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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:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
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:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
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:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
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:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
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):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
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
Regards!! I'm Jesús Zambrano, member of the Hispanic community of NANO for a long time. Last thursday, we had an interesting and enjoying Ask-me-anything at Binance Spanish community on telegram with the people behind NANO, Colin LeMahieu (Founder and Executive Director) and Zach Hyatt (Proyect Manager), where we take advantage of their kindness and willingness to ask them some questions and share opinions about de currency. I will share a compilation of some of the questions and answers. -(Admin) ¡Welcome Binancians to our following AMA! I will explain how AMA works; we will have three (3) segments. Segment #1: I am going to ask to our guests five (5) questions and then they will answer them. I will be explaining the rest of the segments as we conclude one of them. -(Admin) Today we have the great pleasure of having Colin (Founder and Executive Director) and Zach (Project Manager) with us in our chat room. Could you give us a little introduction about you? - (Zach) Hi everyone, I am Zach Hyatt, the Project Manager at the Nano Foundation and am excited to help answer questions about Nano. I live in Austin, TX where it is quite hot right now! -(Colin) I’m Colin LeMahieu, founder of Nano. I’m a computer engineer and I’ve worked at companies like Qualcomm, Dell, and AMD. I have been working on Nano for about 5 years now and I’m really excited to talk with people who are interested as well! -(Admin) It is a pleasure for us to have you here, I have to say that on a personal level, I have been a follower of the project for a long time now, so it is incredible for me to be able to count on you tonight, we will start with segment # 1, with the questions I have for you. Feeless transactions and in record time! What is NANO? Can you give us an introduction to the project? -(Colin) Nano’s goal is to solve problems with other cryptocurrencies and make sending value fast and fee-less. It has a unique design to allow us to accomplish this. We want people to have the option of using decentralized digital money instead of fiat money anywhere in the world. Nano is accessible and easy-to-use today and we plan on keeping it focused on these goals. -(Admin) Thank you for answering my first question, I am delighted with the features offered by the project, every week they are updating and making important changes that help to improve the ecosystem that surrounds the team. Here you can find all the weekly updates: https://nano.org/en Previously the project was called RaiBlocks, it appeared for the first time in an ad in Bitcoin Talk in 2015. Can you tell us why a name change came up later? -(Zach) Yeah, absolutely. Although the original RaiBlocks name has a special place in our history, it was difficult to pronounce in some areas of the world and caused confusion with certain users. We decided to move to a shorter name that not only was easy to pronounce but also reflected the fast, efficient nature of the protocol. -(Admin) A short and quick name to pronounce, definitely NANO is perfect to define it! My third question is the following; I had seen a very interesting gif early in the chat and it is just about the question that I came to ask. Currently, NANO has 100% of its tokens in circulation and these tokens were distributed through Faucets, so it meant that any user with a computer could get coins simply by completing some captchas, can you tell me which has been the experience of users when using this method? -(Colin) The faucet was a great way for us to distribute coins to people who have never used it before. Cryptocurrencies that use mining end up distributing only to people who have money to buy the mining hardware and this is unfair. We had a lot of people from Indonesia and Asia in the beginning of our distribution and at the end there were a lot of people from South America, Venezuela and Brasil that were getting most of the Nano from the faucet. We think this was a fairer way to do it and it got Nano into the hands of people in different locations, and it had a very positive impact on their lives. -(Admin) This is incredible! thanks for your answer! Can you tell us about what the Open Representative Vote is about and how it protects the network? -(Zach) Nano uses voting to get confirmation on the network instead of mining and the nodes on the network that create votes are called Representatives. Open Representative Voting allows people who have a Nano balance to pick whatever representative they want to vote on their behalf. This allows the people who hold Nano to decide who generates consensus instead of mining companies. The voting process is very efficient and is a big part of what allows Nano to be fee-less and use very little energy. -(Admin) Very good! The last question on my part: Nano PoW is your new approach, I have read a pretty interesting example with emails, can you explain what it is about? -(Colin) Nano PoW is a research project we’re doing in order to create a proof of work algorithm that uses less energy than other popular algorithms. Since Nano is fee-less, there must