UK offers $130K for software that can trace Bitcoin, Ethereum, and (hopefully) Monero. In particular, HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) is seeking the ability to cluster cryptocurrency transactions, identifying those linked to service providers such as mixing, gambling, and dark market services.
UK offers $130K for software that can trace Bitcoin, Ethereum, and (hopefully) Monero. In particular, HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) is seeking the ability to cluster cryptocurrency transactions, identifying those linked to service providers such as mixing, gambling, and dark market services.
Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet
Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots. A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC). Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea. When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust. However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:
Is Bitcoin money?
No. Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves: 1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own. As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get. You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there? 2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile. If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point: 3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away. For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast. On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad. One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy. If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due. Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.
BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in
Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense. Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run. See here Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well. Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money. Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand. Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control. It's also a national security risk... The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca. He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade. This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.
Currencies are based on trust
Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged? The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president. People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all. It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board. For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government." The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.
BTC is not gold
Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value. How do we know that? Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan. Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well. Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties: First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment. Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials. Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans. It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods. To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that. On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Means of Exchange: if people seriously start using BTC to buy pizzas, then this creates a real demand for the currency to accomplish the short-term exchanges. As we saw previously, I'm not personally sold on this one and it's currently a negligible fraction of overall demand.
Criminal uses: Probably the largest inbuilt advantage of BTC is that it's anonymous, and so a great way to launder money. Hacker gangs use BTC to demand ransom on cryptolocker type attacks because it's a shared way for an honest company to pay and for the criminals to receive money without going to jail.
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.
BTC is really risky
One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds. But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:
A critical software vulnerability is found in the BTC codebase, leading to a possible exploitation.
Xi Jinping decides he's had enough of rich people in China hiding their assets from him and bans BTC.
Some form of bank run takes hold for whatever reason. Because BTC wallets are uninsured, unlike regular banks, this compounds into a Black Tuesday style crash.
Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient
Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science. That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale. The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
BTC was estimated to use as much electricity as Belgium in 2019. It's hard to trace where the BTC mining comes from, but we can assume it has a huge carbon footprint.
A single transactions is necessarily expensive. A single transaction takes as much electricity as 800,000 VISA transactions, or watching 50,000 hours of youtube videos.
There is a large necessary tax on the transaction, since those checking the transaction extract a few BTC from it to be incentivized to do the work of checking it.
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
This set of indicators draws from the inherent characteristics and vulnerabilities associated with the underlying technology of VAs. The various technological features below increase anonymity and add hurdles to the detection of criminal activity by LEAs. These factors make VAs attractive to criminals looking to disguise or store their funds. Nevertheless, the mere presence of these features in an activity does not automatically suggest an illicit transaction. For example, the use of a hardware or paper wallet may be legitimate as a way to secure VAs against thefts. Again, the presence of these indicators should be considered in the context of other characteristics about the customer and relationship, or a logical business explanation.
Transactions by a customer involving more than one type of VA, despite additional transaction fees, and especially those VAs that provide higher anonymity, such as anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrency (AEC) or privacy coins. Moving a VA that operates on a public, transparent blockchain, such as Bitcoin, to a centralised exchange and then immediately trading it for an AEC or privacy coin. Customers that operate as an unregistered/unlicensed VASP on peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange websites, particularly when there are concerns that the customers handle huge amount of VA transfers on its customer’s behalf, and charge higher fees to its customer than transmission services offered by other exchanges. Use of bank accounts to facilitate these P2P transactions. Abnormal transactional activity (level and volume) of VAs cashed out at exchanges from P2P platform-associated wallets with no logical business explanation. VAs transferred to or from wallets that show previous patterns of activity associated with the use of VASPs that operate mixing or tumbling services or P2P platforms. Transactions making use of mixing and tumbling services, suggesting an intent to obscure the flow of illicit funds between known wallet addresses and darknet marketplaces. Funds deposited or withdrawn from a VA address or wallet with direct and indirect exposure links to known suspicious sources, including darknet marketplaces, mixing/tumbling services, questionable gambling sites, illegal activities (e.g. ransomware) and/or theft reports. The use of decentralised/unhosted, hardware or paper wallets to transport VAs across borders. Users entering the VASP platform having registered their Internet domain names through proxies or using domain name registrars (DNS) that suppress or redact the owners of the domain names. Users entering the VASP platform using an IP address associated with a darknet or other similar software that allows anonymous communication, including encrypted emails and VPNs. Transactions between partners using various anonymous encrypted communication means (e.g. forums, chats, mobile applications, online games, etc.) instead of a VASP. A large number of seemingly unrelated VA wallets controlled from the same IP-address (or MAC-address), which may involve the use of shell wallets registered to different users to conceal their relation to each other. Use of VAs whose design is not adequately documented, or that are linked to possible fraud or other tools aimed at implementing fraudulent schemes, such as Ponzi schemes. Receiving funds from or sending funds to VASPs whose CDD or know-your- customer (KYC) processes are demonstrably weak or non-existent. Using VA ATMs/kiosks – o despite the higher transaction fees and including those commonly used by mules or scam victims; or o in high-risk locations where increased criminal activities occur. A single use of an ATM/kiosk is not enough in and of itself to constitute a red flag, but would if it was coupled with the machine being in a high-risk area, or was used for repeated small transactions (or other additional factors).
Taproot, CoinJoins, and Cross-Input Signature Aggregation
It is a very common misconception that the upcoming Taproot upgrade helps CoinJoin. TLDR: The upcoming Taproot upgrade does not help equal-valued CoinJoin at all, though it potentially increases the privacy of other protocols, such as the Lightning Network, and escrow contract schemes. If you want to learn more, read on!
Let's start with equal-valued CoinJoins, the type JoinMarket and Wasabi use. What happens is that some number of participants agree on some common value all of them use. With JoinMarket the taker defines this value and pays the makers to agree to it, with Wasabi the server defines a value approximately 0.1 BTC. Then, each participant provides inputs that they unilaterally control, totaling equal or greater than the common value. Typically since each input is unilaterally controlled, each input just requires a singlesig. Each participant also provides up to two addresses they control: one of these will be paid with the common value, while the other will be used for any extra value in the inputs they provided (i.e. the change output). The participants then make a single transaction that spends all the provided inputs and pays out to the appropriate outputs. The inputs and outputs are shuffled in some secure manner. Then the unsigned transaction is distributed back to all participants. Finally, each participant checks that the transaction spends the inputs it provided (and more importantly does not spend any other coins it might own that it did not provide for this CoinJoin!) and that the transaction pays out to the appropriate address(es) it controls. Once they have validated the transaction, they ratify it by signing for each of the inputs it provided. Once every participant has provided signatures for all inputs it registered, the transaction is now completely signed and the CoinJoin transaction is now validly confirmable. CoinJoin is a very simple and direct privacy boost, it requires no SCRIPTs, needs only singlesig, etc.
