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301  Economy / Service Announcements / Re: [Payout Updates] Bitcoinica site is taken offline for security investigation on: June 03, 2012, 07:36:29 PM
Just take this into consideration....then compare it to what the story changes to by the time this gets taken care of.

Remember, only 20% of total BTC was stolen as noted below...NO OTHER CURRENCY AT RISK, so there shouldn't be any reason for everything NOT to get paid back 100%.

Out of that remaining 80%, I would hope there are enough profits to cover the stolen 20%.....or so one would think.

Quote
We have over 80% of our Bitcoins in offline wallets at the moment before the attack. We had to keep a large balance because the withdrawals are huge!
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=81045.msg894305#msg894305

If zhoutong was being completely upfront (perhaps why he was shunned by the 'powers that be') then the Bitcoinica Consultancy shouldn't be out of pocket any more than say, 10% total at worst ?

I do, A. And moreover, what was in USD should never have been online at all.
The more likely explanation was that they had a major position in the market when they were hacked, and were leveraging all their customer funds. Or that the hack was an inside job and the plan was to use a mere $90k theft to cover $1M+ in vanished money.
The difference here is that the money that vanished was not all in Bitcoin, so the story doesn't hold up.
302  Economy / Service Announcements / Re: [Payout Updates] Bitcoinica site is taken offline for security investigation on: June 03, 2012, 06:56:00 PM
For these reasons, I personally will never use Rackspace Cloud again unless they address all of these issues. AWS is way more secure than them.

Some guys have the fate of repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again. Roll Eyes


Yeah. Seriously? The lesson from this should be DEDICATED HARDWARE IN A LOCKED CAGE, WITH NO ROOT PASSWORDS SENT BY EMAIL, AND NO EMAIL HOSTED BY A THIRD PARTY. It doesn't matter if it's 2x as expensive, or even 10x as expensive. It's called being "insurance poor". When you try to cut as many corners as possible to save a dollar, you end up losing $90,000.

Don't be cheap with other people's safety. No one in their right mind would use a fucking VPS for anything, let alone leave the keys to the castle on one.

And where the hell is my response email?
303  Economy / Gambling / Re: StrikeSapphire - NEW Bonus - New $15 Blackjack - New 15 BTC in Weekend prizes! on: June 03, 2012, 03:58:33 PM
Are you guys interested in a proper traduction in spanish of the website?
I must say that the traduction you got now is pretty bad with lots of errors.

This is definitely on our to-do list. Right now we use google translate for most of the 16 languages on the site. But translating it is a big job. We just finished with a good Russian version, but it took 3x longer than we thought it would. Hopefully we'll get to Spanish in the next couple months.
304  Economy / Service Announcements / Re: [Payout Updates] Bitcoinica site is taken offline for security investigation on: June 03, 2012, 12:45:51 PM
I've sent numerous emails to verify@bitcoinica.com and still never received one single reply.

No answer to my question on the status of my claim, which is completely in USD. No reply whatsoever. Is anyone actually reading the mail there? Because it seems like no one else has received a response either.
305  Economy / Service Announcements / Re: [Payout Updates] Bitcoinica site is taken offline for security investigation on: May 31, 2012, 11:20:22 AM
I filed a claims form and sent a follow-up email almost immediately when the claims form was available. I haven't received a single email from Bitcoinica other than the one with a link to verify my claim.

I was relatively new to Bitcoinica and was trying to get verified when this happened. I sent verification documents and followed up with several emails in the weeks before the the hacking incident. Back then I also never got a response from Bitcoinica, which is why I didn't put more money in there.

Hopefully ~$1k is considered a substantial enough amount not to fall into the "long tail." Who I am, my business, etc. are all well enough known that I'm clearly not faking a claim. Do I really have to take to IRC and forums to get a response as to whether my claim's been processed, or if there are any questions about it?

