There’s No Such Thing as Tainted Bitcoins - MASSIVE.NEWS
There’s No Such Thing as Tainted Bitcoins - MASSIVE.NEWS
Taint analysis on bitcoin stolen from Kraken on 7/20 : btc
There’s No Such Thing as Tainted Bitcoins Op-Ed Bitcoin News
Bitcoin Taint Analysis Check dinbits
There’s No Such Thing as Tainted ... - cryptoinvestor.news
The strong case for Monero – fulfilling characteristics of the future currency
I wanted to write a short article about the distinct characteristics of Monero, some of which are absolutely necessities in any future currency looking to gaining serious user adoption. Together, these separate Monero quite distinctly from the rest of the crypto field. This is certainly nothing new to the Monero seniors here, but it might contain some new perspectives, and also give an overview to the newer cryptofolk why Monero is quite unique - 1. Transactions are private by default The sender, receiver and amount are all hidden in Monero. This is by default, as opposed to some other private cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash, where you can optionally make private transactions. As a result, most transactions in Zcash are transparent, which makes the actual anonymity set small. In Bitcoin there is no real anonymity, because everything occurs in a transparent blockchain – the sender, receiver and amount are all public information. This has created a market for blockchain analysis, where companies keep track of the of transactions and make profit from this information. Furthermore, because the full history of sent and received Bitcoins and other transparent cryptocurrencies can be analyzed, the newly minted coins are generally more valuable than others. This phenomenon is called ‘taint’, and it exists only in transparent blockchains. Besides speculative holding, no real-world use will emerge in any blockchain that is transparent. No company is prepared to publicly devolve how much, when and to which suppliers they send funds. Or vice versa, no company wants its competitors to know how many customers have paid them in the last quarter. Similarly, no sensible, privacy-valuing person should be willing to share his or her personal consuming habits with the whole world, forever. 2. Community-driven – no company, no CEO Most understand cryptocurrencies are decentralized because different stakeholders all over the world participate in the process of mining, verifying and relying information from one stakeholder to another. It is practically impossible to stop this type of well distributed global network from operating. The network topology, however, is only one part of the decentralization. If everything is controlled by a single entity, it creates a single point of failure. As an example, if everything is funded, developed and coordinated by a single company or a few companies, which funds can be seized, executives jailed and operations stopped, how secure is this cryptocurrency in the end? In Monero, there is no company, no CEO, no office. Everything is coordinated by members of the community, globally. 3. Emission is dis-inflationary and it reduces constantly Monero’s emission, i.e. generation of new coins, reduces every block (2 minutes). In Bitcoin, the emission is reduced every four years. This causes sudden shocks to the Bitcoin ecosystem, because miners’ rewards are halved. Such a dramatic decrease will inevitably lead to some miners abandoning their mining activities. Because proof-of-work (POW) cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero rely on miners to secure the network, any significant decrease in mining is detrimental to the network’s security. On the other hand, the smoother emission in Monero makes mining activities more stable, which improves the security and trust of the whole system. Another future-proofing factor in Monero is the tail emission, where the block reward will no longer decrease from 0.6 XMR after mid 2022. Minimum block reward incentives miners to continue mining even if the transaction fees do not cover all economic needs of the competing miners. Comparing this to FIAT currencies, which are inflating 2-6 % each year, Monero’s inflation is asymptotically approaching 0 %. Even though new coins are generated by every block, the amount created per given time period remains constant after mid 2022. Contrast this to the FIAT systems, where the amount of new currency created is always increasing. Due to the compounding effect even moderate inflation in FIAT currencies causes considerable losses to all savers in medium and long term. 4. Block size is dynamic – it scales with number of transactions Monero’s block size has no cap, which means the amount of transactions that can fit to the block is not limited. To prevent transaction spamming, preventive mechanisms have been built in the protocol. Cryptocurrencies which implement a hard cap on the block size are susceptible to surging transactions fees. This occurs when there are simply too many transactions trying to make it into the block. Such a phenomenon occurred in Bitcoin during the peak of the last bull-run in January 2018, when the average transaction fees rose above $20. 5. Fair supply – no premine or developer tax Supply mechanism and distribution are two elemental factors, which affect how capable the cryptocurrency is as a store of value (SOV). If a large majority of the future supply is held by a small group of people, it undermines the trust that the cryptocurrency keeps its value long term. If only a few stakeholders can massively increase the supply side of the market, the downward price risk becomes high. The more distributed the supply, the more stakeholders it takes to influence it. Two practical implementations that undermine SOV in cryptocurrencies are premine and developer tax. In premine, the founders create a large initial amount of funds for themselves (or for their organization). Premining is an issue in some POW currencies and in all proof-of-stake (POS) cryptocurrencies, because their coin generation is not done by work. Developer tax is implemented in some POW currencies, where a portion of the block reward goes to the founders. 6. Crowdfunding and voluntarism as driving forces Since the launch of Monero in 2014, all progression has been made by its rich and versatile community. Active members consist of several PhD researchers, developers, UX designers, translators and many other professionals of varying backgrounds. Much of the work has been made possible using crowdfunding, donors being individuals, investors and companies. Some members have participated even pro-bono, which further emphasizes the community’s trust in the project. The fact that the work is enabled by crowfunding and voluntarism is truly a strength, because it is difficult to stop ideology and people who want to be part of such force. This is in stark contrast to company-driven projects, which are much more susceptible to government oversight and control. 7. Mining is more sustainable Monero’s mining algorithm, Random X, specifically targets general purpose CPUs and it is unsuitable to be mined with application-specific integrated circuits (ASICS). This greatly improves mining decentralization, because mining is feasible on data centers and personal computers. In Bitcoin and many other POW cryptocurrencies mining is only feasible with expensive ASICS, manufactured by just a few companies. ASIC mined cryptocurrencies are problematic because there are very few companies specializing in mining equipment. Bitcoin’s largest ASIC manufacturer, Bitmain, has had overly much power in the ecosystem. They have stalled Bitcoin’s adoption, caused division among the community and even been one of the principal culprits for the past Bitcoin forks. Another problem with ASIC manufacturers is their economic advantage over the rest of the mining field. ASIC manufacturers typically utilize their next generation products themselves and start selling them to the consumer market after their mining profits have reduced sufficiently due to the increasing competition. This makes normal miners second tier stakeholders in the ecosystem and it is a cause of further mining centralization. 8. Proven track record Monero community has been working actively since its inception in 2014. Majority of the work has focused on research and development, with little efforts put to marketing. Unlike some other projects, especially those forked from Bitcoin, Monero project has an extensive technical skillset in its community and it has been one of the leading projects when it comes to both innovation and execution. One of the Monero’s focus points is applied cryptographic research. Monero has implemented several advancements into the core protocol efficiently and with assurance. All major changes to the Monero protocol have been audited by some of the world’s leading companies specializing in cryptographic analysis, funded by the Monero community.
