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Some questions, concerns and excitements
I have been around this sub since July and I am always so happy to see quality discussions going on here. Usually I don’t have an urge to write a post because I find all my questions and curiosities are answered on the posts, but I have some new questions, concerns and excitements so here I am. I am excited for you to share your thoughts and I hope this post adds to the community. Some questions (with my attempts to answer them) Q1) Ethereum and OmiseGo: Is Ethereum dependent on OmiseGo’s success as much as OmiseGo is on the success of Ethereum? Critics of Ethereum often bring up two arguments 1) Ethereum won’t be able to handle increasing network traffic 2) Ethereum’s gas fee structure will make it fail OmiseGo(+Plasma) can come solve both of these problems. 1) Plasma will enable off-chain transactions, reducing network traffic dramatically 2) Users and developers of dapps on the mainnet will be able to pay for the transactions that need the utmost security possible when the Plasma is active, and in any currency they want to pay when the OmiseGo network is alive. What do you think? Will it be possible for people to pay USD for the Gas on Ethereum network? Q2) Liquidity: How will OmiseGo provide enough liquidity as it becomes the most universally used DEX in the world? When I read OmiseGo white paper and interviews of their advisors and team members, their goal is clear and bold: To become the DEX of the planet. But to achieve this, you will need a lot of liquidity. In the previous TownHall, Jeremy mentioned that they are working with banks, and actively looking for more partners to provide this liquidity. But why will a bank with a lot of liquidity put it on the OmiseGo network? In my opinion, banks will only do so to yield more profit than putting the money into something else. Then, the liquidity providers might take a bigger portion of the fees than we might expect. Or is there another reason why they will provide liquidity? Note: On the white paper, it writes “By bonding Ethereum into a smart contract  (or Bitcoin-like tokens into bonded clearinghouses), it is possible to lock up Ether onto the activity of the OMG chain to allow for eWallet pairs to occur over Ether or other cryptocurrencies, creating a liquid market (if every pair crosses with ETH, spreads would be much smaller provided low currency volatility).” But who would provide enough Ethereum to provide liquidity for the network? I have no domain knowledge or experience in this. Could anyone with such knowledge oand experience shed some light on this? Current crypto exchanges are centralized and OmiseGo is a completely different animal, actually transmitting the value for each transaction, real-time. Right now, I can’t wrap my head around this, and I hope we can help each other :) Q3) Won’t users of less available/popular currency suffer? Here is a scenario I have in my mind: Let’s say you live in Kenya and receive Kenyan shillings for your salary. You go online and try to buy some stuff with KSH, and the online store you use often just started using OmiseGo network. But the KSH demand on the network is so low that you see you pay almost double of what you used to pay. What flaws does my scenario have? How can this be solved? With questions on the board, let me share 2 concerns I have for OmiseGo C1) No activity on GitHub I go on their GitHub, and there is near zero activity. I know they have recently released Plasma MVP, and that they are going through closed beta for the SDK. Is that why they don’t share any of their software development on GitHub? Will February open beta release come with lots of open source codes? I am not familiar with how software open source/ open beta work, so this might be a dumb question. If you have some background in software development, please shed some light on this! (I actually wrote a semi-long answer to someone else’s post on same concern (“Where is the development update from omisego team”). It’s kinda ironic that I am bringing up this concern now, but I want to hear your thoughts and broaden my perspective anyway. C2) Amazon and other big stores coming together to create their own coin I am not worried about other cryptos that advertise as ‘the coin’ to be used as the medium for value transmission, such as stellar, miners, bitcoin cash or ripple, etc. If OmiseGo builds highways, these are just ‘better vehicles’ to transport people. But what if a large portion of value that will be transmitted through OmiseGo network, online payment transactions, makes their own coin and just frees themselves from 3rd payment processing logistics? Would it be hard for Amazon to create their own coin that can be only used for the products they offer, and use that reduced 3~4% tx cost to offer better price for people? Why wouldn’t Amazon do this? If you have some retail, online payment experience or knowledge, please help! C3) Why traditional exchanges will not convert to OmiseGo, and why it doesn’t matter I had this concern, but jv2222 provided a great insight onto this matter, and cured me of my fear. I just wanted to share his post for those who missed it. It is a great read. Okay, now concerns are also on the board… Reading this far, you must be an OmiseBro/OmiseSister (although I have not met many female crypto investors, I know you are out there, OmiseSistas!), cuz this post is quite long, and you are still here. So let me share why I am very excited about OmiseGo. E1) If OmiseGo delivers, not only early investors will secure a juicy source for ‘semi-passive income’, but also contribute to transforming how we humans transmit values. You probably understand why you, an early investor, will be very happy when OmiseGo delivers. For the second part of my excitement, let me digress a bit and tell you some of my abroad stories. In 2015, I went to Kenya to live and run with Kenyans, the best runners on Earth (I was in love with the art of running, and wanted to see how they do it). It’s been almost 2.5 years, but I still cherish the memories and what I’ve learnt there (If you are a runner, take a moment to appreciate graceful and beautiful running in this video which I filmed in Kenya here). After the trip, I still keep in touch with athletes and coaches I interviewed, and I regularly help out some of them through PayPal or Wave. But working in Korea makes it very hard for me to share financial value with them. PayPal doesn’t support KRW (currency of Korea) nor Wave. Every time I want to send some money, I ask my girlfriend if she needs some KRW, and asks her to send me equivalent USD to my PayPal or directly send to my friends in Kenya through Wave. This is very time-consuming and frustrating. It really doesn’t have to be this way. When OmiseGo network is alive, in theory, I can just put in my KRW on the network, and they can cash out Kenyan shillings. No 3rd party that takes +1% fees. No need to wait +10 minutes. Done. Furthermore, I have some Starbuck’s points and airline mileage that I don’t really need. So I want to also send that over to a high school that I support in Kenya. With a few clicks on my phone, the transaction is done, and these points will help some of the students to get their first running shoes. How amazing is this? Providing a network/pool where all the ‘values’ on Earth, across borders of countries and cultures, can be shared and transmitted instantly. E2) The tokenization of any assets In November, 2017, Gramatik, a famous DJ in the international club and festival scene, raised $9M in his GRMTK Token ICO.The owners of GRMTK tokens receive portions of the revenue Gramatik produces through his music, films, and concerts. Singular DTV was behind this, but with OmiseGo network, anyone can tokenize their asset, talent, and creativity, and secure much more sustainable way to maintain their practice. This can be great for athletes, musicians, fine/performance artists, racing drivers, chess prodigies, and so on. I am very excited for this part of OmiseGo network because many of my close friends are musicians and I see a lot of money being taken away from them by Music Rights Protection Organizations, Distribution companies and Entertainment companies. You will be super surprised, or even appalled, by how much Korean idols actually make through their music. Middlemen take a great bite out of every creativity and work. It’s brutal. Tokenization will also help other businesses that could only rely on traditional source of funds. Restaurants, museums… any small to medium sized businesses can now focus more on their work, than securing funds. What’s also cool is that, OmiseGo releasing their White-label wallet SDK, will enable developers around the world to create apps to enable all of these… put them into many niche markets that we don’t even imagine OmiseGo can be applied to. E3) Please share your excitements! Above two excitements are very personal ones for me, being a lover of running and having friends who are suffering in the very centralized structure. I want to ask, what are you most excited about the project? Why? Thank you for reading this far, and I hope this was entertaining and stimulating at the same time. Edit: some typos
Navigating Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP: How Google Is Quietly Making Blockchains Searchable
It’s a balmy 80 degrees on a mid-December day in Singapore, and something is puzzling Allen Day, a 41-year-old data scientist. Using the tools he has developed at Google, he can see a mysterious concerted usage of artificial intelligence on the blockchain for Ethereum. Ether is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency (after bitcoin and XRP), and it still sports a market cap of some $11 billion despite losing 83% of its value in 2018. Peering into its blockchain—the distributed database of transactions underpinning the cryptocurrency—Day detects a “whole bunch” of “autonomous agents” moving funds around “in an automated fashion.” While he doesn’t yet know who has created the AI, he suspects they could be the agents of cryptocurrency exchanges trading among themselves in order to artificially inflate ether’s price. “It’s not really just single agents doing things on their own,” Day says from Google’s Asia-Pacific headquarters. “They’re forming with other agents to have some larger group effect.” Day’s official title is senior developer advocate for Google Cloud, but he describes his role as “customer zero” for the company’s cloud computing efforts. As such it’s his job to anticipate demand before a product even exists, and he thinks making the blockchain more accessible is the next big thing. Just as Google enabled (and ultimately profited) from making the internet more usable 20 years ago, its next billions may come from shining a bright light on blockchains. If Day is successful, the world will know whether blockchain’s real usage is living up to its hype. Danish researcher Thomas Silkjaer is using Google's BigQuery to map publicly available information about XRP cryptocurrency addresses. The craters represent some of cryptocurrency's largest exchanges. Last year Day and a small team of open-source developers quietly began loading data for the entire Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains into Google’s big-data analytics platform, BigQuery. Then, with the help of lead developer Evgeny Medvedev, he created a suite of sophisticated software to search the data. In spite of a total lack of publicity, word of the project spread quickly among crypto-minded coders. In the past year, more than 500 projects were created using the new tools, trying to do everything from predicting the price of bitcoin to analyzing wealth disparity among ether holders. When it comes to cloud computing, Google is far behind Amazon and Microsoft. Last year Google pocketed an estimated $3 billion in revenue from cloud services. Amazon and Microsoft, meanwhile, generated about $27 billion and $10 billion, respectively. Day is hoping that his project, known as Blockchain ETL (extract, transform, load), will help even the playing field. But even here Google is trying to catch up. Amazon entered blockchain in a big way in 2018 with a suite of tools for building and managing distributed ledgers. Microsoft got into the space in 2015, when it released tools for Ethereum’s blockchain. It now hosts a range of services as part of its Azure