BUTTERFLY LABS BUTT BOY BAND BACK: THE STORY BEHIND SCAMMBR
They say birds of a feather flock together and apparently that now includes butterflies. I recently came across a new crypto/hardware company, AMMBR, doing an ICO that contains at least 7 former members of the infamous Butterfly Labs company in varying capacities. Interestingly enough, my curiosity was peaked piqued as a family member who was involved with BFL mentioned this project on Facebook and I automatically knew there had to be a connection to BFL because that family member knows practically nothing about cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, it seems he has not learned from his mistakes and is still participating in shady, possibly illicit activities, along with many of his former butts! I’m now going to connect the dots for you to the people associated with SCAMMBR to show beyond a reasonable doubt that they are a quasi-reincarnation of BFL. If you go to their website, www.ammbr.com, you can see their team members. Here are some of note: 1.) FORMER BFL Chief Technology Officer: Nasser Ghoseiri Nasser was the Iranian living in France and one of the three named defendants in the case brought against BFL by the FTC which BFL lost. BFL CONNECTION: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/09/ftcs-request-court-halts-bogus-bitcoin-mining-operation SCAMMBR CONNECTION: Senior IT Consultant https://www.linkedin.com/in/nasser-ghoseiri-940419a/ 2.) FORMER BFL VP of Marketing: Jeff Ownby Jeff is the infamous character who pulled the trick of buying Buttcoin.org surreptitiously and then chanigng the negative articles to positive. Jeff isn’t listed on the official site, but he’s always worked behind the scenes from my experience as he was never listed as a BFL employee either. While he doesn’t list BFL on his LinkedIn profile, it’s fairly obvious when you read his experience at ForceStream. BFL CONNECTION: https://www.coindesk.com/buterfly-labs-accused-buying-blog-hide-negative-search-results SCAMMBR CONNECTION: VP of Marketing https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffownby/ https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/ammbrtech#section-board-members-and-advisors 3.) FORMER BFL Marketing Manager: Jurie Pieterse Jurie is Jeff’s right-hand man and took over my position after it changed hands once since I left. Wherever Jeff goes, Jurie seems to follow, even on one of their new ventures: https://coinclaim.io/team BFL CONNECTION: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=150803.7895 (ALSO NAMED IN COURT DOCUMENTS FROM FTC CASE TRANSCRIPTS) SCAMMBR CONNECTION: Chief Marketing Officer https://www.linkedin.com/in/juriepieterse/ 4.) FORMER BFL PRODUCT DESIGN CONSULTANT: Jason Aspinall Jason was brought in at BFL when the redesign of the BitForce series needed to be done due to heat issues and for a variety of other design issues. BFL CONNECTION: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1306470/gov-uscourts-mowd-117531-42-7.txt SCAMMBR CONNECTION: Electro-Mechanical Design & Testing Engineer https://www.linkedin.com/in/chilled/ 5.) FORMER BFL PCB DESIGNEMANUFACTURER: Ankur Patel BFL used Ankur Patel and his company PCB Overnight for their boards in the miners. These boards suffered numerous problems and could not be produced in the quantity needed. BFL CONNECTION: http://www.ftclaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/FTCButterflyDissolveTRO.pdf SCAMMBR CONNECTION: Head of PROCUREMENT https://www.linkedin.com/in/ankur-patel-21552921/ Guess who else is on the team? After checking out their team page, I saw a photo with a few familiar faces. Wanna know who they are? SCAMMBR TEAM NOTABLE FIGURES IN PIC: 1.) Third from the left is The Infamous Josh Zerlan, aka Inaba, akau/NitroWolf, aka BagO’Dicks, former VP of Product Dev at BFL, and now apparently consulting or a part of SCAMMBR according to the “Projects” section of his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/josh-zerlan-a4140478/ 2.) Four spots to the right of Josh is The Infamous Dave “The Knife” Mcclain, aka "THE MOLE", former BFL Account Manager, who seems to be a part of it as well as he is pictured on their website with their team in a photo which also includes Josh. Not sure what he does there as he has little understanding of cryptocurrency or just about any technical development since the VCR. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! SCAMMBR was originally founded in 2017. (SOURCE: https://tokenmarket.net/blockchain/blockchain/assets/ammb) (SOURCE: https://www.coinopsy.com/dead-coins/ammb) However it had two main issues which found itself on the dead coin list until it was recently resurrected, one being lack of interest/exchange listings and the other being a major security vulnerability in the smart contract, and the third being that anything BFL touches turns to shit. ISSUE ONE: According to the Coinopsy link above, among other interesting reasons, they proclaimed that: “Ammbr was founded in 2017 and is not trading on any exchanges. Was added to the dead coins list due to the fact they did not reach any exchanges after one year and they canceled the ICO.” ISSUE TWO:THE SCAMMBR SMART CONTRACT BUG: (SOURCE:https://medium.com/coinmonks/an-inspection-on-ammbr-amr-bug-a53b4050d52) While this bug affected many ERC-20 contracts, on July 8th, 2018, “John Wick Security Lab revealed highly risky transactions inAMMBR(AMR)contract. It contains an integer overflow bug that could be made use of by hackers calling batchTransfer(), resulting in transferring out tokens without limits.” This can be seen in this tweet by SCAMMBR where they had to change the smart contract: https://twitter.com/ammbrplatform/status/1011124298868776960?lang=en WE'RE NOT DONE YET! SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST! After doing further research on the SCAMMBR website, because nothing BFL is involved with is ever like it seems, I found some suspect/fake/front companies and astroturfing. AMMBRPlatform By all accounts, that sub is highly suspected of astroturfing by shills, employees and their families. Very few posts concern the actual project and the mods are mostly absent. All of the posts repeat the same lines or hashtags, but no comments. Mod u/Jory- doesn't post much in cryptocurrency subs, while u/AMMBRPlatform has never posted. https://snoopsnoo.comJory- BLACKBIRD WALLET IS THE BFL BITSAFE: This is one of my favorite finds as it didn't occur to me until after doing most of my research, but then it clicked suddenly that I knew the design. BITCOINTALK: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4685822.msg%msg_id% SCAMMBRTECH posted on Bitcointalk on 7/16/18 regarding a new mobile wallet that has yet to come to market, the Blackbird Hardware Wallet. I had never heard of it and apparently, they wanted $299 for it from their shop. Which is...ridiculous. But let's compare the Blackbird Wallet to the BFL Bitsafe that was never released: PHOTO FROM BLACKBIRD WALLET WEBSITE: SOURCE: https://blackbirdwallet.io/ https://imgur.com/a/QxGMcPX PHOTO OF BFL BITSAFE THAT WAS NEVER RELEASED FROM BFL WEBSITE: SOURCE: https://web.archive.org/web/20160405172202/http://www.butterflylabs.com/bitcoin-hardware-wallet/ https://imgur.com/a/CsVXDbZ So there you have it folks. Fuck these guys. I spent way to much time on this shit.
An extensive guide for cashing out bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into private banks
Hey guys. Merry Xmas ! I am coming back to you with a follow up post, as I have helped many people cash out this year and I have streamlined the process. After my original post, I received many requests to be more specific and provide more details. I thought that after the amazing rally we have been attending over the last few months, and the volatility of the last few days, it would be interesting to revisit more extensively. The attitude of banks around crypto is changing slowly, but it is still a tough stance. For the first partial cash out I operated around a year ago for a client, it took me months to find a bank. They wouldn’t want to even consider the case and we had to knock at each and every door. Despite all my contacts it was very difficult back in the days. This has changed now, and banks have started to open their doors, but there is a process, a set of best practices and codes one has to follow. I often get requests from crypto guys who are very privacy-oriented, and it takes me months to have them understand that I am bound by Swiss law on banking secrecy, and I am their ally in this onboarding process. It’s funny how I have to convince people that banks are legit, while on the other side, banks ask me to show that crypto millionaires are legit. I have a solid background in both banking and in crypto so I manage to make the bridge, but yeah sometimes it is tough to reconcile the two worlds. I am a crypto enthusiast myself and I can say that after years of work in the banking industry I have grown disillusioned towards banks as well, like many of you. Still an account in a Private bank is convenient and powerful. So let’s get started.
A. What is required to open an account in a Private bank when you made your fortune through crypto.
There are two different aspects to your onboarding in a Swiss Private bank, compliance-wise. *The origin of your crypto wealth *Your background (residence, citizenship and probity) These two aspects must be documented in-depth. How to document your crypto wealth. Each new crypto millionaire has a different story. I may detail a few fun stories later in this post, but at the end of the day, most of crypto rich I have met can be categorized within the following profiles: the miner, the early adopter, the trader, the corporate entity, the black market, the libertarian/OTC buyer. The real question is how you prove your wealth is legit. 1. Context around the original amount/investment Generally speaking, your first crypto purchase may not be documented. But the context around this acquisition can be. I have had many cases where the original amount was bought through Mtgox, and no proof of purchase could be provided, nor could be documented any Mtgox claim. That’s perfectly fine. At some point Mtgox amounted 70% of the bitcoin transactions globally, and people who bought there and managed to withdraw and keep hold of their bitcoins do not have any Mtgox claim. This is absolutely fine. However, if you can show me the record of a wire from your bank to Tisbane (Mtgox's parent company) it's a great way to start. Otherwise, what I am trying to document here is the following: I need context. If you made your first purchase by saving from summer jobs, show me a payroll. Even if it was USD 2k. If you acquired your first bitcoins from mining, show me the bills of your mining equipment from 2012 or if it was through a pool mine, give me your slushpool account ref for instance. If you were given bitcoin against a service you charged, show me an invoice. 2. Tracking your wealth until today and making sense of it. What I have been doing over the last few months was basically educating compliance officers. Thanks God, the blockchain is a global digital ledger! I have been telling my auditors and compliance officers they have the best tool at their disposal to lead a proper investigation. Whether you like it or not, your wealth can be tracked, from address to address. You may have thought all along this was a bad feature, but I am telling you, if you want to cash out, in the context of Private Banking onboarding, tracking your wealth through the block explorer is a boon. We can see the inflows, outflows. We can see the age behind an address. An early adopter who bought 1000 BTC in 2010, and let his bitcoin behind one address and held thus far is legit, whether or not he has a proof of purchase to show. That’s just common sense. My job is to explain that to the banks in a language they understand. Let’s have a look at a few examples and how to document the few profiles I mentioned earlier. The trader. I love traders. These are easy cases. I have a ton of respect for them. Being a trader myself in investment banks for a decade earlier in my career has taught me that controlling one’s emotions and having the discipline to impose oneself some proper risk management system is really really hard. Further, being able to avoid the exchange bankruptcy and hacks throughout crypto history is outstanding. It shows real survival instinct, or just plain blissed ignorance. In any cases traders at exchange are easy cases to corroborate since their whole track record is potentially available. Some traders I have met have automated their trading and have shown me more than 500k trades done over the span of 4 years. Obviously in this kind of scenario I don’t show everything to the bank to avoid information overload, and prefer to do some snacking here and there. My strategy is to show the early trades, the most profitable ones, explain the trading strategy and (partially expose) the situation as of now with id pages of the exchanges and current balance. Many traders have become insensitive to the risk of parking their crypto at exchange as they want to be able to trade or to grasp an occasion any minute, so they generally do not secure a substantial portion on the blockchain which tends to make me very nervous. The early adopter. Provided that he has not mixed his coin, the early adopter or “hodler” is not a difficult case either. Who cares how you bought your first 10k btc if you bought them below 3$ ? Even if you do not have a purchase proof, I would generally manage to find ways. We just have to corroborate the original 30’000 USD investment in this case. I mainly focus on three things here: *proof of early adoption I have managed to educate some banks on a few evidences specifically related to crypto markets. For instance with me, an old bitcointalk account can serve as a proof of early adoption. Even an old reddit post from a few years ago where you say how much you despise this Ripple premined scam can prove to be a treasure readily available to show you were early. *story telling Compliance officers like to know when, why and how. They are human being looking for simple answers to simple questions and they don’t want like to be played fool. Telling the truth, even without a proof can do wonders, and even though bluffing might still work because banks don’t fully understand bitcoin yet, it is a risky strategy that is less and less likely to pay off as they are getting more sophisticated by the day. *micro transaction from an old address you control This is the killer feature. Send a $20 worth transaction from an old address to my company wallet and to one of my partner bank’s wallet and you are all set ! This is gold and considered a very solid piece of evidence. You can also do a microtransaction to your own wallet, but banks generally prefer transfer to their own wallet. Patience with them please. they are still learning. *signature message Why do a micro transaction when you can sign a message and avoid potentially tainting