Let's say we have two participants who have agreed on a common amount of 0.1 BTC. One provides a 0.105 coin as input, the other provides a 0.114 coin as input. This results in a CoinJoin with a 0.105 coin and a 0.114 coin as input, and outputs with 0.1, 0.005, 0.014, and 0.1 BTC. Now obviously the 0.005 output came from the 0.105 input, and the 0.014 output came from the 0.114 input. But the two 0.1 BTC outputs cannot be correlated with either input! There is no correlating information, since either output could have come from either input. That is how common CoinJoin implementations like Wasabi and JoinMarket gain privacy.
Unfortunately, large-scale CoinJoins like that made by Wasabi and JoinMarket are very obvious. All you have to do is look for a transactions where, say, more than 3 outputs are the same equal value, and the number of inputs is equal or larger than the number of equal-valued outputs. Thus, it is trivial to identify equal-valued CoinJoins made by Wasabi and JoinMarket. You can even trivially differentiate them: Wasabi equal-valued CoinJoins are going to have a hundred or more inputs, with outputs that are in units of approximately 0.1 BTC, while JoinMarket CoinJoins have equal-valued outputs of less than a dozen (between 4 to 6 usually) and with the common value varying wildly from as low as 0.001 BTC to as high as a dozen BTC or more. This has led to a number of anti-privacy exchanges to refuse to credit custodially-held accounts if the incoming deposit is within a few hops of an equal-valued CoinJoin, usually citing concerns about regulations. Crucially, the exchange continues to hold private keys for those "banned" deposits, and can still spend them, thus this is effectively a theft. If your exchange does this to you, you should report that exchange as stealing money from its customers. Not your keys not your coins. Thus, CoinJoins represent a privacy tradeoff:
It's very hard for everyone else to determine which output belongs to which input.
It's obvious to everyone else that the output was involved in a mixing operation.
Let's now briefly discuss that nice new shiny thing called Taproot. Taproot includes two components:
The use of Schnorr-based signature scheme, with multisignature support. Spending from a Schnorr pubkey is called a "keypath spend".
The ability to secretly commit to a set of scripts, one of which can be revealed later and its inputs provided correctly in order to spend the coin. Spending via a hidden script is called a "scriptpath spend".
This has some nice properties:
Direct multisignature support means all multisignature uses look the same. In current Bitcoin, a 2-of-2 "multisignature" is really a script which demands that two signatures be provided, from 2 different pre-specified public keys. To a cryptographer, the strict definition of multisignature is that this is a single signature that is cooperatively created by multiple parties.
A typical minimal "multisig" setup would be a 2-of-3, because that lets you lose one signing device while still being able to keep access to your money, and still providing an increase in security relative to a singlesig, since a 2-of-3 requires that potential thieves abscond with at least two signing devices. In current Bitcoin, a 2-of-3 is a SCRIPT containing 3 public keys, requiring that two signatures from those three public keys be provided.
But a Lightning Network channel has exactly two participants. Thus, it uses a 2-of-2, and is a SCRIPT containing 2 public keys, requiring that two signatures from those public keys be provided. If you look for 2-of-2 spends on the blockchain after Lightning became cool, the chances are very good that a random 2-of-2 spend is a Lightning Network channel being closed, because there are hardly ever any other uses of 2-of-2.
Just from there, you can easily differentiate the most common HODLer multisig of 2-of-3 (SCRIPT contains 3 pubkeys) from the Lightning channel 2-of-2 (SCRIPT contains 2 pubkeys).
Fortunately, with Taproot, 2-of-3 and 2-of-2 (and any arbitrary k-of-n) can look exactly the same, because Schnorr allows for the cryptographer's strict definition of "multisignature": a single signature cooperatively created by multiple parties.
Complex SCRIPTs, like HTLCs, can be hidden in a Taproot output.
For example, the output can have a keyspend branch that is a n-of-n of all participants, with hidden SCRIPTs that encode the conditions under which the output can be spent
The hidden SCRIPTs ensure that the protocol is followed. If one of the participants drops from the protocol, the rest can reveal the hidden SCRIPTs and follow their conditions.
If everyone follows the protocol correctly, and agrees to the result, they can all cooperatively sign with the keyspend n-of-n. They can just all agree on what the result of the SCRIPTs would be, and sign a transaction that performs that, without revealing any SCRIPTs. Since all of them agreed on the result, nobody should complain (if one of them believes the result is not correct, they can just refuse to sign and force everyone else to publish the SCRIPTs onchain).
If everyone agrees, they get privacy: none of the SCRIPTs they were following ever get published onchain, and it looks like every other multisignature spend.
Taproot DOES NOT HELP CoinJoin
So let's review! CoinJoin:
CoinJoin inputs are singlesig
There are no SCRIPTs involved in CoinJoin.
Improves multisig privacy.
Improves SCRIPT privacy.
There is absolutely no overlap. Taproot helps things that CoinJoin does not use. CoinJoin uses things that Taproot does not improve.
B-but They Said!!
A lot of early reporting on Taproot claimed that Taproot benefits CoinJoin. What they are confusing is that earlier drafts of Taproot included a feature called cross-input signature aggregation. In current Bitcoin, every input, to be spent, has to be signed individually. With cross-input signature aggregation, all inputs that support this feature are signed with a single signature that covers all those inputs. So for example if you would spend two inputs, current Bitcoin requires a signature for each input, but with cross-input signature aggregation you can sign both of them with a single signature. This works even if the inputs have different public keys: two inputs with cross-input signature aggregation effectively define a 2-of-2 public key, and you can only sign for that input if you know the private keys for both inputs, or if you are cooperatively signing with somebody who knows the private key of the other input. This helps CoinJoin costs. Since CoinJoins will have lots of inputs (each participant will provide at least one, and probably will provide more, and larger participant sets are better for more privacy in CoinJoin), if all of them enabled cross-input signature aggregation, such large CoinJoins can have only a single signature. This complicates the signing process for CoinJoins (the signers now have to sign cooperatively) but it can be well worth it for the reduced signature size and onchain cost. But note that the while cross-input signature aggregation improves the cost of CoinJoins, it does not improve the privacy! Equal-valued CoinJoins are still obvious and still readily bannable by privacy-hating exchanges. It does not improve the privacy of CoinJoin. Instead, see https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/gqb3udesign_for_a_coinswap_implementation_fo
Why isn't cross-input signature aggregation in?