Blockchain Workbench. But while Amazon and Microsoft are focusing on making it easier to build blockchain apps, Day is focusing on exposing how blockchains are actually being used, and by whom. “In the future, moving more economic activity on chain won’t just require a consensus level of trust,” says Day, referring to the core validating mechanism of blockchain technology. “It will require having some trust in knowing about who it is you’re actually interacting with.” In other words, if blockchain is to go mainstream, some of its beloved anonymity features will have to be abandoned. A native of Placer County, California, Day got his first computer at the age of 5 and a few years later started writing simple programs. A fascination with volcanoes and dinosaurs turned his interest to life sciences, and he ultimately graduated from the University of Oregon with a dual degree in biology and Mandarin in 2000. From there he headed to UCLA to pursue a doctorate in human genetics and helped build a computer program to browse the genome. It was at UCLA where Day began relying on distributed computing, a concept that is core to blockchains, which store their data on a large network of individual computers. In the early 2000s Day needed to analyze the massive amounts of data that make up the human genome. To solve this problem he hooked many small computers together, vastly increasing their power. “Distributed-systems technology has been in my tool kit for a while,” Day says. “I could see there were interesting characteristics of blockchains that could run a global supercomputer.” Hired in 2016 to work in the health and bioinformatics areas of Google, Day segued to blockchains, the hottest distributed-computing effort on the planet. But the talents he had honed—sequencing genomes for infectious diseases in real time and using AI to increase rice yields—were not easily applied to decoding blockchain. Before Day and Medvedev released their tools, just searching a blockchain required specialized software called “block explorers,” which let users hunt only for specific transactions, each labeled with a unique tangle of 26-plus alphanumeric characters. Google’s Blockchain ETL, by contrast, lets users make more generalized searches of entire ecosystems of transactions. To demonstrate how customers could use Blockchain ETL to make improvements to the crypto economy, Day has used his tools to examine the so-called hard fork, or an irrevocable split in a blockchain database, that created a new cryptocurrency—bitcoin cash—from bitcoin in the summer of 2017. Google Cloud developer advocate Allen Day presents his early cryptocurrency work at Google's Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore in August 2018. DORJEE SUN / PERLIN This particular split was the result of a Hatfield and McCoy “war” within the bitcoin community between a group who wanted to leave bitcoin as it was and another who wanted to develop a currency that, like cash, was cheaper and faster to use for small payments. Using Google’s BigQuery, Day discovered that bitcoin cash, rather than increasing so-called micro-transactions, as the defecting developers claimed, was actually being hoarded among big holders of bitcoin cash. “I’m very interested to quantify what’s happening so that we can see where the legitimate use cases are for blockchain,” Day says. “Then we can move to the next use case and develop out what these technologies are really appropriate for.” Day’s work is inspiring others. Tomasz Kolinko is a Warsaw-based programmer and the creator of a service that analyzes smart contracts, a feature of certain blockchains that is designed to transparently enforce contractual obligations like collateralized loans but with less reliance on third parties, like lawyers. Kolinko was frustrated with his blockchain queries. In December, Kolinko met Day at a hackathon in Singapore. Within a month of the meeting, Kolinko was using Google’s tools to search for a smart contract feature called a “selfdestruct,” designed to limit a contract’s life span. Using his own software in conjunction with Day’s, Kolinko took 23 seconds to search 1.2 million smart contracts—something that would have taken hours before. The result: Almost 700 of them had left open a selfdestruct feature that would let anyone instantly kill the smart contract, whether that person was authorized or not. “In the past you couldn’t just easily check all the contracts that were using it,” Kolinko says. “This tool is both the most scary and most inspiring I’ve ever built.” Day is now expanding beyond bitcoin and ethereum. Litecoin, zcash, dash, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic and dogecoin are being added to BigQuery. Independent developers are loading their own crypto data sets on Google. Last August, a Dutch developer named Wietse Wind uploaded the entire 400 gigabytes of transaction data from Ripple’s XRP blockchain, another popular cryptocurrency, into BigQuery. Wind’s data, which he updates every 15 minutes, prompted a Danish designer named Thomas Silkjaer to create a heat map of crypto flows. The resulting colorful orb reveals at a glance more than a million crypto wallets, including big exchanges like Binance and London’s crypto debit card startup Wirex, which are neck deep in XRP transactions. “Google has been a bit of a sleeping giant in blockchain,” says BlockApps CEO Kieren James-Lubin, who is partnering with Google to sell enterprise blockchain apps. In addition to Day’s work, Google has filed numerous patents related to the blockchain, including one in 2018 to use a “lattice” of interoperating blockchains to increase security, a big deal in a world where untold millions of crypto have been stolen by hackers. The company is also pushing its developers to build apps on the Ethereum blockchain, and Google’s venture arm, GV, has made a number of significant investments in crypto startups. The giant, it seems, is waking up. Reach Michael del Castillo at [email protected]. Cover image by Munshi Ahmed. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2019/02/04/navigating-bitcoin-ethereum-xrp-how-google-is-quietly-making-blockchains-searchable/#5105408f4248
CRYPTO.TICKETS: Blockchain platform for ticket systems
Tickets Cloud, an online ticketing platform, announces the ICO of its blockchain-based project crypto.tickets. The ICO will commence on October 5, 2017, and end in 4 weeks. A finite number of TKT tokens will be issued, based on smart contracts. Ticket Cloud intends to raise up to US$23 mln. Early investors will receive 20% extra tokens for the first two days of the ICO, 10% extra on the third and fourth day, and +5% for the next three days. After that, the tokens will be sold at no premium. TKTs will be sold for Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Ethereum Classic (ETC). In addition, the company is planning a preliminary private offering for the crypto-community pioneers and members of the ticketing industry who will be offered a whopping 30% premium. The number of privately available tokens will be limited to the equivalent of US$2 mln, with US$50,000 minimum purchase. The funds raised during the ICO will be invested in creating a blockchain-based ecosystem of crypto.tickets. Blockchain will enable the ticketing industry to tackle its most severe current problems. In this case, blockchain will allow crypto.tickets to become a universal decentralized ticketing platform open to all market players, both in Russia and globally. Crypto.tickets is not intended to compete with other ticketing platforms but will instead let any ticketing system and its customers benefit from the advantages of the blockchain. Crypto.tickets will offer ticket distributors access to all tickets in both primary and secondary markets. Smart contracts will ensure safety and transparency, while the integration with Tickets Cloud will allow interacting with any number of organizers and secondary market brokers within the framework of one contract, and one API. The ecosystem of crypto.tickets simplifies and automates interactions between various participants of the ticketing market. The use of blockchain will mitigate such persistent issues as fraud, fake tickets, uncontrollable resale, meeting sales quotas on ticket allotments, etc. All sales, refunds, exchanges, and other transactions will be completed using blockchain; and all exchanges and obligations between all involved parties will be based on smart contracts. With crypto.tickets, all event organizers will be able to issue crypto tickets that can’t be duplicated or counterfeited and communicate with their customers more efficiently. Cryptoticketing will enable original ticket issuers to extract more profit from resale transactions, or disable any further resale entirely, or limit sales to one ticket per person. These new capabilities make ticketing more flexible, at the same time offering the original issuer full control. Organizers will also be able to issue their own tokens and offer them as loyalty points, branded currencies, or shares in crowdfunding for their own projects. Crypto.tickets will offer ticket distributors access to all tickets in both primary and secondary markets. Smart contracts will ensure safety and transparency, while the integration with Tickets Cloud will allow interacting with any number of organizers and secondary market brokers within the framework of one contract, and one API. The new blockchain ticketing platform crypto.tickets will include three products: Tickets Chain, already up and running Tickets Cloud, and Tickets Wallet. Tickets Chain — is a blockchain solution, which regulates interaction between all players at the market. Each event established in the system is a smart-contract, which is responsible for processing the payments, issuing and returning of crypto-tickets, for their transfer and resale at the secondary market — at the decentralized ticket exchange which works directly on the blockchain. Second product, Tickets Cloud, is a successfully functioning platform that enables global ticket open distribution. Moving the current users of Tickets Cloud to Tickets Chain, a decentralized blockchain system, will allow them to develop and scale their business efficiently. All transactions within the system will be conducted in TKT, the system’s internal currency. Currently, Tickets Cloud shows US$2 mln monthly turnover, a 500% growth from 2015 to 2016. Within the first three years of development, the project has raised US$1.6 mln. As of now, over 800,000 tickets have been sold within 950 contracts with organizer. In 2017, Tickets Cloud has become the first company whose ticketing platform is employed by the global internet retail giant AliExpress. The third product Tickets Wallet is an online wallet (Web & Mobile Apps), which is used for a decentralized storage of crypto-tickets and internal tokens of the system: Tickets Chain of coins (TKT). A working prototype can very soon be downloaded from GooglePlay and Appstore. Tickets Wallet will also be used as a new channel of communication with the audience. Both organisers and the artists will be able to provide additional content to the viewer from the moment the ticket is purchased. It can be all sorts of exclusive materials about the backstage, show preparation, photos and videos from the concert as well as the latest news. The main advantage of crypto.tickets is their already functioning platform: investors are offered shares in a working business to help it bring the underlying technology forward by implementing blockchain. The monthly turnover of Tickets Cloud has already exceeded US$2 mln, and the transition to crypto.tickets is expected to increase that number substantially. In turn, it will stimulate the demand for the tokens as every ticket sold for fiat money via Ticket Cloud and other Tickets Chain-connected systems will be structured as first a buy call for an equivalent number of TKTs on the exchange, then a sale of the ticket for tokens. This will boost the real, not speculative liquidity of the tokens. At the moment, Tickets Cloud is in talks with a number of online exchanges. Over the past few years, the team has proven its worth in the dynamic ticketing market. This year, Tickets Cloud organized one of the more notable industry conventions, Moscow Ticketing Forum. The company currently employs 35 people, including over ten developers, all with vast experience in the industry.
