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Lightning Network Will Likely Fail Due To Several Possible Reasons

ECONOMIC CASE IS ABSENT FOR MANY TRANSACTIONS
The median Bitcoin (BTC) fee is $14.41 currently. This has gone parabolic in the past few days. So, let’s use a number before this parabolic rise, which was $3.80. Using this number, opening and closing a Lightning Network (LN) channel means that you will pay $7.60 in fees. Most likely, the fee will be much higher for two reasons:
  1. BTC fees have been trending higher all year and will be higher by the time LN is ready
  2. When you are in the shoe store or restaurant, you will likely pay a higher fee so that you are not waiting there for one or more hours for confirmation.
Let’s say hypothetically that Visa or Paypal charges $1 per transaction. This means that Alice and Carol would need to do 8 or more LN transactions, otherwise it would be cheaper to use Visa or Paypal.
But it gets worse. Visa doesn’t charge the customer. To you, Visa and Cash are free. You would have no economic incentive to use BTC and LN.
Also, Visa does not charge $1 per transaction. They charge 3%, which is 60 cents on a $20 widget. Let’s say that merchants discount their widgets by 60 cents for non-Visa purchases, to pass the savings onto the customer. Nevertheless, no one is going to use BTC and LN to buy the widget unless 2 things happen:
  1. they buy more than 13 widgets from the same store ($7.60 divided by 60 cents)
  2. they know ahead of time that they will do this with that same store
This means that if you’re traveling, or want to tip content producers on the internet, you will likely not use BTC and LN. If you and your spouse want to try out a new restaurant, you will not use BTC and LN. If you buy shoes, you will not use BTC and LN.
ROAD BLOCKS FROM INSUFFICIENT FUNDS
Some argue that you do not need to open a channel to everyone, if there’s a route to that merchant. This article explains that if LN is a like a distributed mesh network, then another problem exists:
"third party needs to possess the necessary capital to process the transaction. If Alice and Bob do not have an open channel, and Alice wants to send Bob .5 BTC, they'll both need to be connected to a third party (or a series of 3rd parties). Say if Charles (the third party) only possesses .4 BTC in his respective payment channels with the other users, the transaction will not be able to go through that route. The longer the route, the more likely that a third party does not possess the requisite amount of BTC, thereby making it a useless connection.”
CENTRALIZATION
According to this visualization of LN on testnet, LN will be centralized around major hubs. It might be even more centralized than this visualization if the following are true:
  1. Users will want to connect to large hubs to minimize the number of times they need to open/close channels, which incur fees
  2. LN’s security and usability relies on 100% uptime of relaying parties
  3. Only large hubs with a lot of liquidity will be able to make money
  4. Hubs or intermediary nodes will need to be licensed as money transmitters, centralizing LN to exchanges and banks as large hubs
What will the impact be on censorship-resistance, trust-less and permission-less?
NEED TO BE LICENSED AS MONEY TRANSMITTER
Advocates for LN seem to talk a lot about the technology, but ignore the legalities.
FinCEN defines money transmitters. LN hubs and intermediary nodes seem to satisfy this definition.
Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies
“…applicability of the regulations … to persons creating, obtaining, distributing, exchanging, accepting, or transmitting virtual currencies.”
“…an administrator or exchanger is an MSB under FinCEN's regulations, specifically, a money transmitter…”
"An administrator or exchanger that (1) accepts and transmits a convertible virtual currency or (2) buys or sells convertible virtual currency for any reason is a money transmitter under FinCEN's regulations…”
"FinCEN's regulations define the term "money transmitter" as a person that provides money transmission services, or any other person engaged in the transfer of funds. The term "money transmission services" means "the acceptance of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency from one person and the transmission of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency to another location or person by any means.””
"The definition of a money transmitter does not differentiate between real currencies and convertible virtual currencies.”
FinCEN’s regulations for IVTS:
"An “informal value transfer system” refers to any system, mechanism, or network of people that receives money for the purpose of making the funds or an equivalent value payable to a third party in another geographic location, whether or not in the same form.”
“…IVTS… must comply with all BSA registration, recordkeeping, reporting and AML program requirements.
“Money transmitting” occurs when funds are transferred on behalf of the public by any and all means including, but not limited to, transfers within the United States or to locations abroad…regulations require all money transmitting businesses…to register with FinCEN."
Mike Caldwell used to accept and mail bitcoins. Customers sent him bitcoins and he mailed physical bitcoins back or to a designated recipient. There is no exchange from one type of currency to another. FinCEN told him that he needed to be licensed as money transmitter, after which Caldwell stopped mailing out bitcoins.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST NEED FOR LICENSING
Some have argued that LN does not transfer BTC until the channel is closed on the blockchain. This is not a defence, since channels will close on the blockchain.
Some have argued that LN nodes do not take ownership of funds. Is this really true? Is this argument based on a technicality or hoping for a loophole? It seems intuitive that a good prosecutor can easily defeat this argument. Even if this loophole exists, can we count on the government to never close this loophole?
So, will LN hubs and intermediary nodes need to be licensed as money transmitters? If so, then Bob, who is the intermediary between Alice and Carol, will need a license. But Bob won’t have the money nor qualifications. Money transmitters need to pay $25,000 to $1 million, maintain capital levels and are subject to KYC/AML regulations1. In which case, LN will have mainly large hubs, run by financial firms, such as banks and exchanges.
Will the banks want this? Likely. Will they lobby the government to get it? Likely.
Some may be wondering about miners. FinCEN has declared that miners are not money transmitters:
https://coincenter.org/entry/aml-kyc-tokens :
"Subsequent administrative rulings clarified several remaining ambiguities: miners are not money transmitters…"
FinCEN Declares Bitcoin Miners, Investors Aren't Money Transmitters
Some argue that LN nodes will go through Tor and be anonymous. For this to work, will all of the nodes connecting to it, need to run Tor? If so, then how likely will this happen and will all of these people need to run Tor on every device (laptop, phone and tablet)? Furthermore, everyone of these people will be need to be sufficiently tech savvy to download, install and set up Tor. Will the common person be able to do this? Also, will law-abiding nodes, such as retailers or banks, risk their own livelihood by connecting to an illegal node? What is the likelihood of this?
Some argue that unlicensed LN hubs can run in foreign countries. Not true. According to FinCEN: "“Money transmitting” occurs when funds are…transfers within the United States or to locations abroad…” Also, foreign companies are not immune from the laws of other countries which have extradition agreements. The U.S. government has sued European banks over the LIBOR scandal. The U.S. government has charged foreign banks for money laundering and two of those banks pleaded guilty. Furthermore, most countries have similar laws. It is no coincidence that European exchanges comply with KYC/AML.
Will licensed, regulated LN hubs connect to LN nodes behind Tor or in foreign countries? Unlikely. Will Amazon or eBay connect to LN nodes behind Tor or in foreign countries? Unlikely. If you want to buy from Amazon, you’ll likely need to register yourself at a licensed, regulated LN hub, which means you’ll need to provide your identification photo.
Say goodbye to a censorship-resistant, trust-less and permission-less coin.
For a preview of what LN will probably look like, look at Coinbase or other large exchanges. It’s a centralized, regulated and censored hub. Coinbase allows users to send to each other off-chain. Coinbase provides user data to the IRS and disallows users from certain countries to sell BTC. You need to trust that no rogue employee in the exchange will steal your funds, or that a bank will not confiscate your funds as banks did in Cyprus. What if the government provides a list of users, who are late with their tax returns, to Coinbase and tells Coinbase to block those users from making transactions? You need Coinbase’s permission.
This would be the antithesis of why Satoshi created Bitcoin.
NEED TO REPORT TO IRS
The IRS has a definition for “third party settlement organization” and these need to report transactions to the IRS.
Though we do not know for sure yet, it can be argued that LN hubs satisfies this definition. If this is the case, who will be willing to be LN hubs, other than banks and exchanges?
To read about the discussion, go to:
Lightning Hubs Will Need To Report To IRS
COMPLEXITY
All cryptocurrencies are complicated for the common person. You may be tech savvy enough to find a secure wallet and use cryptocurrencies, but the masses are not as tech savvy as you.
