What is bitcoin? Bitcoin for beginners - Bitcoin Cape Town
What is bitcoin? Bitcoin for beginners - Bitcoin Cape Town
Bitcoin And The Strong Concept That Underlies Cryptocurrencies
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FAQ - Bitcoin
Bitcoin: What is it, where can you use it and is it worth ...
NightOwl Halloween Drop: Descriptions, Info, FAQ and Tips
This will be the last I'll post in-regards to NightOwl drops.From now on drop info will be posted in the NightOwlseeds subreddit We can only pin 2 posts at a time, and it can get confusing for new and existing users. I will be updating this thread throughout the day, check last edited.- NightOwl subreddit linked,
"My pack has a blank label, how do I know what I have?"
Those are the "Secret Owl Society" packs, they come labeled with UV ink. Daz almost always provides a small blacklight keychain, use it to reveal the pack name.
"Can I make multiple orders and get the tester pack?"
As long as the combined total is $250, and hasn't been shipped yet, then you get 1 tester pack ($500 for 2 tester packs). A new bit of info, you get another tester pack per $250 spent, dealer's choice.
No, you don't need TSB Premium to make a purchase. This was an option for paying members to get a chance to access the drop early. Nothing was exclusive to premium, everyone has access to all the strains.
"I got a confirmation email, it still says "processing", should I be worried?"
As long as you have a confirmation email (maybe a paid email), then there's nothing to worry about your order has been received.
When purchasing NightOwl seeds from The Seed Bazaar on 10/10 at 12 AM, WHATEVER IS IN YOUR CART, ISN'T RESERVED. NEW TIPS ITEMS ARE ADDED/UPDATED ONE BY ONE. THERE ARE TWO PAGES OF SEEDS. IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH YOUR ORDER EMAIL [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) PREMIUM ISN'T NECESSARY. It's best to purchase what you want FAST, everything is and always has been limited in quantity. Don't leave the item(s) in your cart and go check your plants and start some LST or a res change, don't go start cleaning your tent, CHECK YOUR ITEMS OUT FAST. Orders usually are combined to help with shipping, this should help with ordering fast, and comments have been enabled at checkout too 👍. Last tip, make an account ahead of time, and login. Should help speed up the checkout process. Price per pack is $50 USD. Website and packaging say 3 seeds but typically get 5 no option for other pack sizes, plus free international shipping. This is the LAST SCHEDULED DROP from NightOwl till Valentine's day, which is expected to have the new F4 photo to auto cultivars. This is if there aren't any delays or setbacks in the timeline. The new NightOwl Sweater doesn't have a set date yet, could be some time in November. Chocolates are for the US only, food and customs don't go together. I THINK Daz said put it in the comments if you'd like the chocolate and he'd get back to you to figure out how to ship it (might have to pay for packaging and postage). Only If there are chocolates or ashtrays left, Daz will offer them up as an item on the seed bazaar for the cost of shipping which is usually around $15. Seedopoly boards are being sent out, pieces won't go out till the New Year, and the prizes are US only.
Spend $250 get an UNRELEASED TESTER PACK
Spend $500 get 2 UNRELEASED TESTER PACKS
Tester packs are labeled, but unknown till you receive it.
Scratch Card Game
Match the Mummies, scratch card game *WHILE SUPPLIES LAST, 1st COME 1st SERVED\*
Zamaldelica Express x Cosmic Queen 75/25 Sativa/Indica 75-80 days from sprout A long time coming, the Galaxy Brain is finally here! These large, branchy plants are covered with frost from the stems up! Piercingly sweet fruit scents and mouth coating flavors accompany a soaring euphoric head high, along with a relaxing body effect that doesn’t hamper your daily activities. I’m expecting this one to become a staple in the autoflower connoisseur’s garden. The reversal used was selected from over 40 Cosmic Queens and was extremely sativa dominant. I used this same expression for an unreleased seed run a few years back and she produced some of the most exquisitely beautiful and flavorful flowers. The female used was extremely pungent, with sappy and bulbous resin heads that stink up the whole room when burst. She also had extremely fat calyxes, providing massive amounts of surface area for the resin heads to call home.
Fugue State x Cosmic Queen True F1 Hybrid Limited Edition 75/25 Sativa/Indica 75-85 days from sprout 2-4 ounces average 3 Feminized Seeds Large, easy growing sativa dominant plants with heavy branching and intense crystal production. Super sweet, peppery, and buttery flavors accompany an intensely uplifting head high and an electrically charged body feel. The Spotless Mind name gives a tip of the cap to the Amnesia Haze in her heritage, which carries through to this cross. Overindulge and you will find yourself becoming forgetful and may experience recollection difficulties, but in a fun way. She has also been known to encourage bedroom activities, making for a nice nightstand stash. If you are looking for an anytime sativa that won’t make your mind race aimlessly, look no further. The same reversal that was used for Galaxy Brain and Cosmic Apprentice was also used for this Limited Edition.
Blue Microverse F4 x Cosmic Queen F4 *Quick Finish* 50/50 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium to large plants with creamy blue raspberry lemonade golf ball buds running along the side branches, leading up to chunky top colas all wrapped in gooey, long-stemmed trichomes. Another beautiful true F1 hybrid with a 50/50 blend for a balanced, comforting mind and body experience. Great for relaxing after work when you’re ready to start winding down. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency while keeping the stretch down. **Be sure to keep airflow and humidity in check during the final few weeks, as the flower density can lead to bud rot in the wrong conditions. **
Strawberry Nuggets F4 x Cosmic Queen F4 *Quick Finish* 40/60 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium-sized bushes with very sturdy branches that reach up and fill the canopy alongside the main cola. Rock hard nugs of pinks, purples, emerald, and blue hues will create all the bag appeal you could ask for, with a sweet cheesy strawberry funk that will have you smelling the bag again and again. Another true F1 and the heaviest indica hybrid of the lot, ranging from therapeutic to narcotic depending on your intake. Perfect for a dessert smoke or nightcap to relax your body before sailing off into the dream world. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency while keeping the stretch down. ***Be sure to keep an eye on these during early as the Strawberry Nuggets line can throw a ball or two during sexing, right where the side branches meet the main stem. It is rare, but can be brought about by stress or too strong an application of nutes during the sexing stage and seems to be most common when using humic acid. If you do see a ball pop up it can be removed and the plant will continue on fully female to finish her life. Also, keep airflow and humidity in check during the final few weeks, as the flower density can lead to bud rot in the wrong conditions. **\*
(Chem City Blues x Chemdogging) X Cosmic Queen F4 *Super Sativa* 60/40 Sativa/Indica 75-85 days from sprout 2-4 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect large, easy growing plants with satellite branches that reach up to the shoulders of the canopy, but be sure to stake her before she goes too far into flower or she will buckle under the weight of her blooms. The piercing old school perfumes she puts off range from skunky blueberries to creamy chems, and her soda can cola structure is sure to impress! This F1 polyhybrid is recommended for heavier smokers and those looking for help with pain management, and can be a bit too much too fast for the uninitiated. Carbon filters are always a must indoors, and best to make sure they’re in proper working order before running these. The Cosmic Queen reversal used for this cross was what I consider the super sativa expression of CQ. Tall, stretchy, thinner leaves, incredibly sweet resin, bag appeal, pest, and pm resistant with an elongated bud structure that is excellent for outdoors and in. Don’t miss out!
Mango Smile x Cosmic Queen F4 *Super Sativa* 70/30 Sativa/Indica 75-85 days from sprout 2-4 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect large, easy growing plants with sturdy branching and individual bud sites running their length, met with a small cola cluster at their end. This true F1 hybrid has beautiful tropical citrus flavors that will send you off on an island vacation, while the effects will leave you physically and mentally heightened and ready for anything the day throws your way! Extremely pleasant all day/everyday smoke, sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The Cosmic Queen reversal used for this cross was what I consider the super sativa expression of CQ. Tall, stretchy, thinner leaves, incredibly sweet resin, bag appeal, pest, and pm resistant with an elongated bud structure that is excellent for outdoors and in. Don’t miss out!
Forum Stomper x Cosmic Queen F4 *Quick Finish* 60/40 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium-sized bushes with stout branches that reach up and form a canopy surrounding the main cola. Incredibly resinous chunky white nugs and dark forest green foliage fade to the deepest purples and blacks under cooler temperatures. She will have true F1 hybrid vigor and produce a delicious mix of forum cookies and cosmic cream flavors along with an abundance of “fall off the stalk” gland heads that will put everything else around your trimbin to shame. Effects are stoney, both physically and mentally, without the couchlock. She could easily fill the role of all day/everyday smoke if you have a decent tolerance already. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency while keeping the stretch down.
Super Orange Haze F4 X Cosmic Queen F4 *Super Sativa* 70/30 Sativa/Indica 70-80 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium-sized, easy growing plants with shorter side branches that reach about half the height of the main cola. Floral and sour citrus flavors with an uplifting effect that is great for early morning and afternoon indulgences. Bag appeal is also of no concern, as this true F1 hybrid has it in spades! The Cosmic Queen reversal used for this cross was what I consider the super sativa expression of CQ. Tall, stretchy, thinner leaves, incredibly sweet resin, bag appeal, pest, and pm resistant with an elongated bud structure that is excellent for outdoors and in. Don’t miss out!
Toof Decay x Cosmic Queen F4 *Quick Finish* 50/50 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium-sized bushes with stout branches that almost reach the height of the main cola. Extremely dense buds covered in sweet bakery and candy-flavored resin that will leave you wanting more. Cooler temperatures can bring out some beautiful fall colors that only add to her visual appeal. Stoney without the narcotic effect, great for an afternoon delight or as a post-meal treat. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency to this true F1, while keeping the stretch down. ***Be sure to keep an eye on these during early as the Toof Decay line can throw a ball or two during sexing, right where the side branches meet the main stem. It is rare, but can be brought about by stress or too strong an application of nutes during the sexing stage and seems to be most common when using humic acid. If you do see a ball pop up it can be removed and the plant will continue on fully female to finish her life. Also, keep airflow and humidity in check during the final few weeks, as the flower density can lead to bud rot in the wrong conditions. **\*
Creme de la Soul F1 x Cosmic Queen F4 Quick Finish 50/50 Sativa/Indica 65-75 days from sprout 1.5-3 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect medium plants with stout satellite branches reaching up to the shoulders of the main colas. Dense nugs covered in oily resin ranging in smells from red berries and sneakers to creamy grapes, this F1 polyhybrid has a lot to offer! Cooler temperatures can bring on fades of reds and purples, making her an absolute beauty in her final days. She has a balanced physical and mental high, leaning towards the stoney end of the spectrum, and will make for a great evening smoke. For the reversal I used a stocky, faster finishing Cosmic Queen as the pollen donor which will help add vigor and potency while keeping the stretch down. Be sure to keep airflow and humidity in check during the final few weeks, as the flower density can lead to bud rot.
