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1  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Announcements (Altcoins) / [ANN] Inventor of the ICO Unveils UpToken: A Bitcoin ATM on every corner on: September 22, 2017, 06:10:35 PM
In 2010, bitcoins were worth 25 cents. I told everyone I knew that Bitcoin was going to be huge.

In 2012, I published a paper on this forum about how to raise funds to build a protocol layer on top of Bitcoin, an idea which later became known as the “Initial Coin Offering.” After 1.5 years, still no one had taken the action to develop the idea. To show that it could be done, I launched Mastercoin (now Omni), in 2013, also on this forum. Today, the Omni platform hosts assets worth half a billion dollars, including MaidSafe and Tether. Only Ethereum assets are worth more.

In 2014, I predicted other things like the hacks on overly complicated Ethereum contracts losing millions of dollars.

These predictions were largely ignored.

Now it’s 2017. For years I have been waiting for “the perfect token sale”, and I finally found it. It may sound bonkers, but I predict crypto ATMs are going to be a really big deal in the coming years, and I helped design a token, UpToken, which captures that opportunity. I’ve partnered with a crypto ATM company that I think is best positioned to make a big move in this space (Coinme), and helped them design a token for ATMs called UpToken (uptoken.org). The proceeds from the token sale will be used to deploy bitcoin ATMs all over the world. We want “a bitcoin ATM on every corner.”

Here’s why I think UpToken represents “The Perfect Token Sale”

  • UpToken helps us all. Cryptocurrencies are changing the world, and a lot of people are getting left behind. Crypto ATMs can change that. Developing countries and the non-technical aren’t being reached. As ATM infrastructure improves, everyone can have access to fair money and financial services.
  • UpToken doesn’t care who wins. Will Bitcoin win? Ethereum? Something else that hasn’t been invented yet? UpToken doesn’t care. In a gold rush, you’d rather be selling shovels than digging, and I think crypto ATMs represent the ultimate example of picks and shovels for the crypto economy.
  • UpToken can help your favorite coin. Coinme ATMs currently buy and sell Bitcoin, and ethereum will be added shortly, but the owners of UpToken get to choose which coins are added to the ATMs after that. With UpToken, you can ensure there will be an ATM selling your favorite coin “on every corner!” (This is the main reason I am personally buying UpToken - I want to see “An Omni ATM on Every Corner”).
  • UpToken already has traction. Most token sales are just an idea. Coinme has existing, operational hardware. Coinme wrote all the software, from the ATM firmware up to the web wallet. UpToken takes an existing functional technology and scales it up!
  • Coinme continually buys UpToken. 1% of Coinme ATM fees in perpetuity are devoted to buying UpToken, which will be given to ATM customers as a rewards program. This “cash back” is locked from sale or transfer until the customer has done $10,000 worth of transactions at Coinme ATMs. In the meantime, UpToken can be used to pay Coinme ATM fees at a 30% discount. See the whitepaper for details.
  • UpToken is scalable. In the ICO world, an idea that is worth only one million dollars might attract a hundred million dollars, which is grossly inefficient and wasteful. The perfect token sale should scale with the funds raised. If UpToken attracted a billion dollars, we’d use it all to build out our ATM network, each of which would use UpToken. In fact, the more funds UpToken attracts, the better, thanks to economies of scale.
  • UpToken has no pre-sale. Most token sales give the best prices on tokens to rich insiders. UpToken gives everyone access to the best prices available. You can see on our signup spreadsheet (check out the millions of dollars pledged already!) that I am signed up alongside the rest of you, and my purchase will be treated the same as yours.

Can you see why I am so excited about this? I am posting about UpToken in various places, even though history suggests only a few visionary people will listen. But, if you are among them, you can learn more and sign up for the token sale at uptoken.org.

You can read more about me and see videos about my “crazy” predictions on my LinkedIn profile.

Laura Shin has a nice article about my story and UpToken on Forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2017/09/21/heres-the-man-who-created-icos-and-this-is-the-new-token-hes-backing/

TL;DR: I predicted Bitcoin would be big in 2010, invented the “ICO” in 2012 and tried to get someone to do the first one, but no one did. So I did. Now I have a new prediction: “UpToken is the perfect token sale.”
2  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / [POLL] What is the best policy for Mastercoin data feed update frequency? on: December 13, 2013, 06:42:23 PM
We're currently discussing whether the Mastercoin spec should be changed to allow more frequent updates to data feeds: https://github.com/mastercoin-MSC/spec/issues/10#issuecomment-30528940

Background: The mastercoin spec allows users to create data feeds which publish prices for real-world assets (for instance, the price of gold) and for other users to place bets on those price tickers.

My original spec limited data feed updates to once per day, in an attempt to avoid bloating the bitcoin block-chain by attracting high-frequency day-traders. However Ron believes that we should not enforce such artificial limitations on our users (see discussion linked above).

