PSA: More examples of Bitinstant's suspicious exchage rates
I know there was a similar post by u/psapsaps 3 days ago about this issue. I decided to take a chance and try it out anyway becase its the easiest and quickest way for me to obtain btc right now. My first purchase was of $100 usd, + the $3.95 for zip zap they dont even warn you about. purchase was executed around 2:30pm utc on 4/16. I got a confirmation email at 2:33 utc mt.gox was at $65 +-$3 considering bitinstant fee of 3.99%, my deposit was of $96.01 i received 1.20595 at 3:52 pm utc at the rate of $79.61 , so theres that. Where were my bitcoins from 2:30 pm utc to 3:52 utc? Well i decided it was worth another try just for the sake of getting more information. today 4/18 at 1:05 pm utc i got a confirmation form zip zap that my second purchase (this time of $200) had been succesfully processed. Bitinstant emailed 3 minutes before that at 1:02 pm to confirm that my order had executed for 192.02. at 1:07pm utc i receive 2.01639364 btc at the rate of $95.22 mt.gox had been at $92 +-$1 during the surpricingly short amout of time it took for my cash deposited at 1:00 pm utc to turn into bitcoins in my wallet at 1:07 pm utc.. but whats up with the exchage rate? I just wanted to share my experiance with reddit about bitinstant so that everyone can make a more informed opinion about their service. If anyone has any information to prove that im an idiot, please share. i hope this is all an error on my own or on bitinstant part. edit: At this url... well this: "As regards bitcoin price: We will honour the price from the time your order was placed - but we will usually do so by sending you the difference manually with a fee refund after dealing with delayed orders. Since price has recently dropped, it may in fact be in a lot of customer's interests to allow their orders to execute at current prices and this is what we would recommend." -April 11, 2013 | Gareth Nelson edit: added pm markers for utc time, I am in US central time
I really love the concept of bitcoin and I want to invest in it. I have thousands of dollars that I want to convert to BTC, but I'm finding it nearly impossible and extremely frustrating to get my hands on any. It is almost to point of giving up entirely. My options: Coinbase.com. I've purchased 15, yes, FIFTEEN, whole bitcoins in the course of 2 weeks, because it takes a whole freaking week for them to transfer them, they cap it at 10 per day, and 99% of the time their capacity has been reached. MtGox: I cannot believe that this is the #1 bitcoin exchange -- a year ago it looked and acted like it was implemented by cavemen. It was an abomination. It was hacked. And, even the name is stupid. They do not tell you what types of payments they accept unitl you sign up. The charts are offline half of the time I check. Second of all, you have to provide them with all of your details, and a scanned government issued ID. Seriously? They had their accounts hacked a year ago and now they ask for my passport? My own investment banks do not ask for scanned ids. It is ABSURD. Dwolla: Before I can even use MtGox, I need to set up another account that requires my entire life story. So, let's recap what it takes to own this magical "anonymous" currency:
Go to coinbase. Provide bank details, wait a while, then wait a week for each order (capped at 10 bitcoin) if you are lucky enough to even get an order in.
Go to MtGox. Whoops! They don't take any actual useful real life currency. Who doesn't accept credit cards? Wtf?
Go to Dwolla. Provide bank details, wait awhile. (I'm not sure what happens next...)
Go to MtGox. Give them all of your details, including a scanned passport. Seriously. Now link account to Dwolla. I'm assuming this will take awhile. Now transfer funds. Probably will take more time.
That's it! You're ready to buy bitcoin! Now you can order pizza! Really, bitcoin, what the fuck? How is this ever going to take off if I, a savvy lifelong user of the internet, with ~$5k that I'm willing to invest in BTC, who already knows about it and wants it quite badly, cannot even get any? This is pathetic.
October, 2011 was when I first heard about Bitcoin. A friend excitedly told me about it, that the price had crashed, that it could be 'mined', and that it could be purchased on exchanges. He didn't own any, but he found it interesting, and so did I. I was instantly interested in acquiring some coins. That the price had 'crashed' meant a buying opportunity, and I further saw it as evidence that the system was somehow free, and had a life of its own. I did not purchase any right away, regretfully, since the coins were about $3 each. I did do some initial research, calculating mining profitability, and looking into the process for buying coins on MtGox. I also read about the thefts and hacks. I found it intuitive these incidents were matters of endpoint-security, and not reflective of a systemic weakness. Yet I would have much to learn if I was to avoid becoming a victim. I continued to casually follow Bitcoin developments, and occasionally checked the price. Eight months later I came across a Timothy B. Lee article in Forbes that detailed the Bitcoin Richlist. It was my catalyst. It was time for a technical deep dive, time to understand what gave people the confidence to entrust millions of dollars of value to the system. Of everything I read that day, it wasn't the proof-of-work that seemed revolutionary, but simply the fact that a lost private key meant the coins would be irrecoverable. That signified Bitcoin put true and total control of money into the hands of users, and for that it was different and worthwhile. I decided to invest. All that was left was working out the mechanics of the transaction. And security. I was determined to not fall victim to a hack. An offline, paper wallet seemed like the easy choice. The price was in the $6 - $7 range. My first purchase went though MoneyGram and Coinapult, with MtGox as my receiving wallet. I put in $150, and got out $130 worth of coins. The price had surged in the few days since I decided to buy, to slightly under $10 per coin. I transferred the coins off of MtGox and onto my paper wallet, and it all felt very real! I wanted to buy more, and settled on CoinFloor to avoid the hefty fees I paid the first time. CoinFloor also allowed for instant fiat funding via a deposit at a bank teller window. Depositing $900 directly into a bank account was not without risk, but CoinFloor came through and the money was credited within 5 minutes. It all went flawlessly, and soon with my 100 coins spread out over a few different paper wallets, I could rest easy, without fear of a hack. Edit - I meant BitFloor, not CoinFloor I occasionally checked the price, tested out Satoshi Dice, and read a little more on the technical underpinnings, but other than that, I mostly forgot about my Bitcoin investment for the next 6 months. Then, in early 2013, I read about a few seed rounds in Bitcoin startups, and I saw pictures of a Bitcoin booth at the CES is Las Vegas. Somehow that booth, with the Bitcoin logo, made it all seem even more legitimate. The price had climbed into the $14 - $15 range, and I wanted more coin. CoinFloor had been hacked and was out of commission. This time I would use the Dwolla to MtGox method of funding. I found myself seriously regretting not having done Gox's verification the previous summer, as the price quickly climbed while I waited. When my verification finally cleared, the price had shot up to $19, and I transferred in several thousand dollars and bought another ~150 coins. Over the next few months I kept buying until the price crossed $100 per coin. In total, I had put in about $10,000 for 340 coins. I worked part-time, with an annual income of about $25,000, so that $10,000 felt substantial. The rise to $266 was exhilarating, as was the following surge to $1242. I mostly held, but sometimes tried to time the market with a small position (always 10% of holdings or less). I sold some coins the first time Bitcoin passed the $400 mark to recoup my initial investment, and I arbitraged when it was profitable. I lost a then-painful amount of fiat on MtGox, but not any coins. I held tight during the long bear market, with absolute confidence that the price would find a non-zero bottom, and it would only be up from there. The ecosystem was growing, the technology was maturing, and investment money was pouring in, and yet the price continued to decline. I would have loved to buy more, but doing so would have been truly irresponsible from a diversification perspective. I have largely stayed away alt-coins, but I did mine-and-dump those I found annoying, and mined and held the one that I found interesting - Ethereum. I reluctantly pushed some BTC into Ethereum early this year, which turned out to be a good move. In total, over the past 5 years, I have returned about 200x on my initial investment, in the current form of about 250 BTC, about 700 ETH and approximately $300k of other liquid assets. The result is almost identical to a pure buy-and-hold from the beginning, but I felt the need to hedge as valuations changed over time. I feel no pressure to sell more coins, though I probably would convert a few in the $20k-$40k range, prices which I have long seen as likely, if not inevitable. I am in my early 30's. Ask Me Anything! Though I might only have time to answer a few…
Is Vault of Satoshi sufficient for experiencing daytrading? What is the process of removing funds from VOS?
Hello, I'm currently in the research phase for a thesis concerning Bitcoin. I am trying to experience all facets of the currency. I would like to day trade and am drawn to both VOS and Mt.Gox. Ultimately I would like to remove the funds from either of these exchanges after a week or so to use for other means, so I am curious what the process is and how difficult it might be to remove either coins or CAD? Info for both scenarios/currencies would be appreciated.
Re: inquiries about MtGox disbursements and proposed revival
Here’s why we’re in this situation. The trustee forced the user-victims to give, without compensation, a free call option to the Gox shareholders to buy 200k BTC at $2500 at any time prior to the distribution. Thus, a perverse incentive to delay distributions was born. The result:
CoinLab/Vessenes demand a massive settlement. The argument goes: the lawsuit may be frivolous but if you don’t settle, you’re going to lose out even more on the rising price of bitcoin. Straight up legalized extortion, but nothing new – same tactics used by patent trolls.
The shareholders are the other obvious adversary here. For all we know, the shareholders are financing or otherwise incentivizing CoinLab to continue pressing the lawsuit and delaying distributions. Shareholders may be running their own delay tactics that we’re unaware of. Until we see 100% of the shareholders make binding commitments to allocate 100% of their ill-gotten gains to the user-victims, we can’t discount their involvement.
Essentially ANYBODY in the nexus of parties responsible for making distributions could become compromised by massive incentives to delay offered by Gox shareholders.
What can be done?(in theory)
Reject the commingling of user-victim assets and company assets from the outset. If a bank goes in to bankruptcy (in the US), the contents of the safe deposit boxes cannot be auctioned to pay off the bank’s credit card. The asset that the bank holds is the contract to service the safe deposit box, and that could be auctioned to another servicer, but not the contents of the box itself. It can be argued that missing box contents are the responsibility of the bank, but not that missing bank assets are the responsibility of the box renters. How did we get in to this situation with Gox?
Demand that the call option for Gox shareholders be canceled and instead be offered to user-victims.
Demand that a reassessment of the price of bitcoin be done at the time of distribution.
Demand no conversion of any assets and distribute pro rata all assets (USD, EUR, JPY, BTC, etc) as they are, according to the exchange rates established at the start of the bankruptcy proceedings.
Sue the MtGox/sharehoders for unjust enrichment/conversion and get a preemptive lien/garnishment against the distribution that might go to them.
With regard to the proposal to revive MtGox, I just don’t see the ROI for an investor to take this on. It’s a massive and extremely difficult undertaking with a highly improbable outcome. Why shouldn’t the investor just hodl and chill, or buy a fully functioning, profitable exchange without a massive brand problem? Why shouldn’t Kraken just dump $245m in to marketing instead? And, why would it be necessary if the shareholders would just commit to donating their gains to the victims? The trustee has already said that fiat payouts will be optionally payable to Kraken accounts, and that if bitcoin payouts are approved by the court, they will be payable only to Kraken accounts. If any of the Gox shareholders end up with an unexpected windfall that they wish to distribute to the user-victims, Kraken would happily facilitate. Kraken already has most of the accounts as a result of our facilitation of claims collection, the $1m worth of free trading each claimant received, and our providing support to victims and trustee over the last 4 years. People are not sitting on the sidelines waiting for a MtGox revival – they’ve been off trading elsewhere and you’d have a hard sell bringing them back. IMO, it's a pipe dream. I'm glad to see the formation of mtgoxlegal.com and hope that together the creditors can drive some progress toward the only morally acceptable outcome, which is that the user-victims receive 100% of whatever remains after bankruptcy fees.