Supernatural OG x Cosmic Queen F4 Super Sativa 70/30 Sativa/Indica 75-85 days from sprout 2-4 ounce average 3 Feminized Seeds Expect large, easy growing plants with sturdy branching and individual bud sites running their length, met with a medium cola cluster at their ends, with a large main cola. This F1 poly hybrid is chock full of hazey goodness! Flavors range from effervescent lemon-lime, to heavy juniper laced gin and tonic. The juniper flavors are my personal favorite and tend to kick my ass and get me super stoney, while the citrusy ones are more motivational. There’s a variety of outstanding expressions to be found in these, all on the sativa end of the spectrum. The Cosmic Queen reversal used for this cross was what I consider the super sativa expression of CQ. Tall, stretchy, thinner leaves, incredibly sweet resin, bag appeal, pest and pm resistant with an elongated bud structure that is excellent for outdoors and in. Don’t miss out! Blessed by Hoodoo Moses I
Cosmic Apprentice (No Video)
Wizard’s Apprentice F4 x Cosmic Queen F4 Sativa 75 days from sprout "Ready to get heady? Crossing a big-bodied sativa dominant Wizard’s Apprentice to the rush inducing Cosmic Queen resulted in a whole new variety that will keep your head in the clouds! Large plants with denser buds than Cosmic Queen, an overload of frost, and nostril piercing neon sweet and hazey scents finishing right around 75 days. If you’re into uplifting sativa effects with chunkier buds then she is definitely worth checking out."
Wizard’s Apprentice F4 x Tyrone Stomper F6 Indica 70 days from sprout A long time coming, the Cheech Biggums is sure to impress! Using a heavy Cheech Wizard dominant Wizard’s Apprentice mated to the ever-impressive Tyrone Stomper will produce medium to large, extra vigorous true F1 hybrids with fruity OG gas flavors and an occasional piney/floral expression in a quick 70ish days from sprout. Picture of Post
February Drop Info
Copied from Daz's IG post.
Thank you all for your patience with me these past few weeks. I've been handling a lot of business behind the scenes in preparation for big things next year. 2020 was the year of staying off the radar with most of my big projects and not drawing any unnecessary attention. 2021 is the year of getting licensed and really showing you what it's all about! Thank you for your trust and faith in me during my overly cautious past few months/years. I won't let you down.🙏🌱🦉🌱🙏New photo to autos scheduled for the first half of 2021: Pre '98 Bubba Kush x Auto Skywalker F4 Dosidos x Forum Stomper F4 Purple Punch x Forum Stomper F4 Sunset Sherbet x Forum Stomper F4
There is a constant war being fought between goldbugs, like Peter Schiff, and Bitcoin enthusiasts so I decided to make an outline, with links, comparing and contrasting gold and Bitcoin. I made this in November of 2019 (thus the information therein is based on figures from that time) but, being scatter brained, neglected to post this for the Bitcoin community to see. The yardsticks I used to compare the two assets included the following: shipping/transactions costs, storage costs, censorship factor, settlement time, stock to flow, blockchain vs clearing house, validation, etc. I will also touch on Roosevelt's gold confiscation executive order in 1933, transporting gold during the Spanish Civil War in 1936, and the hypothetical cost for Venezuela to repatriate its gold more recently. I will provide a brief summary first then follow that with the outline I made. This information can be used as a tool for the Bitcoin community to combat some of the silly rhetoric coming from goldbugs such as Peter Schiff and James Rickards. I would like to make it clear, however, that I am not against gold and think that it performed its role as money very well in a technologically inferior era, namely Victorian times but I think Bitcoin performs the functions of money better than gold does in the current environment. I have been looking to make a contribution to the Bitcoin community and I hope this is a useful and educational tool for everyone who reads this. Summary: Shipping/transaction costs: 100 ounces of gold could be shipped for 315 dollars; the comparable dollar value in Bitcoin could be sent for 35 dollars using a non-segwit address. Using historical precendent, it would cost an estimated $32,997,989 to transport $1 billion in gold using the 3.3% fee that the Soviets charged the Spaniards in 1936; a $1 billion Bitcoin transaction moved for $690 last year by comparison. Please note that the only historic example we can provide for moving enormous sums of gold was when the government of Spain transported gold to Moscow during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. More information on this topic will be found in the notes section. Storage costs: 100 ounces of gold would require $451 per year to custody while the equivalent value of Bitcoin in dollar terms could be stored for the cost of a Ledger Nano S, $59.99. $1 billion USD value of gold would cost $2,900,000 per year while an Armory set up that is more secure would run you the cost of a laptop, $200-300. Censorship factor: Gold must pass through a 3rd party whenever it is shipped, whether for a transaction or for personal transportation. Gold will typically have to be declared and a customs duty may be imposed when crossing international borders. The key take-away is gatekeepers (customs) can halt movement of gold thus making transactions difficult. $46,000 of gold was seized in India despite the smugglers hiding it in their rectums. Settlement time: Shipping gold based on 100 ounces takes anywhere from 3-10 days while Bitcoin transactions clear in roughly 10 minutes depending on network congestion and fee size. Historic confiscation: Franklin Roosevelt confiscated and debased the paper value of gold in 1933 with Executive Order 6102. Since gold is physical in nature and value dense, it is often stored in custodial vaults like banks and so forth which act as a honeypot for rapacious governments. Stock to flow: Plan B's stock to flow model has become a favorite on twitter. Stock to flow measures the relationship between the total stock of an asset against the amount that is produced in a given year. Currently gold still has the highest value at 62 while Bitcoin sits at 50 in 2nd place. Bitcoin will overtake gold in 2024 after the next halving. Blockchain vs clearing house: gold payments historically passed through a 3rd party (clearinghouse) in order to be validated while Bitcoin transactions can be self validated through the use of a node. Key Takeaway from above- Bitcoin is vastly superior to gold in terms of cost, speed, and censorship resistance. One could theoretically carry around an enormous sum of Bitcoin on a cold card while the equivalent dollar value of gold would require a wheelbarrow...and create an enormous target on the back of the transporter. With the exception of the stock to flow ratio (which will flip in Bitcoin's favor soon), Bitcoin is superior to gold by all metrics covered. Notes: Shipping/transaction costs Gold 100 oz = 155,500. 45 x 7 = $315 to ship 100 oz gold. https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/839735-katchum/2547831-how-much-does-it-cost-to-ship-silver-and-gold https://www.coininvest.com/en/shipping-prices/ 211 tonnes Venezuela; 3.3% of $10.5 billion = 346,478,880 or 32,997,989/billion usd http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/23/how-to-get-12-billion-of-gold-to-venezuela/ (counter party risk; maduro; quotes from article) Bitcoin 18 bitcoin equivalent value; 35 USD with legacy address https://blockexplorer.com/ https://bitcoinfees.info/ 1 billion; $690 dollars https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/09/someone-moved-1-billion-in-a-single-bitcoin-transaction/ Storage costs Gold .29% annually; https://sdbullion.com/gold-silver-storage 100 oz – $451/year $1 billion USD value – $2,900,000/year Bitcoin Ledger Nano S - $59.00 (for less bitcoin) https://shop.ledger.com/products/ledger-nano-s/transparent?flow_country=USA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3ILV5O-Z5wIVTtbACh1zTAwqEAQYASABEgJ5SPD_BwE Armory - $200-300 cost of laptop for setup https://www.bitcoinarmory.com/ Censorship factor (must pass through 3rd party) Varies by country Gold will typically have to be declared and a customs duty may be imposed Key take-away is gatekeepers (customs) can halt movement of gold thus making transactions difficult $46,000 seized in India https://www.foxnews.com/travel/indian-airport-stops-29-passengers-smuggling-gold-in-their-rectums Settlement time Gold For 100 oz transaction by USPS 3-10 days (must pass through 3rd party) Bitcoin Roughly 10 minutes to be included in next block Historic confiscation-roosevelt 1933 Executive Order 6102 (forced spending, fed could ban cash, go through and get quotes) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_6102 “The stated reason for the order was that hard times had caused "hoarding" of gold, stalling economic growth and making the depression worse” Stock to flow; https://medium.com/@100trillionUSD/modeling-bitcoins-value-with-scarcity-91fa0fc03e25 (explain what it is and use charts in article) Gold; SF of 62 Bitcoin; SF of 25 but will double to 50 after May (and to 100 in four years) Blockchain vs clearing house Transactions can be validated by running a full node vs. third party settlement Validation Gold; https://www.goldismoney2.com/threads/cost-to-assay.6732/ (Read some responses) Bitcoin Cost of electricity to run a full node Breaking down Venezuela conundrum; http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/08/23/how-to-get-12-billion-of-gold-to-venezuela/ “The last (and only) known case of this kind of quantity of gold being transported across state lines took place almost exactly 75 years ago, in 1936, when the government of Spain removed 560 tons of gold from Madrid to Moscow as the armies of Francisco Franco approached. Most of the gold was exchanged for Russian weaponry, with the Soviet Union keeping 2.1% of the funds in the form of commissions and brokerage, and an additional 1.2% in the form of transport, deposit, melting, and refining expenses.” “Venezuela would need to transport the gold in several trips, traders said, since the high value of gold means it would be impossible to insure a single aircraft carrying 211 tonnes. It could take about 40 shipments to move the gold back to Caracas, traders estimated. “It’s going to be quite a task. Logistically, I’m not sure if the central bank realises the magnitude of the task ahead of them,” said one senior gold banker.” “So maybe Chávez intends to take matters into his own hands, and just sail the booty back to Venezuela on one of his own naval ships. Again, the theft risk is obvious — seamen can be greedy too — and this time there would be no insurance. Chávez is pretty crazy, but I don’t think he’d risk $12 billion that way.” “Which leaves one final alternative. Gold is fungible, and people are actually willing to pay a premium to buy gold which is sitting in the Bank of England’s ultra-secure vaults. So why bother transporting that gold at all? Venezuela could enter into an intercontinental repo transaction, where it sells its gold in the Bank of England to some counterparty, and then promises to buy it all back at a modest discount, on condition that it’s physically delivered to the Venezuelan central bank in Caracas. It would then be up to the counterparty to work out how to get 211 tons of gold to Caracas by a certain date. That gold could be sourced anywhere in the world, and transported in any conceivable manner — being much less predictable and transparent, those shipments would also be much harder to hijack. How much of a discount would a counterparty require to enter into this kind of transaction? Much more than 3.3%, is my guess. And again, it’s not entirely clear who would even be willing to entertain the idea. Glencore, perhaps?” “But here’s one last idea: why doesn’t Chávez crowdsource the problem? He could simply open a gold window at the Banco Central de Venezuela, where anybody at all could deliver standard gold bars. In return, the central bank would transfer to that person an equal number of gold bars in the custody of the Bank of England, plus a modest bounty of say 2% — that’s over $15,000 per 400-ounce bar, at current rates. It would take a little while, but eventually the gold would start trickling in: if you’re willing to pay a constant premium of 2% over the market price for a good, you can be sure that the good in question will ultimately find its way to your door. And the 2% cost of acquiring all that gold would surely be much lower than the cost of insuring and shipping it from England. It would be an elegant market-based solution to an artificial and ideologically-driven problem; I daresay Chávez might even chuckle at the irony of it. He’d just need to watch out for a rise in Andean banditry, as thieves tried to steal the bars on their disparate journeys into Venezuela.”