I'm starting this poll to see what whether the community thinks we should change this limit, and if so, to what.
3  Other / Meta / WARNING: phishing attempt using [phishing]my-board.org on: November 08, 2013, 09:00:15 PM
Somebody just tried to steal my bitcointalk login credentials using a disguised link which looked like a bitcoin talk forum thread, but actually redirected to: "[phishing]my-board.org/Login.htm"

I of course reported this to the mods. I just wanted to warn everybody that this is happening. If someone did manage to steal my account credentials, they would probably come here and pretend to be me selling Mastercoins. I may have been one of the early targets because of this, but I won't be surprised if other people start getting these links.
4  Bitcoin / Armory / Is Armory vulnerable to USB-Stick viruses like BadBios? on: October 31, 2013, 09:57:58 PM
Hey Alan,

I just read about the "badbios" virus which can supposedly infect offline computers using USB sticks: http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/10/meet-badbios-the-mysterious-mac-and-pc-malware-that-jumps-airgaps/

Would you mind commenting about whether armory-offline users should be concerned about this virus, or ones like it, and whether we should find a different transport method for offline transaction signing? There has been some concern about this on reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1pmb82/malware_that_infects_at_the_hardware_level_can/

I sent you an email about this too. Thanks!
5  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Marketplace (Altcoins) / 300 BTC Coding Contest: Distributed Exchange (MasterCoin Developer Thread) on: September 12, 2013, 12:40:56 AM
This thread has MOVED to MastercoinTalk: http://mastercointalk.org/index.php?topic=297.0

Thread is now locked. Please join us on the Mastercoin Forum!!

Quote

If you've been living under a rock, you may not know that we recently raised nearly 5000 BTC to build a new protocol layer on top of bitcoin. The new layer is NOT an alt-chain currency - it's built right on top of bitcoin, and is called "MasterCoin" (not to be confused with the alt-chain currency of the same name). You can read all about it here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.0

A few days ago, I pre-announced that we would be doing our second major coding contest, with total prizes adding up to 300 BTC (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.msg3358444#msg3358444). The goal of this contest is to implement a distributed bitcoin/mastercoin exchange. NOBODY has ever made a distributed exchange between two digital currencies, and we aim to do it first. We are also still looking for our first full-time hire, hopefully recruited from among the contestants.

This thread is devoted to the current MasterCoin contest (this thread was originally for contest #1). Following are the official rules of the current contest, subject to change if deemed necessary:

Official Rules

  • ALL serious entries will win a prize (although some prizes may be very small)
  • Prize money will be divvied up by myself, with input from the community and the board of the MasterCoin Foundation, based primarily on how useful and valuable your code is to accomplishing the goals of the contest
  • In addition to the overall impact and value of your code, other important things will be taken under consideration:
    • How often you post updates in this thread. Ideally, you should post what you plan to do, and then post extremely frequent updates as you make progress.
    • Ease of use and testability. If you just dump some source code on me at the end of the contest with a bunch of grandiose claims, you may not get much. Ideally, you should be posting demos, screenshots, and/or set up a website demonstrating your code.
    • Collaboration. If you are helping other people working on MasterCoin projects, that will weigh favorably on how much you win. If you release your source code early and other people build on it, that will weigh even more favorably.
      • Note that contest contestants will give me feedback on each other, and that feedback will be heavily considered when making payouts (so be nice to each other!)
      • If somebody forks your code, and builds on it, you will get some consideration at payout time, even if you did nothing in the current contest.
    • Breaking new ground, or being redundant. Doing something new is awesome, but you will NOT be penalized for implementing the same thing as someone else. We need redundancy for cross-checking.
  • Only open-source projects will be considered for a prize. You must release your source code before the end of the contest to be eligible.
  • Getting the biggest prize in this contest does NOT guarantee you a job, but having some kind of entry in this contest will help your chances a lot.
  • Contest ends once all acceptance criteria have been met (see below), with prizes paid out once the dust settles.
  • Prizes will total 300 BTC, regardless of the current price of bitcoins
    • 200 BTC will be split up among contributing developers
    • 100 BTC will be split up among anybody who helped by doing code reviews, testing, and bug reporting (this may be the same people as the developers, or different people)
  • Contestants may elect to take some or all of their prize money in MasterCoins if desired. (We'll purchase them on the open market for you, using the bitcoins we would have paid you)

Acceptance criteria:

  • Minimum one PC wallet (for both Linux and Windows) which can generate simple sends and the buy/sell messages required for the distributed exchange, using agree-upon multisig format
  • Minimum two websites parsing such messages, and the resulting balance transfers
  • Minimum one website showing BTC/MSC price charts derived from these messages
  • Minimum 10 days of real-world usage with no major problems
  • High bar for usability. (Current heavy traders like maxmint, lishbtc, and buymastercoin should be happy with the final product, if at all possible)

This thread is for development-related discussion ONLY. If you want to discuss MasterCoin in ways not related to our development effort, please do so here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.0

Posts immediately below are from the first contest. Discussion regarding work on the current contest starts here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=292628.msg3381794#msg3381794

Thanks, and good luck!

Important update: We'll be paying out half of this bounty early (on 1/22/2014). Details here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=292628.msg4398023#msg4398023

Another important update: the remainder of this bounty will be paid out in monthly chunks until we are done. Details here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=292628.msg4921986#msg4921986
6  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Marketplace (Altcoins) / MasterCoin Buyer/Seller Thread on: September 03, 2013, 05:14:59 PM
I think it's time to close down this thread now that our own forum is getting some good traffic. Please move any discussion of Mastercoin price and trading here: http://mastercointalk.org/index.php?board=3.0

Thanks! This thread is now locked.

I'm getting lots of PMs from people who missed the deadline to buy MasterCoins from the Exodus Address (MasterCoin is not an alt-chain - it is a new protocol layer being built on top of bitcoin - read about it here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.0). If you missed the deadline, or you are an early adopter looking to sell, this is the place for you!

MasterCoin/Bitcoin exchange will happen on a distributed exchange (hopefully soon), but in the meantime, I'd like to provide a meeting place for buyers and sellers, and a bit of guidance about how to go about buying and selling MasterCoins.

Some sellers are trying to get 100x-200x returns overnight, which might be a bit premature, but whatever MasterCoins are worth over the next few days, we will find out on this thread.

