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1  Economy / Services / [ANN] Legendary Escrow Service - Bitcoin & Alts on: May 02, 2018, 10:28:59 AM
Greetings!

I'm offering escrow services at 0% (free). I may charge 1% if I'm busy or there are special considerations.

Service terms:

I can escrow Bitcoin and many alt-coins (depending on complexity of doing so securely). The transaction can involve most anything as long as it's legal. Please just ask for details. Escrow held over 30 days is subject to 1% monthly storage charge. This escrow is for online transactions only.

Trust:

I've been involved with Bitcoin and plan on being involved for the long run. Account sign up is June 2011 (7 years). I'm a developer. I know how coins (and their security) work on a fundamental level.

PGP KEY:

Code:
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Tips appreciated!

BTC: 1GDsPQXHdZNRsCmC218bUwDjwpRMi58GfD

ETH: 0xf27Ef3FA0b185912fF41464B89c0ceE325Ffd39A

BCH: qrfl2w725jh5aljls8fc5fdy88gqngqs3sfxd9g2l8

LTC: LVJLUyyz6nfNVPvhGA5xnvXFaNwBAW8cXT
2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Full Node Survey (Please Help - Takes a Second) on: August 08, 2015, 04:18:09 PM
If nobody ran full nodes there would be no Bitcoin, so they're important. Of course, not everyone in Bitcoin needs to run a full node for Bitcoin to work, but a healthy network has a good number of full nodes. Core developers have for some time been concerned that full node count has been low and declining. This survey seeks to provide clues why. Please take a moment to vote and comment as appropriate. Thanks!  

Edit: to clarify a full node is software that downloads the full blockchain in order to verify and forward valid blocks and transactions. Bitcoin Core is an example of such software.
3  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Dear Would Be Drug Marketplace Operators on: November 06, 2014, 06:27:04 PM
You are not Jason Bourne.

If you are not absolutely certain you know how to operate anonymously continuously don't attempt to operate a drug marketplace, at least one servicing the U.S. You see, the U.S. govt. is very resourceful and can (for now) print just about any money it needs for any task.

Ed Snowden himself said if they want to get your computer (specifically) they'll get you. Even I would have thought a clean Linux install would be a good starting point until the shellshock bug showed up. There are just too many potentially vulnerable points to consider to operate with confidence, from coin taint/trails, to compromised hidden services, to botched communication, and that's the technical side. There is also the human/social element to trip things up.

If you're going to attempt such an undertaking you should always operate under the assumption the enforcers are one step away. At the very least don't remain in the U.S. and regardless of location don't sit still. I'm not sure I'd even attempt it and I believe I know what I'm doing. You should at most operate for under one year then walk away, and if you can pull that off it would be an impressive achievement.
4  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Hey, FINCEN Just Read Bloomberg! on: April 30, 2014, 12:00:07 AM
Wired just published an article about 'Dark Wallet', Bitcoin money laundering software conceived by Cody Wilson and Amir Taaki noting:

In a statement to WIRED, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network wrote only that it’s “well aware of the many emerging technological efforts designed to subvert financial transparency. It’s certainly our business to be interested and vigilant with respect to any activities that may assist money laundering and other financial crimes.”

Oh, okay! Well FinCEN should be very interested in the following Bloomberg story where no criminal charges for money laundering were ever brought:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-16/hsbc-aided-money-laundering-by-iran-drug-cartels-probe-shows.html

Quote
HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)’s head of group compliance, David Bagley, told a Senate hearing he will step down amid claims the bank gave terrorists, drug cartels and criminals access to the U.S. financial system by failing to guard against money laundering.

Quote
[HSBC] ignored links to terrorist financing ... documents show HSBC decided to cut ties with the bank before reversing itself under pressure from Al Rajhi, which received shipments of $1 billion in cash from HSBC’s U.S. operation from 2006 to 2010, according to the report.