My Bitcoinica account is the only one with an email @strikesapphire.com.
306  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: List of Bitcoin Companies with Adequate Backup--Please Submit on: May 28, 2012, 10:02:47 PM
I certainly understand the level of suspicion, after what's happened lately where we took people's word for something and got shafted ourselves. It's the same in the online casino industry, maybe more so. There's a whole bunch of ways people have tried to solve that trust problem, none of them completely successful:

1) crowd-sourced reputation monitoring, regulation-by-complaint, let-the-market-decide, etc. which doesn't always work (this is where most Bitcoin commerce is presently)
2) a few trustworthy independent sources emerging to act as magnets for the better operations, writing their own standards and stepping in personally to mediate casino/player disputes (like http://casinomeister.com with their pitch-a-bitch complaint resolution procedure, where they contact casinos on the player's behalf; and their dreaded "rogue casino" list). The danger here is that power corrupts.
3) relatively weak government licensing jurisdictions which do a few audits and sign off, in some rare cases making good on defaults of companies in their orbit,
4) large governments like the US where the solution has been to nuke the industry completely, using the history of unaccountability as an excuse to curtail freedom.

There are a few outlying examples, like Galewind Software Co. paying out a player and shutting down an operator's casino when the operator running their software refused to pay; as great as it was, this was barnyard justice and no way for an industry to run.

So take your pick. It ain't pretty. IMHO, option #2 works best. Before we launched I spent almost a year on casinomeister talking to players, reading complaints against other casinos and trying to figure out how to build a site that would be safe, responsive to players, and would make sure that even under catastrophic circumstances we would always have enough backups and funds to cover it and never land on the rogue list. To me, this site isn't just a one-off little league Bitcoin casino, it's a platform I'm constantly improving that isn't limited to this market. So our site was built to casinomeister's standard, which is actually a lot higher than what most licensing jurisdictions ask for; and far higher than anyone in the Bitcoin community has ever asked for out loud. This is probably the first step in that direction, and I support it.

So. While we won't post details of our security procedures in a public forum, we would be willing to share some information with the OP, in confidence, based on which he can make a well-informed recommendation as to whether what I've said here is true. This obviously sets a precedent that gives Phineas a fair amount of power, potentially. But I do think his intentions are honest. I've been approached by certain scammers on this board out of the blue, saying they wanted access to our systems to "audit" us. Good luck. But if we can prove to Phineas that we are what we say we are, then hopefully that will set people at ease, and it would set my mind at ease if more Bitcoin companies were willing to be forthcoming with those kinds of details.

Specifically I'm proposing to show the following:
* List of servers we control
* Hourly cron backup scripts (redacted for usernames)
* Screenshots of daily offline backups in progress/completed (only 71 Mb!)
* A more thorough explanation than I'm willing to give here.
307  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: List of Bitcoin Companies with Adequate Backup--Please Submit on: May 28, 2012, 06:16:38 PM
Just want to say thanks for the distinction. I wish this information had been available a couple months ago.
308  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: [Emergency ANN] Bitcoinica site is taken offline for security investigation on: May 27, 2012, 10:45:31 PM
And yeah, the "rule of three" has been around for a long time.  Back in the days of DOS and 5 1/4 floppy disks we used to work on a three days worth of back ups (we had physical back ups for each of the last three days) and three locations rule (in practice, this meant that one set of backups stayed at the office and the boss and I each took home a set of back up disks).

Been around long enough to have discovered that for myself (and to remember backing up to disks that were actually floppy). Hell, when I ran a 2400bps hermes board outta my mom's house I was backing up my user lists and warez to disks as fast as I could. I've still got boxes of disks full of gif porn and the names and phone numbers of freaks in Los Angeles somewhere in a storage unit, if those disks haven't degraded yet. "The cloud" is a fucking euphemism for shared hosting without the customer service and accountability that used to come with shared hosting. Why retailers would make a big deal out of a server wholesaler's new buzzword for shit service is totally beyond me. Guess it sounds fancy to their customers.

Most tripods can stand on two legs if you prop them up a little. Anyway, if everything was wiped out, one server hacked and the other two had drive malfunctions or whatever, it's not like you can blame people. But a few extra precautions might be in order when dealing with half a million dollars, even if they do cost a few hundred bucks a month. After all, what's that money worth if your reputation is shit?
309  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: [Emergency ANN] Bitcoinica site is taken offline for security investigation on: May 27, 2012, 08:09:16 PM
If I'd known they were so poverty-stricken I would have paid for it myself goddamn it.