NEW PRODUCTS FOR THE CRYPTOCURRENCY WORLD POWERED BY ($S4F)
Hello Crypto World! There is news: We are getting closer and closer to the official date of the S4FE launch: Saturday, November 14th, 2020 What will happen on that date? S4FE can proudly look back on three years of product development and announce that the S4FE rockets will start on November 14th, 2020. The following products are published and made available to the public: Launch of the S4FE search engine, available online from November 14th, 2020, at www.s4fe.io. https://preview.redd.it/lmyvnvoyzms51.png?width=1916&format=png&auto=webp&s=763f5a00cf51148a7e4cf76e354e43ba308ee533 The S4FE search engine is a public and free search engine for objects of all kinds and will be the link between private customers, producers, law enforcement agencies, and insurance companies. Private and corporate customers will be able to create a kind of "cloud" (we call it "S4FE"). In this S4FE, valuables can be linked or managed with the digital world.
PoO - Proof of Ownership is being revolutionized.
From November 14th, it will be possible to digitally map an object's ownership and transfer items digitally from "User A" to "User B" via mouse clicks. The lost and stolen function will also be fully available and usable, which means that objects can be tracked in real-time and reported as stolen in real-time in the event of theft, for example. For stolen goods, the transport and sale of stolen property is made much more complicated for thieves and can involve some complexities. During a spontaneous police check, stolen things can appear in the system that was stolen a few minutes ago and have not yet been reported in the police system— the risk of being caught red-handed increases. The S4FE app contains the same functions as the S4FE search engine, only optimized for IOS and Android devices. The S4FE app will be available from November 14th, 2020 in the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. The S4FE ST!CKER is a product that we developed to connect physical objects with the digital world. https://preview.redd.it/dfumfnh30ns51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=103b73cd9dd6d766fd2018b3e431a2b89c688b20 https://preview.redd.it/sgtg7oh30ns51.jpg?width=853&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=aab044e022b9f522fba8e6ecbca059f8611d2b22 https://preview.redd.it/40ktpph30ns51.jpg?width=1030&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5d278261ae14b4aeaa0d15de63ca768e58b892d2 https://preview.redd.it/4oul1ph30ns51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c437bac621d77b00424dee9abcf1da1065142e06 https://preview.redd.it/7qhyirh30ns51.jpg?width=781&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c284852afb8cb19e05e4c64edd0787c5d9b72465 https://preview.redd.it/u057h1i30ns51.jpg?width=852&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=8399eb6f9b10e9a9250126c26040524442945b24 https://preview.redd.it/v3r1jrh30ns51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=4c55e0ec95b119f2e80dbfa68e916bef746fc81f https://preview.redd.it/smwbmoh30ns51.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d02a7a3fd80cd82bc1bd74a1d03f18cb7c073038 https://preview.redd.it/1lx695i30ns51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=0113ec3afd8a0b962fb3a67f94fc9fb3a642729b https://preview.redd.it/6avpqmh30ns51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=0ecbd85cf06b1f3799cc9548656c1aa2185ab6a0 Do you often lose your iPhone? Have you ever accidentally left your laptop at the airport? Then the S4FE ST! CKER is the perfect product for you. People who find an object, e.g., your laptop, can scan the S4FE ST! CKER via smartphone and contact you directly via the S4FE app. Updates on prices for the S4FE ST! CKER will be available soon. Launch of the S4FE online shop: Our customers will have the opportunity to purchase the S4FE ST! CKER via the S4FE shop. Price updates will follow shortly. In the online shop, it will be possible to pay via cryptocurrencies or conveniently via credit card. S4FE Transactions: S4FE is a blockchain/crypto company. We attach great importance to transparency, which is why all transactions on the S4FE network are publicly displayed. So you can watch the S4FE network grow in real-time. Similar to the Bitcoin Explorer, but not for Bitcoins, but objects. More information will follow shortly. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Es gibt Neuigkeiten: Wir rücken immer wie näher an das offizielle Datum vom S4FE Launch: Samstag, 14. NOVEMBER 2020 Was passiert an diesem Datum? S4FE darf stolz auf 3 Jahre Produktentwicklung zurückblicken und verkünden, dass am 14. November die S4FE Raketen gezündet werden. Folgende Produkte werden veröffentlicht und der Öffentlichkeit zugänglich gemacht: Launch der S4FE Suchmaschine, ab dem 14. November 2020 Online abrufbar unter www.s4fe.io. Die S4FE Suchmaschine ist eine öffentliche und kostenlose Suchmaschine für Gegenstände jeder Art und wird das Bindeglied zwischen Privatkunden, Produzenten, Strafverfolgungsbehörde und Versicherungen darstellen. Privat und Firmenkunden werden eine Art “Cloud” (wir nennen es “S4FE”) anlegen können. In diesem S4FE können Wertgegenstände mit der digitalen Welt verknüpft bzw. verwaltet werden. PoO - Proof of Ownership wird revolutioniert, da es ab dem 14. November möglich sein wird, den Besitztum eines Gegenstandes digital abzubilden und Items digital von “User A” zu “User B” zu transferieren via Mausklicks. Die Lost und Stolen Funktion wird ebenfalls vollumfänglich verfügbar und nutzbar sein, das bedeutet, Gegenstände können in Echtzeit getrackt werden und bei bspw. einem Diebstahl in Echtzeit als gestohlen gemeldet werden. Für Hehler wird somit der Transport und die Veräußerung von Diebesgut wesentlich schwieriger gestaltet und mit einigen Komplikationen verbunden. Bei einer spontanen Polizeikontrolle können so beispielsweise gestohlene Dinge im System auftauchen, die vor ein paar Minuten frisch geklaut wurden und noch nicht im Polizeisystem erfasst sind. Die Gefahr steigt in flagranti erwischt zu werden. Die S4FE App beinhaltet dieselben Funktionen wie die S4FE Suchmaschine nur optimiert für IOS und Android-Geräte. Die S4FE App wird ab dem 14. November 2020 im Apple Store sowie im Google Play Store verfügbar sein. Der S4FE ST!CKER ist ein Produkt, welches wir entwickelt haben, um physische Gegenstände mit der digitalen Welt zu verknüpfen. Verlierst du häufig dein Iphone? Hast du schon einmal am Flughafen aus Versehen deinen Laptop liegen lassen? Dann ist der S4FE ST!CKER das perfekte Produkt für dich. Personen die einen Gegenstand finden, bspw. deinen Laptop, können den S4FE ST!CKER abscannen via Smartphone und über die S4FE App sich direkt mit dir in Verbindung setzen. Updates über Preise vom S4FE ST!CKER wird es in Kürze geben. Launch vom S4FE Online-Shop: Über den S4FE Shop werden unsere Kunden die Möglichkeit haben, den S4FE ST!CKER zu beziehen. Preisupdates folgen in Kürze. Im Online-Shop wird es die Möglichkeit geben via Kryptowährungen oder bequem via Kreditkarte zu bezahlen. S4FE Transactions: S4FE ist ein Blockchain / Krypto Unternehmen. Wir legen enormen Wert auf Transparenz, deshalb werden sämtliche Transaktionen auf dem S4FE Netzwerk öffentlich angezeigt. Du kannst also in Echtzeit beobachten, wie das S4FE Netzwerk wächst. Ähnlich dem Bitcoin Explorer, aber nicht für Bitcoins, sondern für Gegenstände. Mehr Informationen folgen in Kürze.
I can’t sell my physical gold instantly while I’m at home. With bitcoin I can do it from home... naked. I can’t tell if my gold is real or fake, it could just be a tungsten bar from China. With bitcoin I don’t need to worry about such trivial things. Everything is open for me to verify without any third parties trust. I have no idea how much gold is really out there. With bitcoin I know exactly how much is being produced and how many exist. I can’t send my gold anywhere in the world instantly. With bitcoin I can do it in the middle of the ocean from a satellite to someone anywhere on the globe I can’t sell a small portion of a gold coin instantly or pay for things easily. I would have to melt it in the crucibles to buy a taco from jack in the box. I can’t mine gold in my shed out back. I can with bitcoin, if I had the funds. Gold is for boomers. Bitcoin destroys gold.
Use either Electrum or Bitcoin Core to collect a Bitcoin public and private key.