your coins ? *ICO millionaire Some clients made their wealth participating in ETH crowdsale or IOTA ICO. They were very easy to deal with obviously and the account opening was very smooth since we could evidence the GENESIS TxHash flow. The miner Not so easy to proof the wealth is legit in that case. Most early miners never took screenshot of the blocks on bitcoin core, nor did they note down the block number of each block they mined. Until the the Slashdot article from August 2010 anyone could mine on his laptop, let his computer run overnight and wake up to a freshly minted block containing 50 bitcoins back in the days. Not many people were structured enough to store and secure these coins, avoid malwares while syncing the blockchain continuously, let alone document the mined blocks in the process. What was 50 BTC worth really for the early miners ? dust of dollars, games and magic cards… Even miners post 2010 are generally difficult to deal with in terms of compliance onboarding. Many pool mining are long dead. Deepbit is down for instance and the founders are MIA. So my strategy to proof mining activity is as follow: *Focusing on IT background whenever possible. An IT background does help a lot to bring some substance to the fact you had the technical ability to operate a mining rig. *Showing mining equipment receipts. If you mined on your own you must have bought the hardware to do so. For instance mining equipment receipts from butterfly lab from 2012-2013 could help document your case. Similarly, high electricity bill from your household on a consistent basis back in the day could help. I have already unlocked a tricky case in the past with such documents when the bank was doubtful. *Wallet.dat files with block mining transactions from 2011 thereafter This obviously is a fantastic piece of evidence for both you and me if you have an old wallet and if you control an address that received original mined blocks, (even if the wallet is now empty). I will make sure compliance officers understand what it means, and as for the early adopter, you can prove your control over these wallet through a microtransaction. With these kind of addresses, I can show on the block explorer the mined block rewards hitting at regular time interval, and I can even spot when difficulty level increased or when halvening process happened. *Poolmining account. Here again I have educated my partner bank to understand that a slush account opened in 2013 or an OnionTip presence was enough to corroborate mining activity. The block explorer then helps me to do the bridge with your current wallet. *Describing your set up and putting it in context In the history of mining we had CPU, GPU, FPG and ASICs mining. I will describe your technical set up and explain why and how your set up was competitive at that time. The corporate entity Remember 2012 when we were all convinced bitcoin would take over the world, and soon everyone would pay his coffee in bitcoin? How naïve we were to think transaction fees would remain low forever. I don’t blame bitcoin cash supporters; I once shared this dream as well. Remember when we thought global adoption was right around the corner and some brick and mortar would soon accept bitcoin transaction as a common mean of payment? Well, some shop actually did accept payment and held. I had a few cases as such of shops holders, who made it to the multi million mark holding and had invoices or receipts to proof the transactions. If you are organized enough to keep a record for these trades and are willing to cooperate for the documentation, you are making your life easy. The digital advertising business is also a big market for the bitcoin industry, and affiliates partner compensated in btc are common. It is good to show an invoice, it is better to show a contract. If you do not have a contract (which is common since all advertising deals are about ticking a check box on the website to accept terms and conditions), there are ways around that. If you are in that case, pm me. The black market Sorry guys, I can’t do much for you officially. Not that I am judging you. I am a libertarian myself. It’s just already very difficult to onboard legit btc adopters, so the black market is a market I cannot afford to consider. My company is regulated so KYC and compliance are key for me if I want to stay in business. Behind each case I push forward I am risking the credibility and reputation I have built over the years. So I am sorry guys I am not risking it to make an extra buck. Your best hope is that crypto will eventually take over the world and you won’t need to cash out anyway. Or go find a Lithuanian bank that is light on compliance and cooperative. The OTC buyer and the libertarian. Generally a very difficult case. If you bought your stack during your journey in Japan 5 years ago to a guy you never met again; or if you accumulated on https://localbitcoins.com/ and kept no record or lost your account, it is going to be difficult. Not impossible but difficult. We will try to build a case with everything else we have, and I may be able to onboard you. However I am risking a lot here so I need to be 100% confident you are legit, before I defend you. Come & see me in Geneva, and we will talk. I will run forensic services like elliptic, chainalysis, or scorechain on an extract of your wallet. If this scan does not raise too many red flags, then maybe we can work together ! If you mixed your coins all along your crypto history, and shredded your seeds because you were paranoid, or if you made your wealth mining professionally monero over the last 3 years but never opened an account at an exchange. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ I am not a magician and don’t get me wrong, I love monero, it’s not the point. Cashing out ICOs Private companies or foundations who have ran an ICO generally have a very hard time opening a bank account. The few banks that accept such projects would generally look at 4 criteria: *Seriousness of the project Extensive study of the whitepaper to limit the reputation risk *AML of the onboarding process ICOs 1.0 have no chance basically if a background check of the investors has not been conducted *Structure of the moral entity List of signatories, certificate of incumbency, work contract, premises... *Fiscal conformity Did the company informed the authorities and seek a fiscal ruling.
B. The tax issue I am not a tax specialist, but I can say that this year I have seen it all. Again I am not judging. You made $100m hodling, and still wouldn’t pay your taxes ? Your decision.I personally advise everyone to pay their taxes, but also to be generous, to give to charities. I mean you eventually made it. Good for you. What about you contribute to make the world a better place now? I will stop patronizing you. It’s just my 2cts, and it’s your money.
For the record, I am not into the tax avoidance business, so people come to me with a set up and I see if I can make it work within the legal framework imposed to me. First, stop thinking Switzerland is a “offshore heaven” Swiss banks have made deals with many governments for the exchange of fiscal information. If you are a French citizen, resident in France and want to open an account in a Private Bank in Switzerland to cash out your bitcoins, you will get slaughtered (>60%). There are ways around that, and I could refer you to good tax specialists for fiscal optimization, but I cannot organize it myself. It would be illegal for me. Swiss private banks makes it easy for you to keep a good your relation with your retail bank and continue paying your bills without headaches. They are integrated to SEPA, provide ebanking and credit cards. For information, these are the kind of set up some of my clients came up with. It’s all legal; obviously I do not onboard clients that are not tax compliant. Further disclaimer: I did not contribute myself to these set up. Do not ask me to organize it for you. I won’t. EU tricks Swiss lump sum taxation Foreign nationals resident in Switzerland can be taxed on a lump-sum basis if they are not gainfully employed in our country. Under the lump-sum tax regime, foreign nationals taking residence in Switzerland may choose to pay an expense-based tax instead of ordinary income and wealth tax. Attractive cantons for the lump sum taxation are Zug, Vaud, Valais, Grisons, Lucerne and Berne. To make it short, you will be paying somewhere between 200 and 400k a year and all expenses will be deductible. Switzerland has adopted a very friendly attitude towards crypto currency in general. There is a whole crypto valley in Zug now. 30% of ICOs are operated in Switzerland. The reason is that Switzerland has thrived for centuries on banking secrecy, and today with FATCA and exchange of fiscal info with EU, banking secrecy is dead. Regulators in Switzerland have understood that digital ledger technologies were a way to roll over this competitive advantage for the generations to come. Switzerland does not tax capital gains on crypto profits. The Finma has a very pragmatic approach. They have issued guidance- updated guidelines here. They let the business get organized and operate their analysis on a case per case basis. Only after getting a deep understanding of the market will they issue a global fintech license in 2019. This approach is much more realistic than legislations which try to regulate everything beforehand. Italy new tax exemption. It’s a brand new fiscal exemption. Go to Aoste, get residency and you could be taxed a 100k/year for 10years. Yes, really. Portugal What’s crazy in Europe is the lack of fiscal harmonization. Even if no one in Brussels dares admit it, every other country is doing fiscal dumping. Portugal is such a country and has proved very friendly fiscally speaking. I personally have a hard time trusting Europe. I have witnessed what happened in Greece over the last few years. Some of our ultra high net worth clients got stuck with capital controls. I mean no way you got out of crypto to have your funds confiscated at the next financial crisis! Anyway. FYI Malta Generally speaking, if you get a residence somewhere you have to live there for a certain period of time. Being stuck in Italy is no big deal with Schengen Agreement, but in Malta it is a different story. In Malta, the ordinary residence scheme is more attractive than the HNWI residence scheme. Being an individual, you can hold a residence permit under this scheme and pay zero income tax in Malta in a completely legal way. Monaco Not suitable for French citizens, but for other Ultra High Net worth individual, Monaco is worth considering. You need an account at a local bank as a proof of fortune, and this account generally has to be seeded with at least EUR500k. You also need a proof of residence. I do mean UHNI because if you don’t cash out minimum 30m it’s not interesting. Everything is expensive in Monaco. Real Estate is EUR 50k per square meter. A breakfast at Monte Carlo Bay hotel is 70 EUR. Monaco is sunny but sometimes it feels like a golden jail. Do you really want that for your kids? Dubaï
Set up a company in Dubaï, get your resident card.
Spend one day every 6 month there
Be tax free
US tricks Some Private banks in Geneva do have the license to manage the assets of US persons and U.S citizens. However, do not think it is a way to avoid paying taxes in the US. Opening an account at an authorized Swiss Private banks is literally the same tax-wise as opening an account at Fidelity or at Bank of America in the US. The only difference is that you will avoid all the horror stories. Horror stories are all real by the way. In Switzerland, if you build a decent case and answer all the questions and corroborate your case in depth, you will manage to convince compliance officers beforehand. When the money eventually hits your account, it is actually available and not frozen. The IRS and FATCA require to file FBAR if an offshore account is open. However FBAR is a reporting requirement and does not have taxes related to holding an account outside the US. The taxes would be the same if the account was in the US. However penalties for non compliance with FBAR are very large. The tax liability management is actually performed through the management of the assets ( for exemple by maximizing long term capital gains and minimizing short term gains). The case for Porto Rico. Full disclaimer here. I am not encouraging this. Have not collaborated on such tax avoidance schemes. if you are interested I strongly encourage you to seek a tax advisor and get a legal opinion. I am not responsible for anything written below. I am not going to say much because I am so afraid of uncle Sam that I prefer to humbly pass the hot potato to pwc From here all it takes is a good advisor and some creativity to be tax free on your crypto wealth if you are a US person apparently. Please, please please don’t ask me more. And read the disclaimer again. Trust tricks Generally speaking I do not accept fringe fiscal situation because it puts me in a difficult situation to the banks I work with, and it is already difficult enough to defend a legit crypto case. Trust might be a way to optimize your fiscal situation. Belize. Bahamas. Seychelles. Panama, You name it. At the end of the day, what matters for Swiss Banks are the beneficial owner and the settlor. Get a legal opinion, get it done, and when you eventually knock at a private bank’s door, don’t say it was for fiscal avoidance you stupid ! You will get the door smashed upon you. Be smarter. It will work. My advice is just to have it done by a great tax specialist lawyer, even if it costs you some money, as the entity itself needs to be structured in a professional way. Remember that with trust you are dispossessing yourself off your wealth. Not something to be taken lightly. “Anonymous” cash out. Right. I think I am not going into this topic, neither expose the ways to get it done. Pm me for details. I already feel a bit uncomfortable with all the info I have provided. I am just going to mention many people fear that crypto exchange might become reporting entities soon, and rightly so. This might happen anyday. You have been warned. FYI, this only works for non-US and large cash out. The difference between traders an investors. Danmark, Holland and Germany all make a huge difference if you are a passive investor or if you are a trader. ICO is considered investing for instance and is not taxed, while trading might be considered as income and charged aggressively. I would try my best to protect you and put a focus on your investor profile whenever possible, so you don't have to pay 52% tax if you do not have to :D
C. The cash out itself So you have accumulated patiently a good amount of wealth. For some of us who have been involved in crypto since 2010, it took years. Remember when BTC was stuck at 200$ for months? I personally feel like it was yesterday. There is no way you screw up your wealth by cashing out in a hurry or with low security standards. Here is how the cash out takes should place.