Surely HSBC is within FinCEN's jurisdiction?
5  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Heartbleed Vulnerability - We Need to be Careful on: April 12, 2014, 11:13:31 PM
By now the community is aware of the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability one of the biggest flaws in the Internet's history, affecting the basic security of as many as two-thirds of the world's websites.

Patch implementations for this vulnerability are ongoing including an advisory now to upgrade Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoin Core.

I just watched the SXSW video featuring Ed Snowden. If you haven't seen it it's worth viewing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGD2t2iegSY

One question asked to Snowden was he seemed to keep coming back to using encryption as good standard defense against abusive unconstitutional surveillance, and was encryption really effective? He replied matter-of-factly yes saying the govt instead of trying to brute force through it (probably impossible anyway) would look for other less expensive ways to acquire information, making broad dragnet data collection infeasible (though targeted acquisition is usually successful). Instead of being able to simply sit on the network and scoop up everything they would need to go to companies like Yahoo, Google, Facebook etc. for data at encryption endpoints.

Then out of nowhere this Heartbleed vulnerability comes up. Bloomberg just published a story saying the NSA knew about and used the Heartbleed bug for two years, though the agency denies it. That jogged my memory about something from Snowden revelations about them intentionally participating in software communities, proposing standards like potentially weak random number generators for encryption etc.

Snowden emphasizes encryption being effective against NSA/govt surveillance. Suddenly the Hearbleed issue comes out, leaking user credentials like passwords and the encryption keys themselves and the NSA denies knowledge?  Roll Eyes

Our community is building the infrastructure to the new digital economy and security plays a big part of that. At the same time we all rely on a lot of open source technology not the least of which is Bitcoin itself. I'd say it's wise to remain vigilant going forward as Bitcoin gains more prominent mainstream acceptance and is increasingly on the radar of big governments.
6  Bitcoin / Hardware wallets / Trezor Usage Not Secure IMO on: April 02, 2014, 03:34:13 PM
The Bitcoin Trezor has the potential to be a user friendly ultra-secure way to store and use bitcoin, something which has been sorely lacking.

It seems Mike Hearn has been first to receive his Trezor:

https://plus.google.com/+MikeHearn/posts/UbvCG78WpjM

While the product looks great I would caution there may be a hole in the security. Trezor is safe from virus stealing software because it's isolated from any software which might be compromised by hackers. That's only true if hackers don't have access to the actual Trezor, though. (or a look alike which can pass as one)

I've previously said any private key producing software needs some sort of checksum availability for users. This is true also of the Trezor. I won't go into detail about how it might be compromised, but its transit is the source of concern. Boxes are sent with a tamper evident hologram, but the Casascius coin hack showed us the vulnerability with that. The device IMO should be able to call back to the company website to verify the software has not changed.

People are going to put their trust and money into security solutions we tell them to, so we need to make sure those solutions are really secure.

7  Bitcoin / Legal / IRS Imposes Burdensome Tax on Multi-Billion Dollar Loyalty, Timeshare Points on: March 26, 2014, 04:53:54 PM
According to FinCEN Bitcoin and other virtual currency such as loyalty program rewards or timeshare points become convertible virtual currency as follows:

Quote
Currency vs. Virtual Currency ...
In particular, virtual currency does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. This guidance addresses "convertible" virtual currency. This type of virtual currency either has an equivalent value in real currency, or acts as a substitute for real currency.

http://fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/html/FIN-2013-G001.html



In other words, any time a person or organization issues a token of value, such as scrip, loyalty program rewards, points, gift certificates, etc. the federal government views this as "virtual" currency to be treated as property both subject to currency regulation, but contradicting capital gains taxes as a capital asset in the hands of the taxpayer.

Loyalty programs have become popular worldwide, with programs such as frequent flyer miles and other points of value being exchanged on websites like Points.com. Since airfare price can vary depending on factors such as energy costs or travel season taxpayers redeeming airfare points should now document capital gains and losses per the new IRS guidance.

