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Author Topic: [Interviews] with Bitcointalk members  (Read 29997 times)
SiNeReiNZzz
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November 26, 2020, 10:09:08 AM
Last edit: December 05, 2020, 03:22:18 AM by SiNeReiNZzz
Merited by tyz (6), DdmrDdmr (2), vapourminer (1), d5000 (1), JayJuanGee (1), lovesmayfamilis (1), zasad@ (1), -doubleU- (1)
 #441

Hey zasad@,

You had already sent me a PM in October. with the request for an interview.
Really sorry for the delay, now I finally made it, and here it is Smiley:

1. When and why did you become interested in cryptocurrencies?

As far as I remember, this should have been in early 2013. It was definitely an article on the Internet about Bitcoin. I found it very interesting at the time.
But due to a lack of free time and because of the completion of my diploma, I unfortunately did not pursue the topic further...

2. When and why did you buy your first bitcoin?

In the year 2014 at a price around 400€ per Bitcoin.
I have read some articles again, and this time I started to deal with it also from a technical point of view to understand Bitcoin and Blockchain.

3. How did you get on the forum?

That was to my research on Bitcoin at the Beginning of the year 2014 and the fact that Satoshi was active here, until his disappearance from the scene.
Some interesting information can be found in his posts...
In the beginning it was really only for research purposes, but I also came across Shitcoins, which were still based almost entirely on Bitcoin!

4.1. What prevents mass adoption of cryptocurrencies?

Shitcoins and Shit-Tokens! (@qwk and @1miauCheesy



And with many people the fear of new things. Of the unknown... And because in the early days Bitcoin was also known as the currency of the criminals.
But I think we are now on the right way.

4.2. How do you think mass advertising of gambling projects has a positive effect on the development of the forum or harms the community?

Oh well, I really don't see it so bad.
If we didn't advertise it here, it would still be visible elsewhere.

But what I find important is to remind people that the bank always wins in the end. And you should only play with money, which you can also lose if necessary...
Exactly the same with investments... they are also only another form of gambling...

4.3. How do you consider whether 2-3 years of experience in cryptocurrency is enough to successfully invest or does an investor need to receive special education?

An investor does not need education. An investor needs a certain comprehension and must be willing to read a lot.
In combination with a lucky hand, one investor can be a good investor after 3 months of experience, the other ones only after 3 years and some of them never...

5. What do you think of the current Merit system and signature campaigns? Do they harm the forum?

Well, since I haven't been active for a long time, I only got to know the Merit System about half a year ago.
I cannot complain, I have collected over 400 Merit since I have been active again. And that as said in half a year!
I also think it is true that if you post good posts in the forum and help other users, it is no problem to earn merit.
Sometimes it could be a few more for certain posts...

Many things have changed, not only the Meritsystem what is new...
In the meantime there is even a bearded baby here (@TheBeardedBaby) Grin:



6. The most useful forum topic? Most helpful users?

The most useful topic or users is not be clearly identified for me. Because many people do their part to make the forum better.
Otherwise of course i say the F.A.Q. in the meta section.

7. 3 things you would implement on the forum?

1.- Make it more usable for smartphones
2.- Add missing subboards for some local areas
3.- More special forum-bagdes

8. Do you trade on exchanges or invest in projects?

I don't trade much on stock exchanges anymore, only to restructure my portfolio a little bit from time to time...
I have not invested in projects since the ICO-Boom in 2017!

9. Tell a story about your big profit or big loss?


2017 was the big time for ICOs.
Among other projects, I invested in Waves, Lisk, Wings Token and some others. With Waves and Lisk I made good profits some time after the start.
I also invested in Tezos, but I prefer to wait a little longer with sell it. There could be something interesting out of it...

To be honest, I have not had a great loss until today...

10. What do you think about the DEFI ecosystem?

I don't know what to think about it. I know it's a big topic right now, but so were ICOs in his day.
I don't think it can have any substance for permanent survival on the current scale. And this bubble, just like all the others, will burst soon.
Nevertheless, I think that the one or other certainly make good money with it.
I prefer to stay with Bitcoin and 2-3 other coins, where I see a future.

11. Is your anonymity a vital necessity or precaution?

Thank God it is not a survival requirement for me.
But a good precaution that everyone should take as far as they can!

12. The last cryptocurrency book you read?


Unfortunately I haven't read a book about cryptocurrency yet, but I read many current blogs and news about cryptocurrencies.

13. Advise 3 cryptocurrencies/tokens for investment in the next 1-2 years?

Basically I do not make any recommendations. However, I can say what my favorites are.
Of course Bitcoin, then Tezos and Ethereum.

14. How much will Bitcoin cost at the end of 2020?

I think around 20.000€.

15. P.S.:




This topic was really a awesome idea. Thanks for that!

Best Regards and have a nice Day

SiNeReiNZzz

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Timelord2067
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November 27, 2020, 09:57:13 AM
Merited by SiNeReiNZzz (1)
 #442

It's been good reading some of these later posts from people I don't ordinarily see much of in the Forum.  I have to laugh now given I cautiously said bitcoin would be about <$14,000 and now people are forcasting it'll reach >$ 25,000 in just under five week's time.  (If that does happen I'll win a small bag over at a certain gambling site).   Grin

Thanks to the OP @zasad@ for keeping this popular thread going (and @SiNeReiNZzz , you;ll have to tell me how to do those coulourful signatures of yours)

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November 27, 2020, 10:23:08 AM
 #443

how to do those coulourful signatures
Just Google for a BBCode color generator.

SiNeReiNZzz
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November 27, 2020, 11:00:28 AM
 #444

how to do those coulourful signatures
Just Google for a BBCode color generator.

Yes right.
I use these one, because there are a huge collection of color combinations on the website. And a "random color-mixer:

ᗌ Text Color Fader - Works with Email, Forum Posts, Web Pages, and more

Sorry for the Offtopic zasad@!  Smiley

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.....I AM BLACKJACK.FUN.....
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Timelord2067
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November 27, 2020, 04:48:18 PM
 #445

Thanks for the links - I even received a PM overnight from @icopress for yet another site: https://www.stuffbydavid.com/textcolorizer - so Kudos to everyone for taking the time to reply.

Timelord2067 was here.

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November 28, 2020, 11:13:16 AM
 #446

It's been good reading some of these later posts from people I don't ordinarily see much of in the Forum.  I have to laugh now given I cautiously said bitcoin would be about <$14,000 and now people are forcasting it'll reach >$ 25,000 in just under five week's time.  (If that does happen I'll win a small bag over at a certain gambling site).   Grin
On the note of the forecast, I did forecast 15-16 and it surely did bit my forecast as at the value now although, it seems to be experiencing a little correction but, I don't see it going below $17k. I never knew the usefulness of those forecast until now and for a fact, it did help in trades. My biggest guess now is that, it would be correcting and tend to stabilize through now and the next month but, by January-february, another boom should be expected. Let's keep watch.
Possibly, everyone could go back to editing their predictions during the new year.

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zasad@ (OP)
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November 30, 2020, 08:32:14 AM
Last edit: November 30, 2020, 09:53:05 PM by zasad@
 #447

I had a dream to implement an interesting project on the forum, unite the participants, cheer people up and collect a lot of useful information in one topic .. It took more than 4 months.
The project is not closed, I will continue to invite new participants.

Now I want to announce the start of the contest for the best interview. I am asking you to vote.
Thanks to BestChange for sponsoring this competition.

Please vote in this thread
[Vote 2020] Best Bitcointalk Interview

This topic is self-moderated, all posts in which your vote is not indicated will be deleted.
Voters can also receive an award. Please be active.


