another. The assassination of bitcoin will be the next.
It just so happens that the money system, with the advent of technology and a cashless society, is now the fastest, cheapest, and most thorough route to complete political power over the lives and private choices of billions of people.
Fractional-reserve banking is a time-tested strategy for controlling money for the purposes of the acquisition and growth of large personal fortunes.
But the issuance of a central bank-backed coin is an emergent claim that the power over money should be centralized to nudge/control/coerce the population for its own moral betterment.
The Wall Street crowd could get completely blindsided by the D.C. crowd in the digital money war. Either way, ordinary Americans may be caught in the crossfire. The time to protect yourself is now.
* * * If history has shown us anything, it’s that centralized authorities will do anything to maintain control over money. Does bitcoin pose a threat to that control? I believe it does. But the assassination of bitcoin will be just the first step... I believe a new type of money could be coming to America. The ultimate goal? To bring the money in your wallet under the control of a central bank like the Federal Reserve. You may not want to believe that. But before you dismiss the possibility, get all the details right hereand decide for yourself.
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What is a Ponzi scheme in cryptocurrencies? Is Social Security The Biggest Ponzi Scheme Of All Time? Bitcoin Is a Ponzi Scheme! - According to Howard Marks Social Security is a Ponzi Sheme Is Bitcoin A Pyramid Scheme? (Yes this is clickbait)

The reason Social Security is worse than a Ponzi scheme is because everyone is forced to participate via government coercion. Maybe some people want do something different with their money that has been taken from them, like letting their children inherit it. If someone wants to rightfully keep fruits of their labor and make their own decisions for retirement they will be met with guns pointed ... So is social security a ponzi scheme or not? I honestly haven't heard any rebuttals to the people who have made this statement. jump to content. my subreddits. edit subscriptions. popular -all-random-users AskReddit-worldnews-videos-funny-todayilearned-pics-gaming-movies-news-gifs-mildlyinteresting-aww-Showerthoughts-Jokes-science-OldSchoolCool-sports-IAmA-Documentaries-TwoXChromosomes ... Augustus Cartens, the General Manager of the Bank of International Statements (BIS), appears to have taken a reverse in his outlook of digital currencies. In an interview with Fin Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. It relies on future participants to keep the system afloat. Bitcoin could technically keep being used if no new participants entered the market. While it would not likely survive, it is still technically possible. With Social Security, a true Ponzi scheme, the system would have to fail without future participants. It will probably fail even with participants ... The promoters promised a machine that printed money and a golden goose. But the BitClub Network collapsed in what may be one of the largest cryptocurrency frauds of all time, taking Coloradan Joby ...

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What is a Ponzi scheme in cryptocurrencies?

This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue. Watch Queue Queue Robert Wenzel asks Robert Pozen. Pozen is the former vice-chairman of Fidelity Investments, former chairman of MFS Investment Management, the oldest mutual fund company in the United States, with ... This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue. Watch Queue Queue An actual real world case study here to determine whether BitConnect is sustainable or just a scam. Do the math. Join BitConnect at; https://bitconnect.co/?r... This video is unavailable. Watch Queue Queue. Watch Queue Queue

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