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Re-Launching The Borderless, Unkillable Crypto-Fiat Gateway, DAIHard. Enter or Exit Crypto via Any Fiat and Any Payment Method, Anywhere in the World, Without KYC. All you need is a little Dai.

Some of you might recall recall our initial facepalm failed launch about 3 months ago (post-mortem here). Well, we're back--this time with an audit and some new features. This version of DAIHard should should die a little harder this time ;)

The Audit

After shopping around a bit in the auditor space, we decided to go with Adam Dossa--the very same Adam Dossa that actually found our launch vulnerability and responsibly disclosed it to us! You can see his report here. By the way, Adam has been a gem: friendly, professional, timely, and flexible. Definitely keep him in mind if you need an audit!

(Re)Introducing DAIHard

Following is an updated version of our original launch post. If you've already read that, you might want to skip to the heading What's New in v0.9.2. Or you can go straight to the app or go to our info site for more info!
Here is a legitimate concern most of us are familiar with:
To enter or exit the crypto economy, we rely on centralized exchanges such as Coinbase, which track their users, impose limits, and are tightly coupled to their jurisdiction and its banking system. And for all we know, any day now regulations could start tightening these controls further (*we've actually seen some of this play out in the two months since our first launch post). In light of this, can we say in any meaningful sense that crypto is anonymous, limtiless, borderless, immune to regulation, and (most importantly) unstoppable?
To really address this concern, we need a completely decentralized gateway between fiat and crypto: something that extends the benefits of crypto to the very act of moving between the old and new economies. But the design of such a platform is far from obvious.
(Localethereum comes close, but as discussed under Unkillable, it doesn't quite cut it. And Bisq is decentralized, but has significant UX hurdles.)
We believe we've found a solution. We are proud to present:

DAIHard v0.9.2 - Almost Definitely Not Broken This Time

If you want to jump right in, we recommend first watching our latest usage demo (7 min), then diving in and giving it a shot with a small amount of Dai. (Try it on Kovan first if mainnet is too scary!)
DAIHard extends many of the promises of crypto (borderless, anonymous, limitless, unstoppable) into the exchange mechanism itself, allowing anyone, anywhere to bypass centralized exchanges and the control they impose.
More concretely, DAIHard is a platform, run on smart contracts, for forming one-off crypto/fiat exchanges with other users, in which:
Again, our latest usage demo (7 min) shows this process in action.

Two drawbacks

You Need either xDai, or both Dai and Ether, to Use The Tool (At Least For Now)

If you want to buy Dai on DAIHard, you must already have Dai--1/3 of the amount you want to purchase--to put up as a burnable deposit. For example, if you only have 10 Dai now, you can only commit to buying 30 Dai, and must complete that trade before using the newly bought Dai to open up a bigger offer (for up to 120 Dai that time).
Most tragically of course, this means that if you don't already have some crypto, you can't use this tool to get crypto--this is why we avoid calling DAIHard an onramp specifically. This comes from the fact that both parties must have "skin in the game" for the game theory to work, and a smart contract can only threaten to burn crypto.
We have some ideas on how to address this drawback in the not-too-distant future, which we'll write about soon. For now it's time to launch this thing and get some users!

Dangerous and Scary To Use

In rare cases, a user may have to burn Dai and face a loss on the entire trade amount. The necessity of this ever-present risk is explained in detail in DAIHard Game Theory.
However, a cautious, rational user can gather information (possibly via our [subreddit](daihard)!) about how people have used the tool, successfully and unsuccessfully. They can then create a buy or sell offer with wisely chosen settings based on what has worked for others. Other cautious, rational users can find this offer and commit to the trade if they dare. We expect the vast majority of committed trades should involve rational, cautious users, and should therefore resolve happily.
Still, inevitably there will be sloppy trades that result in burns. As the tool is used, we'll be keeping a close eye on the frequency of burns and keeping you guys updated (perhaps via a "System Status" utility similar to the one found on MakerDao's explorer). In the end, though, we expect the risk in using DAIHard to be comparable to the risk of using any exchange or DNM: ever-present but low enough for the platform to be useful as whole.
So, while DAIHard will never shut down and can't perform an exit scam, the bad news is it's not risk-free. Users will have to approach DAIhard with the same level of caution they would with any new exchange (albeit for different reasons and with a different approach).
So what's the good news?

The Good News

While these drawbacks are significant, they enable some remarkable features that no other crypto/fiat exchange mechanism can boast.

Unkillable

(Correction: Bisq seems to have a decentralized arbitration system)
We are aware of no other crypto/fiat exchange platform that is truly unkillable. Bisq and localethereum comes close, but both localethereum relies on centralized processes of arbitration. This means their fraud-and-scam-prevention system can be sued, jailed, or otherwise harrassed--and if that part stops working, it doesn't matter how decentralized the rest of the system was.
DAIHard, in contrast, gives the users the power to police and punish each other, via the aforementioned credible threat of burn. This is simple game theory, and the rules of this game are etched permanently into the DAIHard Factory and Trade contract code: impervious to litigation, regulation, and political pressure.
This Factory contract has no owner and no suicide or pause code. It cannot be stopped by us or anyone else.
Like Toastycoin, this thing was immortal the moment it was deployed (even more immortal than RadarRelay, for example, which does rely on an ownership role). Both DAIHard and Toastycoin (and probably whatever we build next) will last for as long as a single Ethereum node continues mining, and it will remain easy to use as long as someone can find the HTML/JS front-end and a web3 wallet.
(The HTML/JS front-end (built in Elm, by the way, with the lovely elm-ethereum!) is currently hosted on Github pages, which is centralized--but even if Github takes down the page and deletes the code, it's a minor step to get the page hosted on IPFS, something that is on our near-term roadmap in any case)

No KYC, No Limits

It's smart contracts all the way down, so DAIHard never asks any nosy questions--if you have Metamask or some other web3 wallet installed and set up, with some ETH and Dai (or just xDai), you can immediately open or commit to a trade. You don't even need a username!
(In fact, we're so inclusive, even machines are allowed--no CAPTCHA here!)
You're limited only by the collateral you put up, so if you have 10,000 Dai you could open up a buy offer for 30,000 Dai (or a sell offer for 10,000 Dai) right now.
We do reccommend trying the tool out first with a small amount of Dai... But we're not your mom! Do what you want!

Borderless

It simply doesn't matter where you are, because DAIHard doesn't need to interface with any particular jurisdiction or payment system to work. DIAHard works by incentivizing people (or robots?) to navigate the particular real-world hurdles of bank transfers, cash drops, or other fiat transfer methods. These incentives work whether you're in America, Zimbabwe, or the Atlantic; they work whether the fiat is USD, EUR, ZAR, seashells, or Rai Stones; and they work whether your counterparty is a human, an organization, a script, or a particularly intelligent dog with Internet access.

Any Fiat Type, and Highly Customizeable

Here are some examples of the types of trades you might create or find on DAIHard.
As the DAIHard community grows, users will doubtless find much more creative ways to use the system, and we will discover together which types of trades are reliable and which are more risky. Because users can set their own prices and phase timeout settings, we expect the risky trades to charge a premium or have longer time windows, while the reliable ones rapidly multiply at close to a 1:1 price ratio, with quick turnaround times.

Extensible (with profit) by Third Parties

Not satisfied with our interface? Do you have some nifty idea for how to display and organize user reputation? Or maybe some idea for how trades could be chained togeher? Maybe you'd like to design a notification system for DAIHard? Maybe you just want a different color scheme!
Well, you won't need our permission to do any of this. Any tool that watches the same Factory contract will share the pool of trades, regardless of which tool actually creates the trade. This means we don't even have to fight over network effects!
And if you look closely at our fee structure, you might notice that only half of the 1% DAIHard fee is "hardcoded" into the Factory contract. The other half is set and charged by our interface. What does this mean for you? If you go out and make a better interface, you can essentially replace half of our 1% fee with your own fee--it's up to you whether it's smaller or larger than the replaced 0.5%.
The reason for this is to explicitly welcome other developers to extend what we've built. For as long as our team is the only one improving the platform, a threat to us is a threat to future upgrades. But if others begin extending the DAIHard platform too, then DAIHard will not only be unstoppable as it is today, but also grow unstoppably.

(For Real This Time) This Is a Big Fucking Deal

DAIHard is a turning point in crypto and a breakthrough in decentralized markets, and is an irreversible augmentation of the Ethereum platform.
What we've built is a gateway to crypto completely devoid of centralized components--rendering entry and exit to crypto unkillable, flexible, borderless, and private. Centralized exchanges, and the control they impose, can now be bypassed by anyone with Dai and a web3 wallet.

What's New in v0.9.2

There have been many changes made since our first failed launch, but there are two rather important ones: xDai support and reputation tools.

xDai support

DAIHard is now operational on xDai, a sidechain whose native token (xDai) is pegged to the Dai (and therefore $1). Add the xDai network to your Metamask (or just install Nifty Wallet), then switch to the xDai network in your wallet, to try it out. xDai has some pretty incredible benefits, compared to vanilla Ethereum:

Reputation tools

We now have a few reputation tools. First, on any open trade, there is a widget showing the number of releases, aborts, and burns the given address has been involved in as that role (buyer or seller). Clicking on this expands the widget to show more detailed information, and also provides a link to a page that lists each trade this user has been or is involved in.

What's next?

We have tons of ideas on how to improve the product--too many, in fact, to commit to any before we get a good chunk of user feedback. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

Near-Term, Smaller Features

  1. Lots of usability improvements.
  2. A "System Status" utility similar to the one found on MakerDao's explorer).
  3. Marketplace / My Trades rework.
  4. A "QuickTrade" page, offering Trade Templates as an alternative to the current Create Offer page.

