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Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet
Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots. A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC). Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea. When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust. However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:
Is Bitcoin money?
No. Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves: 1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own. As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get. You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there? 2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile. If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point: 3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away. For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast. On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad. One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy. If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due. Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.
BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in
Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense. Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run. See here Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well. Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money. Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand. Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control. It's also a national security risk... The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca. He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade. This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.
Currencies are based on trust
Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged? The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president. People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all. It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board. For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government." The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.
BTC is not gold
Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value. How do we know that? Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan. Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well. Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties: First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment. Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials. Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans. It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods. To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that. On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Means of Exchange: if people seriously start using BTC to buy pizzas, then this creates a real demand for the currency to accomplish the short-term exchanges. As we saw previously, I'm not personally sold on this one and it's currently a negligible fraction of overall demand.
Criminal uses: Probably the largest inbuilt advantage of BTC is that it's anonymous, and so a great way to launder money. Hacker gangs use BTC to demand ransom on cryptolocker type attacks because it's a shared way for an honest company to pay and for the criminals to receive money without going to jail.
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.
BTC is really risky
One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds. But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:
A critical software vulnerability is found in the BTC codebase, leading to a possible exploitation.
Xi Jinping decides he's had enough of rich people in China hiding their assets from him and bans BTC.
Some form of bank run takes hold for whatever reason. Because BTC wallets are uninsured, unlike regular banks, this compounds into a Black Tuesday style crash.
Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient
Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science. That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale. The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
BTC was estimated to use as much electricity as Belgium in 2019. It's hard to trace where the BTC mining comes from, but we can assume it has a huge carbon footprint.
A single transactions is necessarily expensive. A single transaction takes as much electricity as 800,000 VISA transactions, or watching 50,000 hours of youtube videos.
There is a large necessary tax on the transaction, since those checking the transaction extract a few BTC from it to be incentivized to do the work of checking it.
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
Ultimate glossary of crypto currency terms, acronyms and abbreviations
Bull market is back… Another wave of hacker attacks starts again?
The picture from COINDESK related reports On Aug. 2, Ethereum Classic Labs (ETC Labs) made an important announcement on ETC blockchain. ETC Labs said due to network attack, Ethereum Classic suffered a reorganization on August 1st. This has been the second attack on the Ethereum Classic Network this year. Did renting-power cause the problem again? In this ETC incident, one of the miners mined a large number of blocks offline. When the miner went online, due to its high computing power, and some versions of mining software did not support large-scale blockchain mergers, the consensus failed. Therefore, the entire network was out of sync, which produced an effect similar to a 51% attack. Finally, it caused the reorganization of 3693 blocks, starting at 10904147. The deposit and withdrawal between the exchanges and mining pools had to be suspended for troubleshooting during this period. Media report shows that the blockchain reorganization may be caused by a miner (or a mining pool) disconnected during mining. Although it has been restored to normal after 15 hours of repair, it does reflect the vulnerability of the Proof of Work (PoW) network: once the computing power of the network is insufficient, the performance of one single mining pool can affect the entire network, which is neither distributed nor secure for the blockchain. Neither does it have efficiency. At present, most consensus algorithms of blockchains are using PoW, which has been adopted over 10 years. In PoW, each miner solves a hashing problem. The probability to solve the problem successfully is proportional to the ratio of the miner’s hash power to the total hash power of mainnet. Although PoW has been running for a long time, the attack model against PoW is very straightforward to understand, and has attracted people’s attention for a long time: such an attack, also known as double-spending attack, may happen when an attacker possesses 51% of the overall network hash power. The attacker can roll back any blocks in the blockchain by creating a longer and more difficult chain and as a result, modify the transaction information. Since hash power can be rented to launch attacks, some top 30 projects have suffered from such attacks. In addition to this interference, the main attack method is through the computing power market such as Nice Hash. Hackers can rent hashpower to facilitate their attacks, which allows the computing power to rise rapidly in a short time and rewrite information. In January of this year, the Ethereum Classic was attacked once, and it was also the case that hackers can migrate computing power from the fiercely competitive Bitcoin and Ethereum, and use it to attack smaller projects, such as ETH Classic. The picture shows the cost of attacking ETH Classic. It can be seen that it costs only $6,634 to attack ETH Classic for one hour. The security of one network is no longer limited by whether miners within the main net take more than 51% of the total hash power, rather it is determined by whether the benevolent (non-hackers) miners take more than 51% of the total hash power from the pool of projects that use similar consensus algorithm. For example, the hash power of Ethereum is 176 TH/s and that of Ethereum Classic is 9 TH/s. In this way, if one diverts some hash power from Ethereum (176 TH/s) to Ethereum Classic, then one can easily launch a double-spending attack to Ethereum Classic. The hash power ratio for this attack between the two projects is 9/176 = 5.2%, which is a tiny number. https://preview.redd.it/qj57vgmgb9f51.png?width=699&format=png&auto=webp&s=39c1efc3645f268dbf1c73e1b373d532d5461006 As one of the top 30 blockchain projects, Ethereum Classic has been attacked several times. Therefore, those small and medium-sized projects with low hash power and up-and-coming future projects are facing great potential risks. This is the reason that many emerging public chain projects abandon PoW and adopt PoS. Proof of Stake (PoS) can prevent 51% attack but has problems of its own In addition to PoW consensus, another well-adopted consensus algorithm is Proof of Stake (PoS). The fundamental concept is that the one who holds more tokens has the right to create the blocks. This is similar to shareholders in the stock market. The token holders also have the opportunities to get rewards. The advantages of PoS are: (i) the algorithm avoids wasting energy like that in PoW calculation; and (ii) its design determines that the PoS will not be subjected to 51% hash power attack since the algorithm requires the miner to possess tokens in order to modify the ledger. In this way, 51% attack becomes costly and meaningless. https://preview.redd.it/rf65o1vhb9f51.png?width=685&format=png&auto=webp&s=9d7a9f9dab6ce823a224e91afa9d116310cf27e1 In terms of disadvantages, nodes face the problem of accessibility. PoS requires a permission to enter the network and nodes cannot enter and exit freely and thus lacks openness. It can easily be forked. In the long run, the algorithm is short of decentralization, and leads to the Matthew effect of accumulated advantages whereby miners with more tokens will receive more rewards and perpetuate the cycle. More importantly, the current PoS consensus has not been verified for long-term reliability. Whether it can be as stable as the PoW system is yet to be verified. For some of the PoW public chains that are already launched, if they want to switch consensus, they need to do hard fork, which divides communities and carries out a long consensus upgrade and through which Ethereum is undergoing. Is there a safer and better solution? QuarkChain Provide THE Solution: High TPS Protection + PoSW Consensus For new-born projects, and some small or medium-sized projects, they all are facing the problem of power attack. For PoW-based chains, there are always some chains with lower hash power than others (ETC vs. ETH, BCH vs BTC), and thus the risk of attack is increased. In addition, the interoperability among the chains, such as cross-chain operation, is also a problem. In response, QuarkChain has designed a series of mechanisms to solve this problem. This can be summed up as a two-layer structure with a calculation power allocation and Proof of Staked Work (PoSW) consensus. First of all, there is a layer of sharding, which can be considered as some parallel chains. Each sharding chain handles the transactions relatively independently. Such design forms the basis to ensure the performance of the entire system. To avoid security issues caused by the dilution of the hash power, we also have a root chain. The blocks of the root chain do not contain transactions, but are responsible for verifying the transactions of each shard. Relying on the hash power distribution algorithm, the hash power of the root chain will always account for 51% of the net. Each shard, on the other hand, packages their transactions according to their own consensus and transaction models. Moreover, QuarkChain relies on flexibility that allows each shard to have different consensus and transaction models. Someone who wants to launch a double-spending attack on a shard that is already contained in the root chain must attack the block on the root chain, which requires calling the 51% hash power of the root chain. That is, if there are vertical field projects that open new shards on QuarkChain, even with insufficient hash power, an attacker must first attack the root chain if he or she wants to attack a new shard. The root chain has maintained more than 51% of the network’s hash power, which makes the attack very difficult. https://preview.redd.it/rxpohs7jb9f51.png?width=674&format=png&auto=webp&s=e2df1307a1753542472f2b6da88e7a4022b30884 As illustrated in the diagram, if the attacker wants to attack the QuarkChain network, one would need to attack the shard and the root chain simultaneously. PoW has achieved a high level of decentralization and has been verified for its stability for a long time. Combining PoW with the staking capability for PoS would make use of the advantages of both consensus mechanisms. That is what QuarkChain’s PoSW achieves exactly. PoSW, which is Proof of Staked Work, is exclusively developed by QuarkChain and runs on shards. PoSW allows miners to enjoy the benefits of lower mining difficulty by staking original tokens (currently it’s 20 times lower). Conversely, if someone malicious with a high hash power and does not stake tokens on QuarkChain, he will be punishable by receiving 20 times the difficulty of the hash power, which increases the cost of attack. If the attacker stakes tokens in order to reduce the cost of attack, he/she needs to stake the corresponding amount of tokens, which may cost even more. Thus, the whole network is more secure. Taking Ethereum Classics (ETC) as an example, if ETC uses the PoSW consensus, if there was another double-spending attack similar to the one in January, the attacker will need at least 110Th/s hash power or 650320 ETC (worth $3.2 million, and 8 TH/s hash power) to create this attack, which is far greater than the cost of the current attack on the network (8Th/s hash power) and revenue (219500 ETC). Relying on multiple sets of security mechanisms, QuarkChain ensures its own security, while providing security for new shards and small and medium-sized projects. Its high level of flexibility also allows the projects to support different types of ledger models, transaction models, virtual machines, and token economics. Such great degrees of security and flexibility will facilitate the blockchain ecosystem to accelerate growth of innovative blockchain applications. Learn more about QuarkChain Website https://www.quarkchain.io Telegram https://t.me/quarkchainio Twitter https://twitter.com/Quark_Chain Medium https://medium.com/quarkchain-official Reddit https://www.reddit.com/quarkchainio/ Community https://community.quarkchain.io/
﷽ The Federal Reserve and the United States government are pumping extreme amounts of money into the economy, already totaling over $484 billion. They are doing so because it already had a goal to inflate the United States Dollar (USD) so that the market can continue to all-time highs. It has always had this goal. They do not care how much inflation goes up by now as we are going into a depression with the potential to totally crash the US economy forever. They believe the only way to save the market from going to zero or negative values is to inflate it so much that it cannot possibly crash that low. Even if the market does not dip that low, inflation serves the interest of powerful people. The impending crash of the stock market has ramifications for Bitcoin, as, though there is no direct ongoing-correlation between the two, major movements in traditional markets will necessarily affect Bitcoin. According to the Blockchain Center’s Cryptocurrency Correlation Tool, Bitcoin is not correlated with the stock market. However, when major market movements occur, they send ripples throughout the financial ecosystem which necessary affect even ordinarily uncorrelated assets. Therefore, Bitcoin will reach X price on X date after crashing to a price of X by X date.