Want to relay my recent experience to help other canucks entering the cryptocurrency scene. I wanted to invest 100K in both main coins and some alt coins. Depositing that amount can’t be done using ETF/bank-transfeetc. – the only reasonably quick way is to wire funds. For wires, most exchanges have a percentage based deposit fee – something that makes absolutely no sense to me. Whether you wire 1K or 1MM, the amount of work for the exchange is identical, so it should be a flat fee. Deciding on an exchange is more complicated than that though: each one has their own rules for minimums/maximums, trading fees, supported coins, holding periods, and withdrawal fees. They also can vary greatly on the amount of time verification takes. One thing to note is that pretty much all exchanges don’t charge a fee for inbound crypto transfers. 2 months ago I signed up for 10 exchanges (Coinbase/GDAX, Binance, Coinsquare, Kraken, ezBTC, QuadrigaCX, Bitfinex, Gemeni, Bittrex, Poloniex) and was verified on 7 of them (I’m still in queue for Gemeni, Bittrex, and Poloniex). Verification times gave me what I thought was a decent indicator of the level and quality of support I would receive. Of these exchanges, some have what I believe to be relatively high trading fees (Gemeni .25%, Bittrex, .25%, ezBTC .30%, QuadrigaCX .50%) vs lower maketaker fees (GDAX 0/.3%, Binance .1/.1%, Gitfinex .1/.2%, Coinsquare .1/.2%, Kraken .16/.26%). Still others have high percentage based wire fees. And finally, there’s a big disparity between withdrawal fees: free on some exchanes, vs fixed rate based on the coin for others, vs Coinsquare’s insane fixed 0.0025 BTC regardless of what coin or the amount being withdrawn. So here are some observations on the exchanges. Please note that the below is not a reflection on any of the people who work at the exchanges. I’m sure they are working as hard as they can and are doing their best. It’s just my experience. It’s also not financial advice. Also, I’m only human so feel free to offer corrections or better advice. Coinsquare: amazingly fast verification time, and for very large deposits seems to likely be the best option as they will let you speak to a human being by phone and will waive the deposit fee (I didn’t know this until later though). I excluded them because of their high 0.5% percentage based deposit fee and their crazy high withdrawal fee. They also only have support for 6 coins. QuadrigaCX: I had a terrible initial experience with QuadrigaCX’s support, so I immediately excluded them. They have high trading fees and there are many complaints of support tickets being ignored or having extremely lengthy wait times. They have a crazy high 1% percentage based CAD wire fee, but offer free USD wires. Note that they only support wires for large amounts. GDAX/Coinbase: Loads of good reviews, but only has support for 4 coins. Seems like they also don’t have a fee for crypto withdrawals. You also can’t seem to wire CAD or USD funds directly to GDAX. I think you may have to wire USD funds to Coinbase and then transfer them over to GDAX (for free). Kraken: I created an account but the verification page just appeared blank for me. After a few days, their support team got back to me telling me that they had a bug and that I needed to create a new account using a different email address and try again. That worked. I decided to use them as they seemed like the best all-around alternative. I was impressed with their support response (they gave me an answer that worked and responded in days as opposed to weeks), they offer a no-fee inbound CAD wire, support 16 coins, and have low (though not free) crypto withdrawal fees. They have also been around a while and have a good reputation (They were picked to handle MtGox claims). Wiring funds to them was a hair-raising experience though. You basically need to send your funds to an unknown bank in Tokyo, Japan. Kraken also has two slightly different sets of wire instructions: one that is on their website, and the other that their support folks send out. Only one of them mentions that you should tell your bank not to use an intermediary that will convert your currency. If you do things properly, and are lucky, you end up only paying ~$40 in fees. But chances are, you don’t, and end up paying 4%! (see https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinCA/comments/7rd6k8/fees_when_sending_to_krakencom/). You also have no idea how much the fees will be until the money finally shows up in your account. That’s tremendously unsettling. Luckily my bank branch manager was familiar with crypto currency wires and helped me do things properly. But, the wire took over 2 weeks to show up (Jan 18th), and Kraken support is so overloaded that they didn’t’ respond, despite me escalating my support ticket several times. I eventually had to resort to a reddit post to get a response to my support ticket. I gave support my wire receipt and answered lots of additional questions to help them try to “locate” it. Perhaps the worst part of my entire experience was that while my wire was being located, the entire crypto market tanked by 50%...and no one would respond to my support ticket…I felt helpless. A Kraken support rep a few days ago said that they are handing >50K new user registrations per day and have >20K new support tickets per day. I feel they should turn off new user registrations until they are capable of servicing existing customers. This is what their competitors have done. I found it disheartening to learn that the only way to get a response to my support ticket was to complain via social media --- many others have found the same. While I was waiting for my wire to appear Kraken had a >48h outage. Prior to the outage, the site was almost unusable as you’d receive constant 50x errors (I found this out prior to wiring my funds). After the outage, I find that their site is still barely usable. Pages take 10-15 seconds to load and when they do load many times they display errors so you have to continually retry until things work. At the end of the day though, they did come through for me: my wire arrived safely. So with my funds in Kraken, I tried to use them to purchase crypto. But no matter what I tried, none of the CAD dollar trading pairs would appear. I logged out and back in a few times and 15 minutes later, it suddenly started appearing. With the flakiness in Kraken’s platform, I had no choice but to transfer everything to a more stable and faster exchange: Binance: These guys have their shit in order. Super simple site navigation once you get used to it, fast verification times, blazingly fast website and trading engine, more than 50 coins supported, etc. But, they don’t support fiat – you must use one of the other exchanges to buy crypto with fiat and then transfer in your crypto. Gotta say it again: everything is super fast. Not just the page loads, but also trading, email confirmations, and withdrawals. Trading takes a bit of getting used to as you aren’t really buying or selling crypto…you are instead “trading” one crypto coin for another. Depending on the coin you want to purchase, you might have to trade your coin for BNB (binance’s own coin) and then trade BNB for the coin you desire. Be Your Own Bank: One final word of advice. Binance is awesome, but don’t trust anyone as despite everyone’s best intentions: no matter how secure a platform is, it can and will be hacked. As soon as you have done your shopping, transfer your coins off to your own wallet. This is why withdrawal fees are important. You might be asking: in hindsight, if I had to do it all over again, what would I do differently? To wire CAD funds I would try to use Coinsquare if it’s a big amount (after re-reading other people’s recent reviews). For USD wires, I might try using Gemeni, but I still haven’t been verified by them and have been waiting for almost 2 months. Before using either I would re-test how long it takes for a support ticket to be responded to. If you do wire funds, don't wire an exact round amount like "10,000.00", instead I would wire "10,070.45" so that it's easier to locate if things go wrong. Once the account has been funded I wouldn’t hesitate to transfer everything to another exchange if I wasn’t happy with the platform, the number of coin offerings, or quality of service I was receiving: you can always come back when things improve. Things change so quickly so not sure how helpful this will be…just wished I had known some of the above before starting.
The New Crypto Order & Escaping Financial Repression
The Vigilante’s View It is our first issue in months that bitcoin hasn’t hit an all-time high! And it’s the last issue of the year. And what a year for cryptos it was. To put it in perspective, bitcoin could fall 90% from current levels and it will still have outperformed stocks, bonds and real estate in 2017. Bitcoin started 2017 at $960.79. At the time of this writing it is near $13,000 for a gain of 1,250% in 2017. And, bitcoin was actually one of the worst performing cryptocurrencies in our TDV portfolio in 2017! Ethereum (ETH) started 2017 at $8. It has since hit over $800 for a nice 10,000% gain in 2017. That’s pretty good, but not as good as Dash which started the year at $11.19 and recently hit $1,600 for a nearly 15,000% gain. I hope many of you have participated in these amazing gains! If not, or you are new, don’t worry there will be plenty more opportunities in the years ahead. It won’t all be just home runs though… in fact, some of the cryptos that have performed so well to date may go down dramatically or collapse completely in the coming years. I’ll point out further below why Lightning Network is not the answer to Bitcoin Core’s slow speeds and high costs. And, I’ll look ahead to 2018 and how we could already be looking beyond blockchains. Yes, things are moving so fast that blockchain just became known to your average person this year… and could be nearly extinct by next year. That’s why it is important to stick with us here at TDV to navigate these choppy free market waters! New Years Reflection On The Evolution Of Consensus Protocols Sooner or later crypto will humble you by its greatness. Its vastness is accompanied by a madness that is breathtaking, because you quickly realize that there is no stopping crypto from taking over the world. The moment you think you have everything figured out, is the moment the market will surprise you. We are for the first time living and witnessing the birth of the first worldwide free market. Throughout this rampage of innovation, we all are implicitly aiming for the best means of harnessing consensus. As we leave this bountiful 2017 and aim at 2018, it is important for us to meditate and appreciate the progress we have made in transforming the world through the decentralization of consensus. It is also important to reflect on the changes in consensus building we have partaken in and those yet to come. Consensus is the agreement that states “this is what has occurred, and this is what hasn’t happened.” Throughout the vastness of history, we humans have only really had access to centralized means for consensus building. In the centralized world, consensus has been determined by banks, states, and all kinds of central planners. As our readers know, any centralized party can misuse their power, and their consensus ruling can become unfair. In spite of this, many individuals still praise the effectiveness of consensus building of centralized systems. People from antiquity have had no other option but to trust these central planners. These systems of control have created still-water markets where only a few are allowed to compete. This lack of competition resulted in what we now can objectively view as slow innovation. For many, centralized consensus building is preferred under the pretense of security and comfort. Unfortunately, these same individuals are in for a whole lot of discomfort now that the world is innovating on top of the first decentralized consensus building technology, the blockchain. Everything that has occurred since the inception of bitcoin has shocked central planners because for the first time in history they are lost; they no longer hold power. We now vote with our money. We choose what we find best as different technologies compete for our money. What we are witnessing when we see the volatility in crypto is nothing more than natural human motion through price. The innovation and volatility of the crypto market may seem unorthodox to some, because it is. For the first time in history we are in a true free market. The true free market connects you to everybody and for this reason alone the market shouldn’t surprise us for feeling “crazy.” Volatility is a sign of your connection to a market that is alive. Radical innovation is a sign of a market that is in its infancy still discovering itself. In juxtaposing centralized consensus building with decentralized consensus building, I cannot keep myself from remembering some wise biblical words; “ And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.” – Luke 5:37 The centralized legacy financial system is akin to old wineskins bursting to shreds by the new wine of crypto. Decentralized consensus building has no need for central planners. For example, think about how ludicrous it would be for someone to ask government for regulation after not liking something about crypto. Sorry, there is no central planner to protect you; even the mathematical protocols built for us to trust are now competing against one another for our money. These new mathematical protocols will keep competing against one another as they provide us with new options in decentralizing consensus. As we look unto 2018, it is important that we as investors begin to critically engage and analyze “blockchain-free cryptocurrencies.” HASHGRAPHS, TANGLES AND DAGS Blockchain-free cryptocurrencies are technologies composed of distributed databases that use different tools to achieve the same objectives as blockchains. The top contenders in the realm of blockchain-free cryptos are DAGs (Directed Acyclic Graphs) such as Swirlds’ Hashgraph, ByteBall’s DAG, and IOTA’s Tangle. These blockchain-free cryptos are also categorized as belonging to the 3 rd generation of cryptocurrencies. These technologies promise to be faster, cheaper, and more efficient than blockchain cryptocurrencies. Blockchains were the first means of creating decentralized consensus throughout the world. In the blockchain, the majority of 51% determine the consensus. The limits of blockchains stem from their inherent nature, whereupon every single node/participant needs to know all of the information that has occurred throughout the whole blockchain economy of a given coin. This opens up blockchains to issues akin to the ones we have been exposed to in regards to Bitcoin’s scaling. It is important to make a clear distinction in the language used between blockchains and blockchain-freecryptocurrencies. When we speak about blockchains it is more proper to speak about its transactionconsensus as “decentralized”, whereas with blockchain-free cryptocurrencies it is best if we refer to transaction consensus as “distributed.” Swirlds’ Hashgraph incorporates a radical and different approach to distributing consensus. Swirlds claims that their new approach will solve scaling and security issues found on blockchains. They use a protocol called “Gossip about Gossip.” Gossip refers to how computers communicate with one another in sending information. In comparison to the Blockchain, imagine that instead of all of the nodes receiving all of the transactions categorized in the past ten minutes, that only a few nodes shared their transaction history with other nodes near them. The Hashgraph team explains this as “calling any random node and telling that node everything you know that it does not know.” That is, in Hashgraph we would be gossiping about the information we are gossiping; i.e., sending to others throughout the network for consensus. Using this gossiped information builds the Hashgraph. Consensus is created by means of depending on the gossips/rumors that come to you and you pass along to other nodes. Hashgraph also has periodic rounds which review the circulating gossips/rumors. Hashgraph is capable of 250,000+ Transactions Per Second (TPS), compared to Bitcoin currently only allowing for 7 TPS. It is also 50,000 times faster than Bitcoin. There is no mention of a coin on their white paper. At this moment there is no Hashgraph ICO, beware of scams claiming that there is. There is however a growing interest in the project along with a surge of app development. IOTAs DAG is known as the Tangle. Contrary to Hashgraph, IOTA does have its own coin known as MIOTA, currently trading around the $3 mark. There are only 2,779,530,283 MIOTA in existence. The Tangle was also created to help alleviate the pains experienced with Blockchain scaling. IOTAs Tangle creates consensus on a regional level; basically neighbors looking at what other neighbors are doing. As the tangle of neighbors grows with more participants the security of the system increases, along with the speed of confirmation times. IOTA has currently been criticized for its still lengthy confirmation times and its current levels of centralization via their Coordinators. This centralization is due to the fact that at this moment in time the main team works as watchtower to oversee how Tangle network grows so that it does not suffer from attacks. Consensus is reached within IOTA by means of having each node confirm two transactions before that same node is able to send a given transaction. This leads to the mantra of “the more people use IOTA, the more transactions get referenced and confirmed.” This creates an environment where transactional scaling has no limits. IOTA has no transaction fees and upon reaching high adoption the transactions ought to be very fast. Another promising aspect about IOTA is that it has an integrated quantum-resistant algorithm, the Winternitz One-Time Signature Scheme, that would protect IOTA against an attack of future quantum computers. This without a doubt provides IOTA with much better protection against an adversary with a quantum computer when compared to Bitcoin. ByteBall is IOTA’s most direct competitor. They both possess the same transaction speed of 100+ TPS, they both have their own respective cryptocurrencies, and they both have transparent transactions. ByteBall’s token is the ByteBall Bytes (GBYTE), with a supply of 1,000,000; currently trading at around $700. ByteBall aims to service the market with tamper proof storage for all types of data. ByteBall’s DAG also provides an escrow like system called “conditional payments;” which allows for conditional clauses before settling transactions. Like IOTA, ByteBall is also designed to scale its transaction size to meet the needs of a global demand. ByteBall provides access to integrated bots for transactions which includes the capacity for prediction markets, P2P betting, P2P payments in chat, and P2P insurance. ByteBall’s initial coin distribution is still being awarded to BTC and Bytes holders according to the proportional amounts of BTC or Bytes that are held per wallet. IOTA, ByteBall and Hashgraph are technologies that provide us with more than enough reasons to be hopeful for 2018. In terms of the crypto market, you don’t learn it once. You have to relearn it every day because its development is so infant. If you are new to crypto and feel lost at all know that you are not alone. These technologies are constantly evolving with new competitive options in the market. As the technologies grow the ease for adoption is set to grow alongside innovation. We are all new to this world and we are all as much in shock of its ingenuity as the next