To buy OR sell MasterCoins, you need this software in order to make sure the transaction sending MasterCoins is properly formatted: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.msg2919863#msg2919863

New: You can also try this website, which has the same functionality: http://mastercoin-explorer.com (note the disclaimers on this site - it has limitations, and may still have some bugs)

If you are curious what the software is doing, you can read a complete breakdown of a send transaction here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.msg2940318#msg2940318

Also, buyers will need to do some due diligence to make sure the seller actually has the MasterCoins they claim to have. Just seeing a correctly formatted transaction doesn't mean anything if the seller doesn't actually have MasterCoins to sell! If the seller got the MasterCoins via the Exodus Address, this is a bit easier, since you can check to make sure the address actually owns MasterCoins here: http://blockchain.info/address/1EXoDusjGwvnjZUyKkxZ4UHEf77z6A5S4P?offset=0&filter=0

Note that if a MasterCoin purchase has multiple input addresses, ONLY the largest input actually owns the MasterCoins!

If a seller received their MasterCoins on the giveaway thread, or purchased them from an early adopter, the due diligence gets harder. You have to check the validity of the transaction that sent them MasterCoins AND check that the address which sent them actually owned MasterCoins. Once MasterCoins have been sent a few times, this will be a very burdensome, manual process.

Also, you must check to make sure the owner hasn't already sent their coins to someone else. This is also manual.

Update: MasterCoin-Explorer.com now traces the history of MasterCoins which have been bought and then sent through the block-chain! However, this code has not been widely tested, so you should still double-check everything the best you can.

Yes, this will become considerably easier in the future, especially once we have the distributed exchange running. At that point, I expect MasterCoins will be considerably more expensive. If you're willing to do some learning now, you might still get a good deal.

Obviously there is no escrow currently for MasterCoins, so if escrow is used (I'd recommend it), the bitcoins will have to be the ones held in escrow.

User MaxMint set up an self-service order book to keep track of the current bids and asks:
http://mcoin.io/#/

The above system is intended to replace the old google spreadsheet order book:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApGPLGUd5ZCzdHFxbnhHQjBDSDVKamY5UHlWdkNMNWc#gid=0

Happy trading!

Warning: We've had some reports of scammers operating on this thread:
7  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Giveaway thread, but not for an alt-coin on: August 12, 2013, 11:18:07 PM
Hey alt-coin friends, this isn't technically an alt-coin, but it IS a giveaway thread for a new protocol layer being built on top of bitcoin:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=272577.0

(Post there to get your coins, not here)

Enjoy!
8  Bitcoin / Project Development / [PAUSED] Giveaway for "MasterCoins" - the new protocol layer built on bitcoin on: August 12, 2013, 11:11:03 PM
This giveaway is paused!!

No new requests for MSC will be processed until I find someone new to run this giveaway thread:

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Due to the sudden increase in demand and popularity for Mastercoin and this thread, I can no longer keep up with the demand. This will be the final round of the Giveaway thread unless someone else would like to step up into the role as my replacement.

This should be taken as a sign that Mastercoin is on the path to success.

Giveaway Thread for "MasterCoins" - the new protocol layer built on bitcoin (NOT an alt coin)

MasterCoin is a new protocol layer on top of bitcoin which adds features for improved security, distributed exchange between bitcoins and coins on higher protocol layers, distributed betting on real-world stuff, user-created currencies and property tokens, and even user-created currencies which track real-world values like the price of an ounce of gold. You can read all about the project (including how to buy MasterCoins) here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.0

This thread is originally from a giveaway I did during the month of August 2013, but I had some money left over. I was originally going to just divvy the leftovers up among the top promoters from the first giveaway, but I got caught off guard when MasterCoin prices rose more than tenfold Smiley

You can see the current price of MSC on our buyer/seller thread here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=287145.0

I have over 390 MasterCoins and 390 Test MasterCoins designated for this giveaway. To receive your MasterCoins and Test MasterCoins, reply on this thread with the following:
  • Your bitcoin address (you must be able to SEND bitcoins from this address as well as receive them, so web wallets which manage private keys for you won't work for this). The wallet should also be able to send to multiple addresses at once, otherwise you will have to export your private keys to another client in order to spend your MSC.
  • One or more links to something you have done to promote the MasterCoin project. We will accept blog posts, signature changes, relevant comments on forums, reddit posts and relevant comments, relevant comments on news articles, relevant comments on youtube videos, tweets, and probably numerous other things.

Periodically, a MasterCoin community member will come through and pay everybody with qualifying posts. They will determine how much your post is worth according to the rules posted here, and once they have cleared the payments with me, they will send a bit of MSC and test MSC to everybody who qualifies. I will then reimburse them (plus 10% for their effort) from the giveaway funds.

Obviously only one post will be accepted per bitcoin forum account on this thread, so promote first, then post about it.

Here are some typical payouts:
  • Just the minimum possible effort (like sending a tweet): 0.1 MSC
  • Extra effort (like writing a post supporting MSC on heavily trafficed reddit thread or changing your forum signature): 0.2 MSC
  • Multiple posts in multiple places, showing a solid understanding of the protocol: 0.3 MSC
  • Above and beyond the call of duty, like making a whole website, doing a presentation at a meetup (post your slides), or writing a post that is obviously getting a lot of attention: 0.4-0.9 MSC

At minimum, your efforts promoting this project should mention that this is a new protocol layer on top of bitcoin (not an alt-coin), and should link to the project announcement thread: (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.0) For bonus points, you can mention the cool features MasterCoin enables.

