Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Bitcoin

Tidbits and notes posted on FB and Twitter. Part 171

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pa attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

At a packed dinner held by the Global Business Blockchain Council, few hands went up when the moderator asked how many people worked in crypto, 5 years ago. That could make it the richest room at Davos this week; bitcoin is up more than 200,000% since then. (Since then, bitcoin is down in value)

Tammy DuckworthA US senator, will become the first sitting senator in history to give birth later this year. The Illinois Democrat, a double amputee, was a helicopter pilot in the Iraq War and has slammed Trump for being a “5-deferment draft dodger.”

“I loved justice and hated iniquity. Therefore I die in exile”

Uruguay was best country to live in recently, until the Israelis took over the illegal activities in a society soft on diversity.

Never mind the earthquakes: New Zealand is still best country for social progress

“After climbing a great hill, you only finds that there are many more hills to climb – Nelson Mandela.”

WordPress.com yearly review: Comments closed? What of individual yearly Monkey Stats? Too big to care for the early users?

Will the issue of Palestine/Palestinians be brought up in Davos? Especially the economical hardship that Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza are suffering from? In the refugee camps of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan?

About time to consider the Palestinians as people on this map of rich people abusing of the humiliation and indignities of apartheid systems

We are finally engaged in a slow cruising speed in our daily life (elder mother and eldest son): I’m adapting to her doing whatever she want to do and taking care of her suffering at the end. And her is trying to admit that I should be doing whatever I want to do. In moderation.

The door is constantly open. Yet, no one come in to tell her hello. Mostly, they come and leave without us noticing. All she is asking is a couple of minutes a day is for the visitors to listen to her babbling.

Turkey of Erdogan incursion into Syria Kurdish territory of Afrin is claimed to secure a “buffer zone” from terrorist activities. Fact is, unintentionally, Syria is currently enjoying a buffer zone from Turkish aggression and infiltration of terrorist factions from Turkey. 

The Syrian army has two main tasks up north its frontier with Turkey in the coming year: 1) controlling the province of Edleb and 2) closing the gap between the Kurdish provinces of Afrin and Kameshly to terrorist factions infiltrated by Turkey.

Turkey is controlling and supporting 8,000 terrorists that came from Chechnya, Dagestan, Turkmenistan and China Ouigour. 

Russia knows that the current military incursion of Turkey into Afrin province will be short lived, even if it enters and occupies this Kurdish/Syrian canton. This incursion is to give Turkey more time to find a pragmatic alternative to her failed policy toward the political settlement in Syria.

Monero, the Drug Dealer’s Cryptocurrency of Choice, Is on Fire

For the crypto-currency community, 2016 was a very good year.

If it’s good enough for a drug dealer, it’s good enough for everyone else.”

Bitcoin doubled in price. The far-out Bitcoin alternative Ethereum shot up by a factor of 10.

But another, once-obscure cryptocurrency called Monero outpaced all of them, multiplying its value around 27-fold.

That’s a windfall not just for cryptocurrency speculators, but for financial privacy advocates everywhere—including a few suddenly wealthy dark web drug dealers.

Over the last year, the value of the hyper-anonymous cryptocurrency Monero grew 2,760 percent, making it almost certainly the best-performing cryptocurrency of 2016.

Today each Monero is worth around $12, compared with just 50 cents at the beginning of last year, and the collective value of all Monero has grown to close to $165 million.

The source of that explosive growth seems to be Monero’s unique privacy properties that go well beyond the decentralization that makes Bitcoin so resistant to control by governments and banks. It’s instead designed to be far more private: fully anonymous, and virtually untraceable.

 

Bitcoin and Digital Currencies Being Studied for Carbon Reduced Housing in Vancouver

How to bypass banks for any monetary transaction?  From beginning to end, banks are at the center of money transactions, as religious sects are for our civil status in Lebanon.

How to bypass the world security agencies trying to dig through your monetary transactions for evidences and trends into your behaviors?

How can we feel free if everything is centralized, even in matter of monetary transactions?

January 08, 2015

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Digital Finance Institute is pleased to announce that it is providing thought leadership to the THNK School of Creative Leadership’s Executive Program on “The Future of Capitalism” in January 2015 to explore how digital currencies like bitcoin, can increase access to low-carbon housing.

“We are excited to participate in THNK’s innovative program addressing globally impacting issues like climate change and fintech innovations like decentralized currencies to find meaningful solutions to social and economic problems”

“We are excited to participate in THNK’s innovative program addressing globally impacting issues like climate change and fintech innovations like decentralized currencies to find meaningful solutions to social and economic problems,” says Christine Duhaime co-founder and Executive Director of the Institute, a think tank based in Canada.