LN adds a very complicated and convoluted layer to cryptocurrencies. It is bound to have bugs for years to come and it’s complicated to use. This article provides a good explanation of the complexity. Just from the screenshot of the app, the user now needs to learn additional terms and commands:
“On Chain”
“In Channels”
“In Limbo”
“Your Channel”
“Create Channel”
“CID”
“OPENING”
“PENDING-OPEN”
“Available to Receive”
“PENDING-FORCE-CLOSE”
There are also other things to learn, such as how funds need to be allocated to channels and time locks. Compare this to using your current wallet.
Recently, LN became even more complicated and convoluted. It needs a 3rd layer as well:
Scaling Bitcoin Might Require A Whole 'Nother Layer
How many additional steps does a user need to learn?
ALL COINS PLANNING OFF-CHAIN SCALING ARE AT RISK
Bitcoin Segwit, Litecoin, Vertcoin and possibly others (including Bitcoin Cash) are planning to implement LN or layer 2 scaling. Ethereum is planning to use Raiden Network, which is very similar to LN. If the above is true about LN, then the scaling roadmap for these coins is questionable at best, nullified at worst.
BLOCKSTREAM'S GAME PLAN IS ON TRACK
Blockstream employs several of the lead Bitcoin Core developers. Blockstream has said repeatedly that they want high fees. Quotes and source links can be found here.
Why is Blockstream so adamant on small blocks, high fees and off-chain scaling?
Small blocks, high fees and slow confirmations create demand for off-chain solutions, such as Liquid. Blockstream sells Liquid to exchanges to move Bitcoin quickly on a side-chain. LN will create liquidity hubs, such as exchanges, which will generate traffic and fees for exchanges. With this, exchanges will have a higher need for Liquid. This will be the main way that Blockstream will generate revenue for its investors, who invested $76 million. Otherwise, they can go bankrupt and die.
One of Blockstream’s investors/owners is AXA. AXA’s CEO and Chairman until 2016 was also the Chairman of Bilderberg Group. The Bilderberg Group is run by bankers and politicians (former prime ministers and nation leaders). According to GlobalResearch, Bilderberg Group wants “a One World Government (World Company) with a single, global marketplace…and financially regulated by one ‘World (Central) Bank’ using one global currency.” LN helps Bilderberg Group get one step closer to its goal.
Luke-Jr is one of the lead BTC developers in Core/Blockstream. Regulation of BTC is in-line with his beliefs. He is a big believer in the government, as he believes that the government should tax you and the “State has authority from God”. In fact, he has other radical beliefs as well:
So, having only large, regulated LN hubs is not a failure for Blockstream/Bilderberg. It’s a success. The title of this article should be changed to: "Lightning Will Fail Or Succeed, Depending On Whether You Are Satoshi Or Blockstream/Bilderberg".
SIGNIFICANT ADVANCEMENTS WITH ON-CHAIN SCALING
Meanwhile, some coins such as Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash are pushing ahead with on-chain scaling. Both are looking at Sharding.
Visa handles 2,000 transactions per second on average. Blockstream said that on-chain scaling will not work. The development teams for Bitcoin Cash have shown significant on-chain scaling:
1 GB block running on testnet demonstrates over 10,000 transactions per second:
"we are not going from 1MB to 1GB tomorrow — The purpose of going so high is to prove that it can be done — no second layer is necessary”
"Preliminary Findings Demonstrate Over 10,000 Transactions Per Second"
"Gigablock testnet initiative will likely be implemented first on Bitcoin Cash”
Peter Rizun, Andrew Stone -- 1 GB Block Tests -- Scaling Bitcoin Stanford At 13:55 in this video, Rizun said that he thinks that Visa level can be achieved with a 4-core/16GB machine with better implementations (modifying the code to take advantage of parallelization.)
Bitcoin Cash plans to fix malleability and enable layer 2 solutions:
The Future of “Bitcoin Cash:” An Interview with Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet:
"fixing malleability and enabling Layer 2 solutions will happen”
However, it is questionable if layer 2 will work or is needed.
GOING FORWARD
The four year scaling debate and in-fighting is what caused small blockers (Blockstream) to fork Bitcoin by adding Segwit and big blockers to fork Bitcoin into Bitcoin Cash. Read:
Bitcoin Divorce - Bitcoin [Legacy] vs Bitcoin Cash Explained
It will be interesting to see how they scale going forward.
Scaling will be instrumental in getting network effect and to be widely adopted as a currency. Whichever Coin Has The Most Network Effect Will Take All (Or Most) (BTC has little network effect, and it's shrinking.)
The ability to scale will be key to the long term success of any coin.
submitted by curt00 to btc [link] [comments]

Taking a huge risk while young with no kids. If it fails, FIRE target through traditional work in 6-8 years. If it works, FIRE before 30. Anyone else with a similar story, like starting a business or something?

Hey ladies and gents, they say goals are best acomplished if you tell others, so here is my story, and my plan. This is going to be a wildly unpopular opinion, but rest assured I researched my decisions carefully, have the traditional FIRE plan in place should my gamble fail, and it will not impact any children. The FIRE plan is pretty general, so I'll spare you the details. Ill be saving my usual 60% of each paycheck, and I'll keep enjoying inexpensive hobbies, like mountain biking, hiking, and camping. The question is, how to invest the savings for the best return? The method I decided on will seem very controvertial, so let me be clear, I know it may not work. Actually, it likely will not work the way I plan out. But the possible benefits are an extra 10 years of life without waking up to an alarm clock.
Background
I am young, as in 25. I am a family medicine intern. My wife is 24, a resident optometrist. We both grew up almost poor. Like, "always had a roof, but in a cramped house; always got a few christmas presents, but had parents that could barely get to the next paycheck, and sometimes racked up credit card debt to do so" kind of poor. We also graduated from high school into the teeth of the Great Recession. Between that and our combined 15 years of college/professional school, we are experts at surviving off nothing and delaying purchases until we absolutely need them. We do not want kids, so we do not have to be as financially secure as a normal family. We are doing well now, with combined incomes of $5000 and $2000 per month for myself and my wife, respectively. This is more money flowing in than we have ever had. And we are so frugal, we usually only spend 30-40% of each paycheck.
*Plus, I was a vandweller for a while, so I know have a Plan C as well*
So, since we are so young, and yet toughened, we can take risks now and still have a decent length working life to make up for the likely failure of those risks. However, should the risk pay off, we could possibly FatFIRE within 1-2 years. I'd say the chance of that success is... maybe 1 in 3. It was good enough for Sean Connery and the Red October. And to have some time in our 20s back from the hellhole that is professional education... oh my god so worth the risk.
So, in the hopes that people will recognize we did not make this decision lightly, and we are simply trying to go out of the box, even the normal FIRE box, to attain freedom. Here is our story, and here is our plan.
Learning how to invest
Back in 2016, I had read some of the MMM blogs, and a few thousand dollars saved up. I was looking for anything that had decent returns, and a friend showed me how the Dow had tanked on news about China, and how he wished he had cash when the price was lower. At the time, I questioned the wisdom of buying when the market was going down. He looked at me, smiled, and told me it was just on sale.
So I got a Wealthfront account and put a few hundred in at 90% stocks. The market recovered within months and I had a pretty good return. I then took some funds out. I tried timing things using the "FeaGreed Index" and Warren Buffets "be greedy when others are fearful" advice. I wasn't a day trader, more of a week trader. Then the stock market went down a little, and I bought more. I was just super lucky, but I thought I had a good stomach for risk at that point.
Finding... (Dare I say it...) cryptocurrencies
Here I may lose some of you, if you hate the idea of cryptocurrencys, and I respect your opinion. They are almost all speculation at this point, so I don't blame you.
Anyway, I went looking for other, more volatile markets to apply Buffets advice after stocks flattened out in 2016. My sister's boyfriend told me he played with cryptocurrencies. So, I took some money off Wealthfront and I dabbled a bit on Gemini with Bitcoin ($600 at the time) and Ethereum ($12 at the time). I did my best to sell high, and buy in when FUD went around. I had put in maybe 1/2 of all my savings at that point. In total, my savings was only $15k then, but that was literally my life savings. Most was in Ethereum since it was cheaper. I started researching Bitcoin and Ethereum, and I liked Eth better.
Naturally, Ethereum took a 30% dump to $9, and I realized that "volatile" meant down as well as up. Feeling a little stung, I pulled most of my remaining funds from Ethereum to even out my stock gains to avoid capital gains tax headaches (since I had no idea how any of that worked back then either.)
