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Beginner's Guide to Trading Crypto. Part 11

Beginner's Guide to Trading Crypto. Part 11

Money Loves Security And So Do Cryptos: A Brief Guide Down Crypto Wallet Lane

Since time immemorial people have been keeping their money and valuables in safe places. Be they purses, clay pots full of coins buried in their backyards or treasure chests hidden in caves with piles of bones strewn around to keep unwanted visitors at bay, they means conceived for safekeeping hoarded valuables are just as creative as they are limitless.
The advent of cryptocurrencies as a new class of valuables and assets instantly spawned the need to keep them safe from the clammy hands of criminals. The logical solution was to develop wallets that would be used to keep cryptos safe. As a result, a multitude of wallets have emerged offering all kinds of added services to their users while remaining means of storage at heart.
There is a huge variety of wallets available: Coinomi, GreenAddress, Blockchain.info, Atomic, Exodus, Jaxx, Electrum, Copay, Bread, Airbitz, Armory, Mycelium, Blockchain Wallet and dozens of others, each offering their services to suit any taste.
https://preview.redd.it/tai1ax5q3u341.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=0a33622327c7e52eea02e77f7c843423e6aeba12

Types Of Wallets

There are several types of wallets available to users and everyone must decide for themselves which one suits their needs best.
Hardware wallets: These are the most secure and reliable wallets available, since they are not connected to the internet at all. Hardware wallets are like flash memory cards that store the user’s cryptocurrencies and access offline. A bright example is the Trezor wallet, which is deemed to be impermeable to hackers. Unless the user loses the device itself, it is safe to assume that the cryptos will stay on it indefinitely and no one will ever gain access to them.
Online, Web or Hot wallets: These are online services, or online wallets that offer to store the user’s cryptos online with direct access to the internet at any time. In essence, online wallets are online accounts in which users store their funds. The risks are very high, since exchange wallets are routinely being hacked and the cryptos stored therein stolen.
Desktop wallets: Desktop wallets are software programs that can be downloaded and installed on a PC and will only be accessible from the device they were downloaded onto. The risks are the same as with hot wallets and another added inconvenience is that loss of the device or loss of access to it means loss of all cryptos stored on it.
Mobile wallets: Mobile wallets are software programs that can be downloaded onto a mobile device, such as a phone or a tablet. There are wallets for Android and iPhones and all of them bear even greater risks than hot wallets. Since mobile devices are susceptible to theft and a variety of viruses, it is extremely risky to store cryptos on them. Though access to the cryptos without private keys is impossible, unless the user stores them on the device, loss of all cryptos with the mobile device is guaranteed.
Paper wallets: Paper wallets are offline cold storage for cryptocurrencies. This is by far the safest means of storing cryptos, which includes printing the public and private keys on a piece of paper and storing it in a safe place. The keys are printed in the form of QR codes for convenience. With paper wallets, the user has complete control over their funds and the only risk lies in losing the piece of paper with the keys.
Other types of wallets: Apart from the five main types of wallets, there were attempts at creating other types of services, such as atomic wallets using atomic swap technology and even combinations of mobile/hot/cold wallets. Despite limited success, hybrids models of wallets did not become popular.

Main Pros And Cons

When looking at wallets and their main advantages and disadvantages, it is easiest to speak of the division between cold and hot wallets.
When speaking of cold wallets, such as the Trezor Bitcoin wallet and Ledger Nano S or X, the same issue will be observed, and that is the fact that such wallets can be physically lost. Though anyone who ever finds them will never be able to gain access to the stored cryptos without the private keys (unless they are pasted on the device), loss of all cryptos on the device is guaranteed. In addition, cold wallets can be difficult to install and are inconvenient for frequent use.
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Hot wallets are far more susceptible to risk than their cold counterparts. Though hot storage is much faster and convenient with a wide variety of options from Coinbase to Blockchain.info, the risk of cybercrime runs high. Mobile or desktop storage is also considered to be hot storage and is also risky, if the device is damaged or destroyed.

Bitcoin Problems

Bitcoin, as the firstborn cryptocurrency, was born with a number of defects. One of the main problems of the king of cryptos is the yet unsolved scalability problem. This refers to the limit on the amount of transactions the Bitcoin network can process due to the limited size of and frequency of blocks in the Bitcoin blockchain.
Said problem poses some difficulties to all Bitcoin users and leads to what is known as backlog in the blockchain. The backlog leads to long queues of transactions in the system. With the average transaction time in the Bitcoin blockchain being around 7 transactions per second and the theoretical maximum standing at 27, it is not difficult to understand how long users of the blockchain have to wait for their transactions to pass in times of heightened demand – the time is in the hours and sometimes even days.

Bitcoin Wallets Review

Since Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency on the market, it is logical to judge wallets by their support of the first cryptocurrency. As such, the following will be a brief review of some of the best and most popular Bitcoin wallets on the market.
Online Bitcoin Wallets
Online or web wallets are the most popular ones out there and the best Bitcoin wallet overall is widely considered to be Blockchain.info, which is easily accessible and convenient for everyday use with good security. As an anonymous Bitcoin wallet, Coinbase follows in the lead with its ability to store a multitude of various coins, but with the same security risks that are inherent to all hot wallets.
Android Bitcoin Wallets
Android is the most popular mobile system in the world and plays host to a number of good mobile wallets. The best Android Bitcoin wallet is widely considered to be the Electrum Bitcoin wallet with its excellent reputation, good security and convenience. Though Electrum has some occasional glitches, they are never critical. Another excellent wallet for Android is the Coinomi wallet with its support for a wide variety of cryptos and excellent user support, which even allows for restore options using special phrases. Coinomi has its issues as well, such as occasional exchange glitches, but the many pros outweigh the cons.
Bitcoin Hardware Wallets
The undisputed leaders as the best hardware wallets for Bitcoin are Ledger Nano X and S, Trezor T and Trezor One, and Keepkey. Bitcoin hardware wallets are comparable in their security, accessibility and usability. The difference is mainly in the price, which ranges from $165 for Trzeor T to $59 for the Ledger Nano S model. In fact, the Ledger Bitcoin wallet is often called the king of hardware wallets. The KeepKey Bitcoin wallet is the in the top three hardware wallets as a convenient and stylish device. Though KeepKey supports over 40 assets, it still lacks coin support.
Bitcoin Wallets For iPhone
iPhone’s iOS system is the second most popular for mobile devices in the world and has support for some good wallets as well. The best iOS Bitcoin wallet for iPhone is considered to be the Abra software, which offers credit card support for topping up crypto balances and a good user interface, which is even more oriented at exchanges. The next software is Edge, formerly known as Airbitz. The Edge wallet is best known for high security and good user-friendliness along with multi-currency support.
Bitcoin Wallets For Windows
Bitcoin wallets for PC are very popular and Windows is leading the way with some excellent offers for wallets. Atomic is by far the most advanced and the best option for Windows users as it offers Atomic swaps technology as its basis. The application offers a wide variety of operations and supports over 300 cryptocurrencies. Exodus is the second most popular choice as a desktop only wallet with support for Bitcoin and many other altcoins. Exodus offers its users a good interface and it is free for use.
Bitcoin Wallets For Mac
Since Atomic and Exodus are cross-platform wallets, they can be used on Windows and Mac. Apart from them, there are also Jaxx and Electrum, which can be used on Mac. Jaxx is a multi-currency wallet with support for around 40 cryptos and has a PIN feature. In addition, Jaxx is free for use. Electrum is one of the oldest desktop wallets and is a lightweight wallet that does not require the full blockchain to operate, meaning less storage needed for its operation. The wallet requires a PIN and is essentially a desktop bank with good security and usability. Electrum is also a Bitcoin wallet for iPad, since it can be used on mobile platforms.
Bitcoin Paper Wallet
Since storing cryptos online on exchange or hot wallets or even on devices is risky, it is oftentimes more convenient to use a simple printer to print out the keys and store them. BitAddress offers a convenient and easy to use, step by step guide to creating a paper wallet with the added benefit of sleeping in peace, known that nothing and no one will ever threaten your Bitcoins.
https://preview.redd.it/bh7wi0d64u341.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f7fbd269eea43ac3b8897ad470553ba8b3c730d

Checklist

When embarking on the journey of creating your first wallet, think well of which type to use. The type will depend on the priorities that stand before the user. If security is paramount, then paper or cold storage wallets are the go-to solution. If frequency of use is the name of the day, then hot wallets and their inherent risks are the best way to go.
The most frequent questions related to wallets are how to add money to a Bitcoin wallet and how to set up a Bitcoin wallet. Both questions have no single answer, as each wallet offers its own instructions on how to top up balances and how to set them up. Therefore it is recommended to study all instructions carefully prior to operation.
Either way, there is no silver bullet and some features will have to be sacrificed in deciding how to store cryptocurrencies. The one thing that is constant is the need to store Bitcoins and cryptos and make use of them.

