BITCOIN’S VALUE WAS FRAUD?

 The Coordinated Manipulation
According to research done by Professor John Griffin of Texas Finance, last years epic rise for Bitcoin was actually done by coordinated market manipulation.

Professor Griffin goes on to explain that he examined millions of transactions on cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, and says that “the US dollar pegged cryptocurrency Tether was used to buy Bitcoin at the times that the latter was falling- which helped ‘stabilize and manipulate’ the price”

First I’ll explain what Griffin’s said, and then I’ll explain why he’s wrong about Bitcoin but right about Tether. And it boils down to his understanding of how Exchanges work and how Bitcoin works.

Griffin said “Fraud and manipulation often leave footprints in the data and it’s nice to have the blockchain to track things,” Griffin told CNBC. Whenever bitcoin fell, Tether was used to buy it to prop up the price again.

“It was creating price support for bitcoin and, over the period that we examined, had huge price effects. Our research would indicate that there are sophisticated people harnessing investor interest for their benefit.”

Bitcoin started 2017 at below $1,000 and by Dec 2017 hit 20,000. But as if February to June 2018 it’s been jumping back and fourth from it’s lowest at $6k to the highest $10k (which didn’t even last)  Tether is the 11th largest cryptocurrency and is pegged to the US dollar. Some critics say Tether owners don’t have enough fiat currency to back its $2.5 billion market capitalization.

Bitfinex CEO J.L. van der Velde told CNBC that neither the exchange nor tether helped to boost bitcoin prices. “Bitfinex nor tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex,”

Now here’s what I think:

I’ve personally used Tether but I do worry about it. A lot of people have accused Tether of fraud, and Tether certainly hasn’t proven the naysayers.  Do they have the 2.5 billion USD and how are they raising funds?  Essentially as far as I can see, Tether is a non-backed, way of essentially printing virtual USD.  I think Griffin is way off on this one.  USDT (Tether) is a convenient trading pair that can be used with some of the top cryptocurrencies to trade and exchange directly for other coins.

The issue is that a lot of people don’t realize most tokens and currencies are not directly convertible or tradeable for others on exchanges.  Generally you’ll have to sell your ABC alt-coin or tokens for Bitcoin, or USDT and then use the major currency you sold or exchanged to buy say another coin such as Ripple, Litecoin, Lisk etc..  So this is where USDT comes in, if Griffin thinks it propped up Bitcoin I think he is misunderstanding how the exchanges work.  Yes a lot of people are using USDT to buy other currencies but is USDT a market factor?  No, I don’t think so, it’s just simply convenient and I agree with Bitfinex that it doesn’t appear they are using it to prop up Bitcoin.

However, USDT could not be used in such a way if it wasn’t given prominence and primary trading pairs like Bitfinex and other major exchanges have used.  Could some of the exchanges be in cahoots with currencies like USDT and others?  Absolutely, and this is the more likely scenario of market manipulation in the sense that they essentially largely control which currencies fail and flourish.

Any coin that is used as a primary trading pair or in other words directly convertible has more value and will intrinsically be used more as a vehicle to buy coins like Bitcoin.

I think Griffin just raises the simple question about USDT being a fraud and this is the biggest concern but I highly doubt USDT’s existence or trading patterns are responsible for Bitcoin fluctuations directly.  He may derive this from trading patterns but I really just think USDT is a convenient and easy to understand intermediary trading pair vs how you wrap your mind around how many BTC another coin like Ripple, Ethereum or Litcoin is worth etc…

What do you think?

Cheers!
-A. Yasir

Psychopath CEO’s

The Jobs Psychopaths Are In the Most

A person with a Psychopathic personality is defined as having an inflated, narcissistic sense of themselves and are very good at manipulating people. And with the world naturally turning more and more narcissistic with social media and the images of ‘your best self’ (or rather your fake self), it’s getting to be a pretty psychopathic world.