Copy and pasted to remove a vendor reference. Not terrible article, but they're still parroting the lies. It's pretty disingenuous to offer up the story of one kid that clearly had major substance abuse problems as the "other side". Side comment / vent -- I feel censoring regular mainstream news stories just because it breaks the no vendor rule is nuts. If anything the story should be allowed but comments locked. The Kratom Debate: Helpful Herb Or Dangerous Drug? Americans know the dangers of drugs such as morphine and heroin. But what about a supplement that acts in the brain a bit like an opiate and is available in many places to kids — even from vending machines. Kratom, an herb that's abundant, legal in most states and potentially dangerous, is the subject of an ongoing debate over its risks and benefits. Usually, the leaf, which comes from a tropical Southeast Asian tree, is chewed, brewed or crushed into a bitter green powder. The chemicals in the herb interact with different types of receptors in the brain — some that respond to opioids, and others to stimulants. Often sold in the U.S. in a processed form — as pills, capsules or extracts — a small amount of kratom can perk you up, while a large dose has a sedative effect. Some people who have struggled with an opioid addiction and switched to kratom swear the substance salvaged their health, livelihood and relationships. But the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration worry that kratom carries the risk of physical and psychological dependency and, in some people, addiction. The FDA warns consumers not to use kratom, and the DEA threatened to prohibit kratom's sale and use in the U.S. (outside of research) in 2016; advocates and lawmakers subsequently pushed back, and the stricter scheduling of kratom that would have prompted that sort of ban never occurred. These days, the DEA lists it as a drug of concern. Linda Kline, 33, based in Reno, Nev., sells kratom for a living. She says her several stores throughout the West have given her a new purpose in life. And while she herself doesn't have an opioid dependency, she credits kratom with turning around her mental health. "I went from feeling desperate and hopeless to finding an alternative where I had full control over how I felt," she says. She used to be paralyzed by anxiety and panic attacks. When her insurance carrier threatened to cut her Prozac prescription, she felt desperate. A friend suggested kratom, so she picked some up at a smoke shop. "It almost feels like you're having just a little glass of wine," Kline says. "It's really relaxing. There's no melting of the walls." The new habit cost about $6 a day — less than a glass of wine or fancy cup of coffee. But Kline says she couldn't always find a high-quality supply. The FDA has recalled dozens of salmonella-tainted products sold online or in convenience stores. The agency has also found toxic heavy metals in kratom supplements. That's one reason Kline started her own chic boutiques, \redacted*, devoted exclusively to kratom products that, she says, are all lab tested to ensure purity. She just opened her fifth location in less than two years. The shops offer 15 kratom strains at outlets in California, Idaho and Nevada.* Though Kline's website has a disclaimer that her products have not been evaluated by the FDA and "are not intended to cure, treat or prevent any disease/illness," some of her clients' online Yelp reviews claim kratom has dramatically relieved their chronic pain, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and more. Potential dangers Glowing reviews like that haunt Mateo Martinez. "My brother believed the marketing of kratom — that it was a natural herbal supplement that could provide you with the same benefits of an opioid without the risks," Mateo says. Mateo's younger brother, Marco, struggled with an opioid addiction in high school. Mateo describes Marco as a charismatic, creative teen, passionate about video games, cartoons and anime. Marco got hooked on painkillers, Mateo says, after his dentist pulled his wisdom teeth. "He was using them in a way that wasn't just for treating pain," Mateo says. Email receipts show Marco used bitcoin to also buy Vicodin and fentanyl on the dark web. Eventually Marco wanted to kick his opioid addiction and saw testimonials on YouTube and Reddit that promised that kratom could be a way out. Soon Marco was popping kratom capsules multiple times a day. During his freshman year at the University of California, Davis, the 19-year-old started hyperventilating regularly. The incidents worsened, becoming seizure-like episodes and ending in trips to the emergency room. During each hospitalization, the doctors were stumped. No one thought to test for kratom. Marco died in his UC Davis dorm in February 2018, late on a Sunday night. The toxicology report listed "acute mitragynine intoxication" — a chemical constituent of kratom — as the cause of death. "I think kratom needs to come with a much more serious caution that it is not harmless," Mateo says. "I'm very heartbroken." In a recent 18-month period, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 90 kratom overdoses, although most involved a combination of other substances too. Slim science, so far "The data to support either the benefits or the harms for kratom is really, really poor," says C. Michael White, head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Connecticut. "A lot of the information we have comes from single-case reports." FDA Orders An Unprecedented Recall After Kratom Company Ignored Its Requests THE TWO-WAY FDA Orders An Unprecedented Recall After Kratom Company Ignored Its Requests White says that animal studies suggest kratom could be an effective pain reliever, but the collection of human data has only just begun. He says scientists need to conduct a lot more research before the appropriate level of regulation is clear. White recently argued in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy that the safest place for kratom is behind pharmacy counters, for adults only, but with no prescription required. McClain Haddow, spokesperson for the American Kratom Association, agrees that the product should be sold only to people over age 18. "We would like vendors to register their product with the FDA and get a chemical analysis from a certified lab to insure the only ingredient is the naturally occurring alkaloid in the kratom plant," Haddow says. "Some manufacturers are spiking products with fentanyl, heroin or morphine to give users a high." Dr. Scott Steiger, deputy medical director of the opiate treatment outpatient program at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, says he doesn't know how to advise patients who want to use kratom. "I tell them I just don't know enough on the basis of science to tell them whether it's a great idea or not," says Steiger, who is also an associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. The DEA describes kratom as an addictive substance that causes hallucinations, delusion and confusion. "I have seen that people who use kratom end up having a very hard time stopping the use of it," says Steiger. His patients report withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweats, aches and pains, loose stool, tearing and dysphoria. There is growing concern about kratom's effects on the heart and liver. Steiger emphasizes that doctors have evidence-based treatments like buprenorphine and methadone to help people with an opioid addiction. He doesn't recommend self-medicating with kratom until more research is available. "We just don't know enough about this chemical and the long-term use of it to know whether experimenting would lead to complications," Steiger says.