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Originally posted on our blog.
submitted by MoonTrader_io to Moontrader_official [link] [comments]

The block chain, which is “artistic”, presents both challenges and opportunities

The block chain, which is “artistic”, presents both challenges and opportunities

https://preview.redd.it/3ph917604c131.png?width=617&format=png&auto=webp&s=508a0a8bff1323516332079c1bf53f012006b5cb
At the armory show in New York in March 2015, media magazine “the observer” conducted a survey to see which galleries were willing to accept blockchain deals. As a result, none of them could be found. This basically represents the views of frontline art dealers in 2015.
Art is avant-garde, but why is the acceptance of technological development a bit conservative?
In the 21st century, with the continuous progress of science and technology, all walks of life are affected by words like “intelligent” and “automation”. And technology and art have been trying to combine, although there are a lot of art derivatives like digital museums, but the actual application of technology of art cases are very few. “The observer” concluded that bitcoin could not be used in art.
However, just two years later, at the New York armory, the prestigious Ronchini gallery announced that it would accept bitcoin as a currency of exchange. A new work by Dutch contemporary artist Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus powerstation, will appear at the armory exhibition with a price tag of “one bitcoin” (about $10,750).
https://preview.redd.it/w9h37yh34c131.png?width=606&format=png&auto=webp&s=7d88e8845bac2b572b34c7eaa0035dddcd688903
This move is of great significance to the development of blockchain in the art world. Blockchain, which was not accepted by the art industry at the beginning, has entered the art world with a new attitude.
In fact, blockchain is a new application technology of distributed data storage, point-to-point transmission, consensus mechanism, encryption algorithm and other computer technologies. It is an important concept of bitcoin. In essence, blockchain is a decentralized database, which is also the connection point between blockchain and art. To put it simply, blockchain can build an art information registration platform, which is a decentralized fixed database. Since blockchain can store all kinds of information of users, and all kinds of information can be encrypted, the transaction records will be sealed in the database after the specified time and cannot be modified.
The stumbling blocks to the art market are well-known: provenance, transparency, copyright, ownership, art appraisal and authenticity. It comes down to the integrity of the art market. Then, through the “artistic” block chain, that is, the filtering of the art information registration platform, the circulation of artworks will be fixed and transparent. The unique registration information of artworks also makes art collectors trust art market more. This is of great significance to the circulation efficiency of artworks in the art market. In fact, many art startups are already building blockchain-based art registration and sales, with great success. They establish a global classification of works of art and collectibles, not only increasing the availability of existing works for collectors and artists, but also providing direct value to artists and insurers.
The traditional way to identify works of art is to use the knowledge, experience and eyesight of experts to distinguish the authenticity of works of art. However, with the continuous development of production technology, the imitation degree of fakes is getting higher and higher. While experts are trying to identify fakes, they will also be influenced by human feelings and personal interests. Therefore, they are not absolutely objective and reliable. In order to overcome the problem of integrity in the art market, scientific and technological identification comes into being. Scientific and technological identification mainly focuses on dating, structure and chemical element analysis, and adopts modern detection methods to lock the microscopic information of the material form of artworks and store it in the database for certification and filing. At the same time, China has also established a relatively perfect scientific identification system.
Even so, will the long-term ills of the art market be cured? The answer is no. According to the survey, the market for forgery and fraud is as much as $6 billion a year, with no clear information on the authenticity or provenance of works. At the same time, there is no clear standard for the evaluation of the value of artworks. People usually make the identification of artworks authoritative, that is, evaluate the value of contemporary artworks according to the words of authoritative figures. As a result, the trust crisis in the art market keeps breaking out.
Faced with these long-standing “pain points” in the art market, the emergence of blockchain provides an opportunity for the art market to regain trust. Blockchain’s entry into the art world, as mentioned at the beginning, is a bold innovation and optimization of the traditional model. The advantage of blockchain lies in the openness and transparency of information, and the stored artwork information cannot be tampered with, and the absolute reliability of data. Its strengths hit a sore spot in the art market: a lack of record keeping and an unclear source of art.

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However, blockchain is a brand new technology, which still faces huge challenges in the development of art market. After all, this is a new technology, and it requires a lot of research and development costs. Moreover, after blockchain enters the art market, new technologies will collide with art in a digital way, which will inevitably encounter severe tests of aesthetics. This is because, at the moment, there is still a large group of artists who believe that digitisation and technology will automatically reduce people’s perception of the beauty of art.
Second, blockchain’s entry into the art world requires a legal test. At the G20 summit in Shanghai, an attempt was made to apply smart contracts to blockchain, but questions were raised about arbitration rights and the stability of contracts. Similarly, these problems are also faced in the combination of blockchain and art field. Finally, data is a key part of blockchain, which needs the cooperation and data provided by global art trading and auction houses to develop better. However, for a long time, the trading records of art auction institutions around the world have been independent and relatively closed, so it is extremely difficult to query the trading records.
Buyers are scattered, and it is difficult to provide information about existing works of art. Therefore, there is still a long way to go before the data of blockchain is perfect and reliable and can be Shared globally.
Blockchain, as a new friend in the art field, if it develops smoothly, it will solve the long-standing huge pain points in the art market and generate huge economic benefits. All the challenges blockchain faces provide opportunities for its development in the field of art. John young, a famous Australian artist, said of the power of blockchain technology: “blockchain technology will redefine the art industry’s traceability system, just like photography in the 19th century. It will redefine the art market in terms of originality, reproduction and value, and improve the chaos that has been created by large-scale mechanized image production since the 20th century.”
While “artistic” blockchain has many advantages, can it directly address these challenges? We should have more hope for it.
Art Dip #art #blockchainart #artist
submitted by DIPArtSpace to u/DIPArtSpace [link] [comments]

The World Wide Web runs on webservers in datacenters. The World Wide Blockchain should also run on "blockservers" in datacenters. The "sweet spot" of Bitcoin scaling, reliability, security & convenience is *nodes in the cloud* + *private keys offline*. The is the future of Bitcoin. Let's embrace it.