We once considered Ted Bundy and psychopath murderers and honestly world leaders as general well known psychopathy. But as it turns out, the world is filled with psychopaths, and you might just be working next to one. And most surprisingly, is that CEO was ranked #1 for the most psychopaths…I’m a CEO and I’m both worried and fascinated…

So why are there so many psychopathic CEO’s? Well psychopaths tend to go for jobs or careers that put them in leadership positions because they have charisma, are good at making on the spot decisions and are fearless.  They have a goal and they can make it happen and will stop at nothing (including stomping out others) to get what they want.

Kevin Dutton, a British psychologist and writer, specialises in the study of psychopathy, made a list of the types of jobs that attract the MOST PSYCHOPATHS.  In his book “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.”

“Functional psychopaths,” as Dutton calls them, “use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society.”  Basically, psychopaths are normal people but have a few traits that make them ‘different’.

10. Civil Servant:
Fun fact, in 2014, UK Government officials considered recruiting psychopaths specifically “to keep order,” because they are “very good in crises” and have “no feelings for others, nor moral code, and tend to be very intelligent and logical.”  Ouch.

9. Chef:
Should they really be in charge of our food and knives? But apparently the 9th most popular job for psychopaths is being a chef. According to Dutton, they thrive in chaos. And the chaos of the kitchen is right up their alley.

8. Clergy Person:
This may come as a surprise because we don’t normally associate such a personality type with this job. But according to FBI veteran Joe Navarro, ‘religious organisations may provide a means for people to exploit others, while also giving legitimacy to their actions.’ It’s also very easy to make alliances.

7. Police Officer:
If you thought clergy person was insane, police officer isn’t too far off.  Keeping calm during a stressful situation comes with the job as police offer. And in this dangerous and high intensity job, being able to control your emotions and think before you act comes as a huge benefit.

6. Journalist – it all makes sense now.
If you thought Elon Musk was right to call out mainstream media who then got a lashing out from media personalities, and thought to yourself, wow these media people aren’t professional at all- then you were right. They’re not professional because they are literal psychopaths. Journalism is yet another popular job for a psychopath.

5. Surgeon:
If you’re in need of a surgery, well don’t worry you’re in good hands.  It’s not what you think, again psychopaths are people who do well in keeping calm during stressful situations and can make quick difficult situations, which they have to make everyday. In this respect, be glad you’re in the caring hands of a psychopath. :)

4. Salesperson
Are you a shameless self promoter, who has no qualms of stealing other peoples work or contracts, have a intense desire to earn the most money and can’t be over shot by anyone? Are you in sales? You should be.

3. Media Person in TV or Audio
Narcissism can be a trait of a psychopath, which you can say is an important part of being a public figure. Being a TV anchor or a radio personality is the 5th job with the most psychopaths.

2. Lawyer
Somehow this doesn’t come as a surprise. You’re going to have to be a very motivated person who can manipulate the ‘truth’ and ‘facts’ to fit the narrative you need. Self confidence and deceitful charm can help create a good lawyer.

And lastly,

1. CEO
Yes, that’s right, CEO’s are the #1 job for psychopaths. I never really viewed myself as a psychopath but here’s some of the traits:
Cool headed during stressful situations.
Able to make decisions quickly during intense situations.
Being able to overcome emotions.
Able to remove emotions during situations and focus on the issue at hand.
Able to maneuver using charm and manipulation.
You get gist. But on top of this, is resilience to chaos.
Resilience to chaos is something we CEO’s have.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re cool headed under stress, it can mean that you cause a lot of crazy for others too because it makes you feel good when everybody around you is struggling…OUCH that hurts my heart.
But some CEO’s use this method to climb that ladder all the way to the very top.  Now this isn’t indicative of all CEO’s, since self confidence, resilience and determined for a end goal is also high drivers of a CEO, but these are eye openers of how others might view their leader.

What do you think? Did your job make the cut? Did you find out a little about yourself? Or do you disagree with the findings?

Cheers!
– A. Yasir

 

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: