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1  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Bitcoin is Freedom Software --> Support Freedom Software on: April 01, 2022, 07:50:00 PM
There is a rather common misconception that all open-source software is considered freedom software.

When people speak of "open-source" software, they are referring to a computer program's source code being "open" to the public. This means that anyone is able to review the code that the program is executing on the machine.

While it is important that our software is open-source, it is important to know the difference between "open-source" and "freedom software". The open-source movement aim's to achieve one thing, while the freedom software movement aims to achieve another.

One very important distinction: All freedom software is completely open-source, but not all open-source software is completely free.

When we speak of "freedom software", we mean free as in 'freedom', not free as in 'free food'.

In order for a piece of software to be considered free (as in freedom) it needs to give users the 4 essential freedoms:

  • Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose.
  • Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish. (Access to the source code is a precondition for this.)
  • Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others.
  • Freedom 3: The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. (Access to the source code is a precondition for this.)

If just one of these freedoms is not met, the piece of software in question is not truly free. Instead, it is considered to be restricted, non-free, proprietary software.

Quote
Quote from Richard Stallman:

"In practice, open source stands for criteria a little looser than those of free software. As far as we know, all existing released free software source code would qualify as open source. Nearly all open source software is free software, but there are exceptions.

First, some open-source licenses are too restrictive, so they do not qualify as free licenses. For example, Open Watcom is nonfree because its license does not allow making a modified version and using it privately. Fortunately, few programs use such licenses.

Second, the criteria for open source are concerned solely with the licensing of the source code. However, people often describe an executable as “open source,” because its source code is available that way. That causes confusion in paradoxical situations where the source code is open source (and free) but the executable itself is nonfree."

As many of you have probably gathered, our decentralized protocol is made entirely of free (as in freedom) software. Every line of bitcoin's code is completely and totally free. All users are allotted the four freedoms mentioned above. Everyone is free to run the program as they wish (freedom 0), everyone is free to study how the code works and change it so that it operates as you wish (freedom 1), everyone has the freedom to redistribute copies of the code (freedom 2), and everyone has the freedom to distribute their modified copies of the bitcoin core software (freedom 3).

Proprietary software severely limits users and what they are able to do with any given program. This is why we need to advocate free (as in freedom) software beyond our use/advocation of bitcoin.

Instead of just freeing our money, let's aim to free our digital lives as well.


______________________________________________________________
For more information on the goals of freedom software, visit fsf dot org.


2  Other / Beginners & Help / My First Year on this Forum on: March 23, 2022, 09:42:57 PM
While my journey with bitcoin started back in late 2014, I recently surpassed one year of being part of this forum.

Needless to say, the many contributors to this forum were successful in changing some of my viewpoints with life and with currency.

When I had joined this forum, my wallet was stuffed with loads of ‘promising’ altcoins. Not on the level of my btc holdings, but enough that my present self wouldn’t be too pleased. Reading the various discussions of what currency is and why bitcoin IS what it is, enabled me to see through the VCapitalist garbage that is permeating the web.

This forum also gave me the blessing of perspective; What’s considered a lot to one person, could certainly be considered nothing to another, and vice versa.

I hate to namedrop, but if I had to list some of my favorite personalities on the forum, I would say: mk4, BlackHatCoiner, franky1, pooya87, LoyceV, Welsh, and NeuroticFish. All these accounts have added a considerable amount of value to my experience here.

I look forward to the following years to see what other great discussions unfold.

Thanks for a killer first year!
3  Other / Politics & Society / Do you think Russia will threaten cyber warefare? on: January 29, 2022, 08:15:46 PM
The situation between Russia and Ukraine has been something many of you have been following.

Many people are set on the idea that Russia will never invade Ukraine because of the repercussions from other global powers. The United States has already issues a warning of sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine.

However, some have speculated that Russia could retaliate in the form of cyber attacks in the light of any sanctions. These attacks would likely be focused on key infrastructure throughout the country(ies). This includes water systems, power grids, military comms systems, and whole lot more.

We all saw the cyber attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure a while back. The damage they were able to cause through those "practice" runs were just a taste of what they could potentially do in future attacks.

I'm not saying we bend over and allow them to do as they please, but I do believe we need to take into consideration how they could retaliate if we decide to start slapping them with sanctions.

It has been revealed that United States infrastructure severely lacks counter measures for cyber attacks. While there are companies and organizations looking to get this fixed, I believe it needs to be treated with a stronger sense of urgency.

