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Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet
Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots. A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC). Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea. When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust. However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:
Is Bitcoin money?
No. Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves: 1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own. As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get. You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there? 2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile. If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point: 3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away. For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast. On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad. One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy. If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due. Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.
BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in
Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense. Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run. See here Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well. Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money. Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand. Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control. It's also a national security risk... The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca. He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade. This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.
Currencies are based on trust
Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged? The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president. People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all. It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board. For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government." The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.
BTC is not gold
Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value. How do we know that? Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan. Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well. Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties: First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment. Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials. Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans. It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods. To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that. On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Means of Exchange: if people seriously start using BTC to buy pizzas, then this creates a real demand for the currency to accomplish the short-term exchanges. As we saw previously, I'm not personally sold on this one and it's currently a negligible fraction of overall demand.
Criminal uses: Probably the largest inbuilt advantage of BTC is that it's anonymous, and so a great way to launder money. Hacker gangs use BTC to demand ransom on cryptolocker type attacks because it's a shared way for an honest company to pay and for the criminals to receive money without going to jail.
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.
BTC is really risky
One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds. But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:
A critical software vulnerability is found in the BTC codebase, leading to a possible exploitation.
Xi Jinping decides he's had enough of rich people in China hiding their assets from him and bans BTC.
Some form of bank run takes hold for whatever reason. Because BTC wallets are uninsured, unlike regular banks, this compounds into a Black Tuesday style crash.
Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient
Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science. That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale. The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
BTC was estimated to use as much electricity as Belgium in 2019. It's hard to trace where the BTC mining comes from, but we can assume it has a huge carbon footprint.
A single transactions is necessarily expensive. A single transaction takes as much electricity as 800,000 VISA transactions, or watching 50,000 hours of youtube videos.
There is a large necessary tax on the transaction, since those checking the transaction extract a few BTC from it to be incentivized to do the work of checking it.
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
What we can learn from Litecoin falling out of Top10
So as LTC is dropping out of Top10 coins on cmc for the first time (currently sitting at 12) I think it is time to get some insights out of its demise. Many people in crypto community (especially here in btc) know that LTC is, while not being an outright shitcoin, basically a useless coin. The advantages it had over BTC were really small for most of its lifetime (except for BTC high fee times), and compared to most other alts it was inferior. It had no roadmap other than being a testing ground for BTC and backporting their changes. But what it had, was a clever marketing or "story to tell". Litecoin is silver to BTC's gold. With this simple marketing trick it managed to closely align it to Cryptos biggest Community (BTC) and also paved the way for the greatest dogma in crypto that developed over the years: that Bitcoin is not meant to be spend BTC rather hoarded like gold and if you need to make actual crypto payment you do it with Litecoin. This marketing ensured that LTC could stay in Top10 for almost a decade, whereas other coins out of the 2011-2013 copycat altcoin era, even some that provided actual advantage (think of Peercoin for example) have long been forgotton. So what can we learn from this? In crypto community there is a lot of joking about the market being irrational, shitcoins like IOTA which do not even work having the same price development as legit projects, useless projects pumping like mad because they spend all their ICO money on marketing, sentiments like "the market can stay longer irrational than you can solvent" and so and so on. In the case of LTC it is now possible to quantify how long the market can stay irrational in extreme cases: Almost a decade. Measured in crypto time frames almost an eternity, but not a lifespan. Also important to note is that Litecoin compared to BCH has (even before their current artificial increase) better onchain stats regarding transaction count, active adresses etc. Nevertheless the gap between the coins continues to widen. The market DOES price in tech, future outlook, roadmap and things alike. So in conclusion: 1. Marketing is extremely important and can outweigh actual tech and roadmap in the short and mid-term (up to 8 years in extreme cases), but not in the long term. 2. Community sentiment can have tremendous impact, just because LTC aligned closely with BTC community they managed to survive much longer than similiar projects from the era. 3. Over time the market does take into account future perspective and outlook. BCH should take steps accordingly, continue to invest in solid and novel tech, but also increase its reputation in the wider crypto community (pro tip: not constantly shitting on other projects help). In a few years we can earn the fruit of it. Another thing that came to my mind is that crypto market actually works the direct opposite of current stock market. In crypto, everything changes super fast but the actual market elements to work (valuing fundamental value, expectation trading) takes ages. In stock market (if you look at Tesla for example) things go way slower but basic market functions are comparably quicker (as seen in Tesla having better stock than other car manufacturers, despite being arguably profitable and delivering much less cars, but what matters is actual tech and future expectations). What do you think of the analysis?
Disclaimer:This isnotfinancial advice. It's only my personal opinion. You can agree or disagree. Stay civil. It seems clear that we're in a new Bitcoin rally. With Bitcoin ready to attack its latest ATH, the question arises: Should we buy Bitcoin? My answer is: It depends. If we buy a Bitcoin now and it reaches its current all time high, we'd be talking about a return of less than double. That's very little considering that this is crypto and crypto means sick profits. If the good predictions came true and it reached $100,000, we would be talking about something less than x10 of profit. This is a lot. Not bad at all. But being crypto and being Bitcoin, I still find it a bit poor considering the tremendous effort that Bitcoin would need to make. One thing is clear, if you want an insane profit, the moon, the lambo, you have to go for altcoins and use Bitcoin as a volatility catalyst. That is, when Bitcoin goes up and drags the whole market up. If you're looking for the dream of becoming a millionaire, you have to assume it's too late to buy Bitcoin, unless you're willing to invest a lot of money or you're convinced it can reach 500k or even 1 million. Which I personally see as unlikely, at least in the short term. Bitcoin, however, can be used as a store of value. Even if some people disagree with this, the truth is that Bitcoin is nearly 12 years old and has only been more expensive than today during a few days in all this time. This is what a store of value is supposed to be. And it's not even mainstream yet. So what altcoins to buy? When I think of altcoins I am thinking of tokens with less than 1B market capitalization. Tokens with a great growth potential. Of course, the smaller their market capitalization the more price potential, but also the risk is higher. Personally, I think the risk, during the Bitcoin bull cycle, is a bit overestimated, since the whole market goes up. It's very difficult for the lowcap token you've bought not to appreciate by at least a X10. I speak from the experience of having lived the 2017 bull market. It is very important to choose tokens with the lowest possible supply. In a frantic market, where Bitcoin is spreading collective hysteria throughout the market, the utility of the token takes a back seat. It's the scarcity of that token what will determine its price potential. And the exposure. And the exchanges the token is being traded on, or potential big exchanges that it will be added. Lesson that I learned. I have explained this a few times already on reddit. I once had 18 Bitcoin. Today it would be $234,000. I didn't sell them to make a profit, I've always been convinced that Bitcoin was going to reach 6 digits and I'm still convinced of that right now. I lost 18 Bitcoin for trying to tame the market. It's impossible to tame the market. An idea as seemingly simple as buying cheap and selling expensive unwittingly changes into buying expensive and selling cheap. Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile. There is no comparison to anything else. No one is mentally prepared to see Bitcoin fall by 50% after buying, or to see Bitcoin increase in value by 50% after selling. The stress that these situations put on our weak minds is what makes us fail. Taming the market is exactly the same as gambling. You're betting that Bitcoin will go down and therefore you're selling. Or you bet that Bitcoin will go up and therefore you buy. You can get it right once, but sooner or later you'll fail and ruin everything. It's a lottery. Everybody in Reddit likes to show off when they make a successful trade, but only a few post when they fuck it up. In 2017 I had around 2500 tokens of a shitcoin called XLM (Solaris). A very scarce token I bought very cheap. If I recall correctly, I sold them all at 20something cents and placed a buy order at 15 cents. The shit went down to 16 or 17 cents… then skyrocketed to $40 in December. My buy order was never executed. There's no way to predict the future, even with all those lines that people who want to be famous do at the expense of your naivety, the market analysts. Just buy and hold. Don't trade. Don't risk losing. Don't play like this is a casino, this is an investment and investments take time. I was one of the lucky ones who bought XRP for less than a penny. I find it very funny when people make jokes about the price of XRP. A lot of people are in the red with XRP and think that XRP is a shitty coin. However, there is something they don't understand. They are not objectively evaluating XRP because they bought it at a very specific time. I have never been in the red with XRP because I bought before the 2017 jump. They and I simply see reality from different perspectives. The token is the same for us, our point of view is not. They call a token that has yielded a fantastic X100 from my investment a shitcoin. It's a matter of perspective. I want to tell you that for years, people who bought Bitcoin at $1000 were suffering tremendous losses, as Bitcoin dropped to $200 after that. Today everyone would kill to be able to buy a single Bitcoin at $1000. PERSPECTIVE. The casino is a short term game. The investments are LONG-TERM projects. The 2017 bull run took the whole market to a new level and never went back. Are we going to see a new level in 2021?
Discovery World gets a lifeline from its chairman... shareholders get diluted (Friday, Oct 23)
Happy Friday, Barkada --
The PSE closed up 66 points to 6345 ▲1.1%.
The PSE has had a nice little 7.5% run the past 5 trading days, let's see how the week closes out. Remember, Converge IPO is on Tuesday! Shout-out to all the bitcoin hodlers out there. The recent run-up in price (up over US$13k today) must feel nice after Paypal announced it would incorporate crypto transactions into its payment platform (after being anti-crypto for a very very long time). Happy weekend!
[NEWS] Discovery World Corp [DWC 1.90 ▲18.75%] raises P304m in private share sale... the announcement of the sale was made before the start of trading yesterday, so the stock was halted for one hour to give traders a chance to digest the news. DWC develops, owns, and operates luxury resorts, like Discovery Shores Boracay and other resorts in Coron and Palawan. DWC sold 190m shares to “JT Perle Corp” for P1.60/share (the previous closing price). The shares came out of DWC’s authorized (but unissued) capital stock. DWC plans to use the proceeds of the sale for “working capital”. According to PSE rules, since the sale results in JT Perle Corp owning more than 10% of the outstanding shares of DWC, the deal must be approved by a vote of shareholders; DWC has arranged a special shareholders’ meeting on November 26 to approve the transaction and satisfy that rule.
MB:“JT Perle” is owned by the chairman of DWC, John Tiu, so this looks a lot like helping a cash-strapped corp keep the lights on during a pandemic than any kind of value-building strategic partnership. The DWC stock price has been depressed by the COVID crisis but not to the degree that one would anticipate for a luxury tourism-focused company during a pandemic. In fact, news of this investment by Tiu shot the stock up 18% to P1.90/share, a level that it hasn’t seen since literally the first weeks of the lockdown. There’s not a lot of volume here so the price action has a ton of noise and not a lot of signal, but it will be interesting to see how DWC deploys this fresh batch of funding. I’m going to look closely at DWC’s Q3 earnings.
[NOTE] A stock sale of “authorized but unissued stock” is dilutive... a sale like the one above, where DWC’s chairman, John Tiu, bought 190 million shares of DWC from DWC’s “authorized but unissued stock” is a dilutive transaction. “Authorized” stock just means that the theoretical existence of the stock has already been built into the legal documents of the company; stock that is authorized, but unissued, doesn’t factor into anything like dividends, or voting, or anything of that sort. It just acts as a warehouse of unsold stock that the company COULD issue and put into circulation in order to raise money. Once the stock is sold, it is converted from “authorized but unissued” to “authorized and issued”, and the number of shares that were sold/issued are added to the stock’s issued and outstanding shares.
MB:This kind of transaction is dilutive. For the sake of a simple example, say XYZ Inc has only two shareholders, John Tiu and you. XYZ has legal documents that authorize 20 common shares, but only 10 of XYZ’s shares have actually been sold and issued. John owns 5, and you own 5. You each own 50% of XYZ’s shares. Then, John makes a deal with XYZ Inc to buy an additional 5 shares out of XYZ’s 10 shares authorized-but-unissued stock. Since these shares act as “new” shares, their issuance adjusts the relative ownership of the company. Now John owns 10 shares, for 66% of the company, and you own 5 shares, for 33% of the company. That’s dilution. Your relative economic and voting power went down. That’s what just happened to DWC shareholders, and they loved it.
[NEWS] Rockwell Land [ROCK 1.52 ▲0.66%] signs JV with TGN Realty to develop “Rockwell North”... the Lopez Family’s real estate arm signed a joint venture agreement with the Nepomuceno Family’s TGN Realty to develop a 3.6 hectare plot of land in Angeles City, in Pampanga. The plan is for three residential towers, all surrounding a mall -- Rockwell’s first to be developed outside of the NCR. ROCK even indicated that the Angeles City development will be made in the spirit of the original Rockwell Center in Makati City.
