Is Decentralized Centralized?

Vitalik Buterin VS Changpeng Zhao

I always found it strange when people refer to decentralized as completely decentralized when it comes to cryptocurrency. Because, there is never truly such a thing as decentralized. It is always run by someone (some people).

Vitalik Buterin said during an interview at the Tech Crunch sessions: Blockchain 2018, that he hoped, “centralized exchanges burn in hell as much as possible”.

He continued, stating that centralized exchanges wield “stupid king-like power”,  since they have the ‘power’ to chose which cryptocurrencies “become big” after making projects pay extortionate $10 to $15 million in exchange listing fee’s.

Many people, even cryptocurrency users might not have known that. Yes, you’re favorite coin has to pay up if they are going to be listed. And Buterin’s not wrong to say this.

However, there is a lot of hypocrisy in Vitalik’s statement.  He has the resources to make his own decentralized exchange if he wanted to but has not.  And further, it is his Ethereum honestly that enabled most of the ICO scams out there and is one of the worst and most vulnerable currencies in my opinion.  His idea of decentralized is the wild-wild west of the internet full of scams and fraud.  Let’s look at a popular decentralized exchange like “Etherdelta”.  It is widely known as a scam where people have lost money.  And it’s no wonder since almost all of the decentralized exchanges I’ve seen A.) don’t work right, and B.) force you to create a wallet where they hold and control the private keys (you cannot use your own wallet at least with ones like Etherdelta).

Considering Ethereum is essentially also a centralized currency which is first and foremost controlled by Vitalik.  Some of you are probably saying ‘how’, it’s a decentralized cryptocurrency. And some of you Tech nerds already know the back end side of all cryptocurrencies, and that it’s controlled essentially by someone. Even Bitcoin is being handled and maintained by people, it might not be “Satoshi Nakamoto” but it’s got people working and controlling it.

This verbal trashing of exchange, caused Binance Founder, Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao to respond on Twitter.

Zhao pointed out several flaws in Buterin’s argument.

“There is no absolute decentralization. Projects with core teams still have centralization. Today, Vitalik probably has more king-like powers than anyone else in this industry, and has used it, by serving as advisors to projects, therefore helped to decide their fate, at least fate of their ICOs to a large extent.”

He went on to say that “decentralization is not safer by default” and this was clearly supported by recent hack of decentralized exchange Bancor. Which saw $12 million worth of Ether as well as EtherDelta falling victim to a phishing attack late last year.

Zhou isn’t wrong, but he’s not right either.

Buterin chose not to reply publicly instead opting to respond to a cheeky Tweet from a new French cryptocurrency exchange Blockchain.io that asked whether their “decentralized settlement feature” would send them to purgatory.

Buterin  responded in French saying:

“It’s much better than a fully centralized exchange, but it doesn’t solve the other problem, as centralized exchanges have a lot of control over the market and can choose which currencies become the most popular etc etc. In all, I think this is a very good idea and I hope that more cryptocurrency exchanges will use this semi-centralized method.”

IDEX, is pretty much one of the most popular semi-centralized crypto exchanges as they offer features from both centralized and decentralized exchanges is currently ranked #91 in terms of total trading volume for all crypto exchanges in a 24 hour time frame.  I attempted to use it when it first came out and had nothing but problems and their support chat and twitter were full of complaints about scams and lost money and balances.

Apart from IDEX, there are several other decentralized exchanges ranking within the top 100 overall trading volume for crypto exchanges. But still, majority of the volume is held dominate by centralized exchanges.

The reason why it’s dominated over decentralized exchanges, is because of the scams, and no accountability. People naturally choose whats more ‘safe’ when it comes to their money. And in this case, centralized exchanges are safer.

But both Zhou and Buterin agree, that decentralized exchanges are the best option moving foward. I disagree with both.