The strong case for Monero – fulfilling characteristics of the future currency
I wanted to write a short article about the distinct characteristics of Monero, some of which are absolutely necessities in any future currency looking to gaining serious user adoption. Together, these separate Monero quite distinctly from the rest of the crypto field. This is certainly nothing new to the seniors here, but it might contain some new perspectives, and also give an overview to the newer cryptofolk why Monero is quite unique - 1. Transactions are private by default The sender, receiver and amount are all hidden in Monero. This is by default, as opposed to some other private cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash, where you can optionally make private transactions. As a result, most transactions in Zcash are transparent, which makes the actual anonymity set small. In Bitcoin there is no real anonymity, because everything occurs in a transparent blockchain – the sender, receiver and amount are all public information. This has created a market for blockchain analysis, where companies keep track of the of transactions and make profit from this information. Furthermore, because the full history of sent and received Bitcoins and other transparent cryptocurrencies can be analyzed, the newly minted coins are generally more valuable than others. This phenomenon is called ‘taint’, and it exists only in transparent blockchains. Besides speculative holding, no real-world use will emerge in any blockchain that is transparent. No company is prepared to publicly devolve how much, when and to which suppliers they send funds. Or vice versa, no company wants its competitors to know how many customers have paid them in the last quarter. Similarly, no sensible, privacy-valuing person should be willing to share his or her personal consuming habits with the whole world, forever. 2. Community-driven – no company, no CEO Most understand cryptocurrencies are decentralized because different stakeholders all over the world participate in the process of mining, verifying and relying information from one stakeholder to another. It is practically impossible to stop this type of well distributed global network from operating. The network topology, however, is only one part of the decentralization. If everything is controlled by a single entity, it creates a single point of failure. As an example, if everything is funded, developed and coordinated by a single company or a few companies, which funds can be seized, executives jailed and operations stopped, how secure is this cryptocurrency in the end? In Monero, there is no company, no CEO, no office. Everything is coordinated by members of the community, globally. 3. Emission is dis-inflationary and it reduces constantly Monero’s emission, i.e. generation of new coins, reduces every block (2 minutes). In Bitcoin, the emission is reduced every four years. This causes sudden shocks to the Bitcoin ecosystem, because miners’ rewards are halved. Such a dramatic decrease will inevitably lead to some miners abandoning their mining activities. Because proof-of-work (POW) cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero rely on miners to secure the network, any significant decrease in mining is detrimental to the network’s security. On the other hand, the smoother emission in Monero makes mining activities more stable, which improves the security and trust of the whole system. Another future-proofing factor in Monero is the tail emission, where the block reward will no longer decrease from 0.6 XMR after mid 2022. Minimum block reward incentives miners to continue mining even if the transaction fees do not cover all economic needs of the competing miners. Comparing this to FIAT currencies, which are inflating 2-6 % each year, Monero’s inflation is asymptotically approaching 0 %. Even though new coins are generated by every block, the amount created per given time period remains constant after mid 2022. Contrast this to the FIAT systems, where the amount of new currency created is always increasing. Due to the compounding effect even moderate inflation in FIAT currencies causes considerable losses to all savers in medium and long term. 4. Block size is dynamic – it scales with number of transactions Monero’s block size has no cap, which means the amount of transactions that can fit to the block is not limited. To prevent transaction spamming, preventive mechanisms have been built in the protocol. Cryptocurrencies which implement a hard cap on the block size are susceptible to surging transactions fees. This occurs when there are simply too many transactions trying to make it into the block. Such a phenomenon occurred in Bitcoin during the peak of the last bull-run in January 2018, when the average transaction fees rose above $20. 5. Fair supply – no premine or developer tax Supply mechanism and distribution are two elemental factors, which affect how capable the cryptocurrency is as a store of value (SOV). If a large majority of the future supply is held by a small group of people, it undermines the trust that the cryptocurrency keeps its value long term. If only a few stakeholders can massively increase the supply side of the market, the downward price risk becomes high. The more distributed the supply, the more stakeholders it takes to influence it. Two practical implementations that undermine SOV in cryptocurrencies are premine and developer tax. In premine, the founders create a large initial amount of funds for themselves (or for their organization). Premining is an issue in some POW currencies and in all proof-of-stake (POS) cryptocurrencies, because their coin generation is not done by work. Developer tax is implemented in some POW currencies, where a portion of the block reward goes to the founders. 6. Crowdfunding and voluntarism as driving forces Since the launch of Monero in 2014, all progression has been made by its rich and versatile community. Active members consist of several PhD researchers, developers, UX designers, translators and many other professionals of varying backgrounds. Much of the work has been made possible using crowdfunding, donors being individuals, investors and companies. Some members have participated even pro-bono, which further emphasizes the community’s trust in the project. The fact that the work is enabled by crowfunding and voluntarism is truly a strength, because it is difficult to stop ideology and people who want to be part of such force. This is in stark contrast to company-driven projects, which are much more susceptible to government oversight and control. 7. Mining is more sustainable Monero’s mining algorithm, Random X, specifically targets general purpose CPUs and it is unsuitable to be mined with application-specific integrated circuits (ASICS). This greatly improves mining decentralization, because mining is feasible on data centers and personal computers. In Bitcoin and many other POW cryptocurrencies mining is only feasible with expensive ASICS, manufactured by just a few companies. ASIC mined cryptocurrencies are problematic because there are very few companies specializing in mining equipment. Bitcoin’s largest ASIC manufacturer, Bitmain, has had overly much power in the ecosystem. They have stalled Bitcoin’s adoption, caused division among the community and even been one of the principal culprits for the past Bitcoin forks. Another problem with ASIC manufacturers is their economic advantage over the rest of the mining field. ASIC manufacturers typically utilize their next generation products themselves and start selling them to the consumer market after their mining profits have reduced sufficiently due to the increasing competition. This makes normal miners second tier stakeholders in the ecosystem and it is a cause of further mining centralization. 8. Proven track record Monero community has been working actively since its inception in 2014. Majority of the work has focused on research and development, with little efforts put to marketing. Unlike some other projects, especially those forked from Bitcoin, Monero project has an extensive technical skillset in its community and it has been one of the leading projects when it comes to both innovation and execution. One of the Monero’s focus points is applied cryptographic research. Monero has implemented several advancements into the core protocol efficiently and with assurance. All major changes to the Monero protocol have been audited by some of the world’s leading companies specializing in cryptographic analysis, funded by the Monero community.
Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential
/////Your Guide to Monero, and Why It Has Great Potential/////
Marketing. It's a dirty word for most members of the Monero community. It is also one of the most divisive words in the Monero community. Yet, the lack of marketing is one of the most frustrating things for many newcomers. This is what makes this an unusual post from a member of the Monero community. This post is an unabashed and unsolicited analyzation of why I believe Monero to have great potential. Below I have attempted to outline different reasons why Monero has great potential, beginning with upcoming developments and use cases, to broader economic motives, speculation, and key issues for it to overcome. I encourage you to discuss and criticise my musings, commenting below if you feel necessary to do so.
