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Dragonchain Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off Public Proposal
Dragonchain Public Proposal TL;DR:
Dragonchain has demonstrated twice Reddit’s entire total daily volume (votes, comments, and postsper Reddit 2019 Year in Review) in a 24-hour demo on an operational network. Every single transaction on Dragonchain is decentralized immediately through 5 levels of Dragon Net, and then secured with combined proof on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Binance Chain, via Interchain. At the time, in January 2020, the entire cost of the demo was approximately $25K on a single system (transaction fees locked at $0.0001/txn). With current fees (lowest fee $0.0000025/txn), this would cost as little as $625. Watch Joe walk through the entire proposal and answer questions onYouTube. This proposal is also available on the Dragonchain blog.
Hello Reddit and Ethereum community!
I’m Joe Roets, Founder & CEO of Dragonchain. When the team and I first heard about The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off we were intrigued. We believe we have the solutions Reddit seeks for its community points system and we have them at scale. For your consideration, we have submitted our proposal below. The team at Dragonchain and I welcome and look forward to your technical questions, philosophical feedback, and fair criticism, to build a scaling solution for Reddit that will empower its users. Because our architecture is unlike other blockchain platforms out there today, we expect to receive many questions while people try to grasp our project. I will answer all questions here in this thread on Reddit, and I've answered some questions in the stream on YouTube. We have seen good discussions so far in the competition. We hope that Reddit’s scaling solution will emerge from The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off and that Reddit will have great success with the implementation.
Dragonchain is a robust open source hybrid blockchain platform that has proven to withstand the passing of time since our inception in 2014. We have continued to evolve to harness the scalability of private nodes, yet take full advantage of the security of public decentralized networks, like Ethereum. We have a live, operational, and fully functional Interchain network integrating Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and ~700 independent Dragonchain nodes. Every transaction is secured to Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Ethereum Classic. Transactions are immediately usable on chain, and the first decentralization is seen within 20 seconds on Dragon Net. Security increases further to public networks ETH, BTC, and ETC within 10 minutes to 2 hours. Smart contracts can be written in any executable language, offering full freedom to existing developers. We invite any developer to watch the demo, play with our SDK’s, review open source code, and to help us move forward. Dragonchain specializes in scalable loyalty & rewards solutions and has built a decentralized social network on chain, with very affordable transaction costs. This experience can be combined with the insights Reddit and the Ethereum community have gained in the past couple of months to roll out the solution at a rapid pace.
Response and PoC
In The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off post, Reddit has asked for a series of demonstrations, requirements, and other considerations. In this section, we will attempt to answer all of these requests.
A live proof of concept showing hundreds of thousands of transactions
On Jan 7, 2020, Dragonchain hosted a 24-hour live demonstration during which a quarter of a billion (250 million+) transactions executed fully on an operational network. Every single transaction on Dragonchain is decentralized immediately through 5 levels of Dragon Net, and then secured with combined proof on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Binance Chain, via Interchain. This means that every single transaction is secured by, and traceable to these networks. An attack on this system would require a simultaneous attack on all of the Interchained networks. 24 hours in 4 minutes (YouTube): 24 hours in 4 minutes The demonstration was of a single business system, and any user is able to scale this further, by running multiple systems simultaneously. Our goals for the event were to demonstrate a consistent capacity greater than that of Visa over an extended time period. Tooling to reproduce our demo is available here: https://github.com/dragonchain/spirit-bomb
Source code (for on & off-chain components as well tooling used for the PoC). The source code does not have to be shared publicly, but if Reddit decides to use a particular solution it will need to be shared with Reddit at some point.
Dragonchain’s architecture attacks the scalability issue from multiple angles. Dragonchain is a hybrid blockchain platform, wherein every transaction is protected on a business node to the requirements of that business or purpose. A business node may be held completely private or may be exposed or replicated to any level of exposure desired. Every node has its own blockchain and is independently scalable. Dragonchain established Context Based Verification as its consensus model. Every transaction is immediately usable on a trust basis, and in time is provable to an increasing level of decentralized consensus. A transaction will have a level of decentralization to independently owned and deployed Dragonchain nodes (~700 nodes) within seconds, and full decentralization to BTC and ETH within minutes or hours. Level 5 nodes (Interchain nodes) function to secure all transactions to public or otherwise external chains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. These nodes scale the system by aggregating multiple blocks into a single Interchain transaction on a cadence. This timing is configurable based upon average fees for each respective chain. For detailed information about Dragonchain’s architecture, and Context Based Verification, please refer to the Dragonchain Architecture Document.
An interesting feature of Dragonchain’s network consensus is its economics and scarcity model. Since Dragon Net nodes (L2-L4) are independent staking nodes, deployment to cloud platforms would allow any of these nodes to scale to take on a large percentage of the verification work. This is great for scalability, but not good for the economy, because there is no scarcity, and pricing would develop a downward spiral and result in fewer verification nodes. For this reason, Dragonchain uses TIME as scarcity. TIME is calculated as the number of Dragons held, multiplied by the number of days held. TIME influences the user’s access to features within the Dragonchain ecosystem. It takes into account both the Dragon balance and length of time each Dragon is held. TIME is staked by users against every verification node and dictates how much of the transaction fees are awarded to each participating node for every block. TIME also dictates the transaction fee itself for the business node. TIME is staked against a business node to set a deterministic transaction fee level (see transaction fee table below in Cost section). This is very interesting in a discussion about scaling because it guarantees independence for business implementation. No matter how much traffic appears on the entire network, a business is guaranteed to not see an increased transaction fee rate.
Dragonchain uses Docker and Kubernetes to allow the use of best practices traditional system scaling. Dragonchain offers managed nodes with an easy to use web based console interface. The user may also deploy a Dragonchain node within their own datacenter or favorite cloud platform. Users have deployed Dragonchain nodes on-prem on Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, MS Azure, and other hosting platforms around the world. Any executable code, anything you can write, can be written into a smart contract. This flexibility is what allows us to say that developers with no blockchain experience can use any code language to access the benefits of blockchain. Customers have used NodeJS, Python, Java, and even BASH shell script to write smart contracts on Dragonchain. With Docker containers, we achieve better separation of concerns, faster deployment, higher reliability, and lower response times. We chose Kubernetes for its self-healing features, ability to run multiple services on one server, and its large and thriving development community. It is resilient, scalable, and automated. OpenFaaS allows us to package smart contracts as Docker images for easy deployment. Contract deployment time is now bounded only by the size of the Docker image being deployed but remains fast even for reasonably large images. We also take advantage of Docker’s flexibility and its ability to support any language that can run on x86 architecture. Any image, public or private, can be run as a smart contract using Dragonchain.
Flexibility in Scaling
Dragonchain’s architecture considers interoperability and integration as key features. From inception, we had a goal to increase adoption via integration with real business use cases and traditional systems. We envision the ability for Reddit, in the future, to be able to integrate alternate content storage platforms or other financial services along with the token.
LBRY - To allow users to deploy content natively to LBRY
MakerDAO to allow users to lend small amounts backed by their Reddit community points.
STORJ/SIA to allow decentralized on chain storage of portions of content. These integrations or any other are relatively easy to integrate on Dragonchain with an Interchain implementation.
Cost estimates (on-chain and off-chain) For the purpose of this proposal, we assume that all transactions are on chain (posts, replies, and votes).
On the Dragonchain network, transaction costs are deterministic/predictable. By staking TIME on the business node (as described above) Reddit can reduce transaction costs to as low as $0.0000025 per transaction. Dragonchain Fees Table
How to run it
Building on Dragonchain is simple and requires no blockchain experience. Spin up a business node (L1) in our managed environment (AWS), run it in your own cloud environment, or on-prem in your own datacenter. Clear documentation will walk you through the steps of spinning up your first Dragonchain Level 1 Business node. Getting started is easy...
Download Dragonchain’s dctl
Input three commands into a terminal
Build an image
More information can be found in our Get started documents.
Dragonchain is an open source hybrid platform. Through Dragon Net, each chain combines the power of a public blockchain (like Ethereum) with the privacy of a private blockchain. Dragonchain organizes its network into five separate levels. A Level 1, or business node, is a totally private blockchain only accessible through the use of public/private keypairs. All business logic, including smart contracts, can be executed on this node directly and added to the chain. After creating a block, the Level 1 business node broadcasts a version stripped of sensitive private data to Dragon Net. Three Level 2 Validating nodes validate the transaction based on guidelines determined from the business. A Level 3 Diversity node checks that the level 2 nodes are from a diverse array of locations. A Level 4 Notary node, hosted by a KYC partner, then signs the validation record received from the Level 3 node. The transaction hash is ledgered to the Level 5 public chain to take advantage of the hash power of massive public networks. Dragon Net can be thought of as a “blockchain of blockchains”, where every level is a complete private blockchain. Because an L1 can send to multiple nodes on a single level, proof of existence is distributed among many places in the network. Eventually, proof of existence reaches level 5 and is published on a public network.
Dragonchain is open source and even though the platform is easy enough for developers to code in any language they are comfortable with, we do not have so large a developer community as Ethereum. We would like to see the Ethereum developer community (and any other communities) become familiar with our SDK’s, our solutions, and our platform, to unlock the full potential of our Ethereum Interchain. Long ago we decided to prioritize both Bitcoin and Ethereum Interchains. We envision an ecosystem that encompasses different projects to give developers the ability to take full advantage of all the opportunities blockchain offers to create decentralized solutions not only for Reddit but for all of our current platforms and systems. We believe that together we will take the adoption of blockchain further. We currently have additional Interchain with Ethereum Classic. We look forward to Interchain with other blockchains in the future. We invite all blockchains projects who believe in decentralization and security to Interchain with Dragonchain.
While we only have 700 nodes compared to 8,000 Ethereum and 10,000 Bitcoin nodes. We harness those 18,000 nodes to scale to extremely high levels of security. See Dragonchain metrics.
Some may consider the centralization of Dragonchain’s business nodes as an issue at first glance, however, the model is by design to protect business data. We do not consider this a drawback as these nodes can make any, none, or all data public. Depending upon the implementation, every subreddit could have control of its own business node, for potential business and enterprise offerings, bringing new alternative revenue streams to Reddit.
Costs and resources
Summary of cost & resource information for both on-chain & off-chain components used in the PoC, as well as cost & resource estimates for further scaling. If your PoC is not on mainnet, make note of any mainnet caveats (such as congestion issues).
Every transaction on the PoC system had a transaction fee of $0.0001 (one-hundredth of a cent USD). At 256MM transactions, the demo cost $25,600. With current operational fees, the same demonstration would cost $640 USD. For the demonstration, to achieve throughput to mimic a worldwide payments network, we modeled several clients in AWS and 4-5 business nodes to handle the traffic. The business nodes were tuned to handle higher throughput by adjusting memory and machine footprint on AWS. This flexibility is valuable to implementing a system such as envisioned by Reddit. Given that Reddit’s daily traffic (posts, replies, and votes) is less than half that of our demo, we would expect that the entire Reddit system could be handled on 2-5 business nodes using right-sized containers on AWS or similar environments. Verification was accomplished on the operational Dragon Net network with over 700 independently owned verification nodes running around the world at no cost to the business other than paid transaction fees.
