Category Archives: Fintech

Bytecoin Blockchain: Updates and Promises for 2018


AMA

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…


Assessment

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?


Inflation Bug

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.


Premine

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?


Rights

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?)


Conclusion

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.

 

 


Sources:

  1. “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
  2. “Monero: titles.Team.” org, The Monero Project, getmonero.org/community/team/. Accessed: 3/15/2018
  3. “Community.” Bytecoin (BCN) – anonymous cryptocurrency, based on CryptoNote, bytecoin.org/community. Accessed: 3/15/2018
  4. “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
  5. “Upload PDF.” DocDroid, http://www.docdroid.net/. rEKgQUR/bytecoin-rebuttle.pdf#page=5; Accessed 3/15/2018 (Site has Negative Feedback)
  6. “BytecoinWorld.” BytecoinWorld, http://www.bytecoinworld.com/. Accessed: 3/15/2018
  7. “Bytecoin (BCN). Anonymous CPU Mining Cryptocurrency • r/BytecoinBCN.” Reddit, bytecointalk.org/. Accessed: 3/15/2018
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Google’s Great Cryptocurrency-Blockchain “Delist”


Are you — as a cryptocurrency ‘hodler’ — ready for Cryptogeddon? The greatest ‘delist’ ever performed by a single company? Ready, for billions of dollars in value to be flushed down the internet drain?

Well, hold onto you crypto’s — or not — because the party is starting all over again…thanks to a dominant search engine.

Most people, I’ll venture, could care less if Google, like Facebook, limits advertisers and their ability to search for bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or even Ripple XRP or other dirty things.

But, when Google marries the Thought Police, it’s only a matter of time before the real ones show up.

Google is free to use right? You don’t pay for it. So, who cares if by June of 2018, crypto is dead?

But, it begs the question: where will Google stop? What website, blog, organization, racist comment, naughty picture, fake news, iffy diet book, comedic review, or cat video will be censored next? Seriously, who cares if a cat freaks out?

This is just the beginning. So, in the grand tradition of Big Brother, why not just go for it now?

I suggest Google starts with a blank screen. No history lesson, art work, music, videos – just a dull gray screen.

And I then ask or type my question: “What the hell is cryptocurrency? And follow-up with, “screw Google.”

That question is then sent to the NSA, where it is cataloged, verified, vilified, and disapproved. A copy is then forwarded to my employer, the SEC, the IRS, the FBI, my wife, her mother, the Chinese Government, my kids and a local group of “Thugs against Thugs.”

Then my computer explodes, my house burns down, my dog bites me and a tree falls on my car. A few years later the post office delivers a letter from the Governor stating that I’m under investigation for the crime of “Thinking for Myself!” It also requests back taxes for the new retroactive cryptocurrency pretax or one major organ to be ‘donated’ to the Congressman of my choice.

And we’ve all been there. We google a topic, only to be served ads, not in the margins, but as a direct result of our search – in our collective faces. No, I don’t want vitamins. No, I don’t wear dresses. And how did you know I wanted a cookie? Did the NSA tell you? Alexa? That bitch, she always laughing these days.

Which is okay if you are shopping. Not so fun if you are researching. And there are other search engines that don’t garbage up your user experience like Google does. But none have the reach. Google is that 700 lb. gorilla. But he’s been sitting much too long and he’s getting fat and sloppy and he just shat upon thy rug.

Google…has about 74%…

Google, if you check, has about 74% of the international search engine market. Bing comes in second – maybe at 5 to 8%, depending upon which article you believe. I mean, these figures are only estimates, right? All the rest are far below that, however.

But nothing lasts forever. If you do not give the people what they want, you will – eventually (in a free market) – lose.

Maybe in North Korea, Iran, the New Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China – censored search engines and closed Internets are all the rage. But in less unfree nations, people will become a bit friskier.

Google’s bill is paid by advertisers. And Google’s advertising policies are influenced by its major shareholders, i.e., the voters. We get that.

The shareholders own stock, the sales of which are regulated by the U.S Government, i.e., the straw bosses. A no brainer.

The government, of course, issues the money that people use to purchase stocks in the first place, i.e., he who owns the fiat money makes all the rules. Gold is passé.

You see the problem then. We are screwed.

Google is in a tough spot regarding cryptocurrencies. They can be investigated by governments for advertising a competitive monetary system. No such competition is allowed – at least in the U.S. We have “In God We Trust” money now. Heavenly regulated, infused with special powers – pumped out of our banks, at the discretion of the Fed. (That’s where they keep the Monopoly Game Board and the booze.)

Google can be sued by happy lawyers, for advertising investment vehicles that are not approved by governments. Remember: regulation. You must first bow, kiss the Pope’s ring, then pray that you didn’t slobber on his dress.

You are not allowed to make financial decisions on your own. You must (should) purchase “investments” from trained professionals and not “mine” your own cryptocurrency. Who the hell do you think you are anyway?

Free and unfettered markets do not exist in the U.S. It’s a pay to play system – a mixed bag at best. Keep your head down. Work hard, grovel, pay your taxes and die – and then pay more taxes, as a zombie.