Bulletproofs - A Reduction in Transaction Sizes and Fees Since the introduction of Ring Confidential Transactions (Ring CT), transaction amounts have been hidden in Monero, albeit at the cost of increased transaction fees and sizes. In order to mitigate this issue, Bulletproofs will soon be added to reduce both fees and transaction size by 80% to 90%. This is great news for those transacting smaller USD amounts as people commonly complained Monero's fees were too high! Not any longer though! More information can be found here. Bulletproofs are already working on the Monero testnet, and developers were aiming to introduce them in March 2018, however it could be delayed in order to ensure everything is tried and tested. Multisig Multisig has recently been merged! Mulitsig, also called multisignature, is the requirement for a transaction to have two or more signatures before it can be executed. Multisig transactions and addresses are indistinguishable from normal transactions and addresses in Monero, and provide more security than single-signature transactions. It is believed this will lead to additional marketplaces and exchanges to supporting Monero. Kovri Kovri is an implementation of the Invisible Internet Project (I2P) network. Kovri uses both garlic encryption and garlic routing to create a private, protected overlay-network across the internet. This overlay-network provides users with the ability to effectively hide their geographical location and internet IP address. The good news is Kovri is under heavy development and will be available soon. Unlike other coins' false privacy claims, Kovri is a game changer as it will further elevate Monero as the king of privacy. Mobile Wallets There is already a working Android Wallet called Monerujo available in the Google Play Store. X Wallet is an IOS mobile wallet. One of the X Wallet developers recently announced they are very, very close to being listed in the Apple App Store, however are having some issues with getting it approved. The official Monero IOS and Android wallets, along with the MyMonero IOS and Android wallets, are also almost ready to be released, and can be expected very soon. Hardware Wallets Hardware wallets are currently being developed and nearing completion. Because Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol, it means it requires unique development in order to allow hardware wallet integration. The Ledger Nano S will be adding Monero support by the end of Q1 2018. There is a recent update here too. Even better, for the first time ever in cryptocurrency history, the Monero community banded together to fund the development of an exclusive Monero Hardware Wallet, and will be available in Q2 2018, costing only about $20! In addition, the CEO of Trezor has offered a 10BTC bounty to whoever can provide the software to allow Monero integration. Someone can be seen to already be working on that here. TAILS Operating System Integration Monero is in the progress of being packaged in order for it to be integrated into TAILS and ready to use upon install. TAILS is the operating system popularised by Edward Snowden and is commonly used by those requiring privacy such as journalists wanting to protect themselves and sources, human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts, citizens facing national emergencies, domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers, and consequently, darknet market users. In the meantime, for those users who wish to use TAILS with Monero, u/Electric_sheep01 has provided Sheep's Noob guide to Monero GUI in Tails 3.2, which is a step-by-step guide with screenshots explaining how to setup Monero in TAILS, and is very easy to follow. Mandatory Hardforks Unlike other coins, Monero receives a protocol upgrade every 6 months in March and September. Think of it as a Consensus Protocol Update. Monero's hard forks ensure quality development takes place, while preventing political or ideological issues from hindering progress. When a hardfork occurs, you simply download and use the new daemon version, and your existing wallet files and copy of the blockchain remain compatible. This reddit post provides more information. Dynamic fees Many cryptocurrencies have an arbitrary block size limit. Although Monero has a limit, it is adaptive based on the past 100 blocks. Similarly, fees change based on transaction volume. As more transactions are processed on the Monero network, the block size limit slowly increases and the fees slowly decrease. The opposite effect also holds true. This means that the more transactions that take place, the cheaper the fees! Tail Emission and Inflation There will be around 18.4 million Monero mined at the end of May 2022. However, tail emission will kick in after that which is 0.6 XMR, so it has no fixed limit. Gundamlancer explains that Monero's "main emission curve will issue about 18.4 million coins to be mined in approximately 8 years. (more precisely 18.132 Million coins by ca. end of May 2022) After that, a constant "tail emission" of 0.6 XMR per 2-minutes block (modified from initially equivalent 0.3 XMR per 1-minute block) will create a sub-1% perpetual inflatio starting with 0.87% yearly inflation around May 2022) to prevent the lack of incentives for miners once a currency is not mineable anymore. Monero Research Lab Monero has a group of anonymous/pseudo-anonymous university academics actively researching, developing, and publishing academic papers in order to improve Monero. See here and here. The Monero Research Lab are acquainted with other members of cryptocurrency academic community to ensure when new research or technology is uncovered, it can be reviewed and decided upon whether it would be beneficial to Monero. This ensures Monero will always remain a leading cryptocurrency. A recent end of 2017 update from a MRL researcher can be found here.
///Monero's Technology - Rising Above The Rest///
Monero Has Already Proven Itself To Be Private, Secure, Untraceable, and Trustless Monero is the only private, untraceable, trustless, secure and fungible cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are TRACEABLE through the use of blockchain analytics, and has lead to the prosecution of numerous individuals, such as the alleged Alphabay administrator Alexandre Cazes. In the Forfeiture Complaint which detailed the asset seizure of Alexandre Cazes, the anonymity capabilities of Monero were self-demonstrated by the following statement of the officials after the AlphaBay shutdown: "In total, from CAZES' wallets and computer agents took control of approximately $8,800,000 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash, broken down as follows: 1,605.0503851 Bitcoin, 8,309.271639 Ethereum, 3,691.98 Zcash, and an unknown amount of Monero". Privacy CANNOT BE OPTIONAL and must be at a PROTOCOL LEVEL. With Monero, privacy is mandatory, so that everyone gets the benefits of privacy without any transactions standing out as suspicious. This is the reason Darknet Market places are moving to Monero, and will never use Verge, Zcash, Dash, Pivx, Sumo, Spectre, Hush or any other coins that lack good privacy. Peter Todd (who was involved in the Zcash trusted setup ceremony) recently reiterated his concerns of optional privacy after Jeffrey Quesnelle published his recent paper stating 31.5% of Zcash transactions may be traceable, and that only ~1% of the transactions are pure privacy transactions (i.e., z -> z transactions). When the attempted private transactions stand out like a sore thumb there is no privacy, hence why privacy cannot be optional. In addition, in order for a cryptocurrency to truly be private, it must not be controlled by a centralised body, such as a company or organisation, because it opens it up to government control and restrictions. This is no joke, but Zcash is supported by DARPA and the Israeli government!. Monero provides a stark contrast compared to other supposed privacy coins, in that Monero does not have a rich list! With all other coins, you can view wallet balances on the blockexplorers. You can view Monero's non-existent rich list here to see for yourself. I will reiterate here that Monero is TRUSTLESS. You don't need to rely on anyone else to protect your privacy, or worry about others colluding to learn more about you. No one can censor your transaction or decide to intervene. Monero is immutable, unlike Zcash, in which the lead developer Zooko publicly tweeted the possibility of providing a backdoor for authorities to trace transactions. To Zcash's demise, Zooko famously tweeted:
" And by the way, I think we can successfully make Zcash too traceable for criminals like WannaCry, but still completely private & fungible. …"
Ethereum's track record of immutability is also poor. Ethereum was supposed to be an immutable blockchain ledger, however after the DAO hack this proved to not be the case. A 2016 article on Saintly Law summarised the problematic nature of Ethereum's leadership and blockchain intervention:
" Many ethereum and blockchain advocates believe that the intervention was the wrong move to make in this situation. Smart contracts are meant to be self-executing, immutable and free from disturbance by organisations and intermediaries. Yet the building block of all smart contracts, the code, is inherently imperfect. This means that the technology is vulnerable to the same malicious hackers that are targeting businesses and governments. It is also clear that the large scale intervention after the DAO hack could not and would not likely be taken in smaller transactions, as they greatly undermine the viability of the cryptocurrency and the technology."
Monero provides Fungibility and Privacy in a Cashless World As outlined on GetMonero.org, fungibility is the property of a currency whereby two units can be substituted in place of one another. Fungibility means that two units of a currency can be mutually substituted and the substituted currency is equal to another unit of the same size. For example, two $10 bills can be exchanged and they are functionally identical to any other $10 bill in circulation (although $10 bills have unique ID numbers and are therefore not completely fungible). Gold is probably a closer example of true fungibility, where any 1 oz. of gold of the same grade is worth the same as another 1 oz. of gold. Monero is fungible due to the nature of the currency which provides no way to link transactions together nor trace the history of any particular XMR. 1 XMR is functionally identical to any other 1 XMR. Fungibility is an advantage Monero has over Bitcoin and almost every other cryptocurrency, due to the privacy inherent in the Monero blockchain and the permanently traceable nature of the Bitcoin blockchain. With Bitcoin, any BTC can be tracked by anyone back to its creation coinbase transaction. Therefore, if a coin has been used for an illegal purpose in the past, this history will be contained in the blockchain in perpetuity. A great example of Bitcoin's lack of fungibility was reposted by u/ViolentlyPeaceful:
"Imagine you sell cupcakes and receive Bitcoin as payment. It turns out that someone who owned that Bitcoin before you was involved in criminal activity. Now you are worried that you have become a suspect in a criminal case, because the movement of funds to you is a matter of public record. You are also worried that certain Bitcoins that you thought you owned will be considered ‘tainted’ and that others will refuse to accept them as payment."
