The Target Value For Bitcoin Is Not Some $50 Or $100. It ...

Overview of Major Risks of Buying Nyancoins - Version 6

This is the sixth version of the NYAN risks document (based on v5 (v4 (v3 , v2 and original)). These are obsoleted periodically as the old ones get archived to allow for comments again via a new post, to re-examine the risks in light of changes, and for greater visibility.
The purpose of these documents is to provide a best-effort discussion of major risk factors in gambling on NYAN, modeled on the risks disclosure in a 10k (annual report) which is mandated for publicly traded companies in the United States. This document is provided with no guarantee that major risk factors have not been missed, and it is important to recognize my (coinaday) personal bias from holding about one-third of the total supply of NYAN.
Please comment on any risks which are not mentioned here or additional aspects of risks here you think should be further emphasized or any other possible disclosure you think would be helpful to a person considering gambling on NYAN.
Executive summary
Nyancoins have no exchange, no core developer at the moment, uncertain demand, have had inconsistent blocks, are very vulnerable to 51% attacks, have the potential for serious bugs, an uncertain legal situation, concentrated ownership, low liquidity, depend upon the Internet, may be addictive, and could make you wealthy, which has been alleged to lead to more problems.
Introduction: This is my best attempt to collect every major risk factor from buying Nyancoins, although I can offer no warranty of fitness for this information for any purposes. I believe in honesty and forthrightness. Having this available and obvious is a simple matter of basic decency. Much, hopefully all, of this information has been discussed previously in /nyancoins, but this document in particular is about being up-to-date and central. This page will be updated clearly as appropriate if situations change on a best-effort basis (which may mean updates do not happen for months at times, unfortunately; please ping for faster updates).
If you believe that I am missing something, please note any other major risks you see in the comments.
Exchanges:
Nyancoins are not currently traded on any exchange. It may be listed on one minor exchange but have no volume there. Obviously an unlisted cryptocurrency is in a bad situation. I hope to see us gain a listing on an exchange which supports low volume coins in 2020 but I have no current prospect of this and it should be considered a longshot at best.
Previously we traded on Trade Satoshi and prior to that on Cryptopia and prior to that on Cryptsy. All three exchanges failed us (Trade Satoshi delisted without allowing withdrawal; Cryptopia delisted and failed to provide withdrawal and then went bankrupt; Cryptsy went bankrupt). This is a further reminder that exchanges are a major risk and one should be extremely careful to not keep more coins on there than one can comfortably afford to lose.
In theory, there are decentralized exchange technologies, notably CATE; however, I think we currently lack some needed APIs for this. I'm not certain but we haven't demonstrated the capability yet. On-Reddit exchanges are also possible with tipbots, but require trust as they are not atomic. It should be possible to build an "exchangebot" similarly, although I'm not currently aware of one, but my concept would still have the bot as a trusted central party.
Atomic cross-chain transactions seem to me like a very promising core technology ultimately for building exchanges which can be more proveably secure. They could also allow exchanges to share a common listing protocol as well without having to trust the other exchanges (at least, beyond the core protocol development and maintenance; tanstaafl). This is not yet accomplished though and in the meantime we remain vulnerable to periodic exchange failures.
Core developer: Although we have good general tech support in this community and have put up supporting infrastructure, there is not anyone officially currently working on core client code. This is a significant problem for the long-term, although we are not in any immediate known need of changes.
ImASharkRawwwr has returned to the community and may do future client updates, but I'm leaving the lack of core developer risk unchanged until there is an update released. This is not intended as a slight in any way but merely being cautious in the risks document and recognizing that we aren't certain when or if there will be a next release.
Demand: NYAN was introduced in 2014 and during the second half of that year had so little demand that it almost died out. In January 2015 I got involved in the coin and for most of 2015 and 2016 I was the majority of the buying pressure. I base these statements on my recollection of the trading history so far and the fact that I have acquired more than 120 million coins, somewhere around 41% of the coins (latest hodling report, June 2017), as well as my observations that I had usually had the leading major bid, and usually the leading bid regardless of size.
In 2017, I have generally not been a major factor in the demand, as I haven’t had money to spare to gamble on NYAN. In June 2017, we have had a spike in buying from an unknown source.
It is unknown whether significant demand for NYAN will continue. Because its value is purely speculative, it is entirely possible that demand for NYAN could simply end. This is a fundamental risk in gambling on NYAN; it is entirely possible that its value will go to zero and not recover.
By the end of 2019, we lost exchange listing. I know of no current demand for NYAN. I hope to see us listed and demand exist in the future but should not be relied upon. NYAN last traded around 9 satoshi according to coinmarketcap but it may well not even trade that high even if relisted someday - there could be a flood of selling and no buyers.
Inconsistent blocks:
Although NYAN is designed to produce a block every minute, there have been times where there has been more than 24 hours between blocks. This results because of an imperfect difficulty function and low base hashing, along with price fluctuations, which can combine to have a low difficulty making the coin attractive for a flood of hashing power which can lead the difficulty function to overcompensate, leaving it stuck with a high difficulty no longer profitable to mine.
I haven’t observed this lately, that is, I don’t recall incidents of this in 2017, but I’ve been paying far less attention to it as well. It is entirely possible for this to recur, as the difficulty function is not fixed (it would require a hard fork to fix it). We seem to have more baseline hashing which helps to avoid this, but it is possible for us to lose that.
A workaround is to use large transaction fees (I've set my client to 337 NYAN) which is enough to cause pools to generally solve a block even if the chain were otherwise stuck. It may be possible to include a better difficulty function in a hard fork client, but it is unknown when if ever this would be done and it's not yet clear what design improvement if any would fix this.
51% attack: Because of the generally quite low hashing power on NYAN, it is highly vulnerable to a 51% attack. Either a leading pool or a new one could choose to do a denial-of-service attack, whether for extortion, lulz, or some other reason (like coinaday being annoying). Such an attack is capable of preventing any transaction processing for as long as it is sustained. I consider this a relatively low risk since I expect we would simply wait it out (and potentially not even notice such an attack for quite a while given the low volume of transactions currently), but it is definitely a potential vulnerability.
Bugs: It is possible that there are bugs in the underlying code. I have never read through all of the bitcoin or nyancoin code, of any version, nor even studied the original bitcoin whitepaper in depth (by the way, we oughta make up a nyancoin whitepaper or ten someday), meaning I have no professional or technical knowledge about whether or not the system is fundamentally sound. I've been going based on "it seems to be working, so it's probably fine", which is, shall we say, more of an engineering than scientific approach.
I have heard reference to a "time warp" bug vulnerability in the KGW difficulty function which Nyancoins has. I do not know details and my understanding is a fix to this would require a fork to change the difficulty function, so I do not anticipate a fix before NYAN3, the term for an eventual hard fork, but it is unknown when if ever this would be done. I consider this vulnerability to be likely to be related to the fundamental weakness to difficulty spikes after large amounts of hashing jumps on the network. Hostile (or simply passing interest with large capacity) hashing does degrade the performance of the network. As a workaround, this class of attack can be mitigated with a transaction to 'unstick' the chain after, since the difficulty function will adjust in the next block after enough wall-time has passed since the last block (so only need one high difficulty solve which can be triggered by a transaction fee).
Legal: Bitcoin faces uncertain legal situations in almost every country. Nyancoin is even more uncertain, as people tend to consider bitcoin and not address impacts on altcoins. Between the potential tax implications and banking regulations and currency laws, there are a wide variety of ways a person could make a felony-level mistake. This can be somewhat mitigated by merely buying and holding, as you won't be responsible for KYC/AML presumably (although an argument could be made in your purchase), and presumably unrealized capital gains wouldn't be taxable (but I am neither a lawyer nor accountant nor any sort of expert on the relevant accounting laws in any country).
Somehow getting legal opinions for Nyancoins in every country would be very useful in my opinion. If Bitcoin and altcoins are well-studied in a given country it should be relatively easy to adapt those opinions and research to Nyancoins, but it would still require some pro bono work in any case. So...hopefully we'll get some lawyer Nekonauts someday who are willing to semi-officially give us an opinion. In the meantime...hope that common sense can save you. If you sell Nyancoins directly, you're going to need to comply with the KYC/AML types of laws of your country. If you're going to do banking operations...may the central bank have mercy on your soul.
I think the best advantage we have is the same bitcoin had for its first years: we're too small for anyone to care. But since we plan to grow significantly, we need to be aware of our legal issues upon scale. Which is to say, whether or not you're allowed to sell 10,000 NYAN to your friend probably has a lot to do with whether your friend legally acquired whatever is being offered in exchange, and whether the value of what you get in return is above a certain level or not. I'm not going to try guessing that level precisely because I know I'll be wrong. $1 is probably fine. $10,000 is probably illegal without some significant licensing. I would suggest either not touching fiat or else deliberately capping it without verification after getting an independent local expert legal opinion.
concentration: The fact that I hold about 41%(? not sure the exact percentage as of Dec 2017 ; need to do updated survey to check; 41% sounds slightly high to me but I'll see...I'll try to update by the end of the year or shortly after) of the currently outstanding NYAN could be a major risk factor, particularly if I do not act in the best long-term interests of the strength of Nyancoins. For instance, I could pull my bids, sell only a small part of my holdings, crash the market, and potentially buy a lot of volume for a lower price. While I cannot foresee any circumstance under which I would do this, it is certainly conceivable that I could be financially, legally, or morally obligated to do so if I were to become insolvent.
Liquidity: There is very little trading activity in NYAN. Therefore, large purchases will drive the price up and large sales will drive the price down. This means that entering and exiting a position is likely to result in "slippage", so even if the price has increased slightly overall since the time before one entered a position to the time before one exits it, it is quite possible that the overall trade will be neutral or negative as a result of the pressure on the market. For an extreme example, my own position would be essentially impossible to exit from the market without crashing the price, and even so it would likely be difficult to find buyers even at a satoshi, based on that I currently am the majority of the bids on the market. This is closely tied to the concentration risk but if I were to exit NYAN for any reason or simply fail to continue to renew bids the liquidity would dry up even further.
At the end of 2019, having no exchange, there is functionally zero liquidity. In theory peer to peer trading could still be done but I’m unaware of any.
Internet outage: if the Internet goes down, we hit a very nasty scenario. We can't process transactions, and all the miners go into a race to make 'useless' blocks on their own. If the Internet were never to come back up, Nyancoins would be dead. If there is a daylong internet outage, the longest blockchain discovered after, presumably representing the most hashing power dedicated to empty blocks during that outage, will win. So I suppose the block rewards in that case are for having the faith in Nyancoins to keep hashing and storing the blockchain during the day without the Internet.
addictive: This was a curiosity to me when I started. Now it's an obsession for me. I'm constantly thinking about how I can help to smooth the path for Nyancoins to grow stronger and better and more valuable. You may find that once you start to realize the impact you can have upon Nyancoins, and that Nyancoins can have upon you, that you start to become addicted as well. It is possible to substitute another addiction in its place, such as dogecoins or pcp, but it is not recommended.
Nyancoin addictions are considered 'mostly harmless'. The exception is if you go 'full coinaday' and start to accumulate more than 10% of your assets in Nyancoins. In this, this is essentially a variety of gambling addiction. I would argue that it beats roulette because you can tilt the odds in your favor, but then, I would argue that, wouldn't I?
mo' nyan mo' problems: Some people have claimed that more money leads to more problems. Since nyan is money, it follows as a consequence of the conjecture. Should this be the case, your increasing nyan could potentially lead to such problems in the future as: enhanced attention from revenue collection services of all kinds (governmental and private), swarms of fake friends and gold-diggers, excessive risk-taking as a result of feelings of invincibility, an increase in certain varieties of targeted marketing, possible disqualification for asset-based welfare for you (or even your children, for instance college financial assistance), an inability to remember how many houses you own, or other serious problems.
Conclusion
The lack of any exchange trading Nyancoins is a major risk factor in its future survival. If it is listed, the lack of development is likely the next most serious. The coin currently survives but whether it will continue to do so in the future is far from certain. If those of us who have found or come back to NYAN choose to keep it alive, I believe it still has a chance at surviving into a stronger future.
This self-certified infallible message has been brought to you as a Public Service Announcement of the NYAN Public Relations Council, a transparent front organization of notoriously lovable philanthropist and major NYAN hodler coinaday.
submitted by coinaday to nyancoins [link] [comments]

