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1  Bitcoin / Mining / Cryptocurrency mining as a load-balancing mechanism for power utilities on: October 01, 2014, 07:20:27 PM
During some discussions at our local meetup group last night (http://www.meetup.com/Bitcoin-Tallahassee/), I realized that there is a use case for cryptocurrency mining as a load-balancing mechanism for renewable power utilities, in effect, using mined coins as a form of "stored energy."

The argument goes like this:  Suppose you have an installation of renewable power generation (solar, wind) whose production varies throughout the day, and is not necessarily well-matched to demand.

Currently, either the surplus energy needs to be stored (using expensive battery systems) or exported via inefficient long-distance transmission lines to other markets.

As an alternative:  Renewable power utilities could use their excess power (when available) to drive mining hardware, and collect the (approximate) value of the energy consumed in the process as cryptocurrency.

Then, later, when production is lower (at night, or on a cloudy/calm day), and falls below power demand, the saved coins can be used to buy back surplus energy from nearby partners on the grid, or alternatively, to pay for or offset the cost of fuel (coal/oil/gas/biofuels) to produce it locally.

By proposing this scenario to energy companies and co-ops, one could sell them on the idea of purchasing cryptocurrency mining hardware and doing mining and trading as a more economical means of load balancing, which will help make the adoption of renewables more profitable.  And, as the utilities accumulate cryptocurrency reserves, they will pressure more and more of their fuel suppliers to accept it as payment directly, thereby driving broader adoption of cryptocurrencies within the energy industry.  As renewables become more competitive, and more and more utilities try this approach, it could drive a fairly rapid shift from the "petrodollar" to bitcoin, or whatever.

Load balancing is already a pretty major issue even within traditional fossil-fuel-driven power markets, and with renewables being added to the mix, the problem will only get worse...  So this presents a big growth opportunity for cryptos.

I have contacts at our university's campus utility as well as with a regional co-op, and I'm planning to talk with them about this idea and see if I can get it adopted locally.

Cheers, -Mike
2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Dorian SIGNED Satoshi's PGP key on APRIL FOOL'S DAY last year on: March 07, 2014, 02:45:42 AM
Doesn't that look mighty suspicious?  They are in cahoots, or the man is trolling us...

http://sks.pkqs.net/pks/lookup?op=vindex&fingerprint=on&search=0x18C09E865EC948A1

Search results for '0x18c09e865ec948a1'

Type bits/keyID     cr. time   exp time   key expir
pub  1024D/5EC948A1 2008-10-30           
    Fingerprint=DE4E FCA3 E1AB 9E41 CE96  CECB 18C0 9E86 5EC9 48A1

uid Satoshi Nakamoto <satoshin@gmx.com>
sig  sig3  5EC948A1 2008-10-30 __________ __________ [selfsig]
sig  sig   E2513C30 2009-01-03 __________ __________ Bitcoin Jesus
sig  sig   04143362 2011-11-01 __________ __________ lzsaver <lzsaver@gmail.com>
sig  sig   DAB591E7 2013-03-27 __________ __________ theymos <theymos+pgp@mm.st>
sig  sig   7480B161 2013-04-01 __________ __________ Dorian S Nakamoto <mtn_sssh@hotmail.com>
sig  sig   F2E50027 2013-04-19 __________ __________ Antony Bailey <support@antonybailey.net>
sig  sig   2346C9A6 2013-05-10 __________ __________ Wladimir J. van der Laan <laanwj@gmail.com>
sig  sig   FFDB1CCC 2013-07-01 __________ __________ []
sig  sig   F91975FE 2013-09-20 __________ __________ Cubaguy <cubaguy@gmail.com>
sig  sig   7471C2D0 2013-09-21 __________ __________ Harald Schilly <harald.schilly@gmail.com>
sig  sig1  67E4FA04 2013-10-12 __________ __________ Peter Todd <pete@petertodd.org>
sig  sig   7B536415 2014-03-06 __________ __________ Satoshi Nakamoto (Resident of California) <satoshin@gmx.com>

sub  2048g/D6AAA69F 2008-10-30           
sig sbind  5EC948A1 2008-10-30 __________ __________ []
3  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Fork of Casascius BtcAddress app for BIP38-encrypted banknotes of existing keys on: December 03, 2013, 05:19:23 AM
One of the modes of Casascius' BIP-0038 key encryption standard is the non-EC-multiply mode, which can be used to encrypt an existing private key with a passphrase.