Warning: people posting in a spammy way will not get anything! People who received MSC in the first giveaway are not eligible to get more. This thread is about getting MSC in the hands of new users.

When you receive your coins, it will look like two very small bitcoin payments - these two payments (one for MasterCoins and one for Test MasterCoins) are each part of a larger MasterCoin transaction, generated using this open source software I wrote: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.msg2919863#msg2919863 (see the MasterCoin Specification for more on how this works: https://sites.google.com/site/2ndbtcwpaper/MasterCoin%20Specification.pdf). There are three different websites you can use currently to check that the coins were received successfully:


User Luckybit has volunteered to do the first wave of giveaways. Please be nice to him, as sending MasterCoins is still a tedious, painful process. It is possible that you may have to wait a few days before getting paid if he gets tired of doing this and I have to find someone else.

Posts for the current giveaway start here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=272577.msg3403599#msg3403599
9  Bitcoin / Project Development / [POLL] How should the 1800+ BTC at the Exodus Address be used? on: August 05, 2013, 04:41:05 PM
So I need to have negotiations with my wife to secure some of our precious weekend and/or vacation time to work on my crazy MasterCoin project (new protocol layer built on bitcoin). You can read more about the project here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=265488.0

So far, I have raised over 1800 BTC, 1222 of which is my own money. There is a lot of spirited discussion as to how much I should pay myself to work on this project on that thread, so I'm creating this poll to tabulate opinions.

As I said in the thread, no matter what the outcome of this poll, I will do what I think is best for MasterCoin holders, but your opinion definitely matters to me.

Also, note that there is an option on this poll for those of you who think I am a scammer Smiley
10  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / MasterCoin: New Protocol Layer Starting From “The Exodus Address” on: July 31, 2013, 06:53:54 PM
We have our own forum now which is now getting a lot of traffic (http://www.mastercointalk.org) so I'm locking this thread so our discussions are less spread out. Feel free to discuss Mastercoin and the Master Protocol there!

If you want to stay on bitcointalk, we have a new thread for discussing Mastercoin and the Master Protocol here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=558012.0


I am VERY excited to announce that I now have a complete specification for building a protocol layer on top of bitcoin (like how HTTP runs on top of TCP/IP).

The coins of the new layer have
  • Additional security features to make your money much harder to steal
  • Built-in support for a distributed currency exchange
  • Built-in support for distributed betting (no need to trust a website to coordinate bets)
  • Built-in support for "smart property" which can be used to create and transfer property such as titles, deeds, or stock in a company
  • Capability to hold a stable user-defined value, such as an ounce of gold or U.S. Dollar, with no need to trust a person promising to back up that value

This is a significant improvement over anything we've had before, including colored coins. This protocol has been my life's work for over two years now, and you can finally get a piece of it today!

The name of the new protocol layer is “MasterCoin” (a name I invented and published long before the alt-coin of the same name), and it is 100% message-based, meaning that it encodes all its protocol data as hidden messages in the block chain which have special meanings, such as placing a bet, or transferring MasterCoins to another address.

Once you own MasterCoins, you have the building blocks for creating GoldCoin, USDCoin, EuroCoin, and any other real-world asset you can imagine! These child currencies will then be “meta stable” (holding their values as long as they remain sufficiently backed by MasterCoins held in escrow). Their target values are maintained by protocol actions which control the available supply.

Want more details?


About me:

MasterCoins are intended to be an investment opportunity on par with buying bitcoins when they first came out. However, as with bitcoins, there are a lot of risks too. Before you buy MasterCoins, please take a few minutes to read my summary of some of the ways this could go wrong and you could lose your money: https://sites.google.com/site/2ndbtcwpaper/MasterCoinRisks.pdf

Perhaps you have heard of the Genesis Block, from which the first bitcoins were created. MasterCoins have a similar starting point in the bitcoin block chain, called the “Exodus Address” (http://blockchain.info/address/1EXoDusjGwvnjZUyKkxZ4UHEf77z6A5S4P). MasterCoins were created by sending bitcoins to the Exodus Address during the month of August 2013. That fundraiser is now over, and anyone wishing to buy MasterCoins will have to purchase them from an early adopter.

Bitcoins raised in the fundraiser are being used to fund the development of software implementing the MasterCoin protocol. The fundraiser was structured like a kickstarter, but it is also an investment. If we're successful, the purchased MasterCoins could be worth a tremendous amount of money someday. Thanks to everyone who participated, helping us raise over half a million dollars worth of bitcoins. We're tracking every every expenditure of that money in a public ledger: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtCyUJvk_IyNdGpVcnpBN2tOczFmbVRnck5TWjZuRFE&usp=sharing

Again, the fundraiser is over, and bitcoins sent to the Exodus Address do not create MasterCoins anymore. Until we get the bitcoin/MasterCoin distributed exchange set up, you can purchase MasterCoins (using a very manual process) here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=287145.0

Do not attempt to purchase or use MasterCoins with a web wallet such as MtGox or Coinbase (YOU COULD LOSE YOUR MONEY). You must use a wallet where you can control a sending address by sending all your funds to that address first, then creating a "message" by sending funds from that address in a special format. Web wallets such as BlockChain.info will work fine, since they give you complete control over the addresses in your wallet.

Many MasterCoin functions are now available online (Note site disclaimers! There may still be bugs!):

We now have:

We are currently running a 300 BTC coding contest towards implementing MasterCoin's distributed exchange feature. ALL serious entries win a prize. Details here: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=292628.0

Feel free to ask any questions here, although please keep a civil tongue and be aware that I will delete posts on this thread which are off-topic or impolite.