There's some fairly complex technical reasons why cross-input signature aggregation isn't in right now in the current Taproot proposal. The primary reason was to reduce the technical complexity of Taproot, in the hope that it would be easier to convince users to activate (while support for Taproot is quite high, developers have become wary of being hopeful that new proposals will ever activate, given the previous difficulties with SegWit). The main technical complexity here is that it interacts with future ways to extend Bitcoin. The rest of this writeup assumes you already know about how Bitcoin SCRIPT works. If you don't understand how Bitcoin SCRIPT works at the low-level, then the TLDR is that cross-input signature aggregation complicates how to extend Bitcoin in the future, so it was deferred to let the develoeprs think more about it. (this is how I understand it; perhaps pwuille or ajtowns can give a better summary.) In detail, Taproot also introduces OP_SUCCESS opcodes. If you know about the OP_NOP opcodes already defined in current Bitcoin, well, OP_SUCCESS is basically "OP_NOP done right". Now, OP_NOP is a do-nothing operation. It can be replaced in future versions of Bitcoin by having that operation check some condition, and then fail if the condition is not satisfied. For example, both OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY and OP_CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY were previously OP_NOP opcodes. Older nodes will see an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY and think it does nothing, but newer nodes will check if the nLockTime field has a correct specified value, and fail if the condition is not satisfied. Since most of the nodes on the network are using much newer versions of the node software, older nodes are protected from miners who try to misspend any OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY/OP_CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY, and those older nodes will still remain capable of synching with the rest of the network: a dedication to strict backward-compatibility necessary for a consensus system. Softforks basically mean that a script that passes in the latest version must also be passing in all older versions. A script cannot be passing in newer versions but failing in older versions, because that would kick older nodes off the network (i.e. it would be a hardfork). But OP_NOP is a very restricted way of adding opcodes. Opcodes that replace OP_NOP can only do one thing: check if some condition is true. They can't push new data on the stack, they can't pop items off the stack. For example, suppose instead of OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY, we had added a OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT opcode. This opcode would push the height of the blockchain on the stack. If this command replaced an older OP_NOP opcode, then a script like OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT 650000 OP_EQUAL might pass in some future Bitcoin version, but older versions would see OP_NOP 650000 OP_EQUAL, which would fail because OP_EQUAL expects two items on the stack. So older versions will fail a SCRIPT that newer versions will pass, which is a hardfork and thus a backwards incompatibility. OP_SUCCESS is different. Instead, old nodes, when parsing the SCRIPT, will see OP_SUCCESS, and, without executing the body, will consider the SCRIPT as passing. So, the OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT 650000 OP_EQUAL example will now work: a future version of Bitcoin might pass it, and existing nodes that don't understand OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT will se OP_SUCCESS 650000 OP_EQUAL, and will not execute the SCRIPT at all, instead passing it immediately. So a SCRIPT that might pass in newer versions will pass for older versions, which keeps the back-compatibility consensus that a softfork needs. So how does OP_SUCCESS make things difficult for cross-input signatur aggregation? Well, one of the ways to ask for a signature to be verified is via the opcodes OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY. With cross-input signature aggregation, if a public key indicates it can be used for cross-input signature aggregation, instead of OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY actually requiring the signature on the stack, the stack will contain a dummy 0 value for the signature, and the public key is instead added to a "sum" public key (i.e. an n-of-n that is dynamically extended by one more pubkey for each OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY operation that executes) for the single signature that is verified later by the cross-input signature aggregation validation algorithm00. The important part here is that the OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY has to execute, in order to add its public key to the set of public keys to be checked in the single signature. But remember that an OP_SUCCESS prevents execution! As soon as the SCRIPT is parsed, if any opcode is OP_SUCCESS, that is considered as passing, without actually executing the SCRIPT, because the OP_SUCCESS could mean something completely different in newer versions and current versions should assume nothing about what it means. If the SCRIPT contains some OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY command in addition to an OP_SUCCESS, that command is not executed by current versions, and thus they cannot add any public keys given by OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY. Future versions also have to accept that: if they parsed an OP_SUCCESS command that has a new meaning in the future, and then execute an OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY in that SCRIPT, they cannot add the public key into the same "sum" public key that older nodes use, because older nodes cannot see them. This means that you might need more than one signature in the future, in the presence of an opcode that replaces some OP_SUCCESS. Thus, because of the complexity of making cross-input signature aggregation work compatibly with future extensions to the protocol, cross-input signature aggregation was deferred.
Beware of new virus directed at music makers. (Very serious)
I don't know if this thread should even be here, but it's ok if mods delete it. Since security is my field, I just wanted to be sure everyone is aware of this new Ransomware that is going around, directed at music makers, hidden inside music software installers. It's called ThiefQuest, and it basically scans your computer for passwords, and then encrypts all your files so you pay the hacker 50$ via bitcoin. I repeat: it encrypts all you files. That includes OS files so you'll have to wipe everything. So far, people have found it in Ableton and Mixed In Key cracked installers. Mixed In Key seems to be very sought after since it can't be cracked, so a lot of people might be eager to just go with it! I take it most people here don't pirate software, but if you do even if it's just to try the software, please double check everything because as soon as you install it, you're done. Be safe out there.
Cryptocurrencies and Money Laundering: To What Extent They Are Actually Connected ( part 2)
https://preview.redd.it/rwfzet5fu2u51.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=f27873c32c2c5435ae7ed7d51f8abf47152073bf Cryptocurrencies are ill suited to money laundering As a tool for money laundering, cryptocurrencies are a lot less universal and convenient than bank payments and cash. Unlike cash transactions and bank transfers, transactions in decentralized blockchains are easily traceable. Cryptocurrencies are transparent in nature — all transactions are recorded and publicly accessible. If you can accumulate considerable volume of data, you can determine who's behind a bitcoin address used for money laundering. Besides, you cannot use the ВТС network and other cryptocurrency networks to transfer a large amount of money — such a transaction would be immediately brought to attention of law enforcement. The experience of fighting against the Darknet (the illegal Internet) shows that states can fight against cyber crime while anonymity of cryptocurrencies is greatly exaggerated. Legal cryptocurrency platforms have demonstrated a long-standing trend of using KYC principles (provision of complete information about a user) — exchanging currencies anonymously is getting harder. Special services can connect transactions to specific users, sometimes using the blockchain technology itself to do it. Super anonymous coins that encrypt transaction data (Monero, Dash, ZCash and others) cannot save criminals either — there are methods that can be used to break down these transactions. However, some experts state that cryptocurrency technologies evolve really fast and will soon become completely untraceable. In any case, to withdraw cryptocurrencies and turn them into fiat money, you would have to “burn” your actual bank accounts, thus reducing the entire anonymity level. It is often mentioned that criminals use the so-called “mixers” — software and services where transactions can be run by mixing your coins and coins owned by other users to maintain confidentiality. It allows you to hide your withdrawal data and addresses, as well as your real identities. However, according to the above mentioned Chainalysis report, most users prefer to use mixers to ensure confidentiality and not to conduct illegal activity. This method is only used to launder 8 % of all money passing through. Moreover, special services can track transactions passing through mixers which makes them suspicious by default. This is why criminals are not overenthusiastic to use them — cash and banks are more secure. As you can see, cryptocurrencies are