Please lead a discussion in this thread
(Discussion) Best Bitcointalk Interview

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gmaxwell
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November 30, 2020, 10:26:10 PM
Last edit: December 29, 2020, 04:27:13 AM by gmaxwell
Merited by Mitchell (20), LoyceV (20), qwk (10), AB de Royse777 (10), 1miau (10), EFS (8), malevolent (8), marlboroza (5), webtricks (5), Cnut237 (5), zasad@ (5), bitmover (4), fillippone (4), NotATether (4), khaled0111 (3), DdmrDdmr (3), JayJuanGee (2), BlackHatCoiner (2), d5000 (1), SFR10 (1), Hhampuz (1), wwzsocki (1), eaLiTy (1), Chikito (1), Husna QA (1), Karartma1 (1), Little Mouse (1), Rikafip (1), icopress (1), bullrun2024bro (1)
 #448

zasad@ made the strategic error of telling me I had until the end of November to respond -- so you get a WALL OF TEXT.

Questions:

1. When and why did you become interested in cryptocurrencies?

Some time prior to Aug 2004-- since that was >16 years ago, I can't say for sure before then but at least by Aug 2004 I was using Hal's RPOW system and talking to him about it, and I have those emails.

I was particularly interested in natively online money that didn't depend on traditional banks.  Like many other people I'd been screwed by paypal randomly freezing my account, and I wanted there to be some kind of electronic money that you could use to pay for resources on distributed services like P2P file sharing that would probably get shut down by banks.

Reading "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson may have been a factor in my interest, but was also I long time follower of the various cipherpunky mailing-lists where these sorts of things were discussed-- along with a lot of libertarian and hard money philosophy.  I'm old enough that computer hacking in the unauthorised access sense was made illegal in my lifetime and in my youth we got access to the Internet like real men: by sneaking in and running gopher over a shell at 2400 baud and we liked it that way.  I was long interested in cryptography, -- somewhere I think I have a PGP key that I created in 1993 and long since lost the passphrase too -- I bet if I dug it up I could factor its public key now.  I contributed some to some open source crypto protocols, for example the automatic establishment part of the OTR protocol came from me.

On the RPOW side, among other things I wrote to Hal to propose adding what we'd now call "smart contracting" to RPOW-- basically making it so that transfers were conditional on programmed rules specified by the payer.  It seemed to me that it wasn't good enough to have money that operated without state authorities if you had to use state authorities to resolve disputes... we needed money where users could resolve disputes mechanically without trusting a third party or needing state agency to enforce their agreement.  I was really happy to see these concepts in Bitcoin, clearly it was an idea whos time had come.  If we want automated systems to be able to act autonomously we need money that doesn't depend on constant human intervention.

Beyond submitting bug reports and some ideas, I put in a bit of effort advocating RPOW (e.g. suggesting anonymous remailers could use it.).  Hal tried to get me to write a GUI for RPOW but like him I'm really not a big fan of GUI programming.  Ultimately RPOW kinda petered out without seeing much use, in fact: I don't believe I've ever spoke to anyone else who used it, other than Hal.

2. When and why did you buy your first bitcoin?

A long time after I obtained my first Bitcoin.  Like a lot of early participants my first Bitcoin was mined.   When I first started the software there was only a windows version, so I ran it in wine and pretty much instantly forgot about it.  Like RPOW there were no users and so it wasn't that exciting-- though I became aware of it pretty early, I'd missed the white paper until the end of 2010 and so I had kind of assumed it was a less secure distributed version of RPOW-- an exciting novelty, but not likely to be world changing.

In Dec 2010 or so I had some GPUs that had been given to me as part of a job-- I'd been paid to crack some cryptosystem used to control licensing on wimax radios and had written some software for doing that.  I don't game so I didn't have anything to do with the GPUs and went searching for something to use them on.  This was right around the time that GPU based Bitcoin mining started so there was a lot of discussion related to that and I ran into Bitcoin again.  It seemed to have caught a lot more attention than RPOW ever did so I looked into it again and I found the whitepaper.  As soon as I read it I was hooked: this was something that could actually work.

In addition to my GPUs I had a 160 core opteron cluster that I'd been using to develop the Opus audio codec, so its idle time also went to mining.  Not too long after I read the entire source code (it wasn't very big at the time) and started contributing on the technical side.

I did also eventually buy Bitcoin for fiat but that wasn't until late 2011 after some crashes took the price from a high of ~$30 down to something like $3.5.  At the time exchanging Bitcoin for fiat was a huge PITA and required dealing with sketchy exchanges and payment processors or risking getting ripped off and having your paypal account banned.  Until I started maxing out my power I preferred to spend money on hardware/power to mine.

Probably the best moral equivalent for me to first buying Bitcoin is the first time I bought computer hardware with no other purpose than Bitcoin.  In May 2011 I bought a ATI 5870 GPU for $150 from someone on craigslist.  I met the seller in person and I have a vivid memory of my hands shaking as I handed over the money, feeling like I was mugging the guy and afraid he was going to cancel the trade.

A 5870 did about 350MH/s (about the same order of magnitude as my whole cluster, I think) and at the time the difficulty was about 100k, so that GPU would have produced about 3.2 BTC per day and would pay for itself super quick.

I lived in northern Virginia and had really inexpensive power-- something like $0.055/KWH.  I went on to fill my basement with GPUs and had quite an adventure convincing random staff at AMD distributors to go search their warehouse for extra cases of GPUs as they all sold out due to mining demand.  After the crash in 2011 my hashrate kept going up.  At two points I was >1% of the network hashrate personally (once during the GPU era, and again after ASICs were a thing).  My house was heated entirely by mining, in the winter you could see where the power lines were buried because it melted the snow there first.  I had the police show up poking around, I think because either my power usage or due to unlawful use of FLIR had them thinking I had a grow op.

I wish I had pictures of my setup.  I screwed 1x2" boards to the walls and then screwed the GPUs directly to them.  Motherboards were attached to the GPUs with pci extension cables.  Motherboards and PSUs were hung of the gpus (and walls in the case of the PSU) with zip ties.  "Look Ma! No case required!".  Everything running at 240v to maximise psu efficiency.  I used 6 gpus to a board and wired the serial port of each board to the reset pins of the board next to it, so if the kernel hung I could restart the machines remotely.

The cheap consumer GPUs really weren't made for extended heavy usage.  Fans would fail all the time and start making an awful noise.  I'd get up in the middle of the night to fix them-- I hated dealing with it but wanted the Bitcoins more.  For years after I suffered the mild traumatic effect of waking up thinking I heard a failing fan and hoping out of bed to go fix it.

My big GPU farm came to an end when I went to work for Mozilla and moved to California where power isn't so cheap... around that time though GPU based litecoin mining had started and I was able to RMA all my GPUs then sold them all for more than I paid for them!  (this wasn't the end of my mining ... as real ASIC miners came not too long after)

3. How did you get on the forum?

My first interaction with the Bitcoin community was on IRC and email, but a lot of the discussion back then was on the forum.  Personally, I never really liked web forums (though I eventually warmed up to BCT) but this was the obvious place to be.

Fun fact: I think after Theymos (of course) and Hostfat I am the third longest tenured still active moderator.

4.1.I heard that you have been one of the most active Bitcoin developers since 2011.  What did you see important in this project and why did you decide to work in it?

I've only ever been most active in terms of talking to people, including non-developers.  When it comes to actually writing software I'm not especially productive, my contributions are usually related to protocol design, incentives, review, system effects.. stuff like that.

