Tag Archives: ASIC

Monero and CryptoNote Derived Cryptocurrencies Doomed?


ASIC Resistance is futile.

Sitting in the pits of their protocol is a rotten thing. It’s at the core of the CryptoNote code. The inappropriately applied idea of “egalitarianism.” I mention this now because it comes up constantly on the “boards” during discussions. By boards, I mean the official (and unofficial — think Reddit) Monero and Bytecoin and other cryptocurrency channels. Most of the time, it is ignored or given some whitewash to hide the true colors.

It’s also a way to fool the average Joe.

There are discussions about ASIC’s v. CPU v. GPU v. FPGA ad nauseam. On the surface, it all seems rather mundane but there is a missing piece here. It is the piece called “why.” As in “why” are the CryptoNote fans so adamant about keeping the ASIC’s out?

There are built-in protection guarantees offered by the CryptoNote systems, you see. They advise that the most efficient mining systems will be made less efficient, by design. So, don’t worry comrade, stick around, help us developers stay rich. We will protect you by leveling the playing field. Kicking out the best ASIC players. In other words, even the most inefficient e-miners or e-mining systems will carry the same weight and power as the efficient ones.

On the surface, the CryptoNote systems appear to reflect certain political systems. The United States, for example, has two Senators (House of Lords) from each state and it balances against representatives (House of Commons), which are population-based. So the state of Rhode Island (our smallest state) has the same senatorial power as California, one of our largest socialistic failing states.

But the application of political/governmental power, I assert, is to protect a very narrow set of human rights. The right to life, liberty (freedom) and to own property…in the pursuit of happiness as it were.

If any CryptoNote coin claims that equality before the law is egalitarian, then I’d support them but they don’t mean this. They are not talking about inalienable human rights. Rights we are born with and not handed down or proclaimed on some document or granted by a group of thugs on a Wednesday. No, the CryptoNote gang is talking about social leveling and control when you use their protocol. E-mine with us, they say and we’ll do our best to look out for the “little guy.”

One cannot deny a certain group of people their rights, simply because they are able to build better, faster, more efficient machines to mine more gold. In cryptocurrency, however, you can punish such people. It’s a man-made network modeled on some very shaky ideals. It can change like the wind and reflect, in effect, a type of communistic crypto-paradise. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. And we all know how well those political systems work. (Hint: they don’t.)

Unfortunately, this is the way many in the cryptocurrency community define “equality.” Egalitarianism with the blurred lines. If an ASIC or any system is developed, that will perform (e-mine) faster, it is blocked. They don’t want that. ASIC’s are sidelined in favor of slower, less efficient systems, so that the average slow processor (think ‘Comrade-in-Arms’) may still participate. That is not “equality” it’s a recycle bin bromide.

Of course, this won’t happen until the developers reap their rewards, however. After they suck in all the wealth, like any good group of politburo chiefs, like say, Bytecoin still does. Since they are anonymous, they can simply walk away and lay on a nice beach, whilst you wonder why such a perfect egalitarian dream went bust. Where’s your dacha, comrade?

Think about it. Fearing faster and better computing machines that can race through the protocols at speed, e-mine with abandon, and process with efficiency is backward thinking. It is the equivalent of the rolling “brownout” solution, instead of building more power plants. Of having everyone wearing dark sunglasses on a moonless night while driving his family in a compact vehicle on a major highway, with his headlights off. No trucks allowed, they can haul too much gold.

The idea is not to fear progress but embrace it. Use it. Accept it. Not hate it for being good, but use the technology to build a better and stronger private cryptocurrency, such as Monero. (Not Bytecoin. Why is that one still around? How many people will they fool?)

Monero suffers the “equality” falsehood. The egalitarian foible. You can see it in their constant “bar lowering.” They fail to embrace and use the newest tech. They wish to hold onto their slingshots, while the machine guns are being oiled and airplanes fly over their collectivist heads. They escape to their coding labs, tweak the protocols and rejoice that for one more week, they have halted the advance of technology with software. The Arms Race continues, however. And it will pass them by, if they do not adapt.

We all probably understand the reasoning. Why Monero (CryptoNote based coins) wants to keep the waters as level as possible by plugging the holes that keep appearing in their dam. To make sure big players don’t swoop in and take over the spillways. Allegedly, this is the current problem with bitcoin. But as the cracks keep appearing, the dam may break anyway.

