Federal Reserve Says Bitcoin Cannot Replace the US Dollar

The new chief of the San Francisco branch, of the privately held, Federal Reserve Bank has stated that Bitcoin cannot, and will not ever replace the US Dollar.  First of all, they are doing a fantastic job and understand their market and duties.  They cannot step into this job and say anything else and expect to keep it.

I get it, Bitcoin is printed without supposed backing, although it is backed by a lot of physical hardware assets and electricity.  Fiat currency, especially the US Dollar is printed and floated without any controls or restrictions.  Well, actually, the only control and restriction is that there is none.  The Federal Reserve prints at will and on demand, without limitation or backing of any sort, and they have long abandoned the gold standard.

The fact that the Federal Reserve would comment at all on this matter and mention Bitcoin, to me, is very telling that it is very much a possibility.  When you have this much money put into something that is being traded worldwide, every second, and such an ecosystem I think it is an excellent contender to the US Dollar and fiat currency in general.  Remember, fiat is backed by nothing as well and printed without any limit.  Most cryptocurrencies actually are limited in how many coins can be mined or minted at any rate.

Cryptocurrency is currently at a $421 Billion USD market cap and I think it won’t be long before it is in the trillion dollar range.  This is ultimately the worst nightmare for any central banker with so many competitors, of course your number one priority should be outlawing them and shutting them down.

On that end the Fed is right to do it and is doing their job well.  However, for people who don’t essentially control the fiat financial system, we would do well to root for cryptocurrency as an alternative system.  I think both systems can survive and work together, but if fiat pushes it too much, I think there may be a digital currency revolution that far surpassed the digital rights movement of the late 90s and early 2000s that caught the RIAA and MPAA by surprise.

Why Hardforks In Cryptocurrency Are Bad

I’ve always felt this but hardforks are simply bad, even if in the rare case they intend to fix a problem with the original currency.  Most currencies which have issues like Bitcoin are simply not just a “single problem” but a collective bunch of inherent problems.   But most often it is so clear like is the case with Bitcoin Gold that the team just copies and counterfeits a coin to unjustly enrich themselves.

Risks and Issues with Hardforks

  1. Loss of value, normally the original coin is at least temporarily devalued when a hardfork is done.  People wonder which coin will survive or be more popular?
  2. Confusion leading to scams and fraud.  Which is the real Bitcoin or real Bitcoin Gold?
  3. Many forks don’t make a wallet (more evidence of bad intention) and more likely that fraudsters will make a wallet that steals your coins (eg. John Dass and the Bitcoin Gold team).
  4. Community frustration and division.

Instead of hardforking it is much better to do what Cloakcoin or Litecoin did and the many others did by just copying it, making changes and starting their own blockchain.  This ensures the process won’t allow fraud, confusion or devaluation of the original coin and no harm comes to the community that way.

All these coins have stolen value from the main coins like Bitcoin and then people ask why the value went down?  If Bitcoin was not hardforkable I think it should be several times the value we see now, almost certainly 2/3s or more of the crypto market cap.

Bitcoin Private and Cloak Cryptocurrencies

There is a huge emphasis on privacy with a lot of new coins but I do feel that a lot of coins focus on a single issue and leave the overall business and usability aspect out.  How do these newer coins fare?

Cloak

My first impression is why doesn’t the non-www version work while the www version does?  Does their team not know how to properly configure nginx or is it just a simple mistake and oversight?

Cloakcoin.com-Forbidden-ConfigError

They call their encryption ENIGMA which I am not sure is a joke or if they aren’t aware of the ENIGMA encryption box in Germany that was compromised during WWII?  I would more so be worried that it is a read between the lines joke or a hint that the team is doing something more than they claim?  Sorry but I just can’t get over the fact that they would not know about the Enigma box from Germany that was decoded.

For my second point I do like the privacy aspects but this is where I have concerns.  On one head they tout privacy, but then to have more privacy they obfuscate transactions by using other clients wallets?  Why would you allow a third-party and random strange to process or handle any part of the transaction?  I do realize they say it is fully encrypted and obfuscated so the random third party stranger on the network shouldn’t know anything about you or your transaction, but to me it violates the principle of privacy and security.  It reminds me of how everyone believed the TOR network is a good idea and secure, but in reality whoever runs an exit node can spy on other users, including the NSA.  This architecture of Cloak makes me worried that a vulnerability could be found and that privacy could be worse than most other Bitcoin-style coins.  Even if a simple vulnerability was not found, you are essentially passing private information to random strangers on the network, the NSA or other large funded organizations could use this to spy on other users or even perhaps modify transactions and create chaos on the network.

I also find it confusing how they say it is private but you have to enable “ENIGMA” on top of “Cloak Shield” to truly make it private?