In March, Binance announced their intentions to launch a decentralized exchange along with a public blockchain:

“Centralized and Decentralized exchanges will co-exist in the near future, complementing each other, while also having interdependence.” — Binance

There are hybrid exchanges already like the Binance is proposing. Blockchain.io and IDEX are two good examples.  Blockchain.io is still in the process of doing it though.

Although I understand the thought process behind this, as a IT professional and investor, this decentralized exchange is a open door to insanity. Nothing, not even cryptocurrency is 100% decentralized, that’s impossible and incredibly unsafe. Cryptocurrency is already filled with a lot of fraud, scams and hacks (but still not as much as Fiat currency by the way), but having decentralized exchanges is just asking for double the trouble.

At the end of the day, we just need a better coin and a better exchange, otherwise we’ll fall into the same traps as Fiat, and reguritate the same ol’ system again.

What do you think?
Cheers,
A.Yasir

I got TRON’d: The TRX Fiasco

TRX & Investors

I don’t normally get this upset. The last time I was this upset, was with FINOM (which I still don’t have my tokens for and may never, and no help from their support or the creator).  I’ve also reached out to the TRON Team and it doesn’t look like there will be a response.

TRX is moving, to Binance.  On April 15th they made an announcement that they would be moving to their own blockchain. They told their Tron investors to move their now useless tokens to Binance, or risk losing their investment.

Migration will occur on June 21st-June 25th.

“you must deposit your TRX to an exchange before June 24, 2018 to avoid any losses”.

This is a quote I pulled from  tron.network and it’s not on the homepage, you have to click on TRX to learn this.

That is extremely dire and stressful when you’ve come upon this after the fact.  I was frustrated to see this, and I’m not alone. There is apparently a lot of frustrated investors venting at Justin Sun on Social Media that demonstrated a lack of respect and care for us investors.  The announcement back in April made no mention of the exact process or even which Exchanges would support this process. To add insult to injury they are causing a direct loss since we all have to pay fees to the Ethereum Network and Exchanger to get our real TRX and if you have get a TRX wallet, pay to take TRX out again.  Whether you have 1 TRX or 120,000 it is yours and they should be protecting your investment and you as an investor and they’ve clearly failed.

I suspect it is completely intentional as this will free up a huge amount of supply once they say “sorry you weren’t watching our social profiles 24/7 your TRX tokens are worthless it’s your fault” which is essentially the response of TRON shills at the moment or that “Binance is EOY”.  EOY (End of Year) is still not a lot of time, but the ‘kind shill’ who told me didn’t point me to where he found this information- just randomly saying that Binance announced it. Oh, so another place I have to go find information from just to figure out how to protect my TRX investment.

Then more assuringly they say “If your TRX is held in a wallet and you were not aware of the migration notice, or saw the migration notice after June 25th, please visit our permanent token-exchange counter to exchange your tokens for Mainnet TRX.

Great!. Where is the permanent exchange counter?  There is no link or information readily available.  I’m sure some shill will point out it is probably buried in some other URL but non-shills or 24/7 supporters like me, shouldn’t have to go through all of this.

Tron-TRX-Scam-Screenshot at 2018-07-09 10-33-34

The Shills & Supporters of Tron
When you go on social media to find information directly and vent your frustrations with the lack of care Tron team put into securing investors money, you’re automatically hammered by shills who think that Tron is God and they did no wrong.

Unsurprisingly, me and others who complained were berated:

Tron-Reddit-Shill

I don’t think they got the point that “normal” users and investors shouldn’t need to watch all of Tron’s myriad of social accounts and websites constantly to avoid a loss. Tron isn’t the only coin I have invested tons into, and cryptocurrencies aren’t my only investments. I shouldn’t have to worry that if I don’t pay attention for a couple of months, my investment might disappear because Justin Sun struck up a pump deal with Binance.

