Bitcoin has 'considerable' upside as it better competes ...

[EVENT] John McAfee Works On Bitcoin in Cuba

Following John McAfee's entry into Cuba, the government has been allowing him to his own devices. Even after a clearly failed Presidential Election whose campaign motto was "Do not vote for me," the Republic has been warn to this man.
This man hasn't been the best to Cuba.
Within the first week of arriving on June 23rd (after his "cruise ship was 'sabotaged'") he demanded that Cuban officials escort him to destinations as "CIA agents were attempting to assassinate him." Despite Cuban Internet Laws, John McAfee bypassed this and posted on twitter public updates about himself, his surroundings and even some images of Cuban Government officials.
In early-July, he got into a fist-fight with a plain-clothes Cuban Police Officer who was questioning John McAfee's plans in Cuba. He presumed him to be a CIA spy. It reflected extremely poorly but was kept hidden from the Cuban public and world-wide.
Once he was brought to the higher estates in Cuba, he had become more politically active. He criticized and opinionated almost every Cuban Law, almost trying to encourage it in ways that Batista once reigned but he was almost always ignored.
Now, he was finally being asked to do what he came to do.
Working with the Ministry of Economy and Planning, specifically Minister Alejandro Gil Fernández, John McAfee started to work with existing founder BitcoinCuba Fernando Villar. Their first step was education.
"Cuba’s new mission is to inform average Cubans and the small tech community about the use of digital currencies like Bitcoin. Cubans have much to gain from using this currency and technology, especially now that they are in a position to leapfrog current financial and telecommunication infrastructures."
They offered another, realistic alternative that the currency could be used for, such as international transactions. "Cubans are not using credit or debit cards and most do not have a bank account. Bitcoin and blockchain can serve the needs of the unbanked, including entrepreneurs and individuals on the island. For instance, an entrepreneur in Cuba can offer their goods or services and get paid for it by a customer any where in the world instantly. A family wanting to send money to relatives in Cuba, using Bitcoin, would now have a method that is faster and cheaper than ever. This will take some time to be a reality but it’s already happening around the world. IT does not even have to be specifically bitcoin but another cryptocurrency that is more stable if their concerns are transfer times."
This is a reference to how quickly the bitcoin market numbers changes.
The Ministry also did reach out to Google, finally picking them up on their offer to expand faster internet services and specifically faster web-page speeds. John McAfee himself asked a favor of Google of "expanding Google Fiber across the island."
The Ministry has stated that they are willing to make a loan to pay it back in full. La Presidenta was initially unable to verify this statement but soon backed it.
Besides working with Google, massive educational campaigns expand around the island, even ranging to America's Gitmo Bay to properly teach the people on cryptocurrency and its benefits. "Think of it as another way to get income, an unregulated stock program that the Government is willing to back."
submitted by Airsherbe to GlobalPowers [link] [comments]

[EVENT] John McAfee Works On Bitcoin in Cuba

Following John McAfee's entry into Cuba, the government has been allowing him to his own devices. Even after a clearly failed Presidential Election whose campaign motto was "Do not vote for me," the Republic has been warn to this man.
This man hasn't been the best to Cuba.
Within the first week of arriving on June 23rd (after his "cruise ship was 'sabotaged'") he demanded that Cuban officials escort him to destinations as "CIA agents were attempting to assassinate him." Despite Cuban Internet Laws, John McAfee bypassed this and posted on twitter public updates about himself, his surroundings and even some images of Cuban Government officials.
In early-July, he got into a fist-fight with a plain-clothes Cuban Police Officer who was questioning John McAfee's plans in Cuba. He presumed him to be a CIA spy. It reflected extremely poorly but was kept hidden from the Cuban public and world-wide.
Once he was brought to the higher estates in Cuba, he had become more politically active. He criticized and opinionated almost every Cuban Law, almost trying to encourage it in ways that Batista once reigned but he was almost always ignored.
Now, he was finally being asked to do what he came to do.
Working with the Ministry of Economy and Planning, specifically Minister Alejandro Gil Fernández, John McAfee started to work with existing founder BitcoinCuba Fernando Villar. Their first step was education.
"Cuba’s new mission is to inform average Cubans and the small tech community about the use of digital currencies like Bitcoin. Cubans have much to gain from using this currency and technology, especially now that they are in a position to leapfrog current financial and telecommunication infrastructures."
They offered another, realistic alternative that the currency could be used for, such as international transactions. "Cubans are not using credit or debit cards and most do not have a bank account. Bitcoin and blockchain can serve the needs of the unbanked, including entrepreneurs and individuals on the island. For instance, an entrepreneur in Cuba can offer their goods or services and get paid for it by a customer any where in the world instantly. A family wanting to send money to relatives in Cuba, using Bitcoin, would now have a method that is faster and cheaper than ever. This will take some time to be a reality but it’s already happening around the world. IT does not even have to be specifically bitcoin but another cryptocurrency that is more stable if their concerns are transfer times."
This is a reference to how quickly the bitcoin market numbers changes.
The Ministry also did reach out to Google, finally picking them up on their offer to expand faster internet services and specifically faster web-page speeds. John McAfee himself asked a favor of Google of "expanding Google Fiber across the island."
The Ministry has stated that they are willing to make a loan to pay it back in full. La Presidenta was initially unable to verify this statement but soon backed it.
Besides working with Google, massive educational campaigns expand around the island, even ranging to America's Gitmo Bay to properly teach the people on cryptocurrency and its benefits. "Think of it as another way to get income, an unregulated stock program that the Government is willing to back."
submitted by Airsherbe to GlobalPowers [link] [comments]

Best Cryptos to Invest in the Year 2019

Looking back in recent history, it seems as though big investors and financial organizations are changing their attitudes towards Bitcoin and altcoins. The media coverage worldwide illuminated the vast returns being had in the cryptocurrency markets, with many coins up over 100x since their conception. This certainly has garnered the attention from both legacy and newcomer investors. Currently, everyone is waiting to see if cryptocurrencies can continue on their path to new all time highs.
2017 turned out to be a whirlwind year, with most cryptocurrencies soaring to new all time highs at the end of 2017 and early 2018. The media coverage of cryptocurrencies was nonstop, with news reports on financial programs almost daily. In addition, many movies and tv shows mentioned cryptocurrency, including the technology oriented show “Silicon Valley.” So far, 2018 has seen a vast pullback in the cryptocurrency markets. Many of the smaller altcoins are down over 90% with Bitcoin, the crypto leader, still being down over 60% from all time highs.
Even with the overall market pullback, many investors are still very bullish on cryptocurrencies going into 2019. Many big name institutions are jumping head first into crypto, with NYSE announcing a new crypto exchange, BAAKT. Also Fidelity has announced a crypto support platform for their customers. Even legendary Ivy league university Yale has announced a new 400 million dollar investment fund geared towards cryptocurrency.
With so much bullish news adding up rapidly, almost everyone seems to expect a very profitable year for crypto leading into 2019. While Bitcoin is still currently the market leader there are also some big name altcoins that expect 2019 to be a huge year for them.
The Altcoin Hierarchy
Before investing in the crypto market, let us go through the basic classes of cryptocurrencies that exist in the market. While every class has the potential to have impressive returns, some coins have more impressive use cases and concepts, In addition to more qualified and funded development teams. Simply put, not all altcoins were created the same.
The Penny Stocks of Crypto
These are the bottom tier altcoins that could possibly become worthless in the near future. They operate much like penny stocks, advertising big promises of ‘guaranteed gains’. Eventually, many fail to offer a fraction of their promised returns. One of the ways to identify these is to look at their team members, their past experiences, objectives of the project, probability of mass adoption, actual use of the coins and many more.
The reasons for their failure is usually because of unwillingness to work for the vision they once promised in the first place, bad wealth management, inclusion of scammers in their team, unrealistic expectation from the project and also making money via pump and dump schemes.
Some of these coins are Trumpcoin, Russia Coin and Verge.
Average Coins
According to the ‘coinmarketcap’ website, there are currently more than 2000 cryptocurrencies listed on their website. Among those, there are around 500 of them that can be considered in this ‘average’ category.
These are the coins that do have a purpose/objective to work on but fail to maintain a good development team. They and their coins don’t really have any kind of purpose in the crypto market and fail to finalize any kind of legitimate deals and partnerships with good investors. This makes their performance very limited as compared to other altcoins in the market.
Some of these coins are Deep Brain Chain, Funfair, Decred, Navcoin, Populous, Cryptonex.
Good Coins
There are around 500 of such good coins in the market that do offer a good objective for the project, a solid team with good experience to execute such tasks, a good marketing strategy to reach out to masses to share their ideas and quality contacts to make some good partnerships in the market.
The only reason why they are only classified as ‘good coins’ is due to the lack of uniqueness that the other ‘very good coins’ offer. They don’t really have that ‘point of parity’ in their project/product that separates them from their counterparts.
Some of these coins are NEM, Stratis, Monero, and BAT.
Very Good Coins
There are around 100 such ‘very good coins’ in the market. Their objectives are well defined with a solid team to execute their tasks perfectly. Along with that, their marketing teams are also well-qualified to make their ideas reach to the masses. Because of such a wonderful blend, they are able to make better and strong partnerships with a number of good companies.
What separates them from the ‘Good Coins’ category is their USPs (Unique Selling Points). They are unique in what they do and that’s what makes the difference.
Such coins are NEO, Stellar, Cardano, Ripple
Top Tier Cryptocurrencies
These are the top tier coins that provide the best functionalities. They have real-world usage, objectives to solve a real-world problem, strong fundamental teams to execute the mission of the project, marketing teams to spread the ‘idea’ and collaboration with a number of media channels to gain early investors.
Also, due to a good PR team, they are able to make a very strong partnership with a lot of Fortune 500 companies that give them an extra edge over rest of the projects in the market.
Some of these coins are VeChain, Ethereum, Bitcoin, IOTA, Icon, EOS, Kinesis.
Promising Projects Going Into the New Year
With more than 2000 cryptocurrencies out there in the crypto market, only a couple 100 of them qualify to be a top tier investment. It can be quite the challenge to find a worthy project among the thousands of choices. These next projects are some that show a lot of promise heading into 2019.
Always remember the 3’S’ of the investment – Sane, Smart and Sensible. An investor who is sane, smart and sensible will always look into the facts before he invests in any business or project.
Kinesis
This is one of the most promising upcoming projects in crypto. The broad overview of the coin is to offer an alternate and better evolutionary step beyond the basic monetary and banking system available today.
In short, it is a cryptocurrency that is backed by precious metals like gold and silver. According to the CEO of the company, Thomas Coughlin, the Kinesis coin is basically divisible units of allocated gold and silver which you can use as a currency.
There will be two stable Kinesis coins in the market backed by Gold and Silver. The stable Kinesis coins backed by Gold will be tagged as KAU and the stable Kinesis coins backed by Silver will be tagged as KAG.
These stablecoins backed by the precious metals like Gold and Silver are real game changers as these 2 precious metals are definable stores of value for use in trade and investment in the real-world economies.
The Kinesis coin is based on the Bespoke Blockchain Technology, a blockchain network forked off from the Stellar Blockchain Technology in order to suit the requirements of the Kinesis coin.
The cryptocurrency project is headed by Thomas Coughlin who is also the CEO of the Kinesis company. He has 15 years experience in the investment, funds management and capital markets. Before being the CEO of the Kinesis company, he held similar positions for the Bullion Capital and TRAC Financial Group as well.
Apart from Thomas Coughlin, there are other great members in the team as well. Their team consists of people like:
Michael Coughlin, Chief Financial Officer, having 41 years experience as a CPA in the accountancy and financial services professions.
Eric Maine, Chief Strategy Officer, having more than 30 years experience in Senior Management in the exchange and financial markets.
