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.
Cryptocurrency exchanges process over $20 billion in trade volume per day. Most of the transactions are going through centralized exchanges, where the users need to fully trust them for managing their assests and transactions. However, the risk of trusting these centralized exchanges has also been seen. For example, QuadrigaCX, which was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Canada, lost $19 million of their customers' assets . Decentralized Exchanges (DEXes) have been introduced to address this problem -- they allow traders to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies in a peer-to-peer manner, so no involvement of any trusted party is required. Atomic Swap is one of the promising technology for implementing a DEX. While it enables pure peer to peer trading, it also introduces problems such as unfairness and long confirmation latency. While existing work  has provided a solution towards a fair atomic swap protocol, the issue of long confirmation latency is inherent. Another promising direction is leveraging liquidity pools. With liquidity pools, pairs of assets are reserved for trading. For any pair of assets supported by the liquidity pool, traders can exchange their assets without any third party. As traders can only perform the transactions if there are reserved assets, one core problem is how to attract liquidity providers to provide liquidity by reserving assets. It is not difficult to see that incentive [3,4], which has been a key component of all permissionless blockchains, can be equipped to incentivize liqudity providers. However, flawed incentive designs will lead to attacks and other concerns [5-13]. There are two main types of incentive designs, namely "trans-fee mining" and "liquidity mining". They are different from the Proof-of-X mining in blockchains for reaching consensus (a detailed analysis can be found in the survey ). Rather, they are used to incentivise users to join the ecosystem. "Trans-fee mining" was proposed by FCoin in 2018 . With FCoin, each time a transaction is created, 100% of its transaction fee will be returned in FCoin token to the payer as a reward. This is one incentive design to encourage traders to join the system. However, as FCoin may have no value to the trader, FCoin also introduces extra reward to all coin holders -- 80% of the transaction fee in its native currency (such as ETH) will be distributed to all coin holders. So, traders are incentivized to join the system, becoming a holder of FCoin token, and obtaining a share of the transaction fee of every transaction in the FCoin ecosystem. While this had successful attracted traders, it is not sustainable. Rather than charging a trader to perform transactions, FCoin rewards traders. Profit-driven traders will create transactions at full speed to earn FCoin token and the share as a token holder. Indeed, the trading volume of FCoin was the top one among all exchange services, and the daily reward can be as high as 6000 BTC . However, once all coins are minted, then the system would lose liveness as there is not enough supply to be distributed. "Liquidity mining" aims at giving reward to the liquidity providers rather than the traders. There are different ways to implement liquidity mining. Compound  is a famous example of protocols deploying liquidity mining. With Compound, users become a liquidity provider by supply assets to a pool and obtain interests for its contribution (similar to depositing money into a bank). Liquidity providers first reserve some assets in the pool and obtain "cToken" of Compound which entitles the owner to an increasing quantity of the underlying asset. Users can use their "cToken" to borrow different assets available on the Compound and pay some interests to Compund. The borrowers may have some quick gains through the financial games . Both borrowers and liquidity providers can withdraw their asset by trading them back with "cToken". Oners of "cToken" can also manage the business direction and decisions of Compound through weighted voting. The potential concern here is that rich users might be able to take over the control of the system. Uniswap  is another popular DEX deploying liquidity mining. Uniswap incentivizes liquidity providers by giving them a share of the earned transaction fees. In particular, Uniswap changes each transaction a 0.3% fee, where 0.25% will be distributed to the liquidity providers, and 0.05% will go to the Uniswap account. One issue is how to incentivize traders. With Uniswap, traders are incentivized by the potential profit it can gain through the price difference between Uniswap and other exchanges. Uniswap price oracle is based on a constant function market makers [20,21], where the product of the number of reserved tokens is a constant. For example, if Uniswap has a pair of X token A and Y token B, then when a user using X' token A to buy Y' token B, the product of the reserved number of tokens should remain the same, i.e., XY = (X+X')(Y-Y'). The price of Uniswap (V1) is also defined in this way. This allows