Let's discuss the 'one chain or none approach' and BSV winning narrative - aside from CSW!
It's been a bit quiet on here, and since a lot of things are up in the air about the court case currently, I thought I would start a discussion that is largely unrelated to CSW except for in addressing some of the broadly accepted statements and predictions for the longer term performance of BSV. I wanted to make this thread because there have been fragmented discussions on this that I have found interesting and engaging, and I would like to put it in one place. I think it also addresses a very key point which I believe both sides will agree on - the 'survival' of BSV regardless of whether CSW is Satoshi. I feel there are a few key areas around which this revolves so I will attempt to capture them below and hopefully we can address each one and why it could/couldn't leave BSV as the sole survivor without it descending into bickering.
The whole bitcoin whitepaper narrative, and the flaws of other chains, in particular bitcoin core and cash. Aside from interpretations of the whitepaper, a lot of this narrative is based on things that BTC or other chains have done wrong which prevent scaling. My issues with this argument are primarily that some the 'facts' that are used as an argument against BTC are basically not true. Blocks are not actually capped at 1MB, Segwit does not break the chain of digital signatures and non segwit nodes can still verify transactions that have happened using segwit. Obviously segwit didn't fix all the problems it was meant to and the lightning network is awful, but it seems like one of the first arguments presented against BTC in favour of BSV relates to the above, but just because they are repeated incessantly does not make them true. If core presented a valid scaling solution within certain parameters surely this is a huge setback for BSV. For other chains I'll be more general, but I think it comes across as ignorant to say that the system proposed in the whitepaper is the only thing that could ever work. What if something that does not yet exist comes along tomorrow (like it has done before) and is better. Ethereum has it's flaws, but on the back end it is a proof of work chain that has consistently achieved higher daily transactions and an order of magnitude greater functionality than bitcoin since some point in 2017 with the downside that the blockchain is bigger. This obviously does not phase the BSV camp, so why fork from something that was already 'on the back foot' with respect to the metrics that are hailed as important. I do not see BSVs unique proposition in this respect.
The crude approach to scaling metrics. I will concede this is more just a thing that annoys me which I want to address and for the purpose of my posts define, obviously people are free to disagree and discuss. A lot of the social media debates revolve around 'scaling' and for good reason. But I want to explore the definition of that word. To me, doubling a block size to double the number of transactions is not scaling, that is a crude way to increase throughput. Scaling would be fitting twice the number of transactions into the same block, for example. They are not the same thing, and crudely increasing throughput will have diminishing returns effects in relation to performance. The other scaling metric that annoys me is quotes in TPS when we're talking about bitcoin rules which is a new block every 10 minutes. Functionally this is completely misleading and should be looked at with respect to finality. If I had an account with a bitcoin in it, I could spam a bunch of 'valid' 1 bitcoin transactions to nodes, yet after the block is mined obviously only one of those can be valid. Daily transaction metrics are good, or unique address interactions etc, but quoting 'high' TPS just because a big block was mined after 10 minutes does not necessarily make that any more useful. I do not see BSVs unique proposition in this respect.
The legal compliance thing vs anarachist thing that is being pushed and about it being the 'only' legal compliant chain. This is basically nonsense, code is code, obviously it is not law. Code is a neutral ruleset which people choose to participate with and abide by. Nothing is black and white, one could choose to be completely legal things on any other chain and completely illegal things on BSV to the same effect. I don't think there is a BSV vs other chains argument to be made here from either perspective. The law is the law, it doesn't matter which software you use to abide by it or break it with.
The decentralisation debate. I have less to say on this one but I don't think it's a compelling case for any approach as being objectively better or worse. Decentralisation is a spectrum and there is no universal sweet spot. On one end we have the 'everyone run a node' approach and on the other end we have host everything on AWS. BSV is somewhere in the middle of this, no one knows what the 'correct' amount of decentralisation is for general purposes so I do not see how it can be claimed that BSV has an optimal approach as long as it remains functional.
This is my personal point of greatest interest. I wouldn't say I'm a die hard supporter of any chain in particular, so I do think it is a worthwhile experiment trying the big block approach to see what happens. The issue is the assumption that this is the correct and best solution for doing everything on the blockchain. This leads me to the thinking that BSV is getting stuck in a 'jack of all trades - master of none' scenario. Whilst this means it may perform 'fine' functionally at the moment, it feels that all things equal, it may not survive long term and will certainly never be the dominant chain because there will always be a better alternative for a specific purpose, four general examples that I can think of below:
Security of a significant transaction. Lets say a house purchase, if I had to choose a chain I would obviously choose BTC because it has the greatest hashrate by orders of magnitude. I will happily pay a fee and wait for a few confirmations to know that as far as blockchains go, my transaction is as final as possible. Obviously this example uses current state of things, but obviously this use case will always go to the most secure chain, which could be anything. I cannot see a compelling case for this becoming BSV.
Microtransactions. I agree this is very important, and this narrative is pushed a lot in BSV. The problem is, there are plenty of chains currently that allow fast transactions with finality in seconds that are literally fee free. Whilst it is true that BSV can do really cheap transactions, what is the point when there is a faster and cheaper alternative. The same applies to SPV and 0-conf, while they might be 'fine' most of the time, why rely on them when you don't have to. Whilst there are more concerns over security for these fast and free chains, if we're talking beer money or whatever it's less of an issue if you're paying for convenience. This sort of echoes what Craig said in the bitcoin vision video from the other day that I agree with, except for the BSV part, so again I don't think this is a compelling case for only BSV, in fact I already think it is on the back foot.
Privacy. It's a controversial topic for sure, but the fact remains that people will sometimes for whatever reason want to be able to transact privately and for illicit reasons. BSV does not intend to cater for this, but there is a market for this regardless, and a number of chains that offer it to varying degrees.
Smart contracts. Another big one which encompasses a lot of things from tokens to actual contracts to provably fair gaming and gambling. There is already a host of account based chains with far more advanced functionality and greater developer communities than BSV. The 10 minute block finality is also an issue here, as for many of the above you presumably will want finality to transactions. I know BSV is expanding the 'smart contract' capabilities but I do not see a unique or compelling case for it to suddenly dominate or even make an impact any time soon. Once again, I do not see any kind of unique selling point.
So all in all, there is a fierce discussion aside from CSW about whether BSV is superior and can survive and thrive. I am obviously of the belief that the 'one chain or none' approach will not be the case, but I would be curious to here why people on both sides of the fence agree or disagree on the various points, and whether there will be one chain to rule them all..!
We are doing things no other studio has done and we hope one day when blockchain games explode they will look at us for taking the risk and setting the standard for all other blockchain games. Bitcoin was mocked and laughed at in 2007. Now everyone regrets not buying thousands of Bitcoins.
A small indie team can pump out a MMO in less than a year. When we launch I am happy to send you a free access. Feel free to do actual research, check out our community and come back to me when you have actual questions or feedback We are built on Unity. You should google it and learn more about it before making assumptions. Or go play Star Citizen who has taken over 200 Million and has been a compete disaster. We are doing things no other game has done. Of course there will be haters and we are happy to squash them! Our team consist now 2 developers with a combined experience of over 30 years [editors note: people still don't know what this guy means by 30 years in the gaming industry, they think he just means that they've been playing games for 30 years lol] in the gaming industry. Massive experience with Unity and multiple games launched. Before you talk about our game do your research. and our 2 marketers are recently retired from the Navy and excited to launch something we been talking about for years!
So the game is obviously fishy as hell, and can't be good. You can't make an mmo in a year with a full team, a few dudes aren't going to pull it off. Now the crazy amount of supporting comments in that thread SO SOON after it was posted is fishy. Especially since near all of the commenters have near 0 activity and the only activity they have is a couple comments on weird Bitcoin subreddits. So is it just an overestimated project? Maybe Or is it scam trying to get the attention of people who throw money at buzzwords and blockchains? Also maybe. Or maybe it's just an attempt at scamming with a bunch of fake accounts thrown in?
If I may let me address a few solid points here.... Please read if you have the time :) Anything with "blockchain" in the pitch is a scam 99 times out of 100. And that one time it isn't an actual scam, it fails anyway, but at least it fails honestly. This is so true! But we are not selling a token or coin. We are just built on ENJIN technology. That's it. we are doing something no one has ever done before.... There are an awful lot of positive comments in that thread from users with almost no karma. Like 80% of the comments are from single-digit-karma accounts. It's incredibly unlikely that everybody who thinks this game is the best thing since sliced bread just happens to be a hardcore lurker. lol.. This is my fault actually. We have 1300 people in our Telegram channel and most of these people are people looking for airdrops. So I offered a airdrop to those who comment on the post. Of course everyone will want to do this. So yes, most people are new and with low or no karma or even created today. Also we ran a massive giveaway giving away over $13,000 in blockchain assets. When we did this we had massive social media sharing, posting and commenting. That has caused us to inflate our subcriptions and likes and that is why it looks a little strange. We ran a giveaway. The ratio of low-dollar backers to high-dollar backers is bonkers. They've only got a handful of people at the reasonable $65-and-under backer levels, but they've sold out at the $1000+ levels. They have less than 150 backers total, but 24 of them have pledged more than a grand for a free-to-play game. If that doesn't scream "money laundering scheme", I don't know what does. We do have a HUGE high tier backers because the things we are offering are sold for hundreds of dollars on our website already. The people backing it see huge potential in the game and the same backers are the one who have already played and LOVED our game... They want to back us because they see the potential. I can't stop this from happening.. How is this a bad thing? I do appreciate your points as they are solid and good questions to ask! I employ you to check out our telegram channel and see the community that we have. it's a strong and passionate community and something we are blessed with. We worked really hard to get where we are at and so far we have reached some incredible milestones no one has ever done before.
Im the worst because I am building something no one has ever done before. Go find a game like ours. I swear I will pay you $300!! Take my challenge please. No other game out there is like ours. Of course we are gonna bring haters like you in the woodwork, you get scared if this isn't another traditional game. Mining is optional and not forced on anyone. It's just to avoid being charged a sub fee and our COMMUNITY have asked for this and LOVE the idea. I don't care if you don't like it or think it's a bad idea... You aren't in our community nor do you back us. Why should it matter what you think? Our community is heavily involved in our progress and future features. Did you know we recently gave away over $50k in assets to only 300 players who played the game so far? Why don't you actually play our game and learn more about it instead of trashing us? Those 300 people who have played our game love it. You think we can have the community support like we do if they hate our game? lol, your logic makes no sense.. Take my challenge. $300 dollars to find a game like ours! Kickstarter is based on a unique idea right? Why don't we deserve a kickstarter campaign that brings a unique product to the industry?