This PoC should scale to the numbers below with minimal costs (both on & off-chain). There should also be a clear path to supporting hundreds of millions of users. Over a 5 day period, your scaling PoC should be able to handle: *100,000 point claims (minting & distributing points) *25,000 subscriptions *75,000 one-off points burning *100,000 transfers
During Dragonchain’s 24 hour demo, the above required numbers were reached within the first few minutes. Reddit’s total activity is 9000% more than Ethereum’s total transaction level. Even if you do not include votes, it is still 700% more than Ethereum’s current volume. Dragonchain has demonstrated that it can handle 250 million transactions a day, and it’s architecture allows for multiple systems to work at that level simultaneously. In our PoC, we demonstrate double the full capacity of Reddit, and every transaction was proven all the way to Bitcoin and Ethereum. Reddit Scaling on Ethereum
Solutions should not depend on any single third-party provider. We prefer solutions that do not depend on specific entities such as Reddit or another provider, and solutions with no single point of control or failure in off-chain components but recognize there are numerous trade-offs to consider
Dragonchain’s architecture calls for a hybrid approach. Private business nodes hold the sensitive data while the validation and verification of transactions for the business are decentralized within seconds and secured to public blockchains within 10 minutes to 2 hours. Nodes could potentially be controlled by owners of individual subreddits for more organic decentralization.
Billing is currently centralized - there is a path to federation and decentralization of a scaled billing solution.
Operational on-premises capabilities
Operational deployment to any datacenter
Over 700 independent Community Verification Nodes with proof of ownership
Operational Interchain (Interoperable to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic, open to more)
Usability Scaling solutions should have a simple end user experience.
Users shouldn't have to maintain any extra state/proofs, regularly monitor activity, keep track of extra keys, or sign anything other than their normal transactions
Dragonchain and its customers have demonstrated extraordinary usability as a feature in many applications, where users do not need to know that the system is backed by a live blockchain. Lyceum is one of these examples, where the progress of academy courses is being tracked, and successful completion of courses is rewarded with certificates on chain. Our @Save_The_Tweet bot is popular on Twitter. When used with one of the following hashtags - #please, #blockchain, #ThankYou, or #eternalize the tweet is saved through Eternal to multiple blockchains. A proof report is available for future reference. Other examples in use are DEN, our decentralized social media platform, and our console, where users can track their node rewards, view their TIME, and operate a business node. Examples:
Transactions complete in a reasonable amount of time (seconds or minutes, not hours or days)
All transactions are immediately usable on chain by the system. A transaction begins the path to decentralization at the conclusion of a 5-second block when it gets distributed across 5 separate community run nodes. Full decentralization occurs within 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on which interchain (Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ethereum Classic) the transaction hits first. Within approximately 2 hours, the combined hash power of all interchained blockchains secures the transaction.
Free to use for end users (no gas fees, or fixed/minimal fees that Reddit can pay on their behalf)
With transaction pricing as low as $0.0000025 per transaction, it may be considered reasonable for Reddit to cover transaction fees for users. All of Reddit's Transactions on Blockchain (month) Community points can be earned by users and distributed directly to their Reddit account in batch (as per Reddit minting plan), and allow users to withdraw rewards to their Ethereum wallet whenever they wish. Withdrawal fees can be paid by either user or Reddit. This model has been operating inside the Dragonchain system since 2018, and many security and financial compliance features can be optionally added. We feel that this capability greatly enhances user experience because it is seamless to a regular user without cryptocurrency experience, yet flexible to a tech savvy user. With regard to currency or token transactions, these would occur on the Reddit network, verified to BTC and ETH. These transactions would incur the $0.0000025 transaction fee. To estimate this fee we use the monthly active Reddit users statista with a 60% adoption rate and an estimated 10 transactions per month average resulting in an approximate $720 cost across the system. Reddit could feasibly incur all associated internal network charges (mining/minting, transfer, burn) as these are very low and controllable fees. Reddit Internal Token Transaction Fees Reddit Ethereum Token Transaction Fees When we consider further the Ethereum fees that might be incurred, we have a few choices for a solution.
Offload all Ethereum transaction fees (user withdrawals) to interested users as they wish to withdraw tokens for external use or sale.
Cover Ethereum transaction fees by aggregating them on a timed schedule. Users would request withdrawal (from Reddit or individual subreddits), and they would be transacted on the Ethereum network every hour (or some other schedule).
In a combination of the above, customers could cover aggregated fees.
Integrate with alternate Ethereum roll up solutions or other proposals to aggregate minting and distribution transactions onto Ethereum.
Users should be able to view their balances & transactions via a blockchain explorer-style interface
From interfaces for users who have no knowledge of blockchain technology to users who are well versed in blockchain terms such as those present in a typical block explorer, a system powered by Dragonchain has flexibility on how to provide balances and transaction data to users. Transactions can be made viewable in an Eternal Proof Report, which displays raw data along with TIME staking information and traceability all the way to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and every other Interchained network. The report shows fields such as transaction ID, timestamp, block ID, multiple verifications, and Interchain proof. See example here. Node payouts within the Dragonchain console are listed in chronological order and can be further seen in either Dragons or USD. See example here. In our social media platform, Dragon Den, users can see, in real-time, their NRG and MTR balances. See example here. A new influencer app powered by Dragonchain, Raiinmaker, breaks down data into a user friendly interface that shows coin portfolio, redeemed rewards, and social scores per campaign. See example here.
Exiting is fast & simple
Withdrawing funds on Dragonchain’s console requires three clicks, however, withdrawal scenarios with more enhanced security features per Reddit’s discretion are obtainable.
Interoperability Compatibility with third party apps (wallets/contracts/etc) is necessary.
Proven interoperability at scale that surpasses the required specifications. Our entire platform consists of interoperable blockchains connected to each other and traditional systems. APIs are well documented. Third party permissions are possible with a simple smart contract without the end user being aware. No need to learn any specialized proprietary language. Any code base (not subsets) is usable within a Docker container. Interoperable with any blockchain or traditional APIs. We’ve witnessed relatively complex systems built by engineers with no blockchain or cryptocurrency experience. We’ve also demonstrated the creation of smart contracts within minutes built with BASH shell and Node.js. Please see our source code and API documentation.
Scaling solutions should be extensible and allow third parties to build on top of it Open source and extensible APIs should be well documented and stable
Third-party permissionless integrations should be possible & straightforward Smart contracts are Docker based, can be written in any language, use full language (not subsets), and can therefore be integrated with any system including traditional system APIs. Simple is better. Learning an uncommon or proprietary language should not be necessary.
Advanced knowledge of mathematics, cryptography, or L2 scaling should not be required. Compatibility with common utilities & toolchains is expected. Dragonchain business nodes and smart contracts leverage Docker to allow the use of literally any language or executable code. No proprietary language is necessary. We’ve witnessed relatively complex systems built by engineers with no blockchain or cryptocurrency experience. We’ve also demonstrated the creation of smart contracts within minutes built with BASH shell and Node.js.
Bonus Points: Show us how it works. Do you have an idea for a cool new use case for Community Points? Build it!
Community points could be awarded to Reddit users based upon TIME too, whereas the longer someone is part of a subreddit, the more community points someone naturally gained, even if not actively commenting or sharing new posts. A daily login could be required for these community points to be credited. This grants awards to readers too and incentivizes readers to create an account on Reddit if they browse the website often. This concept could also be leveraged to provide some level of reputation based upon duration and consistency of contribution to a community subreddit.
Dragonchain has already built a social media platform that harnesses community involvement. Dragon Den is a decentralized community built on the Dragonchain blockchain platform. Dragon Den is Dragonchain’s answer to fake news, trolling, and censorship. It incentivizes the creation and evaluation of quality content within communities. It could be described as being a shareholder of a subreddit or Reddit in its entirety. The more your subreddit is thriving, the more rewarding it will be. Den is currently in a public beta and in active development, though the real token economy is not live yet. There are different tokens for various purposes. Two tokens are Lair Ownership Rights (LOR) and Lair Ownership Tokens (LOT). LOT is a non-fungible token for ownership of a specific Lair. LOT will only be created and converted from LOR. Energy (NRG) and Matter (MTR) work jointly. Your MTR determines how much NRG you receive in a 24-hour period. Providing quality content, or evaluating content will earn MTR.
Security. Users have full ownership & control of their points.
All community points awarded based upon any type of activity or gift, are secured and provable to all Interchain networks (currently BTC, ETH, ETC). Users are free to spend and withdraw their points as they please, depending on the features Reddit wants to bring into production.
Balances and transactions cannot be forged, manipulated, or blocked by Reddit or anyone else
Users can withdraw their balance to their ERC20 wallet, directly through Reddit. Reddit can cover the fees on their behalf, or the user covers this with a portion of their balance.
Users should own their points and be able to get on-chain ERC20 tokens without permission from anyone else
Through our console users can withdraw their ERC20 rewards. This can be achieved on Reddit too. Here is a walkthrough of our console, though this does not show the quick withdrawal functionality, a user can withdraw at any time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNlTMxnfVHw
Points should be recoverable to on-chain ERC20 tokens even if all third-parties involved go offline
If necessary, signed transactions from the Reddit system (e.g. Reddit + Subreddit) can be sent to the Ethereum smart contract for minting.
A public, third-party review attesting to the soundness of the design should be available
To our knowledge, at least two large corporations, including a top 3 accounting firm, have conducted positive reviews. These reviews have never been made public, as Dragonchain did not pay or contract for these studies to be released.
Bonus points Public, third-party implementation review available or in progress
Compatibility with HSMs & hardware wallets
For the purpose of this proposal, all tokenization would be on the Ethereum network using standard token contracts and as such, would be able to leverage all hardware wallet and Ethereum ecosystem services.
Minting/distributing tokens is not performed by Reddit directly
This operation can be automated by smart contract on Ethereum. Subreddits can if desired have a role to play.
One off point burning, as well as recurring, non-interactive point burning (for subreddit memberships) should be possible and scalable
This is possible and scalable with interaction between Dragonchain Reddit system and Ethereum token contract(s).
Fully open-source solutions are strongly preferred
Dragonchain is fully open source (see section on Disney release after conclusion).
Whether it is today, or in the future, we would like to work together to bring secure flexibility to the highest standards. It is our hope to be considered by Ethereum, Reddit, and other integrative solutions so we may further discuss the possibilities of implementation. In our public demonstration, 256 million transactions were handled in our operational network on chain in 24 hours, for the low cost of $25K, which if run today would cost $625. Dragonchain’s interoperable foundation provides the atmosphere necessary to implement a frictionless community points system. Thank you for your consideration of our proposal. We look forward to working with the community to make something great!
