Guide to the Bitcoin network. Part 9a - The Cryptonomist

How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation


In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.



Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:

Offline Multi-Signature

Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.

Regular Transparent Audits

Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.

Insurance Requirements

Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.


Background and Justifications


Cold Storage Custody/Management
After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems:
• Funds stored online or in a smart contract,
• Access controlled by one person or one system,
• 51% attacks (rare),
• Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or
• Some combination of the above.
For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program.
The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms.
• 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective.
• The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated.
The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II.

On The Subject of Third Party Custodians
Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems.
However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies.
There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both.

On The Subject Of Insurance
ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC.
However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline[] to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance.
In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework.
A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians.

On The Subject of Fractional Reserve
There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds.
There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past.

Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability
Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis.
The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users.
Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit.
The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided.
Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense.

Hot Wallet Management
The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets.
However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process.
A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage.
Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.

Current Draft Proposal

(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage.
(a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet.
(b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time).
(c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.
(d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds.
(e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers.
(2) Regular and transparent solvency audits.
(a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row.
(b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored.
(c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process.
(d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify.
(e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible.
(3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions.
(a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets.
(b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy.
(c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage.
(d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange.
(e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.

Steps Forward

Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized.
The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges.
The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
submitted by azoundria2 to QuadrigaInitiative [link] [comments]

Thermodynamics & Silent Weapons for Secret Wars or Crypto Anarchy 101: Statists Failing & Anarchists Thriving

