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Luke-Jr, please at least cite your crazy wiki edits

Luke-Jr, please at least cite your crazy wiki edits submitted by GrainElevator to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[Q] How secure is the Coinbase Vault?

submitted by CherryOnDaCake to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

BLOCKCHAIN ANALYSIS REQUIRED

MtGox Withdrawal API has been seen processing about 160,000BTC in withdrawals over the last 24 hours (as also graphed by http://www.coinsight.org/mtgox.html)
THIS IS PROOF MTGOX CONTROL THE 180,000BTC ADDRESS
Here is one of the transactions published from the API https://blockchain.info/ntxid/95c47346349918f29b0d1b9415de627cde66dd9fe93342c5f329adfbdc6c17cb in the MtGox API withdrawal feed (https://data.mtgox.com/api/0/bitcoin_tx.php) links back to the transaction of 180,000BTC that was seen moving yesterday:
https://blockchain.info/tx/1dda0f8827518ce4d1d824bf7600f75ec7e199774a090a947c58a65ab63552e3
And you can see it visualized in the tree view: https://blockchain.info/tree/114688199
Copy of the API dump: https://mega.co.nz/#!tE90Sb7A!F3V0JvhNWIan5XiFboVM9Ha1KUG1Ofu6aPm-2dlgPmQ
submitted by tharlam to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks

Hey guys.
Merry Xmas !
I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively.
The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow.
I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise.
*The origin of your crypto wealth
*Your background (residence, citizenship and probity)
These two aspects must be documented in-depth.
How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit.
1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start.
Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice.
2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand.
Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier.
The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous.
The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here:
*proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early.
*story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day.
*micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning.
*signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ?
*ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow.
The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow:
*Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig.
*Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful.
*Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened.
*Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet.
*Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time.
The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me.
The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative.
The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point.
Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria:
*Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk
*AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted
*Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises...
*Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me.
First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards.
For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t.
EU tricks
Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible.
Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand.
Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really.
Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI
Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way.
Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids?
Dubaï
  1. Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
  2. Spend one day every 6 month there
  3. ???
  4. Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen.
The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains).
The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again.
Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly.
“Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out.
The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;)
What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight.
The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard.
Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp,
The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny.
Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts.
Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks.
Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier)
Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around.
Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary.
Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately.
The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused.
Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them!
The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax.
The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million.
Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction.
Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
submitted by Swissprivatebanker to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Do you speak more than one language? Then help spread Bitcoin around the world by translating Bitcoin.org!

Hello Everyone,
My name is Simon AKA Komodorpudel (I know, my name on Reddit is Komodor123, but that is a different story 😊) and I help manage the translation efforts for Bitcoin.org (https://bitcoin.org/en/). Bitcoin.org is by no means Bitcoin’s official website, but it has been one of the most visited Bitcoin websites for quite some time. And a few months ago, in August, Bitcoin.org turned ten years old.
When I started to assist with the German translation in 2013, the site was just redesigned, numerous pages were added, additional Bitcoin-software was listed, and the translation system was created. The objective was providing an independent and transparent source of information; I was happy to help. Back then, Bitcoin was hovering around a one billion USD market cap and MtGox was still a thing (at least for a few more months 😊).
A lot of things have changed since then. Bitcoin has matured; exchanges have grown out of nowhere and millions of people have entered the space. Bitcoin now offers relief for people in countries such as Venezuela, Big 4 firms provide blockchain services, US presidential candidates accept bitcoin donations, and in general blockchain is the new “solution” for everything 😊.
But a few things stayed the same. Bitcoin.org remains a leading source of information about Bitcoin, currently available in 27 different languages. While the site has had its share of controversies, this does not change the fact that just about everything is still handled publicly through GitHub (https://github.com/bitcoin-dot-org/bitcoin.org/) and everyone can participate (unlike some of the other Bitcoin-related websites people may end up on). I personally do not agree with certain opinions of Cobra-Bitcoin, the co-owner of Bitcoin.org, but Bitcoin.org itself remains very transparent and I can personally vouch for the content on the website.
Over the years, many dedicated volunteers have helped Bitcoin.org by adding content and translating it into their language; thank you very much! But like for all of us, life goes on. Many volunteers got a new job and no more time to spare, founded a family, or simply lost interest in Bitcoin and dedicated their time to new projects. Nobody can blame them for that, but this ensures that Bitcoin.org is in constant need for volunteers that help translating the site.
Thus, I want to address a new generation of Bitcoin-interested people here on Reddit – please help support Bitcoin and Bitcoin.org! Help us spread Bitcoin around the world! There is a lot of stuff to translate and we are more than happy to welcome you!
You can find information on how to get started with translating here: https://github.com/bitcoin-dot-org/bitcoin.org/blob/mastedocs/assisting-with-translations.md#getting-started-with-the-translation-team
Feel free to join or Telegram Group (Infos can be found in the previous link) and introduce yourself!
All work is on a voluntary basis, but thanks to a previous sponsorship from Paxful, people who translated during the summer were contacted so they could be paid some bitcoin for their efforts, and we plan to offer more of these opportunities in the future!
Thank you very much for your time! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them here or by writing me on Telegram (Username: “@Komodorpudel”).
Best regards,
Simon
submitted by Komodor123 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Binance Could Learn from 10 Years of Crypto

Binance's deposit problems on 2019 arise from an known, age-old, property of cryptocurrencies, generally known as "malleability".
On Feb 5, 2019, Binance was reported to credit, for a second time, some Nano user deposits that had already been credited months before. The presumed reason is that they were upgrading nodes and replaying the block chain, and didn't turn off the deposit engine for this replay. When the new blocks were replayed, they somehow generated new block identifiers on Binance's internal servers (that is, these blocks were not relayed to Binance from outside Binance).
These new block identifiers (for old blocks) triggered the deposit processor to create new internal deposits for user accounts, causing these accounts to get unduly credited with extra funds.
This general crypto issue has been known for ages and it is surprising that Binance was susceptible to it. For example, the standard bitcoin transaction ID can be changed in a variety of ways without invalidating the transaction. This is called transaction ID malleability. If an exchange considers transactions with new transaction IDs as new deposits, they are susceptible to double deposits.
The reason exchanges don't get caught by transaction malleability is that they judge new deposits by the transaction details and not the transaction ID, which can be changed. They also don't credit a user until the transaction has been confirmed a few times. While going down, MtGox famously blamed their problems on bitcoin transaction malleability (even though no one could ever verify these claims).
Even though exchanges have adopted workarounds, the general property is potentially problematic enough that bitcoin introduced a new type of transaction identifier with the segwit fork to address this general issue of malleability.
The nano protocol doesn't include the concept of confirmations, so counting confirmations to validate deposits can't apply. However, this dissimilarity doesn't mean that the basic problem of transaction malleability isn't known. And it underscores that the general practice of checking transaction details is much better than relying on protocol identifiers (like block or transaction IDs).
My understanding is that nano 17.1 fixed the underlying source of malleability that caught Binance, but in upgrading to the fix Binance's deposit processor was running the old protocol and processed a few second deposits.
submitted by coinoleum to nanocurrency [link] [comments]

If Gox lost 700k BTC, where is the transaction(s) in chain?

It seems that nothing unusual happened that time.
submitted by br0nevik to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Encryption is No Longer an Option - Ways to Restore Your Natural Right to Privacy