And, whole communist dictatorships, such as China, can’t stand cryptocurrencies anyway. Google would lose business in Beijing, Hong Kong and… potentially, AMC Theaters.

China owns AMC now. That’s why I’m not going to AMC to watch movies any longer. Don’t want to enrich dictators. Does “AMC” mean the “Authoritarian Movie Company” now?

The fact that Chinese political prisoners are involuntarily donating their organs also bothers me. If I visited China, would I be placed on the “involuntary organ donor” list? I’m not going to find out.

For the same reason, many of us will voluntarily not use Google any longer. We have dumped Facebook. Why make either of them richer, if they have no spine? The thing is, do any of us have spines?

So, as we approach June of 2018, a reasonable person would think that cryptocurrencies are about to take a nose dive.

Or…will the ones that capitulated early on, survive and conquer? Like Ripple? Didn’t they start dating the banks early on? Then coddled up to the regulators? Isn’t Hedera Hashgraph (SAFT) taking a similar road? Cardano ADA?

Or…will Google fall, as us naughty searchers go elsewhere? Already, I’m seeing more and more readers of my blog bouncing in from other search engines.

Welcome, wanderers from the non-Google worlds. I hope your visit was not unpleasant.

Tell, me – have you found greener pastures?


 

The Non-Blockchain Hedera Hashgraph ICO “SAFT” Tokens — (with UPDATE of June 2, 2018)


Well, we finally got the news thanks to Jeff Kauflin at Forbes – in his great article about Hashgraph, minutes ago.

Is it an investment? A coin? What’s the price? How many altcoins will they “create?”

We’ve been hearing about Hashgraph over these past months, some of us a bit longer.

It’s a competitor to bitcoin and the blockchain and promises far faster transaction times and/or volume, without using a blockchain.

It’s called a DAG or directed acyclic graph.

You can read more about on their new website here.

Suffice to say…it does not appear to be “open source” and you will need to be an accredited investor to buy into the “SAFT” pre-sale opening soon…

Perhaps Hedera Hashgraph can snag some wind from the sails of the more decentralized, but less professional, cryptocurrencies.

The upshot is that this system will be governed by a “global governing council” from blue chip companies – 39 in all. Currently, these companies are not named. Care to speculate?

It also remains to be seen how the new Hedera Hashgraph will cooperate with governments to provide them “with the oversight necessary” and what that entails.

To state that the process is decentralized, does not wash when it is compared to things like bitcoin.

On the other hand, it may give Ripple and similar – a run for the money.


June 2, 2018: Update

New information is slowly leaking out that Hashgraph may have critical flaws and is highly centralized. Thus far the sources for this information are iffy.

This connection (https://ethresear.ch/t/hashgraph-consensus-timing-vulnerability/2120) is NOT SECURE. But it alleges vulnerabilities.

Again, this is about the only bad news I’ve discovered.


 

Clif High: Ideas Unmasked, Not the Man; and March 2018 Alta Report — Blockchain Highlights

This is an Open Letter to Commenters. You know who you are. And I suspect, I know who you are.

Seeing the Future (Hint: You Can’t)

Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts have come across Clif High. He sells predictive reports – what might happen in the future. Most people can determine if Clif’s reports are nonsense or not. We can judge his videos.

Clif is a regular on YouTube. He gives interviews and interrogates others regarding their cryptocurrency projects. So, although I may disagree with Clif’s ideas, and label those as fiction, he is not the focus of my investigation. I’m not after the individual. I’m after his ideas. Or some lack of them, anyway.

Redaction, Redaction

I blog about Clif’s ideas occasionally and have had to go back and redact the comments made by others. Some of them get rather nasty. I’ve even edited my own blogs to try to keep it as neutral as possible. After all, free speech is one thing, but intentionally or unintentionally aiding others to discredit Clif as a man, is not my intention here.

Be Critical, Not Personal

We are not living in a free world, where we can disparage others for the fun of it. Even if every bit of it is true.

I probably should not call my neighbor a stalker, say he has criminal records, drinks too much and looks like he will kick the bucket soon. Why? Because my neighbor might hire a lawyer and sue my ass off. He might say I ruined his life, destroyed his marriage, made his dog sick, caused the moon to “hollow” and tore up his mail – his Alta Report.

Worst of all, I should not post my neighbor’s name all over the internet. That’s his job.

So, let us not disparage the character, but the content of Clif’s mind – if I may borrow and reverse the phrase from Martin Luther King, Jr. (American Civil Rights Leader.)

I simply want to discredit his ideas. That, at least in my country, is still allowed. I understand that in some countries, like Canada, they censor things like hate speech. So, the battleground itself, becomes the very right to speak at all. You can get into hot Canadian water if you disparage groups.

For example…in Canada:

Section 319 prescribes penalties from a fine to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years for anyone who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace. (Source: Wikipedia)

Pretty vague huh? Anyone can apply it. How does one incite hatred?

By saying anything that others may not like. Your words become time bombs. Stating, gesturing, dancing, flirting, or even silly walking could become suspect.

