Scalenet and Testnet4 are online and open for business
Over the years, some people have made use of testnet3 to test out scaling performance, and have spammed testnet3 with 32 MB blocks. This has caused testnet3 to get kinda bloated; the blockchain now takes an hour or so to sync, which slows down development. Other people have wanted to do stress testing, but have specifically wanted to avoid inconveniencing other people by spamming testnet3, and have therefore not done so. This slows down development too. To address this issue, I created two new networks: testnet4 and scalenet. Testnet4 is intended to be a low-volume quick-syncing blockchain which is ideal for testing out new transaction formats or applications. It has a 2 MB default block size limit, and comes with aserti3 parameters that make the difficulty recover quickly to CPU-mineable levels. It should remain easy to sync on a low-end VPS or old laptop. Scalenet is intended to be a high-volume blockchain which is ideal for spamming and stress testing software. It comes with a 256 MB initial default block size limit, and uses aserti3 parameters that make it more suitable for accurately simulating mainnet mining difficulty (though it retains the 20-minute difficulty rule). In order to prevent storage costs from getting unreasonable for a testnet, scalenet will be reset every 6-12 months by invalidating the block at height 10,001 and adding a new checkpoint. Scalenet is intended to be feasible to run on a mid-range desktop computer with some strain. Testnet4 and scalenet are now online and essentially complete. The code for both has been merged into BCHN and Electron Cash. Testnet4 has also been successfully synced to by Knuth, Bitcoin Unlimited, and libbitcoincashj. Block explorers for both are available, thanks to Axel Gembe (who runs the code) and sickpig (who wrote the code): http://tbch4.loping.net:3002/ http://sbch.loping.net:3003/ The testnet4 and scalenet MRs were opened on Aug 19th and Aug 27th, and both were merged on Sep 17th. Scalenet reached height 10,000 on October 3rd. Testnet4 and Scalenet support are present in the master branch of BCHN, and will be included in the next release of BCHN. Some other software (e.g. Electron Cash) already has support in their latest release, but most is still pending. See also: https://bitcoincashresearch.org/t/testnet4-and-scalenet/148/7
You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments. It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Limited Supply - There will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins created and they are issued in a predictable fashion, you can view the inflation schedule here. Once they are all issued Bitcoin will be truly deflationary. The halving countdown can be found here.
Open source - Bitcoin code is fully auditable. You can read the source code yourself here.
Accountable - The public ledger is transparent, all transactions are seen by everyone.
Decentralized - Bitcoin is globally distributed across thousands of nodes with no single point of failure and as such can't be shut down similar to how Bittorrent works. You can even run a node on a Raspberry Pi.
Censorship resistant - No one can prevent you from interacting with the bitcoin network and no one can censor, alter or block transactions that they disagree with, see Operation Chokepoint.
Push system - There are no chargebacks in bitcoin because only the person who owns the address where the bitcoins reside has the authority to move them.
Low fee scaling - On chain transaction fees depend on network demand and how much priority you wish to assign to the transaction. Most wallets calculate on chain fees automatically but you can view current fees here and mempool activity here. On chain fees may rise occasionally due to network demand, however instant micropayments that do not require confirmations are happening via the Lightning Network, a second layer scaling solution currently rolling out on the Bitcoin mainnet.
Borderless - No country can stop it from going in/out, even in areas currently unserved by traditional banking as the ledger is globally distributed.
Portable - Bitcoins are digital so they are easier to move than cash or gold. They can even be transported by simply memorizing a string of words for wallet recovery (while cool this method is generally not recommended due to potential for insecure key generation by inexperienced users. Hardware wallets are the preferred method for new users due to ease of use and additional security).
Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage. Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".
Securing your bitcoins
With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
If you prefer to "Be your own bank" and have direct control over your coins without having to use a trusted third party, then you will need to create your own wallet and keep it secure. If you want easy and secure storage without having to learn computer security best practices, then a hardware wallet such as the Trezor, Ledger or ColdCard is recommended. Alternatively there are many software wallet options to choose from here depending on your use case.
If you prefer to let third party "Bitcoin banks" manage your coins, try Gemini but be aware you may not be in control of your private keys in which case you would have to ask permission to access your funds and be exposed to third party risk.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email! 2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".
Where can I spend bitcoins?
Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out. If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.
Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.
The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
1,000 per bitcoin
used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
1,000,000 per bitcoin
colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
100,000,000 per bitcoin
smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki. Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval. Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
Good morning once again! This listing is for items that did not sell during the October 11 Auction (most likely due to BP/fees, or maybe just because the "right" buyer didn't see the auction, who knows) - so you can buy anything you want right here and right now - no buyer's premiums, no additional fees - JUST DISCOUNTS ON EVERYTHING: *FREE shipping for any order over $100. *All the Graded/Slabbed Coins are available at 30% off the listed price guide (which should be accurate, was checked about a month ago.) *Any Sterling Silver non-coin item will be available at MELT (plus shipping.) *EVERYTHING ELSE is 10% off the listed start price. Each lot was individually imaged (front and back) for the auction - so the easiest way for you to see exactly what you're buying is to visit the auction link (the auction is over, so I'm not advertising anything different or advertising an upcoming auction) - so here that is: https://www.auctionzip.com/auction-catalog/HTF-Coins-Silver,-US,-Foreign-more_FYWN25UAV6?page=0&searchWithAll=&size=200&sort= Here is the required "prove you still have the stuff" photo with the username card and today's date: PHOTO Payment: PayPal. I do not have Venmo/Zello/Bitcoin or any other form of digital payment at this time. No notes if using PPFF, please. Thank you. Shipping: I will charge you what it costs me for the USPS label rounded up to the nearest dollar. For First Class that is usually $4, for USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Small Box it will be $9. I will get you a tracking number right after payment is received and will get your package scanned into the USPS system within 24 hours of receipt of payment. I will offer "Risky Shipping" (via stamped greeting card)at my discretionfor $1 - for single, small coins ONLY.NOTE: These prices are for Continental US shipping only - if you live outside the continental US, shipping will be more expensive. I am still happy to do it under the same rules as above, but just keep in mind it's going to cost more. What do YOU need to do to buy coins from this group: send me a list of which lots you want (for example, I want to buy lots # 51, 52, 53, 54, 55) and I will send you a total. There are too many coins here (plus there are duplicates) so I cannot look up the coins you want by description - just give me lot numbers and it will be much simpler. I'd like to make a simple and polite request - if I have sent you my PayPal information (meaning we've agreed to a deal) please finish it up as soon as you can so I can check you off the list and move on to the next person. This helps make sure you get all the coins we discussed and no one else is in limbo. I will do my absolute best to update the ad as soon as lots sell.
11 1973 Proof Set $9.00 12 1973 Proof Set $9.00 13 1974 Proof Set $9.00 15 1975 Proof Set $9.00 17 1975 Proof Set $9.00 18 1975 Proof Set $9.00 19 1975 Proof Set $9.00 20 1975 Proof Set $9.00 21 1975 Proof Set $9.00 22 1975 Proof Set $9.00 23 1975 Proof Set $9.00 24 1975 Proof Set $9.00 25 1975 Proof Set $9.00 26 1975 Proof Set $9.00 27 1976 Proof Set $9.00 28 1976 Proof Set $9.00 29 1977 Proof Set $6.00 30 1977 Proof Set $6.00 31 1977 Proof Set $6.00 32 1977 Proof Set $6.00 33 1978 Proof Set $6.00 34 1978 Proof Set $6.00 35 1978 Proof Set $6.00 36 1978 Proof Set $6.00 37 1978 Proof Set $6.00 38 1975 Proof Set $9.00 51 Toner US Type Set 1 $55.00 52 Toner US Type Set 2 $30.00 53 Toner US Type Set 3 $30.00 54 1949 S Franklin Half UNC KEY DATE $40.00 55 1949 S Franklin Half UNC KEY DATE $40.00 59 1949 S Franklin Half UNC KEY DATE $40.00 60 1976 D Eisenhower Dollar UNC MINT CELLO $4.00 64 1977 D Eisenhower Dollar UNC MINT CELLO $4.00 65 Toner US Type Set 4 $25.00 66 Toner US Type Set 5 $30.00 67 1953 D Franklin Half UNC FULL BELL LINES $25.00 68 Toner US Type Set 6 $65.00 70 1936 Mercury Dime Doubled Die Obverse HIGH GRADE $30.00 73 1955 Roosevelt Dime UNC TONED $8.00 75 1955 S Roosevelt Dime UNC TONED $5.00 76 1955 S Roosevelt Dime UNC TONED $5.00 78 World Silver - Canada 1913 25 Cents $5.00 80 1956 Roosevelt Dime UNC TONED $8.00 81 1958 D Roosevelt Dime UNC TONED $5.00 83 1964 Roosevelt Dime UNC TONED $3.00 84 1964 Roosevelt Dime UNC TONED $3.00 85 World Silver - Canada 1906 10 Cents $3.00 89 1928 S/S Standing Liberty Quarter Rainbow Toned $20.00 90 1974 D Eisenhower Dollar UNC MINT CELLO $4.00 94 France - 1865 BB 5 Centimes $1.00 95 Illinois Governer Otto Kerner Inauguration Medal $4.00 96 1928 S "Inverted MM" Standing Liberty Quarter $35.00 113 Type Coin Lot $50.00 114 50 Indian Head Cents, Mixed Dates & Conditions $40.00 115 50 Indian Head Cents, Mixed Dates & Conditions $40.00 116 50 Indian Head Cents, Mixed Dates & Conditions $40.00 117 75 Indian Head Cents, Mixed Dates & Conditions $60.00 154 1958 Type B Washington Quarter UNC $12.00 156 1956 Washington Quarter UNC RAINBOW TONED $15.00 158 Denmark - 1921 5 Ore $2.00 159 1968 D Kennedy Half UNC TONED $10.00 160 1958 Type B Reverse Washington Quarter UNC $15.00 162 1959 Type B Reverse Washington Quarter UNC $12.00 163 1959 Type B Reverse Washington Quarter UNC TONED $15.00 166 1960 Type B Reverse Washington Quarter UNC $12.00 167 1960 Type B Reverse Washington Quarter UNC $12.00 170 1875 Indian Head Cent $3.00 171 1963 Type B Reverse Washington Quarter UNC TONED $15.00 172 1963 Type B Reverse Washington Quarter UNC TONED $15.00 173 1964 Kennedy Half Mint Clip Error $15.00 175 1964 D Washington Quarter UNC TONED $12.00 179 Stag Beer Wooden Nickel "Fair on the Square" $1.00 180 The TV Shop Slidell, LA One Wooden Buck $1.00 185 St Helena - 1981 25 Pence (Crown Sized) $3.00 190 1996 D Kennedy Half UNC MINT CELLO $2.00 191 State of Missouri Sesquicentennial Medal $2.00 193 State of Missouri Sesquicentennial Medal $2.00 194 State of Missouri Sesquicentennial Medal $2.00 199 1974 D Kennedy Half Dollar DDO UNC $35.00 200 Star Wars Episode III Limited Edition Token/Medal $3.00 253 1978 D Kennedy Half Dollar UNC from Mint Set GEM BU TONED $40.00 255 World Silver - Switzerland 1953 1/2 Franc $3.00 256 1979 Kennedy Half Dollar UNC from Mint Set GEM BU TONED $15.00 257 1986 D Kennedy Half Dollar UNC from Mint Set GEM BU TONED $30.00 258 1986 D Kennedy Half Dollar UNC from Mint Set GEM BU TONED $15.00 259 1954 S Washington Quarter UNC $15.00 260 1957 Washington Quarter UNC TONED $15.00 261 1963 Type B Reverse Washington Quarter UNC TONED $30.00 262 1999 D Kennedy Half Dollar UNC from Mint Set GEM BU PROOFLIKE $10.00 265 Panama - 1975 Proof 5 Centesimos in OGP cello $1.00 266 1971 D Eisenhower Dollar "Talon Head" Obverse Die Clash / "Moon Line" Reverse Die Clash UNC TONED $20.00 269 Maybrook NY Golden Jubilee Good For 10 Cent Wooden Nickel $1.00 270 Maybrook NY 1975 Golden Jubilee 25 Cent Wooden Nickel $1.00 271 World Silver - Australia 1939 Sixpence $4.00 272 1974 Eisenhower Dollar UNC RAINBOW TONED $20.00 274 1957 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 275 1974 D Eisenhower Dollar UNC RAINBOW TONED $15.00 276 World Silver - Australia 1920 Shilling $8.00 277 1959 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 278 2010 S Buchanan Presidential Golden Dollar from Proof Set with Doubled Edge Lettering $10.00 279 1960 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 280 World Silver - Australia 1943 Shilling $8.00 281 1961 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 282 2011 S Johnson Presidential Golden Dollar from Proof Set with Doubled Edge Lettering $10.00 286 1963 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 287 1983 Lincoln Cent DDO FS-101 $40.00 288 1964 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 289 1983 Lincoln Cent DDO UNC $40.00 290 1983 Lincoln Cent DDO UNC GEM BU $75.00 291 1964 D Washington Silver Quarter UNC TONED $10.00 292 2000 "Wide AM" Lincoln Cent UNC $20.00 293 1960's Terre Haute, IN Sesquicentennial Wooden Nickel $1.00 294 .999 Silver 1 oz MLB Mike Piazza Limited Edition Silver Proof Round $30.00 295 1964 "The American Indian - America's First Pioneer" 1 oz .999 Silver Round $30.00 296 "Winter Scenes" Sterling Silver Art Round $25.00 297 Illinois "Illiniwek" Mascot Sterling Silver Art Round TONED $25.00 298 1982 Buffalo NY Sesquicentennial Wooden Nickel $1.00 299 1958 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 300 1959 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 351 1960 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 352 Denmark - 1950 5 Ore KEY DATE $25.00 353 1961 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 357 1990 Rappahannock Area Coin Club Wooden Nickel $1.00 359 1962 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 360 Old Time Wooden Nickel Co Support Our Troops Wooden Nickel $1.00 361 1963 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 362 Switzerland - 1874 B 5 Rappen $40.00 363 1964 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 366 1957 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 368 1958 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 370 1959 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 371 Great Britain - 1920 1/2 Crown NICE $60.00 372 New Zealand - 1942 1/2 Crown $35.00 373 1960 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 374 Sudan - 1972 50 Ghirsh UNC $4.00 375 1961 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 377 Clear Lake, IA Perkins Wooden Nickel $1.00 378 Lake of the Woods 40th Anniversary Bimetallic Token $1.00 379 1962 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 380 Great Britain - 1981 25 New Pence UNC $3.00 383 Guyana - 1970 1 Dollar UNC $3.00 384 New Zealand - 1953 1 Crown $5.00 385 Illawarrra Numismatic Association Membership Discount Wooden Nickel Token $1.00 386 San Juan Quality Royale Casino Token $1 Face Value $2.00 388 Artisan Silverworks Temecula, CA Wooden Nickel $1.00 390 1963 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 393 Netherlands East Indies - 1945 S 1 Cent UNC $2.00 394 1964 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 395 1957 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 396 Netherlands Antilles - 1965 2.5 Cents UNC TONED $10.00 397 Virginia Numismatic Association Encased Cent $3.00 398 Netherlands - 1921 1/2 Cent BETTER DATE $3.00 399 Netherlands - 1922 1/2 Cent BETTER DATE $5.00 400 1958 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 451 1959 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 452 Belgium - 1902 1 Centime $1.00 453 Netherlands Antilles - 1959 1 Cent UNC $4.00 454 Belgium - 1901 1 Centime $2.00 455 Canada - 1930 5 Cents NICE $8.00 456 Canada - 1930 5 Cents NICER $10.00 458 Canada - 1948 5 Cents $1.00 461 Barbados - 1973 Proof 5 Cents in OGP $1.00 462 Barbados - 1973 Proof 1 Dollar in OGP $1.00 463 Barbados - 1973 Proof 25 Cents in OGP $1.00 464 Barbados - 1973 Proof 10 Cents in OGP $1.00 465 World Silver - Canada 1882 H Ten Cents $10.00 466 World Silver - Canada 1886 Ten Cents $15.00 467 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse Book High UNC $2.00 469 Trinidad & Tobago - 1973 Proof 10 Cents in OGP $1.00 470 World Silver - Canada 1899 Ten Cents $8.00 471 Trinidad & Tobago - 1973 Proof 1 Cent in OGP $1.00 472 British Virgin Islands - 1974 Proof 10 Cents in OGP cello $1.00 473 Trinidad & Tobago - 1973 Proof 50 Cents in OGP $1.00 474 World Silver - Canada 1908 Ten Cents $4.00 476 British Virgin Islands - 1973 Proof 1 Cent in OGP $1.00 477 Netherlands - 1906 1 Cent NICE $1.00 478 British Virgin Islands - 1973 Proof 25 Cents in OGP $1.00 479 1961 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 480 Barbados - 1980 Proof 25 Cents in OGP cello $1.00 481 1962 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 482 Panama - 1976 Proof 5 Centesimos in OGP cello $1.00 483 Panama - 1976 Proof 10 Centesimos in OGP cello $1.00 484 Netherlands - 1912 1/2 Cent NICE $3.00 485 1963 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 486 1964 Type B Reverse Washington Silver Quarter (starts at melt) $5.00 488 Netherlands East Indies - 1921 1/2 Cent NICE KEY DATE $12.00 490 British Virgin Islands - 1974 Proof 1 Cent in OGP $1.00 491 Denmark - 1920 10 Ore Doubled Die Obverse (date) $5.00 492 India - 2010 10 Rupees UNC $1.00 494 British Virgin Islands - 1974 Proof 5 Cents in OGP cello $1.00 495 France - 1946 C 5 Francs $3.00 497 World Silver - Canada 1874 H 25 Cents $8.00 498 British Virgin Islands - 1974 Proof 10 Cents in OGP $1.00 499 France - 1952 5 Francs KEY DATE $10.00 500 France - 1946 5 Francs $1.00 551 Switzerland - 1906 1 Rappen BETTER DATE $10.00 552 World Silver - Switzerland 1963 1 Franc NICE $5.00 553 Switzerland - 1902 2 Rappen KEY DATE FIRST YEAR $15.00 554 Panama - 1975 Proof 1 Centesimo in OGP $2.00 555 Panama - 1975 Proof 10 Centesimos in OGP $3.00 556 Panama - 1976 Proof 10 Centesimos in OGP $2.00 557 Switzerland - 1910 2 Rappen BETTER DATE $10.00 558 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse Book Low UNC $2.00 559 Panama - 1975 Proof 25 Centesimos in OGP $2.00 561 Panama - 1975 Proof 5 Centesimos in OGP $2.00 562 Panama - 1976 Proof 5 Centesimos in OGP $4.00 568 Panama - 1974 Proof 5 Centesimos in OGP cello $1.00 570 France - 1889 A 5 Centimes $1.00 572 Panama - 1973 Proof 1/10 Balboa in OGP $1.00 573 France - 1854 D 5 Centimes $1.00 574 Barbados - 1973 Proof 1 Cent $1.00 575 Panama - 1973 Proof 1/4 Balboa in OGP $1.00 576 France - 1862 K 5 Centimes $1.00 577 1934 Washington Quarter Medium Motto NICE $15.00 579 Liberia 1941 2 Cents NICE $6.00 580 World Silver - Denmark 1874 25 Ore $6.00 581 Liberia - 1974 Proof 5 Cents in OGP $1.00 583 France - 1856 BB 5 Centimes $1.00 584 Liberia - 1974 Proof 10 Cents in OGP $1.00 585 Mexico Mint Set 1965 (includes silver) $5.00 587 Mexico Mint Set Mixed Dates (includes silver) $5.00 588 France - 1863 K 5 Centimes $2.00 590 France - 1855 D 5 Centimes $1.00 593 France - 1854 K 5 Centimes $1.00 594 Bahamas - 1970 Proof 1 Cent in OGP $1.00 595 France - 1853 D 10 Centimes $1.00 596 France - 1856 K 10 Centimes $1.00 599 France - 1854 W 10 Centimes $1.00 600 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse Book Low UNC $2.00 651 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse Book Low UNC $2.00 652 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse Book Low UNC $2.00 653 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse 012 UNC $2.00 654 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse 012 UNC $2.00 655 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse 012 UNC $2.00 658 World Silver - Austria - 1868 10 Kreuzer $2.00 660 World Silver - Canada 1916 25 Cents $6.00 661 Greece - 1959 10 Drachmai UNC $10.00 663 World Silver - Canada 1921 25 Cents $8.00 664 World Silver - Canada 1921 25 Cents $8.00 666 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse 001 UNC $2.00 667 2009 P Lincoln Cent "Formative Years" Doubled Die Reverse 002 UNC $2.00 670 Barbados - 1973 Proof 1 Cent and 5 Cents in OGP (two coins) $1.00 671 Barbados - 1973 Proof 10 Cents and 25 Cents in OGP (two coins) $1.00 672 Cayman Islands - 1974 Proof 5 Cents and 10 Cents in OGP (two coins) $1.00 673 Bahamas - 1973 and 1974 Proof 1 Cents in OGP (two coins) $1.00 674 Bahamas - 1973 and 1974 Proof 5 Cents