Ryan Case, Head of Sales & Trading in Kinesis, having extensive experience as Head of sales trading & partnership and also valuable experience in commodity, cryptocurrency, forex and derivative markets.
Jai Bifulco, Chief Marketing Officer, having a full-fledged 12 years of experience in award-winning full-stack marketer in Finance. He previously held roles of directors in multiple brokerages, consulting and Fintech sectors.
There are more than 30 different team members in this project spanning their roles from The Executive Committee to the Advisory Board to the Operations and Development team.
The coins are very limited in number as compared to other cryptocurrencies where the softcap is limited to just 15,000 KVT coins and HardCap is limited to 300,000 KVT coins. Minimum token that one can buy is set to 1 KVT which is equal to $1000.
So far, more than 57,000 KVT tokens have been sold which roughly equals to a whopping sum of $57 Million. With such a huge investment already deployed for the development of the project, there are still 30 more days left for the ICO sale period to end.
Also, apart from the investments gained, the Kinesis cryptocurrency is also focusing much on the partnerships with the top companies in the industry. These include companies like ABX (Allocated Bullion Exchange), MLG (Blockchain Consulting), Sigma Prime, Etherlabs and Fine Metal Asia Limited.
This cryptocurrency is certainly the one to watch out for in 2019.
VeChain
Broad Overview – In simple layman terminology, Vechain is a supply chain protocol to track logistics inventory. It has successfully implemented blockchain technology in various sectors like agriculture and industries like luxury goods and liquor.
They basically strive to solve real-life problems by providing solutions in various industries like:
Logistics: In this sector, VeChain implements the blockchain technology to improve the flow of information from one department to another by breaking silos yet maintaining the data privacy of every department. Government: There are more than 111 VeChain nodes deployed worldwide. The municipal governments participate in the VeChain blockchain network as nodes. The VeChain blockchain network offers decentralization and immunity against the data hacking that allows room for transparent information exchange. This indeed improves the efficiency of the municipal governments. The technologies used to track the logistics are:
Assigning digital identities to physical stocks that can be stored on the VeChain blockchain network Usage of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) NFC (Near Field Communication) Proof Of Authority Consensus In-House Temperature Controlled Tracking Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) The future potential of the VeChain cryptocurrency looks quite promising as the coin is signing new partnerships every month or so. Some of its partners are PricewaterhouseCoopers, DNV GL, Renault Group, KUEHNE + NAGEL, D.I.G, China Unicom and the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration of China.
Every single company with whom VeChain partnered has millions of customers that will use the VeChain technology embedded in their system. This makes the coin solve real-life problems and have mass adoption.
VeChain indeed makes a big difference in the logistics business. However, given the kind of turmoil that the entire cryptomarket is facing where the total market capitalization has fallen from $800 Billion to just around $200 Billion, no one can give any kind of assurance on the returns in your investment in the crypto assets. However, stablecoins like Kinesis has a reward yield system that incentivizes its investors for holding, depositing and also referring new users. Hence, the investors always stay on the benefit side even if the market collapses for a short duration.
IOTA
In simple terms, IOTA is a cryptocurrency which is designed for the Internet of Things. The cryptocurrency was developed to root a new direction to IoT by establishing a standardization called, ‘Ledger of Everything’ which means that the data exchange between sensor-equipped machines would be enabled to populate IoT.
IOTA has the potential to make transactions easy. A basic use case of IOTA can be seen in IOTA enabled vending machines. These machines can dispense the items without involving the associated transaction costs. Some other use cases of IOTA are Reddit Chains etc.
Technology Behind IOTA Surprisingly, IOTA does not use the traditional Blockchain technology for its design and development. In fact, a new platform called ‘Tangle Technology’ is being used for IOTA to operate on. The Tangle Technology deploys a mathematical concept called Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAG) which resolves both the scalability and transaction fees issues which we face in blockchain based cryptocurrencies.
In IOTA, for a transaction to be valid, each node present in DAG Tangle must approve the previous two transactions occurring at the other node. And adding to a note, this process removes the chances of mining and makes the system fully decentralized.
Future Potential Keeping in mind the remarkable result of IOTA, there exists a promising scope for it in the near future in various applications and platforms. IOTA would be standing tall and different in the future world full of cryptocurrencies vulnerable to quantum computers. IOTA has a lot of companies that it is working with. Some of them include Bosch, Volkswagen,Fujitsu, Accenture, Poyry and many more.
When viewed from a macro perspective, so far IOTA looks to be fee-less, scalable and fast which makes it next to perfect. However, if you own IOTA, the chances of you liquidating it into fiat currency via a ‘debit card’ and buying something from a grocery store is quite low. In order to fill this gap of actually buying something from the street market and becoming the global currency, Kinesis has introduced its Kinesis Debit Cards that enables the Kinesis token holders to exchange their tokens against FIAT currency and simultaneously buy products from a grocery shop, something which IOTA fails to offer.
ICON ICX
Broad Overview: ICON is a South Korean based company that develops blockchain technology and accompanies the cryptocurrency called ‘ICX’. ICON is a network framework which has been designed to allow independent blockchains to interact with each other. It allows interconnected blockchain networks to participate in a decentralized system which converges at a central point.
Technology: ICX token is built on the Ethereum blockchain network. ICON has developed a loop-chain platform that connects different blockchain communities through the ICON Republic which serves as the governing head for the Federation of other independent blockchain bodies.
All the communities are linked to Republic through C-Reps (Community Representatives) which then connects to Nexus. C-Reps functions as the portals to the communities to establish a connection with Nexus. And this way the entire procedure is carried out.
Future Scope: It is believed that ICON has plans to provide platforms to financial, security, insurance, healthcare, educational industries which can help them to carry transactions on a single network. Thus, ICON (ICX) can be seen having a good time in the coming days.
Also, it has been successful in signing a partnership deal with the tech-giant Samsung where it will be using ICON’s own Chain ID for a new Samsung project called ‘Samsung Pass’. Apart from Samsung, ICON has also signed deals with PORTAL NETWORK & W Foundation.
However, it is notable that ICON is built on the Ethereum network and is an ERC20 token. Hence, the transaction speed greatly depends on the Ethereum network. Currently, Ethereum can execute 15 transactions per second which is quite low in terms of what ICON (ICX) is currently aiming for. However, to fill this gap, we have Kinesis Bespoke Technology that offers a whopping speed of 3000 transactions per second. This lightning fast speed keeps the Kinesis token way ahead than ICX token.
Enjin
Broad Overview The native cryptocurrency of the Enjin Network, the Enjin Coin (popularly known as only ENJ) follows the ERC20 token standard and is used with a smart contract-based blockchain platform. Its typical users include content creators, game developers, and other members of the gaming community, who need to use virtual tokens to manage and trade virtual goods in the gaming world.
Technology behind Enjin As an ERC20-compliant token, the ENJ functions in accordance with the rules an Ethereum contract has to implement. It is used on a dedicated platform that is designed to support open-source software development kits (SDKs), applications, plug-ins, and payment gateways. As for its users, they will be able to efficiently participate in developing, launching, managing, and trade content and game-related products on the Enjin Network, without having to deal with the technical complexities.
Summary of Potential The ENJ is expected to solve some performance issues in using similar cryptocurrencies on the market today, including payment frauds where goods are not actually delivered, slow transaction processes, lack of ownership of virtual goods, lack of transaction standards, and centralization problems.
According to its creators, the ENJ coin, which is based on a blockchain, will create a distributed, trustworthy, and secure framework where transactions can be executed smoothly and quickly with minimal transaction fees. Its autonomous and decentralized system will ensure that all offers and deals will be honored.
Conclusion Generally speaking, the Enjin Coin is good. It helps bring the benefits of blockchain to millions of people participating in the virtual goods market. Its creators are working hard to prevent fraud in the gaming world.
However, it is still a relatively new project. As such, it is still volatile. This means that you still have to take utmost care and be wise when using it.
EOS
Broad Overview EOS is considered by many people who are participating in the virtual goods market as one of the best cryptocurrencies to use, supported by a powerful infrastructure for decentralized applications. Basically, the EOS blockchain is used for the development, execution, and hosting of decentralized applications (dApps) that are traded virtually.
Technology behind EOS The EOS system is composed of two key components, which are the EOS.IO and the EOS token. As for the former, it functions like a computer’s operating system in managing and controlling the EOS blockchain, with the use of an architecture that enables horizontal and vertical dApps. As for the latter, it is held (instead of spent) by the users to be able to become eligible of building, running, and trading apps, as well as using EOS network resources.
While EOS still does not have an official full form, it supports all core functionalities to allow individuals and businesses to create and trade blockchain-based apps.
It also runs on a web toolkit for interface development, just like Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store.
Summary of Potential While there are already a lot of cryptocurrencies based on Ethereum similar to it, the EOS system focuses on the critical and problematic points of the blockchain. Specifically, it attempts to solve the problems of scalability, speed, and flexibility that often cause transaction processes to slow down, which is a common issue in blockchain-based systems.
According to its creators, EOS.IO could also address other problems that come with the ever-increasing size of the dApps ecosystem, such as limited availability of resources, constrained networks, spamming, false transactions, and limited computing power.
It is said to be able to support thousands of commercial-scale dApps without hitting performance bottlenecks by using asynchronous communication methodologies and parallel execution across its network.
Conclusion The EOS system is very advanced. It is designed to address common problems with standard blockchain-based networks. But like other new cryptocurrency platforms on the virtual market today, it still has some weak points to improve. Also, there is again the exposure to volatility, as users hold the tokens to be eligible to trade virtually.
Nebulas
Broad overview Nebulas (NAS) is a new generation blockchain and is open for public collaborations for decentralized application (dApp) development. Its adaptability and scalability are the two characteristics that could propel NAS to be one of the top cryptocurrencies, thus giving it enough leverage to compete in the market.
Technology behind Nebulas Nebulas is the first crypto running on a 3rd generation blockchain, thus making it the dominant player of the new platform. This makes Nebulas highly flexible and scalable, even giving a good leverage in future-proofing their code. That could help avoid hard forking whenever some issues come up during scaling processes.
Summary of potential Adaptability, scalability and search-ability are three of the biggest potential NAS has to offer. With the 3rd generation blockchain it uses, it can allow the adaption of other codes based from Nebulas. This means that other cryptos can adapt to its platform soon enough.
Moreover, it can also act as a blockchain search engine. This can let users search particular blockchains based on efficiency and community strength.
Finally, its goal to provide fair incentives to Decentralized Application (dApp) developers is something that collaborators could expect. This means that more developers are expected to come, thus strengthening NAS even further.
Conclusion Nebulas (NAS) is a promising crypto especially with its adaptability, scalability and search-ability potentials. It can help with the fluidity of crypto into this new generation platform. However, it still lacks the value stability that Kinesis or stablecoins hold. NAS is still unpredictable, unlike Kinesis that backs it value with real gold.
Sky
Broad overview SkyCoin is a full environment system of blockchain technology, and has the goal of endorsing the actual usage of cryptocurrency.
Technology behind Sky Sky has its own algorithm, the Obelisk, which uses the web of trust dynamics to spread influence all throughout the network to come up with a consensus decision. The consensus decision depends on each node, by valuing its influence score. The influence score of each node is determined by the number of network nodes connected to it. This depicts the importance of the node to the network.
Aside from the Obelisk, Sky also operates its own cryptocurrency which is SkyCoin, its own ICO platform Fiber, a decentralized social media platform called BBS, and a decentralized messenger called Sky-Messenger.
Summary of potential Sky focuses its potential on being a full ecosystem of blockchain technology that encourages actual usage of crypto. Through its unique algorithm which is the Obelisk and some other dApps associated with it, Sky is a promising crypto technology and could be considered as the most complete one as of today.
