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1  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / 3 kinds of ICOs — Protect yourself on: October 06, 2017, 07:55:53 PM
There are 3 kinds of ICOs:

1)  SCAMS

There have always been a lot of scammers, hackers and thieves in the crypto space since day one. Think of Mount Gox. According to Business Insider:

Quote
“…one out of every 16-17 Bitcoins belongs to someone who stole it”

If you don’t think that these thieves are trying to steal money through ICOs or from ICOs, you are kidding yourself. You just need to see the Bitcointalk forum dedicated to scams, or to participate in a Slack channel and you will see the never-ending phishing e-mails trying to lure you to their sites, in order to empty your wallet.

In addition to thieves and scammers, there are those who lie or exaggerate. Many users on Bitcointalk are pump and dumpers.

2)  CRAP

Everyone is desperate to host an ICO to make money. Therefore, they are throwing anything and everything onto the blockchain, including the kitchen sink. They may not be intentionally trying to scam, but they think that they have a good enough idea for an ICO. But these will fail because the blockchain will not solve anything for them. Examples include ICOs that want to put 3D data (which would equate to hundreds of Terabytes of data) or 153 exabytes of medical data on a blockchain. This shows that they are clueless about the blockchain and have never run Bitcoin’s full node. Bitcoin’s blockchain is 120 GB and Ethereum’s blockhain is 200 GB and they are both having scaling problems.

Even though crypto veterans and fans would like it to be, the blockchain is NOT the panacea to every problem in the world.

ICOs are also throwing any kind of business problem that they can make up, into the ICO. If they cannot make up the business problem, they will exaggerate about it. They will fail because the business problem doesn’t really exist, isn’t significant enough, cannot be solved by a blockchain or they do not really have the solution, though they try to make it sound like they do with lots of technical jargon.

Swarm Fund cites this business problem:

Quote
“You need large amounts of money to buy real estate and your money is tied down for an indefinite amount of time.”

This is a lie and not a business problem. You can buy one share of a REIT, and there are thousands of REITs to choose from, and you can sell it one minute later. If they start off their pitch with a lie, what else are they lying about?

Energi cites this business problem:

Quote
“A small number of large energy companies supply millions of customers who are price takers.”

Therefore, the solution is to create more energy suppliers, especially nuclear power plants, which is the cheapest source of electricity. But the project does not propose this. They propose to enable consumers to sell their solar self-generated electricity directly to other consumers.

To do this, consumers should have BOTH solar panels and batteries. This is a TINY market. Though solar panels are growing, it is still a tiny percent of the market and solar generated electricity is still much more expensive than nuclear generated.

Consumers with solar panels do not have that much surplus electricity to sell anyways. They use most of what they generate. Tesla and Enphase hyped up their batteries for solar panel owners to store their surplus electricity. These batteries are NOT selling. Enphase spent over $100 million to develop their battery and partly because of the lack of battery sales, their stock has plummeted approximately 85%.

Of course, the project’s pitch looks impressive at first glance.

3)  LEGITIMATE

There are only a few applications that make a lot of sense for the blockchain: transfer of value (currency), store of value, remittances (disrupt Western Union and bank wire transfers), smart contracts, gaming and gambling. These applications will disrupt their respective industries, because the blockchain will provide a lot of cost-savings or time-savings to the users. There might be other applications that make sense that I missed, but applications proposed by many ICOs do not make sense. Jesus Coin is an extreme example, but there are applications that fall across the spectrum from Jesus Coin to Bitcoin.



YOU CAN REDUCE THE RISK AND THE NUMBER OF ICOS TO REVIEW, BY USING 3 FILTERS

1)  The project’s idea should make sense, but do not base your investment decision purely on the idea. Watch:

“Ideas are like assholes - everyone has one, no one cares”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhJgrEackis

Entrepreneurs typically try to hide their ideas because they think they are the only ones that came up with the ideas. Venture Capitalists tell them to scream their ideas to the public and they’ll see that nobody will steal them. Ideas are a dime a dozen. There are probably 10 other people with the same idea that you have or that the ICO has. The most important factor to success is the ability to execute. This is why Venture Capitalists refuse to sign non-disclosure agreements and rarely invest in startups which haven’t built a prototype or product.

HAS THE ICO TEAM BUILT ANYTHING THAT WE CAN USE TODAY?

If not, take a pass. This is the best evidence that the team can execute. It takes way more skill, time, work and money to build an app than to create a one-page website and video. It shows:

  • The team has proven that they can develop.
  • It is less likely that the team will invest so much and not follow through.

Everything else is useless. Don’t be fooled by big teams, fancy pretentious titles, references, roadmap, video, fancy animations, escrow, blogs, Slack, Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and white paper.

One project stacked their team with a dozen people and then lied about them. One member had the title of “Blockchain Expert”, but he worked in Inside Sales until 1.5 months prior. One member had the title “Blockchain Developer”, but he never developed a blockchain before.

Here is an example of a project team using fake photos and fake names: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1949528.msg19485217#msg19485217

Don't rely on Github unless you can verify that they didn't copy the code from someone else and you can run it.

Several high profile projects, with big teams, nice videos, lots of social media activity and hype, raised millions of dollars and still have not produced an app. This number will grow and become more evident in the coming years.

Gnosis raised $12.5 million and their website says:

Quote
“The Hunch Game is nearly ready and can be launched in the first half of 2017 as an example Gnosis app.”

No app yet.

Qtum raised $15.6 million. I don't see anything produced on Qtum's website.

After raising $50 million, Cosmos's website is still pitching its white paper. Come on. What have they produced with that $50 million?

Augur had Vitalik Buterin on their team. After Satoshi Nakamoto, Vitalik is the most desirable person in the universe to have on an ICO team. After raising multiple millions and after two and a half years, all they’ve released is a simple beta that is barely usable.

Don’t be suckered by animations and videos. Satoshi didn’t have any of this and his coin was the most successful. Besides, the animations aren’t that impressive anymore, as I’m beginning to see the same animation on multiple websites. Some of these teams must be using the same graphic designer.

There is no guarantee that any business will not fail. But, when the ICO team has a prototype/product, they have proven that they can develop. That significantly reduces your risk. With many ICOs, you have no idea if they can build anything. You cannot trust the information on the profile of many ICOs. Just because they can hire somebody to make a video, it does not mean they can write thousands of lines of complicated code. It's like you giving money to someone to fix your car, simply because his video says he can fix cars, but he has never fixed one before.

Y Combinator is one of the biggest startup incubators in the world. They provide a small amount of funding (approx. $25k to 50k) to startups, which usually consists of 2 founders each. Then they build prototypes or products. Then the startups give pitches to angel investors or Venture Capitalists. If prototypes or products are unnecessary, then why do they waste so much time and money before pitching to angels and VCs?

Almost all incubators have startups that consist of usually only 2 founders, that are building prototypes and products. ICOs are stacking their team with a dozen people and they still cannot build anything. With 12 people, they should've built 6 prototypes/products by now. This shows that they are simply stacking their teams with useless people, in order to impress you or sucker you in.

2)  IS THE TEAM FROM A CORRUPT COUNTRY?

Check Transparency International's ranking.

If so, take a pass.

The number of ICOs from corrupt countries, especially those that were famous for sending out phishing scams for years, have exploded.

Yes, there are scams from countries that are not corrupt and successful projects from corrupt countries. What is important is the probability and if you are willing to take the extra risk.

In non-corrupt countries, people grow up with lots of regulations and enforcement. Though there are exceptions, the people feel that the way to get ahead is based largely on merit. In corrupt countries, there is less regulation, less enforcement and more people trying to find ways to get ahead by working around the system. In fact, they see that the most successful people in their country, usually in their government, are those who get ahead by lying, cheating or working around the system, instead of based on merit. If you do not think this is a risk, then we will agree to disagree.

