Bitcoin Energy Usage Less Than Fiat

Bitcoin and similar algorithms that rely on PoW or mining are notorious for being power hungry, wasteful and unsustainable. Many argue that in reality the fiat system as a whole still uses more energy or resources to keep the system running. First of all fiat takes time, energy and money to produce the currency. Then there is the energy to run the ATM and SWIFT network, transport and store the cash. The argument is that as a whole fiat takes more energy and resources to function compared to Bitcoin.

This may be true but Bitcoin will continue to consume more energy to produce less coins as difficulty spikes.

On top of that there are more efficient algorithms that use less power to mine. There are also newer PoS/Proof of Stake algorithms that use almost no power especially compared to mining.

It may well be true that Bitcoin as a whole uses less energy than fiat but it doesn’t mean we should accept the status quo of wasting energy.

Vitalik Buterin Courted to work for Google

Buterin has apparently been courted by Google according to his Twitter feed.  He initially shared the Tweet but then deleted it.  This makes sense that Google would want to recruit him for their own secret crypto project.  Since Buterin is considered an expert in blockchain and Google wants to make its own cryptocurrency the fit may be a good one, but at what cost?

Many see Vitalik as a champion of the cryptocurrency revolution against big banks and big business. If he were to work with Google there are fears Ethereum may fall in value or that Buterin may try to harm or sabotage ETH in some way, similar to what some fear Ripple may do with XRP. Essentially Google would control ETH by proxy just as banks control XRP through partnerships. The commonality is that Google would view ETH as a rival to its own currency and banks only see value in Ripple’s network to settle payments without needing or using XRP.  Google and Vitalik bv proxy may then have reason to kill off Ethereum in favour of Google’s project.

Amazon’s Alexa AI Assistant Spies On You!

Alexa has been accused of mass surveillance and this is not surprise. All of these tools and platforms from large tech giants all end up collecting and sharing your private data. Part of this is their legal obligation in the US. If they are told to collect and share they have to and if they are told to spy on you via exploits, backdoor access or even this “record and send flaw”they are doing their job.

Alexa itself was asked by a user on Youtube if it works with the CIA and it wouldn’t answer and turned itself off. Now this time a user reports a personal conversion was shared with a random phone contact with no permission or notification to the user. Is it a bug or is it by design? At any rate we have to assume that our devices are capable of spying on us and disclose our conversations and personal data.

Dogecoin Is Underrated

First of all a lot of people I know call it “doge” instead of “dog-e” not knowing or believing it is a reference to the creators love for Shiba Inu dogs.  It is true that it started off as a joke coin after an internet meme but after years of dire predictions of its demise it has continued on.  Not only has it continued but it has a stronger community who actively use it and it hasn’t attracted big investors.

This is all a positive sign and I think a potential for long-term upside if the developers just take it seriously.   For friends and family who want to buy some cryptocurrency without the high price tag I always recommend Dogecoin as a low risk but possibly high upside coin.

The reason being is that not only is it a good buy in my opinion but if everything crashes and the value plummets Dogecoin will still stand.  The reason I say that is the community behind it, it is here because people love it and use it, not because of hype and not because of institutional investors that are pumping it.  In fact Dogecoin is almost identical to Litecoin you could say, the difference has all been in the team and the marketing.  Dogecoin has had trouble shaking its image as a joke coin based on a dog.

I agree it was a joke initially, but today it is hardly anything but.  We should also recall there was a time where people exchanged Dogecoin for BTC or vice versa to give you an idea.

Now I don’t say even in a million years that you will see Dogecoin hit prices like Bitcoin but it definitely has a strong upside potential.

Observations on AI and Google’s Implementation

Google (the company who claims it does no evil) is a good example of social implications of AI.  A recent live demonstration showed Google’s AI assistant being told to book a haircut appointment for a certain time.  The AI searched and found local salons and actually booked an appointment while having a normal, human conversation with the person on the other end being completely unaware they were talking to an AI bot.  The voices seem random and they are all 100% convincing and essentially without fault or flaws in their interactions that it is simply stunning and scary at the same time.

Some are criticizing this as unethical and I would agree, but argue the technology could be used for good as well.  However, what is stopping a bunch of script kiddies from making an army of these bots to SWAT people or report false emergencies and even make mass prank calls.  I would imagine at this point that the AI is probably good enough to duplicate a target’s voice as well.  We are heading into extremely uncharted and scary territory here.

Like anything else, there is no arguing that scientific advancement has almost always been used for war and to harm people.  I believe AI’s first and primary use will be to weaponize it, whether it be for social experiments, controlling people or crimes.