“Digital fintech, like Bitcoin, is disrupting our financial system which will have significant impact on all facets of the economy and lead to greater financial inclusion. Participating with THNK in the context of climate change initiatives using digital finance with some of the best and most innovative global leaders is a fantastic opportunity for both organizations,” she added.

“From a cultural and emotional perspective, capitalism has depended on a majority of people believing in a system we’re now willing to change. What happens if we look at this system through a design-thinking lens?

How might we radically evolve capitalism to meet the needs of all the participants in this system in a better way than we’ve historically done?

At the intersection of venture design and innovation leadership, we are uniquely positioned to convene a diverse group of changemakers around reframing the potential positive impact of new economic systems. The Institute set the bar very high for the type of collaborations we enact,” says Sarah Dickinson, co-founder of THNK.

The Digital Finance Institute is an institute for independent research and innovative regulatory and policy solutions related to digital financial technology. It focuses on achieving balanced regulation and integration that supports financial innovation to reduce financial inclusion problems, supporting women in fintech, and advancing climate finance initiatives.

THNK is a C School based in Amsterdam and Vancouver that combines venture design and innovation leadership to create a transformational creative leadership for a better future. It’s a practice and a community that’s humble, curious, and forward-looking, a global network of leaders with a shared intention for impact.

Bitcoin 2014? Any different from the previous years?

I decided to re-post this selected top posts in order to understand what is Bitcoin, the jargon associated with, and particularly that China is heavily engaged in that business.

With all the speculations about Bitcoin and the exciting 2013 behind us, I thought  (India Lightspeed Venture Partners) that a list of predictions for 2014 would be a good way to start this year.

These predictions are based on growth patterns of similar networks, the traction in various ecosystem activities last year and my conversations with various Bitcoin enthusiasts.

So here are my Top 10 predictions for Bitcoin 2014.

January 13, 2014

Bitcoin 2014 – Top 10 predictions

1. More than $100M of venture capital will flow into Bitcoin start-ups.

This pool of capital will be distributed across local/global exchange start-ups (e.g. BTC China*), merchant related services (e.g. Bitpay), wallet services (e.g. Coinbase) and a host of other innovative start-ups.

A large chuck of the capital is likely to flow into start-ups which have emerged winners in their respective segment with a majority of the market share. Building exchange liquidity and merchant network is tough.

These businesses are likely to command high valuations as well. There would be plenty of money available for start-ups trying to solve a plethora of other challenges (e.g. private insurance, security), that exist with Bitcoin growth and adoption today.

2. Mining ‘will not’ be dead (guess it is about mining data?)

A lot of press notes and individual viewpoints state that mining is dead as we are already in the petahash domain and are restricted by Moore’s law from a technological stand point.

I believed this until I heard Butterfly Labs and HighBitcoin talk about how enterprises can potential adopt mining.

With transactions and transaction fees rising, it would be highly profitable for large enterprises to have data centers with mining equipment to process daily transactions.

The medium enterprises, who cannot invest in capital expenditure, would resort to cloud based mining.

Finally, the small enterprises would have to pay the transaction fees, to the network. This fees would still be lower than in comparison to Visa and Mastercard. In conclusion, we can potentially witness investment from large and medium enterprises in mining farms as early as the end of 2014.

3. There will be less than 5 alt-coins (out of the 50+ in existence) that will survive 2014

The open source nature of the Bitcoin protocol led to the advent of over 50+ alt-coins, most of which are blatant rip-offs with a tweak or two here and there. These can be divided into three categories

  1. Coins which are Ponzi schemes, where the sole purpose of the inventor is to drive the price of the alt-coin up and them dump
  2. Coins which can be mined easily and can have potentially more liquidity than Bitcoin
  3. Coins, which are based on a fundamental innovation and can result in specific adoption or security led use cases.

In my opinion, only the category 3 ones would survive.

PPC coin, which has introduced a proof-of-stake system in addition to proof-of-work is one such coin. It is in my list of survivors. It is also important to note that presently, other than Bitcoin, no other alt-coin has shown the potential for a growth in its acceptance network among merchants or companies. This is likely to remain true for 2014 as well.

4. Bitcoin community will solve problems including that of ‘anonymity’

One of the key roadblocks for governments and financial institutions to start participating in Bitcoins is the anonymous nature of its transactions.

This has led regulators to believe that Bitcoin can potentially be used for money laundering, terrorist support etc.