Equally naturally, Ethereum then went off the rails to $40 before I could get my cash back in. The FOMO was strong, and I'm still kicking myself for missing that huge first leap. Luckily, it went from $40 to $400 in the span of a year. I had gone from $15k to $150k. I was in vapor lock for most of 2017 over this. I had never built up so much, so fast, and especially as it went higher in Autumn. At that point, I decided to pull from Ethereum and diversify in the cryptos, thinking the other shoe must be about to drop.
XRP and the New Years 2018 Ripple Pump
My sister's boyfriend again gave me some advice. He casually mentioned Ripple might be picked up by some big companies. My first thought was, "What the heck is a Ripple?" So I did some digging, and managed to get on the Kraken exchange, and glitched my way to a few hundred thousand XRP, while saving some of my precious Ethereum. Then XRP had that massive speculative pump, and I suddenly had over a 7-figure net worth within weeks. I was giddy. Then the market slumped. No big deal, I told myself. Then XRP took an 80% dump. *80. FREAKING. PERCENT.*
I lost over $800,000 on paper from the high. I consoled myself on still having a mid 6-figure net worth, even to this day, but that didn't help much. As to why I did not withdraw at the peak, it was because I was simply astonished, a bit greedy, and I had no idea how such massive capital gains would impact my taxes, since they would be short term gains. At the time, I remember deciding not to decide and just roll with it. I knew I was young enough to deal with the volatility. So Im still holding on, even as the cryptocurrency market stumbles along.
The Gamble
Thank you for reading along this far. Before going any further, allow me to clarify that I don't want to sound like a gambler who can make his losses back with "just one more good hand..." which this will certainly sound like. My calculated risk is this: We will pour every extra cent that we can into XRP until we are 30 or have $6-8 million, whichever comes first. We would never do any leverage trades, as buying on margin is as stupid as essentially burning money in such volatile markets. If XRP has not taken off by the time we are 30, we will re-evaluate it against other cryptos with use-cases or stocks. Meanwhile, we will remain as frugal as we have always been, and continue to save at least 60% of each paycheck. The idea is this: plenty of people discover the FIRE movement in their 30s, after having terrible financial habits and no savings. If those people can FIRE in a few years, we would be able to do so as well if the Crypto market collapses. Its been around since 2009, so I bet it will be around at least another decade.
The reasoning
There is a finance quote that goes something like, "diversification protects, concentration grows," and right now we need our funds to grow, quickly, to reach FIRE. I have researched Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and XRP. I chose XRP because it serves a very useful purpose already. Ethereum does as well, but currently mostly in theory. I agree with MMM on Bitcoin, in that it is a "greater fool" game. Bitcoin is also the first. So was MySpace.
Anyway, XRP could easily become highly prized by banks for global money transfers, and in providing an actual service, behaves more as a "natural resource" than a security. And it is wise to buy natural resources before the demand grows for it. Imagine buying land in West Texas before the automobile was invented.
Also, while I hate to depend on speculation, rampant speculation made me a momentary-millionaire on paper over the course of weeks earlier this year. Even if having a good use-case isn't enough, I bet the speculators will return to the cryptosphere within the next year because it could be very useful. Call that my "Hail-Mary."
Discussion on Ripple and XRP, and why most people hate it. Skip if you don't want the technical talk
So there are currently a lot of risks. XRP could be ruled a security of the Ripple Company, and it would not be listed on certain exchanges. XRP could be abandoned by Ripple. XRP could grow more slowly than Ethereum, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, or the myriad of other cryptocurrencies like EOS, Litecoin, or Cardano. Additionally, XRP uses a Ledger protocol, which is different from the Proof of Work "mining" required for Bitcoin or Ethereum. So it may technically not actually be a real cryptocurrency in the traditional sense. This makes it understandable why so many people do not like it, since they don't understand it compared to what they're used to. That doesn't mean it can't have value.
I have an answer to those concerns listed above. Ripple is doing its best to conform to SEC rules, and wants to be regulated as a currency. XRP likely won't be ruled a security, even though Ripple is selling the technology to utilize them. Currently XRP and its ledger system operate independently from Ripple, and can scale to demand, using tiny fees taken from each transaction. As far as growth, XRP does tend to lag, however, last time Bitcoin was $6k, XRP was $0.20. Now Bitcoin is $6k, and XRP is $0.45. I'll take 100% growth any day. And with some nudging from the Ripple Company, I think XRP is most likely to increase in value, and stay increased, where something else more popular may get pumped faster, then quickly dumped. That happened to XRP already, so I like to think it "got it out of it's system."
To digress a moment on the security/currency/natural resource thing, imagine XRP as a lump of iron. Now imagine you're in the bronze age. Ripple found and mined the iron, and had a lot of it. It was found to be valuable, so Ripple had to carefully manage how it interacts with the Iron supply. Now the lumps are being released by an escrow, so Ripple doesn't control such a large suppy any more. (Ripple is also decentralizing their control of the XRP ledger, with more 3rd party nodes coming online.) So, these lumps of iron are sitting there, and Ripple had an idea. Rather than use horses to carry sacks of gold, they could build a rail system out of the iron. Ripple would control the rail system. The iron could be made into mine carts. So, Ripple doesn't control the carts, just the rails, and so doesn't have to have the carts regulated as portions of the company. Kingdoms can easily transfer their gold to other kingdoms on the rails in the carts that they own. Buy the iron, and you can move value with it. That inherently gives value to the iron, since there is a finite supply. The cool thing is though, what else can iron be used for besides carts? I don't know, but someone like Jeff Bezos might.
Historical Comparison
Jeff Bezos came up with a book sales program. He focused it, got really good at it, and customers loved it. It became super popular, then it branched out and is involved in nearly everything. Anyone who invested in early Amazon is extremely wealthy.
Ripple the Company is getting really good at one thing, global payments. And they may be decentralizing, but Ripple can still nudge XRPs future. In the future, Ripple will certainly find other uses for their programs and for the global XRP supply. For example, imagine if it became the standard Xbox Live or PS4 Online token. Good golly miss molly, everyone and their grandmother would be trying to buy them.
So, with so many unknowns, XRP is unpopular now, and thus cheap. But IF it is ruled not a security, and IF it is used in global remittance markets, and IF the Ripple developers don't get stolen away by other blockchain teams, and IF another coin doesn't come out and do XRPs job better... then this might be a very dirty, balled up, golden ticket. We shall see. If you have questions, please comment, and I will try to better explain what I have found in my research.
Recap
So, being young and able to stomach some epic risks, (really, does the stock market count as risky if everyone intends to be able to have a 4% SWR after inflation?) I am going to put all my eggs in one basket. My life savings in XRP. At least til Im 30. If the gamble fails, I work 8 years as a frugal physician and FIRE before Im 40. If XRP (and a few Eth for good luck) go crazy, I may FIRE before 30. That extra 10 years is, like Tom Hanks says in Joe vs The Volcano, "gold in my hand."
Since there are a lot of ways to get to FIRE, please let me know if anyone else is trying the "eggs in one basket, concentrate wealth to grow" strategy. Or if you took a similarly huge risk that worked out, what is your story?
***I would love to answer any questions, but please also do your own research, and only invest what you can afford to lose. We have income, so we can afford to lose a good chunk of our life savings. We watched our parents survive that in 2009.
submitted by TiredOfRatRacing to financialindependence [link] [comments]

Lightning Network Will Likely Fail Due To Several Possible Reasons

ECONOMIC CASE IS ABSENT FOR MANY TRANSACTIONS
The median Bitcoin (BTC) fee is $14.41 currently. This has gone parabolic in the past few days. So, let’s use a number before this parabolic rise, which was $3.80. Using this number, opening and closing a Lightning Network (LN) channel means that you will pay $7.60 in fees. Most likely, the fee will be much higher for two reasons:
  1. BTC fees have been trending higher all year and will be higher by the time LN is ready
  2. When you are in the shoe store or restaurant, you will likely pay a higher fee so that you are not waiting there for one or more hours for confirmation.
Let’s say hypothetically that Visa or Paypal charges $1 per transaction. This means that Alice and Carol would need to do 8 or more LN transactions, otherwise it would be cheaper to use Visa or Paypal.
But it gets worse. Visa doesn’t charge the customer. To you, Visa and Cash are free. You would have no economic incentive to use BTC and LN.
Also, Visa does not charge $1 per transaction. They charge 3%, which is 60 cents on a $20 widget. Let’s say that merchants discount their widgets by 60 cents for non-Visa purchases, to pass the savings onto the customer. Nevertheless, no one is going to use BTC and LN to buy the widget unless 2 things happen:
  1. they buy more than 13 widgets from the same store ($7.60 divided by 60 cents)
  2. they know ahead of time that they will do this with that same store
This means that if you’re traveling, or want to tip content producers on the internet, you will likely not use BTC and LN. If you and your spouse want to try out a new restaurant, you will not use BTC and LN. If you buy shoes, you will not use BTC and LN.
ROAD BLOCKS FROM INSUFFICIENT FUNDS
Some argue that you do not need to open a channel to everyone, if there’s a route to that merchant. This article explains that if LN is like a distributed mesh network, then another problem exists:
"third party needs to possess the necessary capital to process the transaction. If Alice and Bob do not have an open channel, and Alice wants to send Bob .5 BTC, they'll both need to be connected to a third party (or a series of 3rd parties). Say if Charles (the third party) only possesses .4 BTC in his respective payment channels with the other users, the transaction will not be able to go through that route. The longer the route, the more likely that a third party does not possess the requisite amount of BTC, thereby making it a useless connection.”
CENTRALIZATION
According to this visualization of LN on testnet, LN will be centralized around major hubs. It might be even more centralized than this visualization if the following are true:
  1. Users will want to connect to large hubs to minimize the number of times they need to open/close channels, which incur fees
  2. LN’s security and usability relies on 100% uptime of relaying parties
  3. Only large hubs with a lot of liquidity will be able to make money
  4. Hubs or intermediary nodes will need to be licensed as money transmitters, centralizing LN to exchanges and banks as large hubs
What will the impact be on censorship-resistance, trust-less and permission-less?
NEED TO BE LICENSED AS MONEY TRANSMITTER
Advocates for LN seem to talk a lot about the technology, but ignore the legalities.
FinCEN defines money transmitters. LN hubs and intermediary nodes seem to satisfy this definition.
Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies
“…applicability of the regulations … to persons creating, obtaining, distributing, exchanging, accepting, or transmitting virtual currencies.”
“…an administrator or exchanger is an MSB under FinCEN's regulations, specifically, a money transmitter…”
"An administrator or exchanger that (1) accepts and transmits a convertible virtual currency or (2) buys or sells convertible virtual currency for any reason is a money transmitter under FinCEN's regulations…”
"FinCEN's regulations define the term "money transmitter" as a person that provides money transmission services, or any other person engaged in the transfer of funds. The term "money transmission services" means "the acceptance of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency from one person and the transmission of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency to another location or person by any means.””
"The definition of a money transmitter does not differentiate between real currencies and convertible virtual currencies.”
FinCEN’s regulations for IVTS:
"An “informal value transfer system” refers to any system, mechanism, or network of people that receives money for the purpose of making the funds or an equivalent value payable to a third party in another geographic location, whether or not in the same form.”
“…IVTS… must comply with all BSA registration, recordkeeping, reporting and AML program requirements.
“Money transmitting” occurs when funds are transferred on behalf of the public by any and all means including, but not limited to, transfers within the United States or to locations abroad…regulations require all money transmitting businesses…to register with FinCEN."
Mike Caldwell used to accept and mail bitcoins. Customers sent him bitcoins and he mailed physical bitcoins back or to a designated recipient. There is no exchange from one type of currency to another. FinCEN told him that he needed to be licensed as money transmitter, after which Caldwell stopped mailing out bitcoins.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST NEED FOR LICENSING
Some have argued that LN does not transfer BTC until the channel is closed on the blockchain. This is not a defence, since channels will close on the blockchain.
Some have argued that LN nodes do not take ownership of funds. Is this really true? Is this argument based on a technicality or hoping for a loophole? It seems intuitive that a good prosecutor can easily defeat this argument. Even if this loophole exists, can we count on the government to never close this loophole?
So, will LN hubs and intermediary nodes need to be licensed as money transmitters? If so, then Bob, who is the intermediary between Alice and Carol, will need a license. But Bob won’t have the money nor qualifications. Money transmitters need to pay $25,000 to $1 million, maintain capital levels and are subject to KYC/AML regulations1. In which case, LN will have mainly large hubs, run by financial firms, such as banks and exchanges.
Will the banks want this? Likely. Will they lobby the government to get it? Likely.
Some may be wondering about miners. FinCEN has declared that miners are not money transmitters:
https://coincenter.org/entry/aml-kyc-tokens :
"Subsequent administrative rulings clarified several remaining ambiguities: miners are not money transmitters…"
FinCEN Declares Bitcoin Miners, Investors Aren't Money Transmitters
Some argue that LN nodes will go through Tor and be anonymous. For this to work, will all of the nodes connecting to it, need to run Tor? If so, then how likely will this happen and will all of these people need to run Tor on every device (laptop, phone and tablet)? Furthermore, everyone of these people will be need to be sufficiently tech savvy to download, install and set up Tor. Will the common person be able to do this? Also, will law-abiding nodes, such as retailers or banks, risk their own livelihood by connecting to an illegal node? What is the likelihood of this?
Some argue that unlicensed LN hubs can run in foreign countries. Not true. According to FinCEN: "“Money transmitting” occurs when funds are…transfers within the United States or to locations abroad…” Also, foreign companies are not immune from the laws of other countries which have extradition agreements. The U.S. government has sued European banks over the LIBOR scandal. The U.S. government has charged foreign banks for money laundering and two of those banks pleaded guilty. Furthermore, most countries have similar laws. It is no coincidence that European exchanges comply with KYC/AML.
Will licensed, regulated LN hubs connect to LN nodes behind Tor or in foreign countries? Unlikely. Will Amazon or eBay connect to LN nodes behind Tor or in foreign countries? Unlikely. If you want to buy from Amazon, you’ll likely need to register yourself at a licensed, regulated LN hub, which means you’ll need to provide your identification photo.
Say goodbye to a censorship-resistant, trust-less and permission-less coin.
For a preview of what LN will probably look like, look at Coinbase or other large exchanges. It’s a centralized, regulated and censored hub. Coinbase allows users to send to each other off-chain. Coinbase provides user data to the IRS and disallows users from certain countries to sell BTC. You need to trust that no rogue employee in the exchange will steal your funds, or that a bank will not confiscate your funds as banks did in Cyprus. What if the government provides a list of users, who are late with their tax returns, to Coinbase and tells Coinbase to block those users from making transactions? You need Coinbase’s permission.
This would be the antithesis of why Satoshi created Bitcoin.
NEED TO REPORT TO IRS
The IRS has a definition for “third party settlement organization” and these need to report transactions to the IRS.
Though we do not know for sure yet, it can be argued that LN hubs satisfies this definition. If this is the case, who will be willing to be LN hubs, other than banks and exchanges?
To read about the discussion, go to:
Lightning Hubs Will Need To Report To IRS
COMPLEXITY
All cryptocurrencies are complicated for the common person. You may be tech savvy enough to find a secure wallet and use cryptocurrencies, but the masses are not as tech savvy as you.
LN adds a very complicated and convoluted layer to cryptocurrencies. It is bound to have bugs for years to come and it’s complicated to use. This article provides a good explanation of the complexity. Just from the screenshot of the app, the user now needs to learn additional terms and commands:
“On Chain”
“In Channels”
“In Limbo”
“Your Channel”
“Create Channel”
“CID”
“OPENING”
“PENDING-OPEN”
“Available to Receive”
“PENDING-FORCE-CLOSE”
There are also other things to learn, such as how funds need to be allocated to channels and time locks. Compare this to using your current wallet.
Recently, LN became even more complicated and convoluted. It needs a 3rd layer as well:
Scaling Bitcoin Might Require A Whole 'Nother Layer
How many additional steps does a user need to learn?
ALL COINS PLANNING OFF-CHAIN SCALING ARE AT RISK
Bitcoin Segwit, Litecoin, Vertcoin and possibly others (including Bitcoin Cash) are planning to implement LN or layer 2 scaling. Ethereum is planning to use Raiden Network, which is very similar to LN. If the above is true about LN, then the scaling roadmap for these coins is questionable at best, nullified at worst.
BLOCKSTREAM'S GAME PLAN IS ON TRACK
Blockstream employs several of the lead Bitcoin Core developers. Blockstream has said repeatedly that they want high fees. Quotes and source links can be found here.
Why is Blockstream so adamant on small blocks, high fees and off-chain scaling?
Small blocks, high fees and slow confirmations create demand for off-chain solutions, such as Liquid. Blockstream sells Liquid to exchanges to move Bitcoin quickly on a side-chain. LN will create liquidity hubs, such as exchanges, which will generate traffic and fees for exchanges. With this, exchanges will have a higher need for Liquid. This will be the main way that Blockstream will generate revenue for its investors, who invested $76 million. Otherwise, they can go bankrupt and die.
One of Blockstream’s investors/owners is AXA. AXA’s CEO and Chairman until 2016 was also the Chairman of Bilderberg Group. The Bilderberg Group is run by bankers and politicians (former prime ministers and nation leaders). According to GlobalResearch, Bilderberg Group wants “a One World Government (World Company) with a single, global marketplace…and financially regulated by one ‘World (Central) Bank’ using one global currency.” LN helps Bilderberg Group get one step closer to its goal.
Luke-Jr is one of the lead BTC developers in Core/Blockstream. Regulation of BTC is in-line with his beliefs. He is a big believer in the government, as he believes that the government should tax you and the “State has authority from God”. In fact, he has other radical beliefs as well:
So, having only large, regulated LN hubs is not a failure for Blockstream/Bilderberg. It’s a success. The title of this article should be changed to: "Lightning Will Fail Or Succeed, Depending On Whether You Are Satoshi Or Blockstream/Bilderberg".
SIGNIFICANT ADVANCEMENTS WITH ON-CHAIN SCALING
Meanwhile, some coins such as Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash are pushing ahead with on-chain scaling. Both are looking at Sharding.
Visa handles 2,000 transactions per second on average. Blockstream said that on-chain scaling will not work. The development teams for Bitcoin Cash have shown significant on-chain scaling:
1 GB block running on testnet demonstrates over 10,000 transactions per second:
"we are not going from 1MB to 1GB tomorrow — The purpose of going so high is to prove that it can be done — no second layer is necessary”
"Preliminary Findings Demonstrate Over 10,000 Transactions Per Second"
"Gigablock testnet initiative will likely be implemented first on Bitcoin Cash”
Peter Rizun, Andrew Stone -- 1 GB Block Tests -- Scaling Bitcoin Stanford At 13:55 in this video, Rizun said that he thinks that Visa level can be achieved with a 4-core/16GB machine with better implementations (modifying the code to take advantage of parallelization.)
Bitcoin Cash plans to fix malleability and enable layer 2 solutions:
The Future of “Bitcoin Cash:” An Interview with Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet:
"fixing malleability and enabling Layer 2 solutions will happen”
However, it is questionable if layer 2 will work or is needed.
GOING FORWARD
The four year scaling debate and in-fighting is what caused small blockers (Blockstream) to fork Bitcoin by adding Segwit and big blockers to fork Bitcoin into Bitcoin Cash. Read:
Bitcoin Divorce - Bitcoin [Legacy] vs Bitcoin Cash Explained
It will be interesting to see how they scale going forward.
Scaling will be instrumental in getting network effect and to be widely adopted as a currency. Whichever Coin Has The Most Network Effect Will Take All (Or Most) (BTC has little network effect, and it's shrinking.)
The ability to scale will be key to the long term success of any coin.
submitted by curt00 to Bitcoincash [link] [comments]

Trading Cryptocurrency Markets

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Major Exchanges
In finance, an exchange is a forum or platform for trading commodities, derivatives, securities or other financial instruments. The principle concern of an exchange is to allow trading between parties to take place in a fair and legally compliant manner, as well as to ensure that pricing information for any instrument traded on the exchange is reliable and coherently delivered to exchange participants. In the cryptocurrency space exchanges are online platforms that allow users to trade cryptocurrencies or digital currencies for fiat money or other cryptocurrencies. They can be centralized exchanges such a Binance, or decentralized exchanges such as IDEX. Most cryptocurrency exchanges allow users to trade different crypto assets with BTC or ETH after having already exchanged fiat currency for one of those cryptocurrencies. Coinbase and Kraken are the main avenue for fiat money to enter into the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Function and History
Crypto exchanges can be market-makers that take bid/ask spreads as a commission on the transaction for facilitating the trade, or more often charge a small percentage fee for operating the forum in which the trade was made. Most crypto exchanges operate outside of Western countries, enabling them to avoid stringent financial regulations and the potential for costly and lengthy legal proceedings. These entities will often maintain bank accounts in multiple jurisdictions, allowing the exchange to accept fiat currency and process transactions from customers all over the globe.
The concept of a digital asset exchange has been around since the late 2000s and the following initial attempts at running digital asset exchanges foreshadows the trouble involved in attempting to disrupt the operation of the fiat currency baking system. The trading of digital or electronic assets predate Bitcoin’s creation by several years, with the first electronic trading entities running afoul of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in late 2004. Companies such as Goldex, SydneyGoldSales, and Ozzigold, shut down voluntarily after ASIC found that they were operating without an Australian Financial Services License. E-Gold, which exchanged fiat USD for grams of precious metals in digital form, was possibly the first digital currency exchange as we know it, allowing users to make instant transfers to the accounts of other E-Gold members. At its peak in 2006 E-Gold processed $2 billion worth of transactions and boasted a user base of over 5 million people.
Popular Exchanges
Here we will give a brief overview of the features and operational history of the more popular and higher volume exchanges because these are the platforms to which newer traders will be exposed. These exchanges are recommended to use because they are the industry standard and they inspire the most confidence.
Bitfinex
Owned and operated by iFinex Inc, the cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex was the largest Bitcoin exchange on the planet until late 2017. Headquartered in Hong Kong and based in the US Virgin Island, Bitfinex was one of the first exchanges to offer leveraged trading (“Margin trading allows a trader to open a position with leverage. For example — we opened a margin position with 2X leverage. Our base assets had increased by 10%. Our position yielded 20% because of the 2X leverage. Standard trades are traded with leverage of 1:1”) and also pioneered the use of the somewhat controversial, so-called “stable coin” Tether (USDT).
Binance
Binance is an international multi-language cryptocurrency exchange that rose from the mid-rank of cryptocurrency exchanges to become the market dominating behemoth we see today. At the height of the late 2017/early 2018 bull run, Binance was adding around 2 million new users per week! The exchange had to temporarily disallow new registrations because its servers simply could not keep up with that volume of business. After the temporary ban on new users was lifted the exchange added 240,000 new accounts within two hours.
Have you ever thought whats the role of the cypto exchanges? The answer is simple! There are several different types of exchanges that cater to different needs within the ecosystem, but their functions can be described by one or more of the following: To allow users to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency. To trade BTC or ETH for alt coins. To facilitate the setting of prices for all crypto assets through an auction market mechanism. Simply put, you can either mine cryptocurrencies or purchase them, and seeing as the mining process requires the purchase of expensive mining equipment, Cryptocurrency exchanges can be loosely grouped into one of the 3 following exchange types, each with a slightly different role or combination of roles.
Have you ever thought about what are the types of Crypto exchanges?
  1. Traditional Cryptocurrency Exchange: These are the type that most closely mimic traditional stock exchanges where buyers and sellers trade at the current market price of whichever asset they want, with the exchange acting as the intermediary and charging a small fee for facilitating the trade. Kraken and GDAX are examples of this kind of cryptocurrency exchange. Fully peer-to-peer exchanges that operate without a middleman include EtherDelta, and IDEX, which are also examples of decentralized exchanges.
  2. Cryptocurrency Brokers: These are website or app based exchanges that act like a Travelex or other bureau-de-change. They allow customers to buy or sell crypto assets at a price set by the broker (usually market price plus a small premium). Coinbase is an example of this kind of exchange.
  3. Direct Trading Platform: These platforms offer direct peer-to-peer trading between buyers and sellers, but don’t use an exchange platform in doing so. These types of exchanges do not use a set market rate; rather, sellers set their own rates. This is a highly risky form of trading, from which new users should shy away.
To understand how an exchange functions we need only look as far as a traditional stock exchange. Most all the features of a cryptocurrency exchange are analogous to features of trading on a traditional stock exchange. In the simplest terms, the exchanges fulfil their role as the main marketplace for crypto assets of all kinds by catering to buyers or sellers. These are some definitions for the basic functions and features to know: Market Orders: Orders that are executed instantly at the current market price. Limit Order: This is an order that will only be executed if and when the price has risen to or dropped to that price specified by the trader and is also within the specified period of time. Transaction fees: Exchanges will charge transactions fees, usually levied on both the buyer and the seller, but sometimes only the seller is charged a fee. Fees vary on different exchanges though the norm is usually below 0.75%. Transfer charges: The exchange is in effect acting as a sort of escrow agent, to ensure there is no foul play, so it might also charge a small fee when you want to withdraw cryptocurrency to your own wallet.
