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Recap on CoinEx & Avalanche AMA Aug 5, 2020
Written bySatoshisAngels Published by read.cash On August 5th 2020, Satoshi’s Angels hosted an AMA for CoinEx on “How BCH and Avalanche Are Bringing Financial Freedom to 6 Billion People” on a Chinese platform Bihu. During the 100-minute event, Haipo Yang of ViaBTC and CoinEx, and Emin Gun Sirer of AVA Labs shared their in-depth views on such topics as different consensus mechanisms, community governance, IPFS, Defi. And Haipo explained why he wants to fork BCH. This is the full text. You can check out the full AMA here (mostly in Chinese with some English translation). https://preview.redd.it/x790bw58axf51.png?width=1920&format=png&auto=webp&s=03c8af942f8f14d98d5dd693adf9e2a50448d61d Cindy Wang (Satoshi’s Angels): There are news saying that you are to fork BCH. Is it a marketing makeover? Are you serious about it? Haipo Yang: It’s definitely not a marketing makeover. But the details are not decided yet. Over the past three years, the BCH community has gone through multiple discussions from reducing block time, changing mining algorithms, adding smart contracts, etc. But none of these disputes have been well settled. BCH is a big failure in terms of governance. A lack of good governance has made it fall in disorder. It is too decentralized to make progress. You may know that the first BCH block was mined by ViaBTC. And we gave a lot of support to it indeed. But we didn’t dominate the fork. The Chinese community in particular thought I had a lot of influence, but it was not true. I think the whole community is very dissatisfied with Bitcoin ABC, but it is difficult to replace them or change the status quo. So I am thinking of creating a new branch of BCH. The idea is still in early stage. I welcome anyone interested to participate and discuss it with me. Wang: Professor Emin, what’s your attitude to fork? Do you think it’s a good timing to fork BCH? Emin Gun Sirer: I am a big fan of BCH. It adheres to the original vision of Satoshi Nakamoto. I like the technical roadmap of BCH. But just like what Haipo mentioned, BCH lacks a good governance mechanism. There are always something that can cause BCH community to divide itself. But I think it’s not enough to just have a good governance mechanism. There are many good proposals in the community but failed to be adopted in the end. I think BCH needs social leadership to encourage discussion when there are new proposals. Wang: We are all curious to know How Avalanche got its name? I know that Avalanche doesn’t mean well in Chinese. But in English, it’s a very powerful word. Avalanche represents a series of algorithms piling together like a mountain. When decisions slowly form, the ball (nodes in the network) on top of the mountain starts going down the hill on one side, and it gets bigger and bigger, and like an avalanche and it becomes unstoppable, making the transaction final. Wang: Prof. Emin, I know that you are a big blocker. Have you ever considered implementing Avalanche based on BCH? Why create another chain? Sirer: Of course I considered that. Satoshi Nakamoto consensus is wonderful, but the proof-of-work mechanism and Nakamoto consensus base protocols have some shortcomings, such as network latency, and it is hard to scale. Avalanche, instead, is totally different, and is the new biggest breakthrough in the past 45 years. It is flexible, fast, and scalable. I’d love to implement BCH on top of avalanche in the future, to make BCH even better by making 0-conf transactions much more secure. Wang: As an old miner, why did CoinEx Chain choose to “abandon” POW, and turn to POS mechanism? Haipo: Both POW and POS consensus algorithms have their own advantages. POW is not just a consensus algorithm, but also a more transparent and open distribution method of digital currency. Anyone can participate in it through mining. POW is fairer. For a POS-based network, participants must have coins. For example, you need to invest ICO projects to obtain coins. But developers can get a lot of coins almost for free. In addition, POW is more open. Anyone can participate without holding tokens. For example, as long as you have a computer and mining rigs, you can participate in mining. Openness and fairness are two great features of POW. POS is more advanced, safe and efficient. POS is jointly maintained by the token holders, and there is no problem of 51% attacks. Those who hold tokens are more inclined to protect the network than to destroy the network for their own interests. To disrupt the network, you need to buy at least two-thirds of the token, which is very difficult to achieve. And when you actually hold so many coins, it’s barely possible for you to destroy the network. POW has the problem of 51% attack. For example, ETC just suffered the 51% attack on August 3. And the cost to do that is very low. It can be reorganized with only tens of thousands of dollars. This is also a defect of POW. In addition, in terms of TPS and block speed, POS can achieve second-level speed and higher TPS. Therefore, CoinEx Chain chose POS because it can bring a faster transaction experience. This is very important for decentralized exchanges. Both POW and POS have their own advantages. It’s a matter of personal choice. When choosing a consensus mechanism, the choice must be made according to the characteristics of the specific project. https://preview.redd.it/upbayijaaxf51.jpg?width=1055&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=703e3b6a493a76f86bc9045e784d174bde9d3c42 Wang: Ethereum is switching to ETH 2.0. If they succeed, do you think it will lead the next bull market? Sirer: If Ethereum 2.0 can be realized, it must be a huge success. But I doubt it can be launched anytime soon considering that it has been constantly delayed. And even if it comes out, I am not so sure if it will address the core scaling problem. And the main technology in Ethereum 2.0 is sharding. Sharding technology divides the Ethereum networks into small parallel groups, but I think what will happen is everyone wants to be in the same “shard” so the sharding advantages might not be realizable in Ethereum 2.0. Avalanche supports Ethereum’s virtual machine, and Avalanche can realize 1 second level confirmation, while with sharding finalizing confirmation takes 5–6 seconds at best. Avalanche approach to make Ethereum scale is superior to Ethereum 2.0. There are many big players behind Ethereum 2.0, and I wish them success. But I believe that Avalanche will be the fastest and best Smart Contract platform in the crypto space, and it is compatible with Ethereum. Wang: Why is Avalanche a real breakthrough？ Sirer: Avalanche is fundamentally different from previous consensus mechanisms. It’s very fast with TPS surpasses 6500, which is three times that of VISA. Six confirmations can be achieved in one second. Compared with the POW mechanism of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, Avalanche’s participation threshold is very low. It allows multiple virtual machines to be built on the Avalanche protocol. Avalanche is not created to compete with Bitcoin or fiat currencies such as the US dollar and RMB. It’s not made to compete with Ethereum, which is defined as the “world’s computer”. Avalanche is positioned to be an asset issuance platform to tokenize assets in the real world. Wang: How do you rank the importance of community, development, governance, and technology to a public chain? Sirer: These four are like the legs of a table. Every foot is very important. The table cannot stand without strong support. A good community needs to be open to welcome developers and people. Good governance is especially important, to figure out what users need and respect their voices. Development needs to be decentralized. Avalanche has developers all over the world. And it has big companies building on top of Avalanche. Yang: From a long-term perspective, I think governance is the most important thing, which is the same as running a company. In the long run, technology is not important. Blockchain technology is developed based on an open source softwares that are free to the community. Community is also not the most important factor. I think the most important thing is governance. Decentralization is more about technical. For example, Bitcoin, through a decentralized network method, ensures the openness and transparency of data assets, and the data on the chain cannot be tampered with, ensuring that the total amount of coins has a fixed upper limit. But at the governance level, all coins are centralized at some degree. For example, BCH developers can decide to modify the protocol. In a sense, it is the same as managing a company. Historically, the reasons for the success and failure of companies all stem from bad governance. For example, Apple succeeded based on Steve Jobs’s charisma, leadership and the pursuit of user experience. When Jobs was kicked out, Apple suffered great losses. After Jobs returned, he made Apple great again. Issues behind Bitmain is also about governance. Simply put, governance requires leaders who have a longer-term vision and are more capable of coordinating and balancing the resources and interests of all parties to lead the community. In the blockchain world, many people focus on technology. In fact, technology is not enough to make great products. User experience is most important. Users don’t care about the blockchain technology itself, but more concerned about whether it is easy to use and whether it can solve my problem. We need to figure out how to deliver a product like Apple. The pursuit of user experience is also governance in nature. And governance itself lies in the soul of key leaders in the community. Realize tokenization of assets in. https://preview.redd.it/14jf1bvcaxf51.jpg?width=1082&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c312912142c38de986f42912086e205354162190 Wang: Speaking of asset tokenization, I would like to ask Haipo, do you think the market for assets on the chain is big? Yang: It must be very big. We need to see which assets can be tokenized. Assets that can be tokenized are standardized assets, sush as currencies and securities.
In terms of currency, Tether has issued over 10 billion U.S. dollars. Many people think that’s too much. But I think this market is underestimated. The market for stablecoins in the future must be hundreds of billions or even trillions, especially after the release of Facebook’s Libra. Even US dollar might be issued based on the blockchain in the future.
At present, the settlement of USD currency is through the SWIFT system. But the SWIFT system itself is only a clearing network, a messaging system, not a settlement network. It takes a long time for clearing and settlement, and it is not reliable. But both USDT and USDC can quickly realize cross-border transfers in seconds and realize asset delivery. Even sovereign currencies are likely to be issued on the blockchain. I believe RMB also has such a plan.
Equity and securities markets are the largest market. But they have strict requirements for market access.
Whether a stock is listed on A-shares or in the American markets, it’s hard to obtain them. I believe that the blockchain can completely release the demand through decentralization. It can allow any tiny company or even a project to issue, circulate and finance a token. There may be only tens of thousands of stocks currently traded globally. There are also tens of thousands of tokens in the crypto space. I believe that millions or more of assets will be traded and circulated in the future. This can only be realized through decentralized technology and organization. The market for assets tokenization will be huge. And at present, the entire blockchain technology is still very primitive. Bitcoin and Ethereum only have a few or a dozen TPS, which is far from meeting market demand. This is why CoinEx is committed to building a decentralized Dex public chain. Wang: Avalanche’s paper was first published on IPFS. What do you think of IPFS? Sirer: I personally like IPFS very much. It is a decentralized storage solution. Yang: There is no doubt that IPFS solves the problem of decentralized storage, and can be robust in the blockchain world, and can replace HPPT services. But there are still three problems:
IPFS is not for ordinary users. Everybody needs BCH and BTC, but only developers need IPFS, which is a relatively niche market;
IPFS is more expensive than traditional storage solutions, which further reduces its practicality. In order to achieve decentralization, more copies must be stored, and more hardware devices must be consumed. In the end, these costs will be on to users.
There may be compliance issues. If you use IPFS to store sensitive information, such as info from WikiLeaks, it may end up threatening national security. I doubt that decentralized storage and decentralized public chains can survive under the joint pressure of global governments.
The IPFS project solves certain problems. But from the perspective of application prospects, I am pessimistic. Wang: What do you think of Defi? Yang: I want to talk about the concept first. Broadly speaking, the entire blockchain industry is DeFi in nature. Blockchain is to realize the circulation of currency, equity, and asset value through decentralization. So in a broad sense, blockchain itself is DeFi. In a narrow sense, DeFi is a financial agreement based on smart contracts. DeFi, through smart contracts, can build applications more flexibly. For example, before we could only use Bitcoin to transfer and pay. Now with smart contracts, flexible functions such as lending, exchange, mortgage , etc. are available. The entire blockchain industry is gradually evolving under the conditions of DeFi. DeFi will definitely get greater development in the future. Sirer: I think Defi will definitely have a huge impact. DeFi is not only an innovation in the cryptocurrency field, but also an innovation in the financial field. Wall Street companies have stagnated for years with no innovation. Avalanche fits different DeFi needs, including performance and compliance. In the future, not only will Wall Street simply adopt DeFi, but DeFi will grow into a huge market that will eventually replace the traditional financial system. Questions from the community: 1. How does Avalanche integrate with DeFi? Sirer: At present, all DeFi applications on Avalanche have surpassed Ethereum. What can be achieved on Ethereum can be achieved on Avalanche with better user experience. We are currently connecting with popular DeFi projects such as Compound and MakerDao to add part of or all of their functions. At present, Avalanche is working on decentralized exchange (DEX). The current DEXs are limited by speed and performance but when they are built on top of Avalanche it will be real-time and very fast. 2. How many developers does BCH have? Yang: I think it does not matter how many developers there are. What matters is what should be developed. I watched Jobs’ video the other day, and it inspired me a lot. We are not piecing together technology to see what technology can do. It’s we figure out what we want first and then we use the technology we need. The entire blockchain community worship developers. Such as they call Vitalik “V God”. It’s not necessary to treat developers as wizards. Developers are programmers, and I myself is also a programmer. ViaBTC has a development team of over 100 people, including core members from Copernicus (a dev team formerly belonged to Bitmain). Technically we are very confident to build faster, stabler, and better user experience products.
