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1  Economy / Service Discussion / Global Village: Bitcoin- and privacy-centered social networking on: September 12, 2013, 01:02:25 AM
Iceland-based nobs.is has launched a beta of their supposedly privacy-centered, bitcoin-supporting social networking Website. Sounds great, until you dig in deeper.

Quote
The Global Village is a Social Network similar to Facebook or Google+, but with the userís privacy in mind. The user holds all of his or her content, pictures and posts. Once the user feels like deleting them, they are deleted for good. No restoring and no backups.

The Global Village will also feature a military-grade encryption of text, pictures, audio and video messages. In the future you will be able to re-share these encrypted messages to Twitter and Facebook. Only members who have the encryption key will be able to read your shared messages and the system will be built without a master key.

The users will be able to share their posts or pictures while the system provides the right mix of encryption methods like AES256, RSA, ECDH521 to secure them. A truly secure experience which comes not only on this website but also as APPs on iOS and Android.

You will of course be able to post publicly to make new friends.
Actually you can already use these features. In short, we donít want to have an open system where Governments and big companies can check on your posts.

Now let's look at their SSL certificate:
Quote
CN = RapidSSL CA
O = "GeoTrust, Inc."
C = US

So, they went right to a US-based company, guranteed to comply with any and all requests of the Mass Surveilance Agency.  What is the point of all the "military grade encryption" when users of the site can be MITMed at any time, and the SSL-encrypted payload (likely containing lots more than user-encrypted content) read en route?

Furthermore, they use a static donation addresses:
Quote
Like NoBs? Buy us a drink!
Bitcoin: 1K3Fstx2SZ52i348jCjCRrULsYKiboJ2Tj
Litecoin: La4p3KxNRAxZ2KLiQRMoHYmH9kZDHpor3x
Feathercoin: 6zVekmuMmdMYg84gbgWX5TbfkLVzwjKsQT
This makes it trivial for anyone interested to collect at least some information about the donors. Surely OK for some kinds of entities, but certainly disappointing for a privacy-oriented entity.

We are off to a bad start here. I hope they'll dispell the concerns somehow, though it's hard to take their claims seriously with all the bombastic, catchy stories they serve but don't live by them.


2  Other / Off-topic / another look at 'security through obscurity' on: September 07, 2013, 03:55:21 AM
Most of you are by now hopefully familiar with the latest revelations of the U.S. government agencies planting backdoors in software, hardware, and 'standard' algorithms; stealing and using corporate encryption keys; intercepting, decrypting, and storing SSL traffic.
Read here, for example:
 http://www.propublica.org/article/the-nsas-secret-campaign-to-crack-undermine-internet-encryption#odni-response

Time after time we were told to avoid attempts to develop own crypto methods and instead use published standards. There are compelling justifications behind this advice.
Standardized crypto, on the other hand, obviously enables standardized, automated surveilance by a sufficiently powerful agency that has either built subtle weaknesses into the standards, or has discovered them later on. The surface of their attack is small and well defined, and resorces at hand are enormous.
In a security-through-obscurity world, this universal threat would be eliminated, as no agency has sufficient resources to figure out each and every implementation - no matter how clumsy the implementations are. This would require lots of manual labor, and would in effect force them to use resources for targets that are actually of the national security interest, instead of spying on everyone and everything, inevitably leading to the abuse of collected information for the non-national-security purposes.
 What the free world needs now is the popularization and proliferation of a variety of cryptographic, steganographic, and security techniques, DIY projects, and generally a crypto culture. We should avoid mainstream, standardized solutions, and always opt for the new and obscure, preferably with a DIY mods. If you feel you need to establish a secure channel of communication - why, just build one as an appropriate mix of code, steganography, encryption, one-time pads, fragmentation, etc. If you don't feel you need secure channels - why, still use any of  the methods just for the spamming pleasure.

3  Economy / Service Discussion / Why is Bitstamp different from Gox in regard to USD transfers and regulators? on: August 31, 2013, 07:19:10 PM
Presumably Gox is having serious problems with the US regulators and banks, leading to thus far $5M seized. As a consequence, there are no USD wire transfers coming out of Gox.

Why is it, then, that Bitstamp is at the same time running smoothly its USD-denominated bitcoin exchange, and is able to wire me USD, working with those same US banks?

Either Bitstamp is on thin ice, but has not fallen through yet, or the official Gox story is not true.
4  Bitcoin / Legal / Fate of trademarks when business is failing on: August 25, 2013, 02:43:32 AM
What are possible scenarios regarding ownership of the "bitcoin" trademark (currently held by Mt. Gox) if owner goes bankrupt, or dissolves, or fails in other similar ways?
5  Economy / Service Discussion / bitcoincharts not updating certai exchanges on: August 07, 2013, 07:35:15 PM
Several exchanges are not being updated as of yesterday. Just a heads-up if you depend on bitcoincharts or their API. I am sending them an email.
6  Other / Meta / sticky Mike Hearn's thread about the blockchain size on: July 16, 2013, 06:08:37 PM
New and old users often express concerns related to the growth of block chain. Mike Hearn clarified some of the work that is being done to address the problem, and retep added some relevant comments.