Law enforcement is a big deterrent. Hurricanes prove this. After hurricanes Katrina and Irma, there were widespread lootings. Why? Because police are not on the streets and criminals feel immune from punishment.

Law enforcement through extradition is a deterrent. If an Australian defrauds investors in Germany, Germany can extradite the Australian and punish him. This makes the Australian think twice before he defrauds Germans. However, there are many countries without extradition agreements. This provides immunity to ICO teams. Therefore, they can lie, defraud and cheat investors from other countries, and there will be little to no recourse from the other countries. This can bring out the looting mentality.

There are many ICOs enticing investors, by claiming that their token or coin will go up in value or that token holders will get dividends, profits or ownership in other assets. Some tell buyers that they are “investing”. This means that they are selling securities and are breaking security laws.

I watched a video of a conference. ConsenSys was warning about the repercussions of selling securities. Waves’ CEO, who is from a country without extradition agreements with Europe or U.S., debated this, downplayed the concern and shrugged it off. Why should he care? No European or American government is going to be able to punish him if he broke security laws. Even if Europe cannot punish him, if Europe bans his coin, will you suffer?

Without law enforcement, ICOs can lie and get away with it. One project claimed that they will make 400+% return per year for the investor. In countries that enforce securities laws, if you make this claim and do not deliver, investors can sue you. In countries with advertising laws, the police can punish you for false advertising. In countries that are immune from these laws, ICOs can make any claim they want. One of the most egregious claims is when an ICO tells you that you will be a part owner of a physical company. Good luck in getting a judge in their country to force the company to give you equity because you own some ERC-20 tokens. Good luck to you and your multiple flights to that country.

Few corrupt countries have extradition agreements. For those that do, can you rely on their corrupt governments to fulfill their obligations?

3)  “NEVER INVEST IN A BUSINESS THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND”

This is a quote from Warren Buffett. It is very applicable because many ICO teams try to impress the audience with technical jargon. Many investors are not tech savvy and are baffled or confused, but they invest because they think that the project team must have come up with a technological break-through.

Last word:

You need to be able to verify that the business problem exists, that the market size is truly as big as the ICO claims and that the solution is possible. Quite often, they exaggerate on most of these. You need to verify that a blockchain or a cryptocurrency actually is needed for the solution. Quite often, they’re not.

Do not rely solely on ICO listing or rating sites. They likely do not know about all of the ICOs. Not all ICOs are willing to pay to be listed. They have methodologies that you may not agree with. Some claim to be experts, but you are likely more of an expert in your own field, whether that is medical, law, engineering or finance, than they are. They will likely have biases, especially for ICOs originating from their country or region. Putin wants to increase the crypto industry in Russia. Is this why there has been an explosion of ICOs from Russia? Even Putin’s Advisor ran an ICO. If Russia took out Facebook ads to disrupt U.S. and European politics, who is to say that they will not pay off ICO listing and ratings sites to favor Russian ICOs?
2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / How to set up a secure offline savings wallet on: May 15, 2017, 06:44:15 PM
After researching wallets, I think I like to stick with Bitcoin Core, because it seems the least risky.  It seems the least risky because I'm guessing that its source code is reviewed by the most people.  With some wallets, I don't think many people review the source code.  I don't see how anyone can review the source code in a hardware wallet's firmware.

It seems that a very secure method is the following:

https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/How_to_set_up_a_secure_offline_savings_wallet
"Setting up an offline wallet from scratch"

Under "How to Deposit Funds", step 7 states:

Quote
Shut down your computer, and boot Ubuntu (or Linux distribution of you choice) from a liveCD. This will not affect your current operating system.

According to the link for liveCD (https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop), I can create a bootable Ubuntu USB stick from my Mac, which is what I'll do.  When I do this, can malware get into my USB stick or into Ubuntu?

