Making money online isn’t as simple as many think even though there are lots of ways one might do it, such as playing games, mining bitcoins, creating a YouTube channel, or just creating a blog. But the Internet allows much more than these methods, and that is to make money out of your hobbies. Computer builders can advertise their skills and make client builds, graphics specialists can make custom designs and sell them and the list goes on and on. One hobby is quite common and and the possibility for getting fair compensation is quite high: photography. Be it digital photo manipulation or old school photography, those who have this hobby can sell their photos and make a pretty buck from it. Of course, your photos must be good if you want to sell them.
What types of photos can you sell?
Pretty much any type of digital media can be sold. If you own a quality camera, like a DSLR, you can take artistic photos or stock photos. There is a big market for stock photography, as digital artists use these photos to create others from them. Also, in the same category of stock photography are texture photographs, which can also be done with a high quality camera. Note:Stock photography requires you to have a DSLR camera, as you need the high resolution provided by these devices. This is especially true for texture photography, where the textures need to be high resolution and high quality. Artistic photography can also bring you some money, but there are many photographers out there that are very well known and take stunning pictures of all types (portraits, landscapes, nature, sports, macro, etc), and making a name for yourself is pretty hard, but if you are talented, then you will succeed. Digital compositions can be sold in numerous places and graphics designers have made a living out of creating awesome photos from scratch or from stocks, using specialized software, such as Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t own a powerful camera, and you don’t like going out and searching for the best frame, then this might be the one for you. But keep in mind that programs like Photoshop are very hard to learn, and becoming proficient with them will take months if not years of hard work.
Selling photos online: Q&A
If you are just now starting to think about selling your photos, then you must have lots of questions. Here are a few answers that might interest you in the beginning: Q: How much money can I make from selling photos? A: It greatly depends on how well your photos are discovered, how many you sell and what percentage of the cost of the photos you receive from the service you use. Q: How long before I get any payment? A: Again, it depends on how quickly your photos are discovered, how good they are, how affordable they are and of course, on what people need. Q: Do I have to invest anything? A: In some cases, yes. There are many websites that allow you to upload photos for free, or try a demo of their services, but many require either a one time buy or a regular subscription. Q: What is the best solution for selling photos online? A: Both ways have their advantages, what it boils down to is the time you plan on investing in this and of course, the budget.
Tips on selling your pictures online
Even though the concept of selling pictures online is pretty straightforward, there are some aspects that you should consider. By following these simple guidelines you will get a head start in your endeavor and make a name for yourself. After all, being known by people is half of the way, and once you make yourself known to the customers, you will have better chances of selling your photos. Before you start selling your pictures online, you might want to do a little reading on photography and composition, as you will need these skills to later take good pictures. Also, if you are using Adobe Photoshop to compose or edit photos, then look at a few tutorials and learn how to use it.
Finding your niche is a good way to start. Everyone likes different things, therefore, they will do better at taking pictures or composing on different themes. Experiment with a number of models and see which pleases you the best. For some, macro photography is best looking, and for others, it might be astrophotography.
Get your gear ready, be it your DSLR camera or your editing software. Now that you learned a bit about them, you will know what you need to make the best pictures, and if you discovered your niche, then you will need specialized tools and equipment.
Don’t discard photos even if you don’t particularly like them. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, therefore someone might like a photo that you find mediocre, or they might hate what you think of as your masterpiece.
Keep your photos organized! You might not upload all your photos at once to a website to sell them, so keep them handy for later on. Also, you might have more than one niche, and so, you will have to organize them for better access. If you are doing stock photography and other types of photography at the same time, you will have to sell them on different websites and having them organized will help you a lot.
Make yourself a portfolio and show customers what you can do. This is especially necessary if you plan on creating a Print on Demand shop.
Scout all the websites that sell photographs and upload your work. The more sources you use, the more likely it is your photos will be found and bought.
Don’t get discouraged if your photos are rejected for whatever reason by some websites, just keep trying in other places and you’ll get there.
If by any chance some of your photos are rejected everywhere, do the next best thing: offer them for free download, under your name and watermark. This will make you known to the customer base and you might end up with some fans who will buy your other photos.
There are two ways to go about selling your pictures online. First off there are websites that allow you to open an account and upload your photos to your gallery. These websites are used by thousands of photographers and customers and offer a simple and effective way to sell photos online. The other type of websites or services that you can use to sell your photos online is the online portfolio builder, where you use the dedicated tools to create your own website and have your own gallery. This allows users to better customize their pages and have nice looking websites that reflect the type of pictures they want to sell.
Websites to upload and sell your pictures
There are a number of websites where you can sell pictures but keep in mind that you can only sell pictures that belong to you. If you have some awesome pictures that you have taken, these websites will be of help if you wish to sell them and make a profit out of your hobby. This type of websites has some advantages that make them suited for certain users:
They are easy to set up
They allow almost any types of photos (computer generated pictures or traditional photography)
Free to use
Some don’t require users to minimum size for the picture
Although these websites are simple and free to use, keep in mind that they hold hundreds of thousands of images, and getting yours sold might take a while. Now that you know what these websites can do for you and how to use them, here are some examples of good markets where you can bring your photos to sell them:
Keep in mind that not only digital copies of your images can be sold. If you have some great shots and some basic Photoshop skills, you can make your own Print on Demand website and sell your photos as greeting cards or paintings. Also, there are a number of services that will allow you to create a portfolio and upload your photos to a hosting server. From these websites, you will be able to sell your photos easily to customers. Here are some of the highlights of these services:
Some offer WordPress support for creating blogs with good SEO
Your portfolio only holds your photos
Some of these websites will verify your photos and automatically add them to their existing database
While these services allow anyone to create a professional portfolio, most of them are not free, and sooner or later, users will have to pay a subscription. Also, they will have to do some research on how to run a blog and make it popular if they want their pictures to show up in web searches. If you are interested in such solutions, here are a few to get you started:
These are only a few of the tools that you will use in your pursuit to sell your pictures, as there are many other tools out there that might help you. Remember to do solid research before you commit to a service or a website and try to use well known services that others have used and recommended.
Bitcoin Giants Coinbase, Circle, Kraken, Bittrex, Grayscale And Others Band Together To Rate Tokens...
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency companies have been struggling in recent years against vague regulation and characterization of cryptocurrencies. Wild swings in bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices, which soared throughout 2017 only to crash back down to earth last year, meant regulators around the world scrambled to protect potential bitcoin buyers but questions remain around whether digital tokens are securities–leaving crypto companies uncertain about how future legislation will affect them. Now, bitcoin trading and investment giants Anchorage, Bittrex, Circle, Coinbase, DRW Cumberland, Genesis, Grayscale, and Kraken have banded together to create the Crypto Rating Council in order to better decide which digital assets can and cannot be traded on their platforms. The group have created what they call a “scalable, points-based rating system” to help define whether a cryptocurrency is or is not a security. The system will use a set of several dozen questions, “derived directly from SEC guidance and case law.” “We also worked hard to focus our framework on objective, repeatable, fact-driven questions that can be answered consistently by technical experts across different assets and over time,” Coinbase wrote in a blog post announcing the council. 24,861 views|Sep 30, 2019,6:17 am Bitcoin Giants Coinbase, Circle, Kraken, Bittrex, Grayscale And Others Band Together To Rate Tokens Billy BambroughContributor Crypto & Blockchain I write about how bitcoin, crypto and blockchain can change the world. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency companies have been struggling in recent years against vague regulation and characterization of cryptocurrencies. Wild swings in bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices, which soared throughout 2017 only to crash back down to earth last year, meant regulators around the world scrambled to protect potential bitcoin buyers but questions remain around whether digital tokens are securities–leaving crypto companies uncertain about how future legislation will affect them. Now, bitcoin trading and investment giants Anchorage, Bittrex, Circle, Coinbase, DRW Cumberland, Genesis, Grayscale, and Kraken have banded together to create the Crypto Rating Council in order to better decide which digital assets can and cannot be traded on their platforms. ￼￼ Bitcoin and cryptocurrency companies remain unsure[+]AFP/GETTY IMAGES The group have created what they call a “scalable, points-based rating system” to help define whether a cryptocurrency is or is not a security. The system will use a set of several dozen questions, “derived directly from SEC guidance and case law.” “We also worked hard to focus our framework on objective, repeatable, fact-driven questions that can be answered consistently by technical experts across different assets and over time,” Coinbase wrote in a blog post announcing the council. “The result of the analysis is a score which makes it easy for members to synthesize the analysis across many tokens and make their own, independent business decisions about whether or how to support an asset.” The system will give bitcoin and similar digital tokens a score between one and five, with a score of one meaning the council’s independent analysis suggests the asset has few or no characteristics consistent with a traditional regulated security. “We expect that some ratings will change over time and we will accept and consider feedback from asset issuers when they want to share additional information or clarifications that may impact an asset’s rating,” the group added. Bitcoin, along with its major rivals litecoin and monero, have been awarded a rating of one, while ethereum, the world’s second biggest cryptocurrency by value, has been given a rating of two. Ripple’s XRP, one of the most divisive digital tokens, has been given a rating of four. The group is planning to add more members and assets in “coming months,” and may develop similar tools for non-U.S. jurisdictions. Thoughts on all this?