Full of It (Fiction, I mean)

I say Clif’s ideas are often full of fiction. Am I inciting hatred against Canadians then? No. Could my statements lead to a breach of the peace? Sure. Just take a walk in downtown Orlando, Florida – near me – in a bad neighborhood. Flip off a passing car off. Now sit back and wait for the breach of the peace. Better yet, tell a French-Canadian that Quebec is not a separate country. Riots in the making. (That’s a joke.)

I have disparaged many eastern religions – and their philosophies in my blogs. I wrote about Clif’s ideas. Buddhists. I Ching-ers. And I certainly did not incite love. But, I’m not after the people, only their propaganda. I even called the Alta Report – Clif High’s Webbot Special – fiction. I dare say that a good comedian could use them as “one liners.”

But, someone keeps commenting on my blogs about Clif. The response seems rather canned and almost identical each time. Not funny. This gives me the impression that this person does not like Clif or is planting an anonymous word “time bomb” on my blog.

Why? Controversy? As evidence that I like to scandalize people’s lives? To entice me to dig deeper? I have, but I will not publish it. In fact, any reference a commenter makes regarding legal names, addresses, emails, past employment and so on, I will not post. In general, I may make fun of Canadians, but they started it.

Sure, I might “read” your responses, Mr. Truth or Patience, but from now on – for my own freedom and yours – I will have to delete them. That is, if I feel your responses are attacking the person, rather than the inane ideas dripping from Clif’s sandalwood scented ‘stash. (Is that personal? Okay – humor is excepted.)

Privacy is a big thing these days. I respect that. If Clif High is a pseudonym, so be it. I’m not after the man – or his name. Additionally, if he breaks any laws in his neck of the woods, I’m sure the local authorities can handle it – and if he violates laws in other countries, there is always extradition. For now, Clif is free to roam the internet, gather his views, suck in advertising dollars and Woo-Woo the unsuspecting.

Latest Alta Report Review (Highlights)

Here’s a video review of the latest Alta Report. Bring out your foil hats and here we go!

  • Beware of unrest, blue lights in the ocean, turncoats (?) with the “temporal marker” as “blue”
  • Whistle-Blowers will arise within Social Media companies, about censorship
  • Look for an equity drop around April 25, 2018(?) and a crypto boost; trust in crypto?
  • Church issues arise. Healing machines (hidden technology) upsets fundamentalists who then attack hospitals; these “terrorists” are later caught
  • A disturbing scientific schism will develop; maybe around climate change — cooling not heating
  • Social media will attempt to induce a cultural shift via algorithm(s); they will also play a part in earthquake detection(?) and assist the “Deep State”
  • As it relates to earthquakes, the North Pole will be of interest — something up there
  • A new social order is being created from the “old boys network”
  • Extreme freezing events/crop destruction
  • Deep State Organs in US, will be examined(?) for their cost/necessity (FBI?)
  • Whole countries will begin to finance themselves with blockchain tech?
  • Use hardware wallets for cryptocurrencies (old news)
  • Use of cryptocurrency for medical records (old news)
  • Use of cryptocurrency to combat fraud in the metals equity industry; no more 250 notes to claim the same ounce of silver — which will boost values — reflect the real supply and not an artificially inflated one
  • Not a good time to be a “bank”
  • Blockchain will be used for payroll as well as used for payment systems
  • Legacy corporations will attempt to “buy” the cryptocurrency companies to maintain dominance (Lawsuits follow)
  • Some blockchain/cryptocurrency companies become multinational mammoths
  • Bitcoin to test $38,008 this year (April through July) or $28,008 or $64,000 or $100,000 (Seriously?)
  • The 38,008 is also a “temporal marker” for a revolution in the banking system
  • Runaway fiat (government) money inflation fears are realized (Could happen)
  • Ethereum hits upward streak from March onward with new businesses/models
  • Litecoin will be on par with Ethereum, not price-wise (Huh?)
  • Competition from EOS and OmiseGo (No kidding?)
  • Governments will create sovereign tokens of their own; accounting problems will plague them; the public will lose confidence and governments will label crypto as “out of control”
  • “Out of Control” is another “temporal marker” which helps to confirm this Alta Report?
  • “AI” will start by taking over the soft tasks; and grow, but will “never” take over the world

Now we sit back and wait for the aliens. Did you hear that?

 

Sincerely,

 

Your Pal,

Jack Shorebird

Will Caesar Assassinate Bitcoin and all Blockchains, This Time Around?

Dear Readers,

As the Ides of March approach, but this time Caesar lives?

In 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated. It was March 15th. Senators stabbed him to death next to a theater. Why? Because he dared to be king. He had it coming.

Bitcoin, in the sphere of crypto, has been a dominant force since its inception. It was the first “successful” mover. But it was never a bloody dictator. It never ordered you to buy it.

The ever-growing number of cryptocurrencies, vie for dominance. They want bitcoin dead. So does today’s Caesar. And you can name your own Caesar. Certainly, the selection of contenders is vast. And there appears to be no experts about. Yes, there are those who code. The programmers. The computer wizards. The black hat hackers. The financial gurus. YouTube personalities. Twelve-year-old millionaires. And there are the economists, bankers, government agencies, detractors and dictators.