Big Exciting Features

  1. Bootstrapping people with no DAI via other mechanisms and community outreach.
  2. Partial commits to trades. eg. Place a 10,000 DAI trade and allow it to be picked up in blocks larger than 500 DAI at a time.
  3. More chains, get this thing working on Bitcoin via Rootstock, on Ethereum Classic and Binance Chain.

Stay Informed!

A lot of the above features will be prioritized more clearly as we get user feedback, and we will be posting fairly frequent updates and articles on our info site. If you don't want to miss anything, note the subscribe widget and sign up!
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The Exhaustive EOS FAQ

The Exhaustive EOS FAQ

 
With the large number of new readers coming to this sub we need to make information easy to access so those readers can make informed decisions. We all know there is an unusually large amount of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) surrounding EOS. Frankly, when clear evidence is provided it’s not that difficult to see EOS for the extremely valuable project it is. This post hopes to begin to put an end to all the misinformation by doing the following:  
  • Giving a clear and concise answer to the most frequently asked questions in regards to EOS.
  • Giving a more in-depth answer for those who want to read more.
  • Allowing readers to make informed decisions by making credible information easy to access.
 
As EOS climbs the ranks we need to recognise there are going to be a lot of skeptical readers coming over and posting their questions. Sometimes they will be irrational, hostile and often just looking for a reaction. We should make it our responsibility to welcome everyone and refrain from responding emotionally to provocative posts, instead providing factual and rational answers.
I will add to this post as and when I can, if you have any ideas or spot any mistakes let me know and I'll get them fixed ASAP. Im planning to add a bit on the team, centralisation and DPOS, governance and EOS VC shortly but please let me hear your suggestions!
 

FAQ

1. How do you registeclaim your EOS tokens before June 2018?

 
Answer courtesy of endless. If you have not done so, you will need to create a new pair of EOS public and private keys and register them with an Ethereum address. This only needs to be done once.
On or around June 1, 2018 all EOS Tokens will become frozen and non-transferable on the Ethereum blockchain. Not long after, I suspect that EOS community members will create a snapshot of token balances that carry over onto a new community generated and selected EOS blockchain. block.one will not be launching EOS blockchains or operating any of their nodes. Additionally, this is a community subreddit unaffiliated in an official capacity with block.one
Method #1: MetaMask (recommended)
Video guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K1Q5hX_4-o
steemit tutorial: https://steemit.com/eos/@ash/full-walkthrough-how-to-join-eos-ico
Method #2: MyEtherWallet
steemit tutorial: https://steemit.com/eos/@sandwich/contributing-to-eos-token-sale-with-myetherwallet-and-contract-inner-workings
Method #3: Exodus Wallet
Official website tutorial: http://support.exodus.io/article/65-i-ve-received-eos-tokens-in-exodus-how-do-i-register-them
Important note courtesy of dskvry bka Sandwich, the author of Method #2's steemit tutorial:
claimAll will not work for most users. When you get to the claim step, please use the following tutorial: https://steemit.com/eos/@koyn/minimizing-the-cost-of-gas-when-claiming-eos-using-myetherwallet
Did you buy your EOS tokens on an exchange? (Courtesy of IQOptionCoin)
REMEMBER YOU ONLY NEED TO REGISTER YOUR TOKENS IF YOU BOUGHT THEM ON AN EXCHANGE. YOU DON'T NEED TO CLAIM THEM.
  1. Go to the EOS website https://eos.io
  2. Scroll down and select "GET EOS"
  3. Tick all the required boxes and click "Continue"
  4. Scroll down and click "Register"
  5. Select Metamask, MyEtherWallet, or Ethereum Wallet
  6. Follow the guide.
  7. Remember that the reason you need to register your Ethereum ERC-20 address is to include your EOS tokens in order for the balance of your EOS Tokens to be included in the Snapshot if a Snapshot is created, you must register your Ethereum address with an EOS public key. The EOS snapshot will take place prior to the 1 June 2018. After this point your ERC-20 EOS tokens will be frozen. And you will be issued EOS tokens on the EOS blockchain.
So PLEASE REGISTER your Ethereum address NOW, don't forget about it, or plan on doing it some time in the near future.
There are a lot of submissions about this in /eos, so rather than making a new one please reply to this thread with any questions you may have. Don't forget to join the EOS mailing list: https://eos.io/#subscribe and join the EOS community on your platform(s) of choice: Telegram, Discord and/or Facebook.
And remember, if anyone instructs you to transfer ETH to an EOS contract address that doesn't match the address found on https://eos.io you are being scammed.
 

Sources:

How to registeclaim your EOS tokens before June 2018 by endless
Official EOS FAQ
 

2. How will the token the ERC-20 EOS tokens be transferred to the native blockchain?

 

Quick answer:

There isn't one! Read the long answer then read it again, registering your Ethereum wallet is mandatory!
 

Long answer:

Within 23 hours after the end of the final period on June 1, 2018 at 22:59:59 UTC, all EOS Tokens will become fixed (ie. frozen) and will become non-transferrable on the Ethereum blockchain.
In order to ensure your tokens are transferred over to the native blockchain you must register your Ethereum address with an EOS public key, if you do not you will lose all your tokens! I am not going to link any tutorials as there are many that can be found by searching Google and YouTube.
block.one is helping with the development of snapshot software that can be used to capture the EOS token balance and registered EOS public key of wallets on the Ethereum blockchain. It is then down to the community to create the snapshot. This snapshot can be used when generating a genesis block for a blockchain implementing eos.io software. block.one will not be launching EOS blockchains or operating any of their nodes.
 
Exchange Support
Some exchanges have announced that they will support the token swap. Although using this method will undoubtedly be much simpler than registering the tokens yourself it also comes with its pitfalls.
  • It is highly likely there are going to be multiple networks running on the eos.io software that use the snapshot. It is highly unlikely that exchanges will support them all.
  • It is highly likely that exchanges will not support airdrops that use the snapshot.
Exchanges that have announced support for the token swap include:
 

Sources:

EOS.io
 

3. What does EOS aim to achieve?

 

Quick answer:

EOS.IO software is aiming to provide a decentralized operating system which can support thousands of industrial scale DApps by enabling vertical and horizontal scaling.
 

Long answer:

EOS.IO is software that introduces a blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications. This is achieved through an operating system-like construct upon which applications can be built. The software provides accounts, authentication, databases, asynchronous communication and the scheduling of applications across multiple CPU cores and/or clusters. The resulting technology is a blockchain architecture that has the potential to scale to millions of transactions per second, eliminates user fees and allows for quick and easy deployment of decentralized applications.
 

Sources:

Official EOS FAQ
 

4. Who are the key team figures behind EOS?

 
  • CEO Brendan Blumer - Founder of ii5 (1group) and okay.com. He has been in the blockchain industry since 2014 and started selling virtual assets at the age of 15. Brenden can be found on the Forbes Cypto Rich List. Brendan can be found on Twitter.
  • CTO Dan Larimer - Dan's the visionary industry leader who built BitShares, Graphene and Steemit as well as the increasingly popular Proof of Stake Governance and Decentralised Autonomous Organization Concept. He states his mission in life is “to find free market solutions to secure life, liberty, and property for all.”. Dan can also be found on the Forbes Cypto Rich List. Dan can be found on Twitter and Medium.
  • Partner Ian Grigg - Financial cryptographer who's been building cryptographic ledger platforms for 2+ decades. Inventor of the Ricardian Contract and Triple-Entry Accounting.
 

Sources:

Forbes Crypto Rich List
 

5. Where can the latest EOS news be found?

 
Official:
Community:
Developers:
 

6. Which consensus mechanism does EOS use and what are Block Producers?

 

Quick answer:

Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) with Byzantine Fault Tolerance. Block Producers (BPs) produce the blocks of the blockchain and are elected by token holders that vote for them. BPs will earn block rewards for their service, these block rewards come in the form of EOS tokens produced by token inflation.
 

Long answer:

Taken from the EOS.IO Technical White Paper v2:
“EOS.IO software utilizes the only known decentralized consensus algorithm proven capable of meeting the performance requirements of applications on the blockchain, Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS). Under this algorithm, those who hold tokens on a blockchain adopting the EOS.IO software may select block producers through a continuous approval voting system. Anyone may choose to participate in block production and will be given an opportunity to produce blocks, provided they can persuade token holders to vote for them.
The EOS.IO software enables blocks to be produced exactly every 0.5 second and exactly one producer is authorized to produce a block at any given point in time. If the block is not produced at the scheduled time, then the block for that time slot is skipped. When one or more blocks are skipped, there is a 0.5 or more second gap in the blockchain.
Using the EOS.IO software, blocks are produced in rounds of 126 (6 blocks each, times 21 producers). At the start of each round 21 unique block producers are chosen by preference of votes cast by token holders. The selected producers are scheduled in an order agreed upon by 15 or more producers.
Byzantine Fault Tolerance is added to traditional DPOS by allowing all producers to sign all blocks so long as no producer signs two blocks with the same timestamp or the same block height. Once 15 producers have signed a block the block is deemed irreversible. Any byzantine producer would have to generate cryptographic evidence of their treason by signing two blocks with the same timestamp or blockheight. Under this model a irreversible consensus should be reachable within 1 second."
 

7. How does the voting process work?

 
The voting process will begin once the Block Producer community releases a joint statement ensuring that it is safe to import private keys and vote.
Broadly speaking there will be two methods of voting:
  1. Command Line Interface (CLI) tools
  2. Web portals
EOS Canada has created eosc, a CLI tool that supports Block Producer voting. Other Block Producer candidates such as LibertyBlock are a releasing web portal that will be ready for main net launch. There will be many more options over the coming weeks, please make sure you are always using a service from a trusted entity.
Remember: Do not import your private key until you have seen a joint statement released from at least five Block Producers that you trust which states when it is safe to do so. Ignoring this warning could result in tokens lost.
 