in OGP (two coins) $1.00 675 Switzerland - 1921 10 Rappen NICE $8.00 676 Switzerland - 1936 2 Rappen KEY DATE $5.00 677 World Silver - Switzerland 1955 1/2 Franc BETTER DATE $4.00 679 1982 Silver Proof George Washington Commemorative Half Dollar in OGP $11.00 680 1982 Silver Proof George Washington Commemorative Half Dollar in OGP $11.00 681 1982 Silver Proof George Washington Commemorative Half Dollar in OGP $11.00 682 1982 Silver Proof George Washington Commemorative Half Dollar in OGP $11.00 684 World Silver - Saint Thomas & Prince Island (Sao Tome et Principe) 1951 2 1/2 Escudos LOW MINTAGE $25.00 685 1986 Proof 2 CoinStatue of Liberty Set (Silver Dollar and Clad Half) in OGP $22.00 686 1986 Proof 2 CoinStatue of Liberty Set (Silver Dollar and Clad Half) in OGP $22.00 687 Bahamas - 1976 Proof 25 Cents in OGP $1.00 689 Two French Notgeld Tokens $2.00 690 1986 Proof 2 CoinStatue of Liberty Set (Silver Dollar and Clad Half) in OGP $22.00 691 Two French Notgeld Tokens $2.00 692 1986 Proof 2 CoinStatue of Liberty Set (Silver Dollar and Clad Half) in OGP $22.00 693 Mexico - 1954 5 Centavos UNC $3.00 694 World Silver - Japan 1932 50 Sen $6.00 695 Mexico - 1966 20 Centavos UNC $5.00 696 1986 Silver Proof Statue of Liberty Dollar in OGP $20.00 697 World Silver - Canada 1929 10 Cents $3.00 698 1986 Silver Proof Statue of Liberty Dollar in OGP $20.00 699 Mexico - 1973 20 Centavos UNC $6.00 700 World Silver - Canada 1948 10 Cents $3.00 751 1986 Silver Proof Statue of Liberty Dollar in OGP $20.00 752 Mexico - 1955 5 Centavos $1.00 753 Mexico - 1955 5 Centavos $1.00 755 Canada - "Heads and Tails" RCM Mint Booklet with 1968 Mint Set $5.00 756 Four Canada 1991 UNC Cents (4 coins) in OGP CELLO $1.00 757 Four Canada 1991 UNC 5 Cents (4 coins) in OGP CELLO $1.00 759 Four Canada 1991 UNC 10 Cents (4 coins) in OGP CELLO $2.00 760 Philippines - 1975 Proof 10 Cents in OGP $1.00 761 Nepal 1974 Proof Set LOW MINTAGE $3.00 762 Philippines - 1975 Proof 5 Cents in OGP $1.00 766 Four Canada 1991 UNC 50 Cents (4 coins) in OGP CELLO $4.00 767 Four Canada 1991 UNC 1 Dollar (4 coins) in OGP CELLO $7.00 768 Belize 1974 Uncirculated Specimen Set in OGP $25.00 771 Jamaica - 1976 Proof 1 Cent in OGP $1.00 773 1961 Silver Proof Washington Quarter DEEP CAMEO $10.00 774 1964 D Washington Quarter UNC TONED $8.00 775 1961 Silver Proof Washington Quarter DEEP CAMEO $10.00 776 1974 P Kennedy Half Dollar UNC MINT CELLO $2.00 777 Poland - 2014 2 Zlotych UNC $2.00 778 Two Mixed World Coins $1.00 779 1959 Silver Proof Washington Quarter DEEP CAMEO $10.00 780 1956 Silver Proof Washington Quarter $6.00 781 1956 Silver Proof Washington Quarter $6.00 782 Two Mixed Tokens $1.00 783 1976 P Kennedy Half Dollar UNC MINT CELLO $2.00 785 1956 Silver Proof Washington Quarter $6.00 787 1941 S "Large S" Lincoln Wheat Cent $1.00 789 1953 Silver Proof Washington Quarter NICE $20.00 794 2011 S Silver Proof Glacier Quarter $6.00 795 St Pierre & Miquelon - 1948 1 Franc UNC $8.00 796 2013 S Silver Proof Great Basin Quarter $6.00 800 1995 Lincoln Cent Doubled Die Obverse $20.00 851 1971 Lincoln Memorial Cent NGC MS67RD (Price Guide $195) 852 1971 Jefferson Nickel NGC MS66 6FS (Price Guide $125) 853 1946 S Roosevelt Dime NGC MS67FT (Price Guide $95) 854 World Silver - Egypt AH1293 (Year 10; 1884) 10 Qirsh $12.00 856 1965 Roosevelt Dime NGC MS67 FULL TORCH (Price Guide $750) 857 1965 Washington Quarter NGC MS66 (Price Guide $30) 858 1971 Washington Quarter NGC MS66 (Price Guide $50) 859 1971 D Washington Quarter NGC MS67 (Price Guide $65) 860 1963 D Franklin Half Dollar NGC MS65 FULL BELL LINES (Price Guide $190) 861 1971 D Kennedy Half Dollar NGC MS67 (Price Guide $120) 862 1971 P Eisenhower Dollar NGC MS65 (Price Guide $80) 863 1825 Half Cent NGC VG10BN (Price Guide $85) 864 1939 S Jefferson Nickel PCGS MS65 Rev 1940 (Price Guide $90) 865 1943 P Silver Jefferson Nickel DDO (Doubled Eye) NGC XF45 (Price Guide $75) 866 1941 D Jefferson Nickel NGC MS66 5 Full Steps (Price Guide $40) 867 1941 D Jefferson Nickel NGC MS67 5 Full Steps (Price Guide $175) 868 2011 S Silver Proof Chickasaw Quarter $6.00 869 2013 S Silver Proof White Mountain Quarter $6.00 870 1943 D Jefferson Nickel Old NGC MS67 (Price Guide $90) 871 1956 D Jefferson Nickel NGC MS65 TONED (Price Guide $20) 872 1956 D Jefferson Nickel NGC MS65 TONED (Price Guide $20) 873 1958 Proof Jefferson Nickel NGC PF69 (Price Guide $110) 874 1978 D Jefferson Nickel NGC MS66 5 Full Steps (Price Guide $60) 875 1945 S Micro S Mercury Dime NGC MS66 (Price Guide $140) 876 1946 S/S Washington Quarter RPM-002 NGC MS65 (Price Guide $75) 877 1946 S/S Washington Quarter RPM-002 NGC MS65 (Price Guide $75) 878 1947 S/S Washington Quarter RPM-001 NGC MS66 (Price Guide $285) 879 1950 Washington Quarter DDR NGC MS66 (Price Guide $150) 880 1957 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse PCGS MS66 (Price Guide $110) 881 1958 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $100) 882 2013 S Silver Proof Fort McHenry Quarter $6.00 883 1959 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS64 (Price Guide $40) 884 1959 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS64 (Price Guide $40) 885 1959 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS64 (Price Guide $40) 886 Canada - 1962 "Hanging 2" 1 Cent UNC $8.00 887 1959 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $55) 888 1959 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $55) 889 1959 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $55) 890 1959 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $55) 891 1959 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $55) 892 1960 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $65) 893 1960 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS64 (Price Guide $50) 894 1960 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS64 (Price Guide $50) 896 1960 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $65) 897 1960 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $65) 898 1960 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $65) 899 1962 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse PCGS MS65 (Price Guide $110) 951 1963 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse PCGS MS65 (Price Guide $130) 952 1963 Washington Quarter Type B Reverse NGC MS65 (Price Guide $130) 953 Philippines - 1944 D/D 20 Centavos NGC AU58 RARE Variety (Priced at $55) 954 1942 Walking Liberty Half DDR NGC AU58 (Price Guide $100) 955 1942 Walking Liberty Half DDR PCGS MS67 GEM (Price Guide $6,000) 956 1953 D Franklin Half Bugs Bunny PCGS MS64FBL (Price Guide $170 957 1954 D Franklin Half Bugs Bunny PCGS MS64FBL (Price Guide $100) 958 1954 D Franklin Half Bugs Bunny PCGS MS64FBL (Price Guide $100) 960 1974 D Kennedy Half DDO PCGS AU58 (Price Guide $35) 961 1977 D Kennedy Half DDO NGC AU58 (Price Guide $175) 962 1977 D Kennedy Half DDO NGC AU58 (Price Guide $175) 963 1977 D Kennedy Half DDO NGC MS61 (Price Guide $250) 964 1977 D Kennedy Half DDO NGC MS62 (Price Guide $350) 965 1977 D Kennedy Half DDO ANACS MS63 (Price Guide $100) 966 1977 D Kennedy Half DDO NGC MS65 (Price Guide $250) 967 1977 D Kennedy Half DDO NGC MS65 (Price Guide $250) 968 1885 O Morgan Dollar NGC MS63 TONED (Priced at $100 due to toning) 969 Sterling Silver Cup Engraved "Johnny" 53.3 grams 971 Sterling Silver Cigarette Case Engraved "CML" 67.5 grams 972 2010 S Silver Proof Mount Hood Quarter $6.00 974 2011 S Silver Proof Olympic Quarter $6.00 976 2010 S Silver Proof Yosemite Quarter $6.00 977 1964 D Washington Quarter BU NICE $5.00 978 1959 D Washington Quarter BU NICE $5.00 979 Sterling Silver Tongs 19.1 grams 980 Sterling Silver Tongs 19.0 grams 981 1984 P Kennedy Half Dollar UNC MINT CELLO $2.00 982 1979 P Kennedy Half Dollar UNC MINT CELLO $2.00 983 1959 D Washington Quarter BU NICE $5.00 984 1959 D Washington Quarter BU NICE $5.00 985 France - 1919 10 Centimes NICE $2.00 986 1953 S Silver Washington Quarter NICE $8.00 987 France - 1945 C 5 Francs $2.00 988 France - 1945 C 5 Francs $2.00 989 Sterling Silver Spoon Engraved "Eugene 1892" 10.0 grams 990 France - 1946 C 5 Francs $3.00 991 France - 1946 C 5 Francs $3.00 992 France - 1946 C 5 Francs $3.00 993 France - 1946 C 5 Francs $3.00 994 1964 D Washington Quarter BU NICE $5.00 995 Sterling Silver Spoon Engraved "1893" 10.0 grams 998 1964 Washington Quarter BU NICE $5.00 999 1962 Washington Quarter BU NICE $5.00
https://github.com/gridcoin-community/Gridcoin-Research/releases/tag/220.127.116.11 Finally! After over ten months of development and testing, "Fern" has arrived! This is a whopper. 240 pull requests merged. Essentially a complete rewrite that was started with the scraper (the "neural net" rewrite) in "Denise" has now been completed. Practically the ENTIRE Gridcoin specific codebase resting on top of the vanilla Bitcoin/Peercoin/Blackcoin vanilla PoS code has been rewritten. This removes the team requirement at last (see below), although there are many other important improvements besides that. Fern was a monumental undertaking. We had to encode all of the old rules active for the v10 block protocol in new code and ensure that the new code was 100% compatible. This had to be done in such a way as to clear out all of the old spaghetti and ring-fence it with tightly controlled class implementations. We then wrote an entirely new, simplified ruleset for research rewards and reengineered contracts (which includes beacon management, polls, and voting) using properly classed code. The fundamentals of Gridcoin with this release are now on a very sound and maintainable footing, and the developers believe the codebase as updated here will serve as the fundamental basis for Gridcoin's future roadmap. We have been testing this for MONTHS on testnet in various stages. The v10 (legacy) compatibility code has been running on testnet continuously as it was developed to ensure compatibility with existing nodes. During the last few months, we have done two private testnet forks and then the full public testnet testing for v11 code (the new protocol which is what Fern implements). The developers have also been running non-staking "sentinel" nodes on mainnet with this code to verify that the consensus rules are problem-free for the legacy compatibility code on the broader mainnet. We believe this amount of testing is going to result in a smooth rollout. Given the amount of changes in Fern, I am presenting TWO changelogs below. One is high level, which summarizes the most significant changes in the protocol. The second changelog is the detailed one in the usual format, and gives you an inkling of the size of this release.
