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.

 

 

300Billion in Market Cap Lost in Cryptocurrency in 2018

Now before we either all panic of HODL our funds I think it’s time to take a step back.  I don’t think cryptocurrency is going anywhere regardless of the bad news and government threats.

But with that said let’s take an even further step back and ask what has worked, what hasn’t worked and why has this happened to the market?

There are a lot of factors but I’ll speak about the ones that I think are most significant.

Bad News

The news is key here because a lot of family and friends are worried that all of us crypto holders have lost all of our money.  Even with Bitcoin around the $7-$10K mark, unless you bought in at the end of last year you’re still probably doing very well.  In general the market for most major currencies is up well over what it was in the first 3 quarters of 2017.  However, there is no denying that the charts look a little bearish but I think there will be a breakout in the coming months.

Government/Finance Manipulation

Much like the news, government and big financiers are having a big impact.  We know hedgefund investors have poured in billions.  Whether by intention or not a lot of them could be pulling money out of certain currencies to create an artificial crash and panic selling.

Too Many ICO Scams

I used to feel the word scam was used too liberally in the digital age of many honest IT companies.   However, in terms of ICO even the Ethereum Founder, Vitaly Buterik says 90% of tokens on his network are scams.  This is a very rational reason that will have a huge chill on investment. I would say blame a good portion of these problems on Ethereum honestly.  The unregulated and wild wild west of ICOs have brought government wrath and regulators banging on the door of all crypto stakeholders.

Lack of Common Sense and Proper Business and IT Practices

It is very clear to me in looking at how a lot of teams and ICOs operate that a good portion of people holding power in the cryptoworld have no clue.  If they did a lot of common sense things would be happening and they simply aren’t.

Such as Coinbase’s decision to open itself and its investors for huge losses and liability by selling Ethereum ERC20 Tokens.

The very idea of “free for all” in the cryptoworld reminds of the 90’s of the wild wild west of the World Wide Web and the lessons I thought we all learned.  Admittedly, and clearly, a lot of people have forgotten or were not old enough to be around for that.

I could say more but it’s so clear that essential business and IT practices have been thrown to the wind.  This is a huge impact on a lot of the issues the cryptoworld has been facing.

The Coming

I am still very optimistic about the long-term crypto outcome, but there are a lot of self-created and external factors at this moment.  I do think it is temporary but a dot bomb in crypto will certainly be repeated and appear.  The currencies and teams who didn’t learn from the 90’s will likely be the first ones swept away, leaving way for the next generation of cryptocurrency that simply just works for people and business.

Coinbase To Support Ethereum ERC20 Tokens

Coinbase just announced it will be supporting the trade of ERC20 tokens.  A lot of times in the crypto world I look and shake my head and I just can’t stop with this one.  I could see if Coinbase wanted to support actual currencies like Ripple, Lumens, Monero etc… those are reasonably safe currencies to invest in.

ICOs which are essentially crowdfunding/pseudo-stocks (depending on who you ask) are extremely risk and I would say about 90% of those are fraudulent in that they collect your coins and never intended to deliver anything.  I think we can all agree at any rate that ICOs are extremely risky and HODLING may be as useful with those tokens as holding RIM stock.

Coinbase has a huge client base and is one of the easiest ways for people to get into cryptocurrency.  However, they risk bringing regulatory wrath and also dampening new investors from coming in when they get burnt on these ICO scams.

It’s recently come to my attention that some people weren’t aware that Ethereum Smart Contracts or ERC20 tokens are not vetted, supported or approved by the Ethereum team in any way.  This is  huge issue of course and why I am so against smart contracts at the moment.  Let’s get cryptocurrency as an infrastructure in terms of B2B,B2C,C2C etc… working fast, efficiently, securely and easily before biting off more than we can chew!

I am also at a loss as to how the Coinbase legal team approved this one?  Did they run it by any counsel at all?  I think if and when people lose massive amounts that Coinbase could be held liable regardless of waivers and disclaimers for losses in some of the huge ICO busts and scams to come.  Especially when there are so many other avenues and stable currencies they could have directed their customers to.

I am fearful for the investors, for Coinbase and the cryptocurrency market as a whole but should these warnings go unheeded and “things go terribly wrong” then it would be a good, fresh start for the industry.  Investors also need to do their diligence and exercise good understanding and judgement before making investment decisions.

It will be interesting to see where this leads but I would never recommend any friend or family member to invest in any Ethereum Based Token ICO and to stick with solid and real cryptocurrencies that solve the problems of today.

