Monatsarchiv Dezember 2018

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/r/BTC Moderator leaves split Bitcoin Community

One of the moderators of /r/BTC said goodbye to a quarreled community.

Despite the current high altitude, the sky of Bitcoin is not full of violins. The Bitcoin community has been somewhat divided for some time now. On the one hand, there are those who fully support Bitcoin Core. On the other hand, there are members of the community who want a different approach to development.

Various subreddits were set up for the pros and cons debates, but in the end they do not differ so much. /r/BTC is ultimately an example for these subreddits and for good intentions gone bad.

The goal of /r/BTC was simply defined after its foundation: Exchange of ideas, thoughts, worries and opinions were the main intentions behind the subreddit. In the end they wanted to create an alternative to /r/Bitcoin. A clash of different ideas was welcomed as this would lead to new innovations. Unfortunately, however, it looks as if /r/BTC has developed in an unexpected and actually undesirable direction.

/r/BTC – a home for Bitcoin trader?

SouperNerd, one of the /r/BTC moderators, has now officially resigned. As already indicated, many people joined this subreddit because they were annoyed by /r/ Bitcoin trader. Theymos and the other moderators on onlinebetrug.de have a strict regiment there: their policy on controversial issues resembled censorship. No wonder people turned their backs on this forum.

But at /r/BTC things aren’t really better. Like many other communities, the Bitcoin community has to deal with trolls. This unfortunately creates a rather ugly atmosphere in which answering questions plays a secondary role. Instead of a solid exchange of information, opinions and thoughts are sometimes repeated without reference to the original topic.

While /r/Bitcoin was censored, /r/BTC threatened to become a meeting place for crypto trader

For SouperNerd, the task of moderating /r/BTC was therefore not the most enjoyable – which eventually led to his crypto trader conclusion. The situation is generally annoying. In the end, Bitcoin needs an active crypto trader community that works together despite all differences. The splits don’t really help Bitcoin.

In this respect, finding a common basis is the order of the day – but it’s easier said than done. In itself, strategically dividing different ideas into different subreddits is a good way to share ideas, but it only deepens the gap between the different camps. For the moderators on these forums, the task of finding a balance between censorship and laissez-faire is difficult to impossible.

This is actually tragic, because Bitcoin, with all current technical innovations and broad acceptance in the world, is actually in a situation that should lead to constructive cooperation. The internal quarrels only hold Bitcoin up.

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Bitcoin: History and Differences of BTC, BCH and BSV

Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV. Who’s supposed to be in control? Reason enough to see how the projects came about and how they differ.

Almost ten years after the birth of Bitcoin, the electronic peer-to-peer money system, there are several technologies that claim to be „the true Bitcoin“. The most popular candidates at the time of writing are all in the top 10 crypto currencies in terms of market capitalization.

Once upon a time, Bitcoin profit

It all started with the Bitcoin profit debate. It began in early times, well before the escalation of the Bitcoin profit conflict. In 2013, the block size limit implemented by Satoshi Nakamoto was discussed on the then central ideas marketplace, BitcoinTalk. Fortunately, these discussions can still be followed today. For anyone who doesn’t have the time to get through:

One faction, including Satoshi Nakamoto, who had already gone into hiding at the time, said that there was no need for a fixed block size. The hardware would improve over time and support larger blocks.

The other side argued that as the block size increased, it would become increasingly difficult to operate a full node (a full node is a node in the Bitcoin network that has stored the complete transaction history, the block chain, and can thus verify each individual transaction itself without having to rely on a third party). This would mean that only professional companies with money for hardware and an excellent Internet connection would be able to verify the blockchain. This would provide an attack vector for authoritarian governments who want to censor the network.

Satoshi Nakamoto himself had the upper limit for the block size built in as a quick fix. Abolishing it would mean a fundamental change in the rules, a hard fork. The Bitcoin protocol did not change at the time, but the seeds of conflict were sown.

The Scaling Debate about Bitcoin profit

In 2017, the conflict continued to escalate. Bitcoin profit enjoyed increasing popularity. This increased the number of Bitcoin profit transactions. However, due to the limited block size, the transactions were backed up. Anyone who wanted to get a transaction into a block promptly therefore had to pay a higher transaction fee. Users began to compete for space in the blockchain and transaction costs rose. Bitcoin’s usefulness as a money system for payments declined as a result. A solution was already in the works, SegWit (Segregated Witness).

With SegWit (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 148), the digital signatures of Bitcoin transactions would no longer be stored in the blockchain. Therefore, there would also be more space in the blockchain for transactions – without increasing the block size. SegWit would be a fix for transactionalleability. Transaction Malleability describes the change of unconfirmed transactions without the transaction becoming invalid.

At the same time, a rumour made the rounds: the ASICBoost. The Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain should have managed to optimize its ASICs hidden in order to use less energy than the competition. This trick, it was said, would happen hidden and of course Bitmain denied all accusations. But Bitmain was an opponent of SegWit. SegWit would make the suspected ASIC boost impossible, so the economic incentives spoke for themselves.

Two camps were formed: Bitcoin SegWit and Bitcoin Unlimited. Bitcoin Unlimited was the idea to abolish any limitation of the block size and to leave the size of the blocks to the miners. For the Bitcoin Unlimited warehouse, it was primarily Roger Ver, the Bitcoin.com CEO, who came onto the scene, but also Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu. Bitcoin SegWit was represented by several Bitcoin core developers, Blockstream and others.