be a method to limit transactions going onto the network, which this PoW achieves. With the goal of using more memory in the process instead of CPU cycles in order to generate proofs, this new Nano PoW will help prevent ASICs from being able to cheaply send lots of transactions. It’s important for a cryptocurrency that’s used around the world to be energy efficient and green so continuing our research on this is important to us. -(Admin)https://medium.com/nanocurrency/nano-pow-the-details-ba22a9092d6f Thanks for your answers, Colin and Zach! I have a video, taken from your YouTube account that I would like to share with the community https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh9pA8UCUrI Can you tell me what we see in this video? -(Colin) This is a video of how fast our transactions send and receive. You can see it takes less than 1 second to finish which means you can use it as a currency. - (Zach) The wallet was made by developers in our amazing community, it is called Natrium. It really shows how fast Nano is and how it is easy-to-use! -(Colin) You can also see how simple it is to use. You just scan, enter an amount, and send. There are no complicated setting which is great for new users and great for adoption. - (Zach) And the best part is, there were no fees at all for that transaction. In fact there have never been any transaction fees on the Nano network ever! -(Admin) Great! That's why I wanted to share it with everyone, yesterday I could try the wallet and it is really spectacular to use, thank you very much for that excellent explanation, please stay with us, now comes the part in which our users participate Segment 3, community questions Q -First congratulations on your project, it is amazing. Now, does nano BlockChain have another use besides making transactions? A - (Zach) Thank you! Nano has always been focused on transfer of value and will continue to maintain that focus. The overall design is aimed at doing only this so it can remain fast, efficient and fee-less. Q -Good evening! I understand that thanks to its architecture called "Block-lattice", each individual provides the computing power necessary to verify their own transaction, thanks to this they do not use miners to confirm transactions and they do not apply commissions of any kind. My question is: How did this occur and how difficult was it? A - (Colin) It’s simila, transactions are validated by votes from the representatives, not by the PoW. The PoW is a way to slow down how fast people can create transactions so they can’t spam the network. Q - Do you have any short or long term projects so that transactions using $NANO were anonymous? A - (Colin) Long term we want to see what privacy options exist and are fast. Most privacy schemes make the transactions very big or slow to process and it’s important for things to remain quick and efficient so we can have fast transactions. Q - We are living in Venezuela many changes in the cryptocurrency sector, the integration of crypto for service payment and product purchases is already a reality. What agreements has NANO made with service stores to integrate it as a means of payment? I want to pay my movie ticket with NANOS A - (Zach) Thanks for your interest in Nano. We are always looking for ways to allow everyone to use Nano in as many places as possible. Although separate from our organization, we are aware of the efforts of the Nano Venezuela organization and try to support them when possible in bringing Nano to as many people and stores in Venezuela as possible. Q - (7 questions made from one persone at once)
How do you manage to make your transactions virtually instantaneous?
How do they create part of the company's livelihood if no fees are charged for transactions?
Why does $ NANO consume so little electricity?
Requirements for a medium-sized company to adopt nano correctly as a means of payment?
Since 100% of the $ NANOS are distributed, I have seen something in Medium that talked about `` Nano PoW '', could you tell me a little more about how it works? What profit will the person / institution get that puts hardware for their PoW? Will more $ NANO be created apart from those already in circulation?
What do the representatives earn for putting their vote and validating blocks if 100% of the $ NANOS are already created / issued?
7- Since your policy / slogan / commandment is to be a cryptocurrency without fees, shouldn't you force exchanges in which $ NANO is present that they don't charge withdrawal fees? A - (Colin)
Transactions are fast because they’re validated by voting. The votes get transmitted around the world in milliseconds and all people have to do is count votes to confirm the transaction.
We use the Dev fund to pay for developing the Nano protocol. The Nano protocol is a free tool that other people can build businesses on. We have ideas for businesses that can use fast, free money in order to help people send money to their family in other countries or pay microtransactions. It’s similar to Linux, it’s free but big companies use it because it saves them money.
Nano uses little electricity because we use voting for validating transactions. Voting is just sending data over the internet which is power efficient.
You can run a nano node with 40-60$/mo using cloud virtual machines
Nano pow is just a more efficient way to slow people down from sending transactions to the network
The most important thing is: why does a company want to use cryptocurrency? They want to use it because it saves them money on bank fees, etc. Since 40-60$/mo running a node is less expensive than their bank fees, they want to participate in the network to keep it going and save them money.