MB:The residential side of the project is expected to raise P6.7 billion in sales, with turnover starting toward the end of next year. The development will eventually benefit from its proximity to the Clark International Airport and the North-South Commuter Railway that will connect Manila to Clark. From ROCK’s perspective, it’s probably just a lot safer to build outside of the NCR’s propensity to issue lockdowns and confusing/changing movement restriction orders, both in terms of preventing construction delays but also in terms of preventing mall shutdowns (and the related rent/lease squabbles).
[Q3] Belle Corp [BEL 1.47 ▲5.00%] profit ▼109% y/y... Q3/20 loss of P46m, down 109% from Q3/19 profit of P514m. According to the associated press release, BEL said that its 9-month revenue from its share of the City of Dreams in Manila, its “primary growth driver”, fell 86% because of the lockdown. BEL’s lottery operations also saw a substantial drop in revenues (down 71%), as did its real estate activities in the Tagaytay Highlands development.
MB:Like other companies that have too many eggs in the “luxury tourism and gaming” basket, BEL is suffering from being cut off from its mainland China cash cow. Revenues are not driven by local buyers, local bettors, or local tourists. It’s all targeting foreign customers from mainly China, but also Korea and Japan. These revenues will not come back until the wealthy feel comfortable enough with traveling to make overnight and weekend trips by international air travel palatable again. According to research, that recovery could be years away.
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Fanboyism, maximalism, interoperabilty, working with others and division of time transcript
Hi everybody, this is Charles Hoskinson broadcasting live from warm sunny Colorado. I wanted to make a video about division of time. I've been recently making a lot of commentary on the ETC ecosystem. I've also reached out to other ecosystems like the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem, the Litecoin ecosystem for a variety of reasons and I noticed that there are some people in the comments and then telegram and twitter and other places say "oh no" focus 100% of your effort on Cardano! Why are you talking to ETC, why are you doing this and doing that? So first off I run a big company. I we have over 250 people. About half of those people wake up every day and they're involved in Cardano. The other half are not so. As the CEO of a company where you have that kind of division there's non-Cardano things I do. Cardano's our largest project, we're heavily involved in it and obviously we wake up every day and we want Cardano to be successful and have billions of users and this is why we are following the process we're following. We're building the technology we're building. It's why we work very hard trying to commercialize it. Every deal we do in Africa, every deal we do in eastern Europe, every deal we do in Asia, we have a Cardano first policy of deploying those deals on that platform and we built that platform to service those deals and as that platform evolves you'll see more use and utility from our sales channels in that respect. That said, one of the pillars of a third generation cryptocurrency is interoperability. It's kind of a silly thing to be a maximalist but then also talk about interoperability. What the hell is the point that? Either you want one chain to rule them all and therefore you don't care at all about talking to other systems or you put your money where your mouth is and you work on those other systems. You build expertise in those systems, you affect changes in those systems so that those systems can partner with our systems and work with our systems. You know the Samsung CEO? He has a division that every day gets up and works with Apple and they work on the motherboards of the iPhone and build memory for them. Do all kinds of cool things and Samsung's division knows what the iPhone is going to look like before any of us knows. At the same time, there's another division at Samsung that wakes up every day and works on phones like the Galaxy to compete with the iPhone. Great companies have the capacity to do these things and we are a great company in that respect we have different and dedicated teams for different products and projects. Now, we will never work on overlapping systems. It's not the case that we're going to have developers go and work on Cardano and something that's a direct competitor of Cardano because it makes no competitive sense for that to happen and I do not view ETC as a competitor of Cardano. It's a proof-of-work system, not a proof-of-stake system. It's a code-is-law system, not a world-financial operating system. It's a system that will always have a smaller group of people in it and always have a smaller set of things to do so time spent there with a completely separate team has no bearing or impact on our ability to deliver things with Cardano. I can't accelerate things above and beyond what the teams can do, for example, today. I'm waiting for Daedalus flight to come out. There is nothing I can do. I can't pick up the phone and call the engineers and say can you ship it 15 minutes faster. The plan, it's been set, the release manager is there, the QA, team's there, everybody knows what to do. There's consensus amongst that team. They're going off to the mountain top, get it done and when it's done they'll let me know and then I'll tweet "new Daedalus is out guys" go play with it and it gives me some work to do of course but until they finish their job there's nothing to do in that respect. The Cardano plans we have are well set , we know exactly what we need to do. Those teams are working hard and I do everything in my power to accelerate things where and when it's safe to do so and everything in my power to get things done. Shelley, for example. We worked so hard to get that out on July 29th, we had almost unlimited overtime. Everyone worked the weekend. Some people worked over 40 days straight to get that release done. Meanwhile half of the company was doing other things in other capacities and working on those projects. None of their work or the other cryptocurrencies we tend to work with had any bearing or impact on our ability to accelerate or decelerate the Shelley work stream. I just want to make sure everybody understands that and for people who have developed a maximalist mindset to get out of that maximalist mindset. There's a place for maximalism, it's called Bitcoin maximalism. If you live there, go there, okay and go believe in that project, in that chain but this is the Cardano ecosystem. It's going to literally work with hundreds if not thousands of different standards over its life. From central banks to other cryptocurrencies to legacy financial operators from the Chases of the world to the Goldman Sachs' of the world. Provisions will be made to build special hooks for these systems including interoperability with permission systems. It's very likely in the next 24 months Cardano will be talking to an instance of Hyperledger Fabric from IBM. Very likely that that's going to happen. It's very likely that we'll consult on a project that does that and no way does this diminish the road map or somehow make Cardano less competitive. It's actually quite the opposite. The fact that we can work with those systems, the fact that we can do things with those systems means that the platform as a whole is intrinsically more valuable. It's easier to sell to Fortune 500 companies. It's easier to get use utility and adoption because people understand that they're not being led down the road of vendor lock-in and regressing back to the old days of internet explorer or what ConsenSys is trying to do with Ethereum, trying to lock everybody into one standard, one system, rather the value proposition we offer. Is true interoperability the ability to move in and out? Furthermore, when you create partnerships with other ecosystems then their success is our success. For example, if the treasury system proposal succeeds in ETC they will be in the market for a permanent treasury system in 2021. We as a community can make the case that we've constructed with Voltaire is a great choice for them and of course we'll try to make that case and if it's successful we provide mutual value and benefit more volume and transactions and activity on the Cardano network, and for ETC they have a best-in-class treasury system that meets the values of that community. The exact same argument can be made for Litecoin, or for Bitcoin cash or for other systems and if you want to see the wrapped Litecoin video that I did earlier in the year it gives a great road map for a potential push there. Furthermore, what if we turn Daedalus into a multi-currency wallet? That's already going to happen because we have a multi-asset standard and so when people issue tokens on Cardano Daedalus will support those tokens sometime in the future. It would be very easy for us to pull Ethereum classic and Litecoin and Bitcoin cash and other ecosystems into the Daedalus wallet. What does that mean? It means that people who live in that ecosystem will be using our technology as their day-to-day experience in hosting for their token! What does that mean if we have a DEX built into that thing? It potentially could create more adoption in use and utility for ada and this is the point we accomplish so much more working together than beating each other down. I am damn tired of the cryptocurrency markets as they are. The fanboys, the trolls, the FUD, the maximalism, the relentless allegations that people you disagree with or hold different tokens are scammers or criminals or bad human beings. It's time we as an industry set this aside and grow up. Just grow up or else what's the point? Why would anybody looking from the outside at all of this chaos and noise and insanity and maximalism want to come play in this pool? It's like you're about to enter a bar and you see a bar fight. Do you keep going in or you turn around and walk away and say I don't want that trouble. I'm going to go down the street somewhere else that's safer and so how will we ever get mainstream adoption, how will we ever make the argument to governments that they should trust their elections, their property, perhaps even the money of their people on our systems if we're incapable of entertaining other ideas, other philosophies and other ecosystems? We don't deserve the right for that responsibility if we're not mature enough to have differences of opinion and be able to welcome other ecosystems into our own. So this video is a call against maximalism first and foremost and second it's a realization that the duties of an executive officer are extensive meaning that there are days I wake up and there are Ethereum days and, by the way, working in that ecosystem gives me and my company exhaustive knowledge on how Ethereum works which allows me then to build a better product than they have and understand where all the bodies are buried: all the flaws in the protocols, the security issues, the performance issues, the smart contract development experience. That intimacy is extremely important to be able to predict, react and also plan a competitive strategy that can take you in a different and better direction. You just don't live in a mono-culture. It's a bad deal, that's the second point. You have many projects. When you have a larger company, some of those projects are completely separate from each other. Some of those projects may have a bit of overlap. We have a philosophy that we don't work on competing products. For example we have done work with horizon (Horizon2020?) and as a consequence of doing work with them we're probably not going to work on zcash at the same time. As long as we have that relationship there we, for example, work on Cardano so we're not going to go work on another proof-of-stake system that wants to be a financial operating system. That would be a direct competitor. For example, Tezos would be happy to jointly author papers and coordinate collaboration but there needs to be a Cardano benefit in that relationship whereas ETC as I've mentioned is a totally different system and it's something that we have as a company historically worked on for years. We started our participation in 2016. We built a full client in that process. Did that have any impact on our ability to deliver Cardano? We had a completely separate engineering team. That team was actually sourced from external companies. Scalac and Atix Labs to begin with and then we built on top of it and it had different product and project management and it was completely written with a different group. So it might as well have been a different company for that matter and I just talked to the team but the Cardano team was doing its own thing so I I think we need to just cut it out. Cut out the maximalism, cut out this idea that there is only one truth. We live in a nuanced world and we live in a world of interoperability. We have to embrace that if we wish to be successful and let us be the adults in the room. Let's be the place where this isn't the bar fight and let's be the place that welcomes everybody. Furthermore, I've noticed some criticism from my own community. When people criticize us and they go to the politics of destruction or personal attacks or yield on criticizing people's intelligence or whatever have you... Cut that out too. Let's be a better community. I repeatedly call upon the Tezos foundation to tell its community to stop criticizing Cardano and calling it's "a scam project". So, I'll call upon my own community, I have seen things that shouldn't have happened. Certain members of Cardano community replying to people over twitter, replying to people who criticize us have resorted to personal attacks and so forth. Again, just ignore them , mute, let's embrace unity, let's embrace being better, yes, occasionally you got to kick people in the teeth especially when people are lying and what you do is you call them out on the lies that they've made. You specifically point out where they have done things that are a bit crazy or disingenuous and dishonest. For example, we had a meeting today with Ethereum classic and it was blatantly apparent to me that this process has been set up to fail and be exclusive and prevent alternative ideas from a certain power structure from being held. So, I made a 30-minute whiteboard video where I not only called it out but I proposed an alternative and said this is how we're going to transcend that process and get to a much more productive way of doing things. Some of the criticism we have is justified because of product delays or because people don't fully understand who we are and what we're trying to do and obviously there's history there. So, first and foremost, let's reply with facts. First and foremost let's reply with dignity and respect and empathy for the other person's position and you know what? If they continue to push forward then you kick him in the teeth and you say it's obvious you don't want to have a conversation. You're a troll, but to my community please do this and please have this level of respect and dignity with others and with each other. For example, we right now have a lot of debates with small stake pools versus large stake pools, there's plenty of people floating around with differences of opinion and our mantra should always be disagree without being disagreeable. People are going to have other values people, are gonna have differences of opinion and people are gonna have different perspectives. You can't change that reality nor should you. We all have the right to think and have differences of opinion but we also should expect a dialog that's fair and has empathy in it and so I call upon everybody to preserve that decorum as we move forward and also understand that some days we wake up we have to do things that are non-Cardano related in order for us all to be successful because not all the world will ever be Cardano related. We always need partners whether it be great pieces of hardware like Ledger and Trezor or exchanges to work with different wallets and sometimes those partners do stuff with us and sometimes those partners do things with other people. We have friends, we have projects we admire and respect. For example, I've expressed repeatedly great admiration for the Algorand project. I think they're doing a phenomenal job and they have great leadership with Silvio Micali. I think the research and the engineering there is top notch. I personally believe Cardano is better. That's because we built it and that's because we think we have a better strategy to market and ultimately the market's going to decide which standards to go with and whether it's going to be many standards or a consolidation. That's not my decision. I just have to wake up every day and fight for the things I believe in. That said, never once have we ever criticized Algorand because they are in essence the model of empathy and dignity and good communication and being very proactive at focusing on solutions when they make announcements. They make announcements about new things that they're doing and new partners that they have and never once have they ever criticized another project or engaged in fanboyism. That's a great community, that's a great project and it's a model for where the space should go and I admire that deeply and greatly especially when you contrast it with other projects that have been less empathetic in their history. We all have our problems, we all have our issues. I know that we all can be better and so that's my final point. Let's do that. Let's be better as an industry. Let's be a bit friendlier and let's invest the time and effort necessary to really understand and listen to each other because ultimately I think that's going to get us where we need to go and be able to get us to a point where we have that adoption of millions and billions of people and fundamentally change the fabric of society. Otherwise we will be victims of our own success and descend into tribalism and descend into sectarian violence and then ultimately destroy the entire industry because it will become co-opted by large companies who use a surface-level marketing to take the brand, take the notion of a blockchain but then install centralized authorities behind them and in which case we've lost. I don't want that to happen I want the movement to succeed. I want us to understand each other and I enjoy having great competitors sometimes working with them sometimes fighting them in the battle of the markets, in the markets of ideas and ultimately I think we as a community have a chance to also be a model for everyone else. So, let's do that. Thank you... Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXQrm18XhQ8
Not sure why this wasn't posted before: Olaf Carlson on Eth's crazy gas situation. DeFi choked every Dapp sector out, but Polkadot welcomes them.