Can we have the thread sticked?

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=252937
7  Other / Politics & Society / Metanoia documentaries on: July 10, 2013, 03:50:05 PM
For the past few years I've been enjoying the steady supply of well-researched, informative, free documentaries from Scott Noble: http://metanoia-films.org/

The topics revolve around State violence, propaganda, surveilance, crowd control, public relations, and freedom.  I think his approach and interests resonate well with the current Bitcoin crowd. Strangely, he is not accepting bitcoin donations yet, and has not responded to an inquiry about a year ago.

Have you seen any of these?

Which one is your favorite? Mine is the "human resources."

Any criticisms of the information, directing, etc.?
8  Economy / Economics / Bitcoin vs. debt-based, inflationary systems on: June 04, 2013, 04:55:30 PM
This is just an insight based on experience so far. Comment and criticize.

With inflationary currencies created from debt, I get stuff now, but then I have to pay more for it later due to interest and inflation.

With Bitcoin, I pay for bitcoins now, then I get stuff later by either paying less due to appreciation of value of the limited-supply currency (if the adoption keeps growing), or pay more due to depriciation in case people start dropping out for some reason, and value of coins dropping as a result. Both scenarios happened in the past at some scale.

So, in case of dollars, euros, etc. - you are definitely either screwed and exploited, or you are the privileged minority screwing and exploiting the majority.

In case of Bitcoin, it's a level field and open book for everyone, but we don't really know how much our savings and contracts will be worth in terms of goods and services they can provide.

Does this make any sense?
9  Bitcoin / Meetups / Edmonton meetup, 2013-06-06, 7pm on: May 29, 2013, 12:31:44 AM
Stumbled upon this by chance, I don't see it advertised here. Since it's public info, I hope organizers will not mind me sharing here:

http://www.meetup.com/BEMU-Bitcoin-Edmonton-Meet-Up/events/119192872/

10  Other / Off-topic / Next-generation mining technology... on: April 12, 2013, 10:12:36 PM
Forget ASICs, I'm stocking up on agar plates...
http://www.ibc7.org/article/journal_v.php?sid=265

Quote
Introduction: Hash functions are computer algorithms that protect information and secure transactions. In response to the NISTís "International Call for Hash FunctionĒ, we developed a biological hash function using the computing capabilities of bacteria. We designed a DNA-based XOR logic gate that allows bacterial colonies arranged in a series on an agar plate to perform hash function calculations. 

Results and Discussion: In order to provide each colony with adequate time to process inputs and perform XOR logic, we designed and successfully demonstrated a system for time-delayed bacterial growth. Our system is based on the diffusion of Ŗ-lactamase, resulting in destruction of ampicillin. Our DNA-based XOR logic gate design is based on the opposition of two promoters. Our results showed that Plux and POmpC functioned as expected individually, but Plux did not behave as expected in the XOR construct. Our data showed that, contrary to literature reports, the Plux promoter is bidirectional. In the absence of the 3OC6 inducer, the LuxR activator can bind to the Plux promoter and induce backwards transcription. 

Conclusion and Prospects: Our system of time delayed bacterial growth allows for the successive processing of a bacterial hash function, and is expected to have utility in other synthetic biology applications. While testing our DNA-based XOR logic gate, we uncovered a novel function of Plux. In the absence of autoinducer 3OC6, LuxR binds to Plux and activates backwards transcription. This result advances basic research and has important implications for the widespread use of the Plux promoter.
11  Economy / Speculation / [POLL] when will bitcoin valuation reach $1B... again? on: April 12, 2013, 02:11:40 PM
Time to ask again!
12  Economy / Speculation / those who are buying know something I don't on: April 08, 2013, 10:25:21 AM
It takes lots of confidence to buy in this market. Speculation: those who are buying in the past few weeks know something most of us here do not know yet. Possibly a big deal / series of deals being prepared behind the curtains. Bitcoincard, coinlabs, etc. - what are they up to?
13  Bitcoin / Wallet software / how secure is my non-rooted android phone? on: April 04, 2013, 06:35:46 PM
How likely are my coins to get stolen from the bitcoin spinner running on a non-rooted android phone? I am perfectly content with the security of my paper wallets, but am getting tired of printing, cutting, laminating with Al foil inserts, and redeeming private keys whenever I need to spend a portion of my savings. Bitcoin spinner is convenient, but how secure is it? Can you provide examples of any past exploits (wallet stealers) on Android devices?
14  Other / Off-topic / My mother-in-law is buying bitcoins... on: March 19, 2013, 09:38:01 PM
...expect a correction soon. Cheesy
15  Other / Off-topic / would you return found money to the proven original owner who lost it? on: March 09, 2013, 08:22:38 AM
The poll is (almost) totally anonymous - no need to pretend. What would you do? Would your answer change in case of 0.9 or 9000 coins? If you returned the funds, would you expect a tip? Or would you take the tip upfront? Would you publicize your decision, whatever it may be?
16  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / [POLL]Are SatoshiDice transactions hurting or helping Bitcoin? on: March 09, 2013, 07:49:27 AM
Just curious. Not that the results will make anyone reconsider their strong opinion...
17  Economy / Economics / Let's see if increase in price of btc leads to less spending and more hoarding on: March 04, 2013, 05:11:37 AM
Donation-accepting sites represent a nice opportunity to analyze spending and hoarding habits in relation to increasing value of bitcoins. I looked into some of the entities accepting Bitcoin donations. To date, Wikileaks has received over 1`500 transactions, the Internet Archive 500, and Bitcoin100 about 270.