Community S6. Ep.6 Is a hauntingly beautiful and insightful portrayal of Bitcoin/Ethereum and the underpinnings of Blockchain
Season 6 Episode 6 of community is actually based on Ethereum, Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin.TLDR;S6.Ep6 is a complicated and satirical play on the ideas of proof of work vs proof of stake and cryptocurrencies/blockchain, privacy, freedom of speech, corrupt central authority and crowd psychology in general. Proof #1: Nod to ethereum: The symbol on Elroys laptop is the symbol for Ethereum Watch at about 2:45 seconds in right after the intro music. its not a perfect match but very very similar. https://www.google.com/search?q=ethereum&rlz=1C1CHBH_enUS729US729&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjG4djmtb7WAhVGy2MKHWiwBPEQ_AUIDCgD&biw=1920&bih=974#imgrc=ID0-i3TiFeZ-sM: Proof #2: Knowledge of cryptocurrencies: In Season 6 episode 11 kugler says he won't take bitcoin because he is waiting for it to stabilize. Showing the writers were at least familliar with cryptocurrencies. Proof #3: Circumstantially possible: Vitalik Buterin (creator of etheruem which is currently transitioning from proof of work to proof of stake) released a series of articles on proof of stake vs proof of work, he highlights that a P + Epsilon attack is the number one security risk to Bitcoin (proof of worK) These articles were released in mid 2012 to mid 2014. The Community season 6 was filmed sometime in 2013, probably about 6 month prior to the April 2014 release of season 6 episode 6, or in concert with the release and press coverage of the articles. Full Review: The episode is actually about cryptocurrency, specifically it plays off of "proof of work" vs "proof of stake" and a 51% P + Epsilon attack. A P + Epsilon attack is based on Game theory https://blog.ethereum.org/2015/01/28/p-epsilon-attack/ The Save Greendale commitee represents a Proof of Stake system where as the greater Students of Greendale model roughly a Proof of Work system and how it responds in a P + Epsilon Attack. The proof of stake model works, but centralizes authority and leads to abuse of authority (save greendale committee is the proof of stake in this) The broader proof of work model (the students at greendale) fails to protect the system, turning on it, in the P+Epsilon attack orchestrated by the Hackers The episode brilliantly shows the drawbacks of both options, one protects the system and its integrity the other protects the majority at the expense of the minority. Blockchain Technology: Blockchain is a decentralized technology that secures data using advanced cryptography and economic incentives to allow millions of non related users to secure and verify that an exchange of value has occurred. Many different "miners" (people with computers who host and process information for the blockchain) work together in their own interest to Proof of Work: Bitcoin and many other blockchains use "Proof of Work" to secure the blockchain against malicious attacks. This makes it very very hard to change or falsify information in a blockchain. The "Miners" or people who process information for the blockchain put in time x electricity X money spent on computing equipment and receive currency for their efforts. Downside: The majority rules in all cases and can oppress the rights of the minority Shown poignantly when Gupi Gupta thanks the Save Greendale committee for standing up for him, he has been oppressed and banned from preforming because of student pressure at his venues. Due to his politically incorrect, racist jokes. 51% attack If theoretically you had 51% of the computing power on a blockchain network you could take control of the network and falsify transactions or steal currency: Epistemic Attack: Done from without the network (example 1 party creates a huge "miner" on the blockchain and uses it to take over the network. Expensive and economically infeasible. Systemic Attack: Done from within the network, the most likely form being a P + Epsilon attack P + Epsilon attack: Characteristicspart 1: Credible promise of reward/punishment (in the episode the hackers release the lunch lady's emails to establish they can actually accomplish the "punishment") part 2: Must be a larger reward/punishment than any reward offered by not attacking the system (preserving the freedom of speech for Gupi Gupta) part 3: Has to be a reward/punishment that each participant feels individually so that the decision can be made spontaneously by all members (see Nash Equilibrium for more here hhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium) Part 4: If the attack is successful, the reward/punishment need not be fulfilled on (IE the emails are not released.)part 5: has to be delivered to all participants at close enough to the same time to prevent action against it: Email from the hackers to each student. proof of stake:Proof of stake seeks to overcome the P + Epsilon attack by requiring an "investment/deposit" by any miners for them to be able to mine, in the currency that they are mining. Meaning if they attack or do anything to damage the system they are invested in, they suffer personally more than if the system fails then if they defend the system. In "proof of stake" systems, you get authority or influence based on how much you have invested in the system, higher investment means more control, and more to lose if the system is attacked. This is shown by the emotional and moral investment from the save Greendale committee, it mattered more than the reward/punishment offered by the hackers The Downside to a "proof of stake" system The centralization of authority makes so that a few participants can act in the best interest of the system as they perceive it and to the detriment of the users of the system. This is shown by the hackers releasing the emails, the upside was the comedian no one wanted to see was able (compelled by Annie) to preform, preserving freedom of speech within the system The downside was mass privacy violations, leading to a melt down of the system. Garret particularly shows this well as he screams that he is the worst nightmare of the system, as they drag him out of the scene. Another illustration of the centralization and abuse of power, is forcing Gupi Gupta to preform, and forcing "Fat Neil" to sit and be terrorized by him. Other major concepts from Blockchain(the title of the episode is basic email security)PrivacyFreedom of speechSecurity of informationIneptitude/corruption of the government when it comes to cybersecurity/freedom of personal information This is illustrated by 3 parties, 1. The Dean who represents the blindness/ignorance/corruption of the government with regards to privacy and personal information. 2. Elroy Patashnick Who represents the lack of prowess and effort put into protecting our data by Centralized authority. (leaves the password as changeme) 3. The inept police force When trying to investigate the hackers, the police are not only totally useless, they hire a hacker to crack the case and eventually do, the dialog between the kids show some of the hacker ethos prevalent in Cryptocurrency/Blockchain.
Did The IMF Reveal That Cryptocurrency Is The New World Order End-Game?
Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com, There are two kinds of globalist schemes: First, there are the schemes they spring on the public out of nowhere haphazardly in the hopes that the speed of the event along with some shock and awe will confuse the masses and make them psychologically pliable. This strategy loses effectiveness quickly, though; the longer the plan takes to implement, the more time the people have to reconsider what is actually happening and why. Second, there are schemes they slowly implant in the collective psyche of the citizenry over many years, much like subliminal messaging or hypnosis. This strategy is designed to make the public embrace certain destructive ideologies or ideas as if these ideas were their own. The cryptocurrency scam is of the second variety. I have been suspicious of the cryptocurrency narrative of a “decentralized and anonymous monetary revolution” since 2009, when I was first approached by people claiming to be “representatives” of bitcoin and asked to become a promoter of the technology. After posing a few very simple questions and receiving no satisfactory answers, I declined to join the bandwagon or act as a frontman. The “currency” was backed by nothing tangible (and no, math is not a tangible resource). Anyone could create a cryptocurrency out of thin air that had attributes identical to bitcoin, therefore there was no intrinsic value to the technology and nothing stopping the creation of thousands of similar currency systems, eventually making bitcoin worthless. The scarcity argument for crypto was fraudulent. And, in the event of a grid down or an internet lock-down scenario (as has occurred in the past in nations under crisis), crypto was useless because the blockchain ledger was no longer accessible. Trading with private wallets made little sense; how many people were you likely to run into in your community with a bitcoin wallet? The amount of time and energy required to accumulate these digital nothings seemed counterproductive to me in light of the fact that they might not be there when you actually needed them. The only attributes that truly made bitcoin valuable were its branding and the amount of hype that was generated around it. But branding and hype are not enough to sustain a currency revolution. There was one other valuable characteristic — the supposed anonymity. In 2009, it was not clear whether this was legitimate. Today we now know that ANY cryptocurrency that is based on a blockchain ledger is highly traceable. There are no anonymous digital transactions no matter how savvy a person thinks they are. I was also suspicious of the behavior of some bitcoin proponents in web forums. Anyone presenting concrete criticism of the technology was met with aggressive Alinsky-style attacks. They were accused of being “ignorant barbaric gold stackers” that were too stupid to understand the “genius” of the blockchain and how it works. Disinformation was rampant. Claims of anonymity that had long been debunked were brought up over and over again. The value of bitcoin was faunted as an end-all-be-all argument as to why the critics were wrong. Bitcoin’s price was skyrocketing; therefore, bitcoin was legit. These were the kinds of tactics I had seen used by disinfo agents in the past; people arguing in favor of the Federal Reserve or globalism in general, or the people claiming that man-made global warming was "self-evident". This was not the behavior I had come to expect from liberty movement activists, who at that time were focused on facts and evidence to win the information war, rather than dishonest mind games and lies. Conclusion — there was a concerted campaign to push liberty activists through “peer pressure” to adopt a pro-crypto stance. But who actually benefits from this? Some investors in crypto made a considerable profit on bitcoin and other digital assets for a time, but today many of them are losing their shirts as bitcoin and most coins tumble in value. It is perhaps no coincidence that cryptocurrencies act as though they are anchored to the tech bubble in stock markets. As tech stocks flail and plummet, so too are crypto assets, because cyrptocurrencies are traded like equities in a bubble, not monetary mechanisms. Many of us who were averse to the bitcoin hype train often used the Dutch tulip analogy for why crypto valuations were absurd, and obviously that analogy was not far from the mark. I wonder sometimes about the people who used to argue that bitcoin’s high value made its legitimacy self-evident; would they now concede with bitcoin’s plunging value that its legitimacy was in question? I’m guessing they probably won’t. Crypto was also an effective distraction from people trying to build precious metals based alternatives to the the current economic environment. Bitcoin siphoned up activist energy and redirected it into something useless rather than a system that might truly threaten the central banking establishment. Beyond that, the entire crypto-storm over the past decade has done one thing very well — it made the idea of cryptocurrencies a household discussion, and I believe this was the goal all along. Once I found growing evidence that international and central banks were deeply involved in building the infrastructure needed to make blockchain technology go global and universal, it became obvious that bitcoin and other coins were merely a pregame test for the introduction of something rather sinister. In my article “The Globalist One World Currency Will Look A Lot Like Bitcoin”, published in July 2017, and in my article “The Virtual Economy Is The End Of Freedom,” published in December 2017, I outlined the questionable nature of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain and why the banking elites seem to be so interested in them. It was odd that bitcoin was built around the SHA-256 hash function created by the National Security Agency, and that the entire concept was remarkably similar to what was described in an NSA paper published in 1996 titled ‘How To Make A Mint: The Cryptography Of Anonymous Electronic Cash.’ Then, there were globalist institutions like Goldman Sachs coming out publicly in praise of crypto and blockchain tech. And, finally, central banks began entertaining the notion of moving into crypto, but they made it sound like they were approaching the idea half-heartedly, like it was a potential hobby.
So what ties the entire crytpo-scheme together? The International Monetary Fund has now openly revealed their affinity with crypto technology, and thus revealed the new world order end game. In a paper published last week by IMF head Christine Lagarde titled “Winds Of Change: The Case For New Digital Currency”, the IMF builds its argument for why central banks including the IMF should embrace crypto as the future of monetary policy. As I warned last year, the shift into crypto was not at all a “revolution” against the globalists, but a con designed by the globalists in part to get liberty proponents to become unwitting salesmen for the next phase of the economic control grid. But how do they intend this end game to play out? In 1988, The Economist, a globalist publication, “predicted” (or rather, announced) that a global currency system would be launched in the year 2018. It is now clear that crypto and the blockchain are that system. This system would eventually use the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket as a kind of bridge to a one world currency, which they referred to as the "Phoenix". Though some people claim that the SDR itself is not a currency, globalists apparently disagree. Mohamed El-Erian, former CEO of PIMCO, praised the idea of using the SDR as a world currency mechanism and as a means to counter “populism,” reiterating the plan outlined in _The Economist_in 1988. In _The Economist_ article, it is also hinted that the role of the U.S. as an economic center for the world and the role of the dollar as world reserve currency will have to be diminished in order to clear a path for the new world order system. We see this already taking place now, as we verge on an economic crisis which could easily collapse equity markets, bond markets, as well as the reserve status of the dollar itself. Lagarde’s latest piece is written like a sales pitch, selling the idea of central bank crypto not to central bankers, but to the financial media. The media will undoubtedly run with the talking points Lagarde suggests and regurgitate them in a blaze of articles as to why global crypto controlled by the IMF is the solution to all our fiscal problems. The very core of the movement toward global crypto, I believe, is the destruction of anonymity in trade through a "cashless society". When all trade is watched, all trade can be controlled. Beyond this, by monitoring trade transactions on a macro-scale, globalists can also, in a way, monitor mass psychology and predict public behavior to a point. Lagarde notes specifically in her article that anonymity from government oversight is unacceptable. She argues that any central bank cryptocurrency will have to ensure that private exchange is limited, and that centralized surveillance of transactions is warranted and necessary. What she of course fails to mention is that blockchain technology is already set up for government surveillance. It always has been. Not only this, but the very fabric of the blockchain requires that transactions are added to the ledger in order for the system to function. There is a built-in excuse for surveillance. The only question is how exactly the IMF plans to attach the SDR basket to a crypto framework. This is not specifically described in Lagarde’s paper. I expect that this will not be a process of slow adaptations. Instead, it will be introduced swiftly in the midst of public panic. The “everything bubble” created by central banks over the past decade is ready to pop. The Federal Reserve in particular has been enthusiastic about cutting off all stimulus measures, dumping assets from their balance sheet and raising interest rates into economic weakness during the worst corporate and consumer debt environment since 2008. I suggest that the IMF already has a cryptocurrency mechanism ready to replace the dollar as world reserve, and that it will be infused into the SDR basket at the height of the coming crash. The fact that the IMF has been introducing central bank crypto talking points over the past year indicates to me that the crash is imminent. * * * If you would like to support the publishing of articles like the one you have just read, visit our donations page here. We greatly appreciate your patronage.
