Aeon (Cash) — A “Smooth-Short” Comedy

Seriously folks, I created a short radio-like comedy about the creator of Aeon Coin — a cryptocurrency that has surged in recent weeks.

I never thought it would.

So, I need to take Smooth down a notch.

Sincerely,

You Pal…

Jack Shorebird.


The Comedy Audio Short: Interview with Smooth.

(I think he’s dangerous!)

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Zcash v. Monero: The Friday Night Fights

Hello Crypto Dudes and Dudettes,

This is just a nightcap, a final bit of juice for the day.

Recent internet chatter pits Zcash against Monero. It seems that some Zcash supporters are citing or linking to an older evaluation of Monero. One that is not so glowing. Hints that Monero is/was traceable.

Is it? The question seems to hang like bad meat in a broken freezer – in South Africa.

Other allegations imply that Monero is Mickey Mouse, essentially.

Apparently, Edward Snowden has weighed in. Zcash it is.

The peanut gallery is crying foul. Snowden is a shill, a paid endorser…really?

But shouldn’t you at least consider a private cryptocurrency? Bitcoin is traceable. Why wait?

So, what’s in your wallet? Governments already know. And some hackers.

Choose wisely.

And if top academics did help to develop Zcash, who cares if they did not “implement” the actual coin?

That’s one lame argument.

If a rocket scientist shows you how it’s done and you build a brand new shiny rocket, it’s still a rocket. Even if you used old Nazi science – old V2 methods – for some of your “code.” (I’m hinting at the use of bitcoin code within Zcash.)

We know that bitcoin works. We have never seen Bytecoin take off like that. (Note : the Bytecoin link may not work.)

Monero has moved onto higher ground – as – I might say – it’s a “people’s coin.” Grass roots.

Zcash is beholden to their sponsors, right?

But that does not mean we cannot or should not profit from those who back Zcash and therefore “pump” the coin.

The continued success of Zcash – a very volatile coin – is still in the weeds. But judging by bitcoin’s success, is Zcash the best of both worlds? Private or public? You can show and tell or…not, right?

To defend Monero – that it too is based on the works of academia – is disingenuous.

We know those who developed the Zcash/Zerocash process. We cannot verify the existence of a single coder or developer of CryptoNote/CryptoNight – Bytecoin – not one.

And yes, I realize that we do not know Satoshi Nakamoto or his counterpart in the CryptoNote universe – Nicolas van Saberhagen.

That’s not my point.

This article helps to clear the air a bit.

Monero/Aeon, remain the underdog(s) – for now – as far as I’m concerned. And lately Aeon has spiked. We’ll see if it holds.

Certainly, Monero and Aeon are better at holding the line than Zcash. That’s a tell.

Apparently, Edward Snowden doesn’t have time to check the crypto-markets to verify this fact.

That’s all for now.

The Ugly Truth About Bytecoin

 


Why do they hide?

In my recent audio blog, I review some important aspects of Bytecoin. Things they — the Teto-Team and Jenny — don’t seem to want to talk about.

Audio blog: The Ugly Truth about Bytecoin

 

Bytecoin: The Good News?

Dear Readers and Listeners:

Be careful of those dark cryptocurrency streets. You never know who is out there…

I’ve been tracking Bytecoin (BCN) for several years. Reported on it in other blogs and have had the good luck to contact some of the movers and shakers of late. Those who are developing new websites, businesses, videos, and news blogs. They are marching steadily forward with an eye to business adoption and commerce – and not just events and interviews, like we often see with other cryptocurrency “hype.”

That is not to say that Bytecoin can’t be hyped like any other coin, but clearly – people are beginning to creep toward adoption. With all the past negativity surrounding this coin, I am amazed. They predicted collapse of this currency has not yet happened.

And just to straighten your head out, I don’t currently own any Bytecoin. I have in the past, however, and am once again considering an investment.

Bytecoin is refusing to die. Not only is it refusing to die, the newest set of supporters are pushing out, worldwide – if the ads are true.

Perhaps, and this is conjecture, it is not that Bytecoin is a wonderful cryptocurrency. Perhaps, it is riding the success of Monero (XMR). It’s brethren. Or maybe Monero’s fame is making people more curious. Both coins are dark horses. Both are essentially private, but which one operates better? You be the judge.