Regulatory Environment and Evolution
Cryptocurrency has come a long way since the closing down of the Silk Road darknet market. The idea of crypto currency being primarily for criminals, has largely been seen as totally inaccurate and outdated. In this section we focus on the developing regulations surrounding the cryptocurrency asset class by region, and we also look at what the future may hold.
The United States of America
A coherent uniform approach at Federal or State level has yet to be implemented in the United States. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network published guidelines as early as 2013 suggesting that BTC and other cryptos may fall under the label of “money transmitters” and thus would be required to take part in the same Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Know your Client (KYC) procedures as other money service businesses. At the state level, Texas applies its existing finance laws. And New York has instituted an entirely new licensing system.
The European Union
The EU’s approach to cryptocurrency has generally been far more accommodating overall than the United States, partly due to the adaptable nature of pre-existing laws governing electronic money that predated the creation of Bitcoin. As with the USA, the EU’s main fear is money laundering and criminality. The European Central Bank (ECB) categorized BTC as a “convertible decentralized currency” and advised all central banks in the EU to refrain from trading any cryptocurrencies until the proper regulatory framework was put in place. A task force was then set up by the European Parliament in order to prevent and investigate any potential money laundering that was making use of the new technology.
Likely future regulations for cryptocurrency traders within the European Union and North America will probably consist of the following proposals: The initiation of full KYC procedures so that users cannot remain fully anonymous, in order to prevent tax evasion and curtail money laundering. Caps on payments that can be made in cryptocurrency, similar to caps on traditional cash transactions. A set of rules governing tax obligations regarding cryptocurrencies Regulation by the ECB of any companies that offer exchanges between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies It is less likely for other countries to follow the Chinese approach and completely ban certain aspects of cryptocurrency trading. It is widely considered more progressive and wiser to allow the technology to grow within a balanced accommodative regulatory framework that takes all interests and factors into consideration. It is probable that the most severe form of regulation will be the formation of new governmental bodies specifically to form laws and exercise regulatory control over the cryptocurrency space. But perhaps that is easier said than done. It may, in certain cases, be incredibly difficult to implement particular regulations due to the anonymous and decentralized nature of crypto.
Behavior of Cryptocurrency Investors by Demographic
Due to the fact that cryptocurrency has its roots firmly planted in the cryptography community, the vast majority of early adopters are representative of that group. In this section we cover the basic structure of the cryptocurrency market cycle and the makeup of the community at large, as well as the reasons behind different trading decisions.
The Cryptocurrency Market Cycle
Bitcoin leads the bull rally. FOMO (Fear of missing out) occurs, the price surge is a constant topic of mainstream news, business programs cover the story, and social media is abuzz with cryptocurrency chatter. Bitcoin reaches new All Timehigh (ATH) Market euphoria is fueled with even more hype and the cycle is in full force. There is a constant stream of news articles and commentary on the meteoric, seemingly unstoppable rise of Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s price “stabilizes”, In the 2017 bull run this was at or around $14,000. A number of solid, large market cap altcoins rise along with Bitcoin; ETH & LTC leading the altcoins at this time. FOMO comes into play, as the new ATH in market cap is reached by pumping of a huge number of alt coins.
Top altcoins “somewhat” stabilize, after reaching new all-time highs. The frenzy continues with crypto success stories, notable figures and famous people in the news. A majority of lesser known cryptocurrencies follow along on the upward momentum. Newcomers are drawn deeper into crypto and sign up for exchanges other than the main entry points like Coinbase and Kraken. In 2017 this saw Binance inundated with new registrations. Some of the cheapest coins are subject to massive pumping, such as Tron TRX which saw a rise in market cap from $150 million at the start of December 2017 to a peak of $16 billion! At this stage, even dead coins or known scams will get pumped. The price of the majority of cryptocurrencies stabilize, and some begin to retract. When the hype is subsiding after a huge crypto bull run, it is a massive sell signal. Traditional investors will begin to give interviews about how people need to be careful putting money into such a highly volatile asset class. Massive violent correction begins and the market starts to collapse. BTC begins to fall consistently on a daily basis, wiping out the insane gains of many medium to small cap cryptos with it. Panic selling sweeps through the market. Depression sets in, both in the markets, and in the minds of individual investors who failed to take profits, or heed the signs of imminent collapse. The price stagnation can last for months, or even years.
The Influence of Age upon Trading
Did you know? Cryptocurrencies have been called “stocks for millennials” According to a survey conducted by the Global Blockchain Business Council, only 5% of the American public own any bitcoin, but of those that do, an overwhelming majority of 71% are men, 58% of them are between the ages of 18 and 35, and over half of them are minorities. The same survey gauged public attitude toward the high risk/high return nature of cryptocurrency, in comparison to more secure guaranteed small percentage gains offered by government bonds or stocks, and found that 30% would rather invest $1,000 in crypto. Over 42% of millennials were aware of cryptocurrencies as opposed to only 15% of those ages 65 and over. In George M. Korniotis and Alok Kumar’s study into the effects of aging on portfolio management and the quality of decisions made by older investors, they found “that older and experienced investors are more likely to follow “rules of thumb” that reflect greater investment knowledge. However, older investors are less effective in applying their investment knowledge and exhibit worse investment skill, especially if they are less educated and earn lower income.”
Geographic Influence upon Trading
One of the main drivers of the apparent seasonal ebb and flow of cryptocurrency prices is the tax situation in the various territories that have the highest concentrations of cryptocurrency holders. Every year we see an overall market pull back beginning in mid to late January, with a recovery beginning usually after April. This is because “Tax Season” is roughly the same across Europe and the United States, with the deadline for Income tax returns being April 15th in the United States, and the tax year officially ending the UK on the 6th of April. All capital gains must be declared before the window closes or an American trader will face the powerful and long arm of the IRS with the consequent legal proceedings and possible jail time. Capital gains taxes around the world vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but there are often incentives for cryptocurrency holders to refrain from trading for over a year to qualify their profits as long term gain when they finally sell. In the US and Australia, for example, capital gains are reduced if you bought cryptocurrency for investment purposes and held it for over a year. In Germany if crypto assets are held for over a year then the gains derived from their sale are not taxed. Advantages like this apply to individual tax returns, on a case by case basis, and it is up to the investor to keep up to date with the tax codes of the territory in which they reside.
2013 Bull run vs 2017 Bull run price Analysis
In late 2016 cryptocurrency traders were faced with the task of distinguishing between the beginnings of a genuine bull run and what might colorfully be called a “dead cat bounce” (in traditional market terminology). Stagnation had gripped the market since the pull-back of early 2014. The meteoric rise of Bitcoin’s price in 2013 peaked with a price of $1,100 in November 2013, after a year of fantastic news on the adoption front with both Microsoft and PayPal offering BTC payment options. It is easy to look at a line going up on a chart and speak after the fact, but at the time, it is exceeding difficult to say whether the cat is actually climbing up the wall, or just bouncing off the ground. Here, we will discuss the factors that gave savvy investors clues as to why the 2017 bull run was going to outstrip the 2013 rally. Hopefully this will help give insight into how to differentiate between the signs of a small price increase and the start of a full scale bull run. Most importantly, Volume was far higher in 2017. As we can see in the graphic below, the 2017 volume far exceeds the volume of BTC trading during the 2013 price increase. The stranglehold MtGox held on trading made a huge bull run very difficult and unlikely.
Fraud & Immoral Activity in the Private Market
Ponzi Schemes Cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes will be covered in greater detail in Lesson 7, but we need to get a quick overview of the main features of Ponzi schemes and how to spot them at this point in our discussion. Here are some key indicators of a Ponzi scheme, both in cryptocurrencies and traditional investments: A guaranteed promise of high returns with little risk. Consistentflow of returns regardless of market conditions. Investments that have not been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Investment strategies that are a secret, or described as too complex. Clients not allowed to view official paperwork for their investment. Clients have difficulties trying to get their money back. The initial members of the scheme, most likely unbeknownst to the later investors, are paid their “dividends” or “profits” with new investor cash. The most famous modern-day example of a Ponzi scheme in the traditional world, is Bernie Madoff’s $100 billion fraudulent enterprise, officially titled Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. And in the crypto world, BitConnect is the most infamous case of an entirely fraudulent project which boasted a market cap of $2 billion at its peak.