How do they solve their crisis? How could any cryptocurrency, for that matter, make the process as fair as possible and not allow one giant mega computer to take over? That question will undoubtedly be answered by the new tech itself. Surely, if new systems (new tech) are developed, new cryptocurrencies will evolve right along with them. It seems that the “fear” of quantum computing should be tempered by the realization that it will also be utilized to better secure the new types of cryptocurrencies that will develop in its wake.

How about at present though? How can we help the private coins? Or any proof-of-work based cryptocurrency? If the idea is to mimic mining for gold, then a limit (number) of coins should be set. That has been done. But when more e-miners flock to the e-gold fields, it seems that less e-gold is to be had. Or, one or two strike it rich and they begin to buy out the others. Then the big groups come with their Goliath machines and the small miner moves on.

The finding of real gold is not about power, specifically. It’s about the search, the research, the location, the process, the physical reality – where the gold is – and sometimes it’s pure chance. Cryptocurrency of the alleged egalitarian type, the man made type, simply turns down the e-gold flow, when more e-miners flock to the field and vice versa. It does this by rejecting e-mining hardware advancements and playing to the weak hands – the comrade with a (CPU) pick and shovel — and that makes it weaker. It is not fair to those who are wealthier and smarter, but it does cater to the less apt and the less affluent. The upshot is, any two-bit dictator can force his slave CPU laborers to e-mine.

One problem with cryptocurrency of the people (as I submit Monero tries to be) is that the e-miners also own the e-banks – the transmission mechanism. The e-miners dig up the e-gold, smelt it, e-mint it into pretty little e-bars and if the e-miners are effective, they can take over the entire mine (51% Attack), and reassign all the e-gold ever e-mined, to themselves. Now that’s a problem. Chances are, if this happened, the e-gold would then become worthless.

Some say that this possibility (51% Attack) alone keeps the big miners at bay…unless they want to destroy the cryptocurrency. Now, who would want to do that? Competitors? Governments? Methinks yes, in the case of XMR or haven’t you heard?

Think about that. If there was only a single real gold mine on the entire planet you’d want to make sure no one large group owns it, right? So you’d pass a law to prevent it. “No smart, efficient miners/bankers allowed on Earth’s only gold mine.” Only picks and shovels here. Ma and Pa banks, please. We call it protectionism or a kind of a tariff. And we all know what happens then, everyone loses. But there are many real gold mines, just like there are many real cryptocurrencies.

Random e-gold (e-bar finds) are not fair they’re just random, especially if there’s a single e-mine, like Monero or Aeon. It’s like everyone digging in the same e-hole, but only one e-miner or a group of e-miners is rewarded at a time. In the real world, there are lots of real gold mines, remember? Lots of chances to strike it rich. It’s not, “Here you go, you won this e-gold-bar, but nobody else did. Maybe next time they will strike it rich! Oh, not really, we have a one e-gold-bar at a time policy. Sorry. No major strikes allowed, ever.”

Gold is not all in one place like Monero’s e-gold is or Bitcoin’s. And yes, I know I can mine different crypto’s. If I mine them with a pick and shovel, however, rather than an industrial process, it should make a difference. If I am wealthier and smarter and I can e-mine more e-gold with my industrial sized ASIC, than the guy with the CPU shovel then I should reap more e-bars, not be told that I’m being stingy. Not have to wait my turn at the freaking roulette wheel, like all the other nice e-people. At the same time, I shouldn’t be able to own the one e-bank (or the e-casino, if you prefer) that controls all the e-gold.

Monero’s (or any cryptocurrency for that matter) e-gold should not be e-mined all in one place. E-miners should not be told the e-mine is closed when their big e-steam shovels come out. No crypto should be 51% attack-able in the first place. We don’t lose our gold when the Chinese Government stocks up on gold bars. Why should we lose, if a bot scams the e-mining algo?

If Monero (or any cryptocurrency) can get to that place, then they or Aeon might survive. And by “place” I mean like the gold mining/selling process. Gold is mine-able by different processes, and with differing rewards. One might hit a “strike” of gigantic proportions in a mountain and then bring in the big guys or sell the “strike” to others. One might use a vast process that filters the ocean for gold. What is the equivalent with crypto? ASIC’s?

