What is Bitcoin Mining and How Does it Work? (2020 Updated)

Bob The Magic Custodian



Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses.
Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes.

First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure:

Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:

But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are!

"On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid".
"Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since."

"As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!"
"Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?"

"Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party."
"Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!"

"What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven."
"Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!"

"We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies.
And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often".

How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen?
Just one.

Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so?
If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security.

The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle.

And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet?

Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds.
So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever.

Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see.
It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation.
A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.

History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance.
Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.)
Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive.

Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today.
Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well.
Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do.

Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):



Thoughts?
submitted by azoundria2 to QuadrigaInitiative [link] [comments]

Understanding Fundamental Effects on Price

Another really huge issue with the btc community in general, and this reddit especially, is the lack of nuance on price. And again, an unwillingness to accept critique.
There are several scenario that can play out with price, but in some of those scenario, we may even see a huge price pump, while *still failing at adoption*. And I think that's an important distinction to make. Just because wallstreet pumps the price for reasons that only concern the rich and institutions, does not equate to adoption. It does not equate to us making vital changes for the betterment of the network and adoption. It just doesn't.

Wallstreet is perfectly content with hyper regulated bitcoin that is totally irrelevant for the common man and unadopted and unused, they are perfectly fine treating bitcoin as a glorified sovereign bond and international form of settlement. That is how the institutions and rich see it. They see it much like they see bonds and gold, and are willing to treat it as such. This is even a positive in some regard because it brings monetary transparency into the banking and wealth sector.

But it does not address cypherpunk, emancipatory politics, or global poverty, or individual sovereignty. And it is acheived largely through extreme centralization and hyper invasive surveillance. Be clear, they can pump the price to 250,000 while still controlling everything through Patriot Act, AMLD5, NDAA, and FACTA and the banking secrecy Act. All of which Bitcoin is entirely ideologically incompatible with. But that's just fine, because the rich already comply with those laws (mostly). They already price in the regulatory and compliance costs of an institution, of an offshore tax haven.

That's just it. IT's fine for them to do this to btc, because the laws are designed for them. They create the barriers only they can afford to play in, while hurting it for everyone else.

The average common man in the world, and any developing country should be able to easily acquire btc without kyc. Period. It shouldn't be a surveillance state. I recently listened to Peter McCormack interview a darkmarket guy and I completely agree. We need to engineer away from on ramps, we need to engineer away from payment gates that involve fiat, and we need to all use coinjoiners and mixing technology. It needs to be the standard. There are so many reasons to use coinjoining for non illegality. Privacy is a fundamental need.

And internet 4.0 for finance is contingent on a lot of technology. These aren't really coins either. It is backbone technology to better facilitate bitcoin. But we have to have layer two solutions. It doesn't matter whether it's RSK or plasma, or both, we just need the secondary layer to pay for distributed processing, server function, matching, liquidity, file storage, atomic swaps, network gas, etc. DeFi network value cannot be conflated with the supply and demand of btc itself, we don't need permissioned side chains, we need permissionless open source side chains and interoperatibilty platforms that will protect the privacy of bitcoin and facilitate it on decentralized exchanges. On exchanges that cannot be taken down. To do that we need staggering amounts of technology innovation and thoroughput, that will require people to host nodes, mine and stake these ancillary services to protect the backbone of bitcoin commerce.

Anyone who is into toxic maximalism. Let it be known that you are willfully promoting corporate bitcoin supported by massive centralized players who will treat it as a bond or settlement statist instrument. You're promoting the support of bitcoin on an entirely captured regulatory framework and an entirely captured unsafe unsecure regular internet controlled by the clearnet and amazon and google and heavily surveiled. .Org just privatize for fuck sakes. And any DNS can be compromised, any .com site can be siezed. This normal backbone is entirely inappropriate for bitcoin. Centralized exchanges and payment apps like cash app are entirely inappropriate for bitcoin.

You should be able to visit a IFPS site, connect a hardware wallet to any DEX or DAPP and immediately trade with the same speed and liquidity of binance and bitmex. The user interface should be simple and approachable to the layman. We need a liquidity interbank controlled by SPV server and dark node. Payment incentives for people to host liquidity to the network on plasma, radon, cosmos, uniswap, eventually all the DEX will simply be connected by interchain liquidity.