Full cash out or partial cash out? People who have been sitting on crypto for long have grown an emotional and irrational link with their coins. They come to me and say, look, I have 50m in crypto but I would like to cash out 500k only. So first let me tell you that as a wealth manager my advice to you is to take some off the table. Doing a partial cash out is absolutely fine. The market is bullish. We are witnessing a redistribution of wealth at a global scale. Bitcoin is the real #occupywallstreet, and every one will discuss crypto at Xmas eve which will make the market even more supportive beginning 2018, especially with all hedge funds entering the scene. If you want to stay exposed to bitcoin and altcoins, and believe these techs will change the world, it’s just natural you want to keep some coins. In the meantime, if you have lived off pizzas over the last years, and have the means to now buy yourself an nice house and have an account at a private bank, then f***ing do it mate ! Buy physical gold with this account, buy real estate, have some cash at hands. Even though US dollar is worthless to your eyes, it’s good and convenient to have some. Also remember your wife deserves it ! And if you have no wife yet and you are socially awkward like the rest of us, then maybe cashing out partially will help your situation ;) What the Private Banks expect. Joke aside, it is important you understand something. If you come around in Zurich to open a bank account and partially cash out, just don’t expect Private Banks will make an exception for you if you are small. You can’t ask them to facilitate your cash out, buy a 1m apartment with the proceeds of the sale, and not leave anything on your current account. It won’t work. Sadly, under 5m you are considered small in private banking. The bank is ok to let you open an account, provided that your kyc and compliance file are validated, but they will also want you to become a client and leave some money there to invest. This might me despicable, but I am just explaining you their rules. If you want to cash out, you should sell enough to be comfortable and have some left. Also expect the account opening to last at least 3-4 week if everything goes well. You can't just open an account overnight. The cash out logistics. Cashing out 1m USD a day in bitcoin or more is not so hard. Let me just tell you this: Even if you get a Tier 4 account with Kraken and ask Alejandro there to raise your limit over $100k per day, Even if you have a bitfinex account and you are willing to expose your wealth there, Even if you have managed to pass all the crazy due diligence at Bitstamp, The amount should be fractioned to avoid risking your full wealth on exchange and getting slaughtered on the price by trading big quantities. Cashing out involves significant risks at all time. There is a security risk of compromising your keys, a counterparty risk, a fat finger risk. Let it be done by professionals. It is worth every single penny. Most importantly, there is a major difference between trading on an exchange and trading OTC. Even though it’s not publicly disclosed some exchange like Kraken do have OTC desks. Trading on an exchange for a large amount will weight on the prices. Bitcoin is a thin market. In my opinion over 30% of the coins are lost in translation forever. Selling $10m on an exchange in a day can weight on the prices more than you’d think. And if you trade on a exchange, everything is shown on record, and you might wipe out the prices because on exchanges like bitstamp or kraken ultimately your counterparties are retail investors and the market depth is not huge. It is a bit better on Bitfinex. It is way better to trade OTC. Accessing the institutional OTC market is not easy, and that is also the reason why you should ask a regulated financial intermediary if we are talking about huge amounts. Last point, always chose EUR as opposed to USD. EU correspondent banks won’t generally block institutional amounts. However we had the cases of USD funds frozen or delayed by weeks. Most well-known OTC desks are Cumberlandmining (ask for Lucas), Genesis (ask for Martin), Bitcoin Suisse AG (ask for Niklas), circletrade, B2C2, or Altcoinomy (ask for Olivier) Very very large whales can also set up escrow accounts for massive block trades. This world, where blocks over 30k BTC are exchanged between 2 parties would deserve a reddit thread of its own. Crazyness all around. Your options: DIY or going through a regulated financial intermediary. Execution trading is a job in itself. You have to be patient, be careful not to wipe out the order book and place limit orders, monitor the market intraday for spikes or opportunities. At big levels, for a large cash out that may take weeks, these kind of details will save you hundred thousands of dollars. I understand crypto holders are suspicious and may prefer to do it by themselves, but there are regulated entities who now offer the services. Besides, being a crypto millionaire is not a guarantee you will get institutional daily withdrawal limits at exchange. You might, but it will take you another round of KYC with them, and surprisingly this round might be even more aggressive that the ones at Private banks since exchange have gone under intense scrutiny by regulators lately. The fees for cashing out through a regulated financial intermediary to help you with your cash out should be around 1-2% flat on the nominal, not more. And for this price you should get the full package: execution/monitoring of the trades AND onboarding in a private bank. If you are asked more, you are being abused. Of course, you also have the option to do it yourself. It is a way more tedious and risky process. Compliance with the exchange, compliance with the private bank, trading BTC/fiat, monitoring the transfers…You will save some money but it will take you some time and stress. Further, if you approach a private bank directly, it will trigger a series of red flag to the banks. As I said in my previous post, they call a direct approach a “walk-in”. They will be more suspicious than if you were introduced by someone and won’t hesitate to show you high fees and load your portfolio with in-house products that earn more money to the banks than to you. Remember also most banks still do not understand crypto so you will have a lot of explanations to provide and you will have to start form scratch with them! The paradox of crypto millionaires Most of my clients who made their wealth through crypto all took massive amount of risks to end up where they are. However, most of them want their bank account to be managed with a low volatility fixed income capital preservation risk profile. This is a paradox I have a hard time to explain and I think it is mainly due to the fact that most are distrustful towards banks and financial markets in general. Many clients who have sold their crypto also have a cash-out blues in the first few months. This is a classic situation. The emotions involved in hodling for so long, the relief that everything has eventually gone well, the life-changing dynamics, the difficulties to find a new motivation in life…All these elements may trigger a post cash-out depression. It is another paradox of the crypto rich who has every card in his hand to be happy, but often feel a bit sad and lonely. Sometimes, even though it’s not my job, I had to do some psychological support. A lot of clients have also become my friends, because we have the same age and went through the same “ordeal”. First world problem I know… Remember, cashing out is not the end. It’s actually the beginning. Don’t look back, don’t regret. Cash out partially, because it does not make sense to cash out in full, regret it and want back in. relax. The race to cash out crypto billionaire and the concept of late exiter. The Winklevoss brothers are obviously the first of a series. There will be crypto billionaires. Many of them. At a certain level you can have a whole family office working for you to manage your assets and take care of your needs . However, let me tell you it’s is not because you made it so big that you should think you are a genius and know everything better than anyone. You should hire professionals to help you. Managing assets require some education around the investment vehicles and risk management strategies. Sorry guys but with all the respect I have for wallstreebet, AMD and YOLO stock picking, some discipline is necessary. The investors who have made money through crypto are generally early adopters. However I have started to see another profile popping up. They are not early adopters. They are late exiters. It is another way but just as efficient. Last week I met the first crypto millionaire I know who first bough bitcoin over 1000$. 55k invested at the beginning of this year. Late adopter & late exiter is a route that can lead to the million. Last remarks. I know banks, bankers, and FIAT currencies are so last century. I know some of you despise them and would like to have them burn to the ground. With compliance officers taking over the business, I would like to start the fire myself sometimes. I hope this extensive guide has helped some of you. I am around if you need more details. I love my job despite all my frustration towards the banking industry because it makes me meet interesting people on a daily basis. I am a crypto enthusiast myself, and I do think this tech is here to stay and will change the world. Banks will have to adapt big time. Things have started to change already; they understand the threat is real. I can feel the generational gap in Geneva, with all these old bankers who don’t get what’s going on. They glaze at the bitcoin chart on CNBC in disbelief and they start to get it. This bitcoin thing is not a joke. Deep inside, as an early adopter who also intends to be a late exiter, as a libertarian myself, it makes me smile with satisfaction. Cheers. @swisspb on telegram
So I want to get into the bit coin market but have zero clue how to start. I want to stay as anonymous as possible so I would rather not link to any bank accounts as I have been reading. Any advice or tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I've come across my old Jalapeno when searching my attic for some stuff. I know the "mining" part of this hardware is pretty much useless these day, but the housing of the device fits the bill nicely for some non-bitcoin related electronics projects of mine very nicely. Does anyone have information if Butterfly Labs had those housings custom made or did they buy existing ones in bulk, and if so, where i could buy them?
I feel like a war-torn vet in a room full of new recruits.
I've been in cryptos since 2011. I know some have been here longer. Respect to you all. tl;dr "I've seen some shit." The company I originally bought my bitcoins from (for $10, biting my nails at a Walmart customer service counter), BitInstant, was shut down and it's founder was jailed. I bought mining hardware through Butterfly Labs. I didn't receive my miners till it was too late, and I was never able to recoup my cost. The company was shut down and they reached a settlement with the FTC. I managed to get my remaining coins out of Mt Gox shortly before it too went belly-up, its founder charged with embezzlement. I perused the Silk Road before it was shut down and Ross Ulbricht was imprisoned. (I never bought drugs; only found the site to be to be an incredible experiment in freedom.) Although I did not participate, I was there when Bitfinex was hacked, and when ether forked from DAO. And on, and on, and on... I've seen bubbles come and go. I've seen diarrhea-inducing volatility. I've abandoned all sense of price normalcy. I was literally there watching my screen when the BearWhale was slain. I've hodled. I know what it means to be "gentlemen." I know the difference between a Satoshi and a Dorian. I've seen Bitcoin die a hundred times. I've seen the Bitcoin community grow toxic over scaling. I've seen censorship, division, and alienation. I've seen some cryptos rise to be worthy contenders to Bitcoin's dominance, and I've seen others turn to dust. I've also made life-changing profits. These growing pains aren't going to cease any time soon. You don't survive as an early adopter in this space unless you stay on your toes and take the appropriate precautions. I can't stress this enough. The truth is, it's fucking stressful. I spend hours and hours researching and worrying about what I should do. Just last night I dreamt our house burned down and I lost everything. Not just that, but "loose lips sink ships" so to speak. Sometimes I think I should just shut up about it all. But I ain't done riding this wave. It's moon or bust. And I'm proud to be a part of the cryptocurrency community.
Our blog has a longer post on the subject, but the ultimate answer is that GPU mining is very insecure. For the vast majority of GPU mined coins out there (including Sia), it is the case that there are multiple, if not many, individuals who operate enough GPUs to execute a 51% attack against the coin all by themselves. There are some very large Ethereum GPU farms out there, and they are a threat to all small GPU-mined coins. (our market cap is a factor of 50 smaller than Ethereum - we are a small coin). And it's not just Ethereum farms to be afraid of, there are massive GPU farms dedicated to machine learning as well, and other big-data related use cases. All of those are potential sources for a 51% attack. Even worse, if the price of the coin tanks following such an attack, the attacker has nothing to lose, because the core purpose of their hardware is unrelated to Sia, and unaffected by a change in price. Though it sounds terrible and unintuitive, a single centralized entity running ASICs would be a much more secure situation than this. Because with a single central ASIC entity, you get two huge advantages:
There's only 1 entity capable of performing a 51% attack. This is much better than having multiple entities that are each individually capable of performing a 51% attack.
If the price of the coin falls, the entity that has all of the hardware loses a lot of money. That hardware isn't good for anything besides Sia mining, so that entity is quite invested in propping up the siacoin price.
We chose ASICs over GPUs because even the worst case scenario is more secure and better for the coin than the situation with GPU mining. But we also did not want a single entity owning and operating all of the ASICs. That's when we realized, if we were ASIC manufacturers ourselves, we could guarantee that at least one entity is selling chips to the larger community. The unfortunate fact is that either way, there is going to be a small number of chip manufacturers who have the power to sell chips to the community. Even so, this is a better situation than what you get with GPU mining. We are making ASICs so that we can guarantee the first batch of ASICs will make it to the Sia community. Without that, we have no idea if the first batch of ASICs will be sold to the public or hoarded by some greedy investors who were able to pay the full price of manufacturing up-front.
Why are you doing the presale so early?