Conclusion Sky, SkyCoin and the Obelisk is definitely a massive platform that could be considered as a full ecosystem of crypto and its related technology. Nonetheless, the SkyCoin depends its value on node influence scores, which could change from time to time as well. This makes Kinesis and Stablecoins still a better choice, especially for investors who want clear investments without hassle.
Crypto Predictions for 2019
While 2017 had the masses captivated and investing large amounts of capital, 2018 has seen price drops and sagging hopes. While the returns in 2017 exceeded anyone’s expectations, a strong pullback was predicted by many. Whether or not this bear market continues from here is the real question many investors face today.
Bitcoin’s rapid rise and fall exposed many problems, and the developers of the top cryptocurrencies in 2019 took note. When considering your crypto investments for 2019, factor in the following trends we predict will influence investments:
More Pullbacks According to the CEO of Vellum Capital, Eric Kovalak, the price of cryptos will reach new lows before they will rebound to new heights. This includes the biggest cryptocurrencies in the market, including Bitcoin. Kovalak believes that it will be priced below $3,500 before it will find its way back up. However, there are many mixed opinions on the current price of BTC, with some arguing the bottom for the crypto markets have already been seen.
Due to Bitcoin-based remittances, uncertainty in global economies like Asia, Turkey and Venezuela, and mobile penetration, there will be a surge in interest and the price of the digital currency.
A Flood of Institutional Investors
Institutional investors have been waiting on the sideline for the ETF to rule in favor of Bitcoin. According to Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Capital, once the ETF arrives, “institutional fomo’ will start flooding the market.”
Another factor is Kinesis, the investment blockchain that provides investors with a safe and reliable alternative. Pegged against precious metals, it provides protection against volatility that may be caused by political instability.
The Kinesis Monetary System lets you own real gold or silver when you purchase the digital currency. Your ownership is then digitized and then made available for spending, trading, and transfer. What is even better, the monetary system can be used internationally, ensuring reliability of money around the world.
With the recent crisis around the Turkish Lira, the price of gold has significantly increased.
Mass adoption of crypto by consumers In January 2019, blockchain technology will be 10 years old. It remains a speculative investment to this day but 2019 could be the year of mass adoption for digital currencies.
For this to happen, however, there has to be some triggers.
Speculation should become a real utility. People must use blockchain projects in everyday life so they will gain widespread use. Decentralized applications (DApps) must gain mainstream status to promote widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies. Improved payment processing, addressing the issue on the current situation of slow transaction times and high transaction fees. Scalability of blockchain technology with little to no impact on its efficiency. To date, slow transaction times are due to the growing number of users and transaction sizes. This calls for blockchain to grow and have the ability to compete with Mastercard, PayPal, or Visa. Introduction of off-chain solutions that allow users to complete a transaction through peer-to-peer payment channel instead of within the blockchain. This will address slow transaction times. Security will be provided by the parent blockchain. Gold Is Still The Standard Despite the promises and unique functions of many cryptocurrencies, there is still uncertainty in these new markets.
Gold has remained the best form of investment throughout history, and the best store of value, especially through times of crisis in politics and economies.
Kinesis pegs its value to gold which has proven to be the safest investment in history. Therefore Kinesis stands to gain from the stability gold offers while simultaneously fusing it with the unique features of this cutting edge crypto technology.
With the Kinesis Monetary System, investing in gold is no longer the slow process that many older investors are used to. This cryptocurrency is backed by gold and silver and supports precious metals trade.
It has three essential assets.
Tokens that represent an investors ownership of gold and silver. The inherited system where performance is done. Complete blockchain security that supports investments and paves the way for the creation of new assets protected in a banking system. Most importantly, the Kinesis Monetary System allows thousands of transactions to be completed per second in a completely secure channel.
The Near Future
Even a decade later, cryptocurrencies are still very much in their infancy. At this time, no one is sure what shape this growing sector will take in the future. Many cryptocurrencies will come and go but the ones that show the most promise, that fulfill their use cases, will stick around for the long term. With any emerging technology, we have to watch how it evolves and how it merges with our everyday life, changing the way we interact with everything around us.
submitted by National_Association to CryptoMarkets [link] [comments]

World History Timeline of Events Leading up to Bitcoin - In the Making

A (live/editable) timeline of historical events directly or indirectly related to the creation of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
*still workin' on this so check back later and more will be added, if you have any suggested dates/events feel free to lemme know...
This timeline includes dates pertaining to:
Ancient Bartering – first recorded in Egypt (resources, services...) – doesn’t scale
Tally sticks were used, making notches in bones or wood, as a form of money of account
9000-6000 BC Livestock considered the first form of currency
c3200 BC Clay tablets used in Uruk (Iraq) for accounting (believed to be the earliest form of writing)
3000 BC Grain is used as a currency, measured out in Shekels
3000 BC Banking developed in Mesopotamia
3000 BC? Punches used to stamp symbols on coins were a precursor to the printing press and modern coins
? BC Since ancient Persia and all the way up until the invention and expansion of the telegraph Homing Pigeons were used to carry messages
2000 BC Merchants in Assyria, India and Sumeria lent grain to farmers and traders as a precursor to banks
1700 BC In Babylon at the time of Hammurabi, in the 18th century BC, there are records of loans made by the priests of the temple.
1200 BC Shell money first used in China
1000-600 BC Crude metal coins first appear in China
640 BC Precious metal coins – Gold & Silver first used in ancient Lydia and coastal Greek cities featuring face to face heads of a bull and a lion – first official minted currency made from electrum, a mixture of gold and silver
600-500 BC Atbash Cipher
A substitution Cipher used by ancient Hebrew scholars mapping the alphabet in reverse, for example, in English an A would be a Z, B a Y etc.
400 BC Skytale used by Sparta
474 BC Hundreds of gold coins from this era were discovered in Rome in 2018
350 BC Greek hydraulic semaphore system, an optical communication system developed by Aeneas Tacticus.
c200 BC Polybius Square
??? Wealthy stored coins in temples, where priests also lent them out
??? Rome was the first to create banking institutions apart from temples
118 BC First banknote in the form of 1 foot sq pieces of white deerskin
100-1 AD Caesar Cipher
193 Aureus, a gold coin of ancient Rome, minted by Septimius Severus
324 Solidus, pure gold coin, minted under Constantine’s rule, lasted until the late 8th century
600s Paper currency first developed in Tang Dynasty China during the 7th century, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song Dynasty, 960–1279
c757–796 Silver pennies based on the Roman denarius became the staple coin of Mercia in Great Britain around the time of King Offa
806 First paper banknotes used in China but isn’t widely accepted in China until 960
1024 The first series of standard government notes were issued in 1024 with denominations like 1 guàn (貫, or 700 wén), 1 mín (緡, or 1000 wén), up to 10 guàn. In 1039 only banknotes of 5 guàn and 10 guàn were issued, and in 1068 a denomination of 1 guàn was introduced which became forty percent of all circulating Jiaozi banknotes.
1040 The first movable type printer was invented in China and made of porcelain
? Some of the earliest forms of long distance communication were drums used by Native Africans and smoke signals used by Native Americans and Chinese
1088 Movable type in Song Dynasty China
1120 By the 1120s the central government officially stepped in and produced their own state-issued paper money (using woodblock printing)
1150 The Knights Templar issued bank notes to pilgrims. Pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value.
1200s-1300s During the 13th century bankers from north Italy, collectively known as Lombards, gradually replace the Jews in their traditional role as money-lenders to the rich and powerful. – Florence, Venice and Genoa - The Bardi and Peruzzi Families dominated banking in 14th century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe
1200 By the time Marco Polo visited China they’d move from coins to paper money, who introduced the concept to Europe. An inscription warned, "All counterfeiters will be decapitated." Before the use of paper, the Chinese used coins that were circular, with a rectangular hole in the middle. Several coins could be strung together on a rope. Merchants in China, if they became rich enough, found that their strings of coins were too heavy to carry around easily. To solve this problem, coins were often left with a trustworthy person, and the merchant was given a slip of paper recording how much money they had with that person. Marco Polo's account of paper money during the Yuan Dynasty is the subject of a chapter of his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, titled "How the Great Kaan Causeth the Bark of Trees, Made Into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All Over his Country."
1252 Florin minted in Florence, becomes the hard currency of its day helping Florence thrive economically
1340 Double-entry bookkeeping - The clerk keeping the accounts for the Genoese firm of Massari painstakingly fills in the ledger for the year 1340.
1397 Medici Bank established
1450 Johannes Gutenberg builds the printing press – printed words no longer just for the rich
1455 Paper money disappears from China
1466 Polyalphabetic Cipher
1466 Rotating cipher disks – Vatican – greatest crypto invention in 1000 yrs – the first system to challenge frequency analysis
1466 First known mechanical cipher machine
1472 The oldest bank still in existence founded, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy
1494 Double-entry bookkeeping system codified by Luca Pacioli
1535 Wampum, a form of currency used by Native Americans, a string of beads made from clamshells, is first document.
1553 Vigenere Cipher
1557 Phillip II of Spain managed to burden his kingdom with so much debt (as the result of several pointless wars) that he caused the world's first national bankruptcy — as well as the world's second, third and fourth, in rapid succession.
1577 Newspaper in Korea
1586 The Babington Plot
1590 Cabinet Noir was established in France. Its mission was to open, read and reseal letters, and great expertise was developed in the restoration of broken seals. In the knowledge that mail was being opened, correspondents began to develop systems to encrypt and decrypt their letters. The breaking of these codes gave birth to modern systematic scientific code breaking.
1600s Promissory banknotes began in London
1600s By the early 17th century banking begins also to exist in its modern sense - as a commercial service for customers rather than kings. – Late 17th century we see cheques slowly gains acceptance
The total of the money left on deposit by a bank's customers is a large sum, only a fraction of which is usually required for withdrawals. A proportion of the rest can be lent out at interest, bringing profit to the bank. When the customers later come to realize this hidden value of their unused funds, the bank's profit becomes the difference between the rates of interest paid to depositors and demanded from debtors.
The transformation from moneylenders into private banks is a gradual one during the 17th and 18th centuries. In England it is achieved by various families of goldsmiths who early in the period accept money on deposit purely for safe-keeping. Then they begin to lend some of it out. Finally, by the 18th century, they make banking their business in place of their original craft as goldsmiths.
1605 Newspaper in Straussburg
c1627 Great Cipher
1637 Wampum is declared as legal tender in the U.S. (where we got the slang word “clams” for money)
1656 Johan Palmstruch establishes the Stockholm Banco
1661 Paper Currency reappears in Europe, soon became common - The goldsmith-bankers of London began to give out the receipts as payable to the bearer of the document rather than the original depositor
1661 Palmstruch issues credit notes which can be exchanged, on presentation to his bank, for a stated number of silver coins
1666 Stockholms Banco, the predecessor to the Central Bank of Sweden issues the first paper money in Europe. Soon went bankrupt for printing too much money.
1667 He issues more notes than his bank can afford to redeem with silver and winds up in disgrace, facing a death penalty (commuted to imprisonment) for fraud.
1668 Bank of Sweden – today the 2nd oldest surviving bank
1694 First Central Bank established in the UK was the first bank to initiate the permanent issue of banknotes
Served as model for most modern central banks.
The modern banknote rests on the assumption that money is determined by a social and legal consensus. A gold coin's value is simply a reflection of the supply and demand mechanism of a society exchanging goods in a free market, as opposed to stemming from any intrinsic property of the metal. By the late 17th century, this new conceptual outlook helped to stimulate the issue of banknotes.
1700s Throughout the commercially energetic 18th century there are frequent further experiments with bank notes - deriving from a recognized need to expand the currency supply beyond the availability of precious metals.