Google’s Quantum Computing Breakthrough Brings Blockchain Resistance Into the Spotlight Again
News by Forbes: Darryn Pollock Quantum computing has been on the tech radar for some time now, but it has also been lurking in the background of the blockchain ecosystem for very different reasons. The new advancement of computing allows for complex equations and problems to be solved exponentially quicker than is currently available. However, it has always been predominantly a futuristic, almost science fiction-like pursuit; for blockchain that has been just fine as well because we have been warned that quantum computation could render existing encryption standards obsolete, threatening the security of every significant blockchain. This week, news has emerged that Google has made a recent quantum computing breakthrough, achieving quantum supremacy. It is being reported that Google, using a quantum computer, managed to perform a calculation in just over three minutes that would take the world’s most powerful supercomputer 10,000 years. This could mean panic stations for blockchain as all that has been achieved thus far could be wiped out, and without the right provisions, all the promise and potential could be eliminated overnight. However, the term quantum supremacy refers to the moment when a quantum computer outperforms the world’s best classical computer in a specific test. This is just the first step, but it is a rather large step that means the spotlight is once again on blockchain to try and resist this kind of technology which can unravel its cryptographic algorithms in minutes. Google’s first steps Google has described the recent achievement as a “milestone towards full-scale quantum computing.” They have also said this milestone puts a marker in the ground on which they can start rapidly progressing towards full quantum computing — another concerning statement form blockchains. Details are a little scarce on what Google has achieved, and how they have done it, but previous proposals essentially involve the quantum computer racing a classical computer simulating a random quantum circuit. According to Gizmodo, it has been long known that Google has been testing a 72-qubit device called Bristlecone with which it hoped to achieve quantum supremacy and the initial report from the Financial Times says that the supremacy experiment was instead performed with a 53-qubit processor codenamed Sycamore. However, it would be a little early to start abandoning all hope with Bitcoin, blockchain, and the emerging technology as it is a bit more complicated than that. More so, there is already technology and projects in place that has been trying to prepare for an age of quantum computing where blockchain is resistant. Are blockchains ready to resist? So, if quantum computing is making significant breakthroughs, is there any evidence of blockchain’s being prepared for this new age, and a new threat? There has been news of blockchain builders putting out quantum-resistant chains, such as E-cash inventor David Chaum and his latest cryptocurrency, Praxxis. David Chaum, Elixxir on Moneyconf Stage during day two of Web Summit 2018 (Photo by Eoin Noonan /Web Summit via Getty Images) WEB SUMMIT VIA GETTY IMAGES QAN is another project that says it is ready for the quantum computing age, has reacted quickly to the news of Google’s breakthrough with Johann Polecsak, CTO of QAN, telling Bitcoin.com: “The notion of Google achieving a quantum breakthrough sounds very dramatic, but in reality, it’s hard to gauge the significance at this time. How can we be sure that Google’s quantum computer is more powerful than D-wave’s, for example, which surpassed 1,000 qubits four years ago?” I also reached out to Polecsak to find out more about the threat of quantum computing when, and if, it reaches its pinnacle. “We should definitely be worried,” he told me, “Many IT professionals and CTOs, including the earlier m, are neglecting and denying quantum computing threats with the simple reasoning that once it’s seriously coming, we’ll have to redesign almost everything from scratch, and that must surely be a long time ahead.” “The truth is that one can already rent quantum computers for experimenting with possible attack algorithms and testing theoretical approaches. The maths behind breaking currently used public key cryptography — EC and RSA — were proven, we just need more qubits.” “In cryptography, it’s best to prepare for the worst, and one can observe in recent literature that past skeptics now instantiate their crypto protocols in a post-quantum setting — just it case. Users shouldn’t worry now, but experts should prepare before it’s too late.” QAN CTO Johann Polecsak speaking about the threat of quantum computing at a conference in Seoul, South Korea. SUPPLIED What it means to be quantum-resistant Of course, the technological aspect of the race between quantum computing and blockchain quantum resistance is immense, and it is also quite nuanced. It is not as if quantum computing will, like a light switch, be available and all blockchains will suddenly be vulnerable — but it is still important to be prepared. As it stands, there probably is not enough preparation and planning in place, according to Polecsak. “Blockchains won’t be ready for such a breakthrough. Since transaction history is the backbone of blockchains, such an improvement in quantum computing could be catastrophic for the whole transaction history,” added the CTO. “There is an extra layer of protection with Bitcoin’s double hashing but assuming a quantum computer is capable of Shor on secp256k1 it’s safe to assume it’s also capable of Grover256. Also, we don’t know bounds for SHA regarding quantum circuits.” “As for QAN blockchain platform, it is not a linear comparison or a race where we need to keep up side-by-side with increasing qubits. Being Quantum-safe does not mean that we are just increasing bits in currently used algorithms, but that we take a totally different approach which resists the known Quantum attacks by design.” Prepare to resist As science-fictiony as it sounds, quantum computing is a threat that needs to be taken seriously in the world of blockchains. It may not be the kill switch that everyone imagines because of media hype, but it certainly something that should be on the radar for anyone involved in the ecosystem. It is not only because of what has been accomplished in blockchain thus far but also because of what is being built and promised in the space. Blockchain is a major technology revolution on the horizon, and as it permeates deeper into enterprises and governments it would be catastrophic for all that has been done to be undone, and all that has been promised to be eliminated.
Crypto-Currencies Are Poised To Radically Change Finance … And Reshape Nations
Article by Forbes: Kurt Cagle & COGNITIVE WORLD In the 18th Century, a venture begun in England established an outpost in the New World around Hudson Bay. The Hudson Bay Company was given license by the crown to exploit the bounty of the Northernmost parts of North America, and eventually a trading network was built out, trading fur, woods, and mineral resources. This network manifested itself primarily through a series of forts that protected general stores, extending as far south and west as Oregon, along the Pacific Coast, forts that would in time become cities like Portland, Vancouver, Toronto and so forth. https://preview.redd.it/wpegk0kit6f31.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=f7a4300bc49b3ade91c544bdf0dc0677001ec863 An example of Hudson Bay Company Scrip WIKIPEDIA The Hudson Bay Company used its own special scrip within its territory, the scrip holding value because it could be traded for British pounds as well as establishing more or less standard prices for goods. When Canada was founded in 1867, it established its territory by buying the land from the HBC, and making HBC’s scrip fully convertible to the new Canadian Dollar. In effect, a privately held scrip became the de facto currency of a nation. Empires, kings and potentates have long coveted the right to put their face on coins, but until comparatively recently, the value of those coins was determined primarily by the assayed weight of the metal that made them up. Indeed, the Dutch, during the 16th century, actually scored their gold coins so that a person could break it apart into octants, from whence was derived the term “Pieces of eight” so beloved in pirate tales. They also created coins from the silver mine of Joachim’s Valley (‘Joachimsthal’ in Dutch) which were in turn heavily used by first the Spanish territories then eventually English North America, the name frequently shorted first to ‘Thaler’, and then via Spanish as ‘Dollar’. https://preview.redd.it/rw38upgkt6f31.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=eb4de09c64fb6fa7a70d2cde9a9e3cae4b8f2962 Pieces-of-Eight, so named because the Spanish dollar coin of the 1600s was frequently broken upon into eight bits or reals, which in time became known as pesos (pieces). JAMESTOWN REDISCOVERY Following the death of Louis the Fourteenth of France, the French economy was in tatters given the financial excesses of the Sun King. The Duke of Orleans, the regent of the new five-year-old King Louis the Fifteen, turned to a friend, Scottish financier John Law, for help. Law, for his part, made a proposal that had been tried on a smaller scale, but never really at a national level: the concept of creating a paper currency, backed by the government and in theory redeemable with silver. While the experiment worked for a little while, speculators made the currency unstable, which was then exacerbated by the government producing more Francs than it could support, causing the currency to crash and significantly diminishing the ability of France to compete in the colonization in North America. It also destabilized the French court by reducing the influence of the King over his aristocrats, many of whom had been severely burned in the crash, and not coincidentally laying the groundwork for the French Revolution several decades later. Despite this, as Europe went from Feudal vassalages to nation-states, the ability to control the minting of paper currency based upon its status as a promissory note became one of the key prerogatives of nations. It was one of the reasons, when the first American Confederation, created in the aftermath of the US Revolutionary War, realized they needed a stronger government, the one thing that the Federal government reserved to itself rather than allow to the states was the exclusive right to mint coinage and currency. https://preview.redd.it/bloq70ept6f31.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=af104c0e62286fbc3d2102b96c1ec2ba53ef851c Currencies have long been the prerogative of nations, though that may be changing as electronic coinage hearkens back to most currencies’ merchantile roots. GETTY Fast-forward two hundred and fifty years, and you can see that history is in fact repeating itself. A currency system works by having a few essential characteristics: A note of currency must be unique and non-duplicatable. Currency must be readily redeemable — if not enough people will accept the currency as having a certain value, it cannot be used as a medium of exchange. Currency must be relatively stable — it holds roughly the same value over some time interval. These three conditions place some real constraints on currencies, though not always obvious ones. For instance, if you increase the supply of a given currency, you might think that it would dilute the value of that money. Maybe yes, maybe no. If demand is high for money, increasing the money supply may actually accelerate economic growth, though if demand for money is low, increasing the supply may simply cause inflation. If currency is only redeemable in certain places, then it has less utility as a store of value. If a currency has only half the value today that it had yesterday, then people will get rid of that currency quickly in favor of something that is more stable. It turns out, in fact, that most paper currencies don’t completely satisfy the above constraints over a long time period, and what’s worse, the relationship between money and value can be quite non-linear. This is because currency by itself represents buying power. A gallon of gas in 1971 cost twenty nine cents in most places. Today, that same gallon of gas costs $2.90. Ironically, a loaf of bread cost $.29 and $2.90 respectively as well. The average wage in 1971 was $10,000. Today, its $50,000. This is worth highlighting, though more from an economic rather than technical standpoint. Put in stark terms, the typical worker’s wages went up 400%, but the price of most goods went up 1000% percent over roughly the last fifty years (or, the money you earn is worth 60% less today than it was in 1971, relative to the cost of living). The actual utility of a gallon of gas has actually not changed much in that time, which means that what has changed is both buying power for a given amount of money, and the change in wages relative to the cost of goods. Why? That’s a topic for another time. https://preview.redd.it/4dgrmrist6f31.