Crypto Anarchy 101: Statists Failing & Anarchists Thriving
The black-market, the free-market, is what kept people alive throughout the worst of oppressions. The black market has been the art of surviving amidst all types of tyrannies and slaveries. The black market, aka System D, is something that everyone in the world will need to start getting comfortable with. CryptoAnarchy is the ultimate manifestation of complete market freedom, and it is here to stay.
Libertarians are beginning to finally realize their incredible advantage within this new market environment. The unfortunate statist masses have been programmed to feel uncomfortable with the mere idea of complete market freedom. Keep in mind that as of 2009, half of the world’s workers- around 1.8 billion – were employed by System D. The black market is only expected to grow even more so with the incentive structures being built out in order to advance the technological advancements of cryptography.
Humanity has never experienced a true free-market until now. For the first time in history one is beginning to take shape. The traditional business sector is beginning to realize that they are not even mentally equipped for the implications of having applied cryptography that is powered by market incentives. This is evident in their trite attempts at integrating these new technologies with traditional banking and financial systems. Their lack of creativity, and dependence on government, is a clear testament to how much they will be hurt in the coming future.
Statists Double Down after Failure: Tether and Stablecoins
Many within the crypto space have attempted to bridge the gap between legacy banking and cryptocurrencies. Amongst the various attempts at capitalizing with these new technologies, the idea of a stablecoin entered the space via Tether (USDT).
A stable coin is a cryptocurrency that is pegged on a 1 to 1 ratio to the US dollar, or any other asset- like gold- or fiat. Tether operated as a stable coin pegged to the US dollar on a 1 to 1 ratio. The biggest attribute behind stablecoins resided in their ability to provide stability in an otherwise volatile market.
For a long time many within the crypto space were curious about Tether’s means of operating with USD. Earlier this year TDV was the first entity to exclusively reported to its subscribers the origin of Tether’s “secret sauce;” fractional reserve banking.
The laws of fractional reserve banking allowed the Noble Bank of Puerto Rico to provide Tether with the legal means of operating as a stable coin pegged to the US dollar. The Noble Bank recently went bankrupt due to being insolvent. Noble Bank was the bank of Bitfinex and Tether. As a result, Tether and Bitfinex ended their relationship with Noble Bank.
It is important that you as a subscriber move your crypto out of Bitfinex. You should never keep your cryptoin exchanges. When you do this you don’t actually control the private keys of your coins.
(If you are an active trader, please consider using Bisq. Bisq is an open source decentralized exchange that does not control your private keys while trading. It is the most Anarchist exchange in the market right now.)
After losing its partnership with Noble Bank, Bitfinex began banking with HSBC. On October 15th, Bitfinex tweeted that their fiat deposit system was re-enabled. Overall, Bitfinex is still in the midst of reorganizing itself as an exchange with proper banking liquidity. For this reason we are of the opinion that it is best to stay away from Bitfinex until they are more solvent in their banking partnerships.
Tether (USDT) on the other hand is suffering from a lack of proper banking structures. Binance paused all USDT withdrawals and KuCoin, the exchange, also paused USDT deposits and withdrawals.
Tether is currently at around 2.1bn dollar market cap. Tether holders are having a difficult time cashing out of their Tether for USD. It is expected that unless Tether gets its banking situation sorted out, we will see movement out of Tether. This situation has caused the price of Tether to hit a low of $0.90 to the USD. As of writing this, Tether is trading at around $0.97 to the dollar.
The situation for Tether is dire at the present moment. We expect to see many Tether holders drop their Tether for Bitcoin, or other more cryptographically secure cryptocurrencies. This will more than likely be one of the main strategies that will be implemented in order to cash out of Tether.
This overall situation is once again showing us how unstable things are when dealing with fiat. We hope for the market to realize that there is more security in cryptocurrencies than there is in fiat backed stablecoins. Stablecoins will always have the instability of the fiat currencies that they are pegged to. The time will eventually come when people will realize that cryptocurrencies are a better store of value than stablecoins.
In spite of all of the issues circulating Tether, statist entrepreneurs are doubling down on their desire for stablecoins. We are seeing the beginning of what we believe will be a trend in the upcoming future; that is, stable coins pegged to various countries’ fiat and assets like precious metals. The new USD stablecoins recently announced to the market are GeminiUSD, TrueUSD, and Paxos Standard.
Volatility as a Sign of Life in the Market
Contrary to the statist perception on volatility, one can also view volatility in crypto as proper to a market that is fully alive. Crypto, for the first time in history, freed the market from bankster manipulation. Arguably, volatility is to be expected in an unregulated free-market where everyone in the world is for the first time welcomed to participate.