1710 Physiocracy
1712 First commercial steam engine
1717 Master of the Royal Mint Sir Isaac Newton established a new mint ratio between silver and gold that had the effect of driving silver out of circulation (bimetalism) and putting Britain on a gold standard.
1735 Classical Economics – markets regulate themselves when free of intervention
1744 Mayer Amschel Rothschild, Founder of the Rothschild Banking Empire, is Born in Frankfurt, Germany
Mayer Amschel Rothschild extended his banking empire across Europe by carefully placing his five sons in key positions. They set up banks in Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Naples, and Paris. By the mid 1800’s they dominated the banking industry, lending to governments around the world and people such as the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Cecil Rhodes.
1745 There was a gradual move toward the issuance of fixed denomination notes in England standardized printed notes ranging from £20 to £1,000 were being printed.
1748 First recorded use of the word buck for a dollar, stemming from the Colonial period in America when buck skins were commonly traded
1757 Colonial Scrip Issued in US
1760s Mayer Amschel Rothschild establishes his banking business
1769 First steam powered car
1775-1938 US Diplomatic Codes & Ciphers by Ralph E Weber used – problems were security and distribution
1776 American Independence
1776 Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand theory helped bankers and money-lenders limit government interference in the banking sector
1781 The Bank of North America was a private bank first adopted created the US Nation's first de facto central bank. When shares in the bank were sold to the public, the Bank of North America became the country's first initial public offering. It lasted less than ten years.
1783 First steamboat
1791 Congress Creates the First US Bank – A Private Company, Partly Owned by Foreigners – to Handle the Financial Needs of the New Central Government. First Bank of the United States, a National bank, chartered for a term of twenty years, it was not renewed in 1811.
Previously, the 13 states had their own banks, currencies and financial institutions, which had an average lifespan of about 5 years.
1792 First optical telegraph invented where towers with telescopes were dispersed across France 12-25 km apart, relaying signals according to positions of arms extended from the top of the towers.
1795 Thomas Jefferson invents the Jefferson Disk Cipher or Wheel Cipher
1797 to 1821 Restriction Period by England of trading banknotes for silver during Napoleonic Wars
1797 Currency Crisis
Although the Bank was originally a private institution, by the end of the 18th century it was increasingly being regarded as a public authority with civic responsibility toward the upkeep of a healthy financial system.
1799 First paper machine
1800 Banque de France – France’s central bank opens to try to improve financing of the war
1800 Invention of the battery
1801 Rotchschild Dynasty begins in Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire – established international banking family through his 5 sons who established themselves in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Naples
1804 Steam locomotive
1807 Internal combustion engine and automobile
1807 Robert Fulton expands water transportation and trade with the workable steamboat.
1809 Telegraphy
1811 First powered printing press, also first to use a cylinder
1816 The Privately Owned Second Bank of the US was Chartered – It Served as the Main Depository for Government Revenue, Making it a Highly Profitable Bank – charter not renewed in 1836
1816 The first working telegraph was built using static electricity
1816 Gold becomes the official standard of value in England
1820 Industrial Revolution
c1820 Neoclassical Economics
1821 British gov introduces the gold standard - With governments issuing the bank notes, the inherent danger is no longer bankruptcy but inflation.
1822 Charles Babbage, considered the "father of the computer", begins building the first programmable mechanical computer.
1832 Andrew Jackson Campaigns Against the 2nd Bank of the US and Vetoes Bank Charter Renewal
Andrew Jackson was skeptical of the central banking system and believed it gave too few men too much power and caused inflation. He was also a proponent of gold and silver and an outspoken opponent of the 2nd National Bank. The Charter expired in 1836.
1833 President Jackson Issues Executive Order to Stop Depositing Government Funds Into Bank of US
By September 1833, government funds were being deposited into state chartered banks.
1833-1837 Manufactured “boom” created by central bankers – money supply Increases 84%, Spurred by the 2nd Bank of the US
The total money supply rose from $150 million to $267 million
1835 Jackson Escapes Assassination. Assassin misfired twice.
1837-1862 The “Free Banking Era” there was no formal central bank in the US, and banks issued their own notes again
1838 First Telegram sent using Morse Code across 3 km, in 1844 he sent a message across 71 km from Washington DC to Baltimore.
1843 Ada Lovelace published the first algorithm for computing
1844 Modern central bank of England established - meaning only the central bank of England could issue banknotes – prior to that commercial banks could issue their own and were the primary form of currency throughout England
the Bank of England was restricted to issue new banknotes only if they were 100% backed by gold or up to £14 million in government debt.
1848 Communist Manifesto
1850 The first undersea telegraphic communications cable connected France in England after latex produced from the sap of the Palaquium gutta tree in 1845 was proposed as insulation for the underwater cables.
1852 Many countries in Europe build telegram networks, however post remained the primary means of communication to distant countries.
1855 In England fully printed notes that did not require the name of the payee and the cashier's signature first appeared
1855 The printing telegraph made it possible for a machine with 26 alphabetic keys to print the messages automatically and was soon adopted worldwide.
1856 Belgian engineer Charles Bourseul proposed telephony
1856 The Atlantic Telegraph company was formed in London to stretch a commercial telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, completed in 1866.
1860 The Pony Express was founded, able to deliver mail of wealthy individuals or government officials from coast to coast in 10 days.
1861 The East coast was connected to the West when Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph line, putting an end to unprofitable The Pony Express.
1862-1863 First US banknotes - Lincoln Over Rules Debt-Based Money and Issues Greenbacks to Fund Civil War
Bankers would only lend the government money under certain conditions and at high interest rates, so Lincoln issued his own currency – “greenbacks” – through the US Treasury, and made them legal tender. His soldiers went on to win the war, followed by great economic expansion.
1863 to 1932 “National Banking Era” Commercial banks in the United States had legally issued banknotes before there was a national currency; however, these became subject to government authorization from 1863 to 1932
1864 Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first rural credit union in Heddesdorf (now part of Neuwied) in Germany. By the time of Raiffeisen's death in 1888, credit unions had spread to Italy, France, the Netherlands, England, Austria, and other nations
1870 Long-distance telegraph lines connected Britain and India.
c1871 Marginalism - The doctrines of marginalism and the Marginal Revolution are often interpreted as a response to the rise of the worker's movement, Marxian economics and the earlier (Ricardian) socialist theories of the exploitation of labour.
1871 Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics – Austrian School
1872 Marx’s Das Capital
1872 Australia becomes the first nation to be connected to the rest of the world via submarine telegraph cables.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, first called the electric speech machine – revolutionized communication
1877 Thomas Edison – Phonograph
1878 Western Union, the leading telegraph provider of the U.S., begins to lose out to the telephone technology of the National Bell Telephone Company.
1881 President James Garfield, Staunch Proponent of “Honest Money” Backed by Gold and Silver, was Assassinated
Garfield opposed fiat currency (money that was not backed by any physical object). He had the second shortest Presidency in history.
1882 First description of the one-time pad
1886 First gas powered car
1888 Ballpoint pen
1892 Cinematograph
1895 System of wireless communication using radio waves
1896 First successful intercontinental telegram
1898 Polyethylene
1899 Nickel-cadmium battery
1907 Banking Panic of 1907
The New York Stock Exchange dropped dramatically as everyone tried to get their money out of the banks at the same time across the nation. This banking panic spurred debate for banking reform. JP Morgan and others gathered to create an image of concern and stability in the face of the panic, which eventually led to the formation of the Federal Reserve. The founders of the Federal Reserve pretended like the bankers were opposed to the idea of its formation in order to mislead the public into believing that the Federal Reserve would help to regulate bankers when in fact it really gave even more power to private bankers, but in a less transparent way.
1908 St Mary’s Bank – first credit union in US
1908 JP Morgan Associate and Rockefeller Relative Nelson Aldrich Heads New National Monetary Commission
Senate Republican leader, Nelson Aldrich, heads the new National Monetary Commission that was created to study the cause of the banking panic. Aldrich had close ties with J.P. Morgan and his daughter married John D. Rockefeller.
1910 Bankers Meet Secretly on Jekyll Island to Draft Federal Reserve Banking Legislation
Over the course of a week, some of the nation’s most powerful bankers met secretly off the coast of Georgia, drafting a proposal for a private Central Banking system.
1913 Federal Reserve Act Passed
Two days before Christmas, while many members of Congress were away on vacation, the Federal Reserve Act was passed, creating the Central banking system we have today, originally with gold backed Federal Reserve Notes. It was based on the Aldrich plan drafted on Jekyll Island and gave private bankers supreme authority over the economy. They are now able to create money out of nothing (and loan it out at interest), make decisions without government approval, and control the amount of money in circulation.
1913 Income tax established -16th Amendment Ratified
Taxes ensured that citizens would cover the payment of debt due to the Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, which was also created in 1913.The 16th Amendment stated: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
1914 November, Federal Reserve Banks Open
JP Morgan and Co. Profits from Financing both sides of War and Purchasing Weapons
J.P. Morgan and Co. made a deal with the Bank of England to give them a monopoly on underwriting war bonds for the UK and France. They also invested in the suppliers of war equipment to Britain and France.
1914 WWI
1917 Teletype cipher
1917 The one-time pad
1917 Zimmerman Telegram intercepted and decoded by Room 40, the cryptanalysis department of the British Military during WWI.
1918 GB returns to gold standard post-war but it didn’t work out
1919 First rotor machine, an electro-mechanical stream ciphering and decrypting machine.
1919 Founding of The Cipher Bureau, Poland’s intelligence and cryptography agency.
1919-1929 The Black Chamber, a forerunner of the NSA, was the first U.S. cryptanalytic organization. Worked with the telegraph company Western Union to illegally acquire foreign communications of foreign embassies and representatives. It was shut down in 1929 as funding was removed after it was deemed unethical to intercept private domestic radio signals.
1920s Department stores, hotel chains and service staions begin offering customers charge cards
1921-1929 The “Roaring 20’s” – The Federal Reserve Floods the Economy with Cash and Credit
From 1921 to 1929 the Federal Reserve increased the money supply by $28 billion, almost a 62% increase over an eight-year period.[3] This artificially created another “boom”.
1927 Quartz clock
1928 First experimental Television broadcast in the US.
1929 Federal Reserve Contracts the Money Supply
In 1929, the Federal Reserve began to pull money out of circulation as loans were paid back. They created a “bust” which was inevitable after issuing so much credit in the years before. The Federal Reserve’s actions triggered the banking crisis, which led to the Great Depression.
1929 October 24, “Black Thursday”, Stock Market Crash
The most devastating stock market crash in history. Billions of dollars in value were consolidated into the private banker’s hands at the expense of everyone else.
1930s The Great Depression marked the end of the gold standard
1931 German Enigma machines attained and reconstructed.
1932 Turbo jet engine patented
1933 SEC founded - passed the Glass–Steagall Act, which separated investment banking and commercial banking. This was to avoid more risky investment banking activities from ever again causing commercial bank failures.
1933 FM Radio
1933 Germany begins Telex, a network of teleprinters sending and receiving text based messages. Post WWII Telex networks began to spread around the world.
1936 Austrian engineer Paul Eisler invented Printed circuit board
1936 Beginning of the Keynesian Revolution
1937 Typex, British encryption machines which were upgraded versions of Enigma machines.
1906 Teletypewriters
1927 Founding of highly secret and unofficial Signal Intelligence Service, SIS, the U.S. Army’s codebreaking division.
1937 Made illegal for Americans to own gold
1938 Z1 built by Konrad Zuse is the first freely programmable computer in the world.
1939 WWII – decline of the gold standard which greatly restricted policy making
1939-45 Codetalkers - The Navajo code is the only spoken military code never to have been deciphered - "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."—Howard Connor
1940 Modems
1942 Deciphering Japanese coded messages leads to a turning point victory for the U.S. in WWII.
1943 At Bletchley Park, Alan Turing and team build a specialized cipher-breaking machine called Heath Robinson.
1943 Colossus computer built in London to crack the German Lorenz cipher.
1944 Bretton Woods – convenient after the US had most of the gold
1945 Manhattan Project – Atom Bomb
1945 Transatlantic telephone cable
1945 Claude E. Shannon published "A mathematical theory of cryptography", commonly accepted as the starting point for development of modern cryptography.
