Tag Archives: Fintech

Morgan Stanley…bitcoin…a poster child for speculation

It’s fashionable, right now, to bash Fintech — especially bitcoin. So get your blockchains while they are hot!

This is the latest on the banking/investment front. When bitcoin (BTC) loses value, the traditional financiers let it be known that it just will not work and, in all honesty, they might be right — in the long term. But so too will the US dollar devalue — probably sooner than we think — unless a rabbit is pulled from the proverbial hat, in the short term.

Bitcoin may be the reigning prima donna of the crypto market but Morgan Stanley is not impressed.

Source: Morgan Stanley thinks bitcoin is nothing more than a poster child for speculation – MarketWatch

In a nutshell, the Marketwatch article, by Reporter Sue Chang, at first tells us that bitcoin has soared by over 250% in the last year. “Great!” we say, but then she drops the bomb. She cites Morgan Stanley’s analysts and James Faucette in particular. Bitcoin is on a wild ride and it’s probably not a legitimate currency we learn. I guess that all depends upon how one defines legitimate, because nearly anything can be a currency — or as I have indicated in the past — “functional money.”

On the other hand and we need to face the music. There is, according to Faucette, virtually no merchant acceptance. Again, virtually is another one of those weasel words. And we are so surprised. Aren’t you surprised, dear reader?

Sure, I can’t buy a gallon of milk at the corner store with my BTC, but I can buy a TV or a chair or even bike, on Overstock.com. Microsoft, Virgin Galactic, Steam are other well known vendors and the list goes on. So are we really losing vendors? Yeah, probably. Okay then, why?

According to the article, bitcoin does not appeal to retailers — and that is one reason it is not so good. Let’s examine that objection. Why does bitcoin appeal to the country of Japan say, but not the local supermarket in New York City? Is it because we, as a nation are less technologically advanced? Probably not. Is it because the regulations in the United States, the tax laws, the trading laws, the money laundering laws — you name it. The short answer? It certainly puts the kibosh on the whole thing, does it not? Only the big players, such as Coinbase or Subway Sandwiches, with a bevy of lawyers and tax accounts, seem brave enough to wander into that quagmire. On the other hand, the small players and the hidden ones (not all criminals by the way) can also wade into that pond.

Hoarding was another objection. Sure, bitcoin has appreciated. People are holding it, but there is still a lot of BTC available. One can’t simply worry that there will only ever be approximately 21 million BTC’s in circulation. It would be like saying, if we put cash under our mattresses, hoarded large denomination fiat bills, we would somehow make it less usable. The thing is, there’s plenty of cash out there. Too much actually. In a manner, hoarding can serve to increase and stabilize bitcoin values.

The objection to bitcoin’s accelerating costs and slowing transactions time is a legitimate concern, however. We will know, probably within the next 30 to 60 days, if bitcoin will adopt new perimeters allowing for faster confirmations, but the applications — the coding — is still being hashed-out. And there are associated centralization of power risks as well. Only a few developers control the code, but don’t forget, anyone can copy (clone)  the code and “improve” it.

Surprisingly, the apparent objection that bitcoin’s own skyrocketing — I would say its volatility — worth, is somehow a minus, is ludicrous. Speculators are certainly present, but as I have submitted, the fact that regulators stand in bitcoin’s way, is the primary culprit. The Great American Regulatory Wall, against mass adoption — that it the goblin.

Government oversight is needed, they say. And that, my friends, is the big snow-job. It is not required at all. The real reason bitcoin cannot, in this environment, ever be allowed to function unhindered is that it threatens the dollar. It threatens all fiat currencies in existence. That is plain. When a digital currency, not printed into oblivion does that, no debt-based economy can abide it. Even Japan, mired in its eternal economic crises, probably hopes that cryptocurrencies can save their century.

Is bitcoin funny money? That’s another implied objection and it’s an ignorant one at best. If so, then the dollar is funny money. A reserve note that represents a slowly failing — bankrupt system. Most intelligent people know this already. We just have little choice. We are required, by law, to use this debt based system. Is it moral to force people to use a monetary system that has no real value? Even less of a perceived value than bitcoin? That’s a no brainer, right?

Morgan Stanley is the sixth largest bank in the United States. Banks take our fiat dollar deposits and create more fiat dollars — out of thin air. Now I’m not against honest banking services, where money is real — like gold and silver — and where fractional reserves are quaint memories, but to attempt stay the high road in a FED-made swamp? What magic is this? Answer? The emperor is naked.

And finally, we the people also know, us speculators and hoarders alike, that bitcoin could fail. The blockchain tech might fork. China might continue to build BTC mining farms and essentially own the network.  But, my Morgan Stanley late-comers, the Fintech field is just getting started. I’d keep an eye on the Fintech start-ups and the giant Cloud Servers owned not by the banking system, if I were you.

I’d hate to know what they think about Monero or Aeon. Kind of reminds me when the car replaced the horse. Many objected back then. It was certainly a learning curve.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if I bored the hell out of you.


Image: Wikimedia


Bytecoin: The DStrange Con?

Money Drain

Money Drain

If you need to boost your customer base, sell more goods — more crypto — what do you do? Hire a “PR” guy, right? Or pretend to hire one. I mean, on the internet one can create any number of what are called “sock puppet” accounts. Additional emails and user names for various social networking websites to make it appear as if many people are behind the scenes — hiding in the deep dark web — working hard to make things happen.

A bit of Bytecoin history that might be fiction is in order to help us understand the Bytecoin outlook. A short re-hash. In any event, in makes for a good story. The personalities in this space are colorful, but think of cardboard cutouts. Think of characters in a book — a book of fiction. Think about keeping your money while you are at it. Even if the Chinese own Bitcoin, maybe you’d better just wait and see.

