On or about Tuesday March 13th, from 5:30PM – 7:00PM GMT +1, there was an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session for Bytecoin. It was hosted by “BCN_Official.”1. Jenny Goldberg is the pseudonym behind that title, but the person’s real name is unknown.
Ms. Goldberg invited me to participate via Disqus, but being the paranoid, I am, and discovering that the site is not secure, I begged off.
After the AMA, Ms. Goldberg again invited me to review the AMA.
So, I obliged. Why she did this, I have no idea. Perhaps it is because I try to give Bytecoin a fair shake. Let me repeat that. I try. Or it is simpler. Bytecoin wants any publicity – even negative. Or they will copy, edit and paste this elsewhere…
At any rate, what follows is not a report. It’s not an investigation. It does bring some new information forward, but do not use it as the gospel. It’s an opinion. I defer to the experts for actual verification. Unfortunately, when even the experts are unable to resolve the issue, us bloggers take a different angle. We hammer.
Before we delve into what was learned, know two things.
First, that in today’s fiat money driven economies, to challenge the status quo can be hazardous to your wallet, freedom and in places like China, your life. To remain private is a human right.
I wish all the best to the honest cryptocurrency developers out there. They should be commended in their efforts to make our monetary lives better. And it’s not only about money.
Secondly, I don’t necessarily support Bytecoin and its renewed efforts reestablish itself as the primary privacy coin. Saying that, they, like Monero or any other altcoin, have the right to do it.
Many assertions have been made against Bytecoin, by Monero and even Aeon supporters. But it cuts both ways. The fact that Monero has many anonymous developers is well known. A few, Riccardo “fluffypony” Spagni and possibly, Francisco “ArticMine” Cabañas have come forward.2. People respect that. They know the personal risks involved.
Why have other developers of Monero not come forward? I suspect that the risks are too great. Perhaps they are well respected figures in governments, Universities, business or their nations have banned the use of private currency.
This is not the case with Bytecoin. All core team members remain hidden, except for “Bytecoin Faces,” which is rather new and does not show us the actual developers.3. Only the “community.” Is it the mask of legitimacy worn as a cloak of armor, by the “Team?” Lambs led to the slaughter?
Bytecoin often cites Satoshi Nakamoto as the reason they also remain behind the curtains. This is a false flag. Bitcoin is transparent – you do not need to know who invented it. Bytecoin, on the other hand, is obscured, secret, hidden. The only reason to remain in the shadows is to protect the process.
And yet, Riccardo Spagni of Monero has stepped forward. To me, that means, he is “expendable.” (Sorry Riccardo.) That XMR can carry on, without him. Why can’t a Bytecoin developer be so bold?
Could this entire thing be a show, however? Could all the CryptoNote/CryptoNight altcoins be from the same source? Conspiratorially thinking, sure. Logically? Why would they do that? To take the heat off one or two altcoins they want to succeed?
As many of you know, Bytecoin suffers from a long-term crisis of “believability.” For reasons debated on various websites, such as BitcoinTalk.org – which suffers from its own credibility crisis – many do not trust Bytecoin and those altcoins associated with it.
Bytecoin developers react, in what I would term, a “foreign manner.” Not because the “Teto Team” might be from Korea, Japan, Russia, India, Canada or even in my own back yard – near Orlando, Florida in the U.S., but that they tend to “react” negatively to criticism. They ban or delete negative responses. Monero (Riccardo Spagni) does not do this. He engages. Again, this earns anyone accolades.
There are limits to speech, however. If one threatens harm. If one lies, defames – one might have his comment deleted. But to ask questions only to be shunted aside or erased, is not the mark of a legitimate organization. It is the last resort of cowards.
This Bytecoin reaction is, of course, only human. After being criticized for years, by Monero developers and any number of bloggers – me included – they’ve decided to engage the naysayers. To what ends, I am uncertain. Just as I am uncertain that the team now running the show, is of the original “crop.”
After all, Bytecoin lay fallow for over a year then suddenly, when cryptocurrencies blasted off, so did they. A rising tide…
Someone on the Bytecoin team turned the lights back on. While the lights were off, however, the software – the primary Bytecoin Wallet – kept right on working.
I can attest, that never once have I had any trouble transferring and receiving Bytecoin from the downloadable software wallet. The problems always came from the Exchanges. Poloniex, Cryptopia etc. With Monero wallets, I did have trouble. And I’m not completely computer illiterate. I’ve mined Monero, Aeon and dozens of other altcoins.
So, for once…let us take the Bytecoin Team at their word, however. Let us state that they were a group of great programmers, who, like all humans, made mistakes. Their code was not perfect.
Have they fixed it?
The most recent bug – what was termed the “infinite inflation bug” – occurred early last year (April – May 2017). The problem affected all CryptoNote coins, including Monero. Monero fixed their altcoin and the flaw was not exploited. Bytecoin was not fixed, before 693 Million more BCN popped into existence.4.
Let us state, as if it were true, that there never was an 80%+ Bytecoin Premine – and as far as I know, such a statement has never been proved. That, however, is not a defense. The allegation floats like scum on a pond, killing the fish. But, let us state – for now – Bytecoin was never premined in any fashion.