C1946 Crypto Wars begin and last to this day
1946 Charg-it card created by John C Biggins
1948 Atomic clock
1948 Claude Shannon writes a paper that establishes the mathematical basis of information theory
1949 Info theorist Claude Shannon asks “What does an ideal cipher look like?” – one time pad – what if the keys are not truly random
1950 First credit card released by the Diners Club, able to be used in 20 restaurants in NYC
1951 NSA, National Security Agency founded and creates the KL-7, an off-line rotor encryption machine
1952 First thermonuclear weapon
1953 First videotape recorder
1953 Term “Hash” first used meaning to “chop” or “make a mess” out of something
1954 Atomic Energy Act (no mention of crypto)
1957 The NSA begins producing ROMOLUS encryption machines, soon to be used by NATO
1957 First PC – IBM
1957 First Satellite – Sputnik 1
1958 Western Union begins building a nationwide Telex network in the U.S.
1960s Machine readable codes were added to the bottom of cheques in MICR format, which speeded up the clearing and sorting process
1960s Financial organizations were beginning to require strong commercial encryption on the rapidly growing field of wired money transfer.
1961 Electronic clock
1963 June 4, Kennedy Issued an Executive Order (11110) that Authorized the US Treasury to Issue Silver Certificates, Threatening the Federal Reserve’s Monopoly on Money
This government issued currency would bypass the governments need to borrow from bankers at interest.
1963 Electronic calculator
1963 Nov. 22, Kennedy Assassinated
1963 Johnson Reverses Kennedy’s Banking Rule and Restores Power to the Federal Reserve
1964 8-Track
1964 LAN, Local Area Networks adapters
1965 Moore’s Law by CEO of Intel Gordon Moore observes that the number of components per integrated circuit doubles every year, and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. In 1975 he revised it to every two years.
1967 First ATM installed at Barclay’s Bank in London
1968 Cassette Player introduced
1969 First connections of ARPANET, predecessor of the internet, are made. started – SF, SB, UCLA, Utah (now Darpa) – made to stay ahead of the Soviets – there were other networks being built around the world but it was very hard to connect them – CERN in Europe
1970s Stagflation – unemployment + inflation, which Keynesian theory could not explain
1970s Business/commercial applications for Crypto emerge – prior to this time it was militarily used – ATMs 1st got people thinking about commercial applications of cryptography – data being sent over telephone lines
1970s The public developments of the 1970s broke the near monopoly on high quality cryptography held by government organizations.
Use of checks increased in 70s – bringing about ACH
One way functions...
A few companies began selling access to private networks – but weren’t allowed to connect to the internet – business and universities using Arpanet had no commercial traffic – internet was used for research, not for commerce or advertising
1970 Railroads threatened by the growing popularity of air travel. Penn Central Railroad declares bankruptcy resulting in a $3.2 billion bailout
1970 Conjugate coding used in an attempt to design “money physically impossible to counterfeit”
1971 The US officially removes the gold standard
1971 Email invented
1971 Email
1971 First microcomputer on a chip
1971 Lockheed Bailout - $1.4 billion – Lockheed was a major government defense contractor
1972 First programmable word processor
1972 First video game console
1973 SWIFT established
1973 Ethernet invented, standardized in ‘83
1973 Mobile phone
1973 First commercial GUI – Xerox Alto
1973 First touchscreen
1973 Emails made up more than ¾ of ARPANET’s packets – people had to keep a map of the network by their desk – so DNS was created
1974 A protocol for packet network intercommunication – TCP/IP – Cerf and Kahn
1974 Franklin National Bank Bailout - $1.5 billion (valued at that time) - At the time, it was the largest bank failure in US history
1975 New York City Bailout - $9.4 billion – NYC was overextended
1975 W DES - meant that commercial uses of high quality encryption would become common, and serious problems of export control began to arise.
1975 DES, Data Encryption Standard developed at IBM, seeking to develop secure electronic communications for banks and large financial organizations. DES was the first publicly accessible cipher to be 'blessed' by a national agency such as the NSA. Its release stimulated an explosion of public and academic interest in cryptography.
1975 Digital camera
1975 Altair 8800 sparks the microprocessor revolution
1976 Bretton Woods ratified (lasted 30 years) – by 80’s all nations were using floating currencies
1976 New Directions in Cryptography published by Diffie & Hellman – this terrified Fort Meade – previously this technique was classified, now it’s public
1976 Apple I Computer – Steve Wozniak
1976 Asymmetric key cryptosystem published by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman.
1976 Hellman and Diffie publish New Directions in Cryptography, introducing a radically new method of distributing cryptographic keys, contributing much to solving key distribution one of the fundamental problems of cryptography. It brought about the almost immediate public development of asymmetric key algorithms. - where people can have 2 sets of keys, public and private
1977 Diffie & Hellman receive letter from NSA employee JA Meyer that they’re violating Federal Laws comparable to arms export – this raises the question, “Can the gov prevent academics from publishing on crypto?
1977 DES considered insecure
1977 First handheld electronic game
1977 RSA public key encryption invented
1978 McEliece Cryptosystem invented, first asymmetric encryption algorithm to use randomization in the encryption process
1980s Large data centers began being built to store files and give users a better faster experience – companies rented space from them - Data centers would not only store data but scour it to show people what they might want to see and in some cases, sell data
1980s Reaganomics and Thatcherism
1980 A decade of intense bank failures begins; the FDIC reports that 1,600 were either closed or received financial assistance from 1980 to 1994
1980 Chrysler Bailout – lost over $1 billion due to major hubris on the part of its executives - $1.5 billion one of the largest payouts ever made to a single corporation.
1980 Protocols for public key cryptosystems – Ralph Merkle
1980 Flash memory invented – public in ‘84
1981 “Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses and Digital Pseudonumns” – Chaum
1981 EFTPOS, Electronic funds transfer at point of sale is created
1981 IBM Personal Computer
1982 “The Ethics of Liberty” Murray Rothbard
1982 Commodore 64
1982 CD
1983 Satellite TV
1983 First built in hard drive
1983 C++
1983 Stereolithography
1983 Blind signatures for untraceable payments
Mid 1980s Use of ATMs becomes more widespread
1984 Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust bailed out due to overly aggressive lending styles and - the bank’s downfall could be directly traced to risk taking and a lack of due diligence on the part of bank officers - $9.5 billion in 2008 money
1984 Macintosh Computer - the first mass-market personal computer that featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse
1984 CD Rom
1985 Zero-Knowledge Proofs first proposed
1985 300,000 simultaneous telephone conversations over single optical fiber
1985 Elliptic Curve Cryptography
1987 ARPANET had connected over 20k guarded computers by this time
1988 First private networks email servers connected to NSFNET
1988 The Crypto Anarchists Manifesto – Timothy C May
1988 ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network
1989 Savings & Loan Bailout - After the widespread failure of savings and loan institutions, President George H. W. Bush signed and Congress enacted the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act - This was a taxpayer bailout of about $200 billion
1989 First commercial emails sent
1989 Digicash - Chaum
1989 Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau built the prototype system which became the World Wide Web, WWW
1989 First ISPs – companies with no network of their own which connected people to a local network and to the internet - To connect to a network your computer placed a phone call through a modem which translated analog signals to digital signals – dial-up was used to connect computers as phone lines already had an extensive network across the U.S. – but phone lines weren’t designed for high pitched sounds that could change fast to transmit large amounts of data
1990s Cryptowars really heat up...
1990s Some countries started to change their laws to allow "truncation"
1990s Encryption export controls became a matter of public concern with the introduction of the personal computer. Phil Zimmermann's PGP cryptosystem and its distribution on the Internet in 1991 was the first major 'individual level' challenge to controls on export of cryptography. The growth of electronic commerce in the 1990s created additional pressure for reduced restrictions.[3] Shortly afterward, Netscape's SSL technology was widely adopted as a method for protecting credit card transactions using public key cryptography.
1990 NSFNET replaced Arpanet as backbone of the internet with more than 500k users
Early 90s Dial up provided through AOL and Compuserve
People were leery to use credit cards on the internet
1991 How to time-stamp a digital doc - Stornetta
1991 Phil Zimmermann releases the public key encryption program Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) along with its source code, which quickly appears on the Internet. He distributed a freeware version of PGP when he felt threatened by legislation then under consideration by the US Government that would require backdoors to be included in all cryptographic products developed within the US. Expanded the market to include anyone wanting to use cryptography on a personal computer (before only military, governments, large corporations)
1991 WWW (Tim Berners Lee) – made public in ‘93 – flatten the “tree” structure of the internet using hypertext – reason for HTTP//:WWW – LATER HTTPS for more security
1992 Erwise – first Internet Browser w a graphical Interface
1992 Congress passed a law allowing for commercial traffic on NSFNET
1992 Cpherpunks, Eric Hughes, Tim C May and John Gilmore – online privacy and safety from gov – cypherpunks write code so it can be spread and not shut down (in my earlier chapter)
1993 Mosaic – popularized surfing the web ‘til Netscape Navigator in ’94 – whose code was later used in Firefox
1993 A Cypherpunks Manifesto – Eric Hughes
1994 World’s first online cyberbank, First Virtual, opened for business
1994 Bluetooth
1994 First DVD player
1994 Stanford Federal Credit Union becomes the first financial institution to offer online internet banking services to all of its members in October 1994
1994 Internet only used by a few
1994 Cybercash
1994 Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protocol released by Netscape. Making financial transactions possible.
1994 One of the first online purchases was made, a Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese
1994 Cyphernomicon published – social implication where gov can’t do anything about it
1994-1999 Social Networking – GeoCities (combining creators and users) – had 19M users by ’99 – 3rd most popular after AOL and Yahoo – GeoCities purchased by Yahoo for $3.6B but took a hit after dotcom bubble popped and never recovered – GC shut down in ‘99
1995-2000 Dotcom bubble – Google, Amazon, Facebook: get over 600M visitors/year
1995 DVD
1995 MP3 term coined for MP3 files, the earlier development of which stretches back into the ‘70s, where MP files themselves where developed throughout the ‘90s
1995 NSFNET shut down and handed everything over to the ISPs
1995 NSA publishes the SHA1 hash algorithm as part of its Digital Signature Standard.
1996, 2000 President Bill Clinton signing the Executive order 13026 transferring the commercial encryption from the Munition List to the Commerce Control List. This order permitted the United States Department of Commerce to implement rules that greatly simplified the export of proprietary and open source software containing cryptography, which they did in 2000 - The successful cracking of DES likely helped gather both political and technical support for more advanced encryption in the hands of ordinary citizens - NSA considers AES strong enough to protect information classified at the Top Secret level
1996 e-gold
1997 WAP, Wireless Access Point
1997 NSA researchers published how to mint e cash
1997 Adam Back – HashCash – used PoW – coins could only be used once
1997 Nick Szabo – smart contracts “Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks”
1998 OSS, Open-source software Initiative Founded
1998 Wei Dai – B-money – decentralized database to record txs
1998 Bitgold
1998 First backdoor created by hackers from Cult of the Dead Cow
1998 Musk and Thiel founded PayPal
1998 Nick Szabo says crypto can protect land titles even if thugs take it by force – said it could be done with a timestamped database
1999 Much of the Glass-Steagal Act repealed - this saw US retail banks embark on big rounds of mergers and acquisitions and also engage in investment banking activities.