Here are the parts I’ve picked on from their website:

Alice’s Cloak wallet then automatically sends a request to the network for other Cloak wallets who have elected to become ENIGMA mixer nodes to obfuscate her transaction. All of this is done privately and securely throughout with no identities or true IP addresses revealed.

Bob has cloaking mode enabled in his wallet and the wallet generates a secure CloakShield encryption channel for communications with Alice’s wallet. Bob’s wallet sends Alice a secure connection, containing encrypted inputs and outputs to commence the transaction.

With this confirmed, Alice, with full anonymity, creates an encrypted ENIGMA transaction containing her true inputs and outputs and Bob’s cloaking (obscured) inputs and outputs. Bob and Alice both sign the ENIGMA transaction before it is submitted to the network for inclusion into a PoS block.

Going back to the concerns I have above, I really don’t like how Alice’s wallet would ever communicate with anyone other than the receiver or the Cloak network.  By introducing Bob, there is the chance that Bob could decipher and identify what Alice is doing.  Of course that’s not what should happen, but I believe it is a huge security whole to involve random third parties in confirming or obfuscating transactions.  The situation reminds me a lot of the vulnerabilities in the TOR network.  Essentially Bob is like an exit node, running transactions for Alice.  Bob shouldn’t know who Alice is or what she is doing, but what if there is an implementation error or other issue?  This could be avoided by not using any random third party.

I think Cloak does a great job but they’ve actually introduced a huge security hole by doing the random, third party, processes the transaction part.  It would be like saying “my data is encrypted so I’ll send encrypted copies to everyone”.  Sure it is encrypted but if someone can ever hack your encrypted data either through bruteforce or an algorithm/implementation error then you are done for.  The best solution is to never send private and sensitive data to an extra, third party.

I do think the Cloak project has worked hard and it has some great ideas but aside from privacy and what I believe are security holes in how they implement it, they have done a great job but it is not a coin that does everything right.

Bitcoin Private

For those who know me, I am very much against forks.  As I’ve stated before they decrease, value, lead to scams and confusion.  This can be evidenced with Bitcoin Gold regardless of who you believe was responsible.  Right off the bat Bitcoin Private is warning of scammers trying to confuse you with a warning on their website.

BitcoinPrivate-BTCP-Scam-Private-Keys

The problem with these types of coins, hardforks or what I think are really counterfeits is that you need to give up the very “private keys” of your real, valuable Bitcoin to claim the “new counterfeit coin”.  This is a huge security problem, regardless of who made the wallet what if the wallet is designed or hacked to maliciously steal your real Bitcoins?  There is no easy and secure way to claim your coins from these counterfeits.   Once you give up your private keys to Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Private they could steal your real Bitcoins.

Now there is a way around it, you could transfer your coins to another wallet but it’s a huge pain and a mistake could cost a novice user all of their Bitcoin.

Now in all fairness I appreciate this team at least has official wallets ready for download, unlike Bitcoin Cash.

Users who have the currency called “ZClassic” are also involved here, which is also another confusing fork of ZCash.

This is what I mean about all of the confusion.  It creates an environment where holders and buyers are easily confused about which is the real “Bitcoin”, which is the real ZCash.  And really, I can’t see any reason why people are forking except as a cash grab and counterfeiting spree.

For this reason I don’t trust Bitcoin Private anymore than I trust the other forks (although I trust Bitcoin Gold the least).  I personally feel there is no good reason to trust any of them.  If they want to make a new or better currency they should really just make their own, or at least copy it under a new name.  But of course forking, creates unwilling participants and owners of the new currency, while enriching and rewarding the hardforkers for their counterfeiting.

For those reason if I had to pick between the two, I think Cloak has our best interests at heart and hardforked coins are just a scam, counterfeit and cash grab by unscrupulous people.

Just Keep Hodling Your Cryptocurrency Coins!

As of the time of this writing on 2018-04-15 coins have started a rally just before the weekend and they’re all up.  Could it be that there is some pumping going on from Soros, Rothschild and Rockefeller?  Or could it be an emotional reaction to their announcements that they will invest in crypto?

Coins are up between 3-16% at the time of this writing with the big news being that it looks like Bitcoin has strongly cleared the $8000 mark and is hanging there fairly well.  We are back to where we were later last year.  Could this be the next leg up of a bull run? No one can be sure since only the whales and FUD and FOMO can control the market but I’ve been hodling.

Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin to me are key indicators of something big possibly heading our way.

 

2018-04-15-CoinsGoingUp

George Soros Does a 180 on Cryptocurrency Investment – Pledges To Buy

Everyone’s favorite billionaire investor George Soros to the rescue!  After repeatedly condemning cryptocurrency as being a worthless investment and not a proper store of value it looks like he’s publicly changed his position.

But can the man known for causing the Asian Financial Crisis of the 80s, European Refugee Crisis, Election Hacking and much more be trusted or will his involvement mean a pump and dump that leaves cryptocurrency reeling?