I have often wondered what it is that has brought me here to the Bytecoin.org doorstep. It’s the mystery of course. The not knowing. It bothers me. And maybe that’s the lure or the pull, if you will. Is it a marketing method? No, I doubt that. I doubt that all of the mystery surrounding Bytecoin is meant to make us feel protected — secure in our monies. Our crypto. No matter how great the code may be, there are simply too many red flags to ignore.

The mystery is what it is. A lack of information which has led to multiple inquires going back since at least 2012. Now ask yourself what kind of people do not want you to obtain information about them? Are they the crypto-saviors or just the opposite? Scammers — criminals — or at the very least unethical developers bent on fast profits and a slow exit?

The point is, when some of us smell a rat or a bunch of them — even if they are living in a palace of fantastic code-cheese (that’s a slight reference to “Cheesus” — a mod on the Bytecoin Forum as well as BitcoinTalk) — well, we investigate. And I may have praised certain aspects of BCN in the past, but now is the season — once again — to hunt. To hunt and to make crypto-enthusiasts aware that scammers are alive and feasting — have been — for years in this Wild West environment. An environment where cheap cryptos entice the buyers, who only later discover that the shear number of BCN coins prevents any giant pumps. And that is just as well, since quick profits are just as easy to come by as quick losses.

Take DStrange. A character. A fiction? Yet another pseudonymous ghost. A Bytecoin promoter — who rarely promotes. You’ll find him listed under the Teto-Team at Bytecoin.org. He is a recent member, allegedly. Meaning he came after the rest of them. If you peruse the Bitcointalk forums you will find a trove of information which dovetails with the Bytecoin developers, going back to 2014. You will find argument after argument, accusations fly — and always the Bytecoin Team loses. DStrange loses. Rias loses. Cheesus loses. They are never able to explain why they — or Bytecoin — chose certain “dark” paths. Why Bytecoin essentially made the lion’s share of the coins for themselves, under optimal conditions.

Why is DStrange so curious, however? Because few people have ever had any contact with the Bytecoin Team. There’s a load of theories and maybe I will explore some in the future, but for now I’d like to focus on DStrange. Apparently, if you have questions, he might help. Maybe Cheesus will too. Praise the Lord! If he is still around.

We can see on the Bytecoin.org website — if true — that DStrange is a public relations guy with a major in Management / Psychology. He has a Master’s Degree in Management, from Erasmus University in Rotterdam — in Europe.  Rotterdam is in the Netherlands, for those who may not know. And all of this is “academic” as they say. Why? Again, DStrange is not likely David Miller — and he probably never attended Erasmus. Naturally, if I’m wrong, please — oh please — correct me. Show me the evidence and the error of my ways; and I will retract these accusatory words.

DStrange recently joined the team in a high action. Besides public relations DStrange develops further Bytecoin applications for business.

This is what Bytecoin.org offers us by way of a short bio — regarding DStrange. We can see that not only is DStrange a public relations guy, but he is also a developer of Bytecoin applications. Again, we must take this on faith. Oh, and ask politely for a single example of an application created by DStrange. Just one.

If we go back to the BitcoinTalk Forum to May 16, 2014, we can find an exchange between DStrange, who is also listed as David Miller, with an email address of Dstrange.m@gmail.com — and the Bytecoin Team. If you check the email address of DStrange on this verification service, you will see that DStrange’s Trust Score is 7.25. By comparison, my Trust Score for my email address (jgshorebird@gmail.com) on the same service, is only 5.5. Maybe it’s because this is not my primary email address.

DStrange’s trust score is much worse on BitcoinTalk, however. User fluffypony (Riccardo Spagni) of Monero fame, has even linked the user rethink-your-strategy’s post detailing the Bytecoin scam. (Warning: the writer is pissed.)

At any rate, DStrange is one of the few people who will actually answer the phone, so to speak. I’ve confirmed that at least he does respond on Reddit. His user name there is DStrangeM — again, if it’s not a sock puppet account.

At this point, if DStrange ever reads this blog, I’d like to ask him to tell me if he lives in the Netherlands (Holland?). It is interesting that ScamAdviser.com gives us a 2% chance that the Bytecoin.org website is in the Netherlands. Is that a result of DStrange’s influence? Or is Bytecoin hidden there?

Smooth (developer at Monero and AEON) — a well known and respected user on the BitcoinTalk Forum and many others — has leveled many allegations against DStrange and other Bytecoin Team members. And against the early code itself. One important factor was addressed on May 17, 2014, as DStrange and others were posting in support of Bytecoin.

Smooth posted:

The “optimizations” are fairly absurd. They are better described as de-un-optimizations. The straightforward implementation of the algorithm is the optimized one, not the other way around. You’d have to go out of your way to make it as slow as it was. Several highly qualified people have commented along these lines already (ignore me, I don’t know what I’m talking about).

If we look at the latest round of de-un-optimizations, most of the history of the bytecoin premine comes down to just 4-8 PCs. Or a somewhat larger number over a shorter period of time. Really, that’s all.

This one post by Smooth (above) is perhaps the most challenging for the Bytecoin team to explain. Why would they “de-un-optimize?” Logically, to grab the lion’s share of BCN early on. Is that a bad thing? I mean it was their baby, right? Now think about that for a moment. If they used the extra money to develop the coin, since the price has surged of late — probably just speculators — then they could have plowed some of it back into R&D, right? Has the money ended up in the Cayman Islands or Panama instead? We don’t know. Why? They don’t talk much and when they do — they do not ever appear to defend themselves from all of the accusations. They have, as Americans put it:

Refused to incriminate themselves in any public way.