4  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Blockchain Tech has been Severely Oversold on: January 18, 2022, 02:49:12 PM
As of the past couple of years, blockchain enthusiasts and futurists alike have been flaunting the "plethora" of real-world use cases for our new-found blockchain technology.

Dozens of articles have been written in an attempt to convince the public that blockchain tech is the future for everything:

20 Real-World Uses for Blockchain Technology
The Growing List of Blockchain Uses
17 Blockchain Applications that are Transforming Society

The problems is, all of these "use cases" are done more efficiently when done outside of ANY blockchain. Blockchain technology, while capable, is not meant for anything outside of transferring value from Person A to Person B. Blockchain's only purpose is to provide an accurate, decentralized ledger that enables individuals to transfer value without the assistance of an intermediary.

This is all it was ever intended to do.

Naturally however, in the name of making money, people will try to find a solution to problems that weren't problems in the first place. You will find that many of these use cases are almost never attributed to bitcoin's network. They are almost entirely attributed to different alt networks aiming to be the worlds next "internet". They stretch and contort their blockchain's capabilities to make it seem like they will be the foundation of society as well as the backbone for businesses.

To be clear, I am not saying that blockchain's aren't capable of carrying out these use cases. I am saying that in a world where every dime matters, blockchain technology just isn't efficient enough (in comparison to it's non-blockchain alternatives) to carry out these uses on a global scale.

Regardless, next time you see a headline or a post touting a new "use" for blockchain tech, look at the alternatives and decide for yourself if our current system is more/less efficient than what the blockchain has to offer.






5  Other / Off-topic / Any Privacy-Respecting Coin Portfolio Services? on: January 14, 2022, 02:54:09 AM
So if you've read the important parts of the privacy policies for services such as Coinmarketcap and Coin Gecko, you probably know they are able to use and sell every bit of information you give them for nearly any purpose they see fit.

I have a particular distaste for companies that are willing to share data for the right price. Not caring who they sell it to.

Are there any privacy-focused portfolio trackers? I only hold bitcoin, but using a calculator is getting a bit old.

These don't have to be web services. An open-source program would be fantastic as well.
6  Bitcoin / Mining / Kazakhstan Bitcoin Miners Have No Intention of Leaving on: January 07, 2022, 07:33:29 PM
Quote
The turmoil in Kazakhstan, however, seems transitory to most miners. According to Chinese blockchain journalist Colin Wu, miners are not too concerned. Some even have internet access.

Some Kazakhstan miners told us that the internet was temporarily restored on January 7th. In addition, the 4G network of Chinese phones is also intermittently effective. Most expect things to return to normal on Monday.
Moreover, the protests are mostly centered around urban areas, especially near the capital of Almaty. Miners, on the other hand, are mostly in remote areas. There are no reports that any crypto miners were victims of theft of vandalism during the turmoil.

It is unlikely that our mining machines will be evacuated to North America, they said.

The internet outage had a severe effect on Bitcoin’s network hash rate. Some reports suggest that a fifth of Bitcoin’s hash rate dropped due to the outage. This is not surprising, since Kazakhstan is the second-largest crypto mining country in the world, behind the United States.

The drop in the hash rate was likely one of the reasons for Tuesday’s Bitcoin crash. Currently, the largest crypto by market cap is trading below $42,000. Moreover, other major cryptos dropped as well, many posting double-digit losses.

Source: Crypto Miners Not Leaving Kazakhstan Despite Chaos
7  Other / Off-topic / Is Firefox No Longer the Best Privacy Browser? on: January 07, 2022, 04:17:09 PM
For years, Tor and a hardened version of Firefox have been my go-to for any web browsing. Tor is used for any site that requires javascript, hardened Firefox instance is used for everything else.

I recently came across this website that compares the privacy tests for each of the most popular browsers. What stood out to me was how many tests the Brave browser had passed. Out of the box, it seems Brave is much more privacy-focused than what Mozilla produces. I wonder how this would change if Brave was compared to a hardened instance of Firefox described here.

Has Firefox lost its status as the privacy-focused browser? What browsers do you guys use on a daily basis?
8  Other / Off-topic / I'm Surprised We Don't Have an Onion Link on: December 30, 2021, 08:06:31 AM
How come an onion link for bitcointalk hasn't been created? Aren't there people in censorship heavy nations that would need the protection an .onion link offers?