In comparison to the legacy financial system, crypto is fully alive while the former is handicapped by regulations, coercion, and disconnected from true free-market signals. That is, volatility signals of a free-market that breathes freely for the first time. Volatility is indicative of a market that is fully alive.
The desire for individuals to attach crypto to the legacy financial system, under the pretense of “less volatility,” is indicative of individuals that will have a hard time operating outside the bounds of regulation and government coercion. As long as we have statists uncomfortable with Anarchy, we will have stablecoins pegged to fiat.
Various Libertarian entrepreneurs are also beginning to dabble with the idea of a stablecoin that is pegged to precious metals. The challenge of these projects will be the same regulation that oversees fiat. Remember that the difference offered to the world by cryptocurrencies resides in crypto’s ability to operate freely within System D, without regulation. It is this new market, the true free-market, that for the first time is unstoppable.
Bitfinex’s Effect on EOS
Bitfinex is one of the entities that holds the greatest amount of votes for EOS Block Producers (BPs). For this and other reasons, we are currently expecting a shakeup of votes for selected top BPs. It is important that you remain attentive to the happenings within EOS and move your votes accordingly.
We will soon be coming out with more details on our perceptions regarding various BPs.
There are various discussions regarding BPs pending arbitration. This is a good thing. All shakeups lead us closer to more transparency and accountability. This should not directly affect the price of EOS, aside from what will result from the expected FUD of future BP shake-ups.
The Resilience of CryptoAnarchy after Blockstream’s Fake Sidechain
Amongst the various innovations within Bitcoin, sidechains have- for the past 5 years- existed as one of the holy grails of innovation. Blockstream, as a company, was put together to manifest sidechains. They sold us the concept of a sidechain as they were sourcing capital during their first rounds of investment; this was in October of 2014.
Sidechains were supposed to be delivered by Blockstream as a way to make Bitcoin innovation competitive to that of altcoin innovation. Sidechains were supposed to be “the Altcoin killer.”
After all of this time, Blockstream only delivered Liquid - which is not a sidechain- and called it a “sidechain.” That is, Liquid is not a sidechain when properly defined. Liquid is a multi-signature layer that allows for multiple exchanges to pool their money together to transfer funds amongst themselves. Liquid is not a true sidechain, it is more precisely a multi-signature wallet.
Calling Liquid a “sidechain” was just a marketing scheme by Blockstream in order to impress the illusion that they had delivered what they had promised. They didn’t. Blockstream gave up in attempting to create a true sidechain and created a multi-signature wallet instead. Keep in mind that Liquid is a “private sidechain.” Note that a proper sidechain ought to be made with open-source innovation in mind. Many of us see the actions of Blockstream as a bait and switch marketing scheme.
(For the rest of this article I will use the words “Drivechains” and “sidechains” interchangeably as synonyms. Drivechains are what sidechains originally were supposed to be- according to the original Blockstream Sidechain white paper. Blockstream’s bait and switch marketing scheme led to them calling “sidechain” a multisignature wallet that is not at all what they promoted on their white paper. Paul Sztorc, in an attempt to differentiate himself from the Blockstream perversion of the word “sidechains,” called his development of true sidechains “Drivechains.”)
Drivechain Sidechains
Paul Sztorc, the creator of decentralized prediction markets, was very much looking forward to Blockstream’s creation of sidechains. It was his hope that his decentralized prediction market would run as a Bitcoin sidechain. At about the end of 2015 Sztorc was done with BitcoinHiveMind, his decentralized predictions market (previously known as TruthCoin).
After realizing that Blockstream was not going to deliver on sidechains, as promised, Sztorc felt he needed to build it himself. The creation of his Drivechains started off as a means to an end for Sztorc; he needed true Sidechains for his decentralized predictions market- so he build it himself.
On September 24, 2018 Paul Sztorc announced the launch of the first Drivechain release. This release was accompanied with fervent followingof old-school Bitcoiners that immediately jumped into experimenting with Drivechains on the testnet known as “Testdrive.”
The Drivechain protocol is an alternative to the sidechain project originally proposed by Blockstream. It is a simpler design that enables blockchain compatibility in which the system still utilizes the same 21 million bitcoin ruleset- the Nakamoto consensus.
Drivechains are intended to allow for permissionless innovation without diluting or challenging the value of the main cryptocurrency. Contrary to other means of innovation within crypto, any innovation that comes from a Drivechain sidechain actually adds value to the Bitcoin protocol- for it does not dilute the main cryptocurrency. Satoshi vaguely discussed the importance of the ideas of sidechains and multi-blockchain connectivity on June 17, 2010.
