Cardano (ADA): The Golden Hand?

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. The hard part is recognizing the opportunity.


The Cardano opportunity is a risk.

Life…is a risk.

The news today…the news any day…the last few crypto-days…is mixed.

From a layman’s point of view – one who has made a few good calls – I think that the next great cryptocurrency opportunity is here. The early cryptocurrencies were the introductions, the experiments and the tests.

A lot of people have made a lot of money in this space since 2009. Some of these newly minted multimillionaires have used this opportunity to push Fintech further. To create a second generation of cryptocurrencies with smart contracts and added tokens. To allow others to use their blockchains for good or ill.

From Bitcoin to Ethereum. Public blockchains that allowed innovators to dream and make their dreams into reality. The reality, the regulators, pushing back, but not yet winning.

From Bytecoin (stay away) to Monero (use at your own risk). And we must not forget the private angle. Others in this new space felt that the current governments obstructed the development of this technology as they, the Darknet users, actively created systems to hide behind a wall of code. Or give the user the choice to secure his accounts or make them public.

The principal problem with the private angle, is that we the users, do not often know who created these coins. We have no customer service. The risk, therefore, is great. To state otherwise is to be oblivious or perhaps to take that risk in hopes of a great return.

Is there a third way, however? A third generation of cryptocurrency? Not a compromise, as I have postulated before, but a “realist” coin? One that exists and uses the regulations to its benefit, rather than subjecting itself to the laws of all nations? In other words, can Cardano (ADA) use the law of nations to its advantage, while enticing a new breed of users?

We live in the real world after all. We earn and save and spend our money on real things in real stores, where real people stuff our groceries in real bags. We use fiat money, by and large, to do this. And there are many advantages to using fiat, except for micropayments across borders. Cryptocurrency handles the latter much better. But cryptocurrency has other problems.

Although, I’m no supporter of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) its current director made some interesting remarks recently.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director at the IMF, indicated in her speech recently, “…this is not about digital payments in existing currencies—through Paypal and other “e-money” providers such as Alipay in China, or M-Pesa in Kenya…”

What does that tell you? Aside from the fact that she said it? Is Lagarde sounding the alarm or is she helping to clear the way for the banking industry to adopt the blockchain technology? If so, what type of cryptocurrency would governments accept? After all, the governments are the banks.

In the US, the company with the cheapest product wins the government business – a lot. Yes, there are affirmative action quotas (reverse discrimination policies) to follow, but the product used, needs to be under budget – until later, when the corruption and incompetence is discovered and the whole project exceeds the projected budget, plus some.

Would PoW cryptocurrencies be used by governments? Unlimited budgets are things of the past. Yes, China and Russia can offer inexpensive power (electricity) to cryptocurrency miners, having built the power stations on the backs of their subjects (tax and spend), however, freer countries cannot often hide such corruption for long.

PoS cryptocurrencies might fit the bill, however. In fact, Ripple is fitting the bill nicely now. More and more businesses and banks are signing on. But Ripple is not really PoS, is it? It does not encourage people to save and earn interest, it only entices them the buy, hold and sell. Perhaps to use their system. It is no longer user-friendly – if it ever was. But it is a pre-mined animal for the current financial system. Centralized and existing in the regulatory environs – and earning money for its investors.

Back to Lagarde. She also said, “For now, virtual currencies…pose little or no challenge to the existing order of fiat currencies and central banks…[b]ecause they are too volatile, too risky, too energy intensive, and because the underlying technologies are not yet scalable. Many are too opaque for regulators; and some have been hacked.” (Underlining emphasis mine.)

Volatility is a given with cryptocurrencies. They are not often pegged to a basket of goods or a fiat money supply. On the other hand, they are not – in theory – able to cause inflation.

Energy. There’s the big one. Bitcoin, for example, uses as much power as hundreds of thousands of homes, certainly. And there are worries, that continued unchecked, the blockchain beast might use as much electricity as entire countries.

That is a non-starter for whole countries, if they are constrained by objectivity and budgets. So, what is better? What kind of cryptocurrency would entice the average Joe, the high-power banker and, at the same time, dissuade governments from clamping down on the process? Where whole nations could participate?

It would need to be – IMO – a cryptocurrency (or more than one) with wide acceptance, ease of use, an international governance structure, economical, secure, and transparent under certain circumstances. (By that I mean, an objective set of published rules whereby the ‘coin’ would, under the circumstances outlined, provide identity information to third parties.)  Whatever else the cryptocurrency could add, given the needs and desires of the populace, would be up to them. Smart contracts. Machine to machine payments etc.

Naturally, the acceptable cryptocurrency would require scalability. In other words, be flexible enough to increase business in an efficient fashion.