2017 is the year of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The movement might have begun in 2009, with the launch of Bitcoin, but it takes time for anything to gain momentum, and in this case, it seems that eight is the golden number. In a year that has seen Bitcoin reach a massive high – US$10,000 as of 28/11/17 – Ethereum and Litecoin making gains in the thousands of percents, and ICOs appearing at an incredible rate of knots, crypto investing has finally reached its maturity, and it is eating the World, one asset at a time. Some people say that this is a worrying thing; others that you can’t – and shouldn’t try to – halt progress and that this is the future in the making. Whichever turns out to be the case, crypto and blockchain are here and you can no longer ignore them. Blockchain and Bitcoin – The Chicken and the Egg In 2009 Satoshi Nakamoto grew tired of the awkward process and sometimes lengthy delays involved in transacting digital payments. He wanted a system that could be instant, regardless of where you were in the world and the currency that your country used. No exchange rates to work out, no international transfer fees; his would be a universal currency for the tech community. And thus, Bitcoin was born. You can’t just create a packet of data and say, ‘here you go, have this instead of cash’, however. What’s to stop other people from doing the same and endlessly copying and recreating your data packets until they’re so numerous that they have no value at all? No, the new digital currency needed an encryption system which ensured that no two data packets – or Bitcoins – could be the same, or be copied. And that’s where blockchain came in. A digitised, decentralised, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions, blockchain is a continuously growing list of records – blocks – securely interconnected using cryptography; the closest you’ll get to an unbreakable code. Although it is now used in other areas of business, it was originally developed and is still used primarily for verifying crypto transactions. Without blockchain there would be no Bitcoin, but without Bitcoin there would be no blockchain, and without either there would be no other cryptocurrencies. From Evolution to Revolution With the exception of a few long-sighted investors, who took a punt on the fact that Nakamoto was actually a bit of a genius, it took some time for Bitcoin to become established, and it wasn’t until 2011 that the currency’s open source was used to create a crypto competitor. Since that time, we’ve not just seen the creation of literally countless new cryptocurrencies – the current estimate is in excess of 1,300, but no one really knows the exact figure for certain – but countless variations on the cryptocurrency theme. Many currencies have taken the Bitcoin model and tweaked it; Litecoin, for example, is kind of like Bitcoin’s younger, faster, less-popular sibling. However, others have branched out, finding new USPs and creating their own ecosystems. Monero and Zcash have created enhanced privacy protocols, which allow for the anonymous buying, selling and using of the currencies. Ripple’s focus is transaction utility and the improvement of international purchasing. Ethereum’s progression has been towards the technical aspects of blockchain development, such as decentralised applications and smart contracts. Each new development is aimed at a slightly different market and offers a slightly different proposition for buyers, users, businesses, and investors, and it is this that has opened people's eyes to the potential of crypto assets. This is the reason for the sudden surge in the adoption of cryptocurrencies by businesses and the increase in ICOs. And it's all of these developments working in concert that has led to the recent and rapid increases in value that have occurred across the crypto frontier – what is becoming known as the Crypto Revolution. Progress in the Making A revolution as defined by WordWeb is ‘a drastic and far-reaching change in the ways of thinking and behaving’. While cryptocurrencies are certainly something new in the history of finance, what will cause the revolution is the ways in which we use them. Bitcoins are now accepted by many online retail outlets, and have even found their way onto the high street. Litecoin is some way behind, but making similar forays into the real world. And companies – including Fast Invest – are developing crypto payment cards to facilitate the use of crypto everywhere, to be used just as a fiat credit or debit card currently is; one swipe and you’re done. Once crypto payment becomes a fully integrated means of conducting transactions, it’s believed that the truly cashless society won’t be too far behind, as GB Pounds, US Dollars and the full gamut of Euros convert their physical coins and notes into digital. In October 2017, The Telegraph posited that this state may not be very far off. Crypto Assets Right Now As cryptocurrencies continue to boom, they have birthed in their turn a new form of crypto asset: the crypto token. Used as a form of virtual share, crypto tokens are sold by businesses as a means to raise funds in a process called an ICO (initial coin offering). Although associated with tech startups trying to get off the ground and struggling to find capital elsewhere – it’s become notoriously difficult to gain a small business loan in the decade since the global financial crisis – a growing number of established businesses are turning to the ICO as a means to further develop their products and plans. While investing in the first option can bring tremendous gains if the company takes off – the value of Ethereum has increased by 60,000% since it began life as an ICO in 2013; just imagine if you’d put in £1,000 back then – it does come with that big, risky, IF. Even the best ideas are vulnerable to failure due to either extraneous conditions or poor management, so an ICO for an established company presents a more comfortable investment proposition for the risk-averse. ICOs normally last for a short period of time, offering interested parties the opportunity to buy tokens for a specified cryptocurrency. At the end of the ICO, those investors can then sell on their tokens to other interested parties, although they generally wait a year or more – unless the market rockets – to make a solid return. As an example, the FastInvest ICO launches on December 4th, 2017. The company has been comfortably trading since 2015, serving more than 8,500 P2P lending investment customers on a regular basis, and the ICO has been devised to add to the company’s products – with a P2P lending app and cryptocurrency payment card – and extending its reach with the opening of the first FastInvest American office. The ICO will last just short of two months, finishing on January 31st, 2018, and the company expects FIT (Fast Invest Tokens) to reach the open market by September 2018. A strictly limited number of FIT will be generated during the ICO period – 777 000 000 – with half being reserved for Fast Invest’s 50 employees, and the other half being open to crowd sale. The tokens will be valued at a rate of 1,000 FIT for 1ETH (Ethereum), and for simplicity, only Ethereum will be accepted within the ICO period – what investors later sell their tokens for is up to them. The information that potential investors use to decide upon which ICO to put their crypto assets into is all available in each company’s white paper. It should detail the business as it is, its plans and projections, the current market space, the team behind the project, and a comprehensive breakdown of what the invested funds will be used for. This allows investors to thoroughly research the proposition, making sure that both project and team are genuine – easier to ascertain with an established company – and take a closer look at the financials. Change, the Future, and the ICO ICOs have grown in popularity in direct correlation with the slowing of traditional financial markets. As it has become progressively more difficult for SMBs, SMEs, and startups to access the funding they need through established routes, it has become imperative that they find capital elsewhere. Seeing how successful crowdfunding has been in other theatres of finance – including P2P lending – it was only a matter of time before business turned to the clear advantages of the new financial movement. And now that it has begun, it is unlikely to stop. Indeed, many experts are now warning venture capitalists that it’s time to ‘wake up’ to ICOs, with Forbes suggesting that the ICO will soon replace the IPO (initial public offering). The doubters still mutter that the crypto movement is a bubble, and that all bubbles eventually burst. But what happens if a bubble is coated in graphene? It becomes flexible; it shifts with the weight and momentum of the moment; it might show signs of stress and pressure, but then it rebounds and reforms its original shape. Crypto assets aren’t quite ubiquitous, but as more and more people are finding more and more uses for them, they are slowly becoming that way, and with each new function comes a new layer of graphene to the ever-growing bubble. And that makes crypto mighty.
Is anyone else freaked out by this whole blocksize debate? Does anyone else find themself often agreeing with *both* sides - depending on whichever argument you happen to be reading at the moment? And do we need some better algorithms and data structures?