This lack of fungibility means that certain businesses will be obligated to avoid accepting BTC that have been previously used for purposes which are illegal, or simply run afoul of their Terms of Service. Currently some large Bitcoin companies are blocking, suspending, or closing accounts that have received Bitcoin used in online gambling or other purposes deemed unsavory by said companies. Monero has been built specifically to address the problem of traceability and non-fungibility inherent in other cryptocurrencies. By having completely private transactions Monero is truly fungible and there can be no blacklisting of certain XMR, while at the same time providing all the benefits of a secure, decentralized, permanent blockchain. The world is moving cashless. Fact. The ramifications of this are enormous as we move into a cashless world in which transactions will be tracked and there is a potential for data to be used by third parties for adverse purposes. While most new cryptocurrency investors speculate upon vaporware ICO tokens in the hope of generating wealth, Monero provides salvation for those in which financial privacy is paramount. Too often people equate Monero's features with criminal endeavors. Privacy is not a crime, and is necessary for good money. Transparency in Monero is possible OFF-CHAIN, which offers greater transparency and flexibility. For example, a Monero user may share their Private View Key with their accountant for tax purposes. Monero aims to be adopted by more than just those with nefarious use cases. For example, if you lived in an oppressive religious regime and wanted to buy a certain item, using Monero would allow you to exchange value privately and across borders if needed. Another example is that if everybody can see how much cryptocurrency you have in your wallet, then a certain service might decide to charge you more, and bad actors could even use knowledge of your wallet balance to target you for extortion purposes. For example, a Russian cryptocurrency blogger was recently beaten and robbed of $425k. This is why FUNGIBILITY IS ESSENTIAL. To summarise this in a nutshell:
"A lack of fungibility means that when sending or receiving funds, if the other person personally knows you during a transaction, or can get any sort of information on you, or if you provide a residential address for shipping etc. – you could quite potentially have them use this against you for personal gain"
Major Investors And Crypto Figureheads Are Interested Ari Paul is the co-founder and CIO of BlockTower Capital. He was previously a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago's $8 billion endowment, and a derivatives market maker and proprietary trader for Susquehanna International Group. Paul was interviewed on CNBC on the 26th of December and when asked what was his favourite coin was, he stated "One that has real fundamental value besides from Bitcoin is Monero" and said it has "very strong engineering". In addition, when he was asked if that was the one used by criminals, he replied "Everything is used by criminals including the US dollar and the Euro". Paul later supported these claims on Twitter, recommending only Bitcoin and Monero as long-term investments. There are reports that "Roger Ver, earlier known as 'Bitcoin Jesus' for his evangelical support of the Bitcoin during its early years, said his investment in Monero is 'substantial' and his biggest in any virtual currency since Bitcoin. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, has publicly stated his appreciation of Monero. In a September 2017 tweet directed to Edward Snowden explaining why Monero is superior to Zcash, Charlie Lee tweeted:
All private transactions, More tested privacy tech, No tax on miners to pay investors, No high inflation... better investment.
John McAfee, arguably cryptocurrency's most controversial character at the moment, has publicly supported Monero numerous times over the last twelve months(before he started shilling ICOs), and has even claimed it will overtake Bitcoin. Playboy instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian is a Monero investor, with 15% of his portfolio made up of Monero. Finally, while he may not be considered a major investor or figurehead, Erik Finman, a young early Bitcoin investor and multimillionaire, recently appeared in a CNBC Crypto video interview, explaining why he isn't entirely sold on Bitcoin anymore, and expresses his interest in Monero, stating:
"Monero is a really good one. Monero is an incredible currency, it's completely private."
There is a common belief that most of the money in cryptocurrency is still chasing the quick pump and dumps, however as the market matures, more money will flow into legitimate projects such as Monero. Monero's organic growth in price is evidence smart money is aware of Monero and gradually filtering in. The Bitcoin Flaw A relatively unknown blogger named CryptoIzzy posted three poignant pieces regarding Monero and its place in the world. The Bitcoin Flaw: Monero Rising provides an intellectual comparison of Monero to other cryptocurrencies, and Valuing Cryptocurrencies: An Approach outlines methods of valuing different coins. CryptoIzzy's most recent blog published only yesterday titled Monero Valuation - Update and Refocus is a highly recommended read. It touches on why Monero is much more than just a coin for the Darknet Markets, and provides a calculated future price of Monero. CryptoIzzy also published The Power of Money: A Case for Bitcoin, which is an exploration of our monetary system, and the impact decentralised cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero will have on the world. In the epilogue the author also provides a positive and detailed future valuation based on empirical evidence. CryptoIzzy predicts Monero to easily progress well into the four figure range. Monero Has a Relatively Small Marketcap Recently we have witnessed many newcomers to cryptocurrency neglecting to take into account coins' marketcap and circulating supply, blindly throwing money at coins under $5 with inflated marketcaps and large circulating supplies, and then believing it's possible for them to reach $100 because someone posted about it on Facebook or Reddit. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, Monero still has a low marketcap, which means there is great potential for the price to multiply. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, Monero's marketcap is only a little over $5 billion, with a circulating supply of 15.6 million Monero, at a price of $322 per coin. For this reason, I would argue that this is evidence Monero is grossly undervalued. Just a few billion dollars of new money invested in Monero can cause significant price increases. Monero's marketcap only needs to increase to ~$16 billion and the price will triple to over $1000. If Monero's marketcap simply reached ~$35 billion (just over half of Ripple's $55 billion marketcap), Monero's price will increase 600% to over $2000 per coin. Another way of looking at this is Monero's marketcap only requires ~$30 billion of new investor money to see the price per Monero reach $2000, while for Ethereum to reach $2000, Ethereum's marketcap requires a whopping ~$100 billion of new investor money. Technical Analysis There are numerous Monero technical analysts, however none more eerily on point than the crowd-pleasing Ero23. Ero23's charts and analysis can be found on Trading View. Ero23 gained notoriety for his long-term Bitcoin bull chart published in February, which is still in play today. Head over to his Trading View page to see his chart: Monero's dwindling supply. $10k in 2019 scenario, in which Ero23 predicts Monero to reach $10,000 in 2019. There is also this chart which appears to be freakishly accurate and is tracking along perfectly today. Coinbase Rumours Over the past 12 months there have been ongoing rumours that Monero will be one of the next cryptocurrencies to be added to Coinbase. In January 2017, Monero Core team member Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni presented a talk at Coinbase HQ. In addition, in November 2017 GDAX announced the GDAX Digit Asset Framework outlining specific parameters cryptocurrencies must meet in order to be added to the exchange. There is speculation that when Monero has numerous mobile and hardware wallets available, and multisig is working, then it will be added. This would enable public accessibility to Monero to increase dramatically as Coinbase had in excess of 13 million users as of December, and is only going to grow as demand for cryptocurrencies increases. Many users argue that due to KYC/AML regulations, Coinbase will never be able to add Monero, however the Kraken exchange already operates in the US and has XMfiat pairs, so this is unlikely to be the reason Coinbase is yet to implement XMfiat trading. Monero Is Not an ICO Scam It is likely most of the ICOs which newcomers invest in, hoping to get rich quick, won't even be in the Top 100 cryptocurrencies next year. A large portion are most likely to be pumps and dumps, and we have already seen numerous instances of ICO exit scams. Once an ICO raises millions of dollars, the developers or CEO of the company have little incentive to bother rolling out their product or service when they can just cash out and leave. The majority of people who create a company to provide a service or product, do so in order to generate wealth. Unless these developers and CEOs are committed and believed in their product or service, it's likely that the funds raised during the ICO will far exceed any revenue generated from real world use cases. Monero is a Working Currency, Today Monero is a working currency, here today. The majority of so called cryptocurrencies that exist today are not true currencies, and do not aim to be. They are a token of exchange. They are like a share in a start-up company hoping to use blockchain technology to succeed in business. A crypto-assest is a more accurate name for coins such as Ethereum, Neo, Cardano, Vechain, etc. Monero isn't just a vaporware ICO token that promises to provide a blockchain service in the future. It is not a platform for apps. It is not a pump and dump coin. Monero is the only coin with all the necessary properties to be called true money. Monero is private internet money. Some even describe Monero as an online Swiss Bank Account or Bitcoin 2.0, and it is here to continue on from Bitcoin's legacy. Monero is alleviating the public from the grips of banks, and protests the monetary system forced upon us. Monero only achieved this because it is the heart and soul, and blood, sweat, and tears of the contributors to this project. Monero supporters are passionate, and Monero has gotten to where it is today thanks to its contributors and users.
