[uncensored-r/Bitcoin] Australian Exchange independent-reserve advising customers to not use Bitcoin basically... price ...
The following post by CronkDocker is being replicated because the post has been silently greylisted. The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link: np.reddit.com/ Bitcoin/comments/7kxh2z The original post's content was as follows:
08-13 08:22 - 'Independent reserve seems to track a little higher in terms of price than BTCMarkets, but their fees are lower from memory. / Edit: Also check out r/bitcoinaus' by /u/brucefaceheadface removed from /r/Bitcoin within 0-8min
Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
Frustrated with the slow development of Ethereum 2.0, Dr. Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum and inventor of Solidity, left to begin work on Polkadot, a next generation scalable blockchain protocol that connects multiple specialised blockchains into one unified network. It achieves scalability through a sharding infrastructure with multiple blockchains running in parallel, called parachains, that connect to a central chain called the Relay Chain. Whilst it shares some similarities with Ethereum 2.0, one key differentiator is that it uses heterogeneous sharding, where each parachains can be customised through the Substrate development framework, enabling them to be optimised for a specific use case and running in parallel rather than same across all shards. This is important as when it comes to blockchain architecture, one size does not fit all and all blockchains make trade-offs to support different features and use cases. All parachains connect to the relay chain, which validates the state transition of connected parachains, providing shared state across the entire ecosystem. If the Relay Chain must revert for any reason, then all of the parachains would also revert. This is to ensure that the validity of the entire system can persist, and no individual part is corruptible. The shared state makes it so that the trust assumptions when using parachains are only those of the Relay Chain validator set, and no other. Since the validator set on the Relay Chain is expected to be secure with a large amount of stake put up to back it, it is desirable for parachains to benefit from this security. This enables seamless interoperability between all parachains and parathreads using the Cross-chain Message Passing (XCMP) protocol, allowing arbitrary data — not just tokens — to be transferred across blockchains. Interoperability is also possible to other ecosystems through bridges, which are specifically designed parachains or parathreads that are custom made to interact with another ecosystem such as Ethereum, Bitcoin and Cosmos for example, enabling interoperability. Because these other ecosystems don’t use the same shared state of Polkadot, finality is incredibly important, because whilst the relay chain can roll back all the parachains, it can’t roll back the Ethereum or Bitcoin blockchains for example. This is discussed further in part three. https://preview.redd.it/lmrz428je6m51.png?width=1000&format=png&auto=webp&s=237ad499f85e960ca50ca884234453ce283a60c0 The relay chain is responsible for the network’s shared security, consensus and cross-chain interoperability. It is secured by Validators and Nominators staking the native DOT tokens. Ultimately scalability for the ecosystem is determined by how scalable the relay chain can be. The number of parachains is determined by the number of validators on the relay chain. The hope is to reach 1000 validators, which would enable around 100 parachains. With each parachain being capable of around 1,000 transactions per second. Nominators stake their DOT tokens with validators they trust, with the validators likely charging a small commission to cover running costs. If a validator is found to have performed misconduct a percentage of the their stake but also the nominators stake will be slashed depending upon the severity. For Level 4 security threats such as collusion and including an invalid block then 100% of the stake will be slashed.What’s really important to understand is that both the validators own stake and the nominated stake will be slashed, so you could lose all your DOT that you have staked against a validator if they perform maliciously. Therefore, it’s very important not to just try and maximise rewards and being oblivious to the risk, not only can you lose all your DOT, but you are making the entire system less secure (addressed inpart three). There have already been several minor slashing incidents so far, so something to really consider. https://preview.redd.it/aj9v0azke6m51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=86134eaef08d1ef50466d1d80ec5ce151327d702
Auction for Parachain Slots
Due to the limited number of parachain slots available, there needs to be a method to decide who gets a parachain slot. This is achieved through a candle-auction where participants bid with DOT to secure a lease on a parchain slot to secure a 6 — 24 month period, with the highest bidders winning. DOT isn’t spent, but rather locked for the duration of the lease and unable to participate in staking and earn rewards. In the event they are unsuccessful in securing a further slot, then the lease expires and the DOT will be returned. Of the 100 parachain slots that they hope to be able to accommodate, between 10 and 30 will be reserved for system parachains, with the remaining available for either auction slots or used for parathreads. Whilst the DOT is returned, due to the limited number of slots available this could result in significant amounts of DOT needing to be acquired to secure a slot. How the auction mechanics effect the price of DOT also remains to be seen, with potentially a rise from the start of the auction, followed by a fall before the lease ends and the DOT are returned. The plan is to continuously have a small amount of parachain auctions going throughout the year, to minimise any unwanted effects. How comfortable developers will be with locking significant amounts of funds in a highly volatile asset for an extended amount of time, also remains to be seen. They could also be in a position where they can no longer afford to keep their lease and have to downgrade to a parathread (providing the application will still function with the reduced performance or migrate to another platform). See this article for more details on the auction mechanism https://preview.redd.it/wp8rvxlme6m51.png?width=387&format=png&auto=webp&s=496320d627405362142210e1a4c17ebe43e1f8a1
For applications that don’t require the guaranteed performance of a parachain or don’t want to pay the large fees to secure a parachain slot, then parathreads can be used instead. Parathreads have a fixed fee for registration that would realistically be much lower than the cost of acquiring a parachain slot and compete with other parathreads in a per-block auction to have their transactions included in the next relay chain block. A portion of the parachain slots on the Relay Chain will be designated as part of the parathread pool. In the event that a parachain loses its slot then it can transition to a parathread (assuming the application can still function with the reduced and varied performance of sharing the slot between many). This also enables small projects to start out with a parathread and then upgrade to a parachain slot when required.
DOT is the native token of the Polkadot network and serves three key functions. (i) It is staked to provide security for the relay chain, (ii) to be bonded to connect a chain to Polkadot as a parachain and (iii) to be used for governance of the network. There is an initial total supply of 1 billion DOT with yearly inflation estimated to be around 10% providing the optimal 50% staking rate is achieved, resulting in rewards of 20% to those that stake (net 10% when take into account inflation). Those that don’t stake lose 10% through dilution. Should the amount staked exceed the optimal 50% then reward rates reduce as well as inflation to make staking less attractive. Likewise if its below 50% then rewards and inflation rate will be higher to encourage staking. Staking isn’t risk free though as mentioned before.
Polkadot employs an on-chain governance model where in order to make any changes to the network, DOT holders vote on a proposal to upgrade the network with the help of the Council. The council is an entity comprising a 23 seats each represented by an on-chain account. Its goals are to represent passive stakeholders, submit sensible and important proposals, and cancel dangerous or malicious proposals. All DOT holders are free to register their candidacy for the Council, and free to vote for any number of candidates, with a voting power proportional to their stake. Any stakeholder can submit a public proposal by depositing a fixed minimum amount of DOTs, which stays locked for a certain period. If someone agrees with the proposal, they may deposit the same amount of tokens to endorse it. Public proposals are stored in a priority queue, and at regular intervals the proposal with the most endorsements gets tabled for a referendum. The locked tokens are released once the proposal is tabled. Council proposals are submitted by the Council, and are stored in a separate priority queue where the priorities are set at the Council’s discretion. Every thirty days, a new proposal will be tabled, and a referendum will come up for a vote. The proposal to be tabled is the top proposal from either the public-proposal queue or the Council-proposal queue, alternating between the two queues. The Technical Committee is composed according to a single vote for each team that has successfully and independently implemented or formally specified the protocol in Polkadot, or in its canary network Kusama. The Technical Committee is the last line of defence for the system. Its sole purpose is detecting present or imminent issues in the system such as bugs in the code or security vulnerabilities, and proposing and fast-tracking emergency referenda.
Whilst parachains aren’t currently implemented at this stage, there is a rapidly growing ecosystem looking to build on Polkadot with substrate. Polkadot’s “cousin”, the canary network Kusama used for experimentation, was launched last year by the same team and contributes to the early growth of the overall ecosystem. See here for a list of the current projects looking to build on Polkadot and filter by Substrate based. https://preview.redd.it/rt8i0hqpe6m51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=f6bcf26fa84463765f720c3074ee10157c2735f6 Now that we have covered the basics, in part two I will explain how the consensus mechanism in Polkadot works and covering more of the technical aspects.
Should the federal government institute a mandatory buyback of assault weapons? No
Should a business be able to deny service to a customer if the request conflicts with the owner’s religious beliefs? If they are not engaged in interstate commerce, the Federal Government shouldn't hold any power to legislate on the matter. At the state level (and federal if interstate) Yes, so long as they are not discriminating on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, transgender, or other uncontrollable factors.
Should the government continue to fund Planned Parenthood? Yes, with oversight to make sure the money is going o where it is supposed to.
Should universities provide “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” for students? No
Do you support the death penalty? Generally no, with the possible exception of treason during an insurrection or invasion.
Should the government support a separation of church and state by removing references to God on money, federal buildings, and national monuments? No, this is referring to God as a concept.
Should businesses be required to have women on their board of directors? No
Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage? Yes, through a constitutional amendment. At the state level, yes.
Should the military allow women to serve in combat roles? Yes as long as they meet the same physical standards as men and pass the same tests.
Should marital rape be classified and punished as severely as non-marital rape? This should be a state-level issue, but yes.
Should terminally ill patients be allowed to end their lives via assisted suicide? Only if there is no chance of survival.
Should hate speech be protected by the first amendment? It is, and yes.
Should gay couples have the same adoption rights as straight couples? Yes
Should states be allowed to display the Confederate flag on government property? They have the right, but I would prefer my state not.