What are the Exchange Hacks?
The history of cryptocurrency is littered with examples of hacked exchanges, some of them so severe that the operation had to be wound up forever. As we have already discussed, incredibly tech savvy and intelligent computer hackers led by Alexander Vinnik stole 850000 BTC from the MtGox exchange over a period from 2012–2014 resulting in the collapse of the exchange and a near-crippling hammer blow to the emerging asset class that is still being felt to this day. The BitGrail exchange suffered a similar style of attack in late 2017 and early 2018, in which Nano (XRB) was stolen that was at one point was worth almost $195 million. Even Bitfinex, one of the most famous and prestigious exchanges, has suffered a hack in 2016 where $72 million worth of BTC was stolen directly from customer accounts.
Hardware Wallet Scam Case Study
In late 2017, an unfortunate character on Reddit, going by the name of “moody rocket” relayed his story of an intricate scam in which his newly acquired hardware wallet was compromised, and his $34,000 life savings were stolen. He bought a second hand Nano ledger into which the scammers own recover seed had already been inserted. He began using the ledger without knowing that the default seed being used was not a randomly assigned seed. After a few weeks the scammer struck, and withdrew all the poor HODLer’s XRP, Dash and Litecoin into their own wallet (likely through a few intermediary wallets to lessen the very slim chances of being identified).
Hardware Wallet Scam Case Study Social Media Fraud
Many gullible and hapless twitter users have fallen victim to the recent phenomenon of scammers using a combination of convincing fake celebrity twitter profiles and numerous amounts of bots to swindle them of ETH or BTC. The scammers would set up a profile with a near identical handle to a famous figure in the tech sphere, such as Vitalik Buterin or Elon Musk. And then in the tweet, immediately following a genuine message, follow up with a variation of “Bonus give away for the next 100 lucky people, send me 0.1 ETH and I will send you 1 ETH back”, followed by the scammers ether wallet address. The next 20 or so responses will be so-called sockpuppet bots, thanking the fake account for their generosity. Thus, the pot is baited and the scammers can expect to receive potentially hundreds of donations of 0.1 Ether into their wallet. Many twitter users with a large follower base such as Vitalik Buterin have taken to adding “Not giving away ETH” to their username to save careless users from being scammed.
Market Manipulation
It also must be recognized that market manipulation is taking place in cryptocurrency. For those with the financial means i.e. whales, there are many ways in which to control the market in a totally immoral and underhanded way for your own profit. It is especially easy to manipulate cryptos that have a very low trading volume. The manipulator places large buy orders or sell walls to discourage price action in one way or the other. Insider trading is also a significant problem in cryptocurrency, as we saw with the example of blatant insider trading when Bitcoin Cash was listed on Coinbase.
Examples of ICO Fraudulent Company Behavior
In the past 2 years an astronomical amount of money has been lost in fraudulent Initial Coin Offerings. The utmost care and attention must be employed before you invest. We will cover this area in greater detail with a whole lesson devoted to the topic. However, at this point, it is useful to look at the main instances of ICO fraud. Among recent instances of fraudulent ICOs resulting in exit scams, 2 of the most infamous are the Benebit and PlexCoin ICOs which raised $4 million for the former and $15 million for the latter. Perhaps the most brazen and damaging ICO scam of all time was the Vietnamese Pincoin ICO operation, where $660million was raised from 32,000 investors before the scammer disappeared with the funds. In case of smaller ICO “exit scamming” there is usually zero chance of the scammers being found. Investors must just take the hit. We will cover these as well as others in Lesson 7 “Scam Projects”.
Signposts of Fraudulent Actors
The following factors are considered red flags when investigating a certain project or ICO, and all of them should be considered when deciding whether or not you want to invest. Whitepaper is a buzzword Salad: If the whitepaper is nothing more than a collection of buzzwords with little clarity of purpose and not much discussion of the tech involved, it is overwhelmingly likely you are reading a scam whitepaper.
Signposts of Fraudulent Actors §2
No Code Repository: With the vast majority of cryptocurrency projects employing open source code, your due diligence investigation should start at GitHub or Sourceforge. If the project has no entries, or nothing but cloned code, you should avoid it at all costs. Anonymous Team: If the team members are hard to find, or if you see they are exaggerating or lying about their experience, you should steer clear. And do not forget, in addition to taking proper precautions when investing in ICOs, you must always make sure that you are visiting authentic web pages, especially for web wallets. If, for example, you are on a spoof MyEtherWallet web page you could divulge your private key without realizing it and have your entire portfolio of Ether and ERC-20 tokens cleaned out.
Methods to Avoid falling Victim
Avoiding scammers and the traps they set for you is all about asking yourself the right questions, starting with: Is there a need for a Blockchain solution for the particular problem that a particular ICO is attempting to solve? The existing solution may be less costly, less time consuming, and more effective than the proposals of a team attempting to fill up their soft cap in an ICO. The following quote from Mihai Ivascu, the CEO of Modex, should be kept in mind every time you are grading an ICO’s chances of success: “I’m pretty sure that 95% of ICOswill not last, and many will go bankrupt. ….. not everything needs to be decentralized and put on an open source ledger.”
Methods to Avoid falling Victim §2 Do I Trust These People with My Money, or Not?
If you continue to feel uneasy about investing in the project, more due diligence is needed. The developers must be qualified and competent enough to complete the objectives that they have set out in the whitepaper.
Is this too good to be true?
All victims of the well-known social media scams using fake profiles of Vitalik Buterin, or Bitconnect investors for that matter, should have asked themselves this simple question, and their investment would have been saved. In the case of Bitconnect, huge guaranteed gains proportional to the amount of people you can get to sign up was a blatant pyramid scheme, obviously too good to be true. The same goes for Fake Vitalik’s offer of 1 ether in exchange for 0.1 ETH.
Selling Cryptocurrencies, Several reasons for selling with the appropriate actions to take:
If you are selling to buy into an ICO, or maybe believe Ether is a safer currency to hold for a certain period of time, it is likely you will want to make use of the Ether pair and receive Ether in return. Obviously if the ICO is on the NEO or WANchain blockchain for example, you will use the appropriate pair. -Trading to buy into another promising project that is listing on the exchange on which you are selling (or you think the exchange will experience a large amount of volume and become a larger exchange), you may want to trade your cryptocurrency for that exchange token. -If you believe that BTC stands a good chance of experiencing a bull run then using the BTC trading pair is the suitable choice. -If you believe that the market is about to experience a correction but you do not want to take your gains out of the market yet, selling for Tether or “tethering up” is the best play. This allows you to keep your locked-in profits on the exchange, unaffected by the price movements in the cryptocurrency markets,so that you can buy back in at the most profitable moment. -If you wish to “cash out” i.e. sell your cryptocurrency for fiat currency and have those funds in your bank account, the best pair to use is ETH or BTC because you will likely have to transfer to an exchange like Kraken or Coinbase to convert them into fiat. If the exchange offers Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash pairs it could be a good idea to use these for their fast transaction time and low fees.
Selling Cryptocurrencies
Knowing when and how to sell, as well as strategies to inflate the value of your trade before sale, are important skills as a trader of any product or financial instrument. If you are satisfied that the sale itself of the particular amount of a token or coin you are trading away is the right one, then you must decide at what price you are going to sell. Exchanges exercise their own discretion as to which trading “pairs” they will offer, but the most common ones are BTC, ETH, BNB for Binance, BIX for Bibox etc., and sometimes Tether (USDT) or NEO. As a trader, you decide which particular cryptocurrency to exchange depending on your reason for making that specific trade at that time.
Methods of Sale
Market sell/Limit sell on exchange: A limit sell is an order placed on an exchange to sell as soon as (also specifically only if and when) the price you specified has been hit within the time limit you select. A market order executes the sale immediately at the best possible price offered by the market at that exact time. OTC (or Over the Counter) selling refers to sale of securities or cryptocurrencies in any method without using an exchange to intermediate the trade and set the price. The most common way of conducting sales in this manner is through LocalBitcoins.com. This method of cryptocurrency selling is far riskier than using an exchange, for obvious reasons.