///Key Issues for Monero to Overcome///
Scalability While Bulletproofs are soon to be implemented in order to improve Monero's transaction sizes and fees, scalability is an issue for Monero that is continuously being assessed by Monero's researchers and developers to find the most appropriate solution. Ricardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni recently appeared on CNBC's Crypto Trader, and when asked whether Monero is scalable as it stands today, Spagni stated that presently, Monero's on-chain scaling is horrible and transactions are larger than Bitcoin's (because of Monero's privacy features), so side-chain scaling may be more efficient. Spagni elaborated that the Monero team is, and will always be, looking for solutions to an array of different on-chain and off-chain scaling options, such as developing a Mimblewimble side-chain, exploring the possibility of Lightning Network so atomic swaps can be performed, and Tumblebit. In a post on the Monero subreddit from roughly a month ago, monero moderator u/dEBRUYNE_1 supports Spagni's statements. dEBRUYNE_1 clarifies the issue of scalability:
"In Bitcoin, the main chain is constrained and fees are ludicrous. This results in users being pushed to second layer stuff (e.g. sidechains, lightning network). Users do not have optionality in Bitcoin. In Monero, the goal is to make the main-chain accessible to everyone by keeping fees reasonable. We want users to have optionality, i.e., let them choose whether they'd like to use the main chain or second layer stuff. We don't want to take that optionality away from them."
"Monero has all the mechanisms it needs to find the balance between transaction load, and offsetting the costs of miner infrastructure/profits, while making sure the network is useful for users. But like the interviewer said, the question is directed at "right now", and Fluffys right to a certain extent, Monero's transactions are huge, and compromises in blockchain security will help facilitate less burdensome transactional activity in the future. But to compare Monero to Bitcoin's transaction sizes is somewhat silly as Bitcoin is nowhere near as useful as monero, and utility will facilitate infrastructure building that may eventually utterly dwarf Bitcoin. And to equate scaling based on a node being run on a desktop being the only option for what classifies as "scalable" is also an incredibly narrow interpretation of the network being able to scale, or not. Given the extremely narrow definition of scaling people love to (incorrectly) use, I consider that a pretty crap question to put to Fluffy in the first place, but... ¯_(ツ)_/¯"
u/xmrusher also contributed to the discussion, comparing Bitcoin to Monero using this analogous description:
"While John is much heavier than Henry, he's still able to run faster, because, unlike Henry, he didn't chop off his own legs just so the local wheelchair manufacturer can make money. While Morono has much larger transactions then Bitcoin, it still scales better, because, unlike Bitcoin, it hasn't limited itself to a cripplingly tiny blocksize just to allow Blockstream to make money."
Setting up a wallet can still be time consuming It's time consuming and can be somewhat difficult for new cryptocurrency users to set up their own wallet using the GUI wallet or the Command Line Wallet. In order to strengthen and further decentralize the Monero network, users are encouraged to run a full node for their wallet, however this can be an issue because it can take up to 24-48 hours for some users depending on their hard-drive and internet speeds. To mitigate this issue, users can run a remote node, meaning they can remotely connect their wallet to another node in order to perform transactions, and in the meantime continue to sync the daemon so in the future they can then use their own node. For users that do run into wallet setup issues, or any other problems for that matter, there is an extremely helpful troubleshooting thread on the Monero subreddit which can be found here. And not only that, unlike some other cryptocurrency subreddits, if you ask a question, there is always a friendly community member who will happily assist you. Monero.how is a fantastic resource too! Despite still being difficult to use, the user-base and price may increase dramatically once it is easier to use. In addition, others believe that when hardware wallets are available more users will shift to Monero.
I actually still feel a little shameful for promoting Monero here, but feel a sense of duty to do so. Monero is transitioning into an unstoppable altruistic beast. This year offers the implementation of many great developments, accompanied by the likelihood of a dramatic increase in price. I request you discuss this post, point out any errors I have made, or any information I may have neglected to include. Also, if you believe in the Monero project, I encourage you to join your local Facebook or Reddit cryptocurrency group and spread the word of Monero. You could even link this post there to bring awareness to new cryptocurrency users and investors. I will leave you with an old on-going joke within the Monero community - Don't buy Monero - unless you have a use case for it of course :-) Just think to yourself though - Do I have a use case for Monero in our unpredictable Huxleyan society? Hint: The answer is ? Edit: Added in the Tail Emission section, and noted Dan Bilzerian as a Monero investor. Also added information regarding the XMR.TO payment service. Added info about hardfork
An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks
Hey guys. Merry Xmas ! I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively. The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow. I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
A. What is required to open an account in a Private bank when you made your fortune through crypto.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise. *The origin of your crypto wealth *Your background (residence, citizenship and probity) These two aspects must be documented in-depth. How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit. 1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start. Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice. 2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand. Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier. The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous. The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here: *proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early. *story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day. *micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning. *signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ? *ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow. The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow: *Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig. *Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful. *Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened. *Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet. *Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time. The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me. The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative. The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point. Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria: *Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk *AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted *Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises... *Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
B. The tax issue I am not a tax specialist, but I can say that this year I have seen it all. Again I am not judging. You made $100m hodling, and still wouldn’t pay your taxes ? Your decision.I personally advise everyone to pay their taxes, but also to be generous, to give to charities. I mean you eventually made it. Good for you. What about you contribute to make the world a better place now? I will stop patronizing you. It’s just my 2cts, and it’s your money.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me. First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards. For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t. EU tricks Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible. Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand. Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really. Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way. Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids? Dubaï
Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
Spend one day every 6 month there
Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen. The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains). The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again. Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly. “Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out. The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
C. The cash out itself So you have accumulated patiently a good amount of wealth. For some of us who have been involved in crypto since 2010, it took years. Remember when BTC was stuck at 200$ for months? I personally feel like it was yesterday. There is no way you screw up your wealth by cashing out in a hurry or with low security standards. Here is how the cash out takes should place.
