How do you mine Bitcoin – and is it still worth it?

Thoughts on the current downturn

From https://forums.prohashing.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&p=23082#p23082:
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The current downturn in the cryptocurrency markets itself isn't very surprising. There have been many bubbles before, and there will be at least one more bubble after this. What surprises me about this cycle is how quickly the market has collapsed. Whereas previous cycles fell slowly after the long middle period where prices stalled, this time the bottom fell out in the course of a week. This post will review the consequences of the new market reality.

Bitcoins are holding up well
Perhaps the biggest shock of this cycle is how the price of bitcoins has held up so well compared to that of other coins. In June 2017, when we were deciding whether this pool could be a profitable business and how many people we should hire if it could be. We determined that the average case where the coins would settle was bitcoins at $1574, ETH at $110, and LTC at $30. ETH and LTC have already surpassed the average case decline we had projected, while BTC is holding above twice the projected bottom.

The reason for BTC holding up so well isn't obvious. Almost every other coin is superior to BTC in some way. For example, LTC and BCH are much cheaper to send money with, ETH is used for contracts, and Monero has anonymity.

I don't think that bitcoins will hold up for much longer. I think that the capitulation to $980 is still ahead, and the price after capitulation will be $1500 or so. The BTC network still hasn't reckoned with the lack of a realistic plan to increase its block size. At some point, the lightning network is going to be shown as a technical marvel that works well when people are running nodes, but that it's too difficult for ordinary users and that money transmission regulations will not permit most businesses to run nodes. The Core developers are still pressing on with their effort despite the money transmission regulations.

Right now, growth is being driven by people willing to experiment. Eventually, the lightning network will run out of hobbyists to adopt it and its growth will cease, because normal businesses like us won't touch it due to the legal risks. At that point, people will realize that there is no "Plan B" for Bitcoin, and perhaps that will cause capitulation and force the Core to reevaluate their path forward.


We should reevaluate how coins are valued
Another change in this crash from the previous crashes is the complete lack of news to explain it. During the $32 -> $2 downturn, it was quite possible that nobody would ever adopt cryptocurrencies. During the $266 -> $69 downturn, many believed that Mt. Gox's unreliability and instability would lead to the death of the industry. During the $1160 -> $160 bubble, China banned bitcoins every week. But during the past two weeks, there has been no news of any importance.

In particular, ETH prices are absurd. I really don't understand how people think that ETH is priced anything close to its real value. Gas prices continue to rise and people think it's worth 6% of what it was a year ago? If I were paid in dollars, I would be changing them to ETH as fast as I could right now.

Since these prices don't make sense with what many people and I think are the fundamentals, then we need to reevaluate our views on how coins are valued. It's quite possible that the idea that things like transaction capacity and features [i]don't actually matter[/i].

There was one news article that caught my attention a while back. It proposed that, during 2017, a lot of the buyers into coins came from "ordinary people" who knew very little about cryptocurrencies. These people talked about coins at parties and bought what their friends bought. Someone like me, who spends most of his time at home writing code for this business, who is not married, and who has fewer friends than the average person, would not have been exposed to enough instances to make a connection if it were true that someone talked about bitcoins at every social event. I'd also venture that many of the people discussing bubbles in Internet forums also engage in less socializing than the average person, so reading theories about what happened from them leads to inaccurate conclusions.

During the next bubble, I'm going to more strongly consider social issues rather than technical issues and see whether that increases the accuracy of my predictions.


IPOs of mining manufacturers were too slow
One way to predict that this would not be a quick recovery into another bubble like the first 2013 collapse was to look at the IPOs from the mining manufacturers. Businesses don't issue IPOs when they have plenty of money - why would you give up potential profits to get money now if you don't need it? Instead, executives at the companies were really smart and saw that the writing was on the wall. Their problem was that they moved too slowly to sell their stakes. I don't think that the IPOs will be able to raise sufficient capital at this point and they will probably be cancelled. Bitmain or one of the other big mining manufacturers will likely go out of business.

Mining manufacturing is an interesting business because there is zero demand for your product during times like these. The industry basically resets every few years with new companies. The bitcoin difficulty just fell 15% during the last period, and the market is flooded with the miners that were just shut down. Why would anyone buy a new miner when all these old miners are being given away at any cost?

It doesn't make sense that anyone would ever invest in these IPOs or in the rumored Coinbase IPO. All of these stocks are 100% dependent on the cryptocurrency market recovering. If cryptocurrencies settle at these prices indefinitely, Coinbase will be unable to support its operations and will collapse, so you'll lose a lot more money than if you invested in coins (which have no chance of ever being completely worthless anymore.) If cryptocurrencies increase in value, they will go up by 100-1000x and Coinbase's stock will go up by 5x or 10x. In both cases, buying an IPO in the cryptocurrency world never makes as much sense as buying the coins themselves. Either buy coins or buy stocks in some unrelated industry to diversify.


"Manipulation" is a buzzword people use to explain things they don't like
Whenever prices fall, people start complaining about "manipulation." They experienced a huge drop, so the people selling must have been "manipulating" the market to cause them to lose money. The latest theory is that Bitfinex is not being honest with its Tether reserves. Bitfinex clearly violated the law by serving US customers and not shutting down when it was insolvent, but there isn't any evidence that Tether is going to fail due to fraud.

Note that Tether may fail due to banks discontinuing Tether's accounts, but that is different than fraud where a misrepresentation is being made.

I don't believe that the cryptocurrency markets are "manipulated" like most people think. There are some scams, especially those where people create ICOs and don't deliver a product. I doubt that the SEC will bring any charges against Bitfinex, and most of these complaints about "manipulation" are simply people complaining because they lost money.


Businesses will start to fail
Now I can get to the consequence that I think is the most important to understand in predicting how the next cycle plays out.

One of the reasons that the next bubble is a while away is because there have not yet been a lot of businesses that have failed. One of the unfortunate aspects of cryptocurrency, and one that significantly delays its development, is how the bubble cycle causes good ideas to fail. For example, the ETCDEV team, which contributed to Ethereum Classic development, recently folded due to bankruptcy. While I don't hold much love for people who are willing to overlook something as heinous as the DAO theft, the ETCDEV team did seem like it would be a significant contributor to developing ETC, and that won't happen now.

In fact, it's more likely that honest, ethical businesses will fail during this coming down cycle than scammers and fraudsters. It doesn't cost much to be a scammer - you just register some fake accounts and announce a new project, then disappear with all the money. Operating an honest business is expensive. It will cost us $15,000 just to comply with the 1099-MISC regulations next month. That's why, as prices fall, we should expect disreputable people to start to again outnumber law-abiding citizens in this industry. We can already see that happening as people with criminal records like Craig Wright, Roger Ver, and Charlie Shrem are dominating the conversation more and more.

As prices fall, businesses will need to make a decision. Many of them will decide to "pivot" - which essentially means that the company is shutting down and is creating a new firm in a different industry. This was common in 2015. Remember that the level at which a company should quit working in cryptocurrencies is not determined by whether they are making money, but by whether they are making as much money as they could in another field. Most of the time, companies that "pivot" don't return to whatever they were doing before, because they either find the "pivot" field to be lucrative, in which case it makes sense to keep at it, or they go bankrupt in that field too and close down permanently.

They key issue with these "pivots" and outright bankruptcies is that talent leaves the industry and is permanently gone. It takes at least 6 months for a programmer to join a project and become familiar with a codebase, during which time that person's productivity is significantly reduced. The cost of training a new hire is often as much as that person's salary for an entire year, given that other people in the company need to slow down to train the new person. When people leave a company, they don't just come back if times get better. They get new jobs, with new responsibilities, and that knowledge is lost.

Suppose that there is a company that has created an amazing Ethereum-based marketplace that will eventually gain millions of simultaneous customers. The marketplace reaches completion, but in the downturn the company is forced to shut down until the market turns around again, because all their customers are gone. Even if the owner of the company retains the software and is available and willing to restart when the next bubble begins, years have passed and new employees are needed. It will take 6 months to get all the employees hired, another 3 to get them minimally trained, another 1 to upgrade all the development environments, packages, and tools that became obsolete during the stoppage to get everything up to current standards, and another 2 to redo the website design to do the same thing with different colors and designs because the Internet for some reason changed its mind on what makes "attractive" webpages again.

If the downturn lasts two years, then this project could have been out [i]three years earlier[/i] if it weren't for the bubbles. Not only that, but the project's suspension itself contributed to the long duration of the bubble cycle. There would have been more activity in cryptocurrencies if this system had been available.

This effect is why I believe that as prices decline, the length of the upcoming downturn will increase significantly. Over the next weeks and months, we're going to start to hear of promising projects fail, and that's going to reduce the value of coins, cascading into other projects' feasibility, and creating a ripple effect of "pivots" and bankruptcies.

This is why I think that the first 2013 bubble had a much different outcome than the second 2013 bubble. In the first 2013 bubble, prices never collapsed after the long period of stability, and businesses were able to keep moving forward during that time. During the second 2013 bubble, prices collapsed after that period of stability that ended in August 2014, and one can look back at news articles form the day listing failures and "pivots" that occurred in the subsequent months.

If it weren't for bubbles, the industry would be years ahead of where it is now. The smartphone, for example, rose from unknown to market saturation in 10 years. After 10 years, where are cryptocurrencies, which also arose in 2008? About 6 or 7 years behind where they could be, because every bubble requires a reset with new companies, given that most of the work from the previous bubble is wasted.


There will be a next bubble
Finally, there will definitely be a next bubble - of that, I'm 100% certain. If you're not sure of that, then consider a scenario where you live in a world that already uses cryptocurrencies for all transactions. One day, a government decides that it's going to create its own currency, which it will be able to inflate at will, and which will take hundreds of times longer to conduct transactions with.

Do you think people would use that currency?
submitted by MattAbrams to BitcoinMarkets [link] [comments]

Why is Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc trying to pretend AXA isn't one of the top 5 "companies that control the world"? AXA relies on debt & derivatives to pretend it's not bankrupt. Million-dollar Bitcoin would destroy AXA's phony balance sheet. How much is AXA paying Greg to cripple Bitcoin?

