Shatner’s Not Giving ETH

Shatner Scam Smack Down

With the release of new cryptocurrency reports, we have seen a total failure of multiple projects that either were flat out scams or failed projects that made billions of dollars with no intention of ever following through.

But it’s not just ICO projects that took billions in revenue from scamming or not producing their projects, it’s the flat out Multi Level Scams (which are basically pyramid schemes) or businesses that promise to send you 20 ETH or Bitcoins after you send .05 of the said cryptocurrency. Most people know, this is a warning sign. Even if they insist they need that 0.5 to confirm your address, it’s still a warning sign that many people have obviously missed. Millions are said to be lost this way.

Privacy coin “Verge coin”, set up a twitter account earlier this year, and 2 days later it was hacked.

QJdhPNbz59E0i_ZWxAPvEwVazlDHU0-GOBzrsWj3jXo

Of course, they regained control of their account, but the damage had been done. And this alone should have killed Verge, as a privacy coin token to get so easily hacked by scammers who told people to send any amount of XVG to get double back. We can only hope that the people investing weren’t stupid, but it happens. After all this is their official account that these hackers took over.

In my opinion this alone should have killed the Verge token altogether, but I guess people were able to forgive it and continue on, after all, people had invested heavily in this project and need it to succeed. I had demanded my investment back, as I demanded from Finom– another scam project that has no intention of actually producing the project. To Tron, that suddenly threw a curve ball to have people transfer their money from their wallet to the Exchange or risk losing your entire investment…yeah these aren’t good signs and it makes me extremely distrusting of their project. If this were a bank, people would be outraged and the lack of outrage is why these Projects like Tron are getting away with it.

Then we have celebrity endorsements? Should we hold celebrities like Mayweather responsible for supporting projects, even if they are scams without their knowledge or with? Most celebrities endorse products and services that they don’t necessarily believe in, but aren’t held responsible for those endorsements.

And then there’s the celebrities that without their knowledge had their name hijacked to sell a scam. William Shatner was one said victim, Shatner posted on twitter:

“BTW another fake me is pushing a pump and dump crypto Ponzi scheme: @Wiliiamshatners
– William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 2, 2018

Other celebrities who have been impersonated include John McAfee (who is very active in the cryptocurrency world); Elon Musk, Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum; Sir Richard Branson and even Donald Trump.

When choosing a project to buy into or invest in, you have to make proper choices. If an account like @WiliamShatners is tooting that they will give you 20 ETH if you send 0.5 ETH, do some due diligence. Confirm if this is an official account, go on reddit and see what people have to say about it. Directly message your doubts and concerns. If it’s the real deal, well then they should have to prove it.

But sometimes even with all the proper research, you will still fall victim to shitty projects and scams, but that’s life. I’m sure even though Mr. Shatner from his official twitter account posted that he isn’t the scam twitter account giving ETH, people will have probably still bought from it before it was taken down. How many thousands? Or millions? I guess we won’t know.

But this is just another reminder, that we need to centralize cryptocurrency under the general crypto community, or have these scams continue under the guise of decentralized. Nothing, not even Bitcoin or Ethereum is truly decentralized.  And even real coins can act like scams with their policies and sudden changes to the scope of the project. If the project no longer values the investor, it’s a shit coin and you should dump it. If a celebrity is endorsing a project, find out if its really them- reddit is usually a good place to filter the garbage or see some garbage.

And in the end, you have to do your own research. RESEARCH is key.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

Dogecon 2018: Vancouver

Such Wow! Much Conference!

Amongst the sea of self serving blockchain conferences, and large scale multi-million dollar Internet of Things conferences and expo’s, was a refreshing Dogecon held in Vancouver that captured the heart of cryptocurrency. The meme essence came to life.

What started off as a fork of Bitcoin, and a running meme joke, became the largest most dedicated community of cryptocurrencers ever. More than Bitcoin, more than Ethereum, Dogecoin’s strong and proudly loved. It’s community strong, not just about value, but about substance. From tipping to charity, to car racing, the Dogecoin is actually the most viable coin out there. And to celebrate the ‘such wow’, Dogecon was held in Vancouver BC.