We can be sure there are many big whales and hedgefunds in the crypto market but George Soros could be a game changer, for better or worse.  George Soros has never paid for the crises he’s accused of causing which would clearly be illegal but what if there was a better way?  Cryptocurrency!  The cryptomarket is ripe for the picking because insider trading is not illegal, pumping and dumping is not illegal and essentially all of the dirty Wall Street tactics can be used without any concern, at least for now.  So it is no wonder to me that the cryptomarket is in turbulence as more and more big money flows in.  A hand full of elite, wealthy investors could make or tank the entire market and I think that’s what we’ve been seeing.

George Soros is coming whether we like it or not, it’s time to HODL and divest of 99% of the worthless ERC20 coins if they haven’t produced.

Lightning Network – LN Network DDOS’d and Attacked By Organized Group

A group calling itself Bitpico has bragged about attacking the LN (Lightning Network).  The group claims it is stress testing the network and the LN developers responded that they are analyzing and trying to close any attack vectors before the currency is used more.

It is almost a traditional DOS attack where nodes were flooded with false transactions to overwhelm them so no real transactions could get through (similar to a web attack that opens frivolous connections to overwhelm the server).

Inevitably almost all networks go through this and it really is a typical cat and mouse game in any public, permissionless blockchains.  It is really an IT security nightmare where no one is authenticated or vetted whatsoever.  There is little disincentive for organized and well-funded groups not to attack blockchains if they have enough motivation, and clearly many do.

 

Verge XVG Mining Exploit Results in $1.1M Heist

In all fairness it was just 3 hours, they have corrected the issue and have apologized which is the way to handle it.  This won’t make me panic sell my Verge coins.


XVG-Verge-ApologiesforMiningAttack
However, a scam closely followed right into the tweet discussion about this with a fake Verge account scamming users by apologizing for the hack (very ironic).

 

 

Because of how well they handled it I have a lot of faith in their team.  Lately a lot of blockchains have been attacked and exploited which is only natural.  Contrary to popular belief blockchain is not invincible or infallible.  Likewise, the people who code the applications and algorithms that run them are only human, so let’s give them a break.

To close this attack vector permanently it looks like a hardfork will be necessary (I generally dislike hardforks but this is a case of necessity).  But once again I’ll say it is a flaw in the majority of permissionless blockchains.  The client side shouldn’t care about this (just as we don’t care about the backend of our bank we only care about using our money).

I see the value of XVG has plummeted as a result, even though similar issues have happened with Bytecoin and Monero due to a flaw that allowed the creation of extra coins in Cryptonight.  I would fathom that a lot, if not most blockchains have been attacked and this has gone undetected and/or unreported.  It is likely just a matter of time.  This still puzzles me more because I think the Ethereum, parity issue, Bitcoin Gold Scam and what I suspect was a similar issue with Raiblocks didn’t impact the value as much.  With that said, this is one more reason I feel PoW is unsustainable and doesn’t help secure networks at all, as even without technical exploits you can still cause damage by having more hashing power than others.

I am not overly concerned about this issue and a big part of that is how the team handles things and it looks like they’ve taken ownership of the problem and have corrected it (something rare in this industry).

G20 Summit Proposes To Adopt, Regulate and NOT Ban Cryptocurrency

From reading various news articles I’m going to summarize what I think are the few key take aways from the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I’ve simplified these into two points although they could have been broken down I think it really boils down to two key conclusions.

Cryptocurrency Should Be Adopted

The G20 agrees that cryptocurrency is part of a transition to digital economy and that eventually fiat (cash) will die.  They also recognize the power of cryptocurrency to bring finance and banking to those who normally wouldn’t have had access.  In a way it is gratifying that they are essentially saying between the lines that cryptocurrency and being your own bank are a good thing for everyone.

I also think it is an act of desperation and I will get more into that in my conclusion.

Cryptocurrency Must Be Regulated

There were several discussions regarding the regulation of cryptocurrency.  As we can see and as I suspected, the main drive is to control and tax cryptocurrency.  They want rules around it so that they aren’t cut out of taxes and control as a middleman.  A strong focus was put on preventing criminal activity and money laundering (you know stuff that NEVER happens with our current financial system).

Why have they adopted this position?

I think it’s natural because as I’ve said companies and people will move to whatever country is friendly to them.  It is almost an act of desperation because I think regulators can see cryptocurrency could head underground and out of the reach of any regulators if they keep cracking down.  I am in no way equating cryptocurrency with piracy or illegal activity but I will say this a similar thing that happened in the days of filesharing such as Napster and Limewire etc… Authorities didn’t understand the new economy was digital and that people wanted to download digital copies of their favorite songs and videos.  Because that void was never filled by the RIAA and MPAA, piracy was rampant and their crackdowns only increased it.  Initially piracy was largely underground but then Bittorrent came out as a decentralized filesharing platform and it has not only made the problem worse but virtually unstoppable.