Note that the protocol changes will not become active until we cross the hard-fork transition height to v11, which has been set at 2053000. Given current average block spacing, this should happen around October 4, about one month from now. Note that to get all of the beacons in the network on the new protocol, we are requiring ALL beacons to be validated. A two week (14 day) grace period is provided by the code, starting at the time of the transition height, for people currently holding a beacon to validate the beacon and prevent it from expiring. That means that EVERY CRUNCHER must advertise and validate their beacon AFTER the v11 transition (around Oct 4th) and BEFORE October 18th (or more precisely, 14 days from the actual date of the v11 transition). If you do not advertise and validate your beacon by this time, your beacon will expire and you will stop earning research rewards until you advertise and validate a new beacon. This process has been made much easier by a brand new beacon "wizard" that helps manage beacon advertisements and renewals. Once a beacon has been validated and is a v11 protocol beacon, the normal 180 day expiration rules apply. Note, however, that the 180 day expiration on research rewards has been removed with the Fern update. This means that while your beacon might expire after 180 days, your earned research rewards will be retained and can be claimed by advertising a beacon with the same CPID and going through the validation process again. In other words, you do not lose any earned research rewards if you do not stake a block within 180 days and keep your beacon up-to-date. The transition height is also when the team requirement will be relaxed for the network.
Besides the beacon wizard, there are a number of improvements to the GUI, including new UI transaction types (and icons) for staking the superblock, sidestake sends, beacon advertisement, voting, poll creation, and transactions with a message. The main screen has been revamped with a better summary section, and better status icons. Several changes under the hood have improved GUI performance. And finally, the diagnostics have been revamped.
The wallet sync speed has been DRASTICALLY improved. A decent machine with a good network connection should be able to sync the entire mainnet blockchain in less than 4 hours. A fast machine with a really fast network connection and a good SSD can do it in about 2.5 hours. One of our goals was to reduce or eliminate the reliance on snapshots for mainnet, and I think we have accomplished that goal with the new sync speed. We have also streamlined the in-memory structures for the blockchain which shaves some memory use. There are so many goodies here it is hard to summarize them all. I would like to thank all of the contributors to this release, but especially thank @cyrossignol, whose incredible contributions formed the backbone of this release. I would also like to pay special thanks to @barton2526, @caraka, and @Quezacoatl1, who tirelessly helped during the testing and polishing phase on testnet with testing and repeated builds for all architectures. The developers are proud to present this release to the community and we believe this represents the starting point for a true renaissance for Gridcoin!
Most significantly, nodes calculate research rewards directly from the magnitudes in EACH superblock between stakes instead of using a two- or three- point average based on a CPID's current magnitude and the magnitude for the CPID when it last staked. For those long-timers in the community, this has been referred to as "Superblock Windows," and was first done in proof-of-concept form by @denravonska.
Network magnitude unit pinned to a static value of 0.25
Max research reward allowed per block raised to 16384 GRC (from 12750 GRC)
New CPIDs begin accruing research rewards from the first superblock that contains the CPID instead of from the time of the beacon advertisement
500 GRC research reward limit for a CPID's first stake
6-month expiration for unclaimed rewards
10-block spacing requirement between research reward claims
Rolling 5-day payment-per-day limit
Legacy tolerances for floating-point error and time drift
The need to include a valid copy of a CPID's magnitude in a claim
10-block emission adjustment interval for the magnitude unit
One-time beacon activation requires that participants temporarily change their usernames to a verification code at one whitelisted BOINC project
Verification codes of pending beacons expire after 3 days
Self-service beacon removal
Burn fee for beacon advertisement increased from 0.00001 GRC to 0.5 GRC
Rain addresses derived from beacon keys instead of a default wallet address
Beacon expiration determined as of the current block instead of the previous block
The ability for developers to remove beacons
The ability to sign research reward claims with non-current but unexpired beacons
As a reminder:
Beacons expire after 6 months pass (180 days)
Beacons can be renewed after 5 months pass (150 days)
Renewed beacons must be signed with the same key as the original beacon
Magnitudes less than 1 include two fractional places
Magnitudes greater than or equal to 1 but less than 10 include one fractional place
A valid superblock must match a scraper convergence
Superblock popularity election mechanics
Yes/no/abstain and single-choice response types (no user-facing support yet)
To create a poll, a maximum of 250 UTXOs for a single address must add up to 100000 GRC. These are selected from the largest downwards.
Burn fee for creating polls scaled by the number of UTXOs claimed
50 GRC for a poll contract
0.001 GRC per claimed UTXO
Burn fee for casting votes scaled by the number of UTXOs claimed
0.01 GRC for a vote contract
0.01 GRC to claim magnitude
0.01 GRC per claimed address
0.001 GRC per claimed UTXO
Maximum length of a poll title: 80 characters
Maximum length of a poll question: 100 characters
Maximum length of a poll discussion website URL: 100 characters
Maximum number of poll choices: 20
Maximum length of a poll choice label: 100 characters
Magnitude, CPID count, and participant count poll weight types
The ability for developers to remove polls and votes
[18.104.22.168] 2020-09-03, mandatory, "Fern"
Backport newer uint256 types from Bitcoin #1570 (@cyrossignol)
Implement project level rain for rainbymagnitude #1580 (@jamescowens)
Upgrade utilities (Update checker and snapshot downloadeapplication) #1576 (@iFoggz)
Provide fees collected in the block by the miner #1601 (@iFoggz)
Add support for generating legacy superblocks from scraper stats #1603 (@cyrossignol)
Port of the Bitcoin Logger to Gridcoin #1600 (@jamescowens)
Implement zapwallettxes #1605 (@jamescowens)
Implements a global event filter to suppress help question mark #1609 (@jamescowens)
Add next target difficulty to RPC output #1615 (@cyrossignol)
Add caching for block hashes to CBlock #1624 (@cyrossignol)
Make toolbars and tray icon red for testnet #1637 (@jamescowens)
Add an rpc call convergencereport #1643 (@jamescowens)
Implement newline filter on config file read in #1645 (@jamescowens)
Implement beacon status icon/button #1646 (@jamescowens)
Add gridcointestnet.png #1649 (@caraka)
Add precision to support magnitudes less than 1 #1651 (@cyrossignol)
Replace research accrual calculations with superblock snapshots #1657 (@cyrossignol)
Publish example gridcoinresearch.conf as a md document to the doc directory #1662 (@jamescowens)
Add options checkbox to disable transaction notifications #1666 (@jamescowens)
Add support for self-service beacon deletion #1695 (@cyrossignol)
Add support for type-specific contract fee amounts #1698 (@cyrossignol)
Add verifiedbeaconreport and pendingbeaconreport #1696 (@jamescowens)
Add preliminary testing option for block v11 height on testnet #1706 (@cyrossignol)
Add verified beacons manifest part to superblock validator #1711 (@cyrossignol)
Implement beacon, vote, and superblock display categories/icons in UI transaction model #1717 (@jamescowens)
An Overview of Arizona Primary Races - Part 4: Legislative Districts 11-20
Welcome back to my omnibus compendium of Arizona’s upcoming primary races in the style of my 2018 summaries. The primary is set to take place August 4th – early voting ballots should have been mailed out on or around July 8th. Arizona’s a really interesting state (I may be a hair biased), since it not only is home to 2-3 swing House seats and a high-profile Senate race, but also tenuous majorities in both state houses that could – theoretically – neuter Ducey’s trifecta this fall. And counties have their races this year as well, so I’ve highlighted some of the fireworks ongoing in Maricopa. And this is before factoring in the fact that our state is a COVID-19 hotspot, with an unpopular Republican Governor doing almost nothing to stop it. If you’re interested about which district you live in, check https://azredistricting.org/districtlocato. If you want to get involved with your local Democratic party, find your legislative district on the previous link (NOT CD), and then search for your LD’s name at this link. Feel free to attend meetings, they’re a great way to get involved with candidates and like-minded individuals. If you wish to donate to a “clean elections” candidate (mentioned in the post as “clean”), you will have to live in that candidate’s legislative district to give qualifying $5 contributions (check here if anyone needs it in your area), but they are allowed to accept a limited amount of “seed money” from people outside of the district. The three CorpComm candidates can take $5’s statewide. If you do not want to vote at the polls, you will need to request an early ballot using the website of your county’s recorder prior to July 4th. Example links for Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal. Others available if needed. Race ratings for listed primaries will be listed as Safe/Likely/Leans/Tilt/Tossup (alternatively Solid instead of Safe if my mind blanks) and are not indicative of my own preference for that seat. I’ll denote my personal primary preferences at the end of this series, as well as the best Republican ticket for the Dems if someone here really really wants to pull a GOP ballot in the primary. I do not advise it, but since I can't stop ya, you'll get my best suggestions. Write-in candidates have yet to file, which could give us an outside chance at getting some Libertarians on the ballot (the Greens have lost their ballot access). If you have any questions about voting in the primary, which races are the most contested, and how to get involved with other Democrats in Arizona, feel free to PM me. All fundraising numbers here are as of 7/18/2020 (“Q2”). District stats are listed for the race that involved the top Democratic vote-getter in the past two midterm cycles plus the last two presidential races, taken from Daily Kos’s legislative sheet – Clinton’16, Obama’12, Sinema’18, and Garcia’14 (not his 2018 run). Part 1: Statewide and Congressional Races Part 2: Maricopa County Races Update 1: Congressional and County Rating Updates Part 3: Legislative Districts 1-10 ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN SOLELY IN MY CAPACITY AS A VOTER IN ARIZONA, AND NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY ORGANIZATIONS I WORK/ED FOR OR AM/WAS A MEMBER OF. THIS POST IS IN NO WAY ENDORSED BY THE ARIZONA DEMOCRATIC PARTY OR ANY SUB-ORGANIZATION THEREOF, OR ANY FILED CANDIDATE. Alright, let’s get cracking, y’all. I’m going to try to save time and characters on the safer seats when I can, although of course I’ll expound on any fun stuff that