I’ve been losing sleep. I don’t think I’m particularly special in that regard, I think everyone has been losing sleep these days. A global pandemic tends to do that to people. Yet the thing that has been keeping me awake isn’t the virus. I’ve been losing sleep over an old couch I once crossed paths with. It’s been eight years, I want to believe that I’ve put the past behind me, but being locked in a house for a couple of weeks has made it impossible to not dwell on the past. The memory of the couch started off as a fleeting thought over my morning coffee, but as days have turned into weeks that memory has grown into a distinct vision of madness. What I saw during those three drunken nights in December of 2012 has become an unavoidable part of reality. I can’t rest until I process it. So since we have a nice little Internet campfire going here I figured I would tell you guys a story. Hopefully it will let me put this whole part of my past to rest and maybe it will take your mind off of what is happening outside. So kick back and let me tell you a tale of love and loss, of broken teenage hearts, of surviving in a crumbling world. Let me tell you a story about the couch that tried to seduce me. I was nineteen, hung-over and heartbroken. I was also stuck in a foreign country. Well, to call Estonia a foreign country would be a bit of a long shot, I had lived there for a good five years of my life. It was in Estonia that I lived out most of my teenage years. This was where I had smoked my first cigarette, had my first drink, fell in love for the first time. I was dragged in when I was thirteen by my parents; they had business in Tallinn and wherever they went I went. At eighteen, when my parent’s contracts ran out, I was forced back home. Their business with Estonia was done. Mine was not. By nineteen I was back. As soon as I got off the plane I turned my phone on and checked my messages. She didn’t write to me. My soul, positioned somewhere slightly above my abdomen, twitched in discomfort. It was a familiar twitch, I had felt it in the bus to the airport, I had felt it in the security check, I had felt it when I boarded the flight to Tallinn and as soon as I got off the plane the twitch was back with a vengeance. The discomfort I was feeling in my chest was a realization. It was the realization that I had emptied out most of my already slim bank account on a one-way ticket halfway across the continent to see my old high-school sweetheart who wasn’t interested in seeing me. It was the realization that as much as I consciously knew the trip was a bad idea, I couldn’t resist going. I dragged my feet towards the arrivals hall. When it became obvious that Saale was dodging my messages I panicked. There was no place for me to crash, I had no money for a flight, hell, I had no money for food. As I boarded the plane to Estonia I sent off a panicked text message to my old band-mate: ‘Made horrible mistake. Landing in Tallinn in three hours. Can I crash at yours?’ Within two minutes there was a reply: ‘OK. Will come with Maarja. See you soon.’ Karl wasn’t very chatty, but he was always there when needed. The two of them were waiting for me as soon as I walked out into the arrival hall. They barely changed. Karl was still a giant of man. His long hair had gotten longer and the beard he had rocked since seventeen had gotten thicker, the guy looked like Jesus on steroids if Jesus was really into heavy metal and wore glasses. Next to Karl stood Maarja, she wore a garish yellow coat. The pink streak in her hair she’d been so proud of back in middle school was pinker than ever. “JAAMEEES! YOU’RE BACK!” Maarja yelled in her high-pitched faux-English accent before nearly tackling me to the ground. “It’s been too long honey! Too long!” She hadn’t changed a bit since I left the country. Maarja was still a pint-sized bolt of energy. The two of them made for an odd couple. “Welcome back, Friend,” Karl said after Maarja was done squeezing me. He wasn’t one for physical contact, Karl settled on a simple pat on the shoulder that challenged my entire skeletal structure. The three of us made our way outside to catch a bus to the center. Even after living in Estonia for five years I still wasn’t used to the winters. As soon as we walked out into the sub-zero temperature I felt decidedly like a foreigner. We caught up on the small things while we waited for the bus. Karl and Maarja had officially moved in together, the band that Karl and me started up in high-school had broken up, Maarja was in the process of getting a bachelors degree of psychology and Karl was really into some crypto-currency stuff that went completely over my head. I couldn’t get much out of me; the cold was taking a real toll on my system. Whenever I opened my mouth to talk about my miserable little life I simply ended up chattering my teeth. As soon as we got on the bus I threw myself at the nearest heating vent. “So, James,” Maarja said as soon as we got on the bus, “You still talk to Saale?” When I turned away from the heater to face her she froze, “I mean, we don’t have to talk about, forget I asked.” “Do I look that bad?” While Maarja searched for a diplomatic answer Karl stepped in with his special brand of honesty, “You look very tired and unhappy.” “Well, I am happy to see you guys and I am excited to be here, but, yeah,” I decided to get the conversation out of the way, “We tried two months of long-distance, but Skype only gets you so far. Broke up in late July. After we split we agreed to not talk for a couple of months, to give each other some time to clear the system and all that. Keeping radio silence was hard at first but after a couple of weeks I started to get used to it. I was learning to live without her. Things were starting to straighten up, I even took a stab at dating but when the holidays rolled around the loneliness came back. On Christmas I figured I’d throw Saale a holiday message. She wrote back. We started chatting on a daily basis.” The bus bounced through my old neighborhood. Memories of my drunken youth jumped at me from every corner, most of those memories involved Saale. “Last night we got pretty drunk,” I continued, “Things got flirty. We started talking about what we would do if we weren’t half a continent away from each other. She mentioned her parents were out of town until the end of January on some sort of an anniversary trip. I offered to fly in. She told me I should. Now I’m here.” “She changed her mind?” Karl asked. “She didn’t think I was serious about flying over. Didn’t exactly check with her before I bought the ticket. She flipped out when I got it, told me to get a refund and then hung up on me when I insisted on meeting up. She hasn’t answered any of my messages since.” A part of me felt good to get the story out of my system but saying it out loud just added to the absurdity. I could have not bought the ticket, I could have gotten a refund, I could have not gotten on that plane. Everything could have been avoided, but nineteen year old me leaped at the opportunity for a grand romantic gesture like a hungry animal. “Very strange,” Karl finally said after considering my story. He shot a look over to Maarja, as if she was the ambassador to all women-kind, “Very strange, right?” Maarja shrugged. Maarja’s house was the crown jewel of my high-school social life. It was a three-apartment unit that was built at some point before the world wars. This place was old, as you would walk around the little apartment it would creak, but it made for a perfect party place. Maarja had inherited the apartment from her grandma at sixteen; the Estonians saw child rearing as a fairly independent process. If she couldn’t survive on her own at sixteen she probably couldn’t make it at thirty, a bit of responsibility would prepare her for the frigid world outside. Maarja used her newly found independence to throw the biggest house parties that the neighborhood had ever seen. Maarja’s place was perfect for booze filled gatherings. It was spacious enough to hold any drinking game we could dream up, there was a nice terrace for smoking and the neighbors were either deaf, completely apathetic about teenage drinking or both. As soon as the front door opened I was assaulted by memories. Visions of drunken nights on the floor of the living room, of hung-over mornings of the kitchen; the old apartment breathed with the past. For a split second a wave of gratitude for a youth well spent washed over me, but then I remembered that each of those fond memories had an element I wanted to block out. Most of the fun I had in the apartment had been with Saale by my side. Maarja and Karl still slept on an old mattress on the floor, the walls were still covered with cut outs of boy-bands that Maarja had stuck to the wall in her tweens. The only thing that changed about their bedroom was the addition of a massive computer rig on the table. There were strange ventilators and cooling tubes and blinking lights, the machine looked like something straight out of a sci-fi flick. “That’s my mining rig,” Karl said proudly. I nodded as if I understood what he was talking about. “Where are the rats?” I asked, noticing the empty cage on Maarja’s wardrobe. Back in the day Maarja had two rats, Fritz and The Duchess. She would keep them in the cage most of the time, but whenever the night reached a certain point of drunkenness Maarja would sneak over to her bedroom and come out with the two animals. If you saw Maarja with two rats running up and down her body you knew the night was really going to become a rager. “The Duchess died last week,” Maarja said with a glint of sorrow, “Fritz wasn’t taking it well. Think the little guy was depressed being in the cage all alone, so I’m letting him roam around the house for the time being. Hopefully a bit of freedom will cheer him up.” As if he had heard his name, Fritz peeked out from behind the wardrobe. The albino rat raised his snout in the air, sniffed for a bit and then lumbered off to the living room. The years had taken their toll on Fritz, he no longer moved with the youthful energy I was used to, but the one part of him that I remembered had not changed. Fritz still had balls that were disproportionately giant to his body. As he moved away from us he dragged them behind him with Sisyphean effort. “So, which hostel are you crashing at?” Maarja asked. A lump manifested in my throat. I looked around the cramped apartment. Outside of the mattress there was nowhere for me to sleep. I didn’t have any money for a hostel. “Ah, I’m just kidding. You’re crashing here. We owe you anyway,” Maarja said with good cheer. “For what?” I asked, relieved that I wasn’t homeless. “Financing the booze and cigarettes back in the day, might have ended up a nun if it weren’t for you,” she said with a grin. It was true, throughout high school I had been the main financier of our misadventures, my parents had foreign money and that money went pretty far by Estonian standards. More importantly though; when everyone was sixteen I looked twelve. According to the law of teen streets, the late bloomer provides the dough for those who can buy stuff without ID. “You’ll sleep on the couch, we just haven’t had the time to get it out of the garage. How about you and Karl drag it in while I make some tea?” Even though it was a bright winter day outside the garage was in near darkness. The only thing that illuminated the cramped musty room was a single ray of light shining in through a cracked skylight. The garage was covered in flimsy shelves that buckled beneath the weight of greasy machine parts. In the center of the garage lay a couch shaped object covered with a large, stained cloth. Karl grabbed ahold the cloth and was about to pull it away, but a thought struck him. “James, if I tell you something will you not tell Maarja?” He asked, letting the cloth drop back down to the floor. He looked straight at me; his small eyes were probing me for trustworthiness. “Well, depends on what it is,” I said, “Don’t need help burying a body, right?” “No,” Karl’s intensity broke into a smile, “It is nothing illegal. Just a secret.” He strode towards one of the rickety shelves and plunged his hand deep into its depths. After a moment of rustling he pulled out a small box. He opened it. Even though the garage was dark, and even though the diamond was tiny, you could see a little glimmer. Karl’s eyes shone twice as bright. “Wow man,” I said, realizing how quickly the world was moving on, “Congratulations!” Maarja and Karl would get married and I would be at their wedding alone. As I stood in that garage the thought that I would always be alone gushed dread through my veins. We used to joke about how Saale and me would get hitched before the two of them did. Those jokes felt cruel now. Maarja and Karl would get married and one day Saale would get married too. She would get married to someone who wasn’t me. “I’m really happy for you.” “I want to ask her father soon. He does not like me much, but I think I can show him that I can provide for his daughter. This Bitcoin thing will be big soon James, in a couple of years me and Maarja will be rich.” Karl put the box back into its hiding place. “Promise not to tell her, yes?” “Promise,” I said with as much candor as I could muster, but my mind was elsewhere. My mind was floating disembodied in a bright church, watching my would-be-wife get married to someone else. “James,” Karl’s paw on my shoulder brought me back into reality, “You will be okay. I know you are worried about Saale, but you still have us. We will drink this away.” He smiled. I tried to smile back. “Let’s get this couch, shall we?” He pulled away at the cloth that covered the couch. Enough dust flew off into the air to send us both into a coughing fit. The room danced with dirty particles. Yet from behind the veil of powder I could see it. I could see the couch. The thing was ancient, a couch straight out of the early days of the Soviet Union. Its flowery upholstery was covered in stains that just screamed history. It was as if the piece of furniture had been used for barricades in the defense of Stalingrad and lived to talk about it. Filth filled its rumpled cloth, it stood on firm wooden legs that seemed to have survived multiple generations of being clawed at, it was as if the thing was simply biding its time until its true masters came back to retrieve it. The couch was old, but somehow in that dark garage, in that gust of earthly smoke, there was something alluring about it. It looked ratty but comfortable, even inviting. For a split second I was sure that the couch had winked at me with its cushioning. Then the dust settled and it was just a piece of furniture. Karl grabbed one side of the couch, I grabbed the other and we started to haul the thing towards the living room. We had left the garage, but there was still tension in the air. I was still thinking about Saale getting married to someone who wasn’t me. It was still as if Karl and me were meant to have a serious discussion. Neither of us were comfortable. “I lost my virginity on this couch,” I shared, hoping to relax the situation. Karl grinned, accepting the levity, “Gross.” We dragged the couch to the living room and then joined Maarja in the kitchen. Back in the day her kitchen table was the go-to place to gather before drinking and after drinking. We would sit around and shoot the shit and wait for someone to drop off the booze for the evening or the hung-over pizza for the morning. Yet as we sat there, trying to make small talk, one of the chairs was empty and it made all the difference. I couldn’t focus on anything that was being said around me, all I could think about was how Saale used to sit next to me. All I could think about were her long legs on my lap, her long fiery hair, her laughter. “How about we sweeten the evening with a bit of moonshine?” Maarja asked, as she fished a clear bottle out of the kitchen counter, “Karl and me are going to lunch with my parents tomorrow though, so no hangovers.” Karl cheered on the promise of alcohol, but not even drink could lift my spirits. My eyes shifted from Saale’s empty seat to the couch. All I wanted to do was lie down and fall asleep for a thousand years. “Guys, I appreciate the hospitality but I’m really tired. How about we drink tomorrow?” I said. Karl and Maarja looked concerned, this was the first time they had ever seen me refuse booze. “Are you sure you’re okay honey? We can talk about it if you want to,” Maarja suggested. I insisted I was fine; I just needed to get some rest. That didn’t convince her, but she yielded, “Well, we’ll be in my room if you need us.” Her and Karl shuffled off to her bedroom. I laid down on the couch. From the other room I could hear them talk. Maarja talked in concerned whispers whilst Karl spoke at full volume, it didn’t make much of a difference, even after five years of being in the country I still couldn’t understand Estonian. I could hear my name being mentioned though. They were concerned about the emotional wreck that was crashing on their couch. I dragged my friends into my mess. It was all so humiliating; I was far from home, broke and broken. I wanted to die. ‘Easy there Tiger, don’t think like that,’ a faint voice emerged from the back of my head, ‘Things might not seem great right now, but look on the bright side, at least you’re on a comfortable couch.’ The voice was right; the couch was indeed comfortable. ‘All you need is a bit of a distraction to forget about your broken heart. Some booze, some dope, maybe a bit of love and you’ll be good as new.’ It was as if the suave voice turned a switch in my mind. Suddenly the tightness in my chest eased, a burst of joy started to bubble in my abdomen. My fingers started to trace the sides of the upholstery. The voice giggled, ‘That’s the spirit Tiger, just relax, you’re fine as long as you’re here with me.’ The universe felt lighter, my feelings of dread faded away and were replaced with an electric anticipation. I needed a drink to celebrate. I opened the door to Maarja’s bedroom. She was lounging on the mattress reading a psych textbook. Karl was watching bar graphs on the computer. “Hey guys,” I peeked in, “I feel a bit better now, how about those drinks?” They both grinned. We drank. In the moment I didn’t give much thought to the voice in my head, my internal monologue was turned up a notch since the break-up anyway. I was used to hearing thoughts that I consciously didn’t want to consider; the silky voice that was telling me that things would be okay was a welcome distraction. I sunk into the couch and I let the night carry me away. ‘See Tiger? Isn’t it nice to be here? Isn’t life just swell on this little old couch?’ it would say. I nodded along. We drank more. All thoughts of avoiding hangovers were let go; the liquor poured freely. At some point Maarja emerged out of her room with Fritz on her shoulder. We celebrated the tradition of our youth but the rat was sluggish, far too old to crawl around on her body. After a couple of minutes Maarja gave up on playing with the rat. She put him on the ground. Fritz simply walked around the room dragging his testacles behind him like a ball and chain. We drank more. Karl lumbered up to his feet and went to fetch his guitar. Maarja was out having a cigarette. I was far too comfortable on the couch. Having a moment to myself I watched the rat. Fritz had spent the past couple of minutes roaming the living room and sniffing at my backpack. Yet suddenly something caught his attention, he sniffed at the air, his whiskers bouncing in curiosity. Then he looked towards the couch. The old rat sprung to his hind legs and turned towards me. It was as if his beady eyes were locked to the piece of furniture. ‘Oh Tiger, don’t think about the stupid rat. Look, here comes Karl, let’s stop thinking about stupid things and listen to him play.’ Oh and how he could play. To say that Karl lacked warmth would be an understatement, communicating with the guy often felt like having a conversation with a pile of awkwardly stacked encyclopedias, but as soon as he would bring out the guitar he would ooze personality. Somehow, with those hulking fingers of his, Karl had managed to make the strings sing the gentlest of tones. Maarja and me sang along out of key as the night went on. ‘Just like the good old days, Tiger, you’re here and you’re happy. Focus on the positives, focus on the present,’ the voice told me. I followed the advice, until I couldn’t. It was as if a spell had been broken. As soon as I heard those opening chords, as soon as I realized what Karl was playing my stomach sank. It was that Rolling Stones song. Saale and me had danced to it once upon a time. Memories of our first night together came rushing into my mind. The Saale shaped hole in my heart throbbed with pain. I got up to splash some water on my face. Karl shifted his performance into a serenade for Maarja. The tiles in the bathroom were freezing but I was willing to withstand the pain if it meant I could get further away from the song. I stood there, willing to wait it out, but the memories just kept on floating back. I was standing in the same bathroom I stood in the night that I met Saale. I could see traces of a sixteen-year old in my face. The music kept on building. Saale’s lily perfume filled my nostrils. I could remember the fullness of her lips before our first kiss. The images were cascading on top of each other, ripping away at my sanity, ready to plunge me into a panic attack. But then they stopped. The music stopped. I peeked out of the door. Karl had chucked his guitar over to the side. His serenade had given way to a heavy make out session. Him and Maarja were all over each other. “Guys, I’m going to go out for a cigarette,” I announced. The two of them looked up at me dazed and drunk. “Take the keys honey, I think we’re going to bed.” I hoped that the dial tone would block out Maarja’s moans but it didn’t. Not only did I have to listen to a loving couple have sex, I also had to listen to world’s quietest dial tone as I was reminded that Saale did not want to talk to me. I stood out there in the freezing cold smoking one cigarette after another. It was just me, the starless sky and Maarja’s moans. Karl lasted for a quarter a pack before their bedroom quieted down. I tried calling Saale one more time and then went back inside. By the time I stumbled to the couch I could already hear snoring coming from the bedroom. But there was another sound in the apartment, something much quieter, something I almost didn’t notice. Scratching. Luckily I managed to prop myself up against the couch before I sat on him. As I tried to regain my balance I realized just how drunk I was. Fritz was on the couch, furiously scratching into its upholstery. He looked up at the drunken figure hovering over him for a split second and then went back to work. Those little claws scratched with the ferocity of a pup. It was as if Fritz was two years younger. I picked him up by his scruff and tried taking him off the couch. When I lifted him off the ground the rat seemed confused for just a split second before- ‘Aiiieee’ Fritz screamed the world’s tiniest scream and then bit me in the finger. He dropped to the ground and ran beneath a nearby wardrobe. He hid beneath it and watched me. I was too drunk and tired to care. I laid down on the couch and exhaled. ‘Welcome back Tiger, you look tired. Let me keep you company. Yes, life is hard, but if you really appreciate the moment it can be pretty enjoyable. Lie down here, let me keep you hold you. Let’s get to know each other better.’ I could smell floral perfume. I closed my eyes and drifted off to a deep sleep. (Next part)
You probably have heard of Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanisms used by popular blockchain platforms. While most people have a basic understanding of these algorithms and the cryptocurrency platforms that have integrated them, few know about what they are and how they work. The inner workings of these systems can introduce users to a healthy list of benefits from the different algorithms in the marketplace today. To this point, we hope to highlight the key differences between Delegated Proof of Stake, Proof of Stake, and Proof of Work algorithms. Before we go further, it is important to bear in mind that these different algorithms are referred to as consensus mechanisms and they are current requirements that are used to confirm a number of transactions on a blockchain without necessarily needing a third-party. A Brief History of Blockchain Algorithms Being a core objective and achievement of blockchain technology, It has been revealed that when the Bitcoin network was under development, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudo founder of this network sought ways to have transactions on the network verified without having to seek the help of any third-party system or application. This concept empowers networks to operate with fewer intuitions charging “renter’s fees’ for utilizing their networks. He achieved this by creating a Proof of Work algorithm. In simple terms, Proof of work can be said to be a mechanism that is used to determine how a blockchain is capable of reaching consensus. It is used to determine or find out how the network is sure that the transaction to be carried out is valid and that someone is not trying to double-spend or do something bad on the network. The overall protocol is powered by many different nodes which today have become known as miners. With this model, much of the power can be transferred to miners and there are not as many incentives to hold on to assets. Thus, a new model emerged known as Proof of Stake in the later 2010s. This has since been altered and optimized further to create what is known today as Delegated Proof of Stake. Proof Of Work As mentioned earlier, Proof of Work simply refers to a mechanism that is used to validate transactions on a blockchain. The origin of this mechanism can be traced back to 1993 in a journal that was published by Moni Noar and Cynthia Dwork. While this journal talked about this mechanism or algorithm, it was not until 1999 that the term "Proof of Work" was formed by Marcus Jakobson. Going through the Bitcoin white paper, you'll find out that it was theorized by Satoshi and his team of developers that the only way to overpower the strength of blockchain networks was to launch the 51% attack. The white paper went on to reveal that for a majority of users on the Bitcoin network not to get total control of the network, it was only best that the Proof of Work system is integrated into the network. Thus, helping to prevent the worries of a 51% attack by distributing the network across a wide enough number of nodes and having the proper incentives in place for users to hold the asset. All and all, the application of Proof of Work in the Bitcoin network has been described as one of the central ideas on which the network was built upon and to many other blockchain technologies that have emerged since Bitcoin. Proof of Work systems gave way for a trustless and distributed system unseen by the world before. How Proof Of Work Operates Like most of the other crypto networks, Bitcoin users can mine their cryptos with the Proof of Work algorithm. With PoW, miners on the Bitcoin network will have to solve what is referred to as a "cryptographic puzzle" if they are to validate transactions. For a better understanding of how mining works on the PoW algorithm, one can rightly refer to it as a race where miners on the network will have to compete with each other to solve a puzzle. On the network, the answers to these puzzles are referred to as "hash". For miners on the network, each transaction they are able to validate sees them earn the cryptocurrency of the network. In the case of Bitcoin, they get BTC coins. Aside from the crypto coins they earn, they are also rewarded transaction fees paid by users to have their transactions validated. On a PoW mining algorithm, the mathematical puzzles to be solved are complex and would require miners to have large computational power if they are to compete with the other miners on the network. The implications of this algorithm used by the Bitcoin network and a number of other crypto networks include;
New transactions are broadcasted to all on the network
Miners will have to compete to compute a hash value that is in correlations or matches that of the transaction.
The very first miner on the network to solve the puzzle gets the reward and the transaction fee paid by the user
Proof Of Stake With a number of problems supposedly identified by most people in the blockchain community using Proof of Work algorithms, a search for a better algorithm or consensus mechanism was on. Most scholars sought alternatives to the PoW system and that was how the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism was discovered by Sunny King and Scott Nadal in 2012. Unlike the Proof of Work that requires miners on the network to solve mathematical puzzles if they are to earn rewards, Proof of Stake requires miners to stake or lock a specific amount of coins away if they are to validate transactions and earn rewards. How Delegated Proof Of Stake Operates The mathematical puzzles miners are expected to solve are not as difficult as they are on the PoW system. All miners have to prove is that they have a certain amount of coins staked or locked up somewhere. This consensus mechanism is used on the Ethereum network which is currently the second most valuable crypto platform in the world. To get an idea of how delegated Proof of Stake works on the Ethereum blockchain, we'll share an example. On the Ethereum network, if a miner owns about 4% of ETH coins, they will be able to mine 4% of all transactions that are carried out on the network. This simply means that for miners to be able to mine more and earn rewards on the network, they will have to own a large amount of ETH coins. A delegated PoS algorithm was proposed to be a fairer version of the PoW because it offers anyone an opportunity to become a miner. Unlike the PoW system, PoS does not require large computational power for users to validate transactions. It is said to be a better version of the PoW because it ensures that anyone with a little amount of ETH can conveniently mine and earn rewards on the network, unlike the PoW algorithm where users will have to spend thousands of dollars acquiring advanced mining rigs and hardware to mine. Individuals with less advanced mining rigs will find it extremely difficult to mine on the PoW network. In summary, these two consensus algorithms currently power a number of crypto platforms. The technologies empower blockchains to operate in an efficient manner, previously unattainable by a single machine. However, with the combined computing power of many different nodes operating across the network, both models present a great foundation for blockchain technology today.
Antminer T19 May Not Affect Bitcoin Hash Rate but Keeps Bitmain Ahead
The Antminer T19 by Bitmain may not have a big impact on the Bitcoin network, and it comes out amid the firm’s internal and post-halving uncertainty. Earlier this week, Chinese mining-hardware juggernaut Bitmain unveiled its new product, an application-specific integrated circuit called Antminer T19. The Bitcoin (BTC) mining unit is the latest to join the new generation of ASICs — state-of-the-art devices designed to mitigate increased mining difficulty by maximizing the terahashes-per-second output. The Antminer T19 announcement comes amid the post-halving uncertainty and follows the company’s recent problems with its S17 units. So, can this new machine help Bitmain to reinforce its somewhat hobbled position in the mining sector? T19: The cheaper S19 According to the official announcement, the Antminer T19 features a mining speed of 84 TH/s and a power efficiency of 37.5 joules per TH. The chips used in the new device are the same as those equipped in the Antminer S19 and S19 Pro, though it uses the new APW12 version of the power supply system that allows the device to start up faster. Bitmain usually markets its Antminer T devices as the most cost-effective ones, while the S-series models are presented as the top of the line in terms of productivity for their respective generation, Johnson Xu — the head of research and analytics at Tokensight — explained to Cointelegraph. According to data from F2Pool, one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools, Antminer T19s can generate $3.97 of profit each day, while Antminer S19s and Antminer S19 Pros can earn $4.86 and $6.24, respectively, based on an average electricity cost of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour. Antminer T19s, which consume 3,150 watts, are being sold for $1,749 per unit. Antminer S19 machines, on the other hand, cost $1,785 and consume 3,250 watts. Antminer S19 Pro devices, the most efficient of three, are considerably more expensive and go for $2,407. The reason Bitmain is producing another model for the 19 series is due to what is known as "binning" chips, Marc Fresa — the founder of mining firmware company Asic.to — explained to Cointelegraph: “When chips are designed they are meant to achieve specific performance levels. Chips that fail to hit their target numbers, such as not achieving the power standards or their thermal output, are often ‘Binned.’ Instead of throwing these chips in the garbage bin, these chips are resold into another unit with a lower performance level. In the case of Bitmain S19 chips that don’t make the cutoff are then sold in the T19 for cheaper since they do not perform as well as the counterpart.” The rollout of a new model “has nothing to do with the fact that machines are not selling well,” Fresa went on to argue, citing the post-halving uncertainty: “The biggest reason machines probably are not selling as well as manufacturers would like is because we are on a bit of a tipping point; The halving just happened, the price can go anyway and the difficulty is continuing to drop.” Product diversification is a common strategy for mining hardware producers, given that customers tend to aim for different specifications, Kristy-Leigh Minehan, a consultant and the former chief technology officer of Genesis Mining, told Cointelegraph: “ASICs don’t really allow for one model as consumers expect a certain performance level from a machine, and unfortunately silicon is not a perfect process — many times you’ll get a batch that performs better or worse than projected due to the nature of the materials. Thus, you end up with 5–10 different model numbers.” It is not yet clear how efficient the 19-series devices are because they have not shipped at scale, as Leo Zhang, the founder of Anicca Research, summed up in a conversation with Cointelegraph. The first batch of S19 units reportedly shipped out around May 12, while the T19 shipments will start between June 21 and June 30. It is also worth noting that, at this time, Bitmain only sells up to two T19 miners per user “to prevent hoarding.” Hardware problems and competitors The latest generation of Bitmain ASICs follows the release of the S17 units, which have received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews in the community. In early May, Arseniy Grusha, the co-founder of crypto consulting and mining firm Wattum, created a Telegram group for consumers unsatisfied with the S17 units they purchased from Bitmain. As Grusha explained to Cointelegraph at the time, out of the 420 Antminer S17+ devices his company bought, roughly 30%, or around 130 machines, turned out to be bad units. Similarly, Samson Mow, the chief strategy officer of blockchain infrastructure firm Blockstream, tweeted earlier in April that Bitmain customers have a 20%–30% failure rate with Antminer S17 and T17 units. “The Antminer 17 series is generally considered not great,” added Zhang. He additionally noted that Chinese hardware company and competitor Micro BT has been stepping on Bitmain’s toes lately with the release of its highly productive M30 series, which prompted Bitmain to step up its efforts: “Whatsminer gained significant market share in the past two years. According to their COO, in 2019 MicroBT sold ~35% of the network hashrate. Needless to say Bitmain is under a lot of pressure both from competitors and internal politics. They have been working on the 19 series for a while. The specs and price look very attractive.” Minehan confirmed that MicroBT has been gaining traction on the market, but refrained from saying that Bitmain is losing market share as a result: “I think MicroBT is offering option and bringing in new participants, and giving farms a choice. Most farms will have both Bitmain and MicroBT side by side, rather than exclusively host one manufacturer.” “I would say that MicroBT has taken up the existing market share that Canaan has left,” she added, referring to another China-based mining player that recently reported a net loss of $5.6 million in the first quarter of 2020 and cut the price of its mining hardware by up to 50%. Indeed, some large-scale operations seem to be diversifying their equipment with MicroBT units. Earlier this week, United States mining firm Marathon Patent Group announced that it had installed 700 Whatsminer M30S+ ASICs produced by MicroBT. However, it is also reportedly waiting for a delivery of 1,160 Antminer S19 Pro units produced by Bitmain, meaning that it also remains loyal to the current market leader. Will the hash rate be affected? Bitcoin’s hash rate plummeted 30% soon after the halving occurred as much of the older generation equipment became unprofitable due to the increased mining difficulty. That spurred miners to reshuffle, upgrading their current rigs and selling older machines to places where electricity is cheaper — meaning that some of them had to temporarily unplug. The situation has stabilized since, with the hash rate fluctuating around 100 TH/s for the past few days. Some experts attribute that to the start of the wet season in Sichuan, a southwest Chinese province where miners take advantage of low hydroelectricity prices between May and October. The arrival of the new generation of ASICs is expected to drive the hash rate even higher, at least once upgraded units become widely available. So, will the newly revealed T19 model make any impact on the state of the network? Experts agree that it won’t affect the hash rate to a major degree, as it’s a lower output model compared with the S19 series and MicroBT’s M30 series. Minehan said she doesn’t expect the T19 model “to have a huge impact that’s an immediate cause of concern,” as “most likely this is a run of <3500 units of a particular bin quality.” Similarly, Mark D’Aria, the CEO of crypto consulting firm Bitpro, told Cointelegraph: “There isn’t a strong reason to expect the new model to significantly affect the hashrate. It might be a slightly more compelling option to a miner with extraordinarily inexpensive electricity, but otherwise they likely would have just purchased an S19 instead.” Bitmain continues to hold leadership despite internal struggle At the end of the day, manufacturers are always in an arms race, and mining machines are simply commodity products, Zhang argued in a conversation with Cointelegraph: “Besides price, performance, and failure rate, there are not many factors that can help a manufacturer differentiate from the others. The relentless competition led to where we are today.” According to Zhang, as the iteration rate naturally slows down in the future, there will be more facilities using “creative thermal design such as immersion cooling,” hoping to maximize the mining efficiency beyond just using most powerful machines. As for now, Bitmain remains the leader of the mining race, despite having to deal with the largely defunct 17 series and an intensifying power struggle between its two co-founders, Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, which recently resulted in reports of a street brawl. “Due to its recent internal issues, Bitmain is facing challenges to keep its strong position in the future thus they started to look at other things to expand its industry influences,” Xu told Cointelegraph. He added that Bitmain “will still dominate the industry position in the near future due to its network effect,” although its current problems might allow competitors such as MicroBT to catch up. Earlier this week, the power struggle inside Bitmain intensified even further as Micree Zhan, an ousted executive of the mining titan, reportedly led a group of private guards to overtake the company’s office in Beijing. Meanwhile, Bitmain continues to expand its operations. Last week, the mining company revealed it was extending its “Ant Training Academy” certification program to North America, with the first courses set to launch in the fall. As such, Bitmain seems to be doubling down on the U.S.-based mining sector, which has been growing recently. The Beijing-based company already operates what it classifies as “the world’s largest” mining facility in Rockdale, Texas, which has a planned capacity of 50 megawatts that can later be expanded to 300 megawatts.