I am certain there are many tor users on this site. Honestly, I'm just thankful this site runs without javascript. (Aside from the captcha.)
9  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / UPDATE: Am I Doing My Students a Disservice? on: December 24, 2021, 11:11:19 PM
Earlier this December I made this post.

Special Thanks to BlackHatCoiner & LoyceV for providing some amazing resources.

After reading all of the stellar suggestions, this is what my class did on the last day before the holiday break:

Before the lesson could even take place, I needed to get about 10 loaner laptops from the schools library. I had to get these a couple of days beforehand so that could configure electrum on all of the laptops. I had to make made sure that all of the electrum instances were configured to run on the testnet. I then proceeded to add tBTC to all of the wallets configured. This took a lot longer than I anticipated due to me overcompensating how much tBTC I put in each wallet. Afterall, these wallets would need to have 6 lessons worth of tBTC. (Ended up only being 5 lessons because 6th Period wanted to act like apes.)

The morning of the lesson, I loaded all of the testnet wallets and opened channels for each. I had to do this very early in the morning as I wanted to allow enough time for the channels to open. I wanted to use the channels electrum suggested as I was hoping I could get the students to exchange some tBTC toward the end of the lesson. I tried to ensure all channels had a 50/50 capacity but was unable to with a couple for some reason.

When students entered the room 10 laptops were evenly placed across my classroom. As they were walking in, I would assign them a laptop to go to. I average about 26 students per class, so I was able to get 2-3 per laptop.

After watching the "What is Bitcoin?" video from bitcoin dot org as well as a quick tutorial on how to use electrum (dear god), we began the lesson.


The instructions were simple:

1- Visit this website: https://starblocks.acinq.co/

2- Once in the store, go ahead and order you and your partner coffee! Once you have added that to your cart, go and find another group in the classroom and take their order as well!

3- Once you have a complete order. Click checkout!

4- When you get your Lightning Invoice, copy your invoice address and paste it into your electrum wallet. After double-checking you have the right amount, go ahead and send your bitcoin!

5- Now you and your partner are going to do the same thing except this time, you're going to get yourself enough coffee for the week! After successfully purchasing that order, now get yourself enough coffee for an entire MONTH! Make sure you get enough!

6- Once you have completed all of your purchases,  go on the class Microsoft Teams Chat and exchange invoices with any group in the classroom. This is your opportunity to send some bitcoin to any one of your classmates. Make sure you don't send your entire balance! (Plenty of them did.)

7- Once you have finished, add up all of your bitcoin transactions you made this class period to determine the amount of bitcoin you started with.


Prior to the lesson, I was unsure of how much time this would take. I was very concerned that this lesson would only take about 20 minutes to complete. As it turned out, the lesson took the entire class for most classes to complete. Some of my advanced classes were able to complete the lesson rather quickly. Some of my students who had taken an interest in bitcoin well before the lesson had a very easy time with it.

Most importantly, though, the students had a blast. There were a few fires I had to put out late in the day as wallets started to become more and more lopsided balance wise. I had a couple students place some outrageously large orders that drained one of the wallets. I also had a problem with a couple of the channels, but those were quite easy to mitigate.
 
Aside from that, I cant wait to do this lesson again!
10  Economy / Economics / U.S. Contemplating Isolating Russia from SWIFT Banking System on: December 23, 2021, 09:58:58 PM
If you keep up with world news, you know there are some serious tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Russia has shown several acts of aggression towards the people of Ukraine. Most notably the cyberattacks on Ukraine's power grid. Many think this was just a "practice run" aimed at perfecting these kinds of attacks for when they want to do some real damage.

In response to Russia's more recent actions, the United States proposed cutting Russia off from the SWIFT banking system should they mount any type of invasion on Ukraine. This would be detrimental to Russian businesses and consumers alike.

Assuming Russia has no intentions of invading Ukraine, there isn't really much to talk about. But what happens if they do?

Would it be political suicide? Would they develop their own banking/payment system? Would they look to an open-source monetary network?

I can't see Russia putting itself in a position to collapse its own economy. However, I also can't see Russia not harassing Ukraine.