For any new guys, Olaf Carlson runs the biggest crypto VC fund, Polychain Capital. He is bullish on Polkadot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92Bx7otttNY&t=2975s Text: Interviewer - "Let's talk about the fee issue on Ethereum. At the moment a simple trade on Uniswap can cost something like $40 and more complex transactions for yield farming are even more expensive. Do you think Ethereum will scale in time to retain all its market share in DeFi considering that the explosion is already here and already pushing Ethereum's limits?" Olaf - "In short, I don't think it will be able to scale fast enough. Whether that just slows down the market or whether aspects of the market go to other chains its too early to say. DeFi is very exciting for Ethereum but in a weird way is actually really really bullish in my mind for systems like Polkadot or Dfinity that are from an engineering perspective just candidly far ahead of Ethereum. They don't have the network effects, users, wallet installs, or anything that Ethereum has, but Polkadot is live and working and scalable right now, today. And so I do think we'll see a lot of DeFi migrate from Ethereum to Polkadot in maybe the short term. Long term I'm hopeful that Ethereum can scale and upgrade and change. But that all said, what's much more exciting to me about these new systems launching that have either better scalability features or like Web Assembly or WASM based virtual machine compatibility so you can write programs in many different programming languages all of these sorts of features are exciting not just to narrowly compete in DeFi. It's exciting to me because it will enable new types of applications that simply aren't possible on Ethereum today. Much in the way that Ethereum enabled all sorts of applications that weren't possible on bitcoin. Today we know that what's exciting about Ethereum is not that it narrowly competes with bitcoin's value proposition but rather expanded the scope of what was possible for the entire crypto universe. And we got things like stablecoins, things like lending contracts, ICOs, DeFi. And I think that systems like Polkadot are going to once again expand the universe of what is possible. Its not a zero sum game where its narrowly like which chain is gonna win DeFi. I think that's a very myopic view and it shows a lack of imagination about how many different types of applications these smart contract type structures will affect. So I'm very optimistic about scalability across the entire ecosystem but I'm less confident about the short term timeline of Ethereum. I just think that DeFi is moving way faster - like by over ten times at least - maybe closer to 50 or 100 times faster than Ethereum core protocol development. And I see no reason for that to change. I don't think Ethereum core protocol development has ever been fast and I don't see any reason to think that it will get faster. And DeFi has always been fast and I don't see any reason that it will get slower. So you add that combination of factors and yeah I do think that you will see applications migrating to more scalable chains. [...] I'm having conversations now with teams that have yet to launch on Ethereum that are saying should we launch on Ethereum or should we launch on another chain? Because the fee situation is completely - its really bad - like I don't think... it's not like this is a bump in the road. It is existential for the entire landscape of applications we're talking about. Right now you have to be transacting at least a thousand dollars per transaction for any of this to make sense from a fee perspective. And I would say that's the absolute baseline [...] more realistically you have to be using five or ten thousand dollars to really accept the kind of fees we're talking about. And a lot of people are using five or ten thousand dollars but obviously that's pricing a huge number of people out of this market." Some examples: Due to insane gas prices, Trial of the Gods card minting and trading will be deferred until the release of Immutable X I tried to buy 2 cards, worth $0.24 each. After gas, my transaction is $6.80! Hi, new player using Metamask to buy a couple dollars worth of cards on the marketplace, but everytime the gas price is something of >$15. $25 fee to buy a $2 card $50 transaction fee to roll the dice Minimum bet is now 3 ether to reduce gas cost as a % Overall, all the fees came up to about $140. Fees for Coinbase was about $2 and the fee to create the bet was like $130 Some dapps like God's Unchained and Augur are looking into L2 solutions, but those come with massive risks from a company perspective. See the Lightning Network's astounding lack of adoption as the primary example. Other dapps are just calling it quits:
Incorrect Assumption #2: Scalability wouldn’t be a problem This was an explicit assumption in our presentations: usability was more important than scalability, and given that there were so many deployed L2 solutions on the market (like xDai), as soon as scalability became a problem we would all move there. This turned out a deadly assumption: as soon as we had our email sign-in solution ready, gas fees on Ethereum made the whole process unworkable.
Reading between the lines: Even if L2 solutions were perfect today, most (non DeFi) dapps are still dead if they stay on Ethereum. Users need to pay upwards of $20 to enter and exit that L2, and I'm not sure if that's changing anytime soon. Gas fees are just not viable for the vast majority of dapps until Eth 2.0, and the part of Eth 2.0 that brings scalability is not happening until 2023~
Hi! I'm the solo developer of a social media platform, new religious movement, and religious organization. I've been working on this since early 2019. I've only told a few dozen people about it and I'm looking for feedback. Please ask me anything. Thanks!
A lot of this text was originally to be posted to changemyview because I'm looking to be challenged on my assumptions here, and my approach. I checked with the mods there and I can't find a way not to post it as promotion (which would violate the subreddit rules). The I considered posting it in philosophy and IAmA and it was a similar answer. To be clear: I support their decisions to not allow this post. There's a lot of reasons to be concerned about someone running up and saying "Hey! Do you wanna hear about my religion?" and I have total respect for anyone who says "No." I reached out to casualiama a few hours ago and haven't heard back. If they decide to lock or remove this I support their decision and will try another subreddit. I welcome lots and lots of questions about this project, I believe this project will be helpful, but I am open to having my view about the viability of this project changed. This is a big weird thing and I've been focusing on it alone for long time. This work has probably had a big impact on my objectivity. This didn't used to exist and maybe it doesn't need to. Or maybe it has some irredeemable flaw that I've failed to consider. I don't want to see this get launched if that's the case. The main cost of this project has been my time, and I've learned enough while doing it to justify the time spent on it even if I'm convinced this project isn't viable. I can't make any more progress alone and I need new people to get involved. This can change and it can evolve as it grows because I've tried to build it to be guided by new people. I hope that I've done a good job of building it that way. The fastest way to learn about this in order to ask me questions is by visiting the website. https://churchofearth.org/ (I sure hope that this post does well and I've set up the site well enough to accommodate the traffic.) (This text will contain many links to the website) (I'm really nervous about this)
Why have I done this?
I would describe this effort as coming out of the part of my brain that would be firing if I were an active survivalist/doomsday prepper. In 2019 I became very concerned about the state of the world, especially as I thought about what it will look like for the remainder of my life. It seemed logical to amass skills and resources in order to protect myself and the people around me. I had never focused on my own survival because I've lived a life of privilege, and then I realized that there were scenarios where my privilege would not protect me. During that research phase I came to the conclusion that I couldn't just turn inward. As people turn inward our shared challenges become harder to address. I started looking more into the good work people were doing all over the world. I looked outward for inspiration. There's lots of folks doing lots of amazing work trying to solve our shared challenges. At every level of society, in every region, in big ways and small ways. This is often a very helpful world. I started researching things and became less pessimistic about the future of our world. This doesn't mean there aren't a pile of challenges for us to solve, it means that I'm better able to see the people trying to solve our shared challenges. When I couldn't see them (and wasn't looking for them) the future of our world seemed much worse. I still see the darkness, and it's scary and overwhelming and huge, but now I see more light. This project represents what I was able to build with the skills and experience I had. This project started out as just a social media platform intended to connect people who wanted to help. While I was building that I discovered a faith within myself about the future. The new religious movement is the structure I've built to help grow this faith. It's based on religious humanism, which has been a thing for several hundred years. I stopped working heavily on this project in late 2019, and formally stopped on February 1st of 2020. I started it up again in April of 2020. There's a short post about it here.
Help others and you'll live in a more helpful world.
Improve yourself and you'll improve the world.
Consume less and you'll value what you have more.
People who feel the faith of the Church of Earth are called Helpers. There are no rituals to join this faith, although anyone can make rituals. Anyone can identify themselves as a Helper. Don't judge them by who they say they are, judge them by what they do. In their acts of faith they should be trying to help you, and only if you consent to their help. This faith is optional. No one can be forced to adopt this faith. You can't force a more helpful world on people, you can only help them build it.
The social media platform
The social media platform is built to help people grow this religion. It allows them to focus on activities that relate to the core beliefs of the Church of Earth. People do not need to share this faith to use this platform or use its features. The platform is anonymous. There are no user profiles. Every type of module can inspire almost any other type of module. The modules all have different functionality. This platform is complex software. Social Media Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are designed to be simple and addictive. Those are deliberate design choices intended to serve the goals of the organizations that built them. These goals relate to revenue generation through the use of user data. This organization has different goals, and one of those goals involves promoting hard work. There will be a learning curve with this platform. I'm the only one who has used it so far and I've probably failed to consider a lot of things. This platform will change over time as more skills and knowledge improve its construction. This platform can be considered one of our great works. I can tell you right now people will find a number of bugs on the platform. I am expecting something unexpected, critical, and stressful to happen once people start visiting this site. Please be kind and patient with this platform, and with me. I'm very tired. Upvotes/Downvites/Likes/Dislikes: The purpose of this platform is to help grow a more helpful world. The upvote/downvote button labels are: This is Helpful and This is Not Helpful. Everything added to this platform should be helpful, every post includes fields where you can describe who you're trying to help, and why. There are a limited number of votes that can be given every day. Creating content increases your votes for the day. The platform has the following modules:
Scriptures - journaling functionality intended to allow you to explore a subject. This could be a journal entry about your personal development, or a short story, or some introspection, or anything helpful you can possible think of that would be a lot of text. - Infographic
Sermons - Brief text snippets or links to external resources intended to inspire other users. This module is how we link to other sites, share other content, or say short messages.
Goals - Things you want to get done. You can add to the organizations goals, and the goals for the website. We can all work together. - Infographic
Prayers - Requests for help. If you need something you can ask the platform and hopefully someone will see it and help you. You can list the type of help you need. It's up to you to be realistic about what can be done on this platform. If your prayers aren't getting answered there are other tools to help you solve some problems. - Infographic
Rituals - Things you do alone or in groups to help you accomplish tasks or focus yourselves. Our species uses rituals to greet and communicate with each other. We have rituals that are events, or meals. We have rituals that involve many people singing or performing an action. The Church of Earth has not created any official rituals.
Missions - Events intended to bring people together to offer help in their communities. These can have rituals attached to them so that people know what social structure is expected when they meet.
The Gospel of the Church of Earth All of the content we create can be connected in a big, anonymous web of helpfulness. Any content type can inspire any other content type, except for prayers. Prayers can only be answered (publicly or privately depending on the type of prayer.) Blog posts by the Church of Earth can inspire content from users. The goals of the Church of Earth appear in the same module as the goals of individual users of this platform. Intentions When you post something you have to say who you think you're helping, and why. You also need to select a subcategory like "I am being thoughtful" or "I am being creative" or "I am being inspirational" or "I am being critical". This will help other users understand how to react to you in a way that contributes to meaningful interactions. It's just me right now, so that's pretty funny and awkward The platform is live. Anyone can create content. Accounts can only create one piece of content until their first contribution receives a vote by another user saying "This is Helpful". There are currently no users on the platform. I've created content but there's no one to say if it's helpful so I'm still a pending user. On September 24th, 1 year after I first posted the 3 core beliefs to the site, 5% of all pending users will be selected at random and added to the site. Those people will then be able to use the site, but their profiles will not indicate they were among the First Five. My account isn't any more likely to be added than anyone else. This is an act of faith. It doesn't take a lot of people to make big things happen and we're all capable of amazing things. That is the message this platform has been designed to share. Note: That doesn't mean there won't be an effort to understand the impact of spam comments, or content that violates the terms of service for this site. They'll be transparent though. It's unreasonable to think that people won't do silly things with a site like this on the internet. Silly things are fun. One of the "intentions" of the site is "the be creative".