Enter the Redeem Script you copied in the creation process (step #5), then Load
After a few minutes it should automatically load your UTXO into the form
Enter the address you want to spend your UTXO to and adjust the output amount for fees
Hit the question mark next to Transaction Fee for the calculator
Hit Submit when satisfied and record the unsigned transaction data
Select Sign on the top nav bar to begin the signing operation
Enter your private key from the creation process (step #1) and the unsigned TXN
Select Submit to produce the signed TXN
Broadcast the signed TXN with either Electrum or Bitcoin Core
Note, if you try to broadcast before the UTXO's timelock expires, you will get a terse not final error in either Electrum or Core. For Extra Credit, CoinBin can also be run against Testnet, but to do so you have to unhide the settings element, manually code the TXN input script and manually code the TXN nLockTime to sync with your HODL address. Here are a Testnet and Mainnet HODL spend TXN I created in CoinBin * Mainnet: txid ea6a1...79d53 * Testnet: txid a8110...adc93
Disclaimer: This is sort of my own arbitrary editing, so there could be some misunderstandings. I root for the spread of good spirits and transparency of IF. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 2:45 So why don't we just copy Avalanche? Well that's pretty simple ... 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 2:47 1. It doesn't scale very well with the amount of nodes in the network that have no say in the consensus process but are merely consensus consuming nodes(i.e. sensors, edge devices and so on). If you assume that the network will never have more than a few thousand nodes then thats fine butif you want to build a DLT that can cope with millions of devices then it wont work because of the message complexity. 2. If somebody starts spamming conflicts, then the whole network will stop to confirm any transactions and will grind to a halt until the conflict spamming stops.Avalanche thinks that this is not a huge problem because an attacker would have to spend fees for spamming conflicts which means that he couldn't do this forever and would at some point run out of funds. IOTA tries to build a feeless protocol and a consensus that stops to function if somebody spams conflicts is really not an option for us. 3. If a medium sized validator goes offline due to whatever reason, then the whole network will again stop to confirm any transactionsbecause whenever a query for a nodes opinion can not be answered they reset the counter for consecutive successful voting rounds which will prevent confirmations. Since nodes need to open some ports to be available for queries it is super easy to DDOS validators and again bring the network confirmations to 0. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:05 4. Avalanche still processes transactions in "chunks/blocks"by only applying them after they have gone through some consensus process (gathered enough successfull voting rounds),which means that the nodes will waste a significant amount of time where they "wait" for the next chunk to be finished before the transactions are applied to the ledger state. IOTA tries to streamline this process by decoupling consensus and the booking of transactions by using the "parallel reality based ledger state" which means that nodes in IOTA will never waste any time "waiting" for decisions to be made. This will give us much higher throughput numbers. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:11 5. Avalanche has some really severe game theoretic problems where nodes are incentivized to attach their transactions to the already decided parts of the DAG because then things like conflict spam won't affect these transactions as badly as the transactions issued by honest nodes.If however every node would follow this "better and selfish" tip selection mechanism then the network will stop to work at all. Overall the "being able to stop consensus" might not be too bad since you can't really do anything really bad (i.e. double spend) which is why we might not see these kind of attacks in the immediate future but just wait until a few DeFi apps are running on their platform where smart contracts are actually relying on more or less real time execution of the contracts. Then there might be some actual financial gains to be made if the contract halts and we might see alot of these things appear (including selfish tip selection). Avalanche is barely a top 100 project and nobody attacks these kind of low value networks unless there is something to be gained from such an attack. Saying that the fact that its live on mainnet and hasn't been attacked in 3 weeks is a proof for its security is completely wrong. Especially considering that 95% of all stake are controlled by avalanche itself If you control > 50% of the voting power then you essentially control the whole network and attacks can mostly be ignored I guess there is a reason for avalanche only selling 10% of the token supply to the public because then some of the named problems are less likely to appear 📷 Navin Ramachandran [IF]어제 오후 3:21 I have to say that wtf's suggestion is pretty condescending to all our researchers. It seems heavy on the troll aspect to suggest that we should ditch all our work because iota is only good at industrial adoption. Does wtf actually expect a response to this? Or is this grand standing? 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:22 The whole argument of "why don't you just use X instead of trying to build a better version" is also a completely idiotic argument. Why did ETH write their own protocol if Bitcoin was already around? Well because they saw problems in Bitcoins approach and tried to improve it. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:27 u/NavinRamachandran [IF] Its like most of his arguments ... remember when he said we should implement colored coins in 2nd layer smart contracts instead of the base layer because they would be more expressive (i.e. turing complete) completely discarding that 2nd layer smart contracts only really work if you have a consensus on data and therefore state for which you need the "traceability" of funds to create these kind of mini blockchains in the tangle? Colored coins "enable" smart contracts and it wouldnt work the other way round - unless you have a platform that works exactly like ETH where all the nodes validate a single shared execution platform of the smart contracts which is not really scalable and is exactly what we are trying to solve with our approach. 📷 Navin Ramachandran [IF]어제 오후 3:28 Always easier to criticise than build something yourself. But yet he keeps posting these inflammatory posts. At this point is there any doubt if he is making these comments constructively? 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 3:43 If he at least would try to understand IOTAs vision ... then maybe he wouldn't have to ask things like "Why don't you just copy a tech that only works with fees" 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 4:35 u/Shaar
I thought this would only be used to 'override' finality, eg if there were network splits. But not in normal consensus
That is not correct. Every single transaction gets booked on arrival using the parallel reality based ledger state. If there are conflicts then we create a "branch" (container in the ledger state) that represents the perception that this particular double spend would be accepted by consensus. After consensus is reached, the container is simply marked as "accepted" and all transactions that are associated with this branch are immediately confirmed as well. This allows us to make the node use all of its computing ressources 24/7 without having to wait for any kind of decision to be made and allows us to scale the throughput to its physical limits. That's the whole idea of the "parallel reality based ledger state" instead of designing a data structure that models the ledger state "after consensus" like everybody else is doing it is tailored to model the ledger state "before consensus" and then you just flip a flag to persist your decision. The "resync mechanism" also uses the branches to measure the amount of approval a certain perception of the ledger state receives. So if my own opinion is not in line with what the rest of the network has accepted (i.e. because I was eclipsed or because there was a network split), then I can use the weight of these branches to detect this "being out of sync" and can do another larger query to re-evaluate my decision.(수정됨)
Also what happens in IOTA if DRNG notes would fall out, does the network continue if no new RNGs appear for a while? Or will new nodes be added sufficiently fast to the DRNG committee that no one notices?
Its a comittee and not just a single DRNG provider. If a few nodes fail then it will still produce random numbers. And even if the whole comittee fails there are fallback RNG's that would be used instead 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 4:58 And multiverse doesn't use FPC but only the weight of these branches in the same way as blockchain uses the longest chain wins consensus to choose between conflicts. So nodes simply attach their transactions to the transactions that they have seen first and if there are conflicts then you simply monitor which version received more approval and adjust your opinion accordingly. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 5:07 We started integrating some of the non-controversial concepts (like the approval reset switch) into FPC and are currently refactoring goshimmer to support this We are also planning to make the big mana holders publish their opinion in the tangle as a public statement, which allows us to measure the rate of approval in a similar way as multiverse would do it So its starting to converge a bit but we are still using FPC as a metastability breaking mechanism Once the changes are implemented it should be pretty easy to simulate and test both approaches in parallel 📷 Serguei Popov [IF]어제 오후 5:53
So the ask is that we ditch all our work and fork Avalanche because it has not been attacked in the month or so it has been up?
u/NavinRamachandran [IF] yeah, that's hilarious. Avalanche consensus (at least their WP version) is clearly scientifically unsound. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 9:43 u/wtfmaybe you should research avalanche before proposing such a stupid idea and you will see that what I wrote is actually true 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 9:44 paying fees is what "protects" them atm and simply the fact that nobody uses the network for anything of value yet we cant rely on fees making attack vectors "inattractive" 📷 Serguei Popov [IF]어제 오후 10:17
well (1.) very obviously the metastability problems are not a problem in practice,
putting "very obviously" before questionable statements very obviously shows that you are seeking a constructive dialogue📷(to make metastability work, the adversary needs to more-or-less know the current opinion vectors of most of the honest participants; I don't see why a sufficiently well-connected adversary cannot query enough honest nodes frequently enough to achieve that)
(2.) .... you'd need an unpredictable number every few tens/hundreds milliseconds, but your DRNG can only produce one every O(seconds).
the above assumption (about "every few tens/hundreds milliseconds") is wrong
We've had this discussion before, where you argued that the assumptions in the FPC-BI paper (incl. "all nodes must be known") are not to be taken 100% strictly, and that the results are to be seen more of an indication of overall performance.
Aham, I see. So, unfortunately, all that time that I invested into explaining that stuff during our last conversation was for nothing. Again, very briefly. The contents of the FPC-BI paper is not "an indication of overall performance". It rather shows (to someone who actually read and understood the paper) why the approach is sound and robust, as it makes one understand what is the mechanism that causes the consensus phenomenon occur.
Yet you don't allow for that same argument to be valid for the "metastability" problem in avalanche,
Incorrect. It's not "that same argument". FPC-BI is a decent academic paper that has precisely formulated results and proofs. The Ava WP (the probabilistic part of it), on the other hand, doesnotcontain proofs of what they call results. More importantly, they don't even show a clear path to those proofs. That's why their system is scientifically unsound.
even when there's a live network that shows that it doesn't matter.
No, it doesn't show that it doesn't matter. It only shows that it works when not properly attacked. Their WP doesn't contain any insight on why those attacks would be difficult/impossible. 📷 Hans Moog [IF]어제 오후 10:56 That proposal was so stupid - Avalanche does several things completely different and we are putting quite a bit og effort into our solution to pretty much fix all of Avalanches shortcomings If we just wanted to have a working product and dont care about security or performance then we could have just forked a blockchaib I am pretty confident that once we are done - its going to be extremely close to the besttheoretical thresholds that DLTs will ever be able to achieve for an unsharded baselayer ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 📷 Bas어제 오전 2:43 Yesterday I was asked how a reasonably big company no one has heard of could best move forward implementing Access for thousands of locations worldwide. (Sorry for the vagueness, it’s all confidential.) They read the article and want to implement it because it seems to fit a problem they’re currently trying to solve. Such moves will vastly increase the utility of protocols like IOTA, and is what the speculation is built on. I do not think you can overestimate what impact Access is going to have. It’s cutting out the middleman for simple things; no server or service needed. That’s huge. So yes, I think this space will continue to growu/Coinnave -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 📷 Angelo Capossele [IF]2020.10.02. In short: we are planning a new v0.3.0 release that should happen very soon. This version will bring fundamental changes to the structure of the entire codebase (but without additional features) so that progressing with the development will be easier and more consistent. We have also obtained outstanding results with the dRNG committee managed by the GoShimmer X-Team, so that will also be integral part of v0.3.0. After that, we will merge the Value Tangle with the Message Tangle, so to have only one Tangle and make the TSA and the orphanage easier to manage. And we are also progressing really well with Mana, that will be the focus after the merge. More or less this is what is going to happen this month. We will release further details with the upcoming Research Status Update📷
The aim is to organize the queue by spoting non-uniformity on the mempool fee distribution and suggest fees for new transactions that would fill that gap. Over time that produces a somewhat smooth fee distribution and a much more predictable fee market where parties can trully prioritize transactions, and thus have liveness on Bitcoin. It is mempool depth-based (i.e., queue position), it is reactive. It uses recent past incoming transaction flows, and mined transaction outflows, to estimate velocities parametric on mempool queue position. Based on block poisson statistics it then estimates when on average a transaction paying a given fee will be mined. Error is multiplicative, so if you rely on these for liveness, please stay right at the surface. We don't have logs. The backend was commitioned by a client over 3 years ago, and it is open-source. We are serving it at our own costs, but it would be nice to eventually receive donations to cover the costs of running the full node server. Rest and websocket api provided. For live streaming of fees, please use the websocket api!