STATUS: Majority of questions have been answered. If yours got missed, please feel free to post it again. Introduction All, Based on the rapid increase in popularity and price of bitcoin and other crypto currencies (particularly over the past year), I expect that lots of people have questions about how crypto currency will impact their taxes. This thread attempts to address several common issues. I'm posting similar versions of it here, in several major crypto subs, and eventually in the weekly "tax help" threads personalfinance runs. I'd like to thank the /personalfinance mod team and the /tax community for their help with this thread and especially for reading earlier versions and offering several valuable suggestions/corrections. This thread is NOT an endorsement of crypto currency as an investing strategy. There is a time and a place to debate the appropriateness of crypto as part of a diversified portfolio - but that time is not now and that place is not here. If you are interested in the general consensus of this sub on investing, I would urge you to consult the wiki while keeping in mind the general flowchart outlining basic steps to get your finances in order. Finally, please note that this thread attempts to provide information about your tax obligations as defined by United States law (and interpreted by the IRS under the direction of the Treasury Department). I understand that a certain portion of the crypto community tends to view crypto as "tax free" due to the (actual and perceived) difficulty for the IRS to "know" about the transactions involved. I will not discuss unlawfully concealing crypto gains here nor will I suggest illegal tax avoidance activities. The Basics This section is best for people that don't understand much about taxes. It covers some very basic tax principles. It also assumes that all you did during the year was buy/sell a single crypto currency. Fundamentally, the IRS treats crypto not as money, but as an asset (investment). While there are a few specific "twists" when it comes to crypto, when in doubt replace the word "crypto" with the word "stock" and you will get a pretty good idea how you should report and pay tax on crypto. The first thing you should know is that the majority of this discussion applies to the taxes you are currently working on (2017 taxes). The tax bill that just passed applies to 2018 taxes (with a few very tiny exceptions), which most people will file in early 2019. In general, you don't have to report or pay taxes on crypto currency holdings until you "cash out" all or part of your holdings. For now, I'm going to assume that you cash out by selling them for USD; however, other forms of cashing out will be covered later. When you sell crypto, you report the difference between your basis (purchase price) and proceeds (sale price) on Schedule D. Your purchase price is commonly referred to as your basis; while the two terms don't mean exactly the same thing, they are pretty close to one another (in particular, there are three two ways to calculate your basis - your average cost, a first-in, first-out method, and a "specific identification" method. See more about these here and here). EDIT - you may not use average cost method with crypto - see here. If you sell at a gain, this gain increases your tax liability; if you sell at a loss, this loss decreases your tax liability (in most cases). If you sell multiple times during the year, you report each transaction separately (bad news if you trade often) but get to lump all your gains/losses together when determining how the trades impact your income. One important thing to remember is that there are two different types of gains/losses from investments - short term gains (if you held an asset for one year or less) and long term gains (over one year; i.e. one year and one day). Short term gains are taxed at your marginal income rate (basically, just like if you had earned that money at a job) while long term gains are taxed at lower rates. For most people, long term capital gains are taxed at 15%. However, if you are in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, congrats - your gains (up to the maximum amount of "unused space" in your bracket) are tax free! If you are in the 25%, 28%, 33%, or 35% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 15%. If you are in the 39.6% bracket, long term gains are taxed at 20%. Additionally, there is an "extra" 3.8% tax that applies to gains for those above $200,000/$250,000 (single/married). The exact computation of this tax is a little complicated, but if you are close to the $200,000 level, just know that it exists. Finally, you should know that I'm assuming that you should treat your crypto gains/losses as investment gains/losses. I'm sure some people will try and argue that they are really "day traders" of crypto and trade as a full time job. While this is possible, the vast majority of people don't qualify for this status and you should really think several times before deciding you want to try that approach on the IRS. "Cashing Out" - Trading Crypto for Goods/Services I realize that not everyone that "cashes out" of crypto does so by selling it for USD. In fact, I understand that some in the crypto community view the necessity of cashing out itself as a type of myth. In this section, I discuss what happens if you trade your crypto for basically anything that isn't cash (minor sidenote - see next section for a special discussion on trading crypto for crypto; i.e. buying altcoins with crypto). The IRS views trading crypto for something of value as a type of bartering that must be included in income. From the IRS's perspective, it doesn't matter if you sold crypto for cash and bought a car with that cash or if you just traded crypto directly for the car - in both cases, the IRS views you as having sold your crypto. This approach isn't unique to crypto - it works the same way if you trade stock for something. This means that if you do trade your crypto for "stuff", you have to report every exchange as a sale of your crypto and calculate the gain/loss on that sale, just as if you had sold the crypto for cash. Finally, there is one important exception to this rule. If you give your crypto away to charity (one recognized by the IRS; like a 501(c)(3) organization), the IRS doesn't make you report/pay any capital gains on the transaction. Additionally, you still get to deduct the value of your donation on the date it was made. Now, from a "selfish" point of view, you will always end up with more money if you sell the crypto, pay the tax, and keep the rest. But, if you are going to make a donation anyway, especially a large one, giving crypto where you have a big unrealized/untaxed gain is a very efficient way of doing so. "Alt Coins" - Buying Crypto with Crypto The previous section discusses what happens when you trade crypto for stuff. However, one thing that surprises many people is that trading crypto for crypto is also a taxable event, just like trading crypto for a car. Whether you agree with this position or not, it makes a lot of sense once you realize that the IRS doesn't view crypto as money, but instead as an asset. So to the IRS, trading bitcoin for ripple isn't like trading dollars for euros, but it is instead like trading shares of Apple stock for shares of Tesla stock. Practically, what this means is that if you trade one crypto for another crypto (say BTC for XRP just to illustrate the point), the IRS views you as doing the following:
Selling for cash the amount of BTC you actually traded for XRP.
Owing capital gains/losses on the BTC based on its selling price (the fair market value at the moment of the exchange) and your purchase price (basis).
Buying a new investment (XRP) with a cost basis equal to the amount the BTC was worth when you exchanged them.
This means that if you "time" your trade wrong and the value of XRP goes down after you make the exchange, you still owe tax on your BTC gain even though you subsequently lost money. The one good piece of news in this is that when/if you sell your XRP (or change it back to BTC), you will get a capital loss for the value that XRP dropped. There is one final point worth discussing in this section - the so called "like kind exchange" rules (aka section 1031 exchange). At a high level, these rules say that you can "swap" property with someone else without having to pay taxes on the exchange as long as you get property in return that is "like kind". Typically, these rules are used in real estate transactions. However, they can also apply to other types of transactions as well. While the idea is simple (and makes it sound like crypto for crypto should qualify), the exact rules/details of this exception are very fact specific. Most experts (including myself, but certainly not calling myself an expert) believe that a crypto for crypto swap is not a like kind exchange. The recently passed tax bill also explicitly clarifies this issue - starting in 2018, only real estate qualifies for like kind exchange treatment. So, basically, the vast majority of evidence suggests that you can't use this "loophole" for 2017; however, there is a small minority view/some small amount of belief that this treatment would work for 2017 taxes and it is worth noting that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this approach. Dealing with "Forks" Perhaps another unpleasant surprise for crypto holders is that "forks" to create a new crypto also very likely generate a taxable event. The IRS has long (since at least the 1960s) held that "found" money is a taxable event. This approach has been litigated in court and courts have consistently upheld this position; it even has its own cool nerdy tax name - the "treasure trove" doctrine. Practically, what this means is that if you owned BTC and it "forked" to create BCH, then the fair market value of the BCH you received is considered a "treasure trove" that must be reported as income (ordinary income - no capital gain rates). This is true whether or not you sold your BCH; if you got BCH from a fork, that is a taxable event (note - I'll continue using BTC forking to BCH in this section as an example, but the logic applies to all forks). While everything I've discussed up to this point is pretty clearly established tax law, forks are really where things get messy with taxes. Thus, the remainder of this section contains more speculation than elsewhere in this post - the truth is that while the idea is simple (fork = free money = taxable), the details are messy and other kinds of tax treatment might apply to forks. One basic practical problem with forks is that the new currency doesn't necessarily start trading immediately. Thus, you may have received BCH before there was a clear price or market for it. Basically, you owe tax on the value of BCH when you received it, but it isn't completely clear what that value was. There are several ways you can handle this; I'll list them in order from most accurate to least accurate (but note that this is just my personal view and there is ongoing disagreement on this issue with little/no authoritative guidance).
Use a futures market to determine the value of the BCH - if reliable sources published realistic estimates of what BCH will trade for in the future once trading begins, use this estimate as the value of your BCH. Pros/cons - futures markets are, in theory, pretty accurate. However, if they are volatile/subject to manipulation, they may provide an incorrect estimate of the true value of BCH. It would suck to use the first futures value published only to have that value plummet shortly thereafter, leaving you to pay ordinary income tax but only have an unrealized capital loss.
Wait until an exchange starts trading BCH; use the actual ("spot" price) as the value. Pros/cons - spot prices certainly reflect what you could have sold BCH for; however, it is possible that the true value of the coin was highelower when you received it as compared to when it started trading on the exchange. Thus this method seems less accurate to me than a futures based approach, but it is still certainly fairly reasonable.
Assume that the value is $0. This is my least preferred option, but there is still a case to be made for it. If you receive something that you didn't want, can't access, can't sell, and might fail, does it have any value? I believe the answer is yes (maybe not value it perfectly, but value it somewhat accurately), but if you honestly think the answer is no, then the correct tax answer would be to report $0 in income from the fork. The IRS would be most likely to disagree with this approach, especially since it results in the least amount of income reported for the current year (and the most favorable rates going forward). Accordingly, if you go this route, make extra sure you understand what it entails.
Note, once you've decided what to report as taxable income, this amount also becomes your cost basis in the new crypto (BCH). Thus, when you ultimately sell your BCH (or trade it for something else as described above), you calculate your gain/loss based on what you included in taxable income from the fork. Finally, there is one more approach to dealing with forks worth mentioning. A fork "feels" a lot like a dividend - because you held BTC, you get BCH. In a stock world, if I get a cash dividend because I own the stock, that money is not treated as a "treasure trove" and subject to ordinary income rates - in most cases, it is a qualified dividend and subject to capital gain rates; in some cases, some types of stock dividends are completely non taxable. This article discusses this idea in slightly more detail and generally concludes that forks should not be treated as a dividend. Still, I would note that I'm unaware of any court cases directly testing this theory. Ultimately, this post is supposed to be practical, so let me make sure to leave you with two key thoughts about the taxation of forks. First, I believe that the majority of evidence suggests that forks should be treated as a "treasure trove" and reported as ordinary income based on their value at creation and that this is certainly the "safest" option. Second, out of everything discussed in this post, I also believe that the correct taxation of forks is the murkiest and most "up for debate" area. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of forks, see this thread for a previous version of this post discussing it at even more length and the comments for a discussion of this with the tax community. Mining Crypto Successfully mining crypto coins is a taxable event. Depending on the amount of effort you put into mining, it is either considered a hobby or a self-employment (business) activity. The IRS provides the following list of questions to help decide the correct classification:
The manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity.
The expertise of the taxpayer or his advisors.
The time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity.
Expectation that assets used in activity may appreciate in value.
The success of the taxpayer in carrying on other similar or dissimilar activities.
The taxpayer’s history of income or losses with respect to the activity.
The amount of occasional profits, if any, which are earned.