The religious organization
This organization will have a different look depending on how successful it is. I've built it in the hope it will see a meaningful amount of adoption, but all of that can be scaled down and still be helpful. Even if it's just me feeling this way for the rest of my life I consider it a meaningful improvement to my worldview and personality. I'm fairly confident some unknown quantity of other people will also see the value in this and that we can build something together. The Church of Earth organization is the least planned out because it needs to be developed by people with greater specialization than me. The main points are this:
Governance will be handled democratically, through the Church of Earth platform, and it will include a random selection of top candidates. (This functionality hasn't been built yet)
There will be term limits for everyone. Especially me.
Governance of the organization will include people who do not identify as Helpers.
Compensation of employees will be nonstandard as well. Employees will be given baseline salaries for the region they live in, regardless of their role, and everyone will qualify for bonuses that will be given out by other employees.
Here's an infographic about this. The organization will be structured like a nonprofit and will prioritize pursuing goals that align with the 3 core beliefs of the Church of Earth faith. It will require donations, but the hope is that it will eventually develop revenue to be self sufficient. I have some ideas for revenue generation. They're not super innovative, they're just taking relevant things and doing them in a way that promotes the faith of the Church of Earth as it operates as a nonprofit entity in a capitalist economy. This business model is well developed in North America by other religious institutions. These are the best ideas I've come up with, but none of them can proceed until I find people more qualified than me to do this. It's very likely that I've failed to consider elements of these proposals.
Education: It should be possible to teach many subjects from a religiously helpful perspective. Helping people is a secular act, but the help at the core of the faith of the Church of Earth is not. On top of teaching specific programs from a helpful perspective, there could also be a seminary school where Preachers are trained.
Property Management: The Church of Earth can own property similarly to other non-profits or religious organizations. They can be governed in transparent and helpful ways. This can be as simple as free wifi, or as complex as community gardens and shared maintenance duties in order to build and maintain a small regional community.
The website can be modified to enable a lot of this stuff, including a transparent overview of building finances, public space scheduling and communications. Once we build a template for a type of property and its amenities, we can look for other properties to offer a similar experiences.
The physical structure that represents the Church of Earth in a region is called a Community Guild. These can have rental spaces similar to other community centers or churches, they'll also be hubs for community activity facilitated through the website.
Cryptocurrency: Because the amount of activity that can be accomplished on the platform per day is limited, we can create and assign a cryptocurrency token like Bitcoin whenever someone says "This is Helpful" and maintain a digital economy. Users of the platform can be paid to be helpful, and possibly engage in their faith if that applies to them.
This is by no means developed. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome before this can happen. I am very aware of the fact that what I'm proposing here is that a religious organization can create its own internal economy.
What should you know about me?
I wish I could be like Satoshi Nakamoto. That's the pseudonym of the person who created Bitcoin. We don't know for sure who actually created the code. They just worked on it, put it out there, and it went on to become something amazing and complex. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to do that with the Church of Earth. I absolutely love everything about this project but I want to minimize my involvement in it. I also think there will be negative impacts on me, and this organization, if people focus on me instead of the faith. The Church of Earth is about what everyone can do, together. I'm no more special than anyone else. I'm terribly imperfect. I'm also a 39 year old white Canadian guy. While I've faced many struggles I've lived a life of privilege. I don't speak for everyone, or to everyone. No one can. People face problems I couldn't even consider. My ability to help those people directly is limited, but I have the skillset required to build something that would allow others to help them. The world is hard, and harsh, and frustrating, and scary. It's also wonderful and amazing and beautiful. I think that if we all work together we can spend the rest of our lives deliberately building a better world for everyone, in big ways and small ways. Knowing that's happening makes me happy and it motivates me to work harder. I wasn't a religious person until I discovered this faith within myself. This faith has allowed me to focus myself towards something that I believe is helpful to my community. I think it can do the same for others. What do you think? Thanks for reading. Ask me anything, please.
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”- Nazi Propagandists, Joseph Goebbels.
Axioms are our base assumptions about the world. They act as filters for new information coming into our consciousness. In classic philosophy, an axiom is a statement that is so evident or well-established, that it is accepted without controversy or question. As used in modern logic, an axiom is a premise or starting point for reasoning. We use these axiomatic assumptions to build our internal models of the world around us. They allow us to compare new information we receive from the outside with our internal narratives, which helps us to decide whether to reject or accept that new information. They are, for want of a better world, your "common sense" beliefs. So how do you go about changing a relatively normal person's core beliefs and base assumptions to the point of rejecting their fellow citizens as traitors, committing acts of murderous terrorist or vigilante violence like Fascist white supremacists running down protesters in acts of terror, ISIS beheadings or mass genocide?
Shock Treatment and Slow Repetition
When I was a child I was subjected to regular mental and physical abuse from my dad. I would also see my mother repeatedly beaten up and then flee to a women's refuge where I would stay with her. Each time my mom left, whenever I visited my dad at weekends, he would constantly try to pressure and manipulate me into convincing my mom to get back together with him. This never worked of course. But what it did do, is make me highly sensitive to manipulation techniques. I was fascinated by people like the magician Derren Brown and the economist Naomi Klein - who both reveal the tricks of the trade used in the advertising and marketing industries to convince people. One way of changing people into killing machines or obedient sheep is through a big shock to the system, like how electroshock therapy allows for a clean slate to rebuild peoples intern mental models. Psychedelics are another way, having a similar effect in the brain. Encouraged by the alt right and alt-light influencers like Jordan Peterson and Rebel Wisdom as they try to “Red Pill” people (an expression taken from the film The Matrix as a metaphor for revealing revealing the truth about the world). They use this shock and disorientation as a way to prepare a “blank-slate” in order to rebuild peoples internal axiomatic models with different core beliefs. Remaking people by shocking them into obedience and gas-lighting them about their existing internal models, making them seem irrational, silly or outdated. Reducing them to a mental state of a child and then rebuilding them with a new ideology and worldview, known as “shock therapy”. As Naomi Klein explains in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, these techniques work on larger scales with use of trauma and shock to influence political outcomes has been used since at least Milton Friedman coined the term “Economic Shock Treatment”. He advised that politicians push through painful and unpopular policies all at once during a time of crisis, before people could regain their footing. The technique is used in economic markets on the large scale, and also against individuals on a small scale with individuals too. Economics and politics is just human interaction on a larger scale, after all. Regular repetition and gentle suggestions of ideas can also instil new axiomatic models and core beliefs into people's minds. As Derren Brown demonstrates how powerful subtly suggestions can be alone, without the need for hypnosis, shocks or drugs. But used in combination, shock and repetition can shift people until they have moved their positions, perceptions and beliefs about the world, to a place they could never have imagined. But luckily once you deconstruct the deception and understand how the trick works, the illusion falls apart.
Defining and Deconstructing Modern Fascism
Firstly, we must define Modern Fascism. Modern Fascism ticks every box of the traditional definitions in Umberto Eco’s essay Ur-Fascism, and not only does it fulfil every criteria, it reveals other motivational forces and has evolved to include new aspects, and has changed into something worse, while it’s main weakness remain the same - the fact that it is primarily motivated by weakness. As General Franco said in a 1938 interview with Henri Massis: "Fascism presents, wherever it manifests itself, characteristics which are varied to the extent that countries and national temperaments vary. It is essentially a defensive reaction of the organism, a manifestation of the desire to live, of the desire not to die, which at certain times seizes a whole people. So each people reacts in its own way, according to its conception of life… What can it have in common with Hitlerism, which was, above all, a reaction against the state of things created by the defeat, and by the abdication and the despair that followed it?" This quote perfectly illustrates the transient nature of the ideology, but also the core motivations of Fascism. It is an ideology based on the assumption of weakness which yearns for restoration of a past greatness or to get revenge and recognition. But the way that it manifests itself is different in each place it takes hold. Therefore the aim of this isn’t to make the case that any particular party or country has embraced out-right fascism (plenty of other people have made that case already), the aim is to reveal the underlying motivations, highlight threats and weaknesses and analyse the less obvious negative effects of Modern Fascism.
History Doesn’t Repeat, But It Rhymes
A false equivalence that is often used is that Liberal Imperialism is just the same as Fascism. And while it is true that imperialists use fascist dictators to extract cheap labour and resources and also dominate smaller counties in a similar way to how fascist empires aspire to rule, the key difference is that the populations of those countries are not gripped by the same fear based delusions. And therefore more Liberal democracies are better equipped to hold their imperial position of power long term because they are better able to assess risks and react accordingly, rather than over-react based on paranoia and competing egos under excessive pressure. This false equivalence was also used in 1930’s Germany, because far-left Communists had been co opted and infiltrated by Fascists. They would repeat the mantra that “the Social Democrats were the real racists”. Contrary to the assumptions of most people, Fascism, as an ideology and political system of government is very distinct to white supremacy. It does of course include white supremecists, but In fact includes many other groups who have been co-opted by Fascist propaganda, or who implicitly support and enable their agenda. Examples of modern opposition which has been repeatedly infiltrated or just simply made up by Fascists include innumerable conspiracy theories, police groups like Blue Lives Matter, militant Black nationalists, the Boogaloo movement who call for a race war, the “Proud Boys” and even sometimes supposed Anarchists, far-left Communists and Left Accelerationists.
Motivations of Fascism
Fascism distilled down to its core reason for existing is the suppression of opposition who represent workers rights and economic justice. So they patently DON’T look after their own people. They con them into submission of the state by generating jingoistic fear of “the other” - whoever is convenient on that day to blame for their problems. Fascism is is an economic shock doctrine upon the inhabitants of the country. We don't spread fascist propaganda in tip-pot dictators because we care about the indiginous people there. We install Fascist dictators in order to remove workers rights and open up access to their natural resources. Artificial moral panics can be engineered and real disasters used to allow corrupt oligarchs and financial predators to consolidate power further by buying up small innovative businesses who don’t have the excess capital to survive the turmoil on their own without external support. Or as a way to eradicate public services by sabotaging them and building mistrust. They are used to erode faith in public services and institutions by rich people who simply want to pay less tax and don’t see why they should subsidise other human beings who haven’t had the same luck as them. So a major motivation of fascism is to suppress the opposition left-wing party who represent workers rights and egalitarian freedoms. Populists claim to be against free trade and to some extent they are, but whatever they do will fail because they are interfering with the markets, so they will retreat to the power of market domination. They use their threats of trade barriers as more just more shock treatment for markets, rather than protecting actual jobs or industries. This is a trick that has been played by Neoliberals too. But while Neoliberals use fascism as a tool for opening markets to Imperialism, they differ from Libertarians, not only because they embrace guns and weed, but they are starting from different positions to achieve the same goal; Neoliberals seek to remove already existing public services and workers rights that lift bargaining power. But Libertarians want to STOP the government from ever providing those services and investments into the poor or enshrining workers rights.
Modern Fascist Ideology has TWO Core Reasons to Exist; Fear and Freed.
I have been researching and analysing how economic systems differ, using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threads). For each economic system I tried to be as neutral, fair and balanced as possible - which included Fascism. I might seem strange that someone who is anti-Fascist would want to explore the strenghts and opportunities of Fascist ideologies, but in doing so it reveals the real weaknesses and threats which are too important for us to ignore. So what exactly IS Fascism? Is it just an economic doctrine or a personal philosophy about the world? The answer is both. The ideology has TWO core reasons to exist, and TWO distinct audiences types - with one based primarily on fear and the other greed, with each having a malignant and symbiotic relationship with each other. Fear - Authoritarian/Conservative Fascists Greed - Libertarian Fascists There are very few people who actually buy into full Fascist ideology, most believe a watered down version of which resembles Conservatism or right-wing populism or accelerationism, and most of them genuinely believe they aren’t fascist, even though they are being constantly fed subtle suggestions fascist ideology or that align with their plans. But the most ironic thing is that these groups are mostly being used by the second group of rich Libertarians globalist elites pulling a confidence trick on the host nation. Often posing “anti-establishment” conspiracists who actually uphold the establishment through misinformation. See: Russia Today and Youtube Bitcoin and Gold shills who subtly suggest fascist talking points. With those rich Libertarians at the top more than happy for those below them, who they deem less worthy, living in even more delusional ideologies with fake enemies to fear, often resembling traditional Christian but values wrapped in modern conspiracies with added elements of “satanic panic”. Modern Fascism has clearly inspired the modern day equivalents of Brownshirts and Blackshirts, self-styled vigilantes like QAnon, The Proud Boys and “The Boogaloo” - white nationalist violent extremists who want to accelerate towards a full-on race war. It has also infiltrated numerous alternative groups, such as hyper-evangelical “end times” cults, alternative health scenes, internet conspiracy scenes like flat earth and occult magic.