Unfortunately, if you would like to use this mode to generate nice printed bank notes with an encrypted version of the private key of one of your existing cold-storage accounts, the BtcAddress app reference implementation does not support this - it only supports creating notes containing brand-new encrypted keys.  The underlying code is already there, but the GUI does not support it.

Therefore, I have made enhancements to the BtcAddress app to provide GUI support for printing banknotes of encrypted keys generated using this mode.

Some links:


Some screenshots:

(New menu item.)


(New dialog box.)

Caveat: The "compress public address" option does not work yet.

(Some data filled in.)


(Resulting encrypted key in collection.)


(Example of a bill that can then be printed - not the same example.)


Obviously, this capability ought really to be included in the master branch of the reference client for better trustability, and hopefully Mr. Caldwell will honor that pull request.  First, the diffs need to be cleaned up a bit - there are a few accidental/unnecessary/inconsequential changes in several files (line-end changes, commented-out code that wasn't used) that are unrelated to the new feature.  The only actual important changes are in the new form AddEncryptedKey and the corresponding changes in the top-level form to add the new menu items.

UPDATE 12/3/13: In the below branch, I have now cleaned up the diffs (reverted inconsequential changes) and submitted it as a pull request.


Comments/tips are welcome...
4  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Help plant a "flag of Bitcoin" at the South Pole! on: November 03, 2013, 12:22:45 AM
This guy is raising sponsorship money for his South Pole trip...  If he gets 15 BTC he will plant a Bitcoin flag at the South Pole!  As of this writing, he is at 13.36 BTC, and counting...  Let's help him reach his goal!  It seems like a cool publicity stunt.  He is also going to buy a pizza from the South Pole using BTC as a demonstration.

http://www.coindesk.com/adventurer-make-first-ever-bitcoin-transaction-south-pole/
5  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / FDIC and BOE plan to confiscate bank deposits in US and UK on: March 29, 2013, 01:22:02 PM
...or at least, turn them into worthless "shares" in failing banks next time there's a systemic banking crisis.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/28/the-confiscation-scheme-planned-for-us-and-uk-depositors/

So, this seems like a REALLY GOOD REASON why ordinary people should not keep their savings in sovereign fiat currencies.  (Bitcoin, anyone?)

Spread the word...
6  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / New blog post: "Ultimate Bitcoin Security" on: March 12, 2013, 07:04:00 PM
This is a tutorial blog post about how to create offline wallets and offline transactions in "DIY" style using simple tools, for users who may prefer to avoid using more heavy-duty tools like Armory or Electrum (which may be more difficult for the user to verify).

This post recommends using Diceware to generate passcode entropy, so that the user doesn't have to verify the integrity of their random-number generator.  It includes a simple (and easily-verified) Python script for translating sequences of die rolls into passphrases or private keys.

http://minetopics.blogspot.com/2013/03/ultimate-bitcoin-security.html

Comments are welcome. 
Regards,
  -Mike

P.S.  Most of the blog post was written before the blockchain fork incident, so I do not address it.  Anyway, it does not really affect anything said here.
7  Economy / Service Discussion / Blockchain.info wallet sends disabled? on: March 12, 2013, 03:45:13 PM
Hello, now that the hard fork is stopped, and the 0.7 chain is safely the main branch again, I am trying to send some coins from my blockchain.info wallet, as a test...  But, it gives me an error "Insufficient funds... available amount 0.00 BTC" when I try to send from an account that in fact has sufficient BTC in it. 

Does anyone know, was sending from blockchain.info temporarily suspended due to the fork?  (And if so, shouldn't it be reactivated now?)

Fortunately, I have a paper backup of that account, so I can presumably import it into and spend from another client if blockchain.info continues to misbehave... But I just want to know what's going on.

Thanks...
8  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Easy way to send transactions generated offline? on: March 09, 2013, 09:06:32 PM
Hi, does anyone know an easy way, that works currently, to send transactions that were generated offline?  (Using, e.g., the https://www.strongcoin.com/downloads/offlineTransaction.zip tool.)