Timeshare points work in similar fashion. Briefly, a timeshare is a kind of property which works on a points system. Owners in the system acquire points automatically over time which can be exchanged for hotel/lodging at various properties worldwide. Again, due to factors such as travel season or special events, like New Year's day parades or sporting events held nearby, the fair market value for these rooms can vary greatly, again subjecting taxpayers to capital gains and loss reporting, although they already pay property taxes.

8  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Warren Buffet: Bitcoin is a Very Fascinating Check/Money Order on: March 14, 2014, 05:53:11 PM
OMG

Either Warren Buffet is being intentionally ignorant or he's clueless yet speaking authoritatively about Bitcoin. I'm not sure which is worse.

For those that missed the glaring omission (I know not many in this crowd) Bitcoin is two things. It is both a currency and a payment network for that currency.

If Bitcoin had been invented solely as a way to transfer dollars easily, yes, it would have made a few headlines, but it wouldn't be close to achieving the level of infrastructure, innovative ideas, passionate users and communities springing up around it in such short time. The truth is Bitcoin has intrinsic value not only because it's a better value transfer mechanism but also because it has a known, transparent fixed supply to the currency unit. Hey, Warren: checks and money orders can't do that.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101494538
9  Economy / Service Discussion / Gross Incompetence - What Really Happened at MtGox on: March 01, 2014, 02:44:58 AM
I believe I know what happened at MtGox. (Spoiler alert) TL;DR: complete incompetence

While I was a supporter of MtGox, in this debacle I have lost not more than about $80 there, because I try to follow my own advice which is: don't ever store longer term more cash/coins in ANY online service than you can afford to lose. Some here must have seen me say this repeatedly in the past. Anyway, there is a lot of question and speculation about what really happened with MtGox. I think I've figured it out. I'll present my case and see if you agree with me.

Before I get started, check out this quote from 2011. It's unbelievably prescient. BTW Magical Tux is Mark Karpeles:

And this is the guy whom 90% of Bitcoin users trust their money to...  Roll Eyes

MagicalTux fucks up... AGAIN!  Grin

What will happen when they lose the income of 10 years?  Undecided

Go ahead, click the link. You'll see it's really from 2011. Now, what would make this guy predict something like that?

Exhibit A:

That quote comes from the following 2011 thread which I believe is the last piece of the puzzle:

someone fucked up and lost ALOT of money

You really need to read/skim the first 2 1/2 pages, which contains the above quote, to get a feel for what happened. The gist of it is that MtGox, possibly Mark Karpeles himself, implemented (badly) custom software for transacting directly on the network.

Now check out this quote on 2/10/14 from DeathAndTaxes whose opinion on the matter I deeply respect:

...

MtGox had other issues which resulted in payments failing, being delayed, and needing to be resent.  The attackers took advantage of this to "camouflage" their actions.  Your right if you send out payments to 50,000 users and 49,999 report no issue but one user over and over reports not getting paid well then "hmm maybe this user is running a scam" however if you send payments to 50,000 users and 30,000 of them report non-payment due to a variety of reasons (caused by Gox) then it becomes easier for the attacker to hide.

MtGox wrote their own client, and they did so horribly bad.   Their client isn't worthy of being used by a hobbyist experimenting on testnet but they used it in production for a systme involving millions of dollars of assets.  We have no idea how many things they got wrong but looking at the failed transaction we know at a minimum these things were wrong:

a) MtGox double spent their own coins.
b) MtGox paid insufficient fees on tx which were low priority meaning they would not be relayed to miners by most nodes.
c) MtGox created tx which violated the "anti-spam" rules which caused tx to be dropped (not relayed) by some nodes.
d) MtGox attempted to spend immature newly mined coins (newly mined coins can't be spent for 120 blocks).
e) MtGox used non-canonical signatures on transactions which were rejected by newer nodes.

and

f) MtGox failed to account for mutable hashes.


Now if MtGox had done a through e they wouldn't have lost any coins.  Yes users would be delayed.  Yes it would make them look foolish but had they at least done f right they would have not paid attackers twice.

On the other had if MtGox had done a through e right but messed up f, then your scenario in the OP would be correct.  Legit users would have seen no issue, attackers would have gotten double paid. ...