Encryption is No Longer an Option
“If the State’s going to move against you, it’s going to move against you. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to be reckless of course. I’m awful careful you guys, and even my degree of care and control ultimately won’t be enough if they get mad enough. There will always be something…I’ve done what I hope is the best any man can do. So…I hope when they finally do get me, it’s obvious that they just made it up. I don’t go out of my way to make it easy.” – Cody Wilson
For all Anarchists our love for freedom unites us and guides us. I recently had a conversation with a mutual friend that Cody and I have in common and he stated something very insightful:
CryptoAnarchy is like the Lord of the Rings. You have to cooperate with people that you don’t know where they are or what they’re up to. That is, you just know that we are all figuring out at the same time on how to take down Sauron.
Anarchy is guided by the natural instinct for self-preservation. You can trust that others are also actively working in keeping us all free.
For us all to move into more synergistic cooperation we need more motivation. Nothing is more motivating than our movement away from an impending harmful evil. The persecution that Cody Wilson has gone through since he started his activism is testament to the evil that awaits the entire world if we do not fight against the impending digital global prison. Just note how easy it was to find Cody. Government indoctrinated brownshirts and surveillance are everywhere.
As Jeff recently said in London, “CryptoAnarchy is about the cryptography.” Cryptocurrency is only possible due to the privacy offered by cryptography. A true cryptocurrency is completely fungible, anonymous, and private. Blockchains without on-chain privacy set by default, are dangerous and offer nothing other than accurate surveillance.
That is, the moment you destroy a coin’s fungibility you corrupt its incentive structure. This is because you would then have two classes of the same coin within a transparent blockchain; these are coins that are “tainted” or “untainted” according to government. This differentiation created by blockchain surveillance leads “tainted” coins to be priced differently from “untainted” coins. Once this happens you destroy the functionality of a currency as a medium of exchange.
Imagine the headache of retailers in having to tell clients that they only accept “untainted” bitcoins. The result of not having a fungible medium of exchange is that you destroy the incentive structure of the network effect of a coin. You simply end up with a useless and unwanted network where value is supposed to be exchanged. If the units within the medium of exchange do not themselves contain the same value in the market, the utility of the network effect is destroyed.
The economic ramifications of non-fungible SurveillanceCoins are so bad that they make fiat currencies of central banks look good. In spite of their centralized proof of government violence, fiat currencies are more fungible and private than a coin based on a transparent blockchain.
For much time within crypto we would call the majority of blockchains as “pseudo-anonymous” because we knew the importance of fungibility. At that time blockchain analysis had not caught up to our technology. Now companies like Elliptic and Chainalysis have made the vast majority of blockchains in the market transparent.
Sadly, most blockchain communities have not upgraded their privacy to be on chain by default- making them transparent. However, some more intelligent communities- like Monero- are at the same time growing because they understand the importance of fungibility.
Please understand that we at TDV are ahead of the pack in understanding where all of this is going. The vast majority of people won’t tell you these harsh truths about the Blockchain space, but it is our moral imperative to inform you as best as possible.
As time goes on, we will continue to champion actual fungible CryptoCurrencies and we will continue to make clear distinctions between a SurveillanceCoin and an actual CryptoCurrency.
It is important that we take a step back from CryptoCurrencies and focus on just cryptography. You can never be too careful. Throughout our groups we have had various requests as to how to better use different wallets.
Yes, we will cover all of that in our upcoming surprise for our community, but what is most important is that you protect yourself at the network layer, your identity, and your communication.
CryptoAnarchy began way before Bitcoin. If you want to know what will be happening to CryptoCurrencies and CryptoAnarchy in the near future, you need to read Timothy C. May’s 1992 prophetic Crypto Anarchist Manifesto.
On reading this, you cannot afford to be idle regarding your privacy. This is not the time for you to easily give up what is most personal about you; your thoughts and identity. Your privacy is sacred. You need to protect your privacy as much as possible at all times. Don’t give into the defeatist notions of future technology being capable of deanonymizing any cryptography you currently use. Your goal is to be private right now in the present moment.
You are up against a global digital tyranny- that is already here!
...Cazes was not a US citizen and the Alphabay servers and Cazes were not caught on US soil. Just because crimes involving narcotic deals took place in America, weirdly enough, the US seemingly has the right above anyone to seize Cazes’ property, and charge him and his accomplices in US trials...
Use Secure Hardware That Protects You
Be paranoid. Stay paranoid. The more paranoid you are the better. Currently the five eyes are moving to strip away all of your privacy. They are on the direct path to force all companies to hand over back doors to software and hardware encryption.
This is a new breach on individual rights. The backdoors in hardware have existed since the 90’s via Trusted Computing and Digital Rights Management (DRM). The difference is that now companies will be fined and forced by governments (all governments) to open up backdoors for the surveillance of all- in both software and hardware. Australia is leading the charge since they are the only ones within the five eyes without a Bill of Rights.
If you really want to be secure, then you need to start with your hardware. Almost all laptops and hardware chips are engineered with unsafe software. These chips can transmit voice, your networking, pictures, and even video signals. Many of these chips are used to install spyware, malware and viruses.
The market has provided us with two easy plug-and-play hardware solutions.
Purism is a CryptoAnarchist company dedicated in offering us the safest computers in the market. Purism’s line of Librem Laptops is manufactured with software and hardware built from the ground up, where you can be at ease knowing there are no back doors built within it. They work with hardware component suppliers and the Free software community in making hardware that respects and protects your security. Every chip is individually selected with emphasis on respecting freedom. (Purism Librem laptops have built in Kill-Switches for your microphone/camera and wireless/Bluetooth)
All of the necessary components that you would have to bundle up together- by yourself- from a community vetted place like Prism-Break are already installed and ready to go within Librem laptops. Even if you were to install all of the necessary open-source encrypted alternatives, you still would not be able to 100% trust your current computer’s hardware.
Purism Librem laptops come with their own PureOS (operating system). Purism also offers compatibility with Qubes OS in a flash-drive (similar to Tails) to give you even another layer of protection on top of PureOS. Qubes OS is what Edward Snowden uses. PureOs is a derivative of Debian GNU/Linux. Qubes is free and open-source software (FOSS).
Purism is currently having a pre-sale for their first phone the Librem 5.
Another popular safe hardware computer market alternative is ORWL. ORWL is a desktop PC. ORWL comes with a physical encryption key that looks like a keychain. If anyone ever tries to physically tamper with the ORWL computer, sensors will automatically detect the intrusion and erase everything. ORWL comes with the operating system options of Qubes OS, Ubuntu, or Windows.
ORWL does not receive payment for their products in Crypto. Purism on the other hand accepts payment in BitcoinCore, BitcoinCash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Decred, Dogecoin, and Monero.
ORWL is a good alternative for more computer savvy people. If you are not the most competent person with computers, Purism is the way to go. With Purism everything is ready to go.
Once you get good hardware don’t use this new computer for anything other than crypto stuff. That is, don’t use it with anything that requires your slave identity. Don’t access social media with your name, don’t access bank accounts, don’t access crypto exchanges, don’t access old email accounts, definitely don’t access anything that requires KYC and AML, and don’t access any identifying log-in that is related to any of your previous internet identities. Create new identities from scratch for this new computer.
Watch this video and learn about the basics on operational security (OPSEC). Take everything written here, and spoken at the conference in the video above, as barely the preliminary basic requirements of OPSEC. You should definitely continue your own research upon getting your new secure hardware computer.
(It would be best if you purchased this computer using crypto- Monero preferably- and have it mailed to a mailing address not associated with any of your addresses; think along the lines of JJ Luna).
Encrypt Your Communication
“This generation being born now... is the last free generation.You are born and either immediately or within say a year you are known globally. Your identity in one form or another –coming as a result of your idiotic parents plastering your name and photos all over Facebook or as a result of insurance applications or passport applications– is known to all major world powers.” – Julian Assange
The vast majority of our community uses Facebook. Unfortunately its network effect is something we all rely on to some degree. Fortunately for us a friend of our community created FaceMask. Through FaceMask we can still use Facebook in complete privacy- away from Zuckerberg's prying eyes. In the near future we will implement FaceMask into our TDV groups as optional privacy for our posts. We will provide our subscribers with the keys necessary to encrypt and decrypt the messages and posts. Again, this is optional. For now please go to the link above and familiarize yourself with Facemask and its technology.
Don’t use Google. If you are using Google start transitioning out of it. If you are using Gmail, start moving towards encrypted services like ProtonMail or TutaNota. They both offer a free option, try them both out and choose your favorite. Use two factor authentication on everything that requires you to log-in that allows for the use of two factor authentication. Most people use Google Authenticator and Authy. I personally prefer the open source options of FreeOTP & andOTP. Use the one that you find best suited for you. Using one is paramount for security nowadays.
If you are one that uses Google Docs with your team, move instead to CryptPad. The more you use CryptPad the more addicting it becomes; your collaborated work is encrypted and private. You no longer will have to worry about knowing that Google is capturing all of your collaborated work. You can also start using CryptPad for free.
If you are using Skype for conference calls, switch to Jitsi. Jitsi is even easier to use than Skype. If you use their MeetJitsi feature you can just access the encrypted conferencing via any browser by agreeing with your other party on the same predetermined passphrase.
Don’t use regular text messaging. Rather, use Signal, Wickr, Keybase, or Telegram.
Use a VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts all of your traffic via a private network of servers scattered throughout the world. This process anonymizes your IP address. Make sure you don’t use your identity when using a VPN- that would just give away your identity as being connected with the VPN servers you are using.
Many VPN providers register your activity and can hand it over to government if they so demand it. They break their promises to their clients all the time. Let’s minimize risk by staying away from the most draconian of jurisdictions.
To lessen this issue, do not ever use a VPN that is based out of any of the 5 eyes:
-United Kingdom
-United States
-Australia
-Canada
-New Zealand
Furthermore, avoid VPNs based out of the following nine countries, that combined with the first 5 make up the 14 eyes:
-Denmark
-France
-The Netherlands
-Norway
-Germany
-Belgium
-Italy
-Spain
-Sweden
No VPN is a complete safeguard. In spite of this, it is still best to use one. We recommend you ONLY use it (turn it on) when doing crypto-related things and only crypto-related things on your regular computer. For your new encrypted hardware computer have it on at all times. If you use it to access an actual bank account, or another personal account (including crypto accounts that require your personal information; read coinbase, or any other exchange) — then, again, the use of the VPN use becomes trite.
Here are six VPN options outside of the 14 eyes that we recommend you research further and use at your own discretion:
NordVPN (Panama)
CyberGhost (Romania)
HideMe (Malaysia)
Astrill (Seychelles)
TrustZone (Seychelles)
iVPN (Gibralter)
Like all things in the market now, some VPNs take Crypto as payment—others do not. It is best if you bought your VPN with crypto not not your credit card, debit card, or paypal.
TOR (The Onion Router)
The Onion Router is software that you use as a browser. It protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network- throughout the world- of relays runned by volunteers. This prevents evesdroppers from learning your IP address, spying on you, and disclosing your physical location. TOR also allows you to access sites that are blocked.
You can use TOR and a VPN simultaneously. If you are new to all of this, it is best that you just learn how to use the features of your new computer coupled with your preferred VPN. The use of TOR is a little more complicated and you will have to configure it according the specifications of your preferred VPN. As you begin this process, as long as you are using your VPN correctly you should be fine.
Fincen and crypto-exchanges
ShapeShift is now stuck having to require its users to deanonymize their transactions in order to meet KYC and AML requirements; it pretty clear that they got ShapeShift under the Bank Secrecy Act. Stay away from Shapeshift (sorry @erikvorhees).
“Very disappointed that @ShapeShift_io is implementing KYC. Just goes to show that any centralized entity will be pushed in that direction, which is why LN, atomic swaps and Decentralized Exchanges are the only way to resist a surveillance economics.” - Andreas Antonopoulos
As the news of ShapeShift broke out, the market was quick to answer with alternatives. Among the private centric alternatives to ShapeShift we find Godex, ChangeHero, XMR.TO, and Bisq.
ChangeHero and Godex are pretty much the same business concept as ShapeShift. The only difference is that they do not require you to become transparent. XMR.TO allows you to make BTC payments by using Monero.
That is, by using Monero together with XMR.TO you can pay any BTC address in the world while protecting your privacy.
Bisq is the Best Option
The most important to focus on is Bisq. Bisq is a complete decentralized exchange. Bisq is instantly accessible- there is no need for registration or approval from a central authority. The system is decentralized peer-to-peer and trading cannot be stopped or censored.
Bisq is safe. Unlike MtGox and the rest of centralized exchanges, Bisq never holds your funds. Bisq provides a system of decentralized arbitration with security deposits that protect traders. The privacy is set where no one except trading partners exchange personal identifying information. All personal data is stored locally.
All communication on Bisq is end-to-end encrypted routed over Tor. Upon downloading and running Bisq TOR runs on Bisq automatically. Every aspect of the development of Bisq is open source.
Bisq is easy to use. If you are accustomed to centralized exchanges, you might find Bisq a little different. If you want anonymity and privacy, this is the best crypto exchange we have. Tell your friends about Bisq. Just download Bisq and take it for a test drive, you will feel fresh freedom of entering into peaceful voluntary exchange with your fellow man. Do it, it’s good for the soul.
On Cody
I would like to personally thank all of our subscribers for generously donating to Defense Distributed on our last issue. At the moment of us putting out our last newsletter, DefDist had raised less than 100k USD. After our Newsletter got out, his donations went past 300k USD.
Thank you very much for helping out our friends in their continual fight for freedom!
Please pray for Cody, his friends, and his family.
I once asked Cody what his background was- because idk his mannerisms have always been interesting to me. He answered; “I am Romani- I am a Gypsy.”
Thank you for helping out our Gypsy friend and his band of rebels! They will very much be using your generous donations now that things got much more serious.
If you haven’t donated, please consider donating. Blessings!
By Rafael LaVerde
Excerpt taken from The Dollar Vigilante September 2018 Issue
https://dollarvigilante.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/TDV-September-2018-Issue.pdf
submitted by 2012ronpaul2012 to C_S_T [link] [comments]