Four-Line Summary
(1) Bitcoin nodes (and everyone's public addresses) should be online - in datacenters.
(2) Bitcoin wallets (and your private keys) should be offline - in your pocket.
(3) This architecture provides the optimal combination or "sweet spot" for short-term and long-term Bitcoin scaling, reliability, security & convenience.
(4) The best communications strategy is for us to embrace the approach of "nodes-in-datacenters" a/k/a "blockservers-in-the-cloud" - instead of apologizing for it.
Longer Summary
(1) Bitcoin nodes should be online - on "online public blockservers", ideally running on big, powerful webservers with high connectivity & high-end specs, in datacenters.
(2) Bitcoin private keys should be offline - in "offline private wallets", ideally running on tiny, cheap computers with no connectivity & low-end specs, in your pocket.
https://blockchainbdgpzk.onion/pushtx
(3) We should embrace "nodes-in-datacenters" (ie, "blockservers-in-the-cloud") and "keys-in-your-pocket" as the future of Bitcoin, providing the optimal combination (or "sweet spot") of scaling, reliability, security & convenience.
Details
Bitcoin has been a success for 7 years and is continuing to grow and needs a simple and safe way to scale.
So, now it is time for people to embrace nodes-in-datacenters a/k/a blockservers-in-the-cloud (plus private keys offline - to enable 100% security with "offline signing of transactions") as Bitcoin's future.
Why?
(1) ...because everything on the web actually works this way already - providing the optimal combination of scaling, reliability, security & convenience.
  • You already keep your passwords for websites and webmail on you - usually physically offline (in your head, written on a slip of paper, or maybe in an offline file, etc.)
  • When was the last time you ran a server out of your home to continually spider and index terabytes of data for the entire web?
  • Why should you need to hold 60 GB of data (and growing) when you just want to check the balance of a single Bitcoin address (eg, one of your addresses)?
  • Bitcoin is still very young, and if in order to fulfill its earlier promise about banking the unbanked, microtransactions, DACs (decentralized autonomous corporations), IoT (Internet of Things), smart contracts, etc., then we should hope and expect that the blockchain will someday take up terabytes, not "mere" gigabytes - just like Google's giant search engine index, which they update every few minutes.
  • Do you really think you should be performing this kind of heavy-duty indexing, querying and "serving" on a low-end machine behind a low-end connection in your home, when companies like Google can do it so much better?
  • As long as you physically control your own private keys, who cares if you rely on blockchain.info or blockexplorer.com (or someday: bitcoin.google.com or bitcoin.msn.com or bitcoin.yahoo.com) to lookup up public information about balances and transactions on Bitcoin addresses?
  • They're not going to be able to lie to you. The meaning of "permissionless" and "decentralized" is that anybody can set up a full-node / "blockserver" (plus "blockchain search engines"), and anybody can (and will) immediately report it to the whole world if a website like blockchain.info or blockexplorer.com (or someday: bitcoin.google.com or bitcoin.msn.com or bitcoin.yahoo.com) provides false information - which would seriously damage their business, so they'll never do it.
(2) ...because webservers and webmail don't lie to you, and "nodes-in-datacenters" (ie, "blockservers-in-the-cloud") aren't going to be able to lie to you either - since it would not be in their interest, and they would get caught if they did.
  • When was the last time google.com or or yahoo.com or msn.com (bing.com) lied to you when you performed a search or looked up some news?
  • When was the last time blockchain.info or blockexplorer.com lied to you when you checked the balance at a Bitcoin address?
  • Currently, with billions of websites and news sources ("webservers") running around the world in datacenters, there are "web search engines" (eg, google.com or news.google.com or msn.com or yahoo.com) where you can look up information and news on the World Wide Web. In order to survive, the business model of these "web search engines" is about getting lots of visitors, and providing you with reliable information. It's not in their best interests to lie - so they never do. These sites simply "spider" / "crawl" / "index" the entire massive web out there (every few minutes actually), and then conveniently filter / aggregate / present the results as a free service to you.
  • In the future, when there are 10,000 or 100,000 Bitcoin full-nodes ("blockservers") running around the world in datacenters, there will be "blockchain search engines" (eg, bitcoin.google.com or bitcoin.msn.com or bitcoin.yahoo.com - just like we already have blockchain.info and blockexplorer.com, etc.) where you will be able to lookup transactions and balances on the World Wide Blockchain. In order to survive, their business model will be about getting lots of visitors, and providing you with reliable information. It's not going to be in their best interests to lie - so they never will. These sites will simply "spider" / "crawl" / "index" the entire massive blockchain out there (every few minutes actually), and then conveniently filter / aggregate / present the results as a free service to you.
  • The business model for "blockchain search engines" might eventually showing ads or sponsored content along with the Bitcoin blockchain search functions which we are primarily interested in. This would be quite usable and simple and safe, and similar to how most people already use sites like google.com, yahoo.com, msn.com, etc.
(3) ...because "nodes-in-datacenters" (ie, "blockservers-in-the-cloud") provide simple scaling now.
  • Nodes-in-the-cloud are the only solution which can provide scaling now - using existing, tested software - by simply adjusting - or totally eliminating - the MAXBLOCKSIZE parameter.
  • They can use existing, tested, reliable software: thousands of 2MB+ nodes are already running.
  • About 1,000 Classic nodes have been spun up in AWS ECS datacenters (Amazon Web Services - Elastic Computer Cloud) in the past month. (Uninformed yes-men at r\bitcoin try to spin this as a "bad thing" - but we should embrace it as a "good thing", explicitly espousing the philosophy outlined in this post.)
  • "Nodes-in-datacenters" (ie, "blockservers-in-the-cloud") can be flexibly and easily configured to provide all the scaling needed in terms of:
    • Bandwidth (throughput)
    • Hard drive space (storage)
    • RAM (memory)
    • CPU (processing power)
  • The yes-men and sycophants and authoritarians and know-nothings on the censored subreddit r\bitcoin are forever fantasizing about some Rube Goldberg vaporware with a catchy name "Lightning Network" which doesn't even exist, and which (at best, if it ever does come into existence) would be doomed to be slow, centralized and expensive. LN is a non-thing.
  • Those same people on the censored r\bitcoin forum are desperately trying to interpret the thousands of Classic nodes as a negative thing - and their beloved non-existent Lightning Network as a positive thing. This is the kind of typical down-is-up, black-is-white thinking that always happens in a censorship bubble - because the so-called Lightning Network isn't even a thing - while Classic is a reality.
(4) ...because "nodes-in-datacenters" (ie, "blockservers-in-the-cloud") provide more reliability / availability.
  • 24/7/365 tech support,
  • automatic server reboots,
  • server uptime guarantees,
  • electrical power uptime guarantees.
(5) ...because "nodes-in-datacenters" (ie, "blockservers-in-the-cloud") provide better security.
(6) ...because "nodes-in-datacenters" (ie, "blockservers-in-the-cloud") provide more convenience.
(7) ...because separating "full-node" functionality from "wallet" functionality by implementing "hierarchical deterministic (HD)" wallets is cleaner, safer and more user-friendly.
Armory, BIP 0032 provide "hierarchical deterministic (HD)" wallets.
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/BIP_0032
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Deterministic_Wallet
http://www.bitcoinarmory.com/tutorials/armory-advanced-features/offline-wallets/
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/How_to_set_up_a_secure_offline_savings_wallet
http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/16646/offline-wallets-electrum-vs-armory
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQumISxkJsQ
  • "Hierarchical deterministic" wallets are required in order to be able to keep private keys offline, and "offline-sign" transactions. This is because a wallet needs to be "deterministic" in order to be able to generate the same sequence of random private keys in the offline wallet and the online wallet.
  • "Hierarchical deterministic (HD)" wallets are also required in order to allow a user to perform a single, one-time, permanent backup of their wallet - which lasts forever (since a HD wallet already deterministically "knows" the exact sequence of all the private keys which it will generate, now and in the future - unlike the antiquated wallet in Core / Blockstream's insecure, non-user-friendly Bitcoin implementation, which pre-generates keys non-deterministically in batches of 100 - so old backups of Core / Blockstream wallets could actually be missing later-generated private keys, rendering those backups useless).
  • Bitcoin is now over 7 years old, but Core / Blockstream has mysteriously failed to provide this simple, essential feature of HD wallets - while several other Bitcoin implementations have already provided this.
  • This feature is extremely simple, because it is all done entirely offline - not networking, no game theory, no non-deterministic behavior, no concurrency. The "HD wallet" functionality just needs some very basic, standard crypto and random-number libraries to generate a "seed" which determines the entire sequence of all the private keys which the wallet can generate.
  • Newer Bitcoin implementations (unlike Core / Blockstream) have now "modularized" their code, also separating "full-node" functionality from "wallet" functionality at the source code level:
  • in Golang - "btcsuite" from Conformal, providing "btcd" (node) and "btcwallet" (wallet):
  • in Haskell + MySQL/SQLite - "Haskoin":
  • There is also a Bitcoin implementation which provides only a full-node:
  • in Ruby + Postgres - "Toshi" from CoinBase:
  • [Tinfoil] The fact that Core / Blockstream has failed to provide HD and failed to clean up and modularize its messy spaghetti code - and the fact that Armory is now out of business (and both companies received millions of dollars in venture capital, and the lead dev of Armory left because the investors were creating needless obstacles regarding intellectual property rights, licensing, etc.) - these facts are suspicious because suggest that these corporations may be trying to discourage dev-friendliness, user-friendliness, security, convenience, and on-chain scaling.
(8) ...because the only thing most users really want and need is total physical control over their private keys.
  • Most people do not want or need to run a Bitcoin full-node, because:
    • A Bitcon full-node consumes lots of disk space and bandwidth, and can be expensive and complicated to set up, run, maintain, and secure.
    • A Bitcoin full-node requires an extremely high level of hardware and software security - which most computer users have never even attempted.
  • As Armory or Electrum users know, the simplest and safest way to provide 100% guaranteed security is by using "offline storage" or "cold storage" or "air gap".
  • In other words, ideally, you should never even let your private keys touch a device which has (or had) the hardware and/or software to go online - ie: no Wi-Fi, no 3G, and no Ethernet cable.
  • This offline machine is used only to generate private keys (where a Bitcoin private key is literally actually just any truly random number up to around 1078 ) - and also used to "offline-sign" transactions.
  • So it is simplest and safest if your private keys are on an offline machine which never can / did go online - and such as machine can be very cheap, because it really only needs to run some very basic random-number-generator and crypto libraries.
  • It would be simplest and safest for people to own a tiny cheap 100% secure offline computer to use only for:
    • generating / storing Bitcoin private keys
    • signing Bitcoin transactions
    • possibly also for generating / storing other kinds of private keys (other cryptocurrencies, GPG keys, etc.)
Four-Line Summary / Conclusion:
(1) Bitcoin nodes (and everyone's public addresses) should be online - in datacenters.
(2) Bitcoin wallets (and your private keys) should be offline - in your pocket.
(3) This architecture provides the optimal combination or "sweet spot" for short-term and long-term Bitcoin scaling, reliability, security & convenience.
(4) The best communications strategy is for us to embrace the approach of "nodes-in-datacenters" a/k/a "blockservers-in-the-cloud" - instead of apologizing for it.
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