Wandering From the Path? | Monthly Portfolio Update - August 2020
Midway along the journey of our lifeI woke to find myself in a dark wood,for I had wandered off from the straight path. Dante, The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto I This is my forty-fifth portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal. Portfolio goal My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars). This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent. Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund $733 769
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund $41 794
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund $78 533
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund $110 771
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) $216 758
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) $64 542
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) $237 138
Telstra shares (TLS) $1 540
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) $6 043
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) $5 532
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) $121 976
Secured physical gold $19 535
Ratesetter (P2P lending) $8 998
Bitcoin $177 310
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) $17 421
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) $2 759
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) $4 477
Total portfolio value $1 848 896 (+$48 777 or 2.7%) Asset allocation
Australian shares 41.5%
Global shares 22.6%
Emerging market shares 2.2%
International small companies 2.8%
Total international shares 27.6%
Total shares 69.2% (5.8% under)
Total property securities 0.2% (0.2% over)
Australian bonds 4.4%
International bonds 8.9%
Total bonds 13.3% (1.7% under)
Gold and alternatives 17.2% (7.2% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments The portfolio has increased in value for the fifth consecutive month, and is starting to approach the monthly value last reached in January. The portfolio has grown over $48 000, or 2.7 per cent this month, reflecting the strong market recovery since late March [Chart] The growth in the portfolio was broadly-based across global and Australian equities, with an increase of around 3.8 per cent. Following strong previous rises, gold holdings decreased by around 2.2 per cent, while Bitcoin continued to increase in value (by 2.5 per cent). Combined, the value of gold and Bitcoin holdings remain at a new peak, while total equity holdings are still below their late January peak to the tune of around $50 000. The fixed income holdings of the portfolio continue to fall below the target allocation. [Chart] The expanding value of gold and Bitcoin holdings since January last year have actually had the practical effect of driving new investments into equities, since effectively for each dollar of appreciation, for example, my target allocation to equities rises by seven dollars. New investments this month have been in the Vanguard international shares exchange-traded fund (VGS) and the Australian shares equivalent (VAS). These have been directed to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares set out in the portfolio plan. As the exchange traded funds such as VGS, VAS and Betashares A200 now make up nearly 30 per cent of the overall portfolio, the quarterly payments they provide have increased in magnitude and importance. Early in the journey, third quarter distributions were essentially immaterial events. Using the same 'median per unit' forecast approach as recently used for half yearly forecasts would suggest a third quarter payout due at the end of September of around $6000. Due to significant announced dividend reductions across this year I am, however, currently assuming this is likely to be significantly lower, and perhaps in the vicinity of $4000 or less. Finding true north: approach to achieving a set asset allocation One of the choices facing all investors with a preferred asset allocation is how strictly the target is applied over time, and what variability is acceptable around that. There is a significant body of financial literature around that issue. My own approach has been to seek to target the preferred asset allocation dynamically, through buying the asset class that is furthest from its target, with new portfolio contributions, and re-investment of paid out distributions. As part of monitoring asset allocation, I also track a measure of 'absolute' variance, to understand at a whole of portfolio level how far it is from the desired allocation. This is the sum of the absolute value of variances (e.g. so that being 3 per cent under target in shares, and 7 per cent over target in fixed interest will equal an absolute variance of 10 per cent under this measure). This measure is currently sitting near its highest level in around 2 years, at 15.0 per cent, as can be seen in the chart below. [Chart] The dominant reason for this higher level of variance from target is significant appreciation in the price of gold and Bitcoin holdings. Mapping the sources of portfolio variances Changes in target allocations in the past makes direct comparisons problematic, but previous peaks of the variance measure matches almost perfectly past Bitcoin price movements. For a brief period in January 2018, gold and Bitcoin combined constituted 20 per cent, or 1 in 5 dollars of the entire portfolio. Due to the growth in other equity components of the portfolio since this level has not been subsequently exceeded. Nonetheless, it is instructive to understand that the dollar value of combined gold and Bitcoin holdings is actually up around $40 000 from that brief peak. With the larger portfolio, this now means they together make up 17.2 per cent of the total portfolio value. Tacking into the wind of portfolio movements? The logical question to fall out from this situation is: to what extent should this drive an active choice to sell down gold and Bitcoin until they resume their 10 per cent target allocation? This would currently imply selling around $130 000 of gold or Bitcoin, and generating a capital gains tax liability of potentially up to $27 000. Needless to say this is not an attractive proposition. Several other considerations lead me to not make this choice:
The problem may solve itself as portfolio grows - Growth and continued investments in the portfolio will tend to reduce the variance caused by gold and Bitcoin. The asset allocation targeting approach I adopt has seen continued contributions to equities, reducing the ability of these alternative assets to add to future variance.
Falls in Bitcoin or gold values will also solve the problem - Conversely, price falls in Bitcoin or gold will tend to reduce the variance issue, and such price falls have significant precedents, with for example Bitcoin holdings falling to a value of around $50 000 as recently as January 2019.
If neither of these happen, there may be bigger issues to solve - The only scenario where neither of these alleviating factors occur is should gold and Bitcoin continue to rapidly appreciate compared to other assets, in which case it is difficult to see the value of reducing exposure now.
Does Bitcoin even fit the asset allocation model? - Bitcoin in particular is not a well established or accepted asset class as yet, so it may not be appropriate to apply traditional allocation rules to it - it may be functioning more as a hedge or option against extreme states of the world. Linked to this is the high degree of volatility in Bitcoin. Adopting too tight a target on Bitcoin holdings would potentially see a need to buy and sell Bitcoin frequently, where my intention is to actually never purchase any more.
This approach is a departure from a mechanistic implementation of an asset allocation rule. Rather, the approach I take is pragmatic. Tracking course drift in the portfolio components As an example, I regularly review whether a significant fall in Bitcoin prices to its recent lows would alter my monthly decision on where to direct new investments. So far it does not, and the 'signal' continues to be to buy new equities. Another tool I use is a monthly measurement of the absolute dollar variance of Australian and global shares, as well as fixed interest, from their ideal target allocations. The chart below sets this out for the period since January 2019. A positive value effectively represents an over-allocation to a sector, a negative value, an under-allocation compared to target. [Chart] This reinforces the overall story that, as gold and Bitcoin have grown in value, there emerges a larger 'deficit' to the target. Falls in equities markets across February and March also produce visibly larger 'dollar gaps' to the target allocation. This graph enables a tracking of the impact of portfolio gains or losses, and volatility, and a better understanding of the practical task of returning to target allocations. Runaway lines in either direction would be evidence that current approaches for returning to targets were unworkable, but so far this does not appear to be the case. A crossing over: a credit card FI milestone This month has seen a long awaited milestone reached. Calculated on a past three year average, portfolio distributions now entirely meet monthly credit card expenses. This means that every credit card purchase - each shopping trip or online purchase - is effectively paid for by average portfolio distributions. At the start of this journey, distributions were only equivalent to around 40 per cent of credit card expenses. As time has progressed distributions have increased to cover a larger and larger proportion of card expenses. [Chart] Most recently, with COVID-19 related restrictions having pushed card expenditure down further, the remaining gap to this 'Credit Card FI' target has closed. Looked at on an un-smoothed basis, expenditures on the credit card have continued to be slightly lower than average across the past month. The below chart details the extent to which portfolio distributions (red) cover estimated total expenses (green), measured month to month. [Chart] Credit card expenditure makes up around 80 per cent of total spending, so this is not a milestone that makes paid work irrelevant or optional. Similarly, if spending rises as various travel and other restrictions ease, it is possible that this position could be temporary. Equally, should distributions fall dramatically below long term averages in the year ahead, this could result in average distributions falling faster than average monthly card expenditure. Even without this, on a three year average basis, monthly distributions will decline as high distributions received in the second half of 2017 slowly fall out of the estimation sample. For the moment, however, a slim margin exists. Distributions are $13 per month above average monthly credit card bills. This feels like a substantial achievement to note, as one unlooked for at the outset of the journey. Progress Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 84.8% 114.6% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 103.5% 139.9% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 82.9% 112.1% Summary What feels like a long winter is just passed. The cold days and weeks have felt repetitive and dominated by a pervasive sense of uncertainty. Yet through this time, this wandering off, the portfolio has moved quite steadily back towards it previous highs. That it is even approaching them in the course of just a few months is unexpected. What this obscures is the different components of growth driving this outcome. The portfolio that is recovering, like the index it follows, is changing in its underlying composition. This can be seen most starkly in the high levels of variance from the target portfolio sought discussed above. It is equally true, however, of individual components such as international equity holdings. In the case of the United States the overall index performance has been driven by share price growth in just a few information technology giants. Gold and Bitcoin have emerged from the shadows of the portfolio to an unintended leading role in portfolio growth since early 2019. This month I have enjoyed reading the Chapter by Chapter release of the Aussie FIRE e-book coordinated by Pearler. I've also been reading posts from some newer Australian financial independence bloggers, Two to Fire, FIRE Down Under, and Chasing FIRE Down Under. In podcasts, I have enjoyed the Mad Fientist's update on his fourth year of financial freedom, and Pat and Dave's FIRE and Chill episodes, including an excellent one on market timing fallacies. The ASX Australian Investor Study 2020 has also been released - setting out some broader trends in recent Australian investment markets, and containing a snapshot of the holdings, approaches and views of everyday investors. This contained many intriguing findings, such as the median investment portfolio ($130 000), its most frequent components (direct Australian shares), and how frequently portfolios are usually checked - with 61 per cent of investors checking their portfolios at least once a month. This is my own approach also. Monthly assessments allow me to gauge and reflect on how I or elements of the portfolio may have wandered off the straight way in the middle of the journey. Without this, the risk is that dark woods and bent pathways beckon. The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