Why do both sides of the debate seem “right” to me? I know, I know, a healthy debate is healthy and all - and maybe I'm just not used to the tumult and jostling which would be inevitable in a real live open major debate about something as vital as Bitcoin. And I really do agree with the starry-eyed idealists who say Bitcoin is vital. Imperfect as it may be, it certainly does seem to represent the first real chance we've had in the past few hundred years to try to steer our civilization and our planet away from the dead-ends and disasters which our government-issued debt-based currencies keep dragging us into. But this particular debate, about the blocksize, doesn't seem to be getting resolved at all. Pretty much every time I read one of the long-form major arguments contributed by Bitcoin "thinkers" who I've come to respect over the past few years, this weird thing happens: I usually end up finding myself nodding my head and agreeing with whatever particular piece I'm reading! But that should be impossible - because a lot of these people vehemently disagree! So how can both sides sound so convincing to me, simply depending on whichever piece I currently happen to be reading? Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just a gullible idiot? Just Do It? When you first look at it or hear about it, increasing the size seems almost like a no-brainer: The "big-block" supporters say just increase the blocksize to 20 MB or 8 MB, or do some kind of scheduled or calculated regular increment which tries to take into account the capabilities of the infrastructure and the needs of the users. We do have the bandwidth and the memory to at least increase the blocksize now, they say - and we're probably gonna continue to have more bandwidth and memory in order to be able to keep increasing the blocksize for another couple decades - pretty much like everything else computer-based we've seen over the years (some of this stuff is called by names such as "Moore's Law"). On the other hand, whenever the "small-block" supporters warn about the utter catastrophe that a failed hard-fork would mean, I get totally freaked by their possible doomsday scenarios, which seem totally plausible and terrifying - so I end up feeling that the only way I'd want to go with a hard-fork would be if there was some pre-agreed "triggering" mechanism where the fork itself would only actually "switch on" and take effect provided that some "supermajority" of the network (of who? the miners? the full nodes?) had signaled (presumably via some kind of totally reliable p2p trustless software-based voting system?) that they do indeed "pre-agree" to actually adopt the pre-scheduled fork (and thereby avoid any possibility whatsoever of the precious blockchain somehow tragically splitting into two and pretty much killing this cryptocurrency off in its infancy). So in this "conservative" scenario, I'm talking about wanting at least 95% pre-adoption agreement - not the mere 75% which I recall some proposals call for, which seems like it could easily lead to a 75/25 blockchain split. But this time, with this long drawn-out blocksize debate, the core devs, and several other important voices who have become prominent opinion shapers over the past few years, can't seem to come to any real agreement on this. Weird split among the devs As far as I can see, there's this weird split: Gavin and Mike seem to be the only people among the devs who really want a major blocksize increase - and all the other devs seem to be vehemently against them. But then on the other hand, the users seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of a major increase. And there are meta-questions about governance, about about why this didn't come out as a BIP, and what the availability of Bitcoin XT means. And today or yesterday there was this really cool big-blockian exponential graph based on doubling the blocksize every two years for twenty years, reminding us of the pure mathematical fact that 210 is indeed about 1000 - but not really addressing any of the game-theoretic points raised by the small-blockians. So a lot of the users seem to like it, but when so few devs say anything positive about it, I worry: is this just yet more exponential chart porn? On the one hand, Gavin's and Mike's blocksize increase proposal initially seemed like a no-brainer to me. And on the other hand, all the other devs seem to be against them. Which is weird - not what I'd initially expected at all (but maybe I'm just a fool who's seduced by exponential chart porn?). Look, I don't mean to be rude to any of the core devs, and I don't want to come off like someone wearing a tinfoil hat - but it has to cross people's minds that the powers that be (the Fed and the other central banks and the governments that use their debt-issued money to run this world into a ditch) could very well be much more scared shitless than they're letting on. If we assume that the powers that be are using their usual playbook and tactics, then it could be worth looking at the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins, to get an idea of how they might try to attack Bitcoin. So, what I'm saying is, they do have a track record of sending in "experts" to try to derail projects and keep everyone enslaved to the Creature from Jekyll Island. I'm just saying. So, without getting ad hominem - let's just make sure that our ideas can really stand scrutiny on their own - as Nick Szabo says, we need to make sure there is "more computer science, less noise" in this debate. When Gavin Andresen first came out with the 20 MB thing - I sat back and tried to imagine if I could download 20 MB in 10 minutes (which seems to be one of the basic mathematical and technological constraints here - right?) I figured, "Yeah, I could download that" - even with my crappy internet connection. And I guess the telecoms might be nice enough to continue to double our bandwidth every two years for the next couple decades – if we ask them politely? On the other hand - I think we should be careful about entrusting the financial freedom of the world into the greedy hands of the telecoms companies - given all their shady shenanigans over the past few years in many countries. After decades of the MPAA and the FBI trying to chip away at BitTorrent, lately PirateBay has been hard to access. I would say it's quite likely that certain persons at institutions like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs and the Fed might be very, very motivated to see Bitcoin fail - so we shouldn't be too sure about scaling plans which depend on the willingness of companies Verizon and AT&T to double our bandwith every two years. Maybe the real important hardware buildout challenge for a company like 21 (and its allies such as Qualcomm) to take on now would not be "a miner in every toaster" but rather "Google Fiber Download and Upload Speeds in every Country, including China". I think I've read all the major stuff on the blocksize debate from Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn, Greg Maxwell, Peter Todd, Adam Back, and Jeff Garzick and several other major contributors - and, oddly enough, all their arguments seem reasonable - heck even Luke-Jr seems reasonable to me on the blocksize debate, and I always thought he was a whackjob overly influenced by superstition and numerology - and now today I'm reading the article by Bram Cohen - the inventor of BitTorrent - and I find myself agreeing with him too! I say to myself: What's going on with me? How can I possibly agree with all of these guys, if they all have such vehemently opposing viewpoints? I mean, think back to the glory days of a couple of years ago, when all we were hearing was how this amazing unprecedented grassroots innovation called Bitcoin was going to benefit everyone from all walks of life, all around the world:
wealthy individuals trying to preserve and transport their wealth across space and across time
iPhone and Android users who want to buy a latte on their smartphone at Starbucks
Venezuelans and Argentinians and Cypriots and Russian oligarchs and Greeks and anyone else whose state-backed currency sucks
unbanked Africans who will someday be texting around money via SMS messages on their cellphones
online content providers who will finally be able to get paid via micropayments
smart contracts and stock brokering and lawyering and land deeding and the refrigerator calling out to order more milk and distributed anonymous corporations (DACs) automatically negotiating and adjusting driverless taxicab fares in the Uber-future of the Internet of Things
...basically the entire human race transacting everything into the blockchain. (Although let me say that I think that people's focus on ideas like driverless cabs creating realtime fare markets based on supply and demand seems to be setting our sights a bit low as far as Bitcoin's abilities to correct the financial world's capital-misallocation problems which seem to have been made possible by infinite debt-based fiat. I would have hoped that a Bitcoin-based economy would solve much more noble, much more urgent capital-allocation problems than driverless taxicabs creating fare markets or refrigerators ordering milk on the internet of things. I was thinking more along the lines that Bitcoin would finally strangle dead-end debt-based deadly-toxic energy industries like fossil fuels and let profitable clean energy industries like Thorium LFTRs take over - but that's another topic. :=) Paradoxes in the blocksize debate Let me summarize the major paradoxes I see here: (1) Regarding the people (the majority of the core devs) who are against a blocksize increase: Well, the small-blocks arguments do seem kinda weird, and certainly not very "populist", in the sense that: When on earth have end-users ever heard of a computer technology whose capacity didn't grow pretty much exponentially year-on-year? All the cool new technology we've had - from hard drives to RAM to bandwidth - started out pathetically tiny and grew to unimaginably huge over the past few decades - and all our software has in turn gotten massively powerful and big and complex (sometimes bloated) to take advantage of the enormous new capacity available. But now suddenly, for the first time in the history of technology, we seem to have a majority of the devs, on a major p2p project - saying: "Let's not scale the system up. It could be dangerous. It might break the whole system (if the hard-fork fails)." I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, maybe someone else could enlighten me, but I don't think I've ever seen this sort of thing happen in the last few decades of the history of technology - devs arguing against scaling up p2p technology to take advantage of expected growth in infrastructure capacity. (2) But... on the other hand... the dire warnings of the small-blockians about what could happen if a hard-fork were to fail - wow, they do seem really dire! And these guys are pretty much all heavyweight, experienced programmers and/or game theorists and/or p2p open-source project managers. I must say, that nearly all of the long-form arguments I've read - as well as many, many of the shorter comments I've read from many users in the threads, whose names I at least have come to more-or-less recognize over the past few months and years on reddit and bitcointalk - have been amazingly impressive in their ability to analyze all aspects of the lifecycle and management of open-source software projects, bringing up lots of serious points which I could never have come up with, and which seem to come from long experience with programming and project management - as well as dealing with economics and human nature (eg, greed - the game-theory stuff). So a lot of really smart and experienced people with major expertise in various areas ranging from programming to management to game theory to politics to economics have been making some serious, mature, compelling arguments. But, as I've been saying, the only problem to me is: in many of these cases, these arguments are vehemently in opposition to each other! So I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of them, one by one - which means the end result is just a giant contradiction. I mean, today we have Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, arguing (quite cogently and convincingly to me), that it would be dangerous to increase the blocksize. And this seems