Actual data: Nobody pays with Bitcoin. The unprecedented success story of Bitcoin in the Netherlands!

It's time to lighten up guys, let me tell you the success story of Buttcoin in the Netherlands. In case you didn't know: the Netherlands is a small country in Europe, best known on /bitcoin for being the frontrunner in cryptocurrencies, acquiring many upvotes. Market-research firm Multiscope confirm their views: one out of three Dutchmen knows how Bitcoin works, and another 41% have heard of it. This is not so surprising as just about every newspaper or news website writes about Buttcoin's failures, hell it even got coverage in primetime news shows. Multiscope estimated that 1% of the population own these tokens (as of December 2013).
But that's not all, not even close! The city of Arnhem has been dubbed 'Bitcoin City', the Hague has a 'Bitcoinboulevard' and Amsterdam hosted Bitcoin 2014 where subsequently BitPay opened their European Headquarters. 19 days ago the nation's biggest e-commerce payment gateway Mollie started taking Bitcoin, with /bitcoin quickly bragging about their big-name clients: ING, Facebook and Heineken. Mollie was quick to double down and now automatically provides each new client with Bitcoin services, thereby adding 800 new shops per month (unless they opt-out), on top of the 800 shops that already opted in! We even have two exchanges specifically designed to cater the Dutch market, instant and dirt-cheap. And then there are conferences, with actual speakers from meaningful institutions. To the moon!
But there's one small problem: nobody in the entire country pays with damn Buttcoins. So far Mollie processed almost 10 transactions for their 800 clients............... combined! Mollie's biggest clients such as domestic IT-shop CoolBlue saw this coming from a mile away, instantly telling Buttcoin preachers to suck it. Naturally, none of the big names Reddit listed and upvoted even touched the currency of failure. Mollie's competitor Bitmymoney isn't doing much better: usually processing multiple payments a week for their 70 clients combined. The eleven restaurants on Bitcoinboulevard that started accepting Bitcoins two months ago are in the same boat: combined they had 70 transactions (1 per day!), and multiple quit as it was too difficult. BitcoinCity-day had a surprising number of Bitcoin-paying participants (34 unique addresses), but perhaps not as surprising considering Armory came out to hand out free Buttcoins and there were other prizes involved.
So what is Buttcoin good for then? Well aside from Madoff laughing his ass off, druglords seem to do well! So far one Dutchman has managed to get himself caught in Miami, which is well known to be a great place to get caught red-handed. Many others got arrested locally for dealing insane amounts of drugs on SilkRoad. The Dutch Central Bank had about enough of all the crime; today they stated that banks better shape up quickly when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Oh well there is always the remittance market right? To the moon!
Sources here.
submitted by PayingWithActualMone to Buttcoin [link] [comments]

Is anyone else freaked out by this whole blocksize debate? Does anyone else find themself often agreeing with *both* sides - depending on whichever argument you happen to be reading at the moment? And do we need some better algorithms and data structures?

