Bitcoin as Legal Tender - Legal and Technical Challenges

Crypto-Powered: Understanding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi

Crypto-Powered: Understanding Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi
Until one understands the basics of this tech, they won’t be able to grasp or appreciate the impact it has on our digital bank, Genesis Block.
https://reddit.com/link/ho4bif/video/n0euarkifu951/player
This is the second post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
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Our previous post set the stage for this series. We discussed the state of consumer finance and how the success of today’s high-flying fintech unicorns will be short-lived as long as they’re building on legacy finance — a weak foundation that is ripe for massive disruption.
Instead, the future of consumer finance belongs to those who are deeply familiar with blockchain tech & decentralized protocols, build on it as the foundation, and know how to take it to the world. Like Genesis Block.
Today we begin our journey down the crypto rabbit hole. This post will be an important introduction for those still learning about Bitcoin, Ethereum, or DeFi (Decentralized Finance). This post (and the next few) will go into greater detail about how this technology gives Genesis Block an edge, a superpower, and an unfair advantage. Let’s dive in…
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Bitcoin: The First Cryptocurrency

There are plenty of online resources to learn about Bitcoin (Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Naval, Alex Gladstein, Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon). I don’t wanna spend a lot of time on that here, but let’s do a quick overview for those still getting ramped up.
Cryptocurrency is the most popular use-case of blockchain technology today. And Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be invented.
Bitcoin is the most decentralized of all crypto assets today — no government, company, or third party can control or censor it.
Bitcoin has two primary features (as do most other cryptocurrencies):
  1. Send Value You can send value to anyone, anywhere in the world. Nobody can intercept, delay or stop it — not even governments or financial institutions. Unlike with traditional money transfers or bank wires, there are no layers of middlemen. This results in a process that is much more cost-efficient. Some popular use-cases include remittances and cross-border payments.
  2. Store Value With nothing but a smartphone, you can become your own bank and store your own funds. Nobody can seize your assets. The funds are digital and stored on a blockchain. Your money no longer needs to be stored at a bank, in a vault, or under your mattress. I covered a few inspiring use-cases in a previous post. They include banking the unbanked, protecting assets from government seizure, mitigating the risk of a bank run, and protection against hyperinflation (like what recently happened in Venezuela).
The fact that there are so few things one can do with Bitcoin is one of its greatest strengths.
Its design is simple, elegant, and focused. It has been 10+ years since Satoshi’s white paper and no one has been able to crack or hack the Bitcoin network. With a market cap of $170B, there is plenty of incentive to try.
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Public Awareness

A few negative moments in Bitcoin’s history include the collapse of Mt. Gox — which resulted in hundreds of millions of customer funds being stolen — as well as Bitcoin’s role in dark markets like Silk Road — where Bitcoin arguably found its initial userbase.
However, like most breakthrough technology, Bitcoin is neither good nor bad. It’s neutral. People can use it for good or they can use it for evil. Thankfully, it’s being used less and less for illicit activity. Criminals are starting to understand that transactions on a blockchain are public and traceable — it’s exactly the type of system they usually try to avoid. And it’s true, at this point “a lot more” crimes are actually committed with fiat than crypto.
As a result, the perception of bitcoin and cryptocurrency has been changing over the years to a more positive light.
Bitcoin has even started to enter the world of media & entertainment. It’s been mentioned in Hollywood films like Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and in songs from major artists like Eminem. It’s been mentioned in countless TV shows like Billions, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Gray’s Anatomy, Family Guy, and more.
As covid19 has ravaged economies and central banks have been printing money, Bitcoin has caught the attention of many legendary Wall Street investors like Paul Tudor Jones, saying that Bitcoin is a great bet against inflation (reminding him of Gold in the 1970s).
Cash App already lets their 25M users buy Bitcoin. It’s rumored that PayPal and Venmo will soon let their 325M users start buying Bitcoin. Bitcoin is by far the most dominant cryptocurrency and is showing no signs of slowing down. For more than a decade it has delivered on its core use-cases — being able to send or store value.
At this point, Bitcoin has very much entered the zeitgeist of modern pop culture — at least in the West.
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Ethereum: Programmable Money