StrongCoin as well as other sites that I have consulted recommend using http://bitsend.rowit.co.uk/ to send such transactions, but that site seems to have been defunct for the last several days, at least.

Blockchain.info used to be usable in offline mode, but no longer, it seems (it won't let me go to Import/Export tab any more when offline).

I know I could use Armory, but that seems like a pretty substantial code-base that I would need to verify if I want to be certain that their watch-only wallet format contains no hidden private-key data (I'm guessing that that file itself is encrypted, which precludes direct inspection of the file itself).

I also know that I could use suitable commands to send a raw transaction through the Satoshi client, but I'm trying to avoid having to run a full node and keep up with the blockchain.

Any other suggestions?  Thanks...
9  Economy / Service Discussion / Mt. Gox / Bitcoincharts price disparity on: March 07, 2013, 02:22:22 AM
Mt. Gox homepage says the latest BTC price is $43.1 but Bitcoincharts says the latest mtgoxUSD is $34.2.  There's been a big disparity for a while now.  Anyone know what's going on?

The last quote on Bitcoincharts is kinda of old (30 min) so I guess it stopped updating for some reason?  Did the API feed go down?
10  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / How to issue your own currency in Ripple. on: March 06, 2013, 07:21:58 PM
This was prompted by a question in the newbies' forum but I thought it was interesting to this group so I'm cross-posting a link to the thread here.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=149747.msg1590700#msg1590700
11  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / New blog post: "Ripples in the Ocean of Liquid Assets" on: March 02, 2013, 04:13:46 PM
I've written a post on my Bitcoin blog summing up my present understanding of Ripple.  Comments are welcome.

http://minetopics.blogspot.com/2013/03/ripples-in-ocean-of-liquid-assets.html
12  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / New blog post: "Rebalancing Your Liquid Assets." on: February 23, 2013, 05:41:08 PM
New post on my Bitcoin blog:  "Rebalancing Your Liquid Assets."

http://minetopics.blogspot.com/2013/02/rebalancing-your-liquid-assets.html

Some advice on why (and how) you should periodically rebalance your liquid savings between BTC and your home currency.

[NB: Yes, I know the price has gone back below silver parity now, but when this was posted we were still over it.]
13  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / New blog post: Hiding Bitcoins in Your Brain on: January 27, 2013, 11:36:02 PM
I'm writing this new blog post as an introduction to Bitcoin for new users.  I may add more to it later, but it's at a good stopping point for now.


The emphasis here is on Brain Wallets, because I consider this concept to be a very useful one for enabling users to recover their accounts.  Even if the main browser-based or standalone client that you use develops a problem, and even if you lose your wallet backups, paper wallets, private keys, etc., as long as you keep your coins in a brain wallet, then you can just enter your brain-wallet passphrase into a different site or client, and still access your coins.

I wouldn't want my grandmother, for example, to use Bitcoin, if I didn't know that I could always help her to retrieve her main stash as long as she still remembered (or had written down) her brain-wallet passphrase.  Smiley

Comments are welcome.
Regards, -Mike Frank
14  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Exporting entire wallet from bitcoin-qt to blockchain.info or MultiBit? on: January 16, 2013, 01:13:09 PM
I would like to export my entire bitcoin-qt wallet (private keys for all accounts) to another client such as MultiBit or blockchain.info.  The reason is that I don't run bitcoin-qt very often, and I don't like waiting for the blockchain to update when I do; also, blockchain.info is more convenient for everyday use, since I can access it from anywhere.

I prefer to move the keys, rather than just transfer the funds to a new account, because I don't want to have to keep re-running the standard client every time I want to sweep up any funds that may have been deposited to those old accounts.

I've tried using pywallet to dump my wallet to a JSON file, but it seems neither that blockchain.info nor MultiBit is able to successfully parse the JSON file produced from the wallet file for the current bitcoin-qt client.  However, I was able to import a older wallet dumped from an earlier version of the MIT client (from before the days of encrypted wallet files) into blockchain.info successfully.