Step 11 states:

Quote
Shut down system and turn off computer. Before switching your computer on again, remove all power sources for about 1 minute. Physically remove battery from laptop.

I have a Mac and cannot take out the battery.  How important is this step?

Step 14 states:

Quote
Backup encrypted wallet.dat file in several places:
  • Send it to your 5 best friends by email attachment and ask them to save it for you.
  • Save it on your cloud drive accounts created in step 1.

Am I correct to assume that if the wallet.dat file is encrypted with a strong passphrase, then it should be safe and secure to allow anyone, even hackers, to take a copy of wallet.dat, because they won't be able to decrypt it?

Under "How to Retrieve Funds", it has these steps:

Quote
  • Boot from Ubuntu liveCD, as in step 5 above.
  • Insert USB drive.
  • Run bitcoin client and close it again.
  • Replace wallet.dat in ~/.bitcoin directory with wallet.dat from USB drive.
  • Connect to the internet.
  • Restart bitcoin client.
  • Wait for blocks to download (optional).
  • Send bitcoins.

Step 4 states:

Quote
Replace wallet.dat in ~/.bitcoin directory with wallet.dat from USB drive.

Where will this ~/.bitcoin directory be?  Will it be on my Mac's hard drive or on the USB drive?  (If Bitcoin Core (running under Ubuntu) creates this directory onto my Mac's hard drive, then this means I'll have 2 bitcoin directories on my Mac:  one for Bitcoin Core that has already run under my Mac and another for Bitcoin Core running under Ubuntu.)

Step 5 states:

Quote
Connect to the internet.

Why bother booting from Ubuntu (especially running it online) if the wallet.dat is already e-mailed to other people and sitting in the cloud (after doing step 14 above)?  Is this because Ubuntu (booted from a CD) will prevent malware or key-loggers from getting my passphrase?  Is it not possible that some malware or key-logger can still work on my computer through the internet?

Step 7 states:

Quote
Wait for blocks to download (optional).

I already have the blockchain downloaded and synced on my Mac with Bitcoin Core v0.14.1, pruned to 2GB.  Will Bitcoin Core, running under Ubuntu on my Mac, be able to access this same folder?  (If so, then downloading the blocks and synchronizing will take far less time.)

Can I indeed send out bitcoins if the Bitcoin Core has not synchronized the blockchain?

Am I correct to assume that after I've sent out bitcoins, I should "backup the wallet.dat file in several places" again?
3  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Can I delete old copies of wallet.dat? on: May 15, 2017, 01:25:27 AM
I have Bitcoin Core and wallet.dat.

In the past, I've made backups of wallet.dat by copying them to another disk.  Now, when I open each of the wallet.dat with Bitcoin Core, I see a different balance.  This makes sense because there were transactions between each time I took a backup copy.

Am I correct to assume that I can delete the older copies?  (I read somewhere that I should never delete any wallet.)

Why would the different wallet.dat files show different balances?  Don't they have the same addresses and keys?
4  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / bitcoind invoked oom-killer on: April 19, 2015, 03:58:55 PM
My site crashed because MySQL stopped running.  According to the syslog, the following happened:

Code:
...
bitcoind invoked oom-killer: gfp_mask=0x201da, order=0, oom_adj=-17, oom_score_adj=-1000
bitcoind cpuset=/ mems_allowed=0
...
...
2299 total pagecache pages
1911 pages in swap cache
Swap cache stats: add 855411, delete 853500, find 7256250/7310330
Free swap  = 0kB
Total swap = 1048572kB
524270 pages RAM
11529 pages reserved
61072 pages shared
497066 pages non-shared
...
...
Out of memory: Kill process 5919 (mysqld) score 25 or sacrifice child
Killed process 5919 (mysqld) total-vm:2126812kB, anon-rss:29312kB, file-rss:0kB
init: mysql main process (5919) killed by KILL signal
init: mysql main process ended, respawning
apache2 invoked oom-killer: gfp_mask=0x201da, order=0, oom_adj=0, oom_score_adj=0
apache2 cpuset=/ mems_allowed=0
...