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=7b110124483a8b8d7a986c5f226e6ca9c6ff0115 Electronic currencies, such as BitCoin and Ethereum, rank high in their ability to guarantee uniqueness, but are struggling with exchangeability and are still very heavily influenced by speculators, making them less than ideal for stable currencies. GETTY IMAGES So, where do cryptocurrencies play into all of this? At the moment, of the three points highlighted above, cryptocurrencies arguably are really, really good with the first point, are getting better (though still not great) with the second point, but really suck on the last point. Consider this. One of the biggest arguments in favor of cryptocurrencies is that they are hard to forge. It’s possible — throw enough computation power at it and you could in fact do it, but the salient point is that the cost to do so likely outweighs the value of the coin. Now the downside to that is that many of the current mechanisms for determining uniqueness (such as mining prime numbers) are also very expensive, not just in terms of computational cycles but in terms of energy costs. It’s one of the reasons why a few of the primary coins actually are too large by themselves to be used for currency — you have to divide a coin up to say a 1000 different micro-coins to get to the point where you can buy a cup of coffee and a sweet roll at Starbucks, and this in turn still requires effective uniqueness algorithms. However, even with weaker algorithms for division, such micro-coins are still orders of magnitude harder to forge than your average US $20 bill, which is far and away the most popular currency in the world in terms of forgery. However, this point is actually becoming less and less of an issue for the simple reason that paper currency itself is becoming obsolete, except among the very poor (who often have difficulty in being able to set up bank accounts). For much of the latter twentieth century, credit cards made significant inroads in eliminating paper currency, and most recently, the introduction of chipped cards, both credit and debit, have significantly reduced the incidences of fraud. The bigger issue today is online card fraud, though even there, the introduction of electronic wallets (and the growing liability that retailers are facing with each hacking incident via class action suits) are spurring much better encryption of data, as well as better control by consumers. This is not to say that credit card fraud isn’t still a problem, but it is a problem that shows signs of abating. Another, perhaps far more reaching consequence of the rise of credit cards, debit cards, digital rewards cards, gift cards and EBTs has been that it has been destroying the physicality of currency, and with it, one of the last vestiges of control that most nations have over their currency. The reason for this is simple. Today, it is possible to set up foreign exchange transfer accounts in which a given currency is in Yen, or Euros, or Pounds, and draw upon them as readily as you can a US funds account. You can set up a crypto account in much the same way, and can even, with some creative work, set up accounts that let you play currency arbitrage across multiple such accounts. If Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple or Facebook (or their counterparts in other countries) set up their own digital currency, you could do the same thing. Amazon is actually creating a highly synergistic ecosystem that is nearly a full bore economy in its own right. https://preview.redd.it/ybuj1fkut6f31.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=ee3c08e08e0f7621fea5d52bd0eff01c17f86ca0 In ten to twenty years time your paycheck could very well be made in private e-currency rather than a country’s native currency, which will send shockwaves in political circles. GETTY Put yourself ten years in the future. Amazon (as an example) puts out a cryptocurrency called the bezo (one bezo, two bezos, ….). You can continue to set up a US dollar account for Amazon prime, but you can also open up a bezos account, based upon a blockchain like construct under the control of Amazon. Prices begin to creep up when measured in US dollars, because the US economy has for the most part had net positive price inflation even during recessions, but prices in bezos stay fixed. Other companies look at this and offer the option of paying their employees in bezos. Some are resistant, but especially younger employees take the plunge, and after a while, older employees see that their net buying power continues to decline while the ones in the Amazon ecosystem are seeing wage power stability, and you see a shift as older employees begin to do the same thing. Other companies do this on their own, but discover that they don’t have quite enough people in their network to maintain stability, and so they reach out and affiliate themselves with the Amazon network. Banks have taken notice, and all of a sudden you see Amazon currency replacing the US Dollar in more and more transactions, many of them for millions or even billions of dollars. And then Amazon moves the Amazon Currency Network to the Cayman Islands. Overnight, the United States sees 35% of its tax base disappear. Too many people are no longer using US Dollars for transactions. The US Debt, which has been a ticking time bomb for decades, goes off as the US can no longer even pretend to service its deficits, let alone the total debt. States, given the conundrum of having a central Federal government that has become increasingly hostile and demanding (while providing less and less value for the tax money that their citizenry have paid) vs. working with a more stable currency and more autonomy, begin to think the unthinkable at a policy level: choosing to join a different political alliance based upon a common protocol for sharing currencies. https://preview.redd.it/au1ssbdwt6f31.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=bf6038a44188e96511ec0abc3d4f3ce4f60812a1 One very distinct possibility of the intermixing between private and public e-currencies is the possibility that it could very well exacerbate an already growing divide along geopolitical lines. GETTY Another scenario can be envisioned. Recently, Walmart announced that they had a patent on a new blockchain currency, with the implications that they would be issuing a currency within the relatively near future. Amazon and Walmart are seen as competitors in the general goods sector, and while there is some overlap they tend to service different regions (and their customers often have very divergent political leanings). Over time you end up with two competing currencies, the Bezo and the Walton. Each of which provides a premium within their respective networks and a double penalty within the opposite network — the double being the fact that in order to convert from Bezos to Waltons, you would have to convert one currency to USDs and then to the other currency, with fees at each transaction point (something often happens in existing currency exchanges, where you have to find a common currency to exchange between two different currencies that don’t otherwise have exchange rates). Over time, the economies diverge, with frustrations mounting as the Bezo and the Walton respond to different economic strategies, and changes in political power in Washington DC bring with it a distinct preference for one currency or the other, with all that this implies for policy. Attempting to peg either of the private currencies to the dollar ends up with a situation similar to that which the European Union experience in 2008, when economic policy that was right for the northern countries with strong industrial bases proved ruinous for the southern countries that were primarily agrarian in nature (and is in fact a part of the current problem between red and blue America). What is likely to happen in this scenario is the rise of compacts — agreements between states that standardize upon specific policies regarding economic action, taxation, representation, immigration, public programs, defense, ecological policy, education and so on. Put another way, the currency networks that emerge (and it is likely they will be networked, not just one single currency) will begin looking and acting more and more like autonomous countries. With this comes the reduction of power in Washington, DC and the federal government as states hew more closely to their compact alliances. Now, to be clear, these are both hypothetical scenarios, and I’m using Amazon and Walmart here just to illustrate the point. Nor are these the only scenarios that may play out. It’s also worth noting that what is at issue is not so much cryptocurrency by itself as it is the ability of currency networks to effectively capture the tax base of parts or all of a country. Will this result in civil war? Hard to say. We may very well end up in a situation where the US becomes a Confederation along the lines of Canada, with a weaker central government, a common defense agreement and stronger regional blocs. The US may split peacefully into several distinct regions based upon the degree of economic connectivity. It’s possible that smarter heads prevail and some agreement is worked out to keep the status quo. However, the likelihood of that decreases the more that mechanisms for separation get implemented, and eCurrencies, whether national based or privately based, have the potential to exacerbate an already stressed situation. https://preview.redd.it/y9c01xa1u6f31.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9371cdc22a409b03230590b1b5e13a6e848b78af One of the major issues that most eCoins have is that they are still highly unstable, due to a comparatively small pool of investors, the potential for volatile speculation, and the potential that a government could make such transactions illegal. GETTY The primary mitigating factor from this happening now is the lack of stability of crypto-currencies, which is something of a chicken and egg problem. Stability ultimately comes from the number of participants involved, which in turn determines the degree to which speculation can take place within a currency. Speculation and stability are counter-weighted — most speculators prefer an asset class to be volatile, because such volatility can make for higher returns with less capital, though it can also lead to higher losses. You can speculate with stable currency (as George Soros managed to do successfully against the British pound in the 1970s) but it requires deep pockets and a great deal of leverage, and being unsuccessful can ruin you. Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies are still very unstable primarily because they lack both the installed base of users and because they are not yet fully convertible or redeemable. It is arguable whether any of the first generation of ICOs will ever meet that bar alone, though that changes once you begin seeing mergers and adoptions between ICOs and large financial or network concerns. This also moots one of the other major selling points that ICO promoters themselves try to make. No currency is going to survive if transactions in that currency remain anonymous, and keeping such transactions anonymous will become increasingly difficult over time. The reason for this is relatively simple — any transaction has real world implications, those implications can be tracked, and once one thread of a transaction begins to get picked apart, then it becomes possible to determine how these connect to other transactions. Government opacity (which is one form of anonymity) will keep many existing ICOs from ever being recognized as legitimate, and may very well be seen as perfect channels for money laundering and black market transactions, putting these ICOs under deep scrutiny. It is likely that currencies based upon (semi-) transparent block-chains (something you’re increasingly seeing developed by financial institutions) will likely overtake the anonymous block-chains currently being deployed. https://preview.redd.it/79i6dzb4u6f31.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9ef3c872dc868e52e9b8454bf8403b0db7562152 The future of finance (and of bank accounts) may very well be that a typical account is, in fact, an index made up of different e-currencies, both public and private. GETTY In the longer term (fifteen to twenty years), it is likely that the average consumer will likely not interact much at all with ICOs directly. Instead, what I see happening is that banks (and bank-like-entities, such as credit unions) will controls portfolios of currencies and accounts will then consist of baskets of different coins on various networks. Consumers can then determine the mix of their coin holdings, and can designate the default currencies they wish to be paid in (or pay out) when they make a financial transaction. However, at the micro-level, these networks and baskets will be treated in much the same way national currencies do today, with the added wrinkle that these private currencies can push and pull on the national currencies at a level unprecedented until now. What happens when the Bezo replaces the Japanese Yen (or the US Dollar) as the primary instrument for carry trades. What if the Iranian eDinar becomes the preferred currency for pricing oil, or an international incident causes investors to buy up Chinese eYuan and sell the USD, raising the potential for price increases in the United States (or vice versa). What will almost certainly happen is that the distinction between international corporations and nations, already somewhat blurry, will erode even more with time. Businesses will increasingly find themselves having to establish comprehensive foreign policies, fielding security forces and dealing with issues that traditionally have been the domain of countries. At the same time, fundamental questions, including the deceptively difficult one of what constitutes citizenship, will become pressing sooner than we’d like to believe. The upshot of this is that Bitcoins and related electronic currencies are likely here to stay, will become progressively more influential in both political and economic policy as they become more stable, and will almost certainly introduce stresses and potential breaking points in economies globally throughout the twenty-first century.