And the history of a thing cannot be undone. It has been years, but no reliable information has surfaced about Bytecoin (BCN). It has, in no uncertain terms, staunchly refused to explain all of the inconsistencies related to the launch of Bytecoin — the premine, the apparent falsified White Papers, the assertion that the “blockchain” verifies the launch date — and the list goes on. Until that time, until Bytecoin can remove the stench from it’s hidden launch, I might continue to regurgitate these forgotten memories in an effort to dissuade or at the very least, to make users extremely cautious about BCN.

It’s high time Bytecoin Team. If you have any guts, show us the money.


Image: Flickr

Bytecoin Blackout?


Earlier today it was reported that Bytecoin.org mysteriously went offline. (You can read about it on BitcoinTalk.org here.) As of this writing the site is still down. Here’s what you might get:

An error occurred.

Sorry, the page you are looking for is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

If you are the system administrator of this resource then you should check the error log for details.

Faithfully yours, nginx.

Now this does not necessarily mean that 300 million dollars in BCN will evaporate, but it might end up that way. Especially if news comes out that Bytecoin.org was a complete and utter scam from jump street. Many have warned about this very thing.

And please know that Bytecoin’s Forum is still up. See: https://bytecointalk.org/index.php to verify. However, this is not a very active forum.

Are we about to experience another Alphabay fiasco? It does not appear to be that way — exactly. Unless the Bytecoin Team has raked in enough cash and has decided to abandon ship — which is not sinking. Maybe they are quitting on a high note? If so, the value should fall very soon. Why? Who will tend the software? How will we know when there is a software update? Are they switching to a full wallet based system — a more decentralized approach? If so, then where will newcomers obtain the application software? The wallet? The blockchain?

You can check here to see if the site is up yet: Bytecoin.org

The timing of this outage — this blackout — is curious. It coincides with a massive pump on the order of four million dollars (US). Although, Poloniex has not yet opened BCN (Bytecoin) for deposits/withdrawals — allegedly they are waiting for a solution from Bytecoin. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the BCN trading at Poloniex is “off the chain.” What do they know that we don’t? Is this just another Polo-Pump?

If we back up a bit, some of us might recall that Bytecoin.org took their private forum offline recently and dumped a load of spam. This was shortly after I emailed them about the problem, but I do not know if they conducted the cleaning because of my email.

Strangely, just after my post yesterday about Pacific_Skyline, the main site went offline. Again, that’s probably just a coincidence, right? I mean, did I shame them? Maybe. I’ve been pretty tough on them lately about their odd writing — how it seems foreign-styled. Foreign in the sense that it’s not the American style of writing. Which is okay, but they might need to hire an editor to flesh out some of their extraneous verbiage. Long winded and flowery for sure. That is unusual, in my mind, for “math” types. Maybe it’s a French thing, since their website is allegedly based there. But I doubt it.

Now the Cryptonote.org website is still up. If you recall, Bytecoin is a Cryptonote coin. Run Scamadviser and you should find that this site is listed as “99%” and it “looks safe.” “Looks” is a weasel word. My cat “looks” safe, but he will eat your dog. Cryptonote.org might be located in the Netherlands, but it is hidden, according to the review. The site could just as easily be located in Panama or in the US. There has also been a lot of speculation that Cryptonote.org and Bytecoin.org are operated by the same crew. Should we then expect the CryptoNote.org site to shut down next? According to others, Bytecoin and CryptoNote parted ways some years ago and therefore Bytecoin.org going silent at this juncture, should not cause any troubles on CryptoNote.org.

Since many of the CryptoNote coins are related, I checked the following websites:

Aside from Pebblecoin and Quazarcoin, the above websites are easy to find and active. There are more CryptoNote coins, but they are essentially “dead” coins. In other words, many of the CryptoNote websites are alive and well. This makes me think that we are simply experiencing some kind of upgrade to the Bytecoin.org website. Again, if you will recall — at least for those of us who follow Bytecoin and the CryptoNote coins in general — we were advised about a forthcoming “colored coin” update by the Bytecoin Team about a month ago. We were not advised, however, that the website would blackout for a time. And, this new bit of news was a long time coming. About a year. And…it seemed repetitive. Are we being led by the nose? The long con?

There is no news on the CryptoNote.org website about Bytecoin.org’s current hiatus. There is no recent activity on Github, but I would not expect any if this is just a website upgrade. But I would expect this if the Teto-Team is upgrading BCN. You would think with all of the money flowing into BCN of late, that the TetoTeam can now focus on some serious development. Or maybe a seriously long vacation?

This of course brings up the 80 plus percent Bytecoin premine allegation. These days, with all of the ICO’s about, it does not strike us as odd, that any type of big premine is a big deal. It’s only about our acceptance of the coin — if it works as advertised. And it has always worked for me.

A recent piece on Reddit, if it can be believed, advised of an older exchange with the one of the previous Bytecoin Team members. What I got out of it was that there were about a 1000 or so early miners of BCN and the coin was really released in 2012, but the post did not go into the specifics — nothing about the fudged White Paper dates or the non-existence of a website back then.

If the Redditor in question stumbled upon a truth about Bytecoin, it would seem to imply several things. First, that over a thousand individuals have over 80% of the coins, which means it is not a small group of people and that is probably a good thing. Secondly, that the core Teto-Team may not know each other, personally. Now, take this as you may, but the most successful secret operatives work using the cell theory. They often do not know the organization they work for and only have one other contact — a vague one at that. In the new world of the internet, the developers of cryptocurrencies can work completely — or almost completely — anonymously. They do not need to identify their other team members at all.

