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1  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / How would you dispose of a steel plate seed backup? on: March 29, 2024, 11:34:45 PM
This thread sparked a question in my head. Imagine that you are in a situation where you need to dispose of you wallet seed backup, but it is etched on a steel plate - how would you do it? The easiest answer is likely acid, but not everyone has access to it, and depending on the steel plate, it might be even highly resistant to corrosion. Another option is to damage it mechanically - in many of these steel plate products you are supposed to etch the words, so it should be possible to erase them or render unrecognizable. But it's likely hard to do thoroughly and traces of the words could remain.

Any more ideas?
2  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Is the irreversibility of Bitcoin transactions a downside for an average person? on: October 31, 2023, 11:41:36 PM
So I saw this topic about succesfully returned accidental transaction and it provoked some thoughts.

Those that send money generally want to have an option to reverse the transaction if there's a mistake or if they didn't receive what they wanted. Those that receive money want transactions be irreversible to not get scammed by chargebacks.

In our world a lot more people are senders rather than receivers. An average person receives money once or typically a few times per month and then does dozens or hundreds of payments. And since they receive money from an employer, it's unlikely they will get scammed.

So why should the people who almost always send money praise Bitcoin's irreversibility if they personally don't directly benefit from it? Should they hope that merchants will lower the prices because they won't have to deal with chargebacks?


P. S. - this is not a topic about whether Bitcoin's irreversibility is objectively good or bad; it's about the perspective of average person today and what they need from their payment system in their life.
3  Economy / Economics / Steam drops support for 2 fiat currencies over their volatlity on: October 29, 2023, 11:39:01 PM
PC Gamer: Valve is dropping local currency support for Turkey and Argentina amid 'exchange rate volatility,' moving to 'regionalized USD pricing' for 25 countries

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"Exchange rate volatility in Argentina and Turkey in recent years has made it hard for game developers to choose appropriate prices for their games and keep them current," Valve explained. "We have heard this loud and clear in our developer meet ups and round table chats. In addition, we have had a hard time keeping Steam payment methods up and running in these countries/territories due to the constant foreign exchange fluctuations, fees, taxes, and logistical issues.

"Pricing games in USD for Steam customers in Argentina and Turkey will help us provide greater stability and consistency for players and partners, while also enabling us to continue to offer a variety of payment methods to Steam users in those countries/territories."

"Volatility" in this case appears to be a polite way of saying that the currencies in question have all but collapsed.

The switch to US currency in Argentina and Turkey will see them included in a new "regionalized USD pricing" bloc that includes 25 countries across two regions, Latin America and Middle East/North Africa. The other countries included in the new pricing regions did not previously have local currency support.

In the past Steam dropped the option of paying with BTC via BitPay because of customer complaints over high fees, delayed transactions and problems with the processor, and Steam never had intention of accepting Bitcoin directly. Now we see that fiat currencies are not immune from getting dumped by global corportations either.

Perhaps when Bitcoin will become stable and LN will be ready for mainstream use, Bitcoin will take its place among the strongest global currencies. But for now the similar argument of price volatility can be used to reject Bitcoin from being adopted by a lot of merchants.

4  Economy / Economics / Sabine Hossenfelder - Web3: World-changing tech or just a scam? on: September 09, 2023, 11:15:47 PM
Web3: World-changing tech or just a scam?

Sabine Hossenfelder is a physicist who runs a popular science channel where she not only talks about her field of physics, but also about science and technology in general. She tries to make unbiased summaries with opinions from different sources. I think this video is a good look at crypto from the point of view of an intelligent outsider.

Her own personal opinion is that web3 is "a case of a software enthusiast who lost perspective. An average user wants an app just to work...". But my personal opinion is that crypto devs didn't lose perspective, it's just their users are not he people who will actually use the token, but the investors. Everything is done to just lure investors and dump the premine, that how the devs make profit, they don't need any users at all.
5  Economy / Economics / Let's get rid of all regulations, what can possibly go wrong on: June 23, 2023, 11:48:50 PM
If you have been reading the news lately, you would know the story about OceanGate submarine that failed and killed all people onboard. The cause of this tragic incident is that the creator of the submarine chose to ignore regulations. He believed that they are only in place to stifle innovation and that he knows better than the others and can't be wrong.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush said in 2021 he knew he'd 'broken some rules' by making the Titanic submersible out of carbon fiber and not pure metal: 'You're remembered for the rules you break'l