Stock Market Crash
The Federal Reserve has caused some serious consternation with their release of ridiculous amounts of money in an attempt to buoy the economy. At face value, it does not seem to have any rationale or logic behind it other than keeping the economy afloat long enough for individuals to profit financially and politically. However, there is an underlying basis to what is going on which is important to understand in order to profit financially. All markets are functionally price probing systems. They constantly undergo a price-discovery process. In a fiat system, money is an illusory and a fundamentally synthetic instrument with no intrinsic value – similar to Bitcoin. The primary difference between Bitcoin is the underlying technology which provides a slew of benefits that fiat does not. Fiat, however, has an advantage in being able to have the support of powerful nation-states which can use their might to insure the currency’s prosperity. Traditional stock markets are composed of indices (pl. of index). Indices are non-trading market instruments which are essentially summaries of business values which comprise them. They are continuously recalculated throughout a trading day, and sometimes reflected through tradable instruments such as Exchange Traded Funds or Futures. Indices are weighted by market capitalizations of various businesses. Price theory essentially states that when a market fails to take out a new low in a given range, it will have an objective to take out the high. When a market fails to take out a new high, it has an objective to make a new low. This is why price-time charts go up and down, as it does this on a second-by-second, minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and even century-by-century basis. Therefore, market indices will always return to some type of bull market as, once a true low is formed, the market will have a price objective to take out a new high outside of its’ given range – which is an all-time high. Instruments can only functionally fall to zero, whereas they can grow infinitely. So, why inflate the economy so much? Deflation is disastrous for central banks and markets as it raises the possibility of producing an overall price objective of zero or negative values. Therefore, under a fractional reserve system with a fiat currency managed by a central bank – the goal of the central bank is to depreciate the currency. The dollar is manipulated constantly with the intention of depreciating its’ value. Central banks have a goal of continued inflated fiat values. They tend to ordinarily contain it at less than ten percent (10%) per annum in order for the psyche of the general populace to slowly adjust price increases. As such, the markets are divorced from any other logic. Economic policy is the maintenance of human egos, not catering to fundamental analysis. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is well-known not to be a measure of actual growth or output. It is a measure of increase in dollars processed. Banks seek to produce raising numbers which make society feel like it is growing economically, making people optimistic. To do so, the currency is inflated, though inflation itself does not actually increase growth. When society is optimistic, it spends and engages in business – resulting in actual growth. It also encourages people to take on credit and debts, creating more fictional fiat. Inflation is necessary for markets to continue to reach new heights, generating positive emotional responses from the populace, encouraging spending, encouraging debt intake, further inflating the currency, and increasing the sale of government bonds. The fiat system only survives by generating more imaginary money on a regular basis. Bitcoin investors may profit from this by realizing that stock investors as a whole always stand to profit from the market so long as it is managed by a central bank and does not collapse entirely. If those elements are filled, it has an unending price objective to raise to new heights. It also allows us to realize that this response indicates that the higher-ups believe that the economy could crash in entirety, and it may be wise for investors to have multiple well-thought-out exit strategies.
Economic Analysis of Bitcoin
The reason why the Fed is so aggressively inflating the economy is due to fears that it will collapse forever or never rebound. As such, coupled with a global depression, a huge demand will appear for a reserve currency which is fundamentally different than the previous system. Bitcoin, though a currency or asset, is also a market. It also undergoes a constant price-probing process. Unlike traditional markets, Bitcoin has the exact opposite goal. Bitcoin seeks to appreciate in value and not depreciate. This has a quite different affect in that Bitcoin could potentially become worthless and have a price objective of zero. Bitcoin was created in 2008 by a now famous mysterious figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto and its’ open source code was released in 2009. It was the first decentralized cryptocurrency to utilize a novel protocol known as the blockchain. Up to one megabyte of data may be sent with each transaction. It is decentralized, anonymous, transparent, easy to set-up, and provides myriad other benefits. Bitcoin is not backed up by anything other than its’ own technology. Bitcoin is can never be expected to collapse as a framework, even were it to become worthless. The stock market has the potential to collapse in entirety, whereas, as long as the internet exists, Bitcoin will be a functional system with a self-authenticating framework. That capacity to persist regardless of the actual price of Bitcoin and the deflationary nature of Bitcoin means that it has something which fiat does not – inherent value. Bitcoin is based on a distributed database known as the “blockchain.” Blockchains are essentially decentralized virtual ledger books, replete with pages known as “blocks.” Each page in a ledger is composed of paragraph entries, which are the actual transactions in the block. Blockchains store information in the form of numerical transactions, which are just numbers. We can consider these numbers digital assets, such as Bitcoin. The data in a blockchain is immutable and recorded only by consensus-based algorithms. Bitcoin is cryptographic and all transactions are direct, without intermediary, peer-to-peer. Bitcoin does not require trust in a central bank. It requires trust on the technology behind it, which is open-source and may be evaluated by anyone at any time. Furthermore, it is impossible to manipulate as doing so would require all of the nodes in the network to be hacked at once – unlike the stock market which is manipulated by the government and “Market Makers”. Bitcoin is also private in that, though the ledge is openly distributed, it is encrypted. Bitcoin’s blockchain has one of the greatest redundancy and information disaster recovery systems ever developed. Bitcoin has a distributed governance model in that it is controlled by its’ users. There is no need to trust a payment processor or bank, or even to pay fees to such entities. There are also no third-party fees for transaction processing. As the ledge is immutable and transparent it is never possible to change it – the data on the blockchain is permanent. The system is not easily susceptible to attacks as it is widely distributed. Furthermore, as users of Bitcoin have their private keys assigned to their transactions, they are virtually impossible to fake. No lengthy verification, reconciliation, nor clearing process exists with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is based on a proof-of-work algorithm. Every transaction on the network has an associated mathetical “puzzle”. Computers known as miners compete to solve the complex cryptographic hash algorithm that comprises that puzzle. The solution is proof that the miner engaged in sufficient work. The puzzle is known as a nonce, a number used only once. There is only one major nonce at a time and it issues 12.5 Bitcoin. Once it is solved, the fact that the nonce has been solved is made public. A block is mined on average of once every ten minutes. However, the blockchain checks every 2,016,000 minutes (approximately four years) if 201,600 blocks were mined. If it was faster, it increases difficulty by half, thereby deflating Bitcoin. If it was slower, it decreases, thereby inflating Bitcoin. It will continue to do this until zero Bitcoin are issued, projected at the year 2140. On the twelfth of May, 2020, the blockchain will halve the amount of Bitcoin issued when each nonce is guessed. When Bitcoin was first created, fifty were issued per block as a reward to miners. 6.25 BTC will be issued from that point on once each nonce is solved. Unlike fiat, Bitcoin is a deflationary currency. As BTC becomes scarcer, demand for it will increase, also raising the price. In this, BTC is similar to gold. It is predictable in its’ output, unlike the USD, as it is based on a programmed supply. We can predict BTC’s deflation and inflation almost exactly, if not exactly. Only 21 million BTC will ever be produced, unless the entire network concedes to change the protocol – which is highly unlikely. Some of the drawbacks to BTC include congestion. At peak congestion, it may take an entire day to process a Bitcoin transaction as only three to five transactions may be processed per second. Receiving priority on a payment may cost up to the equivalent of twenty dollars ($20). Bitcoin mining consumes enough energy in one day to power a single-family home for an entire week.
Trading or Investing?
The fundamental divide in trading revolves around the question of market structure. Many feel that the market operates totally randomly and its’ behavior cannot be predicted. For the purposes of this article, we will assume that the market has a structure, but that that structure is not perfect. That market structure naturally generates chart patterns as the market records prices in time. In order to determine when the stock market will crash, causing a major decline in BTC price, we will analyze an instrument, an exchange traded fund, which represents an index, as opposed to a particular stock. The price patterns of the various stocks in an index are effectively smoothed out. In doing so, a more technical picture arises. Perhaps the most popular of these is the SPDR S&P Standard and Poor 500 Exchange Traded Fund ($SPY). In trading, little to no concern is given about value of underlying asset. We are concerned primarily about liquidity and trading ranges, which are the amount of value fluctuating on a short-term basis, as measured by volatility-implied trading ranges. Fundamental analysis plays a role, however markets often do not react to real-world factors in a logical fashion. Therefore, fundamental analysis is more appropriate for long-term investing. The fundamental derivatives of a chart are time (x-axis) and price (y-axis). The primary technical indicator is price, as everything else is lagging in the past. Price represents current asking price and incorrectly implementing positions based on price is one of the biggest trading errors. Markets and currencies ordinarily have noise, their tendency to back-and-fill, which must be filtered out for true pattern recognition. That noise does have a utility, however, in allowing traders second chances to enter favorable positions at slightly less favorable entry points. When you have any market with enough liquidity for historical data to record a pattern, then a structure can be divined. The market probes prices as part of an ongoing price-discovery process. Market technicians must sometimes look outside of the technical realm and use visual inspection to ascertain the relevance of certain patterns, using a qualitative eye that recognizes the underlying quantitative nature Markets and instruments rise slower than they correct, however they rise much more than they fall. In the same vein, instruments can only fall to having no worth, whereas they could theoretically grow infinitely and have continued to grow over time. Money in a fiat system is illusory. It is a fundamentally synthetic instrument which has no intrinsic value. Hence, the recent seemingly illogical fluctuations in the market. According to trade theory, the unending purpose of a market or instrument is to create and break price ranges according to the laws of supply and demand. We must determine when to trade based on each market inflection point as defined in price and in time as opposed to abandoning the trend (as the contrarian trading in this sub often does). Time and Price symmetry must be used to be in accordance with the trend. When coupled with a favorable risk to reward ratio, the ability to stay in the market for most of the defined time period, and adherence to risk management rules; the trader has a solid methodology for achieving considerable gains. We will engage in a longer term market-oriented analysis to avoid any time-focused pressure. The Bitcoin market is open twenty-four-hours a day, so trading may be done when the individual is ready, without any pressing need to be constantly alert. Let alone, we can safely project months in advance with relatively high accuracy. Bitcoin is an asset which an individual can both trade and invest, however this article will be focused on trading due to the wide volatility in BTC prices over the short-term.
Technical Indicator Analysis of Bitcoin
Technical indicators are often considered self-fulfilling prophecies due to mass-market psychology gravitating towards certain common numbers yielded from them. They are also often discounted when it comes to BTC. That means a trader must be especially aware of these numbers as they can prognosticate market movements. Often, they are meaningless in the larger picture of things.
Volume – derived from the market itself, it is mostly irrelevant. The major problem with volume for stocks is that the US market open causes tremendous volume surges eradicating any intrinsic volume analysis. This does not occur with BTC, as it is open twenty-four-seven. At major highs and lows, the market is typically anemic. Most traders are not active at terminal discretes (peaks and troughs) because of levels of fear. Volume allows us confidence in time and price symmetry market inflection points, if we observe low volume at a foretold range of values. We can rationalize that an absolute discrete is usually only discovered and anticipated by very few traders. As the general market realizes it, a herd mentality will push the market in the direction favorable to defending it. Volume is also useful for swing trading, as chances for swing’s validity increases if an increase in volume is seen on and after the swing’s activation. Volume is steadily decreasing. Lows and highs are reached when volume is lower.