newbie. Crypto is mesmerizing not just for its volatility which is a clear indication of how connected we are now to one another, but also because of the social revolution that it represents. We are experiencing the multidirectional growth of humanity via the free market. Meanwhile Bitcoin Is Turning Into Shitcoin It is with a great degree of sadness that I see bitcoin is on the cusp of destroying itself. Bitcoin Core, anyway. Bitcoin Cash may be the winner from all of this once all is said and done. Whether by design or by accident, bitcoin has become slow and expensive. Many people point out that IF the market were to upgrade to Segwit that all would be fine. I’ll explain further below why many market participants have no incentive to upgrade to Segwit… meaning that the implementation of Segwit has been a massively risky guess that so far has not worked. Others say that the Lightning Network (LN) will save bitcoin. I’ll point out below why that will not happen. Lightning Networks And The Future Of Bitcoin Core If you’ve been following bitcoin for any length of time, you’re probably aware of the significant dispute over how to scale the network. The basic problem is that although bitcoin could be used at one time to buy, say, a cup of coffee, the number of transactions being recorded on the network bid up the price per transaction so much that actually sending BTC cost more than the cup of coffee itself. Indeed, analysis showed that there were many Bitcoin addresses that had such small BTC holdings that the address itself couldn’t be used to transfer it to a different address. These are referred to as “unspendable addresses.” In the ensuing debate, the “big blockers” wanted to increase the size of each block in the chain in order to allow for greater transaction capacity. The “small blockers” wanted to reduce the size of each transaction using a technique called Segregated Witness (SegWit) and keep the blocks in the chain limited to 1MB. SegWit reduces the amount of data in each transaction by around 40-50%, resulting in an increased capacity from 7 transactions per second to perhaps 15. The software engineers who currently control the Bitcoin Core code repository have stated that what Bitcoin needs is “off-chain transactions.” To do this, they have created something called Lightning Networks (LN), based on an software invention called the “two-way peg.” Put simply, the two-way peg involves creating an escrow address in Bitcoin where each party puts some bitcoin into the account, and then outside the blockchain, they exchange hypothetical Bitcoin transactions that either of them can publish on Bitcoin’s blockchain in order to pull their current agreed-upon balance out of the escrow address. Most layman explanations of how this works describe the protocol as each party putting in an equal amount of Bitcoin into the escrow. If you and I want to start transacting off-chain, so we can have a fast, cheap payment system, we each put some Bitcoin in a multi-party address. I put in 1 BTC and you put in 1 BTC, and then we can exchange what are essentially cryptographic contracts that either of us can reveal on the bitcoin blockchain in order to exit our agreement and get our bitcoin funds. Fortunately, it turns out that the video’s examples don’t tell the whole story. It’s possible for the escrow account to be asymmetric. See:. That is, one party can put in 1 BTC, while the other party puts in, say, 0.0001 BTC. (Core developer and forthcoming Anarchapulco speaker Jimmy Song tells us that there are game theoretic reasons why you don’t want the counterparty to have ZERO stake.) Great! It makes sense for Starbucks to participate with their customers in Lightning Networks because when their customers open an LN channel (basically a gift card) with them for $100, they only have to put in $1 worth of Bitcoin. Each time the customer transacts on the Lightning Network, Starbucks gets an updated hypothetical transaction that they can use to cash out that gift card and collect their bitcoin. The elephant in the room is: transaction fees. In order to establish the escrow address and thereby open the LN channel, each party has to send some amount of bitcoin to the address. And in order to cash out and get the bitcoin settlement, one party also has to initiate a transaction on the bitcoin blockchain. And to even add funds to the channel, one party has to pay a transaction fee. Right now fees on the bitcoin blockchain vary widely and are extremely volatile. For a 1-hour confirmation transaction, the recommended fee from one wallet might be $12 US, while on another it’s $21 US. For a priority transaction of 10-20 minutes, it can range from $22-30 US. Transactions fees are based on the number of bytes in the transaction, so if both parties support SegWit (remember that?) then the fee comes down by 40-50%. So it’s between $6 and $10 US for a one hour transaction and between $11-15 for a 15 minute transaction. (SegWit transactions are prioritized by the network to some degree, so actual times may be faster) But no matter what, both the customer and the merchant have to spend $6 each to establish that they will have a relationship and either of them has to spend $6 in order to settle out and get their bitcoin. Further, if the customer wants to “top off” their virtual gift card, that transaction costs another $6. And because it adds an address to the merchant’s eventual settlement, their cost to get their Bitcoin goes up every time that happens, so now it might cost them $9 to get their bitcoin. Since these LN channels are essentially digital gift cards, I looked up what the cost is to retailers to sell acustomer a gift card. The merchant processor Square offers such gift cards on their retailer site. Their best price is $0.90 per card. So the best case is that Lightning Networks are 600% more expensive than physical gift cards to distribute, since the merchant has to put a transaction into the escrow address. Further, the customer is effectively buying the gift card for an additional $6, instead of just putting up the dollar amount that goes on the card. But it gets worse. If you get a gift card from Square, they process the payments on the card and periodically deposit cash into your bank account for a percentage fee. If you use the Lightning Network, you can only access your Bitcoin by cancelling the agreement with the customer. In other words, you have to invalidate their current gift card and force them to spend $6 on a new one! And it costs you $6 to collect your funds and another $6 to sell the new gift card! I’m sure many of you have worked in retail. And you can understand how this would be financially infeasible. The cost of acquiring a new customer, and the amount of value that customer would have to stake just to do business with that one merchant, would be enormous to make any financial sense. From time immemorial, when transaction costs rise, we see the creation of middlemen. Merchants who can’t afford to establish direct channels with their customers will have to turn to middlemen, who will open LN channels for them. Instead of directly backing and cashing out their digital gift cards, they will establish relationships with entities that consolidate transactions, much like Square or Visa would do today. Starbucks corporate or individual locations might spend a few USD on opening a payment channel with the middleman, and then once a month spend 6 USD to cash out their revenues in order to cover accounts payable. In the meantime, the middleman also has to offer the ability to open LN channels for consumers. This still happens at a fixed initial cost, much like the annual fee for a credit card in the US. They would continue to require minimum balances, and would offer access to a network of merchants, exactly like Visa and MasterCard today. This process requires a tremendous amount of capital because although the middleman does not have to stake Bitcoin in the consumer’s escrow account, he does have to stake it in the merchant’s account. In other words, if the Lightning Network middleman wants to do business with Starbucks to the tune of $100,000/month, he needs $100,000 of bitcoin to lock into an escrow address. And that has to happen for every merchant. Because every month (or so) the merchants have to cash out of their bitcoin to fiat in order to pay for their cost of goods and make payroll. Even if their vendors and employees are paid in bitcoin and they have LN channels open with them, someone somewhere will want to convert to fiat, and trigger a closing channel creating a cascading settlement effect that eventually arrives at the middleman. Oh, and it triggers lots of bitcoin transactions that cost lots of fees. Did I mention that each step in the channel is expecting a percentage of the value of the channel when it’s settled? This will come up again later. Again, if you’ve worked in the retail business, you should be able to see how infeasible this would be. You have to buy inventory and you have to sell it to customers and every part that makes the transaction more expensive is eating away at your margins. Further, if you’re the middleman and Starbucks closes out a channel with a $100,000 stake where they take $95,000 of the bitcoin, how do you re-open the channel? You need another $95,000 in capital. You have revenue, of course, from the consumer side of your business. Maybe you have 950 consumers that just finished off their $100 digital gift cards. So now you can cash them out to bitcoin for just $5700 in transaction fees, and lose 5.7% on the deal. In order to make money in that kind of scenario, you have to charge LN transaction fees. And because your loss is 5.7%, you need to charge in the range of 9% to settle Lightning Network transactions. Also, you just closed out 950 customers who now have to spend $5700 to become your customer again while you have to spend $5700 to re-acquire them as customers. So maybe you need to charge more like 12%. If you approached Starbucks and said “you can accept Bitcoin for your customers and we just need 12% of the transaction,” what are the odds that they would say yes? Even Visa only has the balls to suggest 3%, and they have thousands and thousands of times as many consumers as bitcoin. The entire mission of bitcoin was to be faster, cheaper and better than banks, while eliminating centralized control of the currency. If the currency part of Bitcoin is driven by “off-chain transactions” while bitcoin itself remains expensive and slow, then these off-chain transactions will become the territory of centralized parties who have access to enormous amounts of capital and can charge customers exorbitant rates. We know them today as banks. Even for banks, we have to consider what it means to tie up $100,000/month for a merchant account. That only makes sense if the exchange rate of bitcoin grows faster than the cost of retaining Bitcoin inventory. It costs nothing to store Bitcoin, but it costs a lot to acquire it. At the very least the $6 per transaction to buy it, plus the shift in its value against fiat that’s based on interest rates. As a result, it only makes sense to become a Lightning Network middleman if your store of value (bitcoin) appreciates at greater than the cost of acquiring it (interest rate of fiat.) And while interest rates are very low, that’s not a high bar to set. But to beat it, Bitcoin’s exchange rate to fiat has to outpace the best rate available to the middleman by a factor exceeding the opportunity cost of other uses of that capital. Whatever that rate is, for bitcoin, the only reason the exchange rate changes is new entry of capital into the “price” of bitcoin. For that to work, bitcoin’s “price” must continue to rise faster than the cost of capital for holding it. So far this has happened, but it’s a market gamble for it to continue. Since it happens because of new capital entering into the bitcoin network and thus increasing the market cap, this results in Bitcoin Core becoming the very thing that its detractors accuse it of: a Ponzi scheme. The cost of transacting in Bitcoin becomes derived from the cost of holding bitcoin and becomes derived from the cost of entering bitcoin. Every middleman has to place a bet on the direction of bitcoin in a given period. And in theory, if they think the trend is against Bitcoin, then they’ll cash out and shut down all the payment channels that they transact. If they bought bitcoin at $15,000, and they see it dropping to $13,000 — they’ll probably cash out their merchant channels and limit their risk of a further drop. The consumer side doesn’t matter so much because their exposure is only 1%, but the merchant side is where they had to stake everything. If you’re wondering why this information is not widely known, it’s because most bitcoin proponents don’t transact in bitcoin on a regular basis. They may be HODLing, but they aren’t doing business in bitcoin. Through Anarchapulco, TDV does frequent and substantial business in bitcoin, and we’ve paid fees over $150 in order to consolidate ticket sale transactions into single addresses that can be redeemed for fiat to purchase stage equipment for the conference. For Bitcoin to be successful at a merchant level via Lightning Networks, we will have to see blockchain transactions become dramatically cheaper. If they return to the sub-$1 range, we might have a chance with centralized middlemen, but only with a massive stabilization of volatility. If they return to $0.10, we might have a chance with direct channels. Otherwise, Lightning Networks can’t save bitcoin as a means of everyday transaction. And since that takes away its utility, it might very well take away the basis of its value and bitcoin could find itself truly being a tulip bubble. One final note: there are a some parties for whom all these transactions are dramatically cheaper. That is the cryptocurrency exchanges. Because they are the entry and exit points for bitcoin-to-fiat, they can eliminate a layer of transaction costs and thus offer much more competitive rates — as long as you keep your bitcoin in their vaults instead of securing it yourselves. Sending it out of their control lessens their competitive advantage against other means of storage. It comes as no surprise, then, that they are the least advanced in implementing the SegWit technology that would improve transaction costs and speed. If you buy bitcoin on Poloniex, it works better for them if it’s expensive for you to move that coin to your Trezor. In fact, an exchange offering Lightning Network channels to merchants could potentially do the following… 1) Stake bitcoins in channels with merchants. These coins may or may not be funds that are held by their customers. There is no way to know. 2) Offer customers “debit card” accounts for those merchants that are backed by the Lightning network 3) Establish middle addresses for the customer accounts and the merchant addresses on the Lightning Network. 4) Choose to ignore double-spends between the customer accounts and the merchant addresses, because they don’t actually have to stake the customer side. They can just pretend to since they control the customer’s keys. 5) Inflate their bitcoin holdings up to the stake from the merchants, since the customers will almost never cash out in practice. In other words, Lightning Networks allow exchanges a clear path to repeating Mtgox; lie to the consumer about their balance while keeping things clean with the merchant. In other words, establish a fractional reserve approach to bitcoin. So, to summarize, Bitcoin Core decided increasing the blocksize from 1mb to 2-8mb was “too risky” and decided to create Segwit instead which the market has not adopted. When asked when bitcoin will be faster and less expensive to transfer most Bitcoin Core adherents say the Lightning Network will fix the problems. But, as I’ve just shown, the LN makes no sense for merchants to use and will likely result in banks taking over LN nodes and making BTC similar to Visa and Mastercard but more expensive. And, will likely result in exchanges becoming like banks of today and having fractional reserve systems which makes bitcoin not much better than the banking system of today. Or, people can switch to Bitcoin Cash, which just increased the blocksize and has much faster transaction times at a fraction of the cost. I’ve begun to sell some of my bitcoin holdings because of what is going on. I’ve increased my Bitcoin Cash holdings and also increased my holdings of Dash, Monero, Litecoin and our latest recommendation, Zcash. Other News & Crypto Tidbits When bitcoin surpassed $17,600 in December it surpassed the total value of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency. Meanwhile, Alexei Kireyev of the IMF put out his working paper, “ The Macroeconomics of De-Cashing ,” where he advises abolishing cash without having the public aware of the process. Countries such as Russia are considering creating a cryptocurrency backed by oil to get around the US dollar and the US dollar banking system. Venezuela is as well although we highly doubt it will be structured properly or function well given the communist government’s track record of destroying two fiat currencies in the last decade. To say that the US dollar is being attacked on every level is not an understatement. Cryptocurrencies threaten the entire monetary and financial system while oil producing countries look to move away from the US dollar to their own oil backed cryptocurrency. And all this as bitcoin surpassed the value of the IMF’s SDR in December and in 2017 the US dollar had its largest drop versus other currencies since 2003. And cryptocurrency exchanges have begun to surpass even the NASDAQ and NYSE in terms of revenue. Bittrex, as one example, had $3 billion in volume on just one day in December. At a 0.5% fee per trade that equaled $15m in revenue in just one day. If that were to continue for 365 days it would mean $5.4 billion in annual revenue which is more than the NASDAQ or NYSE made this year. Conclusion I never would have guessed how high the cryptocurrencies went this year. My price target for bitcoin in 2017 was $3,500! That was made in late 2016 when bitcoin was near $700 and many people said I was crazy. Things are speeding up much faster than even I could have imagined. And it is much more than just making money. These technologies, like cryptocurrencies, blockchains and beyond connect us in a more profound way than Facebook would ever be able to. We are now beginning to be connected in ways we never even thought of; and to some degree still do not understand. These connections within this completely free market are deep and meaningful. This is sincerely beautiful because we are constantly presented with an ever growing buffet of competing protocols selling us their best efforts in providing harmony within the world. What all of these decentralized and distributed consensus building technologies have in common is that they connect us to the world and to each other. Where we are going we don’t need foolish and trite Facebook’s emojis. As we close a successful 2017 we look with optimism towards a much more prosperous 2018. The Powers That Shouldn’t Be (TPTSB) can’t stop us. As we move forward note how much crypto will teach you about ourselves and the world. In a radical free market making our own bets will continue to be a process of self discovery. Crypto will show us the contours of our fears, the contours of our greed, and will constantly challenge us to do our best with the knowledge we have. Remember, randomness and innovation are proper to the happenstance nature of a true digital free market. Happy New Year fellow freedom lovers! And, as always, thank you for subscribing! Jeff Berwick
I just launched a new exchange for Gox BTC <=> Real BTC!