comes up. Legislative District 11 (McSally+9.93, Trump+13.9, Douglas+16.7, Romney+19.3) The first district in this writeup installment is LD11, a district very close geographically and politically to LD8. Unlike LD8, however, LD11 has slowly been trending towards Democrats, instead of away from them. Encompassing the southern half of Pinal (including a large chunk of Casa Grande) and bits of Pima, LD11 could swing under the right conditions, but is probably a safe seat this year. That’s disappointing, since the incumbents in the district are pretty darn nasty. Incumbent Senator Venden “Vince” Leach ($98K COH), a sort-of Great Value Mitch McConnell, loves to spend his time filing SB1487 complaints against various liberal towns in Arizona – basically, suing cities over their attempts to go above and beyond state law when it comes to certain issues. Leach leads the SB1487 leaderboard with 4 SB1487 suits, most recently targeting Pima County over COVID-19 safety regulations that were slightly stricter than state law. Joining the suit were his House counterparts, COVID-19 conspiracy-monger Bret Roberts ($22.4K COH) and actual goddamn Oathkeeper and Charlottesville trutherMark Finchem ($27K COH). Facing Finchem and Roberts is the Democratic House nominee for LD11, Dr. Felipe Perez ($24.2K COH). Perez has made few waves online and I haven’t seen him even in the same tier of candidates as Girard in LD8, so he’s probably not going to supercharge this district into Dem. territory. But given the spike in public approval for the healthcare industry due to COVID, he may get lucky. On the Senate side, Leach’s opponent will be one of retired public administrator Linda Patterson ($4.7K COH, Clean) and Marine drill instructor Joanna Mendoza ($14.5K COH). Anything could happen between now and August, but Mendoza currently has a significant organizational, political (endorsements) and fiscal advantage over Patterson, and will probably be the nominee come August. A well-run race could feasibly knock out Finchem or Roberts, but I’ve yet to see that happen. Still, it’s far out enough that I’m not going to slam the door shut on a Perez win just yet. hunter15991 Rating: GOP primary unopposed, Safe Mendoza, Perez unopposed, Safe Leach, Safe Roberts, Likely Finchem general Legislative District 12 (McSally+17.19, Trump+24.5, Douglas+17.84, Romney+33.35) Really not going to focus much on this district to save space, as it’s a snoozefest. House Majority Leader Warren Petersen ($84.8K COH) is running for Senate to replace outgoing Sen. Eddie Farnsworth. Petersen faces Haitian DREAMer. former teacher, and 2018 LD-12 House nominee Lynsey Robinson ($1.4K COH). Robinson’s a great person, but lost her House race against Petersen by the 1v1 equivalent of 20 points, and shows no sign of knocking him off this time around. Petersen’s runningmates, Rep. Travis Grantham ($39K COH) and Queen Creek Councilman Jake Hoffman ($107.7K COH) are unopposed in both the primary and general. hunter15991 Rating: Primaries all unopposed, Safe Petersen general, GOP House unopposed Legislative District 13 (McSally+21.59, Trump+26.96, Douglas+26.22, Romney+31.62) Moving on to another Safe GOP district with not much activity – LD13! Stretching from the whiter Yuma neighborhoods all the way to Phoenix exurbs in Maricopa County (and the mirror image of LD4 to its south), LD13 routinely sends Republican slates to the legislature. This year, incumbents Sen. Sine Kerr ($58.5K COH), Rep. Tim Dunn ($60.4K COH), and Rep. Joanne Osborne ($15K COH) are all fighting to hold their seats. Kerr is unopposed in both the primary and general, while Dunn and Osborne are in the opposite situation – they’ve got two elections between now and inauguration day. Democratic paralegal Mariana Sandoval ($3.1K COH, Clean) will put up little resistance for the GOP in the general, but the entrance of former Senator and former Speaker Pro Tem Steve Montenegro ($27.8K COH) could really shake up the LD13 House primary. Montenegro, a Salvadoran-American legislator who resigned his Senate seat to run for the CD-8 special election primary (he placed 3rd, ultimately losing to then-Sen. Debbie Lesko), was a rising star in the AZ-GOP before his resignation and contemporaneous sexting scandal. This Senate run could be a good way for him to get his foot back in the door, and since his election would single-handedly double the amount of non-white Republicans in the legislator, I would figure that some Arizona Republicans are excited that Montenegro is throwing his hat back into the ring. I haven’t seen much about this primary online, but there’s vague general on GOP pages dinging Montenegro for his ties to a 2016 National Popular Vote bill in the legislature, which is a big purity sticking point for the further-right members of the Arizona GOP. That being said, the chatter is vague at best, and Montenegro has enough conservative cred (with endorsements from people like Joe Arpaio and former Rep. Trent Franks back during his special election run) that he will primarily face issues over the sexting scandal. I’ll give Osborne and Dunn a slight advantage over their incumbency, financial well-being, and the issues in Montenegro’s closet, but this is a really tight race and Montenegro could very well end up back in the legislature this time next year. hunter15991 Rating: Dem. unopposed, Kerr unopposed, Tilt Osborne, Tilt Dunn, All Safe GOP general Legislative District 14 (McSally+23.83, Trump+26.24, Douglas+22.88, Romney+26.84) This is yet another district where Democrats stand no real chance in competing this year, and haven’t in quite some time. Situated in SE Arizona, LD14 once incorporated some ancestrally Democratic mining towns in Greenlee and Graham County, but they’ve grown red enough in the past couple of decades that this district is now held by three GOP legislators. Former House Speaker and current Sen. David Gowan ($60.9K COH) (who was previously in the news for trying to use a state vehicle to assist in a failed Congressional campaign) faces realtor Bob Karp ($12.9K COH, Clean) in the general, while House incumbents Rep. Gail “Tax porn to build the wall” Griffin” ($50.5K COH) and Rep. Becky Nutt ($47.4K COH) face retired union activist Ronnie Maestas-Condos ($686 COH, Clean) and teacher Kim Beach-Moschetti ($13K COH, Clean). All 3 races will probably be easy GOP wins. hunter15991 Rating: Candidates unopposed in primaries, All Safe GOP general Legislative District 15 (McSally+8.01, Trump+16.61, Douglas+11.06, Romney+25.44) LD15, up in Northern Scottsdale and Phoenix, is one of the final frontiers of suburban expansion for Arizona Democrats, along with the Mormon suburbs of the far East Valley (LD12, 16, and 25). A very wealthy area, LD15 has routinely been a GOP stronghold – but their hold on the area has been dissipating steadily rapidly in the Trump era. In 2018, two Dem. House candidates both managed to outperform the “single-shot” performance of a 2016 candidate, and Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko ($48.6K COH, hereafter “KDP”) improved on the district’s 2016 State Senate margin by several points despite facing a significantly more difficult opponent than the 2016 Democrat. KDP is running again this year, as a single-shot candidate for the State House. Her opponents have yet to be set in stone, as both GOP Representatives are vacating their seats to run for higher office, and there are three GOP candidates in the August primary vying for two nominations. Veteran Steve Kaiser ($13.6K COH) and State House policy adviser Justin Wilmeth ($16K COH, $5.2K self-funded) are the nominal establishment picks for both seats, and have been endorsed by a whole host of GOP legislators. However, they face stiff competition from businessman Jarret Hamstreet ($23.2K COH, $10K self-funded), who boasts endorsements from GOP power-players like the local Chamber of Commerce and the NRA, as well as tacit support from the incumbent Senator in the district Heather Carter ($101.2K COH) (somewhat of an Arizona Lisa Murkowski). I’ve been able to find very little chatter on the race, but with Hamstreet’s significant fundraising advantage I definitely think he secures one of the two nominations this November. While the district is still quite red, KDP is no spring chicken, and facing Kasier, Hamstreet, or Wilmeth will be a lot easier than her run against Carter in 2018. If I’m going to be honest, it is the GOP Senate primary that is almost as important as the House general election. Heather Carter has gotten on the bad side of quite a few conservative legislators during her tenure in the Senate, holding up GOP budgets with her partner in crime Paul Boyer in 2019 over a stalled child sexual assault statute of limitations bill and this year over an amendment to give additional funding to firefighters for PPE and to students for tuition support. That amendment failed 15-15 thanks to one Kate Brophy McGee - more on her later. Carter’s actual attempts at moderation (as opposed to McGee’s performative bullshit) has inspired current State Rep. Nancy Barto ($9.9K COH) to challenge her for the Senate. Barto has the support of both Kaiser and Wilmeth (as well as most of the GOP establishment) but has been routinely lagging behind Carter in fundraising (both in terms of current COH and overall amount raised). Carter has been bringing in more “moderate” and pro-public education GOP volunteers from all over Phoenix and is sure to put up a fight in August. As it stands, I think she narrowly pulls it off. There is no Democratic Senate opponent in the general, so winning the primary automatically wins the seat. If you’ve got GOP friends in AZ who just can’t bare phonebanking for Democratic candidates but complain about the state of the Republican party, send them her way. Carter has beliefs. Barto has none. Slate totals:
Barto coalition (KaiseWilmeth/Barto): $40.5K