[Discussion] AAS induced hypogonadism and an appeal to the community
Tldr; AAS induced hypogonadism is a very real consequence of steroid use, and the wiki needs to be updated to state this fact clearly and without bias so that prospective users who find TRT (for life) an unacceptable consequence can make an informed decision. Also, lots of people, and some are experienced users, have demonstrated that they don't believe this is a thing. Before I begin, I want to qualify myself a bit as I am asking that we address something together and make a change to the wiki. I am a 30 year old who has been into weight lifting since I was 15, and I had a keen interest in AAS that led me to my first cycle at 24. I'm on TRT. I have a BS in biochemistry and although that is not inherently relevant, it did give me a tendency to research topics I was unfamiliar with, and to do so in peer-reviewed sources. Over the last 10 years, AAS use has exploded in popularity. It amazes me sometimes when I show up at the gym and see clearly enhanced lifters all around. Bitcoin has made AAS accessible to anyone with a mailbox; for very low prices you can have any major steroid in the bodybuilding world shipped to you in a week or less, and you don't even need to go to the dark web to find it. You don't need to know a guy. This surge in new users has clearly diluted the atmosphere of online steroid forums, whose members used to be very scrutinizing and against anyone hopping on gear if they seemed even slightly uninformed of the ins and outs. While I think its overall a good thing that the tone has become more welcoming, since people are going to do their thing regardless, I have noticed that we've collectively been skating over something that didn't used to happen as often. That thing is AAS-induced hypogonadism. In the past 4-5 months I cannot count the number of times I have informed a newcomer that recovery not only wasn't guaranteed, but multiple cycles and years of use make TRT a VERY real outcome. Now, I know there are many who recover from years of use, the majority. That is great. But there are no studies that I can find that show what percentage do and don't, or what parameters are involved. I only have the experience of my many friends, people on these kinds of forums, an endocrinologist, and myself to go on and I can say that there are a lot of us walking around who are on TRT because of our AAS use. Literature overwhelmingly supports this. The wiki itself states that length of suppression, the types of drugs used, and individual response are factors in determining HPTA recovery. It states that failure to do a proper pct "will present a very high probability of long-term endocrine damage" without saying anything about the possibility of not recovering even after you do everything right, giving the false impression that a pct will get everyone back to normal. The individual response paragraph discerns between users who will recovery easily and those who will have "extreme difficulty recovering" but makes no concession anywhere that there is a third category: those who's test levels never fully return to baseline. The HPTA was never designed to be fully suppressed and brought back, there is no situation where exogenous hormones would ever exist in any time during our evolution. The pituitary sends a message to the balls to make more test when it dips a bit, and then tells them to stop when it reaches a max. Small changes. Dumping hormones into your body causes a hijacking of that entire system and crashes it. The pituitary goes silent, your balls stop producing test, stop making sperm, shrink. They literally atrophy from disuse and revert back to being as useless as they were before puberty. Recovery from that is not a given. After my 3rd cycle, my test values returned to normal but my balls felt a tad smaller, my libido a bit off. My 4th cycle's pct failed, as did the 3 other pcts I attempted over the next 1.5 years. HCG runs, pharma pcts of varying lengths, but no matter what 2-3 months after pct I would dip down. I had lost 40% of my natural production and at the 2 year mark with no improvement I decided to do TRT. For me, it wasnt that huge of a deal because I love this lifestyle and knew I wanted to continue to cycle. But there are guys out there who may find this outcome unacceptable and should really make this the number 1 consideration in whether they cycle or not. I made this post because I have been met with skepticism many of the times I have pointed out the possibility of not recovering. Someone today called it a myth on the same comment thread that he was giving a new guy advice on. Another guy last month PMed me to let me know he was thankful I had brought it up in a comment thread where a guy was asking about the chances of not recovering and 4-5 people were encouraging him that doing a pct and enough time off would prevent that. I get it, we don't like to think about it. Everyone, when they started, worried a bit about their natural levels coming back since everyone was so adamant about checking via bloodwork, but we seem to have calmed that down by carrying on that a proper pct is King and will set things right. The truth is, there are many people on and off these forums with AAS-induced hypogonadism and I am concerned about the numbers who are happily cycling not knowing their next pct is going to fail. While there is no guarantee, a test cycle will most likely go fine. But when people get into the territory of their 3rd, 4th, 5th cycles, more powerful drugs, BnC, they are most likely not going to leave with the test levels they came in with. For many, it will be severe enough of a dip to warrant TRT, others will suffer minor sides and just go on with life, and some will probably struggle for year with it. I visited an endocrinologist recently because I want to stop self prescribing and he told me he deals with this all the time, that its very common. I don't really know how changes get made to the wiki, but I propose that we make it a very large disclaimer at the top of the PCT section and in the 500mg test cycle section. Below are just a few sources I found over a very short time. I suggest you look further if you need more evidence. I am not a gatekeeper and never will be, but if we transmit any information to a prospective user about how to take these drugs safely it should come with this fact. Discuss. Coward RM, Rajanahally S, Kovac JR, Smith RP, Pastuszak AW, Lipshultz LI. Anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism in young men. The Journal of urology. 2013;190(6):2200–5. Epub 2013/06/15. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2013.06.010 pmid:23764075. Rahnema CD, Lipshultz LI, Crosnoe LE, Kovac JR, Kim ED. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism: diagnosis and treatment. Fertil Steril. 2014;101(5):1271–9. Epub 2014/03/19. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.02.002 pmid:24636400. Tan RS, Scally MC. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism—towards a unified hypothesis of anabolic steroid action. Med Hypotheses. 2009;72(6):723–8. Epub 2009/02/24. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.12.042 pmid:19231088. van Breda E, Keizer HA, Kuipers H, Wolffenbuttel BH. Androgenic anabolic steroid use and severe hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction: a case study. International journal of sports medicine. 2003;24(3):195–6. Epub 2003/05/13. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-39089 pmid:12740738. Boregowda K, Joels L, Stephens JW, Price DE. Persistent primary hypogonadism associated with anabolic steroid abuse. Fertil Steril. 2011;96(1):e7–8. Epub 2011/05/18. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.04.029 pmid:21575947. Jarow JP, Lipshultz LI. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Am J Sports Med. 1990;18(4):429–31. Epub 1990/07/01. pmid:2403193. Lloyd FH, Powell P, Murdoch AP. Anabolic steroid abuse by body builders and male subfertility. BMJ. 1996;313(7049):100–1. Epub 1996/07/13. pmid:8688713; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2351471. Kanayama G, Hudson JI, DeLuca J, Isaacs S, Baggish A, Weiner R, et al. Prolonged hypogonadism in males following withdrawal from anabolic-androgenic steroids: an under-recognized problem. Addiction. 2015;110(5):823–31. Epub 2015/01/20. doi: 10.1111/add.12850 pmid:25598171; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4398624. Kanayama G, Hudson JI, Pope HG Jr. Long term psychiatric and medical consequences of anabolic androgenic steroid abuse: a looming public health concern. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Nov 1;98(1-2):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep. 2008.05.004. Epub 2008 Jul 2. Review. PMID: 18599224 EDIT: does anyone know how we even go about modifying the wiki? What’s the process?
Evidence that the mods of /r/Bitcoin may have been involved with the hacking and vote manipulation "attack" on /r/Bitcoin.
While running the Censorship Notifier Bot, we generally try to stay out of any specific situations regarding any subreddits we monitor. But the very nature of the CNBot requires it to collect and store large amounts of data, and requires us to be aware of normal trends within a subreddit to ensure the bot is running correctly. Specifically, the bot needs to know exactly what was on the site at a specific time, and when things disappear from the site. This data positions us to diligently analyze events and check real data as we go. When we first began looking at the massive downvoting attack as shown in BashCo's previously stickied thread last week, the first thing we noticed was that both of the bot-voted comments ( Image of #1, link to #2 ) would normally trigger our censorship notifier detection. Both "censoring" and "censorship" are trigger words we have found triggering automatic removal, something we later confirmed again. This would imply that either the comments were explicitly approved by the moderators at that time, or our understanding of the subreddit's policies needed updating. We began to dig into the data available, and those findings lead us to the conclusion that we must publish what we had found. Note: All times are in UTC; Some references are moved to the end of the document, tagged as [REF-1], [REF-2], etc.
We'll start out by giving a rough picture of the events that transpired. The bots which were downvoting comments and posts on /Bitcoin and upvoting posts on /btc began their attack on 11/14/2017 at around 18:00 utc. A similar unusual pattern of voting appeared on /btc around the same time the day before, though less dramatically. The bots seemed to be pushing people to buy Bitcoin Cash in such a blatant way that it even left a bad taste in the mouths of Bitcoin Cash supporters. Both the attack the day before and the /Bitcoin bot voting attack on 11/14/2017 ended before or around 22:00 utc [REF-3]. The bots attacking /Bitcoin upvoted posts complaining about high fees and downvoted about 30 other /Bitcoin posts. At the same time they upvoted posts on /btc. We identified 65 comments downvoted by bots in /Bitcoin and 2 upvoted. The conclusions appeared to indicate that the bots were promoting Bitcoin Cash and /btc and harming /Bitcoin.
Suspicious comment #1
We began investigating into the comments that caught our eye at first, referred to as [CU-1] and [CU-2] for short. [CU-1]'s content can be seen here as it originally looked. Immediately we noticed the next oddity - How were people able to see votes in /Bitcoin to discuss voting in the first place? /Bitcoin has blocked votes from being visible on comments during discussion for years. When did that change? We found that it changed right before [CU-1] was posted. BashCo stickied a comment stating they would "pull back the curtains" at 20:49, and archive.org confirmed that scores became visible between 20:32 utc and 20:50 utc. That, oddly enough, was just 13 minutes before [CU-1] was posted at 21:02:25. We have determined that [CU-1] was indeed blocked by /Bitcoin's automoderator rules as we expected. The screenshot taken by /Bitcoin moderator StopAndDecrypt clearly shows this, as the "moderator approved" checkmark is present. We also tested automoderator rules with an aged account with karma and confirmed that "censors" and "censoring" were both blocked [REF-1]. Note that the poster, darwin2500 (under control of hacker, please don't ping them; they aren't a Bitcoiner) could not have been an "approved submitter" - they seem to have only had one comment in /Bitcoin before the hacking. So why was the comment manually approved? We are not aware of any other approved or allowed comments that blatantly reference censorship like that in the last several months. The obvious answer is that after "pulling back the curtain" and making votes visible, the /Bitcoin mods wanted to give people an opportunity to see this voting manipulation in action. Except this idea did not hold up. We found 10 similar comments from the same time period which were not approved or were explicitly removed unlike [CU-1]. Some of these were uncannily similar to the original comment. For example this one was submitted 8 minutes after [CU-1] and never approved. Another here supported neither subreddit and was blocked at 21:48 and never approved. This one accused/Bitcoin mods of being paid by Blockstream and was manually removed at ~22:35. A fourth was identical to [CU-2] and blocked at 00:12 and never approved. The same account of [CU-1] submitted a second comment 5 minutes after [CU-1] and was blocked and not approved. The other 5 things blocked or removed around the same time were: . The existence or absence of most of these comments around the claimed time can be verified independently of the censorship_notifier, see [REF-2] But the why wasn't the only oddity. [CU-1] was submitted, approved, upvoted, and screenshotted all in less than 180 seconds, as shown by its screenshot ("2 minutes" rounds down on Reddit). That is an extremely short time for an automoderated comment to be approved based on what we have observed and in checking other subreddits open modlogs on approvals. Perhaps the moderators were very snappy about approving comments within this particular thread? Once again, this idea did not hold up. This comment appears to have been manually approved as it wasn't seen until the third scan after its supposed creation, ~11 minutes of delay. Perhaps only when the comment was a direct reply to BashCo? Still no - Here's a comment that was a direct reply to BashCo, but didn't show up in scans for 45 minutes. Here specifically the our data can be independently checked - This snapshot does not show the comment, but this one does. Despite all the comments being blocked or removed as normal that we found, what we did not find was any other examples of anti-Bitcoin comments approved or allowed except the comments the bots upvoted. Three snapshots() of the thread in question show no other strongly anti-Bitcoin comments present except [CU-1] and [CU-2]; Why did the moderators specifically allow [CU-1] and [CU-2] and nothing else? Perhaps they wanted to reveal the voting patterns, but then why only those comments? Further, by the time of [CU-1], the bot had not upvoted any comments at all. Why would the moderators assume that particular comment and no others would be upvoted, a mere 13 minutes after they "pulled back the curtain?" In addition to the data we're referenced, our claims about the moderation of [CU-1] can be verified by either the admins or any current moderators of /Bitcoin, as moderator log events cannot be deleted. If anyone sends us an image of the moderator who approved this comment(preferably with full HH:MM:SS timestamp!) we will add the image to this post and keep their identity anonymous.