Thanks!


11  Other / Off-topic / [RUMOR] Did Jed McCaleb (Gox Founder) leave Ripple? on: July 26, 2013, 07:46:03 PM
I got an interesting email from Quora recently:

Quote
Question added to the topic "Bitcoin"
     
The question "Ripple: Why did Jed McCaleb leave Ripple/OpenCoin?" was added to the topic "Bitcoin".

View question: http:/​/​www.​quora.​com/​login/​auto_login?.​.​.​

Thanks,
The Quora Team

The link has some kind of auto-login token, so I didn't include the whole thing, but when I clicked on it, I got redirected to this: http://www.quora.com/Why-cant-you-delete-a-Quora-question?__snids__=152503989&__nsrc__=4

Apparently, someone asked the question, then tried to delete it. Maybe Jed didn't really leave, or maybe he did but someone would like to keep it quiet . . .

At this point, it's just a rumor, but I'm curious if anybody can confirm or deny this rumor.
12  Bitcoin / Project Development / Will you be my co-founder? (Professional Salary, Equity Stake) + Investor Poll on: June 05, 2013, 05:26:49 PM
For a long time, I've been advocating for a crowd-funded protocol layer built on top of bitcoin, using messages in the block chain to represent transfers of value. I wrote a paper last year (see my sig) about how such a layer could enable distributed exchange, distributed betting markets, better security features for your "savings" wallet, and self-stabilized user-created currencies built on top of it all for representing gold, dollars, crude oil, etc.

You can see me talk about how I want to invest in such a crowd-funded effort when I was on the Bitcoin Conference 2013 panel about "Bitcoin in the Future": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qdr_Z3hrqQ

I would love to invest in something like this (by purchasing the "coins" of the new protocol layer), but so far, nobody has tried it.

Obviously, I have thought about trying to launch such a thing myself, but there are two things holding me back:
1) I don't have anyone to do it with me. I'd really like to have a co-founder (or two) to work alongside me
2) I don't know how much money the crowd-funding effort would raise, and I don't want to launch such an effort unless I'm pretty sure it will succeed.

This thread takes a shot at solving both problems. For the poll, assume the following:

  • Bitcoins raised for crowd-funding automatically convert to ownership in the new protocol
  • Like Kickstarter, if enough funds aren't raised, everybody gets their bitcoins back
  • The real identities of myself and any co-founders are known - no anonymous people who might disappear.
  • The roadmap of features are laid out in advance, but not set in stone. For instance, if technical hurdles come up, the plan might change, but the goal will always be to maximize the value of the new protocol layer you funded.
  • If the new protocol layer is successful, early investors become fabulously wealthy, and the value of bitcoins rises too.

For finding a co-founder, the biggest requirement is to find someone who understands what I am trying to do, and agrees with the general approach (although not necessarily agreeing on every last detail). I need someone with strong technical skills and decent inter-personal skills. If they currently hold bitcoins, they should be an investor in the crowd-funding, but they would receive a professional salary and significant equity in the organization created by the crowd-funding, in addition to the ownership stake they bought in the new protocol layer.

I myself would invest the vast majority of my bitcoins in the crowd-funding (and would thereby own a lot of the "coins" of the new protocol layer), but unfortunately that is not enough to get the kind of money we would need to pay a couple professional salaries for at least a couple years until the enterprise becomes self-sustaining. (The organization gets a small percentage of the new protocol which slowly vests over time - the organization becomes self-sustaining by selling their stake in the protocol as needed once it vests).

Please vote in my poll, and post in this thread about why YOU should be my co-founder. You can learn more about me and my bitcoin pedigree here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrwillett (Also, please connect with me on LinkedIn!)

Sister post on reddit is here: http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1fqgn0/will_you_be_my_cofounder_professional_salary/
13  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Crazy idea: AICoin on: May 24, 2013, 07:12:45 PM
We've got the biggest supercomputer on the planet, and I think maybe we could use one like it for creating a rapidly evolving artificial intelligence.

What if the proof of work could include a random set of AI problems? A quick hash of the transactions would randomize a problem set generator which creates a bunch of random machine learning, pattern matching, and similar problems. The node which releases the most efficient script for solving all of the problems in that random set wins the coins for that block.

Difficulty would increase by creating ever-harder AI problems rather than ever-harder hash targets.

Solution propagation would be interesting, since you're looking for the most efficient solution rather than a solution better than a certain threshold, and testing a proposed solution would take a lot longer than testing a hash. I think maybe each node would have to broadcast its best solution generated or received, and after 10 minutes, the best solution would be frozen and work would start on the next block. Everyone who helped propagate the winning solution would also get a small reward.

Once a solution was accepted, the network would test a random selection of previously-accepted scripts and give an additional reward to the one which happened to do well on this problem set, rewarding flexibility.

Since every script would be public, there would be fierce competition to build on previous best solutions and rapidly evolve solutions to very difficult AI problems. "Efficiency" could be judged in such a way that allows multiple copies of a candidate script to run and interact with copies of itself. Whoever does the best job of creating a basic unit of intelligence would get the rewards - a race to "build a better neuron".

This is probably unworkable in some way that is not clear to me at the moment, but it sure would be cool if it worked. On the other hand, maybe creating something like this is a bad idea even if it does work Smiley
14  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / My bitcoin business card for the conference on: May 10, 2013, 05:35:39 PM
The bitcoin conference is going to be a stellar place to network with other people involved in exciting projects who might be future colleagues. At the last minute, I decided I couldn't live without a business card to hand out. Here is what I ended up with using Zazzle (starting from this design: http://www.zazzle.com/formal_elegant_computer_programmer_designer_business_card-240148101875111713):



I selected 1-day shipping just to be sure I get it in time. What do you guys think?