1999 Milton Friedman says, “I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that's missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash - a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A.”
1999 European banks began offering mobile banking with the first smartphones
1999 The Financial Services Modernization Act Allows Banks to Grow Even Larger
Many economists and politicians have recognized that this legislation played a key part in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007.
1999-2001 Napster, P2P file sharing – was one of the fastest growing businesses in history – bankrupt for paying musicians for copyright infringement

submitted by crypto_jedi_ninja to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Is anyone else freaked out by this whole blocksize debate? Does anyone else find themself often agreeing with *both* sides - depending on whichever argument you happen to be reading at the moment? And do we need some better algorithms and data structures?

Why do both sides of the debate seem “right” to me?
I know, I know, a healthy debate is healthy and all - and maybe I'm just not used to the tumult and jostling which would be inevitable in a real live open major debate about something as vital as Bitcoin.
And I really do agree with the starry-eyed idealists who say Bitcoin is vital. Imperfect as it may be, it certainly does seem to represent the first real chance we've had in the past few hundred years to try to steer our civilization and our planet away from the dead-ends and disasters which our government-issued debt-based currencies keep dragging us into.
But this particular debate, about the blocksize, doesn't seem to be getting resolved at all.
Pretty much every time I read one of the long-form major arguments contributed by Bitcoin "thinkers" who I've come to respect over the past few years, this weird thing happens: I usually end up finding myself nodding my head and agreeing with whatever particular piece I'm reading!
But that should be impossible - because a lot of these people vehemently disagree!
So how can both sides sound so convincing to me, simply depending on whichever piece I currently happen to be reading?
Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just a gullible idiot?
Just Do It?
When you first look at it or hear about it, increasing the size seems almost like a no-brainer: The "big-block" supporters say just increase the blocksize to 20 MB or 8 MB, or do some kind of scheduled or calculated regular increment which tries to take into account the capabilities of the infrastructure and the needs of the users. We do have the bandwidth and the memory to at least increase the blocksize now, they say - and we're probably gonna continue to have more bandwidth and memory in order to be able to keep increasing the blocksize for another couple decades - pretty much like everything else computer-based we've seen over the years (some of this stuff is called by names such as "Moore's Law").
On the other hand, whenever the "small-block" supporters warn about the utter catastrophe that a failed hard-fork would mean, I get totally freaked by their possible doomsday scenarios, which seem totally plausible and terrifying - so I end up feeling that the only way I'd want to go with a hard-fork would be if there was some pre-agreed "triggering" mechanism where the fork itself would only actually "switch on" and take effect provided that some "supermajority" of the network (of who? the miners? the full nodes?) had signaled (presumably via some kind of totally reliable p2p trustless software-based voting system?) that they do indeed "pre-agree" to actually adopt the pre-scheduled fork (and thereby avoid any possibility whatsoever of the precious blockchain somehow tragically splitting into two and pretty much killing this cryptocurrency off in its infancy).
So in this "conservative" scenario, I'm talking about wanting at least 95% pre-adoption agreement - not the mere 75% which I recall some proposals call for, which seems like it could easily lead to a 75/25 blockchain split.
But this time, with this long drawn-out blocksize debate, the core devs, and several other important voices who have become prominent opinion shapers over the past few years, can't seem to come to any real agreement on this.
Weird split among the devs
As far as I can see, there's this weird split: Gavin and Mike seem to be the only people among the devs who really want a major blocksize increase - and all the other devs seem to be vehemently against them.
But then on the other hand, the users seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of a major increase.
And there are meta-questions about governance, about about why this didn't come out as a BIP, and what the availability of Bitcoin XT means.
And today or yesterday there was this really cool big-blockian exponential graph based on doubling the blocksize every two years for twenty years, reminding us of the pure mathematical fact that 210 is indeed about 1000 - but not really addressing any of the game-theoretic points raised by the small-blockians. So a lot of the users seem to like it, but when so few devs say anything positive about it, I worry: is this just yet more exponential chart porn?
On the one hand, Gavin's and Mike's blocksize increase proposal initially seemed like a no-brainer to me.
And on the other hand, all the other devs seem to be against them. Which is weird - not what I'd initially expected at all (but maybe I'm just a fool who's seduced by exponential chart porn?).
Look, I don't mean to be rude to any of the core devs, and I don't want to come off like someone wearing a tinfoil hat - but it has to cross people's minds that the powers that be (the Fed and the other central banks and the governments that use their debt-issued money to run this world into a ditch) could very well be much more scared shitless than they're letting on. If we assume that the powers that be are using their usual playbook and tactics, then it could be worth looking at the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins, to get an idea of how they might try to attack Bitcoin. So, what I'm saying is, they do have a track record of sending in "experts" to try to derail projects and keep everyone enslaved to the Creature from Jekyll Island. I'm just saying. So, without getting ad hominem - let's just make sure that our ideas can really stand scrutiny on their own - as Nick Szabo says, we need to make sure there is "more computer science, less noise" in this debate.
When Gavin Andresen first came out with the 20 MB thing - I sat back and tried to imagine if I could download 20 MB in 10 minutes (which seems to be one of the basic mathematical and technological constraints here - right?)
I figured, "Yeah, I could download that" - even with my crappy internet connection.
And I guess the telecoms might be nice enough to continue to double our bandwidth every two years for the next couple decades – if we ask them politely?
On the other hand - I think we should be careful about entrusting the financial freedom of the world into the greedy hands of the telecoms companies - given all their shady shenanigans over the past few years in many countries. After decades of the MPAA and the FBI trying to chip away at BitTorrent, lately PirateBay has been hard to access. I would say it's quite likely that certain persons at institutions like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs and the Fed might be very, very motivated to see Bitcoin fail - so we shouldn't be too sure about scaling plans which depend on the willingness of companies Verizon and AT&T to double our bandwith every two years.
Maybe the real important hardware buildout challenge for a company like 21 (and its allies such as Qualcomm) to take on now would not be "a miner in every toaster" but rather "Google Fiber Download and Upload Speeds in every Country, including China".
I think I've read all the major stuff on the blocksize debate from Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn, Greg Maxwell, Peter Todd, Adam Back, and Jeff Garzick and several other major contributors - and, oddly enough, all their arguments seem reasonable - heck even Luke-Jr seems reasonable to me on the blocksize debate, and I always thought he was a whackjob overly influenced by superstition and numerology - and now today I'm reading the article by Bram Cohen - the inventor of BitTorrent - and I find myself agreeing with him too!
I say to myself: What's going on with me? How can I possibly agree with all of these guys, if they all have such vehemently opposing viewpoints?
I mean, think back to the glory days of a couple of years ago, when all we were hearing was how this amazing unprecedented grassroots innovation called Bitcoin was going to benefit everyone from all walks of life, all around the world:
...basically the entire human race transacting everything into the blockchain.
(Although let me say that I think that people's focus on ideas like driverless cabs creating realtime fare markets based on supply and demand seems to be setting our sights a bit low as far as Bitcoin's abilities to correct the financial world's capital-misallocation problems which seem to have been made possible by infinite debt-based fiat. I would have hoped that a Bitcoin-based economy would solve much more noble, much more urgent capital-allocation problems than driverless taxicabs creating fare markets or refrigerators ordering milk on the internet of things. I was thinking more along the lines that Bitcoin would finally strangle dead-end debt-based deadly-toxic energy industries like fossil fuels and let profitable clean energy industries like Thorium LFTRs take over - but that's another topic. :=)
Paradoxes in the blocksize debate
Let me summarize the major paradoxes I see here:
(1) Regarding the people (the majority of the core devs) who are against a blocksize increase: Well, the small-blocks arguments do seem kinda weird, and certainly not very "populist", in the sense that: When on earth have end-users ever heard of a computer technology whose capacity didn't grow pretty much exponentially year-on-year? All the cool new technology we've had - from hard drives to RAM to bandwidth - started out pathetically tiny and grew to unimaginably huge over the past few decades - and all our software has in turn gotten massively powerful and big and complex (sometimes bloated) to take advantage of the enormous new capacity available.
But now suddenly, for the first time in the history of technology, we seem to have a majority of the devs, on a major p2p project - saying: "Let's not scale the system up. It could be dangerous. It might break the whole system (if the hard-fork fails)."
I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, maybe someone else could enlighten me, but I don't think I've ever seen this sort of thing happen in the last few decades of the history of technology - devs arguing against scaling up p2p technology to take advantage of expected growth in infrastructure capacity.
(2) But... on the other hand... the dire warnings of the small-blockians about what could happen if a hard-fork were to fail - wow, they do seem really dire! And these guys are pretty much all heavyweight, experienced programmers and/or game theorists and/or p2p open-source project managers.
I must say, that nearly all of the long-form arguments I've read - as well as many, many of the shorter comments I've read from many users in the threads, whose names I at least have come to more-or-less recognize over the past few months and years on reddit and bitcointalk - have been amazingly impressive in their ability to analyze all aspects of the lifecycle and management of open-source software projects, bringing up lots of serious points which I could never have come up with, and which seem to come from long experience with programming and project management - as well as dealing with economics and human nature (eg, greed - the game-theory stuff).
So a lot of really smart and experienced people with major expertise in various areas ranging from programming to management to game theory to politics to economics have been making some serious, mature, compelling arguments.
But, as I've been saying, the only problem to me is: in many of these cases, these arguments are vehemently in opposition to each other! So I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of them, one by one - which means the end result is just a giant contradiction.
I mean, today we have Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, arguing (quite cogently and convincingly to me), that it would be dangerous to increase the blocksize. And this seems to be a guy who would know a few things about scaling out a massive global p2p network - since the protocol which he invented, BitTorrent, is now apparently responsible for like a third of the traffic on the internet (and this despite the long-term concerted efforts of major evil players such as the MPAA and the FBI to shut the whole thing down).
Was the BitTorrent analogy too "glib"?
By the way - I would like to go on a slight tangent here and say that one of the main reasons why I felt so "comfortable" jumping on the Bitcoin train back a few years ago, when I first heard about it and got into it, was the whole rough analogy I saw with BitTorrent.
I remembered the perhaps paradoxical fact that when a torrent is more popular (eg, a major movie release that just came out last week), then it actually becomes faster to download. More people want it, so more people have a few pieces of it, so more people are able to get it from each other. A kind of self-correcting economic feedback loop, where more demand directly leads to more supply.
(BitTorrent manages to pull this off by essentially adding a certain structure to the file being shared, so that it's not simply like an append-only list of 1 MB blocks, but rather more like an random-access or indexed array of 1 MB chunks. Say you're downloading a film which is 700 MB. As soon as your "client" program has downloaded a single 1-MB chunk - say chunk #99 - your "client" program instantly turns into a "server" program as well - offering that chunk #99 to other clients. From my simplistic understanding, I believe the Bitcoin protocol does something similar, to provide a p2p architecture. Hence my - perhaps naïve - assumption that Bitcoin already had the right algorithms / architecture / data structure to scale.)
The efficiency of the BitTorrent network seemed to jive with that "network law" (Metcalfe's Law?) about fax machines. This law states that the more fax machines there are, the more valuable the network of fax machines becomes. Or the value of the network grows on the order of the square of the number of nodes.
This is in contrast with other technology like cars, where the more you have, the worse things get. The more cars there are, the more traffic jams you have, so things start going downhill. I guess this is because highway space is limited - after all, we can't pave over the entire countryside, and we never did get those flying cars we were promised, as David Graeber laments in a recent essay in The Baffler magazine :-)
And regarding the "stress test" supposedly happening right now in the middle of this ongoing blocksize debate, I don't know what worries me more: the fact that it apparently is taking only $5,000 to do a simple kind of DoS on the blockchain - or the fact that there are a few rumors swirling around saying that the unknown company doing the stress test shares the same physical mailing address with a "scam" company?