We, put simply, don't have enough cash even to do the early development of the chips. We need financing to pay for chip development. Traditionally, we would find some private investors, have them front some millions, and in return promise them a very good deal on some hardware. The private investors would get the first stab at buying ASICs, they'd get a huge chunk, and they'd get them at an exclusive deal for taking on the risk early. We actually had private investors come forward offering this to us, with enough money to fund the full development and manufacture of the first batch of chips - this isn't a hypothetical, it's a real offer that the Sia team received. This didn't seem fair to us. When we finally did get to the point where the miners were ready to be sold to the community, we would have to offer the community a worse deal. Less risky, but ultimately it would mean that the community was excluded from the opportunity of participating early, and the result is a huge chunk of the chips going to some private investors. Such a situation is still better than GPU mining, but it didn't seem like the best that we could do. We felt that we could do better by opening the early presale to everyone.
Why not accept credit cards?
Payment processors are not friendly to Bitcoin products. We contacted Stripe and were told point-blank that they would not process payments for cryptocurrency miners. We appreciate everyone who pointed us towards Stripe as a bitcoin-friendly company, but they gave us a direct no. Paypal has a long history of freezing merchant accounts with little warning, and when they do so they freeze your existing money in addition to freezing incoming payments - we would be unable to pay our bills if Paypal did this to us, and it would unquestionably cause delays. Visa and MasterCard are not much better in terms of track record. Losing access to our accounts would unquestionably cause delays. ASIC hardware is already well known to suffer from serious delays, and we need to limit our exposure to delays. We are in an industry that is unfortunately fraught with fraud. With revenue-generated devices such as miners, criminals are much more likely to try to target these devices as a way to cash in on stolen credit cards, stolen identities, hacked bank accounts, etc. The fraud rates are staggering, and as a result most payment processors outright refuse to deal with it. We are aware that Bitmain is partnered with Paypal, though we don't know the details behind how that came to be.
Why not accept Siacoin?
This was a harder decision. We could quite easily choose to accept siacoin, however we fear that Siacoin is not ready to handle such a massive presale. The market cap and daily volume of Bitcoin is a factor of 100 times as large as the Siacoin market cap and volume. Moving millions or tens of millions of dollars through Bitcoin is not likely to make much of a dent. Siacoin on the other hand, a sudden sell order for millions of dollars would likely tank the price. That not only means the ecosystem is unhappy with us, it also means that we might only be able to sell $2499 of siacoin for $2200. A lot of people have accused us of not having confidence in our own coin. Unfortunately, this is true. Even at a $500 million market cap, Sia is not ready to handle a presale of this size. It's a pragmatic decision based on the fact that we don't want to dump our own coin. We know that people will be selling siacoin to buy the miners anyway, but we still feel that this situation is much better than us accepting siacoin directly. This decision was a disappointment for us as well. We would love to accept siacoin, and if we weren't talking about processing millions of dollars in a single day, we absolutely would be accepting siacoin. And, as Sia continues growing up, the concerns above will become less and less.
What about this 5% gains/losses stuff?
Our intention was never to play fishy financial games with our users, and honestly this isn't even something that crossed our minds as a potential problem point. I think a big part of the issue was that people did not realize we will be converting to US dollars as fast as possible - we will be doing the conversion in minutes or hours as long as we can keep up with the order volume. The rationale is very simple. If the price plummets before we are able to convert the Bitcoin, we won't have enough money to create the hardware. We really don't expect this to matter, because we don't expect the price to swing by more than $100 (which is what would be required) in the few hours that we're going to be sitting on the BTC. If it does, we'll need more coins or we can't produce the hardware - our costs are in dollars, which means we need to end up with the right amount of dollars in our account at the end of the day. The original stance on not returning gains was also very simple. There's no transparency into when we sell the coins. If we sell the coins within 60 minutes of receiving them, and then 4 hours later there's a huge surge in the price, we will almost certainly have users emailing us and posting about how we owe them a refund. We won't have that refund, because we'll have sold the coins before the price rise. There's not much we can do to provide transparency into this either. And we're likely to get requests for refunds even if it takes 3 months for Bitcoin to rise by 5%. This promise of returning gains that we've put forward is going to be a massive headache, because we're not expecting to have any gains, even if the price goes up by that much we'll have likely converted to USD faster than that. Our whole goal is to convert to USD as fast as possible. We're sorry that we have to go through this headache at all. If we could get set up with a processor like Stripe, we could accept both Bitcoin and USD and let them deal with the conversion process, slippage risk, and all the other headache associated with using multiple currencies.
Why shipping a full 12 months away?
Before we set out to make Sia miners, we did a study of companies who had previously sold and pre-sold Bitcoin miners. This included talking to both Avalon and Butterfly Labs, and talking to professionals and advisors who have shipped hardware successfully in other industries. The core piece of advice we got was pretty consistent: expect delays. Expect lots of delays, and expect them to come from the most absurd setbacks. (Example: one of the people we talked to had to delay their product because there was a global shortage of power supplies, and they had to wait in line behind billion dollar companies to get some). Our projections indicate that if all goes well, we should be able to ship the miners in 6-8 months. Nothing we are doing is new. Plenty of companies have gone through the process of developing a chip, manufacturing it, putting it in a box, and then shipping it to users. There is almost no innovation risk here. Sia's PoW algorithm is deliberately very ASIC friendly, even more than Bitcoin. We have advisors who have gone through this process before, and the types of challenges facing us are well known. 6-8 months is reasonable, except that every single person we've talked to has told us that unexpected delays is a guarantee, and that by nature of being unexpected, there's not really any way to prevent them by planning around them. Delays are just inherent to shipping hardware. So we chose to set our target at 12 months. We will ship the miners as soon as they are ready. If we are a few months ahead of schedule, and have somehow managed to avoid the foretold delays, we will ship them months ahead of schedule. But we want our users to have a realistic understanding of the expected delays. We've baked a generous amount of time for setbacks into our shipping date. We'll almost certainly need at least some of it.
Making chips is very expensive. We have to sell thousands of units to cover the cost of the chips. A nontrivial percentage of the price is going to go towards chassis, shipping, power supply, control board, fans, etc. Those costs are relatively the same even if we put in fewer chips, which means the total percentage of our budget going towards chips drops significantly. If we cut the price in half, we'll have to sell roughly three times as many units to break even on the cost of the chips. If we cut the price in half again, we'd need to sell a completely unreasonable number of units to break even on the cost of the chips. It's unfortunate, but the fixed costs of chip manufacture means that we really need vast majority of the price of the unit to be spent on chips, otherwise we simply won't be able to sell enough units. There is a second reason as well. As stated in the section above, the industry is plagued by delays an unexpected expenses. We need a healthy budget to plan around potential setbacks, because we've been guaranteed that there will be multiple significant setbacks by those who have gone through this process before. If we bring down the price of the unit, we will also be reducing the amount of wiggle room we have for disaster if suddenly we have to replace parts, re-do designs, or otherwise perform expensive adjustments to our plans.
Are you guys qualified to be working on hardware?
Zach is a mechanical engineer, I've been in the Bitcoin space since before ASICs started shipping, and we have advisors who have successfully shipped hardware before. The team that is designing the chips for the miner has designed chips and shipped chips for Bitcoin miners previously - they are familiar with the whole process, and have done it before. The people in charge of designing the PCB board and other aspects of the miner are also all experienced with their respective tasks. We will be facilitating frequent and strong communications between everyone working on the various components of the miner. The ultimate answer is that the Sia development team is not qualified to be making this type of hardware. However, the Sia development team is not the team working on the hardware. Most of the heavy lifting is being performed by teams with lots of experience in this industry, including experience that is directly related to cryptocurrency miners. What we are doing is not new. Dozens of cryptocurrency miners have been created and shipped in the past, and we are not starting from day zero. We have many advantages over the previous rounds of pre-sale cryptocurrency miners, but the biggest is that it's no longer the wild west of hardware design. There is a standard, and there are tried-and-true methods for making reliable cryptocurrency miners. We get to fall back on the mistakes and successes of the many miners that have been built previously, and we will be leaning heavily on teams and people that have direct experience in this field as opposed to doing everything ourselves.
Does this mean that Sia is getting less attention from the developers?
Sia right now has four full time employees. Myself, Zach, Luke, and Johnathan. Zach was hired in June 2017, less than one month ago. He is not a programmer. Luke and Johnathan will continue with the same responsibilities that they've always had. They helped out a little bit in setting up the website, and in setting up a secure database to process orders + payment information, however the majority of their time has been focused on Sia even as we set up this presale. Going forward, they will be almost entirely uninvolved in Obelisk. I have had to allocate about 25% of my time to Obelisk. Slightly more this week, due to the PR meltdown we had from the initial announcement. But most of my time is still going towards Sia. Most people know I work over 100 hours per week (some weeks will eclipse 120), and that a quarter of my time is not a small amount. Zach is closer to 50% Sia, 50% Obelisk at this point. We're expecting that to tone down once the presale is over - much of this time has been spent with banks, with lawyers, with payment processors, and we won't have to do that beyond the initial setup phase. Zach and myself will still be having weekly conversations with every part of the Obelisk supply chain, including the chip designers, chip manufacturers, control board designers, the miner assembly teams, and the fulfillment centers, so even after the presale there will be effort going towards Obelisk. But nobody on the Sia team is doing chip design, nobody is doing control board design, most of the really heavy work is being done by experienced teams and suppliers that we've found and already spent weeks vetting and verifying. We incorporated Obelisk as a separate company precisely so that Obelisk would eventually have a completely separate team. And finally, as Obelisk is wholly owned by Nebulous, a successful hardware company does mean revenue and income for the Sia team. Cryptocurrency mining tends to be low margin, so tens of millions in revenue for Obelisk does not necessarily millions in funding for the Sia team. But it is something, and it will give us more time to get the storage platform to the next levels of maturity.
I know that a lot of you are concerned about the miner presale that we are conducting. I hope that this post has helped to alleviate those concerns. I hope it makes sense why we are doing a public presale, instead of seeking private investment until we have a full prototype. I hope this post has clarified our decisions around payment methods, and around our price point. I hope you feel more confident that this is something we will be able to pull off. And finally, I hope I've reassured you guys that Sia is still our primary focus, and that we haven't suddenly pivoted into being a hardware company. We are ultimately doing this to provide better security to the Sia network. GPU mined coins are frighteningly insecure, and Sia is now large enough where there is serious money on the line. We are doing this to gain security, and also to ensure as much decentralization as possible when it comes to chip manufacture. We are typically viewed as one of the most reputable teams in cryptocurrency, and I know it's why a lot of you are here. We hope that the Sia ASIC that we are going to be manufacturing and selling strengthens this reputation, but ultimately we will not find out until the miners are actually being shipped. We continue to be excited about this new product. We truly do feel that ASICs are the right direction for Sia, and we also feel that we are doing the right thing by bringing the opportunity to own a Sia ASIC to the broader Sia community. We are sorry for the fallout from our sloppy original announcement, and we hope that we have since made up for it. Finally, we hope that you are interested in buying a miner. Even if we only sell a small batch, ASICs are going to utterly dominate the hashrate of Sia going forward. This is an egalitarian sale where everyone has equal opportunity to buy a miner - there's no cap, and we will ensure that small buyers are not shut out by larger buyers in any way.