Should women be allowed to wear a Niqāb, or face veil, to civic ceremonies? I am not fully certain. I am leaning towards yes, as long as another woman has verified her identity.
Should welfare recipients be tested for drugs? Only if they have a criminal history related to drug abuse.
Should employers be required to pay men and women the same salary for the same job? This shouldn't be a federal issue unless it involves interstate commerce. But at the state-level (and federal if interstate), Yes if they work the same positions and for the same hours and conditions.
Should there be fewer or more restrictions on current welfare benefits? More, reform it so it supplements, rather than replaces, an income.
Should the government raise the federal minimum wage? The federal government should not have the power to enact minimum wage laws unless it involves interstate commerce, in which case yes, it should be $15 an hour. Each state should be able to set its own laws on the matter.
Should the government make cuts to public spending in order to reduce the national debt? No.
Should the U.S. increase tariffs on imported products from China? Yes, China should be punished for violations of international law.
Should businesses be required to provide paid leave for full-time employees during the birth of a child or sick family member? At the state-level, yes. At the federal level, yes, if they are involved in interstate commerce.
Should the government increase the tax rate on profits earned from the sale of stocks, bonds, and real estate? Capital gains should be taxed the same as ordinary income.
Should the current estate tax rate be decreased? No, I am satisfied with the current system.
Should the U.S. continue to participate in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? No.
Should the President offer tax breaks to individual companies to keep jobs in the U.S.? No, but put tariffs on all imported goods.
Should the government prevent “mega mergers” of corporations that could potentially control a large percentage of market share within its industry? No.
Do you believe labor unions help or hurt the economy? Help, in theory, but are sometimes harmful.
Should the government break up Amazon, Facebook and Google? No.
Should the government add or increase tariffs on products imported into the country? Yes, all imported goods should be taxed 20%.
Should the U.S. raise or lower the tax rate for corporations? Keep at current rate, but close all loopholes.
Should the government require businesses to pay salaried employees, making up to $46k/year, time-and-a-half for overtime hours? At the state level, yes. At the federal level, only if they are involved in interstate commerce.
Do you support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? No.
Would you favor an increased sales tax in order to reduce property taxes? No.
Should pension plans for federal, state, and local government workers be transitioned into privately managed accounts? No.
Should the government subsidize farmers? For now, yes, but once we get out of trade deals, put tariffs on all imports, and tax all interstate sales, subsidies should be ended.
Should the government use economic stimulus to aid the country during times of recession? No, recessions are natural cycles.
Should the Federal Reserve Bank be audited by Congress? Yes, we should know where that money is going.
Should the IRS create a free electronic tax filing system? Yes.
Should an in-state sales tax apply to online purchases of in-state buyers from out-of-state sellers? No, the federal government should not enact an intrastate sales tax.
Should pension payments be increased for retired government workers? Yes, adjust them yearly for inflation.
Should U.S. citizens be allowed to save or invest their money in offshore bank accounts? Yes, as long as all income is reported.
Should the government classify Bitcoin as a legal currency? Yes, but maintain the system of the dollar and cash as a legal currency.
Should the government acquire equity stakes in companies it bails out during a recession? No.
Do you support charter schools? No.
Should the government decriminalize school truancy? No for Elementary school. For middle and high school, no social studies and English, yes for everything else.
Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun? States and the federal government should not be allowed to enact any restrictions on black powder weapons or ammunition for them. For cartridge firearms, the federal government should only have the power to regulate interstate sale of them. At the state level, cartridge firearms should require a license to obtain. The process should involve passing a mental and physical health exam, having a decent criminal record, and passing a written and shooting exam. Handguns and centerfire semi-automatic weapons should have higher standards for licensing and should be registered before being obtained, but automatic CCW to anyone who has a license for a handgun. fully automatic weapons should be illegal to sell, except to collectors, who must meet an even higher standard to obtain.
Should victims of gun violence be allowed to sue firearms dealers and manufacturers? No, this is just dumb.
Should the President of the United States have the power to deploy military troops in order to stop protests? If any state governments are overthrown, yes. Otherwise, only if the Governor of a state requests assistance.
Should teachers be allowed to carry guns at school? Yes if they have a valid license 9see above).
Should it be illegal to burn the American flag? No, but I have no respect for anyone who does.
Should the state government order schools to provide online only classes in order to combat coronavirus? No, let each school decide.
Should there be term limits set for members of Congress? Yes, maximum four terms for the House, and maximum two for the Senate.
Should people on the “no-fly list” be banned from purchasing guns and ammunition? No, this denies one of due process rights.
Are you in favor of decriminalizing drug use? Yes, for most but not all drugs (basically the really bad ones, e.g., meth, heroin, etc;)
Should the NSA (National Security Agency) be allowed to collect basic metadata of citizen’s phone calls such as numbers, timestamps, and call durations? Only with a warrant and probable cause of a crime.
Should the Supreme Court be reformed to include more seats and term limits on judges? No, this is just trying to pack the court, which should not be politicized.
Should the government regulate social media sites, as a means to prevent fake news and misinformation? No, this violates free speech.
Do you support the Patriot Act? Not the clause that allows warrantless searches.
Should the government be allowed to seize private property, with reasonable compensation, for public or civic use? Only for public land and not for privatization, and the owner must be paid for losses in full.
Should college sports be played in the fall of 2020? Yes, but let teams decide.
Should local police increase surveillance and patrol of Muslim neighborhoods? No, this just breeds resentment.
Should the government raise the retirement age for Social Security? No
Should the government pass laws which protect whistleblowers? Yes, so long as national security isn't compromised.
Should the redrawing of Congressional districts be controlled by an independent, non-partisan commission? Yes, gerrymandering breeds corruption.
Should internet service providers be allowed to speed up access to popular websites (that pay higher rates) at the expense of slowing down access to less popular websites (that pay lower rates)? If they are privately owned, yes.
Should the U.S. government grant immunity to Edward Snowden? For his leaks on domestic surveillance, yes. Some other things, maybe not.
Should foreign terrorism suspects be given constitutional rights? Yes.
Do you support the killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani? Yes.
Should the U.S. continue to support Israel? Yes.
Should the U.S. accept refugees from Syria? Yes, but only after extensive background checks to confirm that they are not a threat and are genuine refugees and not economic migrants.
Should the government increase or decrease military spending? Decrease by streamlining it, and making it more efficient, through eliminating wasteful spending.
Should the military fly drones over foreign countries to gain intelligence and kill suspected terrorists? No, unless said country has approved it, and American citizens should be given fair trials.
Should the military be allowed to use enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, to gain information from suspected terrorists? No.
Should every 18 year old citizen be required to provide at least one year of military service? No, but maintain the Selective Service system and allow states to draft people if necessary.
Should Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of Israel? Yes.
Should the U.S. go to war with Iran? No, they should be disarmed through diplomatic channels.
Should the U.S. remain in the United Nations? Yes.
Should the U.S. remain in NATO? Yes.
Should the U.S. defend other NATO countries that maintain low military defense budgets relative to their GDP? Yes, but get them to pay their share.
Should the United States pull all military troops out of Afghanistan? If the Afghan government wants us to, then yes.
Should the U.S. sell military weapons to India in order to counter Chinese and Russian influence? Yes.
Should the U.S. conduct military strikes against North Korea in order to destroy their long-range missile and nuclear weapons capabilities? No, use all diplomatic means first.
Do you support President Obama’s move to lift the trade and travel embargo on Cuba? Yes.
Should it be illegal to join a boycott of Israel? No.
Should the government cancel production of the F-35 fighter? Yes, until the price has been lowered or our deficits have been drastically reduced, and its hardware is drastically improved.
Do you support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? No.
Should people be required to work in order to receive Medicaid? No.
Should cities open drug “safe havens” where people who are addicted to illegal drugs can use them under the supervision of medical professionals? Yes.
Do you support the legalization of Marijuana? The federal government should not have the power to ban marijuana, except to regulate or ban its interstate sale, which it shouldn't at the state level, legalize.
Should the government regulate the prices of life-saving drugs? No.
Should health insurers be allowed to deny coverage to individuals who have a pre-existing condition? At the federal level, no, if they are operating in interstate commerce. At the state level, no.
Should there be more or less privatization of veterans’ healthcare? Less, improve the current system.
Should the federal government increase funding of health care for low income individuals (Medicaid)? Yes.
Should the federal government be allowed to negotiate drug prices for Medicare? Yes.
Should the government fund the World Health Organization? Yes.
Should the government increase environmental regulations to prevent climate change? No.
Should researchers be allowed to use animals in testing the safety of drugs, vaccines, medical devices, and cosmetics? Yes, but not for cosmetics.
Should the U.S. expand offshore oil drilling? No, but maintain current rigs.
Do you support the use of hydraulic fracking to extract oil and natural gas resources? Allow it to be legal, but don't subsidize.
Should the government stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline? No.
Should disposable products (such as plastic cups, plates, and cutlery) that contain less than 50% of biodegradable material be banned? No.
Should drilling be allowed in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge? No.
Should cities be allowed to offer private companies economic incentives to relocate? Yes.
Should the government give tax credits and subsidies to the wind power industry? No, no industry should be favored.
Should the government require children to be vaccinated for preventable diseases? No.
Do you support the use of nuclear energy? Yes, lessen restrictions, but no subsidies.
Should producers be required to label genetically engineered foods (GMOs)? Yes.
Should illegal immigrants have access to government-subsidized healthcare? No.
Should immigrants be deported if they commit a serious crime? Yes, after serving their sentence.
Should illegal immigrants be offered in-state tuition rates at public colleges within their residing state? No.
