Hello, Just wanted to make a post discussing this matter in Egypt. I hope someone from government also reads reddit. I can understand logical reasons why Egypt would want to prohibit Bitcoin mining:
Paying electricity at subsidized price and then selling Bitcoins for money means you're stealing the subsidy.
Untraceable Bitcoin can be used for criminal activities or terrorist finance.
Income from Bitcoin mining is not official and counts as income, so taxes are not being paid on it.
Since they suspect people who buy GPUs of doing this, I propose the following:
Let people declare that they are mining Bitcoin and remove electrical subsidy from them (let them pay the highest electricity tier price). Let them also count the electricity as expenses to avoid double-taxing.
Require that the wallets that receive the mining proceeds be made known to the government.
Open a local Egyptian Bitcoin exchange and when mining bitcoins are sold for EGP, count the EGP as capital gains or income and make people pay taxes on them as such.
Prohibit any transfer of those bitcoin between individuals and allow the only action to be done on them is keep them or sell them on a legitimate exchange which requires KYC/AML.
Instead of causing unnecessary headache for people who want to simply buy a GPU to play games by stopping or delaying all GPUs being imported, simply require that the imported GPUs be registered to the individual name (file automatically opened by customs without need of input from the importer), and set a limit for the number of graphics cards imported annually for individual use. In addition, for people who are not registered as bitcoin miners (or doing high electricity load work), if there's an unnatural large increase in the electricity consumption suddenly that doesn't coincide with a legitimate reason (eg: summer time and start of use of Air Conditioners) and the increase goes beyond the level historically consumed by the residence, then you can suspect that they are mining bitcoin, and then you can then investigate them. This way, both the government requirements can be satisfied and at the same time, people who just want to play games or do 3D work do not need to be unnecessarily harmed or impeded by regulations. This post can be considered as an open letter to anyone from authorities.
Cardano is a Blockchain project, also called 3rd generation Blockchain because of its scientific philosophy, designed and developed by a team of worldwide scientists and engineers. The aim of the project is to develop a technology that is secure, flexible and scalable and can therefore be used by many millions of users. In contrast to other projects, Cardano pursues a policy that seeks to reconcile the needs of the user with those of the regulatory authorities, combining privacy with regulation. Cardano’s vision is that the project will lead to greater global financial integration for all people by providing all people with open access to fair financial services. Cardano wants to create a technological platform on which financial applications can be developed and executed. It has basically great similarities with Ethereum. Cardano is a platform such as Ethereum, EOS or NEO that enables the creation of new tokens and decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts. From a technical point of view, however, there are major differences which we will discuss later. The cryptocurrency of Cardano is ADA. Like any crypto currency, ADA allows the user to send assets within the Cardano network seamlessly over the Internet in a secure and fast manner. You can find the current price of ADA on our chart page.
Cardano was founded by Ethereum co-founders Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood after both left the Ethereum project after a disagreement over further development. While the later Cardano founders wanted to create a commercial enterprise behind Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin’s group was able to assert itself by setting up a charitable foundation behind the project. Logically, Hoskinson and Wood founded a company, Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), to manage Cardano’s research and development. Between September 2015 and January 2017, Cardano conducted a public ICO that raised a total of 62 million US dollars. About two thirds of all Ada tokens were sold. Cardano was officially launched on 29 September 2017. Currently the project is still in its bootstrap era (“Byron”). In the bootstrap era, when people buy or sell Ada, the transaction is automatically delegated to a pool of trusted nodes that manage the network. They do not receive block rewards in this phase of the project. IOHK is currently working on numerous improvements and features. The next phase “Shelley” is to be introduced in 2019. In this phase, the project will grow into a fully decentralized and autonomous system. This will be followed by the “Goguen” era, in which the integration of smart contracts is planned. This is followed by the “Basho” phase, which is intended to improve performance, and finally the “Voltaire” phase, which is intended to add a treasury system and a governance model (“Liquid Democracy”). The complete roadmap can be seen here.
The organization behind Cardano
As already written, Charles Hoskinson has decided to found the company IOHK in order to guarantee a coordinated and planned development of the project. IOHK is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of the Cardano platform until 2020. In addition, however, there were originally two other institutions that took care of the Cardano project: Emurgo and the Cardano Foundation, based in Switzerland. Emurgo is a Japanese company that is also currently pushing partnerships with other commercial companies and organizing Cardano’s business development. In particular, the Cardano Foundation was entrusted with administrative tasks. Otherwise the Foundation was responsible for public relations, trademark law, lobbying and cooperation with governments and regulators. In October 2018, however, there was a break between IOHK/ Emurgo and the Cardano Foundation. Among other things, Hoskinson has accused the Cardano Foundation under the direction of Michael Parsons of inaction. As a result IOHK and Emurgo decided to take over the tasks of the foundation.
Cardano: 3rd generation blockchain
Charles Hoskinson has recognized that 2nd generation blockchains still have many open problems to be successful in the long run. These are in particular scalability, interoperability and sustainability. Cardano has (partly) developed new concepts and technologies for this purpose.
In terms of scalability, there are three challenges for Cardano:
Transactions per second (TPS)
Network / Bandwidth
Transactions per second
The Transactions per Second (TPS) measure how many transactions per second can be written to a block. According to Hoskinson, however, this is only part of the problem of scaling. While Bitcoin 3-7 TPS and Ethereum 10-20 TPS create, this is far from enough to host millions of users. The solution to this problem is Cardanos Ouroboros Proof-of-Stake algorithm, which we will discuss later.
A further challenge is the network, which will also have an exponentially increasing demand for network resources with millions of users as the demand increases with the number of transactions. The demand will grow in size regions of several hundred terabytes or even exabytes. Therefore, it will be impossible to maintain a homogeneous network topology in which each node forwards each transaction and message. Not every node will have the necessary resources. To solve this problem, Cardano intends to use a technology called RINA.
Since the blockchain has to store the data forever, there will be an enormous and constantly growing amount of data to be scaled (“Data Scale”). The problem is obvious. If every node has to keep a complete copy of the entire blockchain, this will not be possible for every node from the point of view of resources. The solution is that not every node needs all data. The solution approaches therefore include in detail:
Charles Hoskinson believes that there will not be a single crypto currency to be used in the future. Therefore Cardano aims at enabling the different blockchains to communicate with each other. Cardano’s vision is to create an “Internet of blockchains” in which there is no intermediary. A solution to this problem should be for Cardano, Sidechains. The concept has been around in crypto space for quite some time. Simply put, sidechains are parallel blockchains that can communicate with the main blockchain. In addition, Cardano tries to comply with all existing compliance rules: KYC (Know Your Customer), AML (Anti Money Laundering), ATF (Anti Terrorist Financing). In order for this to work, Cardano provides metadata to each transaction.
According to Hoskinson, sustainability is the most difficult challenge. Basically, it means that continuous developments must be carried out on the system. This requires financial resources. Both a patronage and an ICO do not make sense for Hoskinson. Patronage leads to centralization, while ICOs provide short-term resources for the ecosystem, but at the same time produce a new, useless token. For this reason, Cardano is oriented towards Dash’s treasury system. Each time a block is added to the block chain, a portion of the rewards is added to the Treasury. If funds are needed for development, they can be allocated. To this end, Cardano has developed a governance model (“liquid democracy”) in which stakeholders can vote on a proposal for the distribution of funds.
Ada: Ouroboros Proof-of-Stake
Similar to Ethereum’s future proof-of-stake (PoS) “Casper”, Cardano also relies on a PoS. This means that there are no miners within the Cardano network responsible for validating transactions. A new proof-of-stake algorithm called Ouroboros was developed for Cardano. The basic difference between Ouroboros and Ethereum’s Casper or other similar algorithms is how block premium recipients (validators) are selected. The core idea of the Ouroboros Proof of Stake is that a node is selected to create a new block with a probability proportional to the total number of Ada. This means that the more Ada a stakeholder has, the more he can earn over time. In principle, each node with an Ada credit balance greater than 0 is referred to as a “stakeholder”. When a node is selected to create a new block, it is called a slot leader. The slot leader writes the transactions into a block, signs this block with his secret key and publishes the block in the network. A fundamental problem in this electoral process is randomness. To achieve this, Cardano uses a Multiparty Computation (MPC) approach in which each voter independently performs an action called coin tossing (Coin-Fllipping Protocol).
Dear friends of LivesOne, Since the Symbiosism Economy Foundation announced the cooperation with BSV, we have introduced BSV in detail, including its history, philosophy, advantages, and the reasons for our choice. LivesOne always pays close attention to the trend of BSV and informs you in time. As we enter the year 2020, good news is coming one after another. Mining pool reduces BSV transaction fee and anchors legal tender BSV transaction fees are already the cheapest in major blockchains, but this is not enough. On January 8, the famous Bitcoin mining giant TAAL announced that in order to support blockchain applications that require a large number of transactions, it will reduce the miner rate on the BSV chain and increase the limit value of unconfirmed inherited transactions. Subsequently, the CoinGeek mining pool also issued a statement saying that it would follow up with this adjustment. Any fee reduction will send a clear signal to the market that the cost of using BSV will decrease. It is expected that this change will incentivize more enterprise applications to generate a large number of BSV transactions. Taking this step will generate high transaction volumes and higher total transaction fees. At present, Bitcoin transaction fees are not expressed in legal tender, but in "sat / byte". Therefore, transaction fees in legal tender price will fluctuate with the fluctuation of the price of bitcoin. This fluctuation will have a greater impact on applications that generate a large number of transactions on the blockchain. Commercial users of the BSV ecosystem have recently begun to explore an alternative transaction fee model that can be priced in legal tender, which provides higher reliability for BSV business applications. This new type of expense market emerged with the greater data and microtransaction capabilities of BSV. However, this is unlikely to happen on the bitcoin core network, because its block is too small, resulting in high transaction costs. Large enterprises usually want to be able to predict their costs, so stable transaction fees are expected to attract more enterprises to use BSV for data applications. TAAL promises to regularly check the lower BSV transaction fees to maintain stable transaction fees in legal tender. As one of BSV's partners, it is undoubtedly brought real benefits to LivesOne. Oppose Anonymity and Embrace Regulation The European Union’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) came into effect on January 10. The regulation was entered as law on July 9, 2018 in an effort to bring increased transparency to financial transactions for pushing back against money laundering and terrorist financing across Europe. For the first time, 5AMLD is broadening its regulatory scope by including crypto service providers like virtual-fiat exchanges or custodian wallet providers. The idea is make it more plainly knowable who’s participating in crypto transactions. The rationale is that doing so pushes back against money laundering and terrorism financing. According to an 5AMLD fact sheet, the law will:
increase transparency about who really owns legal entities in order to to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing via opaque structures
give European financial regulators better access to information via centralized bank account registers
tackle terrorist financing risks linked to anonymous use of virtual currencies and prepaid instruments
improve the cooperation and exchange of information between anti-money laundering supervisors and with the European Central Bank
broaden the criteria for assessing high-risk third countries and ensure a high level of safeguards for money moving to or from such countries.
European Union is paying close attention to cryptocurrency and has established its first set of rules for how companies in this space must behave. Now it’s on those companies to gain compliance or risk being able to operate at all. This reminds me of Dr. Craig's emphasis on the existence of BSV: Bitcoin's system should be transparent. It should not be used to fight the government; it should not be used to fight anyone. It can be used for creation, it can be used for construction. I have to say that the vision of BSV is prescient and correct. BSV is an honest system with transparency as its key feature. BSV can be used to create a more secure and honest society. BSV with unlimited expansion, anti-anonymity, and embrace supervision is the first choice for LivesOne team cooperation. The collaboration between LivesOne and BSV is ongoing, let us look forward to seeing more details. Symbiosism Economy Foundation Jan.15th, 2020
Daily analysis of cryptocurrencies 20191023(Market index 33 — Fear state)
https://preview.redd.it/folaa2ztw9u31.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a0aaa8476acb68252087ddf0558d293b5a9a9392 Germany Warns Of Privacy Token Usage In Money Laundering And Terrorism According to Cointelegraph, the German Federal Ministry of Finance has expressed concerns about rising use of privacy tokens due to their association with criminal activities and difficulties in tracking them. Published on Oct 19, the ministry’s “First Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing National Risk Assessment” for 2018–2019 provided analysis aimed at the identification of existing and future risks in the field of anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorism financing (TF) in Germany. Among other challenges, the report examines circulation of cryptocurrencies in the darknet for criminal purposes. State Probe Of Facebook Expands To 47 Attorneys General According to Reuters news flash, the state probe of Facebook on allegations that the company put consumer data at risk and pushed up advertising rates has expanded to attorneys general from 47 states and territories, New York Attorney General Letitia James said on Tuesday, October 22 in a statement. Bank Of Lithuania Becomes First Market Regulator To Issue Guidelines On STOs According to coinpage, Bank of Lithuania has become the first of market regulators to issue guidelines on STOs. The new guidelines are focussed on the classification of security tokens, assessing specific cases and providing recommendations related to the issue of the security tokens and also clarify on applicable legal regulation. Furthermore, enterprises planning to use the STO method will need to comply with EU and national legislation regulating capital-raising activities. TBCASoft, IBM And SoftBank Announced A Mobile Payment Blockchain Blockchain platform TBCASoft, technology behemoth IBM and telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank announced on Oct 22 a collaboration to adopt a cross-carrier telecommunications blockchain payment solution.