After the GOX disaster took so many people by surprise, I feel that it’s worth bringing forward the madness that’s happening over at GAW for those that may be considering throwing some money their way. This especially with the launch of their “hash coin” later today. First off, I’m not some whistle blower or insider with secret information, just an enthusiast who cannot believe the amount of money people appear to be giving them despite red flags from here to forever. I know this post likely won’t do anything, but given the number of people casually trying to get into cryptocurrencies and seeing GAW as a good/accessible option it’s worth trying to bring up the discussion. You should always be aware of anyone promising anything too good to be true. Here we have a company that has promised guaranteed returns and "profitability" more times than I can count. There is no such thing as a sure thing, especially in markets as unpredictable as crypto, and especially on the scale they talk about. Also those returns have yet to materialize for anyone but the very first buyers (interesting...). They’ve created their own forum and aggressively policed any thread they have access to across the web to stamp out negative feedback. Their customer service by all accounts is a disaster and the only way to get a timely response is to post publically. There are many accounts that they ended up sending out whatever hardware they had lying around to people trying to buy their custom machines (war machines, etc) and then denying it. On their forum you get money for upvotes, lose money from your account for downvotes, get bonus money from the CEO if he likes your post, and with enough downvotes you get autobanned. You can imagine what kind of a community this creates. Negative posts of any kind get you banned and the threads removed by admins immediately. Next we have their pool system. They have their own pool (Zenpool) that always seemed to have the best payout, yet no explanation of how it is remotely possible. It doesn’t take a think tank to imagine how easy it would be to sell your propriety mining pool as a higher buy in, subsidize the difference in rates out of pocket to secure purchases and then do whatever you want with the money. Zenpool and cloud hashing contracts are the most incredibly perfect setup for a Ponzi scheme you could ever create, and people continue to buy despite the utter lack of transparency, explanation, or established reputation that would make this seem credible. Imagine this, give me 20 dollars today and I’ll give you 1.2 cents a day (minus maintenance) instead of the 1.1 cent you would get elsewhere. Sure sounds like a cost effective way to raise a bunch of money fast. If GAW disappeared tomorrow with everyone’s money it would in hindsight seem like the most obvious thing in the world. I am not saying that it is a Ponzi scheme, just that JESUS CHRIST does it look like one with no effort to prove itself otherwise. Even if it’s not a Ponzi scheme this sure does seem like it could be one of those Butterfly labs situations where a lot of personal stuff (e.g. private jets) gets charged to company cards until they go bankrupt. Finally we have “Hash Coin” – there are so many things wrong with this it’s hard to summarize. You can read their QA here. But in short they’re launching an ICO that, in their words: “will go “public” for just over $20 a coin.” According to “analysts and banks”. And that “there will be a “bank” that will manage, to some degree, the valuation of Hashcoin” However of course you cannot know who these bankers or analysts are as: “The identities of both the analysts and banks will be released once the ICO has completed and the merchant marketplace established in the near future.” And this magic coin will have a market cap of 5Billion (!!). For quick reference Bitcoin sits at roughly 4.4. I am sure there is a debate all on its own for the ICO, but it betrays such a huge misunderstanding of some of the fundamentals of this space all it does is create more red flags for me. Somewhere there is a whitepaper that is “done” but instead of releasing it for community review and feedback they’ve plowed ahead with some crazy bankeanalyst backed offering in which everyone – especially you – can make boatloads of money. This ICO deserves a post on it’s own, but given that it’s launching tonight there should be plenty on entertainment there for later. Again, their quote "A white paper will not answer ICO questions. That is what is more important." In short: They’re running a system with constantly promised returns that has done anything but that. They’re running what could easily be a textbook Ponzi scheme on a huge scale with zero transparency. They’re issuing their own currency that “analysts” and “banks” have assured them will be worth giant multiples of what you will be able to buy it for, and have a market cap of 5,000,000,000 USD. I'm all for people trying wild and crazy (and big) ideas in the space, but another GOX (Butterfly Labs, etc.) is not what we need. If GAW is a legitimate well run organization then the community should ask for more transparency and information before giving them any more money. And finally, there’s this post. (*update, they took down the image but someone sent me a screenshot they took.) They literally have post praising themselves for taking money from a man who has a sick family and mounting medical bills for a product that will likely never (ever) return to him what he paid for it. And the image they have chosen for this post - well, it's of the CEO and community manager in a private jet. (** update 2, I was contacted by someone who claims to own the site and says it's not affiliated with GAW. So, fair enough for a disclaimer. They are however still doing these things even if it's a repost of theirs, so point still stands.) TL;DR Everyone gives GAW money despite the fact that they are too busy flying on private jets to answer your support emails or explain how their definitely-not-a-ponzi-scheme operation works exactly. But hey, let's all go buy some Hash Coin* which is totally better than Bitcoin! (*whitepaper pending) (edit: formatting) Update: "Whitepaper" draft is out for hashcoin, and it's hilarious. We're 20 days out from their ICO and they haven't released anything for the community to review or comment on, and if this is the direction they're going it's going to be quite the ride. Update 2: It's been mentioned a number of times here, but worth noting for anyone even remotely looking at the hashlets and their "guaranteed profitability" that maintenance fees are 80% of earnings at this point. The break even point for all products is never given any kind of difficulty increase and multiple years assuming none. I cannot say I understand how GAW calculates profitability, but doesn't seem to be the way I do. Update 3: And a couple more to underscore the point. From their own terms of service: "Hashlets are virtual service units related to mining services, but are not mining hardware." Hashlets are not real, might not have anything to do with hardware! "11. Termination and Modifications. a. Services may be terminated by us, without cause, at any time." And, GAW can simply cancel the service at any time and keep your money! Update 4: Link to the SEC site to report suspicious activity: https://denebleo.sec.gov/TCRExternal/questionaire.xhtml Update 5: CoinFire publishes story on possible dishonesty on the part of GAW with regards to partners, gets hacked. Thread with more information here: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/2n7c9coinfire_publishes_article_with_details_about_gaw/
Final version 1.3.0 of the core software was released bringing all the enhancements reported last month to the rest of the community. The groundwork for SPV (simplified payment verification) is complete, another reduction of fees is being deployed, and performance stepped up once again with a 50% reduction in startup time, 20% increased sync speed and more than 3x faster peer delivery of block headers (a key update for SPV). Decrediton's integrations of SPV and Politeia are open for testing by experienced users. Read the full release notes and get the downloads on GitHub. As always, don't forget to verify signatures. dcrd: completed several steps towards multipeer downloads, improved introduction to the software in the main README, continued porting cleanups and refactoring from upstream btcd. Currently in review are initial release of smart fee estimator and a change to UTXO set semantics. The latter is a large and important change that provides simpler handling, and resolves various issues with the previous approach. A lot of testing and careful review is needed so help is welcome. Educational series for new Decred developers by @matheusd added two episodes: 02 Simnet Setup shows how to automate simnet management with tmux and 03 Miner Reward Invalidation explains block validity rules. Finally, a pull request template with a list of checks was added to help guide the contributors to dcrd. dcrwallet: bugfixes and RPC improvements to support desktop and mobile wallets. Developers are welcome to comment on this idea to derive stakepool keys from the HD wallet seed. This would eliminate the need to backup and restore redeem scripts, thus greatly improving wallet UX. (missed in July issue) Decrediton: bugfixes, refactoring to make the sync process more robust, new loading animations, design polishing. Politeia: multiple improvements to the CLI client (security conscious users with more funds at risk might prefer CLI) and security hardening. A feature to deprecate or timeout proposals was identified as necessary for initial release and the work started. A privacy enhancement to not leak metadata of ticket holders was merged. Android: update from @collins: "Second test release for dcrandroid is out. Major bugs have been fixed since last test. Latest code from SPV sync has been integrated. Once again, bug reports are welcome and issues can be opened on GitHub". Ask in #dev room for the APK to join testing. A new security page was added that allows one to validate addresses and to sign/verify messages, similar to Decrediton's Security Center. Work on translations is beginning. Overall the app is quite stable and accepting more testers. Next milestone is getting the test app on the app store. iOS: the app started accepting testers last week. @macsleven: "the test version of Decred Wallet for iOS is available, we have a link for installing the app but the builds currently require your UDID. Contact either @macsleven or @raedah with your UDID if you would like to help test.". Nearest goal is to make the app crash free. Both mobile apps received new design themes. dcrdata: v3.0 was released for mainnet! Highlights: charts, "merged debits" view, agendas page, Insight API support, side chain tracking, Go 1.11 support with module builds, numerous backend improvements. Full release notes here. This release featured 9 contributors and development lead @chappjc noted: "This collaboration with @raedahgroup on our own block explorer and web API for @decredproject has been super productive.". Up next is supporting dynamic page widths site wide and deploying new visual blocks home page. Trezor: proof of concept implementation for Trezor Model T firmware is in the works (previous work was for Model One). Ticket splitting: updated to use Go modules and added simnet support, several fixes. docs: beginner's guide overhaul, multiple fixes and cleanups. decred.org: added 3rd party wallets, removed inactive PoW pools and removed web wallet. @Richard-Red is building a curated list of Decred-related GitHub repositories. Welcome to new people contributing for the first time: @klebe, @s_ben, @victorguedes, and PrimeDominus! Dev activity stats for September: 219 active PRs, 197 commits, 28.7k added and 18.8k deleted lines spread across 6 repositories. Contributions came from 4-10 developers per repository. (chart)
Hashrate: started and ended the month around 75 PH/s, hitting a low of 60.5 and a new high of 110 PH/s. BeePool is again the leader with their share varying between 23-54%, followed by F2Pool 13-30%, Coinmine 4-6% and Luxor 3-5%. As in previous months, there were multiple spikes of unidentified hashrate. Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 98 DCR (+2.4). The price varied between 95.7 and 101.9 DCR. Locked DCR amount was 3.86-3.96 million DCR, or 45.7-46.5% of the supply. Nodes: there are 201 public listening nodes and 325 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 5% are v1.4.0(pre) dev builds (+3%), 30% on v1.3.0 (+25%), 42% on v1.2.0 (-20%), 15% on v1.1.2 (-7%), 6% on v1.1.0. More than 76% of nodes run v1.2.0 and higher and therefore support client filters. Data as of Oct 1.
Obelisk posted two updates on their mailing list. 70% of Batch 1 units are shipped, an extensive user guide is available, Obelisk Scanner application was released that allows one to automatically update firmware. First firmware update was released and bumped SC1 hashrate by 10-20%, added new pools and fixed multiple bugs. Next update will focus on DCR1. It is worth a special mention that the firmware source code is now open! Let us hope more manufacturers will follow this example. A few details about Whatsminer surfaced this month. The manufacturer is MicroBT, also known as Bitwei and commonly misspelled as Bitewei. Pangolinminer is a reseller, and the model name is Whatsminer D1. Bitmain has finally entered Decred ASIC space with their Antminer DR3. Hash rate is 7.8 TH/s while pulling 1410 W, at the price of $673. These specs mean it has the best GH/W and GH/USD of currently sold miners until the Whatsminer or others come out, although its GH/USD of 11.6 already competes with Whatsminer's 10.5. Discussed on Reddit and bitcointalk, unboxing video here.
@matheusd started tests on testnet several months ago. I contacted him so we could integrate with the pool in June this year. We set up the machine in July and bought the first split ticket on mainnet, using the decredbrasil pool, on July 19. It was voted on July 30. After this first vote on mainnet, we opened the tests to selected users (with more technical background) on the pool. In August we opened the tests to everyone, and would call people who want to join to the #ticket_splitting channel, or to our own Slack (in Portuguese, so mostly Brazilian users). We have 28 split tickets already voted, and 16 are live. So little more than 40 split tickets total were bought on decredbrasil pool. (@girino in #pos-voting)
KuCoin exchange listed DCBTC and DCETH pairs. To celebrate their anniversary they had a 99% trading fees discount on DCR pairs for 2 weeks. Three more wallets integrated Decred in September:
Atomic desktop wallet added Decred in version 0.1.31. The team answered many questions on Reddit.
AnyBit wallet added Decred. It features built-in price and news tracking. Notably, the source code is open for their Android and iOS wallets.
Coboadded Decred support into their Android and iOS wallets.
ChangeNow announced Decred addition to their Android app that allows accountless swaps between 150+ assets. Coinbase launched informational asset pages for top 50 coins by market cap, including Decred. First the pages started showing in the Coinbase app for a small group of testers, and later the web price dashboard went live.
The birth of a Brazilian girl was registered on the Decred blockchain using OriginalMy, a blockchain proof of authenticity services provider. Read the full story in Portuguese and in English.
Advertising report for September is ready. Next month the graphics for all the ads will be changing.
Marketing might seem quiet right now, but a ton is actually going on behind the scenes to put the right foundation in place for the future. Discovery data are being analyzed to generate a positioning strategy, as well as a messaging hierarchy that can guide how to talk about Decred. This will all be agreed upon via consensus of the community in the work channels, and materials will be distributed. Next, work is being done to identify the right PR partner to help with media relations, media training, and coordination at events. While all of this is coming up to speed, we believe the website needs a refresher reflecting the soon to be agreed upon messaging, plus a more intuitive architecture to make it easier to navigate. (@Dustorf)
Raedah Group went on the streets of Portland, USA with a pretty blue tent. (photos)
Meetup at Binzantin Cafe in Taipei, Taiwan. @morphymore: "There were 20-ish attendees, and about half of them have joined the Chinese FB group. Most of them don't hear about Decred before, but have expressed the interest in learning more about it after the event. Overall, it's a good exposure for Decred in the Taiwan community.". A report with photos was posted on Facebook, more photos are here and here.