Here was an interesting brief exchange between Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc and u/BitAlien about AXA:
https://np.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/62d2yq/why_bitcoin_is_under_attack/dfm6jt?context=3
The "non-nullc" side of the conversation has already been censored by r\bitcoin - but I had previously archived it here :)
https://archive.fo/yWnWh#selection-2613.0-2615.1
u/BitAlien says to u/nullc :
Blockstream is funded by big banks, for example, AXA.
https://blockstream.com/2016/02/02/blockstream-new-investors-55-million-series-a.html
u/nullc says to u/BitAlien :
is funded by big banks, for example, AXA
AXA is a French multinational insurance firm.
But I guess we shouldn't expect much from someone who thinks miners unilatterally control bitcoin.
Typical semantics games and hair-splitting and bullshitting from Greg.
But I guess we shouldn't expect too much honesty or even understanding from someone like Greg who thinks that miners don't control Bitcoin.
AXA-owned Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc doesn't understand how Bitcoin mining works
Mining is how you vote for rule changes. Greg's comments on BU revealed he has no idea how Bitcoin works. He thought "honest" meant "plays by Core rules." [But] there is no "honesty" involved. There is only the assumption that the majority of miners are INTELLIGENTLY PROFIT-SEEKING. - ForkiusMaximus
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5zxl2l/mining_is_how_you_vote_for_rule_changes_gregs/
AXA-owned Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc is economically illiterate
Adam Back & Greg Maxwell are experts in mathematics and engineering, but not in markets and economics. They should not be in charge of "central planning" for things like "max blocksize". They're desperately attempting to prevent the market from deciding on this. But it will, despite their efforts.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/46052e/adam_back_greg_maxwell_are_experts_in_mathematics/)
AXA-owned Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc doesn't understand how fiat works
Gregory Maxwell nullc has evidently never heard of terms like "the 1%", "TPTB", "oligarchy", or "plutocracy", revealing a childlike naïveté when he says: "‘Majority sets the rules regardless of what some minority thinks’ is the governing principle behind the fiats of major democracies."
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/44qr31/gregory_maxwell_unullc_has_evidently_never_heard/
AXA-owned Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc is toxic to Bitcoin
People are starting to realize how toxic Gregory Maxwell is to Bitcoin, saying there are plenty of other coders who could do crypto and networking, and "he drives away more talent than he can attract." Plus, he has a 10-year record of damaging open-source projects, going back to Wikipedia in 2006.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4klqtg/people_are_starting_to_realize_how_toxic_gregory/
So here we have Greg this week, desperately engaging in his usual little "semantics" games - claiming that AXA isn't technically a bank - when the real point is that:
AXA is clearly one of the most powerful fiat finance firms in the world.
Maybe when he's talking about the hairball of C++ spaghetti code that him and his fellow devs at Core/Blockstream are slowing turning their version of Bitcoin's codebase into... in that arcane (and increasingly irrelevant :) area maybe he still can dazzle some people with his usual meaningless technically correct but essentially erroneous bullshit.
But when it comes to finance and economics, Greg is in way over his head - and in those areas, he can't bullshit anyone. In fact, pretty much everything Greg ever says about finance or economics or banks is simply wrong.
He thinks he's proved some point by claiming that AXA isn't technically a bank.
But AXA is far worse than a mere "bank" or a mere "French multinational insurance company".
AXA is one of the top-five "companies that control the world" - and now (some people think) AXA is in charge of paying for Bitcoin "development".
A recent infographic published in the German Magazine "Die Zeit" showed that AXA is indeed the second-most-connected finance company in the world - right at the rotten "core" of the "fantasy fiat" financial system that runs our world today.
Who owns the world? (1) Barclays, (2) AXA, (3) State Street Bank. (Infographic in German - but you can understand it without knowing much German: "Wem gehört die Welt?" = "Who owns the world?") AXA is the #2 company with the most economic poweconnections in the world. And AXA owns Blockstream.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5btu02/who_owns_the_world_1_barclays_2_axa_3_state/
The link to the PDF at Die Zeit in the above OP is gone now - but there's other copies online:
https://www.konsumentenschutz.ch/sks/content/uploads/2014/03/Wem-geh%C3%B6rt-die-Welt.pdfother
http://www.zeit.de/2012/23/IG-Capitalist-Network
https://archive.fo/o/EzRea/https://www.konsumentenschutz.ch/sks/content/uploads/2014/03/Wem-geh%C3%B6rt-die-Welt.pdf
Plus there's lots of other research and articles at sites like the financial magazine Forbes, or the scientific publishing site plos.org, with articles which say the same thing - all the tables and graphs show that:
AXA is consistently among the top five "companies that control everything"
https://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/10/22/the-147-companies-that-control-everything/#56b72685105b
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0025995
http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/37499/64037_1.pdf;sequence=1
https://www.outsiderclub.com/report/who-really-controls-the-world/1032
AXA is right at the rotten "core" of the world financial system. Their last CEO was even the head of the friggin' Bilderberg Group.
Blockstream is now controlled by the Bilderberg Group - seriously! AXA Strategic Ventures, co-lead investor for Blockstream's $55 million financing round, is the investment arm of French insurance giant AXA Group - whose CEO Henri de Castries has been chairman of the Bilderberg Group since 2012.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/47zfzt/blockstream_is_now_controlled_by_the_bilderberg/
So, let's get a few things straight here.
"AXA" might not be a household name to many people.
And Greg was "technically right" when he denied that AXA is a "bank" (which is basically the only kind of "right" that Greg ever is these days: "technically" :-)
But AXA is one of the most powerful finance companies in the world.
AXA was started as a French insurance company.
And now it's a French multinational insurance company.
But if you study up a bit on AXA, you'll see that they're not just any old "insurance" company.
AXA has their fingers in just about everything around the world - including a certain team of toxic Bitcoin devs who are radically trying to change Bitcoin:
And ever since AXA started throwing tens of millions of dollars in filthy fantasy fiat at a certain toxic dev named Gregory Maxwell, CTO of Blockstream, suddenly he started saying that we can't have nice things like the gradually increasing blocksizes (and gradually increasing Bitcoin prices - which fortunately tend to increase proportional to the square of the blocksize because of Metcalfe's law :-) which were some of the main reasons most of us invested in Bitcoin in the first place.
My, my, my - how some people have changed!
Greg Maxwell used to have intelligent, nuanced opinions about "max blocksize", until he started getting paid by AXA, whose CEO is head of the Bilderberg Group - the legacy financial elite which Bitcoin aims to disintermediate. Greg always refuses to address this massive conflict of interest. Why?
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4mlo0z/greg_maxwell_used_to_have_intelligent_nuanced/
Previously, Greg Maxwell u/nullc (CTO of Blockstream), Adam Back u/adam3us (CEO of Blockstream), and u/theymos (owner of r\bitcoin) all said that bigger blocks would be fine. Now they prefer to risk splitting the community & the network, instead of upgrading to bigger blocks. What happened to them?
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5dtfld/previously_greg_maxwell_unullc_cto_of_blockstream/
"Even a year ago I said I though we could probably survive 2MB" - nullc
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/43mond/even_a_year_ago_i_said_i_though_we_could_probably/
Core/Blockstream supporters like to tiptoe around the facts a lot - hoping we won't pay attention to the fact that they're getting paid by a company like AXA, or hoping we'll get confused if Greg says that AXA isn't a bank but rather an insurance firm.
But the facts are the facts, whether AXA is an insurance giant or a bank:
  • AXA would be exposed as bankrupt in a world dominated by a "counterparty-free" asset class like Bitcoin.
  • AXA pays Greg's salary - and Greg is one of the major forces who has been actively attempting to block Bitcoin's on-chain scaling - and there's no way getting around the fact that artificially small blocksizes do lead to artificially low prices.
AXA kinda reminds me of AIG
If anyone here was paying attention when the cracks first started showing in the world fiat finance system around 2008, you may recall the name of another mega-insurance company, that was also one of the most connected finance companies in the world: AIG.
Falling Giant: A Case Study Of AIG
What was once the unthinkable occurred on September 16, 2008. On that date, the federal government gave the American International Group - better known as AIG (NYSE:AIG) - a bailout of $85 billion. In exchange, the U.S. government received nearly 80% of the firm's equity. For decades, AIG was the world's biggest insurer, a company known around the world for providing protection for individuals, companies and others. But in September, the company would have gone under if it were not for government assistance.
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/09/american-investment-group-aig-bailout.asp
Why the Fed saved AIG and not Lehman
Bernanke did say he believed an AIG failure would be "catastrophic," and that the heavy use of derivatives made the AIG problem potentially more explosive.
An AIG failure, thanks to the firm's size and its vast web of trading partners, "would have triggered an intensification of the general run on international banking institutions," Bernanke said.
http://fortune.com/2010/09/02/why-the-fed-saved-aig-and-not-lehman/
Just like AIG, AXA is a "systemically important" finance company - one of the biggest insurance companies in the world.
And (like all major banks and insurance firms), AXA is drowning in worthless debt and bets (derivatives).
Most of AXA's balance sheet would go up in a puff of smoke if they actually did "mark-to-market" (ie, if they actually factored in the probability of the counterparties of their debts and bets actually coming through and paying AXA the full amount it says on the pretty little spreadsheets on everyone's computer screens).
In other words: Like most giant banks and insurers, AXA has mainly debt and bets. They rely on counterparties to pay them - maybe, someday, if the whole system doesn't go tits-up by then.
In other words: Like most giant banks and insurers, AXA does not hold the "private keys" to their so-called wealth :-)
So, like most giant multinational banks and insurers who spend all their time playing with debts and bets, AXA has been teetering on the edge of the abyss since 2008 - held together by chewing gum and paper clips and the miracle of Quantitative Easing - and also by all the clever accounting tricks that instantly become possible when money can go from being a gleam in a banker's eye to a pixel on a screen with just a few keystrokes - that wonderful world of "fantasy fiat" where central bankers ninja-mine billions of dollars in worthless paper and pixels into existence every month - and then for some reason every other month they have to hold a special "emergency central bankers meeting" to deal with the latest financial crisis du jour which "nobody could have seen coming".
AIG back in 2008 - much like AXA today - was another "systemically important" worldwide mega-insurance giant - with most of its net worth merely a pure fantasy on a spreadsheet and in a four-color annual report - glossing over the ugly reality that it's all based on toxic debts and derivatives which will never ever be paid off.
Mega-banks Mega-insurers like AXA are addicted to the never-ending "fantasy fiat" being injected into the casino of musical chairs involving bets upon bets upon bets upon bets upon bets - counterparty against counterparty against counterparty against counterparty - going 'round and 'round on the big beautiful carroussel where everyone is waiting on the next guy to pay up - and meanwhile everyone's cooking their books and sweeping their losses "under the rug", offshore or onto the taxpayers or into special-purpose vehicles - while the central banks keep printing up a trillion more here and a trillion more there in worthless debt-backed paper and pixels - while entire nations slowly sink into the toxic financial sludge of ever-increasing upayable debt and lower productivity and higher inflation, dragging down everyone's economies, enslaving everyone to increasing worktime and decreasing paychecks and unaffordable healthcare and education, corrupting our institutions and our leaders, distorting our investment and "capital allocation" decisions, inflating housing and healthcare and education beyond everyone's reach - and sending people off to die in endless wars to prop up the deadly failing Saudi-American oil-for-arms Petrodollar ninja-mined currency cartel.
In 2008, when the multinational insurance company AIG (along with their fellow gambling buddies at the multinational investment banks Bear Stearns and Lehmans) almost went down the drain due to all their toxic gambling debts, they also almost took the rest of the world with them.
And that's when the "core" dev team working for the miners central banks (the Fed, ECB, BoE, BoJ - who all report to the "central bank of central banks" BIS in Basel) - started cranking up their mining rigs printing presses and keyboards and pixels to the max, unilaterally manipulating the "issuance schedule" of their shitcoins and flooding the world with tens of trillions in their worthless phoney fiat to save their sorry asses after all their toxic debts and bad bets.
AXA is at the very rotten "core" of this system - like AIG, a "systemically important" (ie, "too big to fail") mega-gigantic multinational insurance company - a fantasy fiat finance firm quietly sitting at the rotten core of our current corrupt financial system, basically impacting everything and everybody on this planet.
The "masters of the universe" from AXA are the people who go to Davos every year wining and dining on lobster and champagne - part of that elite circle that prints up endless money which they hand out to their friends while they continue to enslave everyone else - and then of course they always turn around and tell us we can't have nice things like roads and schools and healthcare because "austerity". (But somehow we always can have plenty of wars and prisons and climate change and terrorism because for some weird reason our "leaders" seem to love creating disasters.)
The smart people at AXA are probably all having nightmares - and the smart people at all the other companies in that circle of "too-big-to-fail" "fantasy fiat finance firms" are probably also having nightmares - about the following very possible scenario:
If Bitcoin succeeds, debt-and-derivatives-dependent financial "giants" like AXA will probably be exposed as having been bankrupt this entire time.