A commonly missing hallmark of fascism that is present in history during the rise of fascism is a controlled opposition and explicit suppression of opposition. This distorts a healthy society and has unforeseen consequences and blowback. Fantasies and political thought bubbles are self delusional custom realities resembling an episode of Black Mirror. They act as coping and escape mechanisms. Especially during the Covid 19 lock-down, these tendencies have gone into overdrive with massive events entering the real world featuring David Ike leading protesters alongside fascists as people ignore rising Fascism, climate change destruction and Covid deaths tolls. Using disasters like Covid or irrational scare tactics such as the "Satanic Panic" style Fascist propaganda from QAnon, can shock people using their fear and disgust response, while making them distrust the news - allowing the government to evade valid criticism from experts while suggesting to people that government public services are inherently evil or Communist. This type of propaganda is a Libertarians wet dream - making a population not only give up on tax funded public services, but actively fear them. An example is Trump trying to discredit and defund the US Postal Service and other public institutions and regulatory bodies. Anti Semitism has been used throughout history by those in power to provoke an “us vs. them” mentality, leading to today's establishment still sanctioning and allowing Qanon on major media platforms, provoking and agitating terrorist attackers from the far-left and the far-right. Those in power in fascist regimes allow and encourage mistrust in the mainstream media, while the long-tail niche political and interest groups keep people separated from each other, who each live in their own custom realities while the real elites continue to dominate and increase their power. With each bubble framing realities based of identity, race, class, nationality, or even subculture special interests like alternative medicine and “gamer bro” culture, so that when they interact in real life or online, they are speaking past each other because they don’t even agree on the basic principles of how they view society.
The Fatal Flaws of Living in a Fantasy
While the main flaws and weaknesses of Fascism remain the same, they are in-fact exacerbated by this new hybrid model. It’s main weakness is the very fact that it is motivated by weaknesses, fear and greed - rather than true strength, self-confidence or heroic benevolent power, as their adherents like to believe. A misconception of fascists themselves that it is based on strength, when it is actually based on weakness - even when the driving force is greed rather than fear. Libertarian fascists want to extract labour and materials at cheaper prices, while inflating their own asset values. In other words; international financiers with little allegiance to any country. Ironically the very type of people who Conservative fascists claim to be opposed to. Fascism claims to make society more successful, but it actually accelerates the destruction of the culture, country or people, rather than preserving and conserving it, because it betrays a fundamental weakness of insecurity. Competitors and rivals can easily see through the charade of and take advantage. If anything does the exact opposite. Russian and China are clearly goading Western nations into becoming more divided and totalitarian, as they themselves benefit from becoming more Liberal and open and reap the competitive advantages that brings. See Kraut’s excellent video about Trump on China as an example. Keynesian investment in the country and people, giving workers more rights, opportunities and a more bargaining power is what makes a country successful and innovative, rather than the faux Keynesian policy of giving kickbacks to corrupt officials for government contracts and widening inequality by supporting the already rich, rather than the ordinary people.
Who Benefits in This Memetic War?
Who is going to war with who? Who is winning? A modern adage is that tankies are just fascists because of their support of authoritarian proto-fascist leaders and regimes who often claim to be Communist. But from my experience talking to actual fascists, they crave a more multi-polar world where other strong leaders rise up as competition and form alliances with dictators. So to me, it looks like Fascists are the real Tankies; wishing our enemies be stronger and wanting to accelerate towards race war or civil war that weakens the society. Not only did Donald Trump have knowledge of Russia allowing ISIS bounties on US troops and withhold that from the public while courting Putin, I have personally heard white supremacists backing extremists Islamists in Discord servers. Trump jumped to the defense of the people who put a 17 year old with a gun against civil rights protesters and assumed the intent before saying that the outcome should be decided by the legal system. They share common values and beliefs like Anti Semitism, accelerationist end-times fantasies, patriarchal traditional values and a fear of outside progressive cultures. In fact modern extremists white supremecist groups share recruitment and terrorist strategies and tactics with militant islamists. You could argue that it was inflicted by Russian or Imperialist propagandists onto the German people in order to take control of larger areas of Europe after the destabilisation of war. Hitler and Stalin came to a non agression truce called The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which as was a secret non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that enabled those two powers to partition Poland between them. The pact, signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov was officially known as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They divided Poland under the banner of fighting “Polish Fascism” nearly a century ago with both sides ultimately lying to their own people about spreading freedom while being authoritarian to their core and being able to blame “the other” as being the cause of all their problems. But these days fascism seems to be a rogue meme that no longer serves any particular group. It is pathologically damaging to any society that it happens to grip. Even the aforementioned Libertarians and accelerationists who think they are benefiting are only temporarily gaining by market price volatility. They ultimately lose through the blowback effect of the whirlpool they create.
Psychopathy, Alienation Nihilism and Insecurity
It is well established that Fascist dictators are driven by psychopathic characters and tendencies. They either don’t care about the truth, or disregard it if it’s not convenient to their narrative. In totalitarian despotic societies facts are reversed. As George Orwell proclaimed throughout his writings; “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”. Similar to how authoritarian Starlinist Communists harnessed people’s alienation and tricked them into thinking that it’s possible for the state to fully decommodify everything without having markets, money to account for things, domination or hierarchy or try to convince people that a revolution is just around the corner. But of course, a council representative is still the head of an organisation, for all intents and purposes, because they wield executive power over others, even if the name has changed. Markets are emergent properties when groups of humans want or need a certain commodity when it becomes available. But while both Communist and Fascist ideologies are based on lies that harness peoples alienation, fear and envy, Fascism is also especially to the weak. It is attractive to those who want to be strong again (or were never to begin with), or those who want to have a strong leader to help them. Fascism betrays to others the inherent weakness. Like the insecure kid in school who lashes out - others around can see that it is because of their own insecurity which makes them appear even weaker. Fascism is a psychopathy driven by insecurity. When people become so absorbed in an ideology there is a phenomena of people to self identify as an actual ideology? This produces a phenomena called Identity Protective Cognition, where people's self worth becomes attached to a belief system or ideology. So that when new information contradicts their worldview it is seen as an attack on the person themselves. Therefore irrational, emotional quick fix thinking is the default when there is too much pressure and they feel attacked. They no longer use their slow effortful reflective thinking. (See Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow) This approach has parallels in evolutionary biology, in which a central issue is the ability to adapt to changing environments. Competency - over-competitiveness in management causes chaos which STOPS hierarchies of competence. (Insert video clips of Sapolsky on Chaos vs Reductionism etc. timestamps linked). Fascists try to reduce variability in culture and outcomes - causes weakness of less adaptability - because as Sapolsky explains, the variability is not just noise in that type of system CAS (Complex Adaptive Systems) - the variability IS the system. It is fractal and scale free. The noise and variability is an intrinsic part of the system. But the system doesn’t function properly when the agreed-upon parameters that individuals believe to be true aren’t universal enough to have any form of group coherence. Birds and swarms of animals can produce amazing complex phenomena, which are greater than the sum of their individual parts. There is a “network effect” once a certain threshold and certain conditions and rules are met. These rules can be very simple, like repulsion or attraction, or staying a certain distance apart while traveling in a similar direction, but collectively they create patterns that emerge with complexity and I dear say, a certain amount of beauty. So what happens when millions of people are being brainwashed and misled by cults that are leaving them with a reduced ability to make decisions? Giving them shit-for-brains just so that some rich people at the top can pay a few percentage less tax? That is the sign of a deeply sick system that cannot continue to function effectively. It is sick on so many levels.
Emergence, Complexity and Human Evolution - A Social-Biological Analysis
The problem with viewing the world through only one lens of analysis (or bucket of knowledge) is that you can fall into unnecessarily reductive thinking. (Sapolsky clips) I describe myself as a philosophical anarchist. Which does NOT mean I want total chaos and disorder - it means I want the optimal solution to emerge - including the influences and experiences from the bottom-up. I also think that a bottom-up (or anarchist) lens of analysis is necessary for society to run cohesively in an optimal state. If it is repressed it distorts the overall picture of reality for everyone - similar to a CEO that doesn’t listen to employees and workers on the ground. I interpret as constantly holding authority to account - to justify its existence and reason for dominating others. I also believe it is every citizen's responsibility to hold authority to account. This would be necessary under ANY economic system or society. Anarchists also believe in stigmenric, rhizomatic action to make the world better, organically, not from a top-down authority, which fascism seeks to instill on society. Human beings are collectively parts of a bigger chaotic but stable system known as a CAS (Complex Adaptive System). CAS’s are chaotic systems that can reach periodic steady states of equilibrium. As Professor Sapolsky explains, humans uniquely exist with a mixture of both communal and individualistic tendencies; known in the scientific world as Tournament vs. pair bonding. All the evidence suggests that this tendency has greatly improved our success as a species. But those tendencies distorted too far one way or another lead to pathologies and the worst collective misdeeds and wars. Because as Professor Sapolsky also explains in his brilliant lecture series (which I have condensed the pertinent parts of into a 4 part YouTube video) about CAS; the signals coming from the randomness is being suppressed or repressed, it interferes with the functioning of the system. Pressure in the system makes the patterns more complex but at a certain point of increasing pressure in the complex system, it stops being linear and the doubling of patterns and periodicity totally stops. Order completely begins to break down because of the butterfly effect. Fascist regimes fettishise order and rigidity but in a complex adaptive system, the noise IS the phenomena, not a byproduct to be discarded, ignored or repressed. The majority of people on the right genuinely want to help society by bringing order, using top-down draconian measures if necessary. Whereas the left generally wants to help society by proactively building from the bottom up. I think both of these approaches are necessary to be balanced properly for a healthy functioning society to emerge. It seems our tendency to harness both traits and to focus intently on one or the other is our greatest collective strength, while also being our greatest weakness. And similarly, on an individual level I believe our greatest strengths and weakness are the fact that our brains work efficiently by categorising information to filter out the unimportant bits that slow us down. As the book by Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow, brilliantly explains, slow deliberate, consideration thinking takes energy and time, so our brains developed filters which come out as biases. This is an inherent weakness of the human brain. Now imagine the butterfly effect on the life of just one person who is influenced by the brainworms of QAnon cults or conspiracies which distorts their internal models of the world which they use to filter information about the world The sad and shocking stories on forums like QanonCasualties show the devastating effects on their close friends, family and work life - amplified by their ever increasingly disconnected lives. (insert Flat earther clip - zoom in on idiot rolling head) Now scale that up to the level of a whole of a society, a country, or the world? This is a collective madness to cope with and avoid the reality facing us as a species. Only collective action with agreed basic facts to work from will do to avoid the total descent into actual chaos and destruction.
TLDR; Conclusion and Final Thoughts
In this essay I will have put forward the case for the following four key arguments being true and I have present supporting evidence to explain the logical reasoning for why our current definitions need updating and the threat levels reassed, from a non-hysterical but critical perspective. The overall claims I made are:
Modern Fascism has taken over right-wing populism and bears all the hallmarks of early 20th Century Fascist ideologies.
The ideology has two main reasons to exist, and two distinct audiences which both have a symbiotic, pathological relationship with each other.
The main flaws and weaknesses of fascist ideology remain the same as ever - that fascism is motivated by irrational fears, greed and self deception.
Modern Fascism has major unforeseen damaging consequences for individuals, governments, organisational dynamics, and society at large.