I can probably extract individual private keys and import them one at a time, but this is time-consuming and error-prone to do for all accounts in the wallet.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance...
15  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / The Trillion-Dollar Bitcoin (new blog post) on: January 12, 2013, 04:10:46 AM
I took a siesta from Bitcoin in between debt-ceiling crises.  Now I am getting back in.  Here's why:

http://minetopics.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-trillion-dollar-bitcoin.html
16  Economy / Service Discussion / Do you consider OKpay to be trustworthy? Why or why not? on: December 29, 2012, 10:16:17 PM
I'm considering switching to OKpay (from Dwolla) for executing USD monetary transfers between my bank and exchanges like Mt. Gox.  I noticed, however, that to avoid the low 300 EUR limit for daily withdrawals on OKpay, you first have to verify your account, which requires giving OKpay all your personal details including photo IDs, etc.  I'm generally leery about giving this much information to an institution unless it is highly reputable; you don't want to risk that at some point they might cut and run after selling all of their customers' ID info to identity thieves.  If your identity gets stolen, it can be a huge hassle and take you a long time to recover from that event.

So my question is, do you personally think that OKpay can be trusted well enough to give your photo IDs etc. to them.  If so, why?  Do you know for sure that the individuals who run the site could be held accountable by some government if some event such as mass identity theft of their customers were to happen?  Or if not, why not?  Do you have any reasons to be suspicious of them?

Thanks very much for any opinions...
17  Economy / Service Discussion / Mt. Gox deposit not showing up - were deposit addresses hacked? on: August 09, 2012, 01:18:57 PM
So, how long does it normally take for BTC sent to Mt. Gox to appear in one's balance there?

I sent a few about half an hour ago (around the time of this $1B price hack, or whatever it was) and they have yet to appear...

It occurs to me that if someone hacked Mt. Gox, an easy way to steal a lot of Bitcoins would be to set the transfer-in address for new BTC deposits to an address controlled by the hacker...  Then all new deposits would irrevocably go to the hacker instead of to Mt. Gox until the hack was fixed.

I hope that's not what happened to my coins...  Sad

(For reference, the deposit address I was given was:  1PXgaoRksnooMnvC22jPjZVUbYvFBWaLLB
If anyone else has been given that same address...  Then RED ALERT!)
18  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Ideas for a Bitcoin 2.0 on: October 14, 2011, 11:53:43 PM
I have been thinking about ways to improve Bitcoin that might promote its more widespread adoption.  Apart from relatively minor issues of ease-of-use, security, etc. (which will improve naturally as tools improve), I see two major fundamental structural problems with Bitcoin at present:

1.  The limit on the total of Bitcoins that may ever exist is, numerically speaking, much too small compared to the world money supply, which leads to a significant psychological barrier - since it is very difficult for a normal "man on the street" to believe that 1 BTC could someday be worth $100,000 or more (as it would have to be if Bitcoins ever became as widely adopted as the US dollar, say).  I think that a major reason why the BTC peaked at $30 and is only around $4 now is that it is just too hard for most people to believe that each unit of a new, relatively untested currency could possibly be worth much more than a dollar.  (Yes, I know that absolute exchange rates are meaningless, but they are psychologically significant for most people nonetheless.)

2.  Regardless of supply considerations, there is no floor on the value of each Bitcoin - i.e., there is nothing to prevent the BTC value in terms of other currencies from just drifting down and down until it reaches zero.  This would happen if, for example, over time, everyone just got bored with it and give up on it.

I have a suggestion that would solve both of these problems:

Start a brand-new Bitcoin network from scratch (call it "Bitcoin 2.0", 3-letter currency symbol BC2), with the following key differences from the original Bitcoin:

     (A) The asymptotic maximum number of BC2 that will ever exist is set at 10 trillion (instead of 21 million), a number comparable to the base money supply of traditional sovereign currencies.  This gives the currency much more room to grow, without running afoul of anyone's instincts about how much 1 unit of a currency should be worth.

     (B) The initial rate of creation is set at 500 billion BC2 per year, and every 10 years the creation rate is cut in half.  So in 10 years there will be 5 trillion, after another 10 years 7.5 trillion, after another 10 years 8.75 trillion, and so forth.  So in only a few decades, the supply of BC2 will become comparable to the base supply of existing currencies.