Such a cryptocurrency, could become a new world reserve cryptocurrency, if it was not subject to the whims and laws of every separate bureaucracy – used a system of governance akin to Maritime Law – as has been suggested. It can be argued that Bitcoin is like this today.

This would be, as some have called it, the third stage in the evolution of cryptocurrency. And, perhaps, a stage in the re-development of a base or reserve monetary system, decentralized at its heart and beholden to its users, not its users’ users.

Efficient, secure, regulatable, sustainable and trusted, all based upon the original concepts of peer to peer networks. With the added benefit of creating a voluntary user base to extend the network.

Let’s face it, Bitcoin would be much faster if everyone connected and kept their computer on. But why waste energy? Why download the blockchain when cryptocurrencies like Cardano offer more efficient ways of participating – and obtaining PoS rewards?

The trick will be in the regulation. And how Cardano can manage what will certainly absorb much of their nest egg, that we the user must be willing to provide.

Can Cardano outpace Ripple and become a serious international player in short order?

Read between my lines.

 


The above should not be considered investment advice. It is solely the opinion of the author. The author who had DASH when it was wet behind the ears, Ethereum when the nerds were wrecking “DAO” havoc, Bitcoin too late and Aeon, at pennies on the dollar. Now it is the time for Cardano — methinks.


 

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Bitcoin: “Attack of the Blockchain Clones”


Dear Cryptocurrency Enthusiast:

Do you ever feel that some people need a good kick in the brain can?

Recently, I came upon a political night-rider imparting an alleged moral foundation. An alleged gem upon the cryptocurrency seashore. Only, it was a sharp stone.

I had discovered his name before, but until recently, never endeavored to explore the influential nature of his words. Never, do I hope he will be more than a crab upon the shore of true freedom. An insect at the beach.

But just in case…

I think now is a good time to mention him. Before your children say his name. Before you feel ignorant, and just in case he makes a name for himself. Which, he won’t.

Before all of that, you can say, “Yep, I have heard of him and Karl Marx. Do you remember the Jews that the Nazi’s killed? Great, I’m glad that the government schools still teach that. Well, anyway, same idea…”

***

His name is Amir Taaki, but he is not the real issue. It’s his personal software that is questionable — the programming in his brain.

Taaki is a coder of some repute, as well as an anarchist of vague degree. Meaning, as far as I can judge, a person who does not understand that an objective form of government is required to maintain individual freedoms. Therefore, Taaki is a liability upon the world stage. A regurgitation of the past.

Taaki is involved with bitcoin, having worked on Dark Wallet, a precursor to OpenBazaar and other projects, but that does not concern me as much as one of his potential teachers. The person or people who have coded him.

Taaki appears to “lack philosophy” as he implied when he was in Syria. What does that say about the man? It says the name of another man, actually. An American hero some might have called him. Others refer to him as a philosophical villain.

His name is Murray Bookchin. He was mentioned by Taaki, when he (Taaki) was fighting in Syria with the Kurds, against ISIS. Supposedly he had just come to lend support, but not to fight. A self-imposed duty called. He took up arms.

There is a warning here. Historians already know of its potential significance. It is not about what Lenin did to Russia in this case, but what America (via Bookchin) is doing to Syria. Invading Syria through what is called Communalism. Not communism exactly, but a shade of it, certainly.

Bookchin was an American anarchist, libertarian socialist and political theorist. He often reflected upon class struggle, was an avowed anti-capitalist, meaning that he was essentially against free and fair trade. He appears to have influenced Taaki and some factions fighting in Syria, for the greater glory, naturally. But it is not the glory these factions are after, as much — and more probably — a sort of militaristic socialism.

Anarchism, is of course, gang rule, with no objective laws, where the most ruthless criminal can rule just as easily as a moral king. One cannot conveniently redefine it, but Bookchin tried. Taaki is trying.

The US, as of yet, is not ruled by anarchist fiefdoms. We are not yet at the stage of full revolt. We are not ready to substitute one form of tyranny for a Bookchin Communalistic Paradise. Nor should Syria be led down the Bookchin road.

Bookchin’s revamping of communism is a claxon. Know that the bells have sounded. Long before Syria, Turkey, Iran and others – fell. If that will happen. If it does, and I hope it won’t, fingers will point. They will point at Bookchin.

The disease is spreading.

And please tell me that Bookchin and Blockchain are unrelated.

Bookchin wanted majority vote, but not majority rule and he tried to explain that one for years. He also wanted assembly-led enterprises. In other words, no free enterprise at all. A type of social dictatorship, but not quite of the communist model. It is often referred to as a “communalist” type of organization. Community led — scratch that — community ordered, comrade.