This reality is something I think a lot of fascists, ultra-nationalists and people who have been influenced by the propaganda know deep down on some level already - that they are avoiding the realities of pandemics and ecological harms of ignoring science and reality as it is. They ignore it because fantasies are simpler to understand. And a narrative based on fear of the other is a simpler way to to process a complex world. It is also attractive to the part of us that is drawn to conflict and drama - that hunger for something genuinely interesting to happen. But I would argue from my experience that the beautiful complexity of life in all it’s shades of grey is much more interesting, fun and genuinely fulfilling to understand and engage in, even if it might be harder to deal with and even harder to explain. I believe doing so is also vital for the very survival of our species - we can no longer afford to live in a fantasy, we need to collectively take responsibility for the world as it exists in reality. Thank you to my two Patrons: Carmen Jongepier E.V. Roske Original Script on Patreon
Maybe it's time to discuss bitcoin's history again. Credit to u/singularity87 for the original post over 3 years ago. People should get the full story of bitcoin because it is probably one of the strangest of all reddit subs. bitcoin, the main sub for the bitcoin community is held and run by a person who goes by the pseudonym u/theymos. Theymos not only controls bitcoin, but also bitcoin.org and bitcointalk.com. These are top three communication channels for the bitcoin community, all controlled by just one person. For most of bitcoin's history this did not create a problem (at least not an obvious one anyway) until around mid 2015. This happened to be around the time a new player appeared on the scene, a for-profit company called Blockstream. Blockstream was made up of/hired many (but not all) of the main bitcoin developers. (To be clear, Blockstream was founded before mid 2015 but did not become publicly active until then). A lot of people, including myself, tried to point out there we're some very serious potential conflicts of interest that could arise when one single company controls most of the main developers for the biggest decentralised and distributed cryptocurrency. There were a lot of unknowns but people seemed to give them the benefit of the doubt because they were apparently about to release some new software called "sidechains" that could offer some benefits to the network. Not long after Blockstream came on the scene the issue of bitcoin's scalability once again came to forefront of the community. This issue came within the community a number of times since bitcoins inception. Bitcoin, as dictated in the code, cannot handle any more than around 3 transactions per second at the moment. To put that in perspective Paypal handles around 15 transactions per second on average and VISA handles something like 2000 transactions per second. The discussion in the community has been around how best to allow bitcoin to scale to allow a higher number of transactions in a given amount of time. I suggest that if anyone is interested in learning more about this problem from a technical angle, they go to btc and do a search. It's a complex issue but for many who have followed bitcoin for many years, the possible solutions seem relatively obvious. Essentially, currently the limit is put in place in just a few lines of code. This was not originally present when bitcoin was first released. It was in fact put in place afterwards as a measure to stop a bloating attack on the network. Because all bitcoin transactions have to be stored forever on the bitcoin network, someone could theoretically simply transmit a large number of transactions which would have to be stored by the entire network forever. When bitcoin was released, transactions were actually for free as the only people running the network were enthusiasts. In fact a single bitcoin did not even have any specific value so it would be impossible set a fee value. This meant that a malicious person could make the size of the bitcoin ledger grow very rapidly without much/any cost which would stop people from wanting to join the network due to the resource requirements needed to store it, which at the time would have been for very little gain. Towards the end of the summer last year, this bitcoin scaling debate surfaced again as it was becoming clear that the transaction limit for bitcoin was semi regularly being reached and that it would not be long until it would be regularly hit and the network would become congested. This was a very serious issue for a currency. Bitcoin had made progress over the years to the point of retailers starting to offer it as a payment option. Bitcoin companies like, Microsoft, Paypal, Steam and many more had began to adopt it. If the transaction limit would be constantly maxed out, the network would become unreliable and slow for users. Users and businesses would not be able to make a reliable estimate when their transaction would be confirmed by the network. Users, developers and businesses (which at the time was pretty much the only real bitcoin subreddit) started to discuss how we should solve the problem bitcoin. There was significant support from the users and businesses behind a simple solution put forward by the developer Gavin Andreesen. Gavin was the lead developer after Satoshi Nakamoto left bitcoin and he left it in his hands. Gavin initially proposed a very simple solution of increasing the limit which was to change the few lines of code to increase the maximum number of transactions that are allowed. For most of bitcoin's history the transaction limit had been set far far higher than the number of transactions that could potentially happen on the network. The concept of increasing the limit one time was based on the fact that history had proven that no issue had been cause by this in the past. A certain group of bitcoin developers decided that increasing the limit by this amount was too much and that it was dangerous. They said that the increased use of resources that the network would use would create centralisation pressures which could destroy the network. The theory was that a miner of the network with more resources could publish many more transactions than a competing small miner could handle and therefore the network would tend towards few large miners rather than many small miners. The group of developers who supported this theory were all developers who worked for the company Blockstream. The argument from people in support of increasing the transaction capacity by this amount was that there are always inherent centralisation pressure with bitcoin mining. For example miners who can access the cheapest electricity will tend to succeed and that bigger miners will be able to find this cheaper electricity easier. Miners who have access to the most efficient computer chips will tend to succeed and that larger miners are more likely to be able to afford the development of them. The argument from Gavin and other who supported increasing the transaction capacity by this method are essentially there are economies of scale in mining and that these economies have far bigger centralisation pressures than increased resource cost for a larger number of transactions (up to the new limit proposed). For example, at the time the total size of the blockchain was around 50GB. Even for the cost of a 500GB SSD is only $150 and would last a number of years. This is in-comparison to the $100,000's in revenue per day a miner would be making. Various developers put forth various other proposals, including Gavin Andresen who put forth a more conservative increase that would then continue to increase over time inline with technological improvements. Some of the employees of blockstream also put forth some proposals, but all were so conservative, it would take bitcoin many decades before it could reach a scale of VISA. Even though there was significant support from the community behind Gavin's simple proposal of increasing the limit it was becoming clear certain members of the bitcoin community who were part of Blockstream were starting to become increasingly vitriolic and divisive. Gavin then teamed up with one of the other main bitcoin developers Mike Hearn and released a coded (i.e. working) version of the bitcoin software that would only activate if it was supported by a significant majority of the network. What happened next was where things really started to get weird. After this free and open source software was released, Theymos, the person who controls all the main communication channels for the bitcoin community implemented a new moderation policy that disallowed any discussion of this new software. Specifically, if people were to discuss this software, their comments would be deleted and ultimately they would be banned temporarily or permanently. This caused chaos within the community as there was very clear support for this software at the time and it seemed our best hope for finally solving the problem and moving on. Instead a censorship campaign was started. At first it 'all' they were doing was banning and removing discussions but after a while it turned into actively manipulating the discussion. For example, if a thread was created where there was positive sentiment for increasing the transaction capacity or being negative about the moderation policies or negative about the actions of certain bitcoin developers, the mods of bitcoin would selectively change the sorting order of threads to 'controversial' so that the most support opinions would be sorted to the bottom of the thread and the most vitriolic would be sorted to the top of the thread. This was initially very transparent as it was possible to see that the most downvoted comments were at the top and some of the most upvoted were at the bottom. So they then implemented hiding the voting scores next to the users name. This made impossible to work out the sentiment of the community and when combined with selectively setting the sorting order to controversial it was possible control what information users were seeing. Also, due to the very very large number of removed comments and users it was becoming obvious the scale of censorship going on. To hide this they implemented code in their CSS for the sub that completely hid comments that they had removed so that the censorship itself was hidden. Anyone in support of scaling bitcoin were removed from the main communication channels. Theymos even proudly announced that he didn't care if he had to remove 90% of the users. He also later acknowledged that he knew he had the ability to block support of this software using the control he had over the communication channels. While this was all going on, Blockstream and it's employees started lobbying the community by paying for conferences about scaling bitcoin, but with the very very strange rule that no decisions could be made and no complete solutions could be proposed. These conferences were likely strategically (and successfully) created to stunt support for the scaling software Gavin and Mike had released by forcing the community to take a "lets wait and see what comes from the conferences" kind of approach. Since no final solutions were allowed at these conferences, they only served to hinder and splinter the communities efforts to find a solution. As the software Gavin and Mike released called BitcoinXT gained support it started to be attacked. Users of the software were attack by DDOS. Employees of Blockstream were recommending attacks against the software, such as faking support for it, to only then drop support at the last moment to put the network in disarray. Blockstream employees were also publicly talking about suing Gavin and Mike from various different angles simply for releasing this open source software that no one was forced to run. In the end Mike Hearn decided to leave due to the way many members of the bitcoin community had treated him. This was due to the massive disinformation campaign against him on bitcoin. One of the many tactics that are used against anyone who does not support Blockstream and the bitcoin developers who work for them is that you will be targeted in a smear campaign. This has happened to a number of individuals and companies who showed support for scaling bitcoin. Theymos has threatened companies that he will ban any discussion of them on the communication channels he controls (i.e. all the main ones) for simply running software that he disagrees with (i.e. any software that scales bitcoin). As time passed, more and more proposals were offered, all against the backdrop of ever increasing censorship in the main bitcoin communication channels. It finally come down the smallest and most conservative solution. This solution was much smaller than even the employees of Blockstream had proposed months earlier. As usual there was enormous attacks from all sides and the most vocal opponents were the employees of Blockstream. These attacks still are ongoing today. As this software started to gain support, Blockstream organised more meetings, especially with the biggest bitcoin miners and made a pact with them. They promised that they would release code that would offer an on-chain scaling solution hardfork within about 4 months, but if the miners wanted this they would have to commit to running their software and only their software. The miners agreed and the ended up not running the most conservative proposal possible. This was in February last year. There is no hardfork proposal in sight from the people who agreed to this pact and bitcoin is still stuck with the exact same transaction limit it has had since the limit was put in place about 6 years ago. Gavin has also been publicly smeared by the developers at Blockstream and a plot was made against him to have him removed from the development team. Gavin has now been, for all intents an purposes, expelled from bitcoin development. This has meant that all control of bitcoin development is in the hands of the developers working at Blockstream. There is a new proposal that offers a market based approach to scaling bitcoin. This essentially lets the market decide. Of course, as usual there has been attacks against it, and verbal attacks from the employees of Blockstream. This has the biggest chance of gaining wide support and solving the problem for good. To give you an idea of Blockstream; It has hired most of the main and active bitcoin developers and is now synonymous with the "Core" bitcoin development team. They AFAIK no products at all. They have received around $75m in funding. Every single thing they do is supported by theymos. They have started implementing an entirely new economic system for bitcoin against the will of it's users and have blocked any and all attempts to scaling the network in line with the original vision. Although this comment is ridiculously long, it really only covers the tip of the iceberg. You could write a book on the last two years of bitcoin. The things that have been going on have been mind blowing. One last thing that I think is worth talking about is the u/bashco's claim of vote manipulation. The users that the video talks about have very very large numbers of downvotes mostly due to them having a very very high chance of being astroturfers. Around about the same time last year when Blockstream came active on the scene every single bitcoin troll disappeared, and I mean literally every single one. In the years before that there were a large number of active anti-bitcoin trolls. They even have an active sub buttcoin. Up until last year you could go down to the bottom of pretty much any thread in bitcoin and see many of the usual trolls who were heavily downvoted for saying something along the lines of "bitcoin is shit", "You guys and your tulips" etc. But suddenly last year they all disappeared. Instead a new type of bitcoin user appeared. Someone who said they were fully in support of bitcoin but they just so happened to support every single thing Blockstream and its employees said and did. They had the exact same tone as the trolls who had disappeared. Their way to talking to people was aggressive, they'd call people names, they had a relatively poor understanding of how bitcoin fundamentally worked. They were extremely argumentative. These users are the majority of the list of that video. When the 10's of thousands of users were censored and expelled from bitcoin they ended up congregating in btc. The strange thing was that the users listed in that video also moved over to btc and spend all day everyday posting troll-like comments and misinformation. Naturally they get heavily downvoted by the real users in btc. They spend their time constantly causing as much drama as possible. At every opportunity they scream about "censorship" in btc while they are happy about the censorship in bitcoin. These people are astroturfers. What someone somewhere worked out, is that all you have to do to take down a community is say that you are on their side. It is an astoundingly effective form of psychological attack.