Why do both sides of the debate seem “right” to me?
I know, I know, a healthy debate is healthy and all - and maybe I'm just not used to the tumult and jostling which would be inevitable in a real live open major debate about something as vital as Bitcoin.
And I really do agree with the starry-eyed idealists who say Bitcoin is vital. Imperfect as it may be, it certainly does seem to represent the first real chance we've had in the past few hundred years to try to steer our civilization and our planet away from the dead-ends and disasters which our government-issued debt-based currencies keep dragging us into.
But this particular debate, about the blocksize, doesn't seem to be getting resolved at all.
Pretty much every time I read one of the long-form major arguments contributed by Bitcoin "thinkers" who I've come to respect over the past few years, this weird thing happens: I usually end up finding myself nodding my head and agreeing with whatever particular piece I'm reading!
But that should be impossible - because a lot of these people vehemently disagree!
So how can both sides sound so convincing to me, simply depending on whichever piece I currently happen to be reading?
Does anyone else feel this way? Or am I just a gullible idiot?
Just Do It?
When you first look at it or hear about it, increasing the size seems almost like a no-brainer: The "big-block" supporters say just increase the blocksize to 20 MB or 8 MB, or do some kind of scheduled or calculated regular increment which tries to take into account the capabilities of the infrastructure and the needs of the users. We do have the bandwidth and the memory to at least increase the blocksize now, they say - and we're probably gonna continue to have more bandwidth and memory in order to be able to keep increasing the blocksize for another couple decades - pretty much like everything else computer-based we've seen over the years (some of this stuff is called by names such as "Moore's Law").
On the other hand, whenever the "small-block" supporters warn about the utter catastrophe that a failed hard-fork would mean, I get totally freaked by their possible doomsday scenarios, which seem totally plausible and terrifying - so I end up feeling that the only way I'd want to go with a hard-fork would be if there was some pre-agreed "triggering" mechanism where the fork itself would only actually "switch on" and take effect provided that some "supermajority" of the network (of who? the miners? the full nodes?) had signaled (presumably via some kind of totally reliable p2p trustless software-based voting system?) that they do indeed "pre-agree" to actually adopt the pre-scheduled fork (and thereby avoid any possibility whatsoever of the precious blockchain somehow tragically splitting into two and pretty much killing this cryptocurrency off in its infancy).
So in this "conservative" scenario, I'm talking about wanting at least 95% pre-adoption agreement - not the mere 75% which I recall some proposals call for, which seems like it could easily lead to a 75/25 blockchain split.
But this time, with this long drawn-out blocksize debate, the core devs, and several other important voices who have become prominent opinion shapers over the past few years, can't seem to come to any real agreement on this.
Weird split among the devs
As far as I can see, there's this weird split: Gavin and Mike seem to be the only people among the devs who really want a major blocksize increase - and all the other devs seem to be vehemently against them.
But then on the other hand, the users seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of a major increase.
And there are meta-questions about governance, about about why this didn't come out as a BIP, and what the availability of Bitcoin XT means.
And today or yesterday there was this really cool big-blockian exponential graph based on doubling the blocksize every two years for twenty years, reminding us of the pure mathematical fact that 210 is indeed about 1000 - but not really addressing any of the game-theoretic points raised by the small-blockians. So a lot of the users seem to like it, but when so few devs say anything positive about it, I worry: is this just yet more exponential chart porn?
On the one hand, Gavin's and Mike's blocksize increase proposal initially seemed like a no-brainer to me.
And on the other hand, all the other devs seem to be against them. Which is weird - not what I'd initially expected at all (but maybe I'm just a fool who's seduced by exponential chart porn?).
Look, I don't mean to be rude to any of the core devs, and I don't want to come off like someone wearing a tinfoil hat - but it has to cross people's minds that the powers that be (the Fed and the other central banks and the governments that use their debt-issued money to run this world into a ditch) could very well be much more scared shitless than they're letting on. If we assume that the powers that be are using their usual playbook and tactics, then it could be worth looking at the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins, to get an idea of how they might try to attack Bitcoin. So, what I'm saying is, they do have a track record of sending in "experts" to try to derail projects and keep everyone enslaved to the Creature from Jekyll Island. I'm just saying. So, without getting ad hominem - let's just make sure that our ideas can really stand scrutiny on their own - as Nick Szabo says, we need to make sure there is "more computer science, less noise" in this debate.
When Gavin Andresen first came out with the 20 MB thing - I sat back and tried to imagine if I could download 20 MB in 10 minutes (which seems to be one of the basic mathematical and technological constraints here - right?)
I figured, "Yeah, I could download that" - even with my crappy internet connection.
And I guess the telecoms might be nice enough to continue to double our bandwidth every two years for the next couple decades – if we ask them politely?
On the other hand - I think we should be careful about entrusting the financial freedom of the world into the greedy hands of the telecoms companies - given all their shady shenanigans over the past few years in many countries. After decades of the MPAA and the FBI trying to chip away at BitTorrent, lately PirateBay has been hard to access. I would say it's quite likely that certain persons at institutions like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs and the Fed might be very, very motivated to see Bitcoin fail - so we shouldn't be too sure about scaling plans which depend on the willingness of companies Verizon and AT&T to double our bandwith every two years.
Maybe the real important hardware buildout challenge for a company like 21 (and its allies such as Qualcomm) to take on now would not be "a miner in every toaster" but rather "Google Fiber Download and Upload Speeds in every Country, including China".
I think I've read all the major stuff on the blocksize debate from Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn, Greg Maxwell, Peter Todd, Adam Back, and Jeff Garzick and several other major contributors - and, oddly enough, all their arguments seem reasonable - heck even Luke-Jr seems reasonable to me on the blocksize debate, and I always thought he was a whackjob overly influenced by superstition and numerology - and now today I'm reading the article by Bram Cohen - the inventor of BitTorrent - and I find myself agreeing with him too!
I say to myself: What's going on with me? How can I possibly agree with all of these guys, if they all have such vehemently opposing viewpoints?
I mean, think back to the glory days of a couple of years ago, when all we were hearing was how this amazing unprecedented grassroots innovation called Bitcoin was going to benefit everyone from all walks of life, all around the world:
...basically the entire human race transacting everything into the blockchain.
(Although let me say that I think that people's focus on ideas like driverless cabs creating realtime fare markets based on supply and demand seems to be setting our sights a bit low as far as Bitcoin's abilities to correct the financial world's capital-misallocation problems which seem to have been made possible by infinite debt-based fiat. I would have hoped that a Bitcoin-based economy would solve much more noble, much more urgent capital-allocation problems than driverless taxicabs creating fare markets or refrigerators ordering milk on the internet of things. I was thinking more along the lines that Bitcoin would finally strangle dead-end debt-based deadly-toxic energy industries like fossil fuels and let profitable clean energy industries like Thorium LFTRs take over - but that's another topic. :=)
Paradoxes in the blocksize debate
Let me summarize the major paradoxes I see here:
(1) Regarding the people (the majority of the core devs) who are against a blocksize increase: Well, the small-blocks arguments do seem kinda weird, and certainly not very "populist", in the sense that: When on earth have end-users ever heard of a computer technology whose capacity didn't grow pretty much exponentially year-on-year? All the cool new technology we've had - from hard drives to RAM to bandwidth - started out pathetically tiny and grew to unimaginably huge over the past few decades - and all our software has in turn gotten massively powerful and big and complex (sometimes bloated) to take advantage of the enormous new capacity available.
But now suddenly, for the first time in the history of technology, we seem to have a majority of the devs, on a major p2p project - saying: "Let's not scale the system up. It could be dangerous. It might break the whole system (if the hard-fork fails)."
I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here, maybe someone else could enlighten me, but I don't think I've ever seen this sort of thing happen in the last few decades of the history of technology - devs arguing against scaling up p2p technology to take advantage of expected growth in infrastructure capacity.
(2) But... on the other hand... the dire warnings of the small-blockians about what could happen if a hard-fork were to fail - wow, they do seem really dire! And these guys are pretty much all heavyweight, experienced programmers and/or game theorists and/or p2p open-source project managers.
I must say, that nearly all of the long-form arguments I've read - as well as many, many of the shorter comments I've read from many users in the threads, whose names I at least have come to more-or-less recognize over the past few months and years on reddit and bitcointalk - have been amazingly impressive in their ability to analyze all aspects of the lifecycle and management of open-source software projects, bringing up lots of serious points which I could never have come up with, and which seem to come from long experience with programming and project management - as well as dealing with economics and human nature (eg, greed - the game-theory stuff).
So a lot of really smart and experienced people with major expertise in various areas ranging from programming to management to game theory to politics to economics have been making some serious, mature, compelling arguments.
But, as I've been saying, the only problem to me is: in many of these cases, these arguments are vehemently in opposition to each other! So I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of them, one by one - which means the end result is just a giant contradiction.
I mean, today we have Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent, arguing (quite cogently and convincingly to me), that it would be dangerous to increase the blocksize. And this seems to be a guy who would know a few things about scaling out a massive global p2p network - since the protocol which he invented, BitTorrent, is now apparently responsible for like a third of the traffic on the internet (and this despite the long-term concerted efforts of major evil players such as the MPAA and the FBI to shut the whole thing down).
Was the BitTorrent analogy too "glib"?
By the way - I would like to go on a slight tangent here and say that one of the main reasons why I felt so "comfortable" jumping on the Bitcoin train back a few years ago, when I first heard about it and got into it, was the whole rough analogy I saw with BitTorrent.
I remembered the perhaps paradoxical fact that when a torrent is more popular (eg, a major movie release that just came out last week), then it actually becomes faster to download. More people want it, so more people have a few pieces of it, so more people are able to get it from each other. A kind of self-correcting economic feedback loop, where more demand directly leads to more supply.