Like I’ve mentioned before, this ability to work independently and anonymously, within the international financial environment, makes Bytecoin, if it survives its christening by fire, a force to be reckoned with. No other POW (Proof-of-Work) cryptocurrency on earth has ever accomplished such privacy and independence before; and had such success. (Please correct me if I am wrong.)

There has been much praise for the “coding” as well. Bytecoin is not a *bleep*coin, as it were. There have been recent issues with mining, however. This problem allowed someone or a group of them, to mine extra coins — beyond the perimeters set up in the code. It appears as if the Bytecoin Team has refused to undo these added coins and this stand has probably angered some. In the final analysis, however, when a cryptocurrency invalidates transactions after the fact, which would be required if a blockchain was rolled-back in order to reverse the creation of these extra coins, you end up with things like Ethereum Classic. Bytecoin avoided this rift. Full ahead, they said —  then they fixed the workings on the fly, as I understand it.

And please do not mention Monero. We know at least one player in that space. It is not unimaginable that other, less moral characters (our governments), know a lot more about the Monero developers. I’d say, in a world controlled by government money, that allowing one’s identity to leak out in this arena, is like to planning to go to prison in the future. Or, at the very least, sending a public invitation to the regulatory agencies the world over to plant electronic eavesdropping devices on your dog. (Hint: check their floppy ears.)

There is a side note here. Something that is causing a lot of concern on the internet. The Net Neutrality debate is raging. This could be one of the reasons that many websites have slowed over the past 48 hours. Of course those who support neutrality aren’t really supporting free and fair internet usage. They are supporting the institution of force. How so? If you are an internet company, under the idea of neutrality, you are required not to act in the interest of your own business. You may not charge other companies extra for use of your servers. You can’t offer special deals or market products of your choice by slowing down or limiting the access of competitors. You must allow every company connected to the internet — which really does not exist at all since it is simply computers connected to each other — free and unfettered access to your equipment. After all, under this alleged neutrality, the internet, which might use your equipment, your electrical power, your time — whether you agree to allow it or not — does not belong to you. It is some virtual thing, afloat in a sea of electricity — like the air we breathe. Nuts. It’s like Johnny Mnemonic all over again. “Information should be free!” Okay, but who will pay for it kids? Silence. Haven’t you heard? There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, Jethro. Okay, the above is over-simplified, but ain’t that the gist of it?

Now we wait. The thing is, customers hate waiting. In fact, we find other, better suppliers — ones who are up to the job. (There, I just had to get that last Bytecoin dig in.)

Get off of your duff Bytecoin — if you’re still live.

Are you under attack?

Seriously, I hope that Bytecoin.org is “under reconstruction” as some have speculated. If true and if the new site comes up with some great new tech, well then, we might be in for a wild rocket ride.

I know…a lot of “ifs.”

Curiously, a few hours after posting this, the Bytecoin.org website once again showed itself. ScamAdviser indicates that the site is currently “94%” safe. There has been no official word from the Teto-Team as to why the site disappeared for over a day.


Image Source: Flickr







Bytecoin and the PACIFIC_SKYLINE “Ghost”

15116129817_0992beac90_k - Copy

Source: Flickr

This is an open letter to: PACIFIC_SKYLINE

Dear Sir/Ma’am:

I don’t usually write letters to ghosts, but this time I’ve made an exception. You see, I figure that one of these days a Teto-Team member will have had enough. I hope that today is that day. That today, a Bytecoin Team member will have the bleeping bleeps to respond to this open letter. Just to clear the cryptosphere.

I’m not necessarily tearing down the Bytecoin tech. I hear it’s cool beans. Really cutting edge stuff and I know Monero is stealing some of your thunder. They’ve even updated their website as well as your tech. I’m sure you’ve noticed. Doesn’t that irk you?

On the other hand, I also see the pumps and dumps associated with BCN. Millions flowing in quickly — being laundered? I hope not — and millions flowing out at speed. I don’t see that as much with the other children of BCN (Bytecoin).

We users of the Bytecoin system are once again staring at the Bytecoin Team Members list on Bytecoin.org and wondering if you, Mr. Pacific Skyline, really exist. If you ever really lived at all or if you are merely a fiction. You are aren’t you? A fiction…

I do not mind that you use an anonymous name or handle — if you are real. I would, however, enjoy a word or two. Perhaps a Tweet or even a response to this post would suffice. Make one. I dare you. Go public right now.

Maybe you would care to read my previous post about “Neocortex,” a.k.a. Joseph Lin. Maybe you would rather peruse my post about the “Seigen” mysteries. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you kindly respond. That you post something under your name on the Bytecoin website or that you just come forward here and tell us who you really are. Or tell us something else. Talk about the weather where you are. Do you own a pet? What is your favorite drink? Vodka?

In the meantime I will attempt to determine who you are. Attempt, little by little, to show the Bytecoin users that you probably do not exist. That you are indeed “hot air” as in the kind used in an aerostat you allegedly desire. And if you do exist, I humbly apologize for calling you a ghost. But if the sheet fits…

“Pacific_skyline devoted his life to developing the technologies that will help humanity to realize its full potential. Bytecoin is the basis for several projects under his supervision. Among the earthly things, he’s interested in aeronautics and plans to obtain his own aerostat.”

That is your description. It’s kind of vague. Once again, the immediate reaction I get is the wording weirdness. When it states:

“…devoted his life…”

…it almost sounds as if you are dead. It’s kind of past tense. You should have them change that. Unless you are dead, but the following words seem to hint that you actually live. I mean if you are interested in aeronautics that would mean you are alive or is there a subtle hint again. Your bio mentions…

“…earthly things…”

Is that a hint that you are spiritual in some way? Or is there another hidden meaning here? Are you deceased? Are you unearthly?