The good news that we have a very active Bitcoin community globally, which is constantly evolving the protocol. Hence, my prediction that in an effort to make Bitcoin more accepted, this community will come out with a solution to ‘anonymity’ that regulators can live with.

One of the ways is it being done today is by forcing exchanges, wallet services and other Bitcoin companies to have KYC practices similar to those of financial institutions. As a side thought – Internet was and is still used for porn. That does not make it ‘not useful’!

5. US, China and other global forces will not be at the forefront of Bitcoin adoption

Fincen, PBOC and RBI’s reaction to Bitcoin in US, China and India points to one single conclusion – we are not going to let a ‘controlled’ and ‘vast’ financial system adopt a decentralized cyprto-currency, which can be anonymous and used for illegal activities…as yet.

Countries which have had a history of currency issues and have not had effective monetary policies are the ones who will be at the forefront of Bitcoin adoption.

With China out of the mix currently, one can look at Argentina, Cyprus and others to lead. These may be smaller as a % of the global base. However they are likely to have much more local penetration and most importantly more government support or less government intervention – whichever way you want to look at it.

Successful internet and mobile companies in the US/Europe are the ones, who are most likely to offer digital goods in Bitcoins. Zynga just announced their experiment. I would not be surprised if Spotify, Netflix etc are next.

6. Indian ecosystem will be slow to evolve; limited to speculators and mining pools

The Indian Bitcoin start-up ecosystem today is limited to less than 10 start-ups across exchanges such as Unocoin, wallet services such as Zuckup, mining pools such as Coinmonk and some other ideas – compared to 100s of them in each US and China.

There is little evidence today to ascertain whether any of these start-ups are going to create a home market or serve an international market. In fact on the contrary, the Indian market is likely to be served by global Bitcoin companies.

For instance, Itbit, a Singapore based exchange has already started targeting Indian consumers. Global services have demonstrated the capability to be credible, especially when it comes to convenience and security by solving complex algorithmic problems.

This also makes them more defensible in the long run (e.g. Coinbase’s splitting of private keys to prevent theft) and poses a big challenge for Indian Bitcoin start-ups. There is an active Bitcoin community in India (about 15-20 people), which is trying hard to create awareness among consumers and regulators. I sincerely hope to see at-least 1 world-class Bitcoin start-up to comes out of India.

7. The use of Bitcoin will evolve beyond ‘store of value’ or ‘transactions’

The underlying Bitcoin protocol makes itself applicable beyond the use cases of ‘store of value’ and ‘payments’. The Bitcoin foundation took a huge step in allowing meta data to be included in the blockchain.

This will unlock a lot of innovation and maybe even prompt regulators to acknowledge the potential of Bitcoin, making it all the more difficult for them to shut it down or suppress it.

As one can see from the current Bitcoin ecosystem map (http://bit.ly/1krEd0Z) that there are almost no start-ups, which solely use the protocol without using the ‘coin’ or the ‘currency’ as a function. 2014 will be the first year to see some of these.

8. The ‘browser’ of Bitcoin will come this year

Netscape browser made Internet happen. ‘Something’ will make Bitcoin happen.

It is still very difficult for the average ‘Joe’ to understand, acquire, store and use Bitcoins. Though Coinbase and several others are working on innovative security algorithms and making it easy to store Bitcoins digitally, it is still not enough to make Bitcoin mainstream.

Hence, what a ‘browser’ did to the Internet, a product or technology innovation will do it to ‘Bitcoin’ in 2014. This will make the transition to Bitcoins frictionless. Kryptokit and Eric Voorhees’ Coinapult are promising start-ups in this direction. Encouragingly, all the building blocks for that to happen – like mobile penetration, cryptography algos etc are already in place.

9. The price of Bitcoin is likely to range between $4000-5000 by the end of 2014

Well, though some people will argue otherwise, price is not the most important thing about Bitcoin.

But given the interest and its volatility, it does deserve a place in this blog post. Speculators have predicted Bitcoin to go upto $100, 000; some say the maximum it can reach is $1300.

Though, I’m sure that there is some underlying basis for these predictions; here is the one for mine. Bitcoin’s price is a function of supply and demand. While the supply is predictive, the demand is less so.

However, the increase in the demand of Bitcoin can be compared to networks such as Facebook and Twitter, which have followed a ‘S’ curve of adoption.

All such networks typically take 6-8 years to plateau out with year 4-5 being the steepest. Though Bitcoin was invested 4 years ago, I would say that 2013 was its 2nd real year.