8. What makes EOS a good investment?

 
  • Team - EOS is spearheaded by the visionary that brought us the hugely successful Bitshares and Steem - arguably with two projects already under his belt there is no one more accomplished in the space.
  • Funding - EOS is one of the best funded projects in the space. The block.one team has committed $1B to investing in funds that grow the EOS echo system. EOS VC funds are managed by venture leaders distributed around the world to insure founders in all markets have the ability to work directly with local investors. Incentives such as the EOS hackathon are also in place with $1,500,000 USD in Prizes Across 4 Events.
  • Community Focus - The team is aware that the a projects success depends almost entirely on its adoption. For this reason there has been a huge push to develop a strong world wide community. There is already a surplus number of block producers that have registered their interest and started to ready themselves for the launch and incentives the EOS hackathon are being used to grow the community. A index of projects using EOS can be found at https://eosindex.io/posts.
  • Technical Advantages - See point 9!
 

9. What are the unique selling points of EOS?

 
  • Scaleability
    • Potential to scale to millions of transactions per second
    • Inter-blockchain communication
    • Separates authentication from execution
  • Flexibility
    • Freeze and fix broken applications
    • Generalised role based permissions
    • Web Assembly
  • Usability
    • Elimination of transaction fees
    • True user accounts with usernames, passwords and account recovery (no more having to remember long cryptographic keys)
    • Web toolkit for interface development
 

Sources:

eos.io
EOS Whitepaper
 

10. Is there currently a working product?

 

Quick answer:

This depends entirely on your definition of working product. If a fully featured developer release meets your definition then yes!. Otherwise the public release will be June 2018.
 

Long answer:

EOS differs from other projects in that it aims to deliver a fully featured version of the software on launch. The Dawn 3.0 RC1 feature complete pre-release became available on April 5th. This version has all the features of the final release that is due June 2018. Further development will involve preparing the final system contract which implements all of the staking, voting, and governance mechanics. The common notion that there is no viewable code published is wrong and the initial Dawn 1.0 release has been available from September 14th 2017.
 
EOSIO V1 - June 2nd 2018
Dawn 3.0 RC1 - April 5th 2018
Dawn 3.0 Alpha - January 23rd 2018
Dawn 2.0 - December 4th 2017
Dawn 1.0 - September 14th 2017
 

Sources:

 

11. EOS is an ERC-20 token, how can it possibly be a competitor to other platforms?

 

Quick answer:

The ERC-20 token is used only for raising funds during the token distribution; all tokens will be transferred to the native blockchain once launched.
 

Long answer:

EOS team has clearly stated their reason for choosing the Ethereum network when they described the rationale behind the ICO model. Specifically, the ICO should be a fair and auditable process, with as little trust required as possible. If you believe that an ICO should be fair, auditable, and trustless, you have no choice but to use a decentralized smart contract blockchain to run the ICO, the largest, and by-far most popular of which is Ethereum. Since EOS is intended to be a major competitor for Ethereum, some have seen this as a hypocritical choice. - Stolen from trogdor on Steam (I couldn’t word it any better myself).  

Sources:

The EOS ico for dummies by trogdor
Official EOS FAQ
 

12. Why do the eos.io T&C’s say the ERC-20 token has no value?

 
The EOS T&C’s famously state:
"The EOS Tokens do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features, express or implied, including, without limitation, any uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features on the EOS Platform."
 

Quick answer:

This is legal wording to avoid all the legal complications in this emerging space, block.one do not want to find themselves in a lawsuit as we are seeing with an increasing amount of other ICOs. Most notably Tezos (links below).
 

Long answer:

This all comes down to legal issues. Anyone who’s been into crypto for 5 minuets knows that government bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are now paying attention to crypto in a big way. This legal wording is to avoid all the legal complications in this emerging space, block.one do not want to find themselves in a lawsuit as we are seeing with an increasing amount of other ICOs. Many token creators that launched ICOs are now in deep water for selling unregistered securities.
 
A filing from the Tezos lawsuit:
"In sum, Defendants capitalized on the recent enthusiasm for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to raise funds through the ICO, illegally sold unqualified and unregistered securities, used a Swiss-based entity in an unsuccessful attempt to evade U.S. securities laws, and are now admittedly engaged in the conversion, selling, and possible dissipation of the proceeds that they collected from the Class through their unregistered offering."
 
To ensure EOS tokens are not classed as a unregistered security block.one has made it clear that they are creating the EOS software only and won’t launching a public blockchain themselves. This task is left down to the community, or more precisely, the Block Producers (BPs). The following disclaimer is seen after posts from block.one:
 
"block.one is a software company and is producing the EOS.IO software as free, open source software. This software may enable those who deploy it to launch a blockchain or decentralized applications with the features described above. block.one will not be launching a public blockchain based on the EOS.IO software. It will be the sole responsibility of third parties and the community and those who wish to become block producers to implement the features and/or provide the services described above as they see fit. block.one does not guarantee that anyone will implement such features or provide such services or that the EOS.IO software will be adopted and deployed in any way.”
 
It is expected that many blockchains using eos.io software will emerge. To ensure DAPPs are created on an ecosystem that aligns with the interests of block.one a $1bn fund will be has been created to incentivise projects to use this blockchain.
 

Sources:

EOS.io FAQ Great video on this topic by The Awakenment EOS $1bn Fund Announcement Article on the Tezos lawsuit Article on the Gigawatt lawsuit An official block.one post featuring disclaimer
 

13. Why is the token distribution one year long?

 
Official statement from block.one:
“A lot of token distributions only allow a small amount of people to participate. The EOS Token distribution structure was created to provide a sufficient period of time for people to participate if they so choose, as well as give people the opportunity to see the development of the EOS.IO Software prior to making a decision to purchase EOS Tokens.”
 
It is also worth noting that block.one had no knowledge how much the the token distribution would raise as it is determined by the free market and the length of the token distribution is coded into the Ethereum smart contract, which cannot be changed.
 

Sources:

EOS.io FAQ
 

14. Where is the money going from the token distribution?

 

Quick answer:

Funding for the project was raised before EOS was announced, the additional money raised from the token distribution is largely going to fund projects on EOS.
 

Long answer:

A large portion of the money raised is getting put back into the community to incentivise projects using eos.io software. block.one raised all the money they needed to develop the software before the ERC-20 tokens went on sale. There are some conspiracies that block.one are pumping the price of EOS using the funds raised. The good thing about blockchain is you can trace all the transactions, which show nothing of the sort. Not only this but the EOS team are going to have an independent audit after the funding is complete for piece of mind.
 
From eos.io FAQ:
“block.one intends to engage an independent third party auditor who will release an independent audit report providing further assurances that block.one has not purchased EOS Tokens during the EOS Token distribution period or traded EOS Tokens (including using proceeds from the EOS Token distribution for these purposes). This report will be made available to the public on the eos.io website.”
 

Sources:

EOS.io FAQ EOS $1bn Fund Announcement
 

15. Who's using EOS?

 
With 2 months from launch left there is a vibrant community forming around EOS. Some of the most notable projects that EOS software will support are:
A more complete list of EOS projects can be found at eosindex.io.
 

16. Dan left his previous projects, will he leave EOS?

 

Quick answer:

When EOS has been created Dan will move onto creating projects for EOS with block.one.
 

Long answer:

When a blockchain project has gained momentum and a strong community has formed the project takes on a life of its own and the communities often have ideas that differ from the creators. As we have seen with the Bitcoin and Ethereum hark forks you cant pivot a community too much in a different direction, especially if its changing the fundamentals of the blockchain. Instead of acting like a tyrant Dan has let the communities do what they want and gone a different way. Both the Bitshares and Steem were left in a great position and with Dans help turned out to be two of the most successful blockchain projects to date. Some would argue the most successful projects that are actually useable and have a real use case.
What Dan does best is build the architecture and show whats possible. Anyone can then go on to do the upgrades. He is creating EOS to build his future projects upon it. He has stated he loves working at block.one with Brendan and the team and there is far too much momentum behind EOS for him to possibly leave.
 

Sources:

Dans future beyond EOS
Why Dan left Bitshares
Why Dan left Steem
 

17. Is EOS susceptible to DDoS attacks?

 
No one could have better knowledge on this subject than our Block Producer candidates, I have chosen to look to EOS New York for this answer:
"DDoS'ing a block producing is not as simple as knowing their IP address and hitting "go". We have distributed systems engineers in each of our candidate groups that have worked to defend DDoS systems in their careers. Infrastructure can be built in a way to minimize the exposure of the Block Producing node itself and to prevent a DDoS attack. We haven't published our full architecture yet but let's take a look at fellow candidate EOSphere to see what we mean. As for the launch of the network, we are assuming there will be attacks on the network as we launch. It is being built into the network launch plans. I will reach out to our engineers to get a more detailed answer for you. What also must be considered is that there will be 121 total producing and non-producing nodes on the network. To DDoS all 121 which are located all around the world with different security configurations at the exact same time would be a monumental achievement."
 

Sources:

eosnewyork on DDoS attackd
EOSSphere Architecture
 

18. If block producers can alter code how do we know they will not do so maliciously?

 

Quick answer:

  • Block producers are voted in by stake holders.
  • Changes to the protocol, constitution or other updates are proposed to the community by block producers.
  • Changes takes 2 to 3 months due to the fact block producers must maintain 15/21 approval for a set amount of time while for changes to be processed.
  • To ensure bad actors can be identified and expelled the block.one backed community will not back an open-entry system built around anonymous participation.
 