The shills and supporters completely devoid Tron of any wrong, and insist Justin Sun did what was mutually right for Tron and for Investors…How? By screwing investors, that’s how. By forcing us to move to Binance and lose money in doing so, where the potential for scams, fraud and hacks to happen, increase.  All the while Justin Sun’s team could have made a registered account system with the millions of ICO money he collected by Investors. The registered account process would have eliminated any risk of fraud, money spent, and saved time for both TRON and Investors. On top of this, there would be NO potential risk of losing your Tron Token.

The Tron dogs focus only on the sole responsibility of the investor to be watching all of Justin Sun’s and Tron’s multiple social media platforms and websites, instead of calling out Tron’s incompetence and lack of respect for the Investors. It’s this general acceptance of ‘disrespect’ is why cryptocurrency teams do not feel responsible to do the right thing for the Investors, but for themselves.

Conflicting And Incomplete Information
Every one of Tron’s sites has conflicting or incomplete information.  We shouldn’t have to go digging to learn that Binance supposedly honors this until the end of the year (2018, which I learned from a Reddit user, he couldn’t point me to where he got that information from though).

I think common sense says the communication was horrible on this one and they’ve made it a lot more stressful and difficult than it had to be.  This shakes investors like me very quickly since there are so many scams even with ‘good ICO projects’.  It doesn’t matter if it’s “Justin Sun” behind the project, in fact it makes it worse.  How is he managing any of this if this is the best he can do?

The Tron supporters who ignore these glaring responsibilities that Tron has to its Investors, reminds me of Bitconnect. Many people called it out for what it was, a scam and pyramid scheme, but Bitconnect shills and supporters ruthlessly defended it as a trustworthy project.  Bitconnect, unpredictably came to an end.  It was a coin that produced nothing and who’s sole value was derived from shills who pumped and dumped it as part of the pyramid scheme/scam. Making millions and screwing real investors in the process.

The shills would have you think something is wrong with you for being upset or out of the loop for a few months but clearly there has been nothing but confusion and frustration since the start of the very unclear path forward:

Justin Sun Announces Tron Migration, Confusion Reigns

https://medium.com/tron-foundation/trx-migration-notice-34de281ebbbd

I’m not saying TRX or TRON is a complete scam but it operates in a very shady way in my opinion.  I’ve taken a blasting by their supporters (AKA shills who find it unreasonable that I am not on multiple social platforms every day glued to see if I can potentially lose my investment).  That’s ridiculous and I don’t think anyone should accept this.

On top of this, I and many Investors do not like keeping things on Exchanges where hacks are often. If you have never lost from a hack, then you don’t know what it feels like, so I’d like for you to sit back down. But Luckily there is a TRX wallet at least to move your real TRX to once you have moved it to Binance.

So Why Did Tron Do This?
Here’s what happened.  In April the Tron Team announced the move to MAINNET or essentially their own cryptocurrency blockchain separate from Ethereum tokens (the worthless ones they gave us in place of the real TRX).  I think it’s wrong to do it this way, since their website has a dire prediction that if you don’t move your tokens to an exchange like Binance, then you’ll lose your investment because they are literally burning and killing the Ethereum tokens they sold you.  What if you don’t have Binance or can’t get on? They didn’t take that into consideration or care.

This is completely wrong!

The Way It Should Have Been Done?
They should have registered all of their investors and token holders in their own system and simply e-mailed everyone or based it on the Ethereum blockchain token holders.

It’s like the bank telling you they closed your account, now you have to exchange all your money for real money at a cost to you, and you should have known because you should have been following their multiple social profiles and websites, all with differing and conflicting information.

Yes, Tron’s literally telling Investors ‘ you should have been able to piece it altogether after some detective work because we struck a deal with Binance and couldn’t be bothered to make a registration system, which would have been at no cost to you and at no risk to you….And yes Tron supporters are literally saying this with gusto, even hashtagging Justin Sun to garner attention for their undying and blind support.

The Good News Though?
It looks like you have until the end of the year with Binance to do this, but as mentioned their site says if you didn’t do it in June you’re done for. So if you haven’t done it already, do it now. Since I don’t like keeping stuff on Exchanges, I’ll be moving it into a wallet quickly.