Given the nature of the ‘S’ curve, the price increase in 2014 is likely to be 3-4 times more than the one this year. Hence, the $4000-$5000 range, where the Bitcoin price is likely to settle down in 2014.

10. Last but not the least – Satoshi nakamoto will be Time’s Person of the Year 2014.

Please read about him here.

* Investments of Lightspeed Venture Partners

Hidden site seized by FBI: Selling drugs online?

If you want to buy a book online, you go to Amazon.com.  If you want to buy shoes? Zappos. Domain name? Godaddy.

An 18 year old Brazilian girl’s virginity? eBay. A one way flight to Brazil? Kayak.

But where do you go if you want to anonymously buy illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth, molly, LSD etc… all from the privacy and comfort of a web browser?

Well, up until 3:15 pm on Wednesday October 2nd, for all these illicit purchases and more you could have gone to a website called SilkRoad.

DNA posted this Oct. 3, 2013:

FBI Arrests 29 Year Old Mastermind Of Billion Dollar Internet Drug Blackmarket

 / October 3, 2013 /

What happened Wednesday at 3:15 pm? After months of painstaking investigation, the FBI swooped in and arrested the long sought-after mastermind of this highly illegal anonymous drug marketplace. Who was this mastermind?

Was it a secretive Russian hacker living in Moscow? A Chinese internet tycoon operating from a private yacht in international waters?

Actually, it was a 29 year old American named Ross Ulbricht who operated most of his empire out of a San Francisco coffee shop. When he was arrested, he was actually using the free wifi at a public library.

This story is long, but completely insane, totally worth reading all the way through.

In case you need some teasers, this story involves billions of dollars worth of drug transactions, an enormous illegal fortune made entirely out of Bitcoins, fake passports and even a couple of hit-men.

Ross Ulbricht - Virtual Drug Kingpin

SilkRoad was founded in 2011 as an underground marketplace where internet users could buy, sell and trade illegal drugs anonymously.

The reason it worked was because SilkRoad required every potential buyer and seller to use a routing service called Tor.

When someone uses Tor, their IP address (geographic location) is encrypted several times over, routed all over the world to dozens of locations. Using Tor, someone could be sitting in Los Angeles but would be tracked as a zipping line that appears, then disappears from one location to the next instantaneously.

Tor was originally invented by the U.S. NAVY to help mask top secret messages. It has lots of legitimate uses like maintaining a journalist’s anonymous sources or keeping a business meeting extra private.

Tor is also perfectly suited for keeping illegal transactions totally untraceable and anonymous. That’s where SilkRoad came in and thrived.

Silk Road Before Being Shut Down

When it was up and running, there wasn’t much of a difference between SilkRoad and eBay or craigslist.

It was a website where buyers and sellers met to exchange money for goods and services. The main difference, aside from the fact that most of the products being listed were illegal, was that on SilkRoad you couldn’t simply charge a credit card or use your paypal account to complete the transaction.

Instead, users traded Bitcoins. What’s a Bitcoin? That question alone probably deserves its own dedicated article on CNW, but for now all you need to understand is that Bitcoin is a completely anonymous virtual currency. The most recent value of a single Bitcoin was right around $130. So that means if you wanted to buy $250 worth of cocaine on SilkRoad, at today’s price you would need to own at least two Bitcoins.

I love my fed-ex guy cause he’s a drug dealer and he doesn’t even know it…and he’s always on time.” – Mitch Hedberg.

Actually, SilkRoad preferred the US Postal Service over Fed-Ex, but the late great comedian Mitch Hedberg was clearly way ahead of his time with that classic line.

So you’ve just spent two Bitcoins to buy $250 worth of cocaine. How were these drugs delivered? Simple.

The seller would vacuum seal the package then ship it through the USPS, likely with a false return address.

Ironically, the Federal government was a drug dealer and they didn’t even know it… for a while.

SilkRoad would make money by taking a 10% commission on every transaction. It has been estimated that prior to being shutdown, SilkRoad was responsible for more than half of the daily trading volume of Bitcoins around the world.

bitcoins

It turns out, the FBI had been trying for over a year to unmask the mastermind of SilkRoad who they only knew by the internet handle “Dread Pirate Roberts“.

The FBI spent thousands of hours scouring the internet trying to find traces of his potential real identity. Unfortunately for “Dread Pirate Roberts”, this internet mastermind made a few very crucial errors.

First, he accidentally used his real name and personal gmail address on at least two occasions when posting in online forums to ask questions about working with Tor and to advertise SilkRoad. The FBI was then able to subpoena some very valuable information from Google and another technology firm that ran what is called “VPN” software which was supposed to help keep Ulbricht anonymous.