Would our decentralized ledger be able to aid Russia in the event they are unable to use SWIFT?
11  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / No..China Does NOT Have 0% of the Hashrate on: December 20, 2021, 10:38:30 PM
If you recall back months ago, news outlets were touting headlines regarding China having a 0% share of the global hashrate.

https://en.cryptonomist.ch/2021/10/18/bitcoin-mining-china-hashrate/
https://maxbit.cc/bitcoin-mining-china-now-has-0-hashrate/
https://coindesk.cc/bitcoin-mining-china-now-has-0-hashrate-50346.html

Even the University of Cambridge's Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index shows that China is not mining anything.

https://ccaf.io/cbeci/mining_map

When I had first heard this news I was quite skeptical. I just couldn't believe that there was nobody mining bitcoin within China's borders.

Data from a Chinese cybersecurity company Qihoo 360 estimates an average of 109,000 bitcoin mining IP addresses active daily in China. This is a whole lot more than zero. The miners that remain, though, are smaller-scale projects that did not find it feasible to just pick up and leave. They did not have the luxury of packing up on a helicopter and shipping their operation to Kazakhstan as did many of the larger-scale miners did.

The same cybersecurity company also stated that as much as 20% of the world’s bitcoin miners are estimated to still operate within China. The provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, and Shandong are where the majority of these miners reside. Or at least that's where the connections are being made from. I struggle to imagine the amount of hoops such operators would have to jump through to ensure a safe operation.

The report states that many of the miners are able to take advantage of their small size and spread out their operation across multiple sites to ensure none of them stand out from the others. They are also using electricity sources not connected to the country's grid such as dams. Furthermore, miners have to work with foreign mining pools willing to sign them up despite the ban.

This goes to show you there is absolutely nothing anyone/anything can do to keep people from participating in our decentralized network.

Sources:

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/E3MzWQ-XT55wIC7S8FYD7w
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/18/chinas-underground-bitcoin-miners-.html






12  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / What is this Message On Bitcoin's Website? on: December 18, 2021, 05:37:34 PM
This morning was the first time I noticed this message on the homepage of bitcoin dot org.

Quote
On 28 June 2021 the High Court of England and Wales made an order in Claim No. IL-2021-000008 between Dr Craig Wright and the person or persons responsible for the publication of this website whereby such person or persons were restrained from infringing Dr Wright’s copyright in the Bitcoin White Paper. The claim was not defended, and judgment was entered in default. A copy of the order is available at the following link: https://bitcoin.org/IL-2021-000008-Wright-v-Cobra.pdf.

I am not one that understands legal jargon, so could someone explain what exactly this is saying? Why is this important?
13  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Understanding the Ponzi Narrative on: December 14, 2021, 07:41:09 PM
One of the largest roadblocks I have in defending bitcoin (and cryptocurrency in general) is when people compare it to a Ponzi scheme.

There is plenty of bitcoin FUD that is easy to defend, but when people pull the Ponzi-card, that is when I begin to get agitated. This is because I don't have a sound argument to combat this claim.

For those who are not readily familiar; A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud that lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors. The scheme leads victims to believe that profits are coming from legitimate business activity, and they remain unaware that other investors are the source of funds.

People compare bitcoin to a Ponzi scheme because the price increases when more money flows into the underlying asset.  If I buy for X and sell for X+100 that 100 profit of mine came from another person who bought into the scheme after me. In the eyes of many, this is dangerously close to how Ponzi schemes generate value.

What is the best argument against the Ponzi scheme narrative?

In what ways are Ponzi schemes different from bitcoin?

How do they generate value differently?






14  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / No..Craig Wright Was NOT Named Bitcoin's Creator on: December 07, 2021, 03:57:42 PM
Here we go again with these news outlets. As many of you have maybe read, Craig Wright won the lawsuit in Miami over a dispute over $50,000,000,000 in bitcoin. This issue is the media is writing misleading headlines suggesting Craig Wright won a lawsuit over whether he was bitcoin's creator or not. They continue to lace their articles with misleading notions suggesting the lawsuit was over whether CW is Satoshi or not.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/06/miami-jury-rules-in-favor-of-craig-wright-bitcoin-claimed-inventor.html

https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cryptocurrency/21/12/24467590/bitcoin-creator-satoshi-nakamoto-is-craig-wright-alone-according-to-kleiman-v-wright-jury

Please please please read the entire article before making assumptions. We already have people in the IRC and Reddit spreading FUD regarding these headlines.

We all know what he has to do to prove he is who he says he is.
15  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Am I Doing My Students a Disservice? on: December 05, 2021, 05:01:41 PM
To give a little information without completely doxing myself, I am a 6th-grade middle school mathematics teacher. This is my second year in the classroom, and since my very first day, I have had bitcoin strewn all around my room. Hand-drawn logos, ATH date trackers, common boards with paper bitcoins on them. My students are very aware of my admiration for bitcoin.