Long answer:

For this question we must understand the following.
  • Governance and why it is used.
  • The process of upgrading the protocol, constitution & other updates.
  • Dan’s view on open-entry systems built around anonymous participation.
 
Governance
Cryptography can only be used to prove logical consistency. It cannot be used to make subjective judgment calls, determine right or wrong, or even identify truth or falsehood (outside of consistency). We need humans to perform these tasks and therefore we need governance!
Governance is the process by which people in a community:
  1. Reach consensus on subjective matters of collective action that cannot be captured entirely by software algorithms;
  2. Carry out the decisions they reach; and
  3. Alter the governance rules themselves via Constitutional amendments.
Embedded into the EOS.IO software is the election of block producers. Before any change can be made to the blockchain these block producers must approve it. If the block producers refuse to make changes desired by the token holders then they can be voted out. If the block producers make changes without permission of the token holders then all other non-producing full-node validators (exchanges, etc) will reject the change.
 
Upgrade process
The EOS.IO software defines the following process by which the protocol, as defined by the canonical source code and its constitution, can be updated:
  1. Block producers propose a change to the constitution and obtains 15/21 approval.
  2. Block producers maintain 15/21 approval of the new constitution for 30 consecutive days.
  3. All users are required to indicate acceptance of the new constitution as a condition of future transactions being processed.
  4. Block producers adopt changes to the source code to reflect the change in the constitution and propose it to the blockchain using the hash of the new constitution.
  5. Block producers maintain 15/21 approval of the new code for 30 consecutive days.
  6. Changes to the code take effect 7 days later, giving all non-producing full nodes 1 week to upgrade after ratification of the source code.
  7. All nodes that do not upgrade to the new code shut down automatically.
By default, configuration of the EOS.IO software, the process of updating the blockchain to add new features takes 2 to 3 months, while updates to fix non-critical bugs that do not require changes to the constitution can take 1 to 2 months.
 
Open-entry systems built around anonymous participation
To ensure bad actors can be identified and expelled the block.one backed community will not back an open-entry system built around anonymous participation.
Dan's quote:
"The only way to maintain the integrity of a community is for the community to have control over its own composition. This means that open-entry systems built around anonymous participation will have no means expelling bad actors and will eventually succumb to profit-driven corruption. You cannot use stake as a proxy for goodness whether that stake is held in a bond or a shareholder’s vote. Goodness is subjective and it is up to each community to define what values they hold as good and to actively expel people they hold has bad.
The community I want to participate in will expel the rent-seeking vote-buyers and reward those who use their elected broadcasting power for the benefit of all community members rather than special interest groups (such as vote-buyers). I have faith that such a community will be far more competitive in a market competition for mindshare than one that elects vote buyers."
 

Sources:

The Limits of Crypto-economic Governance
EOS.IO Technical White Paper v2
 

19. What is the most secure way to generate EOS key pairs?

 
Block producer candidates EOS Cafe and EOS New York have come forward to help the community with this topic.
The block producer candidate eosnewyork has kindly posted a tutorial on steemit detailing the steps that need to be taken to generate key pairs using the official code on the EOS.IO Github.
The block producer candidate eoscafe has gone a step further and released an Offline EOS Key Generator application complete with GUI for Windows, Linux & Mac. Not only can this application generate key pairs but it can also validate key pairs and resolve public keys from private keys. This application has also been vouched for by EOS New York
 

Sources:

EOS.IO Github
eosnewyork's key pair generation tutorial
eoscafe's offline key par generation application  
submitted by Techno-Tech to eos [link] [comments]

Consensus Network EP36: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/10/5/ep36-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style-1
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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Wealth Formula Episode 179: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/179-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style/
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
submitted by Buck_Joffrey to u/Buck_Joffrey [link] [comments]

Decred Journal — June 2018

Note: You can read this on GitHub, Medium or old Reddit to see the 207 links.

Development

The biggest announcement of the month was the new kind of decentralized exchange proposed by @jy-p of Company 0. The Community Discussions section considers the stakeholders' response.
dcrd: Peer management and connectivity improvements. Some work for improved sighash algo. A new optimization that gives 3-4x faster serving of headers, which is great for SPV. This was another step towards multipeer parallel downloads – check this issue for a clear overview of progress and planned work for next months (and some engineering delight). As usual, codebase cleanup, improvements to error handling, test infrastructure and test coverage.
Decrediton: work towards watching only wallets, lots of bugfixes and visual design improvements. Preliminary work to integrate SPV has begun.
Politeia is live on testnet! Useful links: announcement, introduction, command line voting example, example proposal with some votes, mini-guide how to compose a proposal.
Trezor: Decred appeared in the firmware update and on Trezor website, currently for testnet only. Next steps are mainnet support and integration in wallets. For the progress of Decrediton support you can track this meta issue.
dcrdata: Continued work on Insight API support, see this meta issue for progress overview. It is important for integrations due to its popularity. Ongoing work to add charts. A big database change to improve sorting on the Address page was merged and bumped version to 3.0. Work to visualize agenda voting continues.
Ticket splitting: 11-way ticket split from last month has voted (transaction).
Ethereum support in atomicswap is progressing and welcomes more eyeballs.
decred.org: revamped Press page with dozens of added articles, and a shiny new Roadmap page.
decredinfo.com: a new Decred dashboard by lte13. Reddit announcement here.
Dev activity stats for June: 245 active PRs, 184 master commits, 25,973 added and 13,575 deleted lines spread across 8 repositories. Contributions came from 2 to 10 developers per repository. (chart)

Network

Hashrate: growth continues, the month started at 15 and ended at 44 PH/s with some wild 30% swings on the way. The peak was 53.9 PH/s.
F2Pool was the leader varying between 36% and 59% hashrate, followed by coinmine.pl holding between 18% and 29%. In response to concerns about its hashrate share, F2Pool made a statement that they will consider measures like rising the fees to prevent growing to 51%.
Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 94.7 DCR (+3.4). The price was steadily rising from 90.7 to 95.8 peaking at 98.1. Locked DCR grew from 3.68 to 3.81 million DCR, the highest value was 3.83 million corresponding to 47.87% of supply (+0.7% from previous peak).
Nodes: there are 240 public listening and 115 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 57% on v1.2.0 (+12%), 25% on v1.1.2 (-13%), 14% on v1.1.0 (-1%). Note: the reported count of non-listening nodes has dropped significantly due to data reset at decred.eu. It will take some time before the crawler collects more data. On top of that, there is no way to exactly count non-listening nodes. To illustrate, an alternative data source, charts.dcr.farm showed 690 reachable nodes on Jul 1.
Extraordinary event: 247361 and 247362 were two nearly full blocks. Normally blocks are 10-20 KiB, but these blocks were 374 KiB (max is 384 KiB).

ASICs

Update from Obelisk: shipping is expected in first half of July and there is non-zero chance to meet hashrate target.
Another Chinese ASIC spotted on the web: Flying Fish D18 with 340 GH/s at 180 W costing 2,200 CNY (~340 USD). (asicok.comtranslated, also on asicminervalue)
dcrASIC team posted a farewell letter. Despite having an awesome 16 nm chip design, they decided to stop the project citing the saturated mining ecosystem and low profitability for their potential customers.

Integrations

bepool.org is a new mining pool spotted on dcred.eu.
Exchange integrations:
Two OTC trading desks are now shown on decred.org exchanges page.
BitPro payment gateway added Decred and posted on Reddit. Notably, it is fully functional without javascript or cookies and does not ask for name or email, among other features.
Guarda Wallet integrated Decred. Currently only in their web wallet, but more may come in future. Notable feature is "DCR purchase with a bank card". See more details in their post or ask their representative on Reddit. Important: do your best to understand the security model before using any wallet software.

Adoption

Merchants:
BlueYard Capital announced investment in Decred and the intent to be long term supporters and to actively participate in the network's governance. In an overview post they stressed core values of the project:
There are a few other remarkable characteristics that are a testament to the DNA of the team behind Decred: there was no sale of DCR to investors, no venture funding, and no payment to exchanges to be listed – underscoring that the Decred team and contributors are all about doing the right thing for long term (as manifested in their constitution for the project).
The most encouraging thing we can see is both the quality and quantity of high calibre developers flocking to the project, in addition to a vibrant community attaching their identity to the project.
The company will be hosting an event in Berlin, see Events below.
Arbitrade is now mining Decred.