(BitTorrent manages to pull this off by essentially adding a certain structure to the file being shared, so that it's not simply like an append-only list of 1 MB blocks, but rather more like an random-access or indexed array of 1 MB chunks. Say you're downloading a film which is 700 MB. As soon as your "client" program has downloaded a single 1-MB chunk - say chunk #99 - your "client" program instantly turns into a "server" program as well - offering that chunk #99 to other clients. From my simplistic understanding, I believe the Bitcoin protocol does something similar, to provide a p2p architecture. Hence my - perhaps naïve - assumption that Bitcoin already had the right algorithms / architecture / data structure to scale.)
The efficiency of the BitTorrent network seemed to jive with that "network law" (Metcalfe's Law?) about fax machines. This law states that the more fax machines there are, the more valuable the network of fax machines becomes. Or the value of the network grows on the order of the square of the number of nodes.
This is in contrast with other technology like cars, where the more you have, the worse things get. The more cars there are, the more traffic jams you have, so things start going downhill. I guess this is because highway space is limited - after all, we can't pave over the entire countryside, and we never did get those flying cars we were promised, as David Graeber laments in a recent essay in The Baffler magazine :-)
And regarding the "stress test" supposedly happening right now in the middle of this ongoing blocksize debate, I don't know what worries me more: the fact that it apparently is taking only $5,000 to do a simple kind of DoS on the blockchain - or the fact that there are a few rumors swirling around saying that the unknown company doing the stress test shares the same physical mailing address with a "scam" company?
Or maybe we should just be worried that so much of this debate is happening on a handful of forums which are controlled by some guy named theymos who's already engaged in some pretty "contentious" or "controversial" behavior like blowing a million dollars on writing forum software (I guess he never heard that reddit.com software is open-source)?
So I worry that the great promise of "decentralization" might be more fragile than we originally thought.
Scaling
Anyways, back to Metcalfe's Law: with virtual stuff, like torrents and fax machines, the more the merrier. The more people downloading a given movie, the faster it arrives - and the more people own fax machines, the more valuable the overall fax network.
So I kindof (naïvely?) assumed that Bitcoin, being "virtual" and p2p, would somehow scale up the same magical way BitTorrrent did. I just figured that more people using it would somehow automatically make it stronger and faster.
But now a lot of devs have started talking in terms of the old "scarcity" paradigm, talking about blockspace being a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" - which seems kinda scary, and antithetical to much of the earlier rhetoric we heard about Bitcoin (the stuff about supporting our favorite creators with micropayments, and the stuff about Africans using SMS to send around payments).
Look, when some asshole is in line in front of you at the cash register and he's holding up the line so they can run his credit card to buy a bag of Cheeto's, we tend to get pissed off at the guy - clogging up our expensive global electronic payment infrastructure to make a two-dollar purchase. And that's on a fairly efficient centralized system - and presumably after a year or so, VISA and the guy's bank can delete or compress the transaction in their SQL databases.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if some guy buys a coffee on the blockchain, or if somebody pays an online artist $1.99 for their work - then that transaction, a few bytes or so, has to live on the blockchain forever?
Or is there some "pruning" thing that gets rid of it after a while?
And this could lead to another question: Viewed from the perspective of double-entry bookkeeping, is the blockchain "world-wide ledger" more like the "balance sheet" part of accounting, i.e. a snapshot showing current assets and liabilities? Or is it more like the "cash flow" part of accounting, i.e. a journal showing historical revenues and expenses?
When I think of thousands of machines around the globe having to lug around multiple identical copies of a multi-gigabyte file containing some asshole's coffee purchase forever and ever... I feel like I'm ideologically drifting in one direction (where I'd end up also being against really cool stuff like online micropayments and Africans banking via SMS)... so I don't want to go there.
But on the other hand, when really experienced and battle-tested veterans with major experience in the world of open-souce programming and project management (the "small-blockians") warn of the catastrophic consequences of a possible failed hard-fork, I get freaked out and I wonder if Bitcoin really was destined to be a settlement layer for big transactions.
Could the original programmer(s) possibly weigh in?
And I don't mean to appeal to authority - but heck, where the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto in all this? I do understand that he/she/they would want to maintain absolute anonymity - but on the other hand, I assume SN wants Bitcoin to succeed (both for the future of humanity - or at least for all the bitcoins SN allegedly holds :-) - and I understand there is a way that SN can cryptographically sign a message - and I understand that as the original developer of Bitcoin, SN had some very specific opinions about the blocksize... So I'm kinda wondering of Satoshi could weigh in from time to time. Just to help out a bit. I'm not saying "Show us a sign" like a deity or something - but damn it sure would be fascinating and possibly very helpful if Satoshi gave us his/hetheir 2 satoshis worth at this really confusing juncture.
Are we using our capacity wisely?
I'm not a programming or game-theory whiz, I'm just a casual user who has tried to keep up with technology over the years.
It just seems weird to me that here we have this massive supercomputer (500 times more powerful than the all the supercomputers in the world combined) doing fairly straightforward "embarassingly parallel" number-crunching operations to secure a p2p world-wide ledger called the blockchain to keep track of a measly 2.1 quadrillion tokens spread out among a few billion addresses - and a couple of years ago you had people like Rick Falkvinge saying the blockchain would someday be supporting multi-million-dollar letters of credit for international trade and you had people like Andreas Antonopoulos saying the blockchain would someday allow billions of "unbanked" people to send remittances around the village or around the world dirt-cheap - and now suddenly in June 2015 we're talking about blockspace as a "scarce resource" and talking about "fee markets" and partially centralized, corporate-sponsored "Level 2" vaporware like Lightning Network and some mysterious company is "stess testing" or "DoS-ing" the system by throwing away a measly $5,000 and suddenly it sounds like the whole system could eventually head right back into PayPal and Western Union territory again, in terms of expensive fees.
When I got into Bitcoin, I really was heavily influenced by vague analogies with BitTorrent: I figured everyone would just have tiny little like utorrent-type program running on their machine (ie, Bitcoin-QT or Armory or Mycelium etc.).
I figured that just like anyone can host a their own blog or webserver, anyone would be able to host their own bank.
Yeah, Google and and Mozilla and Twitter and Facebook and WhatsApp did come along and build stuff on top of TCP/IP, so I did expect a bunch of companies to build layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol as well. But I still figured the basic unit of bitcoin client software powering the overall system would be small and personal and affordable and p2p - like a bittorrent client - or at the most, like a cheap server hosting a blog or email server.
And I figured there would be a way at the software level, at the architecture level, at the algorithmic level, at the data structure level - to let the thing scale - if not infinitely, at least fairly massively and gracefully - the same way the BitTorrent network has.
Of course, I do also understand that with BitTorrent, you're sharing a read-only object (eg, a movie) - whereas with Bitcoin, you're achieving distributed trustless consensus and appending it to a write-only (or append-only) database.
So I do understand that the problem which BitTorrent solves is much simpler than the problem which Bitcoin sets out to solve.
But still, it seems that there's got to be a way to make this thing scale. It's p2p and it's got 500 times more computing power than all the supercomputers in the world combined - and so many brilliant and motivated and inspired people want this thing to succeed! And Bitcoin could be our civilization's last chance to steer away from the oncoming debt-based ditch of disaster we seem to be driving into!
It just seems that Bitcoin has got to be able to scale somehow - and all these smart people working together should be able to come up with a solution which pretty much everyone can agree - in advance - will work.
Right? Right?
A (probably irrelevant) tangent on algorithms and architecture and data structures
I'll finally weigh with my personal perspective - although I might be biased due to my background (which is more on the theoretical side of computer science).
My own modest - or perhaps radical - suggestion would be to ask whether we're really looking at all the best possible algorithms and architectures and data structures out there.
From this perspective, I sometimes worry that the overwhelming majority of the great minds working on the programming and game-theory stuff might come from a rather specific, shall we say "von Neumann" or "procedural" or "imperative" school of programming (ie, C and Python and Java programmers).
It seems strange to me that such a cutting-edge and important computer project would have so little participation from the great minds at the other end of the spectrum of programming paradigms - namely, the "functional" and "declarative" and "algebraic" (and co-algebraic!) worlds.
For example, I was struck in particular by statements I've seen here and there (which seemed rather hubristic or lackadaisical to me - for something as important as Bitcoin), that the specification of Bitcoin and the blockchain doesn't really exist in any form other than the reference implementation(s) (in procedural languages such as C or Python?).
Curry-Howard anyone?
I mean, many computer scientists are aware of the Curry-Howard isomorophism, which basically says that the relationship between a theorem and its proof is equivalent to the relationship between a specification and its implementation. In other words, there is a long tradition in mathematics (and in computer programming) of:
And it's not exactly "turtles all the way down" either: a specification is generally simple and compact enough that a good programmer can usually simply visually inspect it to determine if it is indeed "correct" - something which is very difficult, if not impossible, to do with a program written in a procedural, implementation-oriented language such as C or Python or Java.
So I worry that we've got this tradition, from the open-source github C/Java programming tradition, of never actually writing our "specification", and only writing the "implementation". In mission-critical military-grade programming projects (which often use languages like Ada or Maude) this is simply not allowed. It would seem that a project as mission-critical as Bitcoin - which could literally be crucial for humanity's continued survival - should also use this kind of military-grade software development approach.
And I'm not saying rewrite the implementations in these kind of theoretical languages. But it might be helpful if the C/Python/Java programmers in the Bitcoin imperative programming world could build some bridges to the Maude/Haskell/ML programmers of the functional and algebraic programming worlds to see if any kind of useful cross-pollination might take place - between specifications and implementations.
For example, the JavaFAN formal analyzer for multi-threaded Java programs (developed using tools based on the Maude language) was applied to the Remote Agent AI program aboard NASA's Deep Space 1 shuttle, written in Java - and it took only a few minutes using formal mathematical reasoning to detect a potential deadlock which would have occurred years later during the space mission when the damn spacecraft was already way out around Pluto.
And "the Maude-NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) Protocol Analyzer (Maude-NPA) is a tool used to provide security proofs of cryptographic protocols and to search for protocol flaws and cryptosystem attacks."