Let us also state, that for whatever reason, the original whitepapers, fudged dates and all, are meaningless. That Bytecoin was launched when the Teto Team said it was. That would explain the alleged premine, if we could believe that miners were at it for two years, before the public was aware of Bytecoin’s existence. It was theirs, why should they share? Do you have a right to their labors or even the truth?
The only other explanations seem to be that Bytecoin’s launch date was pre-dated, the algorithm was tweaked to allow a fast mine for the “Team,” then switched back to slow mining, when they thought they’d had a good head start.
Again, so what?
If you could build a machine that would churn out 100,000 ounces of gold, would you not churn most it, before you allowed others to use your machine freely? But it’s not about that you say? It’s about trust and community and honesty? That you have a right to another’s intellectual property. You don’t.
You only have a right to what others allow – if it is theirs. And hope that if they made this magic machine – and here’s the rub – that it keeps on working. That is always the concern.
The premine worry, that the magic money makers may flood the market and cash out, exists. So, how do they – the Bytecoin Team – alleviate this issue? They invite new developers. They separate the “powers.” They allow others to oil the machine. They play “Show and Tell.”
Even if we can accept that the current core team does consist of four full-time C++ developers, several developers, a cryptography expert, and a community manager (Jenny), graphic designers, front end developers, mobile developers, and system administrators – does it really matter?
Let us also assume that the current team sometimes cooperates with former team members. So?
The BCN_Official (Ms. Goldberg?) also cited a recent rebuttal to all the scam accusations made against Bytecoin.5.
However, the rebuttal is filed on “docdroid” and there are security concerns if one accesses that website. It is said to “prove” that the scam allegations against Bytecoin are untrue. It does nothing of the sort. It merely points out that scam allegations have “not been proved.” This is true. Bytecoin’s history remains a mystery.
However, the empirical knowledge is a bitch. What we can and cannot see, is disturbing. This is called “evidence.” And from year to year, it grows. Fudged whitepapers. Blogs. Transactions on the BCN ledger.
Now, given all of this, what is the newest information about Bytecoin? Is there any good news?
Based on the AMA, here’s what I found:
No plans to “burn” coins (Old news)
Working on improving anonymity (How?)
Keeping the algorithm unchanged for now
Attempting to add more Exchanges (We wait)
Maintaining developer privacy (No Comment)
Potential Mobile Wallet release (So?)
Understanding that RingCT is not the best solution (Heard that one)
New ASIC coming online might over-centralize mining of Bytecoins (CryptoNote based altcoins)
Upcoming hardfork which make fees “dynamic” and economical (Wait and see)
Its supply is fixed, Monero’s is not (Please validate)
No plans to work on “Atomic Swaps” (Why?)
Discussion of website “BytecoinWorld” – appears to sell “Bitcoins?”6.
Dropping of Bytecointalk.org – too much spam7.
When Bytecoin forks, updates should be easy
Problems persist with Poloniex/not responding to requests (No brainer)
Ledger Nano has been contacted (Care to validate?)
Major marketing upcoming (Oh really?)
In conclusion, Bytecoin has yet to dispel the allegations of its scammy launch. The question then becomes, how can the “Team” clear their names/prove their innocence? Should they open their books to the world and thereby – potentially – defeat the purpose of the privacy altcoin altogether or can they put a warm-blooded human on the stand? One who can clearly and succinctly, prove that all the allegations against Bytecoin are unfounded.
The latter solution seems to be a good alternative. The only downside would be for the rest of the CryptoNote based altcoins. It is very possible that Bytecoin would steal the limelight then.
In the end, no matter how many improvements are made to the application programming interface (API), if the users do not trust the system, it won’t matter.
- “We are the Bytecoin Dev Team and we are here to do our first ever AMA on the upcoming Hardfork and Github! • r/BytecoinBCN.” Reddit, http://www.reddit.com/r/BytecoinBCN/comments/845hmk/we_are_the_bytecoin_dev_team_and_we_are_here_to/. Accessed: 3/15/2018
- “Monero: titles.Team.” org, The Monero Project, getmonero.org/community/team/. Accessed: 3/15/2018
- “Community.” Bytecoin (BCN) – anonymous cryptocurrency, based on CryptoNote, bytecoin.org/community. Accessed: 3/15/2018
- “Fraudulent Transactions Allowed by the CryptoNote Key Image Bug Remain Valid · Issue #104 · Amjuarez/Bytecoin.” GitHub, github.com/amjuarez/bytecoin/issues/104. Accessed 3/15/2018
- “Upload PDF.” DocDroid, http://www.docdroid.net/. rEKgQUR/bytecoin-rebuttle.pdf#page=5; Accessed 3/15/2018 (Site has Negative Feedback)
- “BytecoinWorld.” BytecoinWorld, http://www.bytecoinworld.com/. Accessed: 3/15/2018
- “Bytecoin (BCN). Anonymous CPU Mining Cryptocurrency • r/BytecoinBCN.” Reddit, bytecointalk.org/. Accessed: 3/15/2018