Crypto has to be extremely unfettered. The regulators and wallstreet have strangled it and will continue to do so. Some people have forgotten that this is a battle for financial sovereignty and protection against wealth confiscation. Only when they realize that they can't control us, will they be forced to sit down at the legislative table and negotiate with common people. You have to bring your government to heel.
submitted by samdane7777 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Isn't Meant For Conventional Westphalianism (Republicanism)(Statism)

Let me give you an idea of the vantage point and perspective I come from.
I *am a quant, and a trader, and someone well read in law* I hate wallstreet, because I understand how the western economy works, and obviously I understand the technicals of trading and quant work. So I know the angles they play. And I understand regulatory behavior, I have a background in environmental regulatory work ( left because it's corrupt no surprise).
You people obsessed with price at any cost or calling everything FUD have no long term view of things. If we get a economic collapse, a real crash, *the happening*, Bitcoin is going into the hundreds again. At this point, bitcoin is dependent on wallstreet, dependent on the same economy we supposedly disagree with.
They've written the laws in the united state to only benefit the rich and institutions, and banned us off almost all exchanges. The only thing americans can use are basically three major names with piss poor liquidity and catastrophic fees. No one even talks about this. You HAVE to trade on unregulated exchanges to get by. Losing binance was a massive loss. The rich and powerful in united states have plans for bitcoin totally antithetical to cypherpunk.

We don't just need mainstream adoption, we need mainstream adoption of bitcoin WITH mainstream adoption of things like bisq and wasabi. This needs to become the norm, and yet they instead are planning on geofence locking bitcoin on a system of white listed exchanges, institutions, and wallets, trapping and tagging kyced bitcoin.

The thing people have to realize is that the money laundering that is done, is done through Deutsche bank and HSBC and the likes, by the drug cartels, human right violating dictators, war criminals , shell companies for defense companies and spin offs of intelligence agencies. It's all done with cash and the us dollar and banks. The worst people who run the super PAC for election, the worse people who hold trillions offshore and dominate the third world with multinational corporations, Russian oligarchs, all of them use the system and its loop holes to do all the things that they are trying cite as a reason to impose on bitcoin all of these extreme regulations.

They want secrecy for themselves. Period. They want to control and oppress us, and use secrecy for themselves. Most of the reason western governments are broken is because of multinational conglomerate and monopolistic economic cartels buying out regulatory agencies. Period. It's called a inverted totalitarianism. (From Lawerence Lessig's Lost Republic). The economic cartels own the regulatory agencies. No regulatory body in the united states does what it really should do. But more often the opposite, specifically to protect industry, and their trillions offshore. The people who have all this wealth and control these profit entities don't even keep the money in the states or pay taxes. The truly rich live above the law while wrecking democracy.

They want to have the ability to do the worst possible shit with the same level of secrecy that monero implies. So not only do we need encryption and privacy coins and features and anonymous untraceable access to bitcoin just to protect ourselves from them, we need to empower ourselves by having the same level of financial access that they do.

Think about it. What is the effect of the rich institutions making so many loopholes that allow them to move money and participate in functions of the market that the average person is prohibited from? It encourages and enables their ability to subvert democracy secretly with the very financial crimes they accuse of us.

So we need to take very deadly serious interchains and DAPP and DEX and DEFI, the wasabis, the mixers, monero, commerce adoption, and INFRASTRUCTURE that supports it. You people acting like maximalist can be so dense FFS. OPSEC. The world doesn't need bitcoin full node on backdoored windows 10 with zuck and the nsa watching you take a shit. The hardware and ancillary gear and infrastructure that supports bitcoin matters. Linux matters, user interface matters, commerce acceptance matters, server technology and security matters, even the processor matters, there are IBM and RISC V chips now,. The internet and bitcoin along with it needs to be violently dragged into open source models. Corporatization and closed gardening and the mcdonaldification of bitcoin is going to end in tragedy.

Bitcoin really is intended to be an anarchist apparatus. Bullshit to the citadel loving maximalist power tripping on some sort of libertarian randian american centric fantasy. You need to pay attention to why democracy doesn't work, why our political systems are broken, why these aspects of government only seem to empower the worst aspect of wallstreet criminality and financial crisis. Because it's how a late republic behaves, it's inherent in the flaws of republicanism, in electoral politics, in these hierarchical regulatory bodies, which are in no way self governing.

Our regulatory bodies are the literal opposite of Don't trust, Verify
but more Don't verify, Trust.
submitted by samdane7777 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

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