So far, we know of at least two new names associated with Bytecoin’s reawakening: Jenny Goldberg and Pundit Pawan Sharma. There are others, we are told, but everything seems to be in the works for now.

Anonymity is the idea here, so I wouldn’t expect more names to be released soon. If we can accept that Goldberg (probably another pseudonym) is in contact with the original Bytecoin developers, she is probably keeping a low profile for obvious reason.

Goldberg could also be one of the originals or a new owner of the code. We just don’t know for certain. And uncertainty – and money – don’t mix well.

But…we live in an uncertain world now.

Is this why Bytecoin might work in a world where money itself is becoming more indeterminate each day? Where the value of our paper fiats is falling or like in India, cash is made valueless overnight by ruthless politicians? Where even the old standby, gold, cannot seem to rise to the occasion?

We often think of price manipulation when it comes to gold – and silver. Why, in the face of fiat currency devaluation, have the price of the rare earth metals not risen into the stratosphere? Is the answer as simple as: we do not use them as money – currently? If we did?

Certainly, this is all food for thought.

The teams associated with Bytecoin are – if we can believe it – from India (Delhi, I believe), Russia, South Korea, China, and Singapore. I’m not certain if Jenny Goldberg is from one of these countries. I take it that Community Managers exist in these areas.

One question is of course, how does one become a Community Manager? Does Goldberg appoint them?

Pundit Pawan Sharma is from India and his website(s) can be found on the internet. Bytecoin.org.in is one of the Indian sites. The domain age is recent, so it still has not attracted a lot of traffic. That might change. The website is professional.

It is my understanding that Sharma is one of the Indian Community Managers.

Regarding the resurgence of Bytecoin, the new Community Managers have requested and received changes to the Bytecoin Road-map, through Jenny Goldberg, according to my research.

It also appears that the new managers, however they are appointed, are more interested in use case scenarios. India and the reports of temple donations. Or are these only publicity stunts?

Maybe not.

What is different this time, however, is the connection of Bytecoin, with real people. Well, check that, the connection between Goldberg and the Bytecoin elders (allegedly) and the newest crop of commercial folks trying to give it a go – again.

Before, we had a list of personalities. The early Bytecoin crew, as it were. The Teto-Team. A team that kept quiet after writing some pretty high brow articles on Bytecoin.org. Guests also blogged for the Team.

But the blogs often carried a note of foreignness. Something distinctly not “English,” but close. They – the Bytecoin blogs – had a sort of choppy feel. In fact, they still do.

Might the Teto-Team be real people? They could just as easily be complete fiction. If that is the case, it would only be more fuel for the fire. A conflagration of trust.

It would be nice if they – the Teto-Team – could arrange a meet-up on the internet or appear at an event. Not necessarily a public one, but a verifiably recorded one. Real people in silhouettes answering the hard questions. Even Zcash has their “ceremonies” and judging by their continued success, publicity is working.

There are hints that this might soon happen. That the Teto-Team might pay us a visit?

I think I could even drum up some questions, just let me know. In fact, I ask that anyone who has a question for the Teto-Team or Bytecoin in general, leave them in the comments below, go to Reddit or even peruse BitcoinTalk.org.

What is important about this connection, however thin, to Monero, Aeon and the surviving CryptoNote cryptocurrencies? Bytecoin was allegedly the first mover, but became sidetracked.

There are many reasons for this. Alleged pre-mine scams. Fudged whitepaper dates. Creating more coins than allowed by the original software. But the coin has never died. It has refused. Why?

Is it just the loads of newbies (new investors) piling on? Are the Bytecoin dev’s simply skimming a few more bucks off the top as the ship sinks?

We are told this is not the case.

Regardless of all the negative, more positive seems to flow from Bytecoin now.

There are vendors coming online. Ben Tea is one. The site’s listed owner is Ira Sharma out of New Delhi, India. It’s less than a month old as of September 26, 2017. You can load up Scamadviser.com to get a read.

Here is a new site: Bytepay. Founded in August of 2017, according to the website. The site might be in Germany and/or the United Kingdom – according to Scamadviser.com. It is a payments solutions company and offers shopping cart plugins. The website features a video.