Q - Knowing all this about Nano, could you say that Nano is one of the most energy-efficient, Ecological friendly currencies in existence? A -(Zach) Absolutely. We care about making a positive change in the world and so pride ourselves on leaving as little energy trace possible in the world. It may just be the fastest, most efficient transfer of value available. Q - If the nano protocol had not passed the Red4Sec signature security test, would it have any vulnerability today? A - (Colin) The Red4Sec audit didn’t find any critiral vulnerabilities in Nano. In fact they did the audit twice because they couldn’t find anything wrong and that never happened before. It’s important for us to keep the code high quality and we will do audits again in the future because it’s important to make sure everything is secure. Q - I'd like to see more development of Nano by using SMS on our phones to avoid the problem of no Internet connection at the moment A -(Zach) As much as we like the idea of SMS, unfortunately it is not a secure network so managing Nano transactions over it brings some unique requirements. However we are always innovating and trying to make Nano as easy and accessible as possible so hope advances can help over time make it more accessible in this area. Q - What plans do you have to close this 2019 to increase adoption in Latin America? A -(Colin) We are very excited about the passion we see in the south american community. We would love to make it down to VE however in the mean time follow nanoVE for updates and meetups - there may be one near you soon! Q - How will you make the adoption and use of $ NANO continue to increase especially in markets where other cryptocurrencies are gaining more ground? A - (Colin) Our focus is to build tools people need to accept cryptocurrency. Right now it’s still difficulty and expensive. One thing we’re making is the device Appia which can accept cryptocurrency similar to a credit card. We made this device very inexpensive and can connect over wireless so it can be used in markets or resturaunts or other places cryptocurrency is not yet available. - (Admin) Thank you very much for your answers! You are the first guests that answer all the questions of our users, you are amazing guys! @AndyNano It was amazing to meet you, I learned a lot from you @FundacionNanoVE Thanks for making this happen! excellent work @nano_isam Thanks for everything buddy! -(Zach) Can we ask a question to the channel? What are the top things Nano can do to help you in your daily lives? -(Colin) My question: How do you store cryptocurrency safely? Where do you back up your seed so it isn’t lost or stolen? A - In Venezuela we currently have a problem with conventional payment processors, they are very slow, it would be great to be able to see people using NANO to make their purchases at any store in Venezuela, 0 commissions and instant transactions, is what we need A - Fast transactions are what can help society the most, and except that, the best thing is that it is very cheap ... from there it is addition, those are the main characteristics that we look for the most A - encrypted file in a pendrive A - Nano is a direct competition to the vast majority of Cryptos, in transaction speed and that it is literally free to send or receive, nothing to wait for 5 hours or the next day when you pay for items or services with Crypto, let's increase the adoption of nano! -(Colin) Question: Are there barriers to using Nano in your country right now? A - No barriers in Venezuela A - No barrier what is lacking is greater diffusion in means to give greater projection and that the adoption arrives. Here I am to support NANO! A - There should be no barriers to the payments we wish to make, freedom above all -(Colin) Fantastic! - (Zach) Thanks everyone, I have to go but I appreciate all the awesome questions and answers!
Dev meeting? Would say so, yes The people are still exhausted from the payment ID meeting :) Guess we could ping some people vtnerd, moneromooo, hyc, gingeropolous, TheCharlatan, sarang, suraeNoether, jtgrassie Anyone up for a meeting? Yep I'm here Here o/ Perhaps we should just start and people will eventually hop in? oof sorry guys, I'm working on the new FFS and I forgot all about this. Got a couple of new volunteers. This literally might be able to launch tomorrow. I know that. It's called "flow" :) I could run if you're out of time? go for it dEBRUYNE you guys are going to like this new FFS. We're like 99% done. Hi rehrar: someone else do the milestone thing already? All right, jtgrassie, perhaps you'd to start w/ briefly describing your most recent PR? https://github.com/monero-project/monero/pull/5091 oneiric, xiphon did everything like....everything As far as I can see, it allows the user to push his transaction over I2P, thereby masking the origin IP of the sendeuser great And it hooks into vtnerd's PR right? Sure. It basically just builds on vtnerds Tor stuff. sorry dEBRUYNE Really not much added. I have it running and tested. From the perspective of the user, what needs to be configured exactly? Nice Assuming the PR is included in the release binaries I'm using knacccs i2p-zero duirng testing but will of course work with any i2p setup sorry dEBRUYNE <= Np Looks a little like dams breaking, now that we have some dark clouds over