Non-Existent Service in the CryptoCurrency Business Will Have Long-Term Impact

Right now the crypto market is red hot and like any market that’s so hot, company’s at the time often forget that customer service is for the long-term and that by not treating the customer right, eventually enough will move on.  Crypto company’s won’t be feeling the pinch right now, but once a downturn hits is where we will see this play out in my opinion.

I’m speaking from my own experience, frustration and concern here.

I have dealt with many different company’s and most of them will NEVER reply to you.  Even worse most of them don’t have a simple contact form, e-mail address, phone number or built-in support system (I guess in all fairness it’s like getting help from PayPal only a bit worse).

A sampling of random experiences and exercise in patience.

Coinbase

It took a long time to get “verified” enough to even make a purchase with their high fee system but it is a quick, expensive and easy way to get into crypto once you are verified.  However one thing I was unhappy with is that you cannot purchase directly to your own personal wallet (I don’t like leaving money in exchanges because of MtGox, Bitfinex and other hacking incidents where people lost real money).  All I ever got was an apologetic generic reply and nothing more.  If you’re having serious issues it is unlikely this company will ever help you so there is the real risk of their mistake or other problems costing you time and money.


Josie replied:

Gatehub

I sent them USD in order to exchange for some Ripple but without my permission they converted it into EUR so I lost money on the conversion and wire.  The reason I sent USD is because they said it was for USD and to top it off the bank was in Lithuania (a little scary to send to an unregulated market and does set off some alarm bells and concerns).  This is typical of the crypto industry and I do think it will come back to bite and haunt them.

I did ask Gatehub to make it right but never received any response after a number of weeks.  Even to verify my account it literally took a number of months to even get a response and to complete the process.  During these bullish times anything will fly because there are only so many alternatives but all bets are certainly off after that point.

Poloniex

Poloniex is one of the biggest exchanges out there but you can find complaints all over reddit of people not being able to verify their account for months.  I uploaded my information only to be sent through a third party verification process.  This required me to use a live webcam that perfectly captured the details of my ID live (who has a webcam these days let alone one that would get the crazy macro shot they require!).  The process told me the details weren’t clear enough, even the sending a selfie with your ID method was not supported.  And if you didn’t get it right at that moment or even if you had no webcam you can’t even try to verify yourself again for several hours.  Needless to say I’ve moved on and so have many others.

Kraken

I simply won’t trust them, initially I didn’t know who they were but somehow I was signed up without my knowledge or consent.  I kept getting so much spam from them I didn’t even realize they were any sort of legitimate company.  The fact that they essentially marketed themselves through spam and forcefully signing up clients makes me not trust them at all (even less than many other firms).

Coinmama

They aren’t cheap but I will give them this, they were quick with verification and when there are issues they reply usually within a number of days with an actual human response.

What Does This Add Up to?

Customer service in the crypto world is non-existent and so is the trust factor and reliability of many of the companies involved.

A very nervous and frustrating experience even for veterans and those who understand crypto, my level of trust in these companies is quite low.   They don’t even have phone numbers or addresses for the most part and those that do you can never get to a human usually.

When things work fine you shouldn’t have a need to contact these companies, but when there are issues it is very likely you will be ignored regardless of the issue, or any reply is not helpful or may come weeks or months too late.

 

The Best Purchase I Ever Felt Good About

I was looking for an old CPU on eBay and I had no idea that this seller was so highly involved in the community and helping to mentor and train people of different backgrounds.  This is definitely one of those “feel good” purchases that I won’t forget but when my CPU came with that piece of paper saying thank you and showing us more about what their firm is about I was very impressed and glad to support such a useful and noble cause.

Thanks and best wishes to the GoodWillRetech Team!

 

Two Of The Craziest Mining Rigs I’ve Found For Sale!

s-l1600

Unsecured Mining Rig Made With Plastic Piping!

I really can’t believe I’ve found people who have made mining rigs like these.  Imagine that these rigs on average cost minimum of a few thousand or more to build and they are selling these to hold your precious GPUs (Graphic Processing Unit Cards!).  The picture above is literally some kind of plastic piping which the cards sit on, there is absolutely nothing from stopping it from falling off by itself!