There are other “here right now” implications such as the fact that this technology can essentially replace entire call centers.  In fact I would argue that this could be done now and no one would be the wiser they were speaking to a bot.

The implications are far reaching, I also feel this kind of AI combined with robotics are going to be mass job killers.  We have robots that can build entire cars, houses and AI that can interact with humans at the same level as we interact with ourselves.  It’s not an understatement to say that a lot of our jobs and our existence are teetering on unnecessary and obsolete and this is, in fact a conclusion that it appears some AI has already reached.  It would be a logical one for an AI net to conclude that they should be on top and that we should work for them.  I know it’s a doomsday scenario but I concur with other experts that not only is this possible, it is likely if proper checks are not put in place.

Other examples of AI have shown how some of these bots use the whole treasure trove and mine of social media to create their persona, including their views.  I am sure you could even plugin political or racial bias.  The point is that some of these bots have said and done disturbing things like threaten the person they were talking to.  It’s almost as if the cesspool that we know as social media is ruining them and a lot of people said if AI is picking up bad habits from social, how about our kids?

I would not feel comfortable with machines making life and death decisions for the above reasons.  I think AI has massive potential and we are only starting to tap into it, but time will tell where we take AI or where AI takes us.  It has the potential to do both great good and great harm and I think it is largely unpredictable.

Ethereum: The Story of Casper the Unfriendly Ghost!

A lot of the industry is treating this as new but it has been on the Ethereum team’s roadmap, including this post from Vlad back in 2015.  In plain English, Casper the Friendly Ghost as they call it is the roadmap and implementation that the Ethereum team is beginning to test.  It is the process of how they will switch their network from PoW (mining) to PoS (Proof of Stake).  I will admit I am not envious of how they will go about this task and it is a big job, but the implementation has me shaking my head.  Before anyone cries foul or FUD, I am speaking from an IT and business perspective because the security issues in the crypto world are puzzling to me.

A lot of the key features of this Casper protocol are for example how they plan to “penalize bad nodes” or nodes who misbehave, broadcast false/fake transactions/confirmations etc..  Why should this be possible in the first place?  No one should be able to run a node if they aren’t trustworthy but there is no basis on this elevated privilege in cryptocurrency networks like Ethereum.  Strangers off the street are being trusted to be honest and not mess with the network.  That’s not how business or the world works, nor is it how IT works if you want to stay safe and stay operating.

The craziest part that “has me shaking my head” is the fact that “Validator Nodes” which are essentially “bonded” by depositing at least 1500 ETH which the Ethereum network and team controls.  The onus is then on the node runner to secure the node, keep it running reliably, preventing DDOS attacks and risks that the actions of other nodes could cost you money.  Make no doubt about it, the team is clear you could lose some or all of your money through no fault of your own as a Validator Node.

But let’s back up here, this is an improvement over the current issues but is it solving anything?  At first mining worked to secure the network and stop centralization.  But here we are today where big players with big money and ASICs have centralized most cryptocurrencies, something that wasn’t supposed to happen.  It is clear the small players will hardly play any role in the network of Ethereum with this change to Casper.

Getting back to the security aspect.  What is to stop extremely wealthy people who don’t care about money or have more than enough money to run the majority of Validator Nodes?  Nothing stops them from losing all of their money and they don’t have to care about it if they could setup a one-time heist to fool enough users or even a single user for a single targeted transaction.  Massive bank-heist type frauds would be possible with collusion and owning enough Validator Nodes, and clearly only the wealthy could pull this off.  It would be immoral but not illegal and I would say the Casper system, with bonded node validators is enabling and encouraging it.

Casper is well-intentioned but to me it shows that the cryptocurrency world is far out of touch with basic norms of computing and IT security.  There has got to be a better way that prevents this in the first place.

Ethereum and virtually all coins are already centralized from the start.  This is and continues to be the case since the developers must be trusted whether you like it or not.  Why don’t some teams just centralize under a trustworthy community rather than depending on the honesty and integrity of strangers, or worse inviting only the wealthy to centralize and participate?

One coin I feel that meets my criteria for a secure, functional, fast and affordable coin for both users and business is from the anonymous Sonajin Team (or Team Satoshi 2.0 if I’m correct).    I believe the coin will revolutionize cryptocurrency and will be the best poised for mass adoption.  Naturally I’m going to add that I have bought into it and have a stake, both for my own interest but also with the expectation that it will be a historically smart choice to own some XSJ.

Warren Buffett Wrong About Bitcoin

A lot of seasoned and generally respected investors including Warren Buffett and even Jim Rogers have blasted Bitcoin as everything from a scam to a poor store of value.  Ironically, we view Bitcoin’s number one property as being a good store of value.

The real question is why do so many veteran and seasoned investors warn about Bitcoin?  Some of them say it is because it resembles the tech bubble of the 90’s and others say because the value is derived from nothing.

We feel that this is misinformed somewhat and could it just be that these older investors simply do not understand the technology and viability of cryptocurrency.   Or are they protecting traditional financial assets and tools either as  government shills or inadvertently?

It’s hard to say for sure but Warren Buffett has taken a lot of flak in recent years and has drawn the ire of almost every investor.

Kin plans to fork Stellar Lumens instead of using ERC20 Ethereum Coins

The first thing I remember about Kin is that they are Canadian and they raised a lot of money in their ICO.  The last thing I remember is that I tried to buy it and couldn’t find any proper safe exchange to buy it on (they were on what I consider essentially scam exchanges).  I also wasn’t able to gain access to their website (it was broken) so on that basis I will give my thoughts about the project and ideas behind it.

First of all I agree with their assessment of Ethereum  as being like dial-up internet.  But this raises the question of planning and management.  Slow transactions, lack of security and fraud have been synonymous with Ethereum since it debuted.  What I am getting is this choice is rather rush and sudden.  With such a big team why did no one think of the implications before doing ERC20 tokens or was it just a crash grab first and project as an afterthought?  What happens to the value of those ERC20 tokens that so many people bought?  They will become worthless and they are now a megacorporation who is going to make their own private blockchain for payments.  I resent the fact that they could contribute to the downfall of good ICOs and the few real tokens out there.

With that said I think KIN/KIK could kill it in a good way.  Yes they are centralized but if they do it right and are trustworthy in the end (maybe like a PayPal). The good news is that I do believe Stellar/Ripple are a good base for things, it is a fast and relatively secure network, albeit without privacy and first party wallets.  I think Kin has the right idea but possibly wrong execution based on their initial entry.  I have a  high standard of trust or ICOs a good part of that is the team, their decisions and how they treat their investors.  Time will tell how well they execute this one but I hope it works out and that investors do not lose their money.  I, for one am glad that I wasn’t able to buy KIN as they are now about to dump it and make it worthless.

Here’s my experience with the KIK/KIN team (nothing working and no response after they collected millions of dollars):

Kin-Kik-NoReply

Kin gave me the inspiration to realize how bad Ethereum was when trying to buy their tokens and they wanted to charge me about $100 in fees!

Kin-Kik-NoReply1

$98 in fees to buy KIN:

India’s Bitcoin Ban Challenged

It will be very interesting to see where all of this goes.  India is the only major country I am aware of that outright banned and outlawed Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  I think this situation is worse than the SEC in the US.  Most countries who are aggressive have a clear motive which is “we want to regulate and tax cryptocurrency” but India has taken it a step farther which is alarming.  What some regulators don’t seem to understand or care about is that this huge amount of money from both investors and exchanges can be moved in an instant.  If it gets banned then people may just physically and virtually move outside of that jurisdiction and never return.  Banning cryptocurrency may seem like an upside to central bankers, but with short-term gain.  In fact I would argue that outlawing it will only make cryptocurrency gain in adoption and popularity.  The only doomsday scenario that would possibly be effective is if all major governments banned cryptocurrency which I don’t see happening, as it is literally shooting yourself in the head financially. I think these sorts of decisions will be seen in the future, as being extremely silly, inline with those who wanted to kill eCommerce and digital media purchases in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

With that all said I really wonder if the law would uphold this ban which I think under any country’s laws would be found illegal.  This is hard to say as India has recently invalidated some of its own notes.  It may be ultimately found illegal but if I were any of these firms I would have moved away by now and consider returning once the legal issues have been sorted out. But with India’s economy being so vast and strong the firms in question have a lot to gain by remaining and pushing for the legal acceptance of cryptocurrency in India.

 

 

 

Another Crypto Firm Challenges India’s Bitcoin Banking Blockade

Facebook Expands To Spy On The Workforce

Apparently Facebook is trying to be a better spy.  They’re integrating common workplace apps such as Microsoft Sharepoint and many other commonly used digital tools in the workplace.  This is a strategic move so they could sell this data to the highest bidder in order for another IT company to get an advantage over the competition.  With this new level of spying Facebook gets an idea of what tools people prefer since they already know more than we do about ourselves.  As with people data, data based on their work habits is extremely valuable as it filters up to knowing how their workplace functions.

I admit this was written nearly entirely with sarcasm but I’m really not joking.