Update: Zazzle cancelled my order. They noticed that I hadn't changed the back at all from the default. Oops! I submitted the order a second time, and this time the back of the card has a QR code for my email address with my printed email address below. Awesome - I didn't even know I was getting a 2-sided card!

Here's the new back:

15  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Bitcoin's Dystopian Future on: April 19, 2013, 06:05:11 PM
I have seen the future of Bitcoin, and it is bleak.

The Promise of Bitcoin

If you were to peak into my bedroom at night (please don’t), there’s a good chance you would see my wife sleeping soundly while I stare at the ceiling, running thought experiments about where Bitcoin is going. Like many other people, I have come to the conclusion that distributed currencies like Bitcoin are going to eventually be recognized as the most important technological innovation of the decade, if not the century. It seems clear to me that the rise of distributed currencies presents the biggest (and riskiest) investment opportunity I am likely to see in my lifetime; perhaps in a thousand lifetimes. It is critically important to understand where Bitcoin is going, and I am determined to do so.

My hundreds of hours of thought experiments have been productive. I published a whitepaper about the future of Bitcoin, and because of that paper I’ll have the great privilege of sitting on the “Bitcoin in the Future” panel at the 2013 Bitcoin Conference in San Jose. Through these years of deliberation I have satisfied myself that the answer to the “Trillion Dollar Question” of whether any form of distributed currency can ever achieve a stable price, is “yes”. (There are three ways this will happen, as I have written elsewhere).

I have been predicting for years that the world’s first trillionaire by USD valuation will be an early investor in distributed currency — quite possibly Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever he/she/it/they may be. I own a few bitcoins, and I intend to keep them until I find a more attractive investment (that is, I want to invest in whatever replaces bitcoin or builds on top of it).

To many people, this sounds like an implausibly rosy future, and for early adopters that is true — it feels like winning the lottery every day. However, for most other people, the ascendancy of distributed currency systems will feel like a disaster. If you are involved in Bitcoin now, you should prepare to be almost universally hated someday.

In this article, we will examine a few simple thought experiments to show how the rise of distributed currencies such as bitcoin could create massive social upheaval due to governments’ rapidly degrading capability to fulfill their core functions of taxation and regulation of commerce. We’ll see how the end result could be extremely painful for common citizens due to previously unimaginable wealth disparities, hyperinflation of previously stable government-backed fiat currencies, and a greatly empowered criminal class.

The Bleak Future of Fiat Currencies

Anarchists and hardcore libertarians love Bitcoin, but most people outside those circles are not in favor of completely doing away with their government. If you aren’t part of a fringe political movement, chances are there is something the government does that you like, whether it’s handing out entitlement money, killing enemies, putting people in prison, building dams and roads, funding research, or any number of other things. The government can do these things because the government can collect taxes, which in turn they can do because the flows of money are highly regulated and tracked at every level. Whether you are collecting a paycheck, buying furniture, cashing out investments, or simply dying and leaving an inheritance, the government knows about it and takes a cut.

For our first thought experiment, let’s imagine a world where distributed currencies like bitcoin have become wildly successful due to technological advances which make them easy to use and completely stable. In this world government-issued money is as good as dead. It may take a few years for everyone to realize it, but there will come a point when the ever-increasing outflows of money from fiat money into untaxable, unseizable decentralized currency will reach a tipping point, and we’ll have a financial panic like the world has never seen. Frightened lawmakers and banks will try to stop people from cashing out, but that will just increase the panic. Those who don’t get out before the door closes will be in dire straits indeed. This is the ultimate bank run — the run on the world’s central banks, and who could possibly step in and restore order?

When people think of hyperinflation, they usually envision a Zimbabwean printing press running around the clock in the dark corner of a mud hut, putting ever more zeroes on cheap paper. Has it ever occurred to you that hyperinflation can happen while the printing presses are off? The value of the money in your pocket is not ultimately guaranteed by your government, but by simple supply and demand. The government controls the supply, and we control the demand. If demand falls precipitously, we have hyperinflation without ever needing to print another dollar or euro. If people start fleeing government currencies en masse, hyperinflation is the inevitable result.

The good news is that you don’t need to worry about current government debt in this scenario. If government currencies lose their value rapidly, debts which previously seemed overwhelming suddenly become much more manageable. Perhaps your debt-laden government will someday completely pay off it’s national debt by simply selling a few gold bars and a couple national parks.

The Bleak Future of Retirement

For our next thought experiment, let’s consider what will happen to Grandma. For her whole life, she has carefully saved her money, and now she is living in reasonable comfort. She gets money and health care from the government, and she has her own savings to fall back on. Grandma has done everything right, including taking her savings out of the stock market; most of her savings are now invested in the safest asset known to man: U.S. Treasury Bonds.

Rather suddenly, things start to go wrong. At the same time all her expenses start skyrocketing, the government has a liquidity crisis; they are having trouble collecting taxes and can no longer pay for her health care. Her savings are still “safe” in the sense that she will get U.S. Dollars out of them, but that is little comfort when those dollars which should have lasted years can barely pay her weekly grocery bill.

Grandma’s retirement has been sabotaged by the rise of a new kind of money that she can’t even begin to understand. All she knows is that she did everything right, and now she has nothing.

The Bleak Future Wealth Disparities

All the world’s wealth has essentially been stolen, but by whom? By you, dear reader.