Cryptocurrency with money being at stake I think would become even larger if the crackdowns continue.  Cryptocurrency would then largely be traded directly without the involvement of fiat if regulators, governments or exchanges (such as Bittrex who recently moved overseas to Malta because they offered them a better deal than the threats they were receiving in the USA).

If Venezuela, Russia or China is more friendly in the end people will move their business and crypto to whatever country they trust.  This can happen in an instant so, really, the regulators should treat the relevant parties well or they can pack up with all of their money.  There is no option to “freeze their accounts” for political reasons like the days of the past.

The rough ride is probably far from over as there will be reasons that governments and regulators may make decisions that are contrary to the G20 logic but I think in the end, reason will win out.

Telegram Raises 1.2Billion in unnecessary ICO

I’ve checked their website but not the whitepaper (it took forever and never loaded-why use a PDF and a slow server?) and I’m shaking my head.  There is little to no background on the website about exactly why this coin is needed, what it does or what it solves.

Granted they do say it is fast, allows decentralized apps but there are little details that are discernible to me.  I remain unconvinced that it is really anything but a cash grab like most ICOs are.

It’s hard to figure out if they are trying to be an Ethereum or a currency and how they would do things better?

Based on the website having just about 2 paragraphs of information I am very skeptical but time will tell.  I’m certainly not going to invest based on this information.  The question really remains is why would Telegram even need the money?

Surely they would already have enough to do this project and it should already be done based on their resources.  For that reason alone it reminds me of another regret from FINOM.  FINOM convinced me because they have existing projects up, running and making money and it turned it to be a scam (I never received my tokens and see no evidence of anything being delivered in terms of performance).

Telegram looks to be about the same, they have a working application that is successful.  Why do you need to collect money at all if it’s not just a cash grab?

I think that is the litmus test for judging ICOs which appear to come from trustworthy teams and successful projects.  If they should already have the money and resources and are doing an ICO, they chances are it’s only to collect your coins.

 

The Bitcoin “Bubble” May Pop But Rise Again

I know the news is in full panic mode and for partially good reason.  Not only has the market shrunk and fallen but it appears new investors are staying out.  The average investor in my opinion is still on the sidelines and they will be until things become more clear.

With that said I am HODLING and not panicking…….well except for ICOs based on Ethereum ERC20 Tokens like Finom, Tron, Bitclave, Bloom, all of who appear to have produced nothing so far.  In all fairness it takes time but my appetite for ICO and tokens is saturated.  I truly feel 99% are scams that will never produce anything and therefore the return will in the end be 0.  This is because those tokens are just an investment in what is often a bad idea or an idea that will never be executed or completed as advertised.   So for your tokens, I say it is time to panic and rightfully so.  That being said I am HODLING those too but wouldn’t hesitate to unload most of them should there be a good opportunity for return (unless I still believe in the project).

For cryptocurrencies that are usable and have real value I believe they will rise again just like the stock market regardless  of what happens.  There are a lot of remorseful people who sold their Bitcoins and Litecoins at very low levels when things weren’t looking up.  In all fairness in this new market it’s hard to be sure where things will end.

But I’m of the opinion that I will hold for years if necessary, the same discipline one should use for commodities in the stock market (unless an underlying valuation aspect has significantly or permanently changed).  From that perspective I think cryptocurrency is here, so there is demand, and it will continue to grow and be more popular.  The stock market has had far worse happen to it and recovered (however as a fan of Jim Rogers I do believe this next crash that Wall Street is due for may never recover or not for a long time).  Much like cryptocurrencies, we see the market on Wall Street can be artificially manipulated up or down.  I believe the same players are using these tactics in cryptocurrency, such as similar stock market scandals where the elite and wealthy trick people into selling short while they buy it all and sell high later on.

I am long on cryptocurrencies which involve and have a minimum bureaucracy that just get things done.  I’ve said it before but simple changes shouldn’t be debated or discussed, if a currency isn’t functioning properly then if the block size or time needs to be changed just do it!  Some things needn’t and shouldn’t be debated if they are necessary.  This is again where I disagree with hardforks and why they shouldn’t be possible.  If there is really an ideological split then the team who disagrees should start their own currency from scratch.

In reality though we just need teams around that know business, IT and security rather than expert marketers and sales people.  I think the industry will naturally head in that direction inevitably as a result of both regulation and genuine issues with the way things are done now.

For one, as a business it is still hard to integrate cryptocurrency and insecure (more on that in another article) but the revolution will come.  If the community does it, then the majority will benefit but if a government, bank or other large corporate entity does it, it will not benefit us.  So it’s time to check ourselves, pack up, roll up our sleeves and get to work!