A conference where nobody talked about panic selling or the market crashing, instead dance parties, rap shows, dinner and a freaking puppy parade- that’s right, a freaking Shibu Inu parade, was held. You can only wish in your dreams that you had seen it in real life, it was just that amazing.

It wasn’t ‘tradition’, with high rolling investors in thousand dollar suits, no this conference was down to earth, honest and genuine- something you don’t see often in the superficial world of Instagram cryptocurrency.

No twitter cryptoinvestors and enthusiasts had lots of good genuine things to say. Four days of celebrations, real discussions, and Dogecoin worship took place in Vancouver British Columbia. And the reviews are in: It was awesome.
Yes Rocco, this is what it should look like.

Even the sponsors proudly stood by Dogecon with ETH Classic joining in.

Just over 200 participants attended Dogecon, and tickets were sold out by the time I posted about it- sorry about that…  It was a breath of fresh air from the stuffy blockchain conferences, it was relaxed and real, and showed what this amazing Dogecoin community is.

So if you’re looking to invest in a good coin, Dogecoin is it.

Why do I say this:
1. Dogecoin is used more frequently than even Bitcoin cash
2. 40th in Market Cap
3. Has been in use since 2010 for tipping, charities, to car racing etc etc
4. It’s the 4th most popular cryptocurrency (yes that’s right, Dogecoin is the 4th)
5. More viable since the community even after the Creator abandoned it, kept it up.
6. Unapologetically a joke currency that became seriously serious.
7. Doesn’t fall under SEC regulations as a original coin
8. Faster and cheaper to use
9. Dogecon!!!
10. It’s a freaking Shibu Inu, who doesn’t like dogs!
11. It’s not all about ‘Bitcoin level value, or pumping and dumping’, its about the coin itself.

Such wisdom! So get yourself some Dogecoin, and bow to Lord Doge.

It’s safe to say that Dogecon 2019 is going to be even larger and better! What do you think of Dogecoin? Is it still a joke coin to you or are you showing some Doge love! I personally mined and owned Dogecoin, and I’ve easily used it, and it’s honestly one of my top 5 favorite coins. If I had to pick something to invest in, I’d skip the ICO’s and Ethereum tokens, and go straight to Dogecoin.

Cheers!
A. Yasir

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.

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.

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:

Google’s Co-Founder Sergey Brin Says Ethereum Mining Driving Computer Boom and Renaissance

This is very striking to me in that I find the statement makes no sense and with one word “SETI”.  SETI didn’t set off a computing revolution and still has limited participation.  SETI which is searching for signs of extraterrestrial life has used a sort of grid-computing through unused computing power of its supporters to help search through troves of data that the SETI researchers don’t have the power to do.  I admit back in high school I didn’t want to share my CPU cycles, nor did most other people.

I am drawing this comparison because SETI didn’t start off a frenzy of computer buying to “mine” SETI.  This is because there was no actual reward or benefit to doing it any practical sense.  Mining is only being driven by the hope of big rewards and profits, or in other words greed.  Yes, some computing enthusiasts are getting into mining but does anyone really think that this greed has turned people into computer enthusiasts?  Sales of GPUs would be flat if not for the profits.  If mining because unprofitable the same people who rushed in will rush out, they are speculators and investors, not computing experts or enthusiasts.

Aside from being extremely wasteful, inefficient and ineffective I believe PoW or mining is not sustainable and the long-term currencies that are to survive will be converting to PoS (Proof of Stake).

And this gets to the most ironic point.  Google has recently banned ALL cryptocurrency advertisements.  Maybe Sergey thinks “mining Ethereum is cool and so is cryptocurrency but not if you want to promote it on Google!”.

Wikileaks Shutdown by Coinbase

Apparently Julian Assange’s Wikileaks merchant account on Coinbase was shutdown.  This is not at all surprising since PayPal, VISA, Mastercard and the banks did the same thing to him/them in the past.  In all fairness I don’t think Coinbase is to blame, aside from the fact they are a US based company and under the jurisdiction of the US of course.