Therefore, due to the relatively high volume on the 12th of March, we can safely determine that a low for BTC was not reached.
VIX – Volatility Index, this technical indicator indicates level of fear by the amount of options-based “insurance” in portfolios. A low VIX environment, less than 20 for the S&P index, indicates a stable market with a possible uptrend. A high VIX, over 20, indicates a possible downtrend. VIX is essentially useless for BTC as BTC-based options do not exist. It allows us to predict the market low for $SPY, which will have an indirect impact on BTC in the short term, likely leading to the yearly low. However, it is equally important to see how VIX is changing over time, if it is decreasing or increasing, as that indicates increasing or decreasing fear. Low volatility allows high leverage without risk or rest. Occasionally, markets do rise with high VIX.
As VIX is unusually high, in the forties, we can be confident that a downtrend for the S&P 500 is imminent.
RSI (Relative Strength Index): The most important technical indicator, useful for determining highs and lows when time symmetry is not availing itself. Sometimes analysis of RSI can conflict in different time frames, easiest way to use it is when it is at extremes – either under 30 or over 70. Extremes can be used for filtering highs or lows based on time-and-price window calculations. Highly instructive as to major corrective clues and indicative of continued directional movement. Must determine if longer-term RSI values find support at same values as before. It is currently at 73.56.
Secondly, RSI may be used as a high or low filter, to observe the level that short-term RSI reaches in counter-trend corrections. Repetitions based on market movements based on RSI determine how long a trade should be held onto. Once a short term RSI reaches an extreme and stay there, the other RSI’s should gradually reach the same extremes. Once all RSI’s are at extreme highs, a trend confirmation should occur and RSI’s should drop to their midpoint.
Trend Definition Analysis of Bitcoin
Trend definition is highly powerful, cannot be understated. Knowledge of trend logic is enough to be a profitable trader, yet defining a trend is an arduous process. Multiple trends coexist across multiple time frames and across multiple market sectors. Like time structure, it makes the underlying price of the instrument irrelevant. Trend definitions cannot determine the validity of newly formed discretes. Trend becomes apparent when trades based in counter-trend inflection points continue to fail. Downtrends are defined as an instrument making lower lows and lower highs that are recurrent, additive, qualified swing setups. Downtrends for all instruments are similar, except forex. They are fast and complete much quicker than uptrends. An average downtrend is 18 months, something which we will return to. An uptrend inception occurs when an instrument reaches a point where it fails to make a new low, then that low will be tested. After that, the instrument will either have a deep range retracement or it may take out the low slightly, resulting in a double-bottom. A swing must eventually form. A simple way to roughly determine trend is to attempt to draw a line from three tops going upwards (uptrend) or a line from three bottoms going downwards (downtrend). It is not possible to correctly draw a downtrend line on the BTC chart, but it is possible to correctly draw an uptrend – indicating that the overall trend is downwards. The only mitigating factor is the impending stock market crash.
Time Symmetry Analysis of Bitcoin
Time is the movement from the past through the present into the future. It is a measurement in quantified intervals. In many ways, our perception of it is a human construct. It is more powerful than price as time may be utilized for a trade regardless of the market inflection point’s price. Were it possible to perfectly understand time, price would be totally irrelevant due to the predictive certainty time affords. Time structure is easier to learn than price, but much more difficult to apply with any accuracy. It is the hardest aspect of trading to learn, but also the most rewarding. Humans do not have the ability to recognize every time window, however the ability to define market inflection points in terms of time is the single most powerful trading edge. Regardless, price should not be abandoned for time alone. Time structure analysis It is inherently flawed, as such the markets have a fail-safe, which is Price Structure. Even though Time is much more powerful, Price Structure should never be completely ignored. Time is the qualifier for Price and vice versa. Time can fail by tricking traders into counter-trend trading. Time is a predestined trade quantifier, a filter to slow trades down, as it allows a trader to specifically focus on specific time windows and rest at others. It allows for quantitative measurements to reach deterministic values and is the primary qualifier for trends. Time structure should be utilized before price structure, and it is the primary trade criterion which requires support from price. We can see price structure on a chart, as areas of mathematical support or resistance, but we cannot see time structure. Time may be used to tell us an exact point in the future where the market will inflect, after Price Theory has been fulfilled. In the present, price objectives based on price theory added to possible future times for market inflection points give us the exact time of market inflection points and price. Time Structure is repetitions of time or inherent cycles of time, occurring in a methodical way to provide time windows which may be utilized for inflection points. They are not easily recognized and not easily defined by a price chart as measuring and observing time is very exact. Time structure is not a science, yet it does require precise measurements. Nothing is certain or definite. The critical question must be if a particular approach to time structure is currently lucrative or not. We will measure it in intervals of 180 bars. Our goal is to determine time windows, when the market will react and when we should pay the most attention. By using time repetitions, the fact that market inflection points occurred at some point in the past and should, therefore, reoccur at some point in the future, we should obtain confidence as to when SPY will reach a market inflection point. Time repetitions are essentially the market’s memory. However, simply measuring the time between two points then trying to extrapolate into the future does not work. Measuring time is not the same as defining time repetitions. We will evaluate past sessions for market inflection points, whether discretes, qualified swings, or intra-range. Then records the times that the market has made highs or lows in a comparable time period to the future one seeks to trade in. What follows is a time Histogram – A grouping of times which appear close together, then segregated based on that closeness. Time is aligned into combined histogram of repetitions and cycles, however cycles are irrelevant on a daily basis. If trading on an hourly basis, do not use hours.
Daily Lows Mode for those Months: 1, 1, 2, 4, 12, 17, 18, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30
Hourly Lows Mode for those Months (Military time): 0100, 0200, 0200, 0400, 0700, 0700, 0800, 1200, 1200, 1700, 2000, 2200
Minute Lows Mode for those Months: 00, 00, 00, 00, 00, 00, 09, 09, 59, 59, 59, 59
Day of the Week Lows (last twenty-six weeks):
Weighted Times are repetitions which appears multiple times within the same list, observed and accentuated once divided into relevant sections of the histogram. They are important in the presently defined trading time period and are similar to a mathematical mode with respect to a series. Phased times are essentially periodical patterns in histograms, though they do not guarantee inflection points Evaluating the yearly lows, we see that BTC tends to have its lows primarily at the beginning of every year, with a possibility of it being at the end of the year. Following the same methodology, we get the middle of the month as the likeliest day. However, evaluating the monthly lows for the past year, the beginning and end of the month are more likely for lows. Therefore, we have two primary dates from our histogram. 1/1/21, 1/15/21, and 1/29/21 2:00am, 8:00am, 12:00pm, or 10:00pm In fact, the high for this year was February the 14th, only thirty days off from our histogram calculations. The 8.6-Year Armstrong-Princeton Global Economic Confidence model states that 2.15 year intervals occur between corrections, relevant highs and lows. 2.15 years from the all-time peak discrete is February 9, 2020 – a reasonably accurate depiction of the low for this year (which was on 3/12/20). (Taking only the Armstrong model into account, the next high should be Saturday, April 23, 2022). Therefore, the Armstrong model indicates that we have actually bottomed out for the year! Bear markets cannot exist in perpetuity whereas bull markets can. Bear markets will eventually have price objectives of zero, whereas bull markets can increase to infinity. It can occur for individual market instruments, but not markets as a whole. Since bull markets are defined by low volatility, they also last longer. Once a bull market is indicated, the trader can remain in a long position until a new high is reached, then switch to shorts. The average bear market is eighteen months long, giving us a date of August 19th, 2021 for the end of this bear market – roughly speaking. They cannot be shorter than fifteen months for a central-bank controlled market, which does not apply to Bitcoin. (Otherwise, it would continue until Sunday, September 12, 2021.) However, we should expect Bitcoin to experience its’ exponential growth after the stock market re-enters a bull market. Terry Laundy’s T-Theory implemented by measuring the time of an indicator from peak to trough, then using that to define a future time window. It is similar to an head-and-shoulders pattern in that it is the process of forming the right side from a synthetic technical indicator. If the indicator is making continued lows, then time is recalculated for defining the right side of the T. The date of the market inflection point may be a price or indicator inflection date, so it is not always exactly useful. It is better to make us aware of possible market inflection points, clustered with other data. It gives us an RSI low of May, 9th 2020. The Bradley Cycle is coupled with volatility allows start dates for campaigns or put options as insurance in portfolios for stocks. However, it is also useful for predicting market moves instead of terminal dates for discretes. Using dates which correspond to discretes, we can see how those dates correspond with changes in VIX. Therefore, our timeline looks like:
2/14/20 – yearly high ($10372 USD)
3/12/20 – yearly low thus far ($3858 USD)
5/9/20 – T-Theory true yearly low (BTC between 4863 and 3569)
Stocks are set to end the week on a high note after four of the biggest tech stocks - Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) - reported quarterly results that beat high expectations. Apple easily exceeded estimates on the top and bottom lines, and announced a four-for-one stock split, sending shares past the $400 threshold in after-hours trading. Amazon's sales soared, and operating income nearly doubled compared with the big drop analysts had expected. Facebook posted 11% revenue growth and issued stronger-than-expected sales guidance for the current quarter. Results from Google's parent were a bit murkier, showing the company's first-ever year-over-year decline in advertising revenue, but sales from its cloud-computing segment came in well above expectations. Big Tech has been Wall Street's mainstay this year, and the latest quarterly results look to accelerate that trend. Amazon and Apple are up 65% and 31%, respectively, in 2020, while Facebook and Alphabet each have gained more than 14% over the period. With all four stocks moving higher in after-hours trading, the tech titans likely will add more than $200 billion to their combined market value. U.S. economy shrank by a third in Q2 The Commerce Department said U.S. gross domestic product collapsed at a 32.9% annualized rate in the second quarter, the steepest decline since the government started keeping records in 1947, as COVID-19 crushed consumer and business spending. Meanwhile, in a sign of a faltering jobs market, the number of workers applying for initial unemployment benefits rose for the second straight week, to 1.43 million, after nearly four months of decreases following a late-March peak. The Q2 economic contraction came as states imposed lockdowns in March and April to contain the coronavirus and then lifted restrictions in May and June, allowing growth to resume. Economists expect the third quarter to show growth, but the summer rise in infections likely will temper gains. Senate fails to advance jobless benefits extension Meanwhile, no signs of progress are evident in talks between Republicans and Democrats over a new coronavirus relief bill. The U.S. Senate failed yesterday to advance an effort to extend a $200 per week supplement to unemployment insurance benefits. Senate Republicans and the White House had sought to cut the supplement from $600 through September, after which those collecting unemployment benefits would get 70% of their previous wages when combined with state benefits. While much of the focus has been on the expiration of the additional $600-per-week of unemployment benefits, an eviction moratorium is receiving increasing attention as well. China factory activity expands for fifth straight month China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers' index came in better than expected, rising to 51.1 in July from 50.9 in June for its highest reading since March. July marked the fifth consecutive month that the closely watched measure of China's factory activity topped the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. Combined with China's official non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index, which indicated a slight deceleration in the service sector, the data suggests China's factories have returned to pre-coronavirus levels but consumer demand remains much weaker, which means inventory is piling up. Chinese-backed hackers reportedly targeted Moderna for vaccine data China rejects charges that hackers linked to its government targeted Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) to steal data related to research on a coronavirus vaccine. Citing an unnamed U.S. security official, Reuters reported yesterday that Chinese hackers targeted the U.S. biotech firm earlier this year. Moderna said it had been in contact with the FBI and was made aware of the suspected "information reconnaissance activities" by a hacking group mentioned in last week's Justice Department indictment, where two Chinese nationals were accused of spying on the U.S., including three unnamed U.S.