It’s really simple, all TRON had to do was create a unified system that would just directly e-mail their users this information.  They surely collected enough of our coins to the tune of millions to have the resources to make that system. Besides that, I think a few months is completely inadequate notification. What if someone went overseas or on vacation?  I imagine there will be some in this category who come back in 2019 and ask how their TRON tokens disappeared and they didn’t get their TRX.

I think it could be argued it was ill-thought, ill-mannered and essentially negligent to force users to move their tokens with such short notice.  If they were going to do it this way, they at least should given an unlimited amount of time to exchange the worthless Ethereum tokens to the real TRX.

Justin Sun
This move is a a huge security issue.  How on earth do they go and ask people to move their tokens to an exchange where they could be hacked?  How about all of the typical phishing scams which I am sure we will see, that will be tricking people into sending their tokens and coins into the hands of hackers.  By encouraging people to only go on Social Media which is insecure and commonly hacked, it is simply inexcusable that Justin Sun’s team would do things this way.  The website doesn’t make things clear enough and it should be the main or primary source of easy to find information about these issues.

I think people look too much at “Justin Sun” is behind this and don’t actually look at how the project is being managed.  It’s definitely lost my confidence now.

I do think TRON is a good project and a good idea.  Will it last and succeed? Maybe and I hope my investment will succeed.  But it reeks of the typical issues that a lack of common sense is being used to handle the very basic aspects of this project. Not to mention of lack of respect for the Investors, and anyone who calls them out is automatically bashed, or accused of spreading FUD.

Cryptocurrency companies and teams have to start valuing the investor and do things in a simple and common sense way that protects us and makes us feel confident in our investment.  TRX has lost my trust over this and clearly a lot of others who are frustrated (at least the normal ones who don’t monitor the TRON social accounts 24/7).

The future is bleak for Tron if this kind of ‘care’ is given to investors. But I’m hopeful that this will be the last time something like this will be handled in such a poor way.

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:

Binance Moves HQ to a Welcoming Country of Malta

Recently, a famous cryptocurrency exchange, Binance got into issues in Japan although it is based in Hong Kong.  Malta is a Southern European island country which is essentially located between Italy and Tunisia. It moved its HQ to Malta to an apparently very welcoming Prime Minister who said the following on Twitter:

. We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies

Although this is very encouraging it remains to be seen how much they can weather storm from external pressures.  Malta is not a strong or powerful country so if a foreign country or powerful bankers threatened Malta to comply with their wishes against cryptocurrency could they really refuse?

The announcement from Malta is good but it will take a stable and powerful country to do the same for cryptocurrency people and business to migrate there.  It may provide temporary protection or respite but what is truly needed is for a place like Hong Kong or Singapore to step up and do something similar.

At this point I think Venezuela may be the leader in this regard but the major risk with Venezuela is the political, economic and social stability.  If they can resolve those issues Venezuela could be like the Hong Kong or Singapore of Latin America in no time.

Binance Proposes a new Decentralized Exchange

Binance’s new blockchain which will be its own decentralized exchange could be just what the decentralized world needs.  I am actually not a fan of a decentralized exchange as it really means no one is responsible for your losses and in fact more scams have happened on the more famous ones like Etherdelta.  One look at most other decentralized exchanges just screams insecure and scam to me.

So this is where Binance comes in as a trusted central exchange.  Centralization is not always bad so long as the person or team behind is trustworthy and conversely as we’ve seen with Etherdelta the opposite applies.

Binance has a real shot here of being the top player in cryptoexchanges.

I’ve found Binance to be easy, safe, and honest for an exchange.  If they apply this to their new blockchain for decentralized exchange trading it could be a huge winner.

We must always remember it’s not so much about the technology but about the integrity, intention and ability of the team behind it.

I am still hesitant on decentralized exchanges because of rampant losses and scams, but if anyone can do it right I bet it will be Binance.  Time will tell but this is exciting to me.