Encrypted project calendar（October 23, 2019）
MIOTA/IOTA:IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on October 23rd at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles with the theme “Connecting the I3 Market and Experiencing Purchase and Sales Data.”BTC/Bitcoin:The WBS World Blockchain Summit (Middle East) will be held in Dubai from October 23rd to 24th.Cardano (ADA) and 1 other:23 October 2019 WBS Dubai “One of a kind gathering of 500+ curated & pre-qualified investors, CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, Heads of Blockchain, Chief Digital OfficersCloakCoin (CLOAK):23 October 2019 (or earlier) CloakCoin Competition “CloakCoin competition : solve the CloakCoin ENIGMA transaction, 3rd round.”Loom Network (LOOM):23 October 2019 Singapore Meetup “Unstack the Stack Series: Loom Network” from 6:30–8:30 PM (SST).BTGS/Bitdog:ZG.COM will open the BTGS currency and coin transfer business at 14:00 on October 23, and open the BTGS/USDT transaction pair on October 23 at 18:18.Waltonchain (WTC):23 October 2019 Transfers Suspended “$WTC deposits and withdrawals on #TaibiExchange will be suspended from 00:00 Oct 22 (UTC+8) and are estimated to resume at 15:00 Oct 23
Encrypted project calendar（October 24, 2019）
BCN/Bytecoin:Bytecoin (BCN) released the hidden amount of the Bytecoin block network on October 24.Horizen (ZEN):24 October 2019 Weekly Insider Team updates at 3:30 PM UTC/ 11:30 AM EDT: Engineering, Node network, Product/UX, Helpdesk, Legal, BD, Marketing, CEO Closing thoughts, AMA.ANT/Aragon: Aragon (ANT) Aragon Network will hold the theme “DAO: ICO and DeFi next step” in Hong Kong on October 24th?DATA/Streamr DATAcoin:Streamr DATAcoin (DATA) Streamr Network Technology Exchange and Project Development Conference will be held in London on October 24th.Lisk (LSK):24 October 2019 Coding Workshop — Berlin “During this workshop you will acquire the skills to create custom transactions with the Lisk Alpha SDK using Node.js.”BTU Protocol (BTU)：24 October 2019 Africa IT Expo “Our co-founder@vidal007will be speaking at upcoming@africa_aitex[African IT Expo] held in #Rabat #Morocco on 24th of October.”Matrix AI Network (MAN)：24 October 2019 YouTube AMA YouTube AMA from 3PM, October 24 (GMT+8).Utrum (OOT)：24 October 2019 AtomicDex Listing “We are pleased to announce that Utrum coin OOT is getting listed on Komodo Platform Decentral Exchange — AtomicDEX. “
Encrypted project calendar（October 25, 2019）
ADA/Cardano:Cardano (ADA) The Ada community will host a community gathering in the Dominican Republic for the first time on October 25.Crypto.com Coin (CRO):25 October 2019 Live AMA with CEO “Live AMA with our CEO@Kris_HKon@cryptocom’s Twitter next Friday, 25 October, 11AM HKT.”GST/GSTCOIN:GSTCOIN(GST)LBank will be online GST on October 25, 2019 at 16:00 (UTC+8), open trading pair: GST/USDT, GST/ETH.
Encrypted project calendar（October 26, 2019）
KAT/Kambria:Kambria (KAT) Kambria will host the 2019 Southern California Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Conference in Los Angeles on October 26th with IDEAS.BTC/Bitcoin:CoinAgenda Global Summit will be held in Las Vegas from October 26th to 28thHorizen (ZEN):26 October 2019 (or earlier) ZEN 2.0.19 Upgrade Zen 2.0.19 upgrade at block #610000, which is expected around October 26.
Encrypted project calendar（October 27, 2019）
ICON (ICX):27 October 2019 Money 20/20 USA Event Money 20/20 USA in Las Vegas from October 27–30.
Encrypted project calendar（October 28, 2019）
LTC/Litecoin:Litecoin (LTC) 2019 Litecoin Summit will be held from October 28th to October 29th in Las Vegas, USABTC/Bitcoin:Mt.Gox changes the debt compensation plan submission deadline to October 28ZEC/Zcash:Zcash (ZEC) will activate the Blossom Agreement on October 28thStellar (XLM):28 October 2019 Protocol 12 Upgrade Vote Horizon v0.22.0 has been released, which supports Protocol 12. This gives everyone ample time to prepare for the Protocol 12 upgrade voteCelsius (CEL)and 3 others: 28 October 2019 Litecoin Summit “…The Litecoin Summit offers two fun, jam-packed days with something for everyone.”XFOC (XFOC):The IDAX platform will be online XFOC and will open the XFOC/USDT trading pair at 13:00 on October 28.MEDIUM (MDM):The IDAX platform lists MDM and will open MDM/BTC trading pairs on October 28th at 15:00.ZB/ ZB Blockchain:The “2019 Hamburg Intercontinental Dialogue Conference” hosted by ZB.com will be held from October 28th to November 9th at the Four Seasons Hotel Hamburg, Germany.BQT (BQTX)：28 October 2019 Down for Maintenance BQTX.com will be down for maintenance on the 28th of October from 7 to 12am UTC.
Encrypted project calendar（October 29, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2nd World Encryption Conference (WCC) will be held in Las Vegas from October 29th to 31st.ICON (ICX):29 October 2019 Decentralization “As a result, the decentralization schedule of the ICON Network has been changed from September 24, 2019 to October 29, 2019.”Ark (ARK):and 10 others 29 October 2019 WCC 2019 Second annual Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Technology event, World Crypto Conference (WCC), October 29th — October 31, 2019.Insifa (ISF):29 October 2019 Prototype Alpha “We from Insifa have decided to be more open. Our Prototype will be developed in scrum. This means new releases every two weeks.”
Encrypted project calendar（October 30, 2019）
MIOTA/IOTA:IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on October 30th at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on the topic “How to store data on IOTA Tangle.”TRON (TRX):30 October 2019 SFBW19 Afterparty “TRON Official SFBW19 Afterparty from 7–10:30 PM in San Francisco.”Horizen (ZEN):30 October 2019 Horizen Quarterly Update Join our first Quarterly Update on October the 30th at 5 PM UTC/ 1 PM EST. Deeper look into Engineering, BD, Marketing, and more.Aeternity (AE):30 October 2019 Hardfork “The third hardfork of the æternity Mainnet is scheduled for October 30, 2019.”Valor Token (VALOR):30 October 2019 Transaction Fees Resume “It’s September and the SMART VALOR Platform is still waiving transaction fees for all members, until October 30th!”Aragon (ANT):30 October 2019 Singapore Meetup “Aragon on DAOs and DeFi” from 6:30–8:30 PM.Kambria (KAT):30 October 2019 Outliers Hashed Awards Outliers Hashed awards from October 30–31.Ethereum Classic (ETC):30 October 2019 Cohort Demo Day “ETC Labs hosts it’s 2nd Cohort Demo Day. Learn about the companies and project being accelerated through the Ethereum Classic ecosystem.”
Encrypted project calendar（October 31, 2019）
Spendcoin (SPND):31 October 2019 (or earlier) Cross Ledger Mainnet “Cross Ledger Mainnet Release and SPND Token Swap,” during October 2019.Spendcoin (SPND):31 October 2019 (or earlier) Blkchn University Beta “Blockchain University Beta goes live,” during October 2019.Stellar (XLM):31 October 2019 (or earlier) Minor Release “We will have 6 Minor Releases in 2019; one each in February, March, May, June, August, and October.”Bitcoin SV (BSV):31 October 2019 (or earlier) BSV Conference Seoul No additional information.Seele (SEELE):31 October 2019 (or earlier) Public Network Mainne launch has been moved to Oct 31 .Howdoo (UDOO):31 October 2019 (or earlier) Howdoo Live on Huawei Howdoo begins its exciting partnership with Huawei with listing as a featured app starting in October.Chiliz (CHZ):31 October 2019 (or earlier) App Soft Launch Soft launch of Socios App by end of October.Dent (DENT):31 October 2019 (or earlier) Loyalty Program “Afterburner loyalty program launch for all 21,6 Million mobile #DENT users will be in October!”IceChain (ICHX):31 October 2019 (or earlier) Wallet Release IceChain releases wallet during October.Chiliz (CHZ):31 October 2019 (or earlier) New Partnerships New sports and new teams joining Socios (+more updates and events) will be announced in the upcoming weeks.Horizen (ZEN):31 October 2019 Weekly Insider Team updates at 3:30 PM UTC/ 11:30 AM EDT: Engineering, Node network, Product/UX, Helpdesk, Legal, BD, Marketing, CEO Closing thoughts, AMA.PCHAIN (PI):31 October 2019 (or earlier) New Website No additional information.IOST (IOST):31 October 2019 (or earlier) New Game on IOST “Eternal Fafnir, a new role-playing game developed by INFUN is coming to you in Oct.”Achain (ACT)：31 October 2019 Mainnet 2.0 Launch “… The main network is officially scheduled to launch on October 31.”Mithril (MITH)：31 October 2019 Burn “MITH burn will take place on 2019/10/31 2pm UTC+8. “Aergo (AERGO)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) Aergo Lite V1.0 Release AergoLite, which brings blockchain compatibility to billions of devices using SQLite, released during October 2019.TE-FOOD (TFD)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) Complementary Product “Development of a new, complementary product with a new partner, which we hope to be launched in September-October.”Edge (DADI)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) Full Open Source Code base for the network fully open-sourced in September or October.BlockStamp (BST)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) ASIC Miner Prototype In orderr to ensure BlockStamps continued decentralization, we will release a BST ASIC miner for testing.Perlin (PERL)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) SSA Partnership “Perlin has partnered with the Singapore Shipping Association to create the International E-Registry of Ships (IERS)”Skrumble Network (SKM)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) Exchange Release “3rd dApp: Exchange Release,” during October 2019.EDC Blockchain (EDC)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) Blockchain Marketplace “As you already know, our ECRO blockchain marketplace is ready for release, and will open to the global community in October!”BlockStamp (BST)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) ASIC Miner Prototype In orderr to ensure BlockStamps continued decentralization, we will release a BST ASIC miner for testing.XinFin Network (XDCE)：31 October 2019 Homebloc Webinar “XinFin — Homebloc Webinar 2019” from 9–10 PM.Akropolis (AKRO)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) Alpha Release “Delivers the initial mainnet implementation of protocol. All building blocks will be united to one product.”Hyperion (HYN)：31 October 2019 (or earlier) Economic Model The final version of the HYN Economic Model launches in October.
Encrypted project calendar（November 1, 2019）
INS/Insolar:The Insolar (INS) Insolar wallet and the redesigned Insolar Block Explorer will be operational on November 1, 2019.VeChain (VET)：”01 November 2019 BUIDLer Reunion Party BUIDLer Reunion Party in San Francisco from 8–11 PM.uPlexa (UPX)：01 November 2019 Steadfast Storm — PoS/PoW split (Utility nodes ie. master nodes) — Upcoming Anonymity Network much like TOR — Privacy-based DApps — Reduced network fees.Enjin Coin (ENJ)：01 November 2019 MFT Binding “ICYMI: On Enjin Coin’s 2nd anniversary (November 1), Enjin MFTs will be bound to hodlers’ blockchain addresses…”Auxilium (AUX)：01 November 2019 AUX Interest Distribution Monthly interest distribution by Auxilium Interest Distribution Platform for coinholders. Also supports charity.Havy (HAVY)：01 November 2019 Token Buyback “Havy tokens buyback, Only in 1 exchange between Idex, Mercatox & Hotbit. The exchange depends on the most lower sell wall.”
Encrypted project calendar（November 2, 2019）
Kambria (KAT)：02 November 2019 VietAI Summit 2019 Kambria joins forces with VietAI for the annual VietAI Summit, with top experts from Google Brain, NVIDIA, Kambria, VietAI, and more!
Encrypted project calendar（November 4, 2019）
Stellar (XLM)：04 November 2019 Stellar Meridian Conf. Stellar Meridian conference from Nov 4–5 in Mexico City.Cappasity (CAPP)：04 November 2019 Lisbon Web Summit Lisbon Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal from November 4–7.
Encrypted project calendar（November 5, 2019）
Nexus (NXS)：05 November 2019 Tritium Official Release “Remember, Remember the 5th of November, the day Tritium changed Distributed Ledger. Yes, this is an official release date.”NEM (XEM)：05 November 2019 Innovation Forum — Kyiv NEM Foundation Council Member Anton Bosenko will be speaking in the upcoming International Innovation Forum in Kyiv on November 5, 2019.
Encrypted project calendar（November 6, 2019）
STEEM/Steem:The Steem (STEEM) SteemFest 4 conference will be held in Bangkok from November 6th to 10th.KIM/Kimcoin:Kimcoin (KIM) Bitfinex will be online at KIM on November 6, 2019 at 12:00 (UTC).
Encrypted project calendar（November 7, 2019）
XRP (XRP)： 07 November 2019 Swell 2019 Ripple hosts Swell from November 7th — 8th in Singapore.BTC/Bitcoin:Malta The A.I. and Blockchain summit will be held in Malta from November 7th to 8th.
Encrypted project calendar（November 8, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The 2nd Global Digital Mining Summit will be held in Frankfurt, Germany from October 8th to 10th.IOTX/IoTeX:IoTex (IOTX) will participate in the CES Expo on November 08
Encrypted project calendar（November 9, 2019）
CENNZ/Centrality:Centrality (CENNZ) will meet in InsurTechNZ Connect — Insurance and Blockchain on October 9th in Auckland.
Encrypted project calendar（November 11, 2019）
PAX/Paxos Standard:Paxos Standard (PAX) 2019 Singapore Financial Technology Festival will be held from November 11th to 15th, and Paxos Standard will attend the conference.
Encrypted project calendar（November 12, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin:The CoinMarketCap Global Conference will be held at the Victoria Theatre in Singapore from November 12th to 13th
In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018
Developments in Financial Services
A cryptocurrency exchange-traded product (ETP) that trades on Switzerland’s Six Exchange saw record trading volumes on Thursday and Friday last week, suggesting that institutional investors may be buying the dip in cryptocurrencies. Four major cryptocurrencies underlie the HODL ETP, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). While HODL ETP’s one-month average daily trading is 20,000 shares, on Thursday, December 6th, and Friday, December 7th, 53,233 shares and 62.986 shares were traded, respectively.