-based targets involved in medical research to fight COVID-19. The two other unnamed medical research companies mentioned in the Justice Department indictment are described as biotech companies based in California and Maryland - descriptions that could fit Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) and Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX). Go deeper: J&J (NYSE:JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows positive effect in primate study. Amazon's $10 billion Internet satellite plan wins FCC approval While overshadowed by the company's earnings, Amazon.com's (AMZN) tech ambitions got a boost as the FCC approved its $10B plan to put thousands of satellites in the sky to provide high-speed Internet to unserved and underserved areas. The company's Project Kuiper - using 3,200 low Earth orbit satellites - would compete in that area with the Starlink project at SpaceX (SPACE). Australia to force Google, Facebook to pay for news Australia will become the first country in the world to force Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) to pay publishers for the news content featured on its sites. It will give the companies three months to negotiate fair pay with media businesses there, a move to ensure competition and consumer protection as well as a sustainable media landscape. Other companies are likely to be targeted for similar moves by Australia's government later. U.K. fraud office charges Airbus subsidiary over Saudi deal The U.K.'s major economic crimes investigator has charged Airbus' (OTCPK:EADSY) subsidiary GPT Special Project Management and three individuals in connection with a defense contract the country arranged with Saudi Arabia. Airbus says the Serious Fraud Office's investigation related to contractual arrangements that predated its acquisition of the subsidiary. The charges represent a step forward in one of the SFO's most politically sensitive probes, which has been viewed as a potential threat to the U.K.'s relationship with the Saudis. Go deeper: Airbus works to slow cash burn, puts brakes on production. What else is happening... Walmart (NYSE:WMT) memo points to cutting jobs in 'streamlining.' Facebook (FB) finally securing rights to show music videos. Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) account breach involved phone-based phishing attacks on employees. Thursday's Key Earnings Apple (AAPL) +6.3% PM on strong earnings, stock split. Amazon (AMZN) +5.5% PM on strong Q2 earnings, Q3 guidance. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) flat PM after soft ad revenue. Facebook (FB) +5.9 PM on strong earnings, user growth. Ford Motor (NYSE:F) +2.5% PM despite seeing weak FY demand. Gilead Sciences (GILD) -3.6% PM as pandemic disrupts earnings. US Steel (NYSE:X) flat PM after Q2 loss, upbeat Q3 guidance. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) flat PM after Q2 beat, better-than-expected FY guidance. LTC Properties (NYSE:LTC) -3.2% AH as Q2 rental revenue takes a hit. Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) -2.7% PM on in-line Q2, outlook. Stryker (NYSE:SYK) -2.8% AH despite Q2 beat. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) +1% AH on robust Q2 Trikafta sales. OPKO Health (NASDAQ:OPK) -6% PM after healthy Q2 earnings. Atlassian (NASDAQ:TEAM) -7% PM on FQ4 customer weakness, downside EPS forecast. Exact Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS) -3% AH on pandemic disrupting Q2 revenue. Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) -6% PM after massive Q2 bookings dip. Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ:SGEN) -2% AH despite Q2 beat. Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) flat PM after Q2 beat, unchanged guidance. XPO Logistics (NYSE:XPO) -4% AH on weak Q2 shipping metrics. Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK) -4.8% AH on Q2 miss, pulled Q3 guidance. Today's Markets In Asia, Japan -2.82%. Hong Kong -0.47%. China +0.71%. India -0.26%. In Europe, at midday, London -0.17%. Paris +0.01%. Frankfurt +0.27%. Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.13%. S&P +0.19%. Nasdaq +0.84%. Crude +0.45% to $40.05. Gold +1.48% to $1,995.90. Bitcoin +1.83% to $11,161. Ten-year Treasury Yield -1.3 bps to 0.53% Today's Economic Calendar 8:30 Personal Income and Outlays 8:30 Employment Cost Index 9:45 Chicago PMI 10:00 Consumer Sentiment 1:00 PM Baker-Hughes Rig Count 3:00 PM Farm Prices
There is a web of invisible slime that reaches out from the artificial traditions of psychological think tanks, like The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, whose roots trace back to the Vienna Psychology Club; a web that stretches across the entire world and inserts itself into your lives in intrusive, unethical and corrupt ways. Groups are deceiving you for a dollar, for a vote, for your personal information, for your labor; for your body and soul. This deception is carried out using every screen you look at, every song offered to you, every sign on a billboard, every popular book, magazine and newspaper. If you want honest information; if you want to see past the slime, you are going to have to look hard for it. If you are just starting down your journey of being cognizant of the deception, the scope is difficult to believe but well borne out by the evidence. We all know the news is dishonest, but the common myth is that it is for the ratings and for the views. The ways in which the news is dishonest is what is really difficult for people to swallow and the “why” still very much in debate until you understand the framework by which they operate. Systemic corruption is no exception to the march of modernization; more sophisticated than ever and more capable of staying hidden to the average person. Modern day slavers control the narrative and the reason it is a spiritual conflict between good and evil is because there are a very small group of people who believe that stealing your agency/free will/consciousness lends itself to their ability to become gods, in their own right. Understanding that the elite have deep occult traditions is important, though often scoffed at. However, to advertise their power and influence, occult messages are constantly and publicly advertised back and forth between these groups. It is no theory that think tanks have studied and implemented cult behavior even going so far as to create artificial cults in which to entrap people. Faceless, emotionless, unempathetic organizations that are merely constructed of words on paper are able to impose these cult tactics on you with impunity and in secrecy. This is the heart of the problem; when it comes to an organization, company, agency, church, etc., these abstract constructs are very much not human, at all. Their existence is alien and unknown to human instincts, who assign human attributes naturally and without conscious thought. These constructs take advantage of normal, honest, empathetic individuals by mimicking empathy, not by actually being empathetic. There are more slaves, now, than ever in human history and the methods of enslaving are far more insidious than ever. Modern slavery networks and the corrupt political ecosystems that allow them to endure are the heart of mankind’s problems. If we, as a society, were able to address the corruption that keeps these networks alive, then we, as society, would solve a lot of problems surrounding organized crime, in general, not just the problem human trafficking. How do we do that? It is very simple; “Zero Trust” policies in organizations and 100% government transparency. That’s it. A great deal of time, effort and money are spent making sure these issues never hit the ballot box and are never part of the platform of a candidate you are given the option to vote for. The movies you watch are constantly reminding you of dangers that allow a select group of idiots to maintain secrecy that is undeserved and clearly wielded for uses other than helping society. Common sense solutions are not prioritized by the media and politicians. Don’t be a part of the destruction of common sense and common courtesy. Stop taking the bait. Stop taking the path of least resistance. We are all guilty, but pushing yourself to be better and do better has a ripple effect in the world around you. Being a terrible person also has a ripple effect. There are enough bad ripples. The concept of an “epiphany” is an important one; where a person’s mind changes on a physical, neurochemical level to the extent that their world view changes. The moment a person is “red pilled” is an epiphany and it is very much the concern of media and Internet shills and their manipulative overlords because they do not want people to have the realization that the system is corrupt from top to bottom and that both sides of most narratives. But, if you do have that realization, there is a plan for you; to do nothing and sit idly by as corrupt forces continue their work. When you have an epiphany, the neurochemical storm actually is a moment where you are most suggestible and most ready to be manipulated. If you manage to raise your level of awareness across multiple narratives, the system almost doesn’t need to care about you, anymore, as they have likely already moved you to inaction and made you unwilling to tell others the truth. While there is a great deal of science that goes behind manipulating people, the tradition is as old as human history, itself; it’s origins, magical from the perspective of the ancients. Whether you call mass manipulation “hypnosis,” “psychology,” “magic” or “science,” the fact of the matter is that it is there in a more constant form than ever, impossible to avoid, and invisible to those who aren’t paying attention or willing to research and think for themselves. Like the idea of dark matter, you cannot see it directly (at least, when done well), but should be able to test and compare data data in different circumstances to detect it. There are many confirmed real world examples of mass manipulation that people should be aware of, because it is very easy for people to believe that it is not happening to them. Many say that is too big of a conspiracy to keep secret; though we already see how it works with a variety of leaks, court cases and plenty of proven real world examples. If you encounter this argument, you have probably encountered someone who is hypnotized into misunderstanding the word “conspiracy”, where a group of people work together to commit crimes. One easy way to create a consensus across media organizations is to enter into “non disparagement agreements.” For example, HBO entered into a non-disparagement agreement with Michael Jackson’s attorneys. A recent court case established that the agreement remains in effect even after his death. This means, with the right law firm, someone can enter into many unknown non disparagement agreements with many companies. It sounds weird, but this is like black magic. Occult literally means hidden. Secret words have been spelled out that the public is not aware of, but creates the illusion that there is a consensus about any given personality; like say a politician, a singer or an actor. A web of mutual non-disparagement agreements works as a form of forensic interruption, preventing people being held accountable for crimes. Between non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement agreements, there is a web of protected relationships where people, products and even governments are not allowed to be discussed in a negative light. This has created an extortion racket by the media. If you don’t buy in, then you are fair game. Not only are you fair game, they will harass you until you buy in because they literally need something to do due to their lack of ability to speak negatively about their cohorts. When you consider the nexus between government and media, the problem is compounded when you introduce the concept of keeping things secret for national security. Policy has created the circumstance that corporate and secret government interests are intertwined and they become aligned in keeping each other out of jail. While a lot of this is managed at upper echelons, the system is merely taking advantage of human nature, which is why the government and media should be operating from a “zero trust” standpoint and not the other way around, like it currently is. There is and never has been any reason to trust the media or the government, and doubly so when their interests are aligned. There are many proven real world examples. The first ingredient to modern mass hypnosis is saturation and repetition. Your first clue that the message is artificial is when many corporate, government and astroturfing battlegrounds all agree on the same thing. Not only is a contrived message oft-repeated, it is generally very polarized; where, due to cognitive bias, it is designed for consumption by both sides with the ideal result of making one side feel schadenfreude and the other side feel outrage and injustice. Just being aware of this polarization tactic and allowing yourself to have more nuanced opinions that the black or white ones offered up to you, is incredibly effective at not taking the bait. “Systems Psychodynamics” is the name of the psychological framework that is used to monitor and control people, primarily based on attacking and reforming “basic assumptions.” By controlling everyone’s basic assumptions using the repetitious push and pulling narratives, the levers of political and monetary behavior are controlled through “influencers.” This framework reads like it was written for social media, though, in reality, it is much older; social media merely enhances the effects. One easy way to detect the agenda and the widespreadness of the corruption, without even knowing the finer points of mass persuasion techniques, is to see what is censored. Generally, the astroturfing campaigns seek to drown out good information that is contrary to their cause. However, when you find some information that is very damaging to their narrative, especially before