These are open-source formal reasoning tools developed by DARPA and used by NASA and the US Navy to ensure that program implementations satisfy their specifications. It would be great if some of the people involved in these kinds of projects could contribute to help ensure the security and scalability of Bitcoin.
But there is a wide abyss between the kinds of programmers who use languages like Maude and the kinds of programmers who use languages like C/Python/Java - and it can be really hard to get the two worlds to meet. There is a bit of rapprochement between these language communities in languages which might be considered as being somewhere in the middle, such as Haskell and ML. I just worry that Bitcoin might be turning into being an exclusively C/Python/Java project (with the algorithms and practitioners traditionally of that community), when it could be more advantageous if it also had some people from the functional and algebraic-specification and program-verification community involved as well. The thing is, though: the theoretical practitioners are big on "semantics" - I've heard them say stuff like "Yes but a C / C++ program has no easily identifiable semantics". So to get them involved, you really have to first be able to talk about what your program does (specification) - before proceeding to describe how it does it (implementation). And writing high-level specifications is typically very hard using the syntax and semantics of languages like C and Java and Python - whereas specs are fairly easy to write in Maude - and not only that, they're executable, and you state and verify properties about them - which provides for the kind of debate Nick Szabo was advocating ("more computer science, less noise").
Imagine if we had an executable algebraic specification of Bitcoin in Maude, where we could formally reason about and verify certain crucial game-theoretical properties - rather than merely hand-waving and arguing and deploying and praying.
And so in the theoretical programming community you've got major research on various logics such as Girard's Linear Logic (which is resource-conscious) and Bruni and Montanari's Tile Logic (which enables "pasting" bigger systems together from smaller ones in space and time), and executable algebraic specification languages such as Meseguer's Maude (which would be perfect for game theory modeling, with its functional modules for specifying the deterministic parts of systems and its system modules for specifiying non-deterministic parts of systems, and its parameterized skeletons for sketching out the typical architectures of mobile systems, and its formal reasoning and verification tools and libraries which have been specifically applied to testing and breaking - and fixing - cryptographic protocols).
And somewhat closer to the practical hands-on world, you've got stuff like Google's MapReduce and lots of Big Data database languages developed by Google as well. And yet here we are with a mempool growing dangerously big for RAM on a single machine, and a 20-GB append-only list as our database - and not much debate on practical results from Google's Big Data databases.
(And by the way: maybe I'm totally ignorant for asking this, but I'll ask anyways: why the hell does the mempool have to stay in RAM? Couldn't it work just as well if it were stored temporarily on the hard drive?)
And you've got CalvinDB out of Yale which apparently provides an ACID layer on top of a massively distributed database.
Look, I'm just an armchair follower cheering on these projects. I can barely manage to write a query in SQL, or read through a C or Python or Java program. But I would argue two points here: (1) these languages may be too low-level and "non-formal" for writing and modeling and formally reasoning about and proving properties of mission-critical specifications - and (2) there seem to be some Big Data tools already deployed by institutions such as Google and Yale which support global petabyte-size databases on commodity boxes with nice properties such as near-real-time and ACID - and I sometimes worry that the "core devs" might be failing to review the literature (and reach out to fellow programmers) out there to see if there might be some formal program-verification and practical Big Data tools out there which could be applied to coming up with rock-solid, 100% consensus proposals to handle an issue such as blocksize scaling, which seems to have become much more intractable than many people might have expected.
I mean, the protocol solved the hard stuff: the elliptical-curve stuff and the Byzantine General stuff. How the heck can we be falling down on the comparatively "easier" stuff - like scaling the blocksize?
It just seems like defeatism to say "Well, the blockchain is already 20-30 GB and it's gonna be 20-30 TB ten years from now - and we need 10 Mbs bandwidth now and 10,000 Mbs bandwidth 20 years from - assuming the evil Verizon and AT&T actually give us that - so let's just become a settlement platform and give up on buying coffee or banking the unbanked or doing micropayments, and let's push all that stuff into some corporate-controlled vaporware without even a whitepaper yet."
So you've got Peter Todd doing some possibly brilliant theorizing and extrapolating on the idea of "treechains" - there is a Let's Talk Bitcoin podcast from about a year ago where he sketches the rough outlines of this idea out in a very inspiring, high-level way - although the specifics have yet to be hammered out. And we've got Blockstream also doing some hopeful hand-waving about the Lightning Network.
Things like Peter Todd's treechains - which may be similar to the spark in some devs' eyes called Lightning Network - are examples of the kind of algorithm or architecture which might manage to harness the massive computing power of miners and nodes in such a way that certain kinds of massive and graceful scaling become possible.
It just seems like a kindof tiny dev community working on this stuff.
Being a C or Python or Java programmer should not be a pre-req to being able to help contribute to the specification (and formal reasoning and program verification) for Bitcoin and the blockchain.
XML and UML are crap modeling and specification languages, and C and Java and Python are even worse (as specification languages - although as implementation languages, they are of course fine).
But there are serious modeling and specification languages out there, and they could be very helpful at times like this - where what we're dealing with is questions of modeling and specification (ie, "needs and requirements").
One just doesn't often see the practical, hands-on world of open-source github implementation-level programmers and the academic, theoretical world of specification-level programmers meeting very often. I wish there were some way to get these two worlds to collaborate on Bitcoin.
Maybe a good first step to reach out to the theoretical people would be to provide a modular executable algebraic specification of the Bitcoin protocol in a recognized, military/NASA-grade specification language such as Maude - because that's something the theoretical community can actually wrap their heads around, whereas it's very hard to get them to pay attention to something written only as a C / Python / Java implementation (without an accompanying specification in a formal language).
They can't check whether the program does what it's supposed to do - if you don't provide a formal mathematical definition of what the program is supposed to do.
Specification : Implementation :: Theorem : Proof
You have to remember: the theoretical community is very aware of the Curry-Howard isomorphism. Just like it would be hard to get a mathematician's attention by merely showing them a proof without telling also telling them what theorem the proof is proving - by the same token, it's hard to get the attention of a theoretical computer scientist by merely showing them an implementation without showing them the specification that it implements.
Bitcoin is currently confronted with a mathematical or "computer science" problem: how to secure the network while getting high enough transactional throughput, while staying within the limited RAM, bandwidth and hard drive space limitations of current and future infrastructure.
The problem only becomes a political and economic problem if we give up on trying to solve it as a mathematical and "theoretical computer science" problem.
There should be a plethora of whitepapers out now proposing algorithmic solutions to these scaling issues. Remember, all we have to do is apply the Byzantine General consensus-reaching procedure to a worldwide database which shuffles 2.1 quadrillion tokens among a few billion addresses. The 21 company has emphatically pointed out that racing to compute a hash to add a block is an "embarrassingly parallel" problem - very easy to decompose among cheap, fault-prone, commodity boxes, and recompose into an overall solution - along the lines of Google's highly successful MapReduce.
I guess what I'm really saying is (and I don't mean to be rude here), is that C and Python and Java programmers might not be the best qualified people to develop and formally prove the correctness of (note I do not say: "test", I say "formally prove the correctness of") these kinds of algorithms.
I really believe in the importance of getting the algorithms and architectures right - look at Google Search itself, it uses some pretty brilliant algorithms and architectures (eg, MapReduce, Paxos) which enable it to achieve amazing performance - on pretty crappy commodity hardware. And look at BitTorrent, which is truly p2p, where more demand leads to more supply.
So, in this vein, I will close this lengthy rant with an oddly specific link - which may or may not be able to make some interesting contributions to finding suitable algorithms, architectures and data structures which might help Bitcoin scale massively. I have no idea if this link could be helpful - but given the near-total lack of people from the Haskell and ML and functional worlds in these Bitcoin specification debates, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't throw this out - just in case there might be something here which could help us channel the massive computing power of the Bitcoin network in such a way as to enable us simply sidestep this kind of desperate debate where both sides seem right because the other side seems wrong.
https://personal.cis.strath.ac.uk/neil.ghani/papers/ghani-calco07
The above paper is about "higher dimensional trees". It uses a bit of category theory (not a whole lot) and a bit of Haskell (again not a lot - just a simple data structure called a Rose tree, which has a wikipedia page) to develop a very expressive and efficient data structure which generalizes from lists to trees to higher dimensions.
I have no idea if this kind of data structure could be applicable to the current scaling mess we apparently are getting bogged down in - I don't have the game-theory skills to figure it out.
I just thought that since the blockchain is like a list, and since there are some tree-like structures which have been grafted on for efficiency (eg Merkle trees) and since many of the futuristic scaling proposals seem to also involve generalizing from list-like structures (eg, the blockchain) to tree-like structures (eg, side-chains and tree-chains)... well, who knows, there might be some nugget of algorithmic or architectural or data-structure inspiration there.
So... TL;DR:
(1) I'm freaked out that this blocksize debate has splintered the community so badly and dragged on so long, with no resolution in sight, and both sides seeming so right (because the other side seems so wrong).
(2) I think Bitcoin could gain immensely by using high-level formal, algebraic and co-algebraic program specification and verification languages (such as Maude including Maude-NPA, Mobile Maude parameterized skeletons, etc.) to specify (and possibly also, to some degree, verify) what Bitcoin does - before translating to low-level implementation languages such as C and Python and Java saying how Bitcoin does it. This would help to communicate and reason about programs with much more mathematical certitude - and possibly obviate the need for many political and economic tradeoffs which currently seem dismally inevitable - and possibly widen the collaboration on this project.
(3) I wonder if there are some Big Data approaches out there (eg, along the lines of Google's MapReduce and BigTable, or Yale's CalvinDB), which could be implemented to allow Bitcoin to scale massively and painlessly - and to satisfy all stakeholders, ranging from millionaires to micropayments, coffee drinkers to the great "unbanked".
submitted by BeYourOwnBank to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Does Bitcoin need an iPod?