Proof: https://imgur.com/a/7xQGIbC All prices based on spot price of gold @ $1,970/oz , silver @ $24.25/oz, platinum @ $915/oz (7/31/20). Prices good with gold spot below $1990, silver below $25. I am not a coin grader. The condition of any coin listed is how it was listed when I acquired it. I will be more than happy to provide any detailed, unedited photos for any coin. Unless specifically mentioned, assume coins are in generally good condition. Noticeable defects potentially affecting the value will attempt to be noted. I try to price my items substantially below the lowest price I can find online from a national dealer. If you see a legitimate cheaper price, let me know and I may very well adjust my price. FYI, I am in Eastern time zone if I do not respond, may be sleeping. PLATINUM LISTINGS Proof:https://imgur.com/a/FcUg9BV Physical platinum has been hard to come by and premiums have been high. Lucky to have these to list: 1 oz Argor-Heraeus Platinum Bars in assay x 10 9 8 — $990/ea (spot plus $75) GOLD LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/bGofCRx 2009-W Ultra High Relief Proof St. Gauden 24K in OGP. Quite simply, this may be the coolest coin I have ever seen! — $2,250 1 oz slabbed American Gold Eagle 25th Anniversary Early Release, MS70 NGC (2011) — $2,150 (Note: slab has some scratches on it, the coin is fine) 1924 slabbed $20 St. Gaudens gold double eagle, MS63 PCGS — $2,050 1925 Slabbed $20 St. Gaudens gold double eagle, MS64 PCGS -- $2,275 1911-S Slabbed $20 St. Gaudens gold double eagle, MS63 Blanchard — $2,200 1910 Raw $20 St. Gauden gold double eagle — $2,025 $10 Gold Liberty Head x 2 (1894, 1899) — $1,010/ea 2018-W Slabbed First Strike PCGS MS70 American Gold Eagle — $2,175 Cleaned 1899 $5 Liberty head gold coin — $535 2002 slabbed Salt Lake City Olympics $5 gold commemorative, MS69 PCGS (0.2419 oz) — $485 Proof: https://imgur.com/a/bGofCRx 100gm (10x10) Valcambi Combicard in assay. Individually @ $73/ea x 100. I will risky ship up to 3 of these in an envelope for $1 @ buyer’s risk. It will not be tracked and I do not like doing it. Would prefer $4 bubble mailer, but buyer’s choice. 1 oz gold bars in assay [Valcambi x 2 1, Sunshine Mint, PAMP Religious Romanesque (Note: some peeling of clear cover for PAMP — pictures if desired)] — $2,030 1 oz Credit Suisse gold bar, in plastic but not assay — $2,030 Sterngold, 99.95%, used in making dental alloys, 1gm each x 30. This is a unique item not likely to be found in many collector’s stash. I will risky ship up to 3 of these in an envelope for $1 @ buyer’s risk. It will not be tracked and I do not like doing it. Would prefer $4 bubble mailer, but buyer’s choice— $71/ea Proof: https://imgur.com/a/wa1mLWZ 1oz American Gold Eagle, BU (1989, Roman numerals) — $2,060 1oz American Gold Eagle (1986, Roman numerals) — $2060 1 oz gold Pandas (1987, 2011) — 1987 sealed, BU — $2,175 ; 2011, uncirculated — $2,250 1 oz Gold Apartheid era South African Krugerrands x 42 (1975 x 2, 1977, 1978, 1979 x 27, 1980, 1981 x 8, 1982, 1984) — $2,040/ea 1 oz Gold American Buffalos (2016 x 1, 2006 x 2) [NOTE: both 2006 have a slight ding on the rim. Sealed in plastic, not ex-jewelry, but slight ding. Photos if desired)] — $2,070 for 2016, $2,065/ea for 2006’s with ding 1 oz Gold Brittania, BU (2020) — $2,065 1 oz unique Canada Golden Eagle, BU (2018). This is .99999 pure (that is five 9’s). Highest purity I am aware of — $2,070 1 oz Gold Austrian Philharmonics, BU (1994 x 1, 1999 x 1) — $2,040/ea 1 oz Gold Canadian Maple Leafs x 8 (1980 x 2, 1981, 2002 with red on “F” of fine gold on reverse, 2002 x 3 with some small scratches, 2011) — $2050/ea 1/4 oz American Gold Eagles x 6 4 (1988 Roman Numeral, 2013, 2014, 2015 x 2, 2020) — $565/ea 1/10oz American Gold Eagles in display (5 coins), BU (2006, 2012) — $1,200/ea Empty case to display your own set of 5 1/10 oz American Gold Eagles— $10 1/4oz Gold Brittanias, BU (2013 x4) — $600/ea 50 Pesos Mexican Gold x 10 (1947 Restrikes x 8, 1943, 1944) — $2,460/ea for restrikes, $2,470/ea for ’43, ’44 1/2 oz Gold Apartheid era South African Krugerrands x 3 (1980 x 2, 1981) — $1,100/ea 1/10 oz Gold Apartheid era South African Krugerrands x 2524 23 (various dates 1980-1984, 2011 (not apartheid era) x 1) — $240/ea 1/10 oz American Gold Eagles (various dates x 43, Roman numeral x 11 7) x 5450 45 — $240/ea for various dates, $260/ea Roman numeral dates Proof: https://imgur.com/a/KCjdPAy 2006 American Gold Eagle Proof Set (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz — 1.85 total troy oz) in OGP — $3,875 1997 Jackie Robinson $5 gold commemorative set. Comes with COA, baseball card, pin, patch, presentation box. There are some dings on the box. Pictures if desired. (0.2419 oz) — $700 (A portion of the proceeds will go toward a reputable social justice charity) 1987 & 1988 UK Gold Sovereign Proof Sets in nice case (each set has a Double Sovereign: 28.4mm, Sovereign: 22.05mm, Half Sovereign: 19.3mm) -- $1,850/each set (NOTE: the 1988 set is missing the COA.) Austrian Ducat 4 gold coin x 2 (1915 x 2 ), 0.4438 tory oz gold — $895/ea 20 Francs Gold x 2015 6 (1110 4 — Roosters, 54 2 -- Swiss Francs, 4 1-French Empire), 0.1867 troy oz of gold/ea — $380/ea Netherlands Gold 10 Guilder x 5, contain 0.1947 troy oz/ea (1926 x 2, 1927, 1932, 1933) — $470/ea Gold Libertad 1/20 oz (2016) — $200 OBO Gold Libertad 1/10 oz, BU (2016) — $340 OBO Gold Libertad 1/10 oz proof (2016) — $350 OBO Gold Sovereigns x 5 1, contain 7.315g gold/ea (1902, 1911, 1927 x 2 x 1, 1928) — $475/ea 1/4 oz Gold Canadian Maple (2005) — $565 Proof: https://imgur.com/a/VXzaDUN Late Addition: 5 3 additional 1976 1 oz Krugerrands — $2,040/ea 6 additional Pandas: Don’t ask me why the premiums on Pandas are so high. They just are. I tried to price about $20+ dollars below the cheapest I could find them online at large dealers. If you find a legitimate lower price, let me know and I may very well adjust the price. 1985 — $2,150, 1987 — $2,120, 1988 — $2,095, 1990 — $2,150, 1991 — $2,150, 2002 — $2,200, 2011 — $2,240 26 25 1/10 oz Australian Battle of the Coral Sea Battle in the Pacific, in capsules — $225/ea 14 additional Netherlands gold 10 guilders — $470/ea LOW PREMIUM LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/jlE0Xuu All the time I see posts looking for precious metals “at or near spot.” Well here is your chance. If you don’t purchase these, then you are not really looking for gold at or near spot, you are looking for premium items without the premium. Those deals may be out there, but they are few and far between, with lines of buyers looking to snap them up, including myself. Items here will generally be available for spot + <2%. To get a physical form of a precious metal refined, assayed, and produced into an identifiable and verifiable form/weight/purity for a tad above spot is pretty darn good, regardless of the collectability of the item. I see people paying more premium for scrap gold than some of these. 1976 Canadian Montreal Olympic $100 commemorative (one in OGP (signs of wear), one loose with OGP in worn state but coin is fine, 0.25 oz each). You are not purchasing these for the packaging. — $500/ea American Arts Gold Medallion Grant Wood, 1 troy oz — $2,005 2010 US Mint First Spouse Series Gold Uncirculated Mary Todd Lincoln 1/2 troy oz in OGP, NOTE: red spot on obverse (See Photo) — $1,005 Cleaned, ex-jewelry $5 Liberty head gold coin (1900, 1906 ), Note: some rim damage, will send photos if desired — $485/ea JEWELRY LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/QEVcW0F CRESCENT sterling silver pocket watch case, twist on bezel. Marked with CRESCENT, Sterling, serial number 4188. Amateur engraving with a marked name and 1919. Weighs over 100 grams!!! Pre-owned, with expected signs of tarnish and wear. A ding on back of case (see photo close up) — $75 1913 $5 Indian Head gold coin in 14K bezel, bezel weighs 1.30g — $575 2014 1/10 oz American Gold Eagle in 14K eagle pendant, bezel weighs 3.487g — $400 SILVER LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/MTK1BfP Proof: https://imgur.com/a/54maJxn 25 Slabbed and Graded American Silver Eagles — Whole lot for $1,000 OBO. May make offers on individual rounds. (SOLD '92. '93, '14W) For reference, on 8/15, APMEX wholesale site is asking $100/ea for the ‘94’s. Offering to buy ‘14-S for $50 and the NGC MS70 for $120.
—ALL NGC MS69 — 1992, 1993, 1994 x 3, 2000, 2001 x 2, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 —ALL NGC MS69 — 2007 Early Release x 7 —NGC MS69 — 2014(W) —NGC MS69 — 2013 First Release —PCGS MS69 — 2008 First Strike —PCGS MS69 — 2014(S) First Strike —PCGS MS69 — 2003 —NGC MS70 — 2003
100 oz silver bars (Engelhard x 1, Ohio Precious Metals —don’t believe they will be making either of these anymore) — $2,775 /ea 20 oz Scottsdale kit kat bars (2) — $555/ea (1 left) 10 oz Queen's Beasts Series Falcons x 4 — $400/ea 2 oz Queen's Beasts Series -- tubes of Falcons x 4 ($800/ea), Yales x 4 ($580/ea) 1 oz Sunshine Minting Silver Bars x 237 199 — $28.50/ea 1 roll 2006 90% San Francisco Mint Proof Colorado State Washington Quarters — $210 (NOTE: it looks like there might be some small surface scratches on some of the coins. Therefore, they are being priced as just uncirculated.) Men in Space Series I First Edition, .925 commemorative medals x 2 sets. These are not just sterling silver medals but history depicting the major events in the early years of NASA. https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/danbury-mint-men-space-series-first-411707135 One set in original presentation packaging just like the link. One set loose with a few extra medals (2 additional medals from the 1969 Men in Space series II — 2nd Moon Landing, 1st Space Rescue; one duplicate medal from series I, and one additional First Manned Landing on the Moon Apollo 11 (slightly larger, from unknown series to me)). Sold in lots only. Lot with packaging (21 medals, 0.7 oz each) — $360. Loose lot (25 medals, 0.7 oz each plus 1 slightly larger Appollo 11 as above) — $375 Proof: https://imgur.com/gallery/hRX6XlB Mexican Silver Lot -- Sold in lots of (10) @ $175/lot. YOU MAY MIX/MATCH —1952-53 Mexican 5 Pesos Hidalgo, 72% silver, 0.643 troy oz silvecoin (x10) —1977-79 Mexican 100 Pesos, 72% silver, 0.643 troy oz silvecoin (x10) —1968— Mexican Olympic 25 Pesos, 72% silver, 0.521 troy oz silvecoin (x20) 1973 Mundinero World Trade rounds x 2 tubes — $600/ea 1973 Mundinero World Trade Rounds with 14 of the 20 being High Relief — $640 Generic Rounds (mostly buffalos, I believe ) x 10 tubes — $560/tube Few loose generic rounds x 6 — $28/ea 2 Painted American Silver Eagles — $30/ea ’84-’85 Engelhard Prospector Rounds x 2 tubes — One tube of (20) — $660; One tube of (17) — $560 Canadian Maple Tubes of 25 x 3 (2012 x 2, 2008 x 1, NOTE: 2008 rounds have some milk spots) — $725/tube Proof: https://imgur.com/a/XnRiLPW Lot of 17 premium rounds: Philharmonics x4, Brittanias x 5, 2018 Republic Of Chad African Lion x 2, Krugerrands x 3, Australian Kangaroo x 1, Super Pit Australia x 2 — $488. Sold only as a lot. Lot of fractional silver rounds, 1.35 ASW — 1/4 oz indian head, 1/4 oz walking liberty, 1/4 oz buffalo nickel, 1/10 oz indian head x 3, buffalo x 1, Morgan x 1 — $44. Sold only as a lot. LOW PREMIUM LISTINGS Proof: https://imgur.com/a/R9NuZj8 All the time I see posts looking for precious metals “at or near spot.” Well here is your chance. If you don’t purchase these, then you are not really looking for silver at or near spot, you are looking for premium items without the premium. Those deals may be out there, but they are few and far between, with lines of buyers looking to snap them up, including myself. Items here will generally be available for spot + <2%. To get a physical form of a precious metal refined, assayed, and produced into an identifiable and verifiable form/weight/purity for a tad above spot is pretty darn good, regardless of the collectability of the item. I see people paying more premium for scrap than some of these. Silver war nickels @ $1.36/ea (BELOW SPOT), 8,500+ available, minimum quantity of 100 Large lot of Canadian — further info on request. Prefer to sell this in larger lots grouped together, not piecing it out or small lots. Take the whole lot for $3,000, or:
—$1.75fv, .925 — $33 —$20.25fv, ’67-’68, 50% (mostly all quarters) — $185 —$164.35fv, pre ’67, 80% (includes 65 $1) — $2,400 —1976 Montreal Olympic .925 $10 commemoratives x 9, 1.4454 troy oz/ea — $40/ea —1972 .925 $25 Cayman Island Silver Anniversary x 1, 1.5271 troy oz — $42.50
TERMS: All eligible items are verified with a sigma precious metal verifier or Kee gold tester. Prices are generally based on the underlying spot price. Large fluctuations in spot prices could affect the price of items listed. Shipping will generally be at cost. USPS first class starts @ $4, SFRB @ $8.50, signature @ $2.50. Will insure for 1.1% of purchase price. Shipping is at buyer’s risk. All items will be tracked, but I cannot be responsible for what happens on your porch. Would recommend delivery to a secure box for precious metals. Accept in order of preference: 1st — Zelle or Venmo; 2nd — PPFF (no comments), PPG&S @ +3.0%; Last resort: I have recently acquired the ability to accept Bitcoin, but am still learning. Be patient and fees will be at buyer’s expense, but I will try to work with you if other options do not suffice. Other forms of payment will be considered. Thank you!