Heya! https://www.bitcoinbuilder.com/ has been re-purposed (I made it two years ago originally as a way to buy bitcoins on mtgox with dwolla!) to a full-fledged "Gox" BTC to "Real" BTC exchange! It works simply enough.. you deposit "Gox" BTC to the "Gox" address on your account (internal transfers of BTC within mtgox still work) and/or regular BTC to your "Real" BTC address. You can then place bids and asks (there's a 2% fee on all trades) and then withdraw your "Real" or "Gox" BTC (only to a mtgox address will work for "Gox" BTC!). Withdrawals are all manually processed once per day by me around 11pm, for SAFETY! Anyway, it really works.. already today there have been 11 completed trades it looks like, and hopefully you can trust me. I'm Josh Jones, founder of DreamHost.com, the Los Angeles Bitcoin Meetup, ChunkHost, BitMadness.com, and 310-570-COIN (which I just switched off of the mtgox price)! Please check it out and lemme know what you think! josh! EDIT: Just a note that the order book and trade history (as a json feed at https://www.bitcoinbuilder.com/trades.php) are now live and public on the front page!
TL/DR: A young man had a secret. To keep it hidden, he kept digging until the hole was a billion dollars deep. This is a speculative tale of a great bitcoin theft from MtGox in 2011 and the efforts that this man undertook to fix it. The tale explains the bitcoin bear market of 2011, the explosive rally of 2013, delayed fiat withdrawals, malled transactions, and a bot named Willy. “By the time you realize that real life has begun, you are already three moves in.”—Author unknown It was June 19, 2011. Mark, a 26 year-old young man—a boy really—was ecstatic. He had recently purchased MtGox—a small, online exchange for trading virtual tokens—and business was booming. These virtual tokens were called bitcoins and Mark loved them. Bitcoins were an obscure curiosity: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that allowed users to store and exchange credits with any other user in the world, nearly instantly, and without the assistance of a third-party or the permission of an authority. All that was needed was a 78-digit secret number—a key if you will. In order for his customers to withdraw their bitcoins over the internet, MtGox stored some of these keys on its online server. The remaining keys were stored on USB drives and backed up on paper to prevent theft should the server be compromised. But theft was hardly a concern. In October of 2010, bitcoins were trading for $0.10 and the half a million bitcoins held by MtGox was worth only $50,000. But still Mark took precautions, diligently moving bitcoins to offline storage and leaving only what was necessary for customer withdrawals online. He truly wanted both his business and bitcoin to succeed. By April, the bitcoin price had risen to $1 and by June it had exploded to $30. Between June 1 and June 15, an additional one million bitcoins were sent to MtGox and immediately sold, crashing the price back to $10. It was a hectic time, with hundreds of customers needing help, visits from the FBI related to the Silk Road black market, and stress related to the recent market crash. Young Mark was becoming a victim of his own success: there simply wasn’t enough time to get everything done. On this very day in June 2011, the keys to the recently-deposited 1,000,000 BTC were still sitting on his server. Later this day, a group of hackers gained access to MtGox servers and executed fake trades that the world could see, driving the nominal price of bitcoin near $0. Mark was frantic. He quickly regained control of the servers and learned the dark truth: the million bitcoins that had recently flooded in earlier that month were gone. Mark admitted publically to the hack, rewound the false trades, but kept the truth of the missing coins a secret. How could this 26-year old explain to his customers that he had lost their bitcoins? And if the world found out, would this kill the thing he loved so dearly? Would he go to jail? Or worse yet, would someone kill him? Mark decided that he would do what he thought was right: he would slowly earn back the lost bitcoin with MtGox trading fee profits and eventually make his customers whole again. He still had over 500,000 BTC left—he moved 424242.42424242 BTC between bitcoin addresses and convinced the community that MtGox was solvent. As long as withdrawals didn’t exceed deposits over a long period of time, no one would ever find out the truth. Or so he thought. Meanwhile, the bitcoin thieves slowly mixed their coins with other coins, obfuscating the chain of ownership, and then re-selling these coins on MtGox using sock-puppet accounts. Mark tried to stop them, but there was no way he could know for sure which accounts were fraudulent—he even accused innocent people of bitcoin laundering. The constant selling of these stolen bitcoins drove the price down to $2 in November 2011. Mark faithfully used all of the MtGox profits to purchase coins back during this decline. But he would never use customer funds—that was a line he swore not to cross. The selling of these stolen bitcoins continued at a diminished rate over 2012, and Mark continually purchased coins using the MtGox trading fees. The bitcoin economy was growing and new exchanges were opening up across the world. His bitcoin reserves weren’t building fast enough but the price of bitcoin kept rising (along with the dollar value of the missing bitcoins). He was worried that other exchanges would suck coins out of Gox and reveal his secret. He decided he needed to take decisive action: for the first time, he used customer funds to purchase real bitcoins. These large purchases by Mark further increased demand and ignited the great rally of spring 2013 when the bitcoin price shot from $20 to $266. Mark had reduced his liability in bitcoins, but in dollar terms the coins that were still missing were worth more than ever before. On May 15, 2013 the US Department of Homeland Security seized millions of dollars from the MtGox Dwolla bank account. MtGox dollar reserves were already depleted at this point, and with the recent seizure, Mark could no longer make good on customer withdrawals in US dollars. Under the guise of “banking problems,” MtGox slowed US dollar withdrawals to a trickle in the summer of 2013. Customers became increasingly worried and began to bid up the price of bitcoin on MtGox, as this was the only way to escape with their funds. MtGox had little fiat and very little bitcoins, but it learned one thing: as the price differential between Gox and BitStamp grew, the outwards flow of bitcoin slowed dramatically. And so Willy was born. Willy was a bot, discovered by Wall Observers from bitcointalk.org and named by Opet on Bonavest's trading show, who would consistently purchased bitcoins at regular intervals between November 2013 and February 2014. Evidence that Willy belonged to Mark was revealed when both web and API trading at Gox was disabled for a brief period of time, exposing Willy as the only one left buying. Willy served two purposes: he drove the price of bitcoin on the MtGox exchange high, thereby slowing and sometimes reversing the outward flow of real BTC, and he reduced the number of GoxBTC held by clients. Of course, this meant that Willy eventually became the owner of a huge number of GoxBTC (that were of course no longer backed by real BTC). By December, the situation at MtGox was grim. In a desperate attempt to attract more funds, Mark offered reduced trading fees under the guise of celebrating their 1,000,000th customer. This partially worked, but Mark knew it was too late. If MtGox collapsed, it must appear that he didn’t know about the theft until now—for it was better to appear incompetent than criminal. It was time to cover his tracks. He purposely mixed immature coins into bitcoin withdrawals to delay the outward flow of coins, and later began malling his own transactions. He added the Gox malleability weakness not as a bug, but as a feature, so that it would seem plausible that outsiders had recently stolen the coins without his awareness. No coins were actually lost to malleability. The MtGox coin supply dwindled to 2,000 BTC and on February 7, 2014. He had no choice but to disable bitcoin withdrawals. The end was near. The problem Mark faced was that his customers had $150,000,000 credited to their accounts, yet the MtGox bank account only contained $38,000,000. He could blame the missing bitcoins on transaction malleability, but how could he explain where the fiat money went? He shifted Willy into reverse and cranked the throttle. Willy relentlessly dumped bitcoins into the open bids. The price fell further and further, eventually dropping well below the BitStamp price. But still not enough people were buying! He needed his customers to buy the GoxBTC. Willy kept dumping coins until finally the price dropped below $100. MtGox even acquired new USD bank wires from customers looking to purchase the cheap coins. By this time, the majority of Gox customers had converted their dollars into bitcoins. On February 28, 2014, Mt Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo, reporting 6.5 billion yen in liabilities, 3.8 billion yen in assets, and 750,000 of customer bitcoins missing. Willy had failed to completely close the fiat solvency gap and Mark finally admitted to having lost the coins. Now we watch the rest of the story unfold. A story of how an oversight during a hectic period, an untimely theft, and an attempt to cover it up, lead to the greatest loss in the history of bitcoin. Cross-posted from: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=497289.0
Erowid, a non-profit drug educational organization, gives a detailed look at how they used Bitcoin as a source of donations since March 2011
I recently sent Erowid a question about their Bitcoin donations (the quoted parts) and I got an extremely detailed reply about their history with Bitcoin donations. Thought I would share. But first, here is a link for donating with a wide range of crypto-currencies.
Thanks! We really appreciate it. Bitcoin is one of the most useful and interesting new payment systems since zero-fee paypal in 1999, which has ended up nothing at all like it started. It's now a very useful email-address-based gateway to the giant international VISA/MC conglomerate. It's a handy system, but that whole transaction skimming conspiracy is a little disturbing, costly, and monopolistic.
I was looking at your address and see that it is only a month old, yet you have been accepting Bitcoin since Mar 2011. In the spirit of openness I'm curious about why you changed addresses and
Many Bitcoin advocates and technologists state that a new address for every transaction is actually the right way to improve privacy and to firewall tracking of payments and transactions. I believe that viewpoint is kind of the opposite of openness, it is based on trying to keep people's transactions more private, despite the entire BTC blockchain database being fully public and exposed. I spent some time a couple years ago trying to get a server-based wallet set up that would generate a new address for each transaction and it wound up being a lot harder than I could get working reliably. The more unique addresses, the less erowid donors are tied together, thus a little more privacy. We will try again at some point. Currently, we keep a local bitcoin wallet and backups and rotate the BTC addresses every month or three, depending on a variety of factors.
and how much you received on your previous ones. Also I would like to know if you hold a fraction of Bitcoin or convert all to fiat directly.