Should the U.S. build a wall along the southern border? No, but make a high tech surveillance barrier instead of a physical wall. This is because a physical wall would be too costly and ineffective.
Should local law enforcement be allowed to detain illegal immigrants for minor crimes and transfer them to federal immigration authorities? Yes.
Should sanctuary cities receive federal funding? No.
Should the U.S. increase restrictions on its current border security policy? Yes.
Should immigrants be required to pass a citizenship test to demonstrate a basic understanding of our country’s language, history, and government? Yes.
Should children of illegal immigrants be granted legal citizenship? Yes, if they were born here.
Should Muslim immigrants be banned from entering the country until the government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists? No.
Should immigrants be required to learn English? Yes, if they wish to become citizens.
Should there be a temporary ban on all immigration into the United States? No, but increase border security.
Should the US increase or decrease the amount of temporary work visas given to high-skilled immigrant workers? Increase, our economy relies on businesses hiring the highest skilled workers at the lowest cost.
Should working illegal immigrants be given temporary amnesty? No.
Should immigrants to the United States be allowed to hold dual citizenship status? Yes.
Do you support Common Core national standards? Yes, but only for English and social studies.
Should a photo ID be required to vote? No, but gradually update voter rolls and purge voters who are required to be according tot eh Voting Registration act of 1993.
Should foreigners, currently residing in the United States, have the right to vote? No, only citizens should.
Should the minimum voting age be lowered? No.
Should the electoral college be abolished? No.
Should the US have a mail-in ballot process for whole states in local, state, and federal elections? No.
Should foreign lobbyists be allowed to raise money for American elections? No.
Should there be a limit to the amount of money a candidate can receive from a donor? No.
Should corporations, unions, and non-profit organizations be allowed to donate to political parties? No.
Should there be a 5-year ban on White House and Congressional officials from becoming lobbyists after they leave the government? No.
Should political candidates be required to release their recent tax returns to the public? No.
Should funding for local police departments be redirected to social and community based programs? No, increase funding and training for police departments in higher crime rate communities
Should police officers be required to wear body cameras? Yes.
Should convicted criminals have the right to vote? Yes, but only after completing their sentence and probation.
Should drug traffickers receive the death penalty? No.
Should non-violent prisoners be released from jail in order to reduce overcrowding? Yes, but have them do community service.
Do you support mandatory minimum prison sentences for people charged with drug possession? No.
Should the government hire private companies to run prisons? No.
Should prisons ban the use of solitary confinement for juveniles? No, but it is currently being overused
Should the US assassinate suspected terrorists in foreign countries? No, capture, interrogate, and imprison them instead
What is your position on Abortion? Adopt a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v Wade and allow state to enact their own laws. At the state level, abortion should be legal within the first 20 weeks, but afterwards, should be banned except for exceptional cases.
Global internet / internet everywhere is being worked on with Space-x "StarLink", thousands of satellites connecting everyone globally to the internet. Therefore infrastructure for the digital currencies,
Too private makes it ideal for illegal activities. / Can't be controlled as easy, taxed as easy.
All of the above is a partial list of factors devaluing the Dollar and trust in it from several ways and views. At the end of the day it has a huge amount of enemies, that are all looking for ways to get out of it. Some of what I'm seeing personally.
Prices are outpacing wages.
Education is required for a good job vs how things used to be, jobs are getting more technical for same wage value.
Real Estate has been rapidly climbing in price, even homes that haven't been remodeled. A $80,000 home in my area is now $180k in the last 6-7 years. Wages haven't moved.
Rents have been climbing with the real estate prices.
Taxes have increased on said real estate
Insurance cost are up
Repair costs are up
It is a death spiral for the working person, where it used to be "No more than 30% of your wage going to housing" It is now well over 50%....Just look at this recent post in Frugalhttps://www.reddit.com/Frugal/comments/ifqah1/is_it_normal_for_a_third_to_a_half_of_you?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 This death spiral I foresee getting worse. And historically any "tax" / regulation cost will just be passed down to the consumer in form of increased prices until people / businesses move elsewhere as we've seen in several cities around the US. So what can we do? Buy Gold! Silver! Bitcoin! Stocks! I hear people roar, They aren't exactly wrong as history shows... but have you considered the 30-40% tax on the "gain"? Even when that asset buys the same value before tax? What if the government makes it illegal like the 1933 order: 6102 Where you couldn't own gold for nearly 50 years? You're frozen out, or even out on taxes (which will likely be more strict and controlled later in time). I'd say Invest in things that will
Help you be independent
Can help you save
That you will use anyways in normal living
Things that can be productive not only for you, but for others $
Bonus points if its easy to trade off / has demand
Extra bonus if it is durable (lasts many years)
Helps your health
Metals are the next step when a person has plenty of the above. You get to a point where you have hundreds of thousands, if not millions that you need to condense into something real. It is all about the savings or productivity gain of the investment. For instance I would wager that many preppers have gotten more use / value out of a $800 clothes washer than a $800 rifle. (have you ever had to do manual laundry???) Sure the rifle will hold value...but it often doesn't pay you back with time / what it saved and / or what it has produced during its life unless you are using it. Same can be said of security cameras, a generator, a tractor, trailer, garden, tools, ect. Look at history even, in countries that have experienced hyperinflation people that already had tangibles they regularly use were way ahead. It could even be honey, a tool, extra maintenance parts, can of food, that bottle of medicine, a computer to keep your intel on point, (cough # PrepperIntel plug) use of your equipment to do or make something for someone. Real Estate is good too, it rides inflation well and has many ways of being productive. Your metals could be sitting there like the rifle, and could be subject to hot debate and laws. Meanwhile that garden is paying back, chainsaw is helping saw up wood, or your tractor is helping a job, your tools just helped you fix something / saved you much loss, Your security stopped a loss not by a person, but an random animal stealing things. Or that $25,000 solar array is paying you back by the day in spades...while making you independent...running all your tools you're using to make things to sell, and even heating / cooling some of the house with the extra juice while places around you experience rolling blackouts. You were even smart and took the current 24% tax benefit the government has saving you $5000 on it for batteries. Don't get me started if you have an electric vehicle with solar... I'm rambling at this point...and all those stealthy / direct and passive background savings...even if the crap doesn't hit the fan. So anyways, With out of control central banks and big governments, digital currencies, How do you think it will play out? Are we heading to dystopia?
UYT Main-Net pre-launching AMA successfully completed with a blast
7 pm, 29th September 2020 Beijing time the UYT Main-Net pre-launching AMA successfully completed with a blast! Here is a full record of the AMA: Host: Hello everyone, it’s a great honor to host the first AMA of UYT network in China. Today, we have invited the person in charge of UYT Dao. Let’s ask Mr. Woo to introduce himself Woo: Hello, I’m Ben. I’ve met you in the previous global live broadcast. I’m the director of UYT Dao and the founder of IGNISVC. At present, I’m the CEO of the TKNT foundation and have been engaged in the blockchain industry. Q1. At present, different types of blockchains have emerged, but cross-chain interaction is still suffering a lot. In your opinion, what is the necessity and significance of cross-chain? Answer: The full name of UYT is to unite all your tokens, which is to integrate all public chains and increase the liquidity of the whole industry. Our purpose is not to create another public chain, but to become a platform for the exchange of value, technology, and resources of all public chains. What we need to solve is that each individual chain can circulate with each other. The full name of UYT is to unite all your tokens, which is to integrate all public chains and increase the liquidity of the whole industry. Our purpose is not to create another public chain, but to become a platform for the exchange of value, technology, and resources of all public chains. What we need to solve is that each individual chain can circulate with each other. Q2. The founder of Ethereum, V Shen, once wrote a cross-chain operation report for bank alliance chain R3, which mentioned three cross-chain methods. Which one does UYT belong to? Can you briefly introduce the cross-chain solution of UYT? Answer: In Vitalik’s cross-chain report, there are three main cross-chain methods. The first is that both parties do not know that they are crossing the chain, or that they cannot “read” each other, such as the centralized exchange. The second way is that one of the links can read other chains, such as side-chain / relay chain. That is, a can read B, and B cannot read a; The third is that both a and B can read each other’s, which can achieve the value and information exchange between a, B, and the platform. UYT belongs to the third kind. Our new official website will be online soon. Here are a few simple points: first of all, the architecture of UYT includes relay chain, parachain, parathreads, and bridges. In terms of ductility, it has exceeded almost all the public chains currently online. In the UYT network, there are four kinds of consensus participants, namely collector, fisherman, nominator, and validator. The characteristics of this model are: first, all people can participate without loss. Secondly, as long as anyone makes more contribution to the ecology, he will get more rewards, otherwise, he will receive corresponding punishment. The underlying layer of UYT is the substrate, which uses the rust programming language. Rust is committed to becoming a programming language that can solve the problems of high concurrency and high-security systems elegantly. This is also a great advantage that we are different from other blockchain projects in technology. Q3. What are the roles in the UYT network? What are their respective functions? Answer: After the main network of UYT is online, there will be four roles: collector, fisherman, nominator, and validator, which is totally different from the current system of the test network. The collector, in short, is responsible for collecting all kinds of information in the parallel chain and packaging the information to the verifier. Fishermen, to put it bluntly, is fishing law enforcement, which specifically checks out malicious acts and gets rewards after being checked out. The nominator, in fact, is a group of rights and interests. The verifier is its representative, and they entrust the deposit to the verifier. Verifier, package new blocks in the network. It must mortgage enough deposits and run a relay chain client on a highly available and high bandwidth machine. It can be understood as a mining pool. It can also be understood as the node in the current UYT DAPP. Q4. What is the mining mechanism of the UYT network? The only way to obtain UYT after its issuance is to participate in mining activities. In the initial stage, the daily constant output times of UYT are set to 1440000, and the cycle of bitcoin is halved. Mining rewards can be obtained in the following five ways: 1) Asset pledge mapping mining 2) Become the intermediate chain node of uyt network 3) Recommendation and reward mechanism 4) Voting reward 5) UYT network Dao will take out 10% of gas revenue from block packaging for community construction and reward of excellent community personnel Q5. The rise and fall of the blockchain are very fast. In order to give investors confidence, is there a detailed development plan, implementation steps, and application direction of UYT network in the next few months? Answer: UYT Network test network has been running stably for a year. After the main network is launched, all