Early on in Bitcoin's life it was clear that while in one sense the system was complete there was still a tremendous amount of work required to make it usable (esp while preserving its awesome properties).  My first big and lasting contribution was probably the public address derivation (which was later standardised by BIP32):  I'd talked to the FSF about taking Bitcoin donations and there was a desire to use a separate address per donation for invoicing purposes but it wouldn't be good to have the private keys on the webserver.  So I came up with a cryptographic way of generating new Bitcoin addresses online while keeping the private keys offline.  Somewhat ironically that original purpose is still not well covered by software today.

Prior to working on Bitcoin one of my big open source efforts was working on patent unencumbered audio codecs.  I worked on the Ogg Vorbis audio codec and the Opus audio codec among other things.  Codecs are a basically a billion dollar per year scam:  Standards compatibility forces people to use various codecs and then patent holders extract money from every device and service that sends media over the internet while legally threatening inventors that come up with better stuff.  To the limited extent that the patents are valid at all the value they provide over the alternatives is negligible, but you're forced to pay because of compatibility.  Those costs are an unearned tax and a drag on innovation everywhere online (even in places where the patents aren't enforceable).  The licensing discriminates against various business models (like open source) and people's personal freedom too.  But just by giving people a credible alternative the playing field is made more fair: When Vorbis was published MP3 licensing fees halved pretty much over night, so its mere existence benefited people who never even used it.  Vorbis only reached moderate adoption but today virtually every one of you has used Opus-- it's the mandatory codec for web based video conferencing and it's been shipped to literally billions of users.

So with codecs I was able to take some rocket sciency math and engineering stuff that I'm good at and enjoy and use it to make a tremendous benefit to the world. --- my interest in codecs freedom has it's own fun origin story (in short: I added VBR support to one of the earliest MP3 encoders, deployed it at my job, and had a vendor imply that they might get me sued/fired due to patent infringement after I told them we wouldn't be buying any more of their commercial streaming product).

In finance there are many comparable examples, where rent seekers cut a fee out of everyone elses business without really adding any value.  Their mere presence harms your personal freedom and privacy and prevents many valid forms of commerce from existing.  Central banks manage currencies in ways that aren't in your personal best interests.  Instead of patents their lock in is achieved through banking and AML rules, government imposed currencies, and a whole lot of inertia: In codecs you get forced into using formats you might not want to use by network effects, but for money those effects are much stronger.  The biggest difference though is that instead of being a billion dollar scam there are a few more zeros in the figure for finance.

I hope Bitcoin can someday be even as successful as Opus.  In that world, people may not even know that they're using Bitcoin -- but it's there, as an alternative or in the backend of their activities amplifying their freedom and keeping the old centralised alternatives on their toes.  But to get there it has to be good enough and the properties that make it valuable have to be protected.  Opus might still have been widely used but wouldn't have improved people's freedom if it had been stuffed full of restrictively licensed patents at the last minute.  Likewise, Bitcoin that became paypal 2.0 might still be popular but it would be a waste of time.  And unlike codecs, the nature of money means that there may be no near term second chance if Bitcoin fails:  Switching codecs doesn't have a big cost, but if the money you're using fails you're going to be extremely shy about adopting some other new alternative.

Obviously privacy is a big area where Bitcoin needs improvement and I've tried to come up with fancy technology to improve the situation, but it's always a balancing act.  Privacy is the one area where if Bitcoin doesn't get better at it ... it might leave the world a worse off place than if Bitcoin hadn't existed.  The worst case for Bitcoin privacy is pretty bad.  There has been a lot of progress but more is needed.

4.2.What was the main reason for founding Blockstream?

Back when that effort started there wasn't any "blockchain" industry.  There were a lot of people who wanted to spend more time working on Bitcoin but they had existing well paid jobs.  Bitcoin had become valuable enough that in theory early Bitcoiners could just fund themselves-- but instead of earning a good paycheck and using it to BUY bitcoin, you'd have to SELL bitcoin.   Not exactly the most appealing move to someone who really believes in it.

People had tried doing donations but they weren't very sustainable, and often ended up with the donors thinking they owned you in a way that even employers wouldn't (and early orgs like Bitcoin foundation were full of kinda sketchy folks).

At the same time there is just a ton of transitional work needed to bridge the rest of the world onto Bitcoin-- and plenty of interesting technologies from Bitcoin that could be applied to traditional systems to make them more bitcoin like: more secure, more private, more accountable.

During the development of Opus I made a bit of money on the side for myself developing a bespoke station-to-transmitter links system used (perhaps still used) by a really big Canadian radio station to hook up all their remote transmitter stations across Canada.  Having cool open technology is one thing, but there are plenty of businesses that will pay to help integrate it for their use.

So I hoped that we could create a company to build that bridge tech and providing way for long time Bitcoin developers to spend a lot of their time working on Bitcoin, while also helping to prepare the world for a more Bitcoin centric future.

Why did you leave Blockstream and why did you decide to devote yourself to developing protocols for Bitcoin?

Shortly after starting blockstream a huge amount of "blockchain" hype began which you'd think would be good, but it undermined our ability to set the agenda around the kinds of technology we wanted to work on (or at least my ability to set it from within Blockstream).  Basically even big firm and their brother wanted to talk to us (good!) but they were mostly pre-spun up on borderline pointless applications of technology, or even outright scams.  Simultaneously, in the Bitcoin space the mere existence of blockstream was highly weaponized and created a constant campaign of harassment-- against developers in general, against blockstream, and against me personally.  Getting death threats is just not fun.  I wasn't sure if getting out would really fix the situation at all, but at least if I felt tired of it I could unplug and ignore it for a month without letting anyone down.

The Bcash spinoff (and later futures on the ill-fated 'S2X' split) gave me a way to cash out without diminishing my long term bitcoin holdings much.  Blockstream had also worked out pretty well for me financially-- everyone there was (and I assume still is) partially paid with a fixed amount of Bitcoin the company pre-purchases at hire time and bitcoin had increased by something like a factor of 45 while I was there.  In short, I didn't need any more money and I figured I could have more fun not working there.  It was also clear that blockstream could continue on fine without me and there were several other orgs funding developers by that point-- so to the extent that I got involved to create a place to fund my colleagues to work on Bitcoin my work was done.

I hear that they made some changes after I left that I think I would have enjoyed working there more, but I don't regret leaving at all.

4.4.What future do you think bitcoin will have?

I think Bitcoin is here to stay.  What form it'll take in our lives is still an open question-- will people be using it more directly or will it take on more of a role as a high powered industrial money used to transport value across borders, across time, and protect people's freedom?  Will humans be the most frequent users of it, or will machines?

Most people couldn't have imagined the world using anything like Bitcoin as recently as ten years ago-- even though Bitcoin already existed.  Twenty years ago the question wouldn't even had made sense to most people.  I think it would be presumptuous for us to guess too much about how the future will use Bitcoin.  I don't know what the future will look like but I'm confident that there will be Bitcoin in it.

4.5.What prevents mass adoption of cryptocurrencies?

Above all: Time.   If you successfully convince someone that Bitcoin could become the defacto world currency, they'll quickly do the math and realise that this would result in an unfathomable wealth transfer.  This, naturally, seems unrealistic so they then conclude that it can't happen because the consequences will be too dire.  As time goes on Bitcoin value flows through the economy, the price goes up, and the amount of wealth transfer remaining becomes less extreme and the whole idea seems a little more credible.  More people adopt it, wash/rinse/repeat.

Overnight world domination is physically and economically impossible and that's fine because it if it did happen over night it would be highly disruptive and probably get a lot of people killed.

Beyond general adoption specific uses have their own impediments.  Computers are far too insecure, software is too buggy, we haven't solved the self-custody risk problems,  and  in the US the tax treatment is pretty good for long term hodl but pretty bad for use for small payments:  You have to report cap gains/losses on every purchase, which is a utter reporting nightmare.  There aren't any fundamental impediments to solving these problems-- they'll just take time.