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;) What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight. The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard. Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp, The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny. Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts. Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks. Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier) Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around. Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary. Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately. The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused. Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them! The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax. The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million. Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction. Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
Edit: Links here suck. I put quotes around them so you can spot them out. I did a lot of research for this post. Edit #2: Put square brackets around links. Now they should be clearly visible. TLDR: The ills Vitalik talks about are primarily about psychology. New scalable solutions can fix it partially, but we have to deal with people first. Before I dig deep into this post, I want to let you know what it's about. Yes, you'll see some emotional content. You'll see ideological ideas. However, this post ain't about ideologies. It's about something I deem as a real problem. Its about the corrupt mindsets that we have as community since the prices spiked early 2017. To advance forward, I want to analyze them, distill the problem into the most basic form possible, then point people into a direction I deem would be good for the cryptocurrency community. The format will go like this:
My history with Crypto/Blockchain. Why I'm here in the first place.
My analysis of the problem Vitalik talked about
My perceived solution to the problem.
The steps I've already taken towards the problem
Why I'm Here
Time travel back into pre-2017 and you'll see that the cryptocurrency/blockchain community was filled with hopeful young nerds that dreamed of making the world into a better place; A much more open, peaceful and freer place. I was going through a hard time with my life 2015-16 -- my twin died, I was on the verge of going homeless with nobody else to rely on, had to go unbanked in America, almost entirely dropped out of college and my first contracting business failed. I couldn't get my life right at all, and I didn't see any hope. The future was bleak to me. However, I found people here in the blockchain community actually trying their hardest to do things that would solve the world's problems, [even if that was mainly reporting the news for people and addressing people live in chat to create a community]. That drew me in well before the price of cryptocurrencies spiked; almost in a manic like way -- I read about it constantly, practiced solidity, talked to everyone I could that would have the capacity to understand cryptocurrencies and more. Even now, when I attend conferences, I meet good-hearted, sleep deprived developers, marketers, business owners and specialist that aim to solve the world's greatest problems in the best ways they can. Many are in small corners of the world helping each other out. Inside of this community I found hope and meaning. My depression lifted, my anxiety went away, my life got back on track, and that hope propels me though the field years since I joined this movement. I'm now more confident than ever knowing that collectively this industry will possibly be the epicenter of change for not only money, but for everything. We'll [eliminate poverty], [solve global warming], [prevent hyper-inflation like we've seen with Venezuela], [improve supply chains] around the world, improve healthcare, and solve the [social ills of the world like corruption]. That's just the tip of the iceberg. I believe intensely in the vision set for crypto. The community is filled with brilliant people that will make a difference. That excites me. I'm for freedom, boosting happiness of individuals, increasing health, making life more fun and less stressful for the common person, open discussions to progress everyone forward, and a more livable planet. I'm thinking of all people and I'm not against any group. However, I'm not for FUD, greed while abusing others, bigotry, trolling, hatred, racism, evil acts and stealing. Those are against my values. I think that's against the values of many of the cryptocurrency community's foundational members.
A problem we can't ignore
In 2017, as the prices exploded and the returns grew in for the average person, I noticed the community was starting to get tainted. People were no longer focusing on technology, freedom and community. No longer focusing on creating better lives for people in their communities around the world. We were missing the altruism I originally felt in the community. [If I were in Vitalik shoes, where I'd invest 80-100 hours a week into a vision, I'd feel extreme frustration too]. People are instead focusing on [needless politics], searching for the next big price pump, the next big score. Instead of people figuring out about how to use blockchain and crypto for making people's lives better, I've heard people say HODL and scam more than I ever have in the history of the community. This saddens me and frustrates me at the same time. On one end I see great potential and beauty in the community, and at the same time I see the beast within us come out that hasn't been even thought about deeply enough to be accurately tamed. Trolls, profiteers running away with ICO money, market manipulators and scam artist ruining the reputation and progress of the community. While I could complain about what I see, I decided to instead dissect it in this post. I wanted to know what's causing this on a larger scale. See, by training I'm a psychologist, social scientist and computer scientist. I've been transitioning over to economics and data science because I feel it's a solid cornerstone of the industry. My perspective will be coming from those first. Allow me to explain. If our community is going to "grow up and actually solve problems", the corruption of minds because of money needs to be fully explored first. Only by understanding the problem thoroughly can we solve it. Explicitly stating the problem: Its the extreme predatory, egotistical, harsh behavior we as a community have adopted.
The Psychology And Behavioral Science Of Finance
Let's start with the biggest premise. Money is an idea. It exist because people communicate, produce, share, trade, have scarcity for goods and have needs. Money is an ideological binding agent for people.
It helps us exchange two irrelevant things with a medium
Helps us do more things in knowing the value we hold will help us improve productivity in the future
Helps us determine value in an abstract way
Helps us navigate the world.
Money is about as social and psychological as anything in the world can get outside of direct human interactions. Coincidentally, this psychological/social aspect isn't talked about very much inside of the cryptocurrency landscape. However, it's the foundation of everything we have here today. If we can't talk about how money is connected to the mind, we can't solve the maturity problem Vitalik was talking about. My intent is to explore that deeply so a firm direction can be at least set.
Money and the Mind
Our mind is complex. Beyond the usual processing of information people have (our 11 senses), we people have 2 primary centers for decision making and control. Limbic System The first one is the limbic system. It has gone by the nickname of "the lizard brain" in recent history. It's responsible for storing memories, handling stress responses, attention and emotional processing. In a sense, it controls all of intuition and fast heuristic choices you make. https://preview.redd.it/xvpw95ate8d11.png?width=551&format=png&auto=webp&s=eeed7e25448614af346091f6ededac41be9df5b5 Prefrontal Cortex The second system is known as the prefrontal cortex. It controls higher order functions such as planning, reasoning, serial processing and how we think about emotions. https://preview.redd.it/if5p4n90f8d11.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=92ef641c4f583d38239cdf380d443b2b7557767e These two centers are not mutually exclusive. You brain has circuits to make decisions about everything. The two parts talk to each other to do so. Any dysfunction in behavior is usually due to a lack of communication between these two decision centers, rather than a lack of communication between the centers of your brain. This is heavily seen in mental disorders. According to the book [Upward Spiral ], a book that looks at mental disorders from a neuroscientific view and explains how to reverse the ill effects of them, here's now some disorders can play out inside of our heads:
Depression -- A poor link between the Anterior Cingular Cortex and PFC. It means you will notice more negative and therefore act on negative impulses and thoughts.
Dissociation -- A poor link between the Anterior Cingular Cortex and Anterior Insular makes it so your attention can't be accurately directed towards yourself. There will likely be a poor understanding of pain and out of body experiences. It can be reversed with meditation and yoga.