We Need A Better Coin Now!

Cryptocurrency today as of the time of this writing is in a bit of a flux and identity crisis.  Part of this is due to a well directed campaign in the news via government and banking entities.  However, I will always give credit where it is due and many of the flaws that have been pointed out by these entities are completely true.  In fact, from a business, security and IT standpoint I find that most cryptocurrencies are almost impossible to use.  There are coins that individually address “some of the issues” but I have never seen a coin or team that “just seems to get it”.

Whether it’s how an ICO is run, basic functionality, security, privacy, getting out information it seems apparent to me that the vast majority of teams and coins do not sufficient combined IT and Business Knowledge to make things work.

There are just so many issues with a lot of the top coins that could kill them, let me name a few in no particular order.

Speed – 99% of cryptocurrencies are extremely slow taking minutes, hours or several days to complete a transaction!

Expensive – A lot of times you can spend a small fortune just sending a small amount of coin to someone (you could spend $100 to send $5 of coins with some Ethereum tokens for example)!

Security – Most coins are by default completely insecure.  Any coin that has a public ledger is insecure and has 0 privacy.  This allows for replay attacks and all kinds of nasty things.  It also means your activities are easily tracked and traced.  Imagine if your competitors can see exactly who is paying and who you are paying including the full amounts?  It would put your business at a huge disadvantage.  Having “public, permissionless blockchain” such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin etc..  will mean the coins can never be secure when the whole public is involved.

Hardforks – Most coins are easily counterfeited, hard or softforked where basically anyone can copy an entire coin and just rename it and call it their own, while confusing and devaluing the original coin holders.  This should never be able to happen just for the reason of sanity, continuity and integrity.  There have already been scams like the BTG Scam and replay attacks.

PoW/Mining – It is absolutely crazy that mining still exists, as cool as it originally was, mining is now a hindrance in many ways to the cryptocurrency community.  Not only is it wasteful in terms of energy resources, it is unsustainable in both environmental, monetary and functional terms.  Returns are so slow with most major coins that it is almost not worth it unless your power is cheap or free.

To top it off why on earth should we let transactions be controlled by “miners finding the next block”.  It doesn’t secure the network anymore and that is because coins like Bitcoin were created before ASICs and assumed “no one would party would hold more than 10% hashing power”.  Of course single pools in China have way more than 10% power and so do some mining farms possibly.  This means that pools and large farms could work together to defraud people by sending false transactions and confirming it among themselves.  By the time the scam is realized the parties who initiated the scam would already have escaped with the money.

Mining also leads to centralization, the very thing that cryptocurrency was meant to avoid.  This inevitable because as difficulty increases, only large corporate or government players with deep pockets can continue.

The same applies with running full nodes, large organizations will be the one running them.

Usability – Most coins are unusable because they are slow and insecure but to make it worse there’s more.  The current coins are not easily integrated in a secure way.  You shouldn’t have to run a full Litecoin, Bitcoin or Ethereum node on a huge mega server with tons of RAM and HDD just to create receiving addresses and receive payments.  This not only inefficient, it is insecure because the same computer that generates the receiving addresses is usually the one that holds the wallet/funds.

To top it off you can send to a wrong or non-existent address and lose your money forever with virtually all currencies.  Blockchain is just a big database, couldn’t some query be done to make sure the address actually exists?!  On top of that there is no feedback, send by e-mail or notifications by e-mail you always need to keep your wallet open to notice.  It would be much easier if these different functions are kept separate.  However this is a problem too because most cryptocurrencies are admittedly not secure if you don’t sync the entire chain.  And that’s another issue, syncing is a huge issue with coins like Ethereum it is extremely slow and takes a ridiculous amount of CPU cycles.  Imagine paying someone from Craigslist in person  and one of you says “hold on mate sorry I have to wait for my wallet to sync for hours or days!”.

 

Ripple Performance Beats Bitcoin and Ethereum!