And this vague bit of enlightenment is a tad strange:

“…developing the technologies that will help humanity to realize its full potential…”

Humanity realize its full potential? Don’t you know how that sounds? It sounds as if you are not human or that perhaps your work is so fantastic as to enrich all of us. But that is a tall order my friend. It seems to hint that you have one heck of an ego.

How so? How will your plan help all of us? In what vein? What kind of full potential are we talking about? Augmented humanity? Better spreadsheet technology? Monetary freedom? How about some clarity and a little less B.S.

If Bytecoin is (or was) the basis for some of your projects, can you give us a hint about any of them? Do they have anything to do with aerostats? And why do we care if you like to play with hot-air balloons. More dead-end nonsense, right?

How about your profession? Project Manager is it? And you majored in Computer Science Management at the University of Washington? You have an M.S. in Information Management. Great. Was that from the Paul G. Allen School? Can you be a little more specific, because I can’t seem to find that degree department at U of W.

And where did you get that name? From the “Pacific Skyline Council” in Foster City, California? Are you a Boy Scout?

Maybe you are making a reference to the musical group?

Let’s go back to November 5, 2015, shall we? The last known blog post from you on the Bytecoin website. Here you explained how we can make our own cryptocurrency and how:

“…creator has vision.”

And other mundane things.  Again, as an English speaker, I note the odd usage of the written language.  Missing conjunctions. Typo’s. All of these seem to hint at a Russian dialect, in my view. Or perhaps a bad Google Translator package. Are you really “Black Sea_Skyline” then? Come on, gimme some “pravda.” (Truth.)

Need some examples — again? How about this one:

“The first example that jumps to mind is the inventor of transistor.”

Dear Pacific_Skyline, how about adding an extra “the” before “transistor.” Clearly, given all of these types of mistakes, you are not from the United States. Were you an Exchange Student? And why is it that all of you — the Teto Team — seem to make the same kinds of English errors in your blogs? Are you all the same person? From the same region of the world? I’m certain any professional linguist could tell us much about you.

“The development itself is time and labor consuming process.”

Correction: “The development itself is “a time and labor consuming process.” But it’s still weird, even after I correct it. It’s wordy. How about: “The development is time consuming and laborious.” Is there a report writer on your staff? I mean I’m no editor, but I think you need one.

And these glaring English usage patterns persist throughout your other articles as well. The September 6, 2015 blog post has them. The July 24, 2015 blog has more. And I could go on, but I think you get the picture. You are not originally American. Not by a long shot, but you never said you were. You did, however, imply that you were. And why?

So, Pacific_Skyline, your identity remains intact, but your words define you. A great tech, such as Bytecoin — even with its recent glitches related to mining — cannot hide your fake bios. It’s high time to clean out your garage.

On the conspiracy side of the house, I hope you are not an operative, Pacific_Skyline. I hope you are not part of the NSA or some Russian apparatchik. I’m betting you are not, however. I’m betting you and your team are what you say you are.

We’ll see.

Image Source: Flickr




Bytecoin Team: The “Seigen” File


Who is “Seigen?”

Again, many of us have stared at the Bytecoin Team Members list on Bytecoin.org and wondered just who they were — or more precisely, who or what they are. Are they still around? Are they layered in pseudonyms to protect their identities or to hide criminal enterprise?

In a recent post I checked in on “Neocortex” or is that “Joseph Lin?” In any event, it is currently a dead-end and Mr. Lin has not responded to inquires — yet. Come to think of it, maybe Neocortex never existed, which means he can’t respond.

It’s so logical, it must be true, right?

So, in order to keep on task, I have randomly chosen another Bytecoin Team member for this post. For this ongoing ridicule.

Meet “Seigen,” the dashingly elegant “Go” player. He hails from…we don’t know.

What do we know about this monetary crusader? Zilch. Nada. Nothing. The big El-Zippo. And so many people think that’s dandy.

Let’s take this an “exhibit” at a time, shall we?


Exhibit A: “Go”

Why bring up the game of “Go?” Flavoring? To spice the mystery?

To understand this Seigen “handle” one needs to look at the artwork. Here is his “jpg” file on the Bytecoin website:

I guess it’s copyrighted somewhere. But you know, I’m not so sure. Maybe someone can write to me and verify this. I will happily remove the copied file and apologize to the owner or manager or whomever. I promise. Just let me know. Seriously.

Many of us know that the black and white picture presented here, is a representation of a “Go” board. It’s an ancient Chinese game. Probably the oldest board game in existence. It is more complex than chess, according to Wikipedia. The game-board is larger and there are more possible moves. Something like 250 moves versus 35, when compared to chess. And so the heck what.

I think a few Chess Masters would take issue with “Go,” but that is not the thrust of this post. I’m not here to pick a fight with them. Chess died with Bobby Fischer anyway, right?

It is curious, however, that the object of the game “Go” is to surround your opponent and capture his pieces. The game, historically, was for those of culture — the educated Chinese aristocrats, with nothing better to do.They played their educated games, whilst the white-rice eaters toiled in the paddies and their armies did the real fighting.

I mean at least in chess there’s a freaking point. Not an endless stone toss. But I digress. Let me “Go” on.

Is that what Bytecoin is trying to do? Play the long game — as it relates to the world of cryptocurrency? What Seigen wants us to think? “Dudes, I’m so complex. You know I’m good for it. I swear, once you buy a few million BCN, I’ll do some more work on the code.”