If this still sounds complicated, that's because the distinction is subject to some amount of interpretation. As a rule of thumb, randomly mining crypto on an old computer is probably a hobby; mining full time on a custom rig is probably a business. In either event, you must include in income the fair market value of any coins you successfully mine. These are ordinary income and your basis in these coins is their fair market value on the date they were mined. If your mining is a hobby, they go on line 21 (other income) and any expenses directly associated with mining go on schedule A (miscellaneous subject to 2% of AGI limitation). If your mining is a business, income and expenses go on schedule C. Both approaches have pros and cons - hobby income isn't subject to the 15.3% self-employment tax, only normal income tax, but you get fewer deductions against your income and the deductions you get are less valuable. Business income has more deductions available, but you have to pay payroll (self-employment) tax of about 15.3% in addition to normal income tax. What if I didn't keep good records? Do I really have to report every transaction? One nice thing about the IRS treating crypto as an asset is that we can look at how the IRS treats people that "day trade" stock and often don't keep great records/have lots of transactions. While you need to be as accurate as possible, it is ok to estimate a little bit if you don't have exact records (especially concerning your cost basis). You need to put in some effort (research historical prices, etc...) and be reasonable, but the IRS would much rather you do a little bit of reasonable estimation as opposed to just not reporting anything. Sure, they might decide to audit you/disagree with some specifics, but you earn yourself a lot of credit if you can show that you honestly did the best you reasonably could and are making efforts to improve going forward. However, concerning reporting every transaction - yes, sorry, it is clear that you have to do this, even if you made hundreds or thousands of them. Stock traders have had to go through this for many decades, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that the IRS would accept anything less from the crypto community. If you have the records or have any reasonable way of obtaining records/estimating them, you must report every transaction. What if I don't trust you? Well, first let me say that I can't believe you made it all the way down here to this section. Thanks for giving me an honest hearing. I would strongly encourage you to go read other well-written, honest guides. I'll link to some I like (both more technical IRS type guides and more crypto community driven guides). While a certain portion of the crypto community seems to view one of the benefits of crypto as avoiding all government regulation (including taxes), I've been pleasantly surprised to find that many crypto forums contain well reasoned, accurate tax guides. While I may not agree with 100% of their conclusions, that likely reflects true uncertainty around tax law that is fundamentally complex rather than an attempt on either end to help individuals unlawfully avoid taxes. IRS guides
Technical: A Brief History of Payment Channels: from Satoshi to Lightning Network
Who cares about political tweets from some random country's president when payment channels are a much more interesting and are actually capable of carrying value? So let's have a short history of various payment channel techs!
Generation 0: Satoshi's Broken nSequence Channels
Because Satoshi's Vision included payment channels, except his implementation sucked so hard we had to go fix it and added RBF as a by-product. Originally, the plan for nSequence was that mempools would replace any transaction spending certain inputs with another transaction spending the same inputs, but only if the nSequence field of the replacement was larger. Since 0xFFFFFFFF was the highest value that nSequence could get, this would mark a transaction as "final" and not replaceable on the mempool anymore. In fact, this "nSequence channel" I will describe is the reason why we have this weird rule about nLockTime and nSequence. nLockTime actually only works if nSequence is not 0xFFFFFFFF i.e. final. If nSequence is 0xFFFFFFFF then nLockTime is ignored, because this if the "final" version of the transaction. So what you'd do would be something like this:
You go to a bar and promise the bartender to pay by the time the bar closes. Because this is the Bitcoin universe, time is measured in blockheight, so the closing time of the bar is indicated as some future blockheight.
For your first drink, you'd make a transaction paying to the bartender for that drink, paying from some coins you have. The transaction has an nLockTime equal to the closing time of the bar, and a starting nSequence of 0. You hand over the transaction and the bartender hands you your drink.
For your succeeding drink, you'd remake the same transaction, adding the payment for that drink to the transaction output that goes to the bartender (so that output keeps getting larger, by the amount of payment), and having an nSequence that is one higher than the previous one.
Eventually you have to stop drinking. It comes down to one of two possibilities:
You drink until the bar closes. Since it is now the nLockTime indicated in the transaction, the bartender is able to broadcast the latest transaction and tells the bouncers to kick you out of the bar.
You wisely consider the state of your liver. So you re-sign the last transaction with a "final" nSequence of 0xFFFFFFFF i.e. the maximum possible value it can have. This allows the bartender to get his or her funds immediately (nLockTime is ignored if nSequence is 0xFFFFFFFF), so he or she tells the bouncers to let you out of the bar.
Now that of course is a payment channel. Individual payments (purchases of alcohol, so I guess buying coffee is not in scope for payment channels). Closing is done by creating a "final" transaction that is the sum of the individual payments. Sure there's no routing and channels are unidirectional and channels have a maximum lifetime but give Satoshi a break, he was also busy inventing Bitcoin at the time. Now if you noticed I called this kind of payment channel "broken". This is because the mempool rules are not consensus rules, and cannot be validated (nothing about the mempool can be validated onchain: I sigh every time somebody proposes "let's make block size dependent on mempool size", mempool state cannot be validated by onchain data). Fullnodes can't see all of the transactions you signed, and then validate that the final one with the maximum nSequence is the one that actually is used onchain. So you can do the below:
Become friends with Jihan Wu, because he owns >51% of the mining hashrate (he totally reorged Bitcoin to reverse the Binance hack right?).
Slip Jihan Wu some of the more interesting drinks you're ordering as an incentive to cooperate with you. So say you end up ordering 100 drinks, you split it with Jihan Wu and give him 50 of the drinks.
When the bar closes, Jihan Wu quickly calls his mining rig and tells them to mine the version of your transaction with nSequence 0. You know, that first one where you pay for only one drink.
Because fullnodes cannot validate nSequence, they'll accept even the nSequence=0 version and confirm it, immutably adding you paying for a single alcoholic drink to the blockchain.
The bartender, pissed at being cheated, takes out a shotgun from under the bar and shoots at you and Jihan Wu.
Jihan Wu uses his mystical chi powers (actually the combined exhaust from all of his mining rigs) to slow down the shotgun pellets, making them hit you as softly as petals drifting in the wind.
The bartender mutters some words, clothes ripping apart as he or she (hard to believe it could be a she but hey) turns into a bear, ready to maul you for cheating him or her of the payment for all the 100 drinks you ordered from him or her.
Steely-eyed, you stand in front of the bartender-turned-bear, daring him to touch you. You've watched Revenant, you know Leonardo di Caprio could survive a bear mauling, and if some posh actor can survive that, you know you can too. You make a pose. "Drunken troll logic attack!"
I think I got sidetracked here.
Bears are bad news.
You can't reasonably invoke "Satoshi's Vision" and simultaneously reject the Lightning Network because it's not onchain. Satoshi's Vision included a half-assed implementation of payment channels with nSequence, where the onchain transaction represented multiple logical payments, exactly what modern offchain techniques do (except modern offchain techniques actually work). nSequence (the field, but not its modern meaning) has been in Bitcoin since BitCoin For Windows Alpha 0.1.0. And its original intent was payment channels. You can't get nearer to Satoshi's Vision than being a field that Satoshi personally added to transactions on the very first public release of the BitCoin software, like srsly.
Miners can totally bypass mempool rules. In fact, the reason why nSequence has been repurposed to indicate "optional" replace-by-fee is because miners are already incentivized by the nSequence system to always follow replace-by-fee anyway. I mean, what do you think those drinks you passed to Jihan Wu are, other than the fee you pay him to mine a specific version of your transaction?
Satoshi made mistakes. The original design for nSequence is one of them. Today, we no longer use nSequence in this way. So diverging from Satoshi's original design is part and parcel of Bitcoin development, because over time, we learn new lessons that Satoshi never knew about. Satoshi was an important landmark in this technology. He will not be the last, or most important, that we will remember in the future: he will only be the first.
Incentive-compatible time-limited unidirectional channel; or, Satoshi's Vision, Fixed (if transaction malleability hadn't been a problem, that is). Now, we know the bartender will turn into a bear and maul you if you try to cheat the payment channel, and now that we've revealed you're good friends with Jihan Wu, the bartender will no longer accept a payment channel scheme that lets one you cooperate with a miner to cheat the bartender. Fortunately, Jeremy Spilman proposed a better way that would not let you cheat the bartender. First, you and the bartender perform this ritual:
You get some funds and create a transaction that pays to a 2-of-2 multisig between you and the bartender. You don't broadcast this yet: you just sign it and get its txid.
You create another transaction that spends the above transaction. This transaction (the "backoff") has an nLockTime equal to the closing time of the bar, plus one block. You sign it and give this backoff transaction (but not the above transaction) to the bartender.
The bartender signs the backoff and gives it back to you. It is now valid since it's spending a 2-of-2 of you and the bartender, and both of you have signed the backoff transaction.
Now you broadcast the first transaction onchain. You and the bartender wait for it to be deeply confirmed, then you can start ordering.
The above is probably vaguely familiar to LN users. It's the funding process of payment channels! The first transaction, the one that pays to a 2-of-2 multisig, is the funding transaction that backs the payment channel funds. So now you start ordering in this way:
For your first drink, you create a transaction spending the funding transaction output and sending the price of the drink to the bartender, with the rest returning to you.
You sign the transaction and pass it to the bartender, who serves your first drink.
For your succeeding drinks, you recreate the same transaction, adding the price of the new drink to the sum that goes to the bartender and reducing the money returned to you. You sign the transaction and give it to the bartender, who serves you your next drink.
At the end:
If the bar closing time is reached, the bartender signs the latest transaction, completing the needed 2-of-2 signatures and broadcasting this to the Bitcoin network. Since the backoff transaction is the closing time + 1, it can't get used at closing time.
If you decide you want to leave early because your liver is crying, you just tell the bartender to go ahead and close the channel (which the bartender can do at any time by just signing and broadcasting the latest transaction: the bartender won't do that because he or she is hoping you'll stay and drink more).
If you ended up just hanging around the bar and never ordering, then at closing time + 1 you broadcast the backoff transaction and get your funds back in full.
Now, even if you pass 50 drinks to Jihan Wu, you can't give him the first transaction (the one which pays for only one drink) and ask him to mine it: it's spending a 2-of-2 and the copy you have only contains your own signature. You need the bartender's signature to make it valid, but he or she sure as hell isn't going to cooperate in something that would lose him or her money, so a signature from the bartender validating old state where he or she gets paid less isn't going to happen. So, problem solved, right? Right? Okay, let's try it. So you get your funds, put them in a funding tx, get the backoff tx, confirm the funding tx... Once the funding transaction confirms deeply, the bartender laughs uproariously. He or she summons the bouncers, who surround you menacingly. "I'm refusing service to you," the bartender says. "Fine," you say. "I was leaving anyway;" You smirk. "I'll get back my money with the backoff transaction, and posting about your poor service on reddit so you get negative karma, so there!" "Not so fast," the bartender says. His or her voice chills your bones. It looks like your exploitation of the Satoshi nSequence payment channel is still fresh in his or her mind. "Look at the txid of the funding transaction that got confirmed." "What about it?" you ask nonchalantly, as you flip open your desktop computer and open a reputable blockchain explorer. What you see shocks you. "What the --- the txid is different! You--- you changed my signature?? But how? I put the only copy of my private key in a sealed envelope in a cast-iron box inside a safe buried in the Gobi desert protected by a clan of nomads who have dedicated their lives and their childrens' lives to keeping my private key safe in perpetuity!" "Didn't you know?" the bartender asks. "The components of the signature are just very large numbers. The sign of one of the signature components can be changed, from positive to negative, or negative to positive, and the signature will remain valid. Anyone can do that, even if they don't know the private key. But because Bitcoin includes the signatures in the transaction when it's generating the txid, this little change also changes the txid." He or she chuckles. "They say they'll fix it by separating the signatures from the transaction body. They're saying that these kinds of signature malleability won't affect transaction ids anymore after they do this, but I bet I can get my good friend Jihan Wu to delay this 'SepSig' plan for a good while yet. Friendly guy, this Jihan Wu, it turns out all I had to do was slip him 51 drinks and he was willing to mine a tx with the signature signs flipped." His or her grin widens. "I'm afraid your backoff transaction won't work anymore, since it spends a txid that is not existent and will never be confirmed. So here's the deal. You pay me 99% of the funds in the funding transaction, in exchange for me signing the transaction that spends with the txid that you see onchain. Refuse, and you lose 100% of the funds and every other HODLer, including me, benefits from the reduction in coin supply. Accept, and you get to keep 1%. I lose nothing if you refuse, so I won't care if you do, but consider the difference of getting zilch vs. getting 1% of your funds." His or her eyes glow. "GENUFLECT RIGHT NOW." Lesson learned?
Payback's a bitch.
Transaction malleability is a bitchier bitch. It's why we needed to fix the bug in SegWit. Sure, MtGox claimed they were attacked this way because someone kept messing with their transaction signatures and thus they lost track of where their funds went, but really, the bigger impetus for fixing transaction malleability was to support payment channels.
Yes, including the signatures in the hash that ultimately defines the txid was a mistake. Satoshi made a lot of those. So we're just reiterating the lesson "Satoshi was not an infinite being of infinite wisdom" here. Satoshi just gets a pass because of how awesome Bitcoin is.
CLTV-protected Spilman Channels
Using CLTV for the backoff branch. This variation is simply Spilman channels, but with the backoff transaction replaced with a backoff branch in the SCRIPT you pay to. It only became possible after OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY (CLTV) was enabled in 2015. Now as we saw in the Spilman Channels discussion, transaction malleability means that any pre-signed offchain transaction can easily be invalidated by flipping the sign of the signature of the funding transaction while the funding transaction is not yet confirmed. This can be avoided by simply putting any special requirements into an explicit branch of the Bitcoin SCRIPT. Now, the backoff branch is supposed to create a maximum lifetime for the payment channel, and prior to the introduction of OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY this could only be done by having a pre-signed nLockTime transaction. With CLTV, however, we can now make the branches explicit in the SCRIPT that the funding transaction pays to. Instead of paying to a 2-of-2 in order to set up the funding transaction, you pay to a SCRIPT which is basically "2-of-2, OR this singlesig after a specified lock time". With this, there is no backoff transaction that is pre-signed and which refers to a specific txid. Instead, you can create the backoff transaction later, using whatever txid the funding transaction ends up being confirmed under. Since the funding transaction is immutable once confirmed, it is no longer possible to change the txid afterwards.