This creation, of providing varied market options, make infighting and political discourses regarding consensus upgrades now seem infantile. Drivechains will provide the market with ongoing competitive solutions for blockchain development. Investors will now be exposed to options that would otherwise have been shunned in a less free environment.
The strategic advantage of Drivechain sidechains is that they will offer investors various options in the form of alternative chains. It is important to keep in mind that Drivechains are available for blockchains with the same UTXO set. That is, Drivechains are available for both BitcoinCore (BTC) and BitcoinCash (BCH).
How Drivechains work
Namecoin was the vision of early Bitcoin adopters of creating a DNS and identity infrastructure based on Bitcoin; that is, .bit DNS. This technology piggy backed on top of Bitcoin mining. That is, if you so chose you could merged-mined Namecoin alongside BTC or BCH. Namecoin can absorb hashrate from BTC or BCH without needing its own miners.
Merge-mining with BTC or BCH is also the process of validating and safeguarding Drivechain sidechains. Unlike Namecoin, Drivechain sidechains don’t require miners to run special software. For Drivechain sidechains miners implement what is known as blind-merge-mining. In blind-merge-mining the nodes of the sidechain run the software, not the miners. This operates under the assumption that the nodes running the software also hold BTC or BCH.
A payment fee is paid to miners to blind-merge-mine the sidechain, in a similar way that Namecoin merge-mining pays a fee. In this process, miners don’t have to run any software- they just passively make money for blind-merge-mining blocks with sidechains.
The main difference with sidechains is that you are not mining another coin like Namecoin, but rather you are mining the same BTC or BCH in another sidechain when you do the blind-merge-mining. Miners don’t get paid with the sidechain, they receive payment from the mainchain that they already trust when they blind-merge-mine. Miners are also economically benefited by always getting paid in the superior coin that they are already intentionally mining; BTC or BCH.
As BTC or BCH moves in and out from the mainchain to a sidechain, there might be claims of ownership that may cause disputes. Drivechain prevents this by emphasizing the superiority of the mainchain over sidechains. Sidechains have to report on exactly what it is doing- at all times- to the main chain. Whenever a sidechain wants to transfer money back to the mainchain it has to do it very slowly. This safeguards the network from theft. The slow movement of funds from the sidechain to the mainchain can be arbitrage by individuals who will be willing to purchase sidechain receipts for BTC or BCH coming from sidechains at a discount. People will also be able to do atomic swaps between chains in the near future. (Atomic swaps, or atomic cross chain trading, is the exchange of one cryptocurrency to another cryptocurrency, without the need of trusting a third-party).
It is the intent of Drivechains to create the interaction of miners with sidechains as seamless as possible. However, it is still important to have guarantee that money ends up in the right place. This is the reason for the slow movement of funds from sidechains to the mainchain.
The movement of a certain amount of transactions coming from a sidechain to the mainchain is batched up into one transaction with its own transaction ID. This transaction is frozen in place where miners and developers can examine it for at least a month (there are talks of even making this process longer between 3 to 6 months). During this time miners vote on whether to allow the payment to go through or not. Upon receiving enough upvotes, the batched up transactions are released unto the mainchain. The slowing down of movement of BTC or BCH from sidechains to mainchain decreases the threat of miners stealing BTC or BCH from a sidechain.
The sidechains are always watching the mainchain, so they know to credit people immediately when the mainchain sends money to it. Sidechains also know when the miners have accepted the release of batched up locked funds that are released unto the mainchain. Once the sidechain receives notification of the miners acceptance of funds in the mainchain, the sidechain destroys the funds that were frozen awaiting miner upvotes.
It is overall acknowledged that sidechains increase the value of BTC and BCH, which eventually make mining more profitable. It would be counterproductive for miners to attack and steal funds from sidechains. That is, miners acting maliciously decreases the value of their own equipment. In spite of this fact, it is good that Drivechains make it increasingly more difficult for theft to occur.
Miners, through their voting process, also get to punish bad sidechain actors. Any malicious sidechain will be cleaned out by miners. This is the opposite of the Ethereum model where anyone can code anything into the Ethereum blockchain, to the point that it could become a detriment to the Ethereum mainchain itself. That is, anyone can create a new ERC20 or ERC721 token without any vetting from the network.