Then reality kicks in.

If a cryptocurrency does not attempt to provide a service like a smart contract or a remittance mechanism or represent an asset, it might fail for the same reason fiat currencies fail. It’s happening with crypto-fiat faster since we are not forced to use them. Unless they find some better way to instill trust.

(Full disclosure: I own XMR’s.)

Advertisements

Bitcoin: Not a Value-Producing Asset?

Dear Cryptocurrency Readers:

It’s good to keep tabs on the big picture while hoping for the good news. But don’t short change yourself if the time comes to make a choice between regulated or unregulated cryptocurrencies. It may be better to pay the tax, than pay the fine…or worse yet, be placed in a “political” prison cell.

Think long and hard about trying to hide your crypto stash and making your escape to some foreign island after you trade a chunk of it for some local fiat, gold or silver.

Things like crypto need to be won first in the courts, in countries where that is still possible. Political representatives must carry the banner and I feel that eventually, crypto needs an anchor. A hard currency. Only then will it be able to unhinge the fiat myth we have lived under for over half a century in these United States of America.

Is not that the ultimate dream of cryptocurrency?

It made many see, for the first time, that there is a way through this monetary nightmare we call government fiat currency. If it is only a pipe dream, that dream has had a lasting impact upon the minds of many – worldwide – I will posit. And dreams drive change.

Even if cryptocurrency dies, fifty years from now, people will remember, that for a brief time, the purse strings were almost given back to their rightful owners. The people. To you and me. We were almost back in control.

I write all of this in the hopes that I am dead wrong. That cryptocurrency, as it was meant to be, does not die, but evolves and helps to remake this decaying fiat world.

In short, this is not investment advice, it’s thinking advice. Education and speculation, is better than throwing the virtual darts at the virtual dart board.

For those who highlight cryptocurrency charts, citing all the technical reasons to “buy now,” know that the problem is a fundamental one. We need to look at the creators of these cryptocurrencies, why they make them, how they will work and so on.

Fundamental analysis is a must in the cryptosphere.

According to a MarketWatch article, Warren Buffet recently remarked that he thinks coin [cryptocurrency] offerings will end badly. “People get excited from big price movements, and Wall Street accommodates,” he said.

I don’t think Buffet gets it.

Buffet also advised that “You can’t value bitcoin because it’s not a value-producing asset.”

Now think on that a moment. “Not value producing.” That’s a fundamental issue, is it not?

So, it’s not a house or a farm or stocks. We know this. Buffet is not telling us anything new here, just couching it in investment terms. But remember, Buffet is also – if I can judge by his past statements – pro-big-government, pro-higher taxes for the wealthy…he’s a status quo kind of fellow. Rose colored glasses and all.

Guys like Buffet need what? They need the rules to remain “stable.” Capital gains taxes, income taxes, regulations, political support, all play into the scheme to use the system to earn more fiat money. Fiat money and other real assets, but all lubricated by a slowly crumbling (could be quickly) monetary system.

Bitcoin and company mucks up system, if they are seen as a currency replacement mechanism, say to the grand old investor types. So, they refuse to imagine the potential if such thinking requires them to start from ground zero. If it requires them to ask that burning question they refuse to hear: What is sound money? And the other one. Can we get along better without it if we pay off (buy) the bureaucrats and ask for special favors granted involuntarily, by the taxpayers?

But let’s compare.

Is digitized anything, say music, talk radio or even movies – are they value producing?

Yes, but they have an industry behind them. Singers, producers, directors, and labor unions. Companies with stock. Buildings, cars – the machinery of sight and sound.

Does bitcoin, specifically, have that same sort of structure? Or is it a bubble?

No. It has voluntary “assistance” right? Those who are willing and able to code and debug, right? There was no bitcoin creation company, as far as we know. Satoshi Nakamoto could be anyone or a group of communist sympathizers. We haven’t a clue.

Bitcoin is not an asset, in the traditional sense, only a service based upon secret codes, information exchange, shared data ledgers, miners, computers, internet use and so on. We know that bitcoin (currently) is very valuable, but subject to change, forks, political risk, clones, hackers and crowd sentiment.

Bitcoin is also subject to being replaced, at any time, by better technologies. Some new developer who can convince the world that this new bit of code is the cat’s meow.