All their debts and bets will be exposed as not being worth the paper and pixels they were printed on - and at that point, in a cryptocurrency world, the only real money in the world will be "counterparty-free" assets ie cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin - where all you need to hold is your own private keys - and you're not dependent on the next deadbeat debt-ridden fiat slave down the line coughing up to pay you.
Some of those people at AXA and the rest of that mafia are probably quietly buying - sad that they missed out when Bitcoin was only $10 or $100 - but happy they can still get it for $1000 while Blockstream continues to suppress the price - and who knows, what the hell, they might as well throw some of that juicy "banker's bonus" into Bitcoin now just in case it really does go to $1 million a coin someday - which it could easily do with just 32MB blocks, and no modifications to the code (ie, no SegWit, no BU, no nuthin', just a slowly growing blocksize supporting a price growing roughly proportional to the square of the blocksize - like Bitcoin always actually did before the economically illiterate devs at Blockstream imposed their centrally planned blocksize on our previously decentralized system).
Meanwhile, other people at AXA and other major finance firms might be taking a different tack: happy to see all the disinfo and discord being sown among the Bitcoin community like they've been doing since they were founded in late 2014 - buying out all the devs, dumbing down the community to the point where now even the CTO of Blockstream Greg Mawxell gets the whitepaper totally backwards.
Maybe Core/Blockstream's failure-to-scale is a feature not a bug - for companies like AXA.
After all, AXA - like most of the major banks in the Europe and the US - are now basically totally dependent on debt and derivatives to pretend they're not already bankrupt.
Maybe Blockstream's dead-end road-map (written up by none other than Greg Maxwell), which has been slowly strangling Bitcoin for over two years now - and which could ultimately destroy Bitcoin via the poison pill of Core/Blockstream's SegWit trojan horse - maybe all this never-ending history of obstrution and foot-dragging and lying and failure from Blockstream is actually a feature and not a bug, as far as AXA and their banking buddies are concerned.
The insurance company with the biggest exposure to the 1.2 quadrillion dollar (ie, 1200 TRILLION dollar) derivatives casino is AXA. Yeah, that AXA, the company whose CEO is head of the Bilderberg Group, and whose "venture capital" arm bought out Bitcoin development by "investing" in Blockstream.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4k1r7v/the_insurance_company_with_the_biggest_exposure/
If Bitcoin becomes a major currency, then tens of trillions of dollars on the "legacy ledger of fantasy fiat" will evaporate, destroying AXA, whose CEO is head of the Bilderbergers. This is the real reason why AXA bought Blockstream: to artificially suppress Bitcoin volume and price with 1MB blocks.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4r2pw5/if_bitcoin_becomes_a_major_currency_then_tens_of/
AXA has even invented some kind of "climate catastrophe" derivative - a bet where if the global warming destroys an entire region of the world, the "winner" gets paid.
Of course, derivatives would be something attractive to an insurance company - since basically most of their business is about making and taking bets.
So who knows - maybe AXA is "betting against" Bitcoin - and their little investment in the loser devs at Core/Blockstream is part of their strategy for "winning" that bet.
This trader's price & volume graph / model predicted that we should be over $10,000 USD/BTC by now. The model broke in late 2014 - when AXA-funded Blockstream was founded, and started spreading propaganda and crippleware, centrally imposing artificially tiny blocksize to suppress the volume & price.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5obe2m/this_traders_price_volume_graph_model_predicted/
"I'm angry about AXA scraping some counterfeit money out of their fraudulent empire to pay autistic lunatics millions of dollars to stall the biggest sociotechnological phenomenon since the internet and then blame me and people like me for being upset about it." ~ u/dresden_k
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5xjkof/im_angry_about_axa_scraping_some_counterfeit/
Bitcoin can go to 10,000 USD with 4 MB blocks, so it will go to 10,000 USD with 4 MB blocks. All the censorship & shilling on r\bitcoin & fantasy fiat from AXA can't stop that. BitcoinCORE might STALL at 1,000 USD and 1 MB blocks, but BITCOIN will SCALE to 10,000 USD and 4 MB blocks - and beyond
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5jgkxv/bitcoin_can_go_to_10000_usd_with_4_mb_blocks_so/
AXA/Blockstream are suppressing Bitcoin price at 1000 bits = 1 USD. If 1 bit = 1 USD, then Bitcoin's market cap would be 15 trillion USD - close to the 82 trillion USD of "money" in the world. With Bitcoin Unlimited, we can get to 1 bit = 1 USD on-chain with 32MB blocksize ("Million-Dollar Bitcoin")
https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/5u72va/axablockstream_are_suppressing_bitcoin_price_at/
Anyways, people are noticing that it's a little... odd... the way Greg Maxwell seems to go to such lengths, in order to cover up the fact that bigger blocks have always correlated to higher price.
He seems to get very... uncomfortable... when people start pointing out that:
It sure looks like AXA is paying Greg Maxwell to suppress the Bitcoin price.
Greg Maxwell has now publicly confessed that he is engaging in deliberate market manipulation to artificially suppress Bitcoin adoption and price. He could be doing this so that he and his associates can continue to accumulate while the price is still low (1 BTC = $570, ie 1 USD can buy 1750 "bits")
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4wgq48/greg_maxwell_has_now_publicly_confessed_that_he/
Why did Blockstream CTO u/nullc Greg Maxwell risk being exposed as a fraud, by lying about basic math? He tried to convince people that Bitcoin does not obey Metcalfe's Law (claiming that Bitcoin price & volume are not correlated, when they obviously are). Why is this lie so precious to him?
https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/57dsgz/why_did_blockstream_cto_unullc_greg_maxwell_risk/
I don't know how a so-called Bitcoin dev can sleep at night knowing he's getting paid by fucking AXA - a company that would probably go bankrupt if Bitcoin becomes a major world currency.
Greg must have to go through some pretty complicated mental gymastics to justify in his mind what everyone else can see: he is a fucking sellout to one of the biggest fiat finance firms in the world - he's getting paid by (and defending) a company which would probably go bankrupt if Bitcoin ever achieved multi-trillion dollar market cap.
Greg is literally getting paid by the second-most-connected "systemically important" (ie, "too big to fail") finance firm in the world - which will probably go bankrupt if Bitcoin were ever to assume its rightful place as a major currency with total market cap measured in the tens of trillions of dollars, destroying most of the toxic sludge of debt and derivatives keeping a bank financial giant like AXA afloat.
And it may at first sound batshit crazy (until You Do The Math), but Bitcoin actually really could go to one-million-dollars-a-coin in the next 8 years or so - without SegWit or BU or anything else - simply by continuing with Satoshi's original 32MB built-in blocksize limit and continuing to let miners keep blocks as small as possible to satisfy demand while avoiding orphans - a power which they've had this whole friggin' time and which they've been managing very well thank you.
Bitcoin Original: Reinstate Satoshi's original 32MB max blocksize. If actual blocks grow 54% per year (and price grows 1.542 = 2.37x per year - Metcalfe's Law), then in 8 years we'd have 32MB blocks, 100 txns/sec, 1 BTC = 1 million USD - 100% on-chain P2P cash, without SegWit/Lightning or Unlimited
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5uljaf/bitcoin_original_reinstate_satoshis_original_32mb/
Meanwhile Greg continues to work for Blockstream which is getting tens of millions of dollars from a company which would go bankrupt if Bitcoin were to actually scale on-chain to 32MB blocks and 1 million dollars per coin without all of Greg's meddling.
So Greg continues to get paid by AXA, spreading his ignorance about economics and his lies about Bitcoin on these forums.
In the end, who knows what Greg's motivations are, or AXA's motivations are.
But one thing we do know is this:
Satoshi didn't put Greg Maxwell or AXA in charge of deciding the blocksize.
The tricky part to understand about "one CPU, one vote" is that it does not mean there is some "pre-existing set of rules" which the miners somehow "enforce" (despite all the times when you hear some Core idiot using words like "consensus layer" or "enforcing the rules").
The tricky part about really understanding Bitcoin is this:
Hashpower doesn't just enforce the rules - hashpower makes the rules.
And if you think about it, this makes sense.
It's the only way Bitcoin actually could be decentralized.
It's kinda subtle - and it might be hard for someone to understand if they've been a slave to centralized authorities their whole life - but when we say that Bitcoin is "decentralized" then what it means is:
We all make the rules.
Because if hashpower doesn't make the rules - then you'd be right back where you started from, with some idiot like Greg Maxwell "making the rules" - or some corrupt too-big-to-fail bank debt-and-derivative-backed "fantasy fiat financial firm" like AXA making the rules - by buying out a dev team and telling us that that dev team "makes the rules".
But fortunately, Greg's opinions and ignorance and lies don't matter anymore.
Miners are waking up to the fact that they've always controlled the blocksize - and they always will control the blocksize - and there isn't a single goddamn thing Greg Maxwell or Blockstream or AXA can do to stop them from changing it - whether the miners end up using BU or Classic or BitcoinEC or they patch the code themselves.
The debate is not "SHOULD THE BLOCKSIZE BE 1MB VERSUS 1.7MB?". The debate is: "WHO SHOULD DECIDE THE BLOCKSIZE?" (1) Should an obsolete temporary anti-spam hack freeze blocks at 1MB? (2) Should a centralized dev team soft-fork the blocksize to 1.7MB? (3) OR SHOULD THE MARKET DECIDE THE BLOCKSIZE?
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5pcpec/the_debate_is_not_should_the_blocksize_be_1mb/
Core/Blockstream are now in the Kübler-Ross "Bargaining" phase - talking about "compromise". Sorry, but markets don't do "compromise". Markets do COMPETITION. Markets do winner-takes-all. The whitepaper doesn't talk about "compromise" - it says that 51% of the hashpower determines WHAT IS BITCOIN.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5y9qtg/coreblockstream_are_now_in_the_k%C3%BCblerross/
Clearing up Some Widespread Confusions about BU
Core deliberately provides software with a blocksize policy pre-baked in.
The ONLY thing BU-style software changes is that baking in. It refuses to bundle controversial blocksize policy in with the rest of the code it is offering. It unties the blocksize settings from the dev teams, so that you don't have to shop for both as a packaged unit.
The idea is that you can now have Core software security without having to submit to Core blocksize policy.
Running Core is like buying a Sony TV that only lets you watch Fox, because the other channels are locked away and you have to know how to solder a circuit board to see them. To change the channel, you as a layman would have to switch to a different TV made by some other manufacturer, who you may not think makes as reliable of TVs.
This is because Sony believes people should only ever watch Fox "because there are dangerous channels out there" or "because since everyone needs to watch the same channel, it is our job to decide what that channel is."
So the community is stuck with either watching Fox on their nice, reliable Sony TVs, or switching to all watching ABC on some more questionable TVs made by some new maker (like, in 2015 the XT team was the new maker and BIP101 was ABC).
BU (and now Classic and BitcoinEC) shatters that whole bizarre paradigm. BU is a TV that lets you tune to any channel you want, at your own risk.
The community is free to converge on any channel it wants to, and since everyone in this analogy wants to watch the same channel they will coordinate to find one.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/602vsy/clearing_up_some_widespread_confusions_about_bu/
Adjustable blocksize cap (ABC) is dangerous? The blocksize cap has always been user-adjustable. Core just has a really shitty inferface for it.
What does it tell you that Core and its supporters are up in arms about a change that merely makes something more convenient for users and couldn't be prevented from happening anyway? Attacking the adjustable blocksize feature in BU and Classic as "dangerous" is a kind of trap, as it is an implicit admission that Bitcoin was being protected only by a small barrier of inconvenience, and a completely temporary one at that. If this was such a "danger" or such a vector for an "attack," how come we never heard about it before?
Even if we accept the improbable premise that inconvenience is the great bastion holding Bitcoin together and the paternalistic premise that stakeholders need to be fed consensus using a spoon of inconvenience, we still must ask, who shall do the spoonfeeding?
Core accepts these two amazing premises and further declares that Core alone shall be allowed to do the spoonfeeding. Or rather, if you really want to you can be spoonfed by other implementation clients like libbitcoin and btcd as long as they are all feeding you the same stances on controversial consensus settings as Core does.
It is high time the community see central planning and abuse of power for what it is, and reject both:
  • Throw off central planning by removing petty "inconvenience walls" (such as baked-in, dev-recommended blocksize caps) that interfere with stakeholders coordinating choices amongst themselves on controversial matters ...
  • Make such abuse of power impossible by encouraging many competing implementations to grow and blossom
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/617gf9/adjustable_blocksize_cap_abc_is_dangerous_the/
So it's time for Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc to get over his delusions of grandeur - and to admit he's just another dev, with just another opinion.
He also needs to look in the mirror and search his soul and confront the sad reality that he's basically turned into a sellout working for a shitty startup getting paid by the 5th (or 4th or 2nd) "most connected", "systemically important", "too-big-to-fail", debt-and-derivative-dependent multinational bank mega-insurance giant in the world AXA - a major fiat firm firm which is terrified of going bankrupt just like that other mega-insurnace firm AIG already almost did before the Fed rescued them in 2008 - a fiat finance firm which is probably very conflicted about Bitcoin, at the very least.
Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell is getting paid by the most systemically important bank mega-insurance giant in the world, sitting at the rotten "core" of the our civilization's corrupt, dying fiat cartel.
Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell is getting paid by a mega-bank mega-insurance company that will probably go bankrupt if and when Bitcoin ever gets a multi-trillion dollar market cap, which it can easily do with just 32MB blocks and no code changes at all from clueless meddling devs like him.
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