Looking through the Murray Bookchin filter, as some are want to do, lends lethality to the drumbeat call for decentralization. Not for the blockchains, but for humans. The only difference is that humans are not chained in the first place. We are not part of some giant cloned ledger.

There is no comparison between the technology of bitcoin and individuals.

Anarchy, as espoused by the Bookchin-ites, is not decentralization as some might ask you to believe. It is disorganization. It is decentralization of organization. Divide and conquer. Disintegration. A rapid breakdown of morally based laws (we can argue about that) in favor of range of the moment substitution. Pragmatism v. reason. Honesty v. “get it done.”

And here is the social mirror some are suggesting we hold up to the blockchain ledger. If bitcoin or better yet, if some private cryptocurrency ledger can organize an accounting method, where everyone’s currency is safe and secure, why can’t humans be like blockchain ledgers? Hold the power to self-manage? A type of self-organized dialectic.

Dear readers, we are not Blockchain Clones. We are individual people, all with different abilities and desires. Our intellectual savings differ. Our ability to mine knowledge, to produce information, to educate, are all different. We are not cryptocurrency clones. We were never social “smart contracts.” We are different. Blockchains are identical.

The ideas of cryptocurrency decentralization are not transferable to the human context. Blockchains are not anarchistic representations of social structures, but orderly algorithms without emotions or desires. They are arbitrary and robotic rules of math, editable by humans. Controlled by a few humans.

Pause here. We own the process of blockchains. Not the opposite.

If we transfer the decentralization aspect of blockchains to society, we become numbers on the social ledger. And some few “developers” will control the technology of the social blockchain. A small core group. Hence, the idea — the false flag — that blockchains are decentralized only refers to the nature of the ledger. In fact, the technology is highly centralized.

To gift humanity with the ability to transact, without the necessity of an intermediary? Without humanity? A digital promissory note to ensure that contractual transactions are completed? That is the promise, right?

Where is the human watchdog? Answer? Blank out. Who is watching the developers? All of us? Can we influence their process? Maybe. If they refuse to give us what we want? We can use Litecoin, right? We can try some of that dark net stuff — Monero.

But where are we then? Back to yet another centralized blockchain. A programmed ledger we can clone and use. We only hope the developers stay on the job. Hope they don’t act in a way that will destroy the value in our chosen coin.

This being the case, to engender trust, the math of cryptocurrency should be provable, verifiable, and secure. It should be objective and not subject to the whims of cryptocurrency developers.

This is a tall order. It requires human cooperation. It requires auditors. It needs checks and balances. Some type of transparency.

The people who control the math should have watchdogs at their heels. Inspectors, not beholden to the math-makers in any way, should have complete viewing access to the code. If something is amiss, they should report it to the public or be jailed for complicity.

It is called the “human element.” Imperfect, for sure. But why it is required? Obvious, is it not? Some humans steal. And, what does absolute “monetary” power do to humans? What does any kind of communal power do? It corrupts them.

Bitcoin can be audited. Anyone can access the code and audit the system. Anyone can trace any transaction, which, unfortunately, is unfavorable to human privacy. The other problem is, as I have mentioned, bitcoin is centrally controlled by a handful of developers.

Machines are oblivious. Algorithms have no feelings. They are not concerned about where you buy your booze, that you have a health problem or if you like romance fiction — with photos.

Maybe the auditors cannot read a name, find a home address without a court order, in some cases, but much can be inferred from the transaction records of bitcoin and clan. Much privacy is lost.

Could this have been the noob “selling point?” We are all one? Your money is mine, sayeth the dev? Bitcoin or Nirvana? Decentralization at all costs? Why Taaki might support the idea for human consumption? Developers are our new rulers?

To ensure confidentiality, bitcoins are sometimes transferred via mixers to stop the auditors in their tracks. But there are other problems.

Suffice it to say, bitcoin coders are still working on Dandelion. A way to secure transactions — to obfuscate IP addresses and so on. And there are arguments about the process as well.

Privacy is a difficult maneuver in the cryptocurrency realm. Many projects exist. Dash, Monero, CloakCoin, NavCoin, Aeon, and even ZCash. The idea is to obfuscate the transactions in such a way as to keep everything as private as possible.

The problem then becomes one of trust. How do we trust a cryptocurrency that cannot be audited in certain ways? Shall we watch the “old guard?” The bankers?

Answer? Yep. Profit from their “transition.” Why not? Profit as JP Morgan Chase adopts Zacash software. Why not?

Let’s consider a real-world comparison example. I mean, even if privacy based blockchains might fail in the wild, as it were, it does not mean that governments won’t take up the mantle of public (transparent) bitcoin.