A report published last week by global anti-money laundering policymaker, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), indicates that cryptocurrency exchanges in the United Kingdom pose a, “low risk,” for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The report, however, does highlight that such activities on UK cryptocurrency exchanges are an, “emerging risk,” although there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that these activities are occurring through cryptocurrency exchanges. In its report, the FATF urged UK regulators to, “Continue to develop an understanding of emerging risks (such as virtual currencies) and intelligence gaps, and take appropriate action.”
Andreas Utermann, CEO and CIO of Allianz Global Investors, called on global financial regulators to ban cryptocurrencies while speaking at a panel discussion in London. According to a report by Reuters, Utermann said, “You should outlaw it,” while participating in a panel alongside Andrew Bailey, the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Bailey responded by saying that Utermann’s comments were, “quite strong,” before adding that cryptocurrencies have, “no intrinsic value.”
Basis, a major US-based stablecoin project, is shutting down its operations and returning most of its funds to investors, according to a report by crypto news outlet The Block. The report by The Block cited, “multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation,” in claiming that the algorithmic stablecoin project, which generated UDS$133mm of funding through private investments in April, will return funds to investors. According to the Co-Founder and CEO of competing stablecoin project Nevin Freeman, Basis’ shutdown is due to regulatory concerns around one of its token types. Freeman explained, highlighting that algorithmic stablecoins implement a “secondary token”, known as a “bond token”, to help maintain the primary token’s peg. In many cases, regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consider these secondary tokens to be securities.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, announced that it has added Circle’s US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), to its combined Stablecoin Market. Circle, a company backed by Goldman Sachs, first released its stablecoin in September of this year. Binance’s combined Stablecoin Market features other notable stablecoins, like Tether (USDT), that trade against cryptocurrencies as interchangeable base pairs.
Coinone, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange, has officially launched Cross, a cross-border payments application that leverages Ripple’s xCurrent product to increase efficiencies. The application, released by Coinone’s payments subsidiary, Coinone Transfer, targets unbanked or underbanked South Koreans by enabling the transfer of funds to Thailand or the Philippines at a low cost.
Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange heralded by the Winklevoss twins, released an official company blog post this weekend announcing that the firm will support Bitcoin Cash (BCH) custody and trading. The exchange will support only the Bitcoin Cash ABC network at this time, adding that they, “are continuing to evaluate Bitcoin SV over the coming weeks or months, and we may or may not choose to support withdrawals and/or trading of Bitcoin SV in the future.” Additionally, the company detailed that its listing of BCH is pending regulatory approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Gemini, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced the launch of a mobile crypto trading application in an official blog post today. Accompanying the launch of the crypto trading app is a new investment vehicle, dubbed, “The Cryptoverse,” that is comprised of a basket of cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization. While speaking to Bloomberg today, Cameron Winklevoss said that, “A lot of our decisions have perhaps given off a perception that we’re more institutional-based. The reality of the situation is that we have a diverse customer base. And the retail story is just beginning.” The Winklevoss twins went on to detail of a goal to expand reach to Asian markets by 2019’s end.
Good Money, a US neo-banking platform, has closed its Series A investment round that generated USD$30mm led by cryptocurrency-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital and the founder of EOS (EOS) Block.one. Good Money aims to provide a variety of banking service and certain financial instruments to US account holders while exploring innovative changes to traditional banking practices. “Modern banking is a primary driver of so many issues we as a society face – from economic inequality, institutional racism, environmental destruction to political corruption,” said Good Money founder Gunnar Lovelace. Specifically, Good Money eliminates ATM fees while offering each bank user equity in the company.
Kraken, a notable cryptocurrency exchange, is seeking to raise funding with a USD$4bn valuation for the company and a USD$100,000 investment minimum, according to CoinDesk. In an email to investors, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell wrote, “There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small select number of clients to purchase shares.” The email goes on to detail that the exchange will close its offer on December 16th.
OKEx, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, will begin listing Bitcoin Cash ABC under the original Bitcoin Cash ticker (BCH), as per an official announcement Tuesday. Additionally, OKEx will change the Bitcoin Cash SV ticker from BCHSV to BSV. The announcement by OKEx comes after other notable cryptocurrency exchanges have made the same switch, including Coinbase and Gemini.
PayPal, an online payments portal, has launched its own internal private blockchain platform that will allow staff to trade and exchange tokens while generating ideas and participating in programs to foster innovation, as per a report by news outlet Cheddar. The private blockchain network, which was built by 25 PayPal employees in just 6 months, will allow employees to earn more for enrolling in learning and development programs. The PayPal tokens are not tradeable, or worth anything for that matter, outside PayPal’s blockchain.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a big four consulting firm, is partnering with Bitfury Group, a large blockchain software and mining firm, to develop a blockchain accelerator specific to Russian businesses. As per an official press release by PwC, the partnership will leverage Exonum, Bitfury’s open source framework to build blockchain applications, for educational courses and seminars. The partnership aims to meet the, “current needs,” of PwC’s enterprise clients in Russia.
Revolut, a digital banking alternative with an in-application cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it has been awarded a European banking license. Seeking to become the, “Amazon of banking,” the license will allow Revolut to offer traditional banking services alongside its current cryptocurrency offerings to European customers. Nikolay Storonsky, Founder and CEO of Revolut, said in regards to the newly acquired license that, “With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well, and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of Banking’. Our vision is simple: one ap with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”
Shinhan Bank, the second-largest commercial bank in South Korea, is launching a new project to implement blockchain technology in its internal processes with a goal of eliminating human error. According to a report by news outlet The Korea Times, Shinhan also recently completed a training program for its staff to increase their knowledge of blockchain technology across various applications. After Shinhan implemented blockchain technology for interest rate swap transactions on November 30th, South Korea’s second-largest bank is now aiming to apply the technology in its record-keeping process to enhance overall efficiencies.
SolarisBank, Germany’s second-largest and Europe’s ninth-largest stock exchange, is partnering with Stuttgart Exchange Group, a German fintech company, to jointly develop a cryptocurrency exchange. As per a report by Cointelegraph Germany, the joint cryptocurrency exchange venture, “is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019.” This news comes after SolarisBank announced plans to launch a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading application this past May.
The Canadian city of Calgary is becoming the first city in Canada to launch a digital version of its local currency, according to a report by the Global News. Dubbed as the Calgary Digital Dollar, the digital currency will be exclusive to Calgary and operate alongside the country’s Canadian Dollar. Calgary-based businesses will now be required by law to accept at least 10% of a payment in digital currency, although they are allowed to accept up to 100%.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is launching a pilot of its Global Payment Initiative (GPI) to combat growing blockchain and fintech solutions, according to an official announcement last week. Currently, the SWIFT Network is used by global financial institutions to conduct global financial payments and cross-border transfers of fiat currency. Although the project is still in its early stages, the GPI pilot hopes to, “build the foundation of a new integrated and interactive service that will significantly improve efficiencies in the payments process and which will ultimately be made available to all 10,000 banks across the SWIFT network.”
The United Arab Emirates’(UAE) central bank is partnering with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to develop a cryptocurrency to facilitate cross border transactions between the two countries, according to a report by news outlet GulfNews. In a meeting pertaining to global banking standards and regulation in the Arab region, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the governor of the UAE’s central bank, said, “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.” The prospective digital currency will be used by both central banks and financial institutions in the countries.
TokenSoft, a security token offering (STO) startup, has acquired a 20% stake in regulated broker-dealer Marpine Securities LLC in order to launch its own regulated broker-dealer. After acquiring the 20% stake, TokenSoft will launch its new regulated broker-dealer entity, called TokenSoft Global Markets, that will be registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The new regulated broker-dealer entity will allow TokenSoft to advise token issuers through every step of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) process. Additionally, TokenSoft will now be able to legally operate in services related to insurance and management.
Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors and a notable cryptocurrency pundit, believes that the current fair value of Bitcoin (BTC) is between USD$13,800 and USD$14,800, according to a note published on Thursday. Lee arrived at this valuation by taking into account the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and other supply and demand metrics. Additionally, Lee forecasted that the fair value of BTC will reach USD$150,000/coin once BTC wallets account for 7% of Visa’s 4.5bn account holders.
UAE Exchange, an exchange based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is partnering with Ripple to launch a blockchain-based cross-border remittances platform by 1Q2019, as per a Reuters report on Thursday. The report details further that Finablr, a payments and foreign exchange company that owns UAE Exchange, observes a high level of remittance inflows from expatriate workers in the Middle East region. “We expect to go live with Rippel by Q1, 2019 with two other Asian banks,” said Finablr CEO Promoth Manghat, adding, “This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”
De Nederlandsche Bank, the Netherlands’ central bank, will soon require domestic cryptocurrency providers to obtain a license from the regulator to operate, as per a report by Dutch news outlet DeTelegraaf. The Netherlands' central bank is taking these measures in the hope that it will, “prevent such cryptocurrencies from being used to launder money obtained through crime or to fund terrorism.” In order to receive a license, cryptocurrency firms must maintain Know-Your-Customer procedures and report any suspicious activity to the Dutch central bank.
Eddie Hughes, a conservative member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, suggested that Bitcoin (BTC) should be accepted as legal tender for tax and utility payments, according to news outlet Express.co.uk. The article discusses that Hughes, who is a self-described, “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations. This news comes after the US state of Ohio announced that it would begin accepting BTC as legal tender for tax payments.
Following a case in Canadian courts that resulted in a ruling ordering mistakenly sent crypto funds to be returned to their owner, a blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law is noting that there could be repercussions with the case potentially setting a precedent for lost or stolen cryptocurrency claims. The Canadian court case’s ruling will require defendant Brian Wall to return USD$370,482 worth of Ethereum (ETH) tokens to the plaintiff, Copytrack. The blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law reads, ‘This precedent may have major repercussions for the enforcement of claims regarding lost or stolen cryptocurrencies,” adding that the ruling allows the plaintiff to recover tokens, “in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held.”
Japan’s government is considering plans to ease cryptocurrency taxes in an effort to revitalize the domestic cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. This week, Japanese Congressman Takeshi Fujimaki proposed four significant changes to taxation requirements pertaining to digital assets, which include: a reduction on the cryptocurrency gains tax from 55% to 20%; elimination of taxes on crypto-to-crypto payments; elimination of taxes on miniscule cryptocurrency payments; and an adjustment that would allow cryptocurrency investors to carry forward losses across quarters and years, effectively until cryptocurrencies are ‘cashed’ out.
Jay Clayton, Chairman for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC), said during a speech that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), “can be effective,” for fundraising, but that, “securities laws must be followed.” Clayton went on in his speech to comment on the US SEC’s work regarding distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital assets, and ICOs, saying that it is an, “area where the Commission and staff have spent a significant amount of time,” and, “that this trend will continue in 2019.”
Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed his optimism for distributed ledger technology’s potential impact on traditional financial markets in a testimony before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday. According to a transcript published on the SEC’s website, Clayton said, “I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street Investors.” Additionally, Clayton highlighted that the SEC is, “Focusing a significant amount of attention and resources on digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs).”
Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, announced that no significant changes will be made to the draft of a bill concerning cryptocurrency regulation in the country, as per news outlet Finmarket. The bill was already approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, in May 2018, although the bill has generated substantial discussion since. Since approval of the bill, all cryptocurrency and token-related terminology have been removed and replaced with the term “digital rights”. At the beginning of December, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said that the bill needed to be, “significantly,” changed.
Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, highlighted that Security Token Offerings (STOs) in China are illegal while speaking at a summit in Beijing. As per a report by news outlet the South China Morning Post, Gongsheng told the summit that, “illegal financing activities through STOs and ICOs were still rampant in the mainland despite a nationwide clean-up of the cryptocurrency market last year.” In citing reasoning for the continued ban on STOs, Gongsheng explained that, “Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities.”
Pantera Capital, a blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused investment firm and hedge fund, is warning investors that as much as a quarter of their ICO project could potentially be violating US securities laws, according to a Bloomberg report. In a newsletter to clients, Pantera Capital warned, “While we believe the vast majority of the projects in our portfolio should not be affected, approximately 25% of our fund’s capital is invested in other projects with liquid tokens that sold to US investors without using Regulation D or Regulation S”
Russia has no intention of implementing Venezuela’s state-backed digital currency, the Petro, into commercial operations, according to a report by news outlet RIA Novosti. While speaking to reporters this week, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said, “Representatives from our tax service and central bank... got acquainted with the cryptocurrency Venezuela is introducing,” adding, “But no more than that. As for payments, they’re not happening yet.”
South Korea’s representative body, the National Assembly, held its first official meeting with seven of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to debate cryptocurrency regulation between stakeholders of South Korea’s cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb, CobitCoin, Coinone, Upbit, Gopax, Coinplug, and Hanbitco were among the attendees of the debate, which reportedly focused on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) customer protections and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The United Kingdom’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental financial security body, is calling on the country’s government to increase monitoring of cryptocurrency markets. According to an official report last week, the UK must overhaul its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combat terrorist financing (CFT) efforts in order to prevent illicit activities with cryptocurrencies. “Virtual currency exchange providers are not yet covered by AML/CFT requirements,” the report details, adding, “this is an emerging risk and there is not yet evidence to suggest that broad scale ML/TF is occurring in the UK through this relatively small sector.”
