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1  Economy / Service Discussion / BitVPS alternative? on: July 21, 2015, 08:19:24 AM
I don't know what happened to them.  I've used them for years with no problems, but my servers have been down for months with no response to my tickets.  Can anyone recommend another VPS service?
2  Economy / Speculation / Don't think of it as selling on: December 18, 2014, 09:52:17 PM
Think of it as investing in another currency.

Just remember, never invest more than you can afford to lose, and quit while you're ahead.
3  Economy / Economics / Vickrey system in exchanges? on: November 02, 2014, 02:33:39 AM
This question is related to an online game I'm designing.  Items will be bought and sold in a bid-ask system inspired by bitcoin exchanges.  I figured this would be the best place to ask this question, because there are people here with experience in using these sorts of systems.

To summarize, the system I'm talking about is one where users can either place a "bid" order to buy an item, or an "ask" order to sell it.  If the highest bid is priced higher than the lowest ask, the transaction takes place, and the price is that of whichever order was placed first.

This works fine for a high-volume commodity like bitcoin, but in my game design the system will need to deal with low volumes, including unique items that may only be sold once.  In addition, I want players to be able to buy and sell "derivatives" of a portfolio of commodities, so it is extra important that a good, automatic price discovery mechanism is used so that the portfolio can be sold for a fair price at a pre-designated time.

What I'm worried about is the problem of "auction sniping".  I notice in many games and some real online auctions, the dominant strategy is to wait until the last minute, then bid a tiny amount more than the highest bid.  This is bad for the seller in at least two ways:

1.  Because the auction is decided entirely at the last minute, the seller's opportunity to attract bidders is severely limited.  You can run the auction for a whole week, but good luck getting any bids until five minutes before close.  Only people who happen to be online at that time will bid.
2.  Buyers are competing on timing rather than price, meaning that the final price will often be below fair market value.

To that end, I'm considering modifying the exchange rules based on the concept of a Vickrey auction.  The differences would be:

-All bids and asks are hidden.
-If you place a bid, and then an ask is placed that's below your bid, you pay whichever is higher: the price of the ask, or the price of the second-highest bid.
-If you place an ask, and then a bid is placed that's above your ask, you gain whichever is lower: the price of the bid, or the price of the second-highest ask.

The advantages of this system are:

-No possibility of "auction sniping".
-Even though bids/asks are hidden, there is no risk of bidding too high or asking too low.  You never pay more than you needed to, you are never paid less than you could have been.

The disadvantage is that bids and asks would be hidden, which may be offputting to some people.

What do you think?  Would this work?

(A complication I just thought of:  If I bid $15 for 5 units, Bob bids $10 for 1 unit, and Charlie bids $5 for 4 units, do I pay $10 each for all five, or do I pay $10 the first one, and $5 for the next four?  I'll have to think about that.  EDIT: Recording this for my own reference, since I doubt anyone will read this.  I think I've concluded that it is most fair to all parties that the $15 bidder pays $10 for all five units.  The other alternatives I've considered would leave him paying less than $10, which would be confusing and frustrating to Bob.)
4  Economy / Services / Looking for web designer and javascript programmer on: March 14, 2014, 04:06:18 AM
The project is a minimalistic browser based game.  The server is being developed separately.  You will create a user-friendly, visually appealing javascript client that communicates with the server through http requests using an API that I will provide.  I'll give you the rest of the details in private. 

Please tell me about your experience and if possible link some examples of your work.  I am willing to put serious money into this for a qualified individual or team.  If you have any questions, please let me know.
5  Economy / Service Discussion / Was Trendon Shavers ever convicted? on: March 13, 2014, 07:02:48 AM
(If this is in the wrong forum please move.)

I know he was facing SEC charges, but I can't find any information about the trial.  Anyone know what happened? 
6  Economy / Economics / Gold Fix Study Shows Signs of Decade of Bank Manipulation on: March 01, 2014, 08:26:44 PM

The London gold fix, the benchmark used by miners, jewelers and central banks to value the metal, may have been manipulated for a decade by the banks setting it, researchers say.