How EpiK Protocol “Saved the Miners” from Filecoin with the E2P Storage Model?
https://preview.redd.it/n5jzxozn27v51.png?width=2222&format=png&auto=webp&s=6cd6bd726582bbe2c595e1e467aeb3fc8aabe36f On October 20, Eric Yao, Head of EpiK China, and Leo, Co-Founder & CTO of EpiK, visited Deep Chain Online Salon, and discussed “How EpiK saved the miners eliminated by Filecoin by launching E2P storage model”. ‘?” The following is a transcript of the sharing. Sharing Session Eric: Hello, everyone, I’m Eric, graduated from School of Information Science, Tsinghua University. My Master’s research was on data storage and big data computing, and I published a number of industry top conference papers. Since 2013, I have invested in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dogcoin, EOS and other well-known blockchain projects, and have been settling in the chain circle as an early technology-based investor and industry observer with 2 years of blockchain experience. I am also a blockchain community initiator and technology evangelist Leo: Hi, I’m Leo, I’m the CTO of EpiK. Before I got involved in founding EpiK, I spent 3 to 4 years working on blockchain, public chain, wallets, browsers, decentralized exchanges, task distribution platforms, smart contracts, etc., and I’ve made some great products. EpiK is an answer to the question we’ve been asking for years about how blockchain should be landed, and we hope that EpiK is fortunate enough to be an answer for you as well. Q & A Deep Chain Finance: First of all, let me ask Eric, on October 15, Filecoin’s main website launched, which aroused everyone’s attention, but at the same time, the calls for fork within Filecoin never stopped. The EpiK protocol is one of them. What I want to know is, what kind of project is EpiK Protocol? For what reason did you choose to fork in the first place? What are the differences between the forked project and Filecoin itself? Eric: First of all, let me answer the first question, what kind of project is EpiK Protocol. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution already upon us, comprehensive intelligence is one of the core goals of this stage, and the key to comprehensive intelligence is how to make machines understand what humans know and learn new knowledge based on what they already know. And the knowledge graph scale is a key step towards full intelligence. In order to solve the many challenges of building large-scale knowledge graphs, the EpiK Protocol was born. EpiK Protocol is a decentralized, hyper-scale knowledge graph that organizes and incentivizes knowledge through decentralized storage technology, decentralized autonomous organizations, and generalized economic models. Members of the global community will expand the horizons of artificial intelligence into a smarter future by organizing all areas of human knowledge into a knowledge map that will be shared and continuously updated for the eternal knowledge vault of humanity And then, for what reason was the fork chosen in the first place? EpiK’s project founders are all senior blockchain industry practitioners and have been closely following the industry development and application scenarios, among which decentralized storage is a very fresh application scenario. However, in the development process of Filecoin, the team found that due to some design mechanisms and historical reasons, the team found that Filecoin had some deviations from the original intention of the project at that time, such as the overly harsh penalty mechanism triggered by the threat to weaken security, and the emergence of the computing power competition leading to the emergence of computing power monopoly by large miners, thus monopolizing the packaging rights, which can be brushed with computing power by uploading useless data themselves. The emergence of these problems will cause the data environment on Filecoin to get worse and worse, which will lead to the lack of real value of the data in the chain, high data redundancy, and the difficulty of commercializing the project to land. After paying attention to the above problems, the project owner proposes to introduce multi-party roles and a decentralized collaboration platform DAO to ensure the high value of the data on the chain through a reasonable economic model and incentive mechanism, and store the high-value data: knowledge graph on the blockchain through decentralized storage, so that the lack of value of the data on the chain and the monopoly of large miners’ computing power can be solved to a large extent. Finally, what differences exist between the forked project and Filecoin itself? On the basis of the above-mentioned issues, EpiK’s design is very different from Filecoin, first of all, EpiK is more focused in terms of business model, and it faces a different market and track from the cloud storage market where Filecoin is located because decentralized storage has no advantage over professional centralized cloud storage in terms of storage cost and user experience. EpiK focuses on building a decentralized knowledge graph, which reduces data redundancy and safeguards the value of data in the distributed storage chain while preventing the knowledge graph from being tampered with by a few people, thus making the commercialization of the entire project reasonable and feasible. From the perspective of ecological construction, EpiK treats miners more friendly and solves the pain point of Filecoin to a large extent, firstly, it changes the storage collateral and commitment collateral of Filecoin to one-time collateral. Miners participating in EpiK Protocol are only required to pledge 1000 EPK per miner, and only once before mining, not in each sector. What is the concept of 1000 EPKs, you only need to participate in pre-mining for about 50 days to get this portion of the tokens used for pledging. The EPK pre-mining campaign is currently underway, and it runs from early September to December, with a daily release of 50,000 ERC-20 standard EPKs, and the pre-mining nodes whose applications are approved will divide these tokens according to the mining ratio of the day, and these tokens can be exchanged 1:1 directly after they are launched on the main network. This move will continue to expand the number of miners eligible to participate in EPK mining. Secondly, EpiK has a more lenient penalty mechanism, which is different from Filecoin’s official consensus, storage and contract penalties, because the protocol can only be uploaded by field experts, which is the “Expert to Person” mode. Every miner needs to be backed up, which means that if one or more miners are offline in the network, it will not have much impact on the network, and the miner who fails to upload the proof of time and space in time due to being offline will only be forfeited by the authorities for the effective computing power of this sector, not forfeiting the pledged coins. If the miner can re-submit the proof of time and space within 28 days, he will regain the power. Unlike Filecoin’s 32GB sectors, EpiK’s encapsulated sectors are smaller, only 8M each, which will solve Filecoin’s sector space wastage problem to a great extent, and all miners have the opportunity to complete the fast encapsulation, which is very friendly to miners with small computing power. The data and quality constraints will also ensure that the effective computing power gap between large and small miners will not be closed. Finally, unlike Filecoin’s P2P data uploading model, EpiK changes the data uploading and maintenance to E2P uploading, that is, field experts upload and ensure the quality and value of the data on the chain, and at the same time introduce the game relationship between data storage roles and data generation roles through a rational economic model to ensure the stability of the whole system and the continuous high-quality output of the data on the chain. Deep Chain Finance: Eric, on the eve of Filecoin’s mainline launch, issues such as Filecoin’s pre-collateral have aroused a lot of controversy among the miners. In your opinion, what kind of impact will Filecoin bring to itself and the whole distributed storage ecosystem after it launches? Do you think that the current confusing FIL prices are reasonable and what should be the normal price of FIL? Eric: Filecoin mainnet has launched and many potential problems have been exposed, such as the aforementioned high pre-security problem, the storage resource waste and computing power monopoly caused by unreasonable sector encapsulation, and the harsh penalty mechanism, etc. These problems are quite serious, and will greatly affect the development of Filecoin ecology. These problems are relatively serious, and will greatly affect the development of Filecoin ecology, here are two examples to illustrate. For example, the problem of big miners computing power monopoly, now after the big miners have monopolized computing power, there will be a very delicate state — — the miners save a file data with ordinary users. There is no way to verify this matter in the chain, whether what he saved is uploaded by himself or someone else. And after the big miners have monopolized computing power, there will be a very delicate state — — the miners will save a file data with ordinary users, there is no way to verify this matter in the chain, whether what he saved is uploaded by himself or someone else. Because I can fake another identity to upload data for myself, but that leads to the fact that for any miner I go to choose which data to save. I have only one goal, and that is to brush my computing power and how fast I can brush my computing power. There is no difference between saving other people’s data and saving my own data in the matter of computing power. When I save someone else’s data, I don’t know that data. Somewhere in the world, the bandwidth quality between me and him may not be good enough. The best option is to store my own local data, which makes sense, and that results in no one being able to store data on the chain at all. They only store their own data, because it’s the most economical for them, and the network has essentially no storage utility, no one is providing storage for the masses of retail users. The harsh penalty mechanism will also severely deplete the miner’s profits, because DDOS attacks are actually a very common attack technique for the attacker, and for a big miner, he can get a very high profit in a short period of time if he attacks other customers, and this thing is a profitable thing for all big miners. Now as far as the status quo is concerned, the vast majority of miners are actually not very well maintained, so they are not very well protected against these low-DDOS attacks. So the penalty regime is grim for them. The contradiction between the unreasonable system and the demand will inevitably lead to the evolution of the system in a more reasonable direction, so there will be many forked projects that are more reasonable in terms of mechanism, thus attracting Filecoin miners and a diversion of storage power. Since each project is in the field of decentralized storage track, the demand for miners is similar or even compatible with each other, so miners will tend to fork the projects with better economic benefits and business scenarios, so as to filter out the projects with real value on the ground. For the chaotic FIL price, because FIL is also a project that has gone through several years, carrying too many expectations, so it can only be said that the current situation has its own reasons for existence. As for the reasonable price of FIL there is no way to make a prediction because in the long run, it is necessary to consider the commercialization of the project to land and the value of the actual chain of data. In other words, we need to keep observing whether Filecoin will become a game of computing power or a real value carrier. Deep Chain Finance: Leo, we just mentioned that the pre-collateral issue of Filecoin caused the dissatisfaction of miners, and after Filecoin launches on the main website, the second round of space race test coins were directly turned into real coins, and the official selling of FIL hit the market phenomenon, so many miners said they were betrayed. What I want to know is, EpiK’s main motto is “save the miners eliminated by Filecoin”, how to deal with the various problems of Filecoin, and how will EpiK achieve “save”? Leo: Originally Filecoin’s tacit approval of the computing power makeup behavior was to declare that the official directly chose to abandon the small miners. And this test coin turned real coin also hurt the interests of the loyal big miners in one cut, we do not know why these low-level problems, we can only regret. EpiK didn’t do it to fork Filecoin, but because EpiK to build a shared knowledge graph ecology, had to integrate decentralized storage in, so the most hardcore Filecoin’s PoRep and PoSt decentralized verification technology was chosen. In order to ensure the quality of knowledge graph data, EpiK only allows community-voted field experts to upload data, so EpiK naturally prevents miners from making up computing power, and there is no reason for the data that has no value to take up such an expensive decentralized storage resource. With the inability to make up computing power, the difference between big miners and small miners is minimal when the amount of knowledge graph data is small. We can’t say that we can save the big miners, but we are definitely the optimal choice for the small miners who are currently in the market to be eliminated by Filecoin. Deep Chain Finance: Let me ask Eric: According to EpiK protocol, EpiK adopts the E2P model, which allows only experts in the field who are voted to upload their data. This is very different from Filecoin’s P2P model, which allows individuals to upload data as they wish. In your opinion, what are the advantages of the E2P model? If only voted experts can upload data, does that mean that the EpiK protocol is not available to everyone? Eric: First, let me explain the advantages of the E2P model over the P2P model. There are five roles in the DAO ecosystem: miner, coin holder, field expert, bounty hunter and gateway. These five roles allocate the EPKs generated every day when the main network is launched. The miner owns 75% of the EPKs, the field expert owns 9% of the EPKs, and the voting user shares 1% of the EPKs. The other 15% of the EPK will fluctuate based on the daily traffic to the network, and the 15% is partly a game between the miner and the field expert. The first describes the relationship between the two roles. The first group of field experts are selected by the Foundation, who cover different areas of knowledge (a wide range of knowledge here, including not only serious subjects, but also home, food, travel, etc.) This group of field experts can recommend the next group of field experts, and the recommended experts only need to get 100,000 EPK votes to become field experts. The field expert’s role is to submit high-quality data to the miner, who is responsible for encapsulating this data into blocks. Network activity is judged by the amount of EPKs pledged by the entire network for daily traffic (1 EPK = 10 MB/day), with a higher percentage indicating higher data demand, which requires the miner to increase bandwidth quality. If the data demand decreases, this requires field experts to provide higher quality data. This is similar to a library with more visitors needing more seats, i.e., paying the miner to upgrade the bandwidth. When there are fewer visitors, more money is needed to buy better quality books to attract visitors, i.e., money for bounty hunters and field experts to generate more quality knowledge graph data. The game between miners and field experts is the most important game in the ecosystem, unlike the game between the authorities and big miners in the Filecoin ecosystem. The game relationship between data producers and data storers and a more rational economic model will inevitably lead to an E2P model that generates stored on-chain data of much higher quality than the P2P model, and the quality of bandwidth for data access will be better than the P2P model, resulting in greater business value and better landing scenarios. I will then answer the question of whether this means that the EpiK protocol will not be universally accessible to all. The E2P model only qualifies the quality of the data generated and stored, not the roles in the ecosystem; on the contrary, with the introduction of the DAO model, the variety of roles introduced in the EpiK ecosystem (which includes the roles of ordinary people) is not limited. (Bounty hunters who can be competent in their tasks) gives roles and possibilities for how everyone can participate in the system in a more logical way. For example, a miner with computing power can provide storage, a person with a certain domain knowledge can apply to become an expert (this includes history, technology, travel, comics, food, etc.), and a person willing to mark and correct data can become a bounty hunter. The presence