Disney Releases Blockchain Platform as Open Source
The team at Disney created the Disney Private Blockchain Platform. The system was a hybrid interoperable blockchain platform for ledgering and smart contract development geared toward solving problems with blockchain adoption and usability. All objective evaluation would consider the team’s output a success. We released a list of use cases that we explored in some capacity at Disney, and our input on blockchain standardization as part of our participation in the W3C Blockchain Community Group. https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-blockchain/2016May/0052.html
In 2016, Roets proposed to release the platform as open source to spread the technology outside of Disney, as others within the W3C group were interested in the solutions that had been created inside of Disney. Following a long process, step by step, the team met requirements for release. Among the requirements, the team had to:
Obtain VP support and approval for the release
Verify ownership of the software to be released
Verify that no proprietary content would be released
Convince the organization that there was a value to the open source community
Convince the organization that there was a value to Disney
Offer the plan for ongoing maintenance of the project outside of Disney
Itemize competing projects
Verify no conflict of interest
Change the project name to not use the name Disney, any Disney character, or any other associated IP - proposed Dragonchain - approved
Obtain legal approval
Approval from corporate, parks, and other business units
Approval from multiple Disney patent groups Copyright holder defined by Disney (Disney Connected and Advanced Technologies)
Trademark searches conducted for the selected name Dragonchain
Obtain IT security approval
Manual review of OSS components conducted
OWASP Dependency and Vulnerability Check Conducted
Obtain technical (software) approval
Offer management, process, and financial plans for the maintenance of the project.
Meet list of items to be addressed before release
Remove all Disney project references and scripts
Create a public distribution list for email communications
Remove Roets’ direct and internal contact information
Create public Slack channel and move from Disney slack channels
Create proper labels for issue tracking
Rename internal private Github repository
Add informative description to Github page
Expand README.md with more specific information
Add information beyond current “Blockchains are Magic”
Add getting started sections and info on cloning/forking the project
Add installation details
Add uninstall process
Add unit, functional, and integration test information
Detail how to contribute and get involved
Describe the git workflow that the project will use
Move to public, non-Disney git repository (Github or Bitbucket)
Obtain Disney Open Source Committee approval for release
On top of meeting the above criteria, as part of the process, the maintainer of the project had to receive the codebase on their own personal email and create accounts for maintenance (e.g. Github) with non-Disney accounts. Given the fact that the project spanned multiple business units, Roets was individually responsible for its ongoing maintenance. Because of this, he proposed in the open source application to create a non-profit organization to hold the IP and maintain the project. This was approved by Disney. The Disney Open Source Committee approved the application known as OSSRELEASE-10, and the code was released on October 2, 2016. Disney decided to not issue a press release. Original OSSRELASE-10 document
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
Effectively handle bad debts of credit institutions and enterprises
In 2019, the Vietnam Debt Trading Company Limited (DATC) directly purchased and handled nearly VND 3,000 billion of bad debts from credit institutions and enterprises. Revenue from trading and handling debts and assets was 1,785 billion VND, equal to 124% compared to 2018 ... DATC will participate in restructuring loss projects DATC auctioned the debt of over 1.1 trillion dong DATC entered the prevention and control of the Covid-19 epidemic DATC sells debts and assets at two debtor enterprises In addition, the company received debts and excluded assets in 15 enterprises with a value of 21,378 billion dong, of which, assets were 9,897 billion dong, debt was 11,481 billion dong, enterprises themselves. processing before handover is 2,803 billion dong. https://preview.redd.it/zhpxw0ypfrt51.jpg?width=948&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=522b0aa9f901fc7b11c6a4c461ea4b082728a7d8 The result of the actual value recovered from asset handling and debt collection received in 2019 is 20.2 billion VND, revenue from receiving activities is 6,057 billion VND (in which: property is 4,155 billion dong, debt recovery is 0.988 billion dong and debt collection handled by the business before handover is 0.994 billion dong), reaching 121% of the plan for 2019. Fast online transactions:bitcoin to paypal During the operation, the company also encountered many difficulties and challenges due to the inadequacies in the operating mechanism, which was not consistent with the changes of the market. Along with that, the regulations have not been promptly amended and supplemented, leading to limited performance of assigned roles and tasks, reducing the efficiency of DATC's debt settlement plan. Along with the difficult market, banks continue to promote the auction of collateral to recover debts / unsuccessfully auction debts to negotiate to sell debts to DATC; Due to the high asking price of debt (usually 100% of the principal and interest) and having to devalue many times to get closer to DATC's offer, it affects the progress, plan to buy and process structure to convert debt into capital contribution. However, the Company still achieved excellent results in 2019 with a total revenue of more than 2,000 billion VND; Profit before tax is estimated at 213 billion VND. Compared to the previous 5-year period from 2010 to 2014, accumulated in the period 2015-2019, the total revenue of DATC is 10,488 billion VND (an increase of 229% compared to the 2010-2014 period), purchasing debt and assets with total sales was 9,471 billion VND (increased by 442% compared to the period 2010-2014), contribution to State budget of DATC in the same period was over 400 billion VND. In addition, the Company continues to carry out the tasks assigned by the Government related to debt restructuring of State Groups and Corporations, thereby contributing to improving financial capacity, restoring operations. units in order to speed up the restructuring progress under the Government-approved scheme associated with the recovery of Government debts. In 2020, DATC will actively coordinate with ministries, branches, People's Committees of provinces and cities to promptly receive eliminated debts and assets in the transformed ownership enterprises. Regularly review and classify debts and assets as non-in-kind expenses, loss of assets in receiving to continue handling. Complete the proceedings in court, at the same time closely coordinate with the judgment enforcement agency to recover debt after receiving from businesses. Along with that, the company will promote debt trading, restructuring, divestment ... commensurate with its size and capacity, affirming its position and role in debt trading, restructuring enterprises in the Vietnamese debt trading market.
IPFS— The New-gen Tech Revolution, or Another Illusion?
Founded in 2014, after 6 years of R & D as well as its expansion, and after nearly a year of extensive testing and preparation, IPFS (Interplanetary File System) was officially launched on the afternoon of October 15, 2020, UTC time. 12 hours after the mainnet went online, Its token price fluctuated between 50~70 USD/FIL. However, panic and pessimism began to spread between the IPFS community and FIL token holders. Based on the total amount of FIL (2 billion) and the unit price of 50 US dollars estimation, its market value has exceeded 100 billion US dollars, second only to BTC. As such a mega valued IPFS/FIL went online, if there is no enough application to support, the selling pressure after the FIL is gradually unlocked will become huge. According to calculations, on the first day of the mainnet launch, there will be 239,000 FILs to be sold. Assuming that the unit price is 30 USD, the released circulation will be 8 million USD. Assuming the unit price remains unchanged, the market will usher in a similar value on the 10th day. With a release amount of 15 million USD, it is very likely that the corresponding token price can be supported. IPFS is a network transmission protocol designed to create persistent and distributed storage and sharing of files. In terms of its current active projects and companies, IPFS has added more than 5 billion files, involving multiple industries, and there are also many blockchain companies using this technology. When the IPFS mainnet and its Filecoin goes online, the market value will be based on the applications brought by the IPFS network. After Bitcoin and Ethereum, Filecoin is an upstart in the blockchain industry with a revolutionary technological breakthrough. The market predicts that Filecoin’s market value will surpass Bitcoin. Now let us analyze this project together that was given high hopes: IPFS major features and disadvantages The basic application of IPFS, Filecoin’s financial attributes and its incentive mechanism make it a very exciting global collaborative open source project. On this basis, the data of all mankind is stored in the IPFS network, and no one can tamper with it. This magnificent scene provides at least three values for us:
It creates a storage network service that is license-free and trust-free. This is very important. When you want to access a digital file, you don’t need to get approval or filing from any organization, and strict certification. As for non-centralized trust, it does not require user to trust the supplier that provides storage services, which significantly reduces the cost.
The successful application of IPFS will most likely enable all idle storage resources in the world to be gathered to form a network and be effectively used, and such a network is unprecedented.
Through such a model, network redundancy can be effectively reduced, and the complete separation of data can be achieved. There is no need to store files in a fixed location, only the content needs to be stored in an IPFS and Filecoin network.
However, Plentiful in ideal yet bony in reality. The design flaws of the IPFS project make it difficult to truly apply in the practical environment. Its design flaws mainly focus in the following aspects:
Cannot support hot data storage.
Based on the principle of data timeliness, the higher the frequency of data access, the greater the value of the data possess. At present, IPFS only supports cold data storage scenarios. The lack of support for network transmission makes it impossible to establish a transmission network for hot data, which means the lack of the most valuable support for the network.
The disaster tolerance mechanism is missing.
Disaster tolerance means that when an IT system stops working due to an accident (such as fire, earthquake, etc.), the entire application system can be switched to another location so that the system functions can continue to work normally. IPFS / Filecoin does not provide reliable disaster recovery and recovery mechanisms for storage users. Storage miners arecentrally handling disaster recovery backup and recovery works, resulting in an increase in storage space redundancy by 2–3 times.
The storage performance is reduced by more than 60 times.
The IPFS data verification mechanism is too ideal and complex, and its storage performance is more than 60 times lower than that of a traditional centralized storage system. 1TB files usually need to be verified for more than 10 hours and cannot be stored normally and efficiently.
Centralized technology architecture.
IPFS requires pretty advanced hardware, which leads to a very high threshold for joining its storage network. At present, only specialized storage devices can join the IPFS network as storage nodes. This means that IPFS initially advertised to users that connecting ordinary idle storage and reducing storage costs, has become a flubdub. It is difficult to store the entire network in a centralized structure in a disguised form, which cannot greatly reduce the storage cost of the entire network and ensure the security of the entire network.
Due to the lack of the decentralized governance mechanism, its governance is too despotic, leading to a certain harm to the participated communities.
The above are the main obstacles currently hindering IPFS and Filecoin. The good news is that some of them can be improved and perfected, while some are design mechanism problems and cannot be fixed. Let’s take a look at another project initiated in the tech circle in 2017 — -HOP: What is HOP The HOP protocol provides a decentralized and completely anonymous traffic service for people all over the world based on block chain. HOP combines P2P network transmission and block chain technology to establish a block chain micro-payment protocol based on the block chain transmission encryption protocol between P2P network bandwidth contributors and bandwidth users, and merge it into traffic mining. In the mining pool side, the whole protocol is built on the main network, which has Micro Payment and mining functions. In addition, HOP also supports traffic mining of ERC20 in any currency. So far, HOP is the only protocol that combines the above functions and is officially available in commercial application. It can provide terminal nodes for secure access to decentralized networks. HOP features and comparison with IPFS HOP and IPFS have certain similarities. The following table is a comparison of the two projects in terms of technology and application characteristics: https://preview.redd.it/d4klovzngmt51.png?width=1178&format=png&auto=webp&s=f14f0b2290430f6861f6da27f2d1e47ed196b741 Why HOP might be a phenomenal project in the future Compared with the disadvantages of IPFS which are not supporting for hot data storage, low storage efficiency, low disaster tolerance and the high threshold of providing storage capacity, The advantages of HOP are summarized as follows:
High operating efficiency.