And All Things Luxury is new another site where you can spend your BCN. The domain age is over six years, but in this case, the owner is not listed. The website indicates a Canadian address and Scamadviser.com shows a US based website. Currently, one can pay with Bitcoin and Litecoin, but there does not seem to be a direct Bytecoin pay method.

Although Bytecoin lost Cryptopia’s business, it is picking up CoinSpot. They are in Melbourne, Australia, which is interesting because Cryptopia was in New Zealand. When you run Scamadviser.com you find that CoinSpot is a highly trusted website based in the US. Russell Wilson is listed as the owner.

The new BCN Wallet (web wallet) appears chancy at best. The site is less than two months old, appears to be located in the US, but the owner is unknown.

A mobile (cell phone) wallet is next, we are advised.

By September 28, 2017, Bytecoin will have a new website. I expect a surge in volume and prices when – and if – this happens. Forgive my skepticism, but Bytecoin slept for a time.

If Bithumb begins to trade Bytecoin, all bets are off.

There is also a YouTube Channel for Bytecoin now: Bytecoin BCN. It was from the comments on this channel that I came upon a hint about a Litecoin and Bytecoin cooperative venture. But I find nothing about this online. The commenter left no link or other way to verify his assertion and he has not responded to questions.

What is the solution to all of this? How can we preserve the privacy of the Bytecoin creators and come to understand the coin’s history?

There are so many variables here. Who is holding most of the Bytecoin? If 80% of the coin can be dumped on the market at one time, who will ensure the coin’s survival after that?

Think about that. If you could stash 50 million dollars, secretly, and live happily ever after, as the creator of Bytecoin, why would you continue to work?

And maybe that is the answer. If Jenny Goldberg has the keys to the code, then maybe she can ensure its survival.


Jack Shorebird

 

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?

 

 

Bitcoin: Behind Enemy Lines

Is it possible…to invest in a cryptocurrency that is acceptable to governments, banks, investment houses and privacy seeking individuals? Not necessarily for the “purity” of the coin, but its potential to grow and thereby earn a profit for the average investor?

What I mean by “purity” is the desire by many for a cryptocurrency to be decentralized, subvert all government controls, be public (or private), and have nothing to do with banking. The farther the crypto is from what is seen by many as corporate corruption, the better.

But can we meet them halfway — and profit? Isn’t that the game plan? Or is this a “take-over-the-world plot?”

Let’s face it, decentralization and the acceptance of that philosophy are two different worlds. We should live in the real one, not the fantasy digital matrix.

So, what is the reality? Is it: “join them, then beat them?”

Let’s judge by the current lay of the land. There are enemies at the gates. One cannot ignore this fact.

No doubt many have read and continue to read about cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and clan. Good news and bad. Bubbles and troubles.

Here’s the recent news…

There are reports that China will essentially make all cryptocurrencies illegal by October of 2017. Large Cryptocurrency exchanges are reportedly reaching out to non-Chinese based businesses to circumvent these new capital controls. There is uncertainty in the crypto-markets as to how bitcoin will ride this out.

India may adopt a national cryptocurrency called ‘Lakshmi.’ The implication here is that the government there does not trust bitcoin. The tax authorities are concerned about money laundering, according to reports. This should also be a warning to Bytecoin users in India.

If you can’t beat them, copy the tech and take it over?

The European Commission is concerned about cybercrimes and cryptocurrencies. Regulation is sought. This implies, not a rejection of such currencies, but their tacit adoption or at least it’s a delaying tactic.

Russia – Leningrad Region – cryptocurrency ‘miners’ are being invited to the Leningrad region to create large industrial scale facilities. Cheap power is a selling point. The effort seems to have long legs, reaching to Moscow. Do you think they want a piece of the action?

On the downside, Bloomberg reports that Bitcoin might split again because the developers are in disagreement. Added risk for investors. More uncertainty.

John MacAfee announced that Pandora’s box has been opened. Government control over money is eroding. The reaction has been one of regulation in the US and in China, reportedly, Cryptocurrency executives have not been allowed to leave the country.

Ray Dalio, Hedge Fund Manager, has voiced his opinion: Bitcoin is a bubble.