Despite so much turbulence in the markets Ripple has returned 4.8% vs Bitcoin’s 2.64% in the last 24 hours or Ethereum’s -.75%.  Ripple is proving itself to be able to withstand strong headwinds after nearly hitting the $5 mark last year.  Of course $.70 is a far cry from its all time high but considering the market as of lately this is impressive.  I think despite the concerns over XRP’s future in terms of it being associated with large and central banking clients, there is value in it being a hedge.  This is one of the reasons I invested in Ripple as I feel with increasing government scrutiny, regulation, threats, bad news etc.. that this would all cause Ripple to return much better in the long-term.  However as I’ve said in past posts, there appears to be the very real fear and possibility that Ripple may just dump XRP if the banks tell or pay them to.  In fact I even e-mailed them with detailed concerns from another blog and they had no comment other than asking me to check their news, blog and website so at this point I feel it is very plausible.  Ripple’s affiliation with banks and government will either help it right to the top or it could weight down Ripple.  Besides that I feel Ripple is a fairly good currency but does suffer from a few other flaws that I won’t get into here.

 

CoinmarketCap-2018-03-20

The Future Of Blockchain Currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin belong to governments, banks and large corporate players.

One aspect of cryptocurrencies that some users aren’t aware of is that decentralized blockchain based currencies are in their own ways their own worst enemy.  The blockchain is the problem, as currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum keep getting slower due to their limited transactions per second, and the blockchain gets large this has started the end game.   The end game is clearly spelled out in Ethereum’s current white paper and it’s that essentially the blockchain will get so large no small players (individuals) will be able to participate.   This is because all transactions are stored in the blockchain ledger, and the more transactions the larger it gets.  Eventually the blockchains will grow to several terabytes and require more memory.  This will mean that only big corporate, government and banking players will have the resources to control these so-called decentralized currencies.  It is really inevitable unless a mechanism is adopted for off-loading this storage to trusted third parties.

I may not be a huge Microsoft fan but I think Ankur Patel has stated what many in the cryptocurrency already understand to be correct.

Patel said that blockchains that increase network capacity through on-chain scaling, which involves raising the blocksize, will eventually experience degraded centralization and will not be able to function on a “world-scale.”

https://www.ccn.com/public-blockchain-chain-scaling-degrades-decentralization-microsoft-researcher/

This is something that Stellar Lumens and Ripple essentially do.  They are a centralized blockchain that are generally faster than the competitors but are centralized and literally supported by big corporate players and banks.  These have pros and cons.  As an investment they are an excellent hedge against threatened regulations that people fear for the decentralized currencies and they also provide real value and work very well.

Is this all bad?  It’s hard to say because public blockchains can be attacked literally with DDOS/SPAM/bad blocks and this has happened with all the major currencies.  On top of that you are still giving up trust to unknown people and the value and stability of these currencies are at risk for other reasons such as hardfork cash grabs like Bitcoin Cash and the Bitcoin Gold Group.

The future is bright for crypto but these uncertainties need to be accounted for and sorted out.  It may be that the future is going to involve a combination of foundations and semi-decentralized currencies.

Neo, the Ethereum Competitor from China. How does it stack up?

Some friends have asked me for my thoughts, I admit I haven’t paid much attention to Neo myself but I am happier with this project, the team, architecture, planning and thought that has gone into it.

First of all, Neo, in my opinion has the technical superiority and is the better and faster coin to use everyday.  It has similar features such as the digital asset/smart contract option and API.   Neo is based on C# basically the fastest and most efficient programming language.  Ethereum is based on my arch nemesis, Java which I’ve always found to be efficient, slow, buggy and riddled with security issues (which is one thing that makes me very nervous about major bugs or hacks impacting the Ethereum network and blockchain in the future).

My belief is that because Neo is seen as Chinese based that it has scared away investors and this is the only reason why we see Ethereum as #2 or #3 in terms of market cap.  Neo is not far behind and if more attention and awareness shifts towards it I believe it’s only a matter of time before it overtakes Ethereum.

I’ve also seen much more evidence that the Neo team cares about the community by actively participating in discussions.  By comparison I can see endless complaints about issues that the ETH community has on their own forums with seemingly no response from the team.  Another factor is that the NEO team seems to be a professional and experienced team.  The ETH founder is only 18-years old and originally from Russia (nothing against Russia I am long there and we have many wonderful clients from there and around the world!).  I am highlighting that both teams are overseas but the fact that Neo is entirely Chinese and based inside China is probably the stumbling block for its growth.

What is wrong with Neo?