Where were you when BTC was at 6 dollars?

Ah no it isn’t worth mining 1 BTC every two days. No Bitcoin (BTC) will never go above 6 dollars what are you saying? We have all been there but some have been there harder than others. I was at university when the BTC craze started. I owned 100s of them in 2012. There was nothing like it out there. I mean you could call up and ask your Goldman Sachs equity holder about BTC and he would just stare blindly down the abyss. It took only 6 years to get the future here. To get The Pied Piper flux going and for the world to reinvent FOMO. FOMO is “Fear of Missing Out”. Bitcoin did not start like that however. Bitcoin was one of the first decentralized currencies (now more a commodity than a currency) to take effect. Bitcoin was firstly adopted by dark net users as a medium of exchange: BTC for drugs, guns, hitmen or whatever else you wanted to buy without leaving any traces back to you, the consumer. It was the Paypal of the dark era.
1- You did not have to verify your identity to buy BTC. 2- You were not waiting hours on end for BTC to process. 3- BTC was a novelty, it was different and akin to its roots “a dark crypto” with no regulation and governmental power to trace your tracks.
Yeah BTC was really at 6 dollars in 2012 and I was buying loads of it as I was seeing the European Union slowly disintegrate and people starting to voice their disapprovals. Citizens of the EU had started losing faith in their own currencies, their own governments and institutions. Greece was left to fend for itself (not entirely true but it was not in the best of places), Portugal and Spain were salvaged by the European Central Bank and the European Union saw an uprising in the rightists movements. Institution: 1. Establishment (foundation) or organization created to pursue a particular type of endeavor, such as banking by a financial institution.
It wasn´t FOMO that was driving BTC up, it was the distrust in the system. People fed up with traceable transactions, fluctuating currencies and the lack of a powerful political figures started looking at alternatives. After the adoption of BTC in the dark net community, the regular folks started looking at ways to make money. BTC started shooting up and by March 2014 it was already at 450 dollars.
You may ask if I still have these BTC laying around. My answer is no. I lost access to my wallet some years ago and was never able to obtain my old HDD. Is there regret? Sure. But life goes on right. At 6 dollars a BTC no one could have seen where this was going right? Well, a select few did. The future had just arrived some years too early and it took years for people to start believing in another system.
I am not going to dive into the technical aspects of BTC or other crypto currencies as I believe they have been well covered by the STEEM community (or even more so reading their websites). We need to have more “alive” posts. Posts that make you think, ask questions and/or laugh. There are too many posts trying to pump the value of their coins. If we continue down this path we will eventually close the lid on STEEM and these other "make profit for posting" projecets. Getting paid to post, upvote and comment should not be done so by any means possible.
The crypto currency market is a fascinating thing but we must not forget what drove the world to the largest financial crisis in history in 2008 (largest in real money terms). FOMO is driving up a lot of useless coins. ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) have had some very interesting projects but along with some of these we´ve had an array of projects/tokens/coins with no real value. People fear missing out on the next “Bitcoin” or “Ethereum”. The corporations we distrusted, the ones we wanted to turn our backs to in 2008 because of their sheer greed and power now control most of the BTC and ETH in the world. The few corporations are the controlling ones. It is all great because we can all make money fast in the short run. Shares aren´t even attractive anymore because you must wait years to get a decent ROI (Return on Investment) if any!
I am not stating that the current cryptocurrency market is a bubble (it will eventually be one) but I am saying we should all be careful about our feelings. Remember Jordan Belfort (Wolf of Wall Street), he got thousands of people to invest in penny stocks. Penny stocks were usually sold outside of the major market exchanges at extremely low prices with a small market capitalization but no real liquidity – no money no assets.
Now we are all investing into projects we have barely even heard about. Our friend buys some “X” and we all follow suit because we don´t want to be the one in the group without any “X”. We are not dealing with penny stocks. The market capitalization with some of these projects spread wider than corporations that have been in the making for centuries in just a matter of days. There are new ICOs every few weeks and we are all funding them with a blind eye (Hey! Not all but you know what I mean right?)
Personally, I do not like where the Ethereum market is going. Smart Contracts are a fascinating new addition but the network has bottlenecked the past few days due to ICOs of Status Token, Civic and Bancor (150 million raised). The use of gas and how much you need is not the easiest to understand for the most of us in the Ethereum network. I do not believe that the future is in Ethereum. I believed the future was in Bitcoin but dropped out short. The crypto market craze has just started.
Just invest in what you think is right. What you believe in. Take some time apart and research.
Consider projects you might find interesting but do your own due diligence and research. Research their whitepaper (Whitepaper is a guide to how an idea or project will be implemented with questions answered in a step by step summary) and ask questions on here, reddit and wherever about any upcoming ICOs. After regulation, most of these coins will cease to exist and only the great projecets will be left and thus there will be another price adjustment. You might be able to make money in the short run following the market pumping and dumping (if you´re even lucky enough to know when that occurs) but it is more likely to go the other way for most people. **edit: Grammar
NEVER INVEST MORE MONEY THAN YOU HAVE
ALWAYS RESEARCH BEFORE YOU INVEST
ONLY BECAUSE JP MORGAN IS BACKING IT, DOESN’T MEANT IT WILL BE A SUCCESS.
RESEARCH.THINK.SLEEP.DO
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF FOMO
submitted by crypt919 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

History Lesson for new VIA Viacoin Investors

Viacoin is an open source cryptocurrency project, based on the Bitcoin blockchain. Publicly introduced on the crypto market in mid 2014, Viacoin integrates decentralized asset transaction on the blockchain, reaching speeds that have never seen before on cryptocurrencies. This Scrypt based, Proof of Work coin was created to try contrast Bitcoin’s structural problems, mainly the congested blockchain delays that inhibit microtransaction as this currency transitions from digital money to a gold-like, mean of solid value storage. Bitcoin Core developers Peter Todd and Btc have been working on this currency and ameliorated it until they was able to reach a lightning fast speed of 24 second per block. These incredible speeds are just one of the features that come with the implementation of Lightning Network, and and make Bitcoin slow transactions a thing of the past. To achieve such a dramatic improvement in performance, the developers modified Viacoin so that its OP_RETURN has been extended to 80 bytes, reducing tx and bloat sizes, overcoming multi signature hacks; the integration of ECDSA optimized C library allowed this coin to reach significant speedup for raw signature validation, making it perform up to 5 times better. This will mean easy adoption by merchants and vendors, which won’t have to worry anymore with long times between the payment and its approval. Todd role as Chief Scientist and Advisor has been proven the right choice for this coin, thanks to his focus on Tree Chains, a ground breaking feature that will fix the main problems revolving around Bitcoin, such as scalability issues and the troubles for the Viacoin miners to keep a reputation on the blockchain in a decentralized mining environment. Thanks to Todd’s expertise in sidechains, the future of this crypto currency will see the implementation of an alternative blockchain that is not linear. According to the developer, the chains are too unregulated when it comes to trying to establish a strong connection between the operations happening on one chain and what happens elsewhere. Merged mining, scalability and safety are at risk and tackling these problems is mandatory in order to create a new, disruptive crypto technology. Tree Chains are going to be the basis for a broader use and a series of protocols that are going to allow users and developers to use Viacoin’s blockchain not just to mine and store coins, but just like other new crypto currencies to allow the creation of secure, decentralized consensus systems living on the blockchain The commander role on this BIP9 compatible coin’s development team has now been taken by a programmer from the Netherlands called Romano, which has a great fan base in the cryptocurrency community thanks to his progressive views on the future of the world of cryptos. He’s in strong favor of SegWit, and considers soft forks on the chain not to be a problem but an opportunity: according to him it will provide an easy method to enable scripting upgrades and the implementation of other features that the market has been looking for, such as peer to peer layers for compact block relay. Segregation Witness allows increased capacity, ends transactions malleability, makes scripting upgradeable, and reduces UTXO set. Because of these reasons, Viacoin Core 0.13 is already SegWit ready and is awaiting for signaling.
Together with implementation of SegWit, Romano has recently been working on finalizing the implementation of merged mining, something that has never been done with altcoins. Merged mining allows users to mine more than one block chain at the same time, this means that every hash the miner does contributes to the total hash rate of all currencies, and as a result they are all more secure. This release pre-announcement resulted in a market spike, showing how interested the market is in the inclusion of these features in the coin core and blockchain. The developer has been introducing several of these features, ranging from a Hierarchical Deterministic key (HD key) generation that allows all Viacoin users to backup their wallets, to a compact block relay, which decreases block propagation times on the peer to peer network; this creates a healthier network and a better baseline relay security margin. Viacoin’s support for relative locktime allows users and miners to time-lock a transaction, this means that a new transaction will be prevented until a relative time change is achieved with a new OP code, OP_CHECKSEQUENCEVERITY, which allows the execution of a script based on the age of the amount that is being spent. Support for Child-Pays-For-Parent procedures in Viacoin has been successfully enabled, CPFP will alleviate the problem of transactions that stuck for a long period in the unconfirmed limbo, either because of network bottlenecks or lack of funds to pay the fee. Thanks to this method, an algorithm will selects transactions based on federate inclusive unconfirmed ancestor transaction; this means that a low fee transaction will be more likely to get picked up by miners if another transaction with an higher fee that speeds its output gets relayed. Several optimizations have been implemented in the blockchain to allow its scaling to proceed freely, ranging from pruning of the chain itsel to save disk space, to optimizing memory use thanks to mempool transaction filtering. UTXO cache has also been optimization, further allowing for significant faster transaction times. Anonymity of transaction has been ameliorated, thanks to increased TOR support by the development team. This feature will help keep this crypto currency secure and the identity of who works on it safe; this has been proven essential, especially considering how Viacoin’s future is right now focused on segwit and lightning network . Onion technology used in TOR has also been included in the routing of transactions, rapid payments and instant transaction on bi directional payment channels in total anonymity. Payments Viacoin’s anonymity is one of the main items of this year’s roadmap, and by the end of 2017 we’ll be able to see Viacoin’s latest secure payment technology, called Styx, implemented on its blockchain. This unlinkable anonymous atomic payment hub combines off-the-blockchain cryptographic computations, thanks to Viacoin’s scriptin functionalities, and makes use of security RSA assumptions, ROM and Elliptic Curve digital signature Algorithm; this will allow participants to make fast, anonymous transfer funds with zero knowledge contingent payment proof. Wallets already offer strong privacy, thanks to transactions being broadcasted once only; this increases anonymity, since it can’t be used to link IPs and TXs. In the future of this coin we’ll also see hardware wallets support reaching 100%, with Trezor and Nano ledger support. These small, key-chain devices connect to the user’s computer to store their private keys and sign transactions in a safe environment. Including Viacoin in these wallets is a smart move, because they are targeted towards people that are outside of hardcore cryptocurrency users circle and guarantees exposure to this currency. The more casual users hear of this coin, the faster they’re going to adopt it, being sure of it’s safety and reliability. In last October, Viacoin price has seen a strong decline, probably linked to one big online retailer building a decentralized crypto stock exchange based on the Counterparty protocol. As usual with crypto currencties, it’s easy to misunderstand the market fluctuations and assume that a temporary underperforming coin is a sign of lack of strength. The change in the development team certainly helped with Viacoin losing value, but by watching the coin graphs it’s easy to see how this momentary change in price is turning out to be just one of those gentle chart dips that precede a sky rocketing surge in price. Romano is working hard on features and focusing on their implementation, keeping his head low rather than pushing on strong marketing like other alt coins are doing. All this investment on ground breaking properties, most of which are unique to this coin, means that Viacoin is one of those well kept secret in the market. Minimal order books and lack of large investors offering liquidity also help keep this coin in a low-key position, something that is changing as support for larger books is growing. As soon as the market notices this coin and investments go up, we are going to see a rapid surge in the market price, around the 10000 mark by the beginning of January 2018 or late February. Instead of focusing on a public ICO like every altcoin, which means a sudden spike in price followed by inclusion on new exchanges that will dry up volume, this crypto coin is growing slowly under the radar while it’s being well tested and boxes on the roadmap get checked off, one after the other. Romano is constantly working on it and the community around this coin knows, such a strong pack of followers is a feature that no other alt currency has and it’s what will bring it back to the top of the coin market in the near future. His attitude towards miners that are opposed to SegWit is another strong feature to add to Viacoin, especially because of what he thinks of F2Pool and Bitmain’s politics towards soft forks. The Chinese mining groups seem scared that once alternative crypto coins switch to it they’re going to lose leveraging power for what concerns Bitcoin’s future and won’t be able to speculate on the mining and trading market as much as they have been doing in the past, especially for what concerns the marketing market.
It’s refreshing to see such dedication and releases being pushed at a constant manner, the only way to have structural changes in how crypto currencies work can only happen when the accent is put on development and not on just trying to convince the market. This strategy is less flashy and makes sure the road is ready for the inevitable increase in the userbase. It’s always difficult to forecast the future, especially when it concerns alternative coins when Bitcoin is raising so fast. A long term strategy suggestion would be to get around 1BTC worth of this cryptocoin as soon as possible and just hold on it: thanks to the features that are being rolled in as within 6 months there is going to be an easy gain to be made in the order of 5 to 10 times the initial investment. Using the recent market dip will make sure that the returns are maximized. What makes Viacoin an excellent opportunity right now is that the price is low and designed to rise fast, as its Lightning Network features become more mainstream. Lightning Network is secure, instant payment that aren’t going to be held back by confirmation bottlenecks, a blockchain capable to scale to the billions of transactions mark, extremely low fees that do not inhibit micropayments and cross-chain atomic swap that allow transaction across blockchain without the need of a third party custodians. These features mean that the future of this coin is going to be bright, and the the dip in price that started just a while ago is going to end soon as the market prepares for the first of August, when when the SegWit drama will affect all crypto markets. The overall trend of viacoin is bullish with a constant uptrend more media attention is expected , when news about the soft fork will spread beyond the inner circle of crypto aficionados and leak in the mainstream finance news networks. Solid coins like Viacoin, with a clear policy towards SegWit, will offer the guarantees that the market will be looking for in times of doubt. INVESTMENT REVIEW Investment Rating :- A+
https://medium.com/@VerthagOG/viacoin-investment-review-ca0982e979bd
submitted by alex61688 to viacoin [link] [comments]