This should be a cautionary tale to people who dream about society without government and its regulations. Imagine if someone makes an "experimental and innovative" nuclear reactor that explodes and gives radiation sickness + cancer to hundreds of thousands. Or someone makes an "experimental and innovative" dam that collapses and floods houses. Invisible hand of the market won't be able to undo the damage or prevent it in the future from repeating again.
6  Economy / Economics / Twitter ad sales down 59%, company valuation down 66% on: June 05, 2023, 01:50:58 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/05/technology/twitter-ad-sales-musk.html

Quote from: NYtimes
But Twitter’s U.S. advertising revenue for the five weeks from April 1 to the first week of May was $88 million, down 59 percent from a year earlier, according to an internal presentation obtained by The New York Times. The company has regularly fallen short of its U.S. weekly sales projections, sometimes by as much as 30 percent, the document said.

Twitter’s ad sales staff is concerned that advertisers may be spooked by a rise in hate speech and pornography on the social network, as well as more ads featuring online gambling and marijuana products, the people said. The company has forecast that its U.S. ad revenue this month will be down at least 56 percent each week compared with a year ago, according to one internal document.

Twitter’s valuation has since plunged. In March, Mr. Musk said the company was worth $20 billion, down more than 50 percent from the $44 billion he paid for it. Last week, the mutual funds giant Fidelity, which owns shares in Twitter, valued the company at $15 billion.

At this rate Twitter will either file for bankruptcy or will be sold for 5-10 billion to new owners. Or maybe Musk will double down and will start using his Tesla/SpaceX money to support Twitter, although if that happens, the shareholders of those companies will be very unhappy. Another way how Twitter can survive a bit longer is if it will secure funding from foreign governments. One of the buyers of Twitter together with Musk was a Saudi prince. Maybe Musk will start offering censorship/propaganda/data harvesting service to governments for a large fee to offset his ad revenue losses. Because blue checkmark sales are clearly not enough.
7  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / My experience with memorizing seed phrases on: May 13, 2023, 11:52:16 PM
First things first, I have pretty average memory, I don't forget important things too often, but I also can't instantly memorize things to the tiniest details like some gifted people can.

Around 5 years ago I decided to memorize my wallet seeds to have one extra backup method. My main backups are pieces of paper + a flash drive with wallet files.

I memorized all 4 wallet seeds (12 words each) that I have very quickly by rehearsing them from memory and checking with the written down seeds every day. For a long time, maybe 1-2 years I kept discipline and repeated the seeds every day, but eventually I started slipping and forgetting to do it, especially if I was busy with something. This affected my memory, and sometimes I forgot or wasn't sure about parts of a seed (2-4 words) so I had to look at it again and repeat it more often.

Interesting thing about memory, it's easier for me to repeat them in the sequence that I was always repeating (seed 1 -> seed 2 -> seed 3 -> seed 4) than to repeat only one seed that isn't the first. Also I can't repeat the words starting from non-first word or in an order that isn't original. So to me it's more like keeping in memory one big 48-word seed than having 4 seeds of 12 words each.

So in summary, I think memorizing a seed is easier than most people think, and there's no need to come up with songs or rhymes or other stuff, they can probably even make things worse. But in general memory is not reliable, even in long term, so this shouldn't be viewed as a reliable backup. It's just a nice extra layer of backup that doesn't require any complicated setup, and its strongest upside is that it's always with you (until your memory fails).
8  Other / Beginners & Help / You don't need to learn everything about Bitcoin on: April 02, 2023, 11:37:59 PM
One of the most common advises in this section, generally posted by other newbies, is that you need to "learn bitcoin" to "succeed". I think it's counterproductive.

You need to learn only two things - how to use Bitcoin and how to not lose it. The rest depends on what you want to do. You don't need to learn how to trade if you don't plan trading. You don't need to learn how Bitcoin works on a very low level if you don't plan to become a Bitcoin developer. Sure, it's good to know, but it's not necessary to "succeed". You don't need to learn all about mining if you don't plan to mine. You don't need to learn advanced cryptography if you are not a developer.