I'm guessing that "bitcoind invoked oom-killer" caused the server to run out of memory which caused the server to kill mysqld.  Am I correct?

I have 2 GB of memory.  This is what shows on "top":

Code:
Mem:   2050964k total,  1976288k used,    74676k free,    18068k buffers
Swap:  1048572k total,   948164k used,   100408k free,   742556k cached

According to "top", bitcoind usually uses approximately 30% of memory (which I think is WAY TOO much).  My server is mainly for my site that runs bitcoind.  There is little traffic, so Apache cannot be using much memory.  I would've assume that 2 GB is overkill.

What is causing "bitcoind invoked oom-killer"?  How can I prevent this from happening?




5  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / debug.log runCommand error on: March 11, 2015, 05:08:36 PM
I have used the following successfully in bitcoin.conf for about a year:

Code:
walletnotify=curl https://mydomain.com/walletnotify.php/?tanshash=%s
blocknotify=curl https://mydomain.com/blocknotify.php/?blockhash=%s

They seemed to stop working a few months ago.  The following is in debug.log:

Code:
2015-03-11 14:05:53 runCommand error: system(curl https://mydomain.com/blocknotify.php/?blockhash=00000000000000000dd3c33eaf1a2746ebe841418b98cb15f4a0bb71f3330d5e) returned -1

I changed my code in bitcoin.conf to this:

Code:
blocknotify=/usr/bin/php /home/mydomain/public_html/blocknotify.php %s

But I'm still getting the same error:

Code:
2015-03-11 16:28:57 runCommand error: system(/usr/bin/php /home/mydomain/public_html/blocknotify.php 000000000000000015a51b99f54a611b2a88c096d1091e13933346431c17b2be) returned -1

Can anyone tell me what "runCommand error: ... returned -1" means and how to fix this?

6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Cannot stop bitcoind 0.9.0 on: March 23, 2014, 03:07:40 PM
I installed and started bitcoind 0.9.0 64 bit on Linux.  I ran the following on Linxu:

$ sudo bitcoind stop
Bitcoin server stopping


When I run:

$ pstree

bitcoind is no longer showing.  However, when I run:

$ top

bitcoind is still running, using between 140 to 150 MB of RAM.

I ran "sudo bitcoind stop" a couple of times, but bitcoind still shows up on "top".  I don't want to "kill" the process because I read that this might corrupt the database.

When I run the following:

$ bitcoind -daemon

I get the following, which seems to confirm that bitcoind is still running:

: Cannot obtain a lock on data directory /home/user/.bitcoin. Bitcoin is probably already running.

How do I stop bitcoind?

(When bitcoind was running before I tried to stop it, it was using 550 to 680 MB of RAM.  Is this normal?)


7  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Best way to handle user withdrawals of bitcoin? on: February 10, 2014, 03:25:28 AM
I need to enable my users to send and withdraw bitcoin to and from my web app.  Ideally, this is done immediately or in near real-time.

Using a third-party payment processor, such as BitPay or Coinbase, is not an option for my service.

I've narrowed it down to two options, with only the first one that is able to automate withdrawals.  (Blockchain.info was ruled out due to complaints about unreliability.)

1)  USE BITCOIN'S API VIA JSON-RPC

In this option, I will run my web app, Bitcoin software (Bitcoin-QT/bitcoind) and wallet on the same server.  When the user wants to send bitcoin, I will use JSON-RPC to call getnewaddress() via Bitcoin's API and then show address to users.  I will use Bitcoin options such as walletnotify to notify me when a user has sent bitcoin to my wallet.  I will use blocknotify to prompt me to call gettransaction(), to get the number of confirmations on these transactions.  If the number of confirmations is > X, then my web app will tell the user that his bitcoins are now available in his account.  This can take up to an hour to wait for X confirmations.