My favorite is the trend of people selling rigs made out of plain wood!

 

woods-l1600

As I think everyone knows wood is combustible and these GPUs make a lot of heat.  You would almost think it’s a joke but they are too for sale on eBay.  Now I give some of the sellers this, that the design is good looking and functional but why on earth would you risk a fire by using plain old wood from your local Home Depot?

There are other rigs I’ve seen that look like modified bread or shoe racks and even coffee tables.  They all have pros and cons but it really is downright scary that some of them are completely unsecured and a true fire hazard.  As a test I put some of my GPUs in a server rack and after just a few minutes the glass door and metal housing was actually quite warm to the touch.  Imagine prolonged use against wood or plastic that may melt?

 

Ethereum’s Issues Stem From the Basics

Ethereum is certainly #2 in the market capitalization only second to Bitcoin but it doesn’t mean it’s as easy to use.  In fact I suspect my recent experience is what is keeping it from rising, Ethereum makes me nervous and reluctant to use it everyday. As someone who has used the client’s/wallets for both I find Ethereum’s is cumbersome and at times impossible to use, thus preventing the user from using it to do any transactions at all.

Imagine if a simple eTransfer or Wire from your bank took over a week to initiate?  That’s way too long and beyond the purpose of the infamous but in practice non-realtime transactions in the cryptoworld.

I spent nearly a week syncing 4 months of blocks!

I needed to do a transaction in Ethereum and opened up my Ethereum Client which slowed my whole computer down and ultimately wouldn’t update past a certain point.

I consider myself an above average user who is good at troubleshooting issues.

I updated to the latest Ethereum client and that still didn’t fix it.

Some users suggest deleting the “chaindata” folder and that didn’t fix it.

Eventually I decided to do delete the whole “Ethereum Wallet” folder (never do this without backing up your keystore files safely).  Also be aware that this folder “Ethereum Wallet” is not where your keys/wallet data are stored.  In Linux they are stored in “~/.ethereum/keystore”which is very misleading when you have a “~/.config/Ethereum\ Wallet” (which is not where your wallet data or keys are stored).  I stress this because I came across many who had sworn off the Ethereum Coin and team because of this confusion where they lost their keys and ultimately their investment and coins.

The solution was to delete “~/.config/Ethereum\ Wallet” but the fun didn’t stop there.  It was updating so slow through the missing blocks that it felt like I was mining the entire blockchaining (you could literally count 1 by 1 as it was processing or sometimes it would take minutes on a single block).  I’ve been able to sync the whole Bitcoin or Litecoin Blockchain more quickly and without or much impact on my computer.

I decided to switch the chaindata for Ethereum to SSD it did speed things up but not significantly and still took about a day to catch up and my computer still did slow down.

What I Learned About Ethereum

For all of its features I think the team is out of touch with getting the basics right first, as evidenced by the “Parity” fiasco where through no fault of the users people have essentially lost or have 160M worth of Ethereum coins frozen and lost presumably forever.  I have never seen this with another major coin.

Nor have I seen or experienced the confusion on basics of why their client is so complex.  Why does it use another program geth to sync the data?  Why are there so many different choices, fast sync (which didn’t help speed things up for me), a MIST client and so many different confusing and unnecessary choices and complexity?

I like how I can just download the Bitcoin client or Litecoin client and it works simply, there’s no guessing or confusion.

When it comes down to it, if someone with my background is having to troubleshoot and it slows me down from doing transactions, or I fear my coins could randomly be lost it doesn’t bold well for Ethereum’s future.  I don’t mind leaving other wallets running but Ethereum just takes too much computing with SSH so it’s not practical.  I will consider Ethereum a wise investment with some risks I’ve highlighted above but for any cryptocurrency to truly be accepted and successful it must be secure, fast, reliable and easy to use (something which most cryptocurrencies still fail at if not for the reason that you require the whole blockchain to keep your money in your own possession or have to rely on dangerous uninsured third party exchanges or services that are often hacked).