However MtGox managed to get a through f wrong so legit users were affected AND attackers were able to trick them into making double payments.   Worse the two issues compound on each other.  If the attackers were the only ones reporting non-payment then it is likely MtGox would have gotten suspicious relatively quickly however since this has been going on for the better part of a month and involves tens of thousands of transactions who knows how many times attackers were able to get away with a double payment.

...  I consider myself moderately knowledgeable about bitcoin, and I don't use a custom bitcoin client.  I use a custom backend which communicates with the reference client (i.e. bitcoind) for these exact reasons.   MtGox's attempt to build a custom client would be laughably bad if released as an open source alternative client with a warning to be used for testing only.  The fact that it was used as a closed source production client borders on criminal negligence.

The whole quote should be read, but at the least what I've highlighted in bold.

We need to jump back to the 2011 thread for a second. As far as I know that was the first indication of MtGox's horrible software implementation. The reason for the thread was it was discovered someone wrote a bad script making about 2,600 BTC permanently irretrievable (about 26K USD back then). In that thread Magical Tux appears to admit it was MtGox saying "<MagicalTux> that's a problem, but not the worst problem we ever faced ... just spent one week of BTC-only income".

So to this point we know as early as 2011 Mark Karpeles was aware his custom software resulted in losing 2,600 BTC. However, there is one more key line in that quote from Magical Tux to focus on: "<MagicalTux> all the broken withdraws have been re-issued".

All the broken withdraws have been re-issued. [sigh]

Let that sink in for a moment. Consider that Mark Karpeles had just realized and confessed to permanently losing 2,600 BTC. Regardless of current events how much would you trust him to competently deal with any problem withdrawals, with shaky software?

Now for the clincher. That thread has over 13,000 views. I don't even run an exchange and I know about the unreliability of transaction IDs, and MtGox was here before me. Isn't it reasonable to imagine an unprincipled person put two and two together and imagined that if MtGox was admittedly having withdrawal issuance/software problems, and was taking the course of action of re-issuing withdrawals, then what if, just what if they didn't know about transaction malleability?

The picture is starting to become clearer isn't it? 800,000 BTC is a LOT of bitcoins, but if there were ongoing withdrawal problems over many months even years, coupled with an influx of fresh users depositing BTC, and books were not reconciled in a way to make imbalances obvious, then, what do you get? Exactly what we see today.

This would explain why Mark Karpeles seems exceedingly reluctant to talk about what happened. It would explain his public statements which shift blame over to the core system itself. There is no telling what exactly happened to all those BTC, but tranasction malleability & theft or not he had lost at least 26K USD all by himself. As the prescient poster above predicted it was only a matter of time before he lost something much bigger.

10  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Reminder: Bernie Madoff in REGULATED Environment Cost Investors 18 BILLION on: February 27, 2014, 03:23:17 PM
The MtGox fiasco is indeed tragic, and is making far reaching headlines. Many of Bitcoin's critics are predicting its downfall and one US senator used the opportunity to call for an unbelievable ban.

Caught up within our small niche it's easy to forget what happens in the wider world and financial system.

Please help remind everyone, politicians and critics alike, of necessary perspective:

Bernard Madoff in a heavily regulated financial environment cost investors 18 billion USD, while the MtGox situation is estimated at a sizable, but far far lower loss of under .5 billion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Madoff#Size_of_loss_to_investors

Former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul giving his opinion on the matter said matter of factly the government shouldn't interfere with Bitcoin. Paul said there's no need to regulate bitcoin, because the markets will. "I think the market is much tougher," he said.

http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/199214-ron-paul-feds-shouldnt-interfere-with-bitcoin

Indeed, our community is already discussing measures to limit the ability of such a tragic event from occurring in the future, including more transparent records for exchanges.
11  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / [Community] Let's Move Forward From MtGox on: February 25, 2014, 07:44:38 AM
Make no mistake. The situation with MtGox affects all of us involved with crypto currency. The two things of most obvious concern are regulation, and confidence, both of which can be impacted by this situation.  