The smart micro-payment system runs payments with unlimited TPS, and the efficiency is 90% higher than Ethereum.
High level of open source. Supports all ERC-20 token access.
Low threshold of participation.
Any participant who has a certain fundamental knowledge of computer science and network technology can set up mining pools and miners.
It can be combined with Starlink satellites, repeaters, sim/esim cards and mobile phones in actual application scenarios to form a next-generation distributed interconnected communication network globally. At present, most of the participants of HOP are top tier tech specialists, famous investors and politicians with global vision. We believe that projects like HOP, due to the open source and far-sighted technical foundation, which can not only achieve internal self-consistent circulation, but also integrate well with external ecology. Just as water conservancy is invisible, HOP has unlimited inclusiveness and scalability, and has a strong platform-level vitality! We are looking forward to the accumulation of HOP, bringing a revolution in technology and applications to the blockchain and the practical universe!
The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market
Author: Christian Hsieh, CEO of Tokenomy This paper examines some explanations for the continual global market demand for the U.S. dollar, the rise of stablecoins, and the utility and opportunities that crypto dollars can offer to both the cryptocurrency and traditional markets. The U.S. dollar, dominant in world trade since the establishment of the 1944 Bretton Woods System, is unequivocally the world’s most demanded reserve currency. Today, more than 61% of foreign bank reserves and nearly 40% of the entire world’s debt is denominated in U.S. dollars1. However, there is a massive supply and demand imbalance in the U.S. dollar market. On the supply side, central banks throughout the world have implemented more than a decade-long accommodative monetary policy since the 2008 global financial crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the need for central banks to provide necessary liquidity and keep staggering economies moving. While the Federal Reserve leads the effort of “money printing” and stimulus programs, the current money supply still cannot meet the constant high demand for the U.S. dollar2. Let us review some of the reasons for this constant dollar demand from a few economic fundamentals.
Demand for U.S. Dollars
Firstly, most of the world’s trade is denominated in U.S. dollars. Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, has compiled data reflecting that the U.S. dollar’s share of invoicing was 4.7 times larger than America’s share of the value of imports, and 3.1 times its share of world exports3. The U.S. dollar is the dominant “invoicing currency” in most developing countries4. https://preview.redd.it/d4xalwdyz8p51.png?width=535&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f0556c6aa6b29016c9b135f3279e8337dfee2a6 https://preview.redd.it/wucg40kzz8p51.png?width=653&format=png&auto=webp&s=71257fec29b43e0fc0df1bf04363717e3b52478f This U.S. dollar preference also directly impacts the world’s debt. According to the Bank of International Settlements, there is over $67 trillion in U.S. dollar denominated debt globally, and borrowing outside of the U.S. accounted for $12.5 trillion in Q1 20205. There is an immense demand for U.S. dollars every year just to service these dollar debts. The annual U.S. dollar buying demand is easily over $1 trillion assuming the borrowing cost is at 1.5% (1 year LIBOR + 1%) per year, a conservative estimate. https://preview.redd.it/6956j6f109p51.png?width=487&format=png&auto=webp&s=ccea257a4e9524c11df25737cac961308b542b69 Secondly, since the U.S. has a much stronger economy compared to its global peers, a higher return on investments draws U.S. dollar demand from everywhere in the world, to invest in companies both in the public and private markets. The U.S. hosts the largest stock markets in the world with more than $33 trillion in public market capitalization (combined both NYSE and NASDAQ)6. For the private market, North America’s total share is well over 60% of the $6.5 trillion global assets under management across private equity, real assets, and private debt investments7. The demand for higher quality investments extends to the fixed income market as well. As countries like Japan and Switzerland currently have negative-yielding interest rates8, fixed income investors’ quest for yield in the developed economies leads them back to the U.S. debt market. As of July 2020, there are $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt securities globally (see chart). In comparison, the positive, low-yielding U.S. debt remains a sound fixed income strategy for conservative investors in uncertain market conditions. Source: Bloomberg Last, but not least, there are many developing economies experiencing failing monetary policies, where hyperinflation has become a real national disaster. A classic example is Venezuela, where the currency Bolivar became practically worthless as the inflation rate skyrocketed to 10,000,000% in 20199. The recent Beirut port explosion in Lebanon caused a sudden economic meltdown and compounded its already troubled financial market, where inflation has soared to over 112% year on year10. For citizens living in unstable regions such as these, the only reliable store of value is the U.S. dollar. According to the Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, Venezuela has become one of the most active cryptocurrency trading countries11. The demand for cryptocurrency surges as a flight to safety mentality drives Venezuelans to acquire U.S. dollars to preserve savings that they might otherwise lose. The growth for cryptocurrency activities in those regions is fueled by these desperate citizens using cryptocurrencies as rails to access the U.S. dollar, on top of acquiring actual Bitcoin or other underlying crypto assets.
The Rise of Crypto Dollars
Due to the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, USD stablecoin, a crypto-powered blockchain token that pegs its value to the U.S. dollar, was introduced to provide stable dollar exposure in the crypto trading sphere. Tether is the first of its kind. Issued in 2014 on the bitcoin blockchain (Omni layer protocol), under the token symbol USDT, it attempts to provide crypto traders with a stable settlement currency while they trade in and out of various crypto assets. The reason behind the stablecoin creation was to address the inefficient and burdensome aspects of having to move fiat U.S. dollars between the legacy banking system and crypto exchanges. Because one USDT is theoretically backed by one U.S. dollar, traders can use USDT to trade and settle to fiat dollars. It was not until 2017 that the majority of traders seemed to realize Tether’s intended utility and started using it widely. As of April 2019, USDT trading volume started exceeding the trading volume of bitcoina12, and it now dominates the crypto trading sphere with over $50 billion average daily trading volume13. https://preview.redd.it/3vq7v1jg09p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f11b5f5245a8c335ccc60432873e9bad2eb1e1 An interesting aspect of USDT is that although the claimed 1:1 backing with U.S. dollar collateral is in question, and the Tether company is in reality running fractional reserves through a loose offshore corporate structure, Tether’s trading volume and adoption continues to grow rapidly14. Perhaps in comparison to fiat U.S. dollars, which is not really backed by anything, Tether still has cash equivalents in reserves and crypto traders favor its liquidity and convenience over its lack of legitimacy. For those who are concerned about Tether’s solvency, they can now purchase credit default swaps for downside protection15. On the other hand, USDC, the more compliant contender, takes a distant second spot with total coin circulation of $1.8 billion, versus USDT at $14.5 billion (at the time of publication). It is still too early to tell who is the ultimate leader in the stablecoin arena, as more and more stablecoins are launching to offer various functions and supporting mechanisms. There are three main categories of stablecoin: fiat-backed, crypto-collateralized, and non-collateralized algorithm based stablecoins. Most of these are still at an experimental phase, and readers can learn more about them here. With the continuous innovation of stablecoin development, the utility stablecoins provide in the overall crypto market will become more apparent.
In addition to trade settlement, stablecoins can be applied in many other areas. Cross-border payments and remittances is an inefficient market that desperately needs innovation. In 2020, the average cost of sending money across the world is around 7%16, and it takes days to settle. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance fees to 3% by 2030. With the implementation of blockchain technology, this cost could be further reduced close to zero. J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has created an Interbank Information Network (IIN) with 416 global Institutions to transform the speed of payment flows through its own JPM Coin, another type of crypto dollar17. Although people argue that JPM Coin is not considered a cryptocurrency as it cannot trade openly on a public blockchain, it is by far the largest scale experiment with all the institutional participants trading within the “permissioned” blockchain. It might be more accurate to refer to it as the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) instead of “blockchain” in this context. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that as J.P. Morgan currently moves $6 trillion U.S. dollars per day18, the scale of this experiment would create a considerable impact in the international payment and remittance market if it were successful. Potentially the day will come when regulated crypto exchanges become participants of IIN, and the link between public and private crypto assets can be instantly connected, unlocking greater possibilities in blockchain applications. Many central banks are also in talks about developing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Although this idea was not new, the discussion was brought to the forefront due to Facebook’s aggressive Libra project announcement in June 2019 and the public attention that followed. As of July 2020, at least 36 central banks have published some sort of CBDC framework. While each nation has a slightly different motivation behind its currency digitization initiative, ranging from payment safety, transaction efficiency, easy monetary implementation, or financial inclusion, these central banks are committed to deploying a new digital payment infrastructure. When it comes to the technical architectures, research from BIS indicates that most of the current proofs-of-concept tend to be based upon distributed ledger technology (permissioned blockchain)19. https://preview.redd.it/lgb1f2rw19p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=040bb0deed0499df6bf08a072fd7c4a442a826a0 These institutional experiments are laying an essential foundation for an improved global payment infrastructure, where instant and frictionless cross-border settlements can take place with minimal costs. Of course, the interoperability of private DLT tokens and public blockchain stablecoins has yet to be explored, but the innovation with both public and private blockchain efforts could eventually merge. This was highlighted recently by the Governor of the Bank of England who stated that “stablecoins and CBDC could sit alongside each other20”. One thing for certain is that crypto dollars (or other fiat-linked digital currencies) are going to play a significant role in our future economy.