How did the bots pick targets?
The next thing we investigated was the behavior of the bots during the "attack". How many posts and comments did they downvote? How many did they upvote? What did they pick and were there any obvious correlations? We initially identified only two posts inside /Bitcoin that were upvoted by the bots - Both being posts about long delays on the OP's transaction confirmations. The first post was removed by moderators but otherwise no one seemed to notice the sudden upvotes. The second post upvoted on the other hand had users commenting on the upvotes within 8 minutes of it being posted and had several comments downvoted within it by the bots. Generally (but not always) the targets of the bots got 200-250 votes, either up or down [REF-3]. Even before the moderators of /Bitcoin revealed comment scores, users were commenting on the obviousness of the downvotes (edits). We found images from hacked users which showed what posts the bots chose to upvote and downvote, which further helped us identify as many of the posts as possible [REF-4] [REF-5]. The comments upvoted, too, were specifically chosen. Both comments upvoted were ones attacking /Bitcoin over censorship, and without any subtlety. Both comments were in the primary stickied thread with most of the comment downvotes. We quickly determined that the account that posted [CU-1] was under the control of the hacker, something other users also concluded. [CU-2] was posted by a clear /Bitcoin supporter based on history. Both comments used words that /Bitcoin's automod rules normally silently block [REF-1]. Other comments that subtly denigrated the subreddit's policies were noticed by the bot - but were downvotedinstead of upvoted. Why? The comments and posts chosen for downvoting were all over the place. Many of the comments chosen for downvoting seems to have been simply "because they were there in the thread" - For example every single comment visible in before 20:50 was downvoted. BashCo was targeted more than any other user(8 comments), but the bot generally didn't seem to focus on specific users. The vast majority of comments downvoted(54/65) happened in the stickied post, with 6 more happening in the second upvoted post. The remaining 5 comments downvoted were scattered across 4 different posts [REF-3]. The bot specifically went after comments and posts talking about downvotes, the accounts hack, or the attack itself [REF-5] but they also downvoted neutral posts. The voting seemed to come almost exclusively in waves targeting one thing at a time, which made the bot votes obvious to anyone who was looking for them - which people were, since many posts targeted were about the downvotes. We also noticed that an extremely high number of /Bitcoin and /btc users were reporting that they themselves were hacked and part of the bot attack. We identified 35 such users, but the highest number of votes seen on a single thing indicate between 250-300 accounts involved with the attack. Over 10% of the hacked users were Bitcoiners, what are the chances of that? Well, Reddit has (very) roughly 50 million accounts, and the CN database indicates that about ~50k are regular or semi-regular /Bitcoin and /btc users, which is 1/1000th. 35 / 300 of hacked users being regular Bitcoin users and feeling the need to post about it is > 1/10th. Whoever was running this bot seems to have intentionally chosen Bitcoin users - It seems like they wanted the hacked users to see the results of the hack. The result of all of this was that many many people commented on the blatantness of the voting, with many of them suspicious as to why anyone would do such a blatant attack. More examples: . Amidst all of this there was one exception so subtle that we almost missed it - There were two posts voted on that ran completely contrary to the rest of the behavior of the bot. The first image showed upvotes on a pro-/Bitcoin post "PSA: Attack on Bitcoin" thread and a downvote for the anti-/Bitcoin"awkward meme orgy"/btcthread. At first we thought maybe this was a legitimate vote by this user mixed in with bot votes, but archive.org showed us that indeed that /btc thread got a sudden wave of downvotes in less than 23 minutes. Perhaps the bot forgot which side it was pushing for? But both changes were subtle and not noticed by any users as far as we can tell. The final thing the bot did as far as we have identified was to upvote [CU-2], and then the attack seems to have stopped suddenly. That comment wasn't upvoted until 21:55 - 22:05. So what about that comment? Why was that the only comment not under its own control upvoted, and why did the attack stop suddenly afterwards?
Suspicious comment #2
The CN database gave us some hints. Both the [CU-2] and this comment were deleted by the user, likely when they took back control over their hacked account. [CU-1] was deleted at 21:23 +/- 1 minute, ~21 minutes after creation [REF-6], and not present in that snapshot. The votebot operator probably didn't expect this to happen so quickly. After that deletion there was no obvious comment showing their upvotes on the thread, and there were no obvious choices to choose from. It seems that they wanted a comment that wouldn't vanish, so not a hacked account, and also that they preferred a comment that could ultimately be used to make /btc look guilty. 4n4n4's comment [CU-2] provided exactly this, and it was posted to the thread ~5 minutes after [CU-1] was deleted - at 21:28. [CU-2] was never blocked by automoderator, it was picked up in the next CN scan ~1 minute later... Seemingly because 4n4n4 is an approved submitter. They have a long history of pro-/Bitcoin comments; we archived 5 pages of comments. The moderators left the comment in place and the bot didn't touch it for at least 27 minutes. With the similarities listed above, [CU-2] made the ideal next target for the bot's upvoting. Almost immediately after it did so, 4n4n4 screenshotted, archived, and edited the comment. And then the bot's voting attack instantly ceased as far as we can tell [REF-3] [REF-5]. But 4n4n4 was not a hacked account. So who is 4n4n4?
After the massive amount of research we put into this, we believe that at least one moderator of /Bitcoin must have been either aware of the bot's plans (and allowed it to place blame on others), or have executed the attack themselves. This is most likely the moderator who immediately approved the [CU-1] comment. Other moderators may or may not have been involved. Meaning, yes, we believe that a moderator of /Bitcoin either directed or was complicit in the hacking of many of their own Bitcoin Reddit user accounts. We believe that it is likely that 4n4n4 aka nullc was also aware of or involved in this attack based upon the suspicious timing and similarities of [CU-2]. A Core Developer of nullc's experience would certainly have the technical abilities to pull off such an attack, but that is true of many others on both sides of the debate as well. Some users reported that the IP addresses the bots logged in from were vultr instances and that vultr 1) requires tracable payment methods like credit cards, and 2) takes an aggressive stance against abuse of their systems, so perhaps more information can come to light about this yet. We encourage the Reddit admins to carefully review our claims and to validate them. If our claims here are true, surely some type of strong action is warranted. Please note that we have tried to make sure all of our links are archived, but they were archived under the www.reddit.com domain and not the np.reddit.com domain. For any people who found this post helpful and want to tip us, please donate your tips to archive.is and archive.org (not us). Without those two amazing services none of this research would be possible.
Hi, I have had bitcoin core running on a raspberry pi for about 4 month now (followed the raspibolt instructions from stadicus) and it worked fine until 3 days ago it suddenly stopped working. With bitcoin-cli blockchaininfo i got
error code: -28 Loading block index...
or something similar. When a looked in the debug log file i saw this:
2019-08-29T16:48:08Z BerkeleyEnvironment::Open: LogDir=/home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/database ErrorFile=/home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/db.log 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z init message: Loading banlist... 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z Cache configuration: 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z * Using 2.0 MiB for block index database 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z * Using 8.0 MiB for chain state database 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z * Using 90.0 MiB for in-memory UTXO set (plus up to 47.7 MiB of unused mempool space) 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z init message: Loading block index... 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z Opening LevelDB in /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/blocks/index 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z Opened LevelDB successfully 2019-08-29T16:48:11Z Using obfuscation key for /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/blocks/index: 0000000000000000 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z Bitcoin Core version v0.18.1 (release build) 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z Assuming ancestors of block 0000000000000000000f1c54590ee18d15ec70e68c8cd4cfbadb1b4f11697eee have valid signatures. 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z Setting nMinimumChainWork=0000000000000000000000000000000000000000051dc8b82f450202ecb3d471 2019-08-29T16:54:14Z Using the 'standard' SHA256 implementation 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Default data directory /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using data directory /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Config file: /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/bitcoin.conf 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using at most 20 automatic connections (1024 file descriptors available) 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using 16 MiB out of 32/2 requested for signature cache, able to store 524288 elements 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using 16 MiB out of 32/2 requested for script execution cache, able to store 524288 elements 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using 4 threads for script verification 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z scheduler thread start 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z HTTP: creating work queue of depth 16 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Config options rpcuser and rpcpassword will soon be deprecated. Locally-run instances may remove rpcuser to use cookie-based auth, or may be replaced with rpcauth. Please see share/rpcauth for rpcauth auth generation. 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z HTTP: starting 4 worker threads 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using wallet directory /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z init message: Verifying wallet(s)... 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using BerkeleyDB version Berkeley DB 4.8.30: (April 9, 2010) 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z Using wallet /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin 2019-08-29T16:54:15Z BerkeleyEnvironment::Open: LogDir=/home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/database ErrorFile=/home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/db.log 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z init message: Loading banlist... 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z Cache configuration: 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z * Using 2.0 MiB for block index database 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z * Using 8.0 MiB for chain state database 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z * Using 90.0 MiB for in-memory UTXO set (plus up to 47.7 MiB of unused mempool space) 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z init message: Loading block index... 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z Opening LevelDB in /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/blocks/index 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z Opened LevelDB successfully 2019-08-29T16:54:16Z Using obfuscation key for /home/bitcoin/.bitcoin/blocks/index: 0000000000000000
After that there should follow a line about Loading the block index but it never appears. It seems to be restarting without shutting down correctly, maybe it cannot find the block index? I tried reinstalling core, recreating the symlink to the hdd and resetting the service but nothing happened. Everytime it starts it gets stuck at the same point. It also takes an awful long time to stop bitcoind but i don't know if that is normal. I found several people with similar problems online but noting helped so far. Has anyone had a similar problem in the past and found a solution to this?