At the moment, I can give you a rough outline of how we choose when to sell bitcoins. It different than people who are on the buying end. We have always conceived of BTC as 'micro donations', but some number of people over the years (let's say 30) have asked directly to pay for a membership with BTC instead of other methods. In order for that to make sense as an organization, we need to convert those bitcoins around the time of the donation so that the donation in bitcoin results in the amount near the dollar value that the donor was offering. So, for a t-shirt that might be a $45 donation. If/when that happens, we transfer the appropriate number of bitcoins out on or near that day to convert BTC into USD. Then we can enter that person's donation into our donation system and the accounting matches up: person gets a $45 membership, we get $45 into our bank account. Accounting is fun! :\ Further, because we are entirely a donation-based non-profit, we are always in the position of trying to have BTC donations be of non-zero USD value to the organization. That means selling them at some point. The question of when to sell them is obviously complicated. One can view BTC as a deflating currency or an investment or a security or maybe a commodity. We are generally conservative about them and have mostly sold the BTC we've received within a few months of their donation in order to generate USD for the organization. So, say we got 1 bitcoin 2 years ago when they were worth $30 each. If it wasn't tied directly to getting a sweatshirt or otherwise needed to wind up as a row in our banking records, I would hold onto to the coin and wait for a time when the value of BTC was going upwards and sell that bitcoin for more than it was worth when we received it. But I did not hold onto them for years, since that defeats the purpose of supporting the organization and it locks up the bitcoin trading market if everyone holds and never sells. However, the goal is always to wind up with money in the bank sooner rather than later, since we run a business. As far as previous addresses go, I believe that the reasoning behind the privacy concept is NOT to give out previous addresses, though obviously it's a tiny figleaf. We sold 1 BTC last week when the value hit $500 and another this week when the value hit $600 and will probably sell again if the price continues to rise. If I had a completely configurable trading system, I would likely set a sell order for 1BTC at $675 OR sell 0.5 BTC in 14 days if the price is >= $600. My reality is that I have to make the sales manually, because I don't have a reliable trading site that delivers to my US bank. The vast majority of total bitcoins we've sold were sold for under $30 a piece. When we opened our first bitcoin address to check out the system, The Faucet gave me 1 BTC just to help get the ball rolling. Obviously such things no longer exist and we're in a period where bitcoins are both volatile AND valuable. We had one donor give us some bitcoin back in early December and requested we wait to sell it until it hit $1200, but ALSO required that we open a separate account at a bitcoin trading company that took two weeks to complete as the company confirmed our banking information and identity, etc. By the time we'd gotten the new account set up, we were well into the price crash and so we are holding onto that bitcoin for some future price that is closer to what the person donated it at. On the other hand, we received several BTC last september when they were in the 100-200$ range and we sold all of those at between $800 and $1200 each in late november and early december as the price was running up. That was actually during the fall of MtGox who was our only trade location until October, 2013. I had initiated a sale of two bitcoins in early September and six weeks later, MtGox had not deposited the money in our account and had no estimate for when they would do it. Happily, they credited my account the USD, I bought BTC, and moved them back to an offline wallet. I'm not sure how to be both transparent AND private, but I can tell you the current address is typical of better months from the last year. We currently get a few hundred dollars a month in BTC, unless we're doing a big fundraising push, in which case we get double or triple that. With the price increase in the last 14 days, May was a good month. Happy to answer more questions and chat about how we manage bitcoin, but the main concepts to keep in mind are : trying to limit the exposure of blockchains for privacy reasons, trying to optimize for USD coming into our budget, generally being conservative so we will choose to sell rather than hold bitcoins, and having a rule of never selling all our bitcoins but selling off parts of what we receive over time to reduce risks and exposure. We currently use coinbase and bitpay, after having gone through 10 or so different BTC->USD systems. What we need is reliable and stable and most of the others have run afoul of the federal money cops in the US and have been shut down or had their banking connection shut down. I'm always interested in recommendations for other trading / sales sites, but we need one that can deposit into a US bank for it to be useful for erowid center. And we need one that is stable, represents a real business, and is unlikely to poof into a cloud of oily smoke. I see today we got a .01 and a .05 bitcoin donation to the current address, bringing our total for the last month up to .654 ish, which is great! With the price heading upwards (rather than hovering at $400), that's actually a useful amount of money. Thanks! Looking at the charts today, it seems like a lot of people decided to start selling as the price hit 650+ and so the price had a small crash today while I wasn't paying attention. Anyway, hope some of that is useful. Erowid Center's budget (income and expenditures) are all public information, but our list of donors is not and we do what we can to protect the privacy of the people who choose to support our controversial project. Thanks again for your contribution! Hurray that you didn't have to pay VISA 0.35 + 2% to do it. earth
Hello! My name is Inna Halahuz, I am a sales manager at Platinum, the largest listing service provider for the STO and ICO projects. We know all about the best and most useful STO and ICO marketing services. By the way, we developed the best blockchain platform: [Platinum.fund] (https://platinum.fund/sto/) We also created the UBAI, the unique educational project with the best and most useful online courses. We not only share our knowledge but also help the best graduates to find a job! After finishing our courses you will know all about crypto securities, ICO and STO advertizing and best blockchain platforms. What a Blockchain Wallet is? What is its purpose? Find the answer after reading this article. Public/Private Key The public key is the digital code you give to someone that wants to transfer ownership of a unit of cryptocurrency to you; and a private key is what you need to be able to unlock your own wallet to transfer a unit of a cryptocurrency to someone else. The encoding of information within a wallet is done by the private and public keys. That is the main component of the encryption that maintains the security of the wallet. Both keys function in simultaneous encryption systems called symmetric and asymmetric encryption. The former, alternatively known as private key encryption, makes use of the same key for encryption and decryption. The latter, asymmetric encryption, utilizes two keys, the public and private key, wherein a message-sender encrypts the message with the public key, and the recipient decodes it with their private key. The public key uses asymmetric algorithms that convert messages into an unreadable format. A person who possesses a public key can encrypt the message for a specific receiver. Accessing wallets Methods of wallet access vary depending on the type of wallet being used. Various types of currency wallets on an exchange will normally be accessed via the exchange’s entrance portal, normally involving a combination of a username/password and optionally, 2FA (Two factor authentication, which we explain in more detail later). Whereas hardware wallets need to be connected to an internet enabled device, and then have a pin code entered manually by the user in possession of the hardware wallet in order for access to be gained. Phone wallets are accessed through the device on which the wallet application has been downloaded. Ordinarily, a passcode and/or security pattern must be entered before entry is granted, in addition to 2FA for withdrawals. Satoshi Nakamoto built the Satoshi client which evolved into Bitcoin in 2009. This software allowed users to create wallets and send money to other addresses. However, it proved to be a nightmarish user experience, with many transactions being sent to incorrect addresses and private keys being lost. The MtGox (Magic the Gathering Online exchange, named after the original intended use of the exchange) incident, which will be covered in greater detail later, serves as a reminder of the dangers present in the cryptosphere regarding security, and the need to constantly upgrade your defenses against all potential hacks. The resulting loss of 850k BTC is a still unresolved problem, weighing heavily on the victims and the markets at large. This caused a huge push for a constantly evolving and improving focus on security. Exchanges that developed later, and are thus considered more legitimate and secure, such as Gemini and Coinbase, put a much greater emphasis on vigilance as a direct result of the MtGox hacking incident. We also saw the evolution of wallet security into the physical realm with the creation of hardware wallets, most notable among them the Ledger and Trezor wallets. Types of Wallets & Storage Methods The simplest way to sift through the dozens of cryptocurrency storage methods available today, is to divide them up into digital and non-digital, software and hardware wallets. There are also less commonly used methods of storage of private keys, like paper wallets and brain wallets. We will examine them all at least briefly, because in the course of your interaction with cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology, it is essential to master all the different types of hardware and software wallets. Another distinction must be made between hot wallets and cold wallets. A hot wallet is one that is connected to the internet, and a cold wallet is one that is not. Fun fact: The level below cold storage, deep cold storage has just recently been implemented by the Regal RA DMCC, a subsidiary of an internationally renowned gold trading company licensed in the Middle East. After having been granted a crypto trading license, Regal RA launched their “deep cold” storage solution for traders and investors, which offers the ability to store crypto assets in vaults deep below the Almas Tower in Dubai. This storage method is so secure that at no point is the vault connected to a network or the internet; meaning the owners of the assets can be sure that the private keys are known only to the rightful owners. Lets take a quick look at specific features and functionality of varieties of crypto wallets. Software wallets: wallet applications installed on a laptop, desktop, phone or tablet. Web Wallets: A hot wallet by definition. Web Wallets are accessible through the web browser on your phone or computer. The most important feature to recognize about any kind of web wallet, is that the private keys are held and managed by a trusted third party. MyEtherWallet is the most commonly used non-exchange web wallet, but it can only be used to store Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. Though the avenue of access to MEW is through the web, it is not strictly speaking a web wallet, though this label will suffice for the time being. The MEW site gives you the ability to create a new wallet so you can store your ETH yourself. All the data is created and stored on your CPU rather than their servers. This makes MEW a hybrid kind of web wallet and desktop wallet. Exchange Wallets: A form of Web Wallet contained within an exchange. An exchange will hold a wallet for each individual variety of cryptocurrency you hold on that exchange. Desktop Wallets: A software program downloaded onto your computer or tablet hard drive that usually holds only one kind of cryptocurrency. The Nano Wallet (Formerly Raiwallet) and Neon wallet for storage of NEO and NEP-5 tokens are notable examples of desktop wallets Phone Wallets: These are apps downloaded onto a mobile phone that function in the same manner as a desktop wallet, but actually can hold many different kinds of cryptocurrency. The Eidoo Wallet for storing Ethereum and its associated tokens and Blockchain Wallet which currently is configured to hold BTC, ETH and Bitcoin Cash, are some of the most widely used examples. Hardware wallets — LedgeTrezoAlternatives Hardware wallets are basically physical pathways and keys to the unique location of your crypto assets on the Blockchain. These are thought to be more secure than any variety of web wallet because the private key is stored within your own hard wallet, an actual physical device. This forcibly removes the risk your online wallet, or your exchange counter party, might be hacked in the same manner as MtGox. In hardware wallet transactions, the wallet’s API creates the transaction when a user requests a payment. An API is a set of functions that facilitates the creation of applications that interact and access features or data of an operating system. The hardware then signs the transaction, and produces a public key, which is given to the network. This means the signing keys never leave the hardware wallet. The user must both enter a personal identification number and physically press buttons on the hardware wallet in order to gain access to their Blockchain wallet address through this method, and do the same to initiate transfers. Paper Wallets Possibly the safest form of cryptocurrency storage in terms of avoiding hacking, Paper Wallets are an offline form of crypto storage that is free to set up, and probably the most secure way for users, from beginners to experts, to hold on to their crypto assets. To say it simply, paper wallets are an offline cold storage method of storing cryptocurrency. This includes actually printing out your public and private keys on a piece of paper, which you then store and save in a secure place. The keys are printed in the form of QR codes which you can scan in the future for all your transactions. The reason why it is so safe is that it gives complete control to you, the user. You do not need to worry about the security or condition of a piece of hardware, nor do you have to worry about hackers on the net, or any other piece of malware. You just need to take care of one piece of paper! Real World Historical Examples of Different Wallet Types Web Wallet: Blockchain.info Brief mechanism & Security Blockchain.info is both a cryptocurrency wallet, supporting Bitcoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin cash, and also a block explorer service. The wallet service provided by blockchain.info has both a Web Wallet, and mobile phone application wallet, both of which involve signing up with an email address, and both have downloadable private keys. Two Factor Authentication is enabled for transfers from the web and mobile wallets, as well as email confirmation (as with most withdrawals from exchanges). Phone Wallet: Eidoo The Eidoo wallet is a multi-currency mobile phone app wallet for storage of Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens. The security level is the standard phone wallet level of email registration, confirmation, password login, and 2 factor authentication used in all transfers out. You may find small volumes of different varieties of cryptocurrencies randomly turning up in your Eidoo wallet address. Certain projects have deals with individual wallets to allow for “airdrops” to take place of a particular token into the wallet, without the consent of the wallet holder. There is no need to be alarmed, and the security of the wallet is not in any way compromised by these airdrops. Neon Wallet The NEON wallet sets the standard for web wallets in terms of security and user-friendly functionality. This wallet is only designed for storing NEO, Gas, and NEP-5 tokens (Ontology, Deep Brain Chain, RPX etc.). As with all single-currency wallets, be forewarned, if you send the wrong cryptocurrency type to a wallet for which it is not designed, you will probably lose your tokens or coins. MyEtherWallet My Ether Wallet, often referred to as MEW, is the most widely used and highly regarded wallet for Ethereum and its related ERC-20 tokens. You can access your MEW account with a hardware wallet, or a different program. Or you can also get access by typing or copying in your private key. However, you should understand this method is the least safe way possible,and therefore is the most likely to result in a hack. Hardware: TrezoLedger Brief History Mechanism and Security A hardware wallet is a physical key to your on-chain wallet location, with the private keys contained within a secure sector of the device. Your private key never leaves your hardware wallet. This is one of the safest possible methods of access to your crypto assets. Many people feel like the hardware wallet strikes the right balance between security, peace of mind, and convenience. Paper Wallet Paper wallets can be generated at