One big issue that I believe will be a huge problem is the fact that Neo is not divisible.  You cannot buy a fraction of a Neo.  This will be a huge problem even at it’s current value of $108 USD.  What if you want to buy a bag of chips or a USB stick?  It completely fails as a currency even though it’s otherwise superior to Ethereum.  How about if you want to invest in an ICO and you want to send .5 Neo?  No, not going to happen so Neo has set itself on the path to self-destruction in my opinion.  I’m very disappointed as otherwise it has done everything much better than Ethereum but shoots itself in the foot over the inability to ever be a real currency or used in daily transactions and this will only worse as the value increases.   This in itself almost makes the currency fail and is major stumbling block.  I also take issue with Neo’s GAS which will become another huge issue just like Ethereum, it is confusing and annoying.  See my blog post about how a $5 transaction in ETH cost me over $105 in gas fees!

Don’t get me wrong on this issue, I am long China, but with all the news coming out of China I believe it scares people away from this currency.  This aspects actually draws me towards it, in China there is such high regulation that the kind of scams I see many other developers pull is much harder to do even compared to Japan.

I would be all over Neo if the coin was divisible.

Would I invest in Neo?

Not at these levels, but I also won’t buy more Ethereum for similar reasons.  I do think Neo is a much better implementation of the Ethereum concept minus one huge issue with the currency division not being possible.

The hype on this digital asset/smart contract sounds great but in practice I am strongly against directly mixing currency and other assets in the same technology especially after Ethereum’s parity issue (we’ve seen nothing yet and I believe most of these smart assets will experience huge issues in the future).

Neo could still very well be an Ethereum killer but suffers from GAS and non-divisible currency.

Mercatox Cryptocurrency Exchange Review

I found Mercatox because they were one of the few that had some coins I wanted to buy but have since given up out of both frustration and lack of trust.  Unfortunately in traditional form these smaller exchanges are usually broken or worse, some are often unreliable or outright scams.

The first notice I saw was a warning of “not to deposit to old BTC addresses due to security issues”.  It is good to warn your users but why couldn’t they secure their own wallet?

So why not send some ETH?  Oops it’s not working.

Mercatox-ETH-Deposit-Not-Available

Dogecoin is “Not Available”

LTC is “Under Maintenance”.

Mercatox-Broken

So basically you have an exchange that isn’t working from the start and can’t accept deposits.

That’s when I clicked the “Logout” button as fast as I could, never to return to Mercatox.  I’d rather not deal with the myriad of other issues that are the symptom of problems at the front end.  This is also because in the cryptoworld 9/10 companies will never help you no matter what (eg. missing coins, deposits, withdrawals) good luck unless you sue them (if you can find them since most are anonymous without real contact information or ownership).

 

 

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.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Altcoin Crash – What You Need To Know

So essentially overnight Bitcoin lost 40% but at this point is still at this point at nearly $15000 and I believe will recover the $20K mark before the New Year (probably).  Some people have asked me what “FUD” is and blame it for the drop which stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.  I’m not buying that.  I also want to give a shoutout to Max Kessler who called a lot of things right about Bitcoin and predicted a sharp correction around the $20K mark but insists Bitcoin will keep running much higher.

If you look at the charts for the top 100 cryptocurrencies you will see an almost simultaneous drop in all of them.  Now if this just happened in the top 10 or a handful I would believe it is people taking profits randomly (nothing organized or not VERY large sellers).

Could Charlie Lee (creator or Litecoin/LTC) have triggered this? Yes I believe so and I don’t understand his reasoning for selling all of his position.  It’s no conflict to own your own coin and try to make it succeed.  To many acute investors they would have viewed this like a company about to bankrupt and the executives dump all of their stocks.  I certainly don’t think this was Charlie’s intention or concern at all though.

Look at the chart of the top 10 or even top 100 and they look eerily similar.  Massive selloffs with similar percentage losses of up to 30%.  The only good news or winner here is that Ripple (XRP) hardly lost anything and recovered faster than the others.

So am I worried about crypto or that there is a bubble? Yes and no, I think it has a number of years to run before the risk of a formed bubble bursting happens (and it will be massive bleeding when it does…).  But what triggered this current drop of all currencies simultaneously?

My theory is that billions of dollars of hedgefund money has come in, and in the last few weeks the currencies had significant appreciation and like some stock traders, these managers took massive profits which will look very great to the portfolio and their clients.

Now this is where it gets scary because if a small amount of people precipitated this event then it becomes easy for a small group of people to control, manipulate and play the market.

I’m not shaken from what happened, nor do I believe it was the “FUD”, I’m still long on crypto including Bitcoin but as always proceed with caution as we are heading into completely uncharted territories with massive volatility being the norm for now.  I will believe more in the FUD as Bitcoin gets higher though because those who have bought in at such high levels have a lot more to risk and worry about.