Now all you have to do is offer margin trading.

what, blackjack ain't good enough for ya?
310  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: [Emergency ANN] Bitcoinica site is taken offline for security investigation on: May 27, 2012, 07:50:48 PM

I guess this would be a perfect time to ask the operators of every single Bitcoin exchange if they have a backup of their database. Each and every one of them should go on record stating that they do. I suggest that this should be done within the next 48 hours. Any exchange that does not go on record in stating that they do within this time frame, users of those exchanges should immediately remove their funds from those exchanges.

~Bruno~


We're not an exchange, but given that we deal with people's Bitcoins we do have an obligation to state this: We have always maintained 1) hourly database backups to a second data center, 2) daily offline backups, 3) a hot wallet stored in a third datacenter, on a dedicated server, and 4) offline wallet storage of all funds other than petty cash. Furthermore, everything we run other than our blog is on offshore dedicated servers at datacenters with casino-grade physical security measures, NOT on VPS. A hacker who accessed one of our dedis would find our hot wallet basically empty and our user passwords hashed. At most we'd lose a hundred bucks or so.

We don't have anything near the volume of Bitcoinica. We've got about 1000 users. When we launched, and started paying for the servers involved in this elaborate setup, we had no users. There's no doubt the added security has come at a cost that dug into our bottom line. But what's the alternative? Hosting on a VPS somewhere and waiting for disaster? You don't screw around with cutting costs on security; a wise guy once told me it's better to be "insurance poor" than temporarily rich and waiting for the other shoe to drop. One of the dumbest things I've done in recent memory was send some of our first positive revenues into a Bitcoinica account. I would never have imagined the security there would be more lax than ours, but it's my fault for not doing more research. I accept that.

There is no formulaic way yet of definitively securing a site that deals in BTC, but having lots of backups and dedicated servers seems like kind of a no-brainer place to start. It's a shame all the "security experts" floating around the Bitcoinica scene couldn't afford an extra $200 a month for a dedicated / offline backup solution. We don't make the kind of money they do, and we trusted them with our profit; if I'd known they were so poverty-stricken I would have paid for it myself goddamn it.
311  Economy / Gambling / Re: StrikeSapphire - NEW Bonus - New $15 Blackjack - New 15 BTC in Weekend prizes! on: May 27, 2012, 05:26:55 PM
SO... this one was interesting. Bonjin and Dooglus basically decided to tie each other as winners, and wound down the clock on a blackjack table. Both got 75% of the prize at the point they tied, a $31.88 award for each.

Great fun, and thanks to everyone who played this weekend. We'll start it again next Friday with even more action!
312  Economy / Gambling / Re: StrikeSapphire - NEW Bonus - New $15 Blackjack - New 15 BTC in Weekend prizes! on: May 26, 2012, 06:43:57 PM
Starting tonight -- we just added a new $3.25 guarantee to the nightly tournament at 8PM GMT. This tournament costs only $0.75 to buy in, and it'll start with as few as 2 players.
313  Economy / Service Discussion / Re: BITCOIN MAGAZINE ARRIVED! on: May 24, 2012, 09:34:26 PM
Excellent! Nice to know you guys are up and running at last. I never lost faith.
Still waiting for my copy outside the US...
314  Economy / Gambling / Re: StrikeSapphire - NEW Bonus - New $15 Blackjack - New 15 BTC in Weekend prizes! on: May 24, 2012, 08:02:47 PM
Why don't you guys grow some balls and accept USA gamblers?

Because breaking the law isn't a responsible way to run a business, and you'd be an fool to trust us with your money if we were willing to. See: Full Tilt. Next question?
315  Economy / Gambling / StrikeSapphire - NEW Bonus - New $15 Blackjack - New 15 BTC in Weekend prizes! on: May 23, 2012, 03:28:34 PM
* We're starting a new thread for all this. Please let the old one die. Way too much has changed, too much old random stuff in there.

* NEW $15 Blackjack tables are now open to everybody!