various websites, such as https://bitcoinpaperwallet.com/ and https://walletgenerator.net/. They enable wallet holders to store their private keys totally offline, in as secure a manner as is possible. Real World Example — Poor Practices MtGox Hack history effects and security considerations MtGox was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world before it was hacked in 2014. They were handling over 70% of BTC transactions before they were forced to liquidate their business. The biggest theft of cryptocurrency in history began when the private keys for the hot wallets were stolen in 2011 from a wallet.dat file, possibly by hacking, possibly by a rogue employee. Over the course of the next 3 years the hot wallets were emptied of approximately 650000 BTC. The hacker only needed wallet.dat file to access and make transfers from the hot wallet, as wallet encryption was only in operation from the time of the Bitcoin 0.4.0 release on Sept 23rd 2011. Even as the wallets were being emptied, the employees at Mt Gox were apparently oblivious to what was taking place. It seems that Mt Gox workers were interpreting these withdrawals as large transfers being made to more secure wallets. The former CEO of the exchange, Mark Karpeles, is currently on trial for embezzlement and faces up to 5 years in prison if found guilty. The Mt Gox hack precipitated the acceleration of security improvements on other exchanges, for wallets, and the architecture of bitcoin itself. As a rule of thumb, no small-to-medium scale crypto holders should use exchange wallets as a long-term storage solution. Investors and experienced traders may do this to take advantage of market fluctuations, but exchange wallets are perhaps the most prone to hacking, and storing assets on exchanges for an extended time is one of the riskiest ways to hold your assets. In a case strikingly similar to the MtGox of 2011–2014, the operators of the BitGrail exchange “discovered” that approximately 17 million XRB ($195 million worth in early 2018) were missing. The operators of the exchange were inexplicably still accepting deposits, long after they knew about the hack. Then they proceeded to block withdrawals from non-EU users. And then they even requested a hard fork of the code to restore the funds. This would have meant the entire XRB Blockchain would have had to accept all transactions from their first “invalid” transaction that were invalid, and rollback the ledger. The BitGrailexchange attempted to open operations in May 2018 but was immediately forced to close by order of the Italian courts. BitGrail did not institute mandatory KYC (Know your customer) procedures for their clients until after the theft had been reported, and allegedly months after the hack was visible. They also did not have 2 factor authentication mandatory for withdrawals. All big, and very costly mistakes. Case Study: Good Practice Binance, the Attempted Hack During the 2017 bull run, China-based exchange Binance quickly rose to the status of biggest altcoin exchange in the world, boasting daily volumes that surged to over $4 billion per day in late December. Unfortunately, this success attracted the attention of some crafty hackers. These hackers purchased domain names that were confusingly similar to “binance.com”. And then they created sufficiently convincing replica websites so they could phish traders for their login information. After obtaining this vital info, the scammers created API keys to place large buy orders for VIAcoin, an obscure, low volume digital currency. Those large buy orders spiked VIA’s price. Within minutes they traded the artificially high-priced VIA for BTC. Then they immediately made withdrawal requests from the hacked BTC wallets to wallets outside of the exchange. Almost a perfect fait accompli! But, Binance’s “automating risk management system” kicked in, as it should, and all withdrawals were temporarily suspended, resulting in a foiled hacking attempt. Software Wallets Web/Desktop/Phone/Exchange Advantages and Limitations As we said before, it is inadvisable to store crypto assets in exchange wallets, and, to a lesser extent, Web Wallets. The specific reason we say that is because you need to deliver your private keys into the hands of another party, and rely on that website or exchange to keep your private key, and thus your assets, safe. The advantages of the less-secure exchange or web wallets, are the speed at which you can transfer assets into another currency, or into another exchange for sale or for arbitrage purposes. Despite the convenience factor, all software wallets will at some point have been connected to the internet or a network. So, you can never be 100% sure that your system has not been infected with malware, or some kind of keylogging software, that will allow a third party to record your passwords or private keys. How well the type of storage method limits your contact with such hazards is a good way to rate the security of said variety of wallet. Of all the software wallets, desktop and mobile wallets are the most secure because you download and store your own private key, preferably on a different system. By taking the responsibility of private key storage you can be sure that only one person has possession of it, and that is you! Thereby greatly increasing the security of your crypto assets. By having their assets in a desktop wallet, traders can guard their private key and enjoy the associated heightened security levels, as well keep their assets just one swift transfer away from an exchange. Hardware Wallets Advantages and Limitations We briefly touched on the features and operation of the two most popular hardware wallets currently on the market, the Ledger and Trezor wallets. Now it will be helpful to take a closer look into the pros and cons of the hardware wallet storage method. With hardware wallets, the private keys are stored within a protected area of the microcontroller, and they are prevented from being exported out of the device in plain text. They are fortified with state-of-the-art cryptography that makes them immune to computer viruses and malware. And much of the time, the software is open source, which allows user validation of the entire performance of the device. The advantages of a hardware wallet over the perhaps more secure paper wallet method of crypto storage is the interactive user experience, and also the fact that the private key must at some stage be downloaded in order to use the paper wallet. The main disadvantage of a hardware wallet is the time-consuming extra steps needed to transfer funds out of this mode of storage to an exchange, which could conceivably result in some traders missing out on profits. But with security being the main concern of the vast majority of holders, investors and traders too, this slight drawback is largely inconsequential in most situations. Paper Wallets Advantages and Limitations Paper wallets are thought by some to be the safest way to store your crypto assets, or more specifically, the best method of guarding the pathways to your assets on the Blockchain. By printing out your private key information, the route to your assets on the Blockchain is stored 100% offline (apart from the act of printing the private key out, the entire process is totally offline). This means that you will not run the risk of being infected with malware or become the victim of keylogging scams. The main drawback of using paper wallets is that you are in effect putting all your eggs in one basket, and if the physical document is destroyed, you will lose access to your crypto assets forever. Key things to keep in mind about your Wallet Security: Recovery Phrases/Private Key Storage/2FA/Email Security Recovery phrases are used to recover the on-chain location for your wallet with your assets for hardware wallets like ledgers and Trezors that have been lost. When you purchase a new ledger for example, you just have to set it up again by entering the recovery phrase into the display and the lost wallets will appear with your assets intact. Private key storage is of paramount importance to maintain the safety of your on-chain assets! This should be done in paper wallet form, or stored offline on a different computer, or USB device, from the one you would typically use to connect to the 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) sometimes known as “two step authentication”. This feature offers an extra security layer when withdrawing funds from cryptocurrency wallets. A specialized app, most commonly Google Authenticator, is synced up to the exchange to provide a constantly changing code. This code must be entered within a short time window to initiate transfers, or to log into an exchange, if it has also been enabled for that purpose. You must always consider the level of fees, or the amount of Gas, that will be needed to carry out the transaction. In times of high network activity Gas prices can be quite high. In fact, in December 2017 network fees became so high that some Bitcoin transactions became absolutely unfeasible. But that was basically due to the anomalous network congestion caused by frantic trading of Bitcoin as it was skyrocketing in value. When copying wallet addresses, double check and triple check that they are correct. If you make a mistake and enter an incorrect address, it is most likely your funds will be irretrievably lost; you will never see those particular assets again. Also check that you haven’t input the address of another one of your wallets that is designed to hold a different variety of cryptocurrency. You would similarly run the very great risk of losing your funds forever. Or, at the very least, if you have sent the wrong crypto to a large exchange wallet, for example on Coinbase, maybe you could eventually get those funds back, but it would still entail a long and unenjoyable wait. How to Monitor Funds There are two ways to monitor you funds and your wallets. The first is by searching for individual wallet addresses on websites specifically designed to let you view all the transactions on a particular Blockchain. The other is to store a copy of your wallet contents on an application that tracks the prices of all cryptocurrencies. Blockchain.info is the block explorer for Bitcoin, and it allows you to track all wallet movements so you can view your holdings and all the historical transactions within the wallet. The Ethereum blockchain’s block explorer is called Ether scanner, and it functions in the same way. There is a rival to Ether scanner produced by the Jibrel Network, called JSearch which will be released soon. JSearch will aim to offer a more streamlined and faster search method for Ethereum blockchain transactions. There are many different kinds of block explorer for each individual crypto currency, including nanoexplorer.io for Nano (formerly Rai Blocks) and Neotracker for NEO. If you simply want to view the value of your portfolio, the Delta and Blockfolio apps allow you to easily do that. But they are not actually linked to your specific wallet address, they just show price movements and total value of the coins you want to monitor. That’s not all! You can learn how to transfer and monitor the funds in and out of your wallet by clicking on the link. To be continued! UBAI.co Contact me via Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to learn more about the best online education: LinkedInFacebookInstagram
I just launched a new exchange for "Gox" BTC <=> "Real" BTC!
Heya! https://www.bitcoinbuilder.com/ has been re-purposed (I made it two years ago originally as a way to buy bitcoins on mtgox with dwolla!) to a full-fledged "Gox" BTC to "Real" BTC exchange! It works simply enough.. you deposit "Gox" BTC to the "Gox" address on your account (internal transfers of BTC within mtgox still work) and/or regular BTC to your "Real" BTC address. You can then place bids and asks (there's a 2% fee on all trades) and then withdraw your "Real" or "Gox" BTC (only to a mtgox address will work for "Gox" BTC!). Withdrawals are all manually processed once per day by me around 11pm, for SAFETY! Anyway, it really works.. already today there have been 11 completed trades it looks like, and hopefully you can trust me. I'm Josh Jones, founder of DreamHost.com, the Los Angeles Bitcoin Meetup, ChunkHost, BitMadness.com, and 310-570-COIN (which I just switched off of the mtgox price)! Please check it out and lemme know what you think! josh!
OHCC Exchange Partnership and the fractional exchanges that support it. Your exchange may be counterfeiting cryptocurrency!
OHCC Exchange Partnership OHCC is the behind-the-scenes trading that goes on between the big three chinese exchanges - OKCoin, Huobi, and BTC China. Many of the players in this partnership deal with long/short loan trading and freely join their reserves via a trust agreement. The owners of these exchanges were unsatisfied with the meager income they earn from transaction fees, so they came up with a solution. During this current Chinese National holiday til the 8th of october, all banks are closed, this would be the perfect time to unleash the plan to the market.. They noticed that everytime favorable news came out, huge market moves would happen, so, the exchange owners would create counterfeit fiat on each exchange in order to foster optimism about the future market for the buyers on the exchange. Whenever the markets were to go bad, they would to do the opposite. In order to amplify downwards movement on the exchanges, “war bots” were created that push the markets down in an aggressive manner, causing margin calls and generating profit for their trading partners. http://i.imgur.com/9Q0xTet.png Employing traders with large fractional reserves, OHCC uses these fictitious funds in order to garner more real money deposits via leading recharge code sellers. In order to prevent the loss of the counterfeited currency, collusion between exchange owners must be done at the same moment. BTCChina decided that due to losses of funds in the past caused by bad encryption and bugs in the system, they needed to partner together and now think that the best hope to regain funds is to bring the price down to zero, in order to buy as much coin as possible and refill said reserves. Their counterparties in other exchanges agreed that they will aso use the same means, in order to collude and gain profits on their own reserve accounts. It is made to look that everyone is competing on the surface, but in private there is a mutual understanding within the industry that those who remain silent will receive the benefits of silence. Yesterday's Litecoin crash, combined between all the exchanges had turnovers as high as 20 million coins moved, way more than the sum of all the transactions made within the past week and the day before the transaction currency trading market volume closed at 35 million LTC, while the total LTC in circulation is only 31 million! This means that regardless of how much money you have to buy the dips, many will be put into the bottomless black hole. Public reserve is intended to ensure that the exchanges cannot fake these funds and ensure that that each is at 100 percent reserve, which is to have a completely open Bitcoin wallet address for both the cold and hot wallet, to ensure that they do not create counterfeited currency. Not open exchange reserves Yes, the above story is happening around us. Many players excessive dependence on trading platform, the coins stored in the platform, and trading platform does not fulfill its obligations disclosed reserves. Caused a trading platform for profit making counterfeit money to manipulate the market and malicious trick users into real money. So, how should users involved in this market protect themselves? 1) Do not store in Bitcoin and other platforms! If you're long-term bullish market, then Bitcoin, and Litecoin should be stored in their wallet. Some platforms will be committed borrowing interest, do not because of the platform for the petty and the coins and other bits on the platform, and finally you get the benefits far outweigh the losses! You just put the coins and other bits emerged, the trading platform will mention now facing pressure. Such power can be reduced more or less of them false. OpenBlock MultiBit 2) Use legal weapons to protect themselves, and urge the public to prepare gold trading platform. If you feel your rights have been infringed, the user should actively protect their legitimate rights and interests with legal weapons. False trading trading platform is an offense, the player must zero tolerance. 3) Vote with their feet, leaving no open exchange reserves, to publicly exchange reserves to deal. Now open reserve all transactions: chbtc 796 Futures has a open reserve for both hot and cold wallet as well as all member wallets Peatio No public exchange reserves should be open as soon as possible to prepare gold proved reserves include the number of hosted prove cold wallet address and user renminbi. You must ensure that the trader is not real money in exchange for false then the exchange of digital databases. The method proved reserves See: proof-of-solvency Ending OHCC Exchange http://i.imgur.com/njub1Nr.jpg The largest Bitcoin exchange MTGOX previously collapsed with bankruptcy and no funds for partners seem to be recoverable. With their collapse the crazy behavior of the Willy bot still vivid in our memories. So what will be the final outcome of OHCC exchange? Will OHCC Exchange will become the second MTGOX? To be honest, the editors do not know the fate of the players involved, as it is in their own hands.