Slack chat with James Lovejoy (VTC Lead Dev)

Thought I would share this chat I had with James Lovejoy last night. Super generous of him to provide this much access and time answering questions. I was already a HODL'er, but this solidified it.
beerfinger [1:28 AM] Just read through the entire rebranding thread in the Vertcoin subreddit. Earlier today I also watched some of Crypto Hedge's interview of James Lovejoy from last August on YouTube. I understand both sides of the rebranding argument and have tried to play devil's advocate. Right now I do believe that the argument against rebranding is stronger. Full disclosure: I've worked in marketing/advertising my whole career and just recently got into cryptos. With that said, there are two questions that keeps nagging on me:
[1:28] 1. this coin has been around since 2014, so nearly 4 years. James seems like an incredibly smart and capable chap, but I'm just going to go ahead and assume the he hasn't always been the Lead Dev while he was in high school. Presumably there was someone before him and, after he graduates and moves on to whatever it is he's going to do with his life, there will be someone after him. Yes? So, with all due respect to James, as an investor in VTC, what assurances are there that this isn't merely an interesting side-project for a brilliant MIT student with little interest/incentive in its value as an investment portfolio? If the value of this coin to James is that of a college project, that is something I as an investor would like to know.
jamesl22 [1:32 AM] Hey!
[1:33] I've been the lead dev since Nov 2014
[1:33] (while I was in high school)
[1:33] And I've kept at it through college, I certainly don't intend to go anywhere
[1:33] Plus, there are more who work on this project that just me
beerfinger [1:33 AM] 2. I've read complaints about Vertcoin from people who poopoo its usefulness. Decrying it as "just another coin trying to be Bitcoin with not much differentiating it." People don't seem to view the ASIC thing as a big enough differentiator to make VTC stand out. There seems to be a kernel of truth to that as part of the argument against rebranding seems to be a tacit acknowledgement that it should not occur until a major change in the development is launched. So my question again stems back to James' motivations and incentives here. Is this a convenient use case for some college thesis? Or is the team really working on coming up with a major change in development?
[1:34] hey James! wow, thanks so much for your quick response
[1:34] great to actually communicate with you. and I stand corrected. very impressive that you started on this so young. I can see why MIT accepted you :slightly_smiling_face:
[1:36] my questions still stand though: I'm not trying to insult you so I hope you don't take it that way, but as someone who considers VTC part of my investment portfolio, I am very curious to hear about your incentives. You clearly have noble intentions. But what is your ultimate goal? What's the end game? Is it the same as Satoshi's was? (assuming he was really one person who existed)
[1:37] Or is there something else?
jamesl22 [1:37 AM] I think it's the same as Satoshi's
[1:37] To recreate the financial system in a fairer, more distributed way
[1:37] My research at MIT is totally separate to my work on VTC, though the two are complimentary (both are in cryptocurrency)
[1:38] In my ideal world everyone runs a VTC miner and full node in their home, banks become narrow banks and clearing houses/stock exchanges are a thing of the past
[1:39] The rewards of the financial system (in the form of transaction fees) will be distributed to the people, rather than siphoned off by banks or ASIC manufacturers as happens now (edited)
goodminer [1:40 AM] :thumbsup:
beerfinger [1:40 AM] I see. That is compelling. So, being that's the case, that sounds to me like something worthy of a brand, no?
[1:41] Unless you think there are other coins on the market with the same goals. In which case, what will differentiate VTC?
jamesl22 [1:42 AM] I don't think there are any on the market with as strong of an ideology as us
[1:42] Or any that can demonstrate that it follows through on its commitments
[1:42] The way I see it, VTC went from being worth $0.01 last year to 100x that now
[1:43] I don't see how a rebrand can possible accelerate already parabolic growth
[1:43] Bear in mind, that until a few months ago we had 0 marketing, that is where our focus should be now
beerfinger [1:44 AM] Fair. I'm curious, what do you think it SHOULD be worth?
[1:44] I mean right now, at this moment.
jamesl22 [1:44 AM] I don't think I should say, the SEC might be watching us
beerfinger [1:44 AM] Not in the future.
[1:44] haha
[1:44] ok
[1:44] Can you say if you feel it is undervalued?
[1:44] or overvalued
jamesl22 [1:45 AM] I will say with confidence that 95% of the top 100 is severely overvalued
beerfinger [1:45 AM] coins you mean
jamesl22 [1:45 AM] Yes
[1:45] On coinmarketcap
[1:45] If you visit most of their websites, there is no code at all
[1:45] Yet it's worth many times what VTC is worth
[1:46] Where VTC has been established for nearly 4 years, bug free and features well demonstrated
[1:46] VTC also had LN and SegWit on main net before LTC or BTC (edited)
beerfinger [1:46 AM] Yes I mean your statement doesn't surprise me. It's a nacent market. Lots of snake oil, clearly.
[1:47] I guess to steer this back towards the branding/marketing of your coin though, you clearly feel strongly about it and have a clear vision. Do you feel that as it stands the branding conveys that sentiment?
jamesl22 [1:47 AM] When you say branding, I assume you mean "vertcoin" and the logo?
beerfinger [1:48 AM] yes. logo, color scheme, etc...
[1:48] name even
[1:49] also to clarify one point, when I say that you clearly feel strongly about it, the "it" refers to your coin (not the marketing of it)
jamesl22 [1:49 AM] I think it's largely arbitrary
beerfinger [1:49 AM] why is that
jamesl22 [1:49 AM] Most coin names have no meaning whatsoever
[1:49] Google, the largest tech company in the world has a silly name
[1:50] Litecoin (whose name ought to imply it has fewer features) is #4
beerfinger [1:51 AM] I wouldn't underestimate the amount of strategy that went into branding Google (and continues to this day)
jamesl22 [1:51 AM] What's most important is the pitch, how can you convince someone who knows nothing about the technicals behind cryptocurrency, that ASIC resistance and decentralisation is important?
[1:51] Yes, but the original branding was arbitrary and haphazard
[1:52] Yet the technology spoke for itself
[1:52] Now it's in the dictionary
[1:53] Spending lots of time and money on a new name/logo, trying to get community consensus on that and then redesigning the website/subreddit/wallets/other services to reflect the changes is not where I think we should focus our small resources
[1:54] My goal over the next year or two is to take VTC from speculative value to real-world value
[1:54] So point of sale, ease of use, that's the focus now
[1:55] I aim to over time provide complete solutions for merchants to implement VTC at point of sale, for laymen to set up nodes and miners in their homes
[1:55] As well as potentially enterprise support if we get big enough
beerfinger [1:55 AM] It sounds like this is your intended career path then, yes?
jamesl22 [1:55 AM] In some shape or form, yes
beerfinger [1:55 AM] Wonderful
[1:55] When do you graduate, James?
[1:55] If you don't mind me asking
slackbot Custom Response [1:55 AM] I AM talking to you aren't I !
jamesl22 [1:56 AM] Charlie Lee worked at Coinbase for several years before returning to LTC a month or two ago
[1:56] 2019
beerfinger [1:56 AM] So you're a Sophomore? Or are you in graduate school?
jamesl22 [1:57 AM] Junior
chuymgzz [1:58 AM] @beerfinger can you imagine when people first heard the word "dollar" like WTF is a dollar where did it actually came from. It actually comes from Czech joachimsthaler, which became shortened in common usage to thaler or taler. Don't pay much attention to the name Vertcoin, just take a look at the tech. If you buy into this coin's ideology, you will actually start to like the name.
jin [1:58 AM] Hey guys :slightly_smiling_face:
[1:59] @chuymgzz but not everyone looks purely at the tech, if we look at the top 100 coins, you would know whats going on :stuck_out_tongue:
beerfinger [1:59 AM] Cool well thanks for indulging me, James. I really appreciate it. Hopefully this conversation continues in the future. While your probably right that right now is probably not the right time, that doesn't mean at some point in the future it won't be. In the meantime, I'll take comfort in the knowledge that I've invested in a worthy cause.
chuymgzz [1:59 AM] Longer term only the functional ones and the ones that deliver will survive and a whole ecosystem will be built around it
jin [1:59 AM] buzz and hype is unfortunately a large part of it
beerfinger [2:00 AM] *you're
jin [2:00 AM] that is true, but without marketing to draw in attention (which leads to usage and so on etc) it will be difficult for a functional one to survive even
beerfinger [2:07 AM] @james122 One more thing: how do you feel about regulation? Pro or con? Do you feel that the idea of nation states like the US and China (ergo the ICO ban) taking it upon themselves to place restrictions on the market to try and make them safer is anathema to the idea of decentralization? Are you a full on libertarian in that respect? Or do you welcome regulation because it'll separate the wheat from the chaff?
jamesl22 [2:07 AM] I think we need a sane amount of regulation
[2:08] ICOs are clearly illegal imo
[2:08] Unless they are performed under the same rules as an IPO
[2:09] Plus I don't want to create a safe harbour for child pornographers, people traffickers and terrorists to store their money
[2:09] However I do think the state has no right to spy on you without a warrant (edited)
beerfinger [2:09 AM] You mean you don't want to be Monero? :slightly_smiling_face:
jamesl22 [2:09 AM] No
[2:10] I will pursue privacy features that make the pseudoanonymity provided by the blockchain easier for people to use effectively
[2:11] That way, it is not obvious to anyone your holdings or transactions publicly (edited)
[2:11] But things like sting operations would still be theoretically possible
beerfinger [2:13 AM] Love it. I still feel the branding thing will need to be revisited at some point. I don't know what that means, exactly. Whether its as small as a font change to something bigger like a new color scheme, logo or even name, I'm not sure of. The ideology is strong, but as it stands Vertcoin doesn't have a clear differentiator in the market. I'm not sure that matters so much yet at this time, but it will.
[2:15] You clearly have a strong vision, I'm just not sure it's being communicated effectively yet. Hence, haters who say Vertcoin is just trying to be another Bitcoin.
workstation [2:15 AM] beerfinger might be a huge whale sniffing out Vertcoin before a huge loadup. Not that, that's a bad thing :stuck_out_tongue:
beerfinger [2:15 AM] haha... I wish
jamesl22 [2:16 AM] Vertcoin is trying to be another Bitcoin lol
[2:16] It's picking up where Bitcoin left off
[2:16] If people want a decentralised cryptocurrency, they should use Vertcoin
[2:17] Bitcoin just isn't one anymore
[2:17] Neither is Litecoin (edited)
beerfinger [2:20 AM] Semantics really, but if that's the case then that means Vertcoin isn't trying to be another Bitcoin. Bitcoin is already Bitcoin, which is a coin that did not fulfill it's promises. Vertcoin, on the other hand, like you said picks up where Bitcoin left off. I'm not sure that's being communicated by the brand (yet). Doing so may have nothing to do with rebranding (unless rebranding generates a bigger social following who then helps you communicate that).
workstation [2:20 AM] You've continued on a great coin James and no doubt Vertcoin has great features vs other coins, however without widespread use and adoption, Vertcoin might just become another coin without much use. The marketing side is sometimes even more important than the development side. Just need to look at history for that. E.g. Early version of Windows was buggy, bluescreen of death plagued it. But with heaps of $$ and marketing, Windows is pretty rock solid these days.
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jamesl22 [2:22 AM] Yes, agreed to both statements
[2:22] We're working on it, but it takes time and money
[2:23] But really, adoption is pointless until point of sale works properly
[2:23] When you can get it into people's physical wallets, or phone and they can spend it in a store, that's when it takes off (edited)