Then the rest of us, holding onto our wallets, stocks and bonds, silver coins, collectibles, and homes. We are not the Caesars, however. We are the commoners – the Plebeians. Maybe, as Plebeians, we’ve placed our crypto bets. Maybe not.

We know the score. We know that the dollar markets are volatile. The debasement of our currency ongoing and long term inflation (fiat currency devaluation) the result. Gold and silver prices, manipulated. The Catch-22 of the modern era. Until the “catch” breaks.

The only real markets left – with some measure of freedom – are the cryptocurrency markets. All others, to my knowledge, are regulated. Even my local flea market is regulated, somewhat.

In February of this year (2018) cryptocurrency bounced off a new low. I wondered then, if it was a reset of some sort. Now, over a month later, it appears to be doing it again. I fear another reset is looming. A much deeper one.

Some like to look to the past.

In 2013, bitcoin increased in value from a hundred dollars to over a $1000. It sparked the imagination of millions. Do you doubt it? After three years, as a nerdy plaything, suddenly, it was here. But you ask – what exactly was here?

Then bitcoin sank in value. Giving back half and more. Yes, it could have been speculation. Mt. Gox. Whales. FOMO. Take your pick.

In 2014, bitcoin seemed like it was dying. It lost over 60% of its value. Fluctuated. Maybe they were worth $300 by years end. We wondered. Was it over?

Then 2015 came. Bitcoin gained at least 25% by years end. It was looking to match the latter part of 2013’s values. Could it once again hit $1000?

Many of us reinvested.

Then June of 2016 came. Bitcoin decided to go up. By years end, it was once again looking at the $1000 mark. People – investors took notice. Would it pop again?

What if?

That was the biggest question. What if this thing keeps on going? Where will it stop? Will the snake-oil salesman come out and paint the rosy pictures? They did. Millions each, they shouted.

In 2017 everything changed. The banner year – so far – for bitcoin. Exchanges, as bad as they were, slow, cumbersome — lit the fire. Bitcoin took off. Over 19 times in value. Almost holding at $20,000. But before the year was over…shaking.

And 2017 was like 2013 all over again. By the end of the year, bitcoin was off almost 25% from its highs. The banner year was over. We felt deflated. Betrayed. We looked for scapegoats.

They were easy to find…

The financial world, which had been ignoring it, at least publicly, began kicking it steadily – and copying the technology. They were to blame. And the tax men. And the regulators. And China, Russia…and the endless bitcoin debates…and the bitcoin clones…and stiff competition from other altcoins…crypto-assets…tokens…

Now 2018 arrived. From the highs of late 2017, bitcoin nosed over. No longer treading water, it sank. It halved and then some. Percentage-wise, 2018 – so far – has eaten bitcoin’s lunch and its supper…

If you hold (or hodl) you should be concerned. No other altcoin has yet to muscle in on BTC’s turf. There is no trusted replacement. Not yet. And this time, Caesar is sharping his sword.

If anyone can honestly say that bitcoin is not the touchstone of the cryptosphere, even as its “dominance” fades, beware. Fake news?

Anyone can see the wag of that bitcoin’s tail. But he is a free dog. He survives in the wild. The Plebeians are his friends, but he has no master. Whether that dog lives, is the question. For Caesar hunts.

To those altcoins that ‘joined him’ – you know who you are – you have not solved any problems. You have merely profited from the Plebeians who serve the Caesar. But Caesar is bankrupt, and you live in his kennel.

The joiners are like loyal dogs. They will serve any Caesar. Drink from any poison fountain, so long as it is sweet. When it sours they pack their bags full of cash and wait for the next opportunity.

For now, I hope the joiners succeed, that I may profit from their folly. Then plow that money into the honest cryptos, if any still exist. Have they ever really existed?

Caesar has sent his troops in. His tax collectors. His regulators. One by one. In plain sight. Brazenly. He knows not to attack the Plebeians directly. He attacks the places they frequent, instead. The watering holes, the bazaars, the money tables.

Right now, Caesar is cutting the supply lines. The flow of water — crypto. The great cisterns – exchanges – are being brought to heel. Banks cut off the life-blood one by one.

Back to the kennels now, you Plebeians. No more dreams of roaming free. Nay, you pigs of the trough, stick your snouts in low. Grovel as you may. Dream the farm animal dreams and know that you are such tasty pork chops.

Perhaps it’s time for the wolf. But even a good wolf needs his Spartacus.

 


Media Source: William Darby

Did February 2018 Mark a Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Market Reset?


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Dear Readers,

Charts.

They’re great, right?

Not always, but in a few “lines” we can really pick up a lot. Not so with words.

So here is my first chart of the day. It plots the market capitalization of the top five (current) cryptocurrencies from January 1, 2018 to February 14, 2018.

It helps you keep things in perspective.


T5


What do you notice, besides all the ups and downs and such? (Above.)

Hint. Look at the last dip. About February 6, 2018.

What do you see?

A bit closer now.


T6


Is this a market “reset” of some sort?

If not, it is interesting how the top three are nearly equidistant now.

In any event, if you peruse the upper chart, you will see which “coin” seemed to bounce from the resets very quickly.

I wonder if history will repeat?