After four months, I have some observations and lingering questions about bitcoins
I decided to put some money into bitcoins back in December (great price!) and since then have been buying small batches. I have a few observations about what I've learned: There's no right time to buy Bitcoin's price has been fluctuating crazily since I first bought in, and it probably wont stop for awhile. If you're thinking of buying in for the first time but want to wait, I'd suggest just go ahead and buy in now. There wont be a magic moment to buy in (unless you keep a sharp eye out for a quick drop) and the price will keep changing. At this rate, it will probably only go up, so you might as well get off the fence and make a decision. I wish I did back in November! Buying bitcoins is annoying People write all the time about how easy it is to buy bitcoins. I felt comfortable investing in bitcoins because of all those kinds of statements. But I'll go ahead and say it's misleading to say buying bitcoins is easy. Rather, it's easy to buy some kinds of bitcoins- and usually at a higher price. Here are the ways I know for buying bitcoins (note, I'm in the US):
Deposit cash at a bank/CVS/walmart, etc. which uses a third-party service to deliver the money to your exchange website (Mt.Gox, bitfloor, etc.). This can be pretty quick if you live near one of the deposit locations. I'll note that this process can be problematic if your store doesn't do moneygrams often. But the real problem is that there are various fees involved, sometimes up to 4% or higher of your money. Then, if you use a service like bitfloor, their btc prices are about $2.00 higher than the market rate. For the sake of rapidity, you can lose a big chunk of change if you're not observant and aware of the fees and higher rates.
Deposit money through a bank transfer to your exchange or other website. This was the first route I took and I quickly learned there are many hassles involved. Direct deposit would be ideal, but to actually get the money from your bank to an exchange usually means giving up serious amounts of personal information and possibly very long waiting times to be verified. I tried linking my bank account to dwolla then sending money to mtgox. I also looked into linking directly with mtgox. As it turns out, I had to verify myself by sending a photo id copy to dwolla and to mtgox. And then waiting for a verification, which with mtgox is currently an indeterminate wait. Personally, I was unwilling to give up that information, so I can't comment much further. But I'll point out that requiring photo verification is not industry standard for most comparable services, and it's very intrusive.
Buy bitcoins locally or on an irc bitcoin freenode. Buying locally can be done through localbitcoins.com or similar services. Basically people who live near you will sell their btc face-to-face for cash or whatever they want. This can be good if you live in a large city, but it's risky if the seller is unverified or not reviewed. The big drawback is that buying local means you pay way over market price, sometimes egregiously. And if you don't live near a big city (like me) don't expect to find many sellers if any at all. A bitcoin freenode is a basically a type of chatroom where people will sell you bitcoins through different services like paypal, dwolla, bank transfers, that aren't usually offered by major vendors (see http://bitcoin-otc.com/). I found the rates to be very high and as a layman I was unfamiliar with how these kinds of freenode things work. I'd say they are high risk because of the unverified nature of the vendors and the higher prices. But it's an option.
Using a service like coinbase. This is a hybrid that involves linking a bank account or depositing cash, and then buying bitcoins from the site at their rate for a nominal fee. Full disclosure, I do not like coinbase right now. But I recognize that it could be a good service in the future. The basic transaction occurs like this: you give money to coinbase for btc, coinbase takes your money and makes you wait about one week, then delivers your btc at the rate you purchased. Coinbase can unilaterally cancel your transaction or not deliver the bitcoins at the agreed upon delivery time (which is legally dubious). They basically act as a third-party vendor. While it's easy to use, you lose flexibility, interest value on your bitcoins, and valuable time. And because these services are still new startups, you don't know how safe your money is with them.
There are variations on these themes, but mostly all services for buying bitcoins rely on (1) cash deposits through third-party transfer services; (2) direct bank deposits; (3) some other exchange of money or goods with an independent seller. While some are easier than others, each involves a degree of risk, time, effort, and variable pricing. Right now, buying bitcoins is a hassle for most people not familiar with the processes involved, and it will probably stay that way until a new service comes along.
Bitcoin transfers are not instantaneous This was something that really caught me off guard at first. Here is this new type of money that is totally digital, so it should very fast to move around. And nearly everyone claims that it is. In my experience, however, that's not true at all. I've had simple transfers of btc that linger for hours. I have no idea where they go or why certain transfers take so long, but they just do. Eventually, everything shows up, but it's very disconcerting not knowing where your digital currency is in cyberspace. Services like coinbase highlight even more the non-instantaneous nature of bitcoins. If you stick to a major exchange like mtgox, you can expect much faster transfers, but don't panic if something takes longer than a few seconds, minutes, hours etc. Real-time bitcoin data is not always available This is important and has a significant impact on trading. There are several sites that track btc prices in close to real-time, but often there are significant lags. This is mainly due to mtgox. The real bitcoin trading currently occurs at mtgox and the market rate is pegged to mtgox. So any lapse in data or service that occurs at mtgox ripples through the other services relying on mtgox market rates. Why does that matter? If the price of btc starts dropping by a few dollars every few minutes, and then suddenly there is no longer real-time trading data, lots of people panic and start selling. The price drops even more. It's an artificial bubble popping of sorts. While btc is decentralized, unfortunately market rates/data is still pretty centralized. And that means that information can go offline... There's a lot about bitcoins that may go unknown I find, for most people, bitcoins are understandable up until a certain point. When me and my buddies discuss bitcoins, inevitably we get to the question: but what are bitcoins? While we all know they're rooted in mathematical equations in "blocks," none of us understands what that means. Maybe that doesn't matter, but for some people, it will be a hard sell if you want inspire confidence in this new currency. Here's some lingering questions I still have about bitcoins, even after four months of intensive use and familiarity:
What is a bitcoin really? Is it the answer to a mathematical equation? What equation? Who are all these people "mining?" Are they just computers linked together using combined resources to solve an equation?
How did bitcoin start? I know about Satoshi whoever, but that just leaves me way more skeptical of its inception, and it's hard to explain that to someone without btc sounding illegitimate or conspiratorial.
How does a paper wallet work? Why can't I find an extremely simple explanation of how to make a paper wallet? I'm talking, never-uses-the-internet simplistic explanation.
Anyways, those are just some thoughts I've had recently and felt like sharing. Here's a tldr: TL;DR: With bitcoins, (1) first time investor? there's no right time to buy, just jump in; (2) buying bitcoins can be very annoying and overly-costly; (3) bitcoin transfers are not always instantaneous; (4) bitcoin market data is mostly centralized and not always available; (5) there are bitcoin complexities and unknowns outside the grasp of most laypeople. edit: thanks for the informative and helpful responses! [edit: format]
A quick word about bulk cross trades (and about the Mtgox trustee crashing the market)
Some of you already know me from my previous reddit post. Today I am going to talk to you about an aspect of the crypto market that I discovered a few months ago and which continues to blow my mind on a daily basis. A market that only a few people really are familiar with, because it simply did not exist 6 months ago: Cross trades for amounts over 10k BTC (>$100m). I will explain how a buyer and a seller try to exchange OTC large quantities of crypto aginst fiat, or crypto vs crypto (e,g BTC/ETH) for large amount, in a single transaction. I thought no single individual except Satoshi possibly had more than 100k btc until I saw it with my eyes. It took me time to realize it was true. It's ironical I drafted this post way before the Mtgox Trustee decided to screw us up by unleashing its stack on the market in the most unappropriate way. As I highlighted in my previous post, bitcoin is still a very thin market and trading on exchange and not OTC is a sure way to crash the market. If you are an early bitcoin adopter and held all these years, you certainly care about the price. If you want to let the market unaffected by your exit, cross trades are the way to operate. This post might be boring to some of you, it does not intend to be funny, but to clarify how this market is operated right now, and how it should be organized. How I got involved. Following my reddit post, I was contacted on telegram at year end. Private chat with 2mn self distruct. A simple message: "I have a seller for 40k BTC willing to sell at 5% discount" My philosophy in life is always to give a chance to people. Even though I thought this was 99% likely to be a scam, that I had not sleept for 2 days following the inflow of messages that had buried my reddit inbox, I gave a chance to this guy; and the nightmare begun. The problem with cross trades today. You must be familiar with the concept of "Six degrees of separation" Anyone in the word is 6 phone calls away from any other guy. Might be Donald Trump. But it might also be Satoshi after all. Anyone knows someone who knows a bitcoin whale. In this context, if someone tells you he knows a seller, and you naïvely start looking for a buyer, what will inevitably happen is the following: You will be right in the middle of a chain of 7 introducing agents that connects a distruful seller to a distrustful buyer. 7 people who think they are entitled to a cut on the trade just for the privilege of providing the name and phone number of the next guys in the chain. All of them will picture themselves as the new Jordan Belfort, and explain to you rationaly why he diserves a bigger cut than you. Meanwhile, the deal does not progress, negociations between introducing agents go on and on endlessly, the 5% discount is completely eaten up by their greed and when eventually an informal agreement is found with everyone, the fluctuations of bitcoin has gotten either the seller or the buyer dead cold. And that's when an end party does not turn up to be ghost bid or offer in the first place, potentially wasting the time of everone involved in the transaction. Some people in the chain would also patronize you. They would claim they have settled such deals in the past and know better than you. They would even try to intimidate you to squeeze you or get you out of the chain. One guy threatened to report my company to the FINMA for alledgedly misrepresenting a trade. I have spent over a year setting up my business in the most professional way, hiring full time crypto trader, in-house lawyer, compliance officer, analyst, relationship managers. Paid hundred thousands of Swiss Francs & BTC in salaries, expenses and legal opinions to be able to legally and transparently operate according to the regulations in Switzerland, and just like this, one guy thinks he can shut me down to increase his cut ? come on. That's what a cross trade generally looks like today. The wild wild west. An emerging market full of non-professional introducing agents eager for a get-rich-quick 1% introducing fee on a crypto wealth that was created out of a long and painful hodling by the seller. Distrustful Buyer and Distrustful Seller. One big issue with cross trades is who should show his cards first. Typically the buyer would not want to disclose his identity before the seller shows a proof of life of his wallet. I will spare you the kind of scams whereby a would-be seller replies to the request with a virus-infected video of his wallet. Similarly, legit sellers would not want to disclose their id easily before seeing a proof of funds. This problem quickly becomes a dead end when communication is not direct and information gets lost in translation within the chain of introducing agents. To solve this issue we have elaborated a neutral procedure for both parties, but I have to say I am generally on the side of the seller here. First, it is common for sellers to spread their crypto wealth behind several address for security or confidentiality reason, so showing a proof of BTC ownership for 50k BTC at once is not easy. No seller would consolidate their assets in bulk before negociations have moved to an advanced stage just to please a potential buyer they are not even sure is legit. Message signature to show proof of bitcoin wealth, as well as micro transaction from several addresses become quickly a cumbersome process. Besides, many sellers who are historic holders sometimes went in BTC early on a ideology basis, for the sake of privacy and anonymity. They have a hard time easily compromising the confidentiality they have clung to for years. This is a cutural issue that buyers fail to understand, especially so as buyers for this size generally are financial institutions, late to the game, coming from a world where confidentiality towards governement was given up centuries ago. Buyers are impatient, they are used to quick deals on financial markets, settled bank to bank. Sometimes I can feel they have a old generation mindset. A legit buyer came to me looking to buy 40k BTC, just because his (well known) company, which is involved in commodity trading, could afford to pay for it. He was talking to me in CAPS LOCK on SMS, quickly started to insult everyone in the chain, asking to talk in direct to the seller, bargaining my fee despite me showing a full 5% discount. When you do not know a market and its specificities, you don't see the opportunities. After weeks of work on that trade, being treated of miserable broker by this guy who was so full of himself was hard to swallow on my end. I am active in the finance industry at an institutional level for more than 15years, just because on that trade I offer liquidity in bitcoin does not make me less legit than if I was brokering on other another market. 5% discount really ? Most of the deals I have seen over the last 3 months involved the seller showing a discount from 5% to 8%. It does make sense when you think about it. Liquidity in fiat is scarce for such amount. Cashing out could take weeks. Even through OTC desks like cumberlandmining, selling btc for tranches over $1m widens the spread as you wipe out their order book. The privilege of selling so many bitcoins in just a single transaction, makes it worth it to accept getting rid of them at a 5% discount. Another reason why a discount is a common thing is because of the amazing BTC price increase over the last years. What is 5% when you have increased your asset by 20000% in 5 Years in $ terms. Still 5% discount is an effort from the seller and at least should pay for the privilege to show your cards in second not first. Traditionally the discount comes from the seller, however beginning of February this year, when Bitcoin crashed from its top of $20k a piece to $6-8k an interesting dynamic happened. A buyer came to me and he was fine paying a premium on the price since he was in a rush to close the deal at this attractive price. This is a real market. Premium/discount should vary dynamically depending not only on market prices but also on the eagerness of either party to close the transaction. I might be hated within the industry for saying this but if you are a seller, do not get intimidated. Do not get talked into showing a discount as if it were natural. Anything above 5% discount is abusive to me. Similarly, a buyer bargaining endlessly to trade at a 2% discount is a joke. Volatitlity is the very nature of crypto. Arguably, saving 2% on a $400m trades saves some decent money. But if you fix the price at 4pm, bitcoin can trade 2% away at 4.01 pm anyway. If you are really willing to buy such a large amount of crypto, at least try to understand the market. Also, be commited. If during the negociations, the typical price movements get you cold I might blacklist you as a time waster. Remember that your counterparty, the seller, has probably been holding for years, and during this time he had the market moved against him by more than 80% from the top. In this context, the seller will disregard your bid and won't take you seriously if you start bargaining for 2% discount. The economic rational of cross-trades and the philosophical issue My personal opinion is that direct cross trades should be settled at market though a predetermined fixing date & time agreed contractually, based on a reference website price like blockchain.info or coinmarketcap for greater transparency. The escrow or financial intermediary in between should not take more than 1% flat of the trade to be split 50-50 by both parties. Then it becomes rational to trade in block for everyone, as it is actually cheaper and quicker than trading in tranches of $1m btc equivalent on Genesis. 