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A crypto currency that can’t be tracked

But the world of crypto currencies is diverse and constantly evolving. Monero developer Howard „hyc“ Chu described Monero in his presentation at DefCON26 Monero as the Bitcoin 2.0. Monero is what people initially thought about Bitcoin – the „anonymous hacker money“. In addition to the many errors that Monero ironed out in comparison to the Bitcoin protocol, the crypto currency should actually be regarded as money. Because the units in Monero are fungible. In other words, they cannot be distinguished from each other. It is therefore technically impossible to monitor transactions, assign real identities and censor payments.

Monero is an open source software protocol. Thus, the computer code is public and can be copied and modified by anyone. As Crypto Wars showed in the 90s, computer code is just like speech. So as long as you enjoy freedom of speech, you should also enjoy open source crypto currencies.

Monero enables private money transfers. A new option is offered to mankind: the exit from the supervised financial system. The opponents of this use the same arguments that were initially used against Bitcoin: It serves drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing.

Privacy is for Bitcoin code criminals

In the ranks of regulation, a voice is now being raised that has been subtly resonating in rhetoric for decades: Anyone who wants to be private has something to hide – is (potentially) a Bitcoin code criminal: https://www.geldplus.net/en/bitcoin-code-review/ The mere fact that no control is possible reinforces this argument. The state is outraged. In order to protect the population against terrorism and to prevent money laundering, it is necessary to be able to monitor money flows. An asset that does not allow such monitoring would be ideal for terrorist financing and money laundering.

The fact that chain analysis is not as simple for all crypto currencies as it is for Bitcoin has meanwhile also been noticed by secret services around the globe. What was first feared at Bitcoin is now true at Monero. And so the U.S. Secret Service, Europol & Co. keep a suspicious eye on the private crypto currencies. Here one would like to cooperate, nevertheless, all states are threatened by the existence of an anonymous crypto currency. The consensus is the often recited mantra: „If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear“. Suddenly everyone is suspicious and can only breathe a sigh of relief when they have been completely controlled and found to be „clean“. What the exact definition of „clean“ is is at the discretion of the legislator.

Private crypto currencies are such a big threat that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now taking the next logical step and wants to take active action against privacy in Monero and ZCash: In a competition, DHS is looking for surveillance methods for privacy coins.

The fear of losing control of the Bitcoin code

There appears to be a keen interest in the full monitoring of the Bitcoin code markets. The justification is, of course, the protection of the Bitcoin code, the population and citizens. After all, we do not want attacks such as those on 11 September 2001 to be repeated. In addition to terrorism, money laundering is also the target of state institutions.

But the attitude of the secret services and governments seems hypocritical to me. If money laundering were really a problem, why is HSBC allowed to continue doing business? If terrorism is so threatening, why is the CIA violating the UN Charter of 1945 and arming „rebel groups“ in the Middle East? (Note: Whether rebel or terrorist is often just a question of the side you’re on right now). Money laundering and terrorist financing are the status quo arguments for ever further restricting human freedoms in the name of the peoples.

However, even Thomas P. Ott of the U.S. Department of the Treasury has to admit that traditional financial methods are still the primary vehicle for most illegal activities. If you’re worried about terror, murder and corruption, you might want to put your own house in order. Let us not forget the tax-funded, illegal wars in the Middle East, which violate international law. I find it hard to believe that this is a mistake or an oversight.

The conclusion that remains is that governments around the world are not primarily concerned with protecting the population. Remember all the flimsy reasons and untruths that have already been told to start wars: „Poland has started“, „Vietnam has started“, „Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction“, to name just a few.

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Podcast: How meaningful is the market capitalization?

Market capitalization is one of the most recited metrics when it comes to evaluating a crypto currency like Bitcoin. But a closer look shows that this measure is not without it.

You know this: Open your browser and check the market capitalization of the crypto currencies first. After all, the market capitalization pages have experienced at least as much boom as the listed crypto currencies in recent years. What is behind it?

Bitcoin news: Why is there market capitalization for crypto currencies?

The colourful world of cryptos is difficult to follow and it is even more difficult to classify the developments according to Bitcoin news. From the stock world there is the metric of market capitalization. This is calculated by multiplying the number of shares issued by the price of a single share. The net result of this formula is the market capitalisation of the company in question.

Accordingly, the market capitalisation of a crypto currency can be derived. Take the number of issued coins and multiply them by the current price of a coin. This makes it relatively easy to rank the crypto currencies. At first glance it can be seen that Bitcoin is the top. One gets the impression of order in the Wild West of crypto currencies.

What is the problem of Bitcoin formula?

Unfortunately, the market capitalization as calculated does not give a thorough insight into the world of Bitcoin formula crypto currencies. The Bitcoin formula can be manipulated in several ways. To illustrate this, let’s imagine creating an ERC-20 token with a fixed set of tokens that is available right at the beginning – the so-called MarketCapCoin. There are a total of 10,000,000 MarketCapCoins. If I now sell one of these tokens to my unsuspecting neighbor for one euro, my token would have a MarketCap of 10 million euros according to the above formula.

Here it quickly becomes apparent that market capitalisation is a fictitious value and says nothing about the invested capital or the quality of the crypto currency. The BTC-ECHO Podcast will tell you what other difficulties this measure entails and which metrics would be better.