[2:23] Walmart, Target, all the big retailers hate Visa and Mastercard
workstation [2:24 AM] Thats a long way off... Even Apple and Samsung are struggling in that area
jamesl22 [2:24 AM] They would love a solution that opted them out of having to pay their fees
beerfinger [2:25 AM] @workstation To play devil's advocate for one sec, most successful people in the world don't achieve success because they tried to achieve success. Success is merely a byproduct of their passion. I do believe that James' commitment to the ideology can be sufficient. But it is true that the branding should communicate his vision. That is a constant conversation, too.
workstation [2:25 AM] yes, true
jamesl22 [2:26 AM] What we really need is talented content creators to make compelling media that explains the vision in a layman friendly way
[2:26] Thus far the message has been far too technical
[2:26] But in the past, the space was mostly populated by technical people so that is understandable
[2:26] It is only in the last 6 months that the general public has started to get involved
[2:27] Sadly "ASIC resistance" doesn't speak to them
beerfinger [2:27 AM] @james122 While it's true that universal adoption is key, you can say that about ANY coin. Even dogecoin would suddenly become a real coin if everyone up and decided to start using it one day. What's your strategy for making VTC that coin?
jamesl22 [2:27 AM] Whereas I think taking power from banks, chinese miners and giving it back to the people can be far more compelling
workstation [2:27 AM] We take Visa and Mastercard at our stores. We only do it because it boosts sales. People these days are all borrowing on credit because they don't have enough.... Paying on their CC# lets them buy things now (instant gratification) and slowly pay later. They managed to get banks on board because they make so much money on the interest. There is a clear reason why those cards satisfy a demand. We get charged about 1.5% by VISA/MC. To be honest, it's not a real deal breaker.
beerfinger [2:27 AM] haha, well, james you're talking to the right guy :slightly_smiling_face:
[2:28] My career is content creation
[2:28] I have nearly 20 years producing commercials and (lately) social content for global brands
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beerfinger [2:29 AM] I would be happy to consult and provide any assistance I can
[2:29] "taking power from banks, chinese miners and giving it back to the people can be far more compelling" - that's your modus operandi
[2:29] you can definitely tell that story in a compelling way
[2:30] Question: have any crypto's ever created any sort of ad before? Even just for social content? (sorry, I'm new to this space)
jamesl22 [2:30 AM] Well we'd obviously be grateful for your assistance
[2:31] I'd imagine so, though I don't follow many other coins' social media very much
goodminer [2:31 AM] @beerfinger lets chat :smile: We've been working on a lot of initiatives over the last few weeks
jamesl22 [2:31 AM] @workstation 1.5% to a huge retailer is a large sum of money though
workstation [2:35 AM] I don't see any coin being widely used to be honest. They fluctuate way too much. Say a typical consumer whose after tax salary is $1000/week.. He buys groceries at the store for $1/Liter. This is simple maths for him, he knows it's going to cost $1 each week, inflation may make it rise to $1.10 next year, but he understands that. With coins, the price of his milk is too hard to calculate.
[2:37] Why would Bob switch to using coins, when Visa/MC give him so much more? He doesnt pay the processing fee (1.5%), he gets free credit (these days, banks will easily approve 10k credits). Why would he switch to Vertcoin?
jamesl22 [2:37 AM] @workstation, volatility is high because market volume is low
[2:38] I think it will take another financial crisis or two though before people start to abandon fractional reserve banking (edited)
workstation [2:42 AM] As long as bob gets his paycheck, he's not going to care what happens at the fed
jamesl22 [2:43 AM] Bob ain't gunna get his paycheck one day though
[2:44] Because the credit ponzi scheme economy will have collapsed
workstation [2:48 AM] yes, the fed can print whatever it wants out of thin air... But its backed by US tax payers to the tune of 2+ trillion/year with most banks adhering to loan capital requirements. E.g. they need a certain amount of money deposited before they can loan more money out. What is Bitcoin/alt coins backed by? Seems like its somewhat of a ponzi scheme now, with everyone piling in thinking it will go up forever. I get that BTC is backed by real energy usage/capital requirements to mine it (asic equipment, datacenters, etc), so its more "real" than $1 USD, but they both service a purpose.
axelfoley75 [2:49 AM] joined #marketing.
workstation [2:51 AM] but whats the end goal because it seems they all become ponzi schemes. The only true coin will be one that will not allow any fiats be converted to to coin.
[2:51] the only way to earn a coin, would be to mine it, wouldn't you think that that would be the truest coin?
[2:52] right now people are just moving wads of fiat money into coins/alt coins, thereby skewing everything.
beerfinger [2:54 AM] just jumping in here with one last comment before I go to sleep: money, whether we're talking salt, precious metals, fiat currency, or cryptos, is just something that we all agree to prescribe a value to. That being the case, how are you going to stop someone from trading that value for something they want? If someone wants to trade their cryptos for chickens, a latte, USD or anything else, they're going to do it. No point in trying to regulate what people spend their money on or how they do it. Seems the antithesis of the whole decentralization thing anyway
workstation [2:57 AM] true
aegisker [3:02 AM] I belive when crypto matures, has fast and easy payments solutions, volume will rise and price will be more stable. Current price is speculation due to news and new development. I dont belive that after 10 years we will be seeing such swings.
beerfinger [3:04 AM] sorry keep thinking of new stuff... @jamesl22 your point about POS is salient. What's your perspective on coins like TenX that try to address that with payment platforms and cards?
[3:05] is that what you mean? nuts & bolts, how would Vertcoin become a POS option?
aegisker [3:06 AM] How is usdt keeping its price around usd?
beerfinger [3:07 AM] don't they just keep up with USD inflation by making sure there's an equal amount of tokens to USD in the market at any given point?
jamesl22 [3:07 AM] Integration of LN and AS is key
[3:07] Then providing some hardware or software solution to integrate with payment processors
[3:07] I haven't looked at tenx
beerfinger [3:07 AM] so Vertcoin IS actively pursuing this then
[3:08] interesting
[3:09] perhaps there's some way to leverage things like ApplePay
jamesl22 [3:09 AM] I doubt it
[3:09] ApplePay's design is fundamentally different
beerfinger [3:09 AM] I mean it doesn't have to be ApplePay itself. Can be a separate app
lucky [3:09 AM] Having bitcoin or altcoins tied to your debit card isn't unbelievable
jamesl22 [3:10 AM] Of course not
[3:10] But it is suboptimal
beerfinger [3:10 AM] yeah sort of kills the whole decentralization thing
lucky [3:10 AM] in fact if we are going the whole hog and saying fiat collapsed. You'd be silly to think the banks would standby and let crypto take over without them
beerfinger [3:10 AM] now we're relying on banks again
lucky [3:11 AM] At the first sign of crypto succeeding fiat. Banks will take over
[3:11] Because they can trade their fiat to coin
[3:11] Government too
aegisker [3:12 AM] Well, banks issues debt, whole market is built around debt. Crypto would take that away
[3:12] This will be hardest transition
jamesl22 [3:12 AM] If the crypto market ever gets to say $1tril, the banks will use their lobbyist army to squash it as best they can
lucky [3:13 AM] Is it not possible crypto gets immediately regulated into the banking system as soon as it passed fiat in some way
jamesl22 [3:13 AM] They don't care right now because the space is tiny compared to their own equity
lucky [3:13 AM] Yes exactly James
beerfinger [3:13 AM] i like the idea of leveraging NFC tech as a way to introduce crypto to POS purchases... everyone already has a smart phone so no need to reinvent the wheel... it's basically just an app
lucky [3:13 AM] If finance is going to change politics needs to too
[3:14] Nfc seems like the way. Yeag
[3:14] Lots of the android wallets leverage it
aegisker [3:14 AM] No need for nfc, nfc was kinda overhyped. Qr codes can work equally good
jamesl22 [3:14 AM] @beerfinger I think LN will allow us to achieve that
lucky [3:14 AM] Lol qr
[3:14] Who has ever scanned a qr....
jamesl22 [3:14 AM] We just need a hardware implementation for the reader
beerfinger [3:14 AM] sorry james, what's LN?
lucky [3:14 AM] Apple made sure qr never worked
jamesl22 [3:14 AM] Lightning Network
beerfinger [3:14 AM] ah
aegisker [3:15 AM] If u use your phone, why complicate with nfc, is there a security benefit?
beerfinger [3:15 AM] the infrastructure is there... most readers i come across these days are already NFC compliant
jamesl22 [3:15 AM] QR can work, but requires a high res display in the POS device
[3:15] Which would increase costs
[3:15] NFC is cheap af
lucky [3:16 AM] Yep. Qr is extremely requirement heavy
aegisker [3:16 AM] For example, pub: you get check with qr. U pay with your phone. Waiter sees on his computer that its payed.
lucky [3:16 AM] Look at Asia and south America
[3:16] Nobody can read qr
aegisker [3:17 AM] I europe all checks already have qrs for tax checking
lucky [3:17 AM] I work in global marketing. Qr is completely unadopted in the real world
[3:17] Yes in no public scenario qr is used
aegisker [3:17 AM] Where you from?
lucky [3:17 AM] Uk
[3:19] A decade in marketing I can tell you for sure Joe public doesn't scan qr codes
[3:19] James is right. We need an alternative hardware solution
[3:19] And I think I unique piece of tech in public would drive massive interest
aegisker [3:20 AM] In slovenia, croatia, austria(i tjink) there is law that all transactions in coffeeshops or shops(everything with fiat transaction) is sent to tax authority as soon as check is printed. U get qr code on your check, so you can check if tax s paid for your service. This is to prevent black markets and unauthorized sellers. Works pretty well. If you frequently scan qrs you can get some bonuses..
[3:21] Public got used to this pretty fast.
lucky [3:21 AM] So there's an incentive
aegisker [3:21 AM] So also you could print qr shop wallet addr.
lucky [3:21 AM] Kind of skews the ease of adoption stat we are looking for
aegisker [3:22 AM] Costz nothing
lucky [3:22 AM] Costs a smartphone with a quick camera
[3:22] How about in a dark club
beerfinger [3:23 AM] I came tonight with many questions about Vertcoin. Namely the incentives of the Devs and how it differentiated itself in the marketplace. All of those questions have been answered as best as I could have hoped. The only thing left is figuring out a way to tell that story. @jamesl22, all of the things you've said tonight are reassuring and exciting. They provide great promise for the future of this coin and even more - your goals, if realized, are truly category shifting. This is such a compelling story. TELL IT!
lucky [3:23 AM] Asking every transaction to require an in focus photo capability is insane, imo
aegisker [3:23 AM] uploaded and commented on this image: IMG_20170908_092307.jpg 1 Comment Thats how it looks
lucky [3:23 AM] We need something similar to a contactless debit card
[3:24] Good luck scanning that in the dark with a £100 smartphone. Though.
aegisker [3:24 AM] For starters this is easiest solution for early adoption (edited)
workstation [3:25 AM] why not something short like vCoin. Then u could make it go off V=Vendetta, sort of has a nice mystery, anti establishment
aegisker [3:25 AM] You just need plugin for your pos software that checks your crypto wallet for received funds
[3:26] Imo this is easiest way to implement first public purchases of beer or coffee
beerfinger [3:26 AM] by the way, less is more when it comes to branding
[3:26] look at apple
[3:26] i love this example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUXnJraKM3k YouTube Brant Walsh Microsoft Re-Designs the iPod Packaging
[3:31] and there's always something to be said for ad wars... apple's david vs goliath attack ads vs microsoft is what put them back on the map
[3:31] that could be a great angle for Vertcoin... go after Bitcoin
[3:31] make fun of it the way Jobs poked at Gates
[3:32] that's just my 2 Vertcoins
submitted by beerfinger to vertcoin [link] [comments]

Who is the team behind Bayan Token?