It is not all that interesting that the name “Seigen” appears to be a reference to the Chinese born Go Master, Wu Qingyuan. He is better known by his Japanese name,”Go Seigen.” He was considered a prodigy, but began his training in the “Stone-age art” at a relatively tender late age of nine. Apparently, he played with his stones a lot and that got him in the mood. Maybe his mother said “don’t throw the stones, place them on this board, whilst the Chinese Communists take all of our stuff. Don’t you feel better, Honey?”

At any rate, Go Seigen died. It was on November 30, 2014, after the invention of Bytecoin — whenever that was.

It is apparent that our mystery Bytecoin “Seigen” has chosen a pseudonym to imply a mastery of “Go” and maybe a little respect for the one of the fathers of the game. Oh, and that he is also mathematically inclined, hence a cryptographer. And that chess is for “sissies.”

Whoops, I can’t say “sissies” because it’s a sexist remark. (If you have a problem with that please consult your censor-hate-speech expert — have him or her contact me that I may print a full rebuttal.)

But to Seigen, chess sucks — or at least that is implied. At to that I say: blasphemy. Eat my rook, Seigen. Go and move those little Stone-age stones around the dirt you silly Asian guy-person.


Exhibit B: Ecole Polytechnique 

Education lets us know that Seigen is no dummy, but maybe we are… Do you feel that way or is it just me?

Obviously a PhD in Math from Ecole Polytechnique is great for the kind of work Seigen did or does, for Bytecoin and his bank. What bank or banks? Name one.

So where is this school anyway? It is probably a reference to the one by the same name in France. A university known for its engineers — a top notch school. So they say.

The school was once a military academy and it was founded during the French Revolution (in 1794). Hint: the revolution failed. Remember Napoleon?

Today the school is still supervised by the Ministry of Defense of France. Does that make you squeamish? Is there a hint of state sponsored silliness? Oui? I mean, I can see them now…drinking a little wine and coding a little crypto, can’t you?


Exhibit C: Data Protector Man

“Comrade, I hear you expert in banking sector, true? Can leap tall buildings in Red Square, da?”

— Anonymous Bytecoin Philanthropist (V.P. of Moscow)

In Seigen’s proffered bio, we learn that he is “…a data protection expert in banking sector.”

Read that one part again, slowly. It reads, in part “…in banking sector.”

Do you see it?

In some English speaking countries we would write it this way:

“…in “the” banking sector.”

It just flows better. Note that for next time comrade. Actually I don’t think it will matter. The Bytecoin website is full of such errors or shall I say, “differences?”

As I have stated before and some of my readers have pointed out…do we hear Russians? Dissidents? I mean I have no problem with the Russians, so long as they are nice ones. No state sponsored crypto-graphic con artists, please. And no pre-mining fakers either.

Of course, we ask the question: where? Where is this alleged data protection expert?  In France? In Dubai? Singapore? God forbid, in China? How about Moscow? How about on Star Trek?

Is Seigen just a fictional character? Methinks…Oui.

If we focus on France, we can speculate where Seigen might work. BNP Paribas? It’s one of the largest financial institutions in France. How about the Credit Agricole Group? And we could go on. We could go to Mother Russia and apply for an account at  Sberbank as well. Do they take BCN or do they just wash rubles? Sounds dirty either way, don’t you think?

My point here? There is not enough to go on, but maybe with all of this speculation, someone else might get curious. Some other bored cryptocurrency enthusiast will chime in with the goods.

Do you know a PhD from Ecole Polytechnique who works at your institution and loves to play “Go?” Is an expert at it? Do you know Clark Kent Jr.? How about Chewbacca?

If Seigen was one of the first Bytecoin members, how did he join? Does this elite list of Bytecoin Team members have anything to do with the Cicada 3301 mystery? How about space aliens? That smell in the back of my closet downstairs?


Exhibit D: Wisdom

Asian Philosophy? Really?

“Confucius say…many apples fall to ground when wind blows hard…”

Aside from his school and “Go” what else do we know — or think we know — about Seigen?

We are told that Seigen “has always been a source of calmness and Asian philosophical wisdom.” Oh, please.

Really? How nice. How calm.

And I don’t care. If Seigen is a source a calmness, then please fire him. We need men, not castrated Asian philosophers. Why? Because, my dear “Go” player, the Art of Financial War is upon you. If you seek the oneness, try opium and beer. Leave the sport for the money-changers.

Are we to feel comforted by Seigen’s ability to walk on water — in today’s fiat money  oceans? How so?

I mean the Bytecoin Team  — if it really exists — is making us think that Seigen is a great guy, a wonderful crypto-graphic artistic, slightly Asian, educated in Europe (seasoned) and therefore a great developer, and as smart as he is all-around  “philosophical.”

But lay it on a bit thicker won’t you? Don’t tease us. Does he wear sandals? Does he take baths? Can he walk my dog?

Again, it is like saying that Seigen — if he really exists — is a Buddhist-Banker Security Guard. Perhaps he is a Falun Gong practitioner, who works in Beijing, which is why he must keep his identity under wraps — lest the Communist Party take certain liberties with his unused kidneys, so to speak.

For sure, we have learned thus far, that Seigen’s recycled food does not stink. Jesus.


Exhibit E: Elegance

What word does not match the others?

Think about this for a minute. “Fundamental solution.” Sounds reasonable right? Something that is core to understanding the root issues. The bedrock. The basics. The real. The wind beneath my buttocks.

Now think “simple solution.” We’ve all heard it right? Occam’s Razor? Keep it short and simple. Why? It cuts down on errors and complexity. It’s not always the best solution, just the humanly understandable one.

We could argue all day, but we won’t Why? Because we have simplified it. Great. Next batch of word stew.

Elegant. As in Seigen offers elegant solutions too. Oh?

What? I said elegant. Do you mean artistic? Stylistic? Pretty?