I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure. Myself included. So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate. But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same. Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall. Yes, I’ve seen the video. No, I won’t be sharing the link. Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it. Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air. Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable. Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman. We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym. What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck. Inevitable, as you’d say. Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often. See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later. I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt. Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering. Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked. Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them. Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance. A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really. As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school. Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence. Which is why I refuse to be silent. Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all. I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique. Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.” I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight. That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else. I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend. When with Roman, do as the Roman does. After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design. Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world. As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School. I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though. Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line. See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself. Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.” With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.” Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’ It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.) And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.” Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer. It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class. Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.” “Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling. “I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.” “Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?” Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his. I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick. You might have something to say about what we deserve though. As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too. Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from. They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful. In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required. However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature. Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’ I thought this was really funny. Ellie Monk however, did not. She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.” “Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!” “Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.” “It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!” “Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.” Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman. “Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.” “Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.” At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier. Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.” I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all. Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity. I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt. Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all. Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman. He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion. Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care. I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you. The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name. He mentioned the Basilisk. Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant. Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind. Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor. Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps. Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger. In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down. Now I understood what this was. I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh. Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms. It drew nearer and I ran. I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me. Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up. Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat. I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load. Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy. As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut. What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk. After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either. I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead. He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T. He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside. His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked. “A few months.” With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour. Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?” “Shoot.” “What is the Basilisk?” At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?” “From you. You told me about it.” “No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.” “Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.” Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.” “So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?” He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that. “Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?” “No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.” “The… Basilisk is your computer?” Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.” I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?” “Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.” Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.” He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.” “So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?” “Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.” All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?” “Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.” “Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer. “Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.” My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?” “The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again. “You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?” “Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.” This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up. I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.” Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us. He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.” When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester. But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?” In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on. In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given. When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.” Institute? Mipsqueak? Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account. Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.” I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject. They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.” Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute. It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’. “A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee. Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile. That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been. From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!” As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer. This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped. That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl. I sprinted to run. Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch. The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet. With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting. Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death. Its teeth opened wide. Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage. I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence. Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger. I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components. He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes. One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit. I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman. “What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh. “I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.” “Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.” “I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.” He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—” “Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!” “Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.” “It’s not moralizing.” “Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.” I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.” Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view. At least not in person. When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear. The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits. I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said. Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know. But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity: I don’t believe in you.
I interlaced everything between Vitalik and Tuur to make it easier to read.
1/ People often ask me why I’m so “against” Ethereum. Why do I go out of my way to point out flaws or make analogies that put it in a bad light?
2/ First, ETH’s architecture & culture is opposite that of Bitcoin, and yet claims to offer same solutions: decentralization, immutability, SoV, asset issuance, smart contracts, … Second, ETH is considered a crypto ‘blue chip’, thus colors perception of uninformed newcomers.
Agree! I personally find Ethereum culture far saner, though I am a bit biased :)
3/ I've followed Ethereum since 2014 & feel a responsibility to share my concerns. IMO contrary to its marketing, ETH is at best a science experiment. It’s now valued at $13B, which I think is still too high.
Not an argument
4/ I agree with Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir that it’s not money, not safe, and not scalable. https://twitter.com/VladZamfistatus/838006311598030848 … @VladZamfir Eth isn't money, so there is no monetary policy. There is currently fixed block issuance with an exponential difficulty increase (the bomb).
I'm pretty sure Vlad would say the exact same thing about Bitcoin
5/ To me the first red flag came up when in our weekly hangout we asked the ETH founders about to how they were going to scale the network. (We’re now 4.5 years later, and sharding is still a pipe dream.)
The core principles have been known for years, the core design for nearly a year, and details for months, with implementations on the way. So sharding is definitely not at the pipe dream stage at this point.
6/ Despite strong optimism that on-chain scaling of Ethereum was around the corner (just another engineering job), this promise hasn’t been delivered on to date.
Sure, sharding is not yet finished. Though more incremental stuff has been going well, eg. uncle rates are at near record lows despite very high chain usage.
7/ Recently, a team of reputable developers decided to peer review a widely anticipated Casper / sharding white paper, concluding that it does not live up to its own claims.
Unmerciful peer review of Vlad Zamfir & co's white paper to scale Ethereum: "the authors do NOT prove that the CBC Casper family of protocols is Byzantine fault tolerant in either practice or theory".
8/ On the 2nd layer front, devs are now trying to scale Ethereum via scale via state channels (ETH’s version of Lightning), but it is unclear whether main-chain issued ERC20 type tokens will be portable to this environment.
Umm... you can definitely use Raiden with arbitrary ERC20s. That's why the interface currently uses WETH (the ERC20-fied version of ether) and not ETH
9/ Compare this to how the Bitcoin Lightning Network project evolved:
elizabeth stark @starkness: For lnd: First public code released: January 2016 Alpha: January 2017 Beta: March 2018…
10/ Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is now live, and is growing at rapid clip.
Jameson Lopp @lopp: Lightning Network: January 2018 vs December 2018
Sure, though as far as I understand there's still a low probability of finding routes for nontrivial amounts, and there's capital lockup griefing vectors, and privacy issues.... FWIW I personally never thought lightning is unworkable, it's just a design that inherently runs into ten thousand small issues that will likely take a very long time to get past.
11/ In 2017, more Ethereum scaling buzz was created, this time the panacea was “Plasma”.
12/ However, upon closer examination it was the recycling of some stale ideas, and the project went nowhere:
Peter Todd @peterktodd These ideas were all considered in the Treechains design process, and ultimately rejected as insecure.
Just because Peter Todd rejected something as "insecure" doesn't mean that it is. In general, the ethereum research community is quite convinced that the fundamental Plasma design is fine, and as far as I understand there are formal proofs on the way. The only insecurity that can't be avoided is mass exit vulns, and channel-based systems have those too.
13/ The elephant in the room is the transition to proof-of-stake, an “environmentally friendly” way to secure the chain. (If this was the plan all along, why create a proof-of-work chain first?)
@TuurDemeester "Changing from proof of work to proof of stake changes the economics of the system, all the rules change and it will impact everything."
Umm... we created a proof of work chain first because we did not have a satisfactory proof of stake algo initially?
14/ For the uninitiated, here’s a good write-up that highlights some of the fundamental design problems of proof-of-stake. Like I said, this is science experiment territory.
Yes, we know about weak subjectivity, see https://blog.ethereum.org/2014/11/25/proof-stake-learned-love-weak-subjectivity/. It's really not that bad, especially given that users need to update their clients once in a while anyway, oh and by the way even if the weak subjectivity assumption is broken an attacker still needs to gather up that pile of old keys making up 51% of the stake. And also to defend against that there's Universal Hash Time.
16/ Keep in mind that Proof of Stake (PoS) is not a new concept at all. Proof-of-Work actually was one of the big innovations that made Bitcoin possible, after PoS was deemed impractical because of censorship vulnerability.
Oh I definitely agree that proof of work was superior for bootstrap, and I liked it back then especially because it actually managed to be reasonably egalitarian around 2009-2012 before ASICs fully took over. But at the present time it doesn't really have that nice attribute.
17/ Over the years, this has become a pattern in Ethereum’s culture: recycling old ideas while not properly referring to past research and having poor peer review standards. This is not how science progresses.Tuur Demeester added,
I try to credit people whenever I can; half my blog and ethresear.ch posts have a "special thanks" section right at the top. Sometimes we end up re-inventing stuff, and sometimes we end up hearing about stuff, forgetting it, and later re-inventing it; that's life as an autodidact. And if you feel you've been unfairly not credited for something, always feel free to comment, people have done this and I've edited.
18/ One of my big concerns is that sophistry and marketing hype is a serious part of Ethereum’s success so far, and that overly inflated expectations have lead to an inflated market cap.
Ok, go on.
19/ Let’s illustrate with an example.
20/ A few days ago, I shared a critical tweet that made the argument that Ethereum’s value proposition is in essence utopian.
@TuurDemeester Ethereum-ism sounds a bit like Marxism to me:
What works today (PoW) is 'just a phase', the ideal & unproven future is to come: Proof-of-Stake.…
22/ My first point, about Ethereum developers rejecting Proof-of-Work, has been illustrated many times over By Vitalik and others. (See earlier in this tweetstorm for more about how PoS is unproven.)
Vitalik Non-giver of Ether @VitalikButerin: I don't believe in proof of work!
See above for links as to why I think proof of stake is great.
23/ My second point addresses Ethereum’s romance with the vague and dangerous notion of ‘social consensus’, where disruptive hard-forks are used to ‘upgrade’ or ‘optimize’ the system, which inevitably leads to increased centralization. More here:
See my rebuttal to Tuur's rebuttal :)
24/ My third point addresses PoS’ promise of perpetual income to ETHizens. Vitalik is no stranger to embracing free lunch ideas, e.g. during his 2014 ETH announcement speech, where he described a coin with a 20% inflation tax as having “no cost” to users.
Yeah, I haven't really emphasized perpetual income to stakers as a selling point in years. I actually favor rewards being as low as possible while still being high enough for security.
25/ In his response to my tweet, Vitalik adopted my format to “play the same game” in criticizing Bitcoin. My criticisms weren't addressed, and his response was riddled with errors. Yet his followers gave it +1,000 upvotes!
Vitalik Non-giver of Ether @VitalikButerin: - What works today (L1) is just a phase, ideal and unproven future (usable L2) is to come - Utopian concept of progress: we're already so confident we're finished we ain't needin no hard forks…
Ok, let's hear about what the errors are...
26/ Rebuttal: - BTC layer 1 is not “just a phase”, it always will be its definitive bedrock for transaction settlement. - Soft forking digital protocols has been the norm for over 3 decades—hard-forks are the deviation! - Satoshi never suggested hyperbitcoinization as a goal.
Sure, but (i) the use of layer 1 for consumer payments is definitely, in bitcoin ideology, "just a phase", (ii) I don't think you can make analogies between consensus protocols and other kinds of protocols, and between soft forking consensus protocols and protocol changes in other protocols, that easily, (iii) plenty of people do believe that hyperbitcoinization as a goal. Oh by the way: https://twitter.com/tuurdemeestestatus/545993119599460353
27/ This kind of sophistry is exhausting and completely counter-productive, but it can be very convincing for an uninformed retail public.
Ok, go on.
28/ Let me share a few more inconvenient truths.
29/ In order to “guarantee” the transition to PoS’ utopia of perpetual income (staking coins earns interest), a “difficulty bomb” was embedded in the protocol, which supposedly would force miners to accept the transition.
The intended goal of the difficulty bomb was to prevent the protocol from ossifying, by ensuring that it has to hard fork eventually to reset the difficulty bomb, at which point the status quo bias in favor of not changing other protocol rules at the same time would be weaker. Though forcing a switch to PoS was definitely a key goal.
30/ Of course, nothing came of this, because anything in the ETH protocol can be hard-forked away. Another broken promise.
33/ The modular approach to Bitcoin seems to be much better at compartmentalizing risk, and thus reducing attack surfaces. I’ve written about modular scaling here...
To be fair, risk is reduced because Bitcoin does less.
34/ Another huge issue that Ethereum has is with scaling. By putting “everything on the blockchain” (which stores everything forever) and dubbing it “the world computer”, you are going to end up with a very slow and clogged up system.
We never advocated "putting everything on the blockchain". The phrase "world computer" was never meant to be interpreted as "everyone's personal desktop", but rather as a common platform specifically for the parts of applications that require consensus on shared state. As evidence of this, notice how Whisper and Swarm were part of the vision as complements to Ethereum right from the start.
35/ By now the Ethereum bloat is so bad that cheaply running an individual node is practically impossible for a lay person. ETH developers are also imploring people to not deploy more smart contract apps on its blockchain.
Tuur Demeester @TuurDemeester: But... deploying d-apps on the "Ethereum Virtual Machine" is exactly what everyone was encouraged to do for the past 4 years. Looks like on-chain scaling wasn't such a great idea after all.
Umm.... I just spun up a node from scratch last week. On a consumer laptop.
36/ As a result, and despite the claims that running a node in “warp” mode is easy and as good as a full node, Ethereum is becoming increasingly centralized.