5. What do you think of the current Merit system and signature campaigns?  Do they harm the forum?

I like the merit system but I suppose I should since I have among the highest merit on the forum. Smiley

I thing signature campaigns are toxic and end up attached to a lot of spam/low value posts that really harm the forum.  But it isn't clear to me that we'd be better off without them:  Without the signatures the spam would probably still happen, based on links inside the spam or just shilling scamcoins by name-- the signatures ads are just a path of least resistance. ... and at least they make the spam more identifiable.

In the subforums I moderate if there is a post which is pretty worthless and maybe spam-- if there is no signature campaign it'll usually get the benefit of doubt.  If there is... bye bye.

6. The most useful forum topic? Most helpful users?

I think it's hard to say.  I feel like the forum these days isn't living up to its potential because it's not a place that new people show up as much... and a lot of the long time expert contributors have given up on it.

Basically any interesting discussion that give people with expertise a reason to show up here and mix with the newbies is a really useful topic.

7. 3 things you would implement on the forum?

As you're probably aware there is a long standing forum rewrite that has been ongoing.  The work there contains about a zillion new ideas, many of which I thought were pretty interesting at the time.  Probably nothing I could suggest is as interesting or important as getting that done.

One thing I've really hurt for the lack of is the ability to ban specific users from specific subforums and threads.  By design BCT is extremely open and permissive, but sometimes someone who contributes usefully in one subforum just constantly makes a nuisance of themselves in other discussions.  Sure, readers can ignore people they don't like, but it's difficult to coordinate that so in practice people can continually derail threads repeating the same boring crap over and over again.  Experts can pick and choose where they spend their time and they don't usually enjoy wasting it in places where the conversation is derailed by the same idiots over and over again.

Many of these disruptive folks end up getting banned forum wide, but it takes a long time-- and in the mean time a lot of valuable posters just give up and go elsewhere.   If we could thread and subforum scope bans we could better balance the ability of everyone to participate with people's freedom to not have every discussion get disrupted.

8. Do you trade on exchanges or invest in projects?

I trade options on Bitcoin at LedgerX with a portion of my stash.  Most of my trading could be characterised as selling moon insurance (deep out of the money calls) and crash insurance (deep out of the money puts).  For the most part, the activity hedges my substantial Bitcoin exposure-- and it more than covers all of my living expenses which gives me peace of mind.  I've averaged a ~20%/yr return on investment (not including Bitcoin's gain in value, of course) since I opened the account in December 2017.

I think more people trading Bitcoin should be interested in options: They can be used to better reflect the kinds of opinions people have about Bitcoin's price and can be shaped to better match people's risk tolerance.  For people who want more risk options (esp physically delivered ones like LedgerX) can be a lot safer than the leveraged Bitcoin products traded elsewhere.  They can also be more tax efficient.

Of course any kind of trading activity has risks, including custody risks on top of the volatility ones.  I don't think anyone should be trading with all of their coins.

9. Tell a story about your big profit or big loss?

For me the biggest "profit" is all the damn fork coins and spinoffs.  I find it extremely ironic that the very people that relentlessly attacked and harassed me for *years* went on to make me more money than anything else (other than owning Bitcoin in the first place) by a wide margin.

Most people know that BCH traded at over 0.2 BTC/BCH (and also hit $4k in fiat terms), but the S2X futures also traded at >0.2 (and heavily between 0.1 and 0.2).  This means that well timed sells could have got you 20% of your Bitcoin holdings _each_.  Bitgold, BitcoinDiamond, Sbitcoin, BitcoinX -- each was small but combined with decent timing they also added up to another 20%.

So you could receive 50%-70% of your Bitcoin stash over again from these things (depending on timing and if you compounded them), with no risk to your Bitcoin position other than the risk of making some screw-up handling your keys.  ... And I pretty much did and did so at near (thus far) ATH Bitcoin prices.

A lot of people don't realize how profitable the forks were, especially with well timed trades and the patience and technical expertise to go through and dump them.  I owe a lot of thanks to the community on the #bitcoin-forks IRC channel for helping gather and disseminate good information all the forks at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018.

I hated dealing with them, hated their disruption, hated their bad incentives, hated reading their crappy source code, hated the abuse from their promoters. But the profits would make even a ferengi blush.

As far as losses go-- I bought some goxcoins, mostly at 20% off face though some at higher prices.  Mark lied to my (virtual) face about the causes of his issues, I computed the upper bound losses from malleability and thought the goxcoins were a pretty good deal.  Oh well-- that's what you get for believing a Bitcoin Foundation founder. Smiley Depending on how you account for it and when the insolvency pays out this might be a small loss (percentage wise).  Given the same info I would have gladly done it again.  In practice having coins held up in the gox insolvency discouraged me from selling any in the $200-$3000 price range, so it arguably was a big gain too...  Either way I have no regrets.

10. What do you think about the DEFI ecosystem?

Most of it is midway between pointless and an outright scam.  Some of the BTC 'distributed custody' systems are essentially give one side a free option on the BTC/ETH exchange rate (basically: at most they lose some ETH if they steal the Bitcoin they're holding-- but this is irrelevant if the ETH price has crashed enough relative to Bitcoin).  Some are auto-zhoutongers that will crush participants due to volatility with behaviour they don't understand: Their users are picking up pennies in front of a steam roller and have no idea.  Others are just HYIP with a layer of technobabble obfuscation on top.  When these things go tits up I hope they don't create contagion that depresses the Bitcoin price, but if that does happen-- it'll recover eventually and I'll be buying the cheap coins along the way.

11. Is your anonymity a vital necessity or precaution?

I'm not anonymous.  Being anonymous and having a persistent identity is extremely hard, maybe impossible.  Plus you run the risk that you think you're anonymous but then your identity gets leaked and you're not prepared for it.

I think it's critically important that people be able to communicate anonymously, but right now I think no one really knows how to have a strongly anonymous persistent identity.

12. The last cryptocurrency book you read?

I've never read a cryptocurrency book.  I doubt many will ever be as good as drinking from the firehose of mailing lists, bitcointalk, irc, etc.

Now, if you want to talk about books with cryptocurrency in them-- I read a lot of science fiction (a flatter rendering of the shelves that might be easier to read).   Non-fiction is useful if you someone's idea of how it is or how it was, but ideas about how it might be are best found in fiction where authors aren't stuck with telling the truth (or at least pretending to...).  "Shadow Flock" a short story in Instantiation by Greg Egan was a fun read and clearly Bitcoin inspired.  "Neptune's Brood" by Charles Stross is an obviously somewhat Bitcoin inspired novel which I enjoyed.

13. Advise 3 cryptocurrencies/tokens for investment in the next 1-2 years?

Other than Bitcoin I don't think there is a lot of cause to own anything else "crypto" unless you have a specific need.  On BCT I think more people need to be preached to about the value of diversifying into non-cryptocurrency assets and managing their risk.

There are many possible futures and I think the best advice is to take each credible, if unlikely, future seriously and think about what decisions you can make today which you would or wouldn't regret making.  I think it's better to minimise regret across the various possibilities rather than seek the greatest benefit in the situation you hope for best.  It can even be good to invest *against* what you hope and think will happen, so that at least you get the consolation of a pay off if your expectations turn out wrong.

14. How much will Bitcoin cost at the end of 2020?

I believe that for sufficiently liquid assets the current market price is almost always the best generally available estimate of the near term future market price-- it's not perfect or even good, but that doesn't mean that anyone knows better.  In any situation where I felt differently, I would be trading to profit from the difference and move the price closer to the truth-- and not posting about it here.

Don't believe anyone who is extremely confident about future prices of any speculative asset.  They're fools at best, scammers at worse.  If we knew what the future price would be it would already be there.