Baltimore government held hostage by hackers' ransomware
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 79%. (I'm a bot)
Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images The US city of Baltimore's government, long plagued by dysfunction, is now battling a ransomware attack that has crippled its systems for more than two weeks and counting. The ransomware has blocked government email accounts and disabled online payments to city departments. Baltimore city officials have so far refused to pay the ransom. In the ransom note, obtained by the Baltimore Sun , hackers demanded payment of three bitcoins - currently worth around $23,600 - per system, or 13 bitcoins for the release of the entire government network. Without the key - held by the hackers - it's as if Baltimore's government "Just lost everything", he said. The Baltimore breach reflects a wider increase in ransomware attacks, Prof Rubin said, to which many government agencies have been slow to respond.
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OnePageX . Convert assets instantly (One more time)
Image by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images Alright, Folks! Let's do this one more time. This time we'll give it a new twist Once upon a time, there were some guys (I guess girls too, you know girl power & stuff) who were experts in cryptocurrencies and blockchain (I'm not gonna bore you with technical terms). These guys bothered them the whole series of steps that had to be fulfilled to exchange one cryptocurrency for another. I'm talking about all the paperwork that needs to be done when you sing up into an exchange platform. Placing all our information, birthplace, if we have flat feet, what color is our dog and another bunch of stuff, that is, our private information (that supposedly will be kept confidential... Let's continue to believe that we live in that ideal world). In addition to all this, you must take pictures of you: front, back, side, etc. And of course, it is not just a simple photo of you. You must take a picture along with your ID card or passport and a paper; in this paper you have to write (in your own handwriting, or you will die, sorry I couldn't resist, hehehe) the current date (year, month, day), the time, maybe you'll need a newspaper also with the latest news of Beyoncé and of course, maybe next to some police or clergy staff that guarantees that your photo is real and is not a Photoshop montage (as if that could be done by anyone). Something like when terrorists kidnap you and ask your father, the president of the USA, to release some insurgents. After all of that, you have to wait days and days; so one day you will receive an email informing that all the photos you took, you should not use a red flannel and for that reason, you must restart the whole process from the beginning. And you just wanted to change the $10 BTC you luckily just won into a giveaway and you wanted to turn them into STEEMs. On a parenthesis, the next is actually real; once an exchange sent me an email indicating that I should not send old photos. Really? I surely scanned a photo from 1989 and with Photoshop, I mounted a paper with today's date and my ID card. And then they say that AI will dominate the world. And all this has nothing to do with the technical part because behind the scenes, each cryptocurrency has its own blockchain and obviously not compatible with each other, so exchanging one crypto for another is not easy. But generally, none of this is our responsibility. Returning to the previous tale, these guys, of course; they developed a unique and special platform that will make your experiences with the cryptocurrencies most comfortable. This platform is called (obviously by now you know what I'm talking about, but let's assume you've never heard of it) ONEPAGEX. Welcome to OnePageX, the future is in your hand; without having to fill out any form, take pictures or participate in any NSA's disguised survey; you finally can exchange your BTC to STEEM without complications. In fact, you can exchange BTC, ETH, LTC, STEEM, XMR, BCHABC (Bitcoin Cash ABC), BTG (Bitcoin Gold), GRS (Groestlcoin) into 140-ish other cryptos. https://preview.redd.it/31py9l5vc6731.jpg?width=904&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=716b8f38d8dbe054d6a52226197bcd6fecea45e9 The process is very simple, everything happens within the same page. Select the pair of crypto you are going to exchange, verify the amounts, set the recipient address and click Start. Inside the same page, you will be indicated the address where you must deposit your cryptos and once you have done that, you only have to wait. It may be quick, but it could take up to 25 minutes. It all depends on the type of currency and network traffic and of course the blockchains. So, that's all folks. Thanks for watching and keep the love for crypto and of course for this beautiful platform called Reddit. 😄
Rapidly expanding, the company is launching several other products this year. One of their products will feature the “auto-saving” option that is the core of the Acorns business model. Twitter veteran (a former COO) and SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said:
Our target audience wants to see what the price of cryptocurrency is, and to buy it. They have a desire to do that and in many cases they already are.
SoFi hasn’t said what cryptocurrencies the customers will actually be able to buy through the app. Coinbase is regulated on a state-by-state basis, which is why Ripple XRP is not currently available to Coinbase Pro users in New York. Anthony Noto is hoping to make it easier for SoFi users to buy bitcoin instantly. | Source: Drew AngereGetty Images/AFP Currently worth $4.4 billion, SoFi’s CEO said the company will not be filing for an initial public offering this year. Coinbase itself has made no official announcement about the SoFi partnership, and no representative of the firm spoke to CNBC. With the addition of SoFi Invest, SoFi is entering the arena with Robinhood, which recently tried and failed to offer bank accounts. Robinhood very much wanted to enter the space that SoFi already operates in but failed to get the proper regulatory approval. The 3% APY checking and savings accounts offered by Robinhood saw massive public interest, but regulators expressed concerns.
PROSPECTS FOR NEW CRYPTO USERS BETTER THAN EVER IN 2019
Mobile users will have more ways than ever to buy and hold cryptocurrencies in 2019. The “ease of adoption” factor has diminished rapidly since the bull run of 2017. However, the actual demand for cryptocurrencies in daily life remains a key issue. There aren’t a ton of places to spend cryptos in real life, and the prospects don’t look any better. This is due in part to the nightmare that is accepting cryptocurrencies for merchants. Simply accepting them is only the first step. A number of other issues arise, including dealing with tax accounting and successfully processing payments. FIO Protocol and others are actively working on improving this experience but may be years away from solutions that genuinely help merchants. Nevertheless, the easier it is to buy and hold cryptocurrencies, the better the adoption rate will grow when interest returns to the crypto space. https://www.ccn.com/sofi-coinbase-bitcoin-crypto-investments
SHARE THIS ARTICLEThe algo made me do it.Photographer: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty ImagesPhotographer: Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty ImagesJust as President Donald Trump had nothing to do with the stock market's rise, despite the almost 60 boastful tweets he has posted about it since being elected, he has nothing to do with the recent stock crash. Instead, praise the machines -- and blame them, too.Last year, Marko Kolanovic, global head of quantitative and derivative research at JPMorgan, estimated that stock pickers -- those who trade on stock-specific fundamentals -- account for just 10 percent of today's stock market trading volumes. Some 60 percent of trading -- twice the share of 10 years ago -- is "passive and quantitative investing." Nearly half is high-frequency trading by algorithms; though its share is down from the 2009 peak, it's responsible for pretty much all of the stock market's volume gains this century.The industry and its regulators have accepted this because the algorithms..... Continue reading at: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-06/the-stock-market-is-a-lot-like-bitcoin
An ATM that is compatible with Bitcoin at a store in New York.CreditCreditDanny Ghitis for The New York Times Turning Point: Interest in blockchain technology surges as it spawns a highly volatile virtual currency market. Blockchain is far more than just the technology underlying Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency. It is a tool that promises to decentralize the structures governing all economic transactions and, in the process, redefine our concept of trust. This is the most revolutionary and innovative aspect of blockchain. But its promise could be undermined. Trust — the basis of social and commercial interactions — has been guaranteed for centuries by institutionalized trust providers, such as hierarchically organized companies and other third-party authorities. These trust mechanisms have worked for offline business models, but they are becoming obsolete in our hyper-connected digital world. In the digital-platform economy, trust is best fostered by those who control the platforms. These are tech giants, like Uber and Airbnb, which are replacing the institutionalized trust providers and becoming the keepers of our digital identity and our trustworthiness. They control the mechanisms that build trust upon transaction-based feedback, establishing community-based reputations through the star-score rating system. In the past few years, however, some open platforms, such as Twitter, have become increasingly restrictive. Things have turned sour, as developers and early users feel betrayed. They had been promised open platforms but that dream was snatched away. Moreover, incidents involving several tech giants, such as Facebook, eBay, Uber and Experian, have shattered their credibility as reliable keepers of our data. Our fear of surveillance and data misuse has grown. Thanks to blockchain, people are now able and eager to take on the platform owners by engaging directly with one another via peer-to-peer, or P2P, distributed networks that run on a commonly agreed-upon set of rules. The resulting machine-driven trust allows users to avoid the fallout from centralized trust mechanisms, such as third-party control or unauthorized surveillance. In fact, the large centralized trust enforcers may soon give way to decentralized trust systems and P2P network-enforced reputation systems that blockchain makes possible. Editors’ Picks Emerging From Migos as His Own Man: The Metamorphosis of Offset Easter Island Is Eroding U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It. Please disable your ad blocker Advertising helps fund Times journalism. How to whitelist Under such systems, algorithms confirm the authenticity of each transaction and can record each party’s identity, along with their trust and reputation rating, in the blockchain, which acts as a kind of ledger. Misbehavior is prevented because it is impossible to tamper with or falsify the ledger, and accountability is improved because all actions can be independently audited by any participant. The benefits of a decentralized system are clear: Users are able to build trust without involving a third party. Group cooperation is enhanced. Fraudulent transactions are minimized. In addition, users can build their personal reputation across multiple platforms, and they can not only control their vast transaction data but also build and manage their own digital identity — bypassing the surveillance of the tech giants. Ludovic Thomas, co-founder and CEO of Alpine Mining, at the company’s main cryptocurrency mining site in the Swiss village of Gondo.CreditFabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images It is Uber without Uber, Airbnb without Airbnb. This evolution is already happening. Payment and financial services providers like PayPal are being challenged by Ripple or Circle. Social media and networking services like Twitter and Facebook face competition from decentralized platforms such as Steemit or Akasha. Decentralized apps — software making decisions and acting autonomously — can be created and deployed on different blockchains like Ethereum or EOS. These are just a few examples. This beguiling transformation seems too good to be true, and distributed systems based on blockchain face a conundrum. In modern large-scale P2P markets, trust and growth are at odds: The more a network grows, the less trust users often place in it. But user growth is essential to the success of the P2P platform economy. This problem can be solved by making it harder to join the network (reducing user growth) or by centralizing control to a handful of trusted coders or nodes (reducing decentralization). Unfortunately, the blockchain community seems to favor increased centralization. Apart from business-to-business platforms, which generally run on top of private blockchains where governance is centralized by design, the fastest, most secure and most rapidly growing P2P platforms are based on public blockchain networks — which are all centralized. A handful of people make and enforce the rules. For example, only a small group of “superpower” miners — those who tally and authenticate transactions — secure the majority of Bitcoin transactions, while a small core of developers make the vast majority of changes to Bitcoin’s protocols. For Ethereum, the largest public blockchain stack, adopted by thousands of P2P platforms, the situation is even worse. The top five mining pools secure as much as 80 percent of the transactions in the ledger. The developers are concentrated as well: 20 percent of Ethereum’s core code was written by the same coder. Machine-driven trust is about to jump from systems controlled by tech giants to systems controlled by a small group of anonymous tech gurus. If only a few members have the ability to edit the system’s ledger and control the protocol, where are the open, transparent, free-to-use and universally accessible blockchains that so many hoped would bypass third-party control and surveillance? Ultimately, this new frontier of managing trust in the digital world presents a rather stark choice: Either we bargain away our privacy to centralized but accountable trust providers or we keep direct “control” of our data via a trust machine run by a limited group of anonymous people who could go rogue. These governance problems undermine the credibility of blockchain as a trust machine for the new P2P economy. It seems that synthetic trust among peers is not supported by a solid set of principles. This lack of trust inevitably atomizes the community and fragments group solidarity, as evidenced by the many chains that have forked off from the original protocols of Bitcoin and Ethereum. For the time being, there is warfare to control those blockchain systems, and not a new common good that the technology still has the potential to deliver. Paolo Tasca is executive director of the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies.