Kovri and people take matters into their own hands ... User needs to run i2p, expose a socks service and and inbound tunnel. Basically same as Tor Okay, so should be reasonable as long as we write proper documentation for it (e.g. an elaborate guide) rbrunner, yes, knaccc credit for jumping on i2p-zero really dEBRUYNE: documentation monero side is kindof done. i2p side is very much implementation specific. I suppose we could write some guides for the most popular implementations? e.g. i2p-zero aims to be zero conf, but i2pd or Kovri would be differnet. I see, great vtnerd___: Do you want to add anything? could amend the current kovri guide for monero use from --exclusive-peer to the new proxy support Now I have i2p-zero running and tested with the #5091, I plan to jump back over to helping knaccc on getting that polished. I added support for socks proxy in the basic wallets ^ excellent Yes vtnerd___ I havent tested it yet but looks sweet. So connections to `monerod` over Toi2p are possible within wallet cli and wallet rpc Awesome This also implies auth+encryption even if ssl is not in use (when using an onion or i2p address) All right moneromooo: are you here? If so, could you perhaps share what you've been working on? I am. I revived the SSL PR, more stuff on multi sender txes, an implementation of ArticMine's new block size algorithm. I presume a multi sender tx works similar to multisig insofar as the senders have to exchange data before the transaction can be performed right? Yes. There are 2 SSL PRs. What's the diff? Theoretically this would also allow the sender to provide an output right? Which would be kind of similar to Bitcoin's P2EP The second one adds some things like selecting a cert by fingerprint. Yes. (for the first sentence) All right, awesome For anyone reading, this breaks the assumption of the inputs belonging to a single sender, which makes analysis more difficult Nice side-effect. Much work coming for the various wallets to support that rbrunner: Anything you'd like to share in the meeting btw? Yes, just a little info I have started to seriously investigate what it would mean to integrate Monero into OpenBazaar I have already talked with 2 of their devs, was very interesting In maybe 2 or 3 weeks I intend to write a report Too early to tell much more :) Soon^tm I guess :) Yep Currently wrestling with Go debugging whole new world moneromooo: Has pony recently shared any insights regarding the upcoming 0.14 release btw? No. All right I would love to see the tor & i2p PR's merged sooner rather than later so we can get more testing done. ^ +1 Isn't that famous early code freeze already on the horizon? fluffypony, luigi1111 ^ I suppose I could provide a little update regarding the GUI btw As always, lots of bug fixes and improvements :-P selsta has recently added a feature to support multi accounts dsc_ has revamped the wizard and will now start working on implementing the different modes and a white theme dsc_ is working fulltime on the GUI already? yes :) dsc_ is bae In light of the recent payment ID discussion, we've also, by default, disabled the option to add a payment ID unless the user explicitely activates the option on the settings page rehrar ^ nice I spoke about this yesterday at the coffee chat, this is not a good decision. How does it handle integrated addresses? The same way? rehrar ? For the next many months, we are still stuck with PAyment IDs in the ecosystem. Making it harder for people to access them will make Monero suck so hard to use for the average person for many months. i agree with rehrar Remove the option of Payment IDs when we remove Payment IDs rehrar: The new GUI release won't be live until probably mid march though Which is a few weeks in advance of the scheduled protocol upgrade Payment ID removal comes in October right, but Payment IDs are not removed in March Did we not have loose consensus on removing the old, unencrypted payment IDs in march? they are removed in October We had discussed a deprecation in March and a ban in October ok, then if we are going to do that, we have to commit to it and contact the exchanges like Binance that use them and get rid of them in the next few months (of unencrypted) Binance is huge, and if they still use them, then people will be very upset that they can't deposit or use Payment IDs easily I'm just speaking from a UX perspective. I thought it was unencrypted in April and possibly encrypted in October Yes I do agree Timeline and notes: https://github.com/monero-project/meta/issues/299 impossible to remove them for march, many exchanges still use them We can defer it to the 0.15 release if needed Well, that wasn't the impression for them log that I just read today This was all discussed in the earlier meeting linked above We have to force the ecosystem off of Payment IDs before we remove them from the UI, is all I'm saying Remove != make difficult to use ... or make them more difficult there, right? ping sgp_ sarang, I understand, and I agreed with you during that meeting. But then I started thinking of it as a UX person, which I am. And that huge massive problem leapt out at me i think making them difficult to generate is a good idea but making them difficult to consume and use is a bad idea well, maybe not a good idea, but a better idea ^ If we defer the decision