they’ve scripted a response, it gets removed. Eventually, they will write up a standard response, but this takes time. For this reason, I incubate a number of censorship experiments across multiple sites. While people easily get away with discussions about aliens and flat earth, conversations about modern slavery are shut down everywhere; particularly if you call people to action in reporting crimes. Sites that purport to be “free speech” will not allow you to openly hunt human traffickers and the “system” seems to hate vigilantes more than anything. Most recently, the censorship around Covid “truth” is heaviest. Censorship of doctors has been swift and totalitarian. However, because I see generally what gets censored, first, I knew this was all a scam from Day One. The first SARS COV 2 tests, up until March, were merely SARS COV tests. Very literally. The SARS COV 2 tests hadn’t been invented, yet. Explaining that the body produces the CR3022 protein (what the antibody tests look for) for all human affecting coronaviruses was heavily censored. Even now, explaining this basic fact that exposes why a great deal of testing is fraudulent, is struck from both Right and Left astroturfing machines. If you really want a rabbit hole to dig through, search the coronavirus pandemic bonds that matured March 23, 2020. Prior to that, the name “Eric Ciaramella” was one of the most censored things on the Internet. Censored, in that the information was deleted immediately. The motivations behind these multi-site censorship campaigns should have everyone concerned because it is consistently in support of Democrat and RINO narratives, politically, and always in favor of human traffickers. However, even the Q Anon group will censor you with a variety of tactics if you speak of certain things in the wrong way or mention the possibility that they, themselves, are part of an astroturfing outfit. Fox News still won’t give a fair shake to the Uranium One/Skolkovo/Troika Laundromat evidence and it betrays them as controlled opposition/ a limited hangout, since it would destroy the Democrats. Any “side” of politics you can be on, whether it’s fringe or mainstream or Right or Left, every group has limits to what truthful statements they will tolerate and the nexus where all the groups meet in alignment is when it comes to discussing modern day slavery and who is profiting from it. Simply removing content is very overt and complaining about it to those who do it will usually earn you a mute or a ban. Running a “brand” across multiple platforms requires conformity to social media company ideologies, or you will be subjected to any and all means of censorship. Covert means of censorship are also rampant. Upvotes.Club offers a service that not only promotes the content you want, but downvotes topics that run contrary to your marketing strategy. This is one of many astroturfing services. Shadow banning is another tactic that can be difficult to detect. “Deboosting” is common in social platforms, as well, where the number or type of viewers who see your content is limited. This breeds “echo chambers” across multiple Internet communities. Out of frustration and curiosity, I began experimenting with different ways to engage with the shill communities. Very often, their own tactics work quite well against them. Years into this push and pull with these groups, my best strategy has evolved to monitor them as they often telegraph economic opportunity and subvert them from behind a layer of complexity a shill script can’t understand and is unable to deal with. When I noticed Bitcoin was being heavily shilled, I saw a signal to buy early. This was the catalyst for rethinking everything I was doing. When I noticed that there was blatant fraud in the media about SARS COV 2, I noticed the exact same behavior I had seen before when I struck it rich with Bitcoin. I even went to my audience and said on a podcast, “the market will be back to normal levels in a month… six tops.” I bought the dip, knowing the numbers were fully overblown. My $TSLA experience has been quite enriching. Every day, in the stock trading communities, shills are looking to pump and dump stocks and groups are spending money to illegally manipulate the stock market. However, you can use different ways to monitor social media to detect potential pumps and dumps. If you start seeing the same thing show up on different platforms, among different known shill groups, you know someone has paid for a pump and dump. So long as you have a set, small percentage to gain, you can avoid the pitfalls and get out early. Right now, that is my “edge”, in trading. I don’t feel nearly as obligated to spread the truth to others, since I’ve realigned my priorities. These technological tools for being the first to news items, to new evidence, finding new ways of searching existing information; not only does it help you navigate past censorship, you can use it to make more “realistic” decisions about the world around you. Politics and the stock market are inextricably linked. To be informed on one, is to be informed on the other. When you begin to pull in more intersecting information, like “systems psychodynamics” and overall agendas of differing groups, you are expanding your knowledge and your consciousness so that your intellect has more of a real world impact. When you delve deep into ancient traditions, you will, eventually, learn of alchemy; usually the pursuit of endless wealth or the search for immortality. Day trading well is, essentially, modern day alchemy in that you are making money from thin air. Musicians transform what is in their mind into a product that can be sold. There are many forms of alchemy. Bitcoin is another great example of modern day alchemy. In my humble opinion, augmenting your own well-disciplined intellect with good computing practices can make you a modern day wizard; an alchemist. Many people were saturated with pro-Nihilism marketing and ate it up with their Cheerio's while listening to Nirvana CDs. A couple of generations of nihilists later, combined with portable dopamine trap screens from waking moment 'til slumber, and people are literally having a hard time finding a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Being a successful trader heals a lot of the damage from that consumerist propaganda and forces people to interact with the natural causes of their decision making. The Market is not racist. The only color you have to worry about is green. The market does not celebrate your success or mock your failures. The opinions of critics do not count. The Market does not care about your feelings or anyone else's. All people enter the Market equal and there are no participation awards. There is no busywork. Your test scores do not matter. All that matters are results and that type of black and white simplicity makes the Market the most sane aspect of society, right now. Though most of the obvious stocks have since reached preCovid normality, it has been easy to make money by sorting every ticker by Feb 20 high, then subtract the current price, calculate potential gain when they return to their old price and pick ones that had a high probability of doubling or tripling your money the fastest. I understand it seems tangential, the stock market angle, but when you are routinely called a “conspiracy theorist”, it helps to be as realistic as possible and there is no better way to prove your theories than by putting your money where your mouth is. The stock market is a vessel from which normal people (”retail investors”) are scammed constantly, for the benefit of institutional investors. The Epsteins, the Soros’, all the political elite; they are playing in this realm and they graduated to using AI and machine learning to augment their schemes years ago. In order to understand the elite, you have to understand their playground. In order to compete in the information age, you need to augment your intellect using technology. If nothing else, use it to be meticulously organized. If you get organized in only one aspect of your life, make it your finances. The Democratic party uses the ADA AI, named from Ada Lovelace and a competitor, in 2016, Cambridge Analytica, was used by the Republicans. These AI’s are augmented with databases and metadatabases of everything that can be served up by a social media APIs. They know everything about you and they don’t spy on your microphones, cameras and screenshots to catch you at crimes; they are spying on you in order to better teach you how to vote and spend money. Combined with an army of astroturfing accounts, these AIs are quite good at manipulating what shows up on your screen. This type of censorship is bad for stock traders, researchers and people who just want a few honest answers. In order to compete a bit better, I have taken to making by own custom feeds and scrapers, so that I can database text of many sites and subjects, which then is far easier to search, but is also able to sort information so that I can find what I am looking for in a few minutes, as opposed to trawling the same channels or search engines everyday and learning relatively little. I am really on the hunt for stuff that is voted up or noticed organically and is in that stage before it catches on by a shill group. I incorporate a lot of OSINT tools and I like to collect leaked databases to be able to compare information. It is very helpful to use machine learning to detect what I need as quickly as possible and serve it up to me, first. Applying my own knowledge of how the astroturfing system works, I have developed strategies to target influencers with new and original information and I can quickly and easily get it to them without influencers even knowing I am the source of the information. I just have to identify the correct group to get my message out, then make sure their leaders see the information, who will naturally post it on their own and their followers will naturally vote information up for free. I don’t do this with stocks (questionable legality), but I do feed good news to the right people and I exert a lot less effort to get ideas across all platforms than I used to. No astroturfing groups are into anti-consumerist ideas. “Hydro Homies” and “No Fap” are two great examples that recommend people be anti-consumerist and avoid specific products. As a result, these movements, despite being healthy and productive, have a lot of trouble gaining traction. There is no mainstream push for a truly healthy agenda. All contrived movements must pay to astroturf and shill because, otherwise, embracing their products and ideas is contrary to your well being. No shill group is working to save you money or trying to convince you to make the right decision, for yourself. There are certain messages almost no one will add social media velocity to; detailed instructions on how to report crimes or catch pedophiles, leaked information that hurts both sides of the political spectrum, anything a little too technical or complex. There are already efforts to make hijack the anti-human trafficking crowd. They will be tricked into meaningless pursuits that have no real world consequence. Money will be raised and wasted. News article after news article will be pumped out detailing how everyone is supporting victims and raising awareness. Meanwhile; nobody of consequence is arrested. The mining industry will continue to use forced labor and the networks they use will also feed the sex slavery and domestic servitude and the systemic policies and corrupt politicians will continue on unimpeded. Let’s hope that changes, but it will require a lot more people getting off their asses and getting involved. It will require a lot more people speaking up outside of their echo chambers. Ready. Set. Go.
Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
A whirlwind tour of Defi, paying close attention to protocols that we’re leveraging atGenesis Block. https://reddit.com/link/hrrt21/video/cvjh5rrh12b51/player This is the third post ofCrypto-Powered— a new series that examines what it means forGenesis Blockto be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols. Last week we explored how building on legacy finance is a fool’s errand. The future of money belongs to those who build with crypto and blockchain at their core. We also started down the crypto rabbit hole, introducing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi (decentralized finance). That post is required reading if you hope to glean any value from the rest of this series. 97% of all activity on Ethereum in the last quarter has been DeFi-related. The total value sitting inside DeFi protocols is roughly $2B — double what it was a month ago. The explosive growth cannot be ignored. All signs suggest that Ethereum & DeFi are a Match Made in Heaven, and both on their way to finding strong product/market fit. So in this post, we’re doing a whirlwind tour of DeFi. We look at specific examples and use-cases already in the wild and seeing strong growth. And we pay close attention to protocols that Genesis Block is integrating with. Alright, let’s dive in.
Stablecoins are exactly what they sound like: cryptocurrencies that are stable. They are not meant to be volatile (like Bitcoin). These assets attempt to peg their price to some external reference (eg. USD or Gold). A non-volatile crypto asset can be incredibly useful for things like merchant payments, cross-border transfers, or storing wealth — becoming your own bank but without the stress of constant price volatility. There are major governments and central banks that are experimenting with or soon launching their own stablecoins like China with their digital yuan and the US Federal Reserve with their digital dollar. There are also major corporations working in this area like JP Morgan with their JPM Coin, and of course Facebook with their Libra Project.
Stablecoin activity has grown 800% in the last year, with $290B of transaction volume (funds moving on-chain).
USDC($1B): This is the most reputable USD-backed stablecoin, at least in the West. It was created by Coinbase & Circle, both well-regarded crypto companies. They’ve been very open and transparent with their audits and bank records.
DAI ($189M): This is backed by other crypto assets — not USD in a bank account. This was arguably the first true DeFi protocol. The big benefit is that it’s more decentralized — it’s not controlled by any single organization. The downside is that the assets backing it can be volatile crypto assets (though it has mechanisms in place to mitigate that risk).