37/ Another hollow claim: in 2016, Ethereum was promoted as being censorship resistant…
Tuur Demeester @TuurDemeester: Pre TheDAO #Ethereum presentation: "uncensorable, code is law, bottom up". http://ow.ly/qW49302Pp92
Yes, the DAO fork did violate the notion of absolute immutability. However, the "forking the DAO will lead to doom and gloom" crowd was very wrong in one key way: it did NOT work as a precedent justifying all sorts of further state interventions. The community clearly drew a line in the sand by firmly rejecting EIP 867, and EIP 999 seems to now also be going nowhere. So it seems like there's some evidence that the social contract of "moderately but not infinitely strong immutability" actually can be stable.
38/ Yet later that year, after only 6% of ETH holders had cast a vote, ETH core devs decided to endorse a hard-fork that clawed back the funds from a smart contract that held 4.5% of all ETH in circulation. More here: ...
Hudson Jameson @hudsonjameson: The "semi-closed" Ethereum 1.x meeting from last Friday was an experiment. The All Core Dev meeting this Friday will be recorded as usual.
Suppose I were to tomorrow sign up to work directly for Kim Jong Un. What concretely would happen to the Ethereum protocol? I suspect very little; I am mostly involved in the Serenity work, and the other researchers have proven very capable of both pushing the spec forward even without me and catching any mistakes with my work. So I don't think any argument involving me applies. And we ended up deciding not to do more semi-closed meetings.
40/ Another red flag to me is the apparent lack of relevant expertise in the ETH development community. (Check the responses…)
I personally am confident in the talents of our core researchers, and our community of academic partners. Most recently the latter group includes people from Starkware, Stanford CBR, IC3, and other groups.
I have no idea who described Lucius Meredith's work as being important for the Serenity roadmap.... oh and by the way, RChain is NOT an "Ethereum scaling company"
42/ Perhaps the recently added Gandalf of Ethereum, with his “Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians” [sic] can save the day, but imo that seems unlikely...
Honestly, I don't see why Ethereum Gandalf needs to save the day, because I don't see what is in danger and needs to be saved...
43/ This is becoming a long tweetstorm, so let’s wrap up with a few closing comments.
44/ Do I have a conflict of interest? ETH is a publicly available asset with no real barriers to entry, so I could easily get a stake. Also, having met Vitalik & other ETH founders several times in 2013-’14, it would have been doable for me to become part of the in-crowd.
Agree there. And BTW I generally think financial conflicts of interest are somewhat overrated; social conflicts/tribal biases are the bigger problem much of the time. Though those two kinds of misalignments do frequently overlap and reinforce each other so they're difficult to fully disentangle.
45/ Actually, I was initially excited about Ethereum’s smart contract work - this was before one of its many pivots.
Tuur Demeester @TuurDemeester: Ethereum is probably the first programming language I will teach myself - who wouldn't want the ability to program smart BTC contracts?
Ethereum was never about "smart BTC contracts"..... even "Ethereum as a Mastercoin-style meta-protocol" was intended to be built on top of Primecoin.
46/ Also, I have done my share of soul searching about whether I could be suffering from survivor’s bias.
47/ Here’s why Ethereum is dubious to me: rather than creating an open source project & testnet to work on these interesting computer science problems, its founders instead did a securities offering, involving many thousands of clueless retail investors.
48/ Investing in the Ethereum ICO was akin to buying shares in a startup that had “invent time travel” as part of its business plan. Imo it was a reckless security offering, and it set the tone for the terrible capital misallocation of the 2017 ICO boom.
Nothing in the ethereum roadmap requires time-travel-like technical advancements or anything remotely close to that. Proof: we basically have all the fundamental technical advancements we need at this point.
49/ In my view, Ethereum is the Yahoo of our day - an unscalable “blue chip” cryptocurrency:
Tuur Demeester @TuurDemeester: 1/ The DotCom bubble shows that the market isn't very good at valuing early stage technology. I'll use Google vs. Yahoo to illustrate.
A quick note to investors that believe the intrinsic value of bitcoin is 0 because they can't do a DCF on it: this isn't the place to argue with me about it. I suggest you read a bit more about what it actually is (hint: not a currency). I've defended its value in plenty of other posts on this sub. It's a $40+ billion market, so at least a few people agree with me. I welcome you to short the crypto of your choice if you think it's worth nothing. This is a post for folks that believe that cryptocurrencies have at least some discernible value and are considering investing in them.
If we have a strength, it is in recognizing when we are operating well within our circle of competence and when we are approaching the perimeter. – Warren Buffett
Given the tripling of the cryptocurrency market cap in the last few months and the 3- to 10-fold increases in virtually every major altcoin, cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and of course Bitcoin have been getting a stunning amount of attention in the press and on this subreddit recently. If you follow the cryptocurrency world closely, you know that there have been a huge amount of dubious ICOs (initial coin offerings) on the market recently. It's an explosive time in crypto. It's also a frustrating time for many long term bitcoiners and crypto fans, because we're faced with a barrage of questions from outsiders who see the returns and want to buy in to the "next big thing" and make a quick buck. This is a warning to those people. Everyone is a genius is a rising market. It's hard to go wrong these days in crypto. Even coins of dubious merit like Ripple, Dogecoin, Stellar, NEM were pumped 5 times without any fundamental change. Speculators/investors have thrown money at crypto indiscriminately and efficient markets have 100% broken down. The altcoin pump right now is roughly comparable to the Dot Com crisis of the early 2000s.
New tech promises to change the world
Investors jump in on hype and promises
A surge of IPOs (ICOs) occurs to capitalize on this
"Greater fool" traders pile in, thinking they can make money even if the underlying is unsound
Analysts claim "this time is different" while seasoned old hands refuse to participate
Tech is proven not to be as developed as everyone thinks, market tanks
Select few decent companies survive, all the trash is destroyed
Tech eventually fulfills expectations, 10 years later, but none of the investors from the early days make money on it
However, canny (and skeptical) investors can still make money on crypto, as cryptocurrencies are inevitable, and will continue to expand and proliferate, even when the altcoin crash comes. Something to realize first of all is that the crypto market is heterogeneous. It has straightforward cryptocurrencies (bitcoin, litecoin, dash, monero), smart-contract cryptos (ethereum, ethereum classic) and a whole bunch of crypto tokens that follow dedicated platforms (golem, augur, steem). Not mentioned are ripple and stellar because they aren't really cryptocurrencies at all. The investing theses for all of these categories is radically different. The measure of success for a currency or store of value is adoption, merchant use, low volatility, a large network, and real world acceptance as something worth owning. Bitcoin has this right now, which is why it's more than 50% of the ecosystem, and none of its competitors are even close. Monero, Zcash, and Dash are a special case in that they try and make transactions anonymous and privacy, allowing for use cases on the darknet markets, for instance. The tech underlying bitcoin is essentially sound, although it is having a scalability crisis, which you should read about. It can't right now serve as a currency which will buy you a cup of coffee - the transaction fees are too high. However if you want to send $200,000 from Mexico to Indonesia or China to the Philippines, you can do it within 20 minutes, and with fees of a few dollars. And if you want to store your wealth in a vault that is totally secure, and cannot be debased by a central bank, bitcoin is a good bet. This is highly relevant to folks in India that just had cash abolished, to Venezuelans, to Argentines, to Cypriots, to Nigerians, anywhere local currencies are weak and volatile. The potential value of a competing cryptocurrency lies in whether it can improve materially on bitcoin, whether it means incorporating off-chain scaling (segwit with litecoin), making it more private and fungible (monero), automating governance (decred), and so on. Then there are cryptoassets that incorporate smart contracts. These – ethereum and its derivatives – exploded when the SEC denied the Bitcoin ETF back in march and bitcoiners got worried and started diversifying. This is the market segment that is highly risky, even by crypto standards, in my opinion. Ethereum is a protocol that allows contracts to self-enforce. Programming power to run the contracts is paid for with ethereum. Two parties agree to a contract, and it then self-executes. It's secured by a decentralized computing network of ethereum miners, so the contracts cannot be shut down by a government or corporation. It's pretty clever. Last year, a $150+ million contract was drawn up with ethereum, which would act like a venture capital fund, picking good investments just based on the votes of the token holders. This was called a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, and it was hacked before it could do anything. Well, it was exploited based on the code and so the exploit was totally "fair" given that the contract was meant to be inevitable, once agreed to. However, the creators of Ethereum didn't like the idea of losing $50 million, so they decided to collectively agree to amend the rules of the protocol itself (violating "Code is Law"), and jump onto a new one, which they would also call Ethereum, although it was really Ethereum 2.0. Some people got upset by this, because they thought that immutability and not arbitrarily rolling back the code was more important than some investors losing money because of poorly written code. They created Ethereum Classic, which is the original Ethereum chain. This wasn't what the Ethereum 2.0 folks thought would happen, but it did happen, so there are two competing Ethereum chains now. Eventually, lots of decentralized apps were funded, via tokensales. A development team would say: "we're going to use ethereum to create a decentralized cloud computing/AI/prediction/gambling/timestamping/social media network." And then investors would buy the tokens, expecting that eventually the dev team would deliver, and the tokens would be in demand, since they would be required to use the network. It's a bit like buying in-game-currency when the game is announced, anticipating that the game would be wildly popular and you'd be able to sell it on later at a profit or acquire it cheaply to buy in-game items later on. However, many of us think that the promises are a bit extravagant, and that investors in these ICOs are probably going to lose money. The incentives aren't well aligned. Founders can just not deliver and run off with the money, and there's no regulatory body to enforce that. And for Ethereum more broadly, many people are worried that the turing-completeness of the language will mean it will face serious threats and unforeseeable hacks, like with the DAO. Finally, Ethereum has increased from around $20 to $90 in a matter of months, which raises the question of whether a) the market realized its true value or b) it was pumped on speculation. There's a huge set of unknowns with a smart contract currency, and virtually none of the promised dapps are up and running right now, and the ones that are haven't really attracted large userbases or delivered. This is because the tech is in its infancy, and the developers are still learning how to use it properly. So we won't know if these sorts of decentralized networks are even possible to create on the timelines that investors are expecting. Therefore, ethereum investors buying it on the promise of the realization of this tech in the near future are almost guaranteed to be disappointed. Additionally, ethereum is making the switch to the largely untested Proof of Stake algorithm, which will change incentives that secure the network. This brings me to my key point: Stay within your circle of competence. You can grow your circle – slowly. Cryptoassets are almost impossibly complex to grasp with just a cursory look. Investing in them requires weeks of reading and a very skeptical view. The above was an introduction to cryptocurrencies, the different ones on offer, and why investing in ethereum is not the slam dunk everyone thinks it is. This portion of the post will tell you about the kind of due diligence you need to do if you want to invest, rather than speculate, in crypto. The first thing to mention is that passive investing in crypto has historically been a terrible strategy. Just buying bitcoin almost always outperformed. This was due to the poor set of altcoins, and the size of bitcoin's almost insurmountable network effect. This sort of changed in March and April when bitcoin's dominance went from 80% to ~50%, and it remains to be seen if this will persist or not. But the point is, buying the index is usually an awful strategy in crypto, particularly because there are so many truly awful projects out there. So what does it take to invest responsibly in cryptocurrencies? It requires at least a basic understanding of three disciplines: public-private key cryptography; programming, and how open-source projects function; and economics, particularly game theory and the quantity theory of money. This is why is is so difficult to apprehend easily: because very few people actually boast a sincere understanding of these three topics. I certainly don't. You need to be able to determine whether the tech is actually going anywhere, and whether the task the developers have set themselves is possible or realistic. You need to know how open source networks are governed, and which models strike the best balance between efficiency of decision-making and fair consensus. You need to be able to measure the inflation schedule of the cryptocurrency, and see whether your coins are going to inflated away. You need to be able to make plausible guesses about the potential market for the crypto and estimate future values. Note that the payoff structure is not equity-like. It's more like early stage venture capital, or buying loss-making biotech companies. Here's my checklist of questions to answer, ordered by importance:
Does the project offer a significant improvement over its nearest competitor, or a reasonable chance of success in its stated aim? Is there a demand for this project? Does it have a concise and reasonable goal? (Narrower goal: higher likelihood of success).