not all that convenient for criminals though it may seem so. They are an excessive intermediate since actual laundering requires cashing out and it's getting harder to do so anonymously by the day. Banks are the key “laundromats” of the criminal underworld Let's turn to the best part now. Criminals launder most money via regulated banks seen as ideal by the states. They can annually launder up to $ 2 trln. Think about it: trillions of dollars laundered through the banks. Many of the world's biggest banks have been involved in money laundering schemes and fined for this. For instance, Wells Fargo, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co and the Bank of America, Standard Chartered and others. Last year, it turned out that Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Raiffeisen had helped criminals launder $ 8.8 bln over a period of 7 years. It's only three bank conglomerates seen as strongholds of honesty and security. Imagine how much money has been laundered via other banks, including “shadow” banks. In 2019, various companies around the world were fined for being involved in money laundering schemes worth of the record $ 8.14 bln. It's twice as much as in 2018. Two thirds of the fines were attributed to banks — $ 6.2 bln, and 17% — to gaming and gambling organizations. The best joke is that these fines are a drop in the ocean for the banks while money laundering cannot be undone. According to the August report by the Mexican Finance Intelligence Unit, local criminals still prefer to launder money using conventional financial institutions, mostly banks, as well as brokerage firms and exchange companies. Seven biggest and most regulated Mexican banks that control 80 % of all assets in the national financial sector run the biggest number of transactions with black money (no specific amounts are given). Moreover, Mexican banks have long been known to deal with activities of this kind. In 2012, one of them — HSBC — paid a record $ 1.92 bln in fines to the US authorities after the Mexican and Columbian drug cartels were caught using this bank for laundering drug-related money. A short time ago, the international payment system SWIFT used by all of the world's banks published a report drafted in partnership with the financial research firm Bae Systems. The report noted that cryptocurrencies are rarely used for money laundering — with criminals preferring the more conventional ways. These include: using the so-called “money mules” — intermediaries who allow to use their accounts for transferring illegal money; hacking bank accounts, bribing bank officials, using shell companies and casinos. The report also lists examples of laundering big amounts of money using cryptocurrencies while also noting that only few cases have been registered. These include use of intermediaries, prepaid crypto cards, purchase of physical assets, such as real estate or expensive cards, for cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies do not launder money — they fight against money laundering As you can see, while cryptocurrencies can be used for money laundering, they are ill suited to this purpose. Moreover, they actually work the other way around by increasing transparency, security and speed of payment transactions and giving users more independence. Coins like UMI are building an alternative financial system accessible to anyone, not a shadow market for laundering illegal money. The fact is that today 99 % of laundered money passes through other channels, not cryptocurrencies. Criminals still prefer using fiat money for this purpose. Banking institution are their key accomplices, and the amounts of money they hide outmatches the overall capitalization of the cryptocurrency market. However, no one is threatening to prohibit banks. At the same time, we hear all the time that cryptocurrencies should be banned or strictly regulated. Unfortunately, financial regulators and law enforcement agencies all over the world are sometimes obsessed with the idea of putting spokes in wheels for the usual people who use cryptocurrencies while also allowing bankers to launder trillions of dollars. Isn't it ironic? UMI is fighting against this state of affairs. We're building a new, alternative and completely transparent financial system where any person on the globe can generate digital money and make instant, fast and free-of-charge payments. To sum up, don't trust the negative publicity for cryptocurrencies Trust the facts. The negative publicity is mostly generated by people who are not happy that the existing financial system based on banks is gradually become a thing of the past while cryptocurrencies are growing rapidly. At any rate, the key point is that decentralized cryptocurrencies which belong to users from across the world cannot be banned, even from the technical point of view. Thus, there's nothing to fear and progress cannot be stopped. Sincerely yours, UMI Team!
Why Osana takes so long? (Programmer's point of view on current situation)
I decided to write a comment about «Why Osana takes so long?» somewhere and what can be done to shorten this time. It turned into a long essay. Here's TL;DR of it:
The cost of never paying down this technical debt is clear; eventually the cost to deliver functionality will become so slow that it is easy for a well-designed competitive software product to overtake the badly-designed software in terms of features. In my experience, badly designed software can also lead to a more stressed engineering workforce, in turn leading higher staff churn (which in turn affects costs and productivity when delivering features). Additionally, due to the complexity in a given codebase, the ability to accurately estimate work will also disappear. Junade Ali, Mastering PHP Design Patterns (2016)
Longer version: I am not sure if people here wanted an explanation from a real developer who works with C and with relatively large projects, but I am going to do it nonetheless. I am not much interested in Yandere Simulator nor in this genre in general, but this particular development has a lot to learn from for any fellow programmers and software engineers to ensure that they'll never end up in Alex's situation, especially considering that he is definitely not the first one to got himself knee-deep in the development hell (do you remember Star Citizen?) and he is definitely not the last one. On the one hand, people see that Alex works incredibly slowly, equivalent of, like, one hour per day, comparing it with, say, Papers, Please, the game that was developed in nine months from start to finish by one guy. On the other hand, Alex himself most likely thinks that he works until complete exhaustion each day. In fact, I highly suspect that both those sentences are correct! Because of the mistakes made during early development stages, which are highly unlikely to be fixed due to the pressure put on the developer right now and due to his overall approach to coding, cost to add any relatively large feature (e.g. Osana) can be pretty much comparable to the cost of creating a fan game from start to finish. Trust me, I've seen his leaked source code (don't tell anybody about that) and I know what I am talking about. The largest problem in Yandere Simulator right now is its super slow development. So, without further ado, let's talk about how «implementing the low hanging fruit» crippled the development and, more importantly, what would have been an ideal course of action from my point of view to get out. I'll try to explain things in the easiest terms possible.
else if's and lack any sort of refactoring in general
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This is why refactoring — activity of rewriting your old code so it does the same thing, but does it quicker, in a more generic way, in less lines or simpler — is so powerful. In my experience, you can only keep one module/class/whatever in your brain if it does not exceed ~1000 lines, maybe ~1500. Splitting 17000-line-long class into smaller classes probably won't improve performance at all, but it will make working with parts of this class way easier. Is it too late now to start refactoring? Of course NO: better late than never.
If you think that you wrote this code, so you'll always easily remember it, I have some bad news for you: you won't. In my experience, one week and that's it. That's why comments are so crucial. It is not necessary to put a ton of comments everywhere, but just a general idea will help you out in the future. Even if you think that It Just Works™ and you'll never ever need to fix it. Time spent to write and debug one line of code almost always exceeds time to write one comment in large-scale projects. Moreover, the best code is the code that is self-evident. In the example above, what the hell does (float) 6 mean? Why not wrap it around into the constant with a good, self-descriptive name? Again, it won't affect performance, since C# compiler is smart enough to silently remove this constant from the real code and place its value into the method invocation directly. Such constants are here for you. I rewrote my code above a little bit to illustrate this. With those comments, you don't have to remember your code at all, since its functionality is outlined in two tiny lines of comments above it. Moreover, even a person with zero knowledge in programming will figure out the purpose of this code. It took me less than half a minute to write those comments, but it'll probably save me quite a lot of time of figuring out «what was I thinking back then» one day. Is it too late now to start adding comments? Again, of course NO. Don't be lazy and redirect all your typing from «debunk» page (which pretty much does the opposite of debunking, but who am I to judge you here?) into some useful comments.