Overview of Major Risks of Buying Nyancoins - Version 5

This is the fifth version of the NYAN risks document (based on v4 (v3 , v2 and original). These are obsoleted periodically as the old ones get archived to allow for comments again via a new post, to re-examine the risks in light of changes, and for greater visibility.
The purpose of these documents is to provide a best-effort discussion of major risk factors in gambling on NYAN, modeled on the risks disclosure in a 10k (annual report) which is mandated for publicly traded companies in the United States. This document is provided with no guarantee that major risk factors have not been missed, and it is important to recognize my (coinaday) personal bias from holding about one-third of the total supply of NYAN.
Please comment on any risks which are not mentioned here or additional aspects of risks here you think should be further emphasized or any other possible disclosure you think would be helpful to a person considering gambling on NYAN.
Executive summary
Nyancoins have no core developer at the moment, uncertain demand, are traded actively on only one exchange, have had inconsistent blocks, are very vulnerable to 51% attacks, have the potential for serious bugs, an uncertain legal situation, concentrated ownership, low liquidity, depend upon the Internet, may be addictive, and could make you wealthy, which has been alleged to lead to more problems.
Introduction: This is my best attempt to collect every major risk factor from buying Nyancoins, although I can offer no warranty of fitness for this information for any purposes. I believe in honesty and forthrightness. Having this available and obvious is a simple matter of basic decency. Much, hopefully all, of this information has been discussed previously in /nyancoins, but this document in particular is about being up-to-date and central. This page will be updated clearly as appropriate if situations change on a best-effort basis (which may mean updates do not happen for months at times, unfortunately; please ping for faster updates).
If you believe that I am missing something, please note any other major risks you see in the comments.
Core developer: Although we have good general tech support in this community and have put up supporting infrastructure, there is not anyone officially currently working on core client code. This is a significant problem for the long-term, although we are not in any immediate known need of changes.
ImASharkRawwwr has returned to the community and may do future client updates, but I'm leaving the lack of core developer risk unchanged until there is an update released. This is not intended as a slight in any way but merely being cautious in the risks document and recognizing that we aren't certain when or if there will be a next release.
Demand: NYAN was introduced in 2014 and during the second half of that year had so little demand that it almost died out. In January 2015 I got involved in the coin and for most of 2015 and 2016 I was the majority of the buying pressure. I base these statements on my recollection of the trading history so far and the fact that I have acquired more than 120 million coins, somewhere around 41% of the coins (latest hodling report, June 2017), as well as my observations that I had usually had the leading major bid, and usually the leading bid regardless of size.
In 2017, I have generally not been a major factor in the demand, as I haven’t had money to spare to gamble on NYAN. In June 2017, we have had a spike in buying from an unknown source.
It is unknown whether significant demand for NYAN will continue. Because its value is purely speculative, it is entirely possible that demand for NYAN could simply end. This is a fundamental risk in gambling on NYAN; it is entirely possible that its value will go to zero and not recover.
Exchanges:
Trade Satoshi is currently the only exchange for Nyancoins with significant volume. If Trade Satoshi were to fail somehow, it is likely that this would have significant consequences for Nyancoins.
Previously we traded on Cryptopia and prior to that on Cryptsy. Both exchanges failed. This is a further reminder that exchanges are a major risk and one should be extremely careful to not keep more coins on there than one can comfortably afford to lose.
In theory, there are decentralized exchange technologies, notably CATE; however, I think we currently lack some needed APIs for this. I'm not certain but we haven't demonstrated the capability yet. On-Reddit exchanges are also possible with tipbots, but require trust as they are not atomic. It should be possible to build an "exchangebot" similarly, although I'm not currently aware of one, but my concept would still have the bot as a trusted central party.
Atomic cross-chain transactions seem to me like a very promising core technology ultimately for building exchanges which can be more proveably secure. They could also allow exchanges to share a common listing protocol as well without having to trust the other exchanges (at least, beyond the core protocol development and maintenance; tanstaafl). This is not yet accomplished though and in the meantime we remain vulnerable to periodic exchange failures.
Inconsistent blocks:
Although NYAN is designed to produce a block every minute, there have been times where there has been more than 24 hours between blocks. This results because of an imperfect difficulty function and low base hashing, along with price fluctuations, which can combine to have a low difficulty making the coin attractive for a flood of hashing power which can lead the difficulty function to overcompensate, leaving it stuck with a high difficulty no longer profitable to mine.
I haven’t observed this lately, that is, I don’t recall incidents of this in 2017, but I’ve been paying far less attention to it as well. It is entirely possible for this to recur, as the difficulty function is not fixed (it would require a hard fork to fix it). We seem to have more baseline hashing which helps to avoid this, but it is possible for us to lose that.
A workaround is to use large transaction fees (I've set my client to 337 NYAN) which is enough to cause pools to generally solve a block even if the chain were otherwise stuck. It may be possible to include a better difficulty function in a hard fork client, but it is unknown when if ever this would be done and it's not yet clear what design improvement if any would fix this.
51% attack: Because of the generally quite low hashing power on NYAN, it is highly vulnerable to a 51% attack. Either a leading pool or a new one could choose to do a denial-of-service attack, whether for extortion, lulz, or some other reason (like coinaday being annoying). Such an attack is capable of preventing any transaction processing for as long as it is sustained. I consider this a relatively low risk since I expect we would simply wait it out (and potentially not even notice such an attack for quite a while given the low volume of transactions currently), but it is definitely a potential vulnerability.
Bugs: It is possible that there are bugs in the underlying code. I have never read through all of the bitcoin or nyancoin code, of any version, nor even studied the original bitcoin whitepaper in depth (by the way, we oughta make up a nyancoin whitepaper or ten someday), meaning I have no professional or technical knowledge about whether or not the system is fundamentally sound. I've been going based on "it seems to be working, so it's probably fine", which is, shall we say, more of an engineering than scientific approach.
I have heard reference to a "time warp" bug vulnerability in the KGW difficulty function which Nyancoins has. I do not know details and my understanding is a fix to this would require a fork to change the difficulty function, so I do not anticipate a fix before NYAN3, the term for an eventual hard fork, but it is unknown when if ever this would be done. I consider this vulnerability to be likely to be related to the fundamental weakness to difficulty spikes after large amounts of hashing jumps on the network. Hostile (or simply passing interest with large capacity) hashing does degrade the performance of the network. As a workaround, this class of attack can be mitigated with a transaction to 'unstick' the chain after, since the difficulty function will adjust in the next block after enough wall-time has passed since the last block (so only need one high difficulty solve which can be triggered by a transaction fee).
Legal: Bitcoin faces uncertain legal situations in almost every country. Nyancoin is even more uncertain, as people tend to consider bitcoin and not address impacts on altcoins. Between the potential tax implications and banking regulations and currency laws, there are a wide variety of ways a person could make a felony-level mistake. This can be somewhat mitigated by merely buying and holding, as you won't be responsible for KYC/AML presumably (although an argument could be made in your purchase), and presumably unrealized capital gains wouldn't be taxable (but I am neither a lawyer nor accountant nor any sort of expert on the relevant accounting laws in any country).
Somehow getting legal opinions for Nyancoins in every country would be very useful in my opinion. If Bitcoin and altcoins are well-studied in a given country it should be relatively easy to adapt those opinions and research to Nyancoins, but it would still require some pro bono work in any case. So...hopefully we'll get some lawyer Nekonauts someday who are willing to semi-officially give us an opinion. In the meantime...hope that common sense can save you. If you sell Nyancoins directly, you're going to need to comply with the KYC/AML types of laws of your country. If you're going to do banking operations...may the central bank have mercy on your soul.
I think the best advantage we have is the same bitcoin had for its first years: we're too small for anyone to care. But since we plan to grow significantly, we need to be aware of our legal issues upon scale. Which is to say, whether or not you're allowed to sell 10,000 NYAN to your friend probably has a lot to do with whether your friend legally acquired whatever is being offered in exchange, and whether the value of what you get in return is above a certain level or not. I'm not going to try guessing that level precisely because I know I'll be wrong. $1 is probably fine. $10,000 is probably illegal without some significant licensing. I would suggest either not touching fiat or else deliberately capping it without verification after getting an independent local expert legal opinion.
concentration: The fact that I hold about 41%(? not sure the exact percentage as of Dec 2017 ; need to do updated survey to check; 41% sounds slightly high to me but I'll see...I'll try to update by the end of the year or shortly after) of the currently outstanding NYAN could be a major risk factor, particularly if I do not act in the best long-term interests of the strength of Nyancoins. For instance, I could pull my bids, sell only a small part of my holdings, crash the market, and potentially buy a lot of volume for a lower price. While I cannot foresee any circumstance under which I would do this, it is certainly conceivable that I could be financially, legally, or morally obligated to do so if I were to become insolvent.
Liquidity: There is very little trading activity in NYAN. Therefore, large purchases will drive the price up and large sales will drive the price down. This means that entering and exiting a position is likely to result in "slippage", so even if the price has increased slightly overall since the time before one entered a position to the time before one exits it, it is quite possible that the overall trade will be neutral or negative as a result of the pressure on the market. For an extreme example, my own position would be essentially impossible to exit from the market without crashing the price, and even so it would likely be difficult to find buyers even at a satoshi, based on that I currently am the majority of the bids on the market. This is closely tied to the concentration risk but if I were to exit NYAN for any reason or simply fail to continue to renew bids the liquidity would dry up even further.
Internet outage: if the Internet goes down, we hit a very nasty scenario. We can't process transactions, and all the miners go into a race to make 'useless' blocks on their own. If the Internet were never to come back up, Nyancoins would be dead. If there is a daylong internet outage, the longest blockchain discovered after, presumably representing the most hashing power dedicated to empty blocks during that outage, will win. So I suppose the block rewards in that case are for having the faith in Nyancoins to keep hashing and storing the blockchain during the day without the Internet.
addictive: This was a curiosity to me when I started. Now it's an obsession for me. I'm constantly thinking about how I can help to smooth the path for Nyancoins to grow stronger and better and more valuable. You may find that once you start to realize the impact you can have upon Nyancoins, and that Nyancoins can have upon you, that you start to become addicted as well. It is possible to substitute another addiction in its place, such as dogecoins or pcp, but it is not recommended.
Nyancoin addictions are considered 'mostly harmless'. The exception is if you go 'full coinaday' and start to accumulate more than 10% of your assets in Nyancoins. In this, this is essentially a variety of gambling addiction. I would argue that it beats roulette because you can tilt the odds in your favor, but then, I would argue that, wouldn't I?
mo' nyan mo' problems: Some people have claimed that more money leads to more problems. Since nyan is money, it follows as a consequence of the conjecture. Should this be the case, your increasing nyan could potentially lead to such problems in the future as: enhanced attention from revenue collection services of all kinds (governmental and private), swarms of fake friends and gold-diggers, excessive risk-taking as a result of feelings of invincibility, an increase in certain varieties of targeted marketing, possible disqualification for asset-based welfare for you (or even your children, for instance college financial assistance), an inability to remember how many houses you own, or other serious problems.
Conclusion
There are a variety of different risks in buying Nyancoins. I believe the most serious one is the developer issue. If those of us who have found or come back to NYAN abandon it, it could die. Otherwise, I consider the risks generally manageable, but exchange failure or a currently unknown bug could do serious damage to the ecosystem as well.
This self-certified infallible message has been brought to you as a Public Service Announcement of the NYAN Public Relations Council, a transparent front organization of notoriously lovable philanthropist and major NYAN hodler coinaday.
submitted by coinaday to nyancoins [link] [comments]