Through these subpoenas, the FBI was able to piece together that the vast majority of SilkRoad’s operations were being run out of a coffee shop on a quiet San Francisco street. Agents then began to track Ulbricht back and forth to the coffee shop.

Here’s where the story gets completely insane:

According to the indictment documents filed today in New York, the FBI was able to determine that over the last two years, SilkRoad processed $1.2 billion dollars worth of transactions. In other words, 9.5 million Bitcoins have flowed back and forth between SilkRoad buyers and sellers.

What does that mean for Ross Ulbricht personally? Over that same time period, the FBI determined that Ulbricht collected some 600,000 Bitcoins in the form of his commission. How much are 600,000 Bitcoins worth? At today’s closing price, $78 million. At yesterday’s closing price? $90 million (the price of Bitcoins dropped sharply in the wake of Ulbricht’s arrest). When Bitcoins hit an all time peak value in April 2013 of $266 per coin, his virtual collection was worth $160 million. To give you some idea of how insane the market for Bitcoins has been recently, in the fall of 2011 when SilkRoad was founded, a single Bitcoin was worth just $2.

Just to re-iterare: 29 year old Ross Ulbricht earned nearly $80 million in commissions for maintaining and operating SilkRoad over the last two years. Here’s a screenshot of his LinkedIn page:

ulbricht

And the story gets crazier:

As if operating a billion dollar illegal online narcotics marketplace wasn’t bad enough, the FBI alleges that Ulbricht hired at least two hitmen over the last 12 months to murder people who were threatening SilkRoad and his own personal anonymity. He didn’t know it at the time, but Ulbricht was already being closely watched by the FBI when he used $150,000 worth of Bitcoins to order a murder from a hitman he met online.

The target was a former SilkRoad employee called “FriendlyChemist” who was threatening to release the identities of 5000 SilkRoad users in addition to outing Ulbricht as the mastermind of the whole operation unless he received a one time payment of $500,000. Just listen to the morbid online exchanges between Ulbricht and one of the hitmen, this all went down just seven months ago, in March 2013:

In my eyes, FriendlyChemist is a liability and I wouldn’t mind if he was executed… I have the following info and am waiting on getting his address…[He] lives in White Rock, British Colombia [with a] wife + 3 kids.

The hitmen responded with a quote of: “$150,000 to $300,000 depending on how you want it done, clean or non-clean

To which Ulbricht responded: “Don’t want to be a pain here, but the price seems high. Not long ago, I had a clean hit done for $80k. Are the prices you quoted the best you can do? I would like this done ASAP because he is talking about releasing the info Monday.

Finally Ulbricht accepted the $150,000 price and on the night March 31st he received the following message from his hitman: “I received the payment… We know where he is. He’ll be grabbed tonight. I’ll update you.

And 24 hours later another message from the hitman: “Your problem has been taken care of… Rest easy because he wont be blackmailing anyone again. Ever.

It may further shock you to know that Ross Ulbricht wasn’t sending these chilling execution orders from a dark room in a palatial San Francisco mansion. The FBI determined that when he wasn’t operating from the library or his favorite coffee shop, Ulbricht was working out of a three bedroom apartment he shared with two roommates directly across the street from the coffee shop.

Those roommates knew him as “Josh”, the friendly computer programmer who paid his $1000 a month rent every month right on time, in cash. Remember, the guy was worth $80 million and simultaneously operating a business that rivals many Fortune 500 companies.

One final strange twist to this case occurred back in July 2013.

FBI agents received a huge break when Canadian border control randomly chose to open and inspect a package that ended up containing several fake passports and IDs all for the same person, all addressed to Ross Ulbricht in San Francisco.

Homeland security visited Ulbricht shortly thereafter with the help of the FBI. Ulbricht claimed to have no clue why or who would send him those fake IDs. Incredibly, he even used SilkRoad as a defense by claiming that hypothetically anyone could order forged identity documents “on a website called SilkRoad“.

When FBI agents arrested “Josh”, AKA “Dread Pirate Roberts”, on Tuesday, it was 3:15 in the afternoon and Ulbricht was quietly working away at his local branch of the San Francisco public library.

Today his funds are being seized and SilkRoad has been shut down completely. Ulbricht faces a slew of very serious charges including attempting and possibly succeeding to commit two murders.

Finally, we’d like to officially announce that from on you can buy all your drugs on CelebrityNetWorth! Kidding.

seized


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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