When the user wants to withdraw, my web app will get the user's address and then use sendtoaddress() to send bitcoin to the user.

How do I secure Bitcoin and the wallet?  If an attacker hacks into my server, he can change my programs that call JSON-RPC or read the rpcuser and rpcpassword settings in bitcoin.conf and simply call sendtoaddress <attacker's address>.  Someone suggested that web apps run Bitcoin and the app on different servers.  However, I don't see how this will increase security.  If an attacker hacks into the Bitcoin server, I would think that he can easily empty the wallet by running curl commands to http://127.0.0.1:8332 or JSON-RPC commands.

Then I read on posts that people should keep a minimal amount of bitcoin on the server's wallet, such as keeping a maximum of BTC0.001 on the server.  I assume that the way to do this, is to send any balance in excess of BTC 0.001 to my offline wallet.

However, aren't there still security holes in this?  If an attacker hacks the server, he can change my code so that my code sends the excess BTC to his address instead of mine.  Or, he can change my code to call getnewaddress() from his wallet instead and show his address to my users. This way, my users will be sending bitcoin to the attacker instead of me.  Or, he can hack into my server repeatedly to steal BTC 0.001 each time.

How do we solve these security problems with Bitcoin?

2)  ADDRESSES ONLY (NO PRIVATE KEYS) ON SERVER

I understand that I can use Armory's watch-only online wallet on my server and Armory's offline wallet on my home computer to maximize security.  (I must be able to test with testnet coins.  Apparently, Armory supports testnet but Electrum does not, hence my choice with Armory.)  However, this means that anytime one of my users wants to withdraw, I would have to manually send the bitcoin to the user, which will make the user wait.  Has anyone had experience with this method?  Was this acceptable to your users and how many users requested withdrawals every day?  Can I use JSON-RPC to call Bitcoin's API to get addresses, balances, etc., from Armory's watch-only wallet?

With this method, it still doesn't seem very secure because an attacker can hack my web app to bypass my wallet.  As an example, can't an attacker (such as the datacenter's employee or an attacker putting in an order to have a Virtual Keyboard and Mouse installed so that the attacker can get console access) hack my web app program so that it calls getnewaddress() from his wallet instead of my Armory watch-only wallet?  Again, this will make my web app show the attacker's address instead of mine and hence, the user will be sending bitcoin to the attacker instead of me.  Has any web app been hacked this way?

Another method is described at http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/10470/how-to-run-a-bitcoind-on-a-hosting-securely.  With this method, can't an attacker hack my server's database and replace my addresses with his?

Is there a way to automate user withdrawals without compromising security?  Or, must I send bitcoin to users from an offline wallet, which doesn't seem 100% secure and which will make users wait?  What is the best architecture for this?  Is there a solution?

I would think that if there weren't so many security issues, complexities and attackers/hackers associated with Bitcoin, Bitcoin adoption would be much more widespread as many more services, including mine, will be available to bitcoin users.
8  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Should I use Blocknotify to update my unconfirmed transactions? on: February 04, 2014, 01:54:24 AM
I'm trying to integrate and accept Bitcoin on my web app.

I'm using Bitcoin's walletnotify to tell me if a customer has sent Bitcoins to the address that I provided him/her.  Then I call the "gettransaction" RPC call to the Bitcoin API to get the transaction ID and unconfirmed amount and store this with the address into my database.  Then I'm using Bitcoin's blocknotify to prompt me when maybe one or more of my unconfirmed transactions might be confirmed (6? times).  When I get a blocknotify, I will find all of the transactions in my database that are unconfirmed and then use "gettransaction" to get the number of confirmations for those transactions.