I don’t think so, because the Bytecoin Team or Seigen, used the word “and.” It’s kind of a weaselly way of writing stuff.

Seigen “always emphasizes the need for fundamental, simple and elegant solutions.” Does he mean all three at once or any of them, individually?

Why does this bother me? Because of the word elegant. Pansies are elegant. (Oh, again with the flowery language.)

Yes, math and fundamentals can be elegant in a sense, but the word elegant is also a gray-brown smog word. It can mean anything. It’s subjective. Cryptography is objective at its core.

Hell, maybe I’m just being too critical. Bummer.


In conclusion:

Seigen does not exist.

He never did — as a single person.

Prove me wrong.


Seigen Tidbits:

These are some things laying around the net, related to Seigen…

Tidbit #1

Tidbit #2

Tidbit #3


Photograph Source: Flickr

Five Reasons Why Bitcoin-is Here-to Stay???

I am amazed at the hype put out by some of the so-called news sites about cryptocurrencies. COINTELEGRAPH for one. This came out recently…

“It is possible to make a relatively accurate prediction about the future of Bitcoin by analyzing five factors successfully used by technology adoption experts for decades.”

Source: Five Reasons Why Bitcoin-is Here-to Stay

If you follow the link you will find five reasons, given by a guest author, as to why bitcoin is here to stay. Dear writers of the hype, nothing is “here to stay.”

Not really. It’s just a way to get you to read the COINTELEGRAPH story. It worked for me. But I felt cheated afterwards. Why? Because the guest writer even tells us that well, “maybe” bitcoin is here to stay or maybe not. But here’s why is might be around for a bit.

Relative Disadvantage:

First, bitcoin is said to have the advantage of  being a “decentralized ledger.” We’ve been over that. Every crypto-noob gets it. But dude, it isn’t just about the ledger. It’s about the probable Chinese control of most of the bitcoin system. Now that tingles my funny bone.

Secondly, the next alleged advantage? It’s cheap. Not so fast, gumshoe. The transaction costs of bitcoin have been climbing steadily since its inception. Relentlessly even. Each and every cryptocurrency exchange, retailer, Tom, Dick or Harry — has a different darned rate. And I’ll be a sheep herder if they are easy to understand.

Okay, compared to banks, fees are probably lower — if the value of the BTC doesn’t free-fall during your transaction. So, unless your fiat is depreciating like cash in Venezuela, PayPal is probably cheaper for purchases, at least in the United States. And a hell of a lot easier to use.

And spare me about there only being a limited supply of BTC’s. That’s a gimmick. What is the supply? Numbers? Codes on a shared ledger? It’s information everyone agrees is somehow limited — until we all agree that we can use a better, newer, more secure, more private ‘coin.’

It’s not about the artificially limited supply of bitcoin. It’s about the code. The secret code we the users (those who are allowed to use bitcoin) agree represents a form of functional money, then and there. In that second of time. Because in the next second, this funky bubble might burst all over Beijing. Actually, all over the noob-world, with the Chinese scooping up the whale’s share of other cryptocurrencies in a continued effort bilk the average investor. To convince the unhinged happy-go-broke-today-guys to raid their 401k’s as soon as possible — before there’s bubble-trouble.

No, say you? No bubbles in bitcoin?

(And yes I know that if the dollar takes a roll, 401k’s will become worthless in the United States — but so will just about everything else.)

Third. Well, the “guest writer” didn’t use my ordering here, but the fact that bitcoin payments do not go through a third-party is a bit misleading. Sure, you can send your BTC from your desktop wallet to a retailer or your local coffee shop — and wait 24 hours sometimes — but often retailers want a third-party intermediary.

Even guys like me might want to set our BTC aside, until our socks arrive at our doorstep, before we  “release” the cryptocurrency to the seller. Why? because the standard BTC transaction is a one-way ride to someone’s decentralized ledger. Once I send it, it’s gone, unless I use a third party or a smart contract, such as Ethereum. Confused yet? Yeah? Now try to get your bitcoin back.

Dear “Bit-Con Bank,” Joe’s Sock Retailer in Japan screwed me on a pair of socks. What? There is no “Bitcoin Bank?” Wait a minute…who is in charge here? Me? But I can trace the bitcoin to a funny address in Japan, err maybe that’s Hong Kong…wait a minute the bitcoin transaction split…went through a mixer…

The lesson here? Buyer beware.


Another great thing touted as a plus, is bitcoin’s iPhone-like “idea.” It’s compatibility. Seriously? Even iPhone is taking steps — or was — to keep our information private. Not bitcoin. At least not yet.

But that was not the rub here. The cited advantage here was that bitcoin was easy to use. Let me repeat that: easy to use. Are you kidding me?

Yes, I know I can download an app and use a third-party bitcoin service, with fees, and send my bitcoin around, after I scan a bar-code thingy or type a freaking long alphanumeric code (and hope I get it right). It’s just so darned cool… Not.

Sending bitcoin can be dicey. Why don’t the gurus of Fintech ever fess up to that fact? User friendly? Hardly. But I can use most of the wallets and I have tried a variety of third-party apps. The operative word here is “tried.”

I have since dumped all the bitcoin apps from my dumb-phone. They are not all that secure. I don’t bank on my dumb-phone for the same reason. Paranoid I guess. And I don’t have too much to hide. I just don’t want to leave chum in the water.


Not “trialability.” The idea that more and more bitcoin ATM’s are beginning to show up and that people will “try” the goods is a bit over the top. Sure, people will be curious, but not stupid with their money. Not adults anyway. Not in the semi-IRS-police states of America anyway.

I don’t want my identity spilled all over the bitcoin ATM grid. Besides, these ATM’s are pricey. Coinbase is cheaper and so are a dozen other outlets.