CRYPTOCURRENCY BITCOIN

CRYPTOCURRENCY BITCOIN
Bitcoin Table of contents expand: 1. What is Bitcoin? 2. Understanding Bitcoin 3. How Bitcoin Works 4. What's a Bitcoin Worth? 5. How Bitcoin Began 6. Who Invented Bitcoin? 7. Before Satoshi 8. Why Is Satoshi Anonymous? 9. The Suspects 10. Can Satoshi's Identity Be Proven? 11. Receiving Bitcoins As Payment 12. Working For Bitcoins 13. Bitcoin From Interest Payments 14. Bitcoins From Gambling 15. Investing in Bitcoins 16. Risks of Bitcoin Investing 17. Bitcoin Regulatory Risk 18. Security Risk of Bitcoins 19. Insurance Risk 20. Risk of Bitcoin Fraud 21. Market Risk 22. Bitcoin's Tax Risk What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital currency created in January 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity is yet to be verified. Bitcoin offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike government-issued currencies.
There are no physical bitcoins, only balances kept on a public ledger in the cloud, that – along with all Bitcoin transactions – is verified by a massive amount of computing power. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity. Despite it not being legal tender, Bitcoin charts high on popularity, and has triggered the launch of other virtual currencies collectively referred to as Altcoins.
Understanding Bitcoin Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency: Balances are kept using public and private "keys," which are long strings of numbers and letters linked through the mathematical encryption algorithm that was used to create them. The public key (comparable to a bank account number) serves as the address which is published to the world and to which others may send bitcoins. The private key (comparable to an ATM PIN) is meant to be a guarded secret and only used to authorize Bitcoin transmissions. Style notes: According to the official Bitcoin Foundation, the word "Bitcoin" is capitalized in the context of referring to the entity or concept, whereas "bitcoin" is written in the lower case when referring to a quantity of the currency (e.g. "I traded 20 bitcoin") or the units themselves. The plural form can be either "bitcoin" or "bitcoins."
How Bitcoin Works Bitcoin is one of the first digital currencies to use peer-to-peer technology to facilitate instant payments. The independent individuals and companies who own the governing computing power and participate in the Bitcoin network, also known as "miners," are motivated by rewards (the release of new bitcoin) and transaction fees paid in bitcoin. These miners can be thought of as the decentralized authority enforcing the credibility of the Bitcoin network. New bitcoin is being released to the miners at a fixed, but periodically declining rate, such that the total supply of bitcoins approaches 21 million. One bitcoin is divisible to eight decimal places (100 millionths of one bitcoin), and this smallest unit is referred to as a Satoshi. If necessary, and if the participating miners accept the change, Bitcoin could eventually be made divisible to even more decimal places. Bitcoin mining is the process through which bitcoins are released to come into circulation. Basically, it involves solving a computationally difficult puzzle to discover a new block, which is added to the blockchain and receiving a reward in the form of a few bitcoins. The block reward was 50 new bitcoins in 2009; it decreases every four years. As more and more bitcoins are created, the difficulty of the mining process – that is, the amount of computing power involved – increases. The mining difficulty began at 1.0 with Bitcoin's debut back in 2009; at the end of the year, it was only 1.18. As of February 2019, the mining difficulty is over 6.06 billion. Once, an ordinary desktop computer sufficed for the mining process; now, to combat the difficulty level, miners must use faster hardware like Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), more advanced processing units like Graphic Processing Units (GPUs), etc.
What's a Bitcoin Worth? In 2017 alone, the price of Bitcoin rose from a little under $1,000 at the beginning of the year to close to $19,000, ending the year more than 1,400% higher. Bitcoin's price is also quite dependent on the size of its mining network since the larger the network is, the more difficult – and thus more costly – it is to produce new bitcoins. As a result, the price of bitcoin has to increase as its cost of production also rises. The Bitcoin mining network's aggregate power has more than tripled over the past twelve months.
How Bitcoin Began
Aug. 18, 2008: The domain name bitcoin.org is registered. Today, at least, this domain is "WhoisGuard Protected," meaning the identity of the person who registered it is not public information.
Oct. 31, 2008: Someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto makes an announcement on The Cryptography Mailing list at metzdowd.com: "I've been working on a new electronic cash system that's fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party. The paper is available at http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf." This link leads to the now-famous white paper published on bitcoin.org entitled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." This paper would become the Magna Carta for how Bitcoin operates today.
Jan. 3, 2009: The first Bitcoin block is mined, Block 0. This is also known as the "genesis block" and contains the text: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks," perhaps as proof that the block was mined on or after that date, and perhaps also as relevant political commentary.
Jan. 8, 2009: The first version of the Bitcoin software is announced on The Cryptography Mailing list.
Jan. 9, 2009: Block 1 is mined, and Bitcoin mining commences in earnest.
Who Invented Bitcoin?
No one knows. Not conclusively, at any rate. Satoshi Nakamoto is the name associated with the person or group of people who released the original Bitcoin white paper in 2008 and worked on the original Bitcoin software that was released in 2009. The Bitcoin protocol requires users to enter a birthday upon signup, and we know that an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto registered and put down April 5 as a birth date. And that's about it.
Before Satoshi
Though it is tempting to believe the media's spin that Satoshi Nakamoto is a solitary, quixotic genius who created Bitcoin out of thin air, such innovations do not happen in a vacuum. All major scientific discoveries, no matter how original-seeming, were built on previously existing research. There are precursors to Bitcoin: Adam Back’s Hashcash, invented in 1997, and subsequently Wei Dai’s b-money, Nick Szabo’s bit gold and Hal Finney’s Reusable Proof of Work. The Bitcoin white paper itself cites Hashcash and b-money, as well as various other works spanning several research fields.
Why Is Satoshi Anonymous?
There are two primary motivations for keeping Bitcoin's inventor keeping his or her or their identity secret. One is privacy. As Bitcoin has gained in popularity – becoming something of a worldwide phenomenon – Satoshi Nakamoto would likely garner a lot of attention from the media and from governments.
The other reason is safety. Looking at 2009 alone, 32,489 blocks were mined; at the then-reward rate of 50 BTC per block, the total payout in 2009 was 1,624,500 BTC, which at today’s prices is over $900 million. One may conclude that only Satoshi and perhaps a few other people were mining through 2009 and that they possess a majority of that $900 million worth of BTC. Someone in possession of that much BTC could become a target of criminals, especially since bitcoins are less like stocks and more like cash, where the private keys needed to authorize spending could be printed out and literally kept under a mattress. While it's likely the inventor of Bitcoin would take precautions to make any extortion-induced transfers traceable, remaining anonymous is a good way for Satoshi to limit exposure.
The Suspects
Numerous people have been suggested as possible Satoshi Nakamoto by major media outlets. Oct. 10, 2011, The New Yorker published an article speculating that Nakamoto might be Irish cryptography student Michael Clear or economic sociologist Vili Lehdonvirta. A day later, Fast Company suggested that Nakamoto could be a group of three people – Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry – who together appear on a patent related to secure communications that were filed two months before bitcoin.org was registered. A Vice article published in May 2013 added more suspects to the list, including Gavin Andresen, the Bitcoin project’s lead developer; Jed McCaleb, co-founder of now-defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox; and famed Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki.
In December 2013, Techcrunch published an interview with researcher Skye Grey who claimed textual analysis of published writings shows a link between Satoshi and bit-gold creator Nick Szabo. And perhaps most famously, in March 2014, Newsweek ran a cover article claiming that Satoshi is actually an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto – a 64-year-old Japanese-American engineer living in California. The list of suspects is long, and all the individuals deny being Satoshi.
Can Satoshi's Identity Be Proven?
It would seem even early collaborators on the project don’t have verifiable proof of Satoshi’s identity. To reveal conclusively who Satoshi Nakamoto is, a definitive link would need to be made between his/her activity with Bitcoin and his/her identity. That could come in the form of linking the party behind the domain registration of bitcoin.org, email and forum accounts used by Satoshi Nakamoto, or ownership of some portion of the earliest mined bitcoins. Even though the bitcoins Satoshi likely possesses are traceable on the blockchain, it seems he/she has yet to cash them out in a way that reveals his/her identity. If Satoshi were to move his/her bitcoins to an exchange today, this might attract attention, but it seems unlikely that a well-funded and successful exchange would betray a customer's privacy.
Receiving Bitcoins As Payment
Bitcoins can be accepted as a means of payment for products sold or services provided. If you have a brick and mortar store, just display a sign saying “Bitcoin Accepted Here” and many of your customers may well take you up on it; the transactions can be handled with the requisite hardware terminal or wallet address through QR codes and touch screen apps. An online business can easily accept bitcoins by just adding this payment option to the others it offers, like credit cards, PayPal, etc. Online payments will require a Bitcoin merchant tool (an external processor like Coinbase or BitPay).
Working For Bitcoins
Those who are self-employed can get paid for a job in bitcoins. There are several websites/job boards which are dedicated to the digital currency:
Work For Bitcoin brings together work seekers and prospective employers through its websiteCoinality features jobs – freelance, part-time and full-time – that offer payment in bitcoins, as well as Dogecoin and LitecoinJobs4Bitcoins, part of reddit.comBitGigs
Bitcoin From Interest Payments
Another interesting way (literally) to earn bitcoins is by lending them out and being repaid in the currency. Lending can take three forms – direct lending to someone you know; through a website which facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, pairing borrowers and lenders; or depositing bitcoins in a virtual bank that offers a certain interest rate for Bitcoin accounts. Some such sites are Bitbond, BitLendingClub, and BTCjam. Obviously, you should do due diligence on any third-party site.
Bitcoins From Gambling
It’s possible to play at casinos that cater to Bitcoin aficionados, with options like online lotteries, jackpots, spread betting, and other games. Of course, the pros and cons and risks that apply to any sort of gambling and betting endeavors are in force here too.
Investing in Bitcoins
There are many Bitcoin supporters who believe that digital currency is the future. Those who endorse it are of the view that it facilitates a much faster, no-fee payment system for transactions across the globe. Although it is not itself any backed by any government or central bank, bitcoin can be exchanged for traditional currencies; in fact, its exchange rate against the dollar attracts potential investors and traders interested in currency plays. Indeed, one of the primary reasons for the growth of digital currencies like Bitcoin is that they can act as an alternative to national fiat money and traditional commodities like gold.
In March 2014, the IRS stated that all virtual currencies, including bitcoins, would be taxed as property rather than currency. Gains or losses from bitcoins held as capital will be realized as capital gains or losses, while bitcoins held as inventory will incur ordinary gains or losses.
Like any other asset, the principle of buying low and selling high applies to bitcoins. The most popular way of amassing the currency is through buying on a Bitcoin exchange, but there are many other ways to earn and own bitcoins. Here are a few options which Bitcoin enthusiasts can explore.
Risks of Bitcoin Investing
Though Bitcoin was not designed as a normal equity investment (no shares have been issued), some speculative investors were drawn to the digital money after it appreciated rapidly in May 2011 and again in November 2013. Thus, many people purchase bitcoin for its investment value rather than as a medium of exchange.
However, their lack of guaranteed value and digital nature means the purchase and use of bitcoins carries several inherent risks. Many investor alerts have been issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and other agencies.
The concept of a virtual currency is still novel and, compared to traditional investments, Bitcoin doesn't have much of a long-term track record or history of credibility to back it. With their increasing use, bitcoins are becoming less experimental every day, of course; still, after eight years, they (like all digital currencies) remain in a development phase, still evolving. "It is pretty much the highest-risk, highest-return investment that you can possibly make,” says Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group, which builds and invests in Bitcoin and blockchain companies.
Bitcoin Regulatory Risk
Investing money into Bitcoin in any of its many guises is not for the risk-averse. Bitcoins are a rival to government currency and may be used for black market transactions, money laundering, illegal activities or tax evasion. As a result, governments may seek to regulate, restrict or ban the use and sale of bitcoins, and some already have. Others are coming up with various rules. For example, in 2015, the New York State Department of Financial Services finalized regulations that would require companies dealing with the buy, sell, transfer or storage of bitcoins to record the identity of customers, have a compliance officer and maintain capital reserves. The transactions worth $10,000 or more will have to be recorded and reported.
Although more agencies will follow suit, issuing rules and guidelines, the lack of uniform regulations about bitcoins (and other virtual currency) raises questions over their longevity, liquidity, and universality.
Security Risk of Bitcoins
Bitcoin exchanges are entirely digital and, as with any virtual system, are at risk from hackers, malware and operational glitches. If a thief gains access to a Bitcoin owner's computer hard drive and steals his private encryption key, he could transfer the stolen Bitcoins to another account. (Users can prevent this only if bitcoins are stored on a computer which is not connected to the internet, or else by choosing to use a paper wallet – printing out the Bitcoin private keys and addresses, and not keeping them on a computer at all.) Hackers can also target Bitcoin exchanges, gaining access to thousands of accounts and digital wallets where bitcoins are stored. One especially notorious hacking incident took place in 2014, when Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange in Japan, was forced to close down after millions of dollars worth of bitcoins were stolen.
This is particularly problematic once you remember that all Bitcoin transactions are permanent and irreversible. It's like dealing with cash: Any transaction carried out with bitcoins can only be reversed if the person who has received them refunds them. There is no third party or a payment processor, as in the case of a debit or credit card – hence, no source of protection or appeal if there is a problem.
Insurance Risk
Some investments are insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Normal bank accounts are insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to a certain amount depending on the jurisdiction. Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin accounts are not insured by any type of federal or government program.
Risk of Bitcoin Fraud
While Bitcoin uses private key encryption to verify owners and register transactions, fraudsters and scammers may attempt to sell false bitcoins. For instance, in July 2013, the SEC brought legal action against an operator of a Bitcoin-related Ponzi scheme.
Market Risk
Like with any investment, Bitcoin values can fluctuate. Indeed, the value of the currency has seen wild swings in price over its short existence. Subject to high volume buying and selling on exchanges, it has a high sensitivity to “news." According to the CFPB, the price of bitcoins fell by 61% in a single day in 2013, while the one-day price drop in 2014 has been as big as 80%.
If fewer people begin to accept Bitcoin as a currency, these digital units may lose value and could become worthless. There is already plenty of competition, and though Bitcoin has a huge lead over the other 100-odd digital currencies that have sprung up, thanks to its brand recognition and venture capital money, a technological break-through in the form of a better virtual coin is always a threat.
Bitcoin's Tax Risk
As bitcoin is ineligible to be included in any tax-advantaged retirement accounts, there are no good, legal options to shield investments from taxation.
SPONSORED
Start with ¥3000 trading bonus
Trade forex and CFDs on stock indices, commodities, metals and energies with alicensed and regulated broker. For all clients who open their first real account, XM offers a¥3000 trading bonus to test the XM products and services without any initial deposit needed. Learn more about how you can trade from your PC and Mac, or from a variety of mobile devices.
Compare Investment Accounts
Advertiser Disclosure
Related Terms
Satoshi
The satoshi is the smallest unit of the bitcoin cryptocurrency. It is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the protocol used in block chains and the bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Chartalism Chartalism is a non-mainstream theory of money that emphasizes the impact of government policies and activities on the value of money.
Satoshi Nakamoto The name used by the unknown creator of the protocol used in the bitcoin cryptocurrency. Satoshi Nakamoto is closely-associated with blockchain technology.
Bitcoin Mining, Explained Breaking down everything you need to know about Bitcoin Mining, from Blockchain and Block Rewards to Proof-of-Work and Mining Pools.
Understanding Bitcoin Unlimited Bitcoin Unlimited is a proposed upgrade to Bitcoin Core that allows larger block sizes. The upgrade is designed to improve transaction speed through scale.
Blockchain Explained
A guide to help you understand what blockchain is and how it can be used by industries. You've probably encountered a definition like this: “blockchain is a distributed, decentralized, public ledger." But blockchain is easier to understand than it sounds.
Top 6 Books to Learn About Bitcoin About UsAdvertiseContactPrivacy PolicyTerms of UseCareers Investopedia is part of the Dotdash publishing family.The Balance Lifewire TripSavvy The Spruceand more
By Satoshi Nakamoto
Read it once, go read other crypto stuff, read it again… keep doing this until the whole document makes sense. It’ll take a while, but you’ll get there. This is the original whitepaper introducing and explaining Bitcoin, and there’s really nothing better out there to understand on the subject.
“What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party

submitted by adrian_morrison to BlockchainNews [link] [comments]