hunter15991 Rating: Dem. unopposed, Tilt Carter, Lean Hamstreet, Tilt Kaiser, GOP Sen. unopposed in general, Likely Hamstreet, 2nd GOP unopposed Legislative District 16 (McSally+17.58, Trump+28.37, Douglas+17, Romney+28.11) LD16, out on the border between Pinal and Maricopa County, is probably the reddest district in Arizona that could still be relatively considered “suburban”. The only Democratic candidate is write-in House candidate Rev. Helen Hunter ($783 COH), and while her background is stellar (incl. past work with the NAACP, Mesa PD’s Use of Force Committee, and other community involvement), there isn’t even a guarantee she’ll make it onto the November ballot. Meanwhile, Rep. Kelly Townsend ($15.5K COH) has tired of the State House (just like she tired of her furry fursona, and is running unopposed for State Senate. The real drama, therefore, is in the GOP State House primary to win Townsend’s old seat. Incumbent Rep. John Fillmore ($12.9K COH) is running for another term, and seems set to win one of the two nominations. Townsend’s former seat is contested by respiratory therapist Liza Godzich ($14.6K COH) (who wins the “most moderate” title by default by virtue of taking COVID kinda seriously), CorpComm policy advisor Jacqueline Parker ($16.4K COH), and school choice activist/general lunatic Forest Moriarty ($17.7K COH). Moriarty has the valuable Townsend endorsement, but has not been able to consolidate support easily elsewhere – Parker’s CorpComm ties let her bring quite a few assets of her own to bear, as well as endorsements from Congressman Andy Biggs and the NRA. This election will be a test of Townsend’s downballot coattails, as well as those of the school choice movement in AZ parlaying any support they may have into legislative results. Success for Moriarty here could go as far as inspiring Townsend to run for Governor. We’ll see if it comes to that. hunter15991 Rating: No Dem. filed (pending write-in), Townsend unopposed, Lean Fillmore, Tossup ParkeMoriarty, GOP unopposed in general Legislative District 17 (Sinema+3.53, Trump+4.09, Douglas+3.12, Romney+14.16) One of the reasons I significantly delayed writing these writeups was because I was dreading writing about LD17. Not to doxx myself completely, but in 2018 I had far too many negative encounters with the incumbent Democratic Representative, Jennifer Pawlik ($101.3K COH) that made me routinely question my support of her. I’m still trying to heal the wounds in multiple relationships I have with friends that were caused by Pawlik’s actions. I deeply regret ever lifting a finger to help her when I had opportunities in other districts. But because her actions never got physical, because the stakes are so high this year, and because too much unsubstantiated negative talk about a candidate can get a post deleted - I don’t wish to publicly expound on her actions (nor put words in the mouth of other people who interacted with her). Feel free to PM if interested. Pawlik as a candidate is a grab-bag. On paper she’d be a strong option for a suburban district – a teacher and education funding activist with a prior win during the 2018 wave. However, behind the scenes she is quite a poor campaigner in ways that directly impact Democratic candidates’ odds and presences in the district, including her own - which makes me more apprehensive of her odds of re-election than her fellow Jennifer in HD18 (Rep. Jennifer Jermaine), who’s quite similar to Pawlik on the whole. Pawlik’s Senate runningmate this year is local businessman and first-generation American Ajlan “AJ” Kurdoglu ($51.5K COH). AJ’s a good guy and more serious of a campaigner than Pawlik, and is on well enough terms with her that no inter-candidate drama will probably happen this fall (which would be a welcome change for the district). He’s been slightly outpacing her in fundraising and seems to be hitting the ground running. The Republican incumbents in this district are Sen. JD Mesnard ($102.6K COH), who moonlights as legal counsel for an organization categorized as a hate group by the SPLC, and Jeff Wenninger ($117.8K COH), a backbench Bitcoin bro. Wenninger and Mesnard have both been in their seats for a while, and this cycle were backing Chandler Vice Mayor (and JD Mesnard’s mom) Nora Ellen for the other State House seat – Ellen lost to Pawlik in 2018. But in a stroke of luck for Pawlik, Ellen failed to qualify for the ballot this year. However, in a similar stroke of luck for the GOP Liz Harris ($27.3K COH, $21.3K self-funded) - a local realtor (like Ellen) - did qualify. I’ve yet to discern just how close she is with Mesnard and Wenninger, and how much cash she is willing to dump into this race, but in terms of how random non-GOP establishment candidates the LD17 Republicans could have done far worse than Harris. All the pieces in this district would point to a shift even further left than it was in 2018, and had I not known what I know about Pawlik this would be a Tilt D House/Tossup Senate. But I don’t know if she’s changed since 2018 - and if she hasn’t, there is no guarantee that she won’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. hunter15991 Rating: Primaries uncontested, Tilt Mesnard, Tossup House (Pawlik/Harris), Safe Wenninger Legislative District 18 (Sinema+18.58, Clinton+10.39, Garcia+12.5, Romney+1.93) Like LD10 in the previous part of my writeup, the situation in LD18 is another blast of the proverbial Gjallarhorn for the AZ-GOP’s suburban chances. Once a very competitive district (fully red as recently as 2016), LD18 is now held by 3 Democrats – Sen. Sean Bowie ($106.3K COH), Rep. Jennifer Jermaine ($65.7K COH), and Rep. Mitzi Epstein ($60.8K COH). Bowie and Epstein have carved rather moderate paths in their respective houses having been elected back when this district was more competitive, while Jermaine’s tacked a bit more to the left, and has been a prominent voice for increasing education funding (prior to running for the State House she was a public school funding activist and IIRC Moms Demand Action member) and for missing indigenous women (Jermaine is part indigenous herself). The GOP’s troubles in this district started around the filing deadline, when one of their candidates, Alyssa Shearer, withdrew from the primary. Super anti-abortion nut Don Hawker ($619 COH) filed as a write-in candidate to replace her, but it’s uncertain if he’ll qualify for the general election. Their other House candidate, Bob Robson ($11K COH) is on paper a solid candidate (being a former Speaker Pro Tem of the state house), but lost by the equivalent of 6% to Epstein in 2016 and by 19% when he ran for Kyrene Justice of the Peace (a district that roughly matches the boundaries of LD18. Robson’s an old warhorse) - going 0 for 2 since 2014. It’s a sign of the times that he and discount Scott Roeder are the two potential House candidates for the GOP in this district. In the Senate, the GOP doesn’t fare much better. Real estate agent Suzanne Sharer ($4.2K COH) is trying to run a semblance of a decent race against Sen. Bowie, but keeps using her campaign Twitter (@blondeandsmart – I promise you that’s a real handle) to retweet QAnon shit. Sharer is going nowhere in November. That’s if she makes it to November, given her past retweets advocating for people to drink bleach to cure COVID. hunter15991 Rating: Primaries uncontested, All Safe Dem. general Legislative District 19 (Sinema+44.97, Clinton+40.25, Garcia+32.38, Obama+34.3) LD19 is a safe Democratic district in the West Valley, where all the drama is happening in the primary. Rep. Lorenzo Sierra ($9.3K COH) and Rep. Diego Espinoza ($25.2K COH) are both running for re-election, defending their seats against challenger Leezah Sun ($5.1K COH), a local activist. Sierra and Espinoza haven’t been particularly conservative in their voting records in the legislator, but have taken some flack from the more progressive wing of the party lately for outside corporate expenditures in this primary. I’m honestly unsure why these PACs are weighing in given that Sun isn’t running all that good of a campaign, but I guess better spend it here than in tighter primaries. Assistant State Minority Leader Lupe Contreras ($7.2K COH) is unopposed in his primary. In the general, there’s one GOP candidate for both House and Senate, but both are write-ins and could possibly not qualify for the ballot. For now, Democrats are unopposed in this district in the general. hunter15991 Contreras uncontested, Safe Sierra, Safe Espinoza, Uncontested Dem. general Legislative District 20 (Sinema+3.7, Trump+8.01, Douglas+0.04, Romney+12.87) LD20 is another suburban district where Democrats could see sizable gains this fall. Won by Sinema and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, and almost snagged by David Garcia during the 2014 Superintendent race, LD20 has been on the Arizona Democratic Party’s mind for a few cycles now. Their candidates this year are strong – 2018 Senate nominee Doug Ervin ($94.6K COH) has filed for a rematch after losing by 4 in 2018 (where an independent ex-GOP candidate took 7% - Ervin claims Quelland actually hurt him more than district Republicans), and retired teacher Judy Schweibert ($158.2K COH) is running for House. Both are running bang-up campaigns and seem set to make November a problem for local Republicans, and Ervin has eschewed the public funding he took last time in order to be able to fundraise better for the slugfest ahead. The local GOP, however, isn’t taking this lying down. Representatives Shawnna Bolick ($161.8K COH) - who was almost bumped off the ballot for using a PO Box as her filing address - and Anthony Kern ($73.4K COH) - an ex-cop on the Brady “untrustworthy cop” list - have been building their warchests in preparation for this cycle after narrowly hanging on in 2018 (despite both Democrats in that race running with public funding). While Bolick has typically stayed out of especially heinous controversy on social media (despite once posting that all masks come from Wuhan and are thus contaminated with COVID), Kern’s time on the force seems to have stuck with him, and his Twitter feed is full of a lot of pro-cop posts and whatnot. With Schweibert running as a single-shot candidate this year I can see Kern’s tendency of accidentally discharging his foot into his mouth finally coming back to bite him. On the Senate side the past election results are slightly more promising than the House, but the opponent is tougher as well. Sen. Paul Boyer ($50.5K COH) is probably the closest there is to a living John McCain in the Arizona Legislature (not to deify him too much – he’s still conservative), having blocked two GOP budgets in the past two years along with Sen. Heather Carter (see LD15). In 2019 this was over a child sexual assault reform bill (extending the statute of limitations), and in 2020 this was over a lack of funding to firefighters and university students in the emergency “skinny” COVID budget the legislature passed in the spring. His attempts at moderation are visible outside of that: Boyer’s abysmal Q2 fundraising – per his own words – came from not fundraising at all during the 5 month long legislative session despite campaign finance rules only banning lobbyist contributions during the session (and I guess that’s commendable self-policing), and on his website he stops just short of calling for abortion to be banned, which makes him Margaret fucking Sanger among the current AZ-GOP. That’s not to say that people shouldn’t support Ervin with all it takes – hell, if anything he’ll need more help to oust Boyer. Ultimately I think Ervin holds a narrow lead in this race with the absence of Quelland and with far better fundraising than what the LD20 slate had last year, but the election is still quite far away. If I had to pick one Democrat to win in this district, it’d be Schweibert. hunter15991 Rating: Primaries uncontested, Tilt Ervin, Tilt Schweibert, 2nd House uncontested
Here is how to play the altcoin game - for newbies & champs
I have been here for many previous altcoin seasons (2013,2017 etc) and wanted to share knowedle. It's a LOOONG article. The evaluation of altcoins (i.e not Bitcoin) is one of the most difficult and profitable exercises. Here I will outline my methodology and thinking but we have to take some things as a given. The first is that the whole market is going up or down with forces that we can't predict or control. Bitcoin is correlated with economic environments, money supply increases, safe havens such as Gold, hype and country regulations. This is an impossible mix to analyze and almost everyone fails at it. That's why you see people valuing Bitcoin from $100 to $500k frequently. Although I am bullish on the prospects of Bitcoin and decentralization and smart contract platforms, this is not the game I will be describing. I am talking about a game where you try to maximize your BTC holdings by investing in altcoins. We win this game even if we are at a loss in fiat currency value. To put it another way:
If you are not bullish in general on cryptocurrencies you have no place in investing or trading cryptocurrencies since it's always a losing proposition to trade in bubbles, a scientifically proven fact. If on the other hand you are then your goal is to grow your portfolio more than you would if holding BTC/ETH for example.