The magnitude of this has caught a lot of the community off guard, but assessing a problem accurately is the first step to finding solutions. I propose a few things to help us move past this.

First, let's show some maturity. It won't help any of us to dwell on the shortcomings of prior leadership at MtGox. I'll explain what I mean by "prior" in a second. Please, let's all do what we can to keep doom and gloom expressions about Bitcoin as a whole, its short term price, and whatever other fallout comes from this to a minimum. There are some who would gladly play on the fearful to make a short term profit.

This document appears to be a real action plan: http://www.scribd.com/doc/209050732/MtGox-Situation-Crisis-Strategy-Draft

Watching as things play out it makes sense. It appears MtGox is transitioning into more competent, professional hands, and will be re-branded as "Gox". This is a big positive for our community, as those with losses in MtGox have a better chance of some recovery with it still in existence. Aside from its problems, it has a very profitable business. The above document estimates existing liabilities at around 120M USD. Consider WhatsApp was just acquired by Facebook for 19 billion, and we're still early days in Bitcoin.

As someone noted in another thread this marks a turning point for Bitcoin, as it moves us further away from fly-by-night scams and amateur hour financial services providers. The MyBitcoin.com wallet scam was replaced by the reputable Coinbase. The debacle of Bitcoinica was replaced by the long stable BitFinex. Out of the ashes of MtGox we as a community will again emerge stronger.

As a community we can support this effort to move past the prior management. Pulling together our influence is great.

Second, we should pre-empt any possible regulation. There has already been volunteer announcements from exchanges for greater transparency of financial records. As a community we can support, applaud, and demand this for the good and protection of the whole ecosystem.

Last, we can do better with education and practice of smarter coin protection and handling. We should always remember to take ultimate responsibility for our own coin handling and financial decisions, but we need to teach others best practices too. Also, let's reward the business with plans that align well with keeping customer coins safe.
12  Bitcoin / Legal / Lawsky Says New York Will Adapt Money Transfer Rules for Bitcoin on: February 12, 2014, 04:37:30 AM
From Bloomberg:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-11/lawsky-says-new-york-will-adapt-money-transfer-rules-for-bitcoin.html

Quote
“We do not have to throw out all of our existing rules for money transmitters or banks, which have generally served consumers well when vigorously enforced,” Lawsky said in a statement delivered to a New America Foundation forum on Bitcoin. “Indeed, certain aspects of virtual currency could dovetail with existing regulations.”

New York will “likely have to proceed with issuing some form of specially tailored BitLicense that adapts those rules to the world of virtual currency,” Lawsky said.

This doesn't say much to me. What kind of firms will have "BitLicenses"? We know exchanges are likely to be regulated. However, it makes no sense for a pizzeria, shoe store, etc. to need a BitLicense just to conduct customer purchases.

These politicians are tricky. Let's stay on top of them to ensure they don't go too far.

EDIT: remember you don't need to make Bitcoin illegal if you can control who can accept it.
13  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Arrest hypocrisy getting coverage! Raise Awareness (SFGate) on: February 09, 2014, 11:56:29 PM
The SFGate published this article

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Big-banks-enable-drug-cartels-but-bitcoin-use-5215248.php

Quote
Last month, Charlie Shrem, the 24-year-old founder and chief executive officer of a leading bitcoin payments company, was arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport after getting off a plane from Amsterdam. Shrem, along with a Florida man named Robert Faiella, was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering linked to alleged sales of more than $1 million in bitcoin to people who wanted to buy drugs on Silk Road, an online marketplace that accepted only the crypto currency.

The arrests underlined growing concerns among law enforcement that bitcoin, a purely anonymous means of exchange, had become the preferred currency of the criminal underworld, and that payments companies like Shrem's had become the enablers of drug trafficking and other nefarious enterprises. But you know what else has a history of enabling nefarious criminal enterprises? Banks.