There is never a dull moment in the crypto sector. The industry narratives constantly shift as innovation continues to evolve. Twelve years since its inception, Bitcoin has evolved from an abstract subject to a familiar concept. Its role as a secured, scarce, decentralized digital store of value has continued to gain acceptance, and it is well on its way to becoming an investable asset class as a portfolio hedge against asset price inflation and fiat currency depreciation.Stablecoins have proven to be useful as proxy dollars in the crypto world, similar to how dollars are essential in the traditional world. It is only a matter of time before stablecoins or private digital tokens dominate the cross-border payments and global remittances industry. There are no shortages of hypes and experiments that draw new participants into the crypto space, such as smart contracts, new blockchains, ICOs, tokenization of things, or the most recent trends on DeFi tokens. These projects highlight the possibilities for a much more robust digital future, but the market also needs time to test and adopt. A reliable digital payment infrastructure must be built first in order to allow these experiments to flourish. In this paper we examined the historical background and economic reasons for the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the world, and the probable conclusion is that the demand for U.S. dollars will likely continue, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, accompanied by a worldwide economic slowdown. The current monetary system is far from perfect, but there are no better alternatives for replacement at least in the near term. Incremental improvements are being made in both the public and private sectors, and stablecoins have a definite role to play in both the traditional and the new crypto world. Thank you. Reference:  How the US dollar became the world’s reserve currency, Investopedia  The dollar is in high demand, prone to dangerous appreciation, The Economist  Dollar dominance in trade and finance, Gita Gopinath  Global trades dependence on dollars, The Economist & IMF working papers  Total credit to non-bank borrowers by currency of denomination, BIS  Biggest stock exchanges in the world, Business Insider  McKinsey Global Private Market Review 2020, McKinsey & Company  Central banks current interest rates, Global Rates  Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent, CNBC  Lebanon inflation crisis, Reuters  Venezuela cryptocurrency market, Chainalysis  The most used cryptocurrency isn’t Bitcoin, Bloomberg  Trading volume of all crypto assets, coinmarketcap.com  Tether US dollar peg is no longer credible, Forbes  New crypto derivatives let you bet on (or against) Tether’s solvency, Coindesk  Remittance Price Worldwide, The World Bank  Interbank Information Network, J.P. Morgan  Jamie Dimon interview, CBS News  Rise of the central bank digital currency, BIS  Speech by Andrew Bailey, 3 September 2020, Bank of England
3.61 million bitcoins lost, is it good news for bitcoin holders?
According to the Coin Metrics report, it is assumed that the lost Bitcoin includes addresses for destruction (2213), wallet vulnerabilities (2609), and no mobile addresses for many years (1.4969 million). According to Chainalysis research, according to estimates of long-term holders, frequency of transfers, and strategic investors, it is believed that about 3 million cannot be recovered. According to Chain.info research, the total amount of UTXO was classified and estimated at three time points in 2013, 2014, and 2017, and it was found that there were about 3.61 million BTC lost, accounting for 20%. From the perspective of the distribution of bitcoin holdings over the past five years, the proportion of bitcoin holdings over five years has reached 21.62%, and most of this part has actually been withdrawn from circulation. At present, the market value of bitcoin is 909.085 billion yuan. If the lost amount is eliminated (20% has been lost), the actual market value after removal is 728.391 billion yuan. The inflation rate of bitcoin is maintained at about 3.6%. The actual annual inflation rate is about 4.5%, corresponding to the actual annual inflation rate after the block reward halved next year will be about 2.2%. So the good news is that permanently lost bitcoin is a kind of "subsidy" for long-term holders, but the bad news is that the substantial drop in real inflation and private key loss rates is "cutting" long-term holder subsidies.
EDIT 2/21/2020. I am no longer offering the service described below as I no longer have access to the necessary hardware. ~~~~~~~~~~ Hey all, I have recently been messing around with vanity addresses for paper wallets. After a little tinkering I got the system working well and can generate wallets up to a certain complexity quite reliably. I've been able to generate wallets like this one: 1Bitcoinjqekek8HwmT8Cp8ojH9b7Quhzi This one: 1Satoshi3A43v3Jk9MpfJPUDrWadFUUP6 And this one: 1Genesisud7wjt8Lkto75ANupmviwC2wpW I personally haven't been using paper wallets for cold storage until now, but with the value of BSV going up and also having read the following paper about the possibility (albeit very small) of compromise of private keys in HD wallets, that for the BSV I intend to sit on long term, it's probably not the worst idea ever to use a paper wallet for that. But hey, it would be nice if those addresses were a bit more recognizable than a random address, am I right? :) In going through this exercise, I happened to notice that there are services out there that will generate these kinds of addresses, but they seem overly expensive! e.g., At vanity.coin.dance they want 1 BTC(!!) to generate an address starting with "Satoshi" e.g., like the "1Satoshi3A43v3Jk9MpfJPUDrWadFUUP6" I generated above. That's day-light robbery!! Furthermore, the above service treats split key generation (which seems necessary for security when having a third party generate the wallet) as an "advanced" feature only. Imagine paying 1 BTC for an address only to have the private key compromised! (Seems almost negligent). So anyway, whilst I have this system set up and working, I was thinking I could extend a temporary offer to anyone who is interested in getting a vanity address (or addresses) for paper wallet cold storage. So all that said, the procedure, following the secure split key approach, would be as follows.
You would go to bitaddress.org and download a local copy of the web site (and validate it against provided signatures).
Run that downloaded copy of web site on an off-line system.
Click the Vanity Wallet Tab.
Click the "Generate" button in Step 1.
Copy the public key from Step 1 and PM me with that key (it's quite long so copy/paste is the way to go). Also indicate in the PM the address prefix that you want (can't include invalid characters; I will tell you if you included any). Be sure to keep a copy of the private key from Step 1 (or keep the web page open). If you lose this key the whole process will be for nothing. Do not lose (or compromise) it (and definitely do not PM it to me!).
Send payment (as per the schedule below) to 1Satoshi3A43v3Jk9MpfJPUDrWadFUUP6 and PM me the TxID.
When I receive payment, I will generate a partial private key that you need for Step 2 in the bitaddress.org page.
You take the partial private key that you generated in Step 1 (that you keep secure and never shared with anyone) and paste it into the first box in Step 2 in the Bitaddress.org page (that you are still running locally and off-line).
Finally, you paste the partial private key that I PM you back, into the text box where it says "Enter Pool Part Private Key (from Vanity Pool):" (Note: PMing this partial private key is fine; so long as you keep your partial private key secure (from Step 1), the process is still secure; the process is intended to work this way).
Click "Calculate Vanity Wallet" et viola! A wallet will be produced that meets your prefix requirement and is 100% secure since the partial private key that you generated in Step 1 never left your control.
What you do with your new shiny address from that point on-wards is your prerogative, the same as any other paper wallet that you produce. Our deal is done. The pricing schedule for this (temporary) service is as follows:
3 Characters (e.g.,) 1BSVxxxx....xxx 0.01 BSV.
4 Characters (e.g.,) 1Coinxxx....xxx 0.02 BSV.
5 Characters (e.g.,) 1Coinsxx....xxx 0.04 BSV.
6 Characters (e.g.,) 1BuyBSVx....xxx 0.1 BSV.
7 Characters (e.g.,) 1Satoshi....xxx 0.75 BSV1.
(Footnote 1: Turns out most 7 character combinations are pretty hard to generate and may take quite a while to generate. The prefix "1Bitcoin", however, is not as hard (higher chance of generating), and I can do that one for 0.25 BSV). (Note: I can't guarantee that I can deliver anything longer than 7 characters, hence there is no price for this). (Note: The reason for the steep increase in price as a function of number of prefix characters is the time it takes to generate the addresses as they become exponentially more complex and the fact the process is non deterministic). Compare the above price for a 1Satoshi... address (0.75BSV) to vanity.coin.dance (1BTC!!!) and hopefully you'll see that I'm being pretty reasonable with this, though do note that the "1Satoshi" prefix, specifically, is a hard one to generate and I may not be able to do it unless you are willing to wait a while. Anyway, I'm not sure if anyone will be interested in this, and you'll have to trust me as someone who has been in this sub since the total membership was only in double digits, that I'm not a fly by night scammer who is going to take your payment and run! To that end I advise that I have made posts in this sub with direct reference to my Australian based registered business that accepts BSV as payment, so it's not hard to track me down. If you go back far enough you'll also see that I was involved in running a Bitstagram competition and came good with the BSV prize in that case. That said, a small amount of trust will be required if this is going to work out. Test me with one of the cheaper options first, if you have doubts. Terms and Conditions
Any PM received with an "order" is an offer by you to purchase a vanity address. It's not binding until I accept the offer in writing (by PM).
All "orders" will be processed in the order they are received; I will guarantee a 48 hour turn around for everything up to 6 characters and 1681 hours (7 days) for 7 characters. In reality most will be processed much quicker, but I have to cover my ass! If I get too many orders (unlikely!!) I reserve the right to reject any that I cannot meet in a timely manner (any payments that have been made will be refunded to the specified address, less any BSV Tx fees).
This offer is on the table until I withdraw it. I may withdraw it at any time by making a follow up post to this subedit to this post.
The address that is generated is the address that you get and that is final. If there is something in the address that you don't like (like a random swear word; albeit very unlikely) we can discuss a discounted rate to have a second try at it. (I'd rather you go home happy, if possible).
If there is some address that I cannot generate in the above guaranteed time frames (some are harder to produce than others), I will let you know by PM and refund your entire purchase price.
The entire risk of the use of the generated vanity address lies with you. (I recommend you test it with a small amount and make sure you can withdraw it, before loading it up for real).
(T&C Footnote 1: Some 7 character combinations can take a long time to find (e.g., "1Satoshi") and may take up to two weeks or more! I reserve the right to not even attempt to generate any specific combination that could adversely affect my ability to turn it around in a reasonably timely manner. In that case you can choose a different prefix or I will refund your money, if at that stage you had already paid). For any potential prefix I can check the estimated time to generate and report back on whether it's reasonable, before we agree to go ahead.) ps/ Here are two three addresses that I generated showing that funds are able to be deposited and withdrawn successfully. https://blockchair.com/bitcoin-sv/address/1Satoshi3A43v3Jk9MpfJPUDrWadFUUP6 https://blockchair.com/bitcoin-sv/address/1Bitcoinjqekek8HwmT8Cp8ojH9b7Quhzi https://blockchair.com/bitcoin-sv/address/1BuyBSVMHGx6dSTpLMhALXvEPVEDMStxoR Both addresses accepted funds and both allowed the BSV to be successfully swept (in this case I used Simply Cash to deposit and sweep). ~~~~~~~~~~ EDIT 2/21/2020. I am no longer offering the service described below as I no longer have access to the necessary hardware.
Sharering (SHR) I believe this one is going to surprise so many. Already generating revenue and doing buybacks every week. Already over 10 000 registered users. Mainnet + app + masternodes and staking before EOY.