The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is interested in learning more about the Ethereum (ETH) network, its technology, and the markets build around it. On Tuesday, the CFTC published a Request for Input (RFI) that requests the public’s feedback on different questions concerning Ethereum. The RFI explains that its goal is to inform the CFTC about Ethereum and similar emerging technology, saying, “The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives market as well as monitoring and reducing the systematic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand the similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here ether and bitcoin, as well as ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) is ordering that cryptocurrency asset manager CoinAlpha Advisors LLC pay a USD$50,000 fine, alleging that the firm conducted an unregistered securities sale. After forming in October 2017, CoinAlpha raised more than USD$600,000 from investors to invest in digital assets. In an official release, the US SEC said that CoinAlpha did not file a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities, meaning that the firm breached securities laws by soliciting securities investors. Additionally, the firm allegedly did not adhere to proper know-your-customer procedures to verify that investors were accredited.
Venezuela is reportedly beginning to convert its citizens’ monthly pension payments into Petros, Venezuela’s controversial state and oil-backed cryptocurrency, according to a report by local economics blog the Caracas Chronicles. The conversion of Venezuelan pensioners’ payments into Petros came after the country already sent pensioners their monthly payment in the form of a check for Venezuelan Bolivars -- normally, upon receiving their check, pensioners would deposit their funds into a bank account where they could then withdraw fiat from local branches. The Venezuelan government, however, converted pensioners’ fiat payments into the Petro upon their deposit into a bank. In the first few weeks of the Petro’s existence, its value has risen from 9,000 to more than 15,000.
Warren Davidson, an Ohio Congressman and notable advocate of blockchain and digital assets, is floating blockchain technology as a solution to fund US President Donald Trump’s prospective US-Mexico border wall. While interviewing with NPR, Congressman Davidson suggested, “the American people, or whomever should choose to donate,” could pay for the border wall, adding, “you could do it with sort of like a crowdfunding site or you could do a blockchain and you could have WallCoins.”
“The long-term value of Bitcoin (BTC) is more likely to be USD$100 than USD$100,000,” says Kenneth Rogoff, a former Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the current Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy. While writing an article for major UK news outlet The Guardian, Rogoff highlighted that, because BTC’s use is limited to transactions, it makes the digital asset more vulnerable to a bubble-like collapse. Rogoff also cited that BTC’s energy-intensive verification processes is, “vastly less efficient,” than systems that leverage, “a trusted central authority like a central bank.”
A new report by PeckShield, a blockchain security company that monitors various cryptocurrency ecosystems, details that decentralized applications (DApps) on the EOS (EOS) blockchain have lost as much as USD$1mm in hacks since July 2018. The report details further that DApps on the EOS network have sustained 27 breaches since July, which are responsible for the up to 400,000 EOS that have been compromised from hacks. Guo Yonggang, a blockchain security expert cited in a report on the matter by crypto media firm Blockchain Truth, believes that the hacks can be attributed to security problems with the DApps themselves, rather than with the EOS network.
A new study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance on Wednesday finds that the number of unique ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled in in the first 3 quarters of 2018. The study details that total ID-verified users increased to 35mm in the first three quarters of 2018 from 18mm at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 94%. As per an analysis of the study by Bloomberg, the growth of crypto’s userbase despite the market decline, “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.”
Amid the continued cryptocurrency sell-off, only two cryptocurrency mining machines remain profitable, according to real-time data from ASICMinerValue.com. ASICMInerValue.com, which calculates the profitability of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners, indicates that only indicates that only the Ebank Ebit E11++ and ASICminer 8 Nano 44Th mining models are profitable for mining cryptocurrencies based on the SHA-256 hash function -- notable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) use this has function.
Bitmain, a large Chinese cryptocurrency mining firm, announced that it is closing its development center in Israel, citing current cryptocurrency market conditions. In closing Bitmaintech Israel, the crypto mining giant was forced to fire all 23 employees. Among the employees let go is Gadi Glikberg, head of Bitmain’s Israeli branch and Vice President of International Sales, who said on the recent market turmoil, “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”
Busan, a major South Korean city, will be the beneficiary of the South Korean government’s plan to spend 4bn Korean won (USD$3.5mm) to establish a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP). As per a report by South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the project will be angled as a national competition in 2019, hosted by South Korea’s largest electric utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The VPP will integrate the idle capacities of multiple energy resources through a cloud-based distributed ledger in order to optimize power generation and decrease costs.
Church’s Chicken, a large international fast food franchise, is partnering with Dash Venezuela to accept cryptocurrencies in its Venezuelan locations. According to an official press release, 13 Church’s Chicken establishments will begin accepting Dash (DASH) as payment following, “extensive and rigorous days of training,” staff to understand cryptocurrencies. With the addition of Church’s Chicken, more than 2,200 establishments in Venezuela accept DASH as payment.
Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency payments platform, announced the appointment of former PayPal executive Tyson Hackwood to serve as the firm’s Vice President and Head of Global Merchant Acquisition in an official press release today. Crypto.com aims to increase cryptocurrency adoption by both merchants and consumers through their point-of-sale (PoS) transaction terminals. Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek believes that Hackwood will be integral in furthering this goal, saying, “As we develop the Crypto.com Chain to fulfill the current industry need to pay and be paid in crypto, Tyson will play an important role in expanding the number and quality of merchants that are part of our network.”
Hyperledger, a notable blockchain consortium, is continuing its robust expansion after announcing the addition of 16 new members at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland. Among the notables to join the consortium are, Alibaba Cloud, Citigroup’s Citi Ventures arm, and Deutsche Telekom. The latest addition of 16 members brings the total membership of Hyperledger to more than 260 different companies. In a public statement, Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said that, “The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets. The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger."
Jeremy Henrickson, the former Chief Product Officer at Coinbase, has departed the US-based cryptocurrency exchange after serving since July 2016. “Jeremy’s contributions to Coinbase over the past two years were invaluable,” said a Coinbase spokesperson, adding that, “he helped to build our scrappy startup team into a high-functioning product and engineering organization -- overseeing a 5x+ growth of the team.” Henrickson’s departure comes after long-term Coinbase executives Adam White and Hunter Merghart left the US-based cryptocurrency exchange in recent months.
LinkedIn’s, “2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs,” report released on Thursday ranks the role of blockchain developer as the fastest growing job in the United States. The report by LinkedIn indicates that blockchain developer jobs have increased 33-fold in the past 12 months alone. San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta are among the cities with the highest demand for blockchain developer jobs.
Orbs, a unique hybrid blockchain platform, raised more than USD$15mm in cryptocurrencies to fund its development of a public blockchain, according to a company blog post. South Korean application provider Kakao lead the fundraising efforts with a representative telling CoinDesk that the company, “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups, and Orbs is a good example.” In total, Orbs raised 139,000 Ether (ETH) and 892 Bitcoin (BTC), amounting to roughly USD$15.4mm. Orbs aims to build a public blockchain with this funding that is, “universal,” and, “scalable,” for decentralized applications (DApps) with the, “liquidity of a base layer.”
Samsung has reportedly filed patent applications for three different blockchain-related trademark requests that all pertain directly to smartphones, according to news outlet Galaxy Club. Specifically, the patents named “Blockchain KeyStore”, “Blockchain Key Box”, and “Blockchain Core” all pertain to cryptocurrency custody capabilities on smartphones. This news comes amid the release of HTC’s Exodus 1 and Sirin Labs’ FINNEY, both of which are being marketed as blockchain smartphones with cryptocurrency custody capabilities.
The key issue that needs to be addressed in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion via cryptocurrencies is the anonymity surrounding cryptocurrencies.
The existing European legal framework is failing to deal with this issue.
The tide is changing: the fifth revision of the directive on money laundering and terrorist financing, AMLD5 includes a definition of virtual currencies and subjects virtual currency exchange services and custodian wallet providers to customer due diligence requirements and the duty to report suspicious transactions to financial intelligence units.
A number of key players in cryptocurrency markets are not included in the scope of AMLD5, leaving blind spots in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion.
With respect to unveiling the anonymity of users in general, no immediate action is taken. The Commission will assess only in its next supranational risk assessment a system of voluntary registration of users. A mandatory registration and a pre-set date as of which it applies would be a better approach to unveil the anonymity of cryptocurrency users.
For some aspects relating to some cryptocurrencies a ban should be considered.
The European level is appropriate to address money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion via cryptocurrencies, but even more more appropriate is the international level, as crypto activity is not limited by the European border.
Blockchain is technology, on which a large number of cryptocurrencies run, but which is not designed to launder money, facilitate terrorist financing or evade taxes. Blockchain has numerous applications throughout the whole lawful economy. The fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion should focus on the illicit use cases of cryptocurrencies and not on blockchain.
Policy recommendations for future EU standards:
To unveil the anonymity of cryptocurrency users the EU should consider a system of mandatory registration of users and a pre-set date as of which it applies rather than a system of voluntary registration of users.
The EU should also think about expanding the list of “obliged entities” under AMLD5 with those players that are identified in this study as the weak spots or have great potential of being weak spots, including miners, pure cryptocurrency exchanges that are not also custodian wallet providers, software and hardware wallet providers, trading platforms and coin offerors.
Furthermore, the EU should think about imposing a specific ban on such aspects surrounding cryptocurrencies that are aimed at making it impossible to verify their users (e.g. mixing) and criminally sanctioning these aspects.
In addition, the EU could consider extending the scope of the Funds Transfer Regulation to make sure that all relevant information accompanying cryptocurrency transactions is there, allowing an adequate money laundering and terrorist financing check. The entities that would have to fulfil the requirements could be the intermediaries through which the transactions run.
In the longer term, the EU should consider developing a tailored and more comprehensive framework for cryptocurrencies, and setting EU standards for cryptocurrencies in line with suggestions and recommendations made by the EBA, including license requirements for cryptocurrency service providers. Part of such framework could be to create or impose a “middleman”, where the use of blockchain or other distributed ledger technology has cut out such middleman, as this will allow the regulator to attach regulation to an identifiable person, thus contributing to enhanced compliance and effective enforcement.
With a view of achieving unified regulation of cryptocurrencies at G20 level, it is recommended that the EU leads further initiatives by example.
The EU should leave blockchain be from a money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion perspective and focus on the illicit use cases of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is just technology and can have beneficial effects in a wide array of sectors. Its development as such should not be discouraged.
Authored by Valentin Schmid via The Epoch Times, While the price of bitcoin drops, miners get more creative... and some flourish. The bitcoin price is crashing; naysayers and doomsayers are having a field day. The demise of the dominant cryptocurrency is finally happening — or is it? Bitcoin has been buried hundreds of times, most notably during the brutal 90 percent decline from 2013 to 2015. And yet it has always made a comeback. Where the skeptics are correct: The second bitcoin bubble burst in December of last year and the price is down roughly 80 percent from its high of $20,000. Nobody knows whether and when it will see these lofty heights again. As a result, millions of speculators have been burned, and big institutions haven’t showed up to bridge the gap. This also happened on a smaller scale in 2013 after a similar 100x run-up, and it was necessary.
Time to Catch Up
What most speculators and even some serious proponents of the independent and decentralized monetary system don’t understand: Bitcoin needs these pauses to make improvements in its infrastructure. Exchanges, which could not handle the trading volumes at the height of the frenzy and did not return customer service inquiries, can take a breather and upgrade their systems and hire capable people. The technology itself needs to make progress and this needs time. Projects like the lightning network, a system which delivers instant bitcoin payments at very little cost and at virtually unlimited scale is now only available to expert programmers. A higher valuation is only justified if these improvements reach the mass market. And since we live in a world where everything financial is tightly regulated, for better or worse, this area also needs to catch up, since regulators are chronically behind the curve of technological progress. And of course, there is bitcoin mining. The vital infrastructure behind securing the bitcoin network and processing its transactions has been concentrated in too few hands and in too few places, most notably China, which still hosts about 70 percent of the mining capacity.
The Case For Mining
Critics have always complained that bitcoin mining consumes “too much” electricity, right now about as much as the Czech Republic. In energy terms this is around 65 terawatt hours or 230,000,000 gigajoules, costing $3.3 billion dollars according to estimates by Digiconomist. For the non-physicists among us, this is around as much as consumed by six million energy-guzzling U.S. households per year. All those estimates are imprecise because the aggregate cannot know how much energy each of the different bitcoin miners consumes and how much that electricity costs. But they are a reasonable rough estimate. So it’s worth exploring why mining is necessary to begin with and whether the electricity consumption is justified. Anything and everything humans do consumes resources. The question then is always: Is it worth it? And: Who decides? This question then leads to the next question: Is it worth having and using money? Most people would argue yes, because using money instead of barter in fact makes economic transactions faster and cheaper and thus saves resources, natural and human. _Merchants exchange goods with the inhabitants of Tidore, Indonesia, circa 1550. Barter was supplanted by using money because it is more efficient. (Archive/Getty Images)_If we are generously inclined, we will grant bitcoin the status of a type of money or at least currency as it meets the general requirements of being recognizable, divisible, portable, durable, is accepted in exchange for other goods and services, and in this case it is even limited in supply. So having any type of money has a price, whether it’s gold, dollar bills, or numbers on the screen of your online banking system. In the case of bitcoin, it’s the electricity and the capital for the computing equipment, as well as the human resources to run these operations. If we think having money in general is a good idea and some people value the decentralized and independent nature of bitcoin then it would be worth paying for verifying transactions on the bitcoin network as well as keeping the network secure and sound: Up until the point where the resources consumed would outweigh the efficiency benefits. Just like most people don’t think it’s a bad idea to use credit cards and banks, which consume electricity too. However, bitcoin is a newcomer and this is why it’s being scrutinized even more so than the old established players.