Unusual trading patterns around 3 p.m. in London, when the so-called afternoon fix is set on a private conference call between five of the biggest gold dealers, are a sign of collusive behavior and should be investigated, New York University’s Stern School of Business Professor Rosa Abrantes-Metz and Albert Metz, a managing director at Moody’s Investors Service, wrote in a draft research paper.

Video: Are Gold Prices Being Manipulated by Banks?

“The structure of the benchmark is certainly conducive to collusion and manipulation, and the empirical data are consistent with price artificiality,” they say in the report, which hasn’t yet been submitted for publication. “It is likely that co-operation between participants may be occurring.”

The paper is the first to raise the possibility that the five banks overseeing the century-old rate -- Barclays Plc, Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Societe Generale SA (GLE) -- may have been actively working together to manipulate the benchmark. It also adds to pressure on the firms to overhaul the way the rate is calculated. Authorities around the world, already investigating the manipulation of benchmarks from interest rates to foreign exchange, are examining the $20 trillion gold market for signs of wrongdoing.
Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

A jewelry store in Nashik, India, on Feb. 03, 2014.
Union Jacks

The paper “is not a Moody’s research report,” Michael Adler, a spokesman for the firm, said in an e-mail. “The co-author of the paper was writing independent of his position at Moody’s and was representing his own research findings and viewpoint.”

Officials at London Gold Market Fixing Ltd., the company owned by the banks that administer the rate, referred requests for comment to Societe Generale, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the group. Officials at Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Societe Generale declined to comment on the report and the future of the benchmark. Joe Konecny, a spokesman for Bank of Nova Scotia, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The Libor Scandal Sets Off a Wave of Probes

Abrantes-Metz advises the European Union and the International Organization of Securities Commissions on financial benchmarks. Her 2008 paper “Libor Manipulation?” helped uncover the rigging of the London interbank offered rate, which has led financial firms including Barclays Plc (BARC) and UBS AG to be fined about $6 billion in total. She is a paid expert witness to lawyers, providing economic analysis for litigation. Metz heads credit policy research at ratings company Moody’s.
Unregulated Process

The rate-setting ritual dates back to 1919. Dealers in the early years met in a wood-paneled room in Rothschild’s office in the City of London and raised little Union Jacks to indicate interest. Now the fix is calculated twice a day on telephone conferences at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. London time. The calls usually last 10 minutes, though they can run more than an hour.

Firms declare how many bars of gold they want to buy or sell at the current spot price, based on orders from clients and themselves. The price is increased or reduced until the buy and sell amounts are within 50 bars, or about 620 kilograms, of each other, at which point the fix is set.

Traders relay shifts in supply and demand to clients during the call and take fresh orders to buy or sell as the price changes, according to the website of London Gold Market Fixing, where the results are published. At 3 p.m. yesterday, the price was $1,332.25 an ounce. The process is unregulated and the five banks can trade gold and its derivatives throughout the call.
All Down

Bloomberg News reported in November concerns among traders and economists that the fixing banks and their clients had an unfair advantage because information gleaned from the calls provided an insight into the future direction of prices and banks can bet on spot and derivatives markets during the call.

Abrantes-Metz and Metz screened intraday trading in the spot gold market from 2001 to 2013 for sudden, unexplained moves that may indicate illegal behavior. From 2004, they observed frequent spikes in spot gold prices during the afternoon call. The moves weren’t replicated during the morning call and hadn’t happened before 2004, they found.

Large price moves during the afternoon call were also overwhelmingly in the same direction: down. On days when the authors identified large price moves during the fix, they were downwards at least two-thirds of the time in six different years between 2004 and 2013. In 2010, large moves during the fix were negative 92 percent of the time, the authors found.

There’s no obvious explanation as to why the patterns began in 2004, why they were more prevalent in the afternoon fixing, and why price moves tended to be downwards, Abrantes-Metz said in a telephone interview this week.
Bafin, FCA

“This is a first attempt to uncover potentially manipulative behavior and the results are concerning,” she said. “It’s down to regulators to establish why there are such striking patterns but banks have the means, motive and opportunity to manipulate the fixing. The results are consistent with the possibility of collusion.”

Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender, said in January that it will withdraw from the panels setting the gold and silver fixings. German financial markets regulator Bafin interviewed the Frankfurt-based bank’s employees as part of a probe into the potential manipulation of gold and silver prices.

“In general, research that finds certain price patterns does not as such constitute evidence of manipulation,” said Thorsten Polleit, chief economist at Frankfurt-based precious-metals broker Degussa Goldhandel GmbH and a former Barclays economist. “However, it might encourage interest in finding out more about the sources of these price patterns.”
‘Appropriate Oversight’

The five banks that oversee the fixing set up a steering committee and will appoint external advisers to consider reforms before EU legislation on financial benchmarks’ regulation and oversight comes into force, Bloomberg reported last month.

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority is also scrutinizing how prices are calculated. The regulator published a report this week outlining its remit for regulating commodities including gold, saying that while it’s responsible for commodities derivatives, it doesn’t regulate physical commodities.

“Abusive behavior can occur in the physical commodity markets which in turn can have an impact on, or be directly linked with, financial market activity and prices,” the FCA said in the report. “The regulatory regime -- both in the U.K. and internationally -- needs to be adapted to ensure robust and appropriate oversight.”

I consider myself a pretty economically literate person, but I have to admit I don't understand the evidence presented here.  What are they observing that makes them think the price is being manipulated?  Can anyone explain this, and perhaps opine as whether or not these claims have any merit?
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Bitcoin and the Hobbesian Myth on: February 28, 2014, 10:06:00 PM
It seems like the message the mainstream is getting from recent events is "This is why we need financial regulation."

And, let's be fair, there is a LOT of crime in our little community.  You can protect yourself pretty well by taking the right precautions, but a ton of wealth is being transferred to the hands of criminals.

Of course the obvious retort is "the mainstream financial system robs you too", but I'm wondering if anyone has any more comforting thoughts than that.
8  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Another ecdsa question (zinv in on: December 18, 2013, 04:22:46 AM
So, at the moment I'm trying to reverse engineer the source code to improve my own understanding of cryptography and bitcoin specifically.

I was following along with this wikipedia page on elliptic curve point multiplication.

However, I'm a little confused by's variable "zinv".  Related to it is the variable "z".  The wikipedia page doesn't seem to have anything like that, and I'd like to know what it is and what it does.

Also, I'd be willing to pay someone who can answer questions like these to tutor me privately, so I don't have to keep coming to these forums with my questions.
9  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / question about ECDSA on: December 16, 2013, 07:23:52 AM
Recently, I decided that I needed to better understand what goes on in the backend of cryptocurrency.  I've slowly been trying to teach myself to comprehend the various backend protocols.

However, I'm a little confused about this.  From my understanding, the "base point" G should be a point, with both an x and a y value.  However, it's given there as a single value, with a compressed and uncompressed form.  The linked pdf doesn't seem to elaborate on this.  What does this number mean, and how do you derive the x and y of the base point from it?

Thanks in advance.
10  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Why litecoin? on: December 03, 2013, 02:57:57 PM
I never paid too much attention to alternate cryptocurrencies, so apologies if this has already been discussed, but lately it seems people have been getting really excited about litecoin.

Of all the various choices, why are people so optimistic about this one?

I guess my main question is: what does it do that bitcoin doesn't?  What utility do you expect litecoin to have that bitcoin doesn't exceed?

If I was going to pick any alternate coin, it would be one that introduces some innovation, such as namecoin.
11  Economy / Services / Need a couple of simple programs (xmpp related) on: December 03, 2013, 02:27:44 AM
I've tried to find existing tools to do this, but I didn't get anywhere.  If you find programs that fit these two requirements, and walk me through their installation, configuration, and use, I'll pay you a bounty of $35 in btc.  Otherwise, I'd like to comission someone to write them.