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”- Nazi Propagandists, Joseph Goebbels.
Axioms are our base assumptions about the world. They act as filters for new information coming into our consciousness. In classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. As used in modern logic, an axiom is a premise or starting point for reasoning. We use these axiomatic assumptions to build our internal models of the world around us. They allow us to compare new information we receive from the outside with our internal narratives, which helps us to decide whether to reject or accept that new information. They are, for want of a better world, your "common sense" beliefs. So how do you go about changing a relatively normal person's core beliefs and base assumptions to the point of rejecting their fellow citizens as traitors, committing acts of murderous terrorist or vigilante violence like Fascist white supremacists running down protesters in acts of terror, ISIS beheadings or mass genocide?
Shock Treatment and Slow Repetition
When I was a child I was subjected to regular mental and physical abuse from my dad. I would also see my mother repeatedly beaten up and then flee to a women's refuge where I would stay with her. Each time my mom left, whenever I visited my dad at weekends, he would constantly try to pressure and manipulate me into convincing my mom to get back together with him. This never worked of course. But what it did do, is make me highly sensitive to manipulation techniques. I was fascinated by people like the magician Derren Brown and the economist Naomi Klein - who both reveal the tricks of the trade used in the advertising and marketing industries to convince people. One way of changing people into killing machines or obedient sheep is through a big shock to the system, like how electroshock therapy allows for a clean slate to rebuild peoples intern mental models. Psychedelics are another way, having a similar effect in the brain. Encouraged by the alt right and alt-light influencers like Jordan Peterson and Rebel Wisdom as they try to “Red Pill” people (an expression taken from the film The Matrix as a metaphor for revealing revealing the truth about the world). They use this shock and disorientation as a way to prepare a “blank-slate” in order to rebuild peoples internal axiomatic models with different core beliefs. Remaking people by shocking them into obedience and gas-lighting them about their existing internal models, making them seem irrational, silly or outdated. Reducing them to a mental state of a child and then rebuilding them with a new ideology and worldview, known as “shock therapy”. As Naomi Klein explains in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, these techniques work on larger scales with use of trauma and shock to influence political outcomes has been used since at least Milton Friedman coined the term “Economic Shock Treatment”. He advised that politicians push through painful and unpopular policies all at once during a time of crisis, before people could regain their footing. The technique is used in economic markets on the large scale, and also against individuals on a small scale with individuals too. Economics and politics is just human interaction on a larger scale, after all. Regular repetition and gentle suggestions of ideas can also instil new axiomatic models and core beliefs into people's minds. As Derren Brown demonstrates how powerful subtly suggestions can be alone, without the need for hypnosis, shocks or drugs. But used in combination, shock and repetition can shift people until they have moved their positions, perceptions and beliefs about the world, to a place they could never have imagined. But luckily once you deconstruct the deception and understand how the trick works, the illusion falls apart.
Defining and Deconstructing Modern Fascism
Firstly, we must define Modern Fascism. Modern Fascism ticks every box of the traditional definitions in Umberto Eco’s essay Ur-Fascism, and not only does it fulfil every criteria, it reveals other motivational forces and has evolved to include new aspects, and has changed into something worse, while it’s main weakness remain the same - the fact that it is primarily motivated by weakness. As General Franco said in a 1938 interview with Henri Massis: "Fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life… What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?" This quote perfectly illustrates the transient nature of the ideology, but also the core motivations of Fascism. It is an ideology based on the assumption of weakness which yearns for restoration of a past greatness or to get revenge and recognition. But the way that it manifests itself is different in each place it takes hold. Therefore the aim of this isn’t to make the case that any particular party or country has embraced out-right fascism (plenty of other people have made that case already), the aim is to reveal the underlying motivations, highlight threats and weaknesses and analyse the less obvious negative effects of Modern Fascism.
History Doesn’t Repeat, But It Rhymes
A false equivalence that is often used is that Liberal Imperialism is just the same as Fascism. And while it is true that imperialists use fascist dictators to extract cheap labour and resources and also dominate smaller counties in a similar way to how fascist empires aspire to rule, the key difference is that the populations of those countries are not gripped by the same fear based delusions. And therefore more Liberal democracies are better equipped to hold their imperial position of power long term because they are better able to assess risks and react accordingly, rather than over-react based on paranoia and competing egos under excessive pressure. This false equivalence was also used in 1930’s Germany, because far-left Communists had been co opted and infiltrated by Fascists. They would repeat the mantra that “the Social Democrats were the real racists”. Contrary to the assumptions of most people, Fascism, as an ideology and political system of government is very distinct to white supremacy. It does of course include white supremecists, but In fact includes many other groups who have been co-opted by Fascist propaganda, or who implicitly support and enable their agenda. Examples of modern opposition which has been repeatedly infiltrated or just simply made up by Fascists include innumerable conspiracy theories, police groups like Blue Lives Matter, militant Black nationalists, the Boogaloo movement who call for a race war, the “Proud Boys” and even sometimes supposed Anarchists, far-left Communists and Left Accelerationists.
Motivations of Fascism
Fascism distilled down to its core reason for existing is the suppression of opposition who represent workers rights and economic justice. So they patently DON’T look after their own people. They con them into submission of the state by generating jingoistic fear of “the other” - whoever is convenient on that day to blame for their problems. Fascism is is an economic shock doctrine upon the inhabitants of the country. We don't spread fascist propaganda in tip-pot dictators because we care about the indiginous people there. We install Fascist dictators in order to remove workers rights and open up access to their natural resources. Artificial moral panics can be engineered and real disasters used to allow corrupt oligarchs and financial predators to consolidate power further by buying up small innovative businesses who don’t have the excess capital to survive the turmoil on their own without external support. Or as a way to eradicate public services by sabotaging them and building mistrust. They are used to erode faith in public services and institutions by rich people who simply want to pay less tax and don’t see why they should subsidise other human beings who haven’t had the same luck as them. So a major motivation of fascism is to suppress the opposition left-wing party who represent workers rights and egalitarian freedoms. Populists claim to be against free trade and to some extent they are, but whatever they do will fail because they are interfering with the markets, so they will retreat to the power of market domination. They use their threats of trade barriers as more just more shock treatment for markets, rather than protecting actual jobs or industries. This is a trick that has been played by Neoliberals too. But while Neoliberals use fascism as a tool for opening markets to Imperialism, they differ from Libertarians, not only because they embrace guns and weed, but they are starting from different positions to achieve the same goal; Neoliberals seek to remove already existing public services and workers rights that lift bargaining power. But Libertarians want to STOP the government from ever providing those services and investments into the poor or enshrining workers rights.
Modern Fascist Ideology has TWO Core Reasons to Exist; Fear and Freed.
I have been researching and analysing how economic systems differ, using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threads). For each economic system I tried to be as neutral, fair and balanced as possible - which included Fascism. I might seem strange that someone who is anti-Fascist would want to explore the strenghts and opportunities of Fascist ideologies, but in doing so it reveals the real weaknesses and threats which are too important for us to ignore. So what exactly IS Fascism? Is it just an economic doctrine or a personal philosophy about the world? The answer is both. The ideology has TWO core reasons to exist, and TWO distinct audiences types - with one based primarily on fear and the other greed, with each having a malignant and symbiotic relationship with each other. Fear - Authoritarian/Conservative Fascists Greed - Libertarian Fascists There are very few people who actually buy into full Fascist ideology, most believe a watered down version of which resembles Conservatism or right-wing populism or accelerationism, and most of them genuinely believe they aren’t fascist, even though they are being constantly fed subtle suggestions fascist ideology or that align with their plans. But the most ironic thing is that these groups are mostly being used by the second group of rich Libertarians globalist elites pulling a confidence trick on the host nation. Often posing “anti-establishment” conspiracists who actually uphold the establishment through misinformation. See: Russia Today and Youtube Bitcoin and Gold shills who subtly suggest fascist talking points. With those rich Libertarians at the top more than happy for those below them, who they deem less worthy, living in even more delusional ideologies with fake enemies to fear, often resembling traditional Christian but values wrapped in modern conspiracies with added elements of “satanic panic”. Modern Fascism has clearly inspired the modern day equivalents of Brownshirts and Blackshirts, self-styled vigilantes like QAnon, The Proud Boys and “The Boogaloo” - white nationalist violent extremists who want to accelerate towards a full-on race war. It has also infiltrated numerous alternative groups, such as hyper-evangelical “end times” cults, alternative health scenes, internet conspiracy scenes like flat earth and occult magic.
A commonly missing hallmark of fascism that is present in history during the rise of fascism is a controlled opposition and explicit suppression of opposition. This distorts a healthy society and has unforeseen consequences and blowback. Fantasies and political thought bubbles are self delusional custom realities resembling an episode of Black Mirror. They act as coping and escape mechanisms. Especially during the Covid 19 lock-down, these tendencies have gone into overdrive with massive events entering the real world featuring David Ike leading protesters alongside fascists as people ignore rising Fascism, climate change destruction and Covid deaths tolls. Using disasters like Covid or irrational scare tactics such as the "Satanic Panic" style Fascist propaganda from QAnon, can shock people using their fear and disgust response, while making them distrust the news - allowing the government to evade valid criticism from experts while suggesting to people that government public services are inherently evil or Communist. This type of propaganda is a Libertarians wet dream - making a population not only give up on tax funded public services, but actively fear them. An example is Trump trying to discredit and defund the US Postal Service and other public institutions and regulatory bodies. Anti Semitism has been used throughout history by those in power to provoke an “us vs. them” mentality, leading to today's establishment still sanctioning and allowing Qanon on major media platforms, provoking and agitating terrorist attackers from the far-left and the far-right. Those in power in fascist regimes allow and encourage mistrust in the mainstream media, while the long-tail niche political and interest groups keep people separated from each other, who each live in their own custom realities while the real elites continue to dominate and increase their power. With each bubble framing realities based of identity, race, class, nationality, or even subculture special interests like alternative medicine and “gamer bro” culture, so that when they interact in real life or online, they are speaking past each other because they don’t even agree on the basic principles of how they view society.