I am currently messing around with cold storage and wanting to first verify the process with a couple of test runs using small amounts of bitcoin. I am downloading the blockchain (again, sigh) on a crap laptop that I don't use anymore. Not sure I really need to do this but I feel like it lessons the chances of creating a duplicate address, which I know is something akin to winning the lottery seven times in a row. Anyway, I then take my junk laptop offline, generate an address, encrypt and then back it up a few more times on some new USB drives.
As I am sitting here trying to wrap my head around how complicated this is, I have to wonder what percentage of people, true BitCoin adopters, are actually doing this? As a believer and technophile, I understand what is happening, but what a leap of technological faith it is. Sending large amounts into the ether and hoping it lands and waits, forever in the correct spot. Will it be there when I need it? What is going to make BitCoin easier to use and still give you the same amount of true cold storage protection? Is it a software platform that I haven't seen yet? Is it Armory paper wallet which crashes constantly on my Mac?
The whole process reminded me of how I felt, back in the day, before iTunes and the iPod came out. I had iMesh or Napster or what have you, then I had boat loads of MP3 sitting on my external HD. I had a Kenwood Z919, the first car stereo to play MP3 on a CD-R. Then I really got mobile with the Diamond RIO, but it only held about 25 songs so it was a constant tug of war of reconnecting and then wiping and editing. Clunky was the norm and definitely the expectation. Now I am not going to glorify the virtues of running iTunes on, and connecting my iPod to, my PC as the perfect solution for BitCoin; however, the advent of that combination brought the masses a transformative technology and I think that is where we are at right now. Are there companies working on a true cold storage stand alone small widget box, iPod like device, one we could leave in a safe deposit box without power? One that creates wallets offline and generates un-hackable keys. I saw something from BFL, but they will never see another penny from me, so I literally will not even read the specs.
People like to hold onto something physical, or at the very least a physical space they can visualize containing their property. It probably stems from some evolutionary trait that is hard to supersede. I remember opening my first savings account with my father, I was in fourth or fifth grade. There was a massive shiny vault door towering over the tellers at my bank, so I knew my paper route money was safe inside there. I had the small booklet with my balances stamped on it, which I kept in my sock drawer between uses. Our savings is something different, it is piece of mind. With the constant feed of "bitcoins stolen" being aired 24/7 on the news (since fiat or gold are never stolen anymore) I feel like the time is ripe for an iPod/iTunes like device to appear on the scene, something that can dumb down cold storage and make it truly palatable for the regular Joe Six-pack.
TL:DR Does BitCoin need an iTunes/iPod solution to bring it to the masses? We need what happened to mp3 circa 2001-2002 to happen to BitCoin in regards to cold storage.
edit: Someone mentioned Trezor, looks legit. Has anyone used it?
submitted by ShawnLeary to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Feeling dumb, couple of problems I need help with.

Ok, my main problem is that I want to merge a bunch of wallets back into one. I use BitcoinQT and Armory, and with both I have about four wallets total. The main issue with trying to merge these is that I don't have enough BTC across them to combine the funds by sending them over the network. So, here's what I'm looking at: I want to take the BitcoinQT wallet and send it to Armory, next I want to take the (now) 4 Armory wallets and merge the funds in them into a just one wallet address.
Now, there's bound to be a way to do this without giving myself a headache, right? The only other solution I'm seeing right now is waiting until I can scratch enough money together to buy 0.1btc on Coinbase, then using that to bounce everything together.
Okay, so I know there are likely security risks in doing this, but I obviously don't have enough BTC to worry about since I can't send my funds to a single wallet. Also, I'm running Armory 0.88.1-beta and QT 4.8.3.
submitted by Surfing_magic_carpet to BitcoinBeginners [link] [comments]

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