Coins are moved from the mainchain to the sidechain by means of sending coins to an address that represents the sending of funds from the mainchain to the sidechain. Anyone running the given sidechain software will recognize that funds were sent to the sidechain- this will automatically credit the person with the same amount of BTC or BCH on the sidechain. Also, the sidechain is programmed to recognize the reception of funds unto the mainchain address from where it will automatically credit the user the same amount of BTC or BCH unto a sidechain wallet. People on the mainchain don’t have to know anything about this particular address. As far as they know, it is just another address.
Embrace the Spontaneous Order of Market Anarchy It is important that people within BTC and BCH take on a more Hayekian approach to entrepreneurship. Many within crypto are uncomfortable with the mere notion of spontaneous order. It is important that we as Ancaps lead the way in motivating people to experiment with their entrepreneurship.
In the past few years, the desire of individuals to covet the development of crypto has become more apparent. These people need to be ignored. No one is the leader of Bitcoin or crypto development. The best innovators within crypto are those that create tools that empower other entrepreneurs to create more options.
It is this spontaneous order that we should welcome and promote at all times. Many within BTC and BCH will not accept or feel comfortable with the radical spontaneous order enabled by Drivechains. This is good reasonto brush up on your Austrian Economics in order to properly confront minds that are fearful of human freedom.
The Ancap entrepreneurs who are most comfortable with spontaneous order will be the same ones who will produce the greatest amount of value. The development of CryptoAnarchy is guided by the science of praxeology and Austrian Economics. Drivechains are testament to the augmentation of our libertarian order are necessary for CryptoAnarchy to thrive.
Drivechains and Investment Strategy
The philosophical and economic advantage of sidechain innovation is that it enables the development of BTC and BCH with an investor-centric intention. It is the market’s investment that now decides the best means for scaling and development. Politics and propaganda take an almost insignificant backseat to that of market forces. The technology is now readily available for investors to test drive with their BTC or BCH on any given proposed sidechain. That is, you actually get to experience the value, or lack of value of a new innovation without jeopardizing your position as an investor.
All investment decisions are about strategy. Sidechains empower the investor’s strategy by allowing the investor to survey all of the possible value propositions of his/her original investment without having to incur any actual costs. In a similar way, sidechains also provide developers with quick market feedback on the aspects of development that are most favored by the market.
Drivechains are a pivotal step in maturing the crypto space into becoming more conscientious in considering the investment strategy of those buying the coins. It is important for innovators to start taking the investor’s strategy into account. Drivechains force developers to consider what is best for the investor, not just what is desired by a given team of developers.
Here we have not only a better proposition for investors, but also an incentive for developers to use Drivechains in future crypto experimentation. When experimenting with an altcoin, the measure of success is contingent on this new altcoin gathering a new pool of investors to literally buy into the project. With a sidechain you are already dealing with a more seasoned group of investors that will provide you with more accurate market feedback, being that their investment is now fortified by all other sidechain experimentations that they have already tested at no cost.
Altcoins will soon no longer be the locus of innovation within crypto. All future innovation will be offered the option to experiment within BTC or BCH via sidechains. Keep in mind that all previous innovations, already tested in the market by successful altcoins, are now easily adopted by BTC or BCH. It is also important to note that creative experimentation on sidechains do not at all jeopardize the mainnets of BTC or BCH. On the contrary, sidechains will make BTC and BCH much more valuable. When the Drivechain craze begins we will see a BTC and BCH bull run. Don’t be surprised if sidechains are the main reason for the next all time highs.
Statists Failing & Anarchists Thriving
It is important that we understand that the legacy banking system is completely dead. They are barely adopting simulations of cryptocurrencies unto their banking structures to stay alive. Stablecoins are a manifestation of this bankster angst to remain current.
True market innovation is found in the embrace of Market Anarchy. CryptoAnarchy is growing exponentially with tools that are beyond the reach of state megalomaniacs. Drivechains are an example of the CryptoAnarchist tools that will result in further anti-fragility of this new crypto free-market.
Proper Austrian Economic incentive structures coupled with applied cryptography is our lethal weapon against nation states and central banks. Arguably, our Ancap philosophy is what guides applied cryptography in the market towards success. For this reason it is important that we keep revisiting the texts of Rothbard, Mises, Hayek, and Konkin throughout our crypto endeavors. Peace!
by Rafael LaVerde
Source
TL;DR: How familiar are you with thermodynamics and silent weapons for secret wars? How familiar are you with the Brave New World Order?
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