But I can tell you that due to good risk management and policy-driven unemotional trading that I will be perfectly content with the price, whatever it is.

Cheers,
fillippone
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November 30, 2020, 10:41:03 PM
Last edit: November 30, 2020, 11:55:16 PM by fillippone
 #449


Fun fact: I think other than Theymos (of course) I am the longest tenured still active moderator.


What about Hostfat? At least if we are looking at account number or activity, I think he came to the forum before you and he's still the moderator on the italian board.

Other that annoying nit-picking, definitely one of the best interviews so far!

EDIT: I put my money  where my mouth is and voted for your interview on @zasad@ competition.

EDIT2: If your strategy on options made someone curious about this instrument, I do recommend reading my thread on this topic: these are very powerful instruments, which can be really  harmful if not handled properly:
Everything you wanted to know about BTC options but were afraid to ask!

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gmaxwell
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November 30, 2020, 11:13:11 PM
 #450

What about Hostfat? At least if we are looking at account number or activity, I think he came to teh forum before you and he's still the moderator on the italian board.
Other that annoying nit-picking, definitely one of the best interviews so far!
Sure enough! I'll edit.
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November 30, 2020, 11:24:52 PM
 #451

Loved reading gmaxwell's interview.

And BTW, thanks for your work on Codecs. I wasn't really aware of it.
Prior to working on Bitcoin one of my big open source efforts was working on patent unencumbered audio codecs. [...] Codecs are a basically a billion dollar per year scam:  Standards compatibility forces people to use various codecs and then patent holders extract money [...] But just by giving people a credible alternative the playing field is made more fair

Yeah, well, I'm gonna go build my own blockchain. With blackjack and hookers! In fact forget the blockchain.
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November 30, 2020, 11:51:17 PM
 #452

zasad@ made the strategic error of telling me I had until the end of November to respond -- so you get a WALL OF TEXT.

Questions:

1. When and why did you become interested in cryptocurrencies?

Some time prior to Aug 2004-- since that was >16 years ago, I can't say for sure before then but at least by Aug 2004 I was using Hal's RPOW system and talking to him about it, and I have those emails.

I was particularly interested in natively online money that didn't depend on traditional banks.  Like many other people I'd been screwed by paypal randomly freezing my account, and I wanted there to be some kind of electronic money that you could use to pay for resources on distributed services like P2P file sharing that would probably get shut down by banks.

Reading "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson may have been a factor in my interest, but was also I long time follower of the various cipherpunky mailing-lists where these sorts of things were discussed-- along with a lot of libertarian and hard money philosophy.  I'm old enough that computer hacking in the unauthorised access sense was made illegal in my lifetime and in my youth we got access to the Internet like real men: by sneaking in and running gopher over a shell at 2400 baud and we liked it that way.  I was long interested in cryptography, -- somewhere I think I have a PGP key that I created in 1993 and long since lost the passphrase too -- I bet if I dug it up I could factor its public key now.  I contributed some to some open source crypto protocols, for example the automatic establishment part of the OTR protocol came from me.

On the RPOW side, among other things I wrote to Hal to propose adding what we'd now call "smart contracting" to RPOW-- basically making it so that transfers were conditional on programmed rules specified by the payer.  It seemed to me that it wasn't good enough to have money that operated without state authorities if you had to use state authorities to resolve disputes... we needed money where users could resolve disputes mechanically without trusting a third party or needing state agency to enforce their agreement.  I was really happy to see these concepts in Bitcoin, clearly it was an idea whos time had come.

Beyond submitting bug reports and some ideas, I put in a bit of effort advocating RPOW (e.g. suggesting anonymous remailers could use it.).  Hal tried to get me to write a GUI for RPOW but like him I'm really not a big fan of GUI programming.  Ultimately RPOW kinda petered out without seeing much use, in fact: I don't believe I've ever spoke to anyone else who used it, other than Hal.

2. When and why did you buy your first bitcoin?

A long time after I obtained my first Bitcoin.  Like a lot of early participants my first Bitcoin was mined.   When I first started the software there was only a windows version, so I ran it in wine and pretty much instantly forgot about it.  Like RPOW there were no users and so it wasn't that exciting-- though I became aware of it pretty early, I'd missed the white paper until the end of 2010 and so I had kind of assumed it was a less secure distributed version of RPOW-- an exciting novelty, but not likely to be world changing.

In Dec 2010 or so I had some GPUs that had been given to me as part of a job-- I'd been paid to crack some cryptosystem used to control licensing on wimax radios and had written some software for doing that.  I don't game so I didn't have anything to do with the GPUs and went searching for something to use them on.  This was right around the time that GPU based Bitcoin mining started so there was a lot of discussion related to that and I ran into Bitcoin again.  It seemed to have caught a lot more attention than RPOW ever did so I looked into it again and I found the whitepaper.  As soon as I read it I was hooked: this was something that could actually work.

In addition to my GPUs I had a 160 core opteron cluster that I'd been using to develop the Opus audio codec, so its idle time also went to mining.  Not too long after I read the entire source code (it wasn't very big at the time) and started contributing on the technical side.

I did also eventually buy Bitcoin for fiat but that wasn't until late 2011 after some crashes took the price from a high of ~$30 down to something like $3.5.  At the time exchanging Bitcoin for fiat was a huge PITA and required dealing with sketchy exchanges and payment processors or risking getting ripped off and having your paypal account banned.  Until I started maxing out my power I preferred to spend money on hardware/power to mine.

Probably the best moral equivalent for me to first buying Bitcoin is the first time I bought computer hardware with no other purpose than Bitcoin.  In May 2011 I bought a ATI 5870 GPU for $150 from someone on craigslist.  I met the seller in person and I have a vivid memory of my hands shaking as I handed over the money, feeling like I was mugging the guy and afraid he was going to cancel the trade.

A 5870 did about 350MH/s (about the same order of magnitude as my whole cluster, I think) and at the time the difficulty was about 100k, so that GPU would have produced about 3.2 BTC per day and would pay for itself super quick.

I lived in northern Virginia and had really inexpensive power-- something like $0.055/KWH.  I went on to fill my basement with GPUs and had quite an adventure convincing random staff at AMD distributors to go search their warehouse for extra cases of GPUs as they all sold out due to mining demand.  After the crash in 2011 my hashrate kept going up.  At two points I was >1% of the network hashrate personally (once during the GPU era, and again after ASICs were a thing).  My house was heated entirely by mining, in the winter you could see where the power lines were buried because it melted the snow there first.  I had the police show up poking around, I think because either my power usage or due to unlawful use of FLIR had them thinking I had a grow op.

I wish I had pictures of my setup.  I screwed 1x2" boards to the walls and then screwed the GPUs directly to them.  Motherboards were attached to the GPUs with pci extension cables.  Motherboards and PSUs were hung of the gpus (and walls in the case of the PSU) with zip ties.  "Look Ma! No case required!".  Everything running at 240v to maximise psu efficiency.  I used 6 gpus to a board and wired the serial port of each board to the reset pins of the board next to it, so if the kernel hung I could restart the machines remotely.

The cheap consumer GPUs really weren't made for extended heavy usage.  Fans would fail all the time and start making an awful noise.  I'd get up in the middle of the night to fix them-- I hated dealing with it but wanted the Bitcoins more.  For years after I suffered the mild traumatic effect of waking up thinking I heard a failing fan and hoping out of bed to go fix it.

My big GPU farm came to an end when I went to work for Mozilla and moved to California where power isn't so cheap... around that time though GPU based litecoin mining had started and I was able to RMA all my GPUs then sold them all for more than I paid for them!  (this wasn't the end of my mining ... as real ASIC miners came not too long after)

3. How did you get on the forum?

My first interaction with the Bitcoin community was on IRC and email, but a lot of the discussion back then was on the forum.  Personally, I never really liked web forums (though I eventually warmed up to BCT) but this was the obvious place to be.