This is often neglected, but consider the following. You wrote some code, you ran your game, you saw a new bug. Was it introduced right now? Is it a problem in your older code which has shown up just because you have never actually used it until now? Where should you search for it? You have no idea, and you have one painful debugging session ahead. Just imagine how easier it would be if you've had some routines which automatically execute after each build and check that environment is still sane and nothing broke on a fundamental level. This is called unit testing, and yes, unit tests won't be able to catch all your bugs, but even getting 20% of bugs identified at the earlier stage is a huge boon to development speed. Is it too late now to start adding unit tests? Kinda YES and NO at the same time. Unit testing works best if it covers the majority of project's code. On the other side, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you decide to start refactoring your code, writing a unit test before refactoring will help you to prove to yourself that you have not broken anything without the need of running the game at all.
This is basically pretty self-explanatory. You set this thing once, you forget about it. Static code analyzer is another «free estate» to speed up the development process by finding tiny little errors, mostly silly typos (do you think that you are good enough in finding them? Well, good luck catching x << 4; in place of x <<= 4; buried deep in C code by eye!). Again, this is not a silver bullet, it is another tool which will help you out with debugging a little bit along with the debugger, unit tests and other things. You need every little bit of help here. Is it too late now to hook up static code analyzer? Obviously NO.
Say, you want to build Osana, but then you decided to implement some feature, e.g. Snap Mode. By doing this you have maybe made your game a little bit better, but what you have just essentially done is complicated your life, because now you should also write Osana code for Snap Mode. The way game architecture is done right now, easter eggs code is deeply interleaved with game logic, which leads to code «spaghettifying», which in turn slows down the addition of new features, because one has to consider how this feature would work alongside each and every old feature and easter egg. Even if it is just gazing over one line per easter egg, it adds up to the mess, slowly but surely. A lot of people mention that developer should have been doing it in object-oritented way. However, there is no silver bullet in programming. It does not matter that much if you are doing it object-oriented way or usual procedural way; you can theoretically write, say, AI routines on functional (e.g. LISP)) or even logical language if you are brave enough (e.g. Prolog). You can even invent your own tiny programming language! The only thing that matters is code quality and avoiding the so-called shotgun surgery situation, which plagues Yandere Simulator from top to bottom right now. Is there a way of adding a new feature without interfering with your older code (e.g. by creating a child class which will encapsulate all the things you need, for example)? Go for it, this feature is basically «free» for you. Otherwise you'd better think twice before doing this, because you are going into the «technical debt» territory, borrowing your time from the future by saying «I'll maybe optimize it later» and «a thousand more lines probably won't slow me down in the future that much, right?». Technical debt will incur interest on its own that you'll have to pay. Basically, the entire situation around Osana right now is just a huge tale about how just «interest» incurred by technical debt can control the entire project, like the tail wiggling the dog. I won't elaborate here further, since it'll take me an even larger post to fully describe what's wrong about Yandere Simulator's code architecture. Is it too late to rebuild code architecture? Sadly, YES, although it should be possible to split Student class into descendants by using hooks for individual students. However, code architecture can be improved by a vast margin if you start removing easter eggs and features like Snap Mode that currently bloat Yandere Simulator. I know it is going to be painful, but it is the only way to improve code quality here and now. This will simplify the code, and this will make it easier for you to add the «real» features, like Osana or whatever you'd like to accomplish. If you'll ever want them back, you can track them down in Git history and re-implement them one by one, hopefully without performing the shotgun surgery this time.
Again, I won't be talking about the performance, since you can debug your game on 20 FPS as well as on 60 FPS, but this is a very different story. Yandere Simulator is huge. Once you fixed a bug, you want to test it, right? And your workflow right now probably looks like this:
Fix the code (unavoidable time loss)
Rebuild the project (can take a loooong time)
Load your game (can take a loooong time)
Test it (unavoidable time loss, unless another bug has popped up via unit testing, code analyzer etc.)
And you can fix it. For instance, I know that Yandere Simulator makes all the students' photos during loading. Why should that be done there? Why not either move it to project building stage by adding build hook so Unity does that for you during full project rebuild, or, even better, why not disable it completely or replace with «PLACEHOLDER» text for debug builds? Each second spent watching the loading screen will be rightfully interpreted as «son is not coding» by the community. Is it too late to reduce loading times? Hell NO.
Or any other continuous integration tool. «Rebuild a project» can take a long time too, and what can we do about that? Let me give you an idea. Buy a new PC. Get a 32-core Threadripper, 32 GB of fastest RAM you can afford and a cool motherboard which would support all of that (of course, Ryzen/i5/Celeron/i386/Raspberry Pi is fine too, but the faster, the better). The rest is not necessary, e.g. a barely functional second hand video card burned out by bitcoin mining is fine. You set up another PC in your room. You connect it to your network. You set up ramdisk to speed things up even more. You properly set up Jenkins) on this PC. From now on, Jenkins cares about the rest: tracking your Git repository, (re)building process, large and time-consuming unit tests, invoking static code analyzer, profiling, generating reports and whatever else you can and want to hook up. More importantly, you can fix another bug while Jenkins is rebuilding the project for the previous one et cetera. In general, continuous integration is a great technology to quickly track down errors that were introduced in previous versions, attempting to avoid those kinds of bug hunting sessions. I am highly unsure if continuous integration is needed for 10000-20000 source lines long projects, but things can be different as soon as we step into the 100k+ territory, and Yandere Simulator by now has approximately 150k+ source lines of code. I think that probably continuous integration might be well worth it for Yandere Simulator. Is it too late to add continuous integration?NO, albeit it is going to take some time and skills to set up.
Stop caring about the criticism
Stop comparing Alex to Scott Cawton. IMO Alex is very similar to the person known as SgtMarkIV, the developer of Brutal Doom, who is also a notorious edgelord who, for example, also once told somebody to kill himself, just like… However, being a horrible person, SgtMarkIV does his job. He simply does not care much about public opinion. That's the difference.