Overview of Major Risks of Buying Nyancoins - Version 4

This is the fourth version of the NYAN risks document (based on v3 (v2 and original). These are obsoleted periodically as the old ones get archived to allow for comments again via a new post, to re-examine the risks in light of changes, and for greater visibility.
The purpose of these documents is to provide a best-effort discussion of major risk factors in gambling on NYAN, modeled on the risks disclosure in a 10k (annual report) which is mandated for publicly traded companies in the United States. This document is provided with no guarantee that major risk factors have not been missed, and it is important to recognize my (coinaday) personal bias from holding about one-third of the total supply of NYAN.
Please comment on any risks which are not mentioned here or additional aspects of risks here you think should be further emphasized or any other possible disclosure you think would be helpful to a person considering gambling on NYAN.
Executive summary
Nyancoins have no core developer at the moment, uncertain demand, are traded actively on only one exchange, have had inconsistent blocks, are very vulnerable to 51% attacks, have the potential for serious bugs, an uncertain legal situation, concentrated ownership, depend upon the Internet, may be addictive, and could make you wealthy, which has been alleged to lead to more problems.
Introduction: This is my best attempt to collect every major risk factor from buying Nyancoins, although I can offer no warranty of fitness for this information for any purposes. I believe in honesty and forthrightness. Having this available and obvious is a simple matter of basic decency. Much, hopefully all, of this information has been discussed previously in /nyancoins, but this document in particular is about being up-to-date and central. This page will be updated clearly as appropriate if situations change on a best-effort basis (which may mean updates do not happen for months at times, unfortunately; please ping for faster updates).
If you believe that I am missing something, please note any other major risks you see in the comments.
Core developer: Although we have good general tech support in this community and have put up supporting infrastructure, there is not anyone officially currently working on core client code. This is a significant problem for the long-term, although we are not in any immediate known need of changes.
Demand: NYAN was introduced in 2014 and during the second half of that year had so little demand that it almost died out. In January 2015 I got involved in the coin and for most of 2015 and 2016 I was the majority of the buying pressure. I base these statements on my recollection of the trading history so far and the fact that I have acquired more than 120 million coins, somewhere around 41% of the coins (latest hodling report, June 2017), as well as my observations that I had usually had the leading major bid, and usually the leading bid regardless of size.
In 2017, I have generally not been a major factor in the demand, as I haven’t had money to spare to gamble on NYAN. In June 2017, we have had a spike in buying from an unknown source.
It is unknown whether significant demand for NYAN will continue. Because its value is purely speculative, it is entirely possible that demand for NYAN could simply end. This is a fundamental risk in gambling on NYAN; it is entirely possible that its value will go to zero and not recover.
Exchanges:
Cryptopia is currently the only exchange for Nyancoins with significant volume. If Cryptopia were to fail somehow, it is likely that this would have significant consequences for Nyancoins.
However, there are decentralized exchange technologies, notably CATE, which NYAN2 (my term for the current release, otherwise known as v1.3) should be able to support. On-Reddit exchanges are also possible with tipbots, but require trust as they are not atomic. It should be possible to build an "exchangebot" similarly, although I'm not currently aware of one, but my concept would still have the bot as a trusted central party.
Atomic cross-chain transactions seem to me like a very promising core technology ultimately for building exchanges which can be more proveably secure. They could also allow exchanges to share a common listing protocol as well without having to trust the other exchanges (at least, beyond the core protocol development and maintenance; tanstaafl).
Inconsistent blocks:
Although NYAN is designed to produce a block every minute, there have been times where there has been more than 24 hours between blocks. This results because of an imperfect difficulty function and low base hashing, along with price fluctuations, which can combine to have a low difficulty making the coin attractive for a flood of hashing power which can lead the difficulty function to overcompensate, leaving it stuck with a high difficulty no longer profitable to mine.
I haven’t observed this lately, that is, I don’t recall incidents of this in 2017, but I’ve been paying far less attention to it as well. It is entirely possible for this to recur, as the difficulty function is not fixed (it would require a hard fork to fix it). We seem to have more baseline hashing which helps to avoid this, but it is possible for us to lose that.
A workaround is to use large transaction fees (I've set my client to 337 NYAN) which is enough to cause pools to generally solve a block even if the chain were otherwise stuck. A solution should be included in a hard fork client, but it is unknown when if ever this would be done.
51% attack: Because of the generally quite low hashing power on NYAN, it is highly vulnerable to a 51% attack. Either a leading pool or a new one could choose to do a denial-of-service attack, whether for extortion, lulz, or some other reason (like coinaday being annoying). Such an attack is capable of preventing any transaction processing for as long as it is sustained. I consider this a relatively low risk since I expect we would simply wait it out (and potentially not even notice such an attack for quite a while given the low volume of transactions currently), but it is definitely a potential vulnerability.
Bugs: It is possible that there are bugs in the underlying code. I have never read through all of the bitcoin or nyancoin code, of any version, nor even studied the original bitcoin whitepaper in depth (by the way, we oughta make up a nyancoin whitepaper or ten someday), meaning I have no professional or technical knowledge about whether or not the system is fundamentally sound. I've been going based on "it seems to be working, so it's probably fine", which is, shall we say, more of an engineering than scientific approach.
I have heard reference to a "time warp" bug vulnerability in the KGW difficulty function which Nyancoins has. I do not know details and my understanding is a fix to this would require a fork to change the difficulty function, so I do not anticipate a fix before NYAN3, the term for an eventual hard fork, but it is unknown when if ever this would be done. I consider this vulnerability to be likely to be related to the fundamental weakness to difficulty spikes after large amounts of hashing jumps on the network. Hostile (or simply passing interest with large capacity) hashing does degrade the performance of the network. As a workaround, this class of attack can be mitigated with a transaction to 'unstick' the chain after, since the difficulty function will adjust in the next block after enough wall-time has passed since the last block (so only need one high difficulty solve which can be triggered by a transaction fee).
Legal: Bitcoin faces uncertain legal situations in almost every country. Nyancoin is even more uncertain, as people tend to consider bitcoin and not address impacts on altcoins. Between the potential tax implications and banking regulations and currency laws, there are a wide variety of ways a person could make a felony-level mistake. This can be somewhat mitigated by merely buying and holding, as you won't be responsible for KYC/AML presumably (although arguably an argument could be made in your purchase), and presumably unrealized capital gains wouldn't be taxable (but I am neither a lawyer nor accountant nor any sort of expert on the relevant accounting laws in any country).
Somehow getting legal opinions for Nyancoins in every country would be very useful in my opinion. If Bitcoin and altcoins are well-studied in a given country it should be relatively easy to adapt those opinions and research to Nyancoins, but it would still require some pro bono work in any case. So...hopefully we'll get some lawyer Nekonauts someday who are willing to semi-officially give us an opinion. In the meantime...hope that common sense can save you. If you sell Nyancoins directly, you're going to need to comply with the KYC/AML types of laws of your country. If you're going to do banking operations...may the central bank have mercy on your soul.
I think the best advantage we have is the same bitcoin had for its first years: we're too small for anyone to care. But since we plan to grow significantly, we need to be aware of our legal issues upon scale. Which is to say, whether or not you're allowed to sell 10,000 NYAN to your friend probably has a lot to do with whether your friend legally acquired whatever is being offered in exchange, and whether the value of what you get in return is above a certain level or not. I'm not going to try guessing that level precisely because I know I'll be wrong. $1 is probably fine. $10,000 is probably illegal without some significant licensing. I would suggest either not touching fiat or else deliberately capping it without verification after getting an independent local expert legal opinion.
concentration: The fact that I hold about 41%(? not sure the exact percentage as of Dec 2017 ; need to do updated survey to check; 41% sounds slightly high to me but I'll see...I'll try to update by the end of the year or shortly after) of the currently outstanding NYAN could be a major risk factor, particularly if I do not act in the best long-term interests of the strength of Nyancoins. For instance, I could pull my bids, sell only a small part of my holdings, crash the market, and potentially buy a lot of volume for a lower price. While I cannot foresee any circumstance under which I would do this, it is certainly conceivable that I could be financially, legally, or morally obligated to do so if I were to become insolvent.
Internet outage: if the Internet goes down, we hit a very nasty scenario. We can't process transactions, and all the miners go into a race to make 'useless' blocks on their own. If the Internet were never to come back up, Nyancoins would be dead. If there is a daylong internet outage, the longest blockchain discovered after, presumably representing the most hashing power dedicated to empty blocks during that outage, will win. So I suppose the block rewards in that case are for having the faith in Nyancoins to keep hashing and storing the blockchain during the day without the Internet.
addictive: This was a curiosity to me when I started. Now it's an obsession for me. I'm constantly thinking about how I can help to smooth the path for Nyancoins to grow stronger and better and more valuable. You may find that once you start to realize the impact you can have upon Nyancoins, and that Nyancoins can have upon you, that you start to become addicted as well. It is possible to substitute another addiction in its place, such as dogecoins or pcp, but it is not recommended.
Nyancoin addictions are considered 'mostly harmless'. The exception is if you go 'full coinaday' and start to accumulate more than 10% of your assets in Nyancoins. In this, this is essentially a variety of gambling addiction. I would argue that it beats roulette because you can tilt the odds in your favor, but then, I would argue that, wouldn't I?
mo' nyan mo' problems: Some people have claimed that more money leads to more problems. Since nyan is money, it follows as a consequence of the conjecture. Should this be the case, your increasing nyan could potentially lead to such problems in the future as: enhanced attention from revenue collection services of all kinds (governmental and private), swarms of fake friends and gold-diggers, excessive risk-taking as a result of feelings of invincibility, an increase in certain varieties of targeted marketing, possible disqualification for asset-based welfare for you (or even your children, for instance college financial assistance), an inability to remember how many houses you own, or other serious problems.
Conclusion
There are a variety of different risks in buying Nyancoins. I believe the most serious one is the developer issue. If those of us who have found or come back to NYAN abandon it, it could die. Otherwise, I consider the risks generally manageable, but exchange failure or a currently unknown bug could do serious damage to the ecosystem as well.
This self-certified infallible message has been brought to you as a Public Service Announcement of the NYAN Public Relations Council, a transparent front organization of notoriously lovable philanthropist and major NYAN hodler coinaday.
submitted by coinaday to nyancoins [link] [comments]