When Ethereum launched in 2015, it opened up a world of new possibilities and use-cases for crypto. With Ethereum Smart Contracts (i.e. applications), this exciting new digital money (cryptocurrency) became a lot less dumb. Developers could now build applications that go beyond the simple use-cases of “send value” & “store value.” They could program cryptocurrency to have rules, behavior, and logic to respond to different inputs. And always enforced by code. Additional reading on Ethereum from Linda Xie or Vitalik Buterin.
Because these applications are built on blockchain technology (Ethereum), they preserve many of the same characteristics as Bitcoin: no one can stop, censor or shut down these apps because they are decentralized.
One of the first major use-cases on Ethereum was the ability to mint and create your own token, your own cryptocurrency. Many companies used this as a way to fundraise from the public. This led to the 2017 ICO bubble (Initial Coin Offerings). Some tokens — and the apps/networks they powered — were fascinating and innovative. Most tokens were pointless. And many tokens were outright scams. Additional token reading from Fred Ehrsam, Balaji, and Naval.
https://reddit.com/link/ho4bif/video/b5b1jh9ofu951/player

Digital Gold Rush

Just as tokens grew in popularity in 2017–2018, so did online marketplaces where these tokens could be bought, sold, and traded. This was a fledgling asset class — the merchants selling picks, axes, and shovels were finally starting to emerge.
I had a front-row seat — both as an investor and token creator. This was the Wild West with all the frontier drama & scandal that you’d expect.
Binance — now the world’s largest crypto exchange —was launched during this time. They along with many others (especially from Asia) made it really easy for speculators, traders, and degenerate gamblers to participate in these markets. Similar to other financial markets, the goal was straightforward: buy low and sell high.
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That period left an embarrassing stain on our industry that we’ve still been trying to recover from. It was a period rampant with market manipulation, pump-and-dumps, and scams. To some extent, the crypto industry still suffers from that today, but it’s nothing compared to what it was then.
While the potential of getting filthy rich brought a lot of fly-by-nighters and charlatans into the industry, it also brought a lot of innovators, entrepreneurs, and builders.
The launch and growth of Ethereum has been an incredible technological breakthrough. As with past tech breakthroughs, it has led to a wave of innovation, experimentation, and development. The creativity around tokens, smart contracts, and decentralized applications has been fascinating to witness. Now a few years later, the fruits of those labors are starting to be realized.

DeFi: Decentralized Finance

So as a reminder, tokens are cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies can carry value. And value is a lot like money. Because tokens are natively integrated with Ethereum, it’s been natural for developers to build applications related to financial services — things like lending, borrowing, saving, investing, payments, and insurance. In the last few years, there has been a groundswell of developer momentum building in this area of financial protocols. This segment of the industry is known as DeFi (Decentralized Finance).
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In Q2 of 2020, 97% of all Ethereum activity was DeFi-related. Total DeFi transaction volume has reached $11.5B. The current value locked inside DeFi protocols is approaching $2 Billion (double from a month ago). DeFi’s meteoric growth cannot be ignored.
Most of that growth can be attributed to exciting protocols like Compound, Maker, Synthetix, Balancer, Aave, dYdX, and Uniswap. These DeFi protocols and the financial services they offer are quickly becoming some of the most popular use-cases for blockchain technology today.
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This impressive growth in DeFi certainly hasn’t come without growing pains. Unlike with Bitcoin, there are near-infinite applications one can develop on Ethereum. Sometimes bugs (or typos) can slip through code reviews, testing, and audits — resulting in loss of funds.
Our next post will go much deeper on DeFi.

Wrap Up

I know that for the hardcore crypto people, what we covered today is nothing new. But for those who are still getting up to speed, welcome! I hope this was helpful and that it fuels your interest to learn more.
Until you understand the basics of this technology, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the impact that it has on our new digital bank, Genesis Block. You won’t be able to understand the implications, how it relates, or how it helps.
After today’s post, some of you probably have a lot more questions. What are specific examples or use-cases of DeFi? Why does it need to be on a blockchain? What benefits does it bring to Genesis Block and our users?
In upcoming posts, we answer these questions. Today’s post was just Level 1. It set the foundation for where we’re headed next: even deeper down the crypto rabbit hole.
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Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
We have a lot more content coming. Be sure to follow our channels: https://genesisblock.com/follow/
Have you already downloaded the app? We're Genesis Block, a new digital bank that's powered by crypto & decentralized protocols. The app is live in the App Store (iOS & Android). Get the link to download at https://genesisblock.com/download
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Questionable Decisions