There's two ways to make money with Bitcoin - buying and waiting for the price to rise, or doing some Bitcoin-related work. And the first doesn't require any deep knowledge, just have an exit strategy and don't panic sell. Reading this forum for many hours per day alone won't make you rich.

9  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Why people don't adopt Bitcoin - they don't understand Expected Value on: February 10, 2023, 11:35:45 PM
First, check this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBX-KulgJ1o, it's a social experiment where the guy offers random people on the street to take a bet where they have a decent advantage, and almost all people refuse it. Why? Because they don't know math and can't calculate that the expected value of such bet is big and positive. Instead they are being guided by psychology - human mind feels negative emotions more strongly than the positive, and negative memories are stronger than the positive. Fear of losing is stronger than the desire to profit.

This is one of the reasons why Bitcoin adoption is so low. Everyone is aware of volatility, of big rallies and big crashes. Avoiding big risks is the default course of action for most people, even if big risks have positive expected value.
10  Economy / Economics / [Article] How ChatGPT Will Destabilize White-Collar Work on: January 21, 2023, 03:09:23 PM
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/01/chatgpt-ai-economy-automation-jobs/672767/

Quote
In the next five years, it is likely that AI will begin to reduce employment for college-educated workers. As the technology continues to advance, it will be able to perform tasks that were previously thought to require a high level of education and skill. This could lead to a displacement of workers in certain industries, as companies look to cut costs by automating processes. While it is difficult to predict the exact extent of this trend, it is clear that AI will have a significant impact on the job market for college-educated workers. It will be important for individuals to stay up to date on the latest developments in AI and to consider how their skills and expertise can be leveraged in a world where machines are increasingly able to perform many tasks.

I'm personally skeptical on the ability of machine learning/neural networks to fully replace humans. I think it's more likely that it will boost productivity by performing the more simple and routine tasks, but there will still be the need for human touch. People will lose jobs because now a professional will be able to do the work of 2 professionals, but AI won't do the work of all professionals.
11  Economy / Economics / [Article] Good job, internet: You bullied NFTs out of mainstream games on: January 03, 2023, 10:32:22 PM
Good job, internet: You bullied NFTs out of mainstream games

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Beneath the common complaints that they're environmentally costly and more or less stupid, I think NFTs inspire so much repulsion on social media because they seem to corrupt something that people actually do want. Sameness is everywhere in this era of mass production, and what started on assembly lines was near-perfected by computers, which can duplicate data near-instantly. From that perspective, the scarcity and uniqueness of NFTs might be seen as subversive: They're pushing against the current of history. It feels like something could be cool about that, somehow. But not thishow. While individual NFTs are unique, the obvious goal of corporations is to do what they always do and mass produce that uniqueness. The majority of NFTs are just another kind of mass-made plastic tchotchke, or commemorative gold coin like the ones sold on TV at 2 am. They contain nothing that's good about handmade, one-of-a-kind items; all they do is irradiate the concept with high-grade art collector snobbery and Beanie Baby-style financial speculation. What is a "Web3 fan" but a fan of buying and owning things? Isn't this about art?

I think the internet's NFT bullying has had an effect on mainstream game publishers: If we'd all just shrugged, they'd have tried way more NFT gun skins by now. Even if it hasn't, though, maybe making fun of stuff online is something we do for each other, to remind us all of what's real and validate the overwhelming feeling that it's all very stupid. And I think that's beautiful.

The comments on reddit are also interesting:

Quote
It has more to do with NFT and crypto currency markets tanking than with internet shaming.

Quote
The internet ridiculed microtransactions (see: Horse Armor) and that didn't do jack shit to stop them because they still made money.

NFTs could have been the most openly mocked "feature" to ever be brought to the industry and we'd be neck deep in them if they were at all profitable.

I think success of NFT is tied to success of crypto, without adoption of Ethereum or other platforms that host NFTs, they couldn't become widely popular. And crypto is not getting actually used in real world, almost all crypto activity is just speculation and a game of a bigger fool. So, it was inevitable that NFT adoption in mainstream gaming has failed. But it's good that the gamers took a stance and pushed back against them.
12  Economy / Economics / The fight over electric car batteries on: December 24, 2022, 08:46:47 PM
Since electric vehicles are the future, there's a lot of attention for their development, and a battery is currently the most important part of the vehicle, because we still have problems with storing large amounts of electrical energy.