Fun fact: I think after Theymos (of course) and Hostfat I am the third longest tenured still active moderator.

4.1.I heard that you have been one of the most active Bitcoin developers since 2011.  What did you see important in this project and why did you decide to work in it?

I've only ever been most active in terms of talking to people, including non-developers.  When it comes to actually writing software I'm not especially productive, my contributions are usually related to protocol design, incentives, review, system effects.. stuff like that.

Early on in Bitcoin's life it was clear that while in one sense the system was complete there was still a tremendous amount of work required to make it usable (esp while preserving its awesome properties).  My first big and lasting contribution was probably the public address derivation (which was later standardised by BIP32):  I'd talked to the FSF about taking Bitcoin donations and there was a desire to use a separate address per donation for invoicing purposes but it wouldn't be good to have the private keys on the webserver.  So I came up with a cryptographic way of generating new Bitcoin addresses online while keeping the private keys offline.  Somewhat ironically that original purpose is still not well covered by software today.

Prior to working on Bitcoin one of my big open source efforts was working on patent unencumbered audio codecs.  I worked on the Ogg Vorbis audio codec and the Opus audio codec among other things.  Codecs are a basically a billion dollar per year scam:  Standards compatibility forces people to use various codecs and then patent holders extract money from every device and service that sends media over the internet while legally threatening inventors that come up with better stuff.  To the limited extent that the patents are valid at all the value they provide over the alternatives is negligible, but you're forced to pay because of compatibility.  Those costs are an unearned tax and a drag on innovation everywhere online (even in places where the patents aren't enforceable).  The licensing discriminates against various business models (like open source) and people's personal freedom too.  But just by giving people a credible alternative the playing field is made more fair: When Vorbis was published MP3 licensing fees halved pretty much over night, so its mere existence benefited people who never even used it.  Vorbis only reached moderate adoption but today virtually every one of you has used Opus-- it's the mandatory codec for web based video conferencing and it's been shipped to literally billions of users.

So with codecs I was able to take some rocket sciency math and engineering stuff that I'm good at and enjoy and use it to make a tremendous benefit to the world. --- my interest in codecs freedom has it's own fun origin story (in short: I added VBR support to one of the earliest MP3 encoders, deployed it at my job, and had a vendor imply that they might get me sued/fired due to patent infringement after I told them we wouldn't be buying any more of their commercial streaming product).

In finance there are many comparable examples, where rent seekers cut a fee out of everyone elses business without really adding any value.  Their mere presence harms your personal freedom and privacy and prevents many valid forms of commerce from existing.  Central banks manage currencies in ways that aren't in your personal best interests.  Instead of patents their lock in is achieved through banking and AML rules, government imposed currencies, and a whole lot of inertia: In codecs you get forced into using formats you might not want to use by network effects, but for money those effects are much stronger.  The biggest difference though is that instead of being a billion dollar scam there are a few more zeros in the figure for finance.

I hope Bitcoin can someday be even as successful as Opus.  In that world, people may not even know that they're using Bitcoin -- but it's there, as an alternative or in the backend of their activities amplifying their freedom and keeping the old centralised alternatives on their toes.  But to get there it has to be good enough and the properties that make it valuable have to be protected.  Opus might still have been widely used but wouldn't have improved people's freedom if it had been stuffed full of restrictively licensed patents at the last minute.  Likewise, Bitcoin that became paypal 2.0 might still be popular but it would be a waste of time.  And unlike codecs, the nature of money means that there may be no near term second chance if Bitcoin fails:  Switching codecs doesn't have a big cost, but if the money you're using fails you're going to be extremely shy about adopting some other new alternative.

Obviously privacy is a big area where Bitcoin needs improvement and I've tried to come up with fancy technology to improve the situation, but it's always a balancing act.  Privacy is the one area where if Bitcoin doesn't get better at it ... it might leave the world a worse off place than if Bitcoin hadn't existed.  The worst case for Bitcoin privacy is pretty bad.  There has been a lot of progress but more is needed.

4.2.What was the main reason for founding Blockstream?

Back when that effort started there wasn't any "blockchain" industry.  There were a lot of people who wanted to spend more time working on Bitcoin but they had existing well paid jobs.  Bitcoin had become valuable enough that in theory early Bitcoiners could just fund themselves-- but instead of earning a good paycheck and using it to BUY bitcoin, you'd have to SELL bitcoin.   Not exactly the most appealing move to someone who really believes in it.

People had tried doing donations but they weren't very sustainable, and often ended up with the donors thinking they owned you in a way that even employers wouldn't (and early orgs like Bitcoin foundation were full of kinda sketchy folks).

At the same time there is just a ton of transitional work needed to bridge the rest of the world onto Bitcoin-- and plenty of interesting technologies from Bitcoin that could be applied to traditional systems to make them more bitcoin like: more secure, more private, more accountable.

During the development of Opus I made a bit of money on the side for myself developing a bespoke station-to-transmitter links system used (perhaps still used) by a really big Canadian radio station to hook up all their remote transmitter stations across Canada.  Having cool open technology is one thing, but there are plenty of businesses that will pay to help integrate it for their use.

So I hoped that we could create a company to build that bridge tech and providing way for long time Bitcoin developers to spend a lot of their time working on Bitcoin, while also helping to prepare the world for a more Bitcoin centric future.

Why did you leave Blockstream and why did you decide to devote yourself to developing protocols for Bitcoin?

Shortly after starting blockstream a huge amount of "blockchain" hype began which you'd think would be good, but it undermined our ability to set the agenda around the kinds of technology we wanted to work on (or at least my ability to set it from within Blockstream).  Basically even big firm and their brother wanted to talk to us (good!) but they were mostly pre-spun up on borderline pointless applications of technology, or even outright scams.  Simultaneously, in the Bitcoin space the mere existence of blockstream was highly weaponized and created a constant campaign of harassment-- against developers in general, against blockstream, and against me personally.  Getting death threats is just not fun.  I wasn't sure if getting out would really fix the situation at all, but at least if I felt tired of it I could unplug and ignore it for a month without letting anyone down.

The Bcash spinoff (and later futures on the ill-fated 'S2X' split) gave me a way to cash out without diminishing my long term bitcoin holdings much.  Blockstream had also worked out pretty well for me financially-- everyone there was (and I assume still is) partially paid with a fixed amount of Bitcoin the company pre-purchases at hire time and bitcoin had increased by something like a factor of 45 while I was there.  In short, I didn't need any more money and I figured I could have more fun not working there.  It was also clear that blockstream could continue on fine without me and there were several other orgs funding developers by that point-- so to the extent that I got involved to create a place to fund my colleagues to work on Bitcoin my work was done.

I hear that they made some changes after I left that I think I would have enjoyed working there more, but I don't regret leaving at all.

4.4.What future do you think bitcoin will have?

I think Bitcoin is here to stay.  What form it'll take in our lives is still an open question-- will people be using it more directly or will it take on more of a role as a high powered industrial money used to transport value across borders, across time, and protect people's freedom?  Will humans be the most frequent users of it, or will machines?

Most people couldn't have imagined the world using anything like Bitcoin as recently as ten years ago-- even though Bitcoin already existed.  Twenty years ago the question wouldn't even had made sense to most people.  I think it would be presumptuous for us to guess too much about how the future will use Bitcoin.  I don't know what the future will look like but I'm confident that there will be Bitcoin in it.

4.5.What prevents mass adoption of cryptocurrencies?