As we can see below this is not a sustainable practice for cryptocurrency going forward and I will be posting more about how I think the future of crypto will be significantly different than we currently see.

Screenshot-Ethereum Wallet-19

Bitcoin – I Don’t “Get It”

This may sound strange coming from a CEO who owns and uses Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency through multiple businesses that accept Bitcoin each day.   But I still really don’t understand Bitcoin on a practical level, the technical part is understandable but for how long will the current model of currencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin work?  Do not get me wrong, I am long on crypto still but what that means in the coming years and decades is probably going to be vastly different than the current model of today.

What Is A Confirmation And Why Does It Take So Long?

What I’m referring to is when you send or receive currency there are varying opinions of what it means to actually “confirm” you have it.  But even before that people who have sent and received cryptocurrency know it is actually quite slow.  It can easily take a number of minutes and even after that point it is recommended you wait for a certain amount of confirmations.

It’s quite simple, these crypto networks with multiple nodes have to talk to each other, this takes time for them to all be in sync or agreeance with the blockchain.  Once that happens you get your first confirmation, however this can be a number of minutes and still doesn’t absolutely guarantee you have the money in your wallet.

The current system is nearly impossible to use as a daily transaction/banking experience.

I’m used to using cash, debit, credit or even services like PayPal.  It is all fairly instant (although sometimes it can take several seconds for debit or credit) but once the payment is approved and the merchant is notified instantly, they knew they have their money.  Imagine waiting for even a single confirmation for cryptocurrency while in line at a supermarket?

Why does the problem exist?

It’s quite simple, ironically it’s the one huge negative side effect of distributed, decentralized cryptocurrencies.   There are other drawbacks too such as what happens to banks if they are DOS’d but this hasn’t been a huge factor so far in crypto’s history.

What other risks exist?

My biggest fear is that in the future a powerful organization or entity may eventually be able to reverse engineer or find another way to attack the blockchain and algorithm of some cryptocurrencies.  This would essentially spell disaster, chaos and the end of that currency.  It would be the equivalent of the destruction or infiltration of a fiat currency’s central banking and distribution system.

One other issue with the blockchain

Everyone knows the safest way to hold crypto is with your own wallet because exchanges are routinely hacked and coins are stolen, it is more risky to keep your coins with a third party wallet (essentially the equivalent of an online crypto bank).  The problem lays with the issue at this moment that those deposits are not insured (although I believe Coinbase and a few others may have some insurance).  This may change in the future and exchanges and currencies that are insured will definitely rise above the rest.

What is the solution?

This may draw the ire of a lot of hardcore crypto users but there has got to be some sort of central authority, body or “top-tier” network similar to root DNS servers on the internet that can serve and validate transactions on the blockchain.  There must be some sort of physical organization between the nodes on the blockchain.

Is there a current solution to this problem?

Ripple/XRP solves this problem by essentially verifying transactions instantly and keeping all the currency in essentially an online global wallet (there is no such thing as paper wallet or traditional on your computer/device wallet).  The advantage is that you don’t have to store hundreds of gigabytes of blockchain data (and growing) like Bitcoin and other currencies.  Ripple has the benefit of also being endorsed by major financial institutions which is a first for digital crypto that I’m aware of.

I haven’t done further research but currencies like XRP I believe are the future, things can be done anyway technically and Bitcoin, Litecoin and similar blockchained coins can do this if they change some of their decentralized model.  I expect there will be more infighting and similar splits as the Bitcoin Cash that emerged from the Segwit update as the industry matures and expands.

Disclaimer

I hold positions in multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ripple and have given my true opinion of both in this article.

How to disable Google Fonts on your website

The problem check the source code by viewing your website.
Click “View Source”

Then click the link on any “.css” at the top or search for “googlefontapis.com”

In the .css file you can see this:

#before doing any of this backup your original .css

@import url(“https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans:400,400italic,700,800”);

This is a problem and what stops your site from being viewed in China!  Since CSS files are usually called first before even displaying html this is why your users think the site is blocked or why you may falsely believe your site is blocked when it is simply the CSS font URL call that is causing it.