Ethereum High Transaction Fees/Gas, Tokens and Exchanges = Bad Investment

Unlike many other coins with low withdraw fees and low transaction fees, Ethereum based ERC20 tokens are horribly expensive.  If you don’t spend a good amount on them you could actually be unable to purchase any due to the “high gas and transaction fees” of Ethereum, something that has been a huge problem.  Even Bitcoin is not as bad in the sense that at least you can just send a maximum amount and not worry about this ridiculous “gas calculation fee” which make Ethereum transactions more difficult and less predictable, and sometimes impossible due to randomly expensive gas prices.  You shouldn’t have to be a mathematician or programmer to figure out how to send Ethereum.  Unlike more simple, faster and easier to use currencies such as even Litecoin that just work.

Let’s give an example test of what happens if you send .1 Ethereum to an exchange and what it costs you.

I sent about .1 ETH to an exchange (about $100 USD) and the transaction fee was about $2.34.

I’ll show you what I mean and part of this is Binance but not exactly, their ERC20 Tokens have a high fee because they are expensive to send!  Compare this to a small amount of XLM I bought and sold.

Here is a good example of BAT I purchased 31 of them.  When I withdrew I only received 9.969!

Another example is SNT I purchased 69 but only received 36.931!

I already have XLM but to illustrate the difference see how much better it is to buy non ERC20 tokens, you lose so much value in sending ETH and then sending them back to your wallet.

I bought 44 XLM (Stellar Lumens) and was able to withdraw and receive 43.946!  Talk about low withdrawal fees.  It’s not Binance trying to rip us off but it comes down the high gas fees for these ERC20 Ethereum based tokens.  Unless you are buying a minimum of hundreds of thousands of these tokens they are simply not worth it.  This is strong disincentive for many to add to their position vs the low fees of buying other non ERC20 tokens.  I’ll go so far as to say Ethereum is disrupting trade with their high fees, not only this but ERC20 tokens will not grow for long with these kinds of ridiculous fees.  If the token/currency cannot be easily, quickly and affordably traded they will probably not have a strong future once others catch on.

Buying ERC20 tokens on Binance

Binance-Purchase-VS-WithdrawalFees

Withdrawing ERC20 tokens on Binance see how little you actually get because of high Ethereum transaction/gas fees!

BinanceWithDrawalvsBuyAmount

Some tokens get trapped look at what happened to my QSP!

I cannot withdraw it or sell it so it’s stuck in Binance unless the value goes up.

The reason is that Binance’s minimum is 60 QSP due to high transaction fees.

I cannot sell it because the minimum sell on Binance for this coin is 0.02 ETH.

Again this is all down to high transaction fees on these tokens making it impossible.

Binance-QSP-Trapped

How about trying to buy KIN a new ERC20 Coin?  I just want a few thousand of them no problem right?

Me: Good day dear sir! I’d like to buy 5959 KIN the hot new ERC20 token!

Bancor teller: Yes sir that will cost you 0.004 ETH.  Let me directly access your Ethereum wallet (promise not to take any of your coins) and process this transaction.

Screenshot at 2018-01-10 13-44-25

Me: No problem OK I see the transaction request………

Me: Wait……..I am just trying to pay you 0.004 ETH or about $5.15 but the Gas/Transaction Fee is $103.45 or 0.080354 ETH.  Sorry this is ridiculous but I’m not paying it and I won’t buy any ERC20 tokens today.

Screenshot at 2018-01-10 13-48-55

Ethereum and its tokens are conning people out of money and may lead to its own implosion and have a huge impact on ICOs

As we can see above this is just one big problem with Ethereum aside from security, slow transactions and being extremely user unfriendly it’s also unfriendly to your bank account.  I predict in the future this will have a massive and negative impact on the crypto industry.  As more people find that these tokens are essentially wasted money due to high fees they will eventually start investing in and using proper currencies that work and that have fair fees and higher transaction speed.