Rainer Michael Preiss (Wealth Advisor) indicated that banks are likely afraid of bitcoin.

Is there a double-standard, however? As this article reports, the recent outspoken critics of bitcoin may in fact work for companies that actually invest in it.

Okay. So, what does all this mean?

Certainly, one cannot predict the future; however, behind the battle lines one can make some critical observations and ask the hard questions.

First, we must ask ourselves why are the most powerful financial houses on earth just now beginning to draw a line in the proverbial sand? Is it the pressure from the banking industry in general, as they watch the outflow of monies into crypto? Fear of losing profits?

Second, is it the threat to the social order via the potential bankruptcy of governments, by way of a dying banking empire? In other words, why do we need a banking empire at all if governments could essentially finance the economies of the world with a blockchain, directly? Surely, if this occurred, the governments would appoint large dominant information tech industries to head the effort. Can you think of a few?

Third, efforts are being made by the old guard (banks and investment houses) to both invest in cryptocurrencies and educate themselves in their use. These old guard types do not apparently like the fact that bitcoin is so public and many privacy-seeking individuals feel the same way.

Profit from their Greed?

Based upon these observations, we may be able to judge where the old guard might go. Where they might pour billions of dollars, making the rise of bitcoin appear as a blip on the screen of crypto.

If we could figure that out, determine where the vast sums of money sitting in retirement accounts and hedge funds might flow, could we then profit from them?

Or are we off the mark again? Will the banking industry utilize inhouse blockchains or will they contract out? My bet? They will contract out.

For some of us it will be difficult to let go of bitcoin. It has a cult-like following. Many will retain a few BTC’s even after a crash, on the outside chance of a resurgence. There is always a chance it can be fixed. After all, it has staying power.

So, what do privacy-seeking individuals and banks require when using money? Let’s just suppose for a moment, that the money is a cryptocurrency?

Well, individuals don’t want their account balances made public. They don’t necessarily want you to know where they spend and how much. So, let’s make privacy optional.

Banks are the same way. They wish to keep your balances between you and them – and regulatory agencies.

What’s the problem? Few if any cryptocurrencies are geared this way. They are most often, completely open to public inspection. Anyone, including criminals, could potentially find your money.

How about customer service? Name one cryptocurrency that you can call 24/7 and discuss a funds transfer or a lost deposit. If you have named one, congratulations.

Now, can you name a private/public blockchain with world class developers, a business plan, open source software, that is liked by the old guard and crypto-fans alike? An actual regulated and above-board company?

If you said Ripple, that’s not on the mark.

I want to profit from a crypto-coin that has few coins, relatively speaking, when compared to bitcoin, and good volume. Over 10 million dollars a day.

I would like a cryptocurrency that the old guard – remember them – is curious about.

I don’t want an ICO coin and I am not thrilled about pre-mines, but a shared tax to help support the coin would not put me off.

The newest and best tech is a must. A step ahead of bitcoin with the ability to add fast updates, if needed.

A staff of developers who are motivated by rewards, i.e., money, to continue to support the coin for as long as it remains successful.

Can you name this coin?

I think I might have a clue.

And it’s not Monero, Aeon or Bytecoin either.

Not NavCoin or Dash.

But it is listed in the top twenty here.

No, not NEM or Iota.


Please leave any comments below.

Note: this should not be considered investment advise.


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Bitcoin Bears Spotted


As if you didn’t already know that the bears were eating bitcoin’s lunch, right?

But is this a deeper downtrend? Is bitcoin a bubble or not? How long will it last? And finally, will bitcoin crash?

Can we trust the big banks and Jamie Dimon to give us the straight dope? That bitcoin is a fraud? No, we can’t. Why? Because so is the fiat dollar and every bank that uses them — all “legal” frauds.

There is no real money to be had, save gold or silver (maybe copper). On the other hand, at least some of the coinage used by nations remains real and retains actual value. I mean, at least the nickels and quarters in the US. The pennies are now copper coated zinc. But the paper fiats? The electronic representations thereof, sitting in our digital bank accounts?

But just maybe we can trust one voice out there. A lone voice of reason in an otherwise crazy crypto-world. Someone beyond the control of anyone.

Why am I telling you this?

Maybe I can save you some money and if so, just maybe you’ll read more of my blog. And then the little money fairies will come and dust me with ad sharing revenue and I can quit my day job.

Fat chance.

In the world of cryptocurrency one character seems to stand out: Smooth. If you don’t know about him, you probably should.

I scan his comments a lot. Get a feel of the crypto-verse, if you will. The only thing is, he comments on several threads and you need to pick them out. Little gems in the digital ether spread out like crumbs.

I have blogged about Smooth before and won’t bore you with details of his/her/their exploits. Instead, I’m here to display a bit if news. What Smooth says, since he often responds to questions on Reddit and bitcointalk.org.

I’m not after the technical stuff, but the layman stuff. Stuff better than Jamie Dimon, since Smooth lives in coding world. Dimon lives in the government fiat world.

Will the crypto-market nosedive soon? And for how long? That kind of stuff.

As many of us know, Smooth is a developer at Monero and works on Aeon. He’s the lead dev at Aeon, not to be confused with Aeternity, a newcomer. Here’s a bit about Aeon, if you want a rundown.

Still, this is all conjecture. Smooth’s persona could be a well-constructed piece of disinformation. Not that his comments are misleading, but his identity is well camouflaged, as it should be in today’s monetary culture.

For the sake of argument, I’ll say that Smooth is a guy, middle aged, who works near a Silicon Valley-like hub and codes. He could be American or maybe even a Romanian immigrant. He may have a French sidekick and several Monero devs to keep him in line.

More conjecture. Smooth is none other than fluffypony’s alter ego. Fluffy being the face of Monero, Riccardo Spagni.

In short, we don’t know Smooth. I’m sure someone does, but the anonymous handle and picture of The Big Lebowski may not really give us the entire story.

Nonetheless, Smooth does leave a lot of commentary, which I hope he will continue to do, even at the risk of being discovered by the governments with their ability to ferret out writing patterns with super, but not-so-secret software. A forensic examination of style and so on, used to compare against known samples.

Smooth must know about this. Maybe he’s not as paranoid as he should be.

Aeon could be Monero’s test bed, as well. And a backup plan if Monero should crash. Hence the recent remarks by Smooth wanting to clarify that Aeon is not a fork of Monero?

At any rate, here are some recent ‘out of context’ tidbits from Smooth. They can serve as very educational – enlightening. Maybe they are also good to use as sort of a touchstone.


A refresher on Bytecoin. Here’s what Smooth says…

His responses on Bitcointalk.org:

Regarding Bytecoin and the ongoing shady dealings therein:

Their intentions were to launch the coin as a premine scam and take a lot of money out of the coin and put it into their own pockets. That of necessity requires inducing other people to put a lot of money into the coin. Which they are still trying to do at some level with the continued (if laughable) shenanigans with “Jenny” and other shills.

This was for those of you who still think Bytecoin has a chance.


Now onto the bear problem. More Smooth goodies.

Monero Speculation:

To clarify I’m not pointing to a bearish sentiment (though one could point not only to the China news but to the increased regulatory pressure from the SEC in the US, Canada, Singapore, and others as potentially bearish) as much as to increased downside risk and decreased short term upside.

Personally, I am acting on this belief by reducing my risk profile in crypto positions to those I’m more comfortable holding through a possible correction or even bear market, but that doesn’t mean selling all or going short.

Monero…I haven’t yet sold any at all (in a long time), but I’m considering lightening up on that too here. >100 USD/XMR and >1 billion USD cap is great, but again, short- to mid-term, relatively reduced upside and increased risk.

And a follow up…

…I see a good possibility this current bull run in crypto may be close to running out of steem [sic]. That doesn’t mean crypto doesn’t have a bigger future but it requires both internal and external changes, which may come more slowly…

Monero Speculation (and crypto-speculation in general).

Have we reached a sort of crypto-market saturation? Are the bears about to come out?

…when considering exponential growth of viral ideas. Compare…with 2014 when no one gave a…about crypto and you would literally have to poll hundreds or thousands of Average Joes…to find someone interested in it much less owning it.

This does not mean there is literally no one left who could buy who hasn’t bought yet. Most likely, by the time we realize that has happened it will be too late and the price will already be crashing, unless you are able to call the exact top (unlikely). It means we are getting close. The balance of risks has become more symmetric. The remaining upside is quite comparable to the plausible downside.