LOL  Cheesy
14  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Regulation - don't let them get away with the hypocrisy on: February 05, 2014, 02:37:00 AM
Check out this video of NY superintendent of financial services Ben Lawsky on Fox Business talking Bitcoin regulation:

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3147952575001/regulations-coming-to-bitcoin/#sp=show-clips

His comments are actually not bad and he appears to be speaking with caution and care, but the text on the screen is disturbing: "SHOULD BUSINESSES THAT ACCEPT BITCOIN NEED LICENSES TO DEAL IN THE CURRENCY?"

Come again? The question is whether businesses, which can be mom and pop ordinary people, need to ask permission to barter/privately exchange a non-government commodity. Swap out bitcoins for pretty seashells to see how absurd it sounds. That's what it comes down to.

Lawsky seems most emphatic and concerned about money laundering, but that's pure hypocrisy. From Bloomberg Jul 23, 2012:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-16/hsbc-aided-money-laundering-by-iran-drug-cartels-probe-shows.html

Quote
HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)’s head of group compliance, David Bagley, told a Senate hearing he will step down amid claims the bank gave terrorists, drug cartels and criminals access to the U.S. financial system by failing to guard against money laundering.

Oh, well he stepped down. Awesome, all is okay then.

Meanwhile the CEO of BitInstant, Charlie Shrem, was arrested, accused of selling over $1 million in Bitcoin to Silk Road users who would then use them to buy drugs.

Quote
[HSBC] ignored links to terrorist financing ... documents show HSBC decided to cut ties with the bank before reversing itself under pressure from Al Rajhi, which received shipments of $1 billion in cash from HSBC’s U.S. operation from 2006 to 2010, according to the report.

Make no mistake people. This isn't about morality or law enforcement. It's about power. Banks and other power players are held to different standards. If we the people don't assert our own rights we will simply be trampled over, while others get fines.

Quote
It reported the U.S. Treasury Department had fined HSBC for a transfer in April 2000 of $100,000 benefiting the Taliban which at the time was running Afghanistan, and providing Osama bin Laden with the base ...

<--- not worried about regulators
15  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Fox News Tells Viewers to Look up Bitcoin on: August 16, 2013, 12:14:17 AM
Get ready for another price spike? Fox newscaster just told his audience to Google Bitcoin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSKgVcMC2yc

[Bitcoin Investigation: Is this the end of virtual currency?]



16  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Let's Integrate Bitcoin with Farmigo.com on: August 15, 2013, 07:30:29 PM
With the upcoming political response to Bitcoin we really need to showcase how it's used for more than illicit activity. I think Farmigo.com could be a perfect example. We need to start getting people to actually spend coins and  buying food is a basic building block.

http://www.farmigo.com/about/about



Quote
Imagine a world where more of our food was made in America. Perhaps even better, if most of what we ate came from within a few miles from where we live... This aspiration, is very far from what we have today in our communities.

The industrialized food system brought us cheap food that is produced far away by factories and people we don't know. This food, loaded with pesticides is put into wasteful packaging as it prepares to travel long distances consuming significant amounts of fuel. America imports most of its fresh produce from Mexico, Chile, India, China and Thailand - these imports are foods that can and should be produced locally.

...
We need a better food system

  • Only 9 cents of each dollar actually goes to the farmer while 91 cents of each dollar goes to suppliers, processors, middlemen, and marketers.
  • A typical carrot will travel 1,838 miles to become part of a meal.
  • In 1866, 1,186 varieties of fruits and vegetables were produced in California. Today, California's farms produce only 350 commercial crops.

Farmigo.com basically links local farmers together with local buyers, where buyers can shop for the items they want between all the farmers (since any one wouldn't have everything) and have the goods delivered bundled together to a local pick up place. Thoughts?