 

–JGS

 

Data Source: CoinMarketCap.com

The Bitcoin Blockchain, Gold, Tether Connection


Picture1 - Copy

Correlations are easy to visualize at times. One can see that recently, with few exceptions, many cryptocurrencies marched in tandem. In the early days, this was not the case. Most cryptocurrencies moved in ‘random.’

Perhaps it is because of the scope of investments flooding into the cryptocurrency markets today. The institutional investors are beginning to push real value into the system, with the real risk of serious downtrends, should the brokers receive the “sell all” order from their clients.

In any event, the recent run up and “half-bubble” burst of bitcoin has made for interesting discussion. One I have not seen yet, is a discussion of bitcoin breaking the gold trend line and what happened when it did.

When I state the “gold trend line,” I’m using Google Trends to plot “interest” or “searches” of a word or a sets of words. There are many available combinations and the sales of mined data is big business. To the uninitiated, trying to find the correct setting – to use the trends to your advantage – can be a bit disconcerting. So, keeping it simple might be your solution.

Or you can read the tea leaves. Pig entrails? Clif High, Webbot supporter? Palm Reader enthusiast?

I use the gold (as a chemical element) trend for comparisons. Not “gold as an investment,” but that is another option. I also set the trend for a worldwide search. Now, you can use long-term or short-term settings, say 90 days or even a year.

Recently, after plotting various trends, I wanted to see if there were any patterns or correlations between “gold” and “bitcoin” (search topic). From November 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017 I found a curious thing. (See chart below.) Bitcoin has broken the gold barrier.

Can we then estimate future bitcoin prices, based upon its “interest” and its relation to gold trends? How about bitcoin interest v. Monero interest?

Well, based on the data set below, not exactly.


1 - Copy(Source: Google Trends – 60-day Time Set. Please see Google for an explanation of their data sets.)


Now, in many countries, this was the end of tax season, but in the United States, the tax laws recently changed – were clarified. It was, of course, decision time.

Do I hold, now that I am penalized for trading crypto for crypto? Do I sell, and take my tax lumps, before the end of the year? Do I trade into gold or a private untraceable cryptocurrency? If I do elect to hold private cryptocurrency (Monero), should I expect a price spike, because everyone else is probably thinking along the same lines, or will regulations kill off the last hold-outs and make the above-board cryptocurrency substitutes (Ripple, Stellar etc.) surge? (Not really.)

And there are other factors. Inflation. Whole countries outlawing cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency exchanges being ripped-off. Exchanges disappearing or going offline, without warning (Binance). So, by no means is the above trend interpretation authoritative.

Let’s just focus on the gold trends and bitcoin’s relation to it, during the time-frame in question. That’s November and December of 2017.


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As you can see above, the gold trend line was broken by bitcoin on at least three separate occasions, when comparing the chosen data. November 27, 2017, December 2 – 3, 2017 and again on December 29, 2017. The question is, did the above trend “predict” the coming surge in bitcoin prices or at least hint at the possibility? Or was bitcoin issuing a warning?

One can see that the Monero interest trends barely budged. It didn’t seem as if people were thinking about privatizing.

November 27, 2017. What was happening? According to Coinmarketcap.co here, bitcoin closed at $9,818.35 that day. It had been surging before that, having closed at $6,559.49, on November 13, 2017. It had already risen over a third in value in short order.

What about December 2 – 3, 2017? $11,074.60 and $11,323.20 closing prices, respectively. Even in a trough of “interest” bitcoin was surging in price. People were not searching for bitcoin as much. Why? Were they holding? Watching on Coinmarketcap.com?

On December 29, 2017 bitcoin closed at $14,656.20. Was the breaking of the gold trend line, in reverse, a signal of a future downtrend? Not immediately, if at all. Bitcoin surged to over $17,000 by January 6, 2018. After that, however, it began to retreat. As of February 12, the closing price of bitcoin was $8,926.57.

Let’s add some more info, focusing on the breaking of the gold trend line, in gray.


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The above chart illustrates bitcoin’s closing prices on the given date ranges. You can immediately see that the first peak of search interest over the gold trend line correlated to a very small value increase. We must remember, however, people searching for bitcoin will then need to figure out how to buy it, if they were new to the game. In any event, there appears to be a lag between “interest” (positive or negative – we do not know) and price changes.

As bitcoin broke the gold trend line on November 27, 2017, prices surged a little, initially. Then, within less than a month, the price of bitcoin more than doubled. By December 16, 2017, bitcoin closed at $19,497. A surge of over 100% in price. Why couldn’t it go higher?

Would a reasonable person have understood that such a surge in interest via trends (searches) would translate into higher bitcoin prices, when the gold trend line was broken? Again, how can we know? One can search for bitcoin for many reasons. For reasons “not to buy” and for reasons of education, as well. Let’s face it, though, something urged many people (or bots?) to type in the word: bitcoin. Were people fearing that they might miss out. “FOMO” in colloquial internet-speak? Were we being manipulated into thinking that bitcoin interest was surging?

In the old days, just after bitcoin hit the cryptosphere, a 100% increase in price would have been considered, by percentage, no big deal. Today, however, such an enormous surge is in the billions of dollars – not mere millions. It is serious. Don’t let the oldies fool you.