Is the development team competent? Are they committed to the coin? What's their track record? Is is an active dev team? Do they have a roadmap for the future? Are they transparent about goals?
How is the development team funded? Is the currency corporate-backed? Is the funding transparent? Was the coin significantly premined? (Usually bad) Are developers paid via iterative community project crowdfunding? (Usually good).
What is the governance structure of the currency? Who holds ultimate control over decisionmaking? How are decisions made? Are they transparent? Are mining/developer incentives aligned?
Does the asset have acceptance and use today? Does it have a functioning use case? If it doesn't, does it have a decent chance of being accepted?
Has the asset's "market cap" tripled or quintupled in the last few months? Was this based on any fundamental changes (new software releases, etc) or just speculation?
What are the transaction volumes like? (Hint: divide market cap by monthly averaged daily on-chain tx volume to find a consistent ratio) What's the ratio of on-chain transaction versus exchange speculation? Has price gone up independent of transaction volumes?
How long has the asset been around? Think of the Lindy effect. Older is usually better.
What's the community like? Is there censorship? Does it have an active subreddit? Do the developers answer questions? Are they accessible? How big is the github community? (Hint: you can divide market cap by github commits to find a comparable ratio).
Are you psychologically able to hold this coin in a 90% downturn? Is this a high conviction thesis or are you betting on being able to sell it to a greater fool?
How long did it take you to learn about investing in equities? Reading balance sheets, running DCF and DRI models, figuring out how to value a stock based on comparables? Years? How many mistakes did you make before you figured out how to be responsible? Cryptos are an asset class that is both radically different from anything that has existed before. They are also incredibly heterogeneous, as I argued above. It also leads to cultism – so bitcoiners generally take a dim view of ethereum, and vice versa. Monero fans generally don't like dash, and so on. You have to keep your mind open to understand new opportunities as they arise, and to stop yourself becoming too mentally invested in your project of choice. The vast majority of projects will fail within 5 years, so becoming overly certain of the success of one will probably devastate you. If you can stay balanced, stay honest about your crypto's chances of success and adoption, not get tunnel vision, and not take overly risky positions, you have a good chance of not losing everything. Remember the payoff structure. Heavily rightward skewed. A ton of cryptos earn no return and a select few earn an absurd (1,000-10,000x) return. None of this is necessary if you just want to invest randomly in one of the top ten cryptos. That's the strategy of 95% of investors today. Pick a coin and go. If it's not bitcoin, I can pretty much guarantee you'll lose money. The newer, the worse. I've not made an effort to convince you that cryptos have intrinsic value. If you've made it this far, you probably think they're worth something at least. However, they're probably not worth as much as the market is pricing them at right now. Especially not those in the ethereum family. I'm not going to tell you what to invest in, because that would defeat the purpose of this post. I'm telling you to do your due diligence before blindly buying a crypto. And that due diligence on ethereum is as complex and difficult as Tesla or Amazon DD. And that your skills in equity valuation are pretty much useless in this asset class. My circle of competence doesn't extend to options or lean pork futures, so I don't touch those. I suggest that until you really feel comfortable in crypto, you don't buy randomly. Summative thoughts:
Investing in crypto is hard
90% of people that invest at market peaks will lose money
You have to extremely skeptical and invest in high-conviction positions
Cryptos are exhibiting bubbly behavior right now, it's a pretty bad time to pick one out
Cryptos are nothing like equities but they do have real value
Cryptos are the future, but almost none of these coins will survive 10 years
The older the better
Governance is key
These are speculative positions, only invest what you can tolerate losing
You can make money investing in cryptos
Passively investing in cryptos doesn't work
It's a winner takes most market, there won't be 1 crypto that wins. There will be different cryptos for different use cases.
edit: deleted chart with probabilities of success because of subjectivity and oversimplification. edit2: I've been overwhelmed with PMs so bear with me. also, please forgive any spelling errors on this post. I wrote it in one frenzied sitting. edit3: I knew I would get a fair amount of resistance from ethereum investors (even though I attempted to keep my post as balanced as possible) but I was unprepared from the breathtaking volume of spam and diversity of attacks. One particular user has made 30 comments in this thread. I don't have a stake in ETC, period. The post is 3000 words long and most of it is about how to properly do your due diligence in a crypto. if ethereum fares poorly by standard due diligence metrics, then perhaps your issue is deeper than one post on /investing. final edit: there have been some broken-hearted ethereum fans very busy organizing brigades against this post, and attacking me personally, and so on. It's all very incovenient. I can tell that I struck a nerve. This post isn't really about ethereum - it's about how to do research in crypto, and why you can't expect to profit handsomely without that due diligence. I mentioned ethereum because there are 3 or 4 breathless posts on here a day about its stunning gains and whether it's worth investing in. My answer: read about it first, from a diverse set of sources. A final note: I do not own any ethereum classic, I have never owned ethereum classic. I brought it up because it is part of the ethereum story, and an example of what happens when you have a contested hard fork. I do hope that ethereum succeeds, I am just cautioning against over exuberance.
Slack log for Ark token's value proposition discussion 16-07-18
Please find below a log of the discussion we had in slack regarding the ark token's value proposition. Some of the community members who happen to be long term holders of ark feel that the ark token's value proposition isn't clearly communicated by the team so they asked about it. I'm posting the entire discussion it here to make a permanent record since slack wipes messages after a while. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- arigard [7:21 PM] Hey team, so I'm curious. Is there any update on a new white paper at all that was being mentioned? I've been holding Ark since it hit Bittrex and I personally don't really have a clear idea about how the token is going to work in the overall picture, or what really the direction is for the project once v2 is out. It feels like things have gone a bit flat recently, are there any updates on direction and what the plan is once V2 is live? Is there any idea about when it might go live? Or how the Ark token will fit into the economy (will it be a gas?). I see a lot of other projects i'm invested in coming up with very clear roadmaps/dates and direction about what they want to be and I still personally feel Ark's message is a little confused and hard to read especially for people who are not coders/developers. rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:22 PM] the roadmap is on the site, arkdirectory.com/kits has nice presentations and other goodies roks0n (deadlock) [7:23 PM] @Matthew_DC mentioned a couple of days ago that he’s preparing several blog posts which should explain most of these @arigard rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:23 PM] the Blog also goes into lots of v2 details Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:24 PM] Hi everyone. rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:24 PM] Ark is Ark, not like Eth with gas, hence no gas. Hey @Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) welcome back Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:24 PM] Hey rob, hi Rok :slightly_smiling_face: roks0n (deadlock) [7:25 PM] Rob, I think he means how everything will be connected with ArkVM etc. similar conversation as the one few days ago (edited) Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:25 PM] It's been a while, but I was head on in the project, sorry for not showing more often. arigard [7:25 PM] Yeah my main question is really I still don't know what will give the actual Ark token value . goldenpepe [7:25 PM] we dont know how the arkvm will work All we can do is wait Doubled1c3 (ArkStickers.com) [7:26 PM] uploaded and commented on this image: bucket.jpg @Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) goldenpepe [7:26 PM] We can make assumptions but that's all they'll be roks0n (deadlock) [7:26 PM] @arigard this was the discussion: https://arkecosystem.slack.com/archives/C2ABRLZB8/p1531422791000216 roks0n (deadlock) definitely, I’m not blaming anyone :slightly_smiling_face: Was just curious if there were any developments in terms of the updated whitepaper because I was reading one of the threads on reddit from 6 months ago where it was mentioned you’re looking to hire someone write it up. Posted in #generalJul 12th arigard [7:26 PM] And I kind of feel this is such a big elephant in the room for people in the long run. roks0n (deadlock) [7:26 PM] click on the link and read from that post on (edited) arigard [7:26 PM] ok Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:27 PM] I saw that there has been some drawbacks with the V2 ? (Not sure if it's exact, I only came a few times and seemed to understand it was so) goldenpepe [7:28 PM] There are just some incompatibilities between v1 and v2 in devnet which is why devnet is currently down rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:28 PM] ArkVM may be unnecessary as more modern approaches to handling contracts are available, one of the main issue is having them be distributed just like the tokens. goldenpepe [7:28 PM] There's a community run v2-only devnet though #devnet_unofficial rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:28 PM] it's more like drawback with v1 arigard [7:30 PM] I mean I've seen a lot of stuff in that discussion discussed over the past year and there still seems to be no concrete answers coming out and that is a bit of worry to me personally. It makes it look like the team doesn't even know. I think most that know of Ark understand it wants to create an easy way to deploy blockchains and work as a platform and have some inoperability options. But the fundamentals of how that work right now seems to be up in the air. In other projects I know what gives those tokens value, but in Ark I don't, so it's hard for me as an investor to really sell to someone else the benefits of the token when there is a big question mark still on it. rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:33 PM] do you know that Ark Deployer has been available for quite some time? arigard [7:34 PM] Yes, that doesn't really answer any questions though. mak [7:34 PM] Ark deployer helps the main chain's business case somehow? arigard [7:35 PM] What gives Ark token actual value? Like what is the reason people need to buy and hold the Ark token? That is my question. Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:36 PM] @mak what you're saying is kinda like answering you can use a hammer when asked what a nail do. arigard [7:36 PM] You don't need to buy the Ark token to deploy a chain. You can just do it. Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:36 PM] I mean, the Ark Deployer doesn't answer what's the Ark. mak [7:36 PM] @Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) my point was directed towards rob's comment. I think you misunderstood it. Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:37 PM] @mak My bad then. I apologize. Blockhunter [7:38 PM] :boogieark9: rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:38 PM] " I think most that know of Ark understand it wants to create an easy way to deploy blockchains and work as a platform and have some inoperability options. But the fundamentals of how that work right now seems to be up in the air." This is why I wrote that.. there is no mystery of how that works. You are mistaken or uninformed. arkenstone [7:38 PM] That's the problem here because team is programming orientated but there hasn't been alot done on business aspect of the token and marketing investor point big view mak [7:38 PM] That only explains the value of the ark codebase not the blockchain though arigard [7:38 PM] I think you seem to be trying to turn the argument in a seperate direction. It's a simple question. What gives the Ark token value. rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:39 PM] The market does. It's on 19 different exchanges. arigard [7:39 PM] Seems like you are being unhelpfully obtuse. I'll rephrase. roks0n (deadlock) [7:39 PM] so one thing that is clear to me is interoperability using ACES, where ARK is used as a “middleman” between two different chains, so if there’s high volume between those chains, it means the volume of ark increases as well .. what I’d like to know is how things will work with arkvm and how it will all work with sidechains (on eth, all the side chains will basically link back to the main chain which will be the one responsible for security afaik?) arigard [7:39 PM] What gives the Ark token value in the Ark ecosystem. Blockhunter [7:40 PM] Vote for Pedro he will make all your dreams come true arigard [7:40 PM] Eth is a gas, Waves is a gas. Ark is... what? mak [7:40 PM] ACES can work with any chains though. Doesn't have to be ark main chain. So I guess tomorrow persona can become the settlement layer for the Ark ecosystem and there's no incentive to stop it from happening. arigard [7:40 PM] ^ roks0n (deadlock) [7:41 PM] Mak, correct but if there are already lots of chains connected between ARK, it will be more appealing to link it through ARK directly Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:41 PM] As I understand it, ACES could be using any given blockchain as the middle man... roks0n (deadlock) [7:41 PM] it doesn’t mean that it can’t be copied tho arigard [7:41 PM] But there are no chains connected through Ark atm That have any real value anyway roks0n (deadlock) [7:41 PM] eth and btc are arigard [7:41 PM] And they can be connected through any Ark clone. bangomatic [7:41 PM] I'd love to hear the Ark team chime in on this discussion arigard [7:42 PM] So anyone can come along and make another chain that can instantly overtake Ark at this present time if there isn't a failsafe reason for Ark to be the defacto currency. rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:42 PM] https://arkecosystem.slack.com/archives/C2ABRLZB8/p1531762883000422 you can't keep saying things like this as if they are true. arigard That have any real value anyway Posted in #generalToday at 7:41 PM Blockhunter [7:42 PM] Interoperability to the moon mak [7:42 PM] "it will be more appealing to link it through ARK directly" Currently Ark is the only mature chain because it's been around longer but the moment persona or some other bridge chain gets listed on an exchange that dynamic is no longer there. So why would you prefer Ark over persona when that happens. That's the question as far as I understand it. (edited) rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:43 PM] Persona has other goals, not duplicating Ark goals Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:43 PM] @bangomatic Hi! arigard [7:43 PM] What current sidechain of Ark has real value/position in the crypto market? Persona? bangomatic [7:43 PM] hey @Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe)! mak [7:43 PM] The blockchain as a transaction medium doesn't care about secondary goals. It still has all the capabilities that Ark has. Colby [7:43 PM] What has value right now? :thinking_face: rob [ Ark Labs ] https://arkecosystem.slack.com/archives/C2ABRLZB8/p1531762883000422 you can't keep saying things like this as if they are true. https://arkecosystem.slack.com/archives/C2ABRLZB8/p1531762883000422 Posted in #generalToday at 7:42 PM arigard [7:43 PM] Ark's ecosystem at present is not big enough to be a reason not to just take the tech and start your own. To think otherwise is ludicrous. rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:44 PM] that's a fine opinion Jarunik [7:44 PM] it is harder than you think :slightly_smiling_face: arigard [7:44 PM] We aren't Eth with multi $100mn + start ups and even if we were, what's currently to stop one of those just overtaking Ark and leaving it behind? Jarunik [7:45 PM] i hope some ark clones get really sucessful to be honest :slightly_smiling_face: Colby [7:45 PM] Same here! Jarunik i hope some ark clones get really sucessful to be honest :slightly_smiling_face: Posted in #generalToday at 7:45 PM Blockhunter [7:45 PM] HODL ROCKET TECHNOLOGY mak [7:45 PM] Same here but then there's no reason to hold Ark over something else arigard [7:45 PM] i hope so too if there is some reason for Ark to always be there at the top considering it's the Ark platform. Colby [7:45 PM] But the thing is that I am wondering, if ark clones get successful, what benefits does it give back to ark Djenny Floro (Ark Tribe) [7:45 PM] @Jarunik to create an ecosystem? mak [7:45 PM] Right now we have to consider Ark's value not the other bridge chains arigard [7:45 PM] But if there isn't a reason for Ark to exist at the top, why are we all holding it? Colby [7:45 PM] Haha I think we are all thinking the same :slightly_smiling_face: arigard [7:45 PM] It's a terrible business plan rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:46 PM] the point of BridgeChains is to allow new projects with no access the market a path to them through Ark, and hence gain value. Other blockchains connections are through ACES, such as BTC, LTC, ETH, and more coming.. Persona has a way to trade Ark <> Prs arigard [7:47 PM] What is to stop them from getting their own exchanges in the future and just using Ark as a stepping stone to becoming their own platform operator? mak [7:47 PM] Sure rob, but there's now 10 different projects doing the same and they are faster in development than the ark team is arigard [7:47 PM] ^ Blockhunter [7:47 PM] Ark is the Yoda of blockchain and they need a better catchphrase. Better than ark gives no dates or point click blockchain arigard [7:48 PM] This attitude seems horribly naive if this is the value proposition. mak [7:48 PM] All of us believe in the vision that Ark brought us but I personally am not sure if Ark is the best option to execute that vision in time arigard [7:48 PM] The issue is, we don't know what the value proposition is. mak [7:48 PM] Other projects seem much faster rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:48 PM] if you are into speculation, which it seems you are, then on paper all of your projects with no code are better and have more value than Ark arigard [7:48 PM] That's not true at all. lol. Matthew_DC [7:49 PM] At the most base level, ARK is a common currency token that is essentially automatically compatible with every bridge chain that is built based on ARK and is optimized for transaction volume and throughput to avoid bloat of other mechanisms introduced by the other chains. That is at the most basic level. By holding the ARK token itself, you will be able to enact the functions of multiple bridged chains both issued by our team and others. You will also be able to utilize the ARK chain as a pegged token to many bridged chains but that process will be transparent to users as it will be done behind the scenes without the user needing to do any functions. To think that someone will fork the code and generate a more effective ARK main chain means you have no confidence in the ARK team as the primary developer of the technology itself. In this case, if we are not and someone pushes a better version of the network, then I would argue maybe they SHOULD be chosen. That is the point of a free and open market. Not to mention the potential for registering and providing snapshot hashes to the main ARK blockchain to provide added security measures to a bridge chain with lower security due to lower market share etc, those are just baseline reasons. As I mentioned the other day, at face value, consider this. What brings value to Litecoin or Bitcoin or Doge? In essence, ARK is a more effective currency and base network than all of these aforementioned networks with all of the added benefits being added for additional use cases. roks0n (deadlock) [7:50 PM] will ark based chains be bridged via arkvm? goldenpepe [7:50 PM] They cant be You'd need the VM on both sides Matthew_DC [7:50 PM] I am currently on a conference call and have a lot going on so I can't respond too much. goldenpepe [7:50 PM] You can use AIP11's new tx types to do a sort of escrow between chains though i think mak [7:50 PM] @Matthew_DC Are you saying that the bridgechains deployed by ark-deployer don't have the same features? rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:50 PM] ArkVM is not for bridging chains goldenpepe [7:51 PM] It can be Coinme [7:51 PM] And ICO's that will join Ark in the future will use it for buying their token. goldenpepe [7:51 PM] But both chains will need to be running the VM Matthew_DC [7:51 PM] The ARK main chain will have specific methods of allowing token transfer and utilization between chains to include quasi-centralized methods through aces, decentralized aces based intermediary networks, Time locked transfers, among custom built smart contract like logic built into the core technology itself that doesn't make the network susceptible to the bloat and mis-utilization an vulnerabilities of full VM use. goldenpepe [7:51 PM] (which the main ark chain wont be) mak [7:51 PM] "ICO's that will join Ark in the future will use it for buying their token" Or any other bridgechain that's listed on exchanges @Matthew_DC So will all of the bridgechains, no? I could start an ACES node today for persona and it will have no difference from what you describe. Matthew_DC [7:52 PM] @mak no, we promised ARK would be open source and everything we build for the core ARK blockchain will be open source. arigard [7:53 PM] You can be open source and still protect your value.. Matthew_DC [7:54 PM] The point of ARK from day 1 has been to create a better base layer blockchain technology and protocol for everyone everywhere to be able to use to create anything they can dream up. The ARK token is a core payment layer for the ecosystem including any applications we build ourselves, sponsor, partner with, or support. mak [7:54 PM] It seems like the team's vision for Ark is as a software product only and there's no business plan for the main chain. Which is fine but it's not explained as such. (edited) Blockhunter [7:55 PM] Great to see such active discussions goldenpepe [7:55 PM] I think what Matt is trying to portray is this: A single universal Ark Ecosystem wallet holding ARK that has a nice UI with a list of dapps in the ecosystem You select a dapp You send a tx from the wallet using Ark ----------------Everything below this line is transparent to the user----------------- The Ark transaction has instructions in the smartbridge field The Ark gets converted to dappCoin via an intermediary like ACES (trustful) or a trustless escrow smart contract The intermediary received Ark and uses the dappCoin on the dapp chain to do whatever it is the user wanted to do using the instructions in the smartbridge field The dappchain responds to the request to the intermediary Intermediary sends an Ark tx with the results of the dapp computation/action in the smartbridge field ---------------Everything above this line is transparent to the user------------------- After 8+ seconds, user's wallet shows them the result of their interaction with the dapp bridgechain That's where the value of Ark will come from The Ark coin will be a universal "omni-coin" Matthew_DC [7:56 PM] :this: This goldenpepe [7:56 PM] That will instantly shapeshift into bridgechain coins to interact with the bridgechain dapp mak [7:58 PM] I understand what your point is and I agree it will work but only as long as none of the bridge chains are on an exchange when for example persona gets listed on binance the scenario changes and now either chain can become the backbone of the ark ecosystem arigard [7:58 PM] Yes. We see that. But hypothetically what is to stop a bridged Ark chain from becoming bigger than Ark and then going on to become that gateway? At this point it just seems to be hopium that the Ark network will always be the one people look to. But in one year, or two, or five, it might not be the case. What is to stop Ark being just sidelined if another team come along with develop on what Ark has built and propel it forward and take the mantle? goldenpepe [7:58 PM] What you say will be a problem only if the utility of the dapp coin is greater than the utility of the ark omnicoin Would you rather hold a coin that can do one thing and is forever tied to a single chain arigard [7:59 PM] But in other crypto's an app becoming sucessfull is a benefit. In Ark's network it could be a negative. goldenpepe [7:59 PM] Or would you rather hold a coin that can interact with that single chain and 3232523432 others arigard [7:59 PM] But why can't another coin become an omnicoin? If there are no limitations against it goldenpepe [7:59 PM] Why can't another coin become ethereum? mak [7:59 PM] "What you say will be a problem only if the utility of the dapp coin is greater than the utility of the ark omnicoin" Or if it gives out better staking returns etc like persona because of higher inflation rate goldenpepe [7:59 PM] if there are no limitations against it You can literally go on AWS right now and deploy an ethereum clone chain arigard [7:59 PM] It can, but an ETH token can't oust ETH That's the difference. We are giving people an easy route here. rob [ Ark Labs ] [7:59 PM] do you often think your children should not surpass you? Or is that the hope? Matthew_DC [8:00 PM] Well it's about security, trust, potential vulnerabilities due to added functionality, the ability of the bridgechain team to create interactions and focus