Sheikh Dr. Zaharuddin Abd Rahman — Chairman, Shariah Board
Sheikh Dr. Zaharuddin Abd Rahman who is a Managing Director of Elzar Group of companies (Elzar Shariah Solutions Sdn Bhd, Elzar Resources Sdn Bhd, Elzar Trading Sdn Bhd and K-Fiqh Sdn Bhd).
Dr. Zaharuddin served as an Assistant Professor at the Kulliyyah of Economics, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) for more than 10 years. He obtained his degree from University of Malaya, MA in Shariah from Al-Yarmouk University, Jordan and PHD in Islamic Studies and Finance from University of Wales. He is also a certified Islamic Finance trainer and lecturer by The Markfield Institute of Higher Education, United Kingdom.
He has served RHB Islamic Bank Ltd, Malaysia as a Senior Shari’ah Manager & Product Development and later, joining Asian Finance Bank Ltd as Head of the Shari’ah Compliance. He has a vast experience in Shariah where he has served various institutions as Shariah Consultant and Advisor for Central Bank of Malaysia (BNM), OSK Investment Bank, Deutche Bank, Al-Rajhi Bank Malaysia, Standard Chartered Saadiq Bank, ACR ReTakaful Bahrain, BIMB Securities Sdn Bhd, BNP Paribas Bank and others.
To-date, he has written over 20 books and hundreds of articles on Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Banking and other Shari’ah matters in journal, including local and international magazines and conferences. He frequently appears in the local television and radio lecturing on various Shari’ah issues especially with regards to the Islamic commercial transaction. His Facebook page ‘Dr. Zaharuddin Abd Rahman’ has about 1.3 million followers.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-zaharuddin-abd-rahman-05a0195/
Mr Vince Focarelli — Ambassador
There was a time, whenever Vince Focarelli’s name was mentioned, it struck fear and hatred in the people’s heart, especially amongst the residents of Adelaide. That is not the case anymore. The former leader of the notorious gang ‘Comanchero’, he is now a transformed and completely different person after embracing Islam. Watch the interview with Vince about his journey to Islam. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2jcCxBwm9s)
Vince — now Imran Abdul Salam — is an active social activist, where he frequently gives motivational and inspirational talk about his journey to Islam. He is also actively involved in several humanitarian works such as organising a food convoy for the Yemeni refugees. He used to own and run a Halal Italian restaurant, La Fig Cucina in Adelaide, of which he wishes to expand its presence around the world.
Vince has been appointed as the Ambassador to Bayan Token as he shares the same aspirations and noble intentions of spreading good to the wider mass. An avid preacher of kindness and goodness himself, he is very excited and looking forward to do greater good through the Shariah compliant Bayan Token.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vince-Focarelli-1892643934346711/
Dato’ Zainal Abidin M Husain — Chairman
Dato’ Zainal Abidin was a name to be reckoned with in the banking and financial industry. He served as a Manager for eight years at Arab-Malaysian Merchant Bank Berhad before becoming the Head of Finance at Halim Securities Sdn Bhd.
He then made his leap of faith by founding Ikhtiar Destinasi Sdn Bhd. He has held many significant positions since then which include the Managing Director for Ikhtiar Factoring Sdn Bhd and Director for both Transpro Sdn Bhd and Ikhtiar Commerce Sdn Bhd.
At 56, he is still active and going strong, overseeing Ikhtiar Destinasi Sdn Bhd as its Executive Chairman. He graduated from University of Minnesota in Accounting and Idaho State University in Masters in Education (Business).
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dato-zainalabidin-husain-267927aa/
Nazimuddin Nazaruddin — Chief Executive Officer
Nazimuddin graduated from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), completing his Association of Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) professional course. He is a member of ACCA and Malaysia Institute of Accountants (MIA), and is currently a Chartered Accountant by background. He kickstarts his career in a medium sized Audit Firm, Afrizan Tarmili Khairul Azhar (AFTAAS), and continue his auditing career to one of the Big Four firm, Deloitte Malaysia based in Petaling Jaya, leading and managing various client’s portfolio, from small to big entities.
Then he moved to Schlumberger KL Financial Hub as a Management Accountant, dealing with Financial Reporting and operational matters, taking care of Middle East area operations via working closely with Operation Controllers, specifically in Artificial Lift and Completions segment for Kuwait, UAE, and North Sudan. Currently he is practicing in his own firm Nazim & Co, an accounting firm under MIA, specializing in small medium entities portfolio’s.
He has vast experience and well verse in International and local financial reporting standards, international standards of auditing, financial reporting compliance, statutory and taxation matters, performance management and internal audit compliance.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nazimuddin-nazaruddin-acca-ca-m-3391b1aa/
Ameerul Zafeeq Hizamuddin — Chief Financial Officer
Ameerul Zafeeq is a chartered accountant graduated in 2010 from Kaplan Financial College, London. He started his career at Binder Dijker Otte (BDO) as an audit associate. He then moved to Accenture as Accountant before joining Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) as Fund Accountant to have a first-hand experience in investment field.
Ameerul was hired by Petronas Carigali as a Senior Executive in 2016. He was promoted to Assistant Manager and moved to Petronas Berhad. He specialises in business planning, forecasting, budgeting and reporting.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ameerul-zafeeq-hizamuddin-883224a3/
Adam Effendy Mustapha — Chief Operating Officer
Adam Effendy graduated from London School of Economics and Political Science in Bsc. Economics. Immediately after graduation, he was offered an executive position in UEM Group Berhad, serving both the Corporate Finance Department and the Managing Director’s office. He then moved to UEM Sunrise Berhad, gaining more experiences in the corporate world after serving total of three years in the Managing Director’s office and the Corporate Planning department.
Adam then decided to resign and started his own publishing house that has published ten books to-date; two of them were national bestsellers. After two and half years being an entrepreneur, Adam craves for new challenges and wants to learn something novel and exciting. He quickly jumped at the offer to join the team as he gets to enjoy the best of two worlds; Islamic finance and financial technology.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adam-e-mustapha-661011b1/
Muhamad Akif Akmal Abdul Aziz — Chief Technology Officer
A First-Class Honour graduate in B.Eng Electrical & Electronic from University of Adelaide, Muhamad Akif Akmal was an Electrical Engineer at Tarpon Energy Services Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd since 2014 before joining the team. He specialises in designing electrical system and instrument.
Akif is a crypto and blockchain enthusiast who has traded using various platforms such as Poloniex, Shapeshift, Remitano and LocalBitcoins. He also has experiences in building GPU mining rig and designing mining farm. He was also a back-end technology consultant for several ICOs.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/muhamad-akif-akmal-abdul-aziz-19b22a73/
Zikri Zainudin — Chief Technical Analyst
A Financial Engineering graduate with 7 years of investment banking experience, Zikri Zainudin is a self-taught computer programmer. He applied complex algorithms and artificial intelligence to enhance the Z2 System into an integrated, advanced methodological application, designed for efficient stock picking, complex alerts and automated execution to support professional trading. It took more than 10 years to derive the methodology, which is now known as the Z2 Protocol.
Mr Steven Georgiadis — Legal Consultant
Steven Georgiadis is a highly acclaimed and seasoned Trial Attorney with 18 years of accomplished experience. With a combination of a scholastic and reformist approach, he has netted triumphant proficiency in investment banking, private banking, Mergers & Acquisition, private equity transactions, corporate finance and corporate governance. Commonly sought internationally by prestigious cliental, he has become a highly respected advisor and esteemed leader.
Steven, a graduate from Bond University, Gold Coast, Australian with Bachelor of Laws (LLB), has been solicited for his astute abilities in a vast array of legal disciplines including dispute resolution and in litigation for both hard and soft commodity sectors.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-georgiadis-06692768/
Mr Pierre Chuah — Marketing Expert
Pierre Chuah is a Digital Marketing Cloud Specialist with 20 years of experience. With a holistic digital experiences, he is able to understand and implement various digital marketing technologies for businesses.
Pierre started his career in KPMG Asia Pacific as an IT consultant in the implementation of SAP Finance solutions, for various companies in Malaysia and Singapore. Subsequently he led a team of 23 individuals in providing digital marketing consultancy to various multi-national companies such as Japanese Tobacco Industry (JTI), Carlsberg, Nissan, Cadbury, Kimberly Clarke, Mattel Toys, Adidas, Panasonic and many others in implementing digital marketing technologies.
Pierre joins Oranje-ISC as a Digital Director in the year 2014 having developed and implemented a 360-digital experience for Langkawi Island. Under his direction, Oranje-ISC was made finalist in ‘Marketing Excellence Awards 2017’. He is professionally certified by SAP, Google, Oracle and Adobe. He graduated from Warwick University, United Kingdom BSc Management Science and City University, London with MSc Information System and Technology.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pierre-chuah-18222861/
Dr. Said Adekunle Mikail — Shariah Expert
Dr. Said Adekunle Mikail is a researcher at International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) and lecturer at International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF). His academic qualifications are distinguished; he graduated from Islamic University of Madinah with LLB (Shariah) and earned his Master’s Degree in Comparative Law from the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM). He then obtained his PhD in Islamic Finance from the same university.
Dr. Said’s experience in Islamic Finance is extensive. He was the Shariah advisor for BNP Paribas (Islamic Banking Window, Malaysia) in 2015. He was appointed as the Shariah Consultant to I Consult Africa (PTY) Ltd. Ethical and Responsible Advisory, South Africa in 2016 and still serving them until now. He is also a Shariah Consultant under ISRA Consultancy Sdn Bhd, which has served a number of high-profile clients including the Central Bank of Malaysia.
Dr. Said holds a number of memberships in various esteemed bodies and organisations such as Al-Birr Investment and Credit Cooperative Society Limited (Chairman), Muslim Scholarship Fund of Nigeria (MSFN-Nigeria) (Partner), International Council of Islamic Finance Educators, Malaysia (Associate Member), Malaysia Institute of Management (Affiliate Member) and Malaysian Financial Planning Council.
Being conferred the 21st Yayasan Tun Razak Youth Leadership Award in 2016 and Shariah Scholarship Award by ISRA in 2011, Dr Said has produced many academic publications and reports, which are internationally recognised.
Dr Hameeth Shah Abdul Wahid — Biotech Project Expert
Dr Hameeth Shah Abdul Wahid completed his MBBS from the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) in 2004. He started his career as a young doctor in Hospital Besar Alor Setar. Since the early days, he has special interest in Internal Medicine that lead him to take up postgrad studies in the subject matter. Eventually he completed his postgrad studies and obtained membership of Members of Royal College of Physician (MRCP), United Kingdom in 2014.
Currently Dr Hameeth Shah is working as a Senior Lecturer at University Kuala Lumpur-Royal College of Medicine Perak (UNIKL-RCMP) and practicing as a Specialist in Internal Medicine at Pusat Pakar Perubatan Ar-Ridzuan in Ipoh, Perak. He also has special interest in cardiology and currently doing his fellowship in Interventional Cardiology.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hameeth-shah-67167445/
Siti Sarah Nadiah Suliman — Legal & Human Capital Director
Siti Sarah Nadiah is a qualified lawyer, whose vast experience in legal practice ranges from human rights, civil litigation, commercial and banking law.
Siti Sarah Nadiah graduated from UiTM with Honours Degree of Law and currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Islamic Finance Practice. She is also a Senior Associate Member of Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF).