I got this stuff from Steve Aitchison, he wrote this review and posted it on Uptrennd. Figured I should put it on here as well since I truly believe this is an incredible moonshot. I'm personally holding SHR myself and am very convinced it will do extremely well. Give a read through it and you will immediatly see why. Enjoy guys. Introduction Imagine for a second the following scenario. You are a 2 car family. One car is used every day going back and forth to work, for shopping, all the little jaunts you and your husband like to go on. Your grown children are at university and come home for the weekends so the other car sits in the driveway all week and doesn’t get used during the week. What a waste of a perfectly good car. You think to yourself we could put that car to good use and actually help to pay for university fees, by renting it out during the week. However, then you think “well it’s only a little Ford Fiesta who’s going to want to rent that.” Well, it turns out a lot of people want to rent it and for a good price: £34 ($40) per day, a possible $800 per month. Peer to peer car sharing has grown massively over the last few years and people are making serious money by letting our vehicles on a daily basis, emulating the Airbnb model. In fact companies like Turo, Getaround and Drivy, which has just been acquired by Getaround for $300 Million, are bringing in serious investors like Toyota, Softbank Vision Fund, Menlo Ventures, and IAC to the tune of over $800 Million. A key difference between rental companies and peer to peer is that they have vastly improved technology with app interfaces that make locating assets and resources, reserving and using them, and making payment convenient and seamless. This, combined with location-specific analytics, allows by-the-minute access to assets and resources (e.g. cars or bicycles) and enables customers to pick up and drop these assets where and when convenient. Car sharing is just one example of an industry that is being disrupted. We have seen, experienced and read about the amazing growth of Airbnb which is now estimated to be valued at $38 Billion. Airbnb has been so successful that companies like booking.com are trying to get in on the act by adopting a similar model when it comes to booking accommodation. There is also the phenomenal rise of bicycle rentals which we see in cities all over the world, not quite the same as peer to peer sharing, but it’s another rental model that is ripe for being disrupted by the new sharing model. With this business model in mind what other areas could it be used in: Transport: Used for the rental of cars, trucks, scooters, trailers, and even heavy vehicles. Delivery Drivers: Facilitate booking and payment for delivery drivers. Agriculture: Garden sharing, seed swap, bee-hive relocation, etc. Finance: Peer to peer lending Food bank, social dining Travel Tours, shared tour groups Real Estate Airbnb, co-housing, co-living, Couchsurfing, shared office space, house swapping. Time: Labour, co-working, freelancing Assets Book swapping, clothes swapping, fractional ownership, freecycling, toy libraries. Transportation Car sharing, ride-sharing, car-pooling, bicycle sharing, delivery company, couriers And so much more! This newly emerging, but highly fragmented sharing industry, is currently worth over $100 billion. It is predicted to grow to at least $335 billion by 2025. As you can see from a few examples above the sharing economy has a lot of room to grow but what it doesn’t have, yet, is a company who can facilitate ALL of the above use cases in one place. That is until now! ShareRing is disrupting the disruptors by bringing everything together in one place and making it easy for you and me to share anything and everything and making it as easy as opening an app on your phone. Business Case The sharing market has exploded over the last several years. This is due, in part, to the digital age we live in, as we now have over 2.82 Billion people with smart phones around the world. It also due to how easy the business model of sharing lends itself to the digital world, and how with the simple installation of an app we can access a plethora of markets to rent almost anything from. Due to this rise of digital platforms and the proliferation of smartphones, revenues coming from sharing economy platforms are only expected to increase. It is estimated to grow to a $335 billion industry in 2025, compared to its $14 billion value in 2014. (PwC UK). The beauty of the sharing economy is that it is a win/win/win situation for the person who wants to rent something for a few days or weeks, the person who is renting out, and the company who facilitates the ease of the transactions between the renter and the person renting out. Typically the renter will save a lot of money whilst renting out someone else’s apartment, car, bicycle, clothes, dog sitting services etc and they can almost be assured of quality due to the social side of the business model with reviews from real people. The person who is renting out can make additional income and will want good reviews and therefore keep the standard of service higher. The company that is facilitating all of this can make a lot of money on transaction fees, as well as from advertising, and partnership deals, and obviously have an exit strategy for possible buyouts. When it comes to looking at the business model, ShareRing fits in to the Commission Based Platform as described in Ritter and Schanz study where they looked at the core difference in difference business models of the sharing economy: Singular Transaction Models, Subscription-Based Models, Commission-Based Platforms and Unlimited Platforms.) Commission Based Platforms are dominated by (at least) triadic relationships amongst providers, intermediaries and consumers with a utility-bound revenue stream. These business models enable their customers to switch between provider and consumer roles by creating and delivering the value proposition. Only a few employees work for the intermediary and the value creation and delivery is externalized. From a consumer perspective, consumers are empowered to collaborate with each other and to design the collaboration terms by negotiating the terms and conditions of the content, creation, distribution and consumption of the value proposition. Depending on the orientation of the value proposition, consumers purchase commodities (Tauschticket, ebay), access commodities in a defined timespan (booking.com, Airbnb) or buy services (uber, turo) from occasional and professional providers found via an intermediary. The intermediary mainly focuses on nurturing a community feeling and reducing exchange insecurity by incorporating rating systems, micro-assurances and standardizations of payment and delivery into the platform. The platform mainly takes commissions for successful matching and executing trade. (Journal of Cleaner Production Volume 213, 10 March 2019, Pages 320-331) The USP of the ShareRing Business Model The USP that ShareRing has is that it brings all of the different forms of sharing together in one app through partnerships and onboarding of users. No other company, to date, is bringing everything together in such a way. However there are other factors that make ShareRing unique, which we will look at. Token Economics SHR is a utility token and will be used to pay for transactions on the network, such as 'new booking', 'add asset', etc. SHR is used by providers to pay for their access to the ShareLedger blockchain, including the addition of assets, renting out of assets, adding attributes, adding smart contracts, and other features. SharePay (SHRP) is used by customers to pay for the rental of assets. Masternodes will also be a main feature of the SHR token. When a transaction fee is incurred, it will be distributed in a way that allows for masternode holders who provide a service to the platform to receive a reward from each transaction. Transaction fees are charged to sharing providers in SHR. The distribution of transaction fees will be as follows: 50% - will be distributed amongst the active masternode holders who host an active node on the blockchain at that point in time (these holders provide a service to the platform). The distribution will be based on a calculation of the Total Amount Staked and the total continuous uptime of the node. 50% - will be provided to ShareRing Ltd (view ShareRing owned masternodes) for various purposes that contribute to working capital and platform growth. Leased Proof of Stake Consensus ShareRing have chosen the Leased Proof-of-Stake protocol as the consensus algorithm for ShareLedger. This choice is based on the practicality and security benefits evident in the Waves platform. It is also much more cost effective than Proof-of-Work (POW), and will not suffer from the current issues Bitcoin and other POW cryptocurrencies are facing such as scalability and electricity consumption. As explained above master nodes will be a main feature but there is the other feature of lightweight nodes. A user with a lightweight node will be able to stake their tokens to a full node of their choosing and participate in reaching consensus. They will also be free to cancel their leasing at any time as there are no contracts or freezing periods. The more tokens that have been staked in a full node, the higher the probability the node will have in producing the next block. Since the reward is given based on the total number of tokens staked in the full node, there will always be a trade-off between the size of the full node and the percentage of the reward. As an average user of the platform, you will not need to have technical knowledge on how to set up a node nor will you have to download the entire blockchain in order to stake your tokens. Only a user who sets up a full node will be required to do this, making it simpler than ever for users to earn a reward for supporting the platform. The return expected for staking is expected to be around 6 - 8% although this has yet to be confirmed. Buybacks ShareRing are currently implementing a series of buybacks which started in the beginning of November: The buyback operation is done at a random time during the week. If there is enough liquidity, SHR tokens will be bought through a single market order at the time of buyback. In case there is not enough liquidity, a limit buy order at last sell order price will be placed on the market, and will remain open until it gets filled. The buyback program was implemented to test the API purchase process for when live transactions occur on ShareLedger The Buyback Program is expected to:
Reduce the supply of ShareTokens available in both public and private markets
Bring New capital and fund inflows into the Shareledger
Substantially magnify value creation for the ShareToken holders
The Token Flow ShareRing will bring in hundreds of merchants to list their rental products, either exclusively or as part of an aggregator system e.g. When you look at the likes of trivago.com they will list the best hotel prices from multiple merchants who are listed on their website. Essentially ShareRing will become part of the aggregator ecosystem and be listed on sites like trivago.com as well as have exclusive agreements with merchants who are listed directly on their app. ShareRing’s USP is that they have everything on one place as well as their OneID module with means buyers can get a hotel, rent a car, rent their ski equipment, book events all through the one app and using the OneID. With that in mind they are going to attract a lot of merchants. This is where it gets exciting so pay attention to this part. When a merchant is part of the ShareRing ecosystem and a buyer rents something from that merchant ShareRing will take a small % commission from that transaction. So say someone books a hotel for $100 for the night, ShareRing might take $0.50 as a commission. What ShareRing will then do is go to one of the exchanges that ShareRing (SHR) is listed on and buy SHR tokens directly using an API system using USDT. Now, the actual commission has not been disclosed yet however if we assume even a 0.25% commission that means for every $100 Million worth of bookings made through the app will net ShareRing $250,000 which means buy backs of $250,000 for the SHR token, which increases the liquidity of SHR on the exchanges. If you think $100 Million of bookings is a lot, booking.com customers book around 1.5 Million rooms per day, if we estimate an average of $50 per room that is $75 million of bookings PER DAY or $2 Billion worth of bookings per month. This revenue coupled with revenue from OneID and eVOA makes ShareRing profitable almost from day one of the app going live. OneID And eVOA Another exciting development from the ShareRing team is the collaboration between ShareRings Self Sovereign Identity protocol and third party providers to bring OneID and eVOA which will utilise OneID With the huge rise in E-commerce and with over 2.82 billion people who now own a smartphone we are entrusting our personal information to more and more centralised entities. These entities are frequently hacked and our information is leaked to outside parties. ShareRing aims to tackle this with their service OneID module. ShareRing’s OneID solution protects users' data by handling Know Your Customer (KYC) information through third parties and ShareRing’s Self Sovereign Identity Protocol. ShareRing does not hold any identifying information anywhere on its servers. It provides the ultimate security for the renter and also the provider, as the Protocol encrypts and stores your data in a secure manner within your device. Essentially, this means that it is near impossible for a hack or data leak to happen, simply because there is no centralized server of data for hackers to exploit. The OneID module is very easy to use. The end-user needs to complete their ID submission only once, with the entire submission process requiring less than two minutes to complete. Once this step has been completed, the customers KYC is destroyed by the 3rd party document verification system and the OneID module allows merchants to verify a customer’s identity via a hashed verification packet, stored on the users device and ShareLedger. This removes the need for merchants to store or see personal information; safeguarding both merchants and users from fraud. To create your ShareRing OneID, simply:
Take a picture of your government ID document
Take a selfie
Confirm and submit your details