traders to speculate in the exchange market as the asset price on Uniswap is changed dynamically and is different from other exchanges. This, on the other hand, may have a security risk as the price can be easily manipulated. Uniswap (V2) fixed this problem by taking an accumulated price over a period of time . However, as speculation/manipulation becomes harder, the trading volume may decrease. MiniSwap  introduces a hybrid model (a mixture of "trans-fee mining" and "liquidity mining") to address the above issues. MiniSwap provides three types of rewards. For each trade with transaction fee f ETH in MiniSwap, a number of MiniSwap tokens (called MINI) worth 2f ETH will be minted. A (parameterized) portion of the tokens are given to the trader, and the rest are distribued to the liqudity providers. The transaction fee (f ETH) is used to exchange MINI in the liquidity pool. 50% of the obtained MINI will be distributed to all MINI holders, and the other 50% will be destroyed. In this way, both traders and liquidity providers are incentivized to join the ecosystem. Recall that with FCoin, there is a problem when all coins are minted. MiniSwap has an upper bound (of 500,000 tokens) on the number of tokens can be created every day, and this limit reduces every month until a point where the limit (18,000 tokens) remains unchanged. This guarantees the sustainability of the system as the mining process can last for 100 years. The parameterized ratio of tokens as the reward to the trader and liquidity provider can also strengthen sustainability. It enables the system to dynamically balance the incentive of different parties in the system to make it more sustainable. Overall, the MiniSwap hybrid model has taken the benefit of both "trans-fee mining" model and "liquidity mining" model, while eliminated the potential concerns. Formally defining and analyzing these models, e.g. through the game-theoretic approach , would be an interesting direction. Reference  The Guardian, Cryptocurrency investors locked out of $190m after exchange founder dies, 2019.  Runchao Han, Haoyu Lin, Jiangshan Yu. On the optionality and fairness of Atomic Swaps, ACM Conference on Advances in Financial Technologies, 2019.  Satoshi Nakamoto. 2008. Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system  Jiangshan Yu, David Kozhaya, Jeremie Decouchant, and Paulo Verissimo. Repucoin: your reputation is your power. IEEE Transactions on Computers, 2019.  Joseph Bonneau. Why Buy When You Can Rent? - Bribery Attacks on Bitcoin-Style Consensus. Financial Cryptography and Data Security - International Workshops on BITCOIN, VOTING, and WAHC, 2016.  Yujin Kwon, Hyoungshick Kim, Jinwoo Shin, and Yongdae Kim. Bitcoin vs. Bitcoin Cash: Coexistence or Downfall of Bitcoin Cash, IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP), 2019.  Kevin Liao and Jonathan Katz. Incentivizing blockchain forks via whale transactions. International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, 2017.  Ayelet Sapirshtein, Yonatan Sompolinsky, and Aviv Zohar. Optimal Selfish Mining Strategies in Bitcoin. Financial Cryptography and Data Security, 2016.  Ittay Eyal and Emin Gün Sirer. Majority Is Not Enough: Bitcoin Mining Is Vulnerable. Financial Cryptography and Data Security, 2014.  Ittay Eyal. The Miner’s Dilemma. IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2015.  Miles Carlsten, Harry A. Kalodner, S. Matthew Weinberg, and Arvind Narayanan. On the Instability of Bitcoin Without the Block Reward. ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security, 2016.  Kartik Nayak, Srijan Kumar, Andrew Miller, and Elaine Shi. Stubborn mining: generalizing selfish mining and combining with an eclipse attack. IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2016.  Runchao Han, Zhimei Sui, Jiangshan Yu, Joseph K. Liu, Shiping Chen. Sucker punch makes you richer: Rethinking Proof-of-Work security model, IACR Cryptol. ePrint Arch, 2019.  Christopher Natoli, Jiangshan Yu, Vincent Gramoli, Paulo Jorge Esteves Veríssimo. Deconstructing Blockchains: A Comprehensive Survey on Consensus, Membership and Structure. CoRR abs/1908.08316, 2019.  FCoin, https://www.fcoin.pro  The Block Crypto. Cryptocurrency exchange Fcoin expects to default on as much as $125M of users' bitcoin, 2020.  Compound, https://compound.finance.  Philip Daian, Steven Goldfeder, Tyler Kell, Yunqi Li, Xueyuan Zhao, Iddo Bentov, Lorenz Breidenbach, Ari Juels. Flash Boys 2.0: Frontrunning, Transaction Reordering, and Consensus Instability in Decentralized Exchanges. IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2020.  Uniswap. https://uniswap.org  Bowen Liu, Pawel Szalachowski. A First Look into DeFi Oracles. CoRR abs/2005.04377, 2020.  Guillermo Angeris, Tarun Chitra. Improved Price Oracles: Constant Function Market Makers, CoRR abs/ 2003.10001, 2020.  Uniswap V2.0 whitepaper. https://uniswap.org/whitepaper.pdf  MiniSwap. https://www.miniswap.org  Ziyao Liu, Nguyen Cong Luong, Wenbo Wang, Dusit Niyato, Ping Wang, Ying-Chang Liang, Dong In Kim. A Survey on Blockchain: A Game Theoretical Perspective. IEEE Access, 2019.
Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: First of all, can you have a brief introduction about yourself as well as about Chromia? Henrik_hjelte, Sergelubkin Henrik Hjelte: Hello. My name is Henrik Hjelte. I am Co-Founder and CEO of Chromia. I have more than 30 years of experience in programming and a degree in Economics from Uppsala University. BTW economics and computers = blockchain, so finally found a job that fits me. I was introduced to the blockchain by the leader of the colored-coins project Alex Mizrahi in 2013 Colored coins project was a very influential thing It was the first way for user created tokens bolted on to the only blockchain at the time (almost) bitcoin We started ChromaWay 2014, with Or Perelman too, to explore if the world was interested in “tokens” and those kind of applications We worked with enterprise blockchain for some time, but now we are focused on Chromia, a new public platform for mainstream decentralized applications using relational blockchain technology. Ok, maybe I should tell something about Chromia and not myself too. Chromia is a better blockchain for building decentralized Apps. better because it follows the “normal worlds” way of managing data. A little history: I found a text/description to paste: Chromia is a brainchild of ChromaWay. ChromaWay has a long record of delivering pioneering projects around the world. We issued Euros on the Bitcoin blockchain with LHV bank, allowed investors to invest in startups in a wholly decentralized way with Funderbeam, digitized the title transfer process with the Swedish land registry, and mediated the green bond market. ChromaWay’s core team created the world’s first protocol to issue tokens already in 2012, when blockchain was called “bitcoin 2.0”. Then ChromaWay introduced the relational model to enterprise blockchains with a consortium database called Postchain. Now Postchain is going public as the foundation for Chromia, a better blockchain for building decentralised Apps. Chromia is a new public blockchain based on the idea of integrating traditional databases, Relational databases with blockchain security. Chromia is a general purpose blockchain with full smart contract capabilities, just that it is a lot easier to code, even complex applications. You code with an easy to learn new programming language that combines the power of SQL and normal languages but makes it secure in a blockchain context. Up to 1/10 the code-lines vs other blockchains. If you don’t believe me, check this blog (later, stay in the chat): https://blog.chromia.com/reasons-for-rell-compactness/ The aim of Chromia is to combine relational databases, which exist in every kind of organization, with blockchains. We want to provide a platform for our users to develop totally decentralized apps securely. Our goal is for Chromia to be seen as the number one infrastructure for decentralized applications. Think about it: blockchain is about managing data (in a shared context). And… What do we use to manage data? A Database! Serge: Sure! My name is Serge! And I work in Chromia marketing department. Also, I help coordinate various projects inside the company My background is in Economics and Marketing Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 1️⃣ DApp is currently mainly concentrated in the field of games, and its life cycle is basically short, just like the Crypto Kitty is only hot for a while, how to dig the application of DApp in more fields and how to improve the utilization rate of DApp? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: Good one, let me answer Gaming is quite a challenging target because good UX is expected, it needs to be fast, responsive, etc. If we can do that, then we can also do all sorts of other stuff. Also, it lets us experiment with things without a lot of hassle, it’s easier to get users, and so on. It’s also a growing niche within blockchain. You can check our latest game, Mines of Dalarnia https://www.minesofdalarnia.com We also have Enterprise projects already, for example Green Assets Wallet https://greenassetswallet.org/about that already launched on the first Mainnet version called Bootstrap Net,we also have https://capchap.se built on our tech, more projects like non-profit review platform Impactoria, public land registries, medical projects and so on Also don’t forget about our fully decentralized social network/forum that is live already on the testnet https://testnet.chromunity.com. Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 2️⃣ How will dapp face the world change after the epidemic? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Henrik Hjelte: Nobody can say for sure, but maybe people will tend to be online more than offline, so demand on online products and dapps as well will increase. I just came in from an internal demo of a secret project we do, and it can be seen as a way to hang out online (a bit cryptic answer) There are also interesting use cases of dapps in the medical field. For example, we participated in the world-wide hackathon Hack for Sweden. Where our submission was to create an app on Chromia blockchain that increases the coordination between countries and hospitals especially during the hard time and COVID19. Chromia wants to help the European Union (and the world, but we saw problems in the EU…) and its citizens to provide transparency over the necessary medical and protective devices and appliances of which we see shortage during this emergency crisis. You can watch our promo here https://twitter.com/chromaway/status/1247557274337447938?s=20. For me it was a fun Hackathon too because for once I got the opportunity to code… I told everyone else I will not do any bossing… We try to continue this path on medical applications a bit. Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 3️⃣ DApps are still not directly embedded in mobile phones like Apps at this moment, and DApps have also been flooded with bet content. How can guests increase the use of DApps and lower the threshold for using DApps? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: The answer is — better User Experience. We believe that in order for a DApp to be usable and become more widely accepted it has to feel like a normal App. A DApp needs to have quick transactions, scale well & shouldn’t require users to pay for each transaction. This is something that is possible now with using Chromia. It’s an extremely exciting time since we are going to see a new generation of DApps. On top of that, we think that we might have an ace coming up. We have built a game to demonstrate the powers and possibilities of Chromia. A little bit about the game: In Mines of Dalarnia (https://www.minesofdalarnia.com), players get to explore the vast expanses of interplanetary treasure mines. With an innovative Dalarnia Token system, players can purchase virtual mining plots, and put them up for rent into the community, allowing for real-estate tycoons to earn more Tokens. Mining plots can also undergo their own upgrades, making them more lucrative to explore, as well as a hot property for rental by miners. The game takes advantage of these NFT-based tokens to securely track exchanges, and provide a sense of ownership and wealth to players as they grow their mining and resource empire. Watch our trailer https://youtu.be/bDXKOp1Asqw and sign-up for the TestNet on the website! Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 4️⃣ Many practitioners think that the main reason for restricting the development of DApp is “incomplete infrastructure”. How effective is the current “cross-chain” and “side-chain” solution? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: Our infrastructure resembles Alibaba Cloud, so a DApp developer just goes and deploys his DApp’s blockchain into it, it’s easy. Also our language Rell https://rell.chromia.com/en/maste is more robust than any other blockchain programming language.Or Azure or AWS Rell combines the following features:
Relational data modeling and queries similar to SQL. People familiar with SQL should feel at home once they learn the new syntax.
Normal programming constructs: variables, loops, functions, collections, etc.
Constructs which specifically target application backends and, in particular, blockchain-style programming including request routing, authorization, etc.
Rell aims to make programming as convenient and simple as possible. It minimizes boilerplate and repetition. At the same time, as a static type system it can detect and prevent many kinds of defects prior to run-time. Maybe Henrik wants to add something. :) Henrik Hjelte: Yes, I can add some thing Consider again the real /normal world. What made the apps you use every day? Behind the bank app is a relational database. Web 1.0, “shopping on the internet” was a relational database hooked up to a webpage. web 2.0: Thefacebook was PhP and MySQL hack again, a relational database. So, we aim to make it just as easy to do decentralized apps as normal apps. Also “the cloud” inspiration is more normal. In Chromia, the dapp developer pays for hosting the application (normally). Not the USERS. N