Or maybe we should just be worried that so much of this debate is happening on a handful of forums which are controlled by some guy named theymos who's already engaged in some pretty "contentious" or "controversial" behavior like blowing a million dollars on writing forum software (I guess he never heard that reddit.com software is open-source)?
So I worry that the great promise of "decentralization" might be more fragile than we originally thought.
Scaling
Anyways, back to Metcalfe's Law: with virtual stuff, like torrents and fax machines, the more the merrier. The more people downloading a given movie, the faster it arrives - and the more people own fax machines, the more valuable the overall fax network.
So I kindof (naïvely?) assumed that Bitcoin, being "virtual" and p2p, would somehow scale up the same magical way BitTorrrent did. I just figured that more people using it would somehow automatically make it stronger and faster.
But now a lot of devs have started talking in terms of the old "scarcity" paradigm, talking about blockspace being a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" - which seems kinda scary, and antithetical to much of the earlier rhetoric we heard about Bitcoin (the stuff about supporting our favorite creators with micropayments, and the stuff about Africans using SMS to send around payments).
Look, when some asshole is in line in front of you at the cash register and he's holding up the line so they can run his credit card to buy a bag of Cheeto's, we tend to get pissed off at the guy - clogging up our expensive global electronic payment infrastructure to make a two-dollar purchase. And that's on a fairly efficient centralized system - and presumably after a year or so, VISA and the guy's bank can delete or compress the transaction in their SQL databases.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if some guy buys a coffee on the blockchain, or if somebody pays an online artist $1.99 for their work - then that transaction, a few bytes or so, has to live on the blockchain forever?
Or is there some "pruning" thing that gets rid of it after a while?
And this could lead to another question: Viewed from the perspective of double-entry bookkeeping, is the blockchain "world-wide ledger" more like the "balance sheet" part of accounting, i.e. a snapshot showing current assets and liabilities? Or is it more like the "cash flow" part of accounting, i.e. a journal showing historical revenues and expenses?
When I think of thousands of machines around the globe having to lug around multiple identical copies of a multi-gigabyte file containing some asshole's coffee purchase forever and ever... I feel like I'm ideologically drifting in one direction (where I'd end up also being against really cool stuff like online micropayments and Africans banking via SMS)... so I don't want to go there.
But on the other hand, when really experienced and battle-tested veterans with major experience in the world of open-souce programming and project management (the "small-blockians") warn of the catastrophic consequences of a possible failed hard-fork, I get freaked out and I wonder if Bitcoin really was destined to be a settlement layer for big transactions.
Could the original programmer(s) possibly weigh in?
And I don't mean to appeal to authority - but heck, where the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto in all this? I do understand that he/she/they would want to maintain absolute anonymity - but on the other hand, I assume SN wants Bitcoin to succeed (both for the future of humanity - or at least for all the bitcoins SN allegedly holds :-) - and I understand there is a way that SN can cryptographically sign a message - and I understand that as the original developer of Bitcoin, SN had some very specific opinions about the blocksize... So I'm kinda wondering of Satoshi could weigh in from time to time. Just to help out a bit. I'm not saying "Show us a sign" like a deity or something - but damn it sure would be fascinating and possibly very helpful if Satoshi gave us his/hetheir 2 satoshis worth at this really confusing juncture.
Are we using our capacity wisely?
I'm not a programming or game-theory whiz, I'm just a casual user who has tried to keep up with technology over the years.
It just seems weird to me that here we have this massive supercomputer (500 times more powerful than the all the supercomputers in the world combined) doing fairly straightforward "embarassingly parallel" number-crunching operations to secure a p2p world-wide ledger called the blockchain to keep track of a measly 2.1 quadrillion tokens spread out among a few billion addresses - and a couple of years ago you had people like Rick Falkvinge saying the blockchain would someday be supporting multi-million-dollar letters of credit for international trade and you had people like Andreas Antonopoulos saying the blockchain would someday allow billions of "unbanked" people to send remittances around the village or around the world dirt-cheap - and now suddenly in June 2015 we're talking about blockspace as a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" and partially centralized, corporate-sponsored "Level 2" vaporware like Lightning Network and some mysterious company is "stess testing" or "DoS-ing" the system by throwing away a measly $5,000 and suddenly it sounds like the whole system could eventually head right back into PayPal and Western Union territory again, in terms of expensive fees.
When I got into Bitcoin, I really was heavily influenced by vague analogies with BitTorrent: I figured everyone would just have tiny little like utorrent-type program running on their machine (ie, Bitcoin-QT or Armory or Mycelium etc.).
I figured that just like anyone can host a their own blog or webserver, anyone would be able to host their own bank.
Yeah, Google and and Mozilla and Twitter and Facebook and WhatsApp did come along and build stuff on top of TCP/IP, so I did expect a bunch of companies to build layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol as well. But I still figured the basic unit of bitcoin client software powering the overall system would be small and personal and affordable and p2p - like a bittorrent client - or at the most, like a cheap server hosting a blog or email server.
And I figured there would be a way at the software level, at the architecture level, at the algorithmic level, at the data structure level - to let the thing scale - if not infinitely, at least fairly massively and gracefully - the same way the BitTorrent network has.
Of course, I do also understand that with BitTorrent, you're sharing a read-only object (eg, a movie) - whereas with Bitcoin, you're achieving distributed trustless consensus and appending it to a write-only (or append-only) database.
So I do understand that the problem which BitTorrent solves is much simpler than the problem which Bitcoin sets out to solve.
But still, it seems that there's got to be a way to make this thing scale. It's p2p and it's got 500 times more computing power than all the supercomputers in the world combined - and so many brilliant and motivated and inspired people want this thing to succeed! And Bitcoin could be our civilization's last chance to steer away from the oncoming debt-based ditch of disaster we seem to be driving into!
It just seems that Bitcoin has got to be able to scale somehow - and all these smart people working together should be able to come up with a solution which pretty much everyone can agree - in advance - will work.
Right? Right?
A (probably irrelevant) tangent on algorithms and architecture and data structures
I'll finally weigh with my personal perspective - although I might be biased due to my background (which is more on the theoretical side of computer science).
My own modest - or perhaps radical - suggestion would be to ask whether we're really looking at all the best possible algorithms and architectures and data structures out there.
From this perspective, I sometimes worry that the overwhelming majority of the great minds working on the programming and game-theory stuff might come from a rather specific, shall we say "von Neumann" or "procedural" or "imperative" school of programming (ie, C and Python and Java programmers).
It seems strange to me that such a cutting-edge and important computer project would have so little participation from the great minds at the other end of the spectrum of programming paradigms - namely, the "functional" and "declarative" and "algebraic" (and co-algebraic!) worlds.
For example, I was struck in particular by statements I've seen here and there (which seemed rather hubristic or lackadaisical to me - for something as important as Bitcoin), that the specification of Bitcoin and the blockchain doesn't really exist in any form other than the reference implementation(s) (in procedural languages such as C or Python?).
Curry-Howard anyone?
I mean, many computer scientists are aware of the Curry-Howard isomorophism, which basically says that the relationship between a theorem and its proof is equivalent to the relationship between a specification and its implementation. In other words, there is a long tradition in mathematics (and in computer programming) of:
And it's not exactly "turtles all the way down" either: a specification is generally simple and compact enough that a good programmer can usually simply visually inspect it to determine if it is indeed "correct" - something which is very difficult, if not impossible, to do with a program written in a procedural, implementation-oriented language such as C or Python or Java.
So I worry that we've got this tradition, from the open-source github C/Java programming tradition, of never actually writing our "specification", and only writing the "implementation". In mission-critical military-grade programming projects (which often use languages like Ada or Maude) this is simply not allowed. It would seem that a project as mission-critical as Bitcoin - which could literally be crucial for humanity's continued survival - should also use this kind of military-grade software development approach.
And I'm not saying rewrite the implementations in these kind of theoretical languages. But it might be helpful if the C/Python/Java programmers in the Bitcoin imperative programming world could build some bridges to the Maude/Haskell/ML programmers of the functional and algebraic programming worlds to see if any kind of useful cross-pollination might take place - between specifications and implementations.
For example, the JavaFAN formal analyzer for multi-threaded Java programs (developed using tools based on the Maude language) was applied to the Remote Agent AI program aboard NASA's Deep Space 1 shuttle, written in Java - and it took only a few minutes using formal mathematical reasoning to detect a potential deadlock which would have occurred years later during the space mission when the damn spacecraft was already way out around Pluto.
And "the Maude-NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) Protocol Analyzer (Maude-NPA) is a tool used to provide security proofs of cryptographic protocols and to search for protocol flaws and cryptosystem attacks."
These are open-source formal reasoning tools developed by DARPA and used by NASA and the US Navy to ensure that program implementations satisfy their specifications. It would be great if some of the people involved in these kinds of projects could contribute to help ensure the security and scalability of Bitcoin.
But there is a wide abyss between the kinds of programmers who use languages like Maude and the kinds of programmers who use languages like C/Python/Java - and it can be really hard to get the two worlds to meet. There is a bit of rapprochement between these language communities in languages which might be considered as being somewhere in the middle, such as Haskell and ML. I just worry that Bitcoin might be turning into being an exclusively C/Python/Java project (with the algorithms and practitioners traditionally of that community), when it could be more advantageous if it also had some people from the functional and algebraic-specification and program-verification community involved as well. The thing is, though: the theoretical practitioners are big on "semantics" - I've heard them say stuff like "Yes but a C / C++ program has no easily identifiable semantics". So to get them involved, you really have to first be able to talk about what your program does (specification) - before proceeding to describe how it does it (implementation). And writing high-level specifications is typically very hard using the syntax and semantics of languages like C and Java and Python - whereas specs are fairly easy to write in Maude - and not only that, they're executable, and you state and verify properties about them - which provides for the kind of debate Nick Szabo was advocating ("more computer science, less noise").
Imagine if we had an executable algebraic specification of Bitcoin in Maude, where we could formally reason about and verify certain crucial game-theoretical properties - rather than merely hand-waving and arguing and deploying and praying.
And so in the theoretical programming community you've got major research on various logics such as Girard's Linear Logic (which is resource-conscious) and Bruni and Montanari's Tile Logic (which enables "pasting" bigger systems together from smaller ones in space and time), and executable algebraic specification languages such as Meseguer's Maude (which would be perfect for game theory modeling, with its functional modules for specifying the deterministic parts of systems and its system modules for specifiying non-deterministic parts of systems, and its parameterized skeletons for sketching out the typical architectures of mobile systems, and its formal reasoning and verification tools and libraries which have been specifically applied to testing and breaking - and fixing - cryptographic protocols).
And somewhat closer to the practical hands-on world, you've got stuff like Google's MapReduce and lots of Big Data database languages developed by Google as well. And yet here we are with a mempool growing dangerously big for RAM on a single machine, and a 20-GB append-only list as our database - and not much debate on practical results from Google's Big Data databases.
(And by the way: maybe I'm totally ignorant for asking this, but I'll ask anyways: why the hell does the mempool have to stay in RAM? Couldn't it work just as well if it were stored temporarily on the hard drive?)
And you've got CalvinDB out of Yale which apparently provides an ACID layer on top of a massively distributed database.
Look, I'm just an armchair follower cheering on these projects. I can barely manage to write a query in SQL, or read through a C or Python or Java program. But I would argue two points here: (1) these languages may be too low-level and "non-formal" for writing and modeling and formally reasoning about and proving properties of mission-critical specifications - and (2) there seem to be some Big Data tools already deployed by institutions such as Google and Yale which support global petabyte-size databases on commodity boxes with nice properties such as near-real-time and ACID - and I sometimes worry that the "core devs" might be failing to review the literature (and reach out to fellow programmers) out there to see if there might be some formal program-verification and practical Big Data tools out there which could be applied to coming up with rock-solid, 100% consensus proposals to handle an issue such as blocksize scaling, which seems to have become much more intractable than many people might have expected.