Events

Attended:
Upcoming:

Media

stakey.club: a new website by @mm:
Hey guys! I'd like to share with you my latest adventure: Stakey Club, hosted at stakey.club, is a website dedicated to Decred. I posted a few articles in Brazilian Portuguese and in English. I also translated to Portuguese some posts from the Decred Blog. I hope you like it! (slack)
@morphymore translated Placeholder's Decred Investment Thesis and Richard Red's write-up on Politeia to Chinese, while @DZ translated Decred Roadmap 2018 to Italian and Russian, and A New Kind of DEX to Italian and Russian.
Second iteration of Chinese ratings released. Compared to the first issue, Decred dropped from 26 to 29 while Bitcoin fell from 13 to 17. We (the authors) restrain ourselves commenting on this one.
Videos:
Audio:
Featured articles:
Articles:

Community Discussions

Community stats: Twitter followers 40,209 (+1,091), Reddit subscribers 8,410 (+243), Slack users 5,830 (+172), GitHub 392 stars and 918 forks of dcrd repository.
An update on our communication systems:
Jake Yocom-Piatt did an AMA on CryptoTechnology, a forum for serious crypto tech discussion. Some topics covered were Decred attack cost and resistance, voting policies, smart contracts, SPV security, DAO and DPoS.
A new kind of DEX was the subject of an extensive discussion in #general, #random, #trading channels as well as Reddit. New channel #thedex was created and attracted more than 100 people.
A frequent and fair question is how the DEX would benefit Decred. @lukebp has put it well:
Projects like these help Decred attract talent. Typically, the people that are the best at what they do aren’t driven solely by money. They want to work on interesting projects that they believe in with other talented individuals. Launching a DEX that has no trading fees, no requirement to buy a 3rd party token (including Decred), and that cuts out all middlemen is a clear demonstration of the ethos that Decred was founded on. It helps us get our name out there and attract the type of people that believe in the same mission that we do. (slack)
Another concern that it will slow down other projects was addressed by @davecgh:
The intent is for an external team to take up the mantle and build it, so it won't have any bearing on the current c0 roadmap. The important thing to keep in mind is that the goal of Decred is to have a bunch of independent teams on working on different things. (slack)
A chat about Decred fork resistance started on Twitter and continued in #trading. Community members continue to discuss the finer points of Decred's hybrid system, bringing new users up to speed and answering their questions. The key takeaway from this chat is that the Decred chain is impossible to advance without votes, and to get around that the forker needs to change the protocol in a way that would make it clearly not Decred.
"Against community governance" article was discussed on Reddit and #governance.
"The Downside of Democracy (and What it Means for Blockchain Governance)" was another article arguing against on-chain governance, discussed here.
Reddit recap: mining rig shops discussion; how centralized is Politeia; controversial debate on photos of models that yielded useful discussion on our marketing approach; analysis of a drop in number of transactions; concerns regarding project bus factor, removing central authorities, advertising and full node count – received detailed responses; an argument by insette for maximizing aggregate tx fees; coordinating network upgrades; a new "Why Decred?" thread; a question about quantum resistance with a detailed answer and a recap of current status of quantum resistant algorithms.
Chats recap: Programmatic Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW) discussion; possible hashrate of Blake-256 miners is at least ~30% higher than SHA-256d; how Decred is not vulnerable to SPV leaf/node attack.

Markets

DCR opened the month at ~$93, reached monthly high of $110, gradually dropped to the low of $58 and closed at $67. In BTC terms it was 0.0125 -> 0.0150 -> 0.0098 -> 0.0105. The downturn coincided with a global decline across the whole crypto market.
In the middle of the month Decred was noticed to be #1 in onchainfx "% down from ATH" chart and on this chart by @CoinzTrader. Towards the end of the month it dropped to #3.

Relevant External

Obelisk announced Launchpad service. The idea is to work with coin developers to design a custom, ASIC-friendly PoW algorithm together with a first batch of ASICs and distribute them among the community.
Equihash-based ZenCash was hit by a double spend attack that led to a loss of $450,000 by the exchange which was targeted.
Almost one year after collecting funds, Tezos announced a surprise identification procedure to claim tokens (non-javascript version).
A hacker broke into Syscoin's GitHub account and implanted malware stealing passwords and private keys into Windows binaries. This is a painful reminder for everybody to verify binaries after download.
Circle announced new asset listing framework for Poloniex. Relevant to recent discussions of exchange listing bribery:
Please note: we will not accept any kind of payment to list an asset.
Bithumb got hacked with a $30 m loss.
Zcash organized Zcon0, an event in Canada that focused on privacy tech and governance. An interesting insight from Keynote Panel on governance: "There is no such thing as on-chain governance".
Microsoft acquired GitHub. There was some debate about whether it is a reason to look into alternative solutions like GitLab right now. It is always a good idea to have a local copy of Decred source code, just in case.
Status update from @sumiflow on correcting DCR supply on various sites:
To begin with, none of the below sites were showing the correct supply or market cap for Decred but we've made some progress. coingecko.com, coinlib.io, cryptocompare.com, livecoinwatch.com, worldcoinindex.com - corrected! cryptoindex.co, onchainfx.com - awaiting fix coinmarketcap.com - refused to fix because devs have coins too? (slack)

About This Issue

This is the third issue of Decred Journal after April and May.
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.
The new public Matrix logs look promising and we hope to transition from Slack links to Matrix links. In the meantime, the way to read Slack links is explained in the previous issue.
As usual, any feedback is appreciated: please comment on Reddit, GitHub or #writers_room. Contributions are welcome too, anything from initial collection to final review to translations.
Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee and Richard-Red. Special thanks to @Haon for bringing May 2018 issue to medium.
submitted by jet_user to decred [link] [comments]

Coin-a-Year: Raiblocks

Howdy, folks! ♫Welcome back to the show that never ends!♫
I've decided it's high time I did a Coin-a-Year on Raiblocks. This is a special feature I do to recycle old material revisit past coins I've covered of special note a year or more later. I originally posted my Coin-a-Day feature about Raiblocks on this subreddit March 7th, 2016; it didn't get much attention then, but I have a strange feeling people might be slightly interested to see the difference now.
Below is the original report. I'll strike out what is wrong now, and add [bracketed notes] for updated commentary.
I'm no expert on the current state of Rai by any means. I'd honestly thought the coin was dead later in 2016; just didn't check back into it. And now here we are.
Bias note: I got a significant bit of Rai from the original faucet. I have sold a fraction of that this year but still have a lot of it. I'm biased both by holding it and from selling it.
Hello, y'all! I saw a comment pointing to this coin as being designed for free transactions, which is a core interest to me, so I decided to look into it a little bit and do a write-up. Enjoy!
Summary
Today's coin is Raiblocks (RAIXRB), which are designed to support free transactions and no block rewards. The coins will be initially distributed by a CAPTCHA controlled faucet with an annual halving rate.
[Faucet now closed.]
Initial creation: October 15th, 2015 [1]
Coin supply: 4.8 x 1012 rai current supply in circulation; 3.4 x 1014 rai maximum supply [2]
[XRB is the new standard base unit which was Mrai before (and still I suppose). Also, supply is distributed. So we now have about 133 million XRB as the outstanding and max supply.]
All-time high: Not yet traded as far as I know. [3]
[About $37.5 or 0.0028 per CMC max so far, about two days ago]
Current price: Not yet traded as far as I know. [3]
[Depending on the exchange and moment, somewhere around $30-35 currently or about 0.002-0.0022 BTC]
Current market cap: Not yet traded as far as I know. [3]
[Somewhere around $4 billion]
Block rate (average): Unlimited [4]
Transaction rate: ? [5]
[I'm too lazy to find this right now. Maybe someone will chime in with it in the comments.]
Transaction limit (currently): None [6]
Transaction cost: Free [7]
Rich list: ? [8]
[https://raiblocks.net/page/frontiers.php - Top 100 own ~63%]
Exchanges: None yet. [3]
[Bitgrail and Mercatox have been the two main. Kucoin just added it and Binance has it in its voting which is ending shortly.]
Processing method: Proof-of-stake [9]