Note, I’m talking about short to mid-term upside without [a] major change to conditions…not  about [a] plausible…scenario where crypto replaces gold or the dollar as a global reserve currency…I’m making a short- to mid-term trading observation based on current market psychology and demographics. If you think that outcome is likely (enough) and are comfortable with large drawdowns while waiting for it then by all means buy/hold/increase your long-term holdings.

And…

I had that happen…right around the time of the market top in 2013.

It is a bearish indicator. It means that the wave of FOMO [Fear of Missing Out] has reached the masses. The only difference at that point is how many decide to buy and how much, but the important fact is that there are really no more big [sic] wave of people to reach (at least not ones with money). When Mayweather and Paris Hilton are promoting ICOs, when it is being covered on CNBC, Bloomberg, etc. every day, who is left? Price gains are certainly still possible, but the risks have become a lot more symmetric.

There is one more wave to reach and that is conservative institutional money that will allocate to crypto as an asset class given ETFs (or similar vehicles) but not before. That’s potentially a big wave ($1 T or more). It may or may not happen this cycle.

What Smooth meant by “this cycle” is a bit ambiguous. What’s more, the ETF issue may never work at all.


The point of all of this? Pull in your crypto-horns or wait this out.

For those of you wondering about Steem.

Regarding Steem, Smooth indicated:

You can look at economic reality here…the mining was not competitive. It was at near-zero cost, based on asymmetric and privileged information, and therefore very much unlike competitive mining that takes place over a significant period when there is ample opportunity for information to disseminate (and the developers are not admittedly and deliberately exploiting their exclusive access to that information to gain a very large non-competitive advantage).

So the outcome is effectively (about) the same as a premine, regardless of how they got there. (And conversely such an outcome would most assuredly not be achieved with competitive mining over an extended period as with Bitcoin or Litecoin.) Achieving the equivalent outcome of token distribution and investor funding of developer efforts via a different mechanism is effectively synonymous with looking past form to function (i.e. “economic reality”) to me, but I’m neither a prosecutor, nor a judge, nor a jury. There is a small caveat here but I don’t think it ultimately changes the conclusion so I will omit for brevity (and economy of my writing effort).

Lately, scam accusations have plagued Steem.io.


And again in the Monero Speculation thread, but more about bitcoin, Smooth advises:

BTC is being priced more as a risky speculative asset at this point than as a safe haven.

From Reddit:

Regarding Bitcoin (Redditor: smooth_xmr):

Bitcoin can’t be described as secure under the model in the white paper.


Regarding the forking of Cryptocurrencies.

A recent goodie:

Literally anyone can hard fork any (open source) cryptocurrency. It can’t be prevented.

The only thing that matters is whether a community (of any significance) supports the fork, and likewise whether a community (of any significance) continues to support that original. End of story.


Based on Smooth’s comments over the past several weeks and the actual cryptocurrency bear market occurring, we might want to heed his advice. Set aside some of your profits if and until the dust settles.

Smooth does not exactly specify how to do this, but Tether might be an option for some.

In any case, as we are often reminded by Smooth, critical thinking is a requirement in the crypto-world.

Poloniex v. Cryptopia?


Preamble:

Do you ever feel like the above picture. A primate looking at a bone trying to figure what it does. How it works.

It’s like that now. The more I learn about cryptocurrency “exchanges” — at least the friendly ones — the less I know. What the hell is this “bone” thing?

Perhaps, it is best to clear our minds of the extraneous nonsense dished up on the internet like so much fast food, no matter how good it tastes.

Maybe we should go to the source. Talk to the guys and gals on the front lines. Go to the exchanges themselves and just ask. So, that’s what I did. Like a smart guy. Really smart, I tell you.

I feel that I have implied things in a previous post that I should not have. So, in a sense, this post is my retraction and clarification. My bit of re-education. Hey, I’m not perfect, but neither is crypto, so bite me.

Here’s what I learned, after being contacted by a manager from a cryptocurrency firm. I learned that things are rather screwed up, to put it politely.