Authored by Valentin Schmid via The Epoch Times, While the price of bitcoin drops, miners get more creative... and some flourish. The bitcoin price is crashing; naysayers and doomsayers are having a field day. The demise of the dominant cryptocurrency is finally happening — or is it? Bitcoin has been buried hundreds of times, most notably during the brutal 90 percent decline from 2013 to 2015. And yet it has always made a comeback. Where the skeptics are correct: The second bitcoin bubble burst in December of last year and the price is down roughly 80 percent from its high of $20,000. Nobody knows whether and when it will see these lofty heights again. As a result, millions of speculators have been burned, and big institutions haven’t showed up to bridge the gap. This also happened on a smaller scale in 2013 after a similar 100x run-up, and it was necessary.
Time to Catch Up
What most speculators and even some serious proponents of the independent and decentralized monetary system don’t understand: Bitcoin needs these pauses to make improvements in its infrastructure. Exchanges, which could not handle the trading volumes at the height of the frenzy and did not return customer service inquiries, can take a breather and upgrade their systems and hire capable people. The technology itself needs to make progress and this needs time. Projects like the lightning network, a system which delivers instant bitcoin payments at very little cost and at virtually unlimited scale is now only available to expert programmers. A higher valuation is only justified if these improvements reach the mass market. And since we live in a world where everything financial is tightly regulated, for better or worse, this area also needs to catch up, since regulators are chronically behind the curve of technological progress. And of course, there is bitcoin mining. The vital infrastructure behind securing the bitcoin network and processing its transactions has been concentrated in too few hands and in too few places, most notably China, which still hosts about 70 percent of the mining capacity.
The Case For Mining
Critics have always complained that bitcoin mining consumes “too much” electricity, right now about as much as the Czech Republic. In energy terms this is around 65 terawatt hours or 230,000,000 gigajoules, costing $3.3 billion dollars according to estimates by Digiconomist. For the non-physicists among us, this is around as much as consumed by six million energy-guzzling U.S. households per year. All those estimates are imprecise because the aggregate cannot know how much energy each of the different bitcoin miners consumes and how much that electricity costs. But they are a reasonable rough estimate. So it’s worth exploring why mining is necessary to begin with and whether the electricity consumption is justified. Anything and everything humans do consumes resources. The question then is always: Is it worth it? And: Who decides? This question then leads to the next question: Is it worth having and using money? Most people would argue yes, because using money instead of barter in fact makes economic transactions faster and cheaper and thus saves resources, natural and human. _Merchants exchange goods with the inhabitants of Tidore, Indonesia, circa 1550. Barter was supplanted by using money because it is more efficient. (Archive/Getty Images)_If we are generously inclined, we will grant bitcoin the status of a type of money or at least currency as it meets the general requirements of being recognizable, divisible, portable, durable, is accepted in exchange for other goods and services, and in this case it is even limited in supply. So having any type of money has a price, whether it’s gold, dollar bills, or numbers on the screen of your online banking system. In the case of bitcoin, it’s the electricity and the capital for the computing equipment, as well as the human resources to run these operations. If we think having money in general is a good idea and some people value the decentralized and independent nature of bitcoin then it would be worth paying for verifying transactions on the bitcoin network as well as keeping the network secure and sound: Up until the point where the resources consumed would outweigh the efficiency benefits. Just like most people don’t think it’s a bad idea to use credit cards and banks, which consume electricity too. However, bitcoin is a newcomer and this is why it’s being scrutinized even more so than the old established players.
Different Money, Different Costs
How many people know how much electricity, human lives, and other resources gold mining consumes or has consumed in the course of history? What about the banking system? Branches, servers, air-conditioning, staff? What about printing dollar notes and driving them around in armored trucks? What about the social effects of monetary mismanagement of bank and government money like inflation as well as credit deflations? Gold gets a pass here. Most people haven’t asked that question, which is why it’s worth pointing out the only comprehensive study done on the topic in 2014. In “An Order of Magnitude” the engineer Hass McCook analyzes the different money systems and reaches mind-boggling conclusions. The study is a bit dated and of course the aggregations are also very rough estimates, but the ball park numbers are reasonable and the methodology sound. In fact, according to the study, bitcoin is the most economic of all the different forms of money. Gold mining in 2014 used 475 million GJ, compared to bitcoin’s 230 million in 2018. The banking system in 2014 used 2.3 billion gigajoules. Over 100 people per year die trying to mine gold. But mining costs more than electricity. It consumes around 300,000 liters of water per kilogram of gold mined as well as 150 kilogram (330 pounds) of cyanide and 1500 tons of waste and rubble. The international banking system has been used in all kinds of fraudulent activity throughout history: terrorist financing, money laundering, and every other criminal activity under the sun at a cost of trillions of dollars and at an order of magnitude higher than the same transactions done with cryptocurrency and bitcoin. And of course, while gold has a relatively stable value over time, our bank and government issued money lost about 90 percent of its purchasing power over the last century, because it can be created out of thin air. This leads to inflation and a waste of physical and human resources because it distorts the process of capital allocation. _The dollar has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. (Source: St. Louis Fed)_This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of bank branches, millions of ATMs and employees which all consume electricity and other resources, 10 times as much electricity alone as the bitcoin network. According to monetary philosopher Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” the social benefit of hard money, i.e. money that can’t be printed by government decree, cannot even be fathomed; conversely, the true costs of easy money—created by government fiat and bank credit—are difficult to calculate. According to Ammous, bitcoin is the hardest money around, even harder than gold because its total supply is capped, whereas the gold supply keeps increasing at about 1-2 percent every year. “Look at the era of the classical gold standard, from 1871, the end of the Franco–Prussian War, until the beginning of World War I. There’s a reason why this is known as the Golden Era, the Gilded Age, and La Belle Epoque. It was a time of unrivaled human flourishing all over the world. Economic growth was everywhere. Technology was being spread all over the world. Peace and prosperity were increasing everywhere around the world. Technological innovations were advancing. “I think this is no coincidence. What the gold standard allowed people to do is to have a store of value that would maintain its value in the future. And that gave people a low time preference, that gave people the incentive to think of the long term, and that made people want to invest in things that would pay off over the long term … bitcoin is far closer to gold. It is a digital equivalent of gold,” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times. Of course, contrary to the gold standard that Ammous talks about, bitcoin doesn’t have a track record of being sound money in practice. In theory it meets all the criteria, but in the real world it hasn’t been adopted widely and has been so volatile as to be unusable as a reliable store of value or as the underlying currency of a productive lending market. The proponents argue that over time, these problems will be solved the same way gold spread itself throughout the monetary sphere replacing copper and seashells, but even Ammous concedes the process may take decades and the outcome is far from certain. Gold is the safe bet for sound money, bitcoin has potential. There is another measure where bitcoin loses out, according to a recent study by researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the amount of energy expended per dollar for different monetary instruments. One dollar worth of bitcoin costs 17 megajoules to mine versus five for gold and seven for platinum. But the study omits the use of cyanide, water, and other physical resources in mining physical metals. In general, the comparisons in dollar terms go against bitcoin because it is worth relatively less, only $73 billion in total at the time of writing. An issue that could be easily fixed at a higher price, but a higher price is only justified if the infrastructure improves, adoption increases, volatility declines, and the network proves its resilience to attacks over time. In the meantime, market participants still value the fact they can own a currency independent of the government, completely digital, easily fungible, and limited in supply, and relatively decentralized. And the market as a whole is willing to pay a premium for these factors reflected in the higher per dollar prices for mining bitcoin.