[Above refers I believe to dispute resolution (double spend). There's also a minor PoW for send/receive.]
Distribution method: Faucet [10]
Community: New-born [11]
[Fairly strong and growing. Good memes. Slightly drunk on euphoria currently.]
Code/development: Active development at https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks
Leadership: Colin LeMahieu
Innovation or special feature: Protocol designed without a limited throughput or block rate, as well as not supporting block rewards nor transaction fees.
Description
Raiblocks is, as far as I know, the first cryptocurrency designed from its start to not support any block reward or transaction fee. In addition, it has no block size or rate limit. Further, all coins will be initially distributed through a captcha-controlled faucet on the main site. It's a bold attempt, going against the conventional wisdom of what is possible.
Edit: I should mention a couple things. First, there is a PoW attached to transactions as an anti-spam defense. This PoW can be attached by the recipient rather than the sender as well, which means that large automated sends could be done without the PoW if needed and the recipient could attach that.
Also, the natural question coming from how all the rest of the cryptocurrencies work is "how does it work without an incentive to run a node?" The idea presented in the whitepaper is basically that operating a cryptocurrency has a lot of expenses, and most of them are paid "out-of-band", so why not have funding nodes be that way too? It leaves it open to whatever other incentives there may be, of which the most obvious are first: that there are only full nodes so far, so if one wants to use the coin, then one is going to run a node. More long-term, even after SPV, presumably large holders might choose to operate one regardless. Someday, if merchants accept it, they would presumably run one. And enthusiasts. It sounds very tenuous, and this is why this is such an audacious attempt in my opinion.
After six months running, the number I heard for the blockchain size was about 20 MB, which is insanely small, but the coin has gotten so little attention that I suspect there hasn't been significant load yet. I'm very curious to see how it will perform under load. I think its design actually makes it more efficient when there aren't transactions, because nothing is added to the blockchain (actually termed block lattice here, but using blockchain generically to refer to any cryptocurrency's core data), unlike in the conventional / Bitcoin model where blocks are being generated whether or not there are transactions in them. Of course that doesn't matter much when there are tons of transactions, as on Bitcoin currently, but, for instance, in Nyancoin, we accumulate tons of empty blocks all the time, where Raiblocks would just wait for more transactions. However, again, under load perhaps it could start growing "too quickly" by some metric, or eventually reach the point where it starts losing users because of the requirements of running a full node.
I think it will be very interesting to see how this turns out in practice.
[And it's certainly going to be interesting to see how it goes. So far, it's still working. Which is better than I'd hoped or expected.]
Community
The coin is relatively young but even for a young coin it's not a huge community. But there is clear discussion and interest both on BCT and on their Google Group. It looks like a healthy start to me.
[As per my comment above: Fairly strong and growing. Good memes. Slightly drunk on euphoria currently. Seems well-intentioned generally: looking to try to have some caution mixed in and putting up a bug bounty and that sort of thing. Still has a little bit of some of the common negative characteristics in crypto communities but this may be due to growth from outside communities overwhelming the local culture temporarily more than anything.]
Footnotes
[1] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1208830.0 - Initial announcement, didn't get much attention apparently. Also, this thread mentions a built-in block-explorer with a rich list. I don't have a working client to access this at the moment but that's pretty cool.
[2] There are 2128 total units, and a rai is 1024 total units, so total supply should be about 3.4 x 1014. https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks/wiki/Distribution-and-Mining Distribution has been going since about November 2015, so I would expect about one-third of the initial 50% to be distributed. The block explorer seems pretty primitive; it just takes a hash. No overall stats. So I'll use that one-third of the initial 50% estimate. So about 5.7 x 1013. Note by comparison that the faucet gives 108 coins at a time currently.
Actually, this comment puts the amount of rai in circulation as 4,763,023...that can't be right, that many Mrai I think? Yeah, 1030 stated as divider there. So 4.8 x 1012 rai in current circulation.
[3] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/raiblocks/PSbX_onjLfU - This topic discusses it a bit. Also comments from meor in this thread
However, I have also paid 100 NYAN for 100 Mrai. This is basically a test transaction, but 1 NYAN for 1 Mrai (106 rai) would imply a marketcap of 4.8 million NYAN, or about 0.34 BTC in current circulation. I had initially thought this was higher before recalculating with the actual amount circulating as per [2]; may also have screwed up the math initially or here.
[4] https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - whitepaper ; each transaction could be thought of as its own block if I am grokking this right. It goes through as fast as the network can handle it. There is no fixed interval or period.
[5] I believe https://raiblocks.net/#/block-explorer is the only block explorer so far and it only supports entering a hash, so I don't have a way to determine the transactions in the last 24 hours.
[6] https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - The protocol is designed without a limit if I understand correctly.
[7] https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - The protocol is designed without transaction fees or block rewards.
[8] As per [5], the block explorer does not support this. There area couple addresses known to be the initial generation which will go into the faucet, but beyond that I don't know the distribution. There's supposed to be a rich list available in the built-in explorer, but I was unable to get a client running on my out-of-date systems (32-bit Windows (64-bit Windows client only), and CentOS 6 (glibc too old)).
[9] In general all full nodes are maintaining their own copies of all the information, but as I understand it the dispute resolution is based on voting by ownership of rai.
[10] All rai will be distributed through https://raiblocks.net/#/start as per https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks/wiki/Distribution-and-Mining
[11] There's been some discussion on BCT as well as on the google group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/raiblocks ; there's a new subreddit /raiblocks, but it's still set on private for some reason at the time of writing this footnote (just wrote a comment to meor noting this).
Further reading
https://raiblocks.net - Main site
https://github.com/clemahieu/raiblocks - Repo with documentation on the github wiki.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/13s6BKzRq9oD5Me55JBRzR7BdvjJ44QKqPu2lf-JsAlU/edit - whitepaper
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/raiblocks - Google group
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1219264.0 - Block lattice discussion
Disclosure, disclaimer
Disclosure: I have made an agreement to purchase 100 Mrai and have paid 100 NYAN for this. I have no other financial interest in Raiblocks currently, but I do intend to get a client ultimately (my current OSes are incompatible from being too old (one is 32-bit Windows; other CentOS 6 with too old glibc)) and get free coins from the faucet and play with this more.
Disclaimer: This writing is intended for edutainmental purposes only. Any accurate information conveyed is purely incidental. No warranty of fitness for any fit purposes is implied. This column known to the State of California to cause cancer. Cave canum. Carpe carp. Caveat lector.
Up next:
Tell me what coin to write about next by sponsoring an article! A sponsored article would likely have more discussion than I did here, and less than my Coin-a-Year report on Nyancoin.
Edit: /RaiBlocks is now public! New subreddit, but hopefully it'll build up a bit over time. :-)
Edit 2: Added more than the stub discussion discussion section I'd initially done.
Okay, so those last links are generally outdated and old information and I stopped commenting through all that. Go to https://raiblocks.net/ and/or /raiblocks if you want to learn more. :-)
Again, I'm heavily biased from having gotten incredibly fortunate from this price rise and having been fortunate enough to have been introduced to the coin early on. I'm not giving trading advice. The market is crazy but I have no idea if it'll go up, down, sideways, or loop-de-loop.
Have fun and stay safe!
submitted by coinaday to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Trading Cryptocurrency Markets