The Dow rose 131.06, or 0.48%, to 27,665.64, the Nasdaq lost 66.05, or 0.60%, to 10,853.55, and the S&P 500 advanced 1.78, or 0.05%, to 3,340.97. Traders at /thewallstreet cheered as volatility returned to the stock market. The major averages finished Friday's trading in mixed fashion, as dip buyers provided support for the Dow and the continued tech selloff made the Nasdaq the laggard once again. The chances for another round of fiscal stimulus ahead of the election were hurt yesterday after Democrats stopped the passage of the "skinny" GOP package, but the U.S. economy looks poised for a strong rebound in Q3, corporate earnings continue to largely overshoot pessimistic forecasts and the Fed remains "all in," leaving investors to mull the cross-currents. Similar to the days before, today's price action was technically-oriented given the absence of market-moving news and the losses in stocks like AAPL, -1.3%, AMZN, -1.9%, and MSFT, -0.7% on no specific corporate news. Apple shares fell 7.4% this week. The difference today was that their losses were offset by relative strength in the cyclical sectors, namely industrials (+1.4%), materials (+1.3%), and financials (+0.8%). Still, when Apple and Amazon are down more than 1.0%, there must be more winners than losers to make a meaningful difference. There were more of the latter on Friday, as declining issues outpaced advancing issues at the NYSE and Nasdaq. The information technology (-0.8%), consumer discretionary (-0.3%), and communication services (-0.3%) sectors ended the day in negative territory due to their exposure to the mega-cap stocks. Interestingly, the S&P 500 was down as much as 0.9% intraday and fell below its 50-day moving average (3322). A broad rebound in the afternoon, however, helped the benchmark index turn positive and close above the key technical level. In TikTok news, President Trump said that the deadline established for China's ByteDance to sell video-sharing service TikTok's U.S. operations would not be extended, Reuters reported. "It'll either be closed up or they'll sell it," the president told reporters, adding, "There will be no extension of the TikTok deadline." MSFT in partnership with WMT and Oracle have been seen as the leading suitors to purchase TikTok's operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Subsequently, Reuters reported that Chinese officials are so opposed to a forced sale of TikTok's U.S. operations that they would prefer to see the app shut down in the U.S. over that conclusion. Reuters noted that China was willing, if needed, to use revisions it made to a technology exports list on Aug. 28 to delay any deal reached by ByteDance. Electric vehicle hopeful NKLA continued its fight this morning with a short-seller, which now appears to be "short-sellers." Nikola issued a statement in response to claims made about the company by activist short-seller Hindenburg Research yesterday, calling the firm's report "a hit job for short sale profit driven by greed." Nikola, which added that it has "nothing to hide and we will refute these allegations," announced that it has retained law firm Kirkland & Ellis to evaluate potential legal recourse and intends to bring the actions of the short-seller, together with evidence and documentation, to the attention of the SEC. Following the company's press release regarding the response, Andrew Left's Citron Research said via Twitter, "Congrats to Hindenburg for exposing what appears to be a total fraud with $NKLA. Citron will cover half of all legal expenses. You can't SLAPP the truth away. Explains why Milton sold at $10 this June $NKLA response warrants an SEC investigation to maintain integrity of EV mkt." After having dropped 11% on Thursday, Nikola shares fell a further 14.5%. Meanwhile, CNBC reported that AAPL has updated its App Store guidelines ahead of the release of iOS 14, with one major revision relating to game streaming services. The tech giant said in its revised guidelines that services such as Google Stadia (GOOG) and Microsoft xCloud are explicitly permitted, though under the condition that games offered in the service must be downloaded directly from the App Store, not from an all-in-one app. Among the noteworthy gainers was Shares of ORCL, which was in focus after the company reported what Barclays analyst Raimo Lenschow called a "surprisingly strong beat" and growth on licenses despite the continued macro uncertainty. NOG, which rose 1.3% after acquiring interests in the Delaware Basin and raising Q3 production guidance. Also higher was CX, which gained 8.3% in New York after Morgan Stanley analyst Nikolaj Lippmann upgraded the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight. Among the notable losers was AMRS, which dropped 25.8% after responding to a lawsuit filed by Lavvan against the company for patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation. Also lower was CHWY, which declined 9.8% after reporting some cats have tried to take over the company with whiteclaws. Despite a blowout fiscal Q4 report, PTON were 4.2% lower following last night's from the fitness products and services provider. Elsewhere stocks were higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.79% to around 3,260.35 while the Shenzhen component rose 1.57% to about 12,942.95. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.78% to end its trading day at 24,503.31.
The U.S. Dollar Index (93.35, +0.01, unch) reclaimed its overnight loss, gaining 0.7% for the week.
EUUSD: +0.1% to 1.1828
GBP/USD: -0.1% to 1.2788
USD/CNH: -0.1% to 6.8345
USD/JPY: UNCH at 106.09
U.S. Treasuries ended the abbreviated week with modest gains across the curve. The cash session started with some light selling for the second day in a row, but the market recovered from the early dip with ease.
2-yr: -1 bp to 0.13% (-3 bps for the week)
3-yr: -1 bp to 0.15% (-3 bps for the week)
5-yr: -1 bp to 0.25% (-5 bps for the week)
10-yr: -2 bps to 0.67% (-5 bps for the week)
30-yr: -2 bps to 1.42% (-5 bps for the week)
Gold slipped on Friday on a lack of further stimulus from the European Central Bank and the U.S. government, but for the week the safe-haven metal was set to end higher. Crude remained on track for a second weekly drop as investors expected a global glut to persist if demand weakens further with rising COVID-19 cases in some countries.
WTI crude: +0.2% to $37.34/bbl
Gold: -0.8% to $1948.30/ozt
Copper: +1.3% to $3.04/lb
Bitcoin is struggling to gather upside traction despite repeated defense of support at $10,000. The top cryptocurrency’s sell-off from the August high of $12,476 looks to have come to a halt near $10,000 over the past seven days.
Bitcoin: $10,332.31 (24hr: +0.45%)
Ethereum: $369.66 (24hr: +1.48%)
Ripple: $0.24 (24hr: -0.10%)
FAAMG + some penny stocks +21.0% YTD
Spoos +3.4% YTD
Old man -3.1% YTD
Russy -10.3% YTD
Total CPI increased 0.4% m/m while core CPI, which excludes food and energy, also rose 0.4%. Those gains left total CPI up 1.3% yyr and core CPI up 1.7% yyr. The key takeaway from the report, which featured the largest increase in the index for used cars and trucks (+5.4%) since March 1969, is that the increase in the all items index was broad-based; nonetheless, annual inflation rates are still running well below 2.0%, so there is still more noise than bothersome policy signal in the August report.