     (C) Each user of the reference client, which is copyrighted in every country, is required to first register their real-world identity with a central service, and sign a legally-binding contract promising that, in exchange for a perpetual license to use the reference client or any other software derived from the reference client, they will, in perpetuity, accept 1 BC2 from anyone in place of at least US$1 worth of any existing sovereign currency that is owed them (based on the exchange rates on the date that the BC2 block chain was started).  International patents are also secured, to ensure that other clients following the protocol but not derived from the reference client and not subject to its licensing agreement cannot be distributed.

Now, some neat things to note about this new system:

* Suppose the difficulty is calibrated by the algorithm so that on average, 1 new block will get added to the block chain every minute.  Then the reward for each new block is
500B/365/24/60 = 951,293, or almost a million dollars' worth of BC2!

* Due to this, if you think the growth of the existing Bitcoin network was impressive, the gold rush towards this new system will be so explosive that it will make the growth rate of the existing system look plodding in comparison!!!  In almost no time, everyone will switch over to mining BC2, because the rewards will be so much greater than with BTC.  

* Further, the contractual agreement will give all participants in the new system the confidence that the value of BC2 will never fall below that of existing currencies, so merchants and ordinary people will much more quickly come to feel safe investing both their working cash and their savings in the form of BC2.

Any thoughts?

[Edit: Just wrote a blog post on this idea: http://minetopics.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-fix-bitcoin.html.]
19  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Global Standard Bank gave me a free 1-BTC BitCard! on: September 25, 2011, 04:28:21 PM
FYI... A while back, I requested a free 1-BTC BitCard that was being advertised by Global Standard Bank (http://www.globalstandardbank.com), one of these emerging Bitcoin Banks; apparently, they were giving them away as part of an introductory promotion.  I received my free card in the mail yesterday.  I haven't tried cashing it in yet, but here it is:



Some more information about how it works can be found on my latest Blog post, "Let's Get Physical" (http://minetopics.blogspot.com/2011/09/lets-get-physical.html).

Even more interesting than the BitCard itself, IMHO, is GSB's plan to offer a real Visa-logo credit/debit card ("iCard") which will presumably be backed by a demand deposit account at GSB that is denominated in Bitcoins.  I'm guessing they are planning to automatically convert the transaction amount from dollars (or whatever) to Bitcoins based on the exchange rate at the time the card is swiped, similarly to what happens when you swipe a dollar-denominated Visa card in the Eurozone (or vice-versa).  But I don't really know for sure.

Anyway, I was happy to receive my card and see that GSB's plans are still progressing.

Cheers, -Mike
20  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / Send didn't get picked up by network... on: July 21, 2011, 02:59:57 PM
Hi, earlier this morning I sent some BTC to Mt. Gox, and then exited my client right after (to backup my wallet).  Then I resumed the client.

Almost an hour later, I noticed that my transaction still hadn't shown up in block explorer, and my client still showed no confirmations for it.

It occurred to me that maybe the transaction didn't get picked up by any peers (even though I had 8 connections at the time) before I closed my client, and then when I restarted the client, maybe it didn't resume sending the transaction to peers because it thought it was already sent.

So, I restored an earlier wallet backup (from when I still had the spent coins) and resubmitted the send request.

But now, a short time later, my client is showing 3 confirmations of (what I assume is) my earlier send, but none of my later one yet.  

I did not have enough BTC left in my account to actually do the send twice, so hopefully the 2nd one will get rejected by all nodes, and won't end up in the block chain?

I still don't see either transaction showing up in block explorer (or in my Mt. Gox account yet).  It's now been over an hour since the first one was (supposedly) sent.

Also, my client now seems to show the wrong total; even though it now lists both of my sends, my balance is what it would be if I had only sent one of them.

Any thoughts?  Is my client automatically ignoring the 2nd send (which I didn't actually have the BTC to cover)?  But then why is it still listed?

Thanks...
-Mike

EDIT:  I just realized, blockexplorer is about 8 blocks behind right now, so that explains why my transaction hasn't shown up there...  blockexplorer shows the latest block is 137,343, but the latest one in my client is 137,351!
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