On the surface, this seems great but I have ran into an issue.

There are a couple of times per year that we are able to have true free days. On these free days, instead of doing more math, we create our own ERC-20 token as a class. They get to see how the smart contracts are written and how they are deployed on the blockchain. I have 6 classes so we end up with 6 new tokens. The students have an absolute blast with this.

My concern is that I am preaching the blessings of bitcoin, yet I'm showing them the "wonders" of inferior protocols. How can I create a classroom project that interacts with the bitcoin ecosystem? Creating an ERC-20 token is simple enough and it's inclusive because all the students need to do is input their opinions as I create the token on the projector. I attempted doing a Lightning Network project where we would pass around small amounts of sats in the classroom using Wallet of Satoshi. I then ran into the issue of not every student having a phone, so this did not work.

So I beg the question; How can I create a class project centered around bitcoins ecosystem that can be inclusive to all students regardless of the technology they may or may not possess?



16  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / NO..India is NOT Banning Bitcoin on: November 24, 2021, 08:24:56 PM
The FUD continues.

India is not banning bitcoin as an asset class as many have eluded to. Many news outlets find that this angle is far better for attracting clicks.

India is looking to ban bitcoin as a method of payment. Meaning they are just trying to protect the interests of their future CBDC. People in India will NOT be banned from buying or selling bitcoin. The government has NO interest in banning bitcoin as an asset.

Source: https://blockworks.co/india-crypto-ban-about-payments-not-the-asset-class/

17  Other / Off-topic / We need an IRC channel on: November 24, 2021, 08:15:50 PM
I love discussing things on this forum.

However, I was wondering if we have/had an IRC channel for quick IM communication. I can see several uses for having such a channel.

Would members on this forum be open to creating a dedicated IRC channel?
18  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Crypto Wash Trading - Concerns? on: November 18, 2021, 02:26:52 AM
This article written in August this year from Cornell University theorize that over 70% of the volume in the top 29 cryptocurrency exchanges is fraudulent wash trading.

The paper discusses issues relating to the large volume of wash trading done on top crypto exchanges for various reasons:

Quote

Abstract

We introduce systematic tests exploiting robust statistical and behavioral patterns in trading to detect
fake transactions on 29 cryptocurrency exchanges. Regulated exchanges feature patterns consistently
observed in financial markets and nature; abnormal first-significant-digit distributions, size rounding,
and transaction tail distributions on unregulated exchanges reveal rampant manipulations unlikely
driven by strategy or exchange heterogeneity. We quantify the wash trading on each unregulated
exchange, which averaged over 70% of the reported volume. We further document how these
fabricated volumes (trillions of dollars annually) improve exchange ranking, temporarily distort prices,
and relate to exchange characteristics (e.g., age and userbase), market conditions, and regulation.


Is this something that you guys have been aware of as an issue for some time? Is this even really an issue at all?

In my view, this kind of wash trading is being done to increase/maintain an exchange's 'rank', not to manipulate price. Exchanges will do next to anything to keep their brand relevant and keep customers using their platform.

Could pumping the volume like this really affect any coin's price? Could this kind of trading be dangerous to the market in any way?

Paper Link: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2108.10984
19  Other / Beginners & Help / Bitcoin Whitepaper - Animated on: November 16, 2021, 04:18:41 AM
I came across this wonderful resource for those new to the space. If you have not taken the time to read the whitepaper or have but you are finding it difficult to understand, this animated edition of the whitepaper will help you visualize the concepts rather than just read about them.

https://textframe.app/examples/bitcoin

Remember, every time you reread the whitepaper, you understand it a little more with each read.

20  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Divisibility Past 1 Satoshi on: November 15, 2021, 03:11:41 AM
As of this moment, 0.01 USD is about 15 satoshis.

So I beg this question, once we are beyond the 1 Sat = 1 Cent how will bitcoin be further denominated?

Will current wallet software automatically be able to adjust for this or will this need to be programmed in? Or is there nothing that needs to be done?

Could we end up with even smaller denominations of bitcoin?

I would imagine that this does not involve the protocol in any way so nothing would need to be changed software-wise, correct?

edit: I am beginning to realize there is no need for further denominations. Considering price has literally nothing to do with bitcoin denominations.
We will only ever need 1 sat.
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