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Major Exchanges
In finance, an exchange is a forum or platform for trading commodities, derivatives, securities or other financial instruments. The principle concern of an exchange is to allow trading between parties to take place in a fair and legally compliant manner, as well as to ensure that pricing information for any instrument traded on the exchange is reliable and coherently delivered to exchange participants. In the cryptocurrency space exchanges are online platforms that allow users to trade cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for fiat money or other cryptocurrencies. They can be centralized exchanges such a Binance, or decentralized exchanges such as IDEX. Most cryptocurrency exchanges allow users to trade different crypto assets with BTC or ETH after having already exchanged fiat currency for one of those cryptocurrencies. Coinbase and Kraken are the main avenue for fiat money to enter into the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Function and History
Crypto exchanges can be market-makers that take bid/ask spreads as a commission on the transaction for facilitating the trade, or more often charge a small percentage fee for operating the forum in which the trade was made. Most crypto exchanges operate outside of Western countries, enabling them to avoid stringent financial regulations and the potential for costly and lengthy legal proceedings. These entities will often maintain bank accounts in multiple jurisdictions, allowing the exchange to accept fiat currency and process transactions from customers all over the globe.
The concept of a digital asset exchange has been around since the late 2000s and the following initial attempts at running digital asset exchanges foreshadows the trouble involved in attempting to disrupt the operation of the fiat currency baking system. The trading of digital or electronic assets predate Bitcoin’s creation by several years, with the first electronic trading entities running afoul of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in late 2004. Companies such as Goldex, SydneyGoldSales, and Ozzigold, shut down voluntarily after ASIC found that they were operating without an Australian Financial Services License. E-Gold, which exchanged fiat USD for grams of precious metals in digital form, was possibly the first digital currency exchange as we know it, allowing users to make instant transfers to the accounts of other E-Gold members. At its peak in 2006 E-Gold processed $2 billion worth of transactions and boasted a user base of over 5 million people.
Popular Exchanges
Here we will give a brief overview of the features and operational history of the more popular and higher volume exchanges because these are the platforms to which newer traders will be exposed. These exchanges are recommended to use because they are the industry standard and they inspire the most confidence.
Bitfinex
Owned and operated by iFinex Inc, the cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex was the largest Bitcoin exchange on the planet until late 2017. Headquartered in Hong Kong and based in the US Virgin Island, Bitfinex was one of the first exchanges to offer leveraged trading (“Margin trading allows a trader to open a position with leverage. For example — we opened a margin position with 2X leverage. Our base assets had increased by 10%. Our position yielded 20% because of the 2X leverage. Standard trades are traded with leverage of 1:1”) and also pioneered the use of the somewhat controversial, so-called “stable coin” Tether (USDT).
Binance
Binance is an international multi-language cryptocurrency exchange that rose from the mid-rank of cryptocurrency exchanges to become the market dominating behemoth we see today. At the height of the late 2017/early 2018 bull run, Binance was adding around 2 million new users per week! The exchange had to temporarily disallow new registrations because its servers simply could not keep up with that volume of business. After the temporary ban on new users was lifted the exchange added 240,000 new accounts within two hours.
Have you ever thought whats the role of the cypto exchanges? The answer is simple! There are several different types of exchanges that cater to different needs within the ecosystem, but their functions can be described by one or more of the following: To allow users to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency. To trade BTC or ETH for alt coins. To facilitate the setting of prices for all crypto assets through an auction market mechanism. Simply put, you can either mine cryptocurrencies or purchase them, and seeing as the mining process requires the purchase of expensive mining equipment, Cryptocurrency exchanges can be loosely grouped into one of the 3 following exchange types, each with a slightly different role or combination of roles.
Have you ever thought about what are the types of Crypto exchanges?
  1. Traditional Cryptocurrency Exchange: These are the type that most closely mimic traditional stock exchanges where buyers and sellers trade at the current market price of whichever asset they want, with the exchange acting as the intermediary and charging a small fee for facilitating the trade. Kraken and GDAX are examples of this kind of cryptocurrency exchange. Fully peer-to-peer exchanges that operate without a middleman include EtherDelta, and IDEX, which are also examples of decentralized exchanges.
  2. Cryptocurrency Brokers: These are website or app based exchanges that act like a Travelex or other bureau-de-change. They allow customers to buy or sell crypto assets at a price set by the broker (usually market price plus a small premium). Coinbase is an example of this kind of exchange.
  3. Direct Trading Platform: These platforms offer direct peer-to-peer trading between buyers and sellers, but don’t use an exchange platform in doing so. These types of exchanges do not use a set market rate; rather, sellers set their own rates. This is a highly risky form of trading, from which new users should shy away.
To understand how an exchange functions we need only look as far as a traditional stock exchange. Most all the features of a cryptocurrency exchange are analogous to features of trading on a traditional stock exchange. In the simplest terms, the exchanges fulfil their role as the main marketplace for crypto assets of all kinds by catering to buyers or sellers. These are some definitions for the basic functions and features to know: Market Orders: Orders that are executed instantly at the current market price. Limit Order: This is an order that will only be executed if and when the price has risen to or dropped to that price specified by the trader and is also within the specified period of time. Transaction fees: Exchanges will charge transactions fees, usually levied on both the buyer and the seller, but sometimes only the seller is charged a fee. Fees vary on different exchanges though the norm is usually below 0.75%. Transfer charges: The exchange is in effect acting as a sort of escrow agent, to ensure there is no foul play, so it might also charge a small fee when you want to withdraw cryptocurrency to your own wallet.
Regulatory Environment and Evolution
Cryptocurrency has come a long way since the closing down of the Silk Road darknet market. The idea of crypto currency being primarily for criminals, has largely been seen as totally inaccurate and outdated. In this section we focus on the developing regulations surrounding the cryptocurrency asset class by region, and we also look at what the future may hold.
The United States of America
A coherent uniform approach at Federal or State level has yet to be implemented in the United States. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network published guidelines as early as 2013 suggesting that BTC and other cryptos may fall under the label of “money transmitters” and thus would be required to take part in the same Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Know your Client (KYC) procedures as other money service businesses. At the state level, Texas applies its existing finance laws. And New York has instituted an entirely new licensing system.
The European Union
The EU’s approach to cryptocurrency has generally been far more accommodating overall than the United States, partly due to the adaptable nature of pre-existing laws governing electronic money that predated the creation of Bitcoin. As with the USA, the EU’s main fear is money laundering and criminality. The European Central Bank (ECB) categorized BTC as a “convertible decentralized currency” and advised all central banks in the EU to refrain from trading any cryptocurrencies until the proper regulatory framework was put in place. A task force was then set up by the European Parliament in order to prevent and investigate any potential money laundering that was making use of the new technology.
Likely future regulations for cryptocurrency traders within the European Union and North America will probably consist of the following proposals: The initiation of full KYC procedures so that users cannot remain fully anonymous, in order to prevent tax evasion and curtail money laundering. Caps on payments that can be made in cryptocurrency, similar to caps on traditional cash transactions. A set of rules governing tax obligations regarding cryptocurrencies Regulation by the ECB of any companies that offer exchanges between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies It is less likely for other countries to follow the Chinese approach and completely ban certain aspects of cryptocurrency trading. It is widely considered more progressive and wiser to allow the technology to grow within a balanced accommodative regulatory framework that takes all interests and factors into consideration. It is probable that the most severe form of regulation will be the formation of new governmental bodies specifically to form laws and exercise regulatory control over the cryptocurrency space. But perhaps that is easier said than done. It may, in certain cases, be incredibly difficult to implement particular regulations due to the anonymous and decentralized nature of crypto.
Behavior of Cryptocurrency Investors by Demographic
Due to the fact that cryptocurrency has its roots firmly planted in the cryptography community, the vast majority of early adopters are representative of that group. In this section we cover the basic structure of the cryptocurrency market cycle and the makeup of the community at large, as well as the reasons behind different trading decisions.
The Cryptocurrency Market Cycle
Bitcoin leads the bull rally. FOMO (Fear of missing out) occurs, the price surge is a constant topic of mainstream news, business programs cover the story, and social media is abuzz with cryptocurrency chatter. Bitcoin reaches new All Timehigh (ATH) Market euphoria is fueled with even more hype and the cycle is in full force. There is a constant stream of news articles and commentary on the meteoric, seemingly unstoppable rise of Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s price “stabilizes”, In the 2017 bull run this was at or around $14,000. A number of solid, large market cap altcoins rise along with Bitcoin; ETH & LTC leading the altcoins at this time. FOMO comes into play, as the new ATH in market cap is reached by pumping of a huge number of alt coins.
Top altcoins “somewhat” stabilize, after reaching new all-time highs. The frenzy continues with crypto success stories, notable figures and famous people in the news. A majority of lesser known cryptocurrencies follow along on the upward momentum. Newcomers are drawn deeper into crypto and sign up for exchanges other than the main entry points like Coinbase and Kraken. In 2017 this saw Binance inundated with new registrations. Some of the cheapest coins are subject to massive pumping, such as Tron TRX which saw a rise in market cap from $150 million at the start of December 2017 to a peak of $16 billion! At this stage, even dead coins or known scams will get pumped. The price of the majority of cryptocurrencies stabilize, and some begin to retract. When the hype is subsiding after a huge crypto bull run, it is a massive sell signal. Traditional investors will begin to give interviews about how people need to be careful putting money into such a highly volatile asset class. Massive violent correction begins and the market starts to collapse. BTC begins to fall consistently on a daily basis, wiping out the insane gains of many medium to small cap cryptos with it. Panic selling sweeps through the market. Depression sets in, both in the markets, and in the minds of individual investors who failed to take profits, or heed the signs of imminent collapse. The price stagnation can last for months, or even years.
The Influence of Age upon Trading
Did you know? Cryptocurrencies have been called “stocks for millennials” According to a survey conducted by the Global Blockchain Business Council, only 5% of the American public own any bitcoin, but of those that do, an overwhelming majority of 71% are men, 58% of them are between the ages of 18 and 35, and over half of them are minorities. The same survey gauged public attitude toward the high risk/high return nature of cryptocurrency, in comparison to more secure guaranteed small percentage gains offered by government bonds or stocks, and found that 30% would rather invest $1,000 in crypto. Over 42% of millennials were aware of cryptocurrencies as opposed to only 15% of those ages 65 and over. In George M. Korniotis and Alok Kumar’s study into the effects of aging on portfolio management and the quality of decisions made by older investors, they found “that older and experienced investors are more likely to follow “rules of thumb” that reflect greater investment knowledge. However, older investors are less effective in applying their investment knowledge and exhibit worse investment skill, especially if they are less educated and earn lower income.”
Geographic Influence upon Trading
One of the main drivers of the apparent seasonal ebb and flow of cryptocurrency prices is the tax situation in the various territories that have the highest concentrations of cryptocurrency holders. Every year we see an overall market pull back beginning in mid to late January, with a recovery beginning usually after April. This is because “Tax Season” is roughly the same across Europe and the United States, with the deadline for Income tax returns being April 15th in the United States, and the tax year officially ending the UK on the 6th of April. All capital gains must be declared before the window closes or an American trader will face the powerful and long arm of the IRS with the consequent legal proceedings and possible jail time. Capital gains taxes around the world vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but there are often incentives for cryptocurrency holders to refrain from trading for over a year to qualify their profits as long term gain when they finally sell. In the US and Australia, for example, capital gains are reduced if you bought cryptocurrency for investment purposes and held it for over a year. In Germany if crypto assets are held for over a year then the gains derived from their sale are not taxed. Advantages like this apply to individual tax returns, on a case by case basis, and it is up to the investor to keep up to date with the tax codes of the territory in which they reside.
2013 Bull run vs 2017 Bull run price Analysis