Cash is an anathema, to highly centralized governments.

If I go to the store and use cash to buy a soda, the clerk takes my money, gives me my change and I walk away with my drink. There’s no record of me personally buying that soda, in most cases. My cash was private. I stored it in my wallet, walked into a strange store, didn’t care to know the address and exited with a cool drink.

If I’m a bad guy, I can use my cash to buy a Russian Suitcase Nuke, but it’s risky. Complicated. I can do a dead drop, place my cash in a bag and hope the suitcase is left at an agreed upon location.

As a terrorist, I could exchange cash for plastic explosives in Syria, say near the Iranian border, but I should probably have a bunch of soldiers with big Kalashnikov rifles to protect me.

If I’m a cocaine dealer, I can stand on a curb, risk being arrested or robbed and shot at any second, and accumulate cash.

How can criminals magnify cash (currency) using a private cryptocurrency, however?

Nearly instant international payments — until they are stopped.

A security nightmare, but freedom and security have been at odds for a long time. A balance most difficult to find. Betwixt and between centralization and personal security. The desire to be free and desire to be safe. Power and irrelevance. Privacy and publicity.

Cash can’t fly, but banks can — even unwittingly — assist with international criminal remittances. But why pay the bank fees and risk investigations by Interpol?

Hidden internet markets where Zcash, Bytecoin or Monero can be used to purchase stolen credit card numbers with no risk to the seller. This is a real problem. Try to buy a list of stolen identities with bitcoin or cash. Much more complicated. Increasingly more problematic as governments tighten money transmission rules, ostensibly to catch the criminals – oh, and the tax savers.

To state that private or “mixed” cryptocurrencies do not or cannot assist criminals by asserting that cash is king, is not giving the “international picture.” Sure, private cash is a double edged sword. It gives the power to individuals, but it also magnifies the powers of groups — and criminals.

The decentralization of the network is, in this sense, misleading. It is simply a method of financial attack.  It’s called overwhelming force, by swarming. The use of a decentralized force against an opponent, in a manner that emphasizes mobility, communication, unit autonomy and coordination and/or synchronization – from Wikipedia. Create an army of like ledgers, cloned nodes and depend upon the masses to keep the fires burning – keep updating their ledgers.

Alas, however, this is a hushed and feeble war.

Do you see it? It’s one ledger, with a cloned horde that can attack day and night anywhere there is a piece of tech, an internet connection and voltage. But who controls the tech-gear, internet and the electricity?

And in real war, real change, the armaments are diverse. The attack vectors erratic. The volume of force, unknown, until it is too late. Currency is one vector, but it is a main one.

Time to rouse from the daydream, crypto-noobs. For now, crypto is dependent upon the old substructure. That is where it rests. That is where it should gather its trust and strength, but not form its misplaced revolution.

This is not the anarchist core. Blockchain is not anarchy. It is not order from decentralization. It is the clone army. Hit the command center — the developers (core team) — and it folds like a cheap suit. The clones will become weak — unless someone creates another cloning machine — feeds them “updates” — debugs them regularly.

And this dreamed of moment of truth is crucial. It can be subverted. Others can subsume its power to encapsulate the population(s). We must have watchers in place. No Taaki’s should subvert the message, without a fight.

I have no desire to be a part of a crypto-horde and, await the day when this old-fashioned ledger technology is jettisoned in favor of an atomic cryptocurrency, without one. To me, that would be the Holy Grail. A true cryptocurrency. The evolution. (An idea not so well received by the Murray Bookchins of the world.)

Individualism is not reliance upon yourself. It is voluntary cooperation with others. It is the very essence of freedom. Blockchains — if transposed to governing — is slavery. What did Bookchin want? What does Taaki, and admitted drifter and squatter, want?

But I’m just a voice in the wilderness, far from the Murray Bookchins, communists, socialists, Leninists, Trotskyists and Communalists of yester-death. Many sounded the  alarm before me — about Murray Bookchin and Occupy Wall Street.

Until then, the blockchain-clones are the best thing going in finance, if only because they usurp the power of central banks in some small way.

And if the “old guard” finance houses have judged Zcash as great tech, we can profit from their interest, me thinks.

And it concerns me that more and more big guns are coming out of the closet to “protest” the bubble of bitcoin – but not Zcash? Not Bytecoin or Monero. Why now?

What else do these big guns know? Do they have insider information or do they want to quash cryptocurrency altogether via regulation?

And a final thought…

Are Satoshi Nakamoto’s original coins really sitting dormant? Would it not be masterful, if they weren’t really there?


For those of you who understood my blog yesterday and profited – bully to you. Occasionally, I get them right.

For now, Zcash.

Next week?