PayPal came out and admitted they were forced to close down Wikileaks account, and I am certain the same thing has happened with Coinbase.

They have no say in the matter when the US government comes knocking.  Coinbase even recently had to give out information to the US tax department (IRS).

Of course users can still directly pay and donate to any wallets that Wikileaks controls.  As of now he lists addresses for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, ZCash and Monero.  This is where things will heat up if he were to have a centralized currency like Ripple or Stellar Lumens.  The US government could possibly have those accounts in XRP/XLM frozen since they are a US based company.

This comes down to the wider issue of privacy, rights and freedom online and how cryptocurrency can prevent persecution for political reasons.  It also stands to reason that entities based in the US have very little say when the government comes knocking.  Coinbase and PayPal couldn’t have said no to the US government or by doing so they would be in seriously hot water.

I always advocate having some IT resources out of the reach of PRISM countries for reasons of privacy and freedom.  One of my current favorites are Singapore and Hong Kong in Asia.  Hong Kong I place particularly high value on because it has the British based system, yet it is under the protection of China.  Hong Kong is less likely to be influenced by a foreign entity than a smaller country like Singapore.  A good example of this is how Edward Snowden miraculously made it out of Hong Kong as a wanted fugitive.  Surely, Hong Kong was pressured and asked to hand him over, but somehow it never happened.

There are positives here, it looks like some brave entities in Europe have stood up for Wikileaks and at least for now, in France, Germany and Iceland there are some banks, foundations and even a University who are providing him access to the fiat system.

Swiss Researchers Forecast Sideways Trading and Downward Pressure on Bitcoin for 2018

They have based it on Metcalfe’s law which says at this point that Bitcoin could lose another 27%.  The group also cites the part I agree with, in that so far cryptocurrency prices are mainly driven by Bitcoin which means Altcoins (other than Bitcoin) have risen and fallen in direct correlation.

Where I am not sure if I agree or disagree is their theory that a lot of this is driven by fear in the news.  While I am sure it is, if the fear is unfounded why should bad news reflect on the long-term valuation?

A sensible market would be wise to react to say the hacks that have happened to Ethereum or the fact that illegal content has been inserted into the Bitcoin Blockchain.  That is bad news that has relevance since these issues potentially threaten the integrity of the entire blockchain.

While we’re on the topic of Metcalfe’s law, since cryptocurrency is a completely new and largely irrational market can we trust this is a valid predictor?  I am not aware that any other traditional models have successfully called any of the major events in cryptocurrency.

I do agree it was time for a significant correction but the same has happened in commodities and stocks before, yet the stock markets keep moving (albeit with a lot of money printing and manipulation-is that what regulators mean by regulation for cryptocurrency? :) ).

Only time will tell where things head but I do think that currencies that are efficient, secure and easy to use will stand the test of time (which admittedly are very few and I cannot think of a single one that solves all of the issues just yet).

ICOs Still Going Strong in 2018

Despite the slow start and bearish sentiment of the cryptocurrency market this year, apparently ICOs have been going strong.  Various reasons are plentiful for why the ICO market remains this strong and it has me scratching my head.

Some say that serial investors are cashing out and then reinvesting into new ICOs.  Others say new investors from outside the traditional cryptocurrency world are coming into the market.

I am not sure what to think, as someone like myself is shying aware from most ICOs based on my experience that I feel 99% of these are scams and won’t ever deliver anything.  I think most of them are the next dot bombs and it is absolutely right to panic and sell these worthless Ethereum ERC20 tokens.

In ICOs the traditional due diligence is simply not enough.  It is easy to weed out people without IT or business experience.  And from that you have to weed out who has valid experience and qualifications?  Working for big name companies does not make you qualified to deliver on an overly ambitious project, but it does of course help attract investors.  I’ve seen enough big names including the Telegram ICO to be unimpressed (the Telegram ICO tells you to send money and then e-mail them to confirm the transaction……..how on earth will they build a proper blockchain if they can’t make their own API for transactions?).