Facts
linustechtips.com:
In 2017 Knapp sold CyberGhost to an Israeli company called Crossrider for €9.2 million.
Crossrider changed its name to “Kape Technologies” in 2018 – for reasons that we’ll explain below.
Now here’s where things get interesting. When you research the company Crossrider (now Kape) you learn it is a company known for infecting devices with malware.
When you research the company Crossrider, you find numerous articles about Crossrider malware and adware, such as this article from Malwarebytes:
Crossrider offers a highly configurable method for its clients to monetize their software. The common method to infect end-users is software bundlers. The installers usually resort to browser hijacking. Targeted browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and sometimes Opera. Crossrider not only targets Windows machines but Macs as well.
PUP.Optional.Crossrider installs are typically triggered by bundlers that offer software you might be interested in and combine them with adware or other monetizing methods.
According to Malwarebytes and many other reputable online security websites, Crossrider was hiding malware in software bundlers, which would then infect the user’s computer with “adware or other monetizing methods”.
Trust takes years to build, second to break and Forever to repair.
submitted by KSOFM to PrivateInternetAccess [link] [comments]

Why we won't have a long term bear market, and how to systematically pick your future investments in crypto

With so much uncertainty right now it would be a good time to take some time to go over what happened recently and how to invest moving foward. We've seen a peak bubble at around 850 billion total market cap in the first week of January, consolidated down to $750 billion and have now just experienced a 40% correction.

What's happening now and how bad will it get?

First of all you should realize that there is a January Dip that happens every year, when we see a roughly 20-30% decline around mid January. This year its been much more severe though for several additional factors that have compounded on top.
Different theories exist on why this happens (its actually the mirror opposite of the "January Effect" that happens in the US stock market), but the two major theories are:
1) Asian markets pull into fiat because of Asian New Year spending needs
2) People in the US sell in January to defer their capital gains tax liability an extra year
While this cyclic event has lead to a healthy correction in the last few years, this year we got these new factors making more fear as well:
So in essence we got a storm of scary news along with the usual cyclic downturn. Currently I don't see this as being a systematic crash like Mt.Gox was that would lead to a long term bear market because the fundamental ecosystem is still intact, and I suspect that after about a month we should consolidate around a new low. All the exchanges are still operational and liquid, and there is no breakdown in trust nor uncertainty whether you'll be able to cash out. What range the market trades in will all depend how Bitcoin does, right now we've already broken below 10K but I'm seeing a lot of support at around $8000, which is roughly where the long term MA curve settles. We don't know how bad it will get or what the future will bring, but as of right now we shouldn't be in a bear market yet.
What should you do if you recently entered the market?
If you did buy in the last few months at or near ATH, the very worst thing you can do now is sell in panic and lose your principal. You shouldn't have more money in crypto than you can afford to lose, so it shouldn't be a problem to wait. You have to realize that 30% corrections in crypto are relatively common, just last fall we had a 40% flash correction over more China fears. Unless there is a systematic breakdown like we had during Mt.Gox, the market always recovers.
The other worst thing you can do is unload into Tether as your safety net. If there is one thing that could actually cause a long term destruction of trust within the cryptocurrency investment ecosystem, its Tether having a run up on their liabilities and not having enough reserve to cover the leverage. It would not only bring down exchanges but lead to years of litigation and endless media headlines that will scare off everybody from putting fiat in. I don't know when the next Mt.Gox meltdown will occur but I can almost guarantee it will involve Tether. So stay away from it.
What should long term investors do?
For long term holders a good strategy to follow each year is to capture profit each December and swallow the capital gains taxation liability, park a reserve of fiat at Gemini (whose US dollar deposits are FDIC-insured) and simply wait till around late January to early February to re-enter the market at a discount and hold all year until next December. You can keep a small amount in core coins in order to trade around various Q1 opportunities you anticipate. Others may choose to simply do nothing and just keep holding throughout January which is also a perfectly fine strategy. The cyclical correction usually stabilizes toward late January and early February, then we see a rise in March and generally are recovered by end of April. Obviously this decision whether to sell in December to profit on the dip and pay tax liability or to just hold will depend on your individual tax situation. Do your own math sometime in November and follow suit.
Essentially revaluate your positions and trim your position sizes if you don't feel comfortable with the losses.