of various efficient support tools from the project owner will lower the barriers to entry for various roles, thus allowing different people to do their part in the system and together contribute to the ongoing generation of a high-quality decentralized knowledge graph. Deep Chain Finance: Leo, some time ago, EpiK released a white paper and an economy whitepaper, explaining the EpiK concept from the perspective of technology and economy model respectively. What I would like to ask is, what are the shortcomings of the current distributed storage projects, and how will EpiK protocol be improved? Leo: Distributed storage can easily be misunderstood as those of Ali’s OceanDB, but in the field of blockchain, we should focus on decentralized storage first. There is a big problem with the decentralized storage on the market now, which is “why not eat meat porridge”. How to understand it? Decentralized storage is cheaper than centralized storage because of its technical principle, and if it is, the centralized storage is too rubbish for comparison. What incentive does the average user have to spend more money on decentralized storage to store data? Is it safer? Existence miners can shut down at any time on decentralized storage by no means save a share of security in Ariadne and Amazon each. More private? There’s no difference between encrypted presence on decentralized storage and encrypted presence on Amazon. Faster? The 10,000 gigabytes of bandwidth in decentralized storage simply doesn’t compare to the fiber in a centralized server room. This is the root problem of the business model, no one is using it, no one is buying it, so what’s the big vision. The goal of EpiK is to guide all community participants in the co-construction and sharing of field knowledge graph data, which is the best way for robots to understand human knowledge, and the more knowledge graph data there is, the more knowledge a robot has, the more intelligent it is exponentially, i.e., EpiK uses decentralized storage technology. The value of exponentially growing data is captured with linearly growing hardware costs, and that’s where the buy-in for EPK comes in. Organized data is worth a lot more than organized hard drives, and there is a demand for EPK when robots have the need for intelligence. Deep Chain Finance: Let me ask Leo, how many forked projects does Filecoin have so far, roughly? Do you think there will be more or less waves of fork after the mainnet launches? Have the requirements of the miners at large changed when it comes to participation? Leo: We don’t have specific statistics, now that the main network launches, we feel that forking projects will increase, there are so many restricted miners in the market that they need to be organized efficiently. However, we currently see that most forked projects are simply modifying the parameters of Filecoin’s economy model, which is undesirable, and this level of modification can’t change the status quo of miners making up computing power, and the change to the market is just to make some of the big miners feel more comfortable digging up, which won’t help to promote the decentralized storage ecology to land. We need more reasonable landing scenarios so that idle mining resources can be turned into effective productivity, pitching a 100x coin instead of committing to one Fomo sentiment after another. Deep Chain Finance: How far along is the EpiK Protocol project, Eric? What other big moves are coming in the near future? Eric: The development of the EpiK Protocol is divided into 5 major phases. (a) Phase I testing of the network “Obelisk”. Phase II Main Network 1.0 “Rosetta”. Phase III Main Network 2.0 “Hammurabi”. (a) The Phase IV Enrichment Knowledge Mapping Toolkit. The fifth stage is to enrich the knowledge graph application ecology. Currently in the first phase of testing network “Obelisk”, anyone can sign up to participate in the test network pre-mining test to obtain ERC20 EPK tokens, after the mainnet exchange on a one-to-one basis. We have recently launched ERC20 EPK on Uniswap, you can buy and sell it freely on Uniswap or download our EpiK mobile wallet. In addition, we will soon launch the EpiK Bounty platform, and welcome all community members to do tasks together to build the EpiK community. At the same time, we are also pushing forward the centralized exchange for token listing. Users’ Questions User 1: Some KOLs said, Filecoin consumed its value in the next few years, so it will plunge, what do you think? Eric: First of all, the judgment of the market is to correspond to the cycle, not optimistic about the FIL first judgment to do is not optimistic about the economic model of the project, or not optimistic about the distributed storage track. First of all, we are very confident in the distributed storage track and will certainly face a process of growth and decline, so as to make a choice for a better project. Since the existing group of miners and the computing power already produced is fixed, and since EpiK miners and FIL miners are compatible, anytime miners will also make a choice for more promising and economically viable projects. Filecoin consumes the value of the next few years this time, so it will plunge. Regarding the market issues, the plunge is not a prediction, in the industry or to keep learning iteration and value judgment. Because up and down market sentiment is one aspect, there will be more very important factors. For example, the big washout in March this year, so it can only be said that it will slow down the development of the FIL community. But prices are indeed unpredictable. User2: Actually, in the end, if there are no applications and no one really uploads data, the market value will drop, so what are the landing applications of EpiK? Leo: The best and most direct application of EpiK’s knowledge graph is the question and answer system, which can be an intelligent legal advisor, an intelligent medical advisor, an intelligent chef, an intelligent tour guide, an intelligent game strategy, and so on.
Payment processing has always been the biggest strain on the online gambling industry. Changing regulatory environments have sent casinos into a tailspin when they find out their main source of deposits is suddenly not available to them. In other cases, when an online casino finds a company willing to take them on as a client, the rates they are charged are as close to robbery as can be; this ends up cutting margins down to a bare minimum, making running an online casino less of an enticing career move. The introduction of crypto-currency over the last few years has shown some signs of promise in the online gaming space. As the general public gets more accustomed to the idea of Bitcoin and its uses, we will see it adopted across more traditional purchasing. The gaming industry has adopted the technology from the start, with several Bitcoin-only sites popping up in 2013 and beyond. Recently, many providers have added cryptocurrency to their traditional payment methods, offering special bonuses for players to use the option. Golden Star Casino is one of the true hybrid casinos when it comes to payments. As you will see in the review, the casino has integrated Bitcoin into all facets of their operations, from games to payments to promotions. This is a great way for players who aren’t familiar with the product to be able to give it a try without committing to a Bitcoin-only site.
About Golden Star Casino
Golden Star Casino is owned and operated by Jubise International N.V. Casinos, a Curacao based company. Established in 2012, the company also has a gaming license from the Curacao Gaming Authority. This license isn’t exactly rock-solid for players; the country tends to turn a blind eye to company behavior until it is too late. With the license, however, Jubise is able to attract the payment processors and software vendors it needs to provide you with a positive gaming experience at their site. >>Claim Your Free Spins Bonus<<
Who Can Play at Golden Star Casino?
Even though the company is licensed in Curacao, which would clearly give the impression that they would take players from the U.S., Golden Star doesn’t allow Americans to deposit or gamble. Well, actually… there is a way, but you need to be aware of what you are getting into. It seems that U.S. players who use Bitcoin to deposit can actually create real money accounts and play at the tables. However, there have been several instances of players trying to withdraw their funds which, once it was determined they were in the U.S., had those funds confiscated and accounts closed. It is hard to say if you can withdraw right into your Bitcoin account without it being detected, but for the time being, I do not advise you try this from the States unless you are willing to take the risk that your deposit may be taken away from you. As for other restricted countries, here is the list:
Also, please bear in mind that certain software suppliers restrict what countries are allowed to access their games. As a result, you may find some of the games written about in this review are not actually available in your country. The best thing to do is to create an account, and you will be able to see all the options for your casino play.
As mentioned, Golden Star has chosen to work with several software partners for their brand. This is excellent news for you; the company has chosen a broad spectrum of vendors including some of the most prestigious in the industry. You can find games from the following companies currently at Golden Star Casino:
The casino games at Golden Star are available in a no-download format, meaning you can play them instantly through your browser. Many of the games are also formatted to be able to be played on most mobile phones or tablets, allowing you to take your casino experience on the move with you no matter where you are. >>Claim Your Free Spins Bonus<<
The Good Stuff
I love a casino that not only has several progressive jackpots available for its players but one who isn’t shy about telling you who has won them. At Golden Star, you can select from over 20 different jackpot games, and if you look on their jackpots page, there is a scrolling bar of recent winners; no one like to see that a jackpot isn’t paying out. Give some of their jackpot games a go if you want to get a little something extra out of your slots experience.
This is an interesting option for players; there are slots in the casino lobby that are designed for Bitcoin-only play. Why would a casino do this? Well, with the fluctuating value of Bitcoin these days, players may not want to get hosed on exchange rates. Also, this is an excellent way to have players learn about Bitcoin by having to think regarding the cryptocurrency throughout their entire casino experience. Satoshi’s Secret is the most popular Bitcoin game in the industry, and you can try it at Golden Star Casino for free if you like to get a feel for the slot machine.
The Bad Stuff
Complaints about Terms and Conditions
No one likes to see complaints about an online casino, and many times I can dismiss them as individuals who are just upset that they lost their money. However, there are recurring concerns about the changing Terms and Conditions at Golden Star Casino. The company denies that they have made any changes without letting their players know, and have taken a strong stance on that accusation. I will continue to monitor that situation; if I find it to be actually happening, then it will be a big strike against the casino.
Games limited by Country
I’ll add this to the Bad Stuff because I live in Canada, and as a result, I am not able to access some of the better games that Golden Star Casino has on their site. While I totally understand why the casino isn’t allowed to offer all their games to all their players, it would be beneficial to have this information laid out in a clear manner somewhere on their website. I would much rather know going in instead of reading a review like this only to find out a game I love is not available when I make my deposit.
As I mentioned, you will find over 900 games at Golden Star Casino. I am going to take a look at all the different categories in more detail for you now.
It isn’t surprising to hear that the majority of available games in the Golden Star Casino lobby are slots games – this goes for almost every casino in the industry, whether online or land-based. However, having the multiple providers allows this casino to provide you several different looks to their slots catalog. They range from the fantastic content of the Microgaming slots to the 3D slot games that made Betsoft famous.
The table games options at Golden Star Casino are a bit underwhelming considering how many suppliers the company has partnered with. Now, I may be missing some of the table games because of where I am reviewing the site from; all accounts are that they aren’t using Microgaming or NetEnt for games outside North America.
Along the same theme, there aren’t as many video poker variants as I would like to see at Golden Star Casino. I know that I am in the minority when it comes to video poker; I like the game more than most people do. Still, an online casino should easily be able to offer as many games as they can. Maybe they will read this review and add some from their vendors; I know they are available!
One area where Golden Star Casino has apparently spent some time in development is in the Specialty Games offering. Using their partners like Quickfire, the casino gives you many different types of games to play that are not like the typical table games and slots. Many of these games have worse chances of coming out a winner, but I always consider them to be a nice way to take a break from a long session at the Blackjack table.
Golden Star Casino has selected Ezugi as their Live Dealer provider. While the studios and dealers used by Ezugi are quite nice, there isn’t much in the way of selection from a games perspective. You can play the following games via the Live Dealer function:
The promotions at Golden Star are pretty bland overall. They are focused on the deposit bonuses as their primary form of attracting to you to their brand. Here is an overview of the bonuses currently available on the website:
First Deposit Bonus
100% up to €100 or 100 mBTC + 100 FREE SPINS
Make your first deposit in Golden Star Casino and get up to €100 or 100 mBTC and 100 free spins in the Lucky Sweets slot
Second Deposit Bonus
75% up to €100 or 100 mBTC
Keep having fun! Make your second deposit, and we will refill your balance up to €100 or 100 mBTC.
Third Deposit Bonus
50% up to €100 or 100 mBTC
More and more bonuses for you! Get up to €100 or 100 mBTC on third deposit! The company does have one ongoing bonus for players who play on the weekend. They have a “Have A Nice Weekend” recurring bonus of 50% up to $50 or 50 mBTC. Overall, it is pretty disappointing to see no leaderboard or jackpot promotions, especially given how many games they could use for these types of offers.
Golden Star Casino does have a large selection of tournaments running on a daily and weekly basis. For someone who gets bored with slots play pretty quickly, I enjoy the tournament concept; if I go on a long run, I can make some additional cash, and it is the only way I actually see any other screen names while I am at the casino. >>Claim Your Free Spins Bonus<<
As I have discussed many times in this review, the company seems to be very focused on making you a Bitcoin user, offering special games and bonuses for players who use the cryptocurrency. Golden Star does also have traditional payment methods available to its players; of course, each will be restricted by what countries are available. The most up-to-date payment methods for your country will be listed in the cashier section of the lobby after you login to your account.
Bank Wire Transfer
Golden Star Casino does offer its players a hybrid Comp/VIP program. In essence, this is a comp program that has tiers to it, giving you more enticing conversion rates for your comp points. While I am a big fan of casinos that give you comp points that you can cash in for real money, I am disappointed that there isn’t more to the VIP part of the program. I am hopeful that there is a more individual program that they just don’t advertise. Here are the levels of the system and what conversion rates come with each level.
New Star – (0-149 CP) – no exchange
Bronze – (150-999 CP) – 14:1 Exchange
Silver – (1000-4999 CP) – 13:1 Exchange
Golden – (5000-14,999 CP) – 12:1 Exchange
Platinum – (15,000-29,999 CP) – 11:1 Exchange
Diamond – (30,000 CP) – 10:1 Exchange
Customer Service at Golden Star is available three ways: a web form on the Support page of their website, email or Live Chat. There is no phone number to reach the casino at this point; the only way to get a hold of them in real time is via the Live Chat function. >>Claim Your Free Spins Bonus<<
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Why bitcoin & blockchains will change the foundations of society
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