I mean, the protocol solved the hard stuff: the elliptical-curve stuff and the Byzantine General stuff. How the heck can we be falling down on the comparatively "easier" stuff - like scaling the blocksize?
It just seems like defeatism to say "Well, the blockchain is already 20-30 GB and it's gonna be 20-30 TB ten years from now - and we need 10 Mbs bandwidth now and 10,000 Mbs bandwidth 20 years from - assuming the evil Verizon and AT&T actually give us that - so let's just become a settlement platform and give up on buying coffee or banking the unbanked or doing micropayments, and let's push all that stuff into some corporate-controlled vaporware without even a whitepaper yet."
So you've got Peter Todd doing some possibly brilliant theorizing and extrapolating on the idea of "treechains" - there is a Let's Talk Bitcoin podcast from about a year ago where he sketches the rough outlines of this idea out in a very inspiring, high-level way - although the specifics have yet to be hammered out. And we've got Blockstream also doing some hopeful hand-waving about the Lightning Network.
Things like Peter Todd's treechains - which may be similar to the spark in some devs' eyes called Lightning Network - are examples of the kind of algorithm or architecture which might manage to harness the massive computing power of miners and nodes in such a way that certain kinds of massive and graceful scaling become possible.
It just seems like a kindof tiny dev community working on this stuff.
Being a C or Python or Java programmer should not be a pre-req to being able to help contribute to the specification (and formal reasoning and program verification) for Bitcoin and the blockchain.
XML and UML are crap modeling and specification languages, and C and Java and Python are even worse (as specification languages - although as implementation languages, they are of course fine).
But there are serious modeling and specification languages out there, and they could be very helpful at times like this - where what we're dealing with is questions of modeling and specification (ie, "needs and requirements").
One just doesn't often see the practical, hands-on world of open-source github implementation-level programmers and the academic, theoretical world of specification-level programmers meeting very often. I wish there were some way to get these two worlds to collaborate on Bitcoin.
Maybe a good first step to reach out to the theoretical people would be to provide a modular executable algebraic specification of the Bitcoin protocol in a recognized, military/NASA-grade specification language such as Maude - because that's something the theoretical community can actually wrap their heads around, whereas it's very hard to get them to pay attention to something written only as a C / Python / Java implementation (without an accompanying specification in a formal language).
They can't check whether the program does what it's supposed to do - if you don't provide a formal mathematical definition of what the program is supposed to do.
Specification : Implementation :: Theorem : Proof
You have to remember: the theoretical community is very aware of the Curry-Howard isomorphism. Just like it would be hard to get a mathematician's attention by merely showing them a proof without telling also telling them what theorem the proof is proving - by the same token, it's hard to get the attention of a theoretical computer scientist by merely showing them an implementation without showing them the specification that it implements.
Bitcoin is currently confronted with a mathematical or "computer science" problem: how to secure the network while getting high enough transactional throughput, while staying within the limited RAM, bandwidth and hard drive space limitations of current and future infrastructure.
The problem only becomes a political and economic problem if we give up on trying to solve it as a mathematical and "theoretical computer science" problem.
There should be a plethora of whitepapers out now proposing algorithmic solutions to these scaling issues. Remember, all we have to do is apply the Byzantine General consensus-reaching procedure to a worldwide database which shuffles 2.1 quadrillion tokens among a few billion addresses. The 21 company has emphatically pointed out that racing to compute a hash to add a block is an "embarrassingly parallel" problem - very easy to decompose among cheap, fault-prone, commodity boxes, and recompose into an overall solution - along the lines of Google's highly successful MapReduce.
I guess what I'm really saying is (and I don't mean to be rude here), is that C and Python and Java programmers might not be the best qualified people to develop and formally prove the correctness of (note I do not say: "test", I say "formally prove the correctness of") these kinds of algorithms.
I really believe in the importance of getting the algorithms and architectures right - look at Google Search itself, it uses some pretty brilliant algorithms and architectures (eg, MapReduce, Paxos) which enable it to achieve amazing performance - on pretty crappy commodity hardware. And look at BitTorrent, which is truly p2p, where more demand leads to more supply.
So, in this vein, I will close this lengthy rant with an oddly specific link - which may or may not be able to make some interesting contributions to finding suitable algorithms, architectures and data structures which might help Bitcoin scale massively. I have no idea if this link could be helpful - but given the near-total lack of people from the Haskell and ML and functional worlds in these Bitcoin specification debates, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't throw this out - just in case there might be something here which could help us channel the massive computing power of the Bitcoin network in such a way as to enable us simply sidestep this kind of desperate debate where both sides seem right because the other side seems wrong.
https://personal.cis.strath.ac.uk/neil.ghani/papers/ghani-calco07
The above paper is about "higher dimensional trees". It uses a bit of category theory (not a whole lot) and a bit of Haskell (again not a lot - just a simple data structure called a Rose tree, which has a wikipedia page) to develop a very expressive and efficient data structure which generalizes from lists to trees to higher dimensions.
I have no idea if this kind of data structure could be applicable to the current scaling mess we apparently are getting bogged down in - I don't have the game-theory skills to figure it out.
I just thought that since the blockchain is like a list, and since there are some tree-like structures which have been grafted on for efficiency (eg Merkle trees) and since many of the futuristic scaling proposals seem to also involve generalizing from list-like structures (eg, the blockchain) to tree-like structures (eg, side-chains and tree-chains)... well, who knows, there might be some nugget of algorithmic or architectural or data-structure inspiration there.
So... TL;DR:
(1) I'm freaked out that this blocksize debate has splintered the community so badly and dragged on so long, with no resolution in sight, and both sides seeming so right (because the other side seems so wrong).
(2) I think Bitcoin could gain immensely by using high-level formal, algebraic and co-algebraic program specification and verification languages (such as Maude including Maude-NPA, Mobile Maude parameterized skeletons, etc.) to specify (and possibly also, to some degree, verify) what Bitcoin does - before translating to low-level implementation languages such as C and Python and Java saying how Bitcoin does it. This would help to communicate and reason about programs with much more mathematical certitude - and possibly obviate the need for many political and economic tradeoffs which currently seem dismally inevitable - and possibly widen the collaboration on this project.
(3) I wonder if there are some Big Data approaches out there (eg, along the lines of Google's MapReduce and BigTable, or Yale's CalvinDB), which could be implemented to allow Bitcoin to scale massively and painlessly - and to satisfy all stakeholders, ranging from millionaires to micropayments, coffee drinkers to the great "unbanked".
submitted by BeYourOwnBank to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

litecoin moonshoot

With the add of bitcoin cash as the "latest and greatest" crypto coin scam. (literally claiming to be a copy and paste of bitcoin where any bitcoin user can clone their wallet into another currency) we are due for the litecoin pump to start. Had BCH not been invented ltc would be ready for its pump today.
Remember to do your own research, don't invest in scams and stick with the coins that are hydrated instead of born out of insolvency.
If you want to get into history look into Dante's inferno.
Everything in the planet is a stock in some way shape or form. with cryptocoins (any cryptocoin) you have to account for every stock item included in it. Most crypto coins from my own research are invested in third eye and in body for war or for making property claim on someone elses possessions. That which is hydrated is of more value no mater how you look at it.
Look into illuminati and ancient historical reference and do your own research you aren't going to get better truth than this in current mainstream media. The world it self is living off of inflation and crypto coins are to replace this to which many of you will find the current majority votes on living in a hyper inflation beyond any means exceeding the super blood moon of 9/27/2015. It just wont last.
Spirit Science and google alphabet are literally the competion against crypto coins to which most of the market makers in Crypto Coins are lying in their graves trying to avoid their ultimate fate of death and destruction waging wars against the mentality of day traders in every facet to make property claims on everything you own. See Internet of Things for more information.
If you are a legitimate trader you're primary goal is to accept the fact that social security is fallen, Religion is fallen and the Soul is fallen (think of these as tools that the human body has used as a means to avoid inflation).
Knowing this you have to litterally accept that you as a human being are without any coverage and must begin living life like you have nothing to cover you. want a real life example? If you're in Europe or any other nation outside of america you will find nothing but dissent and revolutuion spreading from the grass roots level with nothing but the inspiration of Truth seeking and Knowledge seeking about the facts that the militaries and "elites" have hidden from you as the "bottom feeders" for thousands of years.
Any one who knows anything about history would know that Spirit science has been an upstart of a new religion meant to inject it self into every facet of religion and law to replace the fundamentals of civilization with a lie based on a half truth tracing back to agartha (stuff that most people consider conspiracy). Crypto coins has always been out to reveal these truths while rebuilding the index that atlantis has left at the hands of the military (of all nations) to take care of. Literally any one of you can pay attention to the moon rise and set times to begin to notice that life it self is not as it appears to be.
With the recent launch of BCH the market makers have been doing everything they can to cover up and lie about the truth to what is actually happening as far as the pyramid of the NWO being destroyed.
Short answer: rich or poor you should do everything you can to invest into ltc and begin spreading the good word of peace on earth and truth on earth knowing revolutions are sparking everywhere.
The United States dollar is not in control of the economy and oil will not cover the bottom line with bullshit about how we can't shift over to hydroelectric, solar powered sources. Its just impossible to cover up. If you are new, try searching google or youtube for zero point energy and technologies hidden by world governments due to their uses being able to destroy and revolutionize world markets with usually little to a few thousand dollars. The whole thing about death and being separated from ancestors is tricky enough considering biological immortality is a real thing. Carbon Fiber bodies is a new thing. Not to get to crazy about it but we are in a moment of revolutionizing the entire planet in a huge way to a point to where the greedy are dellusional and the intelligent are staying above the heavy.
If you know better now is the time to begin collection LTC and get accumulating while their is time, infrastructure is building for every human being to live beyond thousands of years (truthfully billions of years - if you stay hydrated) and no death exists. in the mean time Air ion type humans are doing everything they can to stop the truth from being released (dont be a fool and invest in a hype coin when the world is changing towards truth and peace on earth).
Accumulate LTC see the universe change and stay hydrated if bch didnt exist to this day we'd see a huge pump coming today but this is their final stretch. want something that explains this better, watch the matrix and be skeptical or see the truth in front of you. accumulation is the game, next coin is UNO and a few more will be coming in due time. Seek that which has a real support system and has real foundation being completed. Within the next two years atm's will be fully funded with fruits and veggie solutions as well as an arcade style withdraw deposit crypto coin system. Sort of like a 3d print your own crypto coin which includes a qr code withdraw deposit code printed on the coin itself so that you can use a plastic coin / copper coin, etc etc printer to make a value to your physical wallet while the current paradigm collapses under the current rulers of the 'poor world' you really know nothing until you get into the 'conspiracy' side of the truth. $1200.00 ltc is an understatement. by the time btc is 10k you are seeing ltc at 1k solid 2k with full hydration.
Every crypto coin is nothing more than a ledger / index (see atlas and do your own research) you need water fire land and air then you need fruits and veggies then meat and materials. To which most crypto coins are worth nothing more than war tokens and technologies if you know what you're reading.
Carbon Fiber bodies are the future, the Hueman is the future don't settle on a simple, pump and dump im out for money scheme when the truth to all histories on earth are coming down the line.
Seek out, stone hendge, the orient, egyptian pyramids, the great wonders of the world to learn the truth to the actual value of crypto coins.
Seek folding at home and seti at home to learn the truth to crypto coin value. don't be fooled by a bunch of idiots who are looking to scam you. There is real value coming very very soon. Whether people like it or not a new paradigm is coming soon.
submitted by reggiesells to litecoin [link] [comments]

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

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