@joshuam made a Decred Jacket appearance at Singapore Grand Prix. (photos)
NewTech PDX meetup in Portland, USA. Raedah Group presented Decred and reported "lots of new converts". (photos)
North Shore Bitcoin & Blockchain in Glenview, USA. @dustorf gave a five minute overview of Decred and noted: "There were only about 25 people, but about 1/3 of them were aware of Decred prior. (...) Our simple presence and explanation of the project moved opinion from 'another shitcoin they sold after mining' to 'an interesting and viable project worthy of further investigation'.". (photos: 12)
Bitcoin Meetup CDMX in Mexico City on Oct 6. @elian will be talking about Decred at the oldest Bitcoin meetup in Mexico.
SF Blockchain Week in San Francisco, USA on Oct 9. @lukebp will discuss DPoS vs PoS on a panel 9:30a-10:15a at the Titans of Tech Stage, Hilton Union Square.
Decred Meetup in Casablanca, Morocco on Oct 27. @butterfly will host the event and talk about Decred in French.
Texas Bitcoin Conference Austin, USA on Oct 27-28. @BAB: "The great thing about this is that it will also be a Decred Summit. We will have half of the conference dedicated to Decred topics, updates, etc."
Websummit in Lisbon, Portugal on Nov 5-8. @moo31337 will be on a panel discussing "2018: A Rollercoaster Year for Cryptocurrencies"
We'll begin shortly reviewing conferences and events planned for the first half of 2019. Highlights are sure to include The North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami (Jan 16-18) and Consensus in NYC (May 14-16). If you have suggestions of events or conferences Decred should attend, please share them in #event_planning. In 2019, we would like to expand our presence in Europe, Asia, and South America, and we're looking for community members to help identify and staff those events. (@Dustorf)
August issue of Decred Journal was translated to Russian. Many thanks to @DZ! Rency cryptocurrency ratings published a report on Decred and incorporated a lot of feedback from the community on Reddit. September issue of Chinese CCID ratings was published (snapshot), Decred is still at the bottom. Videos:
The underbelly of blockchain Governance - fiat licensing and our code with Marco Peerboom and Chris DeRose (youtube, tweet, decred, missed in August issue) Insightful dialogue about men's underwear, licenses, subtleties of GPL, BSD wars, tiling window managers and much more.
Introduction to Decred (Korean, youtube) @Killawhale collected a lot of feedback from the community and produced this video to spread the word in Korea.
Perspectives on Governance from Nathan Wilcox, Jonathan Zeppettini, Vitalik Buterin (z.cash)
Decred - an example of governance (Portuguese, youtube)
Decred, the crypto that wants to compete with Bitcoin (French, youtube)
Exodus.io Live with Marco from Decred! (youtube) Marco joins Exodus.io to discuss what makes DCR an asset that will stand the test of time.
Building Decred With Systems Development Lead Marco Peereboom - Governance, Politeia, Lightning (youtube) Topics: early days, Politeia, the structure of Decred, dcrtime, Lightning Network, attracting users and developers, future plans (DEX, Schnorr signatures, privacy, DAEs).
Decentralized autonomous funding of blockchain projects by @Richard-Red (medium, discussion on decred and dashpay)
The trouble with infrastructure, "thin" protocols in particular, is that someone has to build them at a cost. e.g. LN takes a ton of work, doesn't necessarily generate value itself, but it magnifies the value of BTC or whatever coin that uses it. I see the DEX in a similar light - whoever creates it is not going to make a bunch of money from it, but it will magnify the value of the underlying asset(s) that end up having a deep order book on the DEX. (@jy-p in #dex)
Twitter: why decentralized governance and funding are necessary for network survival and the power of controlling the narrative; learning about governance more broadly by watching its evolution in cryptocurrency space, importance of community consensus and communications infrastructure. Reddit: yet another strong pitch by @solar; question about buyer protections; dcrtime internals; a proposal to sponsor hoodies in the University of Cape Town; Lightning Network support for altcoins. Chats: skills to operate a stakepool; voting details: 2 of 3 votes can approve a block, what votes really approve are regular tx, etc; scriptless script atomic swaps using Schnorr adaptor signatures; dev dashboard, choosing work, people do best when working on what interests them most; opportunities for governments and enterprise for anchoring legal data to blockchain; terminology: DAO vs DAE; human-friendly payments, sharing xpub vs payment protocols; funding btcsuite development; Politeia vote types: approval vote, sentiment vote and a defund vote, also linking proposals and financial statements; algo trading and programming languages (yes, on #trading!); alternative implementation, C/C++/Go/Rust; HFTs, algo trading, fake volume and slippage; offline wallets, usb/write-only media/optical scanners vs auditing traffic between dcrd and dcrwallet; Proof of Activity did not inspire Decred but spurred Decred to get moving, Wikipedia page hurdles; how stakeholders could veto blocks; how many votes are needed to approve a proposal; why Decrediton uses Electron; CVE-2018-17144 and over-dependence on single Bitcoin implementation, btcsuite, fuzz testing; tracking proposal progress after voting and funding; why the wallet does not store the seed at all; power connectors, electricity, wiring and fire safety; reasonable spendings from project fund; ways to measure sync progress better than block height; using Politeia without email address; concurrency in Go, locks vs channels. #support is not often mentioned, but it must be noted that every day on this channel people get high quality support. (@bee: To my surprise, even those poor souls running Windows 10. My greatest respect to the support team!)
In September DCR was trading in the range of USD 34-45 / BTC 0.0054-0.0063. On Sep 6, DCR revisited the bottom of USD 34 / BTC 0.0054 when BTC quickly dropped from USD 7,300 to 6,400. On Sep 14, a small price rise coincided with both the start of KuCoin trading and hashrate spike to 104 PH/s. Looking at coinmarketcap charts, the trading volume is a bit lower than in July and August. As of Oct 4, Decred is #18 by the number of daily transactions with 3,200 tx, and #9 by the USD value of daily issuance with $230k. (source: onchainfx) Interesting observation by @ImacallyouJawdy: while we sit at 2018 price lows the amount locked in tickets is testing 2018 high.
ASIC for Lyra2REv2 was spotted on the web. Vertcoin team is preparing a new PoW algorithm. This would be the 3rd fork after two previous forks to change the algorithm in 2014 and 2015. A report titled The Positive Externalities of Bitcoin Mining discusses the benefits of PoW mining that are often overlooked by the critics of its energy use. A Brief Study of Cryptonetwork Forks by Alex Evans of Placeholder studies the behavior of users, developers and miners after the fork, and makes the cases that it is hard for child chains to attract users and developers from their parent chains. New research on private atomic swaps: the paper "Anonymous Atomic Swaps Using Homomorphic Hashing" attempts to break the public link between two transactions. (bitcointalk, decred) On Sep 18 Poloniex announced delisting of 8 more assets. That day they took a 12-80% dive showing their dependence on this one exchange. Circle introduced USDC markets on Poloniex: "USDC is a fully collateralized US dollar stablecoin using the ERC-20 standard that provides detailed financial and operational transparency, operates within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws, and is reinforced by established banking partners and auditors.". Coinbase announced new asset listing process and is accepting submissions on their listing portal. (decred) The New York State Office of the Attorney General posted a study of 13 exchanges that contains many insights. A critical vulnerability was discovered and fixed in Bitcoin Core. Few days later a full disclosure was posted revealing the severity of the bug. In a bitcointalk thread btcd was called 'amateur' despite not being vulnerable, and some Core developers voiced their concerns about multiple implementations. The Bitcoin Unlimited developer who found the bug shared his perspective in a blog post. Decred's vision so far is that more full node implementations is a strength, just like for any Internet protocol.
About This Issue
This is the 6th issue of Decred Journal. It is mirrored on GitHub, Medium and Reddit. Past issues are available here. Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research. Feedback is appreciated: please comment on Reddit, GitHub or #writers_room on Matrix or Slack. Contributions are also welcome: some areas are adding content, pre-release review or translations to other languages. Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee, Dustorf, jz, Haon, oregonisaac, raedah and Richard-Red.
The 21.co "computer" certainly deserves a place in the VC world, along with the other products consisting of wild promises and inane use cases. For the price of 4 Raspberry Pi computer kits, you get the following:
A Raspberry Pi. You can do a lot with this. One thing you can't do, however, is reliably run a Bitcoin node: the single gigabyte of RAM gets crowded with the bitcoin memory pool (normally up to 100 megabytes, or more when a "stress test" is taking place).
A 128 GB micro-SD card. Used to store the block chain, which is about 32 gigabytes in size right now, and growing at about 144 megabytes per day. Unfortunately, the copy of the block chain 21 Inc. includes is obsolete the second they ship the product, so you have to wait a few hours for the block chain to synchronize. This uses those valuable limited write cycles you have on your SD card.
(If you have a remote desire to develop applications that use bitcoin, stop here. Go through that list and buy just those items above. You don't need anything else. If you're looking for comedy, or if you're a sucker with too much money, read on...)
Is that all I get for my money?
Those products alone don't allow you to make Bitcoin applications, apparently. You need these things, too:
An ASIC chip and a giant fan. Bitcoin mining hardware has a propensity for running hot, so you need a fan. Unfortunately, the Raspberry Pi can't power those two items. The Pi uses a standard 5 volt mini-USB connector for power, and draws at most 2 amps. The fan alone uses three times the maximum current that the Raspberry Pi can handle. Also, a tiny fan like this emits lots of noise, so you may want to include some earplugs in your Amazon.com shopping cart. Free up another outlet for you to use, because there are two power supplies!
It's difficult to justify developing a $400 computer that can't do much. So, to entice some customers, 21 Inc. included demos that try really hard to make customers feel inspired. Here are just a few things that 21 Inc. claims were totally impossible before their product existed:
Web proxies, but with bitcoin! Gone are the days where you would pay a small fee (normally, no more than $9 per month) to access a wide array of private proxies. Now you can build your own service where you charge customers 1 cent per request to use a single public proxy. If that doesn't seem absurd yet, consider the following: loading this page probably used 60 requests for images, fonts, and various code to make the page work.
Online SMS gateways, but with bitcoin! Don't pay your phone company fifteen cents to send a single short message, and definitely don't pay a monthly fee to send unlimited messages! Be your own phone company and lure people into using your gateway. Granted, developers can use the same third-party messaging API for free, but that isn't the bitcoin way. Also, you may want to make sure you're legally a company and not an individual, just in case people want to use your message service for sending death threats to those who defame Satoshi and a few three-letter agencies charge you as being responsible.
The final chapter to that shit hole that was KnCMiner. Beating the low standards Butterflies set and some.
As most of you know, I have been keeping the community updated with the latest KnCMiner.com under handed practices and tricks. If you need to catch up read the following posts: Post A - Lies to keep customers from refund, only to backtrack on the promise Post B - Censoring customers who are pointing out that the units they are getting for used Post C - Sends out old used and broken units to customers Post D - Scamming Customers out of 2 for 1 and Plan B Post E - KnCMiner victimizes Customers Post F - Lies about pending queue In one of the final chapters of the over ~100,000,000.00 dollar scams that KnCMiner and its owners, Marcus Erlandsson, Michael Unnebäck, and Sam Cole, the victims of this international crime, try to come to terms with everything that unfolded in the last year in a half. Using the hardware that the customers paid for, KnCMiner made a big profit using them for personal gain, as the months passed and the hardware lost its value, KnCMiner finally decided to start sending out some of Neptune to meet some of the initial orders that were placed, while continuing to using the majority of the hardware for their gain. As days turned into weeks, weeks into months, KnCminer would make false press releases offering MWYW, 2for1, etc... Having CoinDesk in their pockets, they used them as a main source of aveunue to press their agenda and false promises. KnCMiner exploited the lack of international laws that protect consumers, to completely screw over everyone that had placed an order with them. Refusing Refunds, and claiming that they are busy working, KnCMiner went silent for the remainder of the coming winter. Wanting to take advantage of the cold winter, KnCMiner stopped sending any miners out, and instead used the opportunity to use the cold weather to mine at max profit. Now, after a year an a half, some customers are still awaiting their shipments, while those who finally received them, had control boards that were stripped down, and second hand, Miners that did not work or had missing parts, making mining impossible since the ran at very hot temperatures, meant that even those that received their 1for2 order, were little better off than those that did not. What KnCMiner leaves behind, are customers who tragically are still holding on to hope, and those who have already been victimized seeking some sort of justice, whether it be through the law, or through other means. In the end, the only winners here are the now wealthy criminals that are the founders of KnCminer. One can only hope, that justice comes knocking, and puts these damn criminals behind bars. PS My writing is not the best, but I hope for the most part, I was able to get the point across.