Why do you think a lot of the BTC ATM’s are showing up in shady internet cafes, overpriced malls, and gambling establishments — with ear-biting, ex-heavy weight boxer logos? I don’t know if those ATM’s are made in South America or Switzerland. I do know who to call when I see an extra charge on my debit card from Coinbase. I won’t be calling “Mike” for a refund of BTC if one of his ATM’s breaks — he might be hungry. Might chew my ear off — literally.


If something is complex, but easy to drive, people might buy it. True. I’d have to agree here. But is bitcoin easy to drive and easy to trust?

Sure, you don’t need to know how your car works to be a great driver. You just need to know some basics. Steering wheel, gas pedal, brakes and you are off.

On the other hand, if one day your car gets better gas mileage and the next day it sucks, then what? Would you trust your complex, easy to drive roadster? How about if the car is not so reliable? You try to start it and nothing happens? You try again three hours later and it works? Hello?

This is bitcoin today. You click on send and wait and wait and say, “oh crap, where in the hell did my crypto go?” And, “you charged me what? How and when did you add that fee?” And, later, “I’m sorry, Mike — I didn’t know you owned that BTC ATM at Jim Bob’s Internet Cafe and Boxing Shop.”


Seeing bitcoin in action.

The thing is, as the cited article states, we don’t see bitcoin in use much the United States. In other countries, such Japan, you do. Well congratulations Japan, maybe you are about to get some payback from China, however. You might want to diversify into other crypto’s fast like.

You don’t see much news about BTC, unless you go looking for it — or unless someone makes a lot of money — or loses a lot.  This is true.

The Other Reasons:

Then there is that pesky regulation problem. Bitcoin is just so new that the poor old governments are simply stumped. What ever shall we do? FinCen asks. How on earth will we ever catch up? the IRS complains. How can we copy it, the banking industry says.

Let not the cryptocurrency promoters take your eye off the ball. The regulators (governments) are the money makers — literally. They want bitcoin to bite the big bubble, so they can copy it and outlaw the private use thereof — in the U.S.

All the warnings are there. Lawsuits. Imprisoned users. Audits. Fines and so on.

You might want to prepare — if you are a cryptocurrency enthusiast — with a better coin. A more private and secure one.

No, bitcoin is not a passing fad. It is certainly a learning process. It’s this process that tells us that there will always be improvements to the code, unless the human race checks out. And that someone or some group of them, will certainly find a better system than bitcoin.

And when I see articles like this, offered as high-brow Kool-Aid for the misinformed, I just gotta pipe in. Let people know that there is another not-so-bright-side to cryptocurrency. That you need to dig a bit, before you go riding the fast lane to success…like me…but not so fast.

Featured Image: Flickr










Bytecoin: Who is Joseph Lin aka Neocortex?

Who is Joseph Lin?

Many of us have stared at the Bytecoin Team Members list on Bytecoin.org and wondered just who they were — or more precisely, who they are. Are they still around? Are they layered in pseudonyms to protect their identities? If so, why?

There are so many ways to search the internet that one can get lost in the noise of it. Sometimes it’s better to be obvious. In other words, you can ask the question of any number of search engines (Google, Mozilla FireFox, DuckDuckgo, or even TOR) and get a thousand answers, all speculation; or you can click around.

So click around. Try the “News” heading, instead of the “All” setting.

For example, you can begin with this article on Bytecoin.org:

The Proof-of-Work in Cryptocurencies: Brief Histroy. Part 2.”

The guest author is Ray Patterson, but don’t read the article. That’s not what I’m on about. Instead search for “Ray Patterson” and “Bytecoin” in quotes.

A little ways down in your search results you should see another article on Coin Telegraph.  It’s dated July 8, 2015. Follow this link:

A Proof of Work Evolution.”

Did you see the name associated with the article? Joseph Lin?

There it is, but is it? Is Joseph Lin really Neocortex of Bytecoin fame? Is he or was he really the lead programmer of Bytecoin. The fortepiano player who favors the works of composer Johann Bach. And who really cares if he plays with his organ?

If we can trust the name, Lin seems to be of Taiwanese descent, but he could just as easily be from China or any number of Asian countries. So we are no closer here. It’s like the name Smith or Jones.

We can explore Lin’s alleged Alma Mater: University of California, Berkeley. That’s a ride. Lin is a common name. Good luck.

The same goes for attempting to search Lin’s college or alleged degrees. There are so many possibilities.

Here are some curious tidbits, however.

July 9, 2015. Joseph Lin publishes…

Miners Lost Over $50,000 from the Bitcoin Hardfork Last Weekend.”

Was he trying to expose the weaknesses of Bitcoin then? Sure.

July 16, 2015. Joseph Lin pops ups again. This time commenting about DigitalNote in the this article:

Dissidents turn to bitcoin-like cryptocurrency to communicate free from state surveillance.”

Lin gives us some useful information. It is also curious that he cares about dissidents. This makes me think he is Chinese or maybe a Hong Konger. He’s chomping under the “bit” of oppression.

October 7, 2015. Here is another tantalizing clue:

“‘Neucoin Will Have More Consumers Using It Than Bitcoin within One Year’ – Founder.

Well, that didn’t happen, but again we find Joseph Lin lurking about. He apparently asked a question about Neucoin, but it went unanswered.

Then nothing. At least nothing obvious. Did something happen on October 7, 2015? Why did he drop from view?

My point here? There are so many bloggers out there who tell us that there are few if any leads to the mysterious Bytecoin Team Members. Here is one: Joseph Lin.

Can we track him or is this just another dead end?

How about you Joseph Lin aka Neocortex, do you care to respond?


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