The Creativity of Bitcoin Mining
But where bitcoin mining lacks in scale, it makes up for it in creativity. In theory—and in practice—bitcoin mining can be done anywhere where there is cheap electricity. So bitcoin mining operations can be conducted not where people are (banking) or where government is (fiat cash) or where gold is (gold mining)—it can be done everywhere where there is cheap electricity Some miners are flocking to the heat of the Texan desert where gas is virtually available for free, thanks to another oil revolution. Other miners go to places where there is cheap wind, water, or other renewable energy. This is because they don’t have to build bank branches, printing presses, and government buildings, or need to put up excavators and conveyor belts to dig gold out of the ground. All they need is internet access and a home for the computers that look like a shipping container, each one of which has around 200 specialized bitcoin mining computers in them. “The good thing about bitcoin mining is that it doesn’t matter where on earth a transaction happens, we can verify it in our data center here. The miners are part of the decentralized philosophy of bitcoin, it’s completely independent of your location as well,” said Moritz Jäger, chief technology officer at bitcoin Mining company Northern Bitcoin AG.
But so far, this decentralization hasn’t worked out as well as it sounds in theory. Because Chinese local governments had access to subsidized electricity, it was profitable for officials to cut deals with bitcoin mining companies and supply them with cheap electricity in exchange for jobs and cutbacks. Sometimes the prices were as low as 2 dollar cents to 4 dollar cents per kilowatt hour. This is why the majority of bitcoin mining is still concentrated in China (around 70 percent) where it was the most profitable, but only because the Chinese central planners subsidized the price of electricity. This set up led to the by and large unwanted result that the biggest miner of bitcoin, a company called Bitmain, is also the biggest manufacturer of specialized computing equipment for bitcoin mining. The company reported revenues of $2.8 billion for the first half of 2018. Tourists walk on the dunes near a power plant in Xiangshawan Desert in Ordos of Inner Mongolia, in this file photo. bitcoin miners have enjoyed favorable electricity rates in places like Ordos for a long time. (Feng Li/Getty Images)Centralized mining is a problem because whenever there is one player or a conglomerate of players who control more than 50 percent of the network computing power, they could theoretically crash the network by spending the same bitcoin twice, the so called “double spending problem.“ They don’t have an incentive to do so because it would probably ruin the bitcoin price and their business, but it’s better not to have to rely on one group of people controlling an entire money system. After all, we have that exact same system with central banking and bitcoin was set up as a decentralized alternative. So far, no player or conglomerate ever reached that 51 percent threshold, at least not since bitcoin’s very early days, but many market participants always thought Bitmain’s corner of the market is a bit too close for comfort. This favorable environment for Chinese bitcoin mining has been changing with a crack down on local government electricity largess as well as a crackdown on cryptocurrency. Bitcoin itself and mining bitcoin remain legal in China but cryptocurrency exchanges have been banned since late 2017. But more needs to be done for bitcoin to become independent of the caprice of a centralized oppressive regime and local government bureaucrats.
Northern Bitcoin Case Study
Enter Northern Bitcoin AG. The company isn’t the only one which is exploring mining opportunities with renewable energies in locations other than China. But it is special because of the extraordinary set up it has for its operations, the fact that it is listed on the stock exchange in Germany, and the opportunities for scaling it discovered. The operations of Northern Bitcoin combine the beauties of bitcoin and capitalism in one. Like Texas has a lot of oil and free gas and it makes sense to use the gas rather than burn it, Norway has a lot of water, especially water moving down the mountains due to rainfall and melting snow. And it makes sense to use the power of the movement of the water, channel it through pipes into generators to create very cheap and almost unlimited electricity. Norway generates north of 95 percent of its total electricity from hydropower. A waterfall next to a hydropowerplant near Sandane, Norway, Oct. 25, 2018. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)Capitalism does not distinguish between renewable and fossil. It uses what is the most expedient. In this case, it is clearly water in Norway, and gas in Texas. As a side note on the beauties of real capital and the fact that capital and the environment need not be enemies, the water in one of the hydropowerplants close to the Northern Bitcoin facility is piped through a generator made in 1920 by J.M. Voith AG, a company from Heidenheim Germany. The company was established in 1867 and is still around today. The generator was produced in 1920 and is still producing electricity today.
In the remote regions of Northern Norway, there aren’t that many people or industry who would use the electricity. And rather than transport it over hundreds of miles to the industrial centers of Europe, the industries of the future are moving to Norway to the source of the cheap electricity. Of course, it is not just bitcoin mining, but other data and computing heavy operations like server farms for cloud computing that can be neatly packaged into one of those containers and shipped up north. “The containers are beautiful. They are produced in the middle of Germany where the hardware is enabled and tested. Then we put it on a truck and send it up here. When the truck arrives on the outside we lift it on the container vehicle. Two hours after the container arrives, it’s in the container rack. And 40 hours later we enable the cooling, network, power, other systems, and it’s online,” said Mats Andersson, a spokesman for the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway, where Northern Bitcoin has its operations. Plug and play. A Northern Bitcoin data container inside the Lefdal Mine data center, in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)If the cheap electricity wasn’t enough—around 5 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 17 cents in Germany—Norway also provides the perfect storage for these data containers, which are normally racked up in open air parks above the ground. Also here, the resource allocation is beautiful. Instead of occupying otherwise useful and beautiful parcels of land and nature, the Northern Bitcoin containers and others are stored in the old Lefdal olivine mine. Olivine is a mineral used for steel production and looks green. Very fitting. Hence also the name of the data center: Lefdal Mine. “We take the green mineral out and we take the green IT in,” said Andersson.
Using the old mine as storage for the data center makes the whole process even more resource efficient. Why? So far, we’ve only been talking about bitcoin mining using a lot of energy. But what for? Before you have actually seen the process in action—and it is similar for other computing operations—you cannot imagine how bizarre it is. Most of the electricity is used to prevent the computers from overheating. So it’s not even the processors themselves; it’s the fans which cool the computer that use the most juice. This is where the mine helps, because it’s rather cool 160 meters (525 feet) below sea level; certainly cooler than in the Texas desert. But it gets even better. On top of the air blow-cooling the computer, the Lefdal data center uses a fresh water system to pump through the containers in pipes. The fans can then circulate air over the cool pipes which transfer the heat to the water. One can feel the difference when touching the different pipes. The fresh water closed circle loop then completes the “green” or resource efficiency cycle by transferring its heat to ice cold water from the nearby Fjord. The water is sucked in through a pipe from the Fjord, the heat gets transferred without the water being mixed, and the water flows back to the Fjord, without any impact on the environment. To top it all off, the mine has natural physical security far better than open air data centers and is even protected from an electromagnetic pulse blast because it’s underground.
_The Nordfjord near Måløy, Norway. The Lefdal data center takes the cold water from the fjord and uses it to cool the computer inside the mine. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)_Company Dynamics
Given this superlative set up, Northern Bitcoin wants to ramp up production as fast as possible at the Lefdal mine and other similar places in Norway, which have more mountains where data centers can be housed. At the moment, Northern Bitcoin has 15 containers with 210 mining machines each. The 15 containers produce around 5 bitcoin per day at a total cost of around $2,500 dollars at the end of November 2018 and after the difficulty of solving the math problems went down by ~17 percent. Most of it is for electricity; the rest is for leasing the containers, renting the mine space, buying and writing off the mining computers, personnel, overhead, etc. Even at the current relatively depressed prices of around $4000, that’s a profit of $1500 per bitcoin or $7,500 per day. But the goal is to ramp it up to 280 containers until 2019, producing 100 bitcoin per day. Again, the company is in the sweet spot to do this. As opposed to the beginning of the year when one could not procure a mining computer from Bitmain even if one’s life depended on it, the current bear market has made them cheap and relatively available both new and second had from miners who had to cease operations because they can’t produce at low bitcoin prices. Northern Bitcoin containers inside the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)What about the data shipping containers? They are manufactured by a company called Rittal who is the world market leader. So it helps that the owner of Rittal also owns 30 percent of the Lefdal mine, providing preferential access to the containers. Northern Bitcoin said it has enough capital available for the intermediate goal of ramping up to 50 containers until the end of year but may tap the capital markets again for the next step. The company can also take advantage of the lower German corporate tax rate because revenue is only recorded when the bitcoin are sold in Germany, not when they are mined in Norway. Of course, every small-cap stock—especially bitcoin companies—have their peculiarities and very high risks. As an example, Northern Bitcoin’s financial statements, although public, aren’t audited. The equipment in the Lefdal mine in Norway is real and the operations are controlled by the Lefdal personnel, but one has to rely on exclusive information from the company for financials and cost figures, so buyer beware.
Northern Bitcoin wants to have 280 containers, representing around 5 percent of the network’s computing power. But the Lefdal mine alone has a capacity to power and cool 1,500 containers in a 200 megawatt facility, once it is fully built out. “Here you have all the space, power, and cooling that you need. … Here you can grow,” said Lefdal’s Andersson. A mine shaft in the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. The whole mine will have a capacity for 1500 containers once fully built out. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)The Norwegian government was behind an initiative to bring computing power to Norway and make it one of the prime destinations for data centers at the beginning of this decade. To that effect, the local governments own part of the utility companies which operate the power plants and own part of the Lefdal Mine and other locations. But even without notable subsidies (i.e. cash payments to companies), market players were able to figure it out, for everybody’s benefit. The utilities win because they can sell their cheap electricity close to home. The computing companies like IBM and Northern Bitcoin win because they can get cheap electricity, storage, and security. Data center operators like Lefdal win because they can charge rent for otherwise unused and unneeded space. However, in a recent about face, the central government in Oslo has decided to remove cryptocurrency miners from the list of companies which pay a preferential tax rate on electricity consumption. Normally, energy intensive companies, including data centers, pay a preferential tax on electricity consumed of 0.48 øre ($0.00056 ). According to a report by Norwegian media Aftenposten, this tax will rise to 16.58 øre ($0.019) in 2019 for cryptocurrency miners exclusively. The argument by left wing politician Lars Haltbrekken who sponsored the initiative: “Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the most dirty form of cryptocurrency output […] [bitcoin] requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally.” Since Norway generates its electricity using hydro, precisely the opposite is true: No greenhouse gas emissions, or any emissions for that matter would be produced, if all cryptomining was done in Norway. As opposed to China, where mining is done with coal and with emissions. But not only in Norway is the share of renewable and emission free energy high. According to research by Coinshares, Bitcoin’s consumes about 77.6 percent of its energy in the form of renewables globally. However self-defeating the arguments against bitcoin mining in Norway, the political initiative is moving forward. What it means for Northern Bitcoin is not clear, as they house their containers in Lefdal’s mixed data center, which also has other clients, like IBM. “It’s not really decided yet; there are still big efforts from IT sectors and parties who are trying to change it. If the decision is taken it might apply for pure crypto sites rather than mixed data centers, like ours,” said Lefdal’s Andersson. Even in the worst-case scenario, it would mean an increase from ~5 cents to ~6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, or 30 percent more paid on the electricity by Northern Bitcoin, which at ~$3250 would still rank it among the most competitive producers in the world. Coinshares estimates the average production price at $6,800 per Bitcoin at $0,05 per kilowatt hour of electricity and an 18-months depreciation schedule, but concedes that a profitable miner could “[depreciate] mining gear over 24-30 months, or [pay] less for mining gear than our estimates.” Jäger says Northern Bitcoin depreciates the equipment over three years and has obtained very favorable prices from Bitmain, making its production much more competitive than the average despite the same cost of electricity. In addition, the natural cooling in the mine also reduces electricity costs overall.