Different Money, Different Costs
How many people know how much electricity, human lives, and other resources gold mining consumes or has consumed in the course of history? What about the banking system? Branches, servers, air-conditioning, staff? What about printing dollar notes and driving them around in armored trucks? What about the social effects of monetary mismanagement of bank and government money like inflation as well as credit deflations? Gold gets a pass here. Most people haven’t asked that question, which is why it’s worth pointing out the only comprehensive study done on the topic in 2014. In “An Order of Magnitude” the engineer Hass McCook analyzes the different money systems and reaches mind-boggling conclusions. The study is a bit dated and of course the aggregations are also very rough estimates, but the ball park numbers are reasonable and the methodology sound. In fact, according to the study, bitcoin is the most economic of all the different forms of money. Gold mining in 2014 used 475 million GJ, compared to bitcoin’s 230 million in 2018. The banking system in 2014 used 2.3 billion gigajoules. Over 100 people per year die trying to mine gold. But mining costs more than electricity. It consumes around 300,000 liters of water per kilogram of gold mined as well as 150 kilogram (330 pounds) of cyanide and 1500 tons of waste and rubble. The international banking system has been used in all kinds of fraudulent activity throughout history: terrorist financing, money laundering, and every other criminal activity under the sun at a cost of trillions of dollars and at an order of magnitude higher than the same transactions done with cryptocurrency and bitcoin. And of course, while gold has a relatively stable value over time, our bank and government issued money lost about 90 percent of its purchasing power over the last century, because it can be created out of thin air. This leads to inflation and a waste of physical and human resources because it distorts the process of capital allocation. _The dollar has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. (Source: St. Louis Fed)_This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of bank branches, millions of ATMs and employees which all consume electricity and other resources, 10 times as much electricity alone as the bitcoin network. According to monetary philosopher Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” the social benefit of hard money, i.e. money that can’t be printed by government decree, cannot even be fathomed; conversely, the true costs of easy money—created by government fiat and bank credit—are difficult to calculate. According to Ammous, bitcoin is the hardest money around, even harder than gold because its total supply is capped, whereas the gold supply keeps increasing at about 1-2 percent every year. “Look at the era of the classical gold standard, from 1871, the end of the Franco–Prussian War, until the beginning of World War I. There’s a reason why this is known as the Golden Era, the Gilded Age, and La Belle Epoque. It was a time of unrivaled human flourishing all over the world. Economic growth was everywhere. Technology was being spread all over the world. Peace and prosperity were increasing everywhere around the world. Technological innovations were advancing. “I think this is no coincidence. What the gold standard allowed people to do is to have a store of value that would maintain its value in the future. And that gave people a low time preference, that gave people the incentive to think of the long term, and that made people want to invest in things that would pay off over the long term … bitcoin is far closer to gold. It is a digital equivalent of gold,” he said in an interview with The Epoch Times. Of course, contrary to the gold standard that Ammous talks about, bitcoin doesn’t have a track record of being sound money in practice. In theory it meets all the criteria, but in the real world it hasn’t been adopted widely and has been so volatile as to be unusable as a reliable store of value or as the underlying currency of a productive lending market. The proponents argue that over time, these problems will be solved the same way gold spread itself throughout the monetary sphere replacing copper and seashells, but even Ammous concedes the process may take decades and the outcome is far from certain. Gold is the safe bet for sound money, bitcoin has potential. There is another measure where bitcoin loses out, according to a recent study by researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the amount of energy expended per dollar for different monetary instruments. One dollar worth of bitcoin costs 17 megajoules to mine versus five for gold and seven for platinum. But the study omits the use of cyanide, water, and other physical resources in mining physical metals. In general, the comparisons in dollar terms go against bitcoin because it is worth relatively less, only $73 billion in total at the time of writing. An issue that could be easily fixed at a higher price, but a higher price is only justified if the infrastructure improves, adoption increases, volatility declines, and the network proves its resilience to attacks over time. In the meantime, market participants still value the fact they can own a currency independent of the government, completely digital, easily fungible, and limited in supply, and relatively decentralized. And the market as a whole is willing to pay a premium for these factors reflected in the higher per dollar prices for mining bitcoin.
The Creativity of Bitcoin Mining
But where bitcoin mining lacks in scale, it makes up for it in creativity. In theory—and in practice—bitcoin mining can be done anywhere where there is cheap electricity. So bitcoin mining operations can be conducted not where people are (banking) or where government is (fiat cash) or where gold is (gold mining)—it can be done everywhere where there is cheap electricity Some miners are flocking to the heat of the Texan desert where gas is virtually available for free, thanks to another oil revolution. Other miners go to places where there is cheap wind, water, or other renewable energy. This is because they don’t have to build bank branches, printing presses, and government buildings, or need to put up excavators and conveyor belts to dig gold out of the ground. All they need is internet access and a home for the computers that look like a shipping container, each one of which has around 200 specialized bitcoin mining computers in them. “The good thing about bitcoin mining is that it doesn’t matter where on earth a transaction happens, we can verify it in our data center here. The miners are part of the decentralized philosophy of bitcoin, it’s completely independent of your location as well,” said Moritz Jäger, chief technology officer at bitcoin Mining company Northern Bitcoin AG.
But so far, this decentralization hasn’t worked out as well as it sounds in theory. Because Chinese local governments had access to subsidized electricity, it was profitable for officials to cut deals with bitcoin mining companies and supply them with cheap electricity in exchange for jobs and cutbacks. Sometimes the prices were as low as 2 dollar cents to 4 dollar cents per kilowatt hour. This is why the majority of bitcoin mining is still concentrated in China (around 70 percent) where it was the most profitable, but only because the Chinese central planners subsidized the price of electricity. This set up led to the by and large unwanted result that the biggest miner of bitcoin, a company called Bitmain, is also the biggest manufacturer of specialized computing equipment for bitcoin mining. The company reported revenues of $2.8 billion for the first half of 2018. Tourists walk on the dunes near a power plant in Xiangshawan Desert in Ordos of Inner Mongolia, in this file photo. bitcoin miners have enjoyed favorable electricity rates in places like Ordos for a long time. (Feng Li/Getty Images)Centralized mining is a problem because whenever there is one player or a conglomerate of players who control more than 50 percent of the network computing power, they could theoretically crash the network by spending the same bitcoin twice, the so called “double spending problem.“ They don’t have an incentive to do so because it would probably ruin the bitcoin price and their business, but it’s better not to have to rely on one group of people controlling an entire money system. After all, we have that exact same system with central banking and bitcoin was set up as a decentralized alternative. So far, no player or conglomerate ever reached that 51 percent threshold, at least not since bitcoin’s very early days, but many market participants always thought Bitmain’s corner of the market is a bit too close for comfort. This favorable environment for Chinese bitcoin mining has been changing with a crack down on local government electricity largess as well as a crackdown on cryptocurrency. Bitcoin itself and mining bitcoin remain legal in China but cryptocurrency exchanges have been banned since late 2017. But more needs to be done for bitcoin to become independent of the caprice of a centralized oppressive regime and local government bureaucrats.
Northern Bitcoin Case Study
Enter Northern Bitcoin AG. The company isn’t the only one which is exploring mining opportunities with renewable energies in locations other than China. But it is special because of the extraordinary set up it has for its operations, the fact that it is listed on the stock exchange in Germany, and the opportunities for scaling it discovered. The operations of Northern Bitcoin combine the beauties of bitcoin and capitalism in one. Like Texas has a lot of oil and free gas and it makes sense to use the gas rather than burn it, Norway has a lot of water, especially water moving down the mountains due to rainfall and melting snow. And it makes sense to use the power of the movement of the water, channel it through pipes into generators to create very cheap and almost unlimited electricity. Norway generates north of 95 percent of its total electricity from hydropower. A waterfall next to a hydropowerplant near Sandane, Norway, Oct. 25, 2018. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)Capitalism does not distinguish between renewable and fossil. It uses what is the most expedient. In this case, it is clearly water in Norway, and gas in Texas. As a side note on the beauties of real capital and the fact that capital and the environment need not be enemies, the water in one of the hydropowerplants close to the Northern Bitcoin facility is piped through a generator made in 1920 by J.M. Voith AG, a company from Heidenheim Germany. The company was established in 1867 and is still around today. The generator was produced in 1920 and is still producing electricity today.
In the remote regions of Northern Norway, there aren’t that many people or industry who would use the electricity. And rather than transport it over hundreds of miles to the industrial centers of Europe, the industries of the future are moving to Norway to the source of the cheap electricity. Of course, it is not just bitcoin mining, but other data and computing heavy operations like server farms for cloud computing that can be neatly packaged into one of those containers and shipped up north. “The containers are beautiful. They are produced in the middle of Germany where the hardware is enabled and tested. Then we put it on a truck and send it up here. When the truck arrives on the outside we lift it on the container vehicle. Two hours after the container arrives, it’s in the container rack. And 40 hours later we enable the cooling, network, power, other systems, and it’s online,” said Mats Andersson, a spokesman for the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway, where Northern Bitcoin has its operations. Plug and play. A Northern Bitcoin data container inside the Lefdal Mine data center, in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)If the cheap electricity wasn’t enough—around 5 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 17 cents in Germany—Norway also provides the perfect storage for these data containers, which are normally racked up in open air parks above the ground. Also here, the resource allocation is beautiful. Instead of occupying otherwise useful and beautiful parcels of land and nature, the Northern Bitcoin containers and others are stored in the old Lefdal olivine mine. Olivine is a mineral used for steel production and looks green. Very fitting. Hence also the name of the data center: Lefdal Mine. “We take the green mineral out and we take the green IT in,” said Andersson.
Using the old mine as storage for the data center makes the whole process even more resource efficient. Why? So far, we’ve only been talking about bitcoin mining using a lot of energy. But what for? Before you have actually seen the process in action—and it is similar for other computing operations—you cannot imagine how bizarre it is. Most of the electricity is used to prevent the computers from overheating. So it’s not even the processors themselves; it’s the fans which cool the computer that use the most juice. This is where the mine helps, because it’s rather cool 160 meters (525 feet) below sea level; certainly cooler than in the Texas desert. But it gets even better. On top of the air blow-cooling the computer, the Lefdal data center uses a fresh water system to pump through the containers in pipes. The fans can then circulate air over the cool pipes which transfer the heat to the water. One can feel the difference when touching the different pipes. The fresh water closed circle loop then completes the “green” or resource efficiency cycle by transferring its heat to ice cold water from the nearby Fjord. The water is sucked in through a pipe from the Fjord, the heat gets transferred without the water being mixed, and the water flows back to the Fjord, without any impact on the environment. To top it all off, the mine has natural physical security far better than open air data centers and is even protected from an electromagnetic pulse blast because it’s underground.
_The Nordfjord near Måløy, Norway. The Lefdal data center takes the cold water from the fjord and uses it to cool the computer inside the mine. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)_Company Dynamics
Given this superlative set up, Northern Bitcoin wants to ramp up production as fast as possible at the Lefdal mine and other similar places in Norway, which have more mountains where data centers can be housed. At the moment, Northern Bitcoin has 15 containers with 210 mining machines each. The 15 containers produce around 5 bitcoin per day at a total cost of around $2,500 dollars at the end of November 2018 and after the difficulty of solving the math problems went down by ~17 percent. Most of it is for electricity; the rest is for leasing the containers, renting the mine space, buying and writing off the mining computers, personnel, overhead, etc. Even at the current relatively depressed prices of around $4000, that’s a profit of $1500 per bitcoin or $7,500 per day. But the goal is to ramp it up to 280 containers until 2019, producing 100 bitcoin per day. Again, the company is in the sweet spot to do this. As opposed to the beginning of the year when one could not procure a mining computer from Bitmain even if one’s life depended on it, the current bear market has made them cheap and relatively available both new and second had from miners who had to cease operations because they can’t produce at low bitcoin prices. Northern Bitcoin containers inside the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. (Northern Bitcoin)What about the data shipping containers? They are manufactured by a company called Rittal who is the world market leader. So it helps that the owner of Rittal also owns 30 percent of the Lefdal mine, providing preferential access to the containers. Northern Bitcoin said it has enough capital available for the intermediate goal of ramping up to 50 containers until the end of year but may tap the capital markets again for the next step. The company can also take advantage of the lower German corporate tax rate because revenue is only recorded when the bitcoin are sold in Germany, not when they are mined in Norway. Of course, every small-cap stock—especially bitcoin companies—have their peculiarities and very high risks. As an example, Northern Bitcoin’s financial statements, although public, aren’t audited. The equipment in the Lefdal mine in Norway is real and the operations are controlled by the Lefdal personnel, but one has to rely on exclusive information from the company for financials and cost figures, so buyer beware.