The influence and value of your Trade
There are a number of strategies you can use to appreciate the value of your trade and thus increase the Bitcoin or Ether value of your portfolio. It is important to disassociate yourself from the dollar value of your portfolio early on in your cryptocurrency trading career simply because the crypto market is so volatile you will end up pulling your hair out in frustration following the real dollar money value of your holdings. Once your funds have been converted into BTC and ETH they are completely in the crypto sphere. (Some crypto investors find it more appropriate to monitor the value of their portfolio in satoshi or gwei.) Certainly not limited to, but especially good for beginners, the most reliable way to increase your trading profits, and thus the overall value and health of your portfolio, is to buy into promising projects, hold them for 6 months to a year, and then reevaluate. This is called Long term holding and is the tactic that served Bitcoin HODLers quite well, from 2013 to the present day. Obviously, if something comes to light about the project that indicates a lengthy set back is likely, it is often better to cut your losses and sell. You are better off starting over and researching other projects. Also, you should set initial Price Points at which you first take out your original investment, and then later, at which you take out all your profits and exit the project. That should be after you believe the potential for growth has been exhausted for that particular project.
Another method of increasing the value of your trades is ICO flipping. This is the exact opposite of long term holding. This is a technique in which you aim for fast profits taking advantage of initial enthusiasm in the market that may double or triple the value of ICO projects when they first come to market. This method requires some experience using smaller exchanges like IDEX, on which project tokens can be bought and sold before listing on mainstream exchanges. “Tethering up” means to exchange tokens or coins for the USDT stable coin, the value of which is tethered to the US Dollar. If you learn, or know how to use, technical analysis, it is possible to predict when a market retreatment is likely by looking at the price movements of BTC. If you decide a market pull back is likely, you can tether up and maintain the dollar value of your portfolio in tether while other tokens and coins decrease in value. The you wait for an opportune moment to reenter the market.
Market Behavior in Different Time Periods
The main descriptors used for overall market sentiment are “Bull Market” and “Bear Market”. The former describes a market where people are buying on optimism. The latter describes a market where people are selling on pessimism. Fun (or maybe not) fact: The California grizzly bear was brought to extinction by the love of bear baiting as a sport in the mid 1800s. Bears were highly sought after for their intrinsic fighting qualities, and were forced into fighting bulls as Sunday morning entertainment for Californians. What has this got to do with trading and financial markets? The downward swipe of the bear’s paws gives a “Bear market” its name and the upward thrust of a Bull’s horns give the “Bull Market” its name. Most unfortunately for traders, the bear won over 80% of the bouts. During a Bull market, optimism can sometimes grow to be seemingly boundless, volume is rising, and prices are ascending. It can be a good idea to sell or rebalance your portfolio at such a time, especially if you have a particularly large position in one holding or another. This is especially applicable if you need to sell a large amount of a relatively low-volume holding, because you can then do so without dragging the price down by the large size of your own sell order.
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Regarding the "Bitcoin and Magical Thinking" blog post spotlighted on Techmeme today - The network, the infrastructure, and the community behind it is hardly a "magical thought."

I'm referring to this post, which a Bitcoin-opposing friend just sent to me with the subject line, "An damning indictment" -
http://www.techmeme.com/131219/p3#a131219p3
I responded with this:
The network, the infrastructure, and the community behind Bitcoin is hardly a "magical thought" (Here's the definition of that concept from contemporary Western psychology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking)
Two weeks ago, there was very good debate about Bitcoin -
Ultimate Bitcoin Showdown - Posted Dec 2, 2013 - [30:14] - Goldbug/dollar-skeptic Peter Schiff vs. Erik Voorhees, Bitcoin entrepreneur formerly of BitInstant (https://www.bitinstant.com/), now of Coinapult (https://coinapult.com/) - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/erik-voorhees/b/804/385
I'll post the link to the full video below, but I first want to quote from it:
As Voorhees says, gold-backed digital curencies have been attempted and were then quickly shut down by the gov't. He later says (at 9:20), "[Bitcoin] could absolutely go to zero and the whole thing is completely experimental right now. So I'm not here to say that Bitcoin is a good investment. What I'm here to say is that the Bitcoin payment network is one of the most important technologies that has ever been invented, and it's important to understand that there is value in that technology [and] it's important to understand why that technology is so useful to people, especially people who care about liberty around the world." And he explains later that this infrastructure cannot be reproduced easily...even if Bitcoin is not the winner of the crypto-currency market competition. He also compares the hardy vitality of P2P currencies to that of P2P file-sharing. The free, independent Napster file-sharing service was launched in June of 1999 an rocketed to popularity, but the shutdown of it in July of 2001 was not exactly the end of free P2P music-sharing... In fact, just going by the services that I can just recall fellow college students using at the time, there was:
SoulSeek (launched in 1999/2000)
Gnutella (early 2000)
BearShare (December 2000)
Morpheus (2001)
Kazaa (March 2001), and
LimeWire (May 2000).
And of course there are the file-sharing services that are popular today, from Dropbox to these:
http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/file-sharing-websites
to these:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_BitTorrent_clients
Now. As far as digital crypto-currencies today, there's Litecoin, Peercoin, Namecoin, Quark, Protoshares, Worldcoin, Megacoin, Primecoin, and Dogecoin, and dozens other listed here, totaling in 54:
http://coinmarketcap.com/
The point that Voorhees makes about the pooled inventiveness and ingenuity of the crowd reminds me of something both revolutionary and prophetic that was said by John Gilmore (an American computer science innovator, Libertarian, Internet activist, and one of the founders of Electronic Frontier Foundation). He said:
"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."
-As quoted in TIME magazine (6 December 1993) (yes, 1993!)
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Gilmore
Furthermore, on a separate note, the media angle that Bitcoin is practically "over" because of China blocking it (which that same friend was gloating about), here's all I have to say as well:
Here's a list of enterprises that were hardly destroyed after being banned in glorious all-powerful China:
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia, WikiLeaks, and the New York Times' online edition (and a few others, named at the following links) were each NOT blasted into nonexistence by the force of "the Golden Shield Project," which we Americans call "the Great Firewall." Yup, Bitcoin is "over"!
References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_websites_blocked_in_China
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_Wikipedia#China
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/world/asia/china-blocks-web-access-to-new-york-times.html?_r=0
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China
Hey, but waddaya know - Some of the 1,350,695,000 people in The People's Republic have ways around that censorship, as do the millions of people in so many other Internet-censoring countries:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China#Evasion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_circumvention#Software

Here's the full video of the Bitcoin debate:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mUn-d8R98k
Edit/Follow-up: To extend the analogy of P2P digital currencies and P2P file-sharing (and most notably, music-sharing), what would be the currency equivalent of iTunes, which came ou in January 2001? Will JPMorgan's crypto-currency project (as I saw here, and it was downvoted to hell: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1sp6hh/jpmorgan_is_looking_to_copy_bitcoin_and_the_coin/), even though it was initially rejected 175 times, find some way to charge/surcharge people small amounts at a time for usage (a la iTunes' 99 cents per song), in traditional-bank-style?
submitted by wazzzzah to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin vs Litecoin vs Bitcoin Cash (Comparison) - YouTube Bitcoin vs. Ethereum: What's the Difference? Crypto Showdown: BITCOIN vs LITECOIN vs Bitcoin CASH LITECOIN TO $155 & LTC vs BTC Bitcoin Interviews Litecoin  Bitcoin and Friends

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Bitcoin vs Litecoin vs Bitcoin Cash (Comparison) - YouTube

Bitcoin is great vary to store value and preform large peer to peer transactions. It is very valuable because, its security was never compromised. Risk it’s ... A comparison of peercoin and bitcoin. This video highlights the positives and negatives of each coin. Donations welcome! Bitcoin:16nw52qCMdL1PrnQVZn6iKT5SoZG... #litecoin #bitcoin #crypto. Loading... Advertisement Autoplay When autoplay is enabled, a ... Bitcoin vs Litecoin vs Bitcoin Cash (Comparison) - Duration: 10:36. Aimstone 12,820 views. 10:36 ... Litecoin targets are still in place for a $155 Litecoin, and we also look at the LTC/BTC pair to evaluate the strength of Litecoin vs. Bitcoin. Cycles of Bit... Bitcoin vs. Stock Market - BTC Analysis. What's a better investment short, mid, and long term? In this video we look at Bitcoin compared to stock market. We also look into the btc price movement ...

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