The Tables have Turned:

I questioned the Cryptopia Cryptocurrency Exchange’s decision to delist Bytecoin. I was not on about Cryptopia’s fees or trying to review their policies. And it was not specifically about Bytecoin. I don’t even like Bytecoin (BCN) — any longer.

I was after the reasoning behind the delisting process. In fact, given my suspicions, I thought that there was something more to this story. Something nefarious. And I was right that their was more, but wrong for suspecting foul play.

As it turns out, a manager at Cryptopia took the time to explain to me why BCN will be delisted there. I’ll not give a name, but I have obtained permission to use the information here.

This is my interpretation of Cryptopia’s dilemma, but a predicament all exchanges of this nature should be aware. If I’m off base here, I apologize – to Cryptopia.

If cryptocurrency experts have questions about the following, please let me know in the comments section below.


Payment ID’s:

So, here’s the scoop.

It is not so much that BCN has a “paymentid” issue. It has more to do with another well-known exchange.

An exchange which is quite large, but perhaps has outgrown its ability to serve the customer. I’m referring to Poloniex, of course. It is becoming a dinosaur.

There are all kinds of complaints against Poloniex. Poloniex scams people. Poloniex scalps investors. Poloniex delists or freezes coins for months at a time. It has been seized by unknown parties, banned users, been hacked, and the list goes on.

But we’re focused on one thing here: BCN. Why the delist?

For those of you who are unaware of how one sends BCN’s, it’s a bit more involved than sending bitcoin (BTC’s). One requires, in many cases, two pieces of information.

  1. A wallet address where the BCN is supposed to go
  2. A paymentid, to ensure your BCN is credited to your account.

And this is where the difficulties arise.

One can encrypt the “paymentid” and the fact that one did this is visible on the blockchain. Even on Bytecoin’s blockchain.

Knowing this, means one can exploit this knowledge.

So, how does it work?

Poloniex transfers cryptocurrencies to other exchanges. A large percentage of the CryptoNote transactions, especially the ones Poloniex sends to Cryptopia deposit with no problems. The “paymentids” are not encrypted.

Unfortunately, about 10% of the Poloniex transfers to Cryptopia were (are) transferred encrypted.

But here is the problem. Poloniex has not provided the “key” to unlock the encrypted deposits.

In other words, Poloniex sends the BCN, but Cryptopia is unable to clear the transaction – unable to credit the customers’ cryptocurrency account.

So, what happens?

Continue reading Poloniex v. Cryptopia?

Bytecoin: The Cryptopia Delist

Why did the Cryptopia cryptocurrency exchange choose to delist Bytecoin (BCN), even after it surged in recent weeks? Don’t let the above picture give you any ideas. I am not saying that Cryptopia has a large stash of BCN and they are making off with it — since they can’t find the rightful owners. After all, abandoned property means “finders keepers” in the crypto-world, right?

The official explanation is:

Delist Notice – BCN

Due to an on-going issue of deposits being sent to Cryptopia without payment id, resulting in long delays for users or loss of coins, BCN is being delisted. Please withdrawal your BCN before 20/09/17

Published by: DaRoll @ 8/20/2017 11:30:01 AM

Okay, but that doesn’t seem rational. Many other CryptoNote based coins use the same method of depositing. They require a payment “ID” in addition to an address.

Boolberry (another CryptoNote derivative) is also being delisted at Cryptopia.

But what about Monero (XMR)? Will they be next on the chopping block? If Bytecoin deposits were creating a problem, would not Monero deposits create similar issues? Are Monero users savvier or is it simply a more trusted coin? I don’t think so. Even the Cryptopia blog/forum has threads from people having similar problems.

According to Cryptopia’s own policy, coins can be relisted, after having been delisted,

…provided the issue that was the reason for delisting has been addressed and the network can be synced.

The policy also states that “coins may face delisting” for several reasons:

  • Sufficient nodes are not maintained to keep the network synced and moving
  • A coinswap
  • Any network issues or bugs that could result in loss of user funds
  • Statements made by a coin or coin community that could bring the reputation of Cryptoipa [sic] into disrepute.

And there is a primary reason cryptocurrency exchanges are in business: money. If they cannot earn enough money, they shut down. If Bytecoin is a problem coin, it becomes a money drain. Based upon the official Cryptopia forum statement (above) Bytecoin is problematic for them.