Cheap Producer Advantage
At the moment, however, the tax could be the least of any miners worry, as the bitcoin price is in free-fall. But what happens when the price crashes further? Suffice it to say that there was bitcoin mining when the dollar price was less than 1 cent and there will be bitcoin mining at lower prices thanks to the design of the network. Mao Shixing, the founder of mining pool F2pool estimated 600,000 miners have shut down since the November crash in price, according to a report by Coindesk. As it should be in a competitive system, the most energy intensive and obsolete machines are shut down first. As with every other commodity, when the price drops, some miners will leave the market, leaving space for cheaper competitors to capture a bigger share. But with bitcoin this is a bit simpler than with copper or gold for example. When a big copper player goes bankrupt, its competitors have to ramp up production and increase cost to increase their market share. With bitcoin, if 3,000 computers get taken off the total mining pool, they won’t be able to mine the approximately 5 bitcoin any longer. However, because the difficulty of solving the computationally intensive cryptographic tasks of bitcoin decreases automatically when there are fewer computers engaged in the task, the other players just have to leave their machines running at the same rate for the same cost and they will split the 5 bitcoin among them. “The moment the price goes down, our production price will go down as well,” said Jäger, a process that already happened from November to December when the difficulty decreased twice in November and the beginning of December. This naturally favors players like Northern Bitcoin, which are producing at the lower end of the cost spectrum. They will be the ones who shut down last. And this is a good thing. The more companies like Northern Bitcoin, and countries like Norway—even with the extra tax—the more decentralized the bitcoin system. The more computers there are in different hands mining bitcoin, the more secure the system becomes, because it will be ever more difficult for one player to reach the 50 percent threshold to crash the system.It is this decentralized philosophy which has kept the bitcoin system running for 10 years. Whether at $1 or $20,000.
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. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW 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. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW 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.
One of the aspects that I consider most confusing about cryptocurrency is how to gauge what is irrational exuberance and what is a representation of expected future value. When thinking about irrational exuberance, the first thing that comes to mind is ICO’s. Many of these ICO’s simply ask for funding and in return offer a token that only hypothetically can be used for anything. For example, does Kodak need a separate cryptocurrency for paying photographers for their work? I hope not, it sounds confusing. "Notice how they're marketing it: they state a problem, then say the Blockchain can solve it. But there's no mechanism by which the Blockchain could do that… This doesn't do anything that signing up for Shutterstock or Getty Images wouldn't." Despite this, Kodak is looking to raise 176.5 Million Dollars. Additionally, the announcement for the crypto on January 9th led to Kodaks share price quadrupling. On the contrary, when skeptics address how overvalued cryptocurrency is they point to “jokes” like Dogecoin. Asking how a coin based on a dog and some broken English actually be anything but a scam? In reality, Dogecoin actually has a few technical advantages over Bitcoin, mining rewards are better and transactions settle faster. Though there are much better options than Dogecoin as hedges against Bitcoin, and it is likely to fail soon in my opinion, it has its merits. Where I believe the majority of blockchains value lies at this moment is in currency. As the New York Times published recently in an op-ed “the bigger concern about cryptocurrency may be the damage they could do, in the long run, to government finances through lost tax revenue.” Bitcoin has not yet reached consensus to add the cryptography necessary to be able to transact with completely anonymous parties, others like Monero have. True anonymity comes with a number of other advantages. First, with an anonymous wallet, corporations will be able to keep trade secrets secret. Client lists, net worth and other data that fundamentally needs to remain private will remain private. Privacy is guaranteed at all points meaning miners can’t choose certain transactions to decline based off of recurring patterns. This is important because it means that governments can’t threaten miners and artificially put their own rules on the Blockchain by leaning on miners. 21 Trillion Dollars has moved overseas to offshore accounts in order to hide from taxes. These offshore accounts, though large and well practiced, are inherently flawed and often lead to the privacy of those who use them being compromised. The liquidity of money being held in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands has very little accessibility and documents verifying the laundering of the money remain far from safe. This was recently demonstrated with the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers, which incriminated everyone from Prime Minister of Britain to Bashar Al-Assad. If you put aside instability, Monero is almost objectively a better store of value for “offshore” assets. The funds are easier to access, are becoming more liquid, and risk absolutely none of the leaks. Though not useful at a neighborhood pizza restaurant, there is a surprising amount of vendors and retailors who are willing to take cryptocurrency. Legal and accounting firms, New York preschools, gold, Microsoft, overstock and even space travel are all purchasable with cryptocurrency. The privacy offered by cryptocurrency has incredible ramifications for the worlds richest who are motivated to use it. Knowing that people will do what is in their own self-interest, I believe the use of cryptocurrency, as the predominant holder offshore fund is a likely scenario. If successful, all of this tax money chases a fixed supply of 22 Million coins leaving each coin worth well over 1 Million dollars. An injection of 21 trillion dollars into the world economy has significant market effects and would likely devalue local currencies. Though this doesn’t make the Kodak situation any more excusable, it may show that a large part of the exuberance surrounding these markets is justified. 📷 https://www.inc.com/will\-yakowicz/the\-4\-most\-ridiculous\-digital\-coins.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the\-switch/wp/2018/01/30/i\-really\-wish\-it\-didnt\-happen\-kodakcoins\-co\-creator\-says\-the\-stock\-surge\-has\-been\-a\-terrible\-distraction/?utm\_term=.bd04ab7c9ef2 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/22/opinion/irs\-bitcoin\-fear.html https://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2012/07/23/super\-rich\-hide\-21\-trillion\-offshore\-study\-says/#5a3542e6ba6c https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-can-you-buy-with-bitcoins/
Article from "viralpatch.com/double" runs crypto miners on your CPU nearly 100% CPU load, do NOT click that link!
On Linux, it opens a new task called "Web Content" that occupies all your CPUs nearly 100%. The brower (firefox) itself remains at low CPU load. When killing that task "Web Content", then your browser tab at viralpatch.com will crash. Instead of clicking there, read it here: As first published on forbes.com A week before Christmas, this headline about a random cryptocurrency no one has ever heard of was read more than most best sellers: Asians ‘Going Mad’ For Ripple Coin. At the time, Ripple (XRP) was worth around a dollar. Today it is worth $2.45. This will be the year that more unknown cryptocurrencies double in value. How many will quadruple in value is anybody’s guess. Sure, many of these new coins will disappear from the market. At their heart, the cryptocurrency craze is like the start-up craze, on steroids. Newly minted companies are going around the venture capital world, issuing their own digital currency, and having almost no problem at all finding willing investors. Got snake oil? No problem! Someone in Asia will take two bottles worth. While setting up an initial coin offering is not cheap and needs upfront angel investing to foot the bill, the ICO market has turned what was once a half dozen cryptocurrencies led by bitcoin, into a $650 billion market overrun by over a thousand cryptocurrencies. These currencies are tied to new, unknown companies selling products and services no one has ever heard of, understands, and may have no real use for. As an investment vehicle, the cryptocoin is the market’s version of a poker chip. If you thought junk bond lords in the 80s were nuts… Nuts? Oh, really? The cryptocurrency bubble, if you will, has thousands of nutty investors laughing all the way to the bank. Literally. If ripple coin has doubled in value, what are the odds of some other coins doubling too? Very high, in fact. Those odds are keeping investors looking down market at lower price coins. There is just too much upside, and no one has yet been willing to come forward to the press to say just how much money they’ve lost. The world is full of stories of people who lost all their money in their new business or saw half their life savings evaporate due to a crashing stock market or a financial swindle. But we have yet to meet the person who lost their shirt on a bitcoin bet. And if their shirt is the only thing they are losing, then that’s not a cause for concern yet. Until investors come forth with big losses, the trend is your friend in 2018. Tuesday marked the first trading day of the new year for American cryptocoin investors. Only three of the top 20 coins started off in the red. Little known coins issued by startups like Tron and China’s NEO are up over 30% as of late Tuesday morning. Tron is worth a mere six cents. China blockchain platform and Ethereum rival NEO sells for around $100 a coin. Three years ago, one bitcoin was $15. It’s worth over $15,000 now. If one NEO is worth 3,000% more in 2021, like bitcoin since 2012, then it’s worth the gamble, most investors believe. A $100 loss isn’t putting anyone in the poorhouse. An FSPO belonging to Petrobras, Brazil’s biggest oil company and one of its largest, multinational corporations in terms of market cap. Ripple coin, the tech company behind the RippleNet blockchain being tested by 61 Japanese banks and two South Korean banks, has a market cap $15 billion larger than a company with heavy equipment, prime real estate, and access to tons of oil and gas worldwide. (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP/Getty Images) Ethereum, an early entrant to the blockchain/cryptocurrency buildout, was created by Russian-born tech genius Vitalik Buterin. He’s now a millionaire many times over. Another Russia, Pavlov Durov, now residing in Dubai, is rumored to issue coins this year for Telegram, the messaging service most used in the crypto world. Durov did not return requests for comment at this time. All someone like Durov has to do is look around him and see the money that is being made from nothing. Pavel Durov is the brainchild behind Telegram, the messaging app most used by cryptocurrency startups. According to the virtual water cooler chatter of the crypto-world, Telegram is planning their own digital currency in a billion-dollar initial coin offering. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File) Nearly $3 billion worth of Ethereum’s ether coin was traded between the exchanges in the past 24 hours. The total market capitalization hit $84.12 billion, meaning this Russian developed blockchain is now worth around $15 billion more than Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, a company with over 60 years experience in the oil and gas markets, and one that actually has hard assets worth real money. That’s no longer a viable comparison. Bitcoin and ripple are worth even more than Petrobras. Bitcoin’s market cap is the equivalent of Chevron’s. Ripple’s market cap is just shy of Goldman Sachs’. Alexey Ivanov, fund manager at Polynom Crypto Capital in Moscow, thinks unknown Ethereum competitor Cardano Cryptocurrency will double this year. It’s up over 500% since its ICO in late 2017. One coin goes for just $0.77. “Once Cardano is added to a regulated platform, it can double,” he says. Volume is next to nothing on that coin because the blockchain infrastructure company is still working on so-called “proof of stake” coding to verify digital transactions. Ethereum is currently working out the kinks in its own system, to help remove bottlenecks. Ivanov thinks that’s why the coin is up 17% on Tuesday. David Herne, the American hedge fund manager behind the Specialized Research and Investment Group in Moscow, likes Waves, the Russian developed blockchain startup working with the Moscow Stock Exchange on a pilot program that would allow for trading in cryptos by qualified investors. That coin goes for $13.21 today and already has a billion dollar market cap. Buying cryptocurrencies is not liking picking a stock on E-Trade. E-Trade is like the intermediary between an investor and the New York Stock Exchange. There is no such comparable entity in the crypto world. Instead, there are many exchanges, some bigger and better than others. Not all carry the same digital currencies, and the proof of identification process can day days if not a week to complete. Exchanges like Kraken and Bitstamp, which allow users to buy ripple coin, are spotty. (They were down both times I tried using them last week.) “Call it a bubble if you like, but can you really afford to stay out of crytocurrencies?” writes Naeem Aslam, chief market strategist for ThinkMarkets in London. He posted his views here on Forbes.com.