Three of the top five DeFi protocols relate to lending & borrowing. These popular lending protocols look very similar to traditional money markets. Users who want to earn interest/yield can deposit (lend) their funds into a pool of liquidity. Because it behaves similarly to traditional money markets, their funds are not locked, they can withdraw at any time. It’s highly liquid. Borrowers can tap into this pool of liquidity and take out loans. Interest rates depend on the utilization rate of the pool — how much of the deposits in the pool have already been borrowed. Supply & demand. Thus, interest rates are variable and borrowers can pay their loans back at any time.
So, who decides how much a borrower can take? What’s the process like? Are there credit checks? How is credit-worthiness determined?
These protocols are decentralized, borderless, permissionless. The people participating in these markets are from all over the world. There is no simple way to verify identity or check credit history. So none of that happens. Credit-worthiness is determined simply by how much crypto collateral the borrower puts into the protocol. For example, if a user wants to borrow $5k of USDC, then they’ll need to deposit $10k of BTC or ETH. The exact amount of collateral depends on the rules of the protocol — usually the more liquid the collateral asset, the more borrowing power the user can receive. The most prominent lending protocols include Compound, Aave, Maker, and Atomic Loans. Recently, Compound has seen meteoric growth with the introduction of their COMP token — a token used to incentivize and reward participants of the protocol. There’s almost $1B in outstanding debt in the Compound protocol. Mainframe is also working on an exciting protocol in this area and the latest iteration of their white paper should be coming out soon.
There is very little economic risk to these protocols because all loans are overcollateralized.
Buying, selling, and trading crypto assets is certainly one form of investing (though not for the faint of heart). But there are now DeFi protocols to facilitate making and managing traditional-style investments. Through DeFi, you can invest in Gold. You can invest in stocks like Amazon and Apple. You can short Tesla. You can access the S&P 500. This is done through crypto-based synthetics — which gives users exposure to assets without needing to hold or own the underlying asset. This is all possible with protocols like UMA, Synthetix, or Market protocol. Maybe your style of investing is more passive. With PoolTogether , you can participate in a no-loss lottery. Maybe you’re an advanced trader and want to trade options or futures. You can do that with DeFi protocols like Convexity, Futureswap, and dYdX. Maybe you live on the wild side and trade on margin or leverage, you can do that with protocols like Fulcrum, Nuo, and DDEX. Or maybe you’re a degenerate gambler and want to bet against Trump in the upcoming election, you can do that on Augur. And there are plenty of DeFi protocols to help with crypto investing. You could use Set Protocol if you need automated trading strategies. You could use Melonport if you’re an asset manager. You could use Balancer to automatically rebalance your portfolio. With as little as $1, people all over the world can have access to the same investment opportunities and tools that used to be reserved for only the wealthy, or those lucky enough to be born in the right country.
You can start to imagine how services like Etrade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and even Robinhood could be massively disrupted by a crypto-native company that builds with these types of protocols at their foundation.
As mentioned in our previous post, there are near-infinite applications one can build on Ethereum. As a result, sometimes the code doesn’t work as expected. Bugs get through, it breaks. We’re still early in our industry. The tools, frameworks, and best practices are all still being established. Things can go wrong. Sometimes the application just gets in a weird or bad state where funds can’t be recovered — like with what happened with Parity where $280M got frozen (yes, I lost some money in that). Sometimes, there are hackers who discover a vulnerability in the code and maliciously steal funds — like how dForce lost $25M a few months ago, or how The DAO lost $50M a few years ago. And sometimes the system works as designed, but the economic model behind it is flawed, so a clever user takes advantage of the system— like what recently happened with Balancer where they lost $500k. There are a lot of risks when interacting with smart contracts and decentralized applications — especially for ones that haven’t stood the test of time. This is why insurance is such an important development in DeFi.
Insurance will be an essential component in helping this technology reach the masses.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) were one of the first and most developed categories in DeFi. A DEX allows a user to easily exchange one crypto asset for another crypto asset — but without needing to sign up for an account, verify identity, etc. It’s all via decentralized protocols. Within the first 5 months of 2020, the top 7 DEX already achieved the 2019 trading volume. That was $2.5B. DeFi is fueling a lot of this growth. https://preview.redd.it/1dwvq4e022b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=97a3d756f60239cd147031eb95fc2a981db55943 There are many different flavors of DEX. Some of the early ones included 0x, IDEX, and EtherDelta — all of which had a traditional order book model where buyers are matched with sellers. Another flavor is the pooled liquidity approach where the price is determined algorithmically based on how much liquidity there is and how much the user wants to buy. This is known as an AMM (Automated Market Maker) — Uniswap and Bancor were early leaders here. Though lately, Balancer has seen incredible growth due mostly to their strong incentives for participation — similar to Compound. There are some DEXs that are more specialized — for example, Curve and mStable focus mostly only stablecoins. Because of the proliferation of these decentralized exchanges, there are now aggregators that combine and connect the liquidity of many sources. Those include Kyber, Totle, 1Inch, and Dex.ag.
These decentralized exchanges are becoming more and more connected to DeFi because they provide an opportunity for yield and earning interest.
As it relates to making payments, much of the world is still stuck on plastic cards. We’re grateful to partner with Visa and launch the Genesis Block debit card… but we still don’t believe that's the future of payments. We see that as an important bridge between the past (legacy finance) and the future (crypto). Our first post in this series shared more on why legacy finance is broken. We talked about the countless unnecessary middle-men on every card swipe (merchant, acquiring bank, processor, card network, issuing bank). We talked about the slow settlement times. The future of payments will be much better. Yes, it’ll be from a mobile phone and the user experience will be similar to ApplePay (NFC) or WePay (QR Code).
But more importantly, the underlying assets being moved/exchanged will all be crypto — digital, permissionless, and open source.
Someone making a payment at the grocery store check-out line will be able to open up Genesis Block, use contactless tech or scan a QR code, and instantly pay for their goods. All using crypto. Likely a stablecoin. Settlement will be instant. All the middlemen getting their pound of flesh will be disintermediated. The merchant can make more and the user can spend less. Blockchain FTW! Now let’s talk about a few projects working in this area. The xDai Burner Wallet experience was incredible at the ETHDenver event a few years ago, but that speed came at the expense of full decentralization (can it be censored or shut down?). Of course, Facebook’s Libra wants to become the new standard for global payments, but many are afraid to give Facebook that much control (newsflash: it isn’t very decentralized). Bitcoin is decentralized… but it’s slow and volatile. There are strong projects like Lightning Network (Zap example) that are still trying to make it happen. Projects like Connext and OmiseGo are trying to help bring payments to Ethereum. The Flexa project is leveraging the gift card rails, which is a nice hack to leverage existing pipes. And if ETH 2.0 is as fast as they say it will be, then the future of payments could just be a stablecoin like DAI (a token on Ethereum). In a way, being able to spend crypto on daily expenses is the holy grail of use-cases. It’s still early. It hasn’t yet been solved. But once we achieve this, then we can ultimately and finally say goodbye to the legacy banking & finance world. Employees can be paid in crypto. Employees can spend in crypto. It changes everything.
Legacy finance is hanging on by a thread, and it’s this use-case that they are still clinging to. Once solved, DeFi domination will be complete.
At Genesis Block, we’re excited to leverage these protocols and take this incredible technology to the world. Many of these protocols are already deeply integrated with our product. In fact, many are essential. The masses won’t know (or care about) what Tether, USDC, or DAI is. They think in dollars, euros, pounds and pesos. So while the user sees their local currency in the app, the underlying technology is all leveraging stablecoins. It’s all on “crypto rails.” https://preview.redd.it/jajzttr622b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcf55cea1216a1d2fcc3bf327858b009965f9bf8 When users deposit assets into their Genesis Block account, they expect to earn interest. They expect that money to grow. We leverage many of these low-risk lending/exchange DeFi protocols. We lend into decentralized money markets like Compound — where all loans are overcollateralized. Or we supply liquidity to AMM exchanges like Balancer. This allows us to earn interest and generate yield for our depositors. We’re the experts so our users don’t need to be. We haven’t yet integrated with any of the insurance or investment protocols — but we certainly plan on it. Our infrastructure is built with blockchain technology at the heart and our system is extensible — we’re ready to add assets and protocols when we feel they are ready, safe, secure, and stable. Many of these protocols are still in the experimental phase. It’s still early.
At Genesis Block we’re excited to continue to be at the frontlines of this incredible, innovative, technological revolution called DeFi.
--- None of these powerful DeFi protocols will be replacing Robinhood, SoFi, or Venmo anytime soon. They never will. They aren’t meant to! We’ve discussed this before, these are low-level protocols that need killer applications, like Genesis Block. So now that we’ve gone a little deeper down the rabbit hole and we’ve done this whirlwind tour of DeFi, the natural next question is: why?
Why does any of it matter?