Northern Bitcoin wants to have 280 containers, representing around 5 percent of the network’s computing power. But the Lefdal mine alone has a capacity to power and cool 1,500 containers in a 200 megawatt facility, once it is fully built out. “Here you have all the space, power, and cooling that you need. … Here you can grow,” said Lefdal’s Andersson. A mine shaft in the Lefdal Mine data center in Måløy, Norway. The whole mine will have a capacity for 1500 containers once fully built out. (Valentin Schmid/The Epoch Times)The Norwegian government was behind an initiative to bring computing power to Norway and make it one of the prime destinations for data centers at the beginning of this decade. To that effect, the local governments own part of the utility companies which operate the power plants and own part of the Lefdal Mine and other locations. But even without notable subsidies (i.e. cash payments to companies), market players were able to figure it out, for everybody’s benefit. The utilities win because they can sell their cheap electricity close to home. The computing companies like IBM and Northern Bitcoin win because they can get cheap electricity, storage, and security. Data center operators like Lefdal win because they can charge rent for otherwise unused and unneeded space. However, in a recent about face, the central government in Oslo has decided to remove cryptocurrency miners from the list of companies which pay a preferential tax rate on electricity consumption. Normally, energy intensive companies, including data centers, pay a preferential tax on electricity consumed of 0.48 øre ($0.00056 ). According to a report by Norwegian media Aftenposten, this tax will rise to 16.58 øre ($0.019) in 2019 for cryptocurrency miners exclusively. The argument by left wing politician Lars Haltbrekken who sponsored the initiative: “Norway cannot continue to provide huge tax incentives for the most dirty form of cryptocurrency output […] [bitcoin] requires a lot of energy and generates large greenhouse gas emissions globally.” Since Norway generates its electricity using hydro, precisely the opposite is true: No greenhouse gas emissions, or any emissions for that matter would be produced, if all cryptomining was done in Norway. As opposed to China, where mining is done with coal and with emissions. But not only in Norway is the share of renewable and emission free energy high. According to research by Coinshares, Bitcoin’s consumes about 77.6 percent of its energy in the form of renewables globally. However self-defeating the arguments against bitcoin mining in Norway, the political initiative is moving forward. What it means for Northern Bitcoin is not clear, as they house their containers in Lefdal’s mixed data center, which also has other clients, like IBM. “It’s not really decided yet; there are still big efforts from IT sectors and parties who are trying to change it. If the decision is taken it might apply for pure crypto sites rather than mixed data centers, like ours,” said Lefdal’s Andersson. Even in the worst-case scenario, it would mean an increase from ~5 cents to ~6.9 cents per kilowatt hour, or 30 percent more paid on the electricity by Northern Bitcoin, which at ~$3250 would still rank it among the most competitive producers in the world. Coinshares estimates the average production price at $6,800 per Bitcoin at $0,05 per kilowatt hour of electricity and an 18-months depreciation schedule, but concedes that a profitable miner could “[depreciate] mining gear over 24-30 months, or [pay] less for mining gear than our estimates.” Jäger says Northern Bitcoin depreciates the equipment over three years and has obtained very favorable prices from Bitmain, making its production much more competitive than the average despite the same cost of electricity. In addition, the natural cooling in the mine also reduces electricity costs overall.
Cheap Producer Advantage
At the moment, however, the tax could be the least of any miners worry, as the bitcoin price is in free-fall. But what happens when the price crashes further? Suffice it to say that there was bitcoin mining when the dollar price was less than 1 cent and there will be bitcoin mining at lower prices thanks to the design of the network. Mao Shixing, the founder of mining pool F2pool estimated 600,000 miners have shut down since the November crash in price, according to a report by Coindesk. As it should be in a competitive system, the most energy intensive and obsolete machines are shut down first. As with every other commodity, when the price drops, some miners will leave the market, leaving space for cheaper competitors to capture a bigger share. But with bitcoin this is a bit simpler than with copper or gold for example. When a big copper player goes bankrupt, its competitors have to ramp up production and increase cost to increase their market share. With bitcoin, if 3,000 computers get taken off the total mining pool, they won’t be able to mine the approximately 5 bitcoin any longer. However, because the difficulty of solving the computationally intensive cryptographic tasks of bitcoin decreases automatically when there are fewer computers engaged in the task, the other players just have to leave their machines running at the same rate for the same cost and they will split the 5 bitcoin among them. “The moment the price goes down, our production price will go down as well,” said Jäger, a process that already happened from November to December when the difficulty decreased twice in November and the beginning of December. This naturally favors players like Northern Bitcoin, which are producing at the lower end of the cost spectrum. They will be the ones who shut down last. And this is a good thing. The more companies like Northern Bitcoin, and countries like Norway—even with the extra tax—the more decentralized the bitcoin system. The more computers there are in different hands mining bitcoin, the more secure the system becomes, because it will be ever more difficult for one player to reach the 50 percent threshold to crash the system.It is this decentralized philosophy which has kept the bitcoin system running for 10 years. Whether at $1 or $20,000.
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. atetnowski [2:21 AM] joined #marketing. 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 mikevert [2:29 AM] joined #marketing. 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
Stocks on the NYSE do not float against a wildly fluctuating and generally deflationary asset (BTC), in an unclear regulatory environment where many participants are anonymous. Furthermore, and I have Counterparty in mind in particular when I say this, stocks on the NYSE are not possible to liquidate without a trusted third party. This makes them censorable. They are additionally hardly portable across borders, and NYSE stocks certainly cannot be traded directly P2P. Buyer beware. After what has happened with MtGox and Neo & Bee, I'm genuinely fearful for the bankroll of hapless investors, and I'm fully convinced crypto equities will adversely affect Bitcoin's image and even lead to BTC ultimately being banned in many Western countries. This is because at its core, IPO rounds are the most powerful way of aligning the interests of the public with the interests of an organization. Organizations can be political. This is why Wall Street is so heavily policed and controlled. They do not want certain political organizations to have an easy time garnering public support and they certainly don't want some political organizations to have an easy time raising money from anonymous investors with no accountability to anyone. I'll also add, the downsides to crypto equities are by far the most damning flaws in the Bitcoin ecosystem itself. Short of purely idealogical investments, it almost NEVER makes sense to invest your BTC in anything but the most liquid and stable of markets, and even then it's highly suspect. If you believe in the future of Bitcoin, you naturally believe its price will increase. This is actually horrible news for most Bitcoin companies, because it means their BTC profits decrease in the long run. If Bitcoin is successful, companies selling products in exchange for BTC will receive less and less BTC in exchange for their products. Dividends will go down, and stock prices will go down. What I've ultimately realized is BTC is simply too powerful for authorities not to try to undermine it. We have in our hands a system that makes terrorist financing easier than ever before, and if it ever gains widespread adoption there is going to be some degree of pandemonium. In some sense if you believe in BTC, you also believe it will be eventually McCarthy'd. You are really stepping into a jungle with crypto equities, and I certainly would advise AGAINST it for almost anyone. That being said, there are avoidable mistakes I see crypto equity investors make over and over again, and it's my goal to make you slightly better at avoiding them or at the very least scare the shit out of you. As more of you begin to wise up to the debauchery that goes on, I hope to see better public offerings. Without further ado, here are the top 3 mistakes crypto equitiy investors make:
1. Pretending Crypto Equities Are Like Normal Equities
Satoshi Dice has been in the news lately. It was purchased from Erik Voorhees for roughly 100,000 BTC. This one is simple. Just ask yourself if you would want to buy Satoshi Dice for 100,000 BTC knowing what you know now. For example: Assume the new owners of SDICE were early miners, and paid 100,000 BTC for SDICE when BTC was selling for $10. In this case, the owners paid $1,000,000 for SDICE. But instead of buying SDICE, the owners could've just purchased 100,000 BTC on an exchange and kept their original 100,000 BTC. This way they would've ended up with 200,000 BTC in total. Don't know about you, but I'd much rather have 200,000 BTC and have nothing to do with SDICE than have 0 BTC and ownership of SDICE. I'd rather have 100,000 BTC and nothing to do with SDICE. Importantly, for every IPO you see, and with every new "appcoin" launch, someone is trying to make YOU into the sucker who buys SDICE. Consequently, you should only be investing in most BTC companies if you believe that BOTH: A) Bitcoin will be made illegal in most jurisdictions, and B) the given company will survive the outlawing of BTC In other words, there's a perverse incentive with crypto equities to only invest if you believe the price per BTC will crash, or otherwise only invest in fully anonymous companies doing something illegal in the first place and can survive the aftermath of a Bitcoin ban. If you totally reject this scenario, and believe BTC will stay legal, it's likely for dividends to be drowned out over time by BTC appreciating in price.
2. Not Understanding the Technology Landscape
If your ear is not permanently affixed to the train tracks; if you're not constantly listening to the future direction of cryptocurrency, you are going to be hit by a train eventually. What does the world of technology look like in a year or two? What projects are changing the landscape, and what is it doing to the path of least resistance? I can't begin to tell you how many people resort to bamboozling others with fancy sounding protocols and what ultimately amounts to vaporware or software nobody in their right mind has the intention of using aside from the investors in the technology itself. As an illustrative example, take Bitcoin. Countless new projects are attempting to do far more complex things than Bitcoin has ever done, and half of these projects aren't even proven to have a real world demand assuming they can ever be completed. Distributed pseudonymous currency in a time when every government is corrupt and endlessly printing fiat? There's a demand for that. "Decentralized Dropbox"? That is far from simple and far from being proven to have any real world demand. General rules of thumb: are people out there dying for the solution this software provides in a simple and actionable way? Are they dying for it in every country? If not, avoid. If so, analyze in the context of a rapidly changing technology landscape. If Satoshi had premined Bitcoin and wrote it in Brainfuck code, we would not be having this conversation about Bitcoin right now. Someone else would've followed the path of least resistance and provided an actual solution people are dying to have.
3. Not Doing Proper Due Diligence
Who is behind the company?
If they are anonymous, do you have any indication of their technical competency? proficiency in anonymizing technologies? Are they well-spoken, well-written? Where do they communicate? Are they respected members of any particular community?
What are the company's sources of revenue?
What are all of the assumptions you're making about the company's revenue sources?
If the company is fee-based, is the fee expected to decrease over time? Is there a limit to the decreases?
If the company is providing a service, does the service scale? What happens to the revenues if the price of BTC goes up, or down?
If the company is providing a product, does the product scale? What happens to the revenues if the price of BTC goes up, or down?
Who are the competitors? How does the company compare to the competitors in terms of: sales, marketing, finance, supply chain, and organizational structure?
What are the company's sustainable advantages? IP secrets? Banking or political connections?
Where are the company's opportunities for growth?
Are there any legal risks? to the company? to the shareholders?
What are the other important variables?
The vast majority of crypto equities should be avoided. I can think of no more than a handful of ideas that make it past points 1 and 2 as outlined above. Of those, far fewer than 20% will have a business model worth its salt. Of those, fewer than 20% will succeed in the face of adversity. That it's so extremely difficult for any crypto equity to be a good bet for investors speaks volumes about the pitfalls of a deflationary economy. My experience investing so far has led me to believe Bitcoin is destined to be relied on primarily by staunch individualists, rebels, criminals and the disenfranchised as it doesn't make sense to do anything with one's time and money but acquire and hold BTC directly. Would love to hear your comments and concerns.