to be a guy who would know a few things about scaling out a massive global p2p network - since the protocol which he invented, BitTorrent, is now apparently responsible for like a third of the traffic on the internet (and this despite the long-term concerted efforts of major evil players such as the MPAA and the FBI to shut the whole thing down). Was the BitTorrent analogy too "glib"? By the way - I would like to go on a slight tangent here and say that one of the main reasons why I felt so "comfortable" jumping on the Bitcoin train back a few years ago, when I first heard about it and got into it, was the whole rough analogy I saw with BitTorrent. I remembered the perhaps paradoxical fact that when a torrent is more popular (eg, a major movie release that just came out last week), then it actually becomes faster to download. More people want it, so more people have a few pieces of it, so more people are able to get it from each other. A kind of self-correcting economic feedback loop, where more demand directly leads to more supply. (BitTorrent manages to pull this off by essentially adding a certain structure to the file being shared, so that it's not simply like an append-only list of 1 MB blocks, but rather more like an random-access or indexed array of 1 MB chunks. Say you're downloading a film which is 700 MB. As soon as your "client" program has downloaded a single 1-MB chunk - say chunk #99 - your "client" program instantly turns into a "server" program as well - offering that chunk #99 to other clients. From my simplistic understanding, I believe the Bitcoin protocol does something similar, to provide a p2p architecture. Hence my - perhaps naïve - assumption that Bitcoin already had the right algorithms / architecture / data structure to scale.) The efficiency of the BitTorrent network seemed to jive with that "network law" (Metcalfe's Law?) about fax machines. This law states that the more fax machines there are, the more valuable the network of fax machines becomes. Or the value of the network grows on the order of the square of the number of nodes. This is in contrast with other technology like cars, where the more you have, the worse things get. The more cars there are, the more traffic jams you have, so things start going downhill. I guess this is because highway space is limited - after all, we can't pave over the entire countryside, and we never did get those flying cars we were promised, as David Graeber laments in a recent essay in The Baffler magazine :-) And regarding the "stress test" supposedly happening right now in the middle of this ongoing blocksize debate, I don't know what worries me more: the fact that it apparently is taking only $5,000 to do a simple kind of DoS on the blockchain - or the fact that there are a few rumors swirling around saying that the unknown company doing the stress test shares the same physical mailing address with a "scam" company? Or maybe we should just be worried that so much of this debate is happening on a handful of forums which are controlled by some guy named theymos who's already engaged in some pretty "contentious" or "controversial" behavior like blowing a million dollars on writing forum software (I guess he never heard that reddit.com software is open-source)? So I worry that the great promise of "decentralization" might be more fragile than we originally thought. Scaling Anyways, back to Metcalfe's Law: with virtual stuff, like torrents and fax machines, the more the merrier. The more people downloading a given movie, the faster it arrives - and the more people own fax machines, the more valuable the overall fax network. So I kindof (naïvely?) assumed that Bitcoin, being "virtual" and p2p, would somehow scale up the same magical way BitTorrrent did. I just figured that more people using it would somehow automatically make it stronger and faster. But now a lot of devs have started talking in terms of the old "scarcity" paradigm, talking about blockspace being a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" - which seems kinda scary, and antithetical to much of the earlier rhetoric we heard about Bitcoin (the stuff about supporting our favorite creators with micropayments, and the stuff about Africans using SMS to send around payments). Look, when some asshole is in line in front of you at the cash register and he's holding up the line so they can run his credit card to buy a bag of Cheeto's, we tend to get pissed off at the guy - clogging up our expensive global electronic payment infrastructure to make a two-dollar purchase. And that's on a fairly efficient centralized system - and presumably after a year or so, VISA and the guy's bank can delete or compress the transaction in their SQL databases. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if some guy buys a coffee on the blockchain, or if somebody pays an online artist $1.99 for their work - then that transaction, a few bytes or so, has to live on the blockchain forever? Or is there some "pruning" thing that gets rid of it after a while? And this could lead to another question: Viewed from the perspective of double-entry bookkeeping, is the blockchain "world-wide ledger" more like the "balance sheet" part of accounting, i.e. a snapshot showing current assets and liabilities? Or is it more like the "cash flow" part of accounting, i.e. a journal showing historical revenues and expenses? When I think of thousands of machines around the globe having to lug around multiple identical copies of a multi-gigabyte file containing some asshole's coffee purchase forever and ever... I feel like I'm ideologically drifting in one direction (where I'd end up also being against really cool stuff like online micropayments and Africans banking via SMS)... so I don't want to go there. But on the other hand, when really experienced and battle-tested veterans with major experience in the world of open-souce programming and project management (the "small-blockians") warn of the catastrophic consequences of a possible failed hard-fork, I get freaked out and I wonder if Bitcoin really was destined to be a settlement layer for big transactions. Could the original programmer(s) possibly weigh in? And I don't mean to appeal to authority - but heck, where the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto in all this? I do understand that he/she/they would want to maintain absolute anonymity - but on the other hand, I assume SN wants Bitcoin to succeed (both for the future of humanity - or at least for all the bitcoins SN allegedly holds :-) - and I understand there is a way that SN can cryptographically sign a message - and I understand that as the original developer of Bitcoin, SN had some very specific opinions about the blocksize... So I'm kinda wondering of Satoshi could weigh in from time to time. Just to help out a bit. I'm not saying "Show us a sign" like a deity or something - but damn it sure would be fascinating and possibly very helpful if Satoshi gave us his/hetheir 2 satoshis worth at this really confusing juncture. Are we using our capacity wisely? I'm not a programming or game-theory whiz, I'm just a casual user who has tried to keep up with technology over the years. It just seems weird to me that here we have this massive supercomputer (500 times more powerful than the all the supercomputers in the world combined) doing fairly straightforward "embarassingly parallel" number-crunching operations to secure a p2p world-wide ledger called the blockchain to keep track of a measly 2.1 quadrillion tokens spread out among a few billion addresses - and a couple of years ago you had people like Rick Falkvinge saying the blockchain would someday be supporting multi-million-dollar letters of credit for international trade and you had people like Andreas Antonopoulos saying the blockchain would someday allow billions of "unbanked" people to send remittances around the village or around the world dirt-cheap - and now suddenly in June 2015 we're talking about blockspace as a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" and partially centralized, corporate-sponsored "Level 2" vaporware like Lightning Network and some mysterious company is "stess testing" or "DoS-ing" the system by throwing away a measly $5,000 and suddenly it sounds like the whole system could eventually head right back into PayPal and Western Union territory again, in terms of expensive fees. When I got into Bitcoin, I really was heavily influenced by vague analogies with BitTorrent: I figured everyone would just have tiny little like utorrent-type program running on their machine (ie, Bitcoin-QT or Armory or Mycelium etc.). I figured that just like anyone can host a their own blog or webserver, anyone would be able to host their own bank. Yeah, Google and and Mozilla and Twitter and Facebook and WhatsApp did come along and build stuff on top of TCP/IP, so I did expect a bunch of companies to build layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol as well. But I still figured the basic unit of bitcoin client software powering the overall system would be small and personal and affordable and p2p - like a bittorrent client - or at the most, like a cheap server hosting a blog or email server. And I figured there would be a way at the software level, at the architecture level, at the algorithmic level, at the data structure level - to let the thing scale - if not infinitely, at least fairly massively and gracefully - the same way the BitTorrent network has. Of course, I do also understand that with BitTorrent, you're sharing a read-only object (eg, a movie) - whereas with Bitcoin, you're achieving distributed trustless consensus and appending it to a write-only (or append-only) database. So I do understand that the problem which BitTorrent solves is much simpler than the problem which Bitcoin sets out to solve. But still, it seems that there's got to be a way to make this thing scale. It's p2p and it's got 500 times more computing power than all the supercomputers in the world combined - and so many brilliant and motivated and inspired people want this thing to succeed! And Bitcoin could be our civilization's last chance to steer away from the oncoming debt-based ditch of disaster we seem to be driving into! It just seems that Bitcoin has got to be able to scale somehow - and all these smart people working together should be able to come up with a solution which pretty much everyone can agree - in advance - will work. Right? Right? A (probably irrelevant) tangent on algorithms and architecture and data structures I'll finally weigh with my personal perspective - although I might be biased due to my background (which is more on the theoretical side of computer science). My own modest - or perhaps radical - suggestion would be to ask whether we're really looking at all the best possible algorithms and architectures and data structures out there. From this perspective, I sometimes worry that the overwhelming majority of the great minds working on the programming and game-theory stuff might come from a rather specific, shall we say "von Neumann" or "procedural" or "imperative" school of programming (ie, C and Python and Java programmers). It seems strange to me that such a cutting-edge and important computer project would have so little participation from the great minds at the other end of the spectrum of programming paradigms - namely, the "functional" and "declarative" and "algebraic" (and co-algebraic!) worlds. For example, I was struck in particular by statements I've seen here and there (which seemed rather hubristic or lackadaisical to me - for something as important as Bitcoin), that the specification of Bitcoin and the blockchain doesn't really exist in any form other than the reference implementation(s) (in procedural languages such as C or Python?). Curry-Howard anyone? I mean, many computer scientists are aware of the Curry-Howard isomorophism, which basically says that the relationship between a theorem and its proof is equivalent to the relationship between a specification and its implementation. In other words, there is a long tradition in mathematics (and in computer programming) of:
separating the compact (and easy-to-check) statement of a theorem from the messy (and hard-to-check) details of its proof(s);
separating the specification of a system from its implementation(s); and
being able to prove that an implementation does indeed satisfy its specification.