Sorry for the rant but seriously what is driving the ICO market despite all the bad news?  I suspect it is people in the cryptocurrency world and I suspect they are miners who are thinking “my coins aren’t worth that much at the moment why not invest some of my spare ones into ABC scam ICO in the hopes that it grows and acts as a hedge to my underperforming cryptocurrency”.

That’s the best I can do and I suspect that is what is happening.  There are of course the institutional and whale investors who play a role but it’s unclear to what extent.

Ethereum Developers Consider Bricking Bitmain’s Antminer ETHash Based ASIC

ETHash has always been considered “ASIC resistant” which is that the made algorithm so it wouldn’t be easy to make an ASIC for it like SHA-256 for Bitcoin, Scrypt for Litecoin and others.  This has been a very controversial issue especially since Bitmain announced they have Cryptonight miners for Monero and ETHash miners for Ethereum to be released soon.

At first I thought the developers had a plan to inject some malicious code that would literally brick the miners firmware or something similar, but the idea of hardforking is much more tame and harmless to everyone but Bitmain and their clients.  There’s also a lot at stake for Bitmain who could be in serious trouble from its buyers if they ship miners that are completely useless.  It remains unseen to know if they could update their firmware to compensate or if completely new ASIC hardware would be required for the update in algorithms.  Either way if Bitmain cannot deliver, it could push them to the brink or at least serious financial damage.  It does cost a lot to R&D and manufacture these ASICs and I could see this pushing them out of business or close to it.

Monero is hardforking in less than 5 days to combat this issue but the Ethereum team is still debating what to do.

Monero-Hardforks-Response-To-Bitmain-ASIC

This is a very interesting situation with competing interests and warring camps involved.  But to me this really outlines serious security flaws with Monero, Ethereum and all other Public, Permissionless Blockchain cryptocurrencies (the vast majority including Bitcoin, Litecoin etc..).

Hardforks are usually done for bad reasons, to counterfeit and copy an existing coin as an easy cashgrab (eg. Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Cash etc.. Litecoin Cash).  That is one serious integrity and security issue there.  Why is it even possible to literally copy, counterfeit almost any coin?  It devalues the original coin and is essentially stealing from the original coin holders and developers.

But in this case Monero and Ethereum would be doing hardforks for a “good reason” but it’s still a pain.   Would you accept it if your bank did a hardfork and your account stopped working or by not upgrading on time your currency could be lost or converted to another?  I understand why they want to stop ASICs but to me Bitmain is not the problem itself, they are simply exploiting, for profit the weakness that all cryptocurrencies have.  This weakness of PoW or mining is supposed to secure the network but in its absurdity it just makes things slow, insecure and ensures “whoever has the most money to buy more hashing power will control the currency”.  Making it even worse, mining pools and large farms could wreak havoc by broadcasting false transactions, causing others to lose money where they think they’ve received money they haven’t.

Going back to the purpose of mining, in reality today it guarantees two things.  0 security, slow transactions and centralization.  It creates a virtual arms race of whoever can buy enough hashing power is the winner and owner.  This was never the intention of Satoshi or cryptocurrencies.  There’s no way a small, average person will ever be an equal stakeholder in cryptocurrency.  Whether everyone uses an ASIC, CPU or GPU the issue remains the same.  It is a flaw and weakeness in how cryptocurrencies work.

The solution in my view is to make a community-based coin that works off PoS (Proof of State).  Typically these kinds of currencies will be faster and they can be more secure if they are not permissionless (a nice way of saying no security at all and EVERYONE can access the network and broadcast any transaction whether valid or fraudulent).  The whole world shouldn’t be involved in processing my payment for a coffee and they definitely shouldn’t know about it!

So to me when I see people say “mining secures the network”, that was the intention but in practice it’s not the case.

Some serious rewrites in the architecture of all currencies need to be rewritten and the permissionless design and PoW must come to an end for cryptocurrencies to be actually be usable, functional and sustainable for both personal and business use.

The fact that hardforks are even possible or even worse, necessary to stop others from obtaining too much hashing power is proof of concept that mining just doesn’t work.