* NEW Weekend Leaderboard structure. Everyone who plays has their winnings automatically entered in our Leaderboard from Friday through Sunday. This counts for all games in the house, including our 3 daily poker freerolls and special weekend tournaments.
First place for the weekend now pays 100% - double your winnings - up to 10 BTC! Second place now pays 50% on top of your winnings up to 5 BTC. There are no bonus wagering requirements, this is FREE CASH. What's not to love? All you have to do to qualify is to be up $25 or more for the weekend. If no one qualifies, we'll pay a 5 BTC prize to the player who played the hardest - whoever wagered the most.

As always, follow our blog to see where you stand in (almost) realtime during the weekend, and how the competition stacks up. Only StrikeSapphire has this kind of fun!

* NEW BONUS CODE FOR THIS FORUM! Get 50% more on deposits up to $50. Your bonus code is: VieuxCarre

See you at the tables!
316  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Bitcoin Island on: May 21, 2012, 01:36:19 AM
Of course not, you also get the honor of buying him an island.

what would it cost to buy him completely?
317  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Bitcoin Island on: May 21, 2012, 12:39:02 AM
Again, uh, what makes you think the Nicaraguan government would be friendly about this?


RE: Raising funds in USD, I think that would be more than possible; the value of the Bitcoin economy is much greater than the current value of Bitcoins in circulation.
318  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Bitcoin Island on: May 20, 2012, 07:59:12 PM
Realistically, you could almost definitely find crew up to the officer level who'd be willing to live & work for a decent room and board. And yes, you could move away from storms as well as from regional powers who suddenly decided to expand their maritime claims to include your island, as has been done many times before.

The first sustainable micronation will have to float, and have to have great connectivity. The reason it hasn't been done yet boils down to the fact that floating and having great internet access are still mutually exclusive. That is the only reason it hasn't been done. Beyond that, there are questions of what laws, who's in charge, what currency, etc; but with a functional currency independent of national fiat, Bitcoiners are actually uniquely well positioned to create something like this...possibly more so than any other group since the founding city-states of the Hanseatic league opened up the original free trade zone.

The key to making it work would be overcoming the inherent costs in reconciling mobility (floating) with connectivity (tethering), while sacrificing neither freedom of movement nor freedom of communication. That is what any such plan ultimately comes down to. A Bitcoin micronation requires that you not trade away economic or personal liberties in exchange for the other. No nation on earth presently accommodates both types of liberties, and if the "Chinese Model" is any indication, things will only go downhill from here. So - yeah - a ship is a good place to start. Nicaraguan island, not so much.
319  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Bitcoin Island on: May 20, 2012, 06:01:51 PM
Cruise ships are nice but they require a lot of manpower to run.
...
On the other hand, it might not be such a bad thing that this island is under Nicaraguan jurisdiction - maintaining a diplomatic relationship with one government is easier than fighting them all.

Agree on both counts. And I also think that the Bitcoin community is the shortest viable route to establishing a micronation that exists today, given we already have a currency. In fact, we're a currency in search of a country. The problem is, if you're going to choose a flag of convenience, you have to be careful you choose one that won't invade or nationalize you as soon as you start doing something interesting. Honduras might be a better choice. Costa Rica would probably be great. Nicaragua is a definite no-go. No way in hell. I wouldn't even consider opening a bank account there, let alone buying property.

*One little edit to this - the online casino industry is way ahead of the curve when it comes to figuring out the basics you need in a jurisdiction before trying to operate there with a large amount of capital. The lessons learned in the industry since the late '90s would be useful to someone today trying to navigate the world of offshore finance, real estate, data storage and currency exchange.
320  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Bitcoin Island on: May 20, 2012, 03:06:54 PM
How 'bout this one? It's only $31M... just about the value of all the Bitcoins in circulation Roll Eyes


Comes with a casino, and yes, StrikeSapphire would happily host the game and beverage concession. Connectivity might be a little tough out there, considering how expensive satellite links are, but maybe one of the European pirate parties would go 50/50 on it and help set it up as a little offshore data haven, to help subsidize the costs. And then of course you need a captain and crew, and possibly some kind of defensive armaments, considering the number of real pirates out there these days.

http://www.yachtingbrokers.com/640_cruise_ship_for_sale.html
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