The US is making a lot of moves for helping domestic manufacturers, which worries its allies

The big idea is that a U.S. consumer can claim back $7,500 of the value of an electric car from their tax bill. But to qualify for that credit, the car needs to be assembled in North America and contain a battery with a certain percentage of the metals mined or recycled in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. Those rules become more strict over time, giving American producers time to prepar

President Joe Biden announced $2.8 billion in grants for 20 companies to produce batteries for electric vehicles in the United States.

The grants are being allocated through the Department of Energy with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to companies in 12 states. The funding will go toward the creation of battery-grade materials including lithium, graphite and nickel.

Zimbabwe also decided to take advantage and try to boost its economy with some protectionism

Zimbabwe earlier this week stopped the export of raw lithium from its mines and said that it wants cash in on the value addition and also stop losing billions to foreign companies via mineral proceeds, news agencies reported.

On December 20, Zimbabwe’s ministry of Mines and Mining Development in a directive published under the nation’s Base Minerals Export Control Act said that the move was made to “ensure that the vision of the president to see the country becoming an upper-middle income economy has been realized.”
13  Economy / Economics / Meta has burned $15 billion trying to build the metaverse on: October 15, 2022, 12:03:17 PM
Meta has burned $15 billion trying to build the metaverse — and nobody's saying exactly where the money went

Quote
Meta has spent more than $15 billion on its Reality Labs metaverse venture since the beginning of last year, but so far, the company hasn't shared on what, precisely, money is being spent.

Some experts are getting worried the company is spending good money after bad.

"The problem is that they spend the money, but the transparency with investors has been a disaster," Dan Ives, a tech analyst at Wedbush Securities, said.

"This continues to be a risky bet by Zuckerberg and the team because, for now, they're betting money on the future while they continue to have massive headwinds on their core business," he added.


I always thought that Metaverse is a stupid idea, it can only succeed when VR is massively popular, which it is not right now. Zuck is trying to put a cart before the horse.


14  Economy / Economics / (over)population - doomsters vs boomsters on: July 27, 2022, 10:52:39 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI1AaZ9OkH8

An interesting video on the topic of potential overpopulation of Earth. The doomers say that the growth is unsustainable and will result in a catastrophe, the boomers like Elon Musk are saying that we actually need more people and that society will crumble if population will keep declining, like it does in many countries.

The conclusion of this video is that most scientist think that the global population will grow at little bit more and then will shrink a little bit and stabilize around the sustainable level.

What do you think?
15  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Binance is accused of providing users data to Russia on: April 24, 2022, 09:49:40 AM
Reuters has published an investigation where they claim that Binance worked tightly with Russian government, including helping them track donations to opposition politicians

Binance made a statement where they denied all allegations


When you are using a centralized exchange, you are trading your privacy for convenience. Assume that everything that you share with them - your ID, your address, your photo, all your transactions and trading data, will be shared with third parties. It can be your own government, foreign government, private companies and so on. And you never know what consequences it can have, maybe someone will decide to "cancel" or prosecute you over a transaction you did 10 years ago?
16  Economy / Economics / US Sanctions Russian Crypto Mining Host Bitriver on: April 21, 2022, 04:21:02 AM
Source

Quote
"Treasury is also taking action against companies in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry. By operating vast server farms that sell virtual currency mining capacity internationally, these companies help Russia monetize its natural resources. Russia has a comparative advantage in crypto mining due to energy resources and a cold climate. However, mining companies rely on imported computer equipment and fiat payments, which makes them vulnerable to sanctions," a Treasury statement said.

Basically, Bitriver won't be able to sell their cloud mining to anyone from the US and their allies, and it won't be able to buy mining equipment from those countries. There's even a possibility that third parties, like Chinese companies, won't do business with them if they will want to preserve their connections with the US - there have been examples of such actions by Chinese companies in other fields, even though Chinese government is not sanctioning and is actually supporting Russia.

