Meditations on Cypherpunk Nightmares

Published by Michael Goldstein on December 25, 2014

Crypto Anarchy Spreads

In his classic “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” Timothy C. May offered a vision of the future that offers society plenty of challenges to grapple with, thanks to public-key cryptography. A particularly interesting challenge is the anonymous information market:

The State will of course try to slow or halt the spread of this technology, citing national security concerns, use of the technology by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of societal disintegration. Many of these concerns will be valid; crypto anarchy will allow national secrets to be trade freely and will allow illicit and stolen materials to be traded. An anonymous computerized market will even make possible abhorrent markets for assassinations and extortion. Various criminal and foreign elements will be active users of CryptoNet. But this will not halt the spread of crypto anarchy.

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Debating Bitcoin on ABC Late Night Live, with Phillip Adams and Andreas Antonopoulos

Yanis Varoufakis

Bitcoin Image - Vires in NumerisIn this lively debate, on ABC Radio National’s excellent Late Night Live (with Phillip Adams in the chair), we discuss what makes Bitcoin a fascinating technology, whether it is a genuine currency, its parallels with the Gold Standard and what I have called previously the dangerous fantasy of apolitical money.

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What is the blockchain hard fork “missile crisis?”

Published on February 6, 2015 by Tim Swanson

Over the past couple of months there has been a number of discussions revolving around increasing the Bitcoin block size from its current 1 MB limit to 20 MB. One such plan is Gavin Andresen’s proposal (this is not to single him out as there are others with similar proposals). The code change itself is trivial, as it can simply be changed to any arbitrary number in a couple of keystrokes (for instance, see Vitalik Buterin discuss this at 14:15).

However, getting the majority of validating nodes, miners and the rest of the ecosystem on-board in a timely fashion is a very non-trivial matter.

Recall that, as illustrated by Organ of Corti and Dave Hudson, the average block size has increased over the past year to the point where we will likely max out at around 3 transactions per second with the current 1 MB limit. Since many of the investors, developers and entrepreneurs in this space would like to make Bitcoin ‘competitive’ to other payment platforms such as Visa, according to their view, this number eventually needs to increase by several orders of magnitude.

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Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Satoshi Nakamoto set in motion the unraveling of the nation state and the end of central banking … two closely related institutions that have directed history since history has been recorded. The creator of bitcoin is one of the greatest disruptors in modern history, and this is reason enough not to want an identity attached to the source code.

So who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Information on their identity remains unknown. Bitcoin has since evolved without their input, put forth for anyone willing to experiment with the technology. Satoshi’s last call was to deemphasize his unknown identity.

When Satoshi had the basic foundation of the bitcoin client built, he transitioned the responsibilities to a group of early enthusiasts and withdrew back into the shadowy depths of anonymity. Nothing tangible has been heard since, although they’re widely regarded to still be alive and keeping a pulse on bitcoin developments.

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Bitcoin just getting started and its potential is “almost unimaginably broad”

Bitcoin is an “exciting new technology” but Bill Gates doesn’t think it’s a proper tool for the world’s roughly 2.5 billion ‘unbanked’ poor. “We don’t use bitcoin specifically for two reasons,” Gates said Wednesday during a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session. “One is that the poor shouldn’t have a currency whose value goes up and down a lot compared to their local currency. Second is that if a mistake is made in who you pay then you need to be able to reverse it so anonymity wouldn’t work.”

Those are “valid criticisms,” according to Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna, but should not detract from bitcoin’s huge potential to fundamentally change the world of finance.

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To Ƀ or not to ฿

Published by

Bitcoin needs better design, part one.

Let’s be honest, 2014 wasn’t a great year for Bitcoin. Mt. Gox was hacked, Butterfly Labs has a pending class action lawsuit, and bitcoin’s price dropped 67%. Not only that, 2015 kicked off with Bitstamp having 19,000 coins stolen. Over the last six years, bitcoin has been associated with scams, hacks, black market trading, and white collar crime in general. This bad press does not bode well for the future of bitcoin.

Trust is wavering in the community, for good reason. And even if a new person shows interest in Bitcoin, it’s harder for them to justify the risk. The resources to learn aren’t easily accessible and the reputation is questionable at best. They don’t know who they can trust or what to believe. In order for bitcoin to survive, we need the public to understand, trust, and participate.

Since inception, Bitcoin wasn’t created as a user friendly concept. Satoshi created a minimal viable product, more than a scalable technology. As a result, the outward facing visual assets for many of the related projects are anything but appealing or easy to use. Not to mention the overall feeling from the community is exclusionary for anyone not in the know. Companies like Coinbase, BitPay, and Chain are paving the way for more transparent, intuitive, and user focused products.