mechanisms will undergo major changes. The relationship between the UYT test network and the main network can be understood as the relationship between KSM (dot test network) and dot the main network, and the feasibility of the technology can be reflected more quickly by the UYT test network because of its faster timeliness and all future technology updates Some will move to the main network after the stable operation of the test network. In order to give users a better experience and give more rewards to excellent nodes, all Dao organizers are working hard for it. The development team has completed the cross-chain of bitcoin and some high-quality Ethereum based tokens in the early stage, and now the code has all been open source. For other mainstream currencies, community members can apply for funds to develop. In order to develop the ecology and make a better technical reserve, we will set up a special ecological development fund when the main network goes online. The transfer bridge is our key funding direction. The maximum application amount of a team is as high as 100000 US dollars. In addition, if other public chains want to connect to UYT, they will get technical support. In order to encourage developers to participate in ecological construction, Dao also launched a series of grants to support development. Developers can directly pull the better applications on Eth and EOS directly, or develop new products according to their own advantages. These directions are now the focus of funding. Due to the early online testing time of uyt network, it is based on the earlier version of substrate1.0. The on-chain governance mode can only be realized after the upgrade of 2.0 is completed. At present, the upgrading work is going on steadily, and the on-chain governance will be implemented in the main network with the launch of the uyt main network. As a heterogeneous cross-chain solution with high scalability and scalability, UYT network can perfectly bridge the parallel encryption system and its encryption assets in theory, and its wide applicability in the future can be expected. Therefore, we do not limit the areas where UYT network will play its advantages and roles. But in the general direction, there will be mainly DEFI and DEX ecological plates. From the industry, it can cover a wide range of fields, not only finance but also games, entertainment, shopping malls, real estate, and so on. Q6、How can UYT help DEFI? Answer: UYT network can not only link different public chains but also make parallel chains independent and interlinked. Just like the ACALA project some time ago, it has successfully obtained Pantera capital’s $7 million saft agreement. Although the concept of DEFI is very popular now, all DEFI products are still in the ecology of each public chain, and the cross-chain DEFI ecology has not been developed. UYT is to achieve cross-chain communication, value exchange, and develop truly decentralized financial services and products. For example, cross-chain decentralized flash cash, cross-chain asset support, cross-chain decentralized lending, Oracle machine, and other products. At present, our technical team is also speeding up the construction of infrastructure suitable for the landing of more DEFI products and services and is committed to creating a real cross-chain DEFI ecology, which is only a small step of UYT’s future plan. Q7、TKNT should be one of the hottest projects in the UYT ecosystem recently. Please give us a brief introduction to the TKNT project and the value of TKNT in the UYT ecosystem. Why can TKNT increase 400 times in 7 days? And what is the cooperative relationship between UTC and TKNT? Answer: I will answer each project from the technical and resource aspects. Let’s first introduce UTC. UTC is the token of Copernican network and the first project of UYT game entertainment ecology. In the future, it will be responsible for linking. Due to the high-quality public chain in the entertainment industry, because of the limited slots of UYT, each field will seek a high-quality partner and help the partner become the secondary relay chain of UYT. After the main network of UYT goes online, many chains will want to access UYT Greater value circulation, due to the limited external slots of UYT, the cost is also very high. At this time, you can choose to connect to UTC first, and then connect UTC to UYT. With more and more links with UYT, it will gradually evolve into a secondary relay chain of UYT network. UTC’s resources, online and offline, offline payment and offline entity applications, also have a very large community base. The ecological partners have very good operation experience in the game industry. They will use blockchain technology to change the whole game entertainment industry to make it more transparent and fair. At the same time, there are enough entity consumption scenarios. This is also UYT Because of the reason why the network chose to cooperate with it, the UTC project has been supported by the UYT ecological fund. The support fund includes that after the main network is launched, it will also be the first ecological cooperation project supported by UYT. Because of the online time of the main network of UYT, UTC can’t directly form a chain at present and will give priority to issuing on Ethereum. TKNT is a new concept project TKN.com TKN is the largest online centralized guessing game platform in the world at present. TKNT mixes bet mining and DEFI, so it can carry out fixed mining through platform games, build a system that can realize game participation and in application payment in all Dapps based on ERC20, and combine with various financial services. The reason why TKNT has created a myth of 400 times in 7 days is that the TkN platform has a buyback plan. As we all know, the online quiz game entertainment platform has an amazing profit. Every quarter, the profit will be used to buyback. The strong profit support has led to the huge increase of token. In the future, all users can use UTC to participate in TkN games. Therefore, the main network of UYT is that Line is also of great significance to TKNT. With the maturity of UYT ecology and technology, TKNT can have a more powerful performance. If TKNT wants to link more public chains, it needs to access UYT network, and realize a bigger vision with cross-chain interaction of UYT. After TKNT was launched on the exchange, the highest price has risen to $14, and now it has dropped to about $2.50. You will see that it will once again set a record high and create greater miracles. You will also see that $3 will be the best buying point for TKNT, because there will be several major moves in TKNT, and the global MLM plan will be launched on October 7 in Korea, China, and other countries There will be many marketing teams in Europe to promote TKNT, including DAPP.com As a shareholder of TkN, TKNT will also make every effort to promote TKNT. Secondly, TKNT will be launched next month on the largest digital currency exchange in South Korea, and Chinese users will see the shadow of TKNT on Binance in November. Of course, the decentralized trading platform of UYT will also be launched in the future. Q8. What is the significance of the launch of UYT’s main network for the industry and ecology? Answer: UYT is one of the few cross-chain platform projects in the industry at present. There are many public chains and coin issuing projects. Why? Because of less work, more money. However, there are very high technical and capital requirements for cross-chain and platform. This barrier is very high, so almost no project side is willing to do this. But once this is done, it will be of great significance to the whole industry of digital currency and blockchain. Because it will subvert the current situation of the whole currency circle and chain circle acting on their own, and the painting land is king. Let each independent ecosystem achieve a truly decentralized and trust-free cooperative relationship. This huge change will promote the whole industry to develop into a healthy and virtuous circle macro ecosystem. Q9. The slogan of many project supporters is that UYT should surpass Ethereum. What is the difference in technology between UYT network and Ethereum? Answer: Thank you so much for supporting UYT. In fact, the correct understanding is that UYT is the next era of Ethereum. First of all, UYT has a different vision from Ethereum. Before the emergence of UYT, Ethereum, and EOS, no matter how well they developed, belonged to the era of a single chain. The popular metaphor is a LAN. However, UYT can realize the interoperability of each chain and bring the blockchain into the Internet era. Secondly, UYT is far superior to Ethereum in technology. It mainly includes three aspects: shared security, heterogeneous cross-chain, and no fork upgrade. In the case that Ethereum 2.0 has not been implemented, UYT is the most friendly bottom layer for the DFI projects and other Dapps on Ethereum. Now, the hair chain architecture substrate of UYT is compatible with Ethereum smart contract language solidity, so eth developers can easily migrate their smart contracts to UYT. Up to now, there is no good solution to the congestion problem of Ethereum, while UYT network not only solves the network congestion problem. What’s more, UYT can easily realize one-click online upgrade, instead of having to redeploy a set of contracts on Ethereum for each version upgraded and then require users to follow them to migrate the original assets from the old contract to the new contract. Developers can quickly and flexibly iterate their own protocols to change their application solutions according to the situation, so as to serve more users and solve more problems. At the same time, they can also repair the loopholes in the contract very quickly. In the case of hacker attacks, they can also solve the hacker stealing money and a series of other problems through parallel chain management. We can find that for Ethereum, UYT not only solves the congestion problem we see in front of us but also provides the most important infrastructure for the future applications such as DFI on Ethereum to truly mature into an open financial application that can serve all people. It also opens the Web 3.0 era of the blockchain industry. In terms of market value, Ethereum currently has a strong ecological construction, with a market value of US $40 billion. UYT will also focus on the development of this aspect after the main network goes online. No matter in terms of market value or ecological construction, I have enough confidence in UYT, after all, we are fully prepared. Q10. What is the progress of the ecological construction of UYT? What opportunities do current ecological partners see in UYT or what changes may be brought about by UYT ecology? Answer: After the main network of UYT goes online, there will be a series of ecological construction actions, and more attention will be paid to establishing contact with traditional partners. Cross-chain decentralized flash cash, cross-chain asset support, cross-chain decentralized lending, Oracle machine, and other products will also be the key cooperation direction of UYT. UYT will give priority to the game and entertainment industry because this industry is most easily subverted by blockchain. As the ecological construction of UYT gets bigger and bigger, the future slots will become more and more expensive. The earlier you join UYT ecology, you will get more support from the ecological fund because the ecological fund is also limited. From the perspective of token value-added, all the project parties will cooperate with the project side in the future, and the project side needs to pledge a certain number of UYT to bid for slots, except for ecological rewards, others need to be purchased from market transactions. The difference between the pledge here and the pledge we understand is that the UYT of the ecological partner participating in the auction pledge cannot enjoy the computing power for mining. UYT main network has several opportunities for Eco partners to look forward to, the first point is bitcoin, bitcoin will be later than other assets late, but eventually, all the bubble and value will return to BTC, after the wave of DeFi bubble elimination, the focus will be very much in the bitcoin. UYT ecology can provide a more mature bottom layer for defi. In addition, now Ethereum’s DEFI is that of Ethereum and ERC 20 tokens, and the outbreak point of bitcoin has not yet arrived. Therefore, the DEFI of UYT ecology may be the next opportunity, which is a good opportunity for everyone. The second opportunity is that after the main network goes online, the future UYT ecological projects will compete to bid for slots. In fact, the original intention of UYT is to realize the interconnection of all chains. The chain outside the UYT ecology also needs to communicate. The third is cross-fi. The BIFI is hatched on Ethereum, and the def on UYT can realize multi-chain operation. For example, TkN games or future UTC game platform users can call bitcoin on the UYT chain. This form only belongs to the decentralized finance in the cross-chain era of UYT, which can be called cross-fi. Q11. Which exchanges will UYT go online next? What is the online strategy like? Answer: As the founder of ignisvc and as UYT As the head of the Dao