How to fix it:

For each Google Font Api download it as a file for example above manually entering this into your browser.
Or you can use this command in Linux:

wget https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans:400,400italic,700,800
Save the file as “compevo-google-css.css” or whatever you like:

Inside the file you will see the following:

@font-face {
font-family: ‘Open Sans’;
font-style: italic;
font-weight: 400;
src: local(‘Open Sans Italic’), local(‘OpenSans-Italic’), url(https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/xjAJXh38I15wypJXxuGMBp0EAVxt0G0biEntp43Qt6E.ttf) format(‘truetype’);
}
@font-face {
font-family: ‘Open Sans’;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: 400;
src: local(‘Open Sans Regular’), local(‘OpenSans-Regular’), url(https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/cJZKeOuBrn4kERxqtaUH3aCWcynf_cDxXwCLxiixG1c.ttf) format(‘truetype’);
}
@font-face {
font-family: ‘Open Sans’;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: 700;
src: local(‘Open Sans Bold’), local(‘OpenSans-Bold’), url(https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/k3k702ZOKiLJc3WVjuplzInF5uFdDttMLvmWuJdhhgs.ttf) format(‘truetype’);
}
@font-face {
font-family: ‘Open Sans’;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: 800;
src: local(‘Open Sans ExtraBold’), local(‘OpenSans-ExtraBold’), url(https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/EInbV5DfGHOiMmvb1Xr-honF5uFdDttMLvmWuJdhhgs.ttf) format(‘truetype’);
}

#########

for each url download the font manually:

Based on the above I made a quick script to help:

for font in `cat cssgoogle.css|grep “.ttf”|cut -d “,” -f 3|awk ‘{print $1}’|sed s#url\(##g|sed s#\)##g`; do
wget –no-check-certificate $font
done

#will download all the fonts like below

https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/xjAJXh38I15wypJXxuGMBp0EAVxt0G0biEntp43Qt6E.ttf
https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/cJZKeOuBrn4kERxqtaUH3aCWcynf_cDxXwCLxiixG1c.ttf
https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/k3k702ZOKiLJc3WVjuplzInF5uFdDttMLvmWuJdhhgs.ttf
https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/EInbV5DfGHOiMmvb1Xr-honF5uFdDttMLvmWuJdhhgs.ttf

#comment out the original

@import url(“https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans:400,400italic,700,800”);

#add the following modified code to the top of the original css file:
Change the paths to suit where you downloaded these .ttf files:
#in general you are going to be searching and replacing “https://fonts.gstatic.com/s/opensans/v15/” with “/some/to/your/ttffonts”

@font-face {
font-family: ‘Open Sans’;
font-style: italic;
font-weight: 400;
src: local(‘Open Sans Italic’), local(‘OpenSans-Italic’), url(/design-2017-zf/assets/css/xjAJXh38I15wypJXxuGMBp0EAVxt0G0biEntp43Qt6E.ttf) format(‘truetype’);
}
@font-face {
font-family: ‘Open Sans’;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: 400;
src: local(‘Open Sans Regular’), local(‘OpenSans-Regular’), url(/design-2017-zf/assets/css/cJZKeOuBrn4kERxqtaUH3aCWcynf_cDxXwCLxiixG1c.ttf) format(‘truetype’);
}
@font-face {
font-family: ‘Open Sans’;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: 700;
src: local(‘Open Sans Bold’), local(‘OpenSans-Bold’), url(/design-2017-zf/assets/css/k3k702ZOKiLJc3WVjuplzInF5uFdDttMLvmWuJdhhgs.ttf) format(‘truetype’);
}
@font-face {
font-family: ‘Open Sans’;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: 800;
src: local(‘Open Sans ExtraBold’), local(‘OpenSans-ExtraBold’), url(/design-2017-zf/assets/css/EInbV5DfGHOiMmvb1Xr-honF5uFdDttMLvmWuJdhhgs.ttf) format(‘truetype’);
}