The wilkelvoss are trying to make bitcoin legit according to esquire magazine
Every idea needs a face, even if the faces are illusory simplifications. The country you get is the president you get. The Yankees you get is the shortstop you get. Apple needed Jobs. ISIS needs al-Baghdadi. The moon shot belongs to Bezos. There's nothing under the Facebook sun that doesn't come back to Zuckerberg. But there is, as yet, no face behind the bitcoin curtain. It's the currency you've heard about but haven't been able to understand. Still to this day nobody knows who created it. For most people, it has something to do with programmable cash and algorithms and the deep space of mathematics, but it also has something to do with heroin and barbiturates and the sex trade and bankruptcies, too. It has no face because it doesn't seem tangible or real. We might align it with an anarchist's riot mask or a highly conceptualized question mark, but those images truncate its reality. Certain economists say it's as important as the birth of the Internet, that it's like discovering ice. Others are sure that it's doomed to melt. In the political sphere, it is the darling of the cypherpunks and libertarians. When they're not busy ignoring it, it scares the living shit out of the big banks and credit-card companies. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW It sparked to life in 2008—when all the financial world prepared for itself the articulate noose—and it knocked on the door like some inconvenient relative arriving at the dinner party in muddy shoes and a knit hat. Fierce ideological battles are currently being waged among the people who own and shepherd the currency. Some shout, Ponzi scheme. Some shout, Gold dust. Bitcoin alone is worth billions of dollars, but the computational structure behind it—its blockchain and its sidechains—could become the absolute underpinning of the world's financial structure for decades to come. What bitcoin has needed for years is a face to legitimize it, sanitize it, make it palpable to all the naysayers. But it has no Larry Ellison, no Elon Musk, no noticeable visionaries either with or without the truth. There's a lot of ideology at stake. A lot of principle and dogma and creed. And an awful lot of cash, too. At 6:00 on a Wednesday winter morning, three months after launching Gemini, their bitcoin exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss step out onto Broadway in New York, wearing the same make of sneakers, the same type of shorts, their baseball caps turned backward. They don't quite fall into the absolute caricature of twindom: They wear different-colored tops. Still, it's difficult to tell them apart, where Tyler ends and Cameron begins. Their faces are sculpted from another era, as if they had stepped from the ruin of one of Gatsby's parties. Their eyes are quick and seldom land on anything for long. Now thirty-four, there is something boyishly earnest about them as they jog down Prince Street, braiding in and out of each other, taking turns talking, as if they were working in shifts, drafting off each other. Forget, for a moment, the four things the Winklevosses are most known for: suing Mark Zuckerberg, their portrayal in The Social Network, rowing in the Beijing Olympics, and their overwhelming public twinness. Because the Winklevoss brothers are betting just about everything—including their past—on a fifth thing: They want to shake the soul of money out. At the deep end of their lives, they are athletes. Rowers. Full stop. And the thing about rowing—which might also be the thing about bitcoin—is that it's just about impossible to get your brain around its complexity. Everyone thinks you're going to a picnic. They have this notion you're out catching butterflies. They might ask you if you've got your little boater's hat ready. But it's not like that at all. You're fifteen years old. You rise in the dark. You drag your carcass along the railroad tracks before dawn. The boathouse keys are cold to the touch. You undo the ropes. You carry a shell down to the river. The carbon fiber rips at your hands. You place the boat in the water. You slip the oars in the locks. You wait for your coach. Nothing more than a thumb of light in the sky. It's still cold and the river stinks. That heron hasn't moved since yesterday. You hear Coach's voice before you see him. On you go, lads. You start at a dead sprint. The left rib's a little sore, but you don't say a thing. You are all power and no weight. The first push-to-pull in the water is a ripping surprise. From the legs first. Through the whole body. The arc. Atomic balance. A calm waiting for the burst. Your chest burns, your thighs scald, your brain blanks. It feels as if your rib cage might shatter. You are stillness exploding. You catch the water almost without breaking the surface. Coach says something about the pole vault. You like him. You really do. That brogue of his. Lads this, lads that. Fire. Stamina. Pain. After two dozen strokes, it already feels like you're hitting the wall. All that glycogen gone. Nobody knows. Nobody. They can't even pronounce it. Rowing. Ro-wing. Roh-ing. You push again, then pull. You feel as if you are breaking branch after branch off the bottom of your feet. You don't rock. You don't jolt. Keep it steady. Left, right, left, right. The heron stays still. This river. You see it every day. Nothing behind you. Everything in front. You cross the line. You know the exact tree. Your chest explodes. Your knees are trembling. This is the way the world will end, not with a whimper but a bang. You lean over the side of the boat. Up it comes, the breakfast you almost didn't have. A sign of respect to the river. You lay back. Ah, blue sky. Some cloud. Some gray. Do it again, lads. Yes, sir. You row so hard you puke it up once more. And here comes the heron, it's moving now, over the water, here it comes, look at that thing glide. ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW The Winklevoss twins in the men's pair final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. GETTY There's plenty of gin and beer and whiskey in the Harrison Room in downtown Manhattan, but the Winklevoss brothers sip Coca-Cola. The room, one of many in the newly renovated Pier A restaurant, is all mahogany and lamplight. It is, in essence, a floating bar, jutting four hundred feet out into the Hudson River. From the window you can see the Statue of Liberty. It feels entirely like their sort of room, a Jazz Age expectation hovering around their initial appearance—tall, imposing, the hair mannered, the collars of their shirts slightly tilted—but then they just slide into their seats, tentative, polite, even introverted. They came here by subway early on a Friday evening, and they lean back in their seats, a little wary, their eyes busy—as if they want to look beyond the rehearsal of their words. They had the curse of privilege, but, as they're keen to note, a curse that was earned. Their father worked to pay his way at a tiny college in backwoods Pennsylvania coal country. He escaped the small mining town and made it all the way to a professorship at Wharton. He founded his own company and eventually created the comfortable upper-middle-class family that came with it. They were raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, the most housebroken town on the planet. They might have looked like the others in their ZIP code, and dressed like them, spoke like them, but they didn't quite feel like them. Some nagging feeling—close to anger, close to fear—lodged itself beneath their shoulders, not quite a chip but an ache. They wanted Harvard but weren't quite sure what could get them there. "You have to be basically the best in the world at something if you're coming from Greenwich," says Tyler. "Otherwise it's like, great, you have a 1600 SAT, you and ten thousand others, so what?" The rowing was a means to an end, but there was also something about the boat that they felt allowed another balance between them. They pulled their way through high school, Cameron on the port-side oar, Tyler on the starboard. They got to Harvard. The Square was theirs. They rowed their way to the national championships—twice. They went to Oxford. They competed in the Beijing Olympics. They sucked up the smog. They came in sixth place. The cameras loved them. Girls, too. They were so American, sandy-haired, blue-eyed, they could have been cast in a John Cougar Mellencamp song. It might all have been so clean-cut and whitebread except for the fact that—at one of the turns in the river—they got involved in the most public brawl in the whole of the Internet's nascent history. They don't talk about it much anymore, but they know that it still defines them, not so much in their own minds but in the minds of others. The story seems simple on one level, but nothing is ever simple, not even simplification. Theirs was the original idea for the first social network, Harvard Connection. They hired Mark Zuckerberg to build it. Instead he went off and created Facebook. They sued him. They settled for $65 million. It was a world of public spats and private anguish. Rumors and recriminations. A few years later, dusty old pre-Facebook text messages were leaked online by Silicon Alley Insider: "Yeah, I'm going to fuck them," wrote Zuckerberg to a friend. "Probably in the ear." The twins got their money, but then they believed they were duped again by an unfairly low evaluation of their stock. They began a second round of lawsuits for $180 million. There was even talk about the Supreme Court. It reeked of opportunism. But they wouldn't let it go. In interviews, they came across as insolent and splenetic, tossing their rattles out of the pram. It wasn't about the money, they said at the time, it was about fairness, reality, justice. Most people thought it was about some further agile fuckery, this time in Zuckerberg's ear. There are many ways to tell the story, but perhaps the most penetrating version is that they weren't screwed so much by Zuckerberg as they were by their eventual portrayal in the film version of their lives. They appeared querulous and sulky, exactly the type of characters that America, peeling off the third-degree burns of the great recession, needed to hate. While the rest of the country worried about mounting debt and vanishing jobs, they were out there drinking champagne from, at the very least, Manolo stilettos. The truth would never get in the way of a good story. In Aaron Sorkin's world, and on just about every Web site, the blueblood trust-fund boys got what was coming to them. And the best thing now was for them to take their Facebook money and turn the corner, quickly, away, down toward whatever river would whisk them away. Armie Hammer brilliantly portrayed them as the bluest of bloods in The Social Network. When the twins are questioned about those times now, they lean back a little in their seats, as if they've just lost a long race, a little perplexed that they came off as the victims of Hollywood's ability to throw an image, while the whole rip-roaring regatta still goes on behind them. "They put us in a box," says Cameron, "caricatured to a point where we didn't really exist." He glances around the bar, drums his finger against the glass. "That's fair enough. I understand that impulse." They smart a little when they hear Zuckerberg's name. "I don't think Mark liked being called an asshole," says Tyler, with a flick of bluster in his eyes, but then he catches himself. "You know, maybe Mark doesn't care. He's a bit of a statesman now, out there connecting the world. I have nothing against him. He's a smart guy." These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. But underneath the calm—just like underneath the boat—one can sense the churn. They say the word—ath-letes—as if it were a country where pain is the passport. One of the things the brothers mention over and over again is that you can spontaneously crack a rib while rowing, just from the sheer exertion of the muscles hauling on the rib cage. Along came bitcoin. At its most elemental, bitcoin is a virtual currency. It's the sort of thing a five-year-old can understand—It's just e-cash, Mom—until he reaches eighteen and he begins to question the deep future of what money really means. It is a currency without government. It doesn't need a banker. It doesn't need a bank. It doesn't even need a brick to be built upon. Its supporters say that it bypasses the Man. It is less than a decade old and it has already come through its own Wild West, a story rooted in uncharted digital territory, up from the dust, an evening redness in the arithmetical West. These are men who've been taught, or have finally taught themselves, to tell their story rather than be told by it. Bitcoin appeared in 2008—westward ho!—a little dot on the horizon of the Internet. It was the brainchild of a computer scientist named Satoshi Nakamoto. The first sting in the tale is that—to this very day—nobody knows who Nakamoto is, where he lives, or how much of his own invention he actually owns. He could be Californian, he could be Australian, he could even be a European conglomerate, but it doesn't really matter, since what he created was a cryptographic system that is borderless and supposedly unbreakable. In the beginning the currency was ridiculed and scorned. It was money created from ones and zeros. You either bought it or you had to "mine" for it. If you were mining, your computer was your shovel. Any nerd could do it. You keyed your way in. By using your computer to help check and confirm the bitcoin transactions of others, you made coin. Everyone in this together. The computer heated up and mined, down down down, into the mathematical ground, lifting up numbers, making and breaking camp every hour or so until you had your saddlebags full of virtual coin. It all seemed a bit of a lark at first. No sheriff, no deputy, no central bank. The only saloon was a geeky chat room where a few dozen bitcoiners gathered to chew data. Lest we forget, money was filthy in 2008. The collapse was coming. The banks were shorting out. The real estate market was a confederacy of dunces. Bernie Madoff's shadow loomed. Occupy was on the horizon. And all those Wall Street yahoos were beginning to squirm. Along came bitcoin like some Jesse James of the financial imagination. It was the biggest disruption of money since coins. Here was an idea that could revolutionize the financial world. A communal articulation of a new era. Fuck American Express. Fuck Western Union. Fuck Visa. Fuck the Fed. Fuck the Treasury. Fuck the deregulated thievery of the twenty-first century. To the earliest settlers, bitcoin suggested a moral way out. It was a money created from the ground up, a currency of the people, by the people, for the people, with all government control extinguished. It was built on a solid base of blockchain technology where everyone participated in the protection of the code. It attracted anarchists, libertarians, whistle-blowers, cypherpunks, economists, extropians, geeks, upstairs, downstairs, left-wing, right-wing. Sure, it could be used by businesses and corporations, but it could also be used by poor people and immigrants to send money home, instantly, honestly, anonymously, without charge, with a click of the keyboard. Everyone in the world had access to your transaction, but nobody had to know your name. It bypassed the suits. All you needed to move money was a phone or a computer. It was freedom of economic action, a sort of anarchy at its democratic best, no rulers, just rules. Bitcoin, to the original explorers, was a safe pass through the government-occupied valleys: Those assholes were up there in the hills, but they didn't have any scopes on their rifles, and besides, bitcoin went through in communal wagons at night. Ordinary punters took a shot. Businesses, too. You could buy silk ties in Paris without any extra bank charges. You could protect your money in Buenos Aires without fear of a government grab. The Winklevoss twins leave the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011, after appearing in court to ask that the previous settlement case against Facebook be voided. GETTY But freedom can corrupt as surely as power. It was soon the currency that paid for everything illegal under the sun, the go-to money of the darknet. The westward ho! became the outlaw territory of Silk Road and beyond. Heroin through the mail. Cocaine at your doorstep. Child porn at a click. What better way for terrorists to ship money across the world than through a network of anonymous computers? Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Mexican cartels. In Central America, kidnappers began demanding ransom in bitcoin—there was no need for the cash to be stashed under a park bench anymore. Now everything could travel down the wire. Grab, gag, and collect. Uranium could be paid for in bitcoin. People, too. The sex trade was turned on: It was a perfect currency for Madame X. For the online gambling sites, bitcoin was pure jackpot. For a while, things got very shady indeed. Over a couple years, the rate pinballed between $10 and $1,200 per bitcoin, causing massive waves and troughs of online panic and greed. (In recent times, it has begun to stabilize between $350 and $450.) In 2014, it was revealed that hackers had gotten into the hot wallet of Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo. A total of 850,000 coins were "lost," at an estimated value of almost half a billion dollars. The founder of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht (known as "Dread Pirate Roberts"), got himself a four-by-six room in a federal penitentiary for life, not to mention pending charges for murder-for-hire in Maryland. Everyone thought that bitcoin was the problem. The fact of the matter was, as it so often is, human nature was the problem. Money means desire. Desire means temptation. Temptation means that people get hurt. During the first Gold Rush in the late 1840s, the belief was that all you needed was a pan and a decent pair of boots and a good dose of nerve and you could go out and make yourself a riverbed millionaire. Even Jack London later fell for the lure of it alongside thousands of others: the western test of manhood and the promise of wealth. What they soon found out was that a single egg could cost twenty-five of today's dollars, a pound of coffee went for a hundred, and a night in a whorehouse could set you back $6,000. A few miners hit pay dirt, but what most ended up with for their troubles was a busted body and a nasty dose of syphilis. The gold was discovered on the property of John Sutter in Sacramento, but the one who made the real cash was a neighboring merchant, Samuel Brannan. When Brannan heard the news of the gold nuggets, he bought up all the pickaxes and shovels he could find, filled a quinine bottle with gold dust, and went to San Francisco. Word went around like a prayer in a flash flood: gold gold gold. Brannan didn't wildcat for gold himself, but at the peak of the rush he was flogging $5,000 worth of shovels a day—that's $155,000 today—and went on to become the wealthiest man in California, alongside the Wells Fargo crew, Levi Strauss, and the Studebaker family, who sold wheelbarrows. If you comb back through the Winklevoss family, you will find a great-grandfather and a great-great-grandfather who knew a thing or two about digging: They worked side by side in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. They didn't go west and they didn't get rich, but maybe the lesson became part of their DNA: Sometimes it's the man who sells the shovels who ends up hitting gold. Like it or not—and many