This is something I am really excited about for ShareRing and they already have made partnerships for other companies to use this feature which is another income stream for ShareRing. eVOA E-Visa On Arrival allows applicants to apply online and receive a travel authorisation before departure – this eVOA can be shown at dedicated Thailand immigration counters on arrival at major Thailand airports, allowing travellers to pass through in minutes. OneID system is scheduled to become the lynchpin technology in Thailand’s electronic Visa On Arrival (eVOA) system; one of only two companies to partner with Thai authorities to provide this service. The new Visa system eliminates much of the hassle involved in entering the country: This is a strong validation of the OneID system - immigration controls are some of the most scrutinized processes in any branch of government, and if the OneID solution can operate to their standards then it is truly business-ready. As explained by our COO, Rohan Le Page: “We are providing our OneID product for Thailand e-VOA (Visa On Arrival) that allows 5 Million travellers from 20 countries including China and India to complete the visa process on their mobile through our app. This provides a streamlined immigration process that negates the need for an expensive and time-consuming process when you get off the plane. Additionally, fraud is mitigated with several extra layers of security in the back end including our blockchain (ShareLedger) consensus model that makes all data immutable and all but impossible to hack.” Profit Margins on OneID So how does ShareRing make money from OneID and eVOA? With each application for an eVOA using the OneID module ShareRing will make an undisclosed commission. The e-VOA is available to citizens of 21 different countries and is intended for those who will be holidaying in Thailand and not working in the country. This means that each eVOA will last for a period of around 15 days which effectively means that ShareRing will get commission multiple times from each person travelling to one of the 21 countries listed below: Andorra, Bhutan, Bulgaria, China, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Cyprus Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan The profits on this alone, according to projections, are worth millions of dollars per year to ShareRing, with a healthy growth of about 35% in raw profit over the next 5 years, ultimately netting the company about $1.5 million profit per quarter. The ShareLedger Blockchain Platform ShareRing will utilize the registered intellectual property from the existing KeazACCESS framework (KEAZ: A car sharing company founded by Tim Bos) as well as improving it the blockchain experience in their team. It will consist of fo the primary elements: SharePay (SHRP) – SharePay is the base currency that will allow users of the ShareRing platform to pay for the use of third party assets. ShareToken (SHR) ShareToken (SHR) is the digital utility token that drives sharing transactions to be written to the ShareRing ledger that is managed by the ShareRing platform. Account – This will be a standard account, which such an account being represented by a 24-byte address. The account will contain 4 general fields: SHRP – SharePay token balance SHR – ShareToken balance ASSETS – linked/owned by the account (see below for definition of an Asset) ATTRIBUTES – Any additional attributes that are associated with this account. These attributes may be updated or added by Sharing Economy providers that utilise the ledger such as ID checks by rental companies. These attributes may be ‘global’ (i.e. used by any sharing providers) or ‘local’ (i.e. used by a specific sharing provider). Assets – An asset represents a tangible real-world or digital asset that is being shared, such as a car, a house, industrial machinery, an e-book, and so on. Smart Contracts – Similar to a number of other blockchain platforms, such as Ethereum and NEO, the ShareLedger blockchain will feature highly customisable smart contracts. These Smart Contracts will allow for decentralised autonomous applications that can be attached to an asset and/or account. Every smart contract will be Turing complete, meaning it will have the ability to implement sophisticated logic to manage the sharing of the assets. The smart contracts will be tested and reviewed by ShareRing in a sandbox as well as audited by reputable third-party code auditors prior to implementation. Proof of Stake Consensus ShareRing have chosen the Leased Proof-of-Stake protocol as the consensus algorithm for ShareLedger. This choice is based on the practicality and security benefits evident in the Waves platform. It is also much more cost effective than Proof-of-Work (POW), and will not suffer from the current issues Bitcoin and other POW cryptocurrencies are facing such as scalability and electricity consumption. The ShareRing App At the heart of the ShareRing project lies the ShareRing app: A universal ‘ShareRing’ app is being developed that will allow anyone to easily see and use any sharing services around them. Each partner will have the option of developing a ‘mini’ app within the ShareRing app that will have functionalities specific to that partner. The app will use geolocation-based services to display the ShareRing services that are nearby Social Media Presence Coming from a social media background I feel this is an extremely important area to look into, especially in the crypto world. ShareRing has done an okay job in growing their social media presence however I feel it could be much better. Here is a look at some of the key stats for their online social media presence: Youtube: 191 Subscribers Instagram: 238 Followers Linkedin: 376 Followers Telegram: 6,525 members (very active) Twitter: 2,216 Followers (Fairly regular updates) Facebook: 1,965 Followers Whilst social media may not be a priority just now I feel there has to be a big presence with image-based platforms and video-based platforms. Youtube and Instagram should be made a priority here as it spans all generations: Other News on ShareRing There is a lot of stuff going on at the moment with ShareRing which is what makes it an exciting prospect. Rather than give information on each of them here are some highlights provided by the ShareRing team.: - ShareRing's revolutionary ID management based module OneID. - Worlds first Blockchain based eVOA in place with major Thai company targeting 5 to 10 million travellers from 20 countries. - 2.6 million International Hotels/ Accommodation coming on to the Platform. Lots more to come! - Partnership with HomeAway - 200,000 Activites, Tours and Events added to the ShareRing App - Multi Global Car Sharing Partnerships - 1 Partner Directly Integrating SHR's OneID consisting of 1.2 million Vehicles across 150 Countries - Luxury Car Brand Sharing Platform purely based on SHR - SHR payment system SHRP available in 10% Taxi Terminals in Australia - SHRP available in 10,000 EFTPOS Terminals Australia wide - White Labelling Services incorporating ShareRings revolutionary OneID - 20 Significant Unannounced Partnerships, more to come! - Major Partners include - - BYD (Largest Electric Car Maker in the World) - DJI (Largest Drone Maker in the World) - Keaz (300 locations around the world) - Yogoo EV Car Sharing - MOBI Alliance Member Overview of Positives and Negatives Negatives Social Media and marketing possibly needs to be ramped up in order to bring more awareness to the project. The roadmap and white paper has not been updated recently for 2019/2020 but this I believe is coming soon. Positives With a low market cap project like ShareRing the risk to reward ratio is very good for retail and institutional investors. Technical analysis of current prices, currently at 31 Satoshi, is also very good with resistance levels at 50, 77 and 114 Satoshi which would be nearing its all time high. Referral program will increase the numbers of users that are currently using the site. If ShareRing can capture even a small % of the overall sharing market then success looks assured. There are 20 new announcements coming up and with Tim Bos looking for more partnerships it seems likely that ShareRing will break ATH prices soon. Great long term hold, in my opinion. Realistic Expectations of ROI Short term (4 weeks - 12 weeks) Short term looks great for ShareRing both from a TA point of view and a fundamental point of view. With lots of news still to come out about ShareRing there is not going to be a shortage of fundamentals to drive the price up. From a TA point of view the next line of resistance stands at around the 50 Satoshi level which would complete a massive cup and handle formation from August 24th of this year. After that we are looking at resistances of 77 and 114 to reach near the all time highs which i expect ShareRing to reach going into 2020. Long term (6 Months - 2 Years) If ShareRing can onboard users and keep on making partnerships at the same rate there will be no stopping it. It’s all about onboarding the users and utilising the most powerful marketing tool ever - word of mouth! When a great app is realised with great and useful functionality then it tends to go viral and I am hoping this happens for ShareRing. With a market cap at the moment of just under $6 Million then I don’t think it’s crazy to talk about 1000% increases in the next 2 years and I really believe that is being extremely conservative, given where we think crypto is heading as a whole.
STATUS: Majority of questions have been answered. If yours got missed, please feel free to post it again. Introduction All, Based on the rapid increase in popularity and price of bitcoin and other crypto currencies (particularly over the past year), I expect that lots of people have questions about how crypto currency will impact their taxes. This thread attempts to address several common issues. I'm posting similar versions of it here, in several major crypto subs, and eventually in the weekly "tax help" threads personalfinance runs. I'd like to thank the /personalfinance mod team and the /tax community for their help with this thread and especially for reading earlier versions and offering several valuable suggestions/corrections. This thread is NOT an endorsement of crypto currency as an investing strategy. There is a time and a place to debate the appropriateness of crypto as part of a diversified portfolio - but that time is not now and that place is not here. If you are interested in the general consensus of this sub on investing, I would urge you to consult the wiki while keeping in mind the general flowchart outlining basic steps to get your finances in order. Finally, please note that this thread attempts to provide information about your tax obligations as defined by United States law (and interpreted by the IRS under the direction of the Treasury Department). I understand that a certain portion of the crypto community tends to view crypto as "tax free" due to the (actual and perceived) difficulty for the IRS to "know" about the transactions involved. I will not discuss unlawfully concealing crypto gains here nor will I suggest illegal tax avoidance activities. The Basics This section is best for people that don't understand much about taxes. It covers some very basic tax principles. It also assumes that all you did during the year was buy/sell a single crypto currency. Fundamentally, the IRS treats crypto not as money, but as an asset (investment). While there are a few specific "twists" when it comes to crypto, when in doubt replace the word "crypto" with the word "stock" and you will get a pretty good idea how you should report and pay tax on crypto. The first thing you should know is that the majority of this discussion applies to the taxes you are currently working on (2017 taxes). The tax bill that just passed applies to 2018 taxes (with a few very tiny exceptions), which most people will file in early 2019. In general, you don't have to report or pay taxes on crypto currency holdings until you "cash out" all or part of your holdings. For now, I'm going to assume that you cash out by selling them for USD; however, other forms of cashing out will be covered later. When you sell crypto, you report the difference between your basis (purchase price) and proceeds (sale price) on Schedule D. Your purchase price is commonly referred to as your basis; while the two terms don't mean exactly the same thing, they are pretty close to one another (in particular, there are three two ways to calculate your basis - your average cost, a first-in, first-out method, and a "specific identification" method. See more about these here and here). EDIT - you may not use average cost method with crypto - see here. If you sell at a gain, this gain increases your tax liability; if you sell at a loss, this loss decreases your tax liability (in most cases). If you sell multiple times during the year, you report each transaction separately (bad news if you trade often) but get to lump all your gains/losses together when determining how the trades impact your income. One important thing to remember is that there are two different types of gains/losses from investments - short term gains (if you held an asset for one year or less) and long term gains (over one year; i.e. one year and one day). Short term gains are taxed at your marginal income rate (basically, just like if you had earned that money at a job) while long term gains are taxed at lower rates. For most people, long term capital gains are taxed at 15%. However, if you are in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, congrats - your gains (up to the maximum amount of "unused space" in your bracket) are tax free! If you are in the 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 15%. If you are in the 39.6% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 20%. Additionally, there is an "extra" 3.8% tax that applies to gains for those above $200,000/$250,000 (single/married). The exact computation of this tax is a little complicated, but if you are close to the $200,000 level, just know that it exists. Finally, you should know that I'm assuming that you should treat your crypto gains/losses as investment gains/losses. I'm sure some people will try and argue that they are really "day traders" of crypto and trade as a full time job. While this is possible, the vast majority of people don't qualify for this status and you should really think several times before deciding you want to try that approach on the IRS. "Cashing Out" - Trading Crypto for Goods/Services I realize that not everyone that "cashes out" of crypto does so by selling it for USD. In fact, I understand that some in the crypto community view the necessity of cashing out itself as a type of myth. In this section, I discuss what happens if you trade your crypto for basically anything that isn't cash (minor sidenote - see next section for a special discussion on trading crypto for crypto; i.e. buying altcoins with crypto). The IRS views trading crypto for something of value as a type of bartering that must be included in income. From the IRS's perspective, it doesn't matter if you sold crypto for cash and bought a car with that cash or if you just traded crypto directly for the car - in both cases, the IRS views you as having sold your crypto. This approach isn't unique to crypto - it works the same way if you trade stock for something. This means that if you do trade your crypto for "stuff", you have to report every exchange as a sale of your crypto and calculate the gain/loss on that sale, just as if you had sold the crypto for cash. Finally, there is one important exception to this rule. If you give your crypto away to charity (one recognized by the IRS; like a 501(c)(3) organization), the IRS doesn't make you report/pay any capital gains on the transaction. Additionally, you still get to deduct the value of your donation on the date it was made. Now, from a "selfish" point of view, you will always end up with more money if you sell the crypto, pay the tax, and keep the rest. But, if you are going to make a donation anyway, especially a large one, giving crypto where you have a big unrealized/untaxed gain is a very efficient way of doing so. "Alt Coins" - Buying Crypto with Crypto The previous section discusses what happens when you trade crypto for stuff. However, one thing that surprises many people is that trading crypto for crypto is also a taxable event, just like trading crypto for a car. Whether you agree with this position or not, it makes a lot of sense once you realize that the IRS doesn't view crypto as money, but instead as an asset. So to the IRS, trading bitcoin for ripple isn't like trading dollars for euros, but it is instead like trading shares of Apple stock for shares of Tesla stock. Practically, what this means is that if you trade one crypto for another crypto (say BTC for XRP just to illustrate the point), the IRS views you as doing the following:
Selling for cash the amount of BTC you actually traded for XRP.