on use cases for their token outside of their core use, etc. But that's the point of open and free markets goldenpepe [8:00 PM] There is a solution to your concern @arigard Matthew_DC [8:00 PM] What is to stop someone from being better than Bitcoin? arigard [8:01 PM] I think all these strawman arguments are fun, but they still aren't adressing the issuel goldenpepe [8:01 PM] Instead of having Ark Deployer literally cloning the ark codebase, have it be a turnkey solution to run a layer 2 chain Matthew_DC [8:01 PM] You could go fork Ethereum right now and have an exact copy of the capability of the main Eth chain. goldenpepe [8:01 PM] bridgechain dapps can be "colored coins" that are forever tied to the main chain arigard [8:01 PM] Yeah but you wouldn't have those businesses on the chain. goldenpepe [8:01 PM] but that would introduce bloat Matthew_DC [8:01 PM] So you are saying the utility of Ethereum is adoption. arigard [8:01 PM] And those businesses won't have the potential to become the main ETH. Matthew_DC [8:01 PM] Which is the case for the value of any token. goldenpepe [8:01 PM] @arigard It sounds like you want ark to become Ethereum Plasma arigard [8:02 PM] I just want an answer. Matthew_DC [8:02 PM] How many companies are pulling their ERC20 tokens off of Ethereum because of the issues? Colby [8:02 PM] Yeah but correct me if im wrong goldenpepe [8:02 PM] There is no answer that will satisfy what you are asking arigard [8:02 PM] And i keep getting strawmanned. Colby [8:02 PM] Ethereum projects NEED eth for gas Matthew_DC [8:02 PM] We talk to people almost every day that are looking to leave Ethereum. Colby [8:02 PM] Ark is needed for? arigard [8:02 PM] ^ Colby [8:02 PM] This is all I am wondering, where does the ark coin fit into it I love the idea goldenpepe [8:02 PM] @arigard You want ark-based coins to rely on Ark The team wants the Ark chain to not be bloated The solution to this is unironically ethereum plasma and sharding Colby [8:02 PM] but have been waiting for a while to know how the Ark coin will actually be used goldenpepe [8:03 PM] Shards in ethereum are basically "bridgechains" arigard [8:03 PM] Ok, and those teams might be big enough and clued up enough to eventually knock Ark from being the de facto omni coin. That's the worry. If this is in fact the possibility. Then it should be clear. mak [8:03 PM] "You could go fork Ethereum right now and have an exact copy of the capability of the main Eth chain." @Matthew_DC Ethereum has value because all the dapps live on it which is not true for ark arigard [8:03 PM] Because as an investor it worries me, a lot. I don't know where the value of Ark as an investment is 100% right now. Jarunik [8:03 PM] Ark is basically the inverse approach to Ethereum. Eth goes for big one-fits all first and tries to shard ... Ark is creating shards and then combines them goldenpepe [8:03 PM] There is no solution to what @arigard and @mak are saying right now Literally no existing solution Only proposals like sharding arigard [8:04 PM] And all this noise about defensiveness doesn't help. These are legit concerns. Matthew_DC [8:04 PM] When was it not clear that if a company comes along and builds a better more used product it could potentially take over market share? That's how all free markets work. You can't believe in open source and build and open source product without that risk. arigard [8:04 PM] But that isn't the same thing. Ark is literally building THE tools for people to then do that. mak [8:04 PM] @Matthew_DC Just to clarify I appreciate the work you guys are doing but I want to make an informed investment decision about holding the ark token arigard [8:04 PM] As a platform. Jarunik [8:04 PM] yes ... that is the idea how to grow arigard [8:04 PM] if you cloned Bitcoin back in the day you were a seperate currency. Jarunik [8:04 PM] provide good tools for others to create chains arigard [8:04 PM] This is a platform, its totally different. And what we are discuswsing here is who runs that platform. Matthew_DC [8:05 PM] If someone launched an Ethereum chain right now and gained adoption there is a huge potential that all tokens decide to move their ERC20 tokens to the new chain and it becomes the new Ethereum and you have in essence lost all value because Ethereum is not capable of being used on the bridge chain as a currency. ARK maintains it's value if for no other reason than the pegged value to any chain we personally create to include VM chain, token issuance chain, etc. arigard [8:05 PM] If it's built by Ark, does Ark always retain control? if not, why? What happens if Ark ends up building tools for a subsidary project that propels itself above them. Investors will just move to that coin. Matthew_DC [8:05 PM] Because it's an open decentralized system. The problem is people don't actually believe in decentralization if it possibly harms their potential for monetary gain. rob [ Ark Labs ] [8:06 PM] we hope bridgechains get popular because that also means more for Ark in many ways. arigard [8:06 PM] You can be decentralized without being 100% altruistic. It's not mutually exclusive. mak [8:06 PM] @goldenpepe Since you guys claim that there's no solution for this how about I present one which @Matthew_DC can decide if it's useful or not. Make delegate voting for the ArkVM happen on the main chain. So anyone who wants to become a delegate for the VM needs to hold money on the main chain. arigard [8:07 PM] It just seems people are being dogmatic about this. And if this isn't about investment. Why have an ICO? Matthew_DC [8:07 PM] Ethereum being the core chain for all ERC20 token based businesses centralizes the industry in a massive way. Not only is Ethereum itself centralized in the way it's mining structure was developed, but it also is centralized in that if the Ethereum network is compromised, thousands of companies assets and business are now compromised. We don't believe that is the future. mak [8:07 PM] I'm not saying that this should be done for all sidechains. Just for the VM and it will be a special case. Matthew_DC [8:07 PM] We believe in a different business model. That has been at the core of every description and explanation I have given from day 1. arigard [8:07 PM] Ok and that's fine, but my point is this should be made very clear if it's the case. From the team officially. goldenpepe [8:07 PM] @mak now you're strawmanning me Matthew_DC [8:07 PM] Where is it not clear? goldenpepe [8:08 PM] I was addressing the fact that the idea that bridgechains shouldnt be independent and should be tied to Ark being in conflict with the Ark team's idea that the main chain should not be bloated with dapps The only plausible solution to that right now is Ethereum Plasma Sharding yokoama (thefoundry Delegate) [8:09 PM] Sharting mak [8:09 PM] "We believe in a different business model." I respect that. But it changes the ark's value proposition to just being a source of funding to the ark team and a means of speculation. goldenpepe [8:09 PM] Shards in ethereum are like bridgechains but the coins are all erc20s that rely on ethereum Matthew_DC [8:09 PM] People said ARK's DPoS mechanism would be a failure when we changed the voting structure because they said it wouldn't be secure enough. It has turned out to be massively secure compared to the centralized cartel run solutions of other DPoS chains. This is another fundamental issue where we believe we have a model that will work and will create value and thousands of use cases for the ARK token in a seamless way for the average user. goldenpepe [8:09 PM] and the shard blocks dont interfere or bloat up the "main" eth chain mak [8:09 PM] @goldenpepe I'm not suggesting deploying dapps on main chain. Just that the voting should take place there so there is always incentive to keep money on the main chain. Matthew_DC [8:10 PM] At no point did we say ARK was gas and have constantly made sure to outline the differences between ARK and Ethereum. I believe the Eth model is flawed. goldenpepe [8:11 PM] The current ethereum model is flawed If sharding works then it's going to solve a lot of its issues (i dont hold any ethereum btw) arigard [8:12 PM] At no point have we actually had an updated white paper discussing this question in detail, clearly. It's not on the website and if it is it's buried somewhere in a blog post. The fact these discussions keep cropping up is proof of this. nukacolaplease [8:12 PM] I think we don't understand clearly what makes Ark important after the launch of the sidechains, Ark will be only an "exchange token"? The sidechain doesn't need Ark for operating goldenpepe [8:12 PM] +1 on needing a new whitepaper Matthew_DC [8:12 PM] replied to a thread: This is a means of centralization of the network. Instead, by utilizing a form of pegged bridge chains, we can maintain a similar effect without creating centralization and reliance on 1 chain for others to properly function. arkenstone [8:12 PM] I think these things should be clearly written in a new WB and officially made public and promoted goldenpepe [8:12 PM] A new whitepaper would clear up so much FUD pieface [8:13 PM] Yeah I think a new WP is needed for sure arigard [8:13 PM] So don't start going "Oh everybody knows this, it's clear" Show me where on the front page of the website it tells you how the token mechanics will work in the ecosystem? It's not good it being on some powerpoint on a google drive, or hidden in comments in the slack. mak [8:13 PM] I though there wasn't going to be a new whitepaper. arigard [8:13 PM] It needs to be clear to investors how it works, exactly. goldenpepe [8:13 PM] I agree with arigard here I only know what I know because I live on slack Matthew_DC [8:13 PM] The solutions are still in development and there are always opportunities to continue to adapt the model, that's why I have these conversations and ask for feedback regularly, but the core fundamental belief of how open and free decentralized markets should work most likely won't change. arkenstone [8:13 PM] Same here goldenpepe [8:14 PM] The vast majority of ark holders have no idea they just bought bc of the cool red triangle arigard [8:14 PM] Stop playing cute, this is people's money you are asking for. So at least give them the benefit of being honest that there is no inherent business model reason why Ark will be necessary in the future. And let them make their decisions. roks0n (deadlock) [8:14 PM] I agree, it took me months of following discussion on slack and digging around reddit to get information arigard [8:14 PM] With proper information. mak [8:14 PM] replied to a thread: It's centralizing value onto one chain but doesn't bottleneck the ecosystem so I don't see anything being wrong with that. Matthew_DC [8:15 PM] replied to a thread: I'm not arguing with you and I made a clear post here within the last 2 days that our website messaging is shit and needs completely redone. If the ARK network is compromised or the consensus mechanism of the ARK main net is compromised then all subsequent networks reliant on that consensus would be compromised as well. mad4thrash [8:15 PM] In my opinion Ark's value come from (in the future) the fact that by holding one coin I can interact with every bridgechain plus any ACES services Matthew_DC [8:16 PM] So what I am saying is that we have to be cautious of these kinds of decisions and ensure that we aren't inadvertently creating attack vectors to take down partners, businesses, and other industries using the technology. I'm sorry guys, I have to go, but I would love to continue this conversation on Reddit or here at a later time. mak [8:16 PM] "all subsequent networks reliant on that consensus would be compromised as well" ^ Correction: only the VM chain will be compromised since I'm not advocating that all bridgechains should vote on the main chain. Matthew_DC [8:19 PM] In an isolated case, if we can map it out and vet the concept, I'm more than happy to hear it out and have the conversation. Solowatch [8:19 PM] So I think we can all agree an updated Whitepaper is due Matthew_DC [8:20 PM] This is a community project and we are shaping pieces of it together as we continue to build. We have already made changes based on community feedback on many occasions. So I would love to see someone post a proposal to reddit or even as an AIP at some point that we could discuss. Jarunik [8:20 PM] If you write a white paper it will be outdated soon :smile: Solowatch [8:21 PM] Well a V2 whitepaper shouldn’t be outdated soon I don’t care about a V1 or V1.5 whitepaper lol I want a whitepaper for V2 that’s clearly explaining all these concerns that the community has arkenstone [8:22 PM] :this: Solowatch [8:23 PM] I wrote a few questions down that I’ll post in here later today that @rob [ Ark Labs ] asked for. Please add to it if I missed anything once I do. arkenstone [8:23 PM] And I think now it's the time do it. Present it with full package on mainet launch.. (edited) Solowatch [8:23 PM] Or PM and I’ll add them before posting mak [8:25 PM] Anyways thanks for listening and responding @Matthew_DC. Some of us have been trying to discuss this with the ark team but didn't get much feedback until today. arigard [8:25 PM] Yeah +1 arkenstone [8:28 PM] Alot of early investors are getting worried
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