IPO (Most Anticipated)
Week of Sep14-18
Company: AMWL Amwell (NYSE) | Leading telehealth company enabling digital delivery of care for healthcare’s key stakeholders | Initial Shares: 35.0 M | Initial Range: $14.00-16.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Piper Jaffray, UBS, Credit Suisse, Cowen
Company: BNL Broadstone Net Lease | REIT that acquires, owns, and manages primarily single-tenant commercial real estate properties | Initial Shares: 33.5 M | Initial Range: $17.00-19.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BMO Capital Markets, Morgan Stanley, Capital One Securities, Truist Securities
Company: FROG JFrog (Nasdaq) | Developer of an end-to-end, hybrid, universal DevOps platform | Initial Shares: 11.6 M | Initial Range: $33.00 -37.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, BofA Securities
Company: SNOW Snowflake (NYSE) | Developer of a data cloud platform that enables customers to consolidate data into a single source to drive business insights | Initial Shares: 28.0 M | Initial Range: $75.00-85.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Allen & Co, Citigroup
Company: STEP StepStone Group (Nasdaq) | Global private markets investment firm | Initial Shares: 17.5 M | Initial Range: $15.00-17.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, UBS Investment Bank
Company: SUMO Sumo Logic (Nasdaq) | Pioneer of Continuous Intelligence, a new category of software, which enables organizations to address opportunities presented by digital transformation and cloud computing | Initial Shares: 14.8 M | Initial Range: $17.00-21.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, RBC Capital, Jefferies
Company: U Unity Software (NYSE) | Leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D content | Initial Shares: 25.0 M | Initial Range: $34.00-42.00 | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, BofA, Barclays, William Blair
Week of Sep21-25
Company: PLTR Palantir Technologies (NYSE) | Software developer for defense, intelligence agencies, law enforcement, and commercial enterprises | Initial Shares: 244.2 | Initial Range: NA | Priced On: NA | Opened: NA | Underwriters: Lead: Direct Listing
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Open source project and funding solutions
As said, Satochip is a fully open source and self-funded project. That means our only source of revenue comes from the sales we make on our website. Since the begining of the project, people keep asking us to make dedicated design with a picture of their dog, to make a student badge looking card or to print the SPICE or SOUR logo on it. Unfortunately, our printing process is conditionned by a minimum quantity to make and print a specific design. We would like to acquire our own chip card printer so we can print on-demand and customizable Satochip cards. But how to achieve such a goal ? Satochip likes its sovereignty and wants to be master of its choices while keeping the project open source and community driven. That's why we have decided to choose the peer-to-peer crowdfunding solution gracefuly offered by Flipstarter ! http://flipstarter.satochip.io<-- flipstarter.satochip.io
What we plan to do with the raised funds
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the IDP Smart-70 with the IPLO configuration.
the Zebra ZXP7 with the laminator module.
These printers cost around 6000$ to 9000$ (without the software program or the printer consumables). On top of that, we also would like to create dedicated designs for the SLP token projects that would like it such as SPICE or SOUR tokens and list them on our shop. Our designer team has already made some proposals : SOUR hardware wallet by Satochip. SPICE hardware wallet by Satochip.
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TL;DR - Guru schemes have led people to adopt an unrealistic idea of passive income. - As a result, people have adopted an opposing, negative view of passive income that is also unrealistic - Owning assets is realistic and is most often a better source of income then a job or an actively managed business. - But acquiring worthwhile assets is not an easy task and will most certainly require exceptionalism in some regard. - A black and white perspective on assets/passive income is a poor understanding and a higher level, nuanced perspective is needed.
"The universe can count beyond two, and so should you"
When it comes to passive income I generally see two dichotomies
Build a passive income business that lets you make 7 figures from your laptop on the beaches of cancun. Throw something like dropshipping, T shirt business, bitcoin, a mobile app, whatever in there while you're at it.
Passive income isn’t real, you’re going to have to be grinding forever. Queue the commenter that wants to feel superior by bringing the naive redditor with stars in their eyes down to the cold surface of reality.
The root of this starts with gurus like Tai Lopez, Tim Ferris, whatever. Hyping and selling the idea that its easy to start up a passive income business and live it rich while doing whatever you want. Well those gurus made a lot of money off of that and as a result many started copying what they were doing. This led to a big propagation of get rich schemes and gurus, giving way for the idea of “easy passive income” to enter the collective. But eventually as time went on, more aware individuals have caught on and guru schemes have started to come to light. Say what you wan’t about redditors, but their cultural skepticism means there is a demographic that is least vulnerable to these schemes. As a result you see a lot more guru-busting on reddit then you might on other platforms. The anonymity helps a lot too. But people don’t usually do well with nuance. Binary points of view are likely inherent to the human condition and redditors are not perfect human beings. (also water is wet and the pope is catholic) So on this subreddit you now see a different perspective that has formed as a reaction to the common naive beliefs regarding this topic: “Passive income doesn’t exist, life is a grind and you’re grinding until you die.” You can see this in recent movements such as the growth of sweatystartup. I’m not exactly in solidarity with the way the sub expresses the idea (I don’t think a labor based business is right for most) but the concept of moving away from flashy and sexy start up ideas and moving towards less romanticised business practice is a very positive outlook. As a sub It’s worth checking out and there’s a lot of wisdom in its perspective. Keep in mind that “Easy passive income” and “Passive income doesn’t exist” are two extremes. Most people are not either or but I believe that most will trend strongly towards one end of the spectrum. You can probably deduce that I will suggest a more healthy middle ground and you would be correct. Before I get to the main point I want to differentiate between practically passive income and technically passive income Technically passive income is things that you own that generate money with no time investment whatsoever. These aren’t common but are generally highly scaled conventional assets that usually come with some form of hired management. Most people don’t have this and its realism for most people is highly debatable. I will readily admit that I don’t know all too much about things that are pure passive income and won’t be able to give very good examples. Its not a common occurrence and I’m not really interested in it as a result. What is more realistic is practically passive income. Practically passive income is an income that will almost certainly require some mix of hard work, drive, intelligence, skills, and luck. It is a business and comes with the same demons. It usually requires some form of maintenance and monitoring. A good example is web and technological assets such as sites, apps, and software. These can also be real estate investments, business equity, and a lot of other things that probably don’t come to mind as I write this. This is very similar to the perspective offered in Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. I haven’t read the book and franky haven’t heard great things about it but it’s one of the most notable resources that talks about the perspective of assets vs job. And that’s fundamentally what we’re landing on here. You have to realize when most people come to this sub they are coming from at least normal 40 hour work weeks(if not more) making a relatively average income. Any positive shift in the time-working/money-made ratio will almost certainly be better when those variables are compared. A resource that helps individuals learn how to acquire money making assets is incredibly valuable and a higher level of understanding is needed if we're going to understand more about it ass a community. And while this isn’t a subreddit for passive income specifically, it is a topic that I feel has been misinterpreted by black and white perspectives. Yeah, so thank you for coming to my TEDx talk now subscribe to my email list and buy my online course, or whatever im not your mom or anything
Why isn't CoinJoin implemented as part of the Bitcoin software, and mining process?
If I understand correctly CoinJoin/CoinShuffle, it is done by combining and mixing inputs and outputs from several transactions so that it is harder to identify the origin of those transactions. Could this process be implemented as part of the Bitcoin software itself? So that when a new block is mined all inputs and outputs in all the transactions included in that block are mixed (CoinJoined), thus making Bitcoin more private? It even sounds like this change could be implemented as a soft fork, backwards compatible with old rules? Sorry if this is completely stupid and makes no sense at all, or if it is already in some BIP that I could not find.