Could the Cryptopia folks design their systems to assist BCN customers? Maybe. But why should they, if other coins are more profitable, more in demand, long term, and easier to deal with?

Will Cryptopia anger the BCN customer base by their actions, like Poloniex did? We know, after some months, Poloniex finally relisted BCN. So, why then, did Cryptopia delist now?

Clearly, there is something, besides the payment “ID” issue that is bothering Cryptopia. That is my opinion, but I’d sure like to have a fly on the wall at Cryptopia, after the recent Poloniex debacle.

There are the “sour grapes” folks as well. From Reddit:

BYTEcoin being Delisted on Cryptopia (self.BytecoinBCN)

submitted 12 hours ago by RightwayNZ: As of now you can no longer buy and sell BCN on www.cryptopia.co.nz; Not sure why because they stock a lot [sic] of sh*tcoins and I wouldn’t classify BCN as a “Sh*t coin”

[–]JR_216 3 points 11 hours ago: Old news. Cryptopia is kind of a sh*tty exchange as well. The community didn’t seem to care much when this was announced a couple weeks ago.

[–]Franzferdinan51 2 points 11 hours ago: Sh*t dumb move on their part

[–]propagandapalace 1 point 9 hours ago: Cryptopia has more currency and crypto pairings than any other exchange I can think of, but low volume, crappy customer service, and “dumb decisions” like this one, are why most people steer clear of it… They will come to regret letting BCN go…

Not all is well at Cryptopia, it seems. Bitcointalk.org has had a fair share of complaints from folks indicating that responses from the staff at Cryptopia were taking over a month. This does not bode well from a rather small exchange (by comparison) in New Zealand. Perhaps the best way to rid themselves of this negative community press, was to delist and seek the easy-to-use coins. Too much business too fast.

Is this what prompted the delistings of late?

Our team is proud to announce that we have launched full support for Cryptopia on Coinigy. While Cryptopia’s charts were already available on the platform, users can now attach API keys to track portfolio balances and trade through Coinigy.

The above is from here. Information that, as of August 12, 2017, Cryptopia was getting a new pal from America. Three days later Boolberry is delisted. Eight days later the announcement that BCN was out.

What does Coinigy do? It allows trading by customers over multiple exchanges at once. Great idea, right? So, what is the drawback? What problems might a New Zealand exchange have with an American company?

For one, compliance. All American companies must comply with related regulations from multiple agencies requiring the identification of coin holders.  Bytecoin’s main purpose is privacy. It is probably impossible to trace Bytecoin deposits and transfers, unless the coin holders supply that information.

If this is correct and Cryptopia is trying to put on a better face, they might soon abandon any coin allowing the level of security and privacy Bytecoin affords. Meaning Monero might be next. Coinigy could then be relied upon to handle the phone calls, texts, emails and complaints? Is Cryptopia hiring a well polished front man? You know, so they can concentrate on their main business.

If we can extrapolate from here, the movement from public coins, like bitcoin, to private coins with anonymous developers, like Bytecoin and Monero, answerable to no one – the centralized exchanges might need to comply with the ever-increasing pressure from the authorities to know their customers. We live in a “terrorist world,” after all and everyone is a suspect.

One option, if the private and secure cryptocurrencies are shunted off to the less trustworthy decentralized exchanges or the “wild west” of crypto-land, would be the adoption, by some country with strict privacy laws, of a cryptocurrency freedom code.

Although, there have been several attempts to utilize a cryptocurrency as money (currency) in various countries, these monies are tracked and regulated. China, that bastion of freedom, is allegedly preparing to launch a national cryptocurrency. This is just one example, but suffice to say, governments want to track your money and with public cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it’s not a problem.

If regulators push the secure and private cryptos (Bytecoin, Monero, Aeon, Nav Coin etc.) into the black markets, they may be surprised when their values begin to soar. Not only might they create a wealthy criminal class, but solidify a crypto-substrate that will undoubtedly be used against them. Such a class of people the world might be better off without, if only the regulators allow us the freedom to manage and create our own currencies with no interference or spying on the innocents.

But this is a dream from a future century.


Note: There is more information about the Cryptopia BCN delist in my blog titled “Poloniex v. Cryptopia.”