Owing capital gains/losses on the BTC based on its selling price (the fair market value at the moment of the exchange) and your purchase price (basis).
Buying a new investment (XRP) with a cost basis equal to the amount the BTC was worth when you exchanged them.
This means that if you "time" your trade wrong and the value of XRP goes down after you make the exchange, you still owe tax on your BTC gain even though you subsequently lost money. The one good piece of news in this is that when/if you sell your XRP (or change it back to BTC), you will get a capital loss for the value that XRP dropped. There is one final point worth discussing in this section - the so called "like kind exchange" rules (aka section 1031 exchange). At a high level, these rules say that you can "swap" property with someone else without having to pay taxes on the exchange as long as you get property in return that is "like kind". Typically, these rules are used in real estate transactions. However, they can also apply to other types of transactions as well. While the idea is simple (and makes it sound like crypto for crypto should qualify), the exact rules/details of this exception are very fact specific. Most experts (including myself, but certainly not calling myself an expert) believe that a crypto for crypto swap is not a like kind exchange. The recently passed tax bill also explicitly clarifies this issue - starting in 2018, only real estate qualifies for like kind exchange treatment. So, basically, the vast majority of evidence suggests that you can't use this "loophole" for 2017; however, there is a small minority view/some small amount of belief that this treatment would work for 2017 taxes and it is worth noting that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this approach. Dealing with "Forks" Perhaps another unpleasant surprise for crypto holders is that "forks" to create a new crypto also very likely generate a taxable event. The IRS has long (since at least the 1960s) held that "found" money is a taxable event. This approach has been litigated in court and courts have consistently upheld this position; it even has its own cool nerdy tax name - the "treasure trove" doctrine. Practically, what this means is that if you owned BTC and it "forked" to create BCH, then the fair market value of the BCH you received is considered a "treasure trove" that must be reported as income (ordinary income - no capital gain rates). This is true whether or not you sold your BCH; if you got BCH from a fork, that is a taxable event (note - I'll continue using BTC forking to BCH in this section as an example, but the logic applies to all forks). While everything I've discussed up to this point is pretty clearly established tax law, forks are really where things get messy with taxes. Thus, the remainder of this section contains more speculation than elsewhere in this post - the truth is that while the idea is simple (fork = free money = taxable), the details are messy and other kinds of tax treatment might apply to forks. One basic practical problem with forks is that the new currency doesn't necessarily start trading immediately. Thus, you may have received BCH before there was a clear price or market for it. Basically, you owe tax on the value of BCH when you received it, but it isn't completely clear what that value was. There are several ways you can handle this; I'll list them in order from most accurate to least accurate (but note that this is just my personal view and there is ongoing disagreement on this issue with little/no authoritative guidance).
Use a futures market to determine the value of the BCH - if reliable sources published realistic estimates of what BCH will trade for in the future once trading begins, use this estimate as the value of your BCH. Pros/cons - futures markets are, in theory, pretty accurate. However, if they are volatile/subject to manipulation, they may provide an incorrect estimate of the true value of BCH. It would suck to use the first futures value published only to have that value plummet shortly thereafter, leaving you to pay ordinary income tax but only have an unrealized capital loss.
Wait until an exchange starts trading BCH; use the actual ("spot" price) as the value. Pros/cons - spot prices certainly reflect what you could have sold BCH for; however, it is possible that the true value of the coin was highelower when you received it as compared to when it started trading on the exchange. Thus this method seems less accurate to me than a futures based approach, but it is still certainly fairly reasonable.
Assume that the value is $0. This is my least preferred option, but there is still a case to be made for it. If you receive something that you didn't want, can't access, can't sell, and might fail, does it have any value? I believe the answer is yes (maybe not value it perfectly, but value it somewhat accurately), but if you honestly think the answer is no, then the correct tax answer would be to report $0 in income from the fork. The IRS would be most likely to disagree with this approach, especially since it results in the least amount of income reported for the current year (and the most favorable rates going forward). Accordingly, if you go this route, make extra sure you understand what it entails.
Note, once you've decided what to report as taxable income, this amount also becomes your cost basis in the new crypto (BCH). Thus, when you ultimately sell your BCH (or trade it for something else as described above), you calculate your gain/loss based on what you included in taxable income from the fork. Finally, there is one more approach to dealing with forks worth mentioning. A fork "feels" a lot like a dividend - because you held BTC, you get BCH. In a stock world, if I get a cash dividend because I own the stock, that money is not treated as a "treasure trove" and subject to ordinary income rates - in most cases, it is a qualified dividend and subject to capital gain rates; in some cases, some types of stock dividends are completely non taxable. This article discusses this idea in slightly more detail and generally concludes that forks should not be treated as a dividend. Still, I would note that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this theory. Ultimately, this post is supposed to be practical, so let me make sure to leave you with two key thoughts about the taxation of forks. First, I believe that the majority of evidence suggests that forks should be treated as a "treasure trove" and reported as ordinary income based on their value at creation and that this is certainly the "safest" option. Second, out of everything discussed in this post, I also believe that the correct taxation of forks is the murkiest and most "up for debate" area. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of forks, see this thread for a previous version of this post discussing it at even more length and the comments for a discussion of this with the tax community. Mining Crypto Successfully mining crypto coins is a taxable event. Depending on the amount of effort you put into mining, it is either considered a hobby or a self-employment (business) activity. The IRS provides the following list of questions to help decide the correct classification:
The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity.
The expertise of the taxpayer or his advisors.
The time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity.
Expectation that assets used in activity may appreciate in value.
The success of the taxpayer in carrying on other similar or dissimilar activities.
The taxpayer’s history of income or losses with respect to the activity.
The amount of occasional profits, if any, which are earned.
If this still sounds complicated, that's because the distinction is subject to some amount of interpretation. As a rule of thumb, randomly mining crypto on an old computer is probably a hobby; mining full time on a custom rig is probably a business. In either event, you must include in income the fair market value of any coins you successfully mine. These are ordinary income and your basis in these coins is their fair market value on the date they were mined. If your mining is a hobby, they go on line 21 (other income) and any expenses directly associated with mining go on schedule A (miscellaneous subject to 2% of AGI limitation). If your mining is a business, income and expenses go on schedule C. Both approaches have pros and cons - hobby income isn't subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax, only normal income tax, but you get fewer deductions against your income and the deductions you get are less valuable. Business income has more deductions available, but you have to pay payroll (self-employment) tax of about 15.3% in addition to normal income tax. What if I didn't keep good records? Do I really have to report every transaction? One nice thing about the IRS treating crypto as an asset is that we can look at how the IRS treats people that "day trade" stock and often don't keep great records/have lots of transactions. While you need to be as accurate as possible, it is ok to estimate a little bit if you don't have exact records (especially concerning your cost basis). You need to put in some effort (research historical prices, etc...) and be reasonable, but the IRS would much rather you do a little bit of reasonable estimation as opposed to just not reporting anything. Sure, they might decide to audit you/disagree with some specifics, but you earn yourself a lot of credit if you can show that you honestly did the best you reasonably could and are making efforts to improve going forward. However, concerning reporting every transaction - yes, sorry, it is clear that you have to do this, even if you made hundreds or thousands of them. Stock traders have had to go through this for many decades, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that the IRS would accept anything less from the crypto community. If you have the records or have any reasonable way of obtaining records/estimating them, you must report every transaction. What if I don't trust you? Well, first let me say that I can't believe you made it all the way down here to this section. Thanks for giving me an honest hearing. I would strongly encourage you to go read other well-written, honest guides. I'll link to some I like (both more technical IRS type guides and more crypto community driven guides). While a certain portion of the crypto community seems to view one of the benefits of crypto as avoiding all government regulation (including taxes), I've been pleasantly surprised to find that many crypto forums contain well reasoned, accurate tax guides. While I may not agree with 100% of their conclusions, that likely reflects true uncertainty around tax law that is fundamentally complex rather than an attempt on either end to help individuals unlawfully avoid taxes. IRS guides
At this point, the value of Bitcoin went from about $0.0008 all the way up to $0.08, a truly dramatic increase in price. At this point and in the following year, very few exchanges supported trading of Bitcoin. There was also extremely limited liquidity at this time due to cryptocurrency still being relatively unknown. That meant that when the price started an increase in June 2011 from about ... But Williams sees the broader market wising up to Bitcoin’s limitations and taking back control in 2014. Bitcoin is not a stock, a bond or even a legal entity. No board or directors oversees it. The market value of Bitcoin is currently estimated to be around $45 billion. ... (Glaser et al., 2014). The Bitcoin market in particular has recently seen huge growth. As Bitcoin is mainly used for investment purposes, examining its volatility is of high importance. This paper investigated the ability of several competing GARCH-type models to explain the Bitcoin price volatility. We found ... Bitcoin history for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. Bitcoin price chart since 2009 to 2019. The historical data and rates of BTC ... While the list claimed bitcoin’s price was “likely to range between $4,000-5,000 by the end of 2014”, we’ll set that aside for now and focus on its more interesting prophecies.
Bitcoin For Beginners - Learn How To Mine Bitcoin ...
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