Bitcoin is also subject to wide value fluctuations. Fluctuations, if you are risk tolerant, that can earn profits – or not.

So, bitcoin does not appear to fit any valuation model that I am aware of. Yes, it is anti-fiat, anti-capital controls, pro-personal banking, anti-inflation, anti-establishment, anti-tax, anti-status quo, and emotionally charged, probably a bit bubbly, but its asset value is, like Buffet contends – missing in action.

Is it just a numbers game?

Certainly, we are in new territory here.

Steve Wozniak of Apple fame thinks “cryptocurrency could become a better standard of financial value than gold or the U.S. dollar. Wozniak argued that Bitcoin is more stable and less prone to arbitrary supply changes.” This, according to a recent piece at Futurism.com.

If Wozniak does think, as the article suggests, that bitcoin is better than gold or the U.S. Dollar, he should qualify that statement.

Currently, the U.S. fiat dollar works, but into the future?

Gold? Well, it’s not used as legal tender in the United States in any huge way.

So, yes, right now, bitcoin appears to have a lot of advantages, except for what the article mentioned:  stability. You can’t depend on it.

Wozniak is a computer guy, not an economist. So, I would lean more toward the investor extraordinaire side – be a little Buffet-ish. But does not the truth land somewhere in the middle?

What seems to support Buffet’s words and may spell bad news for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general (maybe not Ripple or Stellar Lumens) is the recent news from AMD. AMD sells GPU’s which can be used for cryptocurrency mining. They are projecting losses now.

Does that mean cryptocurrency miners are no longer as interested as they once were? Or is it as this article explains, that the centralization of mining is requiring more than GPU’s? ASIC farms and other specialized processes, in China? Could it be a larger move away from mining altogether? A shift to Proof-of-Stake coins?

And then there’s the Russian angle to consider. Motherboard advises that the Russian Government is finally – if we can believe it – regulating these crowd funding mechanisms, i.e., cryptocurrencies. Taxation is coming to a miner near you – in Moscow. Wow, even America is past that part. Well, except for the registration part. “Papers please, Comrade!”

But what are the Russians really doing? Invading. It’s what aggressive regimes do. Take over other “countries.” This one is called “The Virtual Currency Country.” Dear Comrades, bend over and take it — be invaded.

Hey, don’t worry, America will probably join you soon. They will be a bit more coy about it, however. The bankers will hide behind the regulatory agencies, I’ll assert. Pushing them all the while to “register” all cryptocurrency related organizations, companies, and exchanges. Make them fall in line or suffer the fines, taxes and yes — Jail House Rock.

Just as Jamie Dimon hinted – arrests might be next. Oh, but they love the blockchain. Go figure. Wanna bet the bankers do not want a public blockchain — like bitcoin?

What does this tell you? That the banking industry will soon use the blockchain technology and then seek to outlaw all private cryptocurrencies? To monopolize cryptocurrency like they do fiat? With the blessing of the FED of course. Or maybe they will use a ready-made solution. Ripple? Hmmm.

Think again. Banking is about responsibility and control over the owned (official)  currency. They will want their own crypto’s. Crypto’s identified to their banks in some way. Ones that they control absolutely, if possible. If not, at least a Fedcoin, but then why would we need banks at all then?

Do you really think banks will outsource cash to Ripple? No, Ripple will be used to lubricate international transfers, until the banks figure out a cheaper system. A more profitable exchange mechanism.

If all this bad news continues, my concern is which non-establishment, unregulated cryptocurrency or system can survive and profit – long term – in such an environment? Will the ones which sought to comply with regulations early on survive in an anti-bitcoin world? Ones like Ripple? Ethereum? Stellar Lumens? How about Cardano?

And does this lack of backbone, a crypto’s desire to please the masters, only help to destroy a movement with the original intent to halt the devaluation of fiat currencies altogether? To replace the corrupt system, from the computer up?

Maybe so, but I still think that for now, one can profit if there are any major shifts from the dream – a private decentralized cryptocurrency – to the reality – soon to come “government regulated crypto.”

Not necessarily “state” created crypto, however. That wouldn’t be any different than the current fiat mess we are in now. In fact, it would be much worse. Every bit of your money could be tracked.

Welcome to a Brave New World.

That’s all for now.

In the meantime, you might want to store some coin on a Trezor.

Jack Shorebird