organization, we have always had good cooperative relations with major exchanges all over the world. TKNT will appear in several exchanges one after another. Hitbtc exchange in the United Kingdom, Upbit and Bithumb Exchange in South Korea, Bitfinex exchange in the United States, Binance exchange in China, BKEX exchange, and Kucoin exchange in China are all our partners, and they have been paying close attention to UYT Development, UYT is the public chain with the largest user base and the highest community participation in the cross-chain field, so the future value is immeasurable. If we have to go to the exchange, then we will choose one of the above exchanges to launch. But the vision of UYT is to create a fairer, safer, and transparent circulation in the field of digital currency, and users can master all the assets by themselves, Therefore, in the beginning, there is a simple DEX on the UYT wallet, which is a simple matchmaking transaction and is also an on-chain transaction. After the completion of the UYT DEX, more transactions may occur in the UYT DEX. However, after the main network of UYT is online, centralized exchanges can directly access the block data synchronization of UYT, and it is not ruled out that some exchanges will directly go online for UYT trading. Such exchanges will not enjoy the support of the ecological support fund of UYT. The network project is a community-led project. Each cooperation plan of the exchange will be carried out in the way shared by the community in the future. Dao organization can only implement it according to the voting results. Q12. What are the plans for the promotion of ecological development and market by the launch of UYT main network? Answer: The launch of the main network will be completed around October 15. On the offline side, due to the epidemic situation, we will jointly organize corresponding market activities with nodes in different countries. At present, there are three large-scale offline meetups that have been identified. We will also start a global roadshow when the epidemic is over. On the online side, we have opened online Wechat, Kakao, Twitter, Reddit, and telegram communities. We will carry out AMA activities in various countries and promote them all over the world in various ways. Of course, we will launch MLM plans and cooperate with more marketing teams.
Nasdaq-Listed Microstrategy Raises Bitcoin Holdings to $425 Million After Second Purchase
Billion-dollar public company Microstrategy Inc. has bought 16,796 more bitcoins. The company has purchased a total of 38,250 bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of $425 million. Microstrategy’s Bitcoin Investments Microstrategy Inc. (NASDAQ: MSTR) has bought more bitcoin, CEO Michael Saylor revealed on Tuesday. He tweeted: “ On September 14, 2020, Microstrategy completed its acquisition of 16,796 additional bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of $175 million. To date, we have purchased a total of 38,250 bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of $425 million, inclusive of fees and expenses.” This follows an update the company provided the SEC about its bitcoin investment plan. In the filing dated Sept. 11, the Nasdaq-listed company revealed that its board of directors has adopted a new Treasury Reserve Policy “that updated the company’s treasury management and capital allocation strategies.” Under this new policy, the company’s treasury reserve will consist of two types of assets. The first type comprises “cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments … held by the company that exceed working capital needs.” The second type consists of “bitcoin held by the company, with bitcoin serving as the primary treasury reserve asset on an ongoing basis, subject to market conditions and anticipated needs of the business for cash assets, including future potential share repurchase activity.” Microstrategy clarified: “As a result of this new policy, the company’s holdings of bitcoin may increase beyond the $250 million investment.” Michael Saylor, Microstrategy’s CEO, has not always been pro-bitcoin. He tweeted back in 2013: “Bitcoin days are numbered. It seems like just a matter of time before it suffers the same fate as online gambling.” Microstrategy, which describes itself as “the largest independent publicly-traded business intelligence company,” announced its new capital allocation strategy in an earnings call on July 28, indicating that it would buy bitcoin. The company followed up with an announcement on Aug. 11 that it had purchased 21,454 bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of $250 million, inclusive of fees and expenses. The crypto community views the two purchases by Microstrategy as very bullish. What do you think about Microstrategy increasing its bitcoin holdings? Let us know in the comments section below. 👉 Telegram TOTBTC: https://t.me/TOTBTCofficial 👉 Register at: https://www.totbtc.com/register #TOTBTC #BTC #RESERVE #MICROSTRATEGY https://preview.redd.it/rnp7318w6on51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=f349ac3e0d8605b13438b3a3a96b45edfece8a96
The Bitcoin Conspiracy (an enthusiast's perspective)
I keep coming across comments, especially in this sub, from people claiming that Bitcoin was created by the CIA or some government agency as part of the plan for the NWO and cashless society. I want to share my experience and try to clear up the confusion surrounding this topic. I first got involved with Bitcoin in late 2016 when I heard about it and got some while at a libertarian festival. Back then it was still very popular among the agorist community and was being promoted as THE silver bullet that was going to disrupt the global fiat banking system. Putting preconceptions aside, a new user might ask, "what's so special about Bitcoin? We already have digital currencies." Well, you only need to read the first page of the whitepaper to discover what the original intent of Bitcoin was. It most definitely was not intended to be a tool for central banks to subjugate the world to a centralized global currency. Quite the opposite in fact. Read the full whitepaper here. When I first learned about Bitcoin, it forced me to learn about economics, then the Federal Reserve, then one by one the dominoes fell and down the conspiracy rabbit hole I went. In 2017 (actually it started a few years earlier, but I wasn't paying attention back then) there was a very heated debate in the Bitcoin community regarding scaling. I'll try to break it down simply: In the very early days, when Bitcoin was just a project being worked on by a few very technical people, no one knew about it. All it took was a handful of people running the software on their laptops to mine new coins. Since there was not much computing power on the network, it meant there could easily be a spam attack where a malicious user could join the network and generate many gigabytes of spam transactions that would overload and crash the network. To prevent this, Satoshi implemented a limit of 1MB per block, to protect the network until there was enough computing power to be able to handle larger blocks. This measure worked, and Bitcoin grew exponentially. Satoshi vanished in 2010, after WikiLeaks attracted unwanted attention to the project by accepting Bitcoin donations. He left clear instructions for his successors that the 1MB block size limit was meant to be increased once the network could support high levels of user traffic. At the time, there still was not much use, so it wasn't until around 2014 that blocks started hitting the 1MB cap and all of a sudden users had to compete (by paying higher transaction fees) in order to get their transaction mined into the next block. Up until then, sending a Bitcoin transaction would cost $0.0001 (hundredth of a penny) or less, no matter if you were sending $0.10 or $1,000,000. Now, since block space was limited, fees started to rise, as miners would only include the transactions with the highest fees. Over the next couple years, transaction fees went up dramatically, at times reaching as high as $100 to send a single transaction. The solution was obvious - raise the block size limit. But this led to a heated debate, and this is where the conspiracy became obvious to those who were paying attention. Since Bitcoin was decentralized and open source, anyone could contribute, but certain people controlled the commit access to the github repo, and it became apparent that those individuals had been compromised, as any and all mention of increasing the block size was met with fierce resistance. There was a misinformation campaign to discredit anyone arguing for larger blocks. The argument was that larger blocks would mean users could not run the software on their low-power personal devices and laptops; that by increasing the block size it would lead to mining centralization. Well, if you read the whitepaper linked above, you'll see that Satoshi predicted this. He knew mining would eventually be left to "specialized server farms" while normal users could use what he termed Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets. But this point was consistently shot down in the community, and especially on /bitcoin. There was a MASSIVE censorship campaign in the bitcoin subreddit that continues to this day where anyone who questions the official narrative or even asks a basic technical question is immediately banned. /bitcoin today is nothing but a cesspit of price memes and misinformation. Go to /btc for the uncensored discussions (but beware of trolls). In 2017 the debate was finally settled, sort of. Now known as "Bitcoin Core" (the name of the official Bitcoin software), the developers implemented a change known as SegWit (Segregated Witness) which fundamentally altered the way the software validates transactions. It was implemented as a "soft fork" rather than a "hard fork". I'll explain the difference. In a fork, the network comes to a consensus on new rules that all participants must follow. In a hard fork, the changes are non-backwards compatible, so all users must update their software or else be left behind on a dead network. Hard forks happen all the time in software development, but in the case of SegWit, the developers refused to make any non-backwards compatible changes for fear it might alienate users. Again, another unfounded fear. "We can't ever upgrade the technical capabilities of the network (such as the block size) because some people might not go along with it." All kinds of mental gymnastics were performed to justify their refusal to increase the block size, and there was nothing anyone could do about it except fork as an independent project. The 1MB block limit is now essentially set in stone for BTC. So in August 2017, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard forked by increasing the block size limit to 8MB, along with some other changes. Fast forward to December 2017 and Bitcoin was at its all time high of nearly $20,000. But fees were also astronomical and because of the 1MB block size limit, a huge backlog formed, and some people had to wait days or even weeks for their transaction to confirm. If anyone was trying to cash out into fiat and didn't want to pay a $100 transaction fee, by the time their transaction got confirmed the price had already crashed. This event was largely responsible for the bear market of 2018. Everything that happened was predicted by those who knew what was going on. A company called Blockstream had essentially wrestled control of Bitcoin from the original developers and shut them out or gained control over them, and started working on turning Bitcoin into a settlement layer for their product called Lightning Network. LN is a complicated topic that I don't want to get into, but essentially it's a framework that recreates all the same problems inherent in the banking system that Bitcoin was meant to solve. Blockstream's goal is to profit from creating, and then "solving" those problems by charging users fees for all kinds of custodial services. In my personal opinion, it's obvious that the original Bitcoin project has been hijacked and repurposed into a tool for the central banks. The propaganda is being pushed in some conspiracy circles that Bitcoin was created BY the central banks in order to discourage people from researching the true history. What is now commonly called "Bitcoin" is not the original project, but a Trojan horse. The project that most closely follows the original design is Bitcoin Cash, and that is where almost all organic development is happening, and personally I feel that it's picking up steam lately as more people wake up to what's happening in the economy right now. Unfortunately most people are still unaware of how fundamentally broken BTC is now and so as new users run toward cryptocurrency to escape the dollar collapse, most will fall straight into the trap and be stuck with BTC that they won't be able to use without paying exorbitant fees and/or submitting to the very same tracking system they are trying to get away from. This is a very deep rabbit hole but I think I've written enough for now. I hope this info helps people make sense of what's going on with Bitcoin. I know it's confusing enough even without so much deception taking place so hopefully this helps. Read the Bitcoin FAQ over on /btc.