Hodl Hodl launches new project called "Predictions" on TESTNET

From the related blog post (https://medium.com/@hodlhodl/predictions-by-hodl-hodl-available-on-testnet-83f8ff97a98d):
Today we’re officially announcing our project “Predictions by Hodl Hodl” which is now available on TESTNET — predictions.cc.
In this blog post we want to give instructions, explain how everything works, and give you some use-cases for our new project.
Let’s get everything in order.
Overview
Predictions is a project by Hodl Hodl that is a marketplace where you can go and create a contract with someone else, where the conditions of the payout depend on the outcome of a certain event. The payouts are only made in Bitcoin.
Let’s say you want to predict that the price of Bitcoin will be above $15,000 by July 2019. The other party may disagree with you. The condition of the contract states that each one of you locks 1 Bitcoin into escrow and whoever turns out to be correct in the prediction of the price of Bitcoin gets 2 bitcoins in July.
We provide you with a solution to make this possible:
An offer desk
Simply put, it’s a place where you can find other users’ predictions and create your own;
Escrow solution
For each contract we generate two multisig addresses, where the funds are being stored safely during the prediction contract, with two out of three keys needed for release.
Resolving disputes
In case of a disagreement between the two parties on the prediction contract’s outcome, Hodl Hodl intervenes and resolves the dispute.
Use cases
The use case described above is the simplest one. Here are just a few more examples from an infinite number of options:
Stock prices
You can buy public company shares, and try predicting the price of that stock. Choose any public company, e.g. Google, and predict the price of its shares by, for example, the end of 2019.
Oil price
If you’re long on renewable energy, you would probably expect the price of oil to fall at some point — predict when exactly.
Payouts to creditors of MtGox
If you’re a MtGox creditor (a Bitcoin exchange that was hacked and went bankrupt back in 2014) and awaiting the payout, you might be interested in creating a contract that says “creditors of MtGox will not be paid anything in 2019” even though your expectation is that they will be. Thus, if you get paid by MtGox, you receive bitcoins from them, but lose the ones you locked in your contract. If you don’t get paid by MtGox, you’d get some of the bitcoins that will be sort of a compensation for a longer wait period.
The outcome of the Champions League final
You can make the final more exciting by creating a prediction of who gets to be the Champions League winner in 2019.
Peter McCormack VS Craig Wright
If you follow these kinds of events and want to support either side, make a prediction of who wins the trial, or whether it goes to trial at all.
Offer creation
To make a prediction offer, simply press the “Add offer” button on the front page of the website, or on “My offers” page.
When creating offers, you have to describe the event, the outcome you predict, how many bitcoins you would like to lock in escrow and how much your counterparty should lock in escrow.
We made the process as simple as possible, and creating offers won’t take much of your time.
Please note:
Every offer is pre-moderated by Hodl Hodl admins Your offer should not describe anything illegal You should be as specific and unambiguous as possible when describing the event outcome
Contract workflow
When you create an offer and someone accepts it, or you accept an existing offer, a contract is created.
Let’s analyze this step by step.
1) Contract is created;
Right after the contract is created, Hodl Hodl generates two unique escrow addresses.
It’s worth mentioning:
We support native Bech32 SegWit addresses. This means you can send and receive the funds from escrow to Bech32 addresses when the contract is completed
We generate P2SH-P2WSH SegWit multisig escrow addresses. For every contract we generate multisig addresses in SegWit format.
2) Both parties make deposits;
Both offeror and acceptor make deposits to the escrow addresses we present them with, sending funds from their own Bitcoin wallets.
3) Waiting for the event to take place;
When both counterparties have sent bitcoins to the escrow addresses and transactions are confirmed, we inform users that everything is alright, and we’re waiting for the event to take place.
4) Acknowledging the contract outcome;
Once the event has happened, we ask both parties to decide who was right and who was wrong regarding the prediction made.
Both parties are given 3 days to acknowledge this. If there’s a disagreement between them or one party doesn’t make the decision as to the outcome of the contract within 3 days, a dispute is started.
It’s also possible for both parties to declare a draw — in this case, both parties are able to refund the funds they’ve previously locked in escrow.
5) Prediction contract is now complete!
If the parties agreed on the contract outcome, the party that predicted the outcome correctly can release all locked funds from the escrow to their own Bitcoin wallet: both the funds the party itself locked and the funds that the counterparty locked.
That’s it, the workflow is as simple as that.
Dispute case
It’s worth asking, what exactly happens in case of a disagreement between the two parties in a prediction contract?
Say we have a dispute in which case Hodl Hodl intervenes and resolves the dispute by:
Administrator has the following options: either resolve the dispute in favor of one of the counterparties, or to recognize a draw.
We do not expect this scenario to be difficult or waste our resources, because every offer is pre-moderated and we apply strict rules for offer creation.
That’s it
A new milestone begins in our company’s development, we would appreciate support from your side: please share this news, send us suggestions and bugreports about this project, and be sure you’ll see more exciting things to come very soon.
Predictions on MAINNET
The mainnet version is going live in June 2019, follow our news to stay informed!
submitted by artur97 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Encryption is No Longer an Option - Ways to Restore Your Natural Right to Privacy

Encryption is No Longer an Option
“If the State’s going to move against you, it’s going to move against you. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to be reckless of course. I’m awful careful you guys, and even my degree of care and control ultimately won’t be enough if they get mad enough. There will always be something…I’ve done what I hope is the best any man can do. So…I hope when they finally do get me, it’s obvious that they just made it up. I don’t go out of my way to make it easy.” – Cody Wilson
For all Anarchists our love for freedom unites us and guides us. I recently had a conversation with a mutual friend that Cody and I have in common and he stated something very insightful:
CryptoAnarchy is like the Lord of the Rings. You have to cooperate with people that you don’t know where they are or what they’re up to. That is, you just know that we are all figuring out at the same time on how to take down Sauron.
Anarchy is guided by the natural instinct for self-preservation. You can trust that others are also actively working in keeping us all free.
For us all to move into more synergistic cooperation we need more motivation. Nothing is more motivating than our movement away from an impending harmful evil. The persecution that Cody Wilson has gone through since he started his activism is testament to the evil that awaits the entire world if we do not fight against the impending digital global prison. Just note how easy it was to find Cody. Government indoctrinated brownshirts and surveillance are everywhere.
As Jeff recently said in London, “CryptoAnarchy is about the cryptography.” Cryptocurrency is only possible due to the privacy offered by cryptography. A true cryptocurrency is completely fungible, anonymous, and private. Blockchains without on-chain privacy set by default, are dangerous and offer nothing other than accurate surveillance.
That is, the moment you destroy a coin’s fungibility you corrupt its incentive structure. This is because you would then have two classes of the same coin within a transparent blockchain; these are coins that are “tainted” or “untainted” according to government. This differentiation created by blockchain surveillance leads “tainted” coins to be priced differently from “untainted” coins. Once this happens you destroy the functionality of a currency as a medium of exchange.
Imagine the headache of retailers in having to tell clients that they only accept “untainted” bitcoins. The result of not having a fungible medium of exchange is that you destroy the incentive structure of the network effect of a coin. You simply end up with a useless and unwanted network where value is supposed to be exchanged. If the units within the medium of exchange do not themselves contain the same value in the market, the utility of the network effect is destroyed.
The economic ramifications of non-fungible SurveillanceCoins are so bad that they make fiat currencies of central banks look good. In spite of their centralized proof of government violence, fiat currencies are more fungible and private than a coin based on a transparent blockchain.
For much time within crypto we would call the majority of blockchains as “pseudo-anonymous” because we knew the importance of fungibility. At that time blockchain analysis had not caught up to our technology. Now companies like Elliptic and Chainalysis have made the vast majority of blockchains in the market transparent.
Sadly, most blockchain communities have not upgraded their privacy to be on chain by default- making them transparent. However, some more intelligent communities- like Monero- are at the same time growing because they understand the importance of fungibility.
Please understand that we at TDV are ahead of the pack in understanding where all of this is going. The vast majority of people won’t tell you these harsh truths about the Blockchain space, but it is our moral imperative to inform you as best as possible.
As time goes on, we will continue to champion actual fungible CryptoCurrencies and we will continue to make clear distinctions between a SurveillanceCoin and an actual CryptoCurrency.
It is important that we take a step back from CryptoCurrencies and focus on just cryptography. You can never be too careful. Throughout our groups we have had various requests as to how to better use different wallets.
Yes, we will cover all of that in our upcoming surprise for our community, but what is most important is that you protect yourself at the network layer, your identity, and your communication.
CryptoAnarchy began way before Bitcoin. If you want to know what will be happening to CryptoCurrencies and CryptoAnarchy in the near future, you need to read Timothy C. May’s 1992 prophetic Crypto Anarchist Manifesto.
On reading this, you cannot afford to be idle regarding your privacy. This is not the time for you to easily give up what is most personal about you; your thoughts and identity. Your privacy is sacred. You need to protect your privacy as much as possible at all times. Don’t give into the defeatist notions of future technology being capable of deanonymizing any cryptography you currently use. Your goal is to be private right now in the present moment.
You are up against a global digital tyranny- that is already here!
...Cazes was not a US citizen and the Alphabay servers and Cazes were not caught on US soil. Just because crimes involving narcotic deals took place in America, weirdly enough, the US seemingly has the right above anyone to seize Cazes’ property, and charge him and his accomplices in US trials...
Use Secure Hardware That Protects You
Be paranoid. Stay paranoid. The more paranoid you are the better. Currently the five eyes are moving to strip away all of your privacy. They are on the direct path to force all companies to hand over back doors to software and hardware encryption.
This is a new breach on individual rights. The backdoors in hardware have existed since the 90’s via Trusted Computing and Digital Rights Management (DRM). The difference is that now companies will be fined and forced by governments (all governments) to open up backdoors for the surveillance of all- in both software and hardware. Australia is leading the charge since they are the only ones within the five eyes without a Bill of Rights.
If you really want to be secure, then you need to start with your hardware. Almost all laptops and hardware chips are engineered with unsafe software. These chips can transmit voice, your networking, pictures, and even video signals. Many of these chips are used to install spyware, malware and viruses.
The market has provided us with two easy plug-and-play hardware solutions.
Purism is a CryptoAnarchist company dedicated in offering us the safest computers in the market. Purism’s line of Librem Laptops is manufactured with software and hardware built from the ground up, where you can be at ease knowing there are no back doors built within it. They work with hardware component suppliers and the Free software community in making hardware that respects and protects your security. Every chip is individually selected with emphasis on respecting freedom. (Purism Librem laptops have built in Kill-Switches for your microphone/camera and wireless/Bluetooth)
All of the necessary components that you would have to bundle up together- by yourself- from a community vetted place like Prism-Break are already installed and ready to go within Librem laptops. Even if you were to install all of the necessary open-source encrypted alternatives, you still would not be able to 100% trust your current computer’s hardware.
Purism Librem laptops come with their own PureOS (operating system). Purism also offers compatibility with Qubes OS in a flash-drive (similar to Tails) to give you even another layer of protection on top of PureOS. Qubes OS is what Edward Snowden uses. PureOs is a derivative of Debian GNU/Linux. Qubes is free and open-source software (FOSS).
Purism is currently having a pre-sale for their first phone the Librem 5.
Another popular safe hardware computer market alternative is ORWL. ORWL is a desktop PC. ORWL comes with a physical encryption key that looks like a keychain. If anyone ever tries to physically tamper with the ORWL computer, sensors will automatically detect the intrusion and erase everything. ORWL comes with the operating system options of Qubes OS, Ubuntu, or Windows.
ORWL does not receive payment for their products in Crypto. Purism on the other hand accepts payment in BitcoinCore, BitcoinCash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Decred, Dogecoin, and Monero.
ORWL is a good alternative for more computer savvy people. If you are not the most competent person with computers, Purism is the way to go. With Purism everything is ready to go.
Once you get good hardware don’t use this new computer for anything other than crypto stuff. That is, don’t use it with anything that requires your slave identity. Don’t access social media with your name, don’t access bank accounts, don’t access crypto exchanges, don’t access old email accounts, definitely don’t access anything that requires KYC and AML, and don’t access any identifying log-in that is related to any of your previous internet identities. Create new identities from scratch for this new computer.
Watch this video and learn about the basics on operational security (OPSEC). Take everything written here, and spoken at the conference in the video above, as barely the preliminary basic requirements of OPSEC. You should definitely continue your own research upon getting your new secure hardware computer.
(It would be best if you purchased this computer using crypto- Monero preferably- and have it mailed to a mailing address not associated with any of your addresses; think along the lines of JJ Luna).
Encrypt Your Communication
“This generation being born now... is the last free generation.You are born and either immediately or within say a year you are known globally. Your identity in one form or another –coming as a result of your idiotic parents plastering your name and photos all over Facebook or as a result of insurance applications or passport applications– is known to all major world powers.” – Julian Assange
The vast majority of our community uses Facebook. Unfortunately its network effect is something we all rely on to some degree. Fortunately for us a friend of our community created FaceMask. Through FaceMask we can still use Facebook in complete privacy- away from Zuckerberg's prying eyes. In the near future we will implement FaceMask into our TDV groups as optional privacy for our posts. We will provide our subscribers with the keys necessary to encrypt and decrypt the messages and posts. Again, this is optional. For now please go to the link above and familiarize yourself with Facemask and its technology.
Don’t use Google. If you are using Google start transitioning out of it. If you are using Gmail, start moving towards encrypted services like ProtonMail or TutaNota. They both offer a free option, try them both out and choose your favorite. Use two factor authentication on everything that requires you to log-in that allows for the use of two factor authentication. Most people use Google Authenticator and Authy. I personally prefer the open source options of FreeOTP & andOTP. Use the one that you find best suited for you. Using one is paramount for security nowadays.
If you are one that uses Google Docs with your team, move instead to CryptPad. The more you use CryptPad the more addicting it becomes; your collaborated work is encrypted and private. You no longer will have to worry about knowing that Google is capturing all of your collaborated work. You can also start using CryptPad for free.
If you are using Skype for conference calls, switch to Jitsi. Jitsi is even easier to use than Skype. If you use their MeetJitsi feature you can just access the encrypted conferencing via any browser by agreeing with your other party on the same predetermined passphrase.
Don’t use regular text messaging. Rather, use Signal, Wickr, Keybase, or Telegram.
Use a VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts all of your traffic via a private network of servers scattered throughout the world. This process anonymizes your IP address. Make sure you don’t use your identity when using a VPN- that would just give away your identity as being connected with the VPN servers you are using.
Many VPN providers register your activity and can hand it over to government if they so demand it. They break their promises to their clients all the time. Let’s minimize risk by staying away from the most draconian of jurisdictions.
To lessen this issue, do not ever use a VPN that is based out of any of the 5 eyes:
-United Kingdom
-United States
-Australia
-Canada
-New Zealand
Furthermore, avoid VPNs based out of the following nine countries, that combined with the first 5 make up the 14 eyes:
-Denmark
-France
-The Netherlands
-Norway
-Germany
-Belgium
-Italy
-Spain
-Sweden
No VPN is a complete safeguard. In spite of this, it is still best to use one. We recommend you ONLY use it (turn it on) when doing crypto-related things and only crypto-related things on your regular computer. For your new encrypted hardware computer have it on at all times. If you use it to access an actual bank account, or another personal account (including crypto accounts that require your personal information; read coinbase, or any other exchange) — then, again, the use of the VPN use becomes trite.
Here are six VPN options outside of the 14 eyes that we recommend you research further and use at your own discretion:
NordVPN (Panama)
CyberGhost (Romania)
HideMe (Malaysia)
Astrill (Seychelles)
TrustZone (Seychelles)
iVPN (Gibralter)
Like all things in the market now, some VPNs take Crypto as payment—others do not. It is best if you bought your VPN with crypto not not your credit card, debit card, or paypal.
TOR (The Onion Router)
The Onion Router is software that you use as a browser. It protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network- throughout the world- of relays runned by volunteers. This prevents evesdroppers from learning your IP address, spying on you, and disclosing your physical location. TOR also allows you to access sites that are blocked.
You can use TOR and a VPN simultaneously. If you are new to all of this, it is best that you just learn how to use the features of your new computer coupled with your preferred VPN. The use of TOR is a little more complicated and you will have to configure it according the specifications of your preferred VPN. As you begin this process, as long as you are using your VPN correctly you should be fine.
Fincen and crypto-exchanges
ShapeShift is now stuck having to require its users to deanonymize their transactions in order to meet KYC and AML requirements; it pretty clear that they got ShapeShift under the Bank Secrecy Act. Stay away from Shapeshift (sorry @erikvorhees).
“Very disappointed that @ShapeShift_io is implementing KYC. Just goes to show that any centralized entity will be pushed in that direction, which is why LN, atomic swaps and Decentralized Exchanges are the only way to resist a surveillance economics.” - Andreas Antonopoulos
As the news of ShapeShift broke out, the market was quick to answer with alternatives. Among the private centric alternatives to ShapeShift we find Godex, ChangeHero, XMR.TO, and Bisq.
ChangeHero and Godex are pretty much the same business concept as ShapeShift. The only difference is that they do not require you to become transparent. XMR.TO allows you to make BTC payments by using Monero.
That is, by using Monero together with XMR.TO you can pay any BTC address in the world while protecting your privacy.
Bisq is the Best Option
The most important to focus on is Bisq. Bisq is a complete decentralized exchange. Bisq is instantly accessible- there is no need for registration or approval from a central authority. The system is decentralized peer-to-peer and trading cannot be stopped or censored.
Bisq is safe. Unlike MtGox and the rest of centralized exchanges, Bisq never holds your funds. Bisq provides a system of decentralized arbitration with security deposits that protect traders. The privacy is set where no one except trading partners exchange personal identifying information. All personal data is stored locally.
All communication on Bisq is end-to-end encrypted routed over Tor. Upon downloading and running Bisq TOR runs on Bisq automatically. Every aspect of the development of Bisq is open source.
Bisq is easy to use. If you are accustomed to centralized exchanges, you might find Bisq a little different. If you want anonymity and privacy, this is the best crypto exchange we have. Tell your friends about Bisq. Just download Bisq and take it for a test drive, you will feel fresh freedom of entering into peaceful voluntary exchange with your fellow man. Do it, it’s good for the soul.
On Cody
I would like to personally thank all of our subscribers for generously donating to Defense Distributed on our last issue. At the moment of us putting out our last newsletter, DefDist had raised less than 100k USD. After our Newsletter got out, his donations went past 300k USD.
Thank you very much for helping out our friends in their continual fight for freedom!
Please pray for Cody, his friends, and his family.
I once asked Cody what his background was- because idk his mannerisms have always been interesting to me. He answered; “I am Romani- I am a Gypsy.”
Thank you for helping out our Gypsy friend and his band of rebels! They will very much be using your generous donations now that things got much more serious.
If you haven’t donated, please consider donating. Blessings!
By Rafael LaVerde
Excerpt taken from The Dollar Vigilante September 2018 Issue
https://dollarvigilante.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/TDV-September-2018-Issue.pdf
submitted by 2012ronpaul2012 to conspiracy [link] [comments]