Program one:  I need to be able to send an xmpp message from the command line, providing sending address, password, receiving address, and message in one go.  Something like:
sendx mypassword "Hello World"

Program two:  This program takes three parameters: xmpp address, password, and command.  It listens on the address it is given, and whenever it receives a message, it calls "command" with the sender's address and message as parameters. Something like
receivex mypassword echo

Language doesn't matter too much, but I recommend ruby due to the fact that its "blather" xmpp library seems most up to date.  The fewer dependencies the program has, the better.  I will test the completed programs on a selection of xmpp servers, using pidgin as the "control group".  If you write these programs, I expect to have access to the source code.  You may share it freely, and/or make it open source.

I'm using this solution simply because I've given up hope at being able to directly use the language of my main project, which is common lisp.  If you can create a working library (cl-xmpp returns an error for me), I'd be willing to pay even more.

If you're interested, let me know what you intend to do and how much you want for it.
12  Other / Politics & Society / Civic crowdfunding- Oakland neighbourhood hires private security force on: October 16, 2013, 06:39:45 AM
I thought that some people here might be interested in this news story:

Something to watch for those of you with an interest in AnCap.
13  Economy / Speculation / What's with the disparity between exchanges? on: October 11, 2013, 09:24:27 PM
At the time of this writing, MtGox is at 137.89108, Btc-e is at 123.708, amd bitstamp is at 127.16.

What gives?  In my experience the prices on the various exchanges are usually pretty close.  What's causing them to be so far apart?  It's too bad I don't have the liquidity to arbitrage right now...
14  Economy / Services / Web developer for hire. Flash, php, mysql, and more on: September 05, 2013, 10:44:18 AM
I've been working as a web developer for about a year now.  I'm still learning somewhat, but I have a few successful projects under my belt.  Pm me if you want references.

I'm familiar with bitcoin and related technology.
15  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Is there any organization that will state in writing your net worth in bitcoin? on: September 02, 2013, 10:31:42 AM
I'm currently engaged in a couple of different endeavours, for both of which I need to demonstrate my financial standing.

I haven't been working for a little while, but I do have some net worth in bitcoin.  I'm wondering where I can get a written statement to that effect.  I do know that I can prove I own an address through signing, but I doubt that will be good enough for the bureaucrats.  Is there any way I can prove it to a third party, and have them provide documentation to that effect?
16  Other / Off-topic / question about exchange standard practice on: August 08, 2013, 04:36:37 AM
If there's a bid for, say $100, and an ask for $60, who gets the $40 margin?

What's the reasoning behind that answer?
17  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / How can we reduce our reliance on MtGOX? on: July 04, 2013, 05:12:06 PM
I've been seeing a lot of talk about how relying on a single exchange makes the bitcoin system vulnerable.

I know there are other exchanges, but I can't see what they offer to distinguish themselves from Gox.  This seems like an industry where economies of scale are in place.  Gox has a natural monopoly of sorts.

There are also things like localbitcoins, and the possibility of spending the bitcoin.  The problem here is these systems still rely on MtGOX for price discovery.

What alternatives could there be that would provide both exchangibility and price discovery?
18  Other / Politics & Society / What does Yemen teach us about gun control? on: July 02, 2013, 11:25:03 PM
Yemen is apparently one of the freest, if not the freest, country where it comes to gun rights.  I found this video discussing the gun culture there.

I know very little about that part of the world and Yemen in particular.  I'm curious if anyone more familiar can tell me what effect the pervasiveness of weapons has on Yemeni society.  Do people there generally feel safer or freer because of the guns, as some advocates would predict?
19  Other / Politics & Society / Primary and secondary education on: May 11, 2013, 06:37:52 AM
We have a thread for higher education, so I figured why not.

I'm just curious what people think is the best way to run an education system.  I know many people here are in favor of leaving it to the market, but I'd appreciate if you could be a little more specific, maybe say what you would choose for your own children.
20  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Technical Support / bitcoin address algorithm on: April 02, 2013, 07:32:19 AM
I'm hoping to write a small script to generate bitcoin addresses according to a deterministic algorithm and a password provided by the user.  This will serve as my "offline storage".

I know that I can generate a private key by using sha256 on anything.  My question is, how do I convert this key into an address?

I'm hoping it's a fairly simple formula.  If you could describe it in pseudocode, javascript, or bash, I would appreciate it.
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