Most of these financial services that DeFi offers already exist in the real world. So why does it need to be on a blockchain? Why does it need to be decentralized? What new value is unlocked? Next post, we answer these important questions. To look at more projects in DeFi, check outDeFi Prime,DeFi Pulse, orConsensys. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
An old friend of mine emailed this to me a while back with the subject line “Hide and Seek” and I’ve been hesitant to post it for reasons that should become obvious as you read it. That said, I feel that enough time has gone by for this to be safe so I’m going to post it here. The only edits I’ve made were swapping out names and formatting, otherwise it’s all exactly as he sent it. T, if you’re reading this then message me. I want to know if you’re alright, and if you are I know you’ll be looking for this story to show up. This is what the email said: Rijento, I’m writing this story because I feel like I need an outlet. I swear to god that you better actually check your email for once in your damn life! Please… As for if you actually are reading this, I want you to wait as long as your (admittedly) better judgment tells you to wait and then post this story online. I know it’s a bit vain, but I want people to know my story. Hell, it might be the last one I ever tell. Double hell, it might actually even help some poor soul out. I’m going to disappear after sending this, hopefully the good kind of disappear and not the death kind. I know nobody but you is going to believe this story but damn if typing this out didn’t make my sorry ass feel better. You were right about that man, I’m sorry for giving you shit for writing so much…
This is the attached file. “Hide and Seek”: Before I get in to the ‘hiding’ and ‘seeking’ I have a bit of a confession that needs to be made. I work as a transporter for a deep web black market site… I hope it doesn’t change your opinion of me too much, sorry for not telling you sooner. I’m the guy they call when they get an order for something they can’t send through the mail. Guns and live animals are two good examples. You’d be pretty hyped to know how many rich assholes just order lions and tigers from the dark web. For obvious reasons, I can’t go in to too much detail, I don’t want to make any dangerous enemies and even after this I still don’t want to lose my job. It’s a pretty sweet gig all things considered, all I have to do is pick up from the seller and deliver to the buyer. I can even choose what jobs I want to take, lets me cling to what little principles I still have. And I DO have principles. After a few years working for the site, my two rules were: no people and no crossing borders. Anyways, I got into a bit of a bind with the cryptocurrency crash that happened early this year. The site mostly pays in Bitcoin and, well, I decided to let my wallet sit and grow. By the time I realized what happened, my savings were destroyed. Nobody expected it to crash that hard… And it probably wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if I hadn’t also gotten used to living a life full of the finer things. I didn’t really ‘save’ all that much to begin with either. So when my savings finally ran dry and the market was still down, I decided to… Lower my standards a bit and take a riskier, higher paying job. Organ transport. I haven’t done it before… I hadn’t been that broke in a long time. Organ jobs pay well too, and I figured I still wasn’t strictly breaking my ‘no people’ rule if it was just their organs. So, I hopped on the site and browsed through the pitiful number of requests in my area till I found what I was looking for. A rich buyer who: had shady connections, was in need of some organs, and lacked either the time or patience to wait for them to come legally. As far as these sort of requests went, this was pretty much the norm from what I’d heard. So I accepted the job and got an email with some additional details about the order: the customer needed two kidneys (which was what I was to transport) and a liver (which they had made a separate request for). From what other people on the site have told me, what should have happened was the job would move to the ‘seeking seller’ section and I’d be on hold till someone… ‘_acquired_’ the kidneys. What actually happened probably should have tipped me off to use my monthly free withdraw… I got a notification two hours later that there was a seller. Rijento, I don’t know how much you know about medicine, but if you do know anything then you’re probably squirming in your own skin about right now. For those who may or may not be reading this that are not in the know, not only do the donor and receiver have to have compatible blood types but kidneys only last about a day outside of a warm body. Not exactly a product you can stockpile. I got another email, about the pickup this time, and began the internal debate between the bad feeling in my gut and my empty wallet… You can probably guess which one of them won out… Anyways, I planned my route; one hour to get to the seller and four hours to get from there to the buyer. I sent the site my plan and within minutes they approve of it and set up an actual meeting point. I sighed and grabbed my things, trying to swallow my nerves the entire hour it took me to reach the meeting point. I sat down on a bench in a city park and waited for what seemed like ages before I felt someone staring at me. It took me a solid minute to pick out who it was even though there were only a few people around. He was sitting with his back to me at a picnic table about ten yards away from me and whenever I looked away I could feel his eyes on me. When we eventually did make eye-contact he bounced excitedly in his seat and waved me over; my heart sank as he also slid a small case into my line of sight. I forced myself to smile, walked over, sat down, and hid my annoyance. Most of the buyers on the site were practically carbon copies of each other. Probably because you could only become a buyer if another buyer knew and endorsed you. The sellers, on the other hand, were all certifiably insane. None of the other transporters I’d chatted with had ever met with a ‘normal’ seller. Because of this, all of them quickly learned to keep conversation to a minimum and to not under any circumstances piss any of them off. I decided to follow in their example. The man sitting in front of me looked friendly enough, overly so if anything. He was scrawny, didn’t look like he would be strong enough to… well… kill someone and harvest their insides. He had a strange smile on his face, and even now I can’t get it out of my head. The kind of overly friendly, wide toothed smile that mothers warned their children to stay away from. It somehow managed to be both inviting and creepy at the same time. I smiled back and spoke up, “So you’re the seller then?” I asked, and the man nodded. He nodded and responded in a sickeningly sweet voice… He sounded like a child in a toy store, his voice strained with excitement and wonder as he droned on to his parents about what toys he wanted. “Oh I’m so glad you found me. For a minute there I thought I’d have to call ‘olly olly oxen free.’” He said with a pleased sigh, pushing the case to my side of the table. “You know… Over the years I’ve gotten quite good at playing hide and seek. So good, in fact, that I’ve never been found. Not. Even. Once. Do you want to know my secret?” the man asked, his voice still just as unsettlingly sweet as his smile. “Sure, what’s your secret?” I asked. I really, really didn’t want to know what the hell he was talking about; but if it kept him happy then… He clapped rapidly and bounced in place, “Oh I’m so glad that you’re a curious one. My secret is that the seekers never know that they’re playing.” “Makes sense…” I said, opening the case momentarily to verify. Two kidneys in pristine condition, doused with preserving fluid, wrapped in plastic. and packed in ice. “If the seeker doesn’t know they’re playing then how would they know to start looking?” I said, leaving out the fact that it would just be stalking at that point before swallowing hard when I thought about where these kidneys came from. “You’re a smart one…” he said with a smile as I sent a message confirming the pickup. All that was left was to wait for the transaction to process. “I was worried about this last one though… she came right up to me. This. Close.” he said, leaning in till our faces almost touched. I struggled to keep my composure, and managed to keep from jumping or pushing him away. “So what did you do?” I asked as he leaned back, my suspicions about these kidneys being all but confirmed. “Why, nothing of course…” He said, a slightly bewildered expression on his face. He looked as though I just asked him how to breathe. I glanced down at my phone to see if the transaction had been verified yet and he snapped his fingers like he remembered something. “Oh I must apologize!” he said, making me look up, “I forgot that you don’t play much… I simply held my breath, closed my eyes, and wished that she would just… go away.” “You’re right… You are good at hide and seek...” I said, wishing to myself that he would just go away and hearing the familiar ding of a successful transaction sound on both of our phones as if to answer my prayers. I reached out my hand as a formality and he grabbed it and shook it vigorously. I forced a smile and stood, although what he said next made my blood nearly freeze. “You’re the first person to find me in oh so long…” He trailed off as he said it, his voice slowly shifting from that of an exited child to the cold blooded maniac that he was. “Maybe my games won’t be so one sided from now on,” He said, his voice disturbingly normal. Although, even without looking back I could tell that the same sickeningly sweet smile was glued to his face. I kept walking but waved my arm as though saying goodbye. The worst part was that I could feel him watching me as I walked back to my car… Not just at first, like if he was watching me leave, but the entire way back, and even as I got in my car. I took a moment to look around and sighed as I saw nothing. It might not sound like much to you. I don’t know, I can still hardly describe it myself, but he had this… creepy way of getting under your skin just by talking to you. I wrote it off as me just being paranoid, the guy harvests organs from people for a living so of course everything he says is creepy. I groaned and started my car, but it wasn’t until I hit the freeway that I was finally able to shake the feeling of his gaze. It’s not like he could’ve been following me, by then I was already paranoid enough to be checking for that, making a few detours just to be sure of it. And because of my detours, I ended up being about an hour past the scheduled drop off with the buyer… Lost my chance at a tip for sure, guy was furious and there was nothing I could tell him to calm him down. I’m pretty sure, ‘sorry I’m late, but the seller was a total psycho and I wanted to make sure he wasn’t following me,’ wouldn’t have been a very good excuse. Whatever, I had my money and the buyer had his organs and plenty of time for whatever operation that used them. Not much to complain about on either side, well except for the fact that I already knew I wouldn’t be sleeping that night. Especially because the feeling of being watched had returned as soon as I set foot out of my car which was, again, impossible. The site never tells the sellers anything about the buyers or transporters, so there’s no way he could have known where I was headed to and no way that he could have followed me. I hopped back in my car and started to head for home, hoping that a few tabs of melatonin would be enough for at least a few hours of sleep. And again, I could feel eyes on me as I drove and I saw his eerie smile everywhere until I hit the highway. I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders then, although I made sure to take the most winding path home that I could afford gas for (which was quite a bit after a job like that). By the time I did get home it was starting to get dark, and I had made a few loops around my apartment just to be sure I didn’t still feel his eyes on me. Luckily, my apartment building has a public parking garage attached to it so even if I was being followed I felt safe enough that nobody would be able to find my room. But Just to be sure, I took the stairs for the first time in months. Have any of you ever climbed seven flights of stairs out of paranoia before Rijento? Well in case you haven’t let me tell you what it’s like. Do you remember running up the stairs from the basement after turning off the lights as a kid? That feeling of unease and terror? Well it’s like that, but you aren’t a kid anymore. It’s not the dark or what imaginary monsters could be lurking in it that frightens you anymore. Instead, you’re worried about who could be hiding in the darkness, what real monster could be following you up those stairs… I’m no slouch when it comes to exercise but it still drained everything out of me hauling my body up those stairs on my hands and feet like an animal as fast as I could. I got inside and locked the door securely behind me, panting, covered in sweat, but I sighed in relief with the fact that I hadn’t felt anyone watching me at all during my climb. I took a moment to catch my breath, slumping down by the door and chuckling to myself while shaking my head. I couldn’t believe that I’d let that freak get so deep under my skin. Once I had caught my breath, I stood up and made my way to my couch before flopping onto it. I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep then and there, but I had to be smart with my money this time. I immediately cashed the Bitcoin out. Better to pay myself out in small increments, but I had bills to pay and I’d already learned my lesson about leaving things in Bitcoin. Once business was taken care of, I grabbed the remote control and flicked on the TV. The familiar faces of the local news anchors greeted me and I began drifting off to sleep while listening to the happenings of our city. It was around seven a.m. when I was woken up by the sound of the ‘breaking news’ alert coming on. “We are just receiving reports of a ghastly murder of one [yeah, I’m not gonna put her name or age here] year old college student living on her own. Police investigators say that several of her organs were found to be missing and that they found evidence of someone living in her home without her knowledge for quite some time before the murder…” The reporters kept talking about how much of a tragedy the situation was… But I wasn’t listening. How could I listen… I’ve never been less happy to be right then I was at that moment. I shuddered thinking about it. My thoughts and paranoia regarding the man I’d met the other day bubbling back up to the surface. It was then that the reality of what I’d done hit me like a freight train. By accepting that contract I doomed that girl to die… All because I needed some quick cash. I stood up and went to the kitchen and opened my liquor cabinet. Without looking, I grabbed a bottle of something with shaking hands and fumbled with the top while trying to keep my mind clear of thoughts. Once I had the cap off I took