https://preview.redd.it/n5pkxql0crh51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=959d7b4051bd1c20b53cfc28ee1c4cbdd355382e Swipe opened the month of August with the launch of its Swipe Network Staking and its announcement to run a Decentralized Finance Lending/Earn application on Binance Smart Chain. This was also followed by the plan to release product updates, events, listings, or partnerships every week until the end of 2020. Bringing their promise and commitment true to the public, here are the activities that Swipe has released for the past two weeks: https://preview.redd.it/5ztwd3p3crh51.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a5305d9e040318cfe9e3da0a3a721c88cbaf80ae Swipe Launches Staking/DeFi Swipe has recently launched its test network for Swipe Network Testnet Staking and, at the same time, announced its plans to launch a Decentralized Finance Lending/Earn application on Binance Smart Chain. With the launch of the Swipe Network testnet, users can use the Swipe Faucet to grab testnet-SXP to use on the decentralized finance application. Users will be able to bond SXP to the Swipe Network smart contract as collateral to ensure the guarantee of conversions for these exchanges. A reserve system in place to lock SXP and guarantee that the merchant and payment networks receive the exact fiat amount is in place as Swipe facilitates real-time conversions on-demand. Users will receive up 12% APY on their staked SXP within the Swipe Network off-chain and a variable rate for on-chain. Swipe plans to enable staked SXP to earn the processing fees it charges in the future as well on top of the collateral rewards from staking. Also, Swipe revealed its plans to launch a DeFi App on Binance Chain called SwipeFi, which will enable Binance Chain tokens to be used to earn interest on their supply of collateral to the protocol and borrow against their collateral directly on the Binance blockchain. Swipe (SXP) Trading Competition Last August 5 to 12, Swipe and Binance team have both committed a total of 100,000 SXP and 50,000 USDT in prizes to thank its users worldwide for their continued support and to also celebrate the Swipe acquisition and SXP/USDT listing in Futures, Margin and Spot markets. The contest was divided into three categories: a new user exclusive rewards, a trading competition, and the Lucky 99, which awarded users ranked 99th, 199th, 299th, 399th, and so forth until the 9999th place of the top 10,000 SXP traders based on their trading volume. Swipe x WBTC Swipe has partnered with WBTC Network and has officially been approved as a merchant for WBTC minting through the WBTC Network’s DAO Governance process. Swipe Wallet users will be able to benefit from instantly wrapping Bitcoin BTC to Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) and vice versa with just a few clicks. Swipe has also listed WBTC on the Swipe Wallet platform and Swipe Visa Card to enable users to buy, sell, exchange, and spend WBTC at over 60 million merchants worldwide. SXP on CoinDCX SXP, the native token of Swipe, is now listed and live on its second Indian Exchange CoinDCX. Trading for $SXP token is now live for CoinDCX users who wish to trade SXP/BTC and SXP/USDT. CoinDCX trading links for SXP: https://coindcx.com/trade/SXPBTC&https://coindcx.com/trade/SXPUSDT Wazirx AMA Session Swipe Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joselito Lizarondo, held an AMA session with the Telegram community of Wazirx, a bitcoin exchange in India, last August 7. In the AMA session, Lizarondo answered questions about Swipe, Swipe Card, its new partnership with Binance, and the recent projects that the company has announced. The community also asked if Swipe is planning to bring its card services to India as it is one of the biggest crypto market countries at present. To read the whole summary of the AMA visit: https://blog.wazirx.com/ama-with-joselito-lizarondo-ceo-founder-of-swipe-summary/ New Swipe Product Manual Swipe has released a new “redefined” white paper under the title: Swipe Product Manual. The Swipe Product Manual was designed with simplicity in mind for easy and coherent descriptions of the Swipe ecosystem of products. This will describe all of Swipe’s current and future products that the team has planned. Technical descriptions and documentation will be made available, as required, per protocol, as some will have API access for developers. The Swipe Product Manual can be viewed by clicking here or by going to https://sw.pe/ProductManual or downloading https://swipe.io/ProductManual.pdf to your desktop. Swipe 0% Fees Starting Monday, August 17, Swipe Wallet and Swipe Card users will no longer have to pay any fees to buy, sell, and pay with crypto. Users can now purchase, sell, and convert cryptocurrencies to and from fiat currencies without the previous 1% fee. Swipe cardholders will also enjoy waived membership fees and free card shipping. Swipe Staking As Swipe prepares to launch the Swipe Network Staking mainnet, the Swipe Wallet application will support SXP staking. Users will enjoy staking rewards based on their SXP balances that are held on the Swipe Wallet beginning on August 23, 00:00 UTC. More details of the staking can be viewed at: https://medium.com/swipe/swipe-wallet-to-support-sxp-staking-acfab4589813 Swipe Reddit AMA In his first blog post on Medium, Swipe CEO Joselito Lizarondo answered the questions that the Reddit community asked regarding Swipe’s activities and plans for the future. He talked about the new partnership programs of Swipe, its newly released “Product Manual,” and the new roadmap, which will be kept in stealth “to focus on bringing maximum value to these announcements and products.” Read the whole transcript of Joselito Lizarondo’s AMA here: https://medium.com/swipe/swipe-reddit-ama-8-13-80690e2f6589 Swipe and Kava Partnership Swipe has formed a strategic partnership with Kava Labs to further grow the USDX DeFi Ecosystem as Swipe prepares to bring decentralized finance applications to the Binance Smart Chain. Swipe has also listed KAVA and USDX on the Swipe Wallet platform where users can buy and sell KAVA and USDX with a linked bank account or credit/debit card as well as enabled it to be converted and spent at over 60 million merchants worldwide with the Swipe Visa Card. $16M+ Ecosystem Rewards Program for BNB Holders on Binance Swipe is launching a 12-week-period $16,000,000 Ecosystem Rewards Program for BNB holders, starting August 17. This program aims to continue to promote the usage of Swipe products, including the Swipe Network Staking and Governance within a strong community. With Swipe’s partnership with Binance, a weekly distribution of 333,333.33 SXP will run to BNB holders on Binance.com. Know more about the Rewards Program here: https://medium.com/swipe/swipe-launches-16m-ecosystem-rewards-program-for-bnb-holders-on-binance-e79ffc9dc252 Swipe’s Chainlink Based Price Oracles Now Live Swipe has collaborated with Chainlink, the market-leading decentralized oracle network, to launch a live SXP-USD price oracle on the Ethereum mainnet. By switching to Chainlink, users receive stronger guarantees around trust and transparency in the payments process, as critical price feeds for the network are now completely decentralized and available to monitor on the blockchain. This decentralized infrastructure ensures that reward issuances and token burns only take place based on accurate, highly available, and tamper-proof on-chain prices that have no single point of failure or absolute truth. Users can independently verify the current price, how price updates occur, which nodes are providing data to the network, and more. This means users no longer need to rely on Swipe to produce fair conversion rates. --- Stay up-to-date with all the latest news from Swipe Website: https://swipe.io Twitter: https://twitter.com/SwipeWallet Facebook: https://facebook.com/Swipe Instagram: https://instagram.com/Swipe Medium: https://medium.com/Swipe Telegram: https://t.me/SwipeWallet & https://t.me/Swipe LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/swipewallet YouTube: https://youtube.com/SwipeWallet
Why UMI Will Not Fall Victim to Inflation: Dispelling Myths of “Deadly Issue”
https://preview.redd.it/lr1w0ukh2ik51.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b413e6e6b2e94d2e9522571040151826b7874e77 With UMI staking, anyone anywhere in the world can generate new coins at the rate of up to 40 % a month, or up to 5,669 % a year, with no risk of falling victim to fraudsters. It means new opportunities for humanity which never existed before. However, many people who are used to miserable interests on bank deposits and financial pyramids that last a few months at most cannot understand what makes this possible. How can you safely earn up to 40 % a month with no risk of losing it all? Sceptics cannot wrap their minds around this which makes them suspect there’s a catch to it. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that you can find various myths about UMI's “deadly issue” on forums and social networks. The most popular among them say that you simply cannot ensure long-term operation with this kind of “super-high income” and no one has any idea what will happen to this cryptocurrency in 10 or more years. Here's a forecast from sceptics, briefly: “deposits” with this percentage are simply impossible, it will inevitably cause hyperinflation, UMI cryptocurrency will devalue, and will share the fate of currencies in some of the less fortunate countries, such as Zimbabwe or Venezuela. To counter these allegations, we've prepared a detailed article with arguments dispelling all these myths, nullifying all “forecasts” and putting the lid on this issue. Here we go! What's the value behind the forecasts? First of all, 10 or more years is too much of a long term, and forecasting so far in advance is simply impossible. Don't take us wrong here: it's not just about cryptocurrencies; it's about anything in the world. There was a time when people thought pagers, faxes, and landline phones had cheerful prospects, but look at what happened to them. They have been replaced by smartphones and the Internet accessible to all which no one believed was possible in the first place. New technologies emerge out of the blue and transform the world beyond recognition. The old — something everyone is used to — is replaced with something new and more convenient. Something better. 