Minted our first bitcoin this morning! Took about 18 hours (Butterfly Labs Mini Rig SC 500 GH/s)
http://i.imgur.com/LvDPIjY.png We're using the Butterfly Labs 500 GH/s Mini Rig. Might as well do a small review -- the hardware itself is temperamental. For example, ours showed up with the unresponsive Nexus tablet on the front panel. Dealing with Butterfly is a total shit sandwich given the rip-and-run state of the overall business, so I had to figure out how to bypass the internal routing and have a laptop be the brains of the operation. After a couple of days of messing with usb drivers, which refused to stand up on Windows 7, I finally got the laptop to recognize all 8 modules. However, I could not start mining due to an error starting the bfg miner task from the inside of their Easy Miner application. I tried to force bfg via the command line, and it finally worked, although the hash rate was atrocious. Another day or so, and I had the rig mining. The hardware recognition issue was due to me not giving the laptop enough time to kick ALL modules on. It takes a good 2-3 minutes for all usb notifications to stop bleep-blooping. The hash rate was in the 470 GH/s area, which was perfect, but then the modules started to shut themselves off due to overheating at 83 C. The log would show how the unit was taking down hot modules and then kicking them back on non-stop. The ambient temp in the room is around 75. I played with positioning, fan speeds, to no avail. The hash rate at that point dropped into the 400s, and my 15 amp circuit breakers started to get tripped. This went on for a little, and then I permanently blew one of them and had to pick some up at the Home Depot. But hey, it only took a single trip :) So then I got a 5200 BTU A/C unit, mounted it in the window, and positioned the rig in front of it. That seemed to fix the breaker-tripping and overheating issues. It runs at low 70s C during the day and low 60s C at night. I am now making custom funnels out of thermal foam board to vent exhaust heat outside and also connect the 11" AC opening to the 16"x16" intake area of the rig (looks something like this). The unit generates a lot of heat, no joke. I bet when the weather gets colder, it can serve as a furnace for this side of the house. If you're wondering why I'm talking about it still not being cold outside in November, I'm in Texas. It's really beautiful right now, high of 75 and sunny. Also, the noise ... how could I forget about the noise. It sounds like a server room. There's 18 fans, plus PSU fans, and they are quite loud. Don't expect to inconspicuously set this rig in the corner of your living room. It's been on for over 24 hours now, uninterrupted. To the moon! Timestamp,Core Temp,AC ON/OFF,Total Mined (BTC) 11/1/2013 12:00 PM,80 C,OFF,0.00 11/3/2013 3:30 PM,73 C,OFF,1.78 11/4/2013 2:05 PM,75 C,ON,2.28 11/5/2013 11:00 AM,75 C,ON,2.74 11/6/2013 5:00 PM,70 C,OFF,3.18 11/7/2013 12:00 PM,79 C,OFF,3.53 11/8/2013 5:00 PM,70 C,OFF,4.03 11/13/2013 11:00 PM,68 C,OFF,6.01 11/18/2013 5:00 PM,78 C,OFF,7.69 11/23/2013 11:00 AM,66 C,OFF,9.21 11/26/2013 8:00 PM, 62 C,OFF,10.41
BFL lied to customers, I may as well share how they flat out lied to us as well
might as well post these emails since shit's hitting the fan
Hi [killhamster], Thanks for your patience. It looks like the site issues are mostly fixed. My name is Jeff Scott and I bought Buttcoin.org because I believe there is space for an Onion type parody site in the Bitcoin world. But let me be clear - I like Bitcoin. I believe in it. I also know many of the companies who operate in Bitcoin. Some of the owners of these companies are friends of mine. And thankfully, many of them have a sense of humor and understand parody. In order for Buttcoin.org to survive, it needs to generate revenue. In order to generate revenue, you need to attract advertising from the people who are making money in Bitcoin. My job is to sell this "parody" business model to them and convince them that we can do our parody in a way that will make fun of them and Bitcoin but won't hurt their businesses. If we can walk that fine line, we can generate revenue and still remain cutting edge and humorous. While I don't necessarily agree with whitewashing bad news, I think stories can be told in a way to take digs at companies and products without harming their reputation too much. The article about Butterfly Labs at the top of your popular stories is a good example. Do you know how much money Butterfly Labs has made in this industry? It's quite a bit. And they advertise a lot. That customer alone would pay for our expense (and more) per month. But they would never advertise with us in the current state. The bottom line is this - Buttcoin.org will not be forum troll bait any more. Bitcoin is bigger than Bitcointalk and Reddit. We're in new territory. If we want to capture revenue, we need to build this site into something new. We have to change the way we write stories. One of the first things we need to do is clean up some of these older articles. The Butterfly Labs article is an example because it's a top story. I took a stab at making the post positive for now until we can figure out our "new voice." I need to start attracting advertisers. I would like you to rewrite the Butterfly Labs stories so they are not forum troll slams, but parody. Here's an example of a headline that would take a dig at the company and Bitcoin but maybe give them a little boost. Current headline: The Butterfly Labs Mini-rig is a huge broken unstable piece of shit. (it has been proven that while you might not get rich with one, the product is not that bad) Possible new headline: Butterfly Labs Mini-rigs Mine Detroit Out Of Bankruptcy. "The Detriot city council finally took delivery of 2 Mini-rigs from Butterfly Labs..." This is just an example I thought off the top of my head. It takes a dig at Bitcoin, the fact that the Mini-rig will not make anyone rich, but at the same time doesn't offend a possible advertiser. So, this is the direction I want to go. There is a place and budget for a writer who can help make this happen. If you think it's you, please let me know and we can work on moving forward. If you cannot accept this new direction, we will have to part ways right now. Thanks
A second, clarifying email
I don't necessarily want to tone down the site. I just want advertisers. I understand your feelings about Butterfly Labs. I know the industry quite well. Avalon had issues, KnC had boards explode in the wild and I don't see any articles nailing them for shipping less than perfect products. Every single hardware manufacturer has missed their target dates for delivery. It's not just BFL. BFL did just ship out 45,000 bitcoin miners which is a pretty big task for a company that started 2 years ago and I know they are replacing units that are not functioning. But this is not the point. They pay another site (I know the owner) $1000 a month to run banners. I can make a deal with them overnight. This doesn't mean I am tying myself to them. It means I am taking their money. I'm not sure how much [FCKGW] was paying you to write, but I think he mentioned a % of revenue and adsense couldn't be making that much. Let's make fun of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Mining, but try to stay brand neutral. Let me know if you're interested.
after we caught them saying the BFL minirig is a big sexy mining machine
The BFL stuff is temporary. I want to rewrite them later. If you want to change the author on them for now that's fine. I'll do that. I'm working on a deal for ad space with them. It's an olive branch. Sorry slammed today. Will answer the rest soon. Thanks
after these it was mostly me saying "hey the site is down check it out" and him saying "OK"
Is anyone else tired of waiting for their BFL asic's to ship? Anyone pissed off about the increased price and lowered hash rate? Anyone else wondering when the hell they're even going to ship their product? I know I am. On all accounts. Today a buddy of mine approached me with some very interesting research he did. So let's look at what we've got. First is this address. http://blockchain.info/address/1NLg3QJMsMQGM5KEUaEu5ADDmKQSLHwmyh Now look at that data. Blocks solved and new coins created at 12 o'clock, 2 o'clock 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock today (4/9/13). One address solving 4 blocks in 8 hours. I mean, sure, that's obviously possible with the new hardware, but that's some serious power. Especially for one address to have. Seems a little fishy to me. Next: Let's check that most recent block. http://blockchain.info/block-index/371485/000000000000019025d6a44dfa2af3a9b8965e277c04a2d4c50d9ae1d4711142 Solved and sent to the same address. So we've got the block. And where it's located? The Kansas/Missouri border. Ok. Pause. How does this relate to and/or implicated BFL? So far, it doesn't really. But looking at the facts. We've got one party mining alone, solving a ton of blocks at an alarming rate. There's no problem with that. But then I check BFL's website. Their contact page: http://www.butterflylabs.com/contact/ Awfully close to the exact same spot on the map as the IP solving those blocks, no? And BFL would certainly have the power to mine like that if they didn't sell their machines. Now also take into account that these devices were supposed to ship months ago. Those of you who follow the forums keep getting told "soon" or "within the next month" or whatever it may be. But here we sit, sans BFL-made ASICs. They've been taking money since June, but have yet to deliver. We've seen pictures of chips on boards, and we've seen the rising price of coins. We haven't been given an update on shipment dates either, and that was supposed to be this week(again). I hate throwing the conspiracy theory card around, but this is looking an awful lot to me like these guys saw they could make more money by mining than by selling their products which people have paid for. I don't know if that's illegal, but it's certainly immoral. Given that BFL has already been suggested a scam I think this may hold some weight. Thoughts /Bitcoin? If I'm wrong here, interpreted data incorrectly, or anything else please let me know. TL;DR - Butterfly Labs is holding onto their ASIC's and using them to mine instead of shipping them to everyone who pre-ordered.