Bitcoin appeared to be on track to hit all-time highs daily, after the gold trend line was broken. Bitcoin was running hard, until about December 18, 2017 – when the cryptosphere began to suffer one of its worst collapses on record – when you factor in the amount of money invested — and now divested.

So, what happened?

From over 300 billion dollars in capitalization, bitcoin halved in a matter of weeks. Did bitcoin touch the “golden trend line” and was it punished for doing so? Since gold trends correlate with US Dollar “interest” trends, was bitcoin’s popularity a threat to the financial order?

Was this one of the greatest pump and dump schemes in history? The “Tether” play, as some have indicated. Pumping up the price of bitcoin by simply “printing” phantom, worthless Tethers — and buying? Then cashing out to fiat? (Not unlike any government that deals in fiat currency.)

We no longer use gold as money, therefore there is very little utilitarian value to gold at all, except as a safe-haven asset, provided it is not confiscated. Did bitcoin touch the US Dollar “third rail?”

But let’s set these aside for a minute. What else was going on the day bitcoin began to eat crow?


News, Before the Fall

Was there anything that was happening on December 18, 2017 or shortly before, that may have changed people’s minds? Some introduction of “panic” or market manipulation?

December 13, 2017:

December 18, 2017:


The gist of it?

Wall Street was reporting that economists didn’t like bitcoin, big investors were selling bitcoin, fedcoin was looming, bitcoin myths were being exposed, bitcoin corrections were coming, Tether was probably scamming billions, and socialist countries were bitching because they couldn’t get in on the action.

A perfect pre-panic or a conspiracy theory?

One last chart for your perusal. As bitcoin’s interest was driving hard these past several months, it approached the US dollar interest line, at speed. Like the gold interest line above, bitcoin pierced this dollar trend line. There has been conjecture about this as well.

Did bitcoin’s sudden rise act as a market-dollar barometer in advance? Knowing that the dollar was and is devaluing, that gold prices have been (and may still be) manipulated,  and that the markets are overheated, to say it mildly — did bitcoin signal the alarm? Maybe. At least that’s one take. But why divest of crypto, if you think gold and the DOW Jones Average are headed for the drink? Cash under the mattress? More than likely.


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(Source: Google Trends.)

Finally, if Tether is printing phantom dollars and they do it responsibly, is it any different than any fiat currency in existence — aside from the fact that it is privately managed? Can it replace the dollar and at the same time, support cryptocurrency? Can it replace POS cryptocurrencies, that are also created out of thin air? How about POW crypto’s that are created by gamed-computer-mining?

In any event, I’m at loss to explain how Tether made bitcoin surge 100%, to 300 billion dollars in value, in a month, when Tether’s market capitalization has never exceeded three-billion dollars. Churning? The fact that investors could (can) “fall back” to Tether, if BTC faltered? Hello? There aren’t enough Tethers in existence.

I suppose one could take out an option, but the Tether spreads must be useless, unless you have millions to play with. Help me here, financial gurus. If everyone agrees that each Tether is worth one US dollar and there are no dollars actually backing up them up, at what point do investors lose confidence?

No wonder the US Government wants to eat Tether’s lunch. It’s a competitor.

Who is Crypto’s real enemy? Ask yourself that question.


The above is my opinion and conjecture. Don’t bet your house on it.

–JGS

Avoid the GNU Taler “Manifesto” Blockchain?


 

This is an open letter to those who slave at the coding machines, whilst Richard Stallman drinks the Kool aid. Get up from your machines. Awake from your fantasy.

Burn the manifesto. The Taxable Anonymous Libre Electronic Reserve Manifesto.

Avoid Taler, like a Bit-plague.


Dear GNU Taler and Family,

Idiots are made, not born. Until now? Leave your Communes. Lay down your laptops.

I urge you, if you have ever entertained, for a second, buying Taler. Snuff that thought from your mind. Eliminate the code from your systems, before it’s too late. Politicians lurk herein.

GNU Taler could replace things like SWIFT and even Ripple, if they ever get off the ground.

Without going into the details, suffice to say that Taler (Taxable Anonymous Libre Anonymous Reserves) does have promise. Not everyone wants to hide their money, just secure it. But can Taler deliver?

I hope not. I don’t live in a commune. I will not support any form of subservience, even in the name of “Social Responsibility,” which is another name for “Socialism,” which is another name for “slavery,” which is what “Taler” is to money. Control and servitude. Vile, are the merchants?

I’ve been watching Taler’s cheesy vids for a few years now. Odd, the German laced rhetors are. Like they stipulate, it’s just a cash substitute. Is it? A token of state money, which has already failed us. But, not really. You will need to buy Taler at the going rate, from what I can see. That is, whenever they can lift off, which I hope is NEVER.

In that sense, would it not be volatile?  Or are they simply going to designate the equivalent cash? How then, will the exchange rate be calculated? Will one U.S. dollar buy me one or ten Talers? And, given the new tax laws in the United States, would it not behoove Taler to indicate how much I paid for my Taler and how much I sold it for, to buy a soda? So, I can keep track of gains and losses – and required taxes? Or will Taler help me hide that? Like a good Communist? Like an Anarchist? Which is it?