Above all: Time.   If you successfully convince someone that Bitcoin could become the defacto world currency, they'll quickly do the math and realise that this would result in an unfathomable wealth transfer.  This, naturally, seems unrealistic so they then conclude that it can't happen because the consequences will be too dire.  As time goes on Bitcoin value flows through the economy, the price goes up, and the amount of wealth transfer remaining becomes less extreme and the whole idea seems a little more credible.  More people adopt it, wash/rinse/repeat.

Overnight world domination is physically and economically impossible and that's fine because it if it did happen over night it would be highly disruptive and probably get a lot of people killed.

Beyond general adoption specific uses have their own impediments.  Computers are far too insecure, software is too buggy, we haven't solved the self-custody risk problems,  and  in the US the tax treatment is pretty good for long term hodl but pretty bad for use for small payments:  You have to report cap gains/losses on every purchase, which is a utter reporting nightmare.  There aren't any fundamental impediments to solving these problems-- they'll just take time.

5. What do you think of the current Merit system and signature campaigns?  Do they harm the forum?

I like the merit system but I suppose I should since I have among the highest merit on the forum. Smiley

I thing signature campaigns are toxic and end up attached to a lot of spam/low value posts that really harm the forum.  But it isn't clear to me that we'd be better off without them:  Without the signatures the spam would probably still happen, based on links inside the spam or just shilling scamcoins by name-- the signatures ads are just a path of least resistance. ... and at least they make the spam more identifiable.

In the subforums I moderate if there is a post which is pretty worthless and maybe spam-- if there is no signature campaign it'll usually get the benefit of doubt.  If there is... bye bye.

6. The most useful forum topic? Most helpful users?

I think it's hard to say.  I feel like the forum these days isn't living up to its potential because it's not a place that new people show up as much... and a lot of the long time expert contributors have given up on it.

Basically any interesting discussion that give people with expertise a reason to show up here and mix with the newbies is a really useful topic.

7. 3 things you would implement on the forum?

As you're probably aware there is a long standing forum rewrite that has been ongoing.  The work there contains about a zillion new ideas, many of which I thought were pretty interesting at the time.  Probably nothing I could suggest is as interesting or important as getting that done.

One thing I've really hurt for the lack of is the ability to ban specific users from specific subforums and threads.  By design BCT is extremely open and permissive, but sometimes someone who contributes usefully in one subforum just constantly makes a nuisance of themselves in other discussions.  Sure, readers can ignore people they don't like, but it's difficult to coordinate that so in practice people can continually derail threads repeating the same boring crap over and over again.  Experts can pick and choose where they spend their time and they don't usually enjoy wasting it in places where the conversation is derailed by the same idiots over and over again.

Many of these disruptive folks end up getting banned forum wide, but it takes a long time-- and in the mean time a lot of valuable posters just give up and go elsewhere.   If we could thread and subforum scope bans we could better balance the ability of everyone to participate with people's freedom to not have every discussion get disrupted.

8. Do you trade on exchanges or invest in projects?

I trade options on Bitcoin at LedgerX with a portion of my stash.  Most of my trading could be characterised as selling moon insurance (deep out of the money calls) and crash insurance (deep out of the money puts).  For the most part, the activity hedges my substantial Bitcoin exposure-- and it more than covers all of my living expenses which gives me peace of mind.  I've averaged a ~20%/yr return on investment (not including Bitcoin's gain in value, of course) since I opened the account in December 2017.

I think more people trading Bitcoin should be interested in options: They can be used to better reflect the kinds of opinions people have about Bitcoin's price and can be shaped to better match people's risk tolerance.  For people who want more risk options (esp physically delivered ones like LedgerX) can be a lot safer than the leveraged Bitcoin products traded elsewhere.  They can also be more tax efficient.

Of course any kind of trading activity has risks, including custody risks on top of the volatility ones.  I don't think anyone should be trading with all of their coins.

9. Tell a story about your big profit or big loss?

For me the biggest "profit" is all the damn fork coins and spinoffs.  I find it extremely ironic that the very people that relentlessly attacked and harassed me for *years* went on to make me more money than anything else (other than owning Bitcoin in the first place) by a wide margin.

Most people know that BCH traded at over 0.2 BTC/BCH (and also hit $4k in fiat terms), but the S2X futures also traded at >0.2 (and heavily between 0.1 and 0.2).  This means that well timed sells could have got you 20% of your Bitcoin holdings _each_.  Bitgold, BitcoinDiamond, Sbitcoin, BitcoinX -- each was small but combined with decent timing they also added up to another 20%.

So you could receive 50%-70% of your Bitcoin stash over again from these things (depending on timing and if you compounded them), with no risk to your Bitcoin position other than the risk of making some screw-up handling your keys.  ... And I pretty much did and did so at near (thus far) ATH Bitcoin prices.

A lot of people don't realize how profitable the forks were, especially with well timed trades and the patience and technical expertise to go through and dump them.  I owe a lot of thanks to the community on the #bitcoin-forks IRC channel for helping gather and disseminate good information all the forks at the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018.

I hated dealing with them, hated their disruption, hated their bad incentives, hated reading their crappy source code, hated the abuse from their promoters. But the profits would make even a ferengi blush.

As far as losses go-- I bought some goxcoins, mostly at 20% off face though some at higher prices.  Mark lied to my (virtual) face about the causes of his issues, I computed the upper bound losses from malleability and thought the goxcoins were a pretty good deal.  Oh well-- that's what you get for believing a Bitcoin Foundation founder. Smiley Depending on how you account for it and when the insolvency pays out this might be a small loss (percentage wise).  Given the same info I would have gladly done it again.  In practice having coins held up in the gox insolvency discouraged me from selling any in the $200-$3000 price range, so it arguably was a big gain too...  Either way I have no regrets.

10. What do you think about the DEFI ecosystem?

Most of it is midway between pointless and an outright scam.  Some of the BTC 'distributed custody' systems are essentially give one side a free option on the BTC/ETH exchange rate (basically: at most they lose some ETH if they steal the Bitcoin they're holding-- but this is irrelevant if the ETH price has crashed enough relative to Bitcoin).  Some are auto-zhoutongers that will crush participants due to volatility with behaviour they don't understand: Their users are picking up pennies in front of a steam roller and have no idea.  Others are just HYIP with a layer of technobabble obfuscation on top.  When these things go tits up I hope they don't create contagion that depresses the Bitcoin price, but if that does happen-- it'll recover eventually and I'll be buying the cheap coins along the way.

11. Is your anonymity a vital necessity or precaution?

I'm not anonymous.  Being anonymous and having a persistent identity is extremely hard, maybe impossible.  Plus you run the risk that you think you're anonymous but then your identity gets leaked and you're not prepared for it.

I think it's critically important that people be able to communicate anonymously, but right now I think no one really knows how to have a strongly anonymous persistent identity.

12. The last cryptocurrency book you read?

I've never read a cryptocurrency book.  I doubt many will ever be as good as drinking from the firehose of mailing lists, bitcointalk, irc, etc.

Now, if you want to talk about books with cryptocurrency in them-- I read a lot of science fiction.   Non-fiction is useful if you someones idea of how it is or how it was, but ideas about how it might be are best found in fiction where authors aren't stuck with telling the truth (or at least pretending to...).  "Shadow Flock" a short story in Instantiation by Greg Egan was a fun read and clearly Bitcoin inspired.  "Neptune's Brood" by Charles Stross is an obviously somewhat Bitcoin inspired novel which I enjoyed.

13. Advise 3 cryptocurrencies/tokens for investment in the next 1-2 years?

Other than Bitcoin I don't think there is a lot of cause to own anything else "crypto" unless you have a specific need.  On BCT I think more people need to be preached to about the value of diversifying into non-cryptocurrency assets and managing their risk.