Todd Micropayment Networks
The old hub-spoke model (that isn't how LN today actually works). One of the more direct predecessors of the Lightning Network was the hub-spoke model discussed by Peter Todd. In this model, instead of payers directly having channels to payees, payers and payees connect to a central hub server. This allows any payer to pay any payee, using the same channel for every payee on the hub. Similarly, this allows any payee to receive from any payer, using the same channel. Remember from the above Spilman example? When you open a channel to the bartender, you have to wait around for the funding tx to confirm. This will take an hour at best. Now consider that you have to make channels for everyone you want to pay to. That's not very scalable. So the Todd hub-spoke model has a central "clearing house" that transport money from payers to payees. The "Moonbeam" project takes this model. Of course, this reveals to the hub who the payer and payee are, and thus the hub can potentially censor transactions. Generally, though, it was considered that a hub would more efficiently censor by just not maintaining a channel with the payer or payee that it wants to censor (since the money it owned in the channel would just be locked uselessly if the hub won't process payments to/from the censored user). In any case, the ability of the central hub to monitor payments means that it can surveill the payer and payee, and then sell this private transactional data to third parties. This loss of privacy would be intolerable today. Peter Todd also proposed that there might be multiple hubs that could transport funds to each other on behalf of their users, providing somewhat better privacy. Another point of note is that at the time such networks were proposed, only unidirectional (Spilman) channels were available. Thus, while one could be a payer, or payee, you would have to use separate channels for your income versus for your spending. Worse, if you wanted to transfer money from your income channel to your spending channel, you had to close both and reshuffle the money between them, both onchain activities.
Poon-Dryja Lightning Network
Bidirectional two-participant channels. The Poon-Dryja channel mechanism has two important properties:
No time limit.
Both the original Satoshi and the two Spilman variants are unidirectional: there is a payer and a payee, and if the payee wants to do a refund, or wants to pay for a different service or product the payer is providing, then they can't use the same unidirectional channel. The Poon-Dryjam mechanism allows channels, however, to be bidirectional instead: you are not a payer or a payee on the channel, you can receive or send at any time as long as both you and the channel counterparty are online. Further, unlike either of the Spilman variants, there is no time limit for the lifetime of a channel. Instead, you can keep the channel open for as long as you want. Both properties, together, form a very powerful scaling property that I believe most people have not appreciated. With unidirectional channels, as mentioned before, if you both earn and spend over the same network of payment channels, you would have separate channels for earning and spending. You would then need to perform onchain operations to "reverse" the directions of your channels periodically. Secondly, since Spilman channels have a fixed lifetime, even if you never used either channel, you would have to periodically "refresh" it by closing it and reopening. With bidirectional, indefinite-lifetime channels, you may instead open some channels when you first begin managing your own money, then close them only after your lawyers have executed your last will and testament on how the money in your channels get divided up to your heirs: that's just two onchain transactions in your entire lifetime. That is the potentially very powerful scaling property that bidirectional, indefinite-lifetime channels allow. I won't discuss the transaction structure needed for Poon-Dryja bidirectional channels --- it's complicated and you can easily get explanations with cute graphics elsewhere. There is a weakness of Poon-Dryja that people tend to gloss over (because it was fixed very well by RustyReddit):
You have to store all the revocation keys of a channel. This implies you are storing 1 revocation key for every channel update, so if you perform millions of updates over your entire lifetime, you'd be storing several megabytes of keys, for only a single channel. RustyReddit fixed this by requiring that the revocation keys be generated from a "Seed" revocation key, and every key is just the application of SHA256 on that key, repeatedly. For example, suppose I tell you that my first revocation key is SHA256(SHA256(seed)). You can store that in O(1) space. Then for the next revocation, I tell you SHA256(seed). From SHA256(key), you yourself can compute SHA256(SHA256(seed)) (i.e. the previous revocation key). So you can remember just the most recent revocation key, and from there you'd be able to compute every previous revocation key. When you start a channel, you perform SHA256 on your seed for several million times, then use the result as the first revocation key, removing one layer of SHA256 for every revocation key you need to generate. RustyReddit not only came up with this, but also suggested an efficient O(log n) storage structure, the shachain, so that you can quickly look up any revocation key in the past in case of a breach. People no longer really talk about this O(n) revocation storage problem anymore because it was solved very very well by this mechanism.
Another thing I want to emphasize is that while the Lightning Network paper and many of the earlier presentations developed from the old Peter Todd hub-and-spoke model, the modern Lightning Network takes the logical conclusion of removing a strict separation between "hubs" and "spokes". Any node on the Lightning Network can very well work as a hub for any other node. Thus, while you might operate as "mostly a payer", "mostly a forwarding node", "mostly a payee", you still end up being at least partially a forwarding node ("hub") on the network, at least part of the time. This greatly reduces the problems of privacy inherent in having only a few hub nodes: forwarding nodes cannot get significantly useful data from the payments passing through them, because the distance between the payer and the payee can be so large that it would be likely that the ultimate payer and the ultimate payee could be anyone on the Lightning Network. Lessons learned?
We can decentralize if we try hard enough!
"Hubs bad" can be made "hubs good" if everybody is a hub.
Smart people can solve problems. It's kinda why they're smart.
After LN, there's also the Decker-Wattenhofer Duplex Micropayment Channels (DMC). This post is long enough as-is, LOL. But for now, it uses a novel "decrementing nSequence channel", using the new relative-timelock semantics of nSequence (not the broken one originally by Satoshi). It actually uses multiple such "decrementing nSequence" constructs, terminating in a pair of Spilman channels, one in both directions (thus "duplex"). Maybe I'll discuss it some other time. The realization that channel constructions could actually hold more channel constructions inside them (the way the Decker-Wattenhofer puts a pair of Spilman channels inside a series of "decrementing nSequence channels") lead to the further thought behind Burchert-Decker-Wattenhofer channel factories. Basically, you could host multiple two-participant channel constructs inside a larger multiparticipant "channel" construct (i.e. host multiple channels inside a factory). Further, we have the Decker-Russell-Osuntokun or "eltoo" construction. I'd argue that this is "nSequence done right". I'll write more about this later, because this post is long enough. Lessons learned?
Bitcoin offchain scaling is more powerful than you ever thought.
In 2012 a Possessed Couch Told Me To Murder My Friends
Part 1, Part 2 As I walked through the IKEA showroom I felt distressed. I wanted to sit down, I needed to sit down, but all of the couches around me looked like they would cause me severe back pain. They were lit up with fancy lights and smelled faintly of disinfectant, the whole showroom felt like the world’s fanciest hospital. I desperately searched among the rows for something that would make me comfortable, but my search seemed hopeless. I walked around aimlessly, until, as if by divine intervention, I noticed a maintenance room in the corner of the showroom. As I opened the door a cloud of smoke escaped the abyss that hid beyond. The darkness before me beckoned, ‘Come here Tiger,’ it whispered. I walked into the hallway. The door behind me closed. As I journeyed through the corridor the smoke grew more intense, but so did my certainty that I would find what I was looking for. At first it was only my footsteps that echoed through the darkness, but as I walked on I could hear a far off radio playing. A familiar song by the Stones grew louder as I approached a room at the end of the hall. Yet the music was soon joined by sobs. Someone was crying. A fluorescent light bulb crackled in and out of life, yet it was strong enough to illuminate the small room. A dark haired man in a worker’s uniform sat by the edge of a familiar couch as he finished off stitching the last bits of its flowery upholstery. He wept as he pulled out the thread and needle. His face was caked in grime, but the tears created two clear lines down his cheeks. When he saw me he wiped away his tears and got up. The man composed himself, lit a cigarette and walked over to me. He gave the couch one last look, but it wasn’t a look of sorrow, it was a look of pride. The man looked back at the couch as if he had just walked his daughter down the isle. Then he motioned towards it. ‘Come here Tiger, I’ve been waiting for you,’ the couch growled with sex in its tone. I stepped towards the couch. The electricity in the air was back and stronger than before. ‘I can make your wildest dreams come true Tiger. I can make you believe in a heaven. All you have to do is fuck me.’ I reached out for the couch, all of my nerve endings tingled with anticipation. I was millimeters away from nirvana. The universe had its gaze set on me and was about to reveal all of its secrets but then- My hand started to shake. It was gentle at first but soon the convulsions spread through my arm. Within moments I was down on the floor, my body throwing itself from side to side uncontrollably. The light bulb grew bright with a deafening scream. The world was crumbling at its axis. POP! The room was plunged into darkness. “James? James, wake up,” Karl’s shadow stood above me. It was early morning; the room was still dim with dawn. Karl held two cigarettes in his hands, “We should go have a cigarette, friend.” I was horribly dazed; his words didn’t make a lick of sense. The only thing that seemed understandable was the voice in the back of my head, ‘Don’t listen to him Tiger, he wants to take me away from you. Don’t let him get between our love.’ I stirred on the couch. My fingers were deep in the upholstery. “I don’t feel like smoking right now Karl.” Karl didn’t move. “James, we have to take the couch outside. It doesn’t belong in this house anymore. You and me should also have a cigarette, we need to talk.” ‘He wants to hurt me Tiger, don’t let him hurt me, do something. He has to be stopped.’ I yawned and tried to look as sleepy as possible but Karl’s eyes stayed on me. “Mind if I nap for like fifteen more minutes?” I asked. “James,” he started. His voice was cold, “We need to take the couch outside. We need to talk.” I waited for the voice in my head to tell me what to do but it fell quiet. I was abandoned. “Okay, fine, no better way to start a morning than a bit of furniture moving and a smoke.” I lumbered off of the couch, put on my pants and reached for one end of the couch. “What’s wrong with your hand?” Karl asked. I looked down. My fingers were covered in a thick layer of red, as if I had spent the whole night eating Cheetos. They were also bloated; my nails looked comically small nestled in between thick puffs of red flesh. I waited for the couch to tell me what to do, but it still kept quiet. “I dunno, spent a good amount of time outside without gloves,” I finally said. Karl looked over at my other hand, my perfectly normal hand that didn’t spend the night inside of the couch, but he didn’t say anything. We carried the couch outside in silence. It was oddly warm outside. There were still small piles of snow spread through the yard but the neighborhood looked more like a muddy war zone rather than a winter wonderland. The couch remained silent until we dropped it off in the middle of the backyard. ‘There’s a knife in the kitchen, Tiger,’ it whispered. Karl lit up his cigarette and offered me the lighter. “I forgot my coat, give me a sec,” I said. I walked back into the apartment to fetch it. I went past the kitchen. When I walked out of the apartment Karl was standing far off from the couch. He didn’t register me walking out; his attention was purely focused on the mysterious furniture. Something was going on behind those small eyes of his. My bloated hand was shoved deep into the coat of my pocket. ‘You know what to do Tiger,’ the voice whispered, ‘He wants to take me away from you, but you can stop him. Be my hero Tiger, be my hero and I will bring you incomprehensible pleasure.’ I walked towards Karl. I was shaking. “Want to sit?” I finally asked, dragging his attention away from the couch. Karl motioned towards the lawn chair, “You can sit if you want to.” He lit up my cigarette. ‘One clean cut Tiger, he won’t see it coming, one clean cut through his throat.’ I didn’t sit. Karl’s eyes drifted back towards the couch. “There is something wrong with that couch James,” he started. “I was nervous yesterday. Maarja’s parents have always been very critical of me. They think I am strange. Whenever I meet them they talk to me like I have escaped from a mental asylum, like there is something wrong with me. But yesterday was different James. Yesterday they made an effort. Maarja’s mother complimented me on my tie and her father was willing to look in my eyes while we talked. During lunch he asked me about my financial plans. I told him about Bitcoin,” Karl smiled, “Maarja’s father became very excited. He heard about crypto-currency from his coworkers, but he did not understand it. I explained it to him. He was so impressed that he asked to see how everything works. He invited himself over to our apartment. Things were going well. I saw him smile. I thought things would continue going well.” Karl paused, his eyes drifted back to the couch. “Things did not go well.” “When we arrived at the apartment Maarja and her mom stayed outside for a cigarette. I went inside with Maarja’s father to show him the computer rig. He has heard enough about crypto to know that it is going to lift off. I wanted him to see that in a couple of years I would be able to provide for a family. I wanted to ask him if he would… You know…” Karl’s voice dropped to a whisper, “Let me marry his daughter.” He took another puff and shook his head, “But we didn’t get past the living room.” “As soon as he saw the couch he stopped. He stood there, frozen, looking at the furniture. I tried talking to him but it was as if he didn’t hear me. For almost a minute he stared at the couch and then he jumped on it and started…” Karl trailed off; he looked back at the couch. An expression of utter disbelief danced around his face but he struck it down. Karl looked square into my eyes, “Maarja’s father jumped on the couch and started to hump it.” Even through the numbness of my fingers I could feel the pointed edge of the kitchen knife. ‘Do it Tiger, do it for me. Don’t let him tell you his lies. Kill the freak. One clean cut. The loud whore inside is still asleep; she’ll be easier to get rid of. Do it Tiger, do it so we can be together forever.’ I cleared my throat, “Humping?” I asked? “Humping,” Karl replied, “He humped the couch with all his energy. I tried to get him to stop but he wouldn’t listen to a word I said. He just kept on pressing himself against the couch like it was some long lost lover. I left when he started to take off his pants. “I went outside to get Maarja and her mom. I told them something was wrong with Maarja’s dad and that they needed to come inside right away. At first they didn’t understand, they kept on asking questions. Could they not finish their cigarettes? What was specifically wrong? Why was I so panicked? They were oblivious, but as soon as I mentioned the couch. James, as soon as I mentioned the couch something sparked in Maarja’s mom’s eyes. She ran inside of the apartment, cigarette still in her hand and dragged him out. “Remember how angry she was when she caught you and Saale the night after the party? Remember how we would joke about how crazy she was about the couch? James, the anger I saw yesterday was nothing compared to that. Maarja’s mother was furious. She slapped and hit Maarja’s dad until he was out of the apartment. She threatened him with divorce. She kicked and punched the man and then locked the door on him so he couldn’t come back. “She said that Maarja’s dad was obsessed with the couch when they started dating, that the scars on his face are from rubbing against the cushioning. The only way that Maarja’s mom and her grandma managed to get her dad back to normal was by hiding the couch while he went out to do his military service. After he came back he kept on searching for it, he kept on demanding that the couch be returned, but over the years he gave up. That’s why Maarja’s mom wanted us to burn the couch when she saw it. That’s why she demands we burn it now. “There’s something wrong with that couch James. I sat on it last night while you and Maarja were talking outside. There is something horribly rotten about that couch. As I sat there I could feel it probing in my brain, trying to grab onto something, it was as if the couch was trying to find pain that it could use; pain that it could feed off of. We have to burn it.” ‘SLIT HIS THROAT!’ The voice boomed in my head, ‘SLIT HIS THROAT AND THEN SLIT HER THROAT AND THEN COME TO ME!’ I could feel my arm getting ready. I could already see the blood streaming through his beard. I kept on trying to remind myself that Karl is my friend, that I didn’t want to hurt him, but every fiber of my being was being dragged towards murder. I took a step back. “Can… Can we burn it after New Years?” “Are you okay?” Karl’s face suddenly turned concerned, “You look pale James.” I took another step backward. ‘A SINGLE SLICE TIGER, HE WON’T SEE IT COMING.’ “I…” my legs turned to jelly, I leaned up against the wall. I wanted to take my hand off the knife, I desperately wanted to be as far away from a weapon as I could be, but my hands refused. Murder jumbled my mind, images of death and pleasure and the couch filled my vision. “I don’t think I’m okay.” Karl took a step forward. He planted his hand on my shoulder. ‘JUST DO IT YOU COWARD, JUST DO IT! DON’T LET HIM GET IN THE WAY OF OUR LOVE!’ He sighed, “Is this about Saale?” “Yes,” I found myself saying, “The couch smells like her. I… I’m such a mess Karl. I don’t know how to get over this. I just want to be back. I want to be in high-school again and I want the four of us to be together again and I want to drink every night and…” I realized I was crying again. ‘Coward,’ the voice whispered. Karl looked at me, visibly feeling awkward. His brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what to say. “We can still drink every night,” he finally said, offering up a weak smile. I couldn’t even manage a smile back. He frowned and thought for a bit more before he spoke again. “James, life is sometimes bad and sometimes it is good. Things will not change, Saale will not come back, but if you wait long enough things will get better. You will forget, you will feel better. I am not good with words, but I am good with waiting. Me and Maarja will wait with you until you are better.” My hand slipped out of my pocket. It was empty. “Thank you Karl,” I said. ‘You’re a coward,’ the voice reminded me. The pieces started to fall together. The voice, the rat, the dreams, Maarja’s dad; there was something wrong with that couch. It needed to go. Yet there was still a part of me that couldn’t handle seeing it burn. I needed time to prepare. “You’re right about the couch. There’s something off about it but… Could we wait until after midnight to burn it?” Karl studied me. “Why?” “It’s silly, I know, but I think getting rid of the place where me and Saale had our first night would be a good start to the New Year, like a way to let things go.” Karl considered this idea for a bit and then nodded. It felt like a burden was lifted. Maarja joined us outside after a couple of minutes with coffee. The warmth of the cup felt soothing on my irritated skin. Being with the two of them felt soothing to my irritated soul. Suddenly things started to brighten. Saale and me would never be back together, hell, maybe I would never see her again, and that thought stung but while I was in the company of Karl and Maarja it felt manageable. We set up plans for the rest of the day; by the looks of it our last day of 2012 would be filled with walks through old places, kebabs and booze. We sat down in the kitchen for some pre-drinking. I put the knife where it belonged when no one was looking. The time that it had spent in my pocket felt like a fever dream. Anything related to the couch felt like a distant memory. The whole morning the voice had been silent, as if it had just satiated itself with calling me a coward and decided to abandon me. I returned the favor; even though it was right outside of the window I didn’t look at the couch a single time the entire morning. It was dead to me. In fact, I started to doubt whether it was ever alive to begin with. Yet as we headed out to town I couldn’t help myself. I looked back at the couch. It stood defiantly in the middle of the backyard, snow and mud all around it. This was not the same dusty couch Karl and me had dragged out of the garage. It was comfy looking, clean, even sleek. As Karl and Maarja walked on I could see the upholstery rumple into a wink. ‘We’re not done Tiger,’ the voice faintly whispered in my mind, ‘Not by a long shot.’ I ignored it and went out with my friends. We traced through our high-school drinking holes. Tallinn’s nightlife was always shifting around. Waiters and bartenders from Australia would sit at home, save up their money and run into the Baltics to buy a bar. The bar would be a financial trash fire and in under a year they would go broke. Yet the money that the expats blew on their dreams burnt bright, the names and owners of the bars might have changed but the memories that we made within those walls stayed. We went through the shisha bar where I would always celebrate my birthdays, the Karaoke place where Karl blew all of our minds, the hole-in-the-wall where our band had its first gig. We hoped from memory to memory until we ended up in the grand melting pot: Hellhunt park. By day Hellhunt was a pub with a park terrace. By night Hellhunt was a pub with an adjoining noise complaint. As soon as the terrace closed down teens from every corner of the city would crowd the benches of the park and drink. Even though most of our drinking began at Maarja’s place we would often stumble through here. Hellhunt was the place where our social circle would stretch. “They will be closing it down soon,” Karl said, looking at the mingling crowd of underage drunks. “Neighbors are complaining about the noise.” “Screw the neighbors!” Maarja drunkenly yelled at the windows. She was outpacing both of us, it wasn’t even ten o’clock and she was already drunk enough to forget the whole night. “If you don’t like the noise just come outside! Come drink with us!” Maarja yelled her offer to the windows. No one paid attention to her. Yelling was a regular occurrence in Hellhunt. Maarja stumbled her way over to the bench where Karl and me were sitting and collapsed between us. “You guys hear about Tinder?” That night was the drunkest I had ever seen her. “Tinder?” I asked. “It is an application for your phone where you choose strangers to have sex with,” Karl said. Maarja scoffed so hard she fell on my shoulder. “It’s a love app! It’s where strangers, strangers like James here, find love! What an exciting time to be single, you’re just given a list of people and you go ‘Beep! Boop!’ Next thing you know you’re married!” Maarja lifted her head. She looked in my eyes as an air of utter seriousness and rum drifted off her, “But I swear to god James, if you get married before me I’ll slit your throat.” She burst out into a stream of giggles, managing to spill her drink in the process. “Whoops! Looks like momma needs more jet-fuel.” Maarja staggered up to her feet and started falling down in the direction of the pub. Karl got up and managed to catch her before she fell over, “I will come with you. James? You want anything?” I still had half a plastic cup of vodka sprite. The two lovebirds went into the pub and left me alone with the crowd. I started to think about that Tinder thing that Maarja was talking about. Maybe she was right, maybe it was a good time to be single. I was in the country with the highest models per capita, I was a foreigner, I haven’t been in a serious relationship for six months. There was something about having two breakdowns in the past two days that flooded the obsession out of me. I started searching the crowd for someone I would have swiped right on. That’s when I saw her. She was standing at the edge of a circle of people. Some dude with dreadlocks was telling some story and she was listening. Her hazel eyes drifted around. They caught mine. For a split second we held each other’s gaze. Then Saale broke into a sprint. I ran after her. The Old Town of Tallinn is a lot less beautiful when you sprint through it. You can’t appreciate the medieval buildings when you’re in a mad dash, the cobbled streets definitely don’t help either. I ran after Saale as the city turned into a blur around me. My head spun as I ran past the buildings; old school field trips, karaoke, drunken trips to McDonalds, all those thoughts rumbled about. Yet above all of them there was one solitary thought that reigned supreme; I had to catch Saale. She ran with comical intensity, bumping into drunken crowds as she tried to get away from. It was as if an animal was chasing her. Seeing that panic in her face whenever she looked behind to see if I was gaining on her started to crack something in me. We ran out from the old town towards the two big malls. Crossing the road Saale nearly got hit by a tram. Something in me broke. I stopped. The absurdity of it all hit me at once. I was literally chasing her. She didn’t want to talk to me. She wouldn’t talk to me. For a couple minutes I stood still, letting the celebrating crowds walk past me like I was a lamppost. I was wavering between rage and despair. I chose the latter and trudged my way back to Hellhunt. Karl and Maarja were still sitting on the same bench. He was nursing another beer whilst Maarja was chugging on water insisting that she is just getting hydrated to do more drinking later on. It wasn’t rare to lose your friends at Hellhunt for thirty minutes; they didn’t ask where I disappeared to. They could tell something was off though. I tried to act cool, pretend that everything was fine but it wasn’t. I couldn’t stay there. I needed to go back to Maarja’s and just be alone. “What? You can’t leaveeee! It’s New Years eveee!” Maarja groaned, she kept on touching my face as if that would put me in a more festive mood. “Do you want us to come home too? I am sure we can see the fireworks from the back yard,” Karl finally said, “I think Maarja might benefit from lying down.” Maarja protested. She was basically sober after all. “No I think I need to be alone right now.” Karl studied me for a bit but finally nodded. “We will be back after the fireworks. There are some games on my computer if you get bored.” I appreciated the sentiment but I wasn’t in a mood for videogames. Karl gave me the keys and I made my way back to Maarja’s place. I moved past the crowds heading towards the center. I prayed I wouldn’t bump into Saale again. I rushed past the couch sitting in the backyard. I know couches don’t have eyes but I knew it was watching me. It was silently waiting for me to slip. There was a half drank bottle of moonshine on the living room floor from our pre-drinking. Just like any nineteen-year-old European boy the prospect of booze to dull my sadness leaped out at me. I tried to wash out the sting of rejection with the alcohol and for a while it helped, it dulled the pain, but the drunker I got the more my eyes started to slide towards the window. The couch just sat out there in the backyard, mud all around it, awaiting execution. ‘I told you we weren’t done’ it whispered, ‘Come outside Tiger.’ I took another pull of moonshine. I realized I needed a cigarette. -MJL (Final part)
The purpose is to get a monopoly by banding together. This is sometimes called cooperation, the purpose is to earn more by either fixing prices or reducing supply. It is bad, if it is supported by the state, by laws and regulations with coercive actions againts those that break the cartel rules. If it is done in the market, it is probably benign, and anyway, the cartel can not do much to the detriment of the customers, it can do just a little. The reasons for this: A submarket, what the cartel concerns itself about, is never well defined. There is always a possibility of spillover. The more successful the cartel is, in increasing the profit, the more pressure there is on the inside, to cheat, either with prices or amounts. Therefore there is a limit to how much can be achieved. The more successful the cartel is, the more profitable it is to be outside the cartel, they can sell as much as they want for slightly less than the cartel price. Therefore the size of the cartel is held in check, it can even collapse. So that is three mechanisms, and it works only under market conditions, not with coercion. With coercion, as in all intervention in the market, value creation is reduced, destroyed, or turned into value destruction. There are a lot of state backed cartels around, with a varying degree of intrusion, hairdresser licensing, import restrictions, taxi medallions, farm subsidies, electrical power suppliers and so on. As a rule of thumb, every value creating business which by it's nature have capital or open sales of a type where it is easy for robbers to intrude, will have interventions of some kind. Then there is the world trading scene, where there is no obvious power entity to control it, because there is no world government, and also according to the cartel mechanisms above, there can probably not be. Examples: The oil cartel can move oil prices, or can they? All members are eager to fix the amounts, still all members cheat with the volumes and the prices. The coercive powers are limited A cartel of taxis can increase the prices, but it is only transport, and it spills over to walking, buses and personal car transport, we have all driven a friend to the airport, as an alternative to taxi transport. Henry Ford was very aware, that even with a near monopoly on car production, he could not exploit that position to take extraordinary profits, because there were hundreds of competitors that were eager and ready to supply, and with a higher car price it would be easier for them to produce with profit and get the capital needed to expand. As an example of a cartel of the type setting standards, is the fax industry. Almost overnight, the product was transformed from being useful only to world wide enterprises, to everybody, it was even used to order takeaway. (This was before text messaging and the web). In crypto, there is possibility of spillover, to the remaining branch after a chain split, to some other established coin, or to something new. Finally, let me just describe the mining business as extraordinarily competitive. It can be done everywhere, in any jusrisdiction, it can take advantage of lower power prices, lower power distribution prices, lower work prices, lower ambient temperature, everything that can give an edge. Even taking advantage of subsidised power, even stolen power, even the police will run the mining rigs after confiscation of a mining plant, and I doubt they pay for power when doing it. So the development towards a mining monopoly or an association of people forming a monopoly, also called a cartel, where that cartel can do much of anything to the detriment of the systems users, is totally out of the question for bitcoin mining,
Now you understand what im talking about, seriously 2000 TH/s mining Bitcoin at 2400w (where the latest Antminer S17 is 72Th/s), or mining ETH and the profit is so big that it will cover the miner cost faster then month. And another thing, they using the same hardware to mine multiple currencies which every one of them needs different hardware. Worst thing is that people will loose money, and most likely some of them already did. People think they will get rich after buying this miner, which they will never receive. Their fake products look so bad, their cheapest version ZiBit 2.0 looks like an ATX power supply. https://preview.redd.it/sj7oslyl3cb41.jpg?width=1606&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=470d5ceb04049cb3b617eb3fa1294e414def0b90 Few things to also note is :
They have support chat on their website. I did send them a message and got response after about 20 minutes. So they told me that they only accept crypto currency, and the products are shipped from United Kingdom. My last line of the chat was "im coming for you you'll be in jail soon ".
When you google miner name, there is few websites coming up describing how great is their product. This most likely is owned websites for this scammer or this is purchased content posts.