If I want to spend my Taler in a foreign country, will the exchange rate be dictated? Or do I estimate what I think the item should cost, based upon the fiat cost of my Taler, in my country? Will Taler rise and fall in value, according to the amount purchased, globally? Will my Taler be inelastic, holding its original fiat value or elastic – dipping and spinning like a herd of crazy sheep? Who knows?

Their website – after all these years – seems absent the basic stuff needed for any serious investor to make a decision. (Don’t worry, I’ve emailed them for more.) How many ‘coins’ will they print? Just the 100,000,000? Who decided that? Why? How are the “T’s” associated with fiat cash? Will they offer them for sale on cryptocurrency exchanges, even if Taler is NOT a crypto? Will they offer hardware wallets? Cell phone apps? Or must we keep them on our very safe computers (PC’s)? Make back-ups?

Unlike Ripple XRP’s, however, you must deal in TaL or “T” or whatever their ticker symbol is today. With XRP’s or even Stellar Lumens (XLM), I can send you any currency and you can receive any currency, but we’re all visible. Capisce? That’s good and bad.

Taler, as I understand it, can be spent like cash – your identity is private – but the merchant must report the income. Big deal. You are still screwing the economy (Richard) – the evil shopkeepers. The shopkeepers are the economy! If it wasn’t for them we’d all be wearing Stallman tie-dyes, tilling the fields, and sipping monkey juice. Stand up and smell the ozone, buddy – before the Global Cooling starts.

Like Ripple, like Stellar, Taler is centralized, but even more so. Is that a bad thing – if it is secure? And, if it becomes successful, could not a large company or government simply buy them out – and use their system? Or simply copy it? I understand it is ‘open source.’

I feel like I’m watching the old “Moron Movies” where the guy takes his log for a walk and it pisses on a tree.

How about the “premine?” From what I can see here and elsewhere, Taler holds 49% of Taler. Fine. If the value appreciates and I can profit, I don’t care. I might even like to use the system to help keep my identity safe. Help me save money too. And I can bring my own rope too. Hang myself out by the shed, as the sun sets on my freedom and the merchants all quit. We’ll all hang together, is that it?

It seems that Taler is an underdog. It is sneaking in under the radar, with a political agenda. Possibly able to unseat the old guard, with code. A manifesto of money? Taste not, Dear Bankers, for the libation is death — figuratively speaking.

At the same time, the developers of Taler don’t seem to understand that governments (police) will, on occasion, require the identities of “spenders.” That fact alone will create a push-back mechanism they may not comprehend. Or, if they do, they already have plans in place to reveal the tax-evader citizens, the wannabe-terrorists. After all, privacy is only a human right, until you harm others or anger the wayward bureaucrat, right?

Let’s move on.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, I argue, was created to combat a dying fiat monetary system. The world over. Taler says — capitulates — that there is a way to use the fiats of finance – cheaply.

Great message. Taler supports the cat-houses. It is NOT socially responsible. Or, put another way, it supports inflation, social slavery and has no guts — no shame.

Did you here that Richard? I say you have no cojones. Please program Ethereum Kitties. Do you, like Cardano ADA — really expect people to purchase Talers? Premined altcoins to make you rich?

I hope Taler, Ripple, Stellar all fail. In the meantime, I will profit from their success. Not unlike Schindler.

Correction: I hope to hell, I will never profit from Taler.

The old system must die. I await the new. But not the GNU way.

And a simple browse will uncover the plot. Check here. Richard Stallman, oh guru of gurus, supports the US Green Party. He, Richard of riches, is the “creator” of Taler. The Green Party is essentially a Neo-Marxist party. A slavery Party. The antithesis of a freedom-loving people.

Beware the hippies in the red tie-dyes.

Die Taler, die. A natural death.


Your Friend,

— JGS

Three Predictions for Cryptocurrencies in 2018: “SPACE”

What’s Next?


Many people ask where cryptocurrency is heading. I thought I’d take a moment here and delve into that. A bit of forward conjecture.

Why?

Because I can’t seem to find it all in one place. Just bits and pieces of negative and positive elements. So, I jammed a few of them in here. And it’s all my opinion, of course. Take it with a smidgen of rock salt.


Predictions:


1. The CCE’s will Official-ize and DCE’s will not matter

Centralized Cryptocurrency Exchanges (CCE’s) may not survive in their current form. The year 2018, in the United States, will test their mettle.

Why? Tax laws, crypto-friendly countries, atomic swaps, and:

Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchanges (DCE’s).

In a recent interview by an unnamed person, as not to disparage the name of a particular CCE, it was learned that things like atomic swaps and/or functional DCE’s are years into the future. That is, according to the CEO of this particular CCE. That centralized and regulated exchanges are better suited for a servile public and institutional investors. Regulation is acceptable.

Bull. We have grown up now. Training wheels are not handcuffs.

Some CCE’s even pride themselves for their transparency. They put a face to their company. They stand upright and walk on two legs and pay their taxes as all good citizens should. Even if the monetary system is rotten to the core. Don’t you dare try to improve it.