Cryptomania was unquestionably the major talking point of 2017. The question is: can you make money while still thinking there is a bubble? Giving a straight answer: if you can afford to lose an amount which won’t make any meaningful difference in your life, then by all means, dabble. An average American aged between 20-64 earns approximately $27-50K a year. In the grand scheme of things, $100 invested in cryptocurrency has a minuscule probability to impact anyone dramatically. The rewards are undoubtedly there.“
In 2018, investors are going to spend time discovering newer companies and their coins, especially those that do not cost the price of a new car (think Kia Soul, for instance). As a result of this trend, bitcoin’s dominance of the cryptocurrency market has fallen to its lowest level in five years. As of now, bitcoin’s market cap is $233.6 billion, accounting for 36% of the total value of all cryptocurrencies. In January 2017, bitcoin accounted for 80% of all trading in crypto.
[uncensored-r/Bitcoin] Blockstream vs miners – looking at the incentives around the SegWit2x fork
The following post by Scott_WWS (has been notified) is being replicated because the post has been silently removed. The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link: np.reddit.com/ Bitcoin/comments/7a6ew5 The original post's content was as follows:
In reading this article, the idea is proposed that there is a war on between miners and off-chain developers for revenue. Maybe a bit simplistic but the way this article reads, smaller block size inhibits the miners and allows more off chain business for companies like Blockstream. Maybe I'm reading it wrong but to my eye, this looks like scaling progress is stymied to make off chain solutions more profitable. If so, that doesn't seem to jive with what I know about bitcoin. The article: Blockstream vs miners – looking at the incentives around the SegWit2x fork The past few months in the Bitcoin community have been filled with discussion of an upcoming hardfork – SegWit2x. There have been a lot of people voicing their opinion on the matter of whether that fork should be allowed to pass or not, but today I would like to look at who I believe to be two key players in this debate – Blockstream (opposing SegWit2x) and the miners, the core signatories of the New York Agreement. More specifically, I will be focusing on the incentives both of those parties have when it comes to dealing with SegWit2x. What is SegWit2x? SegWit2x was first proposed as a compromise between the various factions in Bitcoin that were trying to solve the problem of blocks being full. It aimed to both enable the activation of SegWit to enable off-chain transactions, and to increase the block size to 2MB to increase the number of transactions that can be processed on-chain. It was to be deployed in two stages – first by activating SegWit in the summer (which already tookplace), and then by increasing the block size in winter (which is still pending). Basic incentives for everyone When examining why people would be for or against a certain change, it is often useful to look at the incentives they have for being on either side of the fence. An incentive shared by every Bitcoin user and company is to see Bitcoin succeed, be used by more and more people and to gain in value. You can occasionally see someone stating the opposite (along the lines of “it’s good the price is going down, it will slow the adoption rate so the project will be developed further before mainstream starts to use it”, or people wanting to buy the dip in price), but most people that are invested in Bitcoin want to see it grow, that’s pretty much a given. Beyond that, things tend to get murky. You can see some ideologies come into play and so on. But if you focus on SegWit2x, the basic incentive for both sides appears to come down to the good old money… Incentives of Blockstream and the miners Blockstream is a for-profit company. As such, it is expected it will increase in value and, at least eventually, start generating revenue. While it had some projects that seem to be a money sink, the core business plan seems to still focus on sidechains – “sell[ing] side chains to enterprises, charging a fixed monthly fee, taking transaction fees and even selling hardware” (which the Blockstream CEO even explicitly confirmed). The original SegWit proposal was introduced by Blockstream’s co-founder. So with this, we have a clear picture – Blockstream’s revenue stream will come from off-chain transactions. Now, let’s look at the other side of the debate. Miners are paid directly in BTC by the blocks they mine. They mint new coins with each block, and they also collect fees for any transactions they include in that block. At the moment the block reward is 12.5BTC, and the fees add up to about 0.5 to 2 BTC on average. Pretty straightforward and as described in the original whitepaper. So the miners are incentivised to include as many transactions in their blocks as they can, giving priority to those that pay more fees than the others per unit of size. Clash of incentives Both sides of this debate get their money from the same source – transaction fees. Blockstream wants more transactions to flow through their proprietary service to collect more fees from institutions and individuals. The miners on the other hand benefit from more transactions taking place on the blockchain – they earn transaction fees only for the transactions that are included in the block and get nothing from off-chain transactions until they come back onto the chain. With finite amount of money flowing through the network, this is a classic zero-sum game – the more transactions flow through your preferred channel, the more money you have and the less money your opponent has. In an ideal scenario, we would let both of those options onto the free market and let the consumer choose what they want to use. Some would choose off-chain transactions for their speed, others would prefer on-chain transactions for the immutable records, etc. In a truly free market, the best product will win and the market will reach equilibrium. However, one side is currently at a disadvantage. The size of the blocks is currently fixed at 1MB and SegWit has been activated on the network. This means that the miners have a finite amount of space to work with, while Blockstream and similar service providers don’t have to do much to promote themselves – when the consumer will see on-chain transactions being too expensive for them and the blocks being full, they will by necessity make their way onto their platform to be able to transact. Moreover, SegWit transactions have a smaller “weight” to them, meaning you can put more of them in a block and even go over the 1MB block limit with them. So we have a company that benefits from the traditional blocks being filled, while also giving preferential treatment to on board onto and off board from its proprietary services, while blocking others from increasing the overall throughput, all for “the benefit of the consumer”. This is basically the Net Neutrality battle all over… Dynamics of power Looking at this only from the lens of money is of course a bit of a simplistic view of things. There is probably a lot more politics, ideology and power in play – SegWit2x is a hard fork to the Bitcoin network being pushed by the miners rather than the traditional core developers. If it is allowed to pass, it will show that they don’t have full control over the project and thus remove them from a position of power, while giving the miners more power on top of the computing power they already hold. Conclusions If you look at things from pure monetary perspective, the fight over SegWit2x is a fight about where the transaction fees will flow – whether they will be on or off the chain. Increasing the block size will mean more money will be going to the miners, while keeping it low will force more money to flow through SegWit-enabled services, and to a degree, through Blockstream. SegWit2x is also a struggle for power in the space – who will be able to make changes to the protocol and how things will be handled in the future. The struggle might be framed in many ways – allowing an average user to run Bitcoin on RaspberryPi, the centralisation of power in the hands of the miners or core developers, an attack on the Bitcoin network, etc. How much of that is genuine concern and how much of it is propaganda from either side it will be hard to discern. But in the end, it’s probably about money and power… Photo via Getty Images Source: BraveNewCoin http://www.altcointoday.com/blockstream-vs-miners-looking-incentives-around-segwit2x-fork/
View top-quality stock photos of Bitcoin. Find premium, high-resolution stock photography at Getty Images. Find the perfect Bitcoin stock photos and editorial news pictures from Getty Images. Select from premium Bitcoin of the highest quality. Finden Sie perfekte Stock-Fotos zum Thema Bitcoin sowie redaktionelle Newsbilder von Getty Images. Wählen Sie aus erstklassigen Inhalten zum Thema Bitcoin in höchster Qualität. The Intellectual Property Wiki is designed to encourage collaboration among our members and contributors in developing a common resource of knowledge about Intellectual Property (including trademark, copyright, etc.), privacy and private property rights that you need to be aware of any time you are creating or submitting content. Sehen Sie sich diese Stock-Fotografie an von Bitcoin. Bei Getty Images finden Sie erstklassige Bilder in hoher Auflösung.
Bitcoin Looks Very Attractive To Greeks Right Now - Newsy
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