The Origins of the Blocksize Debate

On May 4, 2015, Gavin Andresen wrote on his blog:
I was planning to submit a pull request to the 0.11 release of Bitcoin Core that will allow miners to create blocks bigger than one megabyte, starting a little less than a year from now. But this process of peer review turned up a technical issue that needs to get addressed, and I don’t think it can be fixed in time for the first 0.11 release.
I will be writing a series of blog posts, each addressing one argument against raising the maximum block size, or against scheduling a raise right now... please send me an email ([email protected]) if I am missing any arguments
In other words, Gavin proposed a hard fork via a series of blog posts, bypassing all developer communication channels altogether and asking for personal, private emails from anyone interested in discussing the proposal further.
On May 5 (1 day after Gavin submitted his first blog post), Mike Hearn published The capacity cliff on his Medium page. 2 days later, he posted Crash landing. In these posts, he argued:
A common argument for letting Bitcoin blocks fill up is that the outcome won’t be so bad: just a market for fees... this is wrong. I don’t believe fees will become high and stable if Bitcoin runs out of capacity. Instead, I believe Bitcoin will crash.
...a permanent backlog would start to build up... as the backlog grows, nodes will start running out of memory and dying... as Core will accept any transaction that’s valid without any limit a node crash is eventually inevitable.
He also, in the latter article, explained that he disagreed with Satoshi's vision for how Bitcoin would mature[1][2]:
Neither me nor Gavin believe a fee market will work as a substitute for the inflation subsidy.
Gavin continued to publish the series of blog posts he had announced while Hearn made these predictions. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]
Matt Corallo brought Gavin's proposal up on the bitcoin-dev mailing list after a few days. He wrote:
Recently there has been a flurry of posts by Gavin at http://gavinandresen.svbtle.com/ which advocate strongly for increasing the maximum block size. However, there hasnt been any discussion on this mailing list in several years as far as I can tell...
So, at the risk of starting a flamewar, I'll provide a little bait to get some responses and hope the discussion opens up into an honest comparison of the tradeoffs here. Certainly a consensus in this kind of technical community should be a basic requirement for any serious commitment to blocksize increase.
Personally, I'm rather strongly against any commitment to a block size increase in the near future. Long-term incentive compatibility requires that there be some fee pressure, and that blocks be relatively consistently full or very nearly full. What we see today are transactions enjoying next-block confirmations with nearly zero pressure to include any fee at all (though many do because it makes wallet code simpler).
This allows the well-funded Bitcoin ecosystem to continue building systems which rely on transactions moving quickly into blocks while pretending these systems scale. Thus, instead of working on technologies which bring Bitcoin's trustlessness to systems which scale beyond a blockchain's necessarily slow and (compared to updating numbers in a database) expensive settlement, the ecosystem as a whole continues to focus on building centralized platforms and advocate for changes to Bitcoin which allow them to maintain the status quo
Shortly thereafter, Corallo explained further:
The point of the hard block size limit is exactly because giving miners free rule to do anything they like with their blocks would allow them to do any number of crazy attacks. The incentives for miners to pick block sizes are no where near compatible with what allows the network to continue to run in a decentralized manner.
Tier Nolan considered possible extensions and modifications that might improve Gavin's proposal and argued that soft caps could be used to mitigate against the dangers of a blocksize increase. Tom Harding voiced support for Gavin's proposal
Peter Todd mentioned that a limited blocksize provides the benefit of protecting against the "perverse incentives" behind potential block withholding attacks.
Slush didn't have a strong opinion one way or the other, and neither did Eric Lombrozo, though Eric was interested in developing hard-fork best practices and wanted to:
explore all the complexities involved with deployment of hard forks. Let’s not just do a one-off ad-hoc thing.
Matt Whitlock voiced his opinion:
I'm not so much opposed to a block size increase as I am opposed to a hard fork... I strongly fear that the hard fork itself will become an excuse to change other aspects of the system in ways that will have unintended and possibly disastrous consequences.
Bryan Bishop strongly opposed Gavin's proposal, and offered a philosophical perspective on the matter:
there has been significant public discussion... about why increasing the max block size is kicking the can down the road while possibly compromising blockchain security. There were many excellent objections that were raised that, sadly, I see are not referenced at all in the recent media blitz. Frankly I can't help but feel that if contributions, like those from #bitcoin-wizards, have been ignored in lieu of technical analysis, and the absence of discussion on this mailing list, that I feel perhaps there are other subtle and extremely important technical details that are completely absent from this--and other-- proposals.
Secured decentralization is the most important and most interesting property of bitcoin. Everything else is rather trivial and could be achieved millions of times more efficiently with conventional technology. Our technical work should be informed by the technical nature of the system we have constructed.
There's no doubt in my mind that bitcoin will always see the most extreme campaigns and the most extreme misunderstandings... for development purposes we must hold ourselves to extremely high standards before proposing changes, especially to the public, that have the potential to be unsafe and economically unsafe.
There are many potential technical solutions for aggregating millions (trillions?) of transactions into tiny bundles. As a small proof-of-concept, imagine two parties sending transactions back and forth 100 million times. Instead of recording every transaction, you could record the start state and the end state, and end up with two transactions or less. That's a 100 million fold, without modifying max block size and without potentially compromising secured decentralization.
The MIT group should listen up and get to work figuring out how to measure decentralization and its security.. Getting this measurement right would be really beneficial because we would have a more academic and technical understanding to work with.
Gregory Maxwell echoed and extended that perspective:
When Bitcoin is changed fundamentally, via a hard fork, to have different properties, the change can create winners or losers...
There are non-trivial number of people who hold extremes on any of these general belief patterns; Even among the core developers there is not a consensus on Bitcoin's optimal role in society and the commercial marketplace.
there is a at least a two fold concern on this particular ("Long term Mining incentives") front:
One is that the long-held argument is that security of the Bitcoin system in the long term depends on fee income funding autonomous, anonymous, decentralized miners profitably applying enough hash-power to make reorganizations infeasible.
For fees to achieve this purpose, there seemingly must be an effective scarcity of capacity.
The second is that when subsidy has fallen well below fees, the incentive to move the blockchain forward goes away. An optimal rational miner would be best off forking off the current best block in order to capture its fees, rather than moving the blockchain forward...
tools like the Lightning network proposal could well allow us to hit a greater spectrum of demands at once--including secure zero-confirmation (something that larger blocksizes reduce if anything), which is important for many applications. With the right technology I believe we can have our cake and eat it too, but there needs to be a reason to build it; the security and decentralization level of Bitcoin imposes a hard upper limit on anything that can be based on it.
Another key point here is that the small bumps in blocksize which wouldn't clearly knock the system into a largely centralized mode--small constants--are small enough that they don't quantitatively change the operation of the system; they don't open up new applications that aren't possible today
the procedure I'd prefer would be something like this: if there is a standing backlog, we-the-community of users look to indicators to gauge if the network is losing decentralization and then double the hard limit with proper controls to allow smooth adjustment without fees going to zero (see the past proposals for automatic block size controls that let miners increase up to a hard maximum over the median if they mine at quadratically harder difficulty), and we don't increase if it appears it would be at a substantial increase in centralization risk. Hardfork changes should only be made if they're almost completely uncontroversial--where virtually everyone can look at the available data and say "yea, that isn't undermining my property rights or future use of Bitcoin; it's no big deal". Unfortunately, every indicator I can think of except fee totals has been going in the wrong direction almost monotonically along with the blockchain size increase since 2012 when we started hitting full blocks and responded by increasing the default soft target. This is frustrating
many people--myself included--have been working feverishly hard behind the scenes on Bitcoin Core to increase the scalability. This work isn't small-potatoes boring software engineering stuff; I mean even my personal contributions include things like inventing a wholly new generic algebraic optimization applicable to all EC signature schemes that increases performance by 4%, and that is before getting into the R&D stuff that hasn't really borne fruit yet, like fraud proofs. Today Bitcoin Core is easily >100 times faster to synchronize and relay than when I first got involved on the same hardware, but these improvements have been swallowed by the growth. The ironic thing is that our frantic efforts to keep ahead and not lose decentralization have both not been enough (by the best measures, full node usage is the lowest its been since 2011 even though the user base is huge now) and yet also so much that people could seriously talk about increasing the block size to something gigantic like 20MB. This sounds less reasonable when you realize that even at 1MB we'd likely have a smoking hole in the ground if not for existing enormous efforts to make scaling not come at a loss of decentralization.
Peter Todd also summarized some academic findings on the subject:
In short, without either a fixed blocksize or fixed fee per transaction Bitcoin will will not survive as there is no viable way to pay for PoW security. The latter option - fixed fee per transaction - is non-trivial to implement in a way that's actually meaningful - it's easy to give miners "kickbacks" - leaving us with a fixed blocksize.
Even a relatively small increase to 20MB will greatly reduce the number of people who can participate fully in Bitcoin, creating an environment where the next increase requires the consent of an even smaller portion of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Where does that stop? What's the proposed mechanism that'll create an incentive and social consensus to not just 'kick the can down the road'(3) and further centralize but actually scale up Bitcoin the hard way?
Some developers (e.g. Aaron Voisine) voiced support for Gavin's proposal which repeated Mike Hearn's "crash landing" arguments.
Pieter Wuille said:
I am - in general - in favor of increasing the size blocks...
Controversial hard forks. I hope the mailing list here today already proves it is a controversial issue. Independent of personal opinions pro or against, I don't think we can do a hard fork that is controversial in nature. Either the result is effectively a fork, and pre-existing coins can be spent once on both sides (effectively failing Bitcoin's primary purpose), or the result is one side forced to upgrade to something they dislike - effectively giving a power to developers they should never have. Quoting someone: "I did not sign up to be part of a central banker's committee".
The reason for increasing is "need". If "we need more space in blocks" is the reason to do an upgrade, it won't stop after 20 MB. There is nothing fundamental possible with 20 MB blocks that isn't with 1 MB blocks.
Misrepresentation of the trade-offs. You can argue all you want that none of the effects of larger blocks are particularly damaging, so everything is fine. They will damage something (see below for details), and we should analyze these effects, and be honest about them, and present them as a trade-off made we choose to make to scale the system better. If you just ask people if they want more transactions, of course you'll hear yes. If you ask people if they want to pay less taxes, I'm sure the vast majority will agree as well.
Miner centralization. There is currently, as far as I know, no technology that can relay and validate 20 MB blocks across the planet, in a manner fast enough to avoid very significant costs to mining. There is work in progress on this (including Gavin's IBLT-based relay, or Greg's block network coding), but I don't think we should be basing the future of the economics of the system on undemonstrated ideas. Without those (or even with), the result may be that miners self-limit the size of their blocks to propagate faster, but if this happens, larger, better-connected, and more centrally-located groups of miners gain a competitive advantage by being able to produce larger blocks. I would like to point out that there is nothing evil about this - a simple feedback to determine an optimal block size for an individual miner will result in larger blocks for better connected hash power. If we do not want miners to have this ability, "we" (as in: those using full nodes) should demand limitations that prevent it. One such limitation is a block size limit (whatever it is).
Ability to use a full node.
Skewed incentives for improvements... without actual pressure to work on these, I doubt much will change. Increasing the size of blocks now will simply make it cheap enough to continue business as usual for a while - while forcing a massive cost increase (and not just a monetary one) on the entire ecosystem.
Fees and long-term incentives.
I don't think 1 MB is optimal. Block size is a compromise between scalability of transactions and verifiability of the system. A system with 10 transactions per day that is verifiable by a pocket calculator is not useful, as it would only serve a few large bank's settlements. A system which can deal with every coffee bought on the planet, but requires a Google-scale data center to verify is also not useful, as it would be trivially out-competed by a VISA-like design. The usefulness needs in a balance, and there is no optimal choice for everyone. We can choose where that balance lies, but we must accept that this is done as a trade-off, and that that trade-off will have costs such as hardware costs, decreasing anonymity, less independence, smaller target audience for people able to fully validate, ...
Choose wisely.
Mike Hearn responded:
this list is not a good place for making progress or reaching decisions.
if Bitcoin continues on its current growth trends it will run out of capacity, almost certainly by some time next year. What we need to see right now is leadership and a plan, that fits in the available time window.
I no longer believe this community can reach consensus on anything protocol related.
When the money supply eventually dwindles I doubt it will be fee pressure that funds mining
What I don't see from you yet is a specific and credible plan that fits within the next 12 months and which allows Bitcoin to keep growing.
Peter Todd then pointed out that, contrary to Mike's claims, developer consensus had been achieved within Core plenty of times recently. Btc-drak asked Mike to "explain where the 12 months timeframe comes from?"
Jorge Timón wrote an incredibly prescient reply to Mike:
We've successfully reached consensus for several softfork proposals already. I agree with others that hardfork need to be uncontroversial and there should be consensus about them. If you have other ideas for the criteria for hardfork deployment all I'm ears. I just hope that by "What we need to see right now is leadership" you don't mean something like "when Gaving and Mike agree it's enough to deploy a hardfork" when you go from vague to concrete.
Oh, so your answer to "bitcoin will eventually need to live on fees and we would like to know more about how it will look like then" it's "no bitcoin long term it's broken long term but that's far away in the future so let's just worry about the present". I agree that it's hard to predict that future, but having some competition for block space would actually help us get more data on a similar situation to be able to predict that future better. What you want to avoid at all cost (the block size actually being used), I see as the best opportunity we have to look into the future.
this is my plan: we wait 12 months... and start having full blocks and people having to wait 2 blocks for their transactions to be confirmed some times. That would be the beginning of a true "fee market", something that Gavin used to say was his #1 priority not so long ago (which seems contradictory with his current efforts to avoid that from happening). Having a true fee market seems clearly an advantage. What are supposedly disastrous negative parts of this plan that make an alternative plan (ie: increasing the block size) so necessary and obvious. I think the advocates of the size increase are failing to explain the disadvantages of maintaining the current size. It feels like the explanation are missing because it should be somehow obvious how the sky will burn if we don't increase the block size soon. But, well, it is not obvious to me, so please elaborate on why having a fee market (instead of just an price estimator for a market that doesn't even really exist) would be a disaster.
Some suspected Gavin/Mike were trying to rush the hard fork for personal reasons.
Mike Hearn's response was to demand a "leader" who could unilaterally steer the Bitcoin project and make decisions unchecked:
No. What I meant is that someone (theoretically Wladimir) needs to make a clear decision. If that decision is "Bitcoin Core will wait and watch the fireworks when blocks get full", that would be showing leadership
I will write more on the topic of what will happen if we hit the block size limit... I don't believe we will get any useful data out of such an event. I've seen distributed systems run out of capacity before. What will happen instead is technological failure followed by rapid user abandonment...
we need to hear something like that from Wladimir, or whoever has the final say around here.
Jorge Timón responded:
it is true that "universally uncontroversial" (which is what I think the requirement should be for hard forks) is a vague qualifier that's not formally defined anywhere. I guess we should only consider rational arguments. You cannot just nack something without further explanation. If his explanation was "I will change my mind after we increase block size", I guess the community should say "then we will just ignore your nack because it makes no sense". In the same way, when people use fallacies (purposely or not) we must expose that and say "this fallacy doesn't count as an argument". But yeah, it would probably be good to define better what constitutes a "sensible objection" or something. That doesn't seem simple though.
it seems that some people would like to see that happening before the subsidies are low (not necessarily null), while other people are fine waiting for that but don't want to ever be close to the scale limits anytime soon. I would also like to know for how long we need to prioritize short term adoption in this way. As others have said, if the answer is "forever, adoption is always the most important thing" then we will end up with an improved version of Visa. But yeah, this is progress, I'll wait for your more detailed description of the tragedies that will follow hitting the block limits, assuming for now that it will happen in 12 months. My previous answer to the nervous "we will hit the block limits in 12 months if we don't do anything" was "not sure about 12 months, but whatever, great, I'm waiting for that to observe how fees get affected". But it should have been a question "what's wrong with hitting the block limits in 12 months?"
Mike Hearn again asserted the need for a leader:
There must be a single decision maker for any given codebase.
Bryan Bishop attempted to explain why this did not make sense with git architecture.
Finally, Gavin announced his intent to merge the patch into Bitcoin XT to bypass the peer review he had received on the bitcoin-dev mailing list.
submitted by sound8bits to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

How can NYCoin reach the Unbanked and Underbanked?

I'm not going to answer the question, because I doubt there is one answer, but I've got some articles I want to link to and I hope we'll talk about these groups more. There's a huge potential for mutual benefit here between NYCoin, our retail partners and their underbanked customers.
Unbanked and Underbanked
Tech companies, banks and local governments have been thinking about and making overtures towards the underbanked for years, with most of the success coming in third world countries from digital, phone based systems. The pressure to reach this market is growing, and estimates of unbanked sizes within the U.S. seem to be from 10 to 15 million, not including the merely under-banked which would bring the total to 30+ million people. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanmcintyre/2017/05/10/banks-need-to-focus-on-a-new-customer-the-unbanked/#766222b659c8
Specific to New York City, more than one million people are identified as unbanked (no bank accounts in the entire household) or underbanked (some accounts, but still using some alternative services, including predatory financial services). This despite the city working since the 90s to actively regulate banks to favor these consumers: https://citylimits.org/2017/01/06/why-are-so-many-new-yorkers-still-under-banked/
Identities and Trust
I don't think enough has been said about the role IDs play in all this. In the voter ID debate (please avoid the politics here, let's just focus on the economics), it's often been pointed out how many people lack valid photo ID, which would make it difficult to participate in traditional financial transactions, which are built on trust. This effect might be particularly pronounced in a place like NYC where driving isn't as big a part of life as in other parts of the country, owing to NYC's excellent mass transit and congested roadways, so driver's licenses just aren't as common. New York City attempted to address this with a local ID, with limited success. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/24/business/dealbook/banks-reject-new-york-city-ids-leaving-unbanked-on-sidelines.html
Even if NYC convinced all companies to accept their IDs, they might have difficulty getting all users to actually use their IDs. I doubt even researchers fully understand why people don't have IDs. But in any case, the blockchain is built on trustless transactions. We can meet users where they are rather than demand they adapt to a system they don't seem to want to adapt to. There are no chargebacks on NYCoin like there are on credit cards. Unlike checks, you can't send NYCoin you don't control. And unlike cash you can't counterfeit NYCoin. If people don't want to use IDs, the need isn't there.
Practical hurdles
But it's one thing to know that blockchain projects COULD serve the unbanked, it's another to actually connect these particular users, often more disconnected than their banked peers, with NYCoin. That's the rub.
Personally, I suspect that our retail partners are our absolute best hope of connecting with, and helping this group of people, these retailers are also the most incentivized to help. If their unbanked customers are forced to carry around only cash, they will probably often carry as little as possible to avoid the dangers to losing it to theft. I know I feel conspicuous and vulnerable when I carry a lot of cash. That means they might buy less than they otherwise would or make fewer stops than they otherwise would. These same users may feel more comfortable carrying more money overall if some of it is locked on their phone. Even super cheap Moto E's have fingerprint sensors these days, so even if the phone was stolen, a crypto wallet on it probably won't be, and a user could use their recovery seed to regain their funds even without their phone.
There are some serious obstacles, however. First and foremost is bitlicense, a regulatory regime in New York no one seems to want to use. https://www.coindesk.com/meet-the-new-york-lawmaker-who-wants-to-replace-the-bitlicense/ I'm not going to analyze exactly what you can and cannot do without a bitlicense, but I certainly fear that selling NYCoin direct to consumers from your store would be a problem, and without that, how would the unbanked exchange their cash for NYCoin in the first place? Localbitcoins is the most obvious answer, but expecting the unbanked to jump through hoops to first get the bitcoin then use a far off, unknown exchange (when they already don't trust nearby banks) is unrealistic. Bitcoin's high fees present another obstacle, and localbitcoins often marks up the cost considerably, 10% isn't unlikely depending on competition, so by the time a user actually gets their NYCoin, they've lost enormous value from multiple vectors. As most unbanked are economically challenged to begin with, this isn't practical.
As you can see above, there are those interested in unraveling New York's regulations to make using crypto easier. And long term, I think we need shopkeepers who are willing to not only accept NYCoin, but to sell it to their users for cash as well. They would benefit not only from a fee on the sale, but also by helping their unbanked users have more money on their person, and thus be more able to make purchases in their stores when they need to but want to carry less cash around.
Rough Ideas
I suspect that NYCoin could benefit greatly from rallying behind efforts to repeal bitlicense, not only from the repeal itself, but from coverage of the repeal effort. The bigger a part of that we are, and the more we connect the repeal to helping New York's underbanked, the more the name New York Coin becomes known and associated with financial solutions.
Even if we help repeal bitlicense, we still need to convince more retail partners to come on board, and convince them to not only accept NYCoin, but to help their users buy it with cash when they don't have checking accounts or credit cards, and don't want to pay the localbitcoin tax or bitcoin fees to move their local purchase to an exchange they might not trust to begin with. But they do trust their local merchants. The benefit is there for merchants, but we need a solid way to sell them on it. A billboard won't do it. We need a more personal approach.
I think, ultimately, we need boots on the ground and funds to literally pay retailers to try NYCoin (again, after bitlicense is repealed). I don't think donations will begin to cover it. But if we can make small retailers investors, hodlers in NYCoin while the price is low, offering somewhere from 1 million to 5 million to accept and offer NYCoin to their customers for a year or two, and offering bounties to actual NYCoin boosters who sign them up, we could sign up hundreds of retailers. The price of NYCoin is low right now. Now is the time to do it, but if donations can't cover it, how could we raise the funds?
Some coins raise money by premining, ICOing, but Zcash raised money by putting a 20% founder's reward on the first 4 years of blocks mined on the network. I think when we decide on a fork to reduce the block reward, we should put a tax on future blocks sufficient to raise 1 billion NYC in funds for our team to use first towards retailer enlistment (without which, NYCoin doesn't stand a chance). If our first move to lower the block reward were not to lower it, but to send half of it to a development fund, we could raise half a billion NYCoin for retailer engagement in just over a month, and most of that would come out of prohashing's mine and dump operation, so the effect on NYCoin's price would be nearly the same as just cutting the block reward without a tax. Depending on how fast future reductions in the block reward progressed, if the tax remained we could have a cool billion to develop the coin within the year.
Conclusion
I hope you'll post more ideas here, post more threads about the unbanked and underbanked, ideas about how to organize to bring down bitlicense and generally talk about how to successfully draft more retailers and keep them happy and engaged and help them when they have issues. Our retailers will be the cornerstone of NYCoin. We need more of them and we need to be willing to take a big swing to recruit and keep them.
submitted by nodecache to nycoincommunity [link] [comments]