We’ll be very lucky if we aren’t all rounded up and summarily executed. Thankfully, you’ll be able to use some of that money to purchase protection, but I’m not at all convinced that it will be enough. A wrathful government backed by an enraged population is a fearful enemy. Satoshi foresaw this long ago, and I doubt he/she/it/they will ever voluntarily come into the light.

If there are enough of us, and we are very careful and charming, we may be physically safe. However, the massive displacement of wealth will still have some awful consequences. People argue all the time about the societal benefits and drawbacks of wealth disparities, and the rise of distributed currencies will create disparities that previously did not seem possible. It seems clear that there will be a lot of jobs created by the new wealthy, but whether the average person is better off or not, one thing is sure to rise: resentment. What right do we have to take all the wealth of the world and put it in our pockets? Sure, a nifty new idea should pay off for early visionaries, but nobody ever expected a new idea to suck all the wealth out of the world like a financial black hole!

The Bleak Future of Law Enforcement

This is where things get really bleak. Currently distributed currencies facilitate money laundering, black market commerce (the Silk Road), and insider trading (TorBroker). These applications in their current form are just a snowflake on the tip of the iceberg. Not only will they get MUCH bigger, but we will see applications which are much less savory. Historically, the “Dark Net” accessible by Tor and private networks has been nothing more than a hidey-hole for illegal files and a hangout for paranoid schizophrenics, but it is quickly becoming the platform of choice for large-scale illegal commerce.

For this thought experiment, we will imagine that your child has been kidnapped and put up for sale on “TorSlaver”. Their business plan is to kidnap children and sell them to the highest bidder, whether parent or pedophile. The winning bidder is sent the location of the child, probably bound and gagged and dumped somewhere. As long as they don’t get caught doing the kidnapping, the kidnappers can do this again and again with complete impunity. Once someone proves it can be done, copycats will come out of the woodwork, and it won’t matter if the first mover gets caught.

As a parent of three small children, I cannot describe to you how awful this makes me feel. I have always been a very reluctant bitcoin investor, for this very reason. I don’t invest in bitcoin because I think it will bring about a happy utopian world. Quite the opposite. I invest in bitcoin because the rise of distributed currency is inevitable, and owning some bitcoins seems to be the best way to prepare for the chaos ahead. And just maybe, if I position myself correctly, I can make things a little less awful.

The Government Strikes Back

Does anyone really expect the government to sit back quietly and watch while their currency is debased, terrorism is funded, and children are kidnapped? The only question is when and how they will strike back against these forces. While the government does have a lot of options, ultimately those options only slow things down. At some point, we collectively with our governments face a difficult choice between trying to survive this deadly storm or attempting to destroy all decentralized computer networks (including the internet). The former seems unthinkable, the latter, impossible.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this chaos gives rise to a strong, centralized, one-world government which gets its revenues by tightly reigning in freedom of commerce in order to collect taxes. For instance, I will not be surprised to see a requirement someday that every person buying or selling have an implant which tightly binds their identity to the sale. Perhaps the implant will even be located on the back of the right hand or the forehead! This may seem repugnant to you now, but wait until you have lived in the storm for a while before you call it impossible. The natural reaction to the deadly chaos of decentralized currency is for the populace to embrace increasingly centralized controls on commerce. The battle lines are only just starting to be drawn, and your guess is as good as mine for how it will play out.

What Should We Do?

We need people thinking about this. I’ll admit that many of the things I wrote about may not happen at all, or may happen very differently than I imagine. However, there are lots of people touting the fantastic benefits that bitcoin and its children can give us, and I don’t see anybody talking about how bad things could potentially get.

We need solutions. When the government finally starts taking decentralized currency seriously, it will probably be doing so in a state of panic. We need to be advising governments now about how they can survive the storm and protect their populace. We need to think of ways the government can pay for its most critical operations, and what legislation makes sense to mitigate these new risks while preserving as much freedom as we can.

The Lifeboat Foundation is attempting to provide this thinking, advice, and solutions. They are already getting ready for a new advisory board, culled from computer scientists, economists, and bitcoin experts. If you make a fortune from your investments in decentralized currency, I urge you to consider how you can help all the people harmed by these rapid changes. Many bitcoin enthusiasts seem to think they will get to retire on a private island with a harem and a stable of Italian sports cars. This is wrong. Bitcoin investors need to someday become bitcoin philanthropists, and our giving needs to be targeted at helping all the people we have harmed. The Lifeboat Foundation is one option, but I’m sure there will be others.

I first published this article on the blog of the Lifeboat Foundation: http://lifeboat.com/blog/2013/04/bitcoins-dystopian-future
Reddit version is here: http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1cos8x/bitcoins_dystopian_future/

tl;dr: Wildly successful distributed currencies could hurt a lot of people.
16  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / The Trillion Dollar Question on: April 11, 2013, 04:55:36 PM
Somebody on Quora asked:

Quote
How could a new digital currency have more stable prices than Bitcoin?

Both from a technical and a market/economics perspective.

It seems like if there was a smart way to prevent wide swings in price of the currency...it'd be much more useful as a store of value. I am not sure how this could be done though. How could that be achieved?

I feel like the frequency that they are issued could vary or something like that but I don't know how that could be managed


My answer:

Quote
Congratulations. You have just asked the TRILLION-dollar question. If someone does manage to create a distributed currency which also achieves good price stability, the biggest barrier to distributed currency adoption will have fallen, and the world will be changed forever.