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Block Chain 2.0: The Renaissance of Money

Published by Kariappa Bheemaiah on 01.06.15

From 2008 to date, no other technology has been the subject of such fervent debate. Irrespective of your opinion, the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies cannot be ignored. Today, there are a number of billion dollar businesses that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. These include Dell, Reddit, Expedia, PayPal, and most recently, Microsoft. So for the uninitiated who have not yet grasped what Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are, you ought to catch up. This is not something that should be ignored and there is a vast array of resources that explain the concept. In this post I’ll try to make sense of the Block Chain Protocol and the emerging ecosystem that is growing on it.

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How The Cryptoconomy Will Be Created

Published on 1/20/2015 by William Mougayar

What Bitcoin started is metamorphosing into something bigger: a “crypto-tech” driven economy with its own value creation, not unlike the Web’s own economy. Welcome to the cryptoconomy. Contrary to what appears today, this cryptoconomy will not be born by attempting to take over the current financial services system, nor by waiting for consumers to transfer fiat money into cryptocurrency wallets; rather it will emerge by creating its own wealth, via new types of services and businesses that extend beyond money transactions.

The cryptoconomy is a serious event. It is the next phase of the Internet’s evolution – the decentralization era. Its genesis is Bitcoin’s backbone technology: the “blockchain”, a new term with applicability outside of just Bitcoin. The blockchain is like a new type of database ledger whose data is stored via a cryptographically secured, semi-public, semi-private way. That kind of openness ushers a path for point-to-point value exchanges, without trusted intermediaries or central parties.

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Is Bitcoin Truly Decentralized? Yes – and Here Is Why It’s Important


Those within the industry understand that one of Bitcoin’s most important features—and perhaps its true core innovation—is its decentralized structure. Bitcoin has no central control: no central repository of information, no central management, and, crucially, no central point of failure. And yet, most of the actual services and businesses built within the Bitcoin ecosystem are centralized. They are run by specific people, in specific locations, with specific computer systems, and they are susceptible to specific legal entanglements. This situation creates tension and certainly a little irony—we have a decentralized technology, yet most things existing upon it are centralized.

To a casual observer, and even more to a cynical one, it may appear that the claim of Bitcoin’s decentralization is a myth—an overstated feature conjured up as a bullet point in Bitcoin’s marketing brochure, but suspiciously not apparent in the actual product.

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How Bitcoin Compares to Fiat Currency’s House of Cards


Double standards are like mosquitoes to me: after hearing their buzz for a while, I want nothing more than to shine a flashlight their way and swat them down mercilessly. One such double standard is the harsh way in which economists and commentators criticize Bitcoin technology, while at the same time taking for granted the financial system that they live under every day.

Yes, the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is very volatile still, and the ecosystem that develops around them has been a Wild West so far. But in the six years of Bitcoin’s existence, the underlying technology—decentralized and open source in nature—has proven itself to be extremely robust and constantly evolving. Bad computer code is replaced over time by good code (or at least by a stable workaround), and likewise, bad companies are forced by the market to make way for better ones. Creative destruction rules the cloud.

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The Math Behind Bitcoin

By Eric Rykwalder

One reason Bitcoin can be confusing for beginners is that the technology behind it redefines the concept of ownership.

To own something in the traditional sense, be it a house or a sum of money, means either having personal custody of the thing or granting custody to a trusted entity such as a bank.

With Bitcoin the case is different. Bitcoins themselves are not stored either centrally or locally and so no one entity is their custodian. They exist as records on a distributed ledger called the block chain, copies of which are shared by a volunteer network of connected computers. To “own” a bitcoin simply means having the ability to transfer control of it to someone else by creating a record of the transfer in the block chain. What grants this ability? Access to an ECDSA private and public key pair. What does that mean and how does that secure Bitcoin?

Let’s have a look under the hood.

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Bitcoin: Market Money’s Last Stand


“Without Drugs, What’s the Point of Bitcoin?” wonders the Atlantic. I answer author of the piece, Matt Schiavenza, with two words: central banks. It’s no coincidence “Satoshi Nakamoto” created Bitcoin in 2009 as the financial world dangled on a precipice of the central bankers’ making.