And it's not exactly "turtles all the way down" either: a specification is generally simple and compact enough that a good programmer can usually simply visually inspect it to determine if it is indeed "correct" - something which is very difficult, if not impossible, to do with a program written in a procedural, implementation-oriented language such as C or Python or Java. So I worry that we've got this tradition, from the open-source github C/Java programming tradition, of never actually writing our "specification", and only writing the "implementation". In mission-critical military-grade programming projects (which often use languages like Ada or Maude) this is simply not allowed. It would seem that a project as mission-critical as Bitcoin - which could literally be crucial for humanity's continued survival - should also use this kind of military-grade software development approach. And I'm not saying rewrite the implementations in these kind of theoretical languages. But it might be helpful if the C/Python/Java programmers in the Bitcoin imperative programming world could build some bridges to the Maude/Haskell/ML programmers of the functional and algebraic programming worlds to see if any kind of useful cross-pollination might take place - between specifications and implementations. For example, the JavaFAN formal analyzer for multi-threaded Java programs (developed using tools based on the Maude language) was applied to the Remote Agent AI program aboard NASA's Deep Space 1 shuttle, written in Java - and it took only a few minutes using formal mathematical reasoning to detect a potential deadlock which would have occurred years later during the space mission when the damn spacecraft was already way out around Pluto. And "the Maude-NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) Protocol Analyzer (Maude-NPA) is a tool used to provide security proofs of cryptographic protocols and to search for protocol flaws and cryptosystem attacks." These are open-source formal reasoning tools developed by DARPA and used by NASA and the US Navy to ensure that program implementations satisfy their specifications. It would be great if some of the people involved in these kinds of projects could contribute to help ensure the security and scalability of Bitcoin. But there is a wide abyss between the kinds of programmers who use languages like Maude and the kinds of programmers who use languages like C/Python/Java - and it can be really hard to get the two worlds to meet. There is a bit of rapprochement between these language communities in languages which might be considered as being somewhere in the middle, such as Haskell and ML. I just worry that Bitcoin might be turning into being an exclusively C/Python/Java project (with the algorithms and practitioners traditionally of that community), when it could be more advantageous if it also had some people from the functional and algebraic-specification and program-verification community involved as well. The thing is, though: the theoretical practitioners are big on "semantics" - I've heard them say stuff like "Yes but a C / C++ program has no easily identifiable semantics". So to get them involved, you really have to first be able to talk about what your program does (specification) - before proceeding to describe how it does it (implementation). And writing high-level specifications is typically very hard using the syntax and semantics of languages like C and Java and Python - whereas specs are fairly easy to write in Maude - and not only that, they're executable, and you state and verify properties about them - which provides for the kind of debate Nick Szabo was advocating ("more computer science, less noise"). Imagine if we had an executable algebraic specification of Bitcoin in Maude, where we could formally reason about and verify certain crucial game-theoretical properties - rather than merely hand-waving and arguing and deploying and praying. And so in the theoretical programming community you've got major research on various logics such as Girard's Linear Logic (which is resource-conscious) and Bruni and Montanari's Tile Logic (which enables "pasting" bigger systems together from smaller ones in space and time), and executable algebraic specification languages such as Meseguer's Maude (which would be perfect for game theory modeling, with its functional modules for specifying the deterministic parts of systems and its system modules for specifiying non-deterministic parts of systems, and its parameterized skeletons for sketching out the typical architectures of mobile systems, and its formal reasoning and verification tools and libraries which have been specifically applied to testing and breaking - and fixing - cryptographic protocols). And somewhat closer to the practical hands-on world, you've got stuff like Google's MapReduce and lots of Big Data database languages developed by Google as well. And yet here we are with a mempool growing dangerously big for RAM on a single machine, and a 20-GB append-only list as our database - and not much debate on practical results from Google's Big Data databases. (And by the way: maybe I'm totally ignorant for asking this, but I'll ask anyways: why the hell does the mempool have to stay in RAM? Couldn't it work just as well if it were stored temporarily on the hard drive?) And you've got CalvinDB out of Yale which apparently provides an ACID layer on top of a massively distributed database. Look, I'm just an armchair follower cheering on these projects. I can barely manage to write a query in SQL, or read through a C or Python or Java program. But I would argue two points here: (1) these languages may be too low-level and "non-formal" for writing and modeling and formally reasoning about and proving properties of mission-critical specifications - and (2) there seem to be some Big Data tools already deployed by institutions such as Google and Yale which support global petabyte-size databases on commodity boxes with nice properties such as near-real-time and ACID - and I sometimes worry that the "core devs" might be failing to review the literature (and reach out to fellow programmers) out there to see if there might be some formal program-verification and practical Big Data tools out there which could be applied to coming up with rock-solid, 100% consensus proposals to handle an issue such as blocksize scaling, which seems to have become much more intractable than many people might have expected. I mean, the protocol solved the hard stuff: the elliptical-curve stuff and the Byzantine General stuff. How the heck can we be falling down on the comparatively "easier" stuff - like scaling the blocksize? It just seems like defeatism to say "Well, the blockchain is already 20-30 GB and it's gonna be 20-30 TB ten years from now - and we need 10 Mbs bandwidth now and 10,000 Mbs bandwidth 20 years from - assuming the evil Verizon and AT&T actually give us that - so let's just become a settlement platform and give up on buying coffee or banking the unbanked or doing micropayments, and let's push all that stuff into some corporate-controlled vaporware without even a whitepaper yet." So you've got Peter Todd doing some possibly brilliant theorizing and extrapolating on the idea of "treechains" - there is a Let's Talk Bitcoin podcast from about a year ago where he sketches the rough outlines of this idea out in a very inspiring, high-level way - although the specifics have yet to be hammered out. And we've got Blockstream also doing some hopeful hand-waving about the Lightning Network. Things like Peter Todd's treechains - which may be similar to the spark in some devs' eyes called Lightning Network - are examples of the kind of algorithm or architecture which might manage to harness the massive computing power of miners and nodes in such a way that certain kinds of massive and graceful scaling become possible. It just seems like a kindof tiny dev community working on this stuff. Being a C or Python or Java programmer should not be a pre-req to being able to help contribute to the specification (and formal reasoning and program verification) for Bitcoin and the blockchain. XML and UML are crap modeling and specification languages, and C and Java and Python are even worse (as specification languages - although as implementation languages, they are of course fine). But there are serious modeling and specification languages out there, and they could be very helpful at times like this - where what we're dealing with is questions of modeling and specification (ie, "needs and requirements"). One just doesn't often see the practical, hands-on world of open-source github implementation-level programmers and the academic, theoretical world of specification-level programmers meeting very often. I wish there were some way to get these two worlds to collaborate on Bitcoin. Maybe a good first step to reach out to the theoretical people would be to provide a modular executable algebraic specification of the Bitcoin protocol in a recognized, military/NASA-grade specification language such as Maude - because that's something the theoretical community can actually wrap their heads around, whereas it's very hard to get them to pay attention to something written only as a C / Python / Java implementation (without an accompanying specification in a formal language). They can't check whether the program does what it's supposed to do - if you don't provide a formal mathematical definition of what the program is supposed to do. Specification : Implementation :: Theorem : Proof You have to remember: the theoretical community is very aware of the Curry-Howard isomorphism. Just like it would be hard to get a mathematician's attention by merely showing them a proof without telling also telling them what theorem the proof is proving - by the same token, it's hard to get the attention of a theoretical computer scientist by merely showing them an implementation without showing them the specification that it implements. Bitcoin is currently confronted with a mathematical or "computer science" problem: how to secure the network while getting high enough transactional throughput, while staying within the limited RAM, bandwidth and hard drive space limitations of current and future infrastructure. The problem only becomes a political and economic problem if we give up on trying to solve it as a mathematical and "theoretical computer science" problem. There should be a plethora of whitepapers out now proposing algorithmic solutions to these scaling issues. Remember, all we have to do is apply the Byzantine General consensus-reaching procedure to a worldwide database which shuffles 2.1 quadrillion tokens among a few billion addresses. The 21 company has emphatically pointed out that racing to compute a hash to add a block is an "embarrassingly parallel" problem - very easy to decompose among cheap, fault-prone, commodity boxes, and recompose into an overall solution - along the lines of Google's highly successful MapReduce. I guess what I'm really saying is (and I don't mean to be rude here), is that C and Python and Java programmers might not be the best qualified people to develop and formally prove the correctness of (note I do not say: "test", I say "formally prove the correctness of") these kinds of algorithms. I really believe in the importance of getting the algorithms and architectures right - look at Google Search itself, it uses some pretty brilliant algorithms and architectures (eg, MapReduce, Paxos) which enable it to achieve amazing performance - on pretty crappy commodity hardware. And look at BitTorrent, which is truly p2p, where more demand leads to more supply. So, in this vein, I will close this lengthy rant with an oddly specific link - which may or may not be able to make some interesting contributions to finding suitable algorithms, architectures and data structures which might help Bitcoin scale massively. I have no idea if this link could be helpful - but given the near-total lack of people from the Haskell and ML and functional worlds in these Bitcoin specification debates, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't throw this out - just in case there might be something here which could help us channel the massive computing power of the Bitcoin network in such a way as to enable us simply sidestep this kind of