several deep swigs from the bottle, spilling quite a bit down my chin before I set it down and gasped for air. The burn of the alcohol in my throat gave me something to focus on while it worked its magic on the rest of my body. As my mind slowly clouded I found my way to a chair and found it easier to think about what happened without panicking. My first thought was that I needed to do something. I knew the guy’s face, I should go to the cops! It was at this moment that the… Less impulsive side of my brain kicked in. I go to the cops and all I do is give myself a one way ticket to an early grave. My employers don’t take kindly to police interactions. I slowly resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to live with the consequences of this job for the rest of my life… I’m a coward, I know. Anyways, the next few days passed by slowly. I was… Not in a good place mentally and I’m sure you remember how much alcohol my cabinets were stocked with. I blacked out more than once only to wake up gasping for breath from drinking too much. It was honestly a miracle that I didn’t kill myself through alcohol poisoning. But I… Managed to come to terms with everything. Don’t get me wrong, I still had nightmares where I was the guy hiding in that girls closet… But I wasn’t drinking my problems away anymore, although I think that was more because of the fact that I’d run out of liquor than any meaningful character development. It was about a week later that I was able to get my first night of actual sleep. I didn’t dream about anything either so that was a plus. I know it probably sounds bad, but I was starting to feel normal again… Like I could maybe find a way to just be myself… Either way, even after all that I still wanted to keep my job. I just added a new rule: no organs. From there I fell back into more or less my old routine. I went to eat out almost every day though, I thought any excuse that got me cleaned up and out of my place was worth taking… And then, I began to feel it again. That skin-crawling sensation of eyes on me from somewhere that I felt the day I met Mr. Hide&Seek. I didn’t think much of it at first, I only felt the eyes when I was surrounded by other people so of course one or two would be looking my way right? I thought I was just guilty and paranoid. But no matter what I did, I would always feel like I was being watched whenever other people were around. So I started driving more and more and eating out less and less. Not driving anywhere in particular, just driving… I felt safe on the open road, I couldn’t feel any eyes on me… For about a week. It started small. A shiver down my spine here and there. A sharp sensation that made my eyes snap to one car or another. Then it came more frequently, and I began to get more and more paranoid as the feeling became stronger and stronger. I started driving less and less, and whenever I did, I kept my eyes on the cars around me. Trying desperately to find where that feeling was coming from. To find who was watching me… Trying to catch a glimpse of his face in a passing car. I even thought I did see him a few times… Except that was just paranoia… I hope. Eventually, I stopped driving unless I had to. I shut myself in my apartment, only going out to get groceries and always, always making sure that I didn’t feel anyone watching me before I parked. But that feeling would always find me whenever I went out. This went on for about a month. I started to drink again, I didn’t go out to eat or drive anymore. I paid someone to deliver my groceries to the garage of my building. All I did was eat, sleep, drink, and watch movies or play games… I’d be living the dream, if I didn’t think a serial killer was stalking me. Part of me believed that I was just being paranoid and to be honest I desperately wanted to believe that part of me… But not enough to stake my life on it. And after another week of living like a shut-in the feeling of being watched started to re-surface. Like before it started off small. I felt a ping of eyes on me and from then on I kept the blinds securely closed. Even then, the feeling persisted for days, gradually gathering in strength. So I emptied out all of my closets and cabinets daily… Eventually I just left all of the doors open and everything on the floor so that I could look in to any hiding spot in an instant… But that feeling still persisted. I stopped drinking because I was terrified of being attacked. I started sleeping less and less and when I had to sleep, I slept inside of my closet and barred the doors shut from the inside. I ate and drank only when I felt hungry and always with my back to a corner of the room or locked in my closet… But I could still feel eyes on me, feel His eyes on me the same way I had back at the park. It was about a month later when I finally discovered my haven. The one place left that I didn’t feel watched. The stairwell of my building. I found that whenever I went down and back up the stars to get my groceries – as I’d long since stopped using the elevator – that I would have a brief respite from the feeling of being watched. I started to spend all of my waking hours there, sat on one of the stairs without a care in the world. I only left them to eat and sleep and whenever I entered the building proper I would feel eyes on me almost immediately. But having those stairs to return to made my life almost bearable. It had been a long time since I had anywhere I felt safe, and like every place before it I kept waiting form the feeling of being watched to follow me into the stairwell… But it never did. For another month, I fell into a somewhat bearable rhythm. I’d wake up in my closet feeling watched, I’d eat in the corner of my kitchen feeling watched, and then I’d scurry off to the stairwell where I could blessedly feel alone – Especially near the top floors where the stairs were seldom used. But all good things must come to an end and all that, and while I never did feel watched in the stairs, I did run out of money. Apartments and cars don’t pay for themselves after all, and while I managed a few months on the blood money from my last job it was finally time to get back to work. In the months since I last logged on to the site, things had calmed down significantly and there were now plenty of jobs that didn’t break any of my rules… So I decided to go with a route that I’d done before a couple of times. A gun run. The seller always treated me to a drink or two at his bar and was also always well armed so I felt that it would be a nice and easy job that I could feel safe doing. After confirming the job I closed my laptop, pulled on a fresh set of clothing, and headed out the door. I wanted to get this over and done with, and thankfully the feeling of being watched was rather light that day. I do admit, however, that I lingered in the stairwell for a bit before heading out. I wanted a bit of time alone before being out in the open for the first time in months. Anyways, I hopped in my car after about thirty minutes of blessed stairwell time and headed to the bar. After about two hours of paranoid and twisting driving I managed to make it just on time and pulled my car into the alleyway behind the bar. The owner greeted me with a smile as I got out of my car, “T, long time no see!” he said, his smile fading as I walked up and he got a better look at me. “Holy shit man, are you feeling okay?” he asked, genuine worry in the eyes of the large man. “No… I’m pretty far from okay…” I said with an exhausted sigh. I could still feel the faintest hint of eyes on me even now, though I know that the owner wouldn’t let me be jumped at his bar. “It’s a long story,” I offered, realizing for the first time that it might be nice to actually tell someone what happened. “Is that so.” he said with a hint of a smile and a shake of his head. “Well, hows about we get you a drink while the boys get ready to load up your car.” He offered in return, making me smile. “There’s always plenty of time for stories at my bar.” He said proudly. “I’d like that…” I said with another exhausted sigh, managing to keep the smile up as he put an arm around me and lead me in the back door of the bar. “Oh, by the way, how did you hold up during the bitcoin crash? I heard it hit a couple of transporters pretty hard.” he said, making me chuckle as we made our way through the kitchen. “Funny you should mention that,” I said, making him raise an eyebrow, “because that’s how my long story star—” I began, only to stop short when I looked at the bar. HE was siting there, sipping on a beer without a care in the world. He noticed me out of the corner of his eye and that same sickeningly sweet smile crept onto his face as his eyes met mine. I froze. There was no way that this was a coincidence. There was no way that he just happened to be at this bar at this time. I was broken from my trance by the bar owner waving his hand in front of my face and saying my name, “Hello? T, you alright?” I quickly ducked back into the kitchen and started to hyperventilate. How did he know? How could he possibly have known that I would be here? Did he follow me? “Did who follow you?” The owner’s voice brought me back to reality once again as I realized I’d been thinking out loud. His face was concerned, bordering on scared. “How long has that guy been at the bar?” I asked, hoping that the owner knew who I was talking about. “If you mean tall, thin, and creepy then about an hour… What is going on T?” He asked, as I slumped against the wall. I started crying. I broke down and burst back into the bar only to see that Mr. Hide&Seek he was already gone. “I… I need to go. I need to get home!” I said, pushing past the owner and running to my car. He called after me, trying to get me to stay and explain what the hell was happening but I wasn’t listening. For all I know, Mr. Hide&Seek could be breaking in to my apartment already. I drove straight home and threw open the door to my apartment. It had still been locked, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I grabbed a knife from the kitchen and checked everywhere. But he wasn’t there. Then, my phone rang and scared the living hell out of me. I checked the number and gulped when I saw that it was blocked. I considered not answering but in the end I picked up the call. “H-Hello?” I asked tentatively. “T… What the hell happened at the bar?” a modulated voice rang through the speaker in my ear, making me wince. It was one of the site admins for sure. I was silent for a moment before telling the admin everything. I couldn’t see the man, but I could feel a sudden change when I mentioned seeing Mr. Hide&Seek at the bar. “T,” the admin began, a serious edge to his voice. “I need you to log in to the site… _Now_” he said, and something in me told me to listen. I booted up my laptop and hopped on to the site. As soon as I logged in a dialog appeared that I’d never seen before. ‘ADMIN would like to take control of this computer. Do you consent to this?’ With two buttons. One for yes. One for no. I clicked yes and watched as my cursor began to move on it’s own. “Thank you T. This will only take a moment…” the admin said, a practiced calm in his voice as he downloaded several files and began to do… Something on my laptop. A minute later a dialog box popped up that said, ‘Threat detected!’ and the admin sighed and his voice sharpened as he spoke. “T… You’ve been compromised. You’ve had a nasty piece of spyware installed on your machine, for about a month by the looks of things. It’s been recording your keystrokes and giving someone remote access to your camera…” the admin explained, making me gulp as I realized that all of my information was insecure. “B-but, there’s no way! I haven’t download anything!” I said, making the admin mutter something as a bout of typing could be heard coming through the phone. The admin’s voice was cold and calculated when he spoke next. “No… No you didn’t…” he said, making me gulp. “This software was installed via _USB_…” the admin said, making my heart nearly stop. Hide&Seek had been in my home! He had been here without me noticing and put that program on my laptop. Even after all of my paranoia, he still found his way into my room without me knowing. “I’m going to delete the program,” the admin said, and a few keystrokes later, “done… What the—” As the admin deleted the program, thousands of windows began popping up on the screen of my laptop. All of them saying the same thing… ‘olly olly oxen free’ After that, I threw my laptop in the trash and got a new one as well as a new phone, sim card and all. I was taking no chances. I got all new accounts for everything and the admin told me he revoked Mr. Hide&Seek’s membership personally. But I’m going to disappear all the same, I have a plane ticket to somewhere and my bags are already packed. Don’t look for me, and if you ever start to feel like you’re being watched… It’s because you are.
Bitcoin Cash may be headed for a similar fate. It retains SHA-256, but is a minority chain in terms of hash power. A powerful Bitcoin miner deciding to perform double spends on Bitcoin Cash would have everything needed to do repeat the Bitcoin Gold attack. BTW, a similar attack recently occured on Verge: To be precise, the Bitcoin double-spending attack leverages on how digital currency wallet treats RBF transactions with Bitcoin, according to a Bitcoin developer, Peter Todd. The attackers would knowingly place a low fee bitcoin transaction to avoid fast confirmation and later cancel the pending transaction. The development team behind Bitcoin Gold has released an update on last week’s 51 percent attack, which the attacker weaponized through a double spend attack to steal funds from cryptocurrency exchanges. Bitcoin Gold (BTG) is subject to a blockchain double spending attack worth around $72,000 as a result of a 51 percent mining attack to take control of the Bitcoin Gold blockchain. The attacks came on Thursday and Friday, dated 23rd and 24th of January, where the first attack costed the blockchain around 1900 BTG, and the second attack wave costed a loss of 5267 BTG. How Bitcoin prevents double-spending. The Bitcoin blockchain has implemented a protocol to counter double-spend attacks inspired by the traditional cash system. It’s a confirmation mechanism ...
Bitcoin Exploit. Double Spend Attack! Who's At Risk?? BTC Volatility Index. Waves & Enigma Web 3.0
This is part 22 of the Blockchain tutorial explaining what double spending is. The ecash system conceived by David Chaum is used as an example why third parties are used. In this tutorial several ... In diesem Tutorial behandeln wir das Double-Spend-Problem. Früherer Zugang zu Tutorials, Abstimmungen, Live-Events und Downloads https://www.patr... Double spend là gì? 51% attack? -blockdev- - Duration: 6:52. block dev 680 views. 6:52. ... How To Double Spend Your Stuck Bitcoin Transaction with FSS-RBF - Duration: 8:22. m1xolyd1an 86,575 ... In this video I explain the double-spending problem that can occur in cryptocurrencies. Including race attack, Finney attack, vector76 attack, alternative history attack and majority attack. # ... Bitcoin ATM’s have recently been targeted in Canada, and thieves made away with $200,000 in cash because of a double spend exploit. The Bitcoin core code has a replace by fee tool which allows a ...