I found out, through the "getblock" RPC call to the Bitcoin API, that the block will include many transactions that did not send to nor receive Bitcoins from my wallet.  With the array of transactions returned from "getblock", I called "gettransaction" on those transactions.  I got the following error on many of these transactions:

error: {"code":-5,"message":"Invalid or non-wallet transaction id"}

According to the following posting, this means those transactions are not involved with my wallet:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=100824.0

This makes me think that blocknotify will pompt me thousands or hundreds of thousands of times, as there must be millions of transactions on the Bitcoin network that are unrelated to my wallet.  Am I correct?  If so, this doesn't seem that blocknotify is a viable method to update the confirmations on my transactions.

Did anyone use this method and if so, did your server spent a lot of resources in processing blocknotifies?  What is a better way to update the transaction confirmations?  If there a way to use blocknotify or something else from Bitcoin-QT/bitcoind?
9  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Cannot synchronize with Bitcoin in testnet mode - No block source available on: January 29, 2014, 04:25:11 AM
I downloaded Bitcoin-QT for Windows 7 into:

MYUSERNAME/Downloads/bitcoin-0.8.6-win32/bitcoin-0.8.6-win32

I want to run Bitcoin in testnet mode, so I created bitcoin.conf with only the following content:

testnet=1

I put copies of bitcoin.conf into the following folders:

MYUSERNAME/Downloads/bitcoin-0.8.6-win32/bitcoin-0.8.6-win32
User/MYUSERNAME/AppData/Roaming/Bitcoin


When I double clicked on the Bitcoin-QT icon to execute the following, Bitcoin-QT starts up but it does not appear to be in testnet mode.

MYUSERNAME/Downloads/bitcoin-0.8.6-win32/bitcoin-0.8.6-win32/bitcoin-qt.exe

Can anyone tell me why it does not seem to go into testnet mode?

I went to Start > cmd to get the DOS prompt. I entered the following and it worked:

C:\User\MYUSERNAME\Downloads\bitcoin-0.8.-win32\bitcoin-0.8.6-win32>bitcoin-qt.exe -testnet

Bitcoin-QT launches in testnet mode. However, it is not synchronizing with the network. At the bottom of the Bitcoin-QT window, it shows:

"No block source available...155 weeks behind"

I tried adding the following to bitcoin.conf and restarted bitcoin-qt.exe -testnet but it didn't make any difference.

addnode=1.2.3.4
checklevel=2


After a few hours, it still shows "No block source available...155 weeks behind". How do I get this to synchronize?

Note that I am running Bitcoin-QT in Windows 7, which is running in VirtualBox, which is running in my Mac OSX. There seems to be no issue with any firewall in Windows 7 as my browser works fine. I have LittleSnitch running on my Mac, which tells me if a program is trying to access the internet. It told me that Bitcoin on my Mac and a program on Windows tried to access the internet, which I allowed. On my Mac, my Bitcoin-QT (in testnet and mainnet) synchronized fine. On Windows, Bitcoin-QT for mainnet, but not testnet, can synchronize.

User/MYUSERNAME/AppData/Roaming/Bitcoin/testnet3/debug has a lot of messages. Do these provide any clues?
2014-01-26 01:15:49 trying connection 93.93.135.12:18333 lastseen=149.6hrs
2014-01-26 01:15:51 No valid UPnP IGDs found
2014-01-26 01:15:51 upnp thread exit
2014-01-26 01:15:54 connection timeout
2014-01-26 01:15:54 trying connection testnet-seed.bluematt.me lastseen=0.0hrs
2014-01-26 01:15:59 connection timeout
2014-01-26 01:16:04 trying connection testnet-seed.bitcoin.petertodd.org lastseen=0.0hrs
10  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Bitcoin-QT crashes when any bitcoin.conf file exists on: January 20, 2014, 02:34:06 AM
I am running Bitcoin-QT v0.8.6 on my Mac OSX 10.6.8.