people don't like it—the Winklevoss brothers are shaping up to be the Samuel Brannans of the bitcoin world. Nine months after being portrayed in The Social Network, the Winklevoss twins were back out on the water at the World Rowing Cup. CHRISTOPHER LEE/GETTY They heard about it first poolside in Ibiza, Spain. Later it would play into the idea of ease and privilege: umbrella drinks and girls in bikinis. But if the creation myth was going to be flippant, the talk was serious. "I'd say we were cautious, but we were definitely intrigued," says Cameron. They went back home to New York and began to read. There was something about it that got under their skin. "We knew that money had been so broken and inefficient for years," says Tyler, "so bitcoin appealed to us right away." They speak in braided sentences, catching each other, reassuring themselves, tightening each other's ideas. They don't quite want to say that bitcoin looked like something that might be redemptive—after all, they, like everyone else, were looking to make money, lots of it, Olympic-sized amounts—but they say that it did strike an idealistic chord inside them. They certainly wouldn't be cozying up to the anarchists anytime soon, but this was a global currency that, despite its uncertainties, seemed to present a solution to some of the world's more pressing problems. "It was borderless, instantaneous, irreversible, decentralized, with virtually no transaction costs," says Tyler. It could possibly cut the banks out, and it might even take the knees out from under the credit-card companies. Not only that, but the price, at just under ten dollars per coin, was in their estimation low, very low. They began to snap it up. They were aware, even at the beginning, that they might, once again, be called Johnny-come-latelys, just hopping blithely on the bandwagon—it was 2012, already four years into the birth of the currency—but they went ahead anyway, power ten. Within a short time they'd spent $11 million buying up a whopping 1 percent of the world's bitcoin, a position they kept up as more bitcoins were mined, making their 1 percent holding today worth about $66 million. But bitcoin was flammable. The brothers felt the burn quickly. Their next significant investment came later that year, when they gave $1.5 million in venture funding to a nascent exchange called BitInstant. Within a year the CEO was arrested for laundering drug money through the exchange. So what were a pair of smart, clean-cut Olympic rowers doing hanging around the edges of something so apparently shady, and what, if anything, were they going to do about it? They mightn't have thought of it this way, but there was something of the sheriff striding into town, the one with the swagger and the scar, glancing up at the balconies as he comes down Main Street, all tumbleweeds and broken pianos. This place was a dump in most people's eyes, but the sheriff glimpsed his last best shot at finally getting the respect he thinks he deserves. The money shot: A good stroke will catch the water almost without breaking its seal. You stir without rippling. Your silence is sinewy. There's muscle in that calm. The violence catches underneath, thrusts the boat along. Stroke after stroke. Just keep going. Today's truth dies tomorrow. What you have to do is elemental enough. You row without looking behind you. You keep the others in front of you. As long as you can see what they're doing, it's all in your hands. You are there to out-pain them. Doesn't matter who they are, where they come from, how they got here. Know your enemy through yourself. Push through toward pull. Find the still point of this pain. Cut a melody in the disk of your flesh. The only terror comes when they pass you—if they ever pass you. There are no suits or ties, but there is a white hum in the offices of Gemini in the Flatiron District. The air feels as if it has been brushed clean. There is something so everywhereabout the place. Ergonomic chairs. iPhone portals. Rows of flickering computers. Not so much a hush around the room as a quiet expectation. Eight, nine people. Programmers, analysts, assistants. Other employees—teammates, they call them—dialing in from Portland, Oregon, and beyond. The brothers fire up the room when they walk inside. A fist-pump here, a shoulder touch there. At the same time, there is something almost shy about them. Apart, they seem like casual visitors to the space they inhabit. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. The Winklevoss twins speak onstage at Bitcoin! Let's Cut Through the Noise Already at SXSW in 2016. GETTY They move from desk to desk. The price goes up, the price goes down. The phones ring. The e-mails beep. Customer-service calls. Questions about fees. Inquiries about tax structures. Gemini was started in late 2015 as a next-generation bitcoin exchange. It is not the first such exchange in the world by any means, but it is one of the most watched. The company is designed with ordinary investors in mind, maybe a hedge fund, maybe a bank: all those people who used to be confused or even terrified by the word bitcoin. It is insured. It is clean. What's so fascinating about this venture is that the brothers are risking themselves by trying to eliminate risk: keeping the boat steady and exploding through it at the same time. It is when they're together that they feel fully shaped. One can't imagine them being apart from each other for very long. For the past couple years, the Winklevosses have worked closely with just about every compliance agency imaginable. They ticked off all the regulatory boxes. Essentially they wanted to ease all the Debting Thomases. They put regulatory frameworks in place. Security and bankability and insurance were their highest objectives. Nobody was going to be able to blow open the safe. They wanted to soothe all the appetites for risk. They told Bitcoin Magazine they were asking for "permission, not forgiveness." This is where bitcoin can become normal—that is, if you want bitcoin to be normal. Just a mile or two down the road, in Soho, a half dozen bitcoiners gather at a meetup. The room is scruffy, small, boxy. A half mannequin is propped on a table, a scarf draped around it. It's the sort of place that twenty years ago would have been full of cigarette smoke. There's a bit of Allen Ginsberg here, a touch of Emma Goldman, a lot of Zuccotti Park. The wine is free and the talk is loose. These are the true believers. They see bitcoin in its clearest possible philosophical terms—the frictionless currency of the people, changing the way people move money around the world, bypassing the banks, disrupting the status quo. A comedy show is being run out in the backyard. A scruffy young man wanders in and out, announcing over and over again that he is half-baked. A well-dressed Asian girl sidles up to the bar. She looks like she's just stepped out of an NYU business class. She's interested in discovering what bitcoin is. She is regaled by a series of convivial answers. The bartender tells her that bitcoin is a remaking of the prevailing power structures. The girl asks for another glass of wine. The bartender adds that bitcoin is democracy, pure and straight. She nods and tells him that the wine tastes like cooking oil. He laughs and says it wasn't bought with bitcoin. "I don't get it," she says. And so the evening goes, presided over by Margaux Avedisian, who describes herself as the queen of bitcoin. Avedisian, a digital-currency consultant of Armenian descent, is involved in several high-level bitcoin projects. She has appeared in documentaries and on numerous panels. She is smart, sassy, articulate. When the talk turns to the Winklevoss brothers, the bar turns dark. Someone, somewhere, reaches up to take all the oxygen out of the air. Avedisian leans forward on the counter, her eyes shining, delightful, raged. "The Winklevii are not the face of bitcoin," she says. "They're jokes. They don't know what they're saying. Nobody in our community respects them. They're so one-note. If you look at their exchange, they have no real volume, they never will. They keep throwing money at different things. Nobody cares. They're not part of us. They're just hangers-on." "Ah, they're just assholes," the bartender chimes in. "What they want to do," says Avedisian, "is lobotomize bitcoin, make it into something entirely vapid. They have no clue." The Asian girl leaves without drinking her third glass of free wine. She's got a totter in her step. She doesn't quite get the future of money, but then again maybe very few in the world do. Giving testimony on bitcoin licensing before the New York State Department of Financial Services in 2014. LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS The future of money might look like this: You're standing on Oxford Street in London in winter. You think about how you want to get to Charing Cross Road. The thought triggers itself through electrical signals into the chip embedded in your wrist. Within a moment, a driverless car pulls up on the sensor-equipped road. The door opens. You hop in. The car says hello. You tell it to shut up. It does. It already knows where you want to go. It turns onto Regent Street. You think,A little more air-conditioning, please. The vents blow. You think, Go a little faster, please. The pace picks up. You think, This traffic is too heavy, use Quick(TM). The car swings down Glasshouse Street. You think, Pay the car in front to get out of my way. It does. You think, Unlock access to a shortcut. The car turns down Sherwood Street to Shaftsbury Avenue. You pull in to Charing Cross. You hop out. The car says goodbye. You tell it to shut up again. You run for the train and the computer chip in your wrist pays for the quiet-car ticket for the way home. All of these transactions—the air-conditioning, the pace, the shortcut, the bribe to get out of the way, the quick lanes, the ride itself, the train, maybe even the "shut up"—will cost money. As far as crypto-currency enthusiasts think, it will be paid for without coins, without phones, without glass screens, just the money coming in and going out of your preprogrammed wallet embedded beneath your skin. The Winklevosses are betting that the money will be bitcoin. And that those coins will flow through high-end, corporate-run exchanges like Gemini rather than smoky SoHo dives. Cameron leans across a table in a New York diner, the sort of place where you might want to polish your fork just in case, and says: "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." He can't remember whom the quote belongs to, but he freely acknowledges that it's not his own. Theirs is a truculent but generous intelligence, capable of surprise and turn at the oddest of moments. They talk meditation, they talk economics, they talk Van Halen, they talk, yes, William Gibson, but everything comes around again to bitcoin. "The key to all this is that people aren't even going to know that they're using bitcoin," says Tyler. "It's going to be there, but it's not going to be exposed to the end user. Bitcoin is going to be the rails that underpin our payment systems. It's just like an IP address. We don't log on to a series of numbers, 115.425.5 or whatever. No, we log on to Google.com. In the same way, bitcoin is going to be disguised. There will be a body kit that makes it user-friendly. That's what makes bitcoin a kick-ass currency." Any fool can send a billion dollars across the world—as long as they have it, of course—but it's virtually impossible to send a quarter unless you stick it in an envelope and pay forty-nine cents for a stamp. It's one of the great ironies of our antiquated money system. And yet the quark of the financial world is essentially the small denomination. What bitcoin promises is that it will enable people and businesses to send money in just about any denomination to one another, anywhere in the world, for next to nothing. A public address, a private key, a click of the mouse, and the money is gone. A Bitcoin conference in New York City in 2014. GETTY This matters. This matters a lot. Credit-card companies can't do this. Neither can the big banks under their current systems. But Marie-Louise on the corner of Libertador Avenue can. And so can Pat Murphy in his Limerick housing estate. So can Mark Andreessen and Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs. Anyone can do it, anywhere in the world, at virtually no charge. You can do it, in fact, from your phone in a diner in New York. But the whole time they are there—over identical California omelettes that they order with an ironic shrug—they never once open their phones. They come across more like the talkative guys who might buy you a drink at the sports bar than the petulants ordering bottle service in the VIP corner. The older they get, the more comfortable they seem in their contradictions: the competition, the ease; the fame, the quiet; the gamble, the sure thing. Bitcoin is what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. What seems indisputable about the future of money, to the Winklevosses and other bitcoin adherents, is that the technology that underpins bitcoin—the blockchain—will become one of the fundamental tenets of how we deal with the world of finance. Blockchain is the core computer code. It's open source and peer to peer—in other words, it's free and open to you and me. Every single bitcoin transaction ever made goes to an open public ledger. It would take an unprecedented 51 percent attack—where one entity would come to control more than half of the computing power used to mine bitcoin—for hackers to undo it. The blockchain is maintained by computers all around the world, and its future sidechains will create systems that deal with contracts and stock and other payments. These sidechains could very well be the foundation of the new global economy for the big banks, the credit-card companies, and even government itself. "It's boundless," says Cameron. This is what the brothers are counting on—and what might eventually make them among the richest men in America. And yet. There is always a yet. When you delve into the world of bitcoin, it gets deeper, darker, more mysterious all the time. Why has its creator remained anonymous? Why did he drop off the face of the earth? How much of it does he own himself? Will banks and corporations try to bring the currency down? Why are there really only five developers with full "commit access" to the code (not the Winklevosses, by the way)? Who is really in charge of the currency's governance? Perhaps the most pressing issue at hand is that of scaling, which has caused what amounts to a civil war among followers. A maximum block size of one megabyte has been imposed on the chain, sort of like a built-in artificial dampener to keep bitcoin punk rock. That's not nearly enough capacity for the number of transactions that would take place in future visions. In years to come, there could be massive backlogs and outages that could create instant financial panic. Bitcoin's most influential leaders are haggling over what will happen. Will bitcoin maintain its decentralized status, or will it go legit and open up to infinite transactions? And if it goes legit, where's the punk? The issues are ongoing—and they might very well take bitcoin down, but the Winklevosses don't think so. They have seen internal disputes before. They've refrained from taking a public stance mostly because they know that there are a lot of other very smart people in bitcoin who are aware that crisis often builds consensus. "We're in this for the long haul," says Tyler. "We're the first batter in the first inning." GILLIAN LAUB The waiter comes across and asks them, bizarrely, if they're twins. They nod politely. Who was born first? They've heard it a million times and their answer is always the same: Neither of them—they were born cesarean. Cameron looks older, says the waiter. Tyler grins. Normally it's the other way around, says Cameron, grinning back. Do you ever fight? asks the waiter. Every now and then, they say. But not over this, not over the future. Heraclitus was wrong. You can, in fact, step in the same river twice. In the beginning you went to the shed. No electricity there, no heat, just a giant tub where you simulated the river. You could only do eleven strokes. But there was something about the repetition, the difference, even the monotony, that hooked you. After a while it wasn't an abandoned shed anymore. College gyms, national training centers. Bigger buildings. High ceilings. AC. Doctors and trainers. Monitors hooked up to your heart, your head, your blood. Six foot five, but even then you were not as tall as the other guys. You liked the notion of underdog. Everyone called you the opposite. The rich kids. The privileged ones. To hell with that. They don't know us, who we are, where we came from. Some of the biggest chips rest on the shoulders of those with the least to lose. Six foot five times two makes just about thirteen feet. You sit in the erg and you stare ahead. Day in, day out. One thousand strokes, two thousand. You work with the very best. You even train with the Navy SEALs. It touches that American part of you. The sentiment, the false optimism. When the oil fields are burning, you even think, I'll go there with them. But you stay in the boat. You want that other flag rising. That's what you aim for. You don't win but you get close. Afterward there are planes, galas, regattas, magazine spreads, but you always come back to that early river. The cold. The fierceness. The heron. Like it or not, you're never going to get off the water—that's just the fact of the matter, it's always going to be there. Hard to admit it, but once you were wrong. You got out of the boat and you haggled over who made it. You lost that one, hard. You might lose this one, too, but then again it just might be the original arc that you're stepping toward. So you return, then. You rise before dark. You drag your carcass along Broadway before dawn. All the rich men in the world want to get shot into outer space. Richard Branson. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. The new explorers. To get the hell out of here and see if they—and maybe we—can exist somewhere else for a while. It's the story of the century. We want to know if the pocket of the universe can be turned inside out. We're either going to bring all the detritus of the world upward with us or we're going to find a brand-new way to exist. The cynical say that it's just another form of colonization—they're probably right, but then again maybe it's our only way out. The Winklevosses have booked their tickets—numbers 700 and 701—on Branson's Virgin Galactic. Although they go virtually everywhere together, the twins want to go on different flights because of the risk involved: Now that they're in their mid-thirties, they can finally see death, or at least its rumor. It's a boy's adventure, but it's also the outer edge of possibility. It cost a quarter of a million dollars per seat, and they paid for it, yes, in bitcoin. Of course, up until recently, the original space flights all splashed down into the sea. One of the ships that hauled the Gemini space capsule out of the water in 1965 was the Intrepid aircraft carrier. The Winklevosses no longer pull their boat up the river. Instead they often run five miles along the Hudson to the Intrepid and back. The destroyer has been parked along Manhattan's West Side for almost as long as they have been alive. It's now a museum. The brothers like the boat, its presence, its symbolism: Intrepid, Gemini, the space shot. They ease into the run.
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