[OP Pink Brain Storm] Planting Seeds - Evolve Beyond their Reach - Ubuntu, Tor, Bitcoin and I2P

Following on from this proposal by TyphonWind
Evolve Beyond their Reach Seed 0
Step 0:
Step 1: Ubuntu
Ubuntu is more a gateway drug into the GNU/Linux world. It is more free-as-in-freedom than being enslaved to Microsoft or Apple; but by itself, you still lack some control over your machine. It is wise to know the limitations of Ubuntu - fix the privacy leaks and harden the default security. When you're ready, you can explore other open source communities. But Ubuntu is still valuable in that it is stable and makes it easy to try out.
Other distros to consider
Step 2: Tor Browser Bundle
Step 3: Bitcoin
Step 4: I2P
submitted by EquanimousMind to evolutionReddit [link] [comments]

I am a tax attorney, here is why you should strongly consider filing an FBAR by the June 30th deadline if you had an account at MtGox prior to its collapse (US taxpayers only).

RETRACTED 4/3/2018: I have decided to retract and revise this position on FBAR filings for cryptocurrency assets in light of inaction by the IRS and unofficial statements by IRS personnel. This post should not be relied upon in determining whether you have an obligation to report your cryptocurrency assets or trading accounts on the FBAR or Form 8938. I am leaving the original post unedited below for posterity's sake, but it should not be considered my current view or opinion.
Hey Guys,
I know that many people in the bitcoin community don't really care about complying with US reporting requirements. While I generally don't recommend that course of action, I especially urge you to reconsider if you had an account at MtGox prior to its collapse. That's because MtGox is no longer in a position to safeguard your confidentiality (if it ever was in the first place). The US has been ruthless in recent years in chasing down US taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts, and bitcoin holders are not likely to catch any breaks. The US Attorney's office has already issued a subpoena to MtGox for it's records, and given that Japan already cooperates with US account holder disclosure initiatives, I find it unlikely that the subpoena will go unenforced. Additionally, many large bitcoin holders have joined the class action lawsuit against MtGox/Karpeles for their lost coins, or at the very least filed a claim with the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee. These are tacit admissions in open court of your prior bitcoin holdings. It would take almost no effort on the part of the US Justice Department to obtain and cross-check these records. So, those with qualifying account balances at MtGox prior to it's collapse should strong consider filing an FBAR by the June 30th deadline.
Before anyone says it, I am not trying to spread FUD. I care about this community and do not want to see any of you go to prison or pay outrageous fines that can easily wipe out your bitcoin holdings (and then some). To say the US Government has been ruthless when it comes to FBAR non-filers is an understatement. The MtGox fiasco provides a perfect opportunity for the government to crackdown on the wide spread non-compliance among the bitcoin community. I wouldn't bet against it.
Here is some additional information for those who want to know more:
How do I know if I need to file an FBAR? The FBAR requirement applies if you have more than $10,000 in foreign accounts at any given time during the year. This test looks at the total of all your foreign accounts, not just MtGox. So, you're technically required to look at the daily account balance of the BTC and USD in all your foreign financial accounts and add them up. If the total exceeds $10,000 on any given day, then you are supposed to disclose each account on the FBAR form (even if the individual accounts are less than $10,000). Now, I'm sure many will consider disclosing just their MtGox accounts and leaving off other foreign bitcoin accounts, but recognize that your FBAR in this case would be false and you could be subject to additional criminal prosecution. More information on FBAR filings are available on the [IRS website]
What are the penalties for failing to file an FBAR? The penalty for failure to file an FBAR starts out at $10,000 for non-willful violations. If your failure was willful, the penalty is the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the highest account balance for each account per year. Criminal prosecution is also known to occur.
Willfulness is defined generally as the intentional disregard of a known legal duty. The IRS will typically asserts willfulness if you fail to file FBARs in multiple years. Otherwise, the determination will depend on your knowledge, sophistication, and experience as an investor.
How do I file the form? The FBAR form is actually called FinCEN Form 114 and is e-filed with FinCEN. Here is the link. Note that you will also have to amend your 2013 tax return to check the disclosure box on line 7a of Schedule B. You should also add any unreported income while you're at it, see below.
Which bitcoin exchanges are "foreign?" Most bitcoin exchanges to my knowledge are foreign. MtGox, Bitstamp, BTC-e, BTC-China, BitFinex, and OKcoin are just a few that come to mind. You'll have to do some research if your account is with a different bitcoin exchange. One redditor suggested in the comments that http://bitcoinx.io provides the country information of various bitcoin exchanges.
What if my MtGox account was worth more than $10,000 for just one day? That's all it takes, one-day is enough. You need to file.
What if I can't access my MtGox records? Many former MtGox account holders may find that their records are unavailable. If you are certain that your account balance exceeded $10,000 even without being able to look at your prior records, then I suggest you make a good-faith estimate of your highest account balance. Although guessing is not ideal, it is all you can do under the circumstances and filing your best-guess is better than not filing at all.
Is my paper wallet a "foreign account?" Probably not. It's pretty difficult to imagine that a paper wallet containing would qualify as a “financial account” held at “foreign financial institution”.
Is my blockchain.info or similar online wallet a "foreign account?" These are probably not subject to the reporting requirements either, although it depends on the nature of your account. The most important factor is whether you give custody of your bitcoins to the e-wallet provider. If you do, then your e-wallet is likely subject to the reporting requirements.
On the other hand, if you maintain control of the e-wallet and the provider has no access to your bitcoins, then it’s unlikely your e-wallet is a “financial account.” Without a financial account, you cannot be subject to the reporting requirements.
A simple test is to check if you are given a personal key for the wallet. Most custodial e-wallets do not provide you with a personal key, meaning that you must request a transfer of your bitcoin, which they then execute on your behalf. A noncustodial e-wallet, on the other hand, gives you the personal key and you can transfer bitcoins out of the wallet without any interaction with the e-wallet provider. They have no access to your bitcoins and essentially just generate a valid wallet address for you without keeping any control over your account. Therefore, it would be unlikely that they are maintaining an account on your behalf.
What if I need to file an FBAR for 2012 also? Since the value of bitcoins was much lower in 2012, this is not a problem for most people. However, if you were over the $10,000 minimum in 2012 (or earlier) and did not file an FBAR, I suggest you talk to a tax attorney about your next step. Late FBARs implicate some very serious penalties, and it would be wise to consider all of your options with a knowledgeable attorney before choosing the best course of action.
What if I didn't report the income from my MtGox account (and/or other bitcoin exchange accounts)? You're going to need to amend your returns to include the missing gains, in addition to filing the FBAR forms. If you situation extends back to 2012 or earlier, I suggest you discuss the matter with a tax attorney. Unreported income and missing FBARs for multiple years can trigger criminal prosecution.
Conclusion
FBARs are tricky business and the stakes are exceptionally high. If you are in doubt about your situation, I strongly suggest you contact a tax attorney to discuss your options, particular if your case involves multiple years of missing FBARs with unreported income. Also, this post does not discuss Form 8938, which is an additional foreign disclosure requirement for higher balance accounts and was due April 15th.
Legal Disclaimer
This post was created for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific advice from a tax professional. No representation or warranty (expressed or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this post, and I do not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this post or for any decision based on it.
CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, I inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.
THE AUTHOR Tyson P. Cross is a tax attorney in Reno, Nevada. He can be reached at Tel: +1 775-376-5690 or Email: [email protected].
submitted by dblcross121 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