Bitcoin is the big boy
How the market works is not easily identifiable if you haven't graduated from the 2017 crypto university. When there is a bull market everything seems amazingly profitable and things keep going up outgrowing Bitcoin by orders of magnitude and you are a genius. The problem with this is that it only works while Bitcoin is going up a little bit or trades sideways. When it decides to move big then altcoins lose value both on the way up and on the way down. The second part is obvious and proven since all altcoins from 2017 are at a fraction of their BTC value (usually in the range of 80% or more down). Also, when BTC is making a big move upwards everyone exits altcoins to ride the wave. It is possible that the altcoin market behaves as an inversed leveraged ETF with leakage where in a certain period while Bitcoin starts at 10k and ends at 10k for example, altcoins have lost a lot of value because of the above things happening.
We are doing it anyway champ!
OK so we understand the risks and just wanna gambol with our money right? I get it. Why do that? Because finding the ideal scenario and period can be extremely profitable. In 2017 several altcoins went up 40x more than BTC. But again, if you don't chose wisely many of them have gone back to zero (the author has first hand experience in this!), they have been delisted and nobody remembers them. The actual mentality to have is very important and resembles poker and other speculative games: A certain altcoin can go up in value indefinitely but can only lose it's starting investment. Think about it. You either lose 1 metric or gain many many more. Now that sounds amazing but firstly as we said we have the goal to outperform our benchmark (BTC) and secondly that going up in value a lot means that the probability is quite low. There is this notion of Expected Value (EV) that poker players apply in these kind of situations and it goes like that. If you think that a certain coin has a probability let's say 10% to go up 10X and 90% probability it goes to zero it's an even bet. If you think that probability is 11% then it's a good bet, a profitable bet and you should take it. You get the point right? It's not that it can only go 10X or 0X, there is a whole range of probability outcomes that are too mathematical to explain here and it doesn't help so much because nobody can do such analysis with altcoins. See below on how we can approximate it.
How to evaluate altcoins
A range of different things to take into account outlined below will form our decision making. Not a single one of them should dictate 100% of our strategy.
It's all about market cap. Repeat after me. The price of a coin doesn't mean anything. Say it 10 times until you believe it. I can't remember how many times I had conversations with people that were comparing coins using their coin price instead of their market cap. To make this easy to get.
If I decide because the sky is blue to make my coin supply 100 Trillion FoolCoins with a price of $0.001 and there is another WiseCoin with a supply of 100 Million and price of $1 then FoolCoins are more expensive. - Alex Fin's Cap Law
This is done usually in the stock world and it means that each company has some fundamental value that includes it's assets, customers, growth prospects, sector prospects and leadership competence but mostly centered in financial measures such as P/E ratios etc. Valuation is a proper economic discipline by itself taught in universities. OK, now throw everything out of the window!. This kind of analysis is impossible in vague concepts and innovations that are currently cryptocurrencies. Ethereum was frequently priced at the fictional price of gas when all financial systems on earth run on the platform after decades (a bit of exaggeration here). No project is currently profitable enough to justify a valuation multiple that is usually equal to P/E in the thousands or more. As such we need to take other things into account. What I do is included in the list below:
Check Github. You need to make sure there is active development for the platform and it's a very bad sign if the project is either keeping the code closed source or even worse there is simply no development. No projects are "complete".
Check Website. If the website is written in bad English the Chinese google translate type it means that they are not serious enough to produce an unbreakable decentralized project. If you can't write English you can't change the world, period. That's a deal breaker.
Check Team's Linkedin. Numerous projects have either fake Linkedin accounts or the team is comprised mainly by unexperienced employees that are even shown to be working in other companies currently.
Check backers. Projects that have Binance, Coinbase or Silicon Valley VC funds backing them are way more legit but way more overpriced too!
One of my favorite ways to value altcoins that is based on the same principle in the stock market is to look at peers and decide what is the maximum cap it can grow to. As an example you take a second layer Ethereum solution that has an ICO and you want to decide if you will enter or not. You can take a look at other coins that are in the same business and compare their market caps. Thinking that your coin will outperform by a lot the top coins currently is overly optimistic so I usually take a lower valuation as a target price. If the initial offering is directly implying a valuation that is more than that then there is no room to grow according to my analysis and I skip it. Many times this has proven me wrong because it's a game theory problem where if many people think irrationally in a market it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But since there is opportunity cost involved, in the long run, getting in initial offerings that have a lot of room to grow will pay off as a strategy.
In 2017 the sexiest sector was platforms and then coins including privacy ones. Platforms are obviously still a highly rated sector because everything is being built on them, but privacy is not as hot as it used to be. In 2018 DEXes were all they hype but still people are massively using centralized exchanges. In 2020 Defi is the hottest sector and it includes platforms, oracles and Defi projects. What I am saying is that a project gets extra points if it's a Defi one in 2020 and minus points if it's a payment system that will conquer the world as it was in 2017 because that's old news. This is closely related to the next section.
Needless to say that the crypto market is a worse FOMO type of inexperienced trigger happy yolo investors , much worse than the Robinhood crowd that drove a bankrupt company's stock 1200% after they declared bankruptcy. The result is that there are numerous projects that are basically either vaporware or just so overhyped that their valuation has no connection to reality. Should we avoid those kind of projects? No and I will explain why. There are many very good technically projects that had zero hype potential due to incompetent marketing departments that made them tank. An example (without shilling because I sold out a while back) is Quantum Resistant Ledger. This project has amazing quantum resistant blockchain, the only one running now, has a platform that people can build tokens and messaging systems and other magnificent stuff. Just check how they fared up to now and you will get the point. A project *needs* to have a hype factor because you cannot judge it as normal stocks that you can do value investing like Warren Buffet does where a company will inevitable post sales and profitability numbers and investors will get dividends. Actually the last sentence is the most important: No dividends. Even projects that give you tokens or coins as dividends are not real dividends because if the coin tanks the value of the dividend tanks. This is NOT the case with company stocks where you get dollars even if the company stock tanks. All that being said, I would advice against betting on projects that have a lot of hype but little substance (but that should be obvious!).
How to construct your portfolio
My strategy and philosophy in investing is that risk should be proportional to investment capital. That means that if you are investing 100K in the crypto market your portfolio should be very different than someone investing 1K because 10% annual gains are nothing in the latter while they are very significant in the former. Starting from this principle each individual needs to construct a portfolio according to how much risk he wants to take. I will emphasize two important concepts that play well with what I said. In the first instance of a big portfolio you should concentrate on this mantra: "Diversification is the only free meal in finance". In the case of a small portfolio then this mantra is more important: "Concentrate to create wealth, diversify to maintain wealth". Usually in a big portfolio you would want to hold some big coins such as BTC and ETH to weather the ups and downs explained in previous paragraphs while generating profits and keep progressively smaller parts of your portfolio for riskier investments. Maybe 50% of this portfolio could be big caps and 10% very risky initial offerings. Adapting risk progressively to smaller portfolios makes sense but I think it would be irrational to keep more than 30% of a portfolio no matter what tied to one coin due to the very high risk of bankruptcy.
The altseason is supposedly coming every 3 months. Truth is that nobody can predict it but altcoins can be profitable no matter what. Forget about maximalists who are stuck in their dogmas. Altcoins deliver different value propositions and it makes sense because we are very far from a situation where some project offers everything like Amazon and we wouldn't even want that in the first place since we are talking about decentralization and not a winner takes all and becomes a monster kind of scenario! Some last minute advice:
Stay out of paid telegram/discord pump groups. They are deadly for your wallet.
Avoid jumping on overhyped coins that have pumped massively during the last days without any very important news.
Don't keep coins in obscure exchanges for too long or you will get burned with certainty.
Stop thinking that your coin will 1000x and overtake Bitcoin!
P.S If you find value in reading this and want more weekly consider subscribing to my newsletterhere
Taproot, CoinJoins, and Cross-Input Signature Aggregation
It is a very common misconception that the upcoming Taproot upgrade helps CoinJoin. TLDR: The upcoming Taproot upgrade does not help equal-valued CoinJoin at all, though it potentially increases the privacy of other protocols, such as the Lightning Network, and escrow contract schemes. If you want to learn more, read on!
Let's start with equal-valued CoinJoins, the type JoinMarket and Wasabi use. What happens is that some number of participants agree on some common value all of them use. With JoinMarket the taker defines this value and pays the makers to agree to it, with Wasabi the server defines a value approximately 0.1 BTC. Then, each participant provides inputs that they unilaterally control, totaling equal or greater than the common value. Typically since each input is unilaterally controlled, each input just requires a singlesig. Each participant also provides up to two addresses they control: one of these will be paid with the common value, while the other will be used for any extra value in the inputs they provided (i.e. the change output). The participants then make a single transaction that spends all the provided inputs and pays out to the appropriate outputs. The inputs and outputs are shuffled in some secure manner. Then the unsigned transaction is distributed back to all participants. Finally, each participant checks that the transaction spends the inputs it provided (and more importantly does not spend any other coins it might own that it did not provide for this CoinJoin!) and that the transaction pays out to the appropriate address(es) it controls. Once they have validated the transaction, they ratify it by signing for each of the inputs it provided. Once every participant has provided signatures for all inputs it registered, the transaction is now completely signed and the CoinJoin transaction is now validly confirmable. CoinJoin is a very simple and direct privacy boost, it requires no SCRIPTs, needs only singlesig, etc.