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Long Term Update

Bitcoin Trading Signals

I waited a while before publishing a new update after the crash to $165 to see if market would have stabilized over $ 200. Now XBT/USD do seem to have a bullish bias and it has traded up from oversold levels but there is too much risk to go against the short term bearish trend. Despite this risk i decided to open a short-term trade (2 long positions opened at $230 and $170) that i’ll probably close at $270 where i’ve the first decent resistance level.
Before thinking about any bullish longterm safe bets i need to see my long term moving average turning bullish again, at the moment it is at around $300 and firmly bearish.

In the below attached chart I have highlighted the important levels for this year that i’ve spoken about in the previous update,these levels are still valid and i think that any visit below $220 and above $130 represent a…

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Gregory Maxwell: How I Went From Bitcoin Skeptic to Core Developer

Published on December 29, 2014 by Daniel Cawrey

Bitcoin holds a lot of promise as a decentralized currency, but there are many technical issues to be tackled as adoption increases. No one knows this better than core developer Gregory Maxwell, who has been contributing to bitcoin’s software since the early days. A long time open-source and cryptography advocate, Maxwell was an early contributor to Wikipedia and worked for the Mozilla Foundation. He is now a co-founder of Blockstream, which has raised $21m with ambitious plans to push forward the development of bitcoin to better secure its future. Maxwell recently talked to CoinDesk at the Future of Money Summit about his early disdain for the idea of digital currency, how he plans to create more core developers and the technical issues Blockstream intends to take on.

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Afghan Girls learning Bitcoin technology and Social media in Herat, Afghanistan

Posted on 10 January 2015 by

Its winter in Afghanistan but it seems to be colder than anywhere else in the world. Not just the weather since the coldness of the weather could be managed somehow. It is neither raining nor snowing but there are a lot of other things which people suffer from. The father is not sure if he is going to come back home alive in the evening, the mother is worried about her children the whole day and children are worried about their future. This is AFGHANISTAN a land which has been accursed and darkness has all covered it.

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Bitcoin as a Store of Value, Unit of Account, and Medium of Exchange

Published by Daniel Krawisz on January 12, 2015

Some recent mumblings on CoinDesk on the idea of a cryptocurrency whose value is stabilized with a built-in prescription that manages it supply provoked me to write this article on why this is a vain dream. There is a common fallacy which says that price stability is required in order for a currency to function as a form of money. The way people use terms like store of value and unit of account presumes stability. However, I will show that in an unstable world, a stable currency is counterproductive and furthermore that serves the traditional purposes of money, to the extent that they can be meaningfully defined in unstable conditions.

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Block Chain 2.0: The Renaissance of Money

Published by Kariappa Bheemaiah on 01.06.15

From 2008 to date, no other technology has been the subject of such fervent debate. Irrespective of your opinion, the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies cannot be ignored. Today, there are a number of billion dollar businesses that accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. These include Dell, Reddit, Expedia, PayPal, and most recently, Microsoft. So for the uninitiated who have not yet grasped what Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are, you ought to catch up. This is not something that should be ignored and there is a vast array of resources that explain the concept. In this post I’ll try to make sense of the Block Chain Protocol and the emerging ecosystem that is growing on it.

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The magic of mining

Published on Jan 10th 2015 by The Economist

Deep down in the bitcoin mine

A HUGE aircraft hangar in Boden, in northern Sweden, big enough to hold a dozen helicopters, is now packed with computers—45,000 of them, each with a whirring fan to stop it overheating. The machines (pictured) work ceaselessly, trying to solve fiendishly difficult mathematical puzzles. The solutions are, in themselves, unimportant. Yet by solving the puzzles, the computers earn their owners a reward in bitcoin, a digital “crypto-currency”.

The machines in Boden are in competition with hundreds of thousands more worldwide. The first to solve a puzzle earns 25 bitcoins, currently worth $6,900. Since bitcoin’s invention in 2008 by a mysterious figure calling himself Satoshi Nakamoto, people have increasingly traded it for real money, albeit at a wildly varying price (see chart). Although there are only $3.8 billion-worth of them in circulation—about twice the value of Paraguayan guaraníes in use—bitcoins have three useful qualities in a currency: they are hard to earn, limited in supply and easy to verify.

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Roger Ver: Why Rulers Should Fear Bitcoin

on January 8, 2015

Some might have thought him crazy when Roger Ver renounced his US citizenship on ethical grounds. But, for the bitcoin investor and evangelist, borders are imaginary lines, and people should be able to move to another country without having to answer to anyone.

The former CEO of, the first mainstream company to accept bitcoin as payment, was one of the early champions of bitcoin back in 2011, when it was worth only US$1. Tokyo-based Ver put his money where his mouth was, subsequently investing in the Bitcoin Foundation, Coinlab, Ripple, and Panama’s Coinapult.

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