The New Crypto Order & Escaping Financial Repression

The Vigilante’s View
It is our first issue in months that bitcoin hasn’t hit an all-time high! And it’s the last issue of the year. And what a year for cryptos it was.
To put it in perspective, bitcoin could fall 90% from current levels and it will still have outperformed stocks, bonds and real estate in 2017.
Bitcoin started 2017 at $960.79.
At the time of this writing it is near $13,000 for a gain of 1,250% in 2017.
And, bitcoin was actually one of the worst performing cryptocurrencies in our TDV portfolio in 2017!
Ethereum (ETH) started 2017 at $8. It has since hit over $800 for a nice 10,000% gain in 2017.
That’s pretty good, but not as good as Dash which started the year at $11.19 and recently hit $1,600 for a nearly 15,000% gain.
I hope many of you have participated in these amazing gains! If not, or you are new, don’t worry there will be plenty more opportunities in the years ahead.
It won’t all be just home runs though… in fact, some of the cryptos that have performed so well to date may go down dramatically or collapse completely in the coming years.
I’ll point out further below why Lightning Network is not the answer to Bitcoin Core’s slow speeds and high costs. And, I’ll look ahead to 2018 and how we could already be looking beyond blockchains.
Yes, things are moving so fast that blockchain just became known to your average person this year… and could be nearly extinct by next year.
That’s why it is important to stick with us here at TDV to navigate these choppy free market waters!
New Years Reflection On The Evolution Of Consensus Protocols
Sooner or later crypto will humble you by its greatness. Its vastness is accompanied by a madness that is breathtaking, because you quickly realize that there is no stopping crypto from taking over the world. The moment you think you have everything figured out, is the moment the market will surprise you.
We are for the first time living and witnessing the birth of the first worldwide free market. Throughout this rampage of innovation, we all are implicitly aiming for the best means of harnessing consensus. As we leave this bountiful 2017 and aim at 2018, it is important for us to meditate and appreciate the progress we have made in transforming the world through the decentralization of consensus. It is also important to reflect on the changes in consensus building we have partaken in and those yet to come.
Consensus is the agreement that states “this is what has occurred, and this is what hasn’t happened.”
Throughout the vastness of history, we humans have only really had access to centralized means for consensus building. In the centralized world, consensus has been determined by banks, states, and all kinds of central planners. As our readers know, any centralized party can misuse their power, and their consensus ruling can become unfair. In spite of this, many individuals still praise the effectiveness of consensus building of centralized systems.
People from antiquity have had no other option but to trust these central planners. These systems of control have created still-water markets where only a few are allowed to compete. This lack of competition resulted in what we now can objectively view as slow innovation. For many, centralized consensus building is preferred under the pretense of security and comfort. Unfortunately, these same individuals are in for a whole lot of discomfort now that the world is innovating on top of the first decentralized consensus building technology, the blockchain.
Everything that has occurred since the inception of bitcoin has shocked central planners because for the first time in history they are lost; they no longer hold power. We now vote with our money. We choose what we find best as different technologies compete for our money.
What we are witnessing when we see the volatility in crypto is nothing more than natural human motion through price. The innovation and volatility of the crypto market may seem unorthodox to some, because it is. For the first time in history we are in a true free market. The true free market connects you to everybody and for this reason alone the market shouldn’t surprise us for feeling “crazy.” Volatility is a sign of your connection to a market that is alive. Radical innovation is a sign of a market that is in its infancy still discovering itself.
In juxtaposing centralized consensus building with decentralized consensus building, I cannot keep myself from remembering some wise biblical words; “ And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.” – Luke 5:37
The centralized legacy financial system is akin to old wineskins bursting to shreds by the new wine of crypto. Decentralized consensus building has no need for central planners. For example, think about how ludicrous it would be for someone to ask government for regulation after not liking something about crypto. Sorry, there is no central planner to protect you; even the mathematical protocols built for us to trust are now competing against one another for our money.
These new mathematical protocols will keep competing against one another as they provide us with new options in decentralizing consensus. As we look unto 2018, it is important that we as investors begin to critically engage and analyze “blockchain-free cryptocurrencies.”
HASHGRAPHS, TANGLES AND DAGS
Blockchain-free cryptocurrencies are technologies composed of distributed databases that use different tools to achieve the same objectives as blockchains.
The top contenders in the realm of blockchain-free cryptos are DAGs (Directed Acyclic Graphs) such as Swirlds’ Hashgraph, ByteBall’s DAG, and IOTA’s Tangle. These blockchain-free cryptos are also categorized as belonging to the 3 rd generation of cryptocurrencies. These technologies promise to be faster, cheaper, and more efficient than blockchain cryptocurrencies.
Blockchains were the first means of creating decentralized consensus throughout the world. In the blockchain, the majority of 51% determine the consensus. The limits of blockchains stem from their inherent nature, whereupon every single node/participant needs to know all of the information that has occurred throughout the whole blockchain economy of a given coin.
This opens up blockchains to issues akin to the ones we have been exposed to in regards to Bitcoin’s scaling. It is important to make a clear distinction in the language used between blockchains and blockchain-freecryptocurrencies. When we speak about blockchains it is more proper to speak about its transactionconsensus as “decentralized”, whereas with blockchain-free cryptocurrencies it is best if we refer to transaction consensus as “distributed.”
Swirlds’ Hashgraph incorporates a radical and different approach to distributing consensus. Swirlds claims that their new approach will solve scaling and security issues found on blockchains. They use a protocol called “Gossip about Gossip.” Gossip refers to how computers communicate with one another in sending information.
In comparison to the Blockchain, imagine that instead of all of the nodes receiving all of the transactions categorized in the past ten minutes, that only a few nodes shared their transaction history with other nodes near them. The Hashgraph team explains this as “calling any random node and telling that node everything you know that it does not know.” That is, in Hashgraph we would be gossiping about the information we are gossiping; i.e., sending to others throughout the network for consensus.
Using this gossiped information builds the Hashgraph. Consensus is created by means of depending on the gossips/rumors that come to you and you pass along to other nodes. Hashgraph also has periodic rounds which review the circulating gossips/rumors.
Hashgraph is capable of 250,000+ Transactions Per Second (TPS), compared to Bitcoin currently only allowing for 7 TPS. It is also 50,000 times faster than Bitcoin. There is no mention of a coin on their white paper. At this moment there is no Hashgraph ICO, beware of scams claiming that there is. There is however a growing interest in the project along with a surge of app development.
IOTAs DAG is known as the Tangle. Contrary to Hashgraph, IOTA does have its own coin known as MIOTA, currently trading around the $3 mark. There are only 2,779,530,283 MIOTA in existence. The Tangle was also created to help alleviate the pains experienced with Blockchain scaling. IOTAs Tangle creates consensus on a regional level; basically neighbors looking at what other neighbors are doing.
As the tangle of neighbors grows with more participants the security of the system increases, along with the speed of confirmation times. IOTA has currently been criticized for its still lengthy confirmation times and its current levels of centralization via their Coordinators. This centralization is due to the fact that at this moment in time the main team works as watchtower to oversee how Tangle network grows so that it does not suffer from attacks.
Consensus is reached within IOTA by means of having each node confirm two transactions before that same node is able to send a given transaction. This leads to the mantra of “the more people use IOTA, the more transactions get referenced and confirmed.” This creates an environment where transactional scaling has no limits. IOTA has no transaction fees and upon reaching high adoption the transactions ought to be very fast.
Another promising aspect about IOTA is that it has an integrated quantum-resistant algorithm, the Winternitz One-Time Signature Scheme, that would protect IOTA against an attack of future quantum computers. This without a doubt provides IOTA with much better protection against an adversary with a quantum computer when compared to Bitcoin.
ByteBall is IOTA’s most direct competitor. They both possess the same transaction speed of 100+ TPS, they both have their own respective cryptocurrencies, and they both have transparent transactions. ByteBall’s token is the ByteBall Bytes (GBYTE), with a supply of 1,000,000; currently trading at around $700. ByteBall aims to service the market with tamper proof storage for all types of data. ByteBall’s DAG also provides an escrow like system called “conditional payments;” which allows for conditional clauses before settling transactions.
Like IOTA, ByteBall is also designed to scale its transaction size to meet the needs of a global demand. ByteBall provides access to integrated bots for transactions which includes the capacity for prediction markets, P2P betting, P2P payments in chat, and P2P insurance. ByteBall’s initial coin distribution is still being awarded to BTC and Bytes holders according to the proportional amounts of BTC or Bytes that are held per wallet. IOTA, ByteBall and Hashgraph are technologies that provide us with more than enough reasons to be hopeful for 2018. In terms of the crypto market, you don’t learn it once. You have to relearn it every day because its development is so infant. If you are new to crypto and feel lost at all know that you are not alone. These technologies are constantly evolving with new competitive options in the market.
As the technologies grow the ease for adoption is set to grow alongside innovation. We are all new to this world and we are all as much in shock of its ingenuity as the next newbie. Crypto is mesmerizing not just for its volatility which is a clear indication of how connected we are now to one another, but also because of the social revolution that it represents. We are experiencing the multidirectional growth of humanity via the free market.
Meanwhile Bitcoin Is Turning Into Shitcoin
It is with a great degree of sadness that I see bitcoin is on the cusp of destroying itself. Bitcoin Core, anyway. Bitcoin Cash may be the winner from all of this once all is said and done.
Whether by design or by accident, bitcoin has become slow and expensive.
Many people point out that IF the market were to upgrade to Segwit that all would be fine. I’ll explain further below why many market participants have no incentive to upgrade to Segwit… meaning that the implementation of Segwit has been a massively risky guess that so far has not worked.
Others say that the Lightning Network (LN) will save bitcoin. I’ll point out below why that will not happen.
Lightning Networks And The Future Of Bitcoin Core
If you’ve been following bitcoin for any length of time, you’re probably aware of the significant dispute over how to scale the network. The basic problem is that although bitcoin could be used at one time to buy, say, a cup of coffee, the number of transactions being recorded on the network bid up the price per transaction so much that actually sending BTC cost more than the cup of coffee itself. Indeed, analysis showed that there were many Bitcoin addresses that had such small BTC holdings that the address itself couldn’t be used to transfer it to a different address. These are referred to as “unspendable addresses.”
In the ensuing debate, the “big blockers” wanted to increase the size of each block in the chain in order to allow for greater transaction capacity. The “small blockers” wanted to reduce the size of each transaction using a technique called Segregated Witness (SegWit) and keep the blocks in the chain limited to 1MB.
SegWit reduces the amount of data in each transaction by around 40-50%, resulting in an increased capacity from 7 transactions per second to perhaps 15.
The software engineers who currently control the Bitcoin Core code repository have stated that what Bitcoin needs is “off-chain transactions.” To do this, they have created something called Lightning Networks (LN), based on an software invention called the “two-way peg.” Put simply, the two-way peg involves creating an escrow address in Bitcoin where each party puts some bitcoin into the account, and then outside the blockchain, they exchange hypothetical Bitcoin transactions that either of them can publish on Bitcoin’s blockchain in order to pull their current agreed-upon balance out of the escrow address.
Most layman explanations of how this works describe the protocol as each party putting in an equal amount of Bitcoin into the escrow. If you and I want to start transacting off-chain, so we can have a fast, cheap payment system, we each put some Bitcoin in a multi-party address. I put in 1 BTC and you put in 1 BTC, and then we can exchange what are essentially cryptographic contracts that either of us can reveal on the bitcoin blockchain in order to exit our agreement and get our bitcoin funds.
Fortunately, it turns out that the video’s examples don’t tell the whole story. It’s possible for the escrow account to be asymmetric. See:. That is, one party can put in 1 BTC, while the other party puts in, say, 0.0001 BTC. (Core developer and forthcoming Anarchapulco speaker Jimmy Song tells us that there are game theoretic reasons why you don’t want the counterparty to have ZERO stake.)
Great! It makes sense for Starbucks to participate with their customers in Lightning Networks because when their customers open an LN channel (basically a gift card) with them for $100, they only have to put in $1 worth of Bitcoin. Each time the customer transacts on the Lightning Network, Starbucks gets an updated hypothetical transaction that they can use to cash out that gift card and collect their bitcoin.
The elephant in the room is: transaction fees. In order to establish the escrow address and thereby open the LN channel, each party has to send some amount of bitcoin to the address. And in order to cash out and get the bitcoin settlement, one party also has to initiate a transaction on the bitcoin blockchain. And to even add funds to the channel, one party has to pay a transaction fee.