Fraud cheque causing my account to close while over seas
I copied this post from scams but if anyone knows how to deal with this since I already called them to handle this since it wasn't me. I don't understand who would deposit a cheque in my name? So this started on 05/18/2020 I was working in Thailand and definitely would love to be back the States right now. Anyway, so there was a notification and email saying I have a deposit of $100,000 that was posted on that day and I later on found out that Navy Federal Credit Union stopped my account for Suspicious Activity because someone mailed in a physical check with payable to me signed...? How? I'm in thailand I explained to them and now I'm stuck here without a bank account and the only payment I get is through Wire transfeSwift Transfer and as a veteran this screwed me big time because i'm in a foreign country and I cannot receive my VA disabilities or if stimulus check happens. I work as a contractor in Thailand for investors, oil rigs, and as well as a paymaster for myself and my two partner who does investment but it's funds from stocks and no physical cheques. I do get paid a good amount of money for each job and it ranges from 250k-800k because I arrange purchase of hotels, and i work as contractor for oil rigs as well since I was a Heavy Equipment operator in the corps. As for trading i've been doing it quite a while but sold my stocks and bitcoin and yes i paid tax on these. So now i'm trying to resolve this issue saying that it wasn't me idk who it is maybe it's one of the investor groups but these deals are contracted and the bank has the contract which doesn't make sense why a physical check with my name and it was endorse mailed in to Navy Federal. Has anyone had this happen to them? Because now when I do make big amount of money I feel like they might close it down again even though I have contracts proving i am part of this job just to bring them and help them buying and promoting business etc.... Now let's not involved my job with this scam. The check that was physically mailed to Navy Federal came from the U.S. and I do not get paid by USA or do I associate myself with employment there right now except for my VA disability check and maybe stimulus, I get paid by German company, Thai, or Indonesia by Wire transfer or Swift no paperchecks at all. But yeah can anyone please explain or give me some ideas on how some retard mailed a check payable to my name with my signature when I can't send mail out of the country? this check was signed by me. Okay sorry I'm just alittle jumpy since I'm very concern becuase I am in the dark about this and I've never experience this before and i'm just scared being stuck out here homeless or something. Anyway let me explain the situation that happened clearly. Someone Physically mailed a check to Navy Federal for deposit into my account without my knowledge for 100k endorsing the check with a signature(not mine) through U.S. postal without my knowledge. My investor and who ever sent the check has no contact with each other so who tf in the right mind would do this? because the investor is here with me, and he has duestch bank in germany so he does not need to send any kind of physical check since he will pay me in Swift transfer electronically and before he pays I have to inform navy federal and my tax attorney for obviously tax reason. But this physical cheque idk from who(I will find out tonight thailand time from navy fed),my employment for this contract does not involve any kind of physical check and the US bank is not involved in anyway that involves my employment with these investors so I see no benefit of someone sending me this check at all and forging it at that, keep in mind I cannot send mail out right now from thailand with the coronavirus but this mail was sent within the US which I am not currently residing in. Now in my current situation, I will get paid by my investor because I am helping him with the bank here, and helping him connect with people to invest in a hotel and I get a commission for promoting and setting up ads and popularity of this hotel. As for right now I am surviving with my VA military disability to pay my Bill's and stimulus check from the first wave and money I saved up before I EAS out of the military. And when I do get paid it will be and only be wire transfer(electronically) from my investors account with full documentation of where the funds are from, the contract of my employment and my attorney will be involved as well. But right now I don't have money to spend on this stupid situation for a lawyer about this fraud check case, I'm just trying to make a living but somebody has to screw me over from across the world. As for this investor himself, he knows I am good with bitcoin and investing in stocks, so he wants to help me build up an LLC for me but want me to invest by using my commission from this job and he will jump in once I show results and have his full support. But like I said right now I'm basically working for free until I fulfill the contract of helping him and yes he has a legitimate company, and I get paid in a week which how bad of a luck do I have? This happened before I get paid, and with that commission I open my business for investment for myself and yes I will get license as well later to be a broker. The commission I am getting will be taxed, and will be notified accordingly. But this isn't the issue, the issue is somebody send a damn fraud check without my knowledge, forging my signature and tried to deposit this and I don't even know a reason for this. I just want some advice on why and what will benefit who ever it is who did this. I hope this cleared it up the situation alittle Update 2: Last night I got an email notifying me "Make Request in Person or in Writing We're sorry we couldn't help you today. Your request can be submitted in writing or with an appropriate ID at one of our Navy Federal branches. Written requests can be submitted by mail to Navy Federal, P.O. Box 3000, Merrifield, VA 22119-3000. If your request is sent via express or overnight delivery, send to 820 Follin Lane, Vienna, VA 22180-4907. Didn't contact us? Call 1-888-xxx-xxxx. If international, call collect number." I called them what this is about because I thought it was an update on my investigation. But here's the catch... they ask me "Was that you who called earlier today?" I said no that wasn't me at all I didn't call at all so they informed me that someone tried to call using a 312 area code, they knew my Name obviously, my date of birth, and my full ssn but they didn't get my codeword right so I was safe and I told them specifically that I am in thailand and cannot call using any other number except the one I have. I will now wait and see what will happen next. I as well updated my VA disabilities so these guys can't try anything funny.
Ammo is the most important thing for combat in this game. I don't think I put enough emphasis on this in the previous guide. How do you kill high tier geared players? Good ammo. Low gear? Good ammo. Spend your money here, not on gear or weapon mods. Best example I have is literally my last raid. I got one tapped by a mosin in a full tier 5 setup at full health. Vader helm, Killa armor, silenced M4 build totaling around a mil with ammo and mods. Missed his first shot, I located him, dead to one shot in the thorax. Good ammo trumps all. Here is the best ammo of each type for commonly used guns: 556: M855A1 < M856A1 << M995 545: BT << BS < 7N39 762: BP 12x70: Flechette < AP-20 762x51: M80 << M62 < M61 762x54: 7N1 < SNB < 7N37 9x39: SP6 < SPP < BP 9x19: AP 6.3
On that same note, take grenades into raids. Grenades are very powerful in tarkov. If someone is in range (which is significantly bigger than other games) they will die. A hatchling with a nade and some luck can take down the most geared players in the game. I would highly recommend at least putting one in your pouch for over geared/room clearing purposes.
Quick Hideout Note (thinking about doing a passive income and usual profitable crafting guide): rush for the intel center, the discounts of trades and scav run reduction are huge. Then crafting table, library, and air filtration are all useful. I get about 500k-700k in passive income per day from the hideout by just logging in a couple times. The scav box is absolutely worth it, the 6k rouble option consistently nets me 15-20k (up to 100k+). Bitcoin farm is maybe worth it? Its a big profit per day, mines already paid off, but takes 1-2 months to return its value at current prices. Best crafts are Ifaks at the med, m995 and other ammo at the bench, sugacondensed milk at the fridge, pure water at the filtration all depending on price of ingredients which fluctuate a lot.
Check out the youtube community for loot runs, quest guides, and everything else. Tarkov is a very hard to game explain in a written or word of mouth guide. For specifics, see videos.
Finally, have a plan before you raid. At least know the extracts and your objective (money run, quest, killin dudes) and exactly where those are for the map you're running.
TLDR: Shoreline for money, Interchange for consistency, Customs for quests, Factory/Labs for fights.I did a brief overview on money runs on various maps in my previous guide, but wanted to update those maps in light of recent changes to spawns and my experiences over the past month or so testing all the maps out. In profitability order: Shoreline - With the new addition of 6-8 LedX spawns, shoreline has become king for money. It takes the high reward possibility of Labs and mixes it with the consistent loot value of Interchange with the only draw back being the need for keys, which I purchased for around 3-4 mil for all good loot rooms ( 15 keys in total). This is a steep investment, but it is a one time cost, and completely worth it. You can expect an LedX about 1/7 raids clearing most LedX rooms. I got 5/36 shoreline runs, clearing most rooms about 2/3rds of the time, dying or being beaten to the rooms in the other 1/3. Unlike labs, however, these are just the cherry on top of consistently amazing loot in the rooms with easy extracts to boot. The big draw back is popularity, I run into at least 2-3 PMCs at the resort, usually 4-5 with a duo or squad tossed in the mix. They're usually tier 3-4 geared (I go tier 5 but don't recommend that unless you're good with losing a mil to a lucky mosin shot) and have a bad habit of hiding in rooms and ambushing. Interchange - For consistent mid value barter items, Interchange is your map. Nothing has changed from my original assessment, tldr version being run Oli shelves and the 3 tech stores next to it for about 500k-1 mil per extract, assuming you bring a decent bag and rig. This map has dropped in popularity with the Shoreline buff, but be on the look out for tier 5 geared PMCs doing their 100 Killa kills grind and the ever present extract campers. Reserve - This map still has great high value drops, less frequent than Interchange but with higher average value and requiring less keys than Shoreline. The massive drawback here is extract difficulty. If you can afford it, para-cord with the ice-pick for the repel extract is recommended as you just have to ditch/bag chest armor and you're out. Losing a bag for the manhole has required many a painful pick and chose for me recently and the door just isn't consistent, sometimes the button will be pressed but its still locked, other times its just open. Its a fun PvP map, but for money its just not beating the two above. Customs - This map just really isn't for money, its for quests. But with the addition of the new stashes spread throughout the map you can make decent money whilst running the quests. See my past guide/the link below for stash runs. Factory - Wait, Factory over Labs? Customs over Labs? Yes, I'm getting to that. So why Factory? Because quick, hit and run style or longer scav pileup at a choke-point style runs can net you tons of experience along with a big stack of weapons and decent loot from scav pockets. Solos try the upper hallway office/breakable door, the bottom pipeline hallway curve, or extract choke-point. Duos and squads can hold down the shower doors with ease. Labs - People who have read my previous guide might be surprise this is last. The issue with labs is its completely dependent on high level item spawn rates. Labs is my favorite map, I could write a lengthy separate post about everything labs. At the beginning of the wipe, labs was ludicrously OP. You could spawn in and expect a 1/3 chance of an LedX (2.5 mil at the time) along with 2-3 other 400k+ items spawning in each raid. This resulted in 10's of millions in profit. Then they released Shoreline LedX spawns and turned off labs LedX. The barrel spawn was completely dead (50+ runs and nothing) and the two other (at the time) known locations had maybe a 1/25 rate. You could expect maybe 1-2 other drops per raid and it was now crowded with PMCs. It was difficult to turn a profit doing geared runs, and I lost millions. Today its slightly better, there are 3 new LedX spawns and the barrel spawn has a 1/7-10 (still testing) rate but everything has plummeted in price (VPX is less than 200k now) and you can expect 3-6 tier 5 geared PMCs plus raiders to be skulking around. Great for fights, terrible for money. Though extracting will often bring huge rewards in gear alone in current state. ... - Feel like I'm forgetting one... Hmm... Nah they wouldn't put a thermal ridden snipe happy map in the game with no loot spawns and lots of annoying quests. (Don't @ me Woods fans)
TLDR: Highest level armor not worth, high level ammo makes everything vulnerable. Not doing the same tiers (see previous guide) but the actual armor level itself. For actual setups with armoweapons see my previous guide.
Level 1: Examples:3M body armor, tank helmetIs it worth: No. Its not worth it. Ever. The speed/sound debuffs alone make it not worth it because it doesn't stop anything besides terrible pistol ammo. This should be obvious but I see new players wearing it. Don't bother guys. Sell this on the flea.
Level 2:Examples:PACA/6b2 armor, Kolpac/SHPM/Djeta helmsIs it worth: No for all the helmets due to sound debuff, but kinda if you're really broke for the armor. Level 2 armor is effective against scavs and pistolings. It'll stop you from getting one shot from distance by a crappy shotgun or pistol and is extremely cheap. I'd mark this as the minimum armor on a budget.
Level 3:Recommendations:UNTAPRESS/6B23-1/Kirasa armor,SSH68/LZsh with face/Kiver with face helmsIs it worth: Yes. The chest armor should be the standard for every raid. Its still really cheap but will actually stop most low/mid tier rounds. This makes you much more effective against scavs and low-mid gear PMCs. The SSH68 helm is dirt cheap and should be worn for every raid as a minimum. The other two helmets for tier 3+ load outs. Kiver for no headset, LZsh for use with headset, both with the faceshield.
Level 4:Recommendations:6B13/6B23-2/6B3/6B5 armovests,Zsh-1-2 with face shield/BNTI LSHZ with neck cover and face shieldIs it worth: Armor: Kinda, if you have the money to get it fresh or are questing/fighting focused in raids. The main problem with level 4 armor is its lack of health overall and repair ability (essentially can only be used for 1-2 raids before replacing). It also is mostly to increase coverage on mid tier (5.45 BP/BT for example) ammo but does nothing against high tier ammo, so it doesn't offer much more for the price than level 3. If you have the money, however, it will increase survival rates. Helmets: Yes, once you have the black skier variant unlocked for the Zsh-1, and only with tier 5+ gear for the BNTI. The Zsh-1 helmet will become you're go to for tier 3+ armor the instant you unlock it. Its only 5k roubles more expensive with faceshield than the Kiver but provides level 4 protection on head and ears with level 3 for the face. The BNTI or Vader helmet provides a level 4 faceshield and nape cover, giving you full coverage of level 4 armor over all vital areas. This is better than the Fast-MT (most of who's parts only give level 2-3 protection) and the best helm in the game imo due to it not limiting your vision.
Level 5:Recommendations:Killa 6B13 Assault/Gen4/Redut-M armor, Alytn with face shieldIs it worth: Sometimes, but mostly no. I say this as someone who runs level 5 armor 50+% of my raids. But this is only because after awhile the cost stops mattering to you and it makes raids more interesting to be risking more and getting to challenge anything you come across. The main issue is its extreme expense and the ability to be easily killed by inexpensive weapons with high tier ammo. Killa armor + the Vader helm is, in my opinion, the best armor setup in the game due to having full visibility and high movement speed with coverage on all vital parts. But the amount of times that I've dropped the 400-500k on this armor only to die in one shot to a mosling or hunterling with high level ammo is ridiculous. Yes, this armor makes you immune to anyone with low/mid tier ammo, but high tier ammo, available to everyone through the flea market, cuts right through.
Level 6:Examples:Zhuk-6a, 6B34 "Fort" armor, Vulkan with faceshield helmIs it worth: No. This armor is the only in the game that will reliably take a few shots from the best ammo in the game, listed above. So why is it bad? First off, it has huge penalties. You are slow and bulky and loud. Second, unless you open up a hole in the armor with no face plate/level 3/4 face plates (making you not tanky), you have restricted vision. Its like being a world war era tank. Hard to kill, sure. But if they brought the right ammo for the job they can run circles around you and blast your blind/slow butt until you drop. Third, its very expensive. Zhuk-6a is the only possible option here really for price and penalties, but its also ceramic. If you're going to go tier 5, I recommend Killa armor.
Does this mean you should never run good armor? No. What it means is you should be aware you are likely losing value/money by doing so at higher tiers. Better armor will help you survive more raids, help with quests, and is a sign of being a more established player. But you are trading a LOT more money for smaller advantages in return, making it hard to recommend the more expensive armors in the game to anyone who can't handle multiple instant deaths in a row losing 500k-1mil.
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