to depriciate long payment IDs to october, won't we have the same issue then? The UI can gave an expandable payment ID field like MyMonero and we can still call it deprecated It is foolhardy to remove an option that the ecosystem uses. So I suggest we keep the Payment ID in the UI until October when they are completely banned. no dEBRYUNE, because they will be banned via consensus sgp_ imo it may be a misdirection of dev resources to add that since things are proceeding in the short term rather than long term but this is a relatively minor point Nothing matters til exchanges change All right The issue is that consensus will still have them in April, and exchanges won't upgrade because they are still allowed. Thus they must still be in the UI. endogenic these changes are already merged in the GUI to hide it like you do ok But when they are banned, exchanges are forced to upgrade or stop using Monero, so we can remove them safely because they won't be in use rehrar: that's a strong assumption sarang that they will upgrade? yes if they don't, then they can't use Monero If exchanges require pid, users need a way to set a pid. Making it hard for the user in the interim is just going to be a nightmare. we have decided to take our "stand" in October A way that is not too hard, then To be clear, we still intend to deprecate long encrypted payment IDs in April right? But no enforcement until October the term "deprecated" doesn't mean much if it's still allowed, and used in popular places yes, as far as I understand it jtgrassie, exactly True I suppose dEBRUYNE: we need to be more specific when talking about deprecation the person who suffers is the user There are two proposals for GUI deprecation: 1. Hide it in the send screen with a simple option to expand (currently merged iirc) 2. Hide it completely in the send screen unless users enable the field in advanced settings (PR'd but not merged yet iirc) What are the arguments for 2? Both are poor options, but 1 is better than 2 by a long shot Well the people who need to be made to "suffer" are the exchanges. And I don't see a way to make exchanges "suffer" other than by having their suffering customers complain to them constantly that they need to update. ^ CLI has something similar where users need to set a manual payment ID transfer mode. Not sure if it's merged yet the way to make the exchanges suffer is when we ban PIDs. They either upgrade or don't use Monero. exact;y Agree with rerahr here have exchanges been provided with clear, practical, sufficient technical upgrade plans for supporting what they're doing with PIDs but with subaddrs? Both are poor options, but 1 is better than 2 by a long shot <= I wouldn't call 1. a poor option. Have you actually checked how it looks? Because it states "Payment ID" and a user has to click on the + to expand the field endogenic: yes the email when out. Blog post coming soon, but contains the same info as the email also the exhcnages' users are often using wallets that don't support subaddresses ok great as well, it should be noted that the timeline for exchanges to upgrade is September, not October when the fork is. Which wallets are that? Rehrar: I don't see option 1. causing any issues/confusion i guess it doesnt matter too much if withdrawing as a personal user the main address should suffice Because September is when the new versions will be coming out without PIDs in the UI If there's opposition to 2, 1 is fine. We can still call it deprecated which is the optics we need anyway exchange users are often just using other exchanges lol. No wallets involved. dsc_ dEBRUYNE, ok, I trust you guys here then rbrunner: i was thinking mymonero last i heard Ok pigeons: rbrunner yes receiving on subaddresses won't be supported yet sending to them has been possible though and yes as learnandlurkin says often they withdraw to other systems like exhcnages that also dont yet support subaddresses I really can't come up with any good argument for 2. right now endogenic: seems not much of an issue then. Exchanges will typically support withdrawals to both subaddresses and plain addresses (especially if we are going to force them to use subaddresses) For deposits, MyMonero works properly if the user sends to a subaddress Actually the second solution was already merged: https://github.com/monero-project/monero-gui/pull/1866 Maybe not enough eyes watching :) The important thing is to have done something to justify having a big "DEPRECATED IN APRIL" stamp on PIDs to spook exchanges in the interim This was for solution 1: https://github.com/monero-project/monero-gui/pull/1855 The Monero Community Workgroup will start making noise everywhere we can to exchanges, and everywhere else that will listen. Try to get on those garbage news sites also. So everyone knows that deprecated in April, and banned in September Hey, for solution 1, write "Payment ID (optional, deprecated)" or similar there rbrunner: noted rehrar: probably wait until the blog post, but it should only be a few days Maybe a Reddit sticky post would be useful? With the blog post If people are over freaking out about the hashrate or terabyte blockchain :) sigh Any questions for the MRL side? Is someone checking ArticMine's block size changes for weird behaviour in some cases etc ? How would such testing work? Private blockchain?