If I do not have the bitcoin.conf file in the Library/Application Support/Bitcoin folder, then Bitcoin-QT will launch successfully.  However, if I do have the bitcoin.conf file, even if it is empty or if all of the lines are commented out, Bitcoin-QT will not launch.  Instead, the Mac shows a pop-up that states: "Bitcoin-QT quit unexpectedly.  Click Reopen to open the application again.  This report will be sent to Apple automatically.  Problem Details and System Configuration data"

If I rename or delete the bitcoin.conf file, then Bitcoin-QT launches successfully.

Does anyone have any idea of how to fix this or get past this?
11  Economy / Service Discussion / Review of Blockchain.info's Receive Payment API on: January 16, 2014, 06:50:38 PM
We are building an online game and want to enable our users to play for bitcoins.  Since we don't know how popular bitcoins will be with our players, we are seeking an easy way to enable our users to deposit and withdraw bitcoins.  Even though our game is skill-based, there is an element of chance, hence it can be deemed as gambling.  Therefore, Bitpay and Coinbase won't help us.

It seems that Blockchain.info's Receive Payment API is the easiest way to start, to enable our users to deposit.  Then we'll manually send bitcoins when users want to withdraw.  (I welcome suggestions on other methods that are as easy or easier.)  However, there are comments about how Blockchain can fail or be slow in responding (to the callback URL?), such as:


I'm reluctant to think that the above comments confirm that Blockchain was or still is unreliable.  I've stayed at hotels where commenters on Tripadvisor wrote negative reviews, but I did not see the same negative aspects.  Has Blockchain resolved most of the above issues since they were posted?  I'm interested in reading from people who have had positive and negative experiences with Blockchain.info's Receive Payment API.  Is Blockchain.info's Receive Payment API reliable, fast and trustworthy enough?
12  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Eliminate Dust transactions by sending every BTC from one wallet to another? on: January 12, 2014, 07:57:25 PM
Most of my initially received bitcoins were from faucets and therefore, these ended up being dust transactions. Since then, I've bought some bitcoins which are not dust.

Now I'm trying to send 0.0005 BTC to test out Blockchain.info's "receive payment API" (http://blockchain.info/api/api_receive) PHP example (https://github.com/blockchain/receive_payment_php_demo).  But Bitcoin-QT is telling me that I must pay 0.0005 BTC transaction fee.

I found out that the fee is due to the dust transactions.  Now, I like to get rid of these dust transactions by combining their amounts.  Can anyone suggest an easy way to do this?

I was thinking of installing Armory and then transferring all of my bitcoins from my Bitcoin-QT wallet, in one transaction, to my Armory wallet.  Will this eliminate the dust transactions by combining all of my dust amounts together?  Will my new Armory wallet contain just one input transaction, and not over a dozen transactions of small amounts?
13  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Easiest way to accept BTC and test on: January 09, 2014, 11:16:19 PM
We are building an online game and planning to enable our players to play for bitcoins.  Therefore, we need to enable players to deposit and withdraw bitcoins.

Which way is the easiest to start accepting bitcoins from users?  Use the bitcoin API call list (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Original_Bitcoin_client/API_calls_list) or use Blockchain.info's "receive payment API" (http://blockchain.info/api/api_receive)?

On Blockchain.info's page for "receive payment API", it gives a PHP example:  https://github.com/blockchain/receive_payment_php_demo.  The example enables your website to prompt the user to send bitcoins to us, via Blockchain.info.  I like to test this out.  Which way is the best way to test it out?  Send real bitcoins or send testnet bitcoins?

If the best way to test is to use real bitcoins, I'm assuming that we should send one Satoshi (0.00000001 BTC) each time?  But how much transaction or network fee will I have to pay (since it is likely that I'll need to send BTC many times)?

If the best way to test is to use Testnet coins, then how does one use them?  I cannot find good information on how to use them to answer questions such as:  Can we use testnet coins to test out the bitcoin API call list or Blockchain.info's "receive payment API" and their PHP example?
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