The Origins of the (Modern) Blocksize Debate

On May 4, 2015, Gavin Andresen wrote on his blog:
I was planning to submit a pull request to the 0.11 release of Bitcoin Core that will allow miners to create blocks bigger than one megabyte, starting a little less than a year from now. But this process of peer review turned up a technical issue that needs to get addressed, and I don’t think it can be fixed in time for the first 0.11 release.
I will be writing a series of blog posts, each addressing one argument against raising the maximum block size, or against scheduling a raise right now... please send me an email ([email protected]) if I am missing any arguments
In other words, Gavin proposed a hard fork via a series of blog posts, bypassing all developer communication channels altogether and asking for personal, private emails from anyone interested in discussing the proposal further.
On May 5 (1 day after Gavin submitted his first blog post), Mike Hearn published The capacity cliff on his Medium page. 2 days later, he posted Crash landing. In these posts, he argued:
A common argument for letting Bitcoin blocks fill up is that the outcome won’t be so bad: just a market for fees... this is wrong. I don’t believe fees will become high and stable if Bitcoin runs out of capacity. Instead, I believe Bitcoin will crash.
...a permanent backlog would start to build up... as the backlog grows, nodes will start running out of memory and dying... as Core will accept any transaction that’s valid without any limit a node crash is eventually inevitable.
He also, in the latter article, explained that he disagreed with Satoshi's vision for how Bitcoin would mature[1][2]:
Neither me nor Gavin believe a fee market will work as a substitute for the inflation subsidy.
Gavin continued to publish the series of blog posts he had announced while Hearn made these predictions. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]
Matt Corallo brought Gavin's proposal up on the bitcoin-dev mailing list after a few days. He wrote:
Recently there has been a flurry of posts by Gavin at http://gavinandresen.svbtle.com/ which advocate strongly for increasing the maximum block size. However, there hasnt been any discussion on this mailing list in several years as far as I can tell...
So, at the risk of starting a flamewar, I'll provide a little bait to get some responses and hope the discussion opens up into an honest comparison of the tradeoffs here. Certainly a consensus in this kind of technical community should be a basic requirement for any serious commitment to blocksize increase.
Personally, I'm rather strongly against any commitment to a block size increase in the near future. Long-term incentive compatibility requires that there be some fee pressure, and that blocks be relatively consistently full or very nearly full. What we see today are transactions enjoying next-block confirmations with nearly zero pressure to include any fee at all (though many do because it makes wallet code simpler).
This allows the well-funded Bitcoin ecosystem to continue building systems which rely on transactions moving quickly into blocks while pretending these systems scale. Thus, instead of working on technologies which bring Bitcoin's trustlessness to systems which scale beyond a blockchain's necessarily slow and (compared to updating numbers in a database) expensive settlement, the ecosystem as a whole continues to focus on building centralized platforms and advocate for changes to Bitcoin which allow them to maintain the status quo
Shortly thereafter, Corallo explained further:
The point of the hard block size limit is exactly because giving miners free rule to do anything they like with their blocks would allow them to do any number of crazy attacks. The incentives for miners to pick block sizes are no where near compatible with what allows the network to continue to run in a decentralized manner.
Tier Nolan considered possible extensions and modifications that might improve Gavin's proposal and argued that soft caps could be used to mitigate against the dangers of a blocksize increase. Tom Harding voiced support for Gavin's proposal
Peter Todd mentioned that a limited blocksize provides the benefit of protecting against the "perverse incentives" behind potential block withholding attacks.
Slush didn't have a strong opinion one way or the other, and neither did Eric Lombrozo, though Eric was interested in developing hard-fork best practices and wanted to:
explore all the complexities involved with deployment of hard forks. Let’s not just do a one-off ad-hoc thing.
Matt Whitlock voiced his opinion:
I'm not so much opposed to a block size increase as I am opposed to a hard fork... I strongly fear that the hard fork itself will become an excuse to change other aspects of the system in ways that will have unintended and possibly disastrous consequences.
Bryan Bishop strongly opposed Gavin's proposal, and offered a philosophical perspective on the matter:
there has been significant public discussion... about why increasing the max block size is kicking the can down the road while possibly compromising blockchain security. There were many excellent objections that were raised that, sadly, I see are not referenced at all in the recent media blitz. Frankly I can't help but feel that if contributions, like those from #bitcoin-wizards, have been ignored in lieu of technical analysis, and the absence of discussion on this mailing list, that I feel perhaps there are other subtle and extremely important technical details that are completely absent from this--and other-- proposals.
Secured decentralization is the most important and most interesting property of bitcoin. Everything else is rather trivial and could be achieved millions of times more efficiently with conventional technology. Our technical work should be informed by the technical nature of the system we have constructed.
There's no doubt in my mind that bitcoin will always see the most extreme campaigns and the most extreme misunderstandings... for development purposes we must hold ourselves to extremely high standards before proposing changes, especially to the public, that have the potential to be unsafe and economically unsafe.
There are many potential technical solutions for aggregating millions (trillions?) of transactions into tiny bundles. As a small proof-of-concept, imagine two parties sending transactions back and forth 100 million times. Instead of recording every transaction, you could record the start state and the end state, and end up with two transactions or less. That's a 100 million fold, without modifying max block size and without potentially compromising secured decentralization.
The MIT group should listen up and get to work figuring out how to measure decentralization and its security.. Getting this measurement right would be really beneficial because we would have a more academic and technical understanding to work with.
Gregory Maxwell echoed and extended that perspective:
When Bitcoin is changed fundamentally, via a hard fork, to have different properties, the change can create winners or losers...
There are non-trivial number of people who hold extremes on any of these general belief patterns; Even among the core developers there is not a consensus on Bitcoin's optimal role in society and the commercial marketplace.
there is a at least a two fold concern on this particular ("Long term Mining incentives") front:
One is that the long-held argument is that security of the Bitcoin system in the long term depends on fee income funding autonomous, anonymous, decentralized miners profitably applying enough hash-power to make reorganizations infeasible.
For fees to achieve this purpose, there seemingly must be an effective scarcity of capacity.
The second is that when subsidy has fallen well below fees, the incentive to move the blockchain forward goes away. An optimal rational miner would be best off forking off the current best block in order to capture its fees, rather than moving the blockchain forward...
tools like the Lightning network proposal could well allow us to hit a greater spectrum of demands at once--including secure zero-confirmation (something that larger blocksizes reduce if anything), which is important for many applications. With the right technology I believe we can have our cake and eat it too, but there needs to be a reason to build it; the security and decentralization level of Bitcoin imposes a hard upper limit on anything that can be based on it.
Another key point here is that the small bumps in blocksize which wouldn't clearly knock the system into a largely centralized mode--small constants--are small enough that they don't quantitatively change the operation of the system; they don't open up new applications that aren't possible today
the procedure I'd prefer would be something like this: if there is a standing backlog, we-the-community of users look to indicators to gauge if the network is losing decentralization and then double the hard limit with proper controls to allow smooth adjustment without fees going to zero (see the past proposals for automatic block size controls that let miners increase up to a hard maximum over the median if they mine at quadratically harder difficulty), and we don't increase if it appears it would be at a substantial increase in centralization risk. Hardfork changes should only be made if they're almost completely uncontroversial--where virtually everyone can look at the available data and say "yea, that isn't undermining my property rights or future use of Bitcoin; it's no big deal". Unfortunately, every indicator I can think of except fee totals has been going in the wrong direction almost monotonically along with the blockchain size increase since 2012 when we started hitting full blocks and responded by increasing the default soft target. This is frustrating
many people--myself included--have been working feverishly hard behind the scenes on Bitcoin Core to increase the scalability. This work isn't small-potatoes boring software engineering stuff; I mean even my personal contributions include things like inventing a wholly new generic algebraic optimization applicable to all EC signature schemes that increases performance by 4%, and that is before getting into the R&D stuff that hasn't really borne fruit yet, like fraud proofs. Today Bitcoin Core is easily >100 times faster to synchronize and relay than when I first got involved on the same hardware, but these improvements have been swallowed by the growth. The ironic thing is that our frantic efforts to keep ahead and not lose decentralization have both not been enough (by the best measures, full node usage is the lowest its been since 2011 even though the user base is huge now) and yet also so much that people could seriously talk about increasing the block size to something gigantic like 20MB. This sounds less reasonable when you realize that even at 1MB we'd likely have a smoking hole in the ground if not for existing enormous efforts to make scaling not come at a loss of decentralization.
Peter Todd also summarized some academic findings on the subject:
In short, without either a fixed blocksize or fixed fee per transaction Bitcoin will will not survive as there is no viable way to pay for PoW security. The latter option - fixed fee per transaction - is non-trivial to implement in a way that's actually meaningful - it's easy to give miners "kickbacks" - leaving us with a fixed blocksize.
Even a relatively small increase to 20MB will greatly reduce the number of people who can participate fully in Bitcoin, creating an environment where the next increase requires the consent of an even smaller portion of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Where does that stop? What's the proposed mechanism that'll create an incentive and social consensus to not just 'kick the can down the road'(3) and further centralize but actually scale up Bitcoin the hard way?
Some developers (e.g. Aaron Voisine) voiced support for Gavin's proposal which repeated Mike Hearn's "crash landing" arguments.
Pieter Wuille said:
I am - in general - in favor of increasing the size blocks...
Controversial hard forks. I hope the mailing list here today already proves it is a controversial issue. Independent of personal opinions pro or against, I don't think we can do a hard fork that is controversial in nature. Either the result is effectively a fork, and pre-existing coins can be spent once on both sides (effectively failing Bitcoin's primary purpose), or the result is one side forced to upgrade to something they dislike - effectively giving a power to developers they should never have. Quoting someone: "I did not sign up to be part of a central banker's committee".
The reason for increasing is "need". If "we need more space in blocks" is the reason to do an upgrade, it won't stop after 20 MB. There is nothing fundamental possible with 20 MB blocks that isn't with 1 MB blocks.
Misrepresentation of the trade-offs. You can argue all you want that none of the effects of larger blocks are particularly damaging, so everything is fine. They will damage something (see below for details), and we should analyze these effects, and be honest about them, and present them as a trade-off made we choose to make to scale the system better. If you just ask people if they want more transactions, of course you'll hear yes. If you ask people if they want to pay less taxes, I'm sure the vast majority will agree as well.
Miner centralization. There is currently, as far as I know, no technology that can relay and validate 20 MB blocks across the planet, in a manner fast enough to avoid very significant costs to mining. There is work in progress on this (including Gavin's IBLT-based relay, or Greg's block network coding), but I don't think we should be basing the future of the economics of the system on undemonstrated ideas. Without those (or even with), the result may be that miners self-limit the size of their blocks to propagate faster, but if this happens, larger, better-connected, and more centrally-located groups of miners gain a competitive advantage by being able to produce larger blocks. I would like to point out that there is nothing evil about this - a simple feedback to determine an optimal block size for an individual miner will result in larger blocks for better connected hash power. If we do not want miners to have this ability, "we" (as in: those using full nodes) should demand limitations that prevent it. One such limitation is a block size limit (whatever it is).
Ability to use a full node.
Skewed incentives for improvements... without actual pressure to work on these, I doubt much will change. Increasing the size of blocks now will simply make it cheap enough to continue business as usual for a while - while forcing a massive cost increase (and not just a monetary one) on the entire ecosystem.
Fees and long-term incentives.
I don't think 1 MB is optimal. Block size is a compromise between scalability of transactions and verifiability of the system. A system with 10 transactions per day that is verifiable by a pocket calculator is not useful, as it would only serve a few large bank's settlements. A system which can deal with every coffee bought on the planet, but requires a Google-scale data center to verify is also not useful, as it would be trivially out-competed by a VISA-like design. The usefulness needs in a balance, and there is no optimal choice for everyone. We can choose where that balance lies, but we must accept that this is done as a trade-off, and that that trade-off will have costs such as hardware costs, decreasing anonymity, less independence, smaller target audience for people able to fully validate, ...
Choose wisely.
Mike Hearn responded:
this list is not a good place for making progress or reaching decisions.
if Bitcoin continues on its current growth trends it will run out of capacity, almost certainly by some time next year. What we need to see right now is leadership and a plan, that fits in the available time window.
I no longer believe this community can reach consensus on anything protocol related.
When the money supply eventually dwindles I doubt it will be fee pressure that funds mining
What I don't see from you yet is a specific and credible plan that fits within the next 12 months and which allows Bitcoin to keep growing.
Peter Todd then pointed out that, contrary to Mike's claims, developer consensus had been achieved within Core plenty of times recently. Btc-drak asked Mike to "explain where the 12 months timeframe comes from?"
Jorge Timón wrote an incredibly prescient reply to Mike:
We've successfully reached consensus for several softfork proposals already. I agree with others that hardfork need to be uncontroversial and there should be consensus about them. If you have other ideas for the criteria for hardfork deployment all I'm ears. I just hope that by "What we need to see right now is leadership" you don't mean something like "when Gaving and Mike agree it's enough to deploy a hardfork" when you go from vague to concrete.
Oh, so your answer to "bitcoin will eventually need to live on fees and we would like to know more about how it will look like then" it's "no bitcoin long term it's broken long term but that's far away in the future so let's just worry about the present". I agree that it's hard to predict that future, but having some competition for block space would actually help us get more data on a similar situation to be able to predict that future better. What you want to avoid at all cost (the block size actually being used), I see as the best opportunity we have to look into the future.
this is my plan: we wait 12 months... and start having full blocks and people having to wait 2 blocks for their transactions to be confirmed some times. That would be the beginning of a true "fee market", something that Gavin used to say was his #1 priority not so long ago (which seems contradictory with his current efforts to avoid that from happening). Having a true fee market seems clearly an advantage. What are supposedly disastrous negative parts of this plan that make an alternative plan (ie: increasing the block size) so necessary and obvious. I think the advocates of the size increase are failing to explain the disadvantages of maintaining the current size. It feels like the explanation are missing because it should be somehow obvious how the sky will burn if we don't increase the block size soon. But, well, it is not obvious to me, so please elaborate on why having a fee market (instead of just an price estimator for a market that doesn't even really exist) would be a disaster.
Some suspected Gavin/Mike were trying to rush the hard fork for personal reasons.
Mike Hearn's response was to demand a "leader" who could unilaterally steer the Bitcoin project and make decisions unchecked:
No. What I meant is that someone (theoretically Wladimir) needs to make a clear decision. If that decision is "Bitcoin Core will wait and watch the fireworks when blocks get full", that would be showing leadership
I will write more on the topic of what will happen if we hit the block size limit... I don't believe we will get any useful data out of such an event. I've seen distributed systems run out of capacity before. What will happen instead is technological failure followed by rapid user abandonment...
we need to hear something like that from Wladimir, or whoever has the final say around here.
Jorge Timón responded:
it is true that "universally uncontroversial" (which is what I think the requirement should be for hard forks) is a vague qualifier that's not formally defined anywhere. I guess we should only consider rational arguments. You cannot just nack something without further explanation. If his explanation was "I will change my mind after we increase block size", I guess the community should say "then we will just ignore your nack because it makes no sense". In the same way, when people use fallacies (purposely or not) we must expose that and say "this fallacy doesn't count as an argument". But yeah, it would probably be good to define better what constitutes a "sensible objection" or something. That doesn't seem simple though.
it seems that some people would like to see that happening before the subsidies are low (not necessarily null), while other people are fine waiting for that but don't want to ever be close to the scale limits anytime soon. I would also like to know for how long we need to prioritize short term adoption in this way. As others have said, if the answer is "forever, adoption is always the most important thing" then we will end up with an improved version of Visa. But yeah, this is progress, I'll wait for your more detailed description of the tragedies that will follow hitting the block limits, assuming for now that it will happen in 12 months. My previous answer to the nervous "we will hit the block limits in 12 months if we don't do anything" was "not sure about 12 months, but whatever, great, I'm waiting for that to observe how fees get affected". But it should have been a question "what's wrong with hitting the block limits in 12 months?"
Mike Hearn again asserted the need for a leader:
There must be a single decision maker for any given codebase.
Bryan Bishop attempted to explain why this did not make sense with git architecture.
Finally, Gavin announced his intent to merge the patch into Bitcoin XT to bypass the peer review he had received on the bitcoin-dev mailing list.
submitted by sound8bits to sound8bits [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Mining & The Beauty Of Capitalism