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In these series of articles, we will be discussing the General Data Protection Regulation commonly know as GDPR, and explain its relation with Distributed Ledger Technologies such as blockchain. According to Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on Protection of Personal Data, “Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her”, thus establishing data protection as one of the most important rights for EU citizens. Based on this assumption, in April 2016 the European Parliament adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), urging that businesses protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states, or even outside EU borders if transactions involve EU citizens. The measure was considered a necessary step after a report by the RSA on privacy and security called attention to some alarming data. It emerged that out of 7,500 consumers across the UK, USA, France, Germany, and Italy, 80% said that lost banking and financial information was a top concern, while 76% stated that lost security and identity information was their major worry. GDPR and blockchain With the rise of blockchain technology and its cryptographic approach to personal data, which conceals information like names and addresses under a code, the need for some thorough analysis and some relevant regulation became apparent. Data protection regulation principles were designed and developed in a world that only knew a centralized data management type, while blockchain raises questions on how to apply these principles in a decentralized environment. It’s understood and accepted that the issues around the overlapping of GDPR and blockchain are not about the technology itself but how the technology is used when processing personal data. Although we developed the idea that blockchains are private and anonymous, in reality, some user information can lead back to the individual’s identity even if cryptographically secured. Therefore, since this is possible, personal data processed through a blockchain is to be considered subject to the GDPR. Personal data includes any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (the data subject). In the context of blockchain technology an individual’s public key would be considered their personal data and would therefore need GDPR compliance obligations. While the validity and relevance of blockchain technology in relation to GDPR are not questioned, there still exist many points of tension between the two. What issues arise under GDPR? We’ve seen that processing personal data in a blockchain still triggers GDPR compliance. The two major issues involving GDPR and blockchain are:
The definition of Data Controllers and Data Processors when blockchain is involved;
The issues arising with the Right of Rectification and Right to Erasure.
What are a data controller and a data processor when a blockchain is involved? GDPR identifies a Data Controller as “the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data within the EU state members or when it involves an EU citizen, even if the data processing is carried out by a non-member state entity.” (Art. 4 sec 7) In the case of a blockchain involvement, a natural person who buys or sells bitcoin on their own behalf, for instance, is not a data controller. By contrast, a natural person who trades bitcoin on behalf of professional or commercial activity, or of other natural persons, is a data controller. If a lawyer records a client’s transaction of any sort on a blockchain, the notary is a data controller. If a bank processes a client’s financial data on a blockchain, the bank is a data controller. The data controller is the one instigating the purposes or means of data processing. He/she/they have to be identifiable so that data subjects can enforce their legal rights under EU data protection law. Blockchain’s decentralized nature replaces a central entity with a network of nodes whose consensus makes it difficult to attribute responsibility and accountability. This is where blockchain technology clashes with GDPR. Data Protection, GDPR, and Blockchain. Data Processors activate personal data on behalf of the controller (Art 4 sec 8 of GDPR) where data processing essentially involves any handling of personal data. Processing includes the collection, adaptation, alteration, and recording of personal data but also its simple storage. According to the French Data Privacy Authority (CNIL), a data processor in a blockchain can be either miners or smart contract developers. For instance, a smart contract developer who processes personal data on behalf of a data controller may be a data processor. Similarly, a miner who follows the data controllers’ instructions when validating a transaction is also a data processor. CNIL mainly draws some guidelines as it has been emphasized that a case-by-case basis should be considered in the connection between the technology and GDPR, rather than the relationship being determined in a broad and general manner. For instance, with regard to the rights of information, access, and portability it advises that they are not problematic on blockchain technology and that a transaction submitted to the blockchain contains sufficiently transparent and visible information. CNIL also views the “right of access and the right to portability as entirely compatible with blockchains’ technical properties.” Issues arising with the Right of Rectification and Right to Erasure The matter becomes more complicated as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on Protection of Personal Data provides that everyone has a right to access personal data relating to them, including a right to have such data rectified or erased. That’s why the GDPR includes the “Right of Rectification”, that grants data subjects the right to have their data amended in case of inaccurate information; and the “Right of Erasure” (or “Right to be forgotten”) which adds the right of data subjects to obtain from a data controller and the data processor an obligation to erase their personal data. How can something be deleted or rectified from an immutable blockchain then? The immutability of the blockchain and the fact that it is a permanent and transparent ledger gives rise to GDPR compliance issues. As GDPR requires that personal data must not be kept longer than it is necessary for the purpose for which it is processed, this may be an issue with blockchains where the data cannot be deleted. Not all blockchains are immutable though or subject to a predefined and permanent consensus. Permissioned (or private) blockchains, for example, allow participants to establish a governance structure where roles can be clearly defined, contractual terms satisfying GDPR requirements can be embedded, and technological solutions granting individual rights can be built into the blockchain. With permissionless (open and public) blockchains, the most-compliant approach to these issues is to avoid storing personal data on the blockchain altogether, using for example an off-chain (append-only) data storage approach. If the data is stored off-chain, then it would be easier to process the erasure of the information. On the other hand, if the data is stored on-chain in an encrypted way, then the deletion of the encryption key could be a fair compromise. Because of the immutable nature of blockchains, the data would not be erased as such, however, it would be made inaccessible. In essence, unless there is a blockchain rollback resorting to a hard fork, as happened with the DAO hack in 2016, open blockchain’s data cannot be deleted. The best practice would be to store all personal data “off-chain” which can then be linked back to the ledger by a hash. Through the erasure of hash functions’ private keys, editing and verifying the hashed information would no longer be possible and confidentiality would no longer be compromised. Rather than posing a risk for individuals’ fundamental privacy rights and freedoms, blockchain technology represents a tool that grants data subjects exclusive possession and control over their personal information. Conclusion Without question, the EU consideration of the blockchain approach to GDPR is a further legitimization of the technology. Even though the blockchain itself may be immutable or can only be updated under specific circumstances, the requirements of GDPR may indeed still be fulfilled. It will soon become obvious that rather than posing a risk for individuals’ fundamental privacy rights and freedoms, blockchain technology represents a tool that grants data subjects exclusive possession and control over their personal information. Furthermore, as the technology evolves, the digital ecosystem will offer a variety of peer-to-peer networks; from public distributed ledgers developed that grant unrestricted access and equal roles to everybody, to private networks developed with proprietary software that will grant access to selected participants only. Mixed private and public blockchains will provide an additional structure that could range from some nodes running a piece of the protocol to other nodes that could act as block validators. Stay tuned for the next article with more insights about blockchain technology, its use, and implications by following us on our social media channels. For more info, contactBlock.codirectly or email at [email protected]. Tel +357 70007828 Get the latest from Block.co, like and follow us on social media: ✔️Facebook ✔️LinkedIn ✔️Twitter ✔️YouTube ✔️Medium ✔️Instagram ✔️Telegram ✔️Reddit ✔️GitHub
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