The anti-government stance seems to worry the CCE’s. Just be nice and trade, they ask. We are all in the same sinking boat after all – the CEO says from the crow’s nest — as the waters rush in.

But let’s face it. If a CCE decides to go transparent, it has no choice. The business model they chose, for good or ill, requires that they follow and not lead, at least in the U.S. In the U.S., CCE’s must create and maintain a KYC, AML compliant trading platform or face prosecution. It’s that simple. No submarines allowed. Surface ships only, please. Even if we lose the war.

Add to this CCE mix, the recent 2018 U.S. tax law clarifications regarding cryptocurrency trading and one can speculate as to the true motives behind a certain unnamed CCE’s recent announcement that they are moving in the direction of U.S. Dollar trading – for most users. And that they are apparently seeking to offer actual securities (stocks and bonds) in the future.

Why? They are losing money – or soon will be. They need you to buy and buy now. The sooner the better. Use lots of cash. And, as the tax laws kill the cryptosphere in the U.S., the CCE’s will “evolve.” No, Mr. CCE, you will capitulate. You will spring backwards, to the safety of the fiat. And there, you will die Mr. CCE, for lack of verve and vision.

And that leads into the DCE’s. In their current incarnation, they are worthless or nearly so. Dead on arrival. You must pledge a bit of expensive bitcoin, choose a third party to settle disputes and wait forever. DCE’s are slow to improve, unprofessional, not user-friendly and untrusted.

Perhaps the new impetus will be the desire for free trade, unhindered by the regulations and onerous tax laws.

But we need something more.


2. The U.S. New Tax Laws will be Ineffective

Translation: Cryptocurrency trading is slowing down. U.S. customers especially, are not trading like they used to, because they know that each time they do so, they can no longer claim a “like-kind” exchange. In other words, the tax hit is helping to drive cryptocurrency prices lower. It is also killing the centralized exchanges – which could be a good thing.

U.S. based CCE’s must now shift into another gear if they want to stay in business. Aside from the threat of atomic swaps and DCE’s, the fact that trading will continue to slow because of tax laws, means that the CCE’s will begin to consolidate and/or offer more services.

This is already happening. It’s called survival mode. The hangover after the party. Luckily, there is still plenty of booze left, but it’s cheap booze now. Bitcoin is no longer as “top shelf” as it once was. Bitcoin Cash continues to hammer away.

These new tax laws, reduced trading and the bubble-popping amusement ride, is soaking value from the CCE’s, at hyper-speed. Where once, the cryptos flowed like champagne into the golden baths of the CCE’s, it now dribbles in as diluted, headache-inducing, sparkling wine, from the Left Coast (California).

As a result, expect CCE membership fees to emerge, large balance requirements, the wooing of institutional investors with unpublished deals, and the farming-out of the expensive retail arms to other companies, especially where labor is cheap. Expect more ads.

The net effect? The little guy will be left holding cryptocurrency he cannot trade, without first signing his life away. Should the little guy hold private coins, he will be suspect. Where will any freedom-seeking individual go?

This is why I feel that the new U.S. Tax Laws will be ineffective. They will make a show of it, force the crypto lovers underground, arrest a few, let the problem fester, and in the end, they will wake up with a new money. It is simply a matter of time. Even the dinosaurs died out.

Sophisticated traders and gamblers might hire third-party fictions to hold their crypto, but the vast majority will not be able to entertain such extravagant schemes. Tax loopholes are for the affluent.


3.The Rise of “SPACE”

If you live under a rock, you’ve never heard of a DCE. That’s fine. Maybe atomic swaps are your thing. Or even Atomic Coin, which is another altcoin. But I don’t think you’ve heard about this next idea. It’s not about another blockchain.

Spontaneous Private Atomic Cryptocurrency Exchange(s)? Or: S.P.A.C.E.

It does not yet exist.

I predict we will see the beginnings of SPACE in 2018. It will be a combination of a CCE, DCE, Atomic Swaps, and best of all, it will be anonymous and untraceable. Imagine a private-Amazon with its own Monero-like cash that spends everywhere, instantly. Making fiat superfluous. (I’m an optimist.) Where you can store your crypto in the new cloud and access it where ever SPACE is used.

Already, we are seeing hints of this. Cloakcoin. Litecoin in talks with Monero? Some countries creating their own internet, with different protocols. Sharding altcoins, like MaidSafeCoin, just to name a few.

They all seem to miss the mark however. They all must ground themselves to the given ICANN.

What if they didn’t?

What if SPACE was created as needed? You initiate a private connection to a flexible network where there are no third parties. You buy, sell or trade instantly. Your choice of payment (coin) is saved, privately. And you disconnect. There would be no fees, no records, save your own and no limits. Everything would be automatic, anonymous, user-friendly and secure. Once the developers released such a network into the wild, it would, like bitcoin, be maintained in a similar manner.

Therefore, the next big thing, at least in the Cryptosphere, will be way out there. Beyond the current internet completely. A quantum leap and a human achievement that could set the stage for the next leap forward.

That is the idea, isn’t it?

Will you be ready for SPACE?

–JGS