Right now fees on the bitcoin blockchain vary widely and are extremely volatile. For a 1-hour confirmation transaction, the recommended fee from one wallet might be $12 US, while on another it’s $21 US. For a priority transaction of 10-20 minutes, it can range from $22-30 US. Transactions fees are based on the number of bytes in the transaction, so if both parties support SegWit (remember that?) then the fee comes down by 40-50%. So it’s between $6 and $10 US for a one hour transaction and between $11-15 for a 15 minute transaction. (SegWit transactions are prioritized by the network to some degree, so actual times may be faster)
But no matter what, both the customer and the merchant have to spend $6 each to establish that they will have a relationship and either of them has to spend $6 in order to settle out and get their bitcoin. Further, if the customer wants to “top off” their virtual gift card, that transaction costs another $6. And because it adds an address to the merchant’s eventual settlement, their cost to get their Bitcoin goes up every time that happens, so now it might cost them $9 to get their bitcoin.
Since these LN channels are essentially digital gift cards, I looked up what the cost is to retailers to sell acustomer a gift card. The merchant processor Square offers such gift cards on their retailer site. Their best price is $0.90 per card.
So the best case is that Lightning Networks are 600% more expensive than physical gift cards to distribute, since the merchant has to put a transaction into the escrow address. Further, the customer is effectively buying the gift card for an additional $6, instead of just putting up the dollar amount that goes on the card.
But it gets worse. If you get a gift card from Square, they process the payments on the card and periodically deposit cash into your bank account for a percentage fee. If you use the Lightning Network, you can only access your Bitcoin by cancelling the agreement with the customer. In other words, you have to invalidate their current gift card and force them to spend $6 on a new one! And it costs you $6 to collect your funds and another $6 to sell the new gift card!
I’m sure many of you have worked in retail. And you can understand how this would be financially infeasible. The cost of acquiring a new customer, and the amount of value that customer would have to stake just to do business with that one merchant, would be enormous to make any financial sense.
From time immemorial, when transaction costs rise, we see the creation of middlemen.
Merchants who can’t afford to establish direct channels with their customers will have to turn to middlemen, who will open LN channels for them. Instead of directly backing and cashing out their digital gift cards, they will establish relationships with entities that consolidate transactions, much like Square or Visa would do today.
Starbucks corporate or individual locations might spend a few USD on opening a payment channel with the middleman, and then once a month spend 6 USD to cash out their revenues in order to cover accounts payable.
In the meantime, the middleman also has to offer the ability to open LN channels for consumers. This still happens at a fixed initial cost, much like the annual fee for a credit card in the US. They would continue to require minimum balances, and would offer access to a network of merchants, exactly like Visa and MasterCard today.
This process requires a tremendous amount of capital because although the middleman does not have to stake Bitcoin in the consumer’s escrow account, he does have to stake it in the merchant’s account. In other words, if the Lightning Network middleman wants to do business with Starbucks to the tune of $100,000/month, he needs $100,000 of bitcoin to lock into an escrow address. And that has to happen for every merchant.
Because every month (or so) the merchants have to cash out of their bitcoin to fiat in order to pay for their cost of goods and make payroll. Even if their vendors and employees are paid in bitcoin and they have LN channels open with them, someone somewhere will want to convert to fiat, and trigger a closing channel creating a cascading settlement effect that eventually arrives at the middleman. Oh, and it triggers lots of bitcoin transactions that cost lots of fees.
Did I mention that each step in the channel is expecting a percentage of the value of the channel when it’s settled? This will come up again later.
Again, if you’ve worked in the retail business, you should be able to see how infeasible this would be. You have to buy inventory and you have to sell it to customers and every part that makes the transaction more expensive is eating away at your margins.
Further, if you’re the middleman and Starbucks closes out a channel with a $100,000 stake where they take $95,000 of the bitcoin, how do you re-open the channel? You need another $95,000 in capital. You have revenue, of course, from the consumer side of your business. Maybe you have 950 consumers that just finished off their $100 digital gift cards. So now you can cash them out to bitcoin for just $5700 in transaction fees, and lose 5.7% on the deal.
In order to make money in that kind of scenario, you have to charge LN transaction fees. And because your loss is 5.7%, you need to charge in the range of 9% to settle Lightning Network transactions. Also, you just closed out 950 customers who now have to spend $5700 to become your customer again while you have to spend $5700 to re-acquire them as customers. So maybe you need to charge more like 12%.
If you approached Starbucks and said “you can accept Bitcoin for your customers and we just need 12% of the transaction,” what are the odds that they would say yes? Even Visa only has the balls to suggest 3%, and they have thousands and thousands of times as many consumers as bitcoin.
The entire mission of bitcoin was to be faster, cheaper and better than banks, while eliminating centralized control of the currency. If the currency part of Bitcoin is driven by “off-chain transactions” while bitcoin itself remains expensive and slow, then these off-chain transactions will become the territory of centralized parties who have access to enormous amounts of capital and can charge customers exorbitant rates. We know them today as banks.
Even for banks, we have to consider what it means to tie up $100,000/month for a merchant account. That only makes sense if the exchange rate of bitcoin grows faster than the cost of retaining Bitcoin inventory. It costs nothing to store Bitcoin, but it costs a lot to acquire it. At the very least the $6 per transaction to buy it, plus the shift in its value against fiat that’s based on interest rates. As a result, it only makes sense to become a Lightning Network middleman if your store of value (bitcoin) appreciates at greater than the cost of acquiring it (interest rate of fiat.) And while interest rates are very low, that’s not a high bar to set. But to beat it, Bitcoin’s exchange rate to fiat has to outpace the best rate available to the middleman by a factor exceeding the opportunity cost of other uses of that capital.
Whatever that rate is, for bitcoin, the only reason the exchange rate changes is new entry of capital into the “price” of bitcoin. For that to work, bitcoin’s “price” must continue to rise faster than the cost of capital for holding it. So far this has happened, but it’s a market gamble for it to continue.
Since it happens because of new capital entering into the bitcoin network and thus increasing the market cap, this results in Bitcoin Core becoming the very thing that its detractors accuse it of: a Ponzi scheme. The cost of transacting in Bitcoin becomes derived from the cost of holding bitcoin and becomes derived from the cost of entering bitcoin.
Every middleman has to place a bet on the direction of bitcoin in a given period. And in theory, if they think the trend is against Bitcoin, then they’ll cash out and shut down all the payment channels that they transact. If they bought bitcoin at $15,000, and they see it dropping to $13,000 — they’ll probably cash out their merchant channels and limit their risk of a further drop. The consumer side doesn’t matter so much because their exposure is only 1%, but the merchant side is where they had to stake everything.
If you’re wondering why this information is not widely known, it’s because most bitcoin proponents don’t transact in bitcoin on a regular basis. They may be HODLing, but they aren’t doing business in bitcoin.
Through Anarchapulco, TDV does frequent and substantial business in bitcoin, and we’ve paid fees over $150 in order to consolidate ticket sale transactions into single addresses that can be redeemed for fiat to purchase stage equipment for the conference.
For Bitcoin to be successful at a merchant level via Lightning Networks, we will have to see blockchain transactions become dramatically cheaper. If they return to the sub-$1 range, we might have a chance with centralized middlemen, but only with a massive stabilization of volatility. If they return to $0.10, we might have a chance with direct channels.
Otherwise, Lightning Networks can’t save bitcoin as a means of everyday transaction. And since that takes away its utility, it might very well take away the basis of its value and bitcoin could find itself truly being a tulip bubble.
One final note: there are a some parties for whom all these transactions are dramatically cheaper. That is the cryptocurrency exchanges. Because they are the entry and exit points for bitcoin-to-fiat, they can eliminate a layer of transaction costs and thus offer much more competitive rates — as long as you keep your bitcoin in their vaults instead of securing it yourselves.
Sending it out of their control lessens their competitive advantage against other means of storage. It comes as no surprise, then, that they are the least advanced in implementing the SegWit technology that would improve transaction costs and speed. If you buy bitcoin on Poloniex, it works better for them if it’s expensive for you to move that coin to your Trezor.
In fact, an exchange offering Lightning Network channels to merchants could potentially do the following…
1) Stake bitcoins in channels with merchants. These coins may or may not be funds that are held by their customers. There is no way to know.
2) Offer customers “debit card” accounts for those merchants that are backed by the Lightning network
3) Establish middle addresses for the customer accounts and the merchant addresses on the Lightning Network.
4) Choose to ignore double-spends between the customer accounts and the merchant addresses, because they don’t actually have to stake the customer side. They can just pretend to since they control the customer’s keys.
5) Inflate their bitcoin holdings up to the stake from the merchants, since the customers will almost never cash out in practice.
In other words, Lightning Networks allow exchanges a clear path to repeating Mtgox; lie to the consumer about their balance while keeping things clean with the merchant. In other words, establish a fractional reserve approach to bitcoin.
So, to summarize, Bitcoin Core decided increasing the blocksize from 1mb to 2-8mb was “too risky” and decided to create Segwit instead which the market has not adopted. When asked when bitcoin will be faster and less expensive to transfer most Bitcoin Core adherents say the Lightning Network will fix the problems.
But, as I’ve just shown, the LN makes no sense for merchants to use and will likely result in banks taking over LN nodes and making BTC similar to Visa and Mastercard but more expensive. And, will likely result in exchanges becoming like banks of today and having fractional reserve systems which makes bitcoin not much better than the banking system of today.
Or, people can switch to Bitcoin Cash, which just increased the blocksize and has much faster transaction times at a fraction of the cost.
I’ve begun to sell some of my bitcoin holdings because of what is going on. I’ve increased my Bitcoin Cash holdings and also increased my holdings of Dash, Monero, Litecoin and our latest recommendation, Zcash.
Other News & Crypto Tidbits
When bitcoin surpassed $17,600 in December it surpassed the total value of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency.
Meanwhile, Alexei Kireyev of the IMF put out his working paper, “ The Macroeconomics of De-Cashing ,” where he advises abolishing cash without having the public aware of the process.
Countries such as Russia are considering creating a cryptocurrency backed by oil to get around the US dollar and the US dollar banking system. Venezuela is as well although we highly doubt it will be structured properly or function well given the communist government’s track record of destroying two fiat currencies in the last decade.
To say that the US dollar is being attacked on every level is not an understatement. Cryptocurrencies threaten the entire monetary and financial system while oil producing countries look to move away from the US dollar to their own oil backed cryptocurrency.
And all this as bitcoin surpassed the value of the IMF’s SDR in December and in 2017 the US dollar had its largest drop versus other currencies since 2003.
And cryptocurrency exchanges have begun to surpass even the NASDAQ and NYSE in terms of revenue. Bittrex, as one example, had $3 billion in volume on just one day in December. At a 0.5% fee per trade that equaled $15m in revenue in just one day. If that were to continue for 365 days it would mean $5.4 billion in annual revenue which is more than the NASDAQ or NYSE made this year.
Conclusion
I never would have guessed how high the cryptocurrencies went this year. My price target for bitcoin in 2017 was $3,500! That was made in late 2016 when bitcoin was near $700 and many people said I was crazy.
Things are speeding up much faster than even I could have imagined. And it is much more than just making money. These technologies, like cryptocurrencies, blockchains and beyond connect us in a more profound way than Facebook would ever be able to. We are now beginning to be connected in ways we never even thought of; and to some degree still do not understand. These connections within this completely free market are deep and meaningful.
This is sincerely beautiful because we are constantly presented with an ever growing buffet of competing protocols selling us their best efforts in providing harmony within the world. What all of these decentralized and distributed consensus building technologies have in common is that they connect us to the world and to each other. Where we are going we don’t need foolish and trite Facebook’s emojis.
As we close a successful 2017 we look with optimism towards a much more prosperous 2018. The Powers That Shouldn’t Be (TPTSB) can’t stop us. As we move forward note how much crypto will teach you about ourselves and the world. In a radical free market making our own bets will continue to be a process of self discovery. Crypto will show us the contours of our fears, the contours of our greed, and will constantly challenge us to do our best with the knowledge we have.
Remember, randomness and innovation are proper to the happenstance nature of a true digital free market.
Happy New Year fellow freedom lovers!
And, as always, thank you for subscribing!
Jeff Berwick
submitted by 2012ronpaul2012 to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Attention anyone with a significant sum of money on an exchange or other web wallet