An Insiders Take on CoinTerra & the Bitcoin Mining Sector
Having been involved in Bitcoin since 2011 and on the inside of one of the 28nm Bitcoin mining contestants for the past two months, here is my story. Feel free to skip the long intro to skip to the present: I added it because people might want to know where I'm coming from. My elevator pitch is that I discovered Bitcoin in 2011 while traveling in Argentina, and after doing research I started recommending it as an investment to the subscribers of my financial newsletter in early 2012. BTC was $5 back then, so we did well with that. Here are some links of the things that I've done in Bitcoin:
Since the beginning I've been thinking a lot about how I wanted to invest in Bitcoin. It has always made plain sense to me to begin with buying coins, as it is like an ETF on the entire Bitcoin economy. However, in early 2012, just the idea of buying bitcoins was a pretty scary prospect. I consulted with two core developers who actually tried to dissuade me from looking at Bitcoin as an investment. One said it was still very much an experiment, the other said (correctly so) that there were still substantial security risks. Eventually it was my experience in Argentina's difficult economy (rife with currency crackdowns and capital controls) that convinced me to take the leap - I decided that there was enough demand and enthusiasm for financial freedom in the world. Enough for some crazy people to keep funneling resources into Bitcoin, resources that would support the idealist hackers and maverick entrepreneurs to make the technology of cryptocurrency a success. So I started buying bitcoins, considering myself lucky because my friends in Latin America had it much tougher: they had to mine most of their cryptocurrency in their basement with graphic cards because of the harsh capital controls that prevented them from sending money abroad and buying them on an exchange. In all, 2012 was a difficult year for Bitcoin. The 'old' bitcoiners were still psychologically numbed from the huge decline in price, and the newbees were continually scared by new scandals: the Bitcoinica thefts in May and July, the BTC Savings and Trust-ponzi implosion in August, and the Bitfloor theft in September. The price of Bitcoin hovered between $5 and $13 all year, the mainstream media ignored or at best scorned Bitcoin, and I for one was mostly happy to still have an unscathed wallet. Throughout the year I wrote about Bitcoin practically every week in my email updates and every month in my printed investment newsletter. It was often a frustrating job, because my many of my subscribers are babyboomers or from an older generation who don't intuitively grasp the concepts of peer-to-peer, open source, online, etc. I received a good number of emails accusing me of promoting a ponzi scheme, and my publisher (who does all the promotion for the newsletter) was very sceptical and tried to persuade me to write less about Bitcoin and more about traditional investments like gold and stocks. I think this tension/struggle is part of what prevented me from exploring the investable side of the Bitcoin economy for quite a while, although I did buy a few Bitcoin mining stocks on the GLBSE. (Compliments to the miners that kept paying out dividends even after the wild ending of this stock exchange - COGNITIVE is one of them) Attending the Bitcoin London conference organized by Amir Taaki in late 2012 was definitely a turning point for me. Cryptocurrency suddenly became tangible and real, and I think that was the case for many people there. During Amir's conference, I made friends with Jim from MultiBit and Nejc from BitStamp. I likely missed an investment opportunity with BitPay (even though Tony Galippi was just as impressive back then as he is now), and I tried to persuade GLBSE's Nefario to start talking to a lawyer about the legal risks of running a Bitcoin denominated exchange. Josh from Butterfly Labs made an announcement there in London, and that was my first experience with the excitement and controversy that characterizes so much of the Bitcoin mining industry today. Meanwhile my investment newsletter kept doing well, and I decided to make a move to South America to expand my horizon. That's how it happened that I was with my friends in Buenos Aires when the March-April 2013 explosion in price happened: an exhilarating time, and I'm still grateful for their long term Bitcoin experience which helped me make the right decisions for myself during this period. Still I kept thinking about how I could invest some of my gains back in the Bitcoin economy. Chasing a dollar profit doesn't make sense to me, so I had to identify business models that gave perspective for making a multiple on my bitcoins. Bitcoin mining felt like an interesting fit, for several reasons. First, I spent the past few years studying the gold mining industry and the parallels and differences with Bitcoin mining are absolutely fascinating to me. Next, in the short run I am not at ease regarding the authorities ability to attack or destabilize the BTC network. Many will object by saying that the Bitcoin network has a hashrate that's currently 40 times faster than top 500 supercomputers combined. However, that is misleading because the equation would change dramatically if those computers were equipped with specialized ASICs that can be produced for a couple of million dollars. This is what Jim Rickards referred to when he said "technologists don't understand the world of power politics and malicious actors: there are people who don't care about the cost. (…) If they want to destroy a system, and they have to pay to do it, they'll do it. It's not necessarily more expensive than buying an aircraft carrier or building a submarine." This is the reason why I think it's crucial to push up the network speed as close to the physical limits as possible. Once the miners are working on the smallest node and with the most efficient chip possible, it will be much more difficult for a malicious entity to do a 51% attack on the network. (By the way, much respect to the small bitcoiners and basement miners for this: they are the ones that have been bankrolling the expensive development of ever more sophisticated ASIC chips. They are the ones that are slowly turning the once brittle skeleton of the Bitcoin network into an indestructible Adamantium shield.) Finally, it seemed obvious to me that the Bitcoin mining market was about to enter a consolidation phase, in which the market would increasingly sponsor the more reliable and technically gifted chip producers, which will eventually create a more stable environment for everyone. How exciting, to try and witness from the first row how an entirely new industry grows from childhood/adolescence towards maturity! Enter CoinTerra. I first met Ravi Iyengar and his team members at the San Jose Bitcoin conference, where they pitched for an angel investment in their company. I was immediately impressed by their passion, technical pedigree, and understanding of the workings of Bitcoin. I was definitely intrigued and after the conference we kept the communication lines open. Back in Belgium I met with two interested angels who happened to be Belgian, too. I then talked to different people with hardware backgrounds to verify whether Ravi's team really was that good judging by the industry standards. They were. I started getting excited. From there on, things began moving fast. The two Belgians got in and the more I talked to Ravi, the more I was impressed with his cogent reasoning, his decisiveness, and the speed by which he absorbs large amounts of new information. By mid July I finally made the decision to also come in as the third angel investor in CoinTerra. When I talked about the company to Timo Hanke (German cryptographer and author of the Bitcoin Pay-to-Contract protocol) he was intrigued, did his own due dilligence, and soon after became an investor in, and later a team member of CoinTerra. Other investors and advisors that came in on the angel round had reputable backgrounds in the software and hardware industries, precious metals, telecom, and law - all of whom shared a great and genuine passion for Bitcoin. I began feeling very fortunate to be able to follow this project from such a close perspective. After some days, because of Ravi's high energy and magnetic enthusiasm, the following turned into involvement. When I was invited to come to Austin, Texas to help out, I jumped in with both feet - I've been here for a week now. One thing I noticed when getting involved with CoinTerra more closely, is that the communications part of the equation needed improving. I can understand how the issue came to be. Ravi is in the first place an engineer and a team leader, and he started structuring his company from that same perspective. Even today most of his focus is directed to closely managing all the engineers (in Austin, in Raleigh, and also in India) to make sure that the risks involved are managed to the greatest possible extent. The engineering roots of CoinTerra are also reflected in the initial vision behind the company: to build large and efficient mining data centers, deploy them worldwide, and to then offer cloud hashing services to the public. However, the still uncertain legal repercussions of that lead to a change in strategy. Instead, CoinTerra is now working on providing chips and rigs for the general public, and leaves it for the customers to decide where and how to mine with them. Now, I understand and appreciate how very skeptical a large part of the Bitcoin mining community has become. People have invested a lot of resources in brave but often very inexperienced teams who have not always been able to deliver on their promises. It has been a road of trial and error, and the errors of some have proven painful to many. I can say that I understand what it means to have skin in the game of the mining market; I am an investor in a company that has announced but not released a manufactured product on the market yet. And I stand by it: I think CoinTerra is working on fantastic products and has great future potential as a company. Would I like to make a return on my investment? Of course, that will be the best proof that it fulfills the potential that I see in Ravi and his team. That said, even to just be involved in this technological arms race that is taking place in Bitcoin mining, where hyper competitive capitalism is miraculously creating a very pure public good, is a real privilege. I think the sector will further mature and that we will see more and more reliable companies emerge over time, and all the while the Bitcoin network will grow stronger and stronger. I'm happy to take questions if you are interested. Best wishes, Tuur
The $22,484.00 Butterfly Labs Mini Rig bitcoin miner is a huge, broken, unstable piece of shit.
(This was a rather controversial article posted on Buttcoin.org and became quite popular, even moving to the top of /bitcoin. It's since been mysteriously edited on the site [maybe by g-g-g-ghosts!] so it's being reposted here for posterity's sake. Some numbers may be off by now, but it was all accurate at the time of posting.) Butterfly Labs has a long and horrible history with their mining rigs. They started taking pre-orders over a year ago, with a ship time sometime in late July. After numerous delays in production, shipping problems and general incompetence, the only thing they’ve managed to get out the door are some of their tiniest miners, the Jalapenos. And those mainly ended up in the hands of reviewers and blogs in order to keep pumping the Butterfly Labs hype train and securing millions of dollars of pre-orders still in limbo.Lucky BFL forums user Luke-JR however scored a sweet Mini Rig from Butterfly Labs (it’s just a coincidence he’s a driver developer for them I’m sure). This rig was originally promised to produce 1500 GH/s hashing power at 1500 watts for $30,000, but has since seen it’s hashing power slashed to a third of what was promised and it’s power consumption increased 75%, now just offer 500 GH/s at 2400 watts. They’ve promised to make good on pre-order buy sending out 3 rigs to match the initial hashing rate, so now it’s only 1500 GH/s at 6900 watts, a reduction in GH/Watt by a factor of 5. So what does $22,484 buy you? Take a look!
Minirig is here! Today, my Minirig arrived. http://i.imgur.com/Yp0WPvE.jpg FedEx apparently dropped it somewhere along the way, and the weakest part of the case, the thin metal part around the back of the PSU, broke. http://i.imgur.com/lFcOHxP.jpg I’m not sure how sturdy the back side was supposed to be, but its two pieces aren’t quite together either. http://i.imgur.com/AVttcOt.jpg The power supplies (EVGA 1500W) also created havoc interfering with the neutral on the power line. This disrupted X10 communication significantly enough that the pool overflowed because the system controlling it was unable to turn off the pump. Workaround: This PSU supports 240V, so we rewired the outlet. 240V does not use neutral, so now all should be okay. Edit: 240V workaround is only partial. Still having problems But the good news is, it all seems to be working for the most part. Next up, installing it in the window so the heat goes outside
A twenty two thousand dollar box of electronics that is broken out of the box, that required the guy to do a sketchy electrical workaround to get partially working, that he is going to install in a window… and he’s happy about it? In case you didn’t notice it, the delivered unit is different than the picture on the website. They had to install 2 power supplies instead of 1 and had to modify the case to fit. Also, if you didn’t notice, the LCD/Phone thingy in the front has been replaced by … a piece of cardboard spray painted black. Wonderful. You could maybe chalk this up to a careless Fedex postman, but when you’re shipping something that costs as much as a mid-sized sedan, how bought putting a little more effort into packing? Dell and HP can ship bigger and heavier servers across the world without this kind of problem. The unit had to hit its huge power draw increase by putting dual EVGA consumer grade power supplies in the unit. We’re talking almost a 75 amp load (6*1500/120), disregarding power factor. He could very well overload the circuit panel and trip the main breaker for the house. Let’s take a look inside this guy. This is from an earlier version of the Minirig (note the single power supply) This is apparently from an earlier FPGA but it will give you a good glimpse at what kind of craftsmanship you can expect from a computer that is half the average household income in the United States. Consumer grade PSU and cheap USB hubs glued to the inside case. Electrical tape and random velcro glued to the insides A closer look at the USB hubs. Plugs are hot glued to stay secured. Electrical tape everywhere, splices and voided hardware are the theme. You can view the entire album here. Despite all that, this thing can still mine bitcoins and it should be profitable. Keep in ind that many people jumped in on the preorders a year ago when bitcoins were still hovering around $6.50 per. Meaning customers paid 1562 bitcoins for that particular piece of shit, which at today’s value is $156,200. Aston martin money. How long will it take them to make their money back (as apposed to just hanging on to them)? If the difficulty didn’t change, they would make 37 bitcoins a day and recoup the initial investment in 124 days. Difficulty is jumping pretty much 20% every 12 days or so, so in the next week before adjustment, they’ll make 259, the next 12 days 369, the next 12 days 312, then 256, then 213, etc. So by day 127, they’ll be halfway to breaking even, but by day 151 they’ll be making less than 5 bitcoins a day, and even if difficulty stopped rising at that point(which it won’t), it would take another 435 days for a total of 586 days to break even. If difficulty kept rising at the same pace, by day 200 they’d be making 2.4 bitcoins per day, and it would take 1024 days to break even with no difficulty increase. Assuming 25 cents per kw/h, and $100 a bitcoin, it would cost 0.43 of a bitcoin per day in electricity which means the unit would no longer be profitable on a power usage basis by day 307, at which point it will have produced 2620 bitcoins. Bear in mind this is only for the first few units, and that’s running 24/7 pumping out around 24,000 BTU, so yes, medical bills from heat stroke will be on top of that. But Alas, the chips don’t run nearly as well as they’re supposed to, frequently running too hot and giving multiple hardware failures. Coindesk noted in one of the first ever runs of the Minirig by hosting provide gigavps that it was running much too hot and erroring out.
At the time of posting, gigavps warned that the unit would be repeatedly shut down while ckolivas, who was assisting, modified the machine’s software to optimise performance. After some tweaking, the device was said to have been left to run continuously for two hours, and was shown to have an average hash rate of 478.1 GH/s. As you can see in the table below, ASIC number four (of a total of eight hashing chips) ran significantly hotter (86 degrees) and consequently gave the highest hardware (HW) error rate. http://i.imgur.com/q3iGrnb.jpg
So, what happens if you just decide you don’t want this, you don’t want to wait over a year to get a $22,000 broken piece of shit? Nothing, because BFL won’t let you cancel your preorder because they’re now “shipping”, i.e. they sent out one unit to their own company shill. http://i.imgur.com/0p3Up03.jpg Which is of course illegal regardless of what Butterfly Labs may say. So in summary: Don’t buy anything from Butterfly Labs … ever.
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