10 years ago people believed in developing bank technologies, but then, all of a sudden, Bitcoin was created and transformed people's understanding of financial payments. It turned out anyone in the world can make payments with no intermediaries and generate new digital money. It's true that Bitcoin is not perfect, but millions use it all over the world. This number is also growing fast with each passing day. Do you remember forecasts made for Bitcoin when it first appeared? Both ordinary people and respected world-class experts predicted it would soon die. No one believed it could last for even 10 years. https://preview.redd.it/q1kzcxfw2ik51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=17a12d73b9046a357cf6ecd77253472215c8bb24 Typical article predicting the end of Bitcoin from respected mass media.Source. Here're some graphic examples from the leading world-class mass media: “That's the End of Bitcoin.” Forbes, 2011, BTC price — $15. “Bitcoin is headed to the ash heap.” USA Today, 2015, BTC price — $208. “R.I.P., Bitcoin. It’s time to move on.” The Washington Post, 2016, BTC price — $382. “Stay away from bitcoin and ethereum — they are complete garbage.” This is garbage." MarketWatch, 2017, BTC price — $2,345. “Is Bitcoin Going To Zero?” Forbes, 2018, BTC price — $3,432. In 2020, the BTC price is almost $12,000. The respected mass media have “declared Bitcoin dead” over 400 times (!!!) referring to its lack of backing, high issue rate, super-high price growth, and the like — just like the skeptics “declaring UMI dead” right now. However, despite all the discouraging forecasts, Bitcoin continues to successfully grow and rapidly gain in popularity. https://preview.redd.it/6z60xwd13ik51.png?width=791&format=png&auto=webp&s=25a6799fe551c6e7f91aa016907e95ce032d7e5e Over 12 years, Bitcoin has been declared dead 381 times, but it only grows stronger with each passing year.Source. All of the above is proof that you shouldn't put blind trust in various forecasts, even coming from respected sources. Forecasts are mere opinions and arguments, but no one can know for sure what will happen in 10, 100, or 1,000 years. No expert can know that. Similarly, no one knows what will happen to UMI many years from now. UMI can solve any issues on the fly We cannot know the future, but we did all we could to make our coin last forever. Most existing cryptocurrencies have a very important problem — they cannot support high-quality growth and rapidly become obsolete. To explain this, we'd like to quote our Whitepaper: "Despite the apparition of new technology solutions, the Bitcoin blockchain still holds only about 2,000 transactions, and it takes about 10 minutes to create a block. In 11 years, developers still did not manage to come to an agreement and implement a solution that would allow scaling the system and upgrade performance. Most other cryptocurrencies face a similar problem. They are launched and keep operating in an almost initial state even after numerous innovative solutions become available. For example, the Ethereum network has been attempting to switch to the PoS algorithm for over two years now, but due to code complexity, security threats, and issues of reaching consensus, this causes great inconvenience." https://preview.redd.it/ezxzrpx43ik51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=207f8a27a59fac760fc541dae6abd30d148296f5 Screenshot of a page in the UMI Whitepaper. Have you read it? It answers a lot of questions.Link. Bitcoin itself is technically obsolete. This is besides the fact that it has a load of other problems. For instance, BTC is supposed to completely stop coin mining in 2140, meaning miners will lose motivation to support the network. What happens then? The hope is that the main source of income for miners will be transfer fees, but will they want to maintain powerful equipment for a reward in the form of small fees? If fees are big, will people want to pay those? Will they find a different solution? Will users just leave the Bitcoin ecosystem and join more high-tech cryptocurrencies like UMI? When we designed UMI, we accounted for all these issues and launched a promising project with a conveniently scalable ecosystem. Even if UMI faces some challenges in the future, we will make amendments as the network grows. We will act as appropriate judging from the project's current status. They will be based on the situation and the current state of the project. It's true that upgrade decisions have been and are being made by all leading crypto projects, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, but UMI supports really safe and rapid innovation. The network can be easily modified and scaled with cutting edge technology solutions. While other cryptocurrencies simply become obsolete, we can handle all kinds of challenges on the fly. The UMI network will grow and improve to be always up to date, keep up with the times, and prevent problems in 10, 100, or 1,000 years. At this point, the UMI network is in excellent shape, and the smart contract offers you relevant and actionable staking opportunities. We've thought out every detail, and the brisk growth of our community proves it best of all. There is no "deadly inflation" And, lastly, let's bring an issue with supposedly too-high emission to a close. UMI is typically accused of paying a too high reward for staking — as much as 40% a month, or 5,669% a year — which no one and nothing else in this world can pay. Eventually, it might end up with inflation as it happened in Zimbabwe and Venezuela, etc., Let us look at real facts. Those who consider a 40% monthly growth impossible should look at bitcoin again as the most outstanding example which has proven that nothing is impossible. Imagine how many times your deposit would have grown if 10 years ago you had bought bitcoins or inexpensive mining equipment producing a reward of 50 BTC several times a day. Please consider the following: In March 2010, BitcoinMarket.com started operating as the first bitcoin exchange, and 1 BTC cost a lot less than a cent — $0.003. At the time of writing this article, the price for 1BTC was about $12,000. It means those who bought bitcoins 10 years ago have increased their "deposit" by nearly 400,000,000% (!!!). Four hundred million percent in ten years! This is a real fact. Those who bought bitcoins when the price was a few cents or dollars also achieved the perfect result by increasing their "deposit" by thousand or million times. Well, now the percentage in UMI staking doesn't seem so crazy, does it? The only difference is that BTC "deposit" grows in line with the BTC price while UMI deposit growth is ensured the growth of the number of UMI coins, which in turn doesn't prevent the price from surging. In fact, both cases demonstrate a multiple growth of the "deposit". All of the above is proof that the reason for inflation in Zimbabwe, Venezuela, etc is a bad economy, not a high emission. In late March. roughly speaking, in one day, the FED (U.S. Federal Reserve System) released 2.2 trillion dollars to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Similar financial injections are regular in the USA, the country which is the most advanced world's economy. These facts indicate that UMI has no "deadly issue" at all and, unlike the USA, it doesn't "print" anything. Here is bare statistics form the UMI blockchain: The UMI cryptocurrency was launched on June 1. Since the launch, it's been 3 months. 18,000,000 UMI coins were initially issued. In total, there are now about 18,800,000 UMI coins. In other words, in three months, the total number of UMI coins increased by only 4.4%. Does it look like "deadly inflation"? https://preview.redd.it/gsdjbwp83ik51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=8d4591a24b3ddc63f8501f1b7fe7a4c02b7da89c In 3 months, the number of UMI coins has shown a few percent increase.Source. Let's move on: We'd like to reiterate that the total number of UMI coins is almost 18,800,000. There are about 14,500,000 coins on the genesis address today. Almost 4,000,000 coins are involved in staking. Thus, only 300,000 UMI (!)are freely circulated on the market. The remaining 18,500,000 coins are either used in staking or have not yet been released to the market. https://preview.redd.it/f7b28jid3ik51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=5ff8338121ebfe398cfb498a0cfcc00446ea6225 The number of coins stored on the genesis address at the time of writing the article.Source. In real fact, UMI has no super-high emission. This fact has been proven. For a three-month period, which is a quarter of a year, the number of UMI has hardly changed and equals about 1.5% of the total number of coins on the market. The truth is that UMI economy depends on a lot of factors. For example, burning 50,000 coins to create a structure. However, from a more general point of view, the UMI economic model itself is designed to encourage people to "save" rather than sell UMI coins. This is a crucial point that allows us to make progress, even with a high emission. Moreover, it will take a billion-dollar staking structure that will be able to provide the highest possible emission on the UMI network a lot of years to appear. While it doesn't happen, all these forecasts can be regarded as irrelevant for today. Keep in mind that a 40% monthly profit will be available to the most successful structures and only after many years of development. To have your coins increased by 40% per month, your structure must have over 50 (!) times more coins than the number of coins initially generated by the network. And since this structure will do everything possible for the benefit of the UMI cryptocurrency, even 40% per month will not pose a risk to UMI's sustainable development. Conclusions are as follows: UMI offers no kind of "killing sky-high returns". Please don't take this myth seriously. UMI is growing. The current smart contract offers reasonable and up-to-date opportunities for UMI staking and poses no problem. If, however, a problem arises — we have all the tools to find an immediate solution. All these negative forecasts are not worth a brass farthing. They always have been and always will be. At all times and in all places. But they are highly unlikely to come true. Bitcoin outsmarted the most reputable and shrewd financial analysts. Why don't UMI, which is a lot more advanced than bitcoin, try to do the same? UMI is a decentralized, strong, and high-tech network. It can exist the way it is now forever. But as it grows, it will improve to be always up to date, keep up with the times and prevent any problems. We are contributing to a great thing — we're creating a free economic system that will profitable for the entire human family. This is an opportunity to overcome social inequality and make regular people financially independent. So let's make every effort to make things go well. Ignore all evil-wishers and their predictions. Just join other users and go towards your dream. Then we will certainly succeed in it all. Sincerely yours, UMI team
Testing the Tide | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - June 2020