  1. Go to https://www.bitaddress.org and save the page to a USB stick.
  2. Get a secure, completely offline computer.
  3. Put the USB stick in this computer and open up the page.
  4. Go to the Paper Wallet tab and check the BIP38 box.
  5. Enter a secure pass phrase (write it down someplace safe) and generate your paper wallets.
  6. Print the wallets.
  7. Withdraw your funds from the exchange to the "Load and Verify" QR code.
  8. Put the paper wallet somewhere safe.
Congratulations!
Now you won't become one of these people:
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1rrnrg/39917_bitcoins_stolen_from_users_of_sheep_market/
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1rs0bq/woke_up_to_an_email_from_mt_gox_there_has_been_a/
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1fnna1/53_bitcoins_were_just_stolen_from_my_mt_gox/
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1li3v9/102_btc_stolen_of_my_blockchain_can_anything_be/
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1g4vwk/100_bitcoins_stolen_from_my_mtgox_account/
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1rexob/bitcoin_payment_processor_bips_attacked_over_1m/
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hzgja/computer_compromised_and_bitcoins_worth_500000/
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1rjd9d/1295_bitcoins_stolen_in_heist/
http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1r9rtp/i_just_had_39_btc_stolen_from_my_mtgox_account/
If you do choose to leave any bitcoins online, use 2-Factor-Authentication!!!
Thanks to Amanojack for this disclaimer:
Do your own research about change addresses and other technical aspects before attempting to retrieve bitcoins from your paper wallets.
Thanks to kilorat for this reminder:
PRACTICE! Go through all the steps, then make sure you can load up the private key with a wallet software. Then once you know that you are doing it right, destroy the address and make a new one for real.
submitted by PotatoBadger to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Blockchain Wallets