How Crypto Fits
This should hopefully be the first question we have. It's easy to only pay attention to the ill behaviors of the more recent cryptocurrency industry and say "shame on you!". But what if people had a hard time actually controlling themselves? Inside of the book Upward Spiral, Alex Korb, the neuroscientist that wrote it explored that people with depression and anxiety had a hard time not being depressed and anxious by choice. Because the depressed person's circuitry is skewed, they act on it subconsciously in a forever perpetuating loop. In fact, the only way to reverse depression is to reverse the circuitry that holds it together. Part of what makes anti-depressants more effective is that the serotonin improves sleep and makes a person's brain more susceptible to positive changes. That would be doing things like doing gratitude journals everyday to make your anterior cingular cortices notice more positive events, being around people who love you to boost your serotonin and cut down stress hormones, or getting a little exercise everyday to send oxygen to your brain. So that leads us back to the original question. What if people didn't have a fully conscious control over how they acted about money and crypto? I did some research between many different articles and found that this was absolutely the case. People don't have much control. They tend to be on extremes of some end all the time. How Does Finance Play With The Brain? Of the many ways, there's one key way it does. Money plays with people through the the hypothalamus stress response. It charges people into fight or flight mode, and can literally destabilize the homeostatic systems. This can do all sorts of things. It can make the anterior cingulate weaker in strength (known to help us control emotions and learn), and therefore reduce the power of our prefrontal cortex. When people are stressed about finance, or even excited about it, it will put people into extreme states.[Meaning the lizard brain takes the show].That can make people easily make haphazard decisions. Of course, there's other things that happen with the introduction of more money, but that IS the most intense thing to take note of. If we want to solve the problem of relinquishing poor community, like Vitalik continuously makes comments about, we need to look at the problem in this way. If we don't see it this way, we're screwed. The problem wont be solved, companies like Microsoft will continuously kill off their implementations due to price fluctuations, the cryptocurrency community wont pass go and wont make a huge impact. Instead we'll blame, shout at each other, and create another Wall Street 2.0. In fact, we'll become worse than them. We will have more leverage over resources than any other group in history and the corruption will be strong. Money affects decisions, period.
Solving the Cultural problem
I'm nervous. As I type this response, I know that by revealing my idea to the public I could be condemned by the community for "shilling", and even worse, somebody else can pick it up and run with it. That is the most nerve wreaking thing I could ever consider. Months of 80 hour weeks and extreme sacrifices to bring out a vision because I didn't see much of a choice. If we don't remove what limits us soon as a community we will get engulfed by outsiders that don't want to create virtuous society. My solution: Algorithmic Trading Now, before you tell me that the market is entirely unpredictable, I'd like to be one to say that the notion is false. We see everywhere that people using AI and more complex forms of math to be able to make reasonable gains in the financial world. Companies like Bridgewater predicted the financial crash of 2008 with reasonable accuracy, and other people like [mathematicians are able to do the same]. Realistically, the market has some degree of predictability. However, much of the access to that is limited. Even beyond that, the financial industry is one of the only social fields that is highly transparent to many actors, through the news and price information, and reflects ideas and beliefs through the markets. If we can better analyze markets, we could discover all sorts of social phenomenon that previously made no sense. With algorithmic trading we're heavily incentivized to learn, as that will produce a direct outcome of earning money. We could better solve the social ills of the world quickly and efficiently over time. On top of that, we will be able to stabilize the market and protect against bad agents if algorithmic trading becomes coordinated and effective enough throughout the industry. Again, How Does it Fit With Cryptocurrency? Bitconnect could answer how automated trading fits. Before I continue, let me be clear. People lost their money through that scam. It was awful. I know some people that had a lot of money taken from them. Many of them are now fearful of cryptocurrency. However, I don't think Bitconnect was 100% wrong with their idea. Yes they were a ponzi scheme, yet realistically many of the people I met that fell for it felt as though the crypto markets were already complex. They were losing money while HODLing, making rash decisions and trading. Bitcoin and the entire industry carries too much of a cognitive burden for a person to keep track of beyond their normal everyday life. News, prices, scams, hacks and technical information. That's a lot to keep track of if you have 3-4 part-time jobs as a single mom or dad while raising 2 kids. That's a lot to keep track of if you're old and don't have the technical capacity to read into the crypto markets all day everyday. Therefore, even while people were making less money from investing into Bitconnect, on paper it required less thinking and they were still getting benefits that they cared about. They could share with friends because they thought that there money would not shrink in value heavily due to a random market crash. As a consumer, it isn't wrong to believe that you can be apart of something big without having to work an extra 5 hours everyday reading blogs and watching youtube videos just to keep up with the happenings of the industry. It doesn't require us to be judging people for falling into a ponzi scheme. It requires a bit of caring and empathy to see people's main intentions. They want a better life compared to the one that has been crushing them with student debt and poor job prospects. People want to have a better life without being as stressed beyond belief like they currently are. And for the everyday trader, giving them the incentive they seek, while giving them the capacity to do some research for themselves is important. Choice matters a lot for some people.
Steps I've taken towards this:
Here comes the shill part you've been waiting for. Over the last year I've been building an application that would help us solve the problems we face today as a community. It I'll reduce the stress response of people worrying more about money, with technology like it getting standardized throughout the entire industry, it'll make things a lot more stable. It's an automated AI-based trading platform that aims to make reduce the cognitive load and worry about holding your funds in crypto. The aim of it is to dynamically trade for people while also letting them have 100% control over their funds. For now, that's by using exchange API keys. Though in the future, that can be through decentralized exchanges, meaning no middle man. My product's name: It's [Funguana.com]. [Internally meaning the interconnection of all Dhrama in the Huayan Buddhist religion]. I've already received controversial reviews, and feel crazy for putting it back out there. However, I'm now confident I can follow through, and maybe by explaining my reasoning behind why I built it the community will respond differently this time. To make it more trust-able, 4 months after public release, if my resources allow me to, I plan to open source the infrastructure code so people can implement their own platform within a matter of weeks, then systemically open many of the algorithms so they can appropriate powerful algorithms together over time (many not based on AI). I have to be strategic though. If I open it too soon, too many bad actors can enter the space and cause havoc early, without much chance to keep them in check. Edit: I made changes to the page to make the links more obvious. Now they're in bold and italic Edit 2: Adding quotes to make links more obvious again.
Newbs might not know this, but bitcoin recently came out of an intense internal drama. Between July 2015 and August 2017 bitcoin was attacked by external forces who were hoping to destroy the very properties that made bitcoin valuable in the first place. This culminated in the creation of segwit and the UASF (user activated soft fork) movement. The UASF was successful, segwit was added to bitcoin and with that the anti-decentralization side left bitcoin altogether and created their own altcoin called bcash. Bitcoin's price was $2500, soon after segwit was activated the price doubled to $5000 and continued rising until a top of $20000 before correcting to where we are today. During this drama, I took time away from writing open source code to help educate and argue on reddit, twitter and other social media. I came up with a reading list for quickly copypasting things. It may be interesting today for newbs or anyone who wants a history lesson on what exactly happened during those two years when bitcoin's very existence as a decentralized low-trust currency was questioned. Now the fight has essentially been won, I try not to comment on reddit that much anymore. There's nothing left to do except wait for Lightning and similar tech to become mature (or better yet, help code it and test it) In this thread you can learn about block sizes, latency, decentralization, segwit, ASICBOOST, lightning network and all the other issues that were debated endlessly for over two years. So when someone tries to get you to invest in bcash, remind them of the time they supported Bitcoin Unlimited. For more threads like this see UASF
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