0.5% for each leg on trades of 50k btc, that's what my company does when I have selling and buying interest I can match. It is a price no one can compete with. Now, because it is a young market and so many introducing agents are typically involved in connecting buyers and sellers, the anarchy prevails. But I can tell you already from experience what will happen soon: Goldman will enter the market, they will open their crypto desk and they will try to crush everyone. Buyers will rush to trade there because hey, it's Goldman Sachs, and sellers who actually hate the banking industry will have no choice but to hand over their BTC to an investment bank if they want to sell in bulk. Sad, but true. Cross trades would make Satoshi cry out from his grave in its current form: Crypto was created to exchange peer to peer, without midlemen of financial intermediation. Bulk cross trades right now involve several layers of intermediraies. Besides, it is currently a mecanisme that transfers the wealth from miners and early adopters to the hands of financial institutions. Most of the buyers I have seen in all these trades were financial institutions or banks. It's not a surprise for this amount. There were some individuals amoung the buyers: late comers rich sheiks or rich families from Emerging Markets. But generally speaking it was the financial world buying bitcoin. Shockingly, I can even reveal a central bank was involved in a very large block trade. When all the banks will have acquired bitcoin, the same thing will happen to this market as what happened to gold. The price will be manipulated. Having gold in collateral, banks like JP Morgan were able to neutralize the price by shorting the futures safely. For each ounce of physical gold now, you have 400 ounces of paper gold in existence. Physical gold is only $8 trillion market cap, so it can be manipulated easily. Unfortunnately, the same might happen to bitcoin when the transfer from individuals to financial institutions is complete. I do not judge what's happening right now, I just feel a little sad about it. I have banks willing to buy in my book. I have hedge funds. I try to execute in the most professional way. And if I close a trade after working so hard, I am happy. The buyer and seller are happy because the trade was cheap and fast, and somehow I have modestly contributed a little more, at my level, to global adoption. I know you guys do not like this theme but some banks entering the crypto scene is a way for us to introduce our trojan horse: Adoption is closer than it ever was before. At the end of the day, Goldman might open a crypto desk, they will certainly get the buyers, but I doubt they will get the sellers so easily. A lot of sellers are still ideologically oriented and biased negatively towards banks, and fortunately they still prefer to deal with crypto intermediaries like my company than with a bank. KYC...KYC is mandatory. So let me get this straight: If you intend to make a 40k BTC deal (>$400m) without showing a passport, think again. It won't work. If you are not willing to show it to a Swiss regulated entity, bound by banking secrecy laws, then you will never show it to anyone, and you will never do the trade. Besides, if you are not ready to give me information about you, and I can't draft your kyc for my records, I cannot include you in my book and show your interest to other counterparties. It means that even if you are legit and can proof ownership over 40k BTC, I will not show your offer to a potential buyer because I cannot certify you are AML compliant. Same thing for buyers: You are an asset manager and you claim you have a buyer for $400m, but you have no power of attorney nor are willing to disclose the kyc and Id of your buyer, then I am not interested. I only deal in direct. I would share revenue with you and would consider you as an introducing agent obviously, but I want to deal in direct with the end party. If I don't know the end client, how will I be able to show any legitimacy to a potential seller ? In any case, kyc is the first mandatory step for a X-trade. I would keep the info confidential, but I badly need it. I am audited, and anyway nowadays it has become impossible to transit fiat in the banking system without establishing and documenting an extensive profile and full paper trail for any client. As a financial intermediary subject to Swiss Anti-Money Laundering Act, we shall be provided with extensive KYC information relating to the buyer and the seller. It protects everyone in the trade, not just us. *kyc for seller. The kyc for the seller is the most difficult to write. I will refer you to my reddit post where I explain in detail what's needed. If we meet physically, and you collaborate on every aspect of your story, the documentation for your kyc can be done in half a day and the drafting would take another couple of days. What takes longer is the account opening. If you sell 40k BTC, you do need an account that will not freeze the money after execution. This is something I can provide, but account opening can take up to 4 weeks in Switzerland, even with a crypto friendly bank like the ones I work with. You have to start the account opening process early before we start negociations with prospective buyers. Besides we will need an extract from your wallet to run services like elliptic.co, chainanalysis.com or scorechain.com *kyc for buyer As I said, buyers for this kind of amounts are generally financial institutions. If you are a bank or a hedge fund I need: Shareholding structure Regulatory status from your financial supervision authority Trade registry extract with authorized signatories list Bylaws Board resolution to show the intention to buy X btc, and formally authorizing the signatories of the contract to represent the bank in this context ID, CV,and proof of Address of the representative appointed by the board resolution. Proof of funds. If you are an individual: Copy of the passport CV, name, surname, date of birth, address, country of residence, professional activity proof of residence, and explain to me how in the world you are able to buy half a billion USD of bitcoin in one shot. If you want to buy for $10m "only" ;) it is the same, I need to understand your background and source of wealth. Also tell me where the funds will be wired from (Bank, country, city of provenance) ., so I can liaise with your bank officer. *kyc for the introducing agent. just because you introduce me to a bitcoin whale or to a large buyer won't save you from a kyc sorry guys. pm me to see what's needed. the procedure and the solution After failing consistently to close block trades for over a month, I realized something was wrong- Buyers and sellers of bulk trades all have their own procedure, which has been generally drafted to their advantage, in detriment to the other party. One seller would insist for instance to install bitcoin core on the buyer's computer; the buyer couldn't care less. There are two ways to solve the problem: 1.the first solution is what actors like Jonathan De Rin and his group, Nordic partneSatoshi trading have adopted. They would force their way up the chain of intermediaries to try to take control over all introducing agents, connect the buyer and seller in direct, and re-structure the deal holistically rather being confined in the russian doll problematics of layers of introducers. It is agressive, requires a lot of nogociation and bargaining, but could work. The problem with this approach is that it only solves part of the solution: when buyer and sellers are eventually connected they can decide to squeeze everyone in the chain. you generally need an escrow account to settle the transaction. setting up an escrow for a crypto transaction is not so easy and takes time. Unlike the buyer, the seller often has no connection to the finance industry so he would have to rely on the buyer for the escrow set up: At that point the seller would be giving his counterparty more power, or he would need to involve a lawer who would take an additional cut. Besides, an escrow account belongs to both the buyer and the seller. Both of them are the beneficial owners. Let's be honnest, because of price fluctuations, the deal can fail at any time before execution. So once you have set up two escrows for nothing the bank will be nervous and will never want to do business with you again. Setting up a escrow costs about 0,25% of the amount of the trade. But as usual some banks and lawyers will try to benefit from the situation and try to ask for way above than 1% for the set up ( Abusive, once again) 2.our solution is different. We do not act as traditional intermediary. We are the direct counterparty to the buyer and the seller. It changes everything: We build a book of interests so we are ready to pull the trigger when another leg arrives to the party. Buyers and sellers don't need to be connected directly. A seller could be selling against 3 different buyers in a real OTC way. When the funds arrive on our corporate account/wallet we become the beneficial owner of the funds. This model is backed by strong legal opinion drafted by Pr. Bahar from Bär karrer, an expert in Switzerland, it was validated by VQF our SRO, and approved by the Finma. Sellers and buyers get comfort from the fact we are regulated. If the deal fails we return the fiat. similarly if a buyers vanishes, we return the crypto to the seller. Funds transit and clear properly through a Swiss Private Bank. We give a dedicated IBAN for each buyer, even though all your funds are belong to us, during the deal. it's all agreed by contract. From a contractual viewpoint, we would simultaneously sign a purchase agreement with the seller and a sale agreement with the buyer, both contracts being subject to the delivery of the cryptocurrencies, respectively the official currencies (ie. If one party fails to deliver in the predetermined deadline, the deal would fail and any paid amount reimbursed) It's a mystery to me why Genesis or other OTC desks focus only on tranches between 50 and 100btc and do not facilitate large trades. My fee is the same, whether you trade 100btc through my company or 10k btc, I do not increase the spread. 1% for each block trade, 0.5% for each party. Quite cheap. Dealing as a direct counterparty to the seller and buyer gives us the power to close the trade swiftly, because when the end party asks "show me your funds, if you want me to believe you", we can go ahead and show proof of life of wallet or proof of funds. our limitation is we cannot park cash for more than 60 days because of Swiss laws on public deposit for non-bank. Fortunately such trade settle in less than 60days. If you fly to Geneva to do your kyc, chances are the other party will be in the next desk, doing the same. And we might probably be able to settle the next day. here is our procedure:
KYC checks and NDA signed with business introducers;
Business introducers disclose the identities of the buyer and the seller;
We perform a full KYC check on both buyer and seller, including a physical meeting with both parties preferably at our office in Geneva (or travel expenses at the charge of the party to be met);
The seller provides us with (i) a wallet extract so the balance in BTC can be checked and address can be scanned through dedicated forensics services, (ii) a proof of ownership of the wallet (message signature or micro transaction), and (iii) any KYC/AML information required in relation to the origin of the BTC;
The buyer provides us with a proof of funds and any KYC/AML information required in relation to the origin of the funds;
Once the buyer and the seller are cleared, we discuss with both side to fix the price for the BTC and any other specific conditions;
Simultaneously, we makes sure that (i) the seller has a bank account where the proceeds of the transaction can be transferred and (ii) the buyer has a wallet where the purchased BTC can be transferred;
Purchase and sale agreement stating the number of BTC and the applicable price as well as fees are entered into between our company and the buyer, respectively the seller;
Business Introducer Agreements are entered into between our company and the parties introducing the buyer and the seller;
Transfer of the BTC to our company's wallet;
Once the BTC are received, transfer of the payment to our companie’s bank account;
Once the payment is received, transfer of the BTC to the buyer and the payment to the seller, less 1% of each leg if the deal involves business introducers, 0.5% if the deal is in direct.
Regarding the involvement of business introducers, we suggest them to sign a “Business Introducer Agreement” in relation to the leg of the deal they introduce to us. Specific conditions such as a premium or a discount negotiated by the business introducer will be reflected in the Purchase and/or the Sale Agreement between our company and the buyer respectively the seller so all the parties have a clear and transparent view of the deal. In this context, the business introducers’ cut will be adapted accordingly, our company will not claim any of the special discount/premium negotiated. we do not want to be greedy. We just want to make some trades and as said earlier, we prefer to deal in direct with end buyeseller. Bulk trade of Altcoins. At the moment BTC/Fiat is the main market for block trades. However, I had a specific request for BTC/ETH for a very large amount and also IOTA/BTC. If you are looking to buy IOTA in bulk, please contact me on pm. As long as atomic swaps have not avanced to the next level, cross trades of Altcoins might be needed, and they should be operated through transit wallets, in a similar way as what I described above. bottom line Again, it's a crazy long post. Sorry if I sounded doctrinal. I have spent countless hours on deals that went nowhere, and had a lot on my chest. Bitcoin is a fascinating market. Now that some deals are closing, and central banks are getting involved in crypto very discretly, I thought a clarification post was needed. If you are a large crypto holder, interested in such transactions, then please contact me on telegram or signal @swisspb. I will try to make it work for you. If you are Mtgox trustee, I know you dont care about where bitcoin is headed. you just want to get rid of it asap. Please consider cross trades, for the sake of all the people you are representing in this trade. They have suffered goxing 1.0 and don't want to be involved in goxing 2.0 just because you do not know how to execute! Cheers, @ swisspb on telegram
Dear *********** Thank you for your patience and support all throughout 2013. As we noted in our previous update there are many things happening, and we’re proud to announce two more major developments that will make MtGox both easier and more economical for our valued customers: 1) One million MtGox customers and reduced fees for the holidays! Thanks to our loyal customer and increased global interest in Bitcoin, MtGox has now achieved a milestone of over one million customers and growing. This is an incredible moment for us all, and to celebrate, we are offering a Special Holiday Discount of 25% off all trading fees starting today, December 20th 2013 to January 20th 2014! 2) Mayzus MoneyPolo Partnership We are proud to announce a new partnership with Mayzus MoneyPolo that will enable our customers outside of the United States to deposit quickly and without long processing times. Now that we are working with Mayzus MoneyPolo, a leading financial company that is in-tune with the future of Bitcoin, anyone with a verified account will be able to quickly send money to their MtGox account via 128 global currencies. For more information, please click on the following link: https://www.mtgox.com/press_release_20131219.html Thank you again for your support, Best regards, MtGox Team
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