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What a Blockchain Wallet is? What is its purpose?
Find the answer after reading this article.
Public/Private Key
The public key is the digital code you give to someone that wants to transfer ownership of a unit of cryptocurrency to you; and a private key is what you need to be able to unlock your own wallet to transfer a unit of a cryptocurrency to someone else. The encoding of information within a wallet is done by the private and public keys. That is the main component of the encryption that maintains the security of the wallet. Both keys function in simultaneous encryption systems called symmetric and asymmetric encryption. The former, alternatively known as private key encryption, makes use of the same key for encryption and decryption. The latter, asymmetric encryption, utilizes two keys, the public and private key, wherein a message-sender encrypts the message with the public key, and the recipient decodes it with their private key. The public key uses asymmetric algorithms that convert messages into an unreadable format. A person who possesses a public key can encrypt the message for a specific receiver.
Accessing wallets
Methods of wallet access vary depending on the type of wallet being used. Various types of currency wallets on an exchange will normally be accessed via the exchange’s entrance portal, normally involving a combination of a username/password and optionally, 2FA (Two factor authentication, which we explain in more detail later). Whereas hardware wallets need to be connected to an internet enabled device, and then have a pin code entered manually by the user in possession of the hardware wallet in order for access to be gained. Phone wallets are accessed through the device on which the wallet application has been downloaded. Ordinarily, a passcode and/or security pattern must be entered before entry is granted, in addition to 2FA for withdrawals.
Satoshi Nakamoto built the Satoshi client which evolved into Bitcoin in 2009. This software allowed users to create wallets and send money to other addresses. However, it proved to be a nightmarish user experience, with many transactions being sent to incorrect addresses and private keys being lost. The MtGox (Magic the Gathering Online exchange, named after the original intended use of the exchange) incident, which will be covered in greater detail later, serves as a reminder of the dangers present in the cryptosphere regarding security, and the need to constantly upgrade your defenses against all potential hacks. The resulting loss of 850k BTC is a still unresolved problem, weighing heavily on the victims and the markets at large. This caused a huge push for a constantly evolving and improving focus on security. Exchanges that developed later, and are thus considered more legitimate and secure, such as Gemini and Coinbase, put a much greater emphasis on vigilance as a direct result of the MtGox hacking incident. We also saw the evolution of wallet security into the physical realm with the creation of hardware wallets, most notable among them the Ledger and Trezor wallets.
Types of Wallets & Storage Methods
The simplest way to sift through the dozens of cryptocurrency storage methods available today, is to divide them up into digital and non-digital, software and hardware wallets. There are also less commonly used methods of storage of private keys, like paper wallets and brain wallets. We will examine them all at least briefly, because in the course of your interaction with cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology, it is essential to master all the different types of hardware and software wallets. Another distinction must be made between hot wallets and cold wallets. A hot wallet is one that is connected to the internet, and a cold wallet is one that is not. Fun fact: The level below cold storage, deep cold storage has just recently been implemented by the Regal RA DMCC, a subsidiary of an internationally renowned gold trading company licensed in the Middle East. After having been granted a crypto trading license, Regal RA launched their “deep cold” storage solution for traders and investors, which offers the ability to store crypto assets in vaults deep below the Almas Tower in Dubai. This storage method is so secure that at no point is the vault connected to a network or the internet; meaning the owners of the assets can be sure that the private keys are known only to the rightful owners.
Lets take a quick look at specific features and functionality of varieties of crypto wallets. Software wallets: wallet applications installed on a laptop, desktop, phone or tablet. Web Wallets: A hot wallet by definition. Web Wallets are accessible through the web browser on your phone or computer. The most important feature to recognize about any kind of web wallet, is that the private keys are held and managed by a trusted third party. MyEtherWallet is the most commonly used non-exchange web wallet, but it can only be used to store Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens.
Though the avenue of access to MEW is through the web, it is not strictly speaking a web wallet, though this label will suffice for the time being. The MEW site gives you the ability to create a new wallet so you can store your ETH yourself. All the data is created and stored on your CPU rather than their servers. This makes MEW a hybrid kind of web wallet and desktop wallet. Exchange Wallets: A form of Web Wallet contained within an exchange. An exchange will hold a wallet for each individual variety of cryptocurrency you hold on that exchange. Desktop Wallets: A software program downloaded onto your computer or tablet hard drive that usually holds only one kind of cryptocurrency. The Nano Wallet (Formerly Raiwallet) and Neon wallet for storage of NEO and NEP-5 tokens are notable examples of desktop wallets Phone Wallets: These are apps downloaded onto a mobile phone that function in the same manner as a desktop wallet, but actually can hold many different kinds of cryptocurrency. The Eidoo Wallet for storing Ethereum and its associated tokens and Blockchain Wallet which currently is configured to hold BTC, ETH and Bitcoin Cash, are some of the most widely used examples.
Hardware wallets — LedgeTrezoAlternatives
Hardware wallets are basically physical pathways and keys to the unique location of your crypto assets on the Blockchain. These are thought to be more secure than any variety of web wallet because the private key is stored within your own hard wallet, an actual physical device. This forcibly removes the risk your online wallet, or your exchange counter party, might be hacked in the same manner as MtGox. In hardware wallet transactions, the wallet’s API creates the transaction when a user requests a payment. An API is a set of functions that facilitates the creation of applications that interact and access features or data of an operating system. The hardware then signs the transaction, and produces a public key, which is given to the network. This means the signing keys never leave the hardware wallet. The user must both enter a personal identification number and physically press buttons on the hardware wallet in order to gain access to their Blockchain wallet address through this method, and do the same to initiate transfers.
Paper Wallets
Possibly the safest form of cryptocurrency storage in terms of avoiding hacking, Paper Wallets are an offline form of crypto storage that is free to set up, and probably the most secure way for users, from beginners to experts, to hold on to their crypto assets. To say it simply, paper wallets are an offline cold storage method of storing cryptocurrency. This includes actually printing out your public and private keys on a piece of paper, which you then store and save in a secure place. The keys are printed in the form of QR codes which you can scan in the future for all your transactions. The reason why it is so safe is that it gives complete control to you, the user. You do not need to worry about the security or condition of a piece of hardware, nor do you have to worry about hackers on the net, or any other piece of malware. You just need to take care of one piece of paper!
Real World Historical Examples of Different Wallet Types
Web Wallet: Blockchain.info Brief mechanism & Security Blockchain.info is both a cryptocurrency wallet, supporting Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin cash, and also a block explorer service. The wallet service provided by blockchain.info has both a Web Wallet, and mobile phone application wallet, both of which involve signing up with an email address, and both have downloadable private keys. Two Factor Authentication is enabled for transfers from the web and mobile wallets, as well as email confirmation (as with most withdrawals from exchanges). Phone Wallet: Eidoo The Eidoo wallet is a multi-currency mobile phone app wallet for storage of Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. The security level is the standard phone wallet level of email registration, confirmation, password login, and 2 factor authentication used in all transfers out. You may find small volumes of different varieties of cryptocurrencies randomly turning up in your Eidoo wallet address. Certain projects have deals with individual wallets to allow for “airdrops” to take place of a particular token into the wallet, without the consent of the wallet holder. There is no need to be alarmed, and the security of the wallet is not in any way compromised by these airdrops.
Neon Wallet
The NEON wallet sets the standard for web wallets in terms of security and user-friendly functionality. This wallet is only designed for storing NEO, Gas, and NEP-5 tokens (Ontology, Deep Brain Chain, RPX etc.). As with all single-currency wallets, be forewarned, if you send the wrong cryptocurrency type to a wallet for which it is not designed, you will probably lose your tokens or coins. MyEtherWallet My Ether Wallet, often referred to as MEW, is the most widely used and highly regarded wallet for Ethereum and its related ERC-20 tokens. You can access your MEW account with a hardware wallet, or a different program. Or you can also get access by typing or copying in your private key. However, you should understand this method is the least safe way possible,and therefore is the most likely to result in a hack. Hardware: TrezoLedger Brief History Mechanism and Security A hardware wallet is a physical key to your on-chain wallet location, with the private keys contained within a secure sector of the device. Your private key never leaves your hardware wallet. This is one of the safest possible methods of access to your crypto assets. Many people feel like the hardware wallet strikes the right balance between security, peace of mind, and convenience. Paper Wallet Paper wallets can be generated at various websites, such as https://bitcoinpaperwallet.com/ and https://walletgenerator.net/. They enable wallet holders to store their private keys totally offline, in as secure a manner as is possible.
Real World Example — Poor Practices
MtGox Hack history effects and security considerations MtGox was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world before it was hacked in 2014. They were handling over 70% of BTC transactions before they were forced to liquidate their business. The biggest theft of cryptocurrency in history began when the private keys for the hot wallets were stolen in 2011 from a wallet.dat file, possibly by hacking, possibly by a rogue employee. Over the course of the next 3 years the hot wallets were emptied of approximately 650000 BTC. The hacker only needed wallet.dat file to access and make transfers from the hot wallet, as wallet encryption was only in operation from the time of the Bitcoin 0.4.0 release on Sept 23rd 2011. Even as the wallets were being emptied, the employees at Mt Gox were apparently oblivious to what was taking place. It seems that Mt Gox workers were interpreting these withdrawals as large transfers being made to more secure wallets. The former CEO of the exchange, Mark Karpeles, is currently on trial for embezzlement and faces up to 5 years in prison if found guilty. The Mt Gox hack precipitated the acceleration of security improvements on other exchanges, for wallets, and the architecture of bitcoin itself. As a rule of thumb, no small-to-medium scale crypto holders should use exchange wallets as a long-term storage solution. Investors and experienced traders may do this to take advantage of market fluctuations, but exchange wallets are perhaps the most prone to hacking, and storing assets on exchanges for an extended time is one of the riskiest ways to hold your assets.
In a case strikingly similar to the MtGox of 2011–2014, the operators of the BitGrail exchange “discovered” that approximately 17 million XRB ($195 million worth in early 2018) were missing. The operators of the exchange were inexplicably still accepting deposits, long after they knew about the hack. Then they proceeded to block withdrawals from non-EU users. And then they even requested a hard fork of the code to restore the funds. This would have meant the entire XRB Blockchain would have had to accept all transactions from their first “invalid” transaction that were invalid, and rollback the ledger. The BitGrailexchange attempted to open operations in May 2018 but was immediately forced to close by order of the Italian courts. BitGrail did not institute mandatory KYC (Know your customer) procedures for their clients until after the theft had been reported, and allegedly months after the hack was visible. They also did not have 2 factor authentication mandatory for withdrawals. All big, and very costly mistakes.
Case Study: Good Practice Binance, the Attempted Hack
During the 2017 bull run, China-based exchange Binance quickly rose to the status of biggest altcoin exchange in the world, boasting daily volumes that surged to over $4 billion per day in late December. Unfortunately, this success attracted the attention of some crafty hackers. These hackers purchased domain names that were confusingly similar to “binance.com”. And then they created sufficiently convincing replica websites so they could phish traders for their login information. After obtaining this vital info, the scammers created API keys to place large buy orders for VIAcoin, an obscure, low volume digital currency. Those large buy orders spiked VIA’s price. Within minutes they traded the artificially high-priced VIA for BTC. Then they immediately made withdrawal requests from the hacked BTC wallets to wallets outside of the exchange. Almost a perfect fait accompli! But, Binance’s “automating risk management system” kicked in, as it should, and all withdrawals were temporarily suspended, resulting in a foiled hacking attempt.
Software Wallets Web/Desktop/Phone/Exchange Advantages and Limitations
As we said before, it is inadvisable to store crypto assets in exchange wallets, and, to a lesser extent, Web Wallets. The specific reason we say that is because you need to deliver your private keys into the hands of another party, and rely on that website or exchange to keep your private key, and thus your assets, safe. The advantages of the less-secure exchange or web wallets, are the speed at which you can transfer assets into another currency, or into another exchange for sale or for arbitrage purposes. Despite the convenience factor, all software wallets will at some point have been connected to the internet or a network. So, you can never be 100% sure that your system has not been infected with malware, or some kind of keylogging software, that will allow a third party to record your passwords or private keys. How well the type of storage method limits your contact with such hazards is a good way to rate the security of said variety of wallet. Of all the software wallets, desktop and mobile wallets are the most secure because you download and store your own private key, preferably on a different system. By taking the responsibility of private key storage you can be sure that only one person has possession of it, and that is you! Thereby greatly increasing the security of your crypto assets. By having their assets in a desktop wallet, traders can guard their private key and enjoy the associated heightened security levels, as well keep their assets just one swift transfer away from an exchange.
Hardware Wallets Advantages and Limitations
We briefly touched on the features and operation of the two most popular hardware wallets currently on the market, the Ledger and Trezor wallets. Now it will be helpful to take a closer look into the pros and cons of the hardware wallet storage method. With hardware wallets, the private keys are stored within a protected area of the microcontroller, and they are prevented from being exported out of the device in plain text. They are fortified with state-of-the-art cryptography that makes them immune to computer viruses and malware. And much of the time, the software is open source, which allows user validation of the entire performance of the device. The advantages of a hardware wallet over the perhaps more secure paper wallet method of crypto storage is the interactive user experience, and also the fact that the private key must at some stage be downloaded in order to use the paper wallet. The main disadvantage of a hardware wallet is the time-consuming extra steps needed to transfer funds out of this mode of storage to an exchange, which could conceivably result in some traders missing out on profits. But with security being the main concern of the vast majority of holders, investors and traders too, this slight drawback is largely inconsequential in most situations.
Paper Wallets Advantages and Limitations
Paper wallets are thought by some to be the safest way to store your crypto assets, or more specifically, the best method of guarding the pathways to your assets on the Blockchain. By printing out your private key information, the route to your assets on the Blockchain is stored 100% offline (apart from the act of printing the private key out, the entire process is totally offline). This means that you will not run the risk of being infected with malware or become the victim of keylogging scams. The main drawback of using paper wallets is that you are in effect putting all your eggs in one basket, and if the physical document is destroyed, you will lose access to your crypto assets forever.
Key things to keep in mind about your Wallet Security: Recovery Phrases/Private Key Storage/2FA/Email Security
Recovery phrases are used to recover the on-chain location for your wallet with your assets for hardware wallets like ledgers and Trezors that have been lost. When you purchase a new ledger for example, you just have to set it up again by entering the recovery phrase into the display and the lost wallets will appear with your assets intact. Private key storage is of paramount importance to maintain the safety of your on-chain assets! This should be done in paper wallet form, or stored offline on a different computer, or USB device, from the one you would typically use to connect to the 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) sometimes known as “two step authentication”. This feature offers an extra security layer when withdrawing funds from cryptocurrency wallets. A specialized app, most commonly Google Authenticator, is synced up to the exchange to provide a constantly changing code. This code must be entered within a short time window to initiate transfers, or to log into an exchange, if it has also been enabled for that purpose.
You must always consider the level of fees, or the amount of Gas, that will be needed to carry out the transaction. In times of high network activity Gas prices can be quite high. In fact, in December 2017 network fees became so high that some Bitcoin transactions became absolutely unfeasible. But that was basically due to the anomalous network congestion caused by frantic trading of Bitcoin as it was skyrocketing in value. When copying wallet addresses, double check and triple check that they are correct. If you make a mistake and enter an incorrect address, it is most likely your funds will be irretrievably lost; you will never see those particular assets again. Also check that you haven’t input the address of another one of your wallets that is designed to hold a different variety of cryptocurrency. You would similarly run the very great risk of losing your funds forever. Or, at the very least, if you have sent the wrong crypto to a large exchange wallet, for example on Coinbase, maybe you could eventually get those funds back, but it would still entail a long and unenjoyable wait.
How to Monitor Funds
There are two ways to monitor you funds and your wallets. The first is by searching for individual wallet addresses on websites specifically designed to let you view all the transactions on a particular Blockchain. The other is to store a copy of your wallet contents on an application that tracks the prices of all cryptocurrencies. Blockchain.info is the block explorer for Bitcoin, and it allows you to track all wallet movements so you can view your holdings and all the historical transactions within the wallet. The Ethereum blockchain’s block explorer is called Ether scanner, and it functions in the same way. There is a rival to Ether scanner produced by the Jibrel Network, called JSearch which will be released soon. JSearch will aim to offer a more streamlined and faster search method for Ethereum blockchain transactions. There are many different kinds of block explorer for each individual crypto currency, including nanoexplorer.io for Nano (formerly Rai Blocks) and Neotracker for NEO. If you simply want to view the value of your portfolio, the Delta and Blockfolio apps allow you to easily do that. But they are not actually linked to your specific wallet address, they just show price movements and total value of the coins you want to monitor.
That’s not all! You can learn how to transfer and monitor the funds in and out of your wallet by clicking on the link.
To be continued!
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