EDIT: here is a link to Farmigo's video presentation at Techcrunch Disrupt where you can get a better idea how it works.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/12/farmigo-tapping-into-the-power-of-the-web-to-bring-you-fresh-veggies/
17  Economy / Digital goods / How to be Anonymous with Bitcoin on: August 13, 2013, 02:06:57 AM
(mods please feel free to move if not the right category)

I've seen a lot of confusion over Bitcoin anonymity. I think it's because Bitcoin is moving beyond a base of core technically savvy users, so I wrote an eBook in simple to understand terms explaining how to gain anonymity with Bitcoin. The website is below and has a forum for questions.


http://BitcoinAnonymityEbook.com
18  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Be Careful Where You Store Your Coins on: June 13, 2013, 01:54:55 AM
Bitcoin has a way to go for easy security. At this point most everyone involved with cryptocurrency is an early adopter. That can come with obvious rewards, but can also mean inconvenience and outright loss while bumps are smoothed out.

There are stickies about coin safety and many threads on storage options, but I feel there is still room for coin security mishaps.

As Bitcoin adoption expands from those who like getting their hands dirty under the hood, users will become much less knowledgeable about safe usage common sense.

Ultimately each user is responsible for their own actions. I consider a good rule of thumb to be keeping the majority of your coins stored yourself in cold storage. I think it's fine to use services like blockchain.info, MtGox, BTC-e, etc., but don't get lazy. Get in the habit of draining your online third party account balances often. Don't leave them sitting. You never know what can happen to a service, and with Bitcoin a lot can happen.

Next, be extremely careful with your private keys. I think it's a bad idea to put 100% trust in using an online site like BitAddress.org to generate your private keys, for example. There are then two points for leaking your keys instead of only one. To have any high level of trust in generating private keys you should use very trusted software, like the Bitcoin-Qt client, which you download locally so the software can't change without you being aware.

To recap:

1. Only trust yourself with the bulk of your coin security
2. Minimize loss from events beyond your control by draining balances held by third parties often
3. When generating private keys do it as securely as possible; this includes using a local machine free from malware and trusted software which can't easily change without you being aware
19  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Community Action Needed - Support More Exchanges on: April 12, 2013, 06:18:39 PM
Many are bashing Mt.Gox, but there are two sides to a story. Mt.Gox has been a powerful force for good concerning Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is experiencing exponential growth, something we knew could happen, but with too much centralization i.e. pressure on Gox we find weakness that affects everyone. The market will sort this out but as a community we can help (not least because we mostly are the market).

Apparently new exchanges are being planned but we can immediately help by simply supporting and recommending other exchanges.

I'm guilty too. Although I have accounts with multiple exchanges when it comes to serious trading I look first to Mt.Gox. That should change. It may be inconvenient, but fairly easy to look to other exchanges first. If we all do this, and recommend it to others, we will rapidly shift that monstrous 80% of all BTC trading that occurs with one exchange, to the increasing detriment of us all.

Two great exchanges that come to mind are BitStamp.net and CampBX.com, both of which to my knowledge having never had a security incident.
20  Other / Meta / Reverse Ignore Button on: March 11, 2013, 06:11:07 PM
I keep a mental list of forum members to pay extra attention to, as I think many do. On my list are obvious names like Gavin and jgarzik, but also others I've long since added like DeathAndTaxes, evoorhees, and Mike Hearn to name a few.

This post is inspired by a member I had suspected should make my list and did with the post Why does everyone keep calling them fees? They're not fees, they're BIDS!. Now, instinctively, going by the username alone 'blablahblah' I would not expect much content of value. So my idea is a sort of reverse ignore button.

My guess of how this forum's ignore link works is when clicked by a number of users it glows progressively prominent shades of orange. While I've personally never clicked to ignore anyone the glowing names I see seem to tally with my loose mental list. As Bitcoin becomes more popular and this forum grows it will be harder to separate the signal from the noise. Maybe a link that reads 'don't ignore' and glows progressively green could be helpful. Using post count alone isn't ideal as people can say a lot about nothing.

I do caution as much as a visual indicator might help I hesitate to suggest it. That's because people can be spot on about some things while off on others. Giving visual weight to a user's words shouldn't be done lightly. So maybe a better version would be a private link that glows only one shade of green for the user that clicks it. That would help me at least to keep track.
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