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/siti-sarah-nadiah-suliman-a16007159/
Noorashikin Zainal — Account & Finance Director
Noorashikin Zainal has a total of more than 17 years of experience in accounting. She has handled accounts of companies of various businesses and industries, which include healthcare, electrical and electronics, real estate and event management.
A graduate from UNITEN in accounting, Noorashikin’s last position was Account Manager at K-Fiqh Sdn Bhd.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/noorashikin-zainal-b83686133/
Zainab Abdul Razak — Mart Operation Director
Zainab joined Zalora, Asia’s leading online fashion platform as Operation Executive in 2012 before moving to Lazada, Malaysia’s largest e-commerce store as Senior Operation Associate in 2014, focusing on the warehouse operation. Zainab is now entrusted with managing the whole operation of Elzar Mart, a retail halal supermarket that offers everyday items at a very competitive price.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dea-zainab-a193756b/
Dr. Siti Hajar Pahmi — Biotechnology Consultant
Dr Hajar completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology with First Class Honours in 2010 from the University of Queensland, Australia. The university, together with the Australian Government then funded her Ph.D in Medicinal Chemistry under the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) and the University of Queensland Centennial Scholarship, where she gained her doctorship in 2015. Whilst formal education is important to her, Dr Hajar also led and was heavily involved in multiple projects and events both in Australia and Malaysia.
Throughout her student years, Dr Hajar’s leadership and management skills shone when she held several important positions in the Malaysian Students’ Council of Australia (MASCA) from 2007 to 2014. She maintains a balanced life by being active in sports, and have competed competitively and socially in netball, futsal, basketball, ultimate frisbee, and touch rugby. She is a strong advocate for healthy living as she believes in “healthy heart, healthy life”.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hajar-pahmi-19ba3860/
Mohamad Shafiq Ezhan Khairulazli — Creative & Marketing Director
Mohamad Shafiq Ezhan has more than 10 years of experience in creative art and design. He is the founding partner and Creative Director of Talenta Holdings Sdn Bhd, whose clients include Petronas, Telekom Malaysia Berhad and Little Trees (a company based in the United States).
A graduate from UniKL MFI in mechatronics, Shafiq Ezhan’s experience also includes marketing and image and branding strategy.
Siddiq Mohd Amin — Shariah Secretary
Siddiq Mohd Amin graduated from University of al-Azhar, Cairo with a Bachelor in Shariah in 2016. An excellent student with Best Student Award in his third year, he immediately started his career with Elzar Shariah Solutions and Advisory upon his graduation as a Shariah Associate.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/siddiq-mohd-amin-516b76162/
Professor Dato’ Dr Norbik Bashah Idris — Advisor
Dato Dr Norbik Bashah Idris is currently a Professor at Kulliyah of ICT in IIUM. He started his academic career in 1983 with UTM and has been attributed as one of the early pioneers of Cybersecurity in Malaysia.
Throughout his career, he has been a member of SIGSAC –(Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control) of the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery), IEEE Computer Society, New York Academy of Science, USA and IFIP Working Group-11.3 on Database Security (USA). As a cybersecurity professional, Prof Norbik carries CISSP & CISM certifications from ISC2 & ISACA.
In 1995 he led a team which won a strategic research grant from MOSTI to start the first major research work on Cryptography in Malaysia which produced a suite of indigenious cryptographic utilities. In 1998 Prof Norbik founded the first Real-time Software Engineering Centre of Excellence in Malaysia, where he collaborated with the University of Thales from Paris. The cybersecurity R&D team he led later became incorporated as a company which won a significant project from the Malaysian Government to help monitor security of government’s network throughout the country. The company later became the first public-listed company on Cybersecurity in Malaysia. Following his success in Malaysia, Prof Norbik repeated the success into other ASEAN countries and later into the Gulf countries (UAE & Saudi Arabia).
Throughout his career Prof Norbik has been a Keynote Speaker, Visiting Professor, Corporate Figure, Consultant & Advisor on Cybersecurity to various Organizations & Governments, both in Malaysia & international. He was nominee for 2007 Ernst & Young Best IT Entrepreneur, twice Distinguished ISC2 Award winner for Asia-Pacific, IDG Distinguished Chief Security Officer for Asia Pacific, winner of at least 7 Gold medals in various exhibitions and competitions on Cybersecurity products & services, and holder of a few patents.
Prof Norbik’s latest interest is in synergizing cybersecurity & DLT (Blockchain/Tangle) into Islamic Fintech products & services in the hope of contributing to the Maqasid Shariah.
LinkedIn: https://my.linkedin.com/in/norbik-idris-92102036
Mr Hj Khairil Anuar Mohd Noor — Advisor
Khairil Anuar has been an international banker for over 27 years, where the past 18 years has been in Islamic Finance. Over the course of his career as a banker, he has had a significant exposure and experience across a multitude of area including wholesale banking, syndications, trade finance, debt and capital market, asset management, retail banking, cash management, banking operation, system implementation and product management to name a few.
Khairil had helmed HSBC Malaysia’s and Bank Simpanan Nasional’s Islamic Banking Division. He then moved to Dubai serving Emirates Islamic Bank as its Head of Marketing. His last posting was the Head of Structuring, Product Management and Business Intelligence for Wholesale Banking Group at Al Hilal Bank, Abu Dhabi, where he served for almost 10 years.
From 2006 until recently, Khairil has been instrumental in developing the Islamic Finance capabilities of Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia, Mashreq Bank, Dubai and Al Hilal Bank, Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan within wholesale, retail and operation setting. He graduated with MBA from Saint Louis University in Missouri, USA in 1987, where he also spent 2 years working for a premier stock broking firm there.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/khairil-anuar-mohd-noor-77040313/
Mr Zuheer Mohammed Majid — Advisor
Zuheer Mohammed Majid is an experienced banker whose career spans over almost 30 years. Now a Senior Vice President in Citibank Malaysia Berhad, his journey in banking began when he joined United Malayan Banking Berhad (now RHB Bank Berhad) in 1986. He then became Assistant Vice President at ABN AMRO Bank Berhad before serving Hong Leong Bank Berhad as Manager for Trade Finance and Correspondent Banking.
Zuheer’s expertise across many areas in the industry had landed him the Senior Vice President post in Citigroup Transaction Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd, where in year 2000, he joined them to oversee the trade services/finance operations and advisory services. He graduated from Irvine University, California with an MBA.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zuheer-mohammed-majid-7a32301b/
Mr Hj Zainuddin Md Yusof — Advisor
A market trader with a background in statistics, Hj Zainuddin started trading the global markets in the 1980’s. Aside from having more than 30 years exposure to the global markets, specializing in the US equity market; he has spent thousands of hours testing and enhancing technical trading tools to develop a state-of-the-art proprietary trading system — the Z2 System — which combines technical and fundamental analysis to identify optimum trading opportunities using cutting-edge technology.
Mr Hj Zulhisham Ayob — Advisor
Haji Zulhisham is a top-notch seasoned player in the media and marketing communications industries. He has over three decades of working experience in Broadcasting and Marketing Communications prior to founding Oranje-ISC. Among others, he had served as the Chief Operating Officer in Radio Airtime Services, Executive Vice President Marketing for IT Vista and Executive Director of Pakarmedia Sdn Berhad.
Apart from media industry, Haji Zulhisham is an entrepreneur who founded the Home of TAHFIZ Darul Siddir — A specialist Islamic religious institutions serving and nourishing Islamic spiritual needs promoting mainstream learning of Islam based on the Quran and Sunnah, preparing for the future generations. Home of TAHFIZ Darul Siddir is committed to the dissemination of Islamic knowledge through the traditional time honoured methods for the Glory of Allah (Glorious and Almighty He is) and in honour of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing upon him).
Another outfit founded by Haji Zulhisham is Twentytwo Multi-Labels Concept Store skewed towards offering Muslimah fashions. With more than 100 brands housed under one roof physically and digitally, Twentytwo provides trading, branding and marketing solutions to its business partners and variety of affordable designer brands suitable not only for Moslems, but those who desires to look fashionable and elegant yet dignified.
Mr Khairu Rejal — Advisor
Khairu Rejal has more than 10 years of experience in the venture capital and start-up incubation space, initially at the Nanyang Technopreneurship Center (NTC) and later at Majuven, a Singapore-based venture capital firm focused on early growth and high-tech companies in Bio-Technology, Healthcare, Clean-Sustainable Solutions and Dynamic Digital Convergences. In 2017, Khairu along with other like-minded angel investors came together to launch Rekanext Capital Partners.
Currently, in Rekanext, Khairu as a Managing Partner is always looking out for start-ups across Indonesia, Malaysia as well as Philippines and Vietnam with a focus on enterprise software and deep tech verticals. He also sits on several committees of other non-profit organisations and has led initiatives in the social impact sector.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/khairurejal/
Mr Hj Che Salmi Che Ibrahim — Advisor
Che Salmi Che Ibrahim has been in the retail industry for the past 26 years. Starting with Sabasun Sdn Bhd, before it changed to its current household name; Sabasun Hyperruncit Sdn Bhd. A local entrepreneur with a global vision, at the moment he proudly owns three Sabasun hypermarkets and a warehouse, aiming to become more efficient in distributing its items.
Sabasun Hyperruncit Sdn Bhd will launch the Terengganu Halal Business Centre in January 2019, which will house the first ever Sabasun Mall, Parkson, a hotel, office units, F&B outlets with a bowling alley. Under Che Salmi’s leadership and dedication, Sabasun has won the Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives and Consumerism’s ‘Consumer’s Choice Award’ in 2009.
Che Salmi, a graduate in Psycholinguistics, is known not only for his skilful entrepreneurship, but also active in humanitarian and charity works. His Sabasun hypermarkets are famous among locals as it is able to cater the needs of the low-income earners. He is also known for organising fund-raising for people who are less fortunate in other countries like Palestine and Syria.
Madam Roseta Mohd Jaafar — Advisor
Roseta Mohd Jaafar started off her career in Corporate Communications with Mekar Idaman Sdn Bhd as a Senior Executive in 1997. Little did she know that she would flourish in that area and climb the corporate ladder at a rather fast pace. After Mekar Idaman, she moved to Intria Berhad as Assistant Manager before becoming Head of Corporate Communications at Opus International Consultants Limited just one year after that.
Roseta then advanced her career with UEM Group Berhad, as a Manager in the Corporate Communications department. After almost 2 years there, she then took a leap of faith to become the Vice President, Head of Group Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for EON Group Berhad in 2007. Her most lustrous career to-date was her 7-year and a half stint with Al-Rajhi Bank (Malaysia), as their Vice President, Head of Corporate Communications.
Now the Corporate Affairs Director at GCH Retail (M) Sdn Bhd, which owns over 120 Giant hypermarkets, 400 Guardian pharmacies and more than 16 Cold Storage supermarkets, Rosetta has in total more than 20 years’ worth of experience in Corporate Communications. She graduated from University of Leeds with BA (Honours) in TESOL and earned her Masters of Science degree in Corporate Communications from Universiti Putra Malaysia.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/roseta-mohd-jaafar-5a75763/
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The wilkelvoss are trying to make bitcoin legit according to esquire magazine

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