Let's look at the champion: the Wikileaks. Still a small dataset, but it's the best I've found. They have been accepting donations to their public address ever since the June 2011 bubble, and there have been considerable ups and downs of btc price since then.

I took list of all incoming transactions from blockchain.info and historical daily prices of bitcoin in USD from MtGox via bitcoincharts.com. The value of each donation is then simply converted to the USD equivalent based on historical prices (based on the price on the corresponding date, not on today's prices).

Here is the outcome:


And another view:


No matter how hard I try, I see no correlation whatsoever. People just use ("spend") coins to transfer value, and don't seem to quit donating just because the price jumped 5x in few months. They don't seem to start donating more during the downward trends either. All in all, price skyrocketing doesn't seem to be a problem as it is often portrayed.

Thoughts?
 

18  Economy / Speculation / price vs. cummulative trade volume? on: February 28, 2013, 06:54:53 AM
It is often commented, quite reasonably, how present price increase is very different from the 2011 bubble because present rally is supported by much higher trade volume (among other things). So, I thought I'd have a look, and plotted historical BTC price versus cummulative trade volume on MtGox. The idea is that price fluctuations involving higher trade volumes are "stretched out" (compared to representation in linear time), indicating more powerful trends. Steep regions then represent relatively large price fluctuations over small trade volumes - and are presumably less significant.

I want to know if this makes any sense to anyone else. Thanks. MtGox data curtesy of almighty bitcoincharts.com

In linear price scale, comparison of time- and volume-based charts:




The same comparison as above, but in log scale (much more appropriate, as price spans more than an order of magnitude):



===
My speculative take:  clearly, the current rally (until today) is much less of a rally then the June 2011 madness - it's more like a slow, unstoppable steamroller in the flower garden.

19  Economy / Economics / inflation-corrected value of a bitcoin on: February 27, 2013, 08:37:28 AM
Since monetary inflation of bitcoins is still significant (compared to the USD, for example), I thought it'd be useful to look at the inflation-corrected exchange rates. Ideally, I should have included the USD inflation, but I am too tired, and it wouldn't change things much anyway.

I sourced the data from bitcoincharts.com, and corrected each daily VWAP for the number of coins generated up to that date, relative to the number of coins generated up to a fixed, arbitrarily chosen, reference date. Number of coins (monetary base) is projected, not actual, but the two are close enough.

There are two reference dates used in these graphs: April 1 2011 (before the first bubble, and when Gox trade volume just started becoming significant), and January 1 2012 (after the first bubble, during the slow recovery).




The same data in log scale, in case you appreciate it as much as I do:


Bitcoin economy (be it based in speculation, savings, trading, gambling, playing - whatever) has obviously been growing stubbornly. If it were not for monetary inflation since January 2012, one bitcoin would be trading today at about USD 42.

It would be interesting to expand this simple analysis by taking into account old coins that never moved after being generated - lots of these back in 2010 - actual monetary inflation has been even higher if we assume these 2010 frozen coins were actually lost due to low perceived value.
  
20  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / comparison of google trends on: February 25, 2013, 04:45:00 PM
I know, yet another "google trends" thread... but please bear with me. I want to look at search volume for "bitcoin" in the context of various money-transfer options.



As you can see, interest in Bitcoin has always been higher than in Dwolla.  Recently we have beaten ukash as well, and are breathing behind moneygram's neck... Even IBAN doesn't seem to far ahead.

Granted, people search for "bitcoin" for various reasons, some unrelated to money-transfer schemes, but this comparison is still a good way to understand the level of bitcoin awareness and interest. When somebody asks you "what percent of people has actually heard of Bitcoin?" you can say it's comparable to the percent of people who heard of Moneygram...
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