I have thought about this topic endlessly, and I wrote a paper about it. I have some very important news for you, so please pay attention:

Bitcoin, or something like it, CAN provide price stability. There are three ways this could happen:

  • Friction: This is the default answer for most bitcoin enthusiasts, and I believe I have heard Gavin himself espouse this view, although I can't find the quote. If enough merchants and businesses support bitcoin, it becomes harder and harder for the price to swing around wildly, because there are so many goods and services available for buying and selling denominated in bitcoins. Friction stability is a long LONG way in the future, if it ever happens at all.
  • Colored coins: If I buy a warehouse full of gold, I could annoint a few Satoshis (the smallest unit of bitcoin) as being worth 1 ounce of gold each, and then sell them. People could then engage in trade, buying and selling things denominated in gold using these "colored bitcoins" I created. I would agree to purchase back these tokens on demand for the current price of gold. I could do the same thing with U.S. Dollars or any other currency or commodity. The disadvantage of course is that people would have to trust the issuer. Incidentally, this is almost exactly the model used by Ripple, but running on top of the bitcoin protocol. I could imagine this working rather well if a reasonably trusted entity such as MtGox started selling them. The development effort for colored coins can be found at Bitcoinx.org
  • Self-Stabilizing Coins: Bitcoin lovers don't like centralization, and while colored coins may someday provide stable value and anonymous transactions, they also require centralized trust in a currency issuer who could betray that trust or be raided by a government entity. Consequently, there will eventually be new currency protocols built on top of bitcoin, much like how HTTP is built on top of TCP/IP. These currencies will provide the capability to create self-stabilizing tokens which leverage derivative markets to maintain a target value. There are probably dozens of different ways to go about doing this. I wrote a paper about one of them. However, nobody has ever actually PROVEN that this could work.

The potential huge market for stable coins built on top of bitcoin is why I own bitcoins and have no intention to sell them in the near future. Colored coins WILL happen. Self-stabilizing coins MIGHT happen. Either way, bitcoin price increases are just getting started.
17  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / [POLL] How will you buy groceries in 10 years? on: April 05, 2013, 03:37:19 PM
I know my answer, which I will divulge later in the thread if asked (I don't want to skew the poll before you vote). What do you think?

If you are not a forum member or you are stuck in the newbie section, you can also vote in the reddit version of the poll:

http://www.freeblogpolls.com/polls/1256870-imagine-it-is-10-years-from-now-and-you-have-to-pick-up-a-few-items-at-the-grocery-store-after-scanning-your-items-you-pull-out-your-smartphone-and-scan-the-qr-code-on-the-payment-screen-and-touch-authorize-payment-how-did-you-pay

http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1bqou8/poll_how_will_you_buy_groceries_in_10_years/



Also, don't forget to leave some kind of comment if you like this poll and want other people to vote. Just voting doesn't bump the thread back to the top.
18  Bitcoin / Meetups / [POLL] Most important topics for "Future of Bitcoin" panel on: April 02, 2013, 08:46:11 PM
I'll be sitting on a "Future of Bitcoin" panel at the 2013 conference in San Jose, and I'd like some community input about what topics you would like to see addressed.

The poll reflects my biases and interests, and is pretty much what I'm currently hoping to communicate. If you don't see an important topic in the poll, please post it as a comment.

Please keep in mind that the conference attendees are very savvy, so I don't want to bore them with stuff they probably already know.
19  Bitcoin / Press / 2013-03-26? BBC/NPR segment about bitcoins, reported by MY MOM on: April 01, 2013, 11:20:34 PM
I don't know what segment she heard, but my mom just emailed me that she heard about bitcoins on her way home from work on NPR. Apparently it was a BBC segment with a bunch of interviews. Anybody know which segment that might be?

For me, bitcoin just crossed another major milestone  Smiley

She's convinced I'm risking jail time by working on next-gen bitcoin protocols, and I'm not totally convinced she is wrong about that.
20  Bitcoin / Project Development / [BET] Gold, Oil, and Dollars will be stored in the bitcoin blockchain by 2015 on: February 15, 2013, 04:34:33 PM
http://betsofbitco.in/item?id=1210

Quote

Gold, Oil, and U.S. Dollars will be stored in the bitcoin blockchain by 2015
This statement will be regarded as true if before January 1st, 2015 it is possible to buy, sell, trade, and spend virtual currencies which track the value of gold, oil, and U.S. Dollars, with the record of these transactions stored in the primary bitcoin block chain.

The end user must be able to purchase and trade these currencies using distributed software (without requiring a centralized exchange).

Additionally, for the last 28 days of 2014 (after the bet deadline), some such examples of gold, oil, and U.S. Dollars must demonstrate the ability to maintain their target values by not deviating by more than 10% from their face value for more than 3 consecutive days. That is, a deviation of more than 10% must be corrected within 3 days. Whether such a deviation occurred will be determined by site administrators using their best understanding and whatever tools are available at that time.

There are currently software developers working towards these (and similar) goals (see notes below). Will they succeed? You decide!

* http://www.Bitcoinx.org is working on a decentralized exchange for "colored coins", but there is doubt as to whether such coins will maintain their nominal face values when pegged to commodities and currencies.

* "The Second Bitcoin Whitepaper" (https://sites.google.com/site/2ndbtcwpaper/2ndBitcoinWhitepaper.pdf) describes an elaborate scheme which is aimed at creating virtual currencies which if successful would meet the requirements of this bet, but there hasn't been any evidence of work on that project since the paper was published.

I started this bet, because I believe it will happen. Already, some people have bet against me, which I just realized is essentially creating a bounty for me to work on my own project! Smiley
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