Let's say we have two participants who have agreed on a common amount of 0.1 BTC. One provides a 0.105 coin as input, the other provides a 0.114 coin as input. This results in a CoinJoin with a 0.105 coin and a 0.114 coin as input, and outputs with 0.1, 0.005, 0.014, and 0.1 BTC. Now obviously the 0.005 output came from the 0.105 input, and the 0.014 output came from the 0.114 input. But the two 0.1 BTC outputs cannot be correlated with either input! There is no correlating information, since either output could have come from either input. That is how common CoinJoin implementations like Wasabi and JoinMarket gain privacy.
Unfortunately, large-scale CoinJoins like that made by Wasabi and JoinMarket are very obvious. All you have to do is look for a transactions where, say, more than 3 outputs are the same equal value, and the number of inputs is equal or larger than the number of equal-valued outputs. Thus, it is trivial to identify equal-valued CoinJoins made by Wasabi and JoinMarket. You can even trivially differentiate them: Wasabi equal-valued CoinJoins are going to have a hundred or more inputs, with outputs that are in units of approximately 0.1 BTC, while JoinMarket CoinJoins have equal-valued outputs of less than a dozen (between 4 to 6 usually) and with the common value varying wildly from as low as 0.001 BTC to as high as a dozen BTC or more. This has led to a number of anti-privacy exchanges to refuse to credit custodially-held accounts if the incoming deposit is within a few hops of an equal-valued CoinJoin, usually citing concerns about regulations. Crucially, the exchange continues to hold private keys for those "banned" deposits, and can still spend them, thus this is effectively a theft. If your exchange does this to you, you should report that exchange as stealing money from its customers. Not your keys not your coins. Thus, CoinJoins represent a privacy tradeoff:
It's very hard for everyone else to determine which output belongs to which input.
It's obvious to everyone else that the output was involved in a mixing operation.
Let's now briefly discuss that nice new shiny thing called Taproot. Taproot includes two components:
The use of Schnorr-based signature scheme, with multisignature support. Spending from a Schnorr pubkey is called a "keypath spend".
The ability to secretly commit to a set of scripts, one of which can be revealed later and its inputs provided correctly in order to spend the coin. Spending via a hidden script is called a "scriptpath spend".
This has some nice properties:
Direct multisignature support means all multisignature uses look the same. In current Bitcoin, a 2-of-2 "multisignature" is really a script which demands that two signatures be provided, from 2 different pre-specified public keys. To a cryptographer, the strict definition of multisignature is that this is a single signature that is cooperatively created by multiple parties.
A typical minimal "multisig" setup would be a 2-of-3, because that lets you lose one signing device while still being able to keep access to your money, and still providing an increase in security relative to a singlesig, since a 2-of-3 requires that potential thieves abscond with at least two signing devices. In current Bitcoin, a 2-of-3 is a SCRIPT containing 3 public keys, requiring that two signatures from those three public keys be provided.
But a Lightning Network channel has exactly two participants. Thus, it uses a 2-of-2, and is a SCRIPT containing 2 public keys, requiring that two signatures from those public keys be provided. If you look for 2-of-2 spends on the blockchain after Lightning became cool, the chances are very good that a random 2-of-2 spend is a Lightning Network channel being closed, because there are hardly ever any other uses of 2-of-2.
Just from there, you can easily differentiate the most common HODLer multisig of 2-of-3 (SCRIPT contains 3 pubkeys) from the Lightning channel 2-of-2 (SCRIPT contains 2 pubkeys).
Fortunately, with Taproot, 2-of-3 and 2-of-2 (and any arbitrary k-of-n) can look exactly the same, because Schnorr allows for the cryptographer's strict definition of "multisignature": a single signature cooperatively created by multiple parties.
Complex SCRIPTs, like HTLCs, can be hidden in a Taproot output.
For example, the output can have a keyspend branch that is a n-of-n of all participants, with hidden SCRIPTs that encode the conditions under which the output can be spent
The hidden SCRIPTs ensure that the protocol is followed. If one of the participants drops from the protocol, the rest can reveal the hidden SCRIPTs and follow their conditions.
If everyone follows the protocol correctly, and agrees to the result, they can all cooperatively sign with the keyspend n-of-n. They can just all agree on what the result of the SCRIPTs would be, and sign a transaction that performs that, without revealing any SCRIPTs. Since all of them agreed on the result, nobody should complain (if one of them believes the result is not correct, they can just refuse to sign and force everyone else to publish the SCRIPTs onchain).
If everyone agrees, they get privacy: none of the SCRIPTs they were following ever get published onchain, and it looks like every other multisignature spend.
Taproot DOES NOT HELP CoinJoin
So let's review! CoinJoin:
CoinJoin inputs are singlesig
There are no SCRIPTs involved in CoinJoin.
Improves multisig privacy.
Improves SCRIPT privacy.
There is absolutely no overlap. Taproot helps things that CoinJoin does not use. CoinJoin uses things that Taproot does not improve.
B-but They Said!!
A lot of early reporting on Taproot claimed that Taproot benefits CoinJoin. What they are confusing is that earlier drafts of Taproot included a feature called cross-input signature aggregation. In current Bitcoin, every input, to be spent, has to be signed individually. With cross-input signature aggregation, all inputs that support this feature are signed with a single signature that covers all those inputs. So for example if you would spend two inputs, current Bitcoin requires a signature for each input, but with cross-input signature aggregation you can sign both of them with a single signature. This works even if the inputs have different public keys: two inputs with cross-input signature aggregation effectively define a 2-of-2 public key, and you can only sign for that input if you know the private keys for both inputs, or if you are cooperatively signing with somebody who knows the private key of the other input. This helps CoinJoin costs. Since CoinJoins will have lots of inputs (each participant will provide at least one, and probably will provide more, and larger participant sets are better for more privacy in CoinJoin), if all of them enabled cross-input signature aggregation, such large CoinJoins can have only a single signature. This complicates the signing process for CoinJoins (the signers now have to sign cooperatively) but it can be well worth it for the reduced signature size and onchain cost. But note that the while cross-input signature aggregation improves the cost of CoinJoins, it does not improve the privacy! Equal-valued CoinJoins are still obvious and still readily bannable by privacy-hating exchanges. It does not improve the privacy of CoinJoin. Instead, see https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/gqb3udesign_for_a_coinswap_implementation_fo
Why isn't cross-input signature aggregation in?
There's some fairly complex technical reasons why cross-input signature aggregation isn't in right now in the current Taproot proposal. The primary reason was to reduce the technical complexity of Taproot, in the hope that it would be easier to convince users to activate (while support for Taproot is quite high, developers have become wary of being hopeful that new proposals will ever activate, given the previous difficulties with SegWit). The main technical complexity here is that it interacts with future ways to extend Bitcoin. The rest of this writeup assumes you already know about how Bitcoin SCRIPT works. If you don't understand how Bitcoin SCRIPT works at the low-level, then the TLDR is that cross-input signature aggregation complicates how to extend Bitcoin in the future, so it was deferred to let the develoeprs think more about it. (this is how I understand it; perhaps pwuille or ajtowns can give a better summary.) In detail, Taproot also introduces OP_SUCCESS opcodes. If you know about the OP_NOP opcodes already defined in current Bitcoin, well, OP_SUCCESS is basically "OP_NOP done right". Now, OP_NOP is a do-nothing operation. It can be replaced in future versions of Bitcoin by having that operation check some condition, and then fail if the condition is not satisfied. For example, both OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY and OP_CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY were previously OP_NOP opcodes. Older nodes will see an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY and think it does nothing, but newer nodes will check if the nLockTime field has a correct specified value, and fail if the condition is not satisfied. Since most of the nodes on the network are using much newer versions of the node software, older nodes are protected from miners who try to misspend any OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY/OP_CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY, and those older nodes will still remain capable of synching with the rest of the network: a dedication to strict backward-compatibility necessary for a consensus system. Softforks basically mean that a script that passes in the latest version must also be passing in all older versions. A script cannot be passing in newer versions but failing in older versions, because that would kick older nodes off the network (i.e. it would be a hardfork). But OP_NOP is a very restricted way of adding opcodes. Opcodes that replace OP_NOP can only do one thing: check if some condition is true. They can't push new data on the stack, they can't pop items off the stack. For example, suppose instead of OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY, we had added a OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT opcode. This opcode would push the height of the blockchain on the stack. If this command replaced an older OP_NOP opcode, then a script like OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT 650000 OP_EQUAL might pass in some future Bitcoin version, but older versions would see OP_NOP 650000 OP_EQUAL, which would fail because OP_EQUAL expects two items on the stack. So older versions will fail a SCRIPT that newer versions will pass, which is a hardfork and thus a backwards incompatibility. OP_SUCCESS is different. Instead, old nodes, when parsing the SCRIPT, will see OP_SUCCESS, and, without executing the body, will consider the SCRIPT as passing. So, the OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT 650000 OP_EQUAL example will now work: a future version of Bitcoin might pass it, and existing nodes that don't understand OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT will se OP_SUCCESS 650000 OP_EQUAL, and will not execute the SCRIPT at all, instead passing it immediately. So a SCRIPT that might pass in newer versions will pass for older versions, which keeps the back-compatibility consensus that a softfork needs. So how does OP_SUCCESS make things difficult for cross-input signatur aggregation? Well, one of the ways to ask for a signature to be verified is via the opcodes OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY. With cross-input signature aggregation, if a public key indicates it can be used for cross-input signature aggregation, instead of OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY actually requiring the signature on the stack, the stack will contain a dummy 0 value for the signature, and the public key is instead added to a "sum" public key (i.e. an n-of-n that is dynamically extended by one more pubkey for each OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY operation that executes) for the single signature that is verified later by the cross-input signature aggregation validation algorithm00. The important part here is that the OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY has to execute, in order to add its public key to the set of public keys to be checked in the single signature. But remember that an OP_SUCCESS prevents execution! As soon as the SCRIPT is parsed, if any opcode is OP_SUCCESS, that is considered as passing, without actually executing the SCRIPT, because the OP_SUCCESS could mean something completely different in newer versions and current versions should assume nothing about what it means. If the SCRIPT contains some OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY command in addition to an OP_SUCCESS, that command is not executed by current versions, and thus they cannot add any public keys given by OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY. Future versions also have to accept that: if they parsed an OP_SUCCESS command that has a new meaning in the future, and then execute an OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY in that SCRIPT, they cannot add the public key into the same "sum" public key that older nodes use, because older nodes cannot see them. This means that you might need more than one signature in the future, in the presence of an opcode that replaces some OP_SUCCESS. Thus, because of the complexity of making cross-input signature aggregation work compatibly with future extensions to the protocol, cross-input signature aggregation was deferred.
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
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