Authored by Valentin Schmid via The Epoch Times,
While the price of bitcoin drops, miners get more creative... and some flourish.
The bitcoin price is crashing; naysayers and doomsayers are having a field day. The demise of the dominant cryptocurrency is finally happening — or is it?
Bitcoin has been buried hundreds of times, most notably during the brutal 90 percent decline from 2013 to 2015. And yet it has always made a comeback.
Where the skeptics are correct: The second bitcoin bubble burst in December of last year and the price is down roughly 80 percent from its high of $20,000. Nobody knows whether and when it will see these lofty heights again.
As a result, millions of speculators have been burned, and big institutions haven’t showed up to bridge the gap.
This also happened on a smaller scale in 2013 after a similar 100x run-up, and it was necessary.

Time to Catch Up

What most speculators and even some serious proponents of the independent and decentralized monetary system don’t understand: Bitcoin needs these pauses to make improvements in its infrastructure.
Exchanges, which could not handle the trading volumes at the height of the frenzy and did not return customer service inquiries, can take a breather and upgrade their systems and hire capable people.
The technology itself needs to make progress and this needs time. Projects like the lightning network, a system which delivers instant bitcoin payments at very little cost and at virtually unlimited scale is now only available to expert programmers.
A higher valuation is only justified if these improvements reach the mass market.
And since we live in a world where everything financial is tightly regulated, for better or worse, this area also needs to catch up, since regulators are chronically behind the curve of technological progress.
And of course, there is bitcoin mining. The vital infrastructure behind securing the bitcoin network and processing its transactions has been concentrated in too few hands and in too few places, most notably China, which still hosts about 70 percent of the mining capacity.

The Case For Mining

Critics have always complained that bitcoin mining consumes “too much” electricity, right now about as much as the Czech Republic. In energy terms this is around 65 terawatt hours or 230,000,000 gigajoules, costing $3.3 billion dollars according to estimates by Digiconomist.
For the non-physicists among us, this is around as much as consumed by six million energy-guzzling U.S. households per year.
All those estimates are imprecise because the aggregate cannot know how much energy each of the different bitcoin miners consumes and how much that electricity costs. But they are a reasonable rough estimate.
So it’s worth exploring why mining is necessary to begin with and whether the electricity consumption is justified.
Anything and everything humans do consumes resources. The question then is always: Is it worth it? And: Who decides?
This question then leads to the next question: Is it worth having and using money? Most people would argue yes, because using money instead of barter in fact makes economic transactions faster and cheaper and thus saves resources, natural and human.

_Merchants exchange goods with the inhabitants of Tidore, Indonesia, circa 1550. Barter was supplanted by using money because it is more efficient. (Archive/Getty Images)_If we are generously inclined, we will grant bitcoin the status of a type of money or at least currency as it meets the general requirements of being recognizable, divisible, portable, durable, is accepted in exchange for other goods and services, and in this case it is even limited in supply.
So having any type of money has a price, whether it’s gold, dollar bills, or numbers on the screen of your online banking system. In the case of bitcoin, it’s the electricity and the capital for the computing equipment, as well as the human resources to run these operations.
If we think having money in general is a good idea and some people value the decentralized and independent nature of bitcoin then it would be worth paying for verifying transactions on the bitcoin network as well as keeping the network secure and sound: Up until the point where the resources consumed would outweigh the efficiency benefits. Just like most people don’t think it’s a bad idea to use credit cards and banks, which consume electricity too.
However, bitcoin is a newcomer and this is why it’s being scrutinized even more so than the old established players.

Different Money, Different Costs

How many people know how much electricity, human lives, and other resources gold mining consumes or has consumed in the course of history? What about the banking system? Branches, servers, air-conditioning, staff? What about printing dollar notes and driving them around in armored trucks?
What about the social effects of monetary mismanagement of bank and government money like inflation as well as credit deflations? Gold gets a pass here.
Most people haven’t asked that question, which is why it’s worth pointing out the only comprehensive study done on the topic in 2014. In “An Order of Magnitude” the engineer Hass McCook analyzes the different money systems and reaches mind-boggling conclusions.
The study is a bit dated and of course the aggregations are also very rough estimates, but the ball park numbers are reasonable and the methodology sound.
In fact, according to the study, bitcoin is the most economic of all the different forms of money.
Gold mining in 2014 used 475 million GJ, compared to bitcoin’s 230 million in 2018. The banking system in 2014 used 2.3 billion gigajoules.
Over 100 people per year die trying to mine gold. But mining costs more than electricity. It consumes around 300,000 liters of water per kilogram of gold mined as well as 150 kilogram (330 pounds) of cyanide and 1500 tons of waste and rubble.
The international banking system has been used in all kinds of fraudulent activity throughout history: terrorist financing, money laundering, and every other criminal activity under the sun at a cost of trillions of dollars and at an order of magnitude higher than the same transactions done with cryptocurrency and bitcoin.
And of course, while gold has a relatively stable value over time, our bank and government issued money lost about 90 percent of its purchasing power over the last century, because it can be created out of thin air. This leads to inflation and a waste of physical and human resources because it distorts the process of capital allocation.

_The dollar has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. (Source: St. Louis Fed)_This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of bank branches, millions of ATMs and employees which all consume electricity and other resources, 10 times as much electricity alone as the bitcoin network.
According to monetary philosopher Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” the social benefit of hard money, i.e. money that can’t be printed by government decree, cannot even be fathomed; conversely, the true costs of easy money—created by government fiat and bank credit—are difficult to calculate.
According to Ammous, bitcoin is the hardest money around, even harder than gold because its total supply is capped, whereas the gold supply keeps increasing at about 1-2 percent every year.
“Look at the era of the classical gold standard, from 1871, the end of the Franco–Prussian War, until the beginning of World War I. There’s a reason why this is known as the Golden Era, the Gilded Age, and La Belle Epoque. It was a time of unrivaled human flourishing all over the world. Economic growth was everywhere. Technology was being spread all over the world. Peace and prosperity were increasing everywhere around the world. Technological innovations were advancing.
“I think this is no coincidence. What the gold standard allowed people to do is to have a store of value that would maintain its value in the future. And that gave people a low time preference, that gave people the incentive to think of the long term, and that made people want to invest in things that would pay off over the long term … bitcoin is far closer to gold. It is a digital equivalent of gold,” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times.
Of course, contrary to the gold standard that Ammous talks about, bitcoin doesn’t have a track record of being sound money in practice. In theory it meets all the criteria, but in the real world it hasn’t been adopted widely and has been so volatile as to be unusable as a reliable store of value or as the underlying currency of a productive lending market.
The proponents argue that over time, these problems will be solved the same way gold spread itself throughout the monetary sphere replacing copper and seashells, but even Ammous concedes the process may take decades and the outcome is far from certain. Gold is the safe bet for sound money, bitcoin has potential.
There is another measure where bitcoin loses out, according to a recent study by researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.
It is the amount of energy expended per dollar for different monetary instruments. One dollar worth of bitcoin costs 17 megajoules to mine versus five for gold and seven for platinum. But the study omits the use of cyanide, water, and other physical resources in mining physical metals.
In general, the comparisons in dollar terms go against bitcoin because it is worth relatively less, only $73 billion in total at the time of writing. An issue that could be easily fixed at a higher price, but a higher price is only justified if the infrastructure improves, adoption increases, volatility declines, and the network proves its resilience to attacks over time.
In the meantime, market participants still value the fact they can own a currency independent of the government, completely digital, easily fungible, and limited in supply, and relatively decentralized. And the market as a whole is willing to pay a premium for these factors reflected in the higher per dollar prices for mining bitcoin.

The Creativity of Bitcoin Mining

But where bitcoin mining lacks in scale, it makes up for it in creativity.
In theory—and in practice—bitcoin mining can be done anywhere where there is cheap electricity. So bitcoin mining operations can be conducted not where people are (banking) or where government is (fiat cash) or where gold is (gold mining)—it can be done everywhere where there is cheap electricity
Some miners are flocking to the heat of the Texan desert where gas is virtually available for free, thanks to another oil revolution.
Other miners go to places where there is cheap wind, water, or other renewable energy.
This is because they don’t have to build bank branches, printing presses, and government buildings, or need to put up excavators and conveyor belts to dig gold out of the ground.
All they need is internet access and a home for the computers that look like a shipping container, each one of which has around 200 specialized bitcoin mining computers in them.
“The good thing about bitcoin mining is that it doesn’t matter where on earth a transaction happens, we can verify it in our data center here. The miners are part of the decentralized philosophy of bitcoin, it’s completely independent of your location as well,” said Moritz Jäger, chief technology officer at bitcoin Mining company Northern Bitcoin AG.

Centralized Mining

But so far, this decentralization hasn’t worked out as well as it sounds in theory.
Because Chinese local governments had access to subsidized electricity, it was profitable for officials to cut deals with bitcoin mining companies and supply them with cheap electricity in exchange for jobs and cutbacks. Sometimes the prices were as low as 2 dollar cents to 4 dollar cents per kilowatt hour.
This is why the majority of bitcoin mining is still concentrated in China (around 70 percent) where it was the most profitable, but only because the Chinese central planners subsidized the price of electricity.
This set up led to the by and large unwanted result that the biggest miner of bitcoin, a company called Bitmain, is also the biggest manufacturer of specialized computing equipment for bitcoin mining. The company reported revenues of $2.8 billion for the first half of 2018.