The Fatal Flaws of Living in a Fantasy
While the main flaws and weaknesses of Fascism remain the same, they are in-fact exacerbated by this new hybrid model. It’s main weakness is the very fact that it is motivated by weaknesses, fear and greed - rather than true strength, self-confidence or heroic benevolent power, as their adherents like to believe. A misconception of fascists themselves that it is based on strength, when it is actually based on weakness - even when the driving force is greed rather than fear. Libertarian fascists want to extract labour and materials at cheaper prices, while inflating their own asset values. In other words; international financiers with little allegiance to any country. Ironically the very type of people who Conservative fascists claim to be opposed to. Fascism claims to make society more successful, but it actually accelerates the destruction of the culture, country or people, rather than preserving and conserving it, because it betrays a fundamental weakness of insecurity. Competitors and rivals can easily see through the charade of and take advantage. If anything does the exact opposite. Russian and China are clearly goading Western nations into becoming more divided and totalitarian, as they themselves benefit from becoming more Liberal and open and reap the competitive advantages that brings. See Kraut’s excellent video about Trump on China as an example. Keynesian investment in the country and people, giving workers more rights, opportunities and a more bargaining power is what makes a country successful and innovative, rather than the faux Keynesian policy of giving kickbacks to corrupt officials for government contracts and widening inequality by supporting the already rich, rather than the ordinary people.
Who Benefits in This Memetic War?
Who is going to war with who? Who is winning? A modern adage is that tankies are just fascists because of their support of authoritarian proto-fascist leaders and regimes who often claim to be Communist. But from my experience talking to actual fascists, they crave a more multi-polar world where other strong leaders rise up as competition and form alliances with dictators. So to me, it looks like Fascists are the real Tankies; wishing our enemies be stronger and wanting to accelerate towards race war or civil war that weakens the society. Not only did Donald Trump have knowledge of Russia allowing ISIS bounties on US troops and withhold that from the public while courting Putin, I have personally heard white supremacists backing extremists Islamists in Discord servers. Trump jumped to the defense of the people who put a 17 year old with a gun against civil rights protesters and assumed the intent before saying that the outcome should be decided by the legal system. They share common values and beliefs like Anti Semitism, accelerationist end-times fantasies, patriarchal traditional values and a fear of outside progressive cultures. In fact modern extremists white supremecist groups share recruitment and terrorist strategies and tactics with militant islamists. You could argue that it was inflicted by Russian or Imperialist propagandists onto the German people in order to take control of larger areas of Europe after the destabilisation of war. Hitler and Stalin came to a non agression truce called The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which as was a secret non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to partition Poland between them. The pact, signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov was officially known as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They divided Poland under the banner of fighting “Polish Fascism” nearly a century ago with both sides ultimately lying to their own people about spreading freedom while being authoritarian to their core and being able to blame “the other” as being the cause of all their problems. But these days fascism seems to be a rogue meme that no longer serves any particular group. It is pathologically damaging to any society that it happens to grip. Even the aforementioned Libertarians and accelerationists who think they are benefiting are only temporarily gaining by market price volatility. They ultimately lose through the blowback effect of the whirlpool they create.
Psychopathy, Alienation Nihilism and Insecurity
It is well established that Fascist dictators are driven by psychopathic characters and tendencies. They either don’t care about the truth, or disregard it if it’s not convenient to their narrative. In totalitarian despotic societies facts are reversed. As George Orwell proclaimed throughout his writings; “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”. Similar to how authoritarian Starlinist Communists harnessed people’s alienation and tricked them into thinking that it’s possible for the state to fully decommodify everything without having markets, money to account for things, domination or hierarchy or try to convince people that a revolution is just around the corner. But of course, a council representative is still the head of an organisation, for all intents and purposes, because they wield executive power over others, even if the name has changed. Markets are emergent properties when groups of humans want or need a certain commodity when it becomes available. But while both Communist and Fascist ideologies are based on lies that harness peoples alienation, fear and envy, Fascism is also especially to the weak. It is attractive to those who want to be strong again (or were never to begin with), or those who want to have a strong leader to help them. Fascism betrays to others the inherent weakness. Like the insecure kid in school who lashes out - others around can see that it is because of their own insecurity which makes them appear even weaker. Fascism is a psychopathy driven by insecurity. When people become so absorbed in an ideology there is a phenomena of people to self identify as an actual ideology? This produces a phenomena called Identity Protective Cognition, where people's self worth becomes attached to a belief system or ideology. So that when new information contradicts their worldview it is seen as an attack on the person themselves. Therefore irrational, emotional quick fix thinking is the default when there is too much pressure and they feel attacked. They no longer use their slow effortful reflective thinking. (See Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow) This approach has parallels in evolutionary biology, in which a central issue is the ability to adapt to changing environments. Competency - over-competitiveness in management causes chaos which STOPS hierarchies of competence. (Insert video clips of Sapolsky on Chaos vs Reductionism etc. timestamps linked). Fascists try to reduce variability in culture and outcomes - causes weakness of less adaptability - because as Sapolsky explains, the variability is not just noise in that type of system CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems) - the variability IS the system. It is fractal and scale free. The noise and variability is an intrinsic part of the system. But the system doesn’t function properly when the agreed-upon parameters that individuals believe to be true aren’t universal enough to have any form of group coherence. Birds and swarms of animals can produce amazing complex phenomena, which are greater than the sum of their individual parts. There is a “network effect” once a certain threshold and certain conditions and rules are met. These rules can be very simple, like repulsion or attraction, or staying a certain distance apart while traveling in a similar direction, but collectively they create patterns that emerge with complexity and I dear say, a certain amount of beauty. So what happens when millions of people are being brainwashed and misled by cults that are leaving them with a reduced ability to make decisions? Giving them shit-for-brains just so that some rich people at the top can pay a few percentage less tax? That is the sign of a deeply sick system that cannot continue to function effectively. It is sick on so many levels.
Emergence, Complexity and Human Evolution - A Social-Biological Analysis
The problem with viewing the world through only one lens of analysis (or bucket of knowledge) is that you can fall into unnecessarily reductive thinking. (Sapolsky clips) I describe myself as a philosophical anarchist. Which does NOT mean I want total chaos and disorder - it means I want the optimal solution to emerge - including the influences and experiences from the bottom-up. I also think that a bottom-up (or anarchist) lens of analysis is necessary for society to run cohesively in an optimal state. If it is repressed it distorts the overall picture of reality for everyone - similar to a CEO that doesn’t listen to employees and workers on the ground. I interpret as constantly holding authority to account - to justify its existence and reason for dominating others. I also believe it is every citizen's responsibility to hold authority to account. This would be necessary under ANY economic system or society. Anarchists also believe in stigmenric, rhizomatic action to make the world better, organically, not from a top-down authority, which fascism seeks to instill on society. Human beings are collectively parts of a bigger chaotic but stable system known as a CAS (Complex Adaptive System). CAS’s are chaotic systems that can reach periodic steady states of equilibrium. As Professor Sapolsky explains, humans uniquely exist with a mixture of both communal and individualistic tendencies; known in the scientific world as Tournament vs. pair bonding. All the evidence suggests that this tendency has greatly improved our success as a species. But those tendencies distorted too far one way or another lead to pathologies and the worst collective misdeeds and wars. Because as Professor Sapolsky also explains in his brilliant lecture series (which I have condensed the pertinent parts of into a 4 part YouTube video) about CAS; the signals coming from the randomness is being suppressed or repressed, it interferes with the functioning of the system. Pressure in the system makes the patterns more complex but at a certain point of increasing pressure in the complex system, it stops being linear and the doubling of patterns and periodicity totally stops. Order completely begins to break down because of the butterfly effect. Fascist regimes fettishise order and rigidity but in a complex adaptive system, the noise IS the phenomena, not a byproduct to be discarded, ignored or repressed. The majority of people on the right genuinely want to help society by bringing order, using top-down draconian measures if necessary. Whereas the left generally wants to help society by proactively building from the bottom up. I think both of these approaches are necessary to be balanced properly for a healthy functioning society to emerge. It seems our tendency to harness both traits and to focus intently on one or the other is our greatest collective strength, while also being our greatest weakness. And similarly, on an individual level I believe our greatest strengths and weakness are the fact that our brains work efficiently by categorising information to filter out the unimportant bits that slow us down. As the book by Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow, brilliantly explains, slow deliberate, consideration thinking takes energy and time, so our brains developed filters which come out as biases. This is an inherent weakness of the human brain. Now imagine the butterfly effect on the life of just one person who is influenced by the brainworms of QAnon cults or conspiracies which distorts their internal models of the world which they use to filter information about the world The sad and shocking stories on forums like QanonCasualties show the devastating effects on their close friends, family and work life - amplified by their ever increasingly disconnected lives. (insert Flat earther clip - zoom in on idiot rolling head) Now scale that up to the level of a whole of a society, a country, or the world? This is a collective madness to cope with and avoid the reality facing us as a species. Only collective action with agreed basic facts to work from will do to avoid the total descent into actual chaos and destruction.
TLDR; Conclusion and Final Thoughts
In this essay I will have put forward the case for the following four key arguments being true and I have present supporting evidence to explain the logical reasoning for why our current definitions need updating and the threat levels reassed, from a non-hysterical but critical perspective. The overall claims I made are:
Modern Fascism has taken over right-wing populism and bears all the hallmarks of early 20th Century Fascist ideologies.
The ideology has two main reasons to exist, and two distinct audiences which both have a symbiotic, pathological relationship with each other.
The main flaws and weaknesses of fascist ideology remain the same as ever - that fascism is motivated by irrational fears, greed and self deception.
Modern Fascism has major unforeseen damaging consequences for individuals, governments, organisational dynamics, and society at large.
This reality is something I think a lot of fascists, ultra-nationalists and people who have been influenced by the propaganda know deep down on some level already - that they are avoiding the realities of pandemics and ecological harms of ignoring science and reality as it is. They ignore it because fantasies are simpler to understand. And a narrative based on fear of the other is a simpler way to to process a complex world. It is also attractive to the part of us that is drawn to conflict and drama - that hunger for something genuinely interesting to happen. But I would argue from my experience that the beautiful complexity of life in all it’s shades of grey is much more interesting, fun and genuinely fulfilling to understand and engage in, even if it might be harder to deal with and even harder to explain. I believe doing so is also vital for the very survival of our species - we can no longer afford to live in a fantasy, we need to collectively take responsibility for the world as it exists in reality. Thank you to my two Patrons: Carmen Jongepier E.V. Roske Original Script on Patreon
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