We would rather be ruined than changed. -W H Auden, The Age of Anxiety This is my forty-third portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal. Portfolio goal My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars). This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent. Portfolio summary Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $726 306 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 118 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 730 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $111 691 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $201 745 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 357 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $231 269 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 668 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 310 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 532 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 757 Secured physical gold – $18 913 Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $10 479 Bitcoin – $148 990 Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 841 Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 553 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 484 Total portfolio value: $1 765 743 (+$8 485 or 0.5%) Asset allocation Australian shares – 42.2% (2.8% under) Global shares – 22.0% Emerging markets shares – 2.3% International small companies – 3.0% Total international shares – 27.3% (2.7% under) Total shares – 69.5% (5.5% under) Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over) Australian bonds – 4.7% International bonds – 9.4% Total bonds – 14.0% (1.0% under) Gold – 7.7% Bitcoin – 8.4% Gold and alternatives – 16.2% (6.2% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments The overall portfolio increased slightly over the month. This has continued to move the portfolio beyond the lows seen in late March. The modest portfolio growth of $8 000, or 0.5 per cent, maintains its value at around that achieved at the beginning of the year. [Chart] The limited growth this month largely reflects an increase in the value of my current equity holdings, in VAS and A200 and the Vanguard retail funds. This has outweighed a small decline in the value of Bitcoin and global shares. The value of the bond holdings also increased modestly, pushing them to their highest value since around early 2017. [Chart] There still appears to be an air of unreality around recent asset price increases and the broader economic context. Britain's Bank of England has on some indicators shown that the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown represent the most challenging financial crisis in around 300 years. What is clear is that investor perceptions and fear around the coronavirus pandemic are a substantial ongoing force driving volatility in equity markets (pdf). A somewhat optimistic view is provided here that the recovery could look more like the recovery from a natural disaster, rather than a traditional recession. Yet there are few certainties on offer. Negative oil prices, and effective offers by US equity investors to bail out Hertz creditors at no cost appear to be signs of a financial system under significant strains. As this Reserve Bank article highlights, while some Australian households are well-placed to weather the storm ahead, the timing and severity of what lays ahead is an important unknown that will itself feed into changes in household wealth from here. Investments this month have been exclusively in the Australian shares exchange-traded fund (VAS) using Selfwealth.* This has been to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares. A moving azimuth: falling spending continues Monthly expenses on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month. [Chart] The rolling average of monthly credit card spending is now at its lowest point over the period of the journey. This is despite the end of lockdown, and a slow resumption of some more normal aspects of spending. This has continued the brief period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent kind of financial independence. The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the degree to which portfolio distributions cover estimated total expenses, measured month to month. [Chart] There are two sources of volatility underlying its movement. The first is the level of expenses, which can vary, and the second is the fact that it is based on financial year distributions, which are themselves volatile. Importantly, the distributions over the last twelve months of this chart is only an estimate - and hence the next few weeks will affect the precision of this analysis across its last 12 observations. Estimating 2019-20 financial year portfolio distributions Since the beginning of the journey, this time of year usually has sense of waiting for events to unfold - in particular, finding out the level of half-year distributions to June. These represent the bulk of distributions, usually averaging 60-65 per cent of total distributions received. They are an important and tangible signpost of progress on the financial independence journey. This is no simple task, as distributions have varied in size considerably. A part of this variation has been the important role of sometimes large and lumpy capital distributions - which have made up between 30 to 48 per cent of total distributions in recent years, and an average of around 15 per cent across the last two decades. I have experimented with many different approaches, most of which have relied on averaging over multi-year periods to even out the 'peaks and troughs' of how market movements may have affected distributions. The main approaches have been:
An 'adjusted income' approach - stripping out the capital gains components of Vanguard funds to reach an estimate of underlying income generation, both across the entire investment period, and during the sharpest low of the Global Financial Crisis
A long-term asset class approach - relying on long-term historical data on averages of the income produced by various asset classes
A 'tax method' approach - this derives an income estimate as a percentage of the portfolio by drawing on taxable investment income totals from tax return records
Simple historical rolling average - this is a rolling three-year measure, based on the actual distributions record of the portfolio
Average distribution rate approach - this method uses a long-term average of annual distributions received as a percentage of the total portfolio since 1999
Each of these have their particular simplifications, advantages and drawbacks. Developing new navigation tools Over the past month I have also developed more fully an alternate 'model' for estimating returns. This simply derives a median value across a set of historical 'cents per unit' distribution data for June and December payouts for the Vanguard funds and exchange traded funds. These make up over 96 per cent of income producing portfolio assets. In other words, this model essentially assumes that each Vanguard fund and ETF owned pays out the 'average' level of distributions this half-year, with the average being based on distribution records that typically go back between 5 to 10 years. Mapping the distribution estimates The chart below sets out the estimate produced by each approach for the June distributions that are to come. [Chart] Some observations on these findings can be made. The lowest estimate is the 'adjusted GFC income' observation, which essentially assumes that the income for this period is as low as experienced by the equity and bond portfolio during the Global Financial Crisis. Just due to timing differences of the period observed, this seems to be a 'worst case' lower bound estimate, which I do not currently place significant weight on. Similarly, at the highest end, the 'average distribution rate' approach simply assumes June distributions deliver a distribution equal to the median that the entire portfolio has delivered since 1999. With higher interest rates, and larger fixed income holdings across much of that time, this seems an objectively unlikely outcome. Similarly, the delivery of exactly the income suggested by long-term averages measured across decades and even centuries would be a matter of chance, rather than the basis for rational expectations. Central estimates of the line of position This leaves the estimates towards the centre of the chart - estimates of between around $28 000 to $43 000 as representing the more likely range. I attach less weight to the historical three-year average due to the high contribution of distributed capital gains over that period of growth, where at least across equities some capital losses are likely to be in greater presence. My preferred central estimate is the model estimate (green) , as it is based in historical data directly from the investment vehicles rather than my own evolving portfolio. The data it is based on in some cases goes back to the Global Financial Crisis. This estimate is also quite close to the raw average of all the alternative approaches (red). It sits a little above the 'adjusted income' measure. None of these estimates, it should be noted, contain any explicit adjustment for the earnings and dividend reductions or delays arising from COVID-19. They may, therefore represent a modest over-estimate for likely June distributions, to the extent that these effects are more negative than those experienced on average across the period of the underlying data. These are difficult to estimate, but dividend reductions could easily be in the order of 20-30 per cent, plausibly lowering distributions to the $23 000 to $27 000 range. The recently announced forecast dividend for the Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) is, for example, the lowest in four years. As seen from chart above, there is a wide band of estimates, which grow wider still should capital gains be unexpectedly distributed from the Vanguard retail funds. These have represented a source of considerable volatility. Given this, it may seem fruitless to seek to estimate these forthcoming distributions, compared to just waiting for them to arrive. Yet this exercise helps by setting out reasoning and positions, before hindsight bias urgently arrives to inform me that I knew the right answer all along. It also potentially helps clearly 'reject' some models over time, if the predictions they make prove to be systematically incorrect. Progress Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 81.0% 109.4% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.8% 133.5% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 79.2% 106.9% Summary The current coronavirus conditions are affecting all aspects of the journey to financial independence - changing spending habits, leading to volatility in equity markets and sequencing risks, and perhaps dramatically altering the expected pattern of portfolio distributions. Although history can provide some guidance, there is simply no definitive way to know whether any or all of these changes will be fundamental and permanent alterations, or simply data points on a post-natural disaster path to a different post-pandemic set of conditions. There is the temptation to fit past crises imperfectly into the modern picture, as this Of Dollars and Data post illustrates well. Taking a longer 100 year view, this piece 'The Allegory of the Hawk and Serpent' is a reminder that our entire set of received truths about constructing a portfolio to survive for the long-term can be a product of a sample size of one - actual past history - and subject to recency bias. This month has felt like one of quiet routines, muted events compared to the past few months, and waiting to understand more fully the shape of the new. Nonetheless, with each new investment, or week of lower expenditure than implied in my FI target, the nature of the journey is incrementally changing - beneath the surface. Small milestones are being passed - such as over 40 per cent of my equity holdings being outside of the the Vanguard retail funds. Or these these retail funds - which once formed over 95 per cent of the portfolio - now making up less than half. With a significant part of the financial independence journey being about repeated small actions producing outsized results with time, the issue of maintaining good routines while exploring beneficial changes is real. Adding to the complexity is that embarking on the financial journey itself is likely to change who one is. This idea, of the difficulty or impossibility of knowing the preferences of a future self, is explored in a fascinating way in this Econtalk podcast episode with a philosophical thought experiment about vampires. It poses the question: perhaps we can never know ourselves at the destination? And yet, who would rationally choose ruin over any change? The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
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