Tourists walk on the dunes near a power plant in Xiangshawan Desert in Ordos of Inner Mongolia, in this file photo. bitcoin miners have enjoyed favorable electricity rates in places like Ordos for a long time. (Feng Li/Getty Images)Centralized mining is a problem because whenever there is one player or a conglomerate of players who control more than 50 percent of the network computing power, they could theoretically crash the network by spending the same bitcoin twice, the so called “double spending problem.“
They don’t have an incentive to do so because it would probably ruin the bitcoin price and their business, but it’s better not to have to rely on one group of people controlling an entire money system. After all, we have that exact same system with central banking and bitcoin was set up as a decentralized alternative.
So far, no player or conglomerate ever reached that 51 percent threshold, at least not since bitcoin’s very early days, but many market participants always thought Bitmain’s corner of the market is a bit too close for comfort.
This favorable environment for Chinese bitcoin mining has been changing with a crack down on local government electricity largess as well as a crackdown on cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin itself and mining bitcoin remain legal in China but cryptocurrency exchanges have been banned since late 2017.
But more needs to be done for bitcoin to become independent of the caprice of a centralized oppressive regime and local government bureaucrats.

Northern Bitcoin Case Study

Enter Northern Bitcoin AG. The company isn’t the only one which is exploring mining opportunities with renewable energies in locations other than China.
But it is special because of the extraordinary set up it has for its operations, the fact that it is listed on the stock exchange in Germany, and the opportunities for scaling it discovered.
The operations of Northern Bitcoin combine the beauties of bitcoin and capitalism in one.
Like Texas has a lot of oil and free gas and it makes sense to use the gas rather than burn it, Norway has a lot of water, especially water moving down the mountains due to rainfall and melting snow.
And it makes sense to use the power of the movement of the water, channel it through pipes into generators to create very cheap and almost unlimited electricity. Norway generates north of 95 percent of its total electricity from hydropower.

A waterfall next to a hydropowerplant near Sandane, Norway, Oct. 25, 2018. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)Capitalism does not distinguish between renewable and fossil. It uses what is the most expedient. In this case, it is clearly water in Norway, and gas in Texas.
As a side note on the beauties of real capital and the fact that capital and the environment need not be enemies, the water in one of the hydropowerplants close to the Northern Bitcoin facility is piped through a generator made in 1920 by J.M. Voith AG, a company from Heidenheim Germany.
The company was established in 1867 and is still around today. The generator was produced in 1920 and is still producing electricity today.

Excess Power

In the remote regions of Northern Norway, there aren’t that many people or industry who would use the electricity. And rather than transport it over hundreds of miles to the industrial centers of Europe, the industries of the future are moving to Norway to the source of the cheap electricity.
Of course, it is not just bitcoin mining, but other data and computing heavy operations like server farms for cloud computing that can be neatly packaged into one of those containers and shipped up north.
“The containers are beautiful. They are produced in the middle of Germany where the hardware is enabled and tested. Then we put it on a truck and send it up here. When the truck arrives on the outside we lift it on the container vehicle. Two hours after the container arrives, it’s in the container rack. And 40 hours later we enable the cooling, network, power, other systems, and it’s online,” said Mats Andersson, a spokesman for the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway, where Northern Bitcoin has its operations. Plug and play.

A Northern Bitcoin data container inside the Lefdal Mine data center, in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)If the cheap electricity wasn’t enough—around 5 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 17 cents in Germany—Norway also provides the perfect storage for these data containers, which are normally racked up in open air parks above the ground.
Also here, the resource allocation is beautiful. Instead of occupying otherwise useful and beautiful parcels of land and nature, the Northern Bitcoin containers and others are stored in the old Lefdal olivine mine.
Olivine is a mineral used for steel production and looks green. Very fitting. Hence also the name of the data center: Lefdal Mine.
“We take the green mineral out and we take the green IT in,” said Andersson.

Efficiency, Efficiency

Using the old mine as storage for the data center makes the whole process even more resource efficient.
Why? So far, we’ve only been talking about bitcoin mining using a lot of energy. But what for? Before you have actually seen the process in action—and it is similar for other computing operations—you cannot imagine how bizarre it is.
Most of the electricity is used to prevent the computers from overheating. So it’s not even the processors themselves; it’s the fans which cool the computer that use the most juice.
This is where the mine helps, because it’s rather cool 160 meters (525 feet) below sea level; certainly cooler than in the Texas desert.
But it gets even better. On top of the air blow-cooling the computer, the Lefdal data center uses a fresh water system to pump through the containers in pipes.
The fans can then circulate air over the cool pipes which transfer the heat to the water. One can feel the difference when touching the different pipes.
The fresh water closed circle loop then completes the “green” or resource efficiency cycle by transferring its heat to ice cold water from the nearby Fjord.
The water is sucked in through a pipe from the Fjord, the heat gets transferred without the water being mixed, and the water flows back to the Fjord, without any impact on the environment.
To top it all off, the mine has natural physical security far better than open air data centers and is even protected from an electromagnetic pulse blast because it’s underground.

_The Nordfjord near Måløy, Norway. The Lefdal data center takes the cold water from the fjord and uses it to cool the computer inside the mine. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)_Company Dynamics

Given this superlative set up, Northern Bitcoin wants to ramp up production as fast as possible at the Lefdal mine and other similar places in Norway, which have more mountains where data centers can be housed.
At the moment, Northern Bitcoin has 15 containers with 210 mining machines each. The 15 containers produce around 5 bitcoin per day at a total cost of around $2,500 dollars at the end of November 2018 and after the difficulty of solving the math problems went down by ~17 percent.
Most of it is for electricity; the rest is for leasing the containers, renting the mine space, buying and writing off the mining computers, personnel, overhead, etc.
Even at the current relatively depressed prices of around $4000, that’s a profit of $1500 per bitcoin or $7,500 per day.
But the goal is to ramp it up to 280 containers until 2019, producing 100 bitcoin per day. Again, the company is in the sweet spot to do this.
As opposed to the beginning of the year when one could not procure a mining computer from Bitmain even if one’s life depended on it, the current bear market has made them cheap and relatively available both new and second had from miners who had to cease operations because they can’t produce at low bitcoin prices.

Northern Bitcoin containers inside the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)What about the data shipping containers? They are manufactured by a company called Rittal who is the world market leader. So it helps that the owner of Rittal also owns 30 percent of the Lefdal mine, providing preferential access to the containers.
Northern Bitcoin said it has enough capital available for the intermediate goal of ramping up to 50 containers until the end of year but may tap the capital markets again for the next step.
The company can also take advantage of the lower German corporate tax rate because revenue is only recorded when the bitcoin are sold in Germany, not when they are mined in Norway.
Of course, every small-cap stock—especially bitcoin companies—have their peculiarities and very high risks. As an example, Northern Bitcoin’s financial statements, although public, aren’t audited.
The equipment in the Lefdal mine in Norway is real and the operations are controlled by the Lefdal personnel, but one has to rely on exclusive information from the company for financials and cost figures, so buyer beware.

Norway Powerhouse?

Northern Bitcoin wants to have 280 containers, representing around 5 percent of the network’s computing power.
But the Lefdal mine alone has a capacity to power and cool 1,500 containers in a 200 megawatt facility, once it is fully built out.
“Here you have all the space, power, and cooling that you need. … Here you can grow,” said Lefdal’s Andersson.

A mine shaft in the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. The whole mine will have a capacity for 1500 containers once fully built out. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)The Norwegian government was behind an initiative to bring computing power to Norway and make it one of the prime destinations for data centers at the beginning of this decade.
To that effect, the local governments own part of the utility companies which operate the power plants and own part of the Lefdal Mine and other locations. But even without notable subsidies (i.e. cash payments to companies), market players were able to figure it out, for everybody’s benefit.
The utilities win because they can sell their cheap electricity close to home. The computing companies like IBM and Northern Bitcoin win because they can get cheap electricity, storage, and security. Data center operators like Lefdal win because they can charge rent for otherwise unused and unneeded space.
However, in a recent about face, the central government in Oslo has decided to remove cryptocurrency miners from the list of companies which pay a preferential tax rate on electricity consumption.
Normally, energy intensive companies, including data centers, pay a preferential tax on electricity consumed of 0.48 øre ($0.00056 ). According to a report by Norwegian media Aftenposten, this tax will rise to 16.58 øre ($0.019) in 2019 for cryptocurrency miners exclusively.
The argument by left wing politician Lars Haltbrekken who sponsored the initiative: “Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the most dirty form of cryptocurrency output […] [bitcoin] requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally.”
Since Norway generates its electricity using hydro, precisely the opposite is true: No greenhouse gas emissions, or any emissions for that matter would be produced, if all cryptomining was done in Norway. As opposed to China, where mining is done with coal and with emissions.
But not only in Norway is the share of renewable and emission free energy high. According to research by Coinshares, Bitcoin’s consumes about 77.6 percent of its energy in the form of renewables globally.
However self-defeating the arguments against bitcoin mining in Norway, the political initiative is moving forward. What it means for Northern Bitcoin is not clear, as they house their containers in Lefdal’s mixed data center, which also has other clients, like IBM.
“It’s not really decided yet; there are still big efforts from IT sectors and parties who are trying to change it. If the decision is taken it might apply for pure crypto sites rather than mixed data centers, like ours,” said Lefdal’s Andersson.
Even in the worst-case scenario, it would mean an increase from ~5 cents to ~6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, or 30 percent more paid on the electricity by Northern Bitcoin, which at ~$3250 would still rank it among the most competitive producers in the world.
Coinshares estimates the average production price at $6,800 per Bitcoin at $0,05 per kilowatt hour of electricity and an 18-months depreciation schedule, but concedes that a profitable miner could “[depreciate] mining gear over 24-30 months, or [pay] less for mining gear than our estimates.”
Jäger says Northern Bitcoin depreciates the equipment over three years and has obtained very favorable prices from Bitmain, making its production much more competitive than the average despite the same cost of electricity. In addition, the natural cooling in the mine also reduces electricity costs overall.

Cheap Producer Advantage

At the moment, however, the tax could be the least of any miners worry, as the bitcoin price is in free-fall.
But what happens when the price crashes further? Suffice it to say that there was bitcoin mining when the dollar price was less than 1 cent and there will be bitcoin mining at lower prices thanks to the design of the network.
Mao Shixing, the founder of mining pool F2pool estimated 600,000 miners have shut down since the November crash in price, according to a report by Coindesk.
As it should be in a competitive system, the most energy intensive and obsolete machines are shut down first.
As with every other commodity, when the price drops, some miners will leave the market, leaving space for cheaper competitors to capture a bigger share. But with bitcoin this is a bit simpler than with copper or gold for example.
When a big copper player goes bankrupt, its competitors have to ramp up production and increase cost to increase their market share. With bitcoin, if 3,000 computers get taken off the total mining pool, they won’t be able to mine the approximately 5 bitcoin any longer.
However, because the difficulty of solving the computationally intensive cryptographic tasks of bitcoin decreases automatically when there are fewer computers engaged in the task, the other players just have to leave their machines running at the same rate for the same cost and they will split the 5 bitcoin among them.
“The moment the price goes down, our production price will go down as well,” said Jäger, a process that already happened from November to December when the difficulty decreased twice in November and the beginning of December.
This naturally favors players like Northern Bitcoin, which are producing at the lower end of the cost spectrum. They will be the ones who shut down last.
And this is a good thing. The more companies like Northern Bitcoin, and countries like Norway—even with the extra tax—the more decentralized the bitcoin system.
The more computers there are in different hands mining bitcoin, the more secure the system becomes, because it will be ever more difficult for one player to reach the 50 percent threshold to crash the system. It is this decentralized philosophy which has kept the bitcoin system running for 10 years. Whether at $1 or $20,000.
submitted by rotoreuters to zerohedge [link] [comments]

Bitwage & the future of payroll using bitcoin  TheProtocol.TV Bitcoin Price Seem like going down, should you buy? BITCOIN Going to $3,500 SOON?  How Low Will Bitcoin Go? Why does it matter if the hashrate goes down? Bitcoin's Future is Bright While Fed Prints $6 Trillion to Bail Out

Talking about bitcoin value is not about happily watching numbers go up and down while having popcorn. This is about identifying a global market, looking at its size and estimating a target market share based on the strengths and weaknesses of the competing product or service under analysis. When you know the size of the target market, and have an estimate for your projected market share, you ... If we see similar ~10% difficulty increases every 3.5 days - we will be at a difficulty of 4600 in 1 month and 312000 in 2 months. The propagation of a 700Kh miner output is shown in the table here from my own calculator. STABLE DIFFICULTY INCREASE SPEED 700 KH/s LTC/USD 40 $ DIFFICULTY JUMP/2016 Blocks 10% Time between Diff Jumps 3.5 Here are the seven ways you may come into possession and/or dispose of Bitcoin and other digital currencies and how you need to account for them at tax time, plus explorations of two major gray areas. Sponsored by Bitcoin-Accepting Merchant Growth Down in Q3 Sources: CoinBase, BitPay Number of New Bitcoin-Accepting Businesses Added Each Quarter 12,936 10,360 6,000 6,000 12,000 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 Q2 2014 Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Q1 2015 Q2 2015 Q3 2015 State of Bitcoin Q3 2015 48 6,000 Bitcoin celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, putting a cap on the decade defined by its economic volatility, overnight millionaires, mystery and successful Silicon Valley startups.

[index] [35460] [34878] [31852] [2416] [26656] [47941] [5559] [2215] [24475] [40480]

Bitwage & the future of payroll using bitcoin TheProtocol.TV

Published on Sep 30, 2015 Bitwage is building a bitcoin payroll system that breaks down borders and enables anyone around the world to engage in a global workforce. What is Bitcoin's "hashrate", and just what does it actually mean? Is there a reason that a greater hashrate is more desirable and what happens when the rate goes down? In this video, shot in ... In this episode we will look at the retracement of the crypto market. THe BTC Price is going down in 3rd consecutive day. BUT the price will form a golden cross at very soon! Copy-trade best ... The Bitcoin price is going down! Will we see a 3500 dollar bitcoin this month? Many are saying it could drop below 4k. In today's video, I want to talk about what we should do as the Bitcoin price ... The second problem, and it’s a big one, is the issue of taxes. If I buy a bitcoin for $200.00 and then it goes up to $300.00 and I cash it in for $300.00 of goods and services, I have $100.00 ...

#