How to construct your portfolio going forward

Rather than seeing the correction as a disaster see it as a time to start fresh. If you have been FOMO-ing into bad cryptos and losing money now is a time to start a systematic long term approach to investing rather than gambling.
Follow a methodology for evaluating each cryptocurrency
Memes and lambo dreams are fun and all, but I know many of you are investing thousands of dollars into crypto, so its worth it to put some organized thought into it as well. I can't stress enough how important it is to try and logically contruct your investment decisions. If you follow a set methodology, a checklist and template you will be able to do relative comparisons between cryptocurrencies, to force yourself to consider the negatives and alternative scenarios and also sleep comfortably knowing you have a sound basis for your investment decisions (even if they turn out to be wrong).
There is no ideal or "correct" methodology but I can outline mine:
1) Initial information gathering and filtering
Once I identify something that looks like a good potential investment, I first go to the CoinMarketCap page for that symbol and look at the website and blockchain explorer.
  • Critically evaluate the website. This is the first pass of the bullshit detector and you can tell from a lot from just the website whether its a scam. If it uses terms like "Web 4.0" or other nonsensical buzzwords, if its unprofessional and has anonymous teams, stay away. Always look for a roadmap, compare to what was actually delivered so far. Always check the team, try to find them on LinkedIn and what they did in the past.
  • Read the whitepaper or business development plan. You should fully understand how this crypto functions and how its trying to create value. If there is no use case or if the use case does not require or benefit from a blockchain, move on. Look for red flags like massive portions of the float being assigned to the founders of the coin, vague definition of who would use the coin, anonymous teams, promises of large payouts...etc
  • Check the blockchain explorer. How is the token distribution across accounts? Are the big accounts holding or selling? Which account is likely the foundation account, which is the founders account?
  • Read the subreddit and blogs for the cryptocurrency and also evaluate the community. Try to figure out exactly what the potential use cases are and look for sceptical takes. Look at the Github repos, does it look empty or is there plenty of activity?
2) Fill out an Investment Checklist
I have a checklist of questions that I find important and as I'm researching a crypto I save little snippets in Evernote of things that are relevant to answering those questions:
  • What is the problem or transactional inefficiency the coin is trying to solve?
  • What is the Dev Team like? What is their track record? How are they funded, organized?
  • Who is their competition and how big is the market they're targeting? What is the roadmap they created?
  • What current product exists?
  • How does the token/coin actually derive value for the holder? Is there a staking mechanism or is it transactional?
  • What are the weaknesses or problems with this crypto?
3) Create some sort of consistent valuation model/framework, even if its simple
I have a background in finance so I like to do Excel modeling. For those who are interested in that, this article is a great start and also Chris Burniske has a great blog about using Quantity Theory of Money to build an equivalent of a DCF analysis for crypto.
Here is an Excel file example of OMG done using his model. You can download this and play around with it yourself, see how the formulas link and understand the logic.
Once you have a model set up the way you like in Excel you can simply alter it to account for various float oustanding schedule and market items that are unique to your crypto, and then just start plugging in different assumptions. Think about what is the true derivation of value for the coin, is it a "dividend" coin that you stake within a digital economy and collect fees or is it a currency? Use a realistic monetary velocity (around 5-10 for currency and around 1-2 for staking) and for the discount rate use at least 3x the long term return of a diversified equity fund.
The benefit is that this forces you to think about what actually makes this coin valuable to an actual user within the digital economy its participating in and force you to think about the assumptions you are making about the future. Do your assumptions make sense? What would the assumptions have to be to justify its current price? You can create different scenarios in a matrix (optimistic vs. pessimistic) based on different assumptions for risk (discount rate) and implementation (adoption rates).
If you don't understand the above thats perfectly fine, you don't need to get into full modeling or have a financial background. Even a simple model that just tries to derive a valuation through relative terms will put you above most crypto investors. Some simple valuation methods that anyone can do
  • Metcalfe's Law which states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2). So you can compare various currencies based on their market cap and square of active users or traffic.
  • Another easy one is simply looking at the total market for the industry that the coin is supposedly targeting and comparing it to the market cap of the coin. Think of the market cap not only with circulating supply like its shown on CMC but including total supply. For example the total supply for Dentacoin is 1,841,395,638,392, and when multiplied by its price in early January we get a market cap that is actually higher than the entire industry it aims to disrupt: Dentistry.
  • If its meant to be just used as just a currency: Take a look at the circulating supply and look at the amount that is in cold storage or set to be released/burned. Most cryptos are deflationary so think about how the float schedule will change over time and how this will affect price.
Once you have a model you like set up, you can compare cryptos against each other and most importantly it will require that you build a mental framework within your own mind on why somebody would want to own this coin other than to sell it to another greater fool for a higher price. Modeling out a valuation will lead you to think long term and think about the inherent value, rather than price action.
Once you go through this 3-step methodology, you'll have a pretty good confidence level for making your decision and can comfortably sit back and not panic if some temporary short term condition leads to a price decrease. This is how "smart money" does it.
Think about your portfolio allocation
You should think first in broad terms how you allocate between "safe" and "speculative" cryptos.
For new investors its best to keep a substantial portion in what would be considered largecap safe cryptos, primarily BTC, ETH, LTC. I personally consider XMR to be safe as well. A good starting point is to have between 50-70% of your portfolio in these safe cryptocurrencies. As you become more confident and informed you can move your allocation into speculative small caps.
You should also think in terms of segments and how much of your total portfolio is in each segment:
  • Core holdings - BTC, Ethereum, LTC...etc
  • Platform segment - Ethereum, NEO, Ark...etc
  • Privacy segment - Monero, Zcash, PivX..etc
  • Finance/Bank settlement segment - Ripple, Stellar...etc
  • Enterprise Blockchain solutions segment -VeChain, Walton, WABI...etc
  • Promising/Innovative Tech segment - Raiblocks, IOTA, Cardano...etc
You should also think about where we are in the cycle, as now given so much uncertaintly its probably best to stay heavily in core holdings and pick up a few coins within a segment you understand well. If you don't understand how enterprise solutions work or how the value chain is built through corporations, don't invest in the enteprise blockchain solutions segment. If you are a technie who loves the technology behind Cardano or IOTA, invest in that segment.
Think of your "circle of competence"
This is actually a term Buffet came up with, it refers to your body of knowledge that allows you to evaluate an investment. Think about what you know best and consider investing in those type of coins. If you don't know anything about how supply chains functions, how can you competently judge whether VeChain or WaltonChain will achieve adoption?
This where your portfolio allocation also comes into play. You should diversify but really shouldn't be in much more than around 12 cryptos, because you simply don't have enough competency to accurately access the risk across every segment and for every type of crypto you come across. If you had over 20 different cryptos in your portfolio you should probably think about consolidating to a few sectors you understand well.
Continually educate yourself about the technology and markets
If you aren't already doing it: Read a bit each day about cryptocurrencies. There are decent Youtubers that talk about the market side of crypto, just avoid those that hype specific coins and look for more sceptical ones like CryptoInvestor. If you don't understand how the technology works and what the benefits of a blockchain are or how POS/POW works or what a DAG is or how mining actually works, learn first. If you don't care about the technology or find reading about it tedious, you shouldn't invest in this space at all.