Sanctions are much more than just "not allowing money to be sent to some country", and crypto is not going be useful for bypassing them.
17  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Ireland to Ban Political Donations in Cryptocurrencies on: April 21, 2022, 12:44:21 AM
Source

Quote
Ireland plans to prohibit cryptocurrency donations to political parties amid fears of Russian election interference in an upcoming set of amendments to its Electoral Reform Bill 2022.

“The appalling invasion of the Ukraine and insidious disinformation war highlight the ongoing fundamental threats faced by all democracies,” said Irish Local Government Minister Darragh O’Brien, who is spearheading electoral reform.

New political integrity rules proposed for the Electoral Reform Bill 2022 will revise political donation rules to minimize the risk of foreign meddling and will also introduce safeguards against malicious disinformation campaigns targeting Irish elections.

In particular, Ireland is concerned that crypto donations can conceal the identity of a donor and increase the likelihood of dark money entering campaigns via foreign governments.


When the war started, I was making a prediction that Bitcoin can get a lot of negative exposure if it will become associated with Russia, seems like my prediction is coming true. On the other hand, it's inevitable that the government will want to restrict the unchecked flow of money via Bitcoin, perhaps Russia just catalyzed it.
18  Economy / Economics / PayPal started working in Ukraine on: March 17, 2022, 08:19:14 PM
Many people probably don't know, but Ukraine was one of the few countries where PayPal never fully worked, as it was impossible to receive funds for Ukrainian accounts. This was a big obstacle for small businesses that wanted to sell something online and ship it to foreign countries. PayPal couldn't fully work, because Ukrainian regulators wanted to tax and regulate it more heavily than PayPal would accept.

Today, PayPal started fully working in Ukraine
, providing people who are in Ukraine with additional channel for receiving aid from foreign countries or using it as payment instrument for doing business or making purchases from abroad.

This could mean that the adoption of crypto for payments with Ukraine will be lower than expected, because now there's another alternative to Visa/Mastercard, SWIFT, Western Union and other traditional fiat channels.
19  Economy / Economics / NFT and art theft on: December 20, 2021, 07:28:56 AM
Today I found an interesting post on /r/Cryptocurrency about an artist who had to shut down his online gallery, because people keep stealing his works and turning them into NFTs - here's the original post.

NFT technology is legitimately useless, all it does is creating a unique token on blockchain that has zero meaningful connection with the thing it's supposed to represent. When you NFT is an url that points to a centralized site, it's really no different than buying a star or moon land from some scam company.

The artist said that NFT hosting sites refused to cooperate and remove the stolen art, but even if they were doing their job, it would still mean that the whole system is centralized and pointless. Deluded NFT fans like to say that NFT gives people the ability to "truly" own something, but in reality NFT owners own absolutely nothing and are at mercy of NFT hosting sites.

NFTs were said to help support the artists, but here we see how they did the opposite and forced an artist to close their gallery and reducing their chances of selling their art or getting commissions. The artists who are profiting from NFTs the most are the big names like Grimes who are already rich.
20  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Ukrainian oligarch is mining Bitcoin on: December 10, 2021, 01:39:07 AM
These news aren't on any English-written media yet, so I'll drop the google translate link to the original: https://www-pravda-com-ua.translate.goog/news/2021/12/10/7316898/?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=uk

The journalists found a lot of details about this operation, mainly the shipments of ASICs (5558 units of Bitfury B8 and 14468 units of Antiminer S9) and the purchase of electricity on an auction, which is suggested to be corrupt, as the price is below the typical market value for industrial use. The farm, which is located in Kolomoyskiy's steel factory, is estimated to be making 80 BTC per month. And since Ukraine still doesn't have working crypto regulation, the oligarch could be easily not paying any taxes on his profits, on top of getting unfairly cheap electricity.

Interestingly, this is not his first time setting up this kind of operation, as he already done the same thing in the US last year.


I personally don't think that this has any implications for Bitcoin, in Ukraine or globally, it's just curious to see how these boomer oligarchs are surprisingly savvy enough to recognize an opportunity for profit and quickly set up a large scale mining farm. It's probably no coincidence that it happened this year, after China banned Bitcoin, so Kolomoyskyi probably got a good deal on those ASICs. Maybe this isn't the adoption that we want or need, but it's still adoption.
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