In late 2016 cryptocurrency traders were faced with the task of distinguishing between the beginnings of a genuine bull run and what might colorfully be called a “dead cat bounce” (in traditional market terminology). Stagnation had gripped the market since the pull-back of early 2014. The meteoric rise of Bitcoin’s price in 2013 peaked with a price of $1,100 in November 2013, after a year of fantastic news on the adoption front with both Microsoft and PayPal offering BTC payment options. It is easy to look at a line going up on a chart and speak after the fact, but at the time, it is exceeding difficult to say whether the cat is actually climbing up the wall, or just bouncing off the ground. Here, we will discuss the factors that gave savvy investors clues as to why the 2017 bull run was going to outstrip the 2013 rally. Hopefully this will help give insight into how to differentiate between the signs of a small price increase and the start of a full scale bull run. Most importantly, Volume was far higher in 2017. As we can see in the graphic below, the 2017 volume far exceeds the volume of BTC trading during the 2013 price increase. The stranglehold MtGox held on trading made a huge bull run very difficult and unlikely.
Fraud & Immoral Activity in the Private Market
Ponzi Schemes Cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes will be covered in greater detail in Lesson 7, but we need to get a quick overview of the main features of Ponzi schemes and how to spot them at this point in our discussion. Here are some key indicators of a Ponzi scheme, both in cryptocurrencies and traditional investments: A guaranteed promise of high returns with little risk. Consistentflow of returns regardless of market conditions. Investments that have not been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Investment strategies that are a secret, or described as too complex. Clients not allowed to view official paperwork for their investment. Clients have difficulties trying to get their money back. The initial members of the scheme, most likely unbeknownst to the later investors, are paid their “dividends” or “profits” with new investor cash. The most famous modern-day example of a Ponzi scheme in the traditional world, is Bernie Madoff’s $100 billion fraudulent enterprise, officially titled Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. And in the crypto world, BitConnect is the most infamous case of an entirely fraudulent project which boasted a market cap of $2 billion at its peak.
What are the Exchange Hacks?
The history of cryptocurrency is littered with examples of hacked exchanges, some of them so severe that the operation had to be wound up forever. As we have already discussed, incredibly tech savvy and intelligent computer hackers led by Alexander Vinnik stole 850000 BTC from the MtGox exchange over a period from 2012–2014 resulting in the collapse of the exchange and a near-crippling hammer blow to the emerging asset class that is still being felt to this day. The BitGrail exchange suffered a similar style of attack in late 2017 and early 2018, in which Nano (XRB) was stolen that was at one point was worth almost $195 million. Even Bitfinex, one of the most famous and prestigious exchanges, has suffered a hack in 2016 where $72 million worth of BTC was stolen directly from customer accounts.
Hardware Wallet Scam Case Study
In late 2017, an unfortunate character on Reddit, going by the name of “moody rocket” relayed his story of an intricate scam in which his newly acquired hardware wallet was compromised, and his $34,000 life savings were stolen. He bought a second hand Nano ledger into which the scammers own recover seed had already been inserted. He began using the ledger without knowing that the default seed being used was not a randomly assigned seed. After a few weeks the scammer struck, and withdrew all the poor HODLer’s XRP, Dash and Litecoin into their own wallet (likely through a few intermediary wallets to lessen the very slim chances of being identified).
Hardware Wallet Scam Case Study Social Media Fraud
Many gullible and hapless twitter users have fallen victim to the recent phenomenon of scammers using a combination of convincing fake celebrity twitter profiles and numerous amounts of bots to swindle them of ETH or BTC. The scammers would set up a profile with a near identical handle to a famous figure in the tech sphere, such as Vitalik Buterin or Elon Musk. And then in the tweet, immediately following a genuine message, follow up with a variation of “Bonus give away for the next 100 lucky people, send me 0.1 ETH and I will send you 1 ETH back”, followed by the scammers ether wallet address. The next 20 or so responses will be so-called sockpuppet bots, thanking the fake account for their generosity. Thus, the pot is baited and the scammers can expect to receive potentially hundreds of donations of 0.1 Ether into their wallet. Many twitter users with a large follower base such as Vitalik Buterin have taken to adding “Not giving away ETH” to their username to save careless users from being scammed.
Market Manipulation
It also must be recognized that market manipulation is taking place in cryptocurrency. For those with the financial means i.e. whales, there are many ways in which to control the market in a totally immoral and underhanded way for your own profit. It is especially easy to manipulate cryptos that have a very low trading volume. The manipulator places large buy orders or sell walls to discourage price action in one way or the other. Insider trading is also a significant problem in cryptocurrency, as we saw with the example of blatant insider trading when Bitcoin Cash was listed on Coinbase.
Examples of ICO Fraudulent Company Behavior
In the past 2 years an astronomical amount of money has been lost in fraudulent Initial Coin Offerings. The utmost care and attention must be employed before you invest. We will cover this area in greater detail with a whole lesson devoted to the topic. However, at this point, it is useful to look at the main instances of ICO fraud. Among recent instances of fraudulent ICOs resulting in exit scams, 2 of the most infamous are the Benebit and PlexCoin ICOs which raised $4 million for the former and $15 million for the latter. Perhaps the most brazen and damaging ICO scam of all time was the Vietnamese Pincoin ICO operation, where $660million was raised from 32,000 investors before the scammer disappeared with the funds. In case of smaller ICO “exit scamming” there is usually zero chance of the scammers being found. Investors must just take the hit. We will cover these as well as others in Lesson 7 “Scam Projects”.
Signposts of Fraudulent Actors
The following factors are considered red flags when investigating a certain project or ICO, and all of them should be considered when deciding whether or not you want to invest. Whitepaper is a buzzword Salad: If the whitepaper is nothing more than a collection of buzzwords with little clarity of purpose and not much discussion of the tech involved, it is overwhelmingly likely you are reading a scam whitepaper.
Signposts of Fraudulent Actors §2
No Code Repository: With the vast majority of cryptocurrency projects employing open source code, your due diligence investigation should start at GitHub or Sourceforge. If the project has no entries, or nothing but cloned code, you should avoid it at all costs. Anonymous Team: If the team members are hard to find, or if you see they are exaggerating or lying about their experience, you should steer clear. And do not forget, in addition to taking proper precautions when investing in ICOs, you must always make sure that you are visiting authentic web pages, especially for web wallets. If, for example, you are on a spoof MyEtherWallet web page you could divulge your private key without realizing it and have your entire portfolio of Ether and ERC-20 tokens cleaned out.
Methods to Avoid falling Victim
Avoiding scammers and the traps they set for you is all about asking yourself the right questions, starting with: Is there a need for a Blockchain solution for the particular problem that a particular ICO is attempting to solve? The existing solution may be less costly, less time consuming, and more effective than the proposals of a team attempting to fill up their soft cap in an ICO. The following quote from Mihai Ivascu, the CEO of Modex, should be kept in mind every time you are grading an ICO’s chances of success: “I’m pretty sure that 95% of ICOswill not last, and many will go bankrupt. ….. not everything needs to be decentralized and put on an open source ledger.”
Methods to Avoid falling Victim §2 Do I Trust These People with My Money, or Not?
If you continue to feel uneasy about investing in the project, more due diligence is needed. The developers must be qualified and competent enough to complete the objectives that they have set out in the whitepaper.
Is this too good to be true?
All victims of the well-known social media scams using fake profiles of Vitalik Buterin, or Bitconnect investors for that matter, should have asked themselves this simple question, and their investment would have been saved. In the case of Bitconnect, huge guaranteed gains proportional to the amount of people you can get to sign up was a blatant pyramid scheme, obviously too good to be true. The same goes for Fake Vitalik’s offer of 1 ether in exchange for 0.1 ETH.
Selling Cryptocurrencies, Several reasons for selling with the appropriate actions to take:
If you are selling to buy into an ICO, or maybe believe Ether is a safer currency to hold for a certain period of time, it is likely you will want to make use of the Ether pair and receive Ether in return. Obviously if the ICO is on the NEO or WANchain blockchain for example, you will use the appropriate pair. -Trading to buy into another promising project that is listing on the exchange on which you are selling (or you think the exchange will experience a large amount of volume and become a larger exchange), you may want to trade your cryptocurrency for that exchange token. -If you believe that BTC stands a good chance of experiencing a bull run then using the BTC trading pair is the suitable choice. -If you believe that the market is about to experience a correction but you do not want to take your gains out of the market yet, selling for Tether or “tethering up” is the best play. This allows you to keep your locked-in profits on the exchange, unaffected by the price movements in the cryptocurrency markets,so that you can buy back in at the most profitable moment. -If you wish to “cash out” i.e. sell your cryptocurrency for fiat currency and have those funds in your bank account, the best pair to use is ETH or BTC because you will likely have to transfer to an exchange like Kraken or Coinbase to convert them into fiat. If the exchange offers Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash pairs it could be a good idea to use these for their fast transaction time and low fees.
Selling Cryptocurrencies
Knowing when and how to sell, as well as strategies to inflate the value of your trade before sale, are important skills as a trader of any product or financial instrument. If you are satisfied that the sale itself of the particular amount of a token or coin you are trading away is the right one, then you must decide at what price you are going to sell. Exchanges exercise their own discretion as to which trading “pairs” they will offer, but the most common ones are BTC, ETH, BNB for Binance, BIX for Bibox etc., and sometimes Tether (USDT) or NEO. As a trader, you decide which particular cryptocurrency to exchange depending on your reason for making that specific trade at that time.
Methods of Sale
Market sell/Limit sell on exchange: A limit sell is an order placed on an exchange to sell as soon as (also specifically only if and when) the price you specified has been hit within the time limit you select. A market order executes the sale immediately at the best possible price offered by the market at that exact time. OTC (or Over the Counter) selling refers to sale of securities or cryptocurrencies in any method without using an exchange to intermediate the trade and set the price. The most common way of conducting sales in this manner is through LocalBitcoins.com. This method of cryptocurrency selling is far riskier than using an exchange, for obvious reasons.
The influence and value of your Trade
There are a number of strategies you can use to appreciate the value of your trade and thus increase the Bitcoin or Ether value of your portfolio. It is important to disassociate yourself from the dollar value of your portfolio early on in your cryptocurrency trading career simply because the crypto market is so volatile you will end up pulling your hair out in frustration following the real dollar money value of your holdings. Once your funds have been converted into BTC and ETH they are completely in the crypto sphere. (Some crypto investors find it more appropriate to monitor the value of their portfolio in satoshi or gwei.) Certainly not limited to, but especially good for beginners, the most reliable way to increase your trading profits, and thus the overall value and health of your portfolio, is to buy into promising projects, hold them for 6 months to a year, and then reevaluate. This is called Long term holding and is the tactic that served Bitcoin HODLers quite well, from 2013 to the present day. Obviously, if something comes to light about the project that indicates a lengthy set back is likely, it is often better to cut your losses and sell. You are better off starting over and researching other projects. Also, you should set initial Price Points at which you first take out your original investment, and then later, at which you take out all your profits and exit the project. That should be after you believe the potential for growth has been exhausted for that particular project.
Another method of increasing the value of your trades is ICO flipping. This is the exact opposite of long term holding. This is a technique in which you aim for fast profits taking advantage of initial enthusiasm in the market that may double or triple the value of ICO projects when they first come to market. This method requires some experience using smaller exchanges like IDEX, on which project tokens can be bought and sold before listing on mainstream exchanges. “Tethering up” means to exchange tokens or coins for the USDT stable coin, the value of which is tethered to the US Dollar. If you learn, or know how to use, technical analysis, it is possible to predict when a market retreatment is likely by looking at the price movements of BTC. If you decide a market pull back is likely, you can tether up and maintain the dollar value of your portfolio in tether while other tokens and coins decrease in value. The you wait for an opportune moment to reenter the market.
Market Behavior in Different Time Periods
The main descriptors used for overall market sentiment are “Bull Market” and “Bear Market”. The former describes a market where people are buying on optimism. The latter describes a market where people are selling on pessimism. Fun (or maybe not) fact: The California grizzly bear was brought to extinction by the love of bear baiting as a sport in the mid 1800s. Bears were highly sought after for their intrinsic fighting qualities, and were forced into fighting bulls as Sunday morning entertainment for Californians. What has this got to do with trading and financial markets? The downward swipe of the bear’s paws gives a “Bear market” its name and the upward thrust of a Bull’s horns give the “Bull Market” its name. Most unfortunately for traders, the bear won over 80% of the bouts. During a Bull market, optimism can sometimes grow to be seemingly boundless, volume is rising, and prices are ascending. It can be a good idea to sell or rebalance your portfolio at such a time, especially if you have a particularly large position in one holding or another. This is especially applicable if you need to sell a large amount of a relatively low-volume holding, because you can then do so without dragging the price down by the large size of your own sell order.
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