Summing it up

I predicted a few days ago that we would have a major correction in 2018 specifically in the altcoins that saw massive gains in Decemebeearly January, and it seems we've already had a pretty big one. I don't think we'll have a complete meltdown like some are predicting, but some more pain may be incoming.
Basically take this time to think about how you can improve your investment style and strategy. Make a commitment to value things rather than chasing FOMO, and take your time to make a decision. Long term investment will grant you much more returns as will a systematic approach.
Take care and have fun investing :)
Edit March 2018: Lol looking back I'm regretting starting the title with "Why we won't have a long term bear market" now, I was more karma whoring with that catchy title than anything. We recovered up to 11K from this post, but then crashed again hard later in February-March because of a slew of reasons from Tether subpeona to unforseen regulatory issues.
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Bitcoin (BTC) Has Seen One Major Rally During Each Block Reward Era

Bitcoin (BTC) Has Seen One Major Rally During Each Block Reward Era

https://preview.redd.it/lf7p0zqyn5d21.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=09a9c48586f96f1dda44b4a1af2d69b8bf57aa4f
https://cryptoiq.co/bitcoin-btc-has-seen-one-major-rally-during-each-block-reward-era/
So far, there have been 3 block reward eras for Bitcoin (BTC). The first era started with the genesis block in early January 2009, and there were 50 Bitcoin per block. The second era began at block 210,000 in late November 2012, and the block reward halved to 25 Bitcoin. The third era, which we are in as of this writing, began at block 420,000 in early July 2016. The block reward is now 12.5 Bitcoin.
When we overlay block reward halving dates on a logarithmic chart of Bitcoin’s price (below), it becomes apparent that there has been one major rally during each block reward era, at least so far. Further, roughly a year before the block halving that begins the era, the major rally of that era begins.

Source: @MoonOverlord on Twitter
As can be seen in the above chart the Bitcoin rally of late 2013 which brought Bitcoin over $1,000 for the first time occurred towards the middle of the 2nd era, and the rally to $20,000 in late 2017 occurred near the middle of the third era.
The fourth block reward era, when block rewards will be slashed to 6.25 Bitcoin, will start at block 630,000, projected to occur in May 2020. If the trend in the above chart continues, Bitcoin would bottom in late Spring or early Summer 2019 and then rally for one to two years to new all-time highs.
There may be some causation to this correlation. We expect that block halvings would help increase Bitcoin’s price since the rate of creation from mining is slashed. That means the Bitcoin inflation rate is halved. In the presence of increasing demand, the halving of the inflow of new Bitcoin would increase its price.
That said, there are many other factors that influence Bitcoin’s market cycles, making it perhaps overly simplistic to say that Bitcoin’s past two market cycles have been