There are many possible futures and I think the best advice is to take each credible, if unlikely, future seriously and think about what decisions you can make today which you would or wouldn't regret making.  I think it's better to minimise regret across the various possibilities rather than seek the greatest benefit in the situation you hope for best.  It can even be good to invest *against* what you hope and think will happen, so that at least you get the consolation of a pay off if your expectations turn out wrong.

14. How much will Bitcoin cost at the end of 2020?

I believe that for sufficiently liquid assets the current market price is almost always the best generally available estimate of the near term future market price-- it's not perfect or even good, but that doesn't mean that anyone knows better.  In any situation where I felt differently, I would be trading to profit from the difference and move the price closer to the truth-- and not posting about it here.

Don't believe anyone who is extremely confident about future prices of any speculative asset.  They're fools at best, scammers at worse.  If we knew what the future price would be it would already be there.

But I can tell you that due to good risk management and policy-driven unemotional trading that I will be perfectly content with the price, whatever it is.

Cheers,


Gold, Greg, I ate every word of that great post.  Hope to hear from other core devs like Luke and others.  Core is a shining Light in a Cryptoworld mostly taken over by scammers and people with really ill intent and poor character. 

BTW, your strangle OTM options strategy is the best way to go.  I think BTC will moon rather quickly then collapse (for various reasons).  Hopefully your contract expiration dates are out some ~6 months. 

Man, how does one hire core devs given you don’t need anything?  I need ya.  BADLY!!!   Grin

Thanks again for the post, Gmax!!!


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December 01, 2020, 06:02:46 AM
 #453

Thanks for giving me privileges to partake in bitcointalk interview despite that I have been pm longtime now please pardon my delay zasad@

Question
1. When and why did you become interested in cryptocurrencies?
Shall during my congratulations post I state it very clear which happens to be my discovery data or analysis of bitcoin in my post
- I noticed what is bitcoin in year 2015,
- And developed passion in bitcoin 2017/2018.
- And discovered the existence of bitcointalk forum in Twitter in year 2019. So before all these, I know about cryptocurrency since 2015 but I never knew about bitcoin till 2015 but fully 2018, and that period it happens to be obvious to me, I really like bitcoin because it's a decentralized currency which no one can determine it's control  or increment except it's marketcap, another reason I like cryptocurrency generally is because it has higher security format than fiat currency.

2. When and why did you buy your first bitcoin?
I created Bitcoin wallet June 2018, and purchase bitcoin through my colleague who educate me concerning cryptocurrency especially bitcoin, which till date i can any coin.

3. How did you get on the forum?
The information of Bitcointalk.org community is real information and i noticed what is Bitcointalk through social media especially, Twitter and Facebook, and immediately i saw the platform, I did hesitate to register because of the passion I have for crypto.

4.1.You have recently registered on the forum, what are your plans for the next year?
Yeah, I have things I feel is positive such as to make impact in forum that will bear my image, such as invention of app,
And also make a positive research concerning cryptocurrency to enable me to move forward to the community.

4.2. What prevents mass adoption of cryptocurrencies?
It's because people in society mindset is that bitcoin is a scam, so it's only reason I find that prevent people not adopt cryptocurrency at early stage 2010 and 2014 but now it's obvious that many people is adopting cryptocurrency since they have found out how legitimate crypto is especially bitcoin.


4.3. How do you think mass advertising of gambling projects has a positive effect on the development of the forum or harms the community?
From my perspective, it's really obvious that advertising gambling project really make the community proactive and also educate people on how to advertise other products with excemption of gambling, no harm.

4.4. How do you consider whether 2-3 years of experience in cryptocurrency is enough to successfully invest or does an investor need to receive special education?
We all know that no one is encyclopedia of knowledge, in every business someone need to undergoes steps to achieve his goals, so for someone to be successful in cryptocurrency I thinks it have to do with trading and investment, within interval of 3 years it will propagates if follows precautions properly.


5. What do you think of the current Merit system and signature campaigns?  Do they harm the forum?
Shall I did meet when forum was regulating merit system but since I join bitcointalk forum I noticed merit is one of things that keep forum active and everyone is ready to research in order to earn merit in case if they will be introduction or adoption of new merit system after the rank of legendary, in aspect of signature campaign, merit is good to justify any user that wants to partake in any signature campaign, I think it's credible using merit system.

6. The most useful forum topic? Most helpful users?
Congratulation topics.  The most helpful users is, @CryptopreneurBrainboss  @fillippone  @DdmrDdmr

7. 3 things you would implement on the forum?
1.positive things such as introducing App that will capture all PMS even though deleted pms from inbox and outbox
2. Implementation of merit and demerits system in the forum.
3.implementation of special board for giveaway merit only.

8. Do you trade on exchanges or invest in projects?
Investing give more profit than trading, trading need more efforts to be monitoring market, so I really invest to save time.

9. Tell a story about your big profit or big loss?
I never notice loss via my investment, I purchase btc when it was $90,000 and store it in my wallet.

10. What do you think about the DEFI ecosystem?
Bitcoin is a government of it own and it can't deprived decentralized.

11. Is your anonymity a vital necessity or precaution?
To ensure that all the necessary information needed to elevate the community is intact and also put into practice for betterment of tomorrow, because It's obvious that legacy created by human doesn't depart when the person departure.

12. The last cryptocurrency book you read?
I have not study or read any textbook discussing cryptocurrency especially bitcoin.

13. Advise 3 cryptocurrencies/tokens for investment in the next 1-2 years?
1.BTC = bitcoin
2.ETH = ethereum
3.LTC = litecoin.

14. How much will Bitcoin cost at the end of 2020?
Based on existence acceleration of bitcoin currently in price, I think bitcoin will get to $20,000 directly to the end of year, because bitcoin increments is speeding up two - two - weeks interval.

15. P.S. (Optional)
Irrespective of challenges what ever we decide shall surely come to accomplished if we give it attention to it, btc always render happiness to people that have it, think big and start small to achieve yours.

.
SPIN

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[/ta
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December 01, 2020, 08:58:36 AM
Merited by allyouracid (1)
 #454

Thank you zasad@ for all the Interviews!

I read it from time to time and are allways suprised about some "untold storys".
My favorits are philipma1957 and from the german comunity allyouracid.

But what impressed me the most was gmaxwells interview.
Code:
gmaxwell

keep going with this series.

from the creator of CGMiner http://solo.ckpool.org for Solominers
paused: passthrough for solo.ckpool.org => stratum+tcp://rfpool.org:3334
Stalker22
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December 01, 2020, 10:10:52 AM
 #455

zasad@ made the strategic error of telling me I had until the end of November to respond -- so you get a WALL OF TEXT.


It was such an amazing wall of text, you're right.  Wink
But surely, one of the best interviews I've ever read. Quite informative reading, and I think everybody should read it.



@o_solo_miner I think we are supposed to vote in this topic: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5294957

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    PLAY NOW    
allyouracid
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December 01, 2020, 02:22:09 PM
 #456

Thank you zasad@ for all the Interviews!

I read it from time to time and are allways suprised about some "untold storys".
My favorits are philipma1957 and from the german comunity allyouracid.

But what impressed me the most was gmaxwells interview.
Code:
gmaxwell

keep going with this series.
Thanks for hinting me on gmaxwells post, and the kind words of course. I wouldn't have read his post without this mention. Very interesting to get such a detailed insight from someone much more than just an early Bitcoiner… thanks for taking the time to write this @gmaxwell! Cool

Especially interesting to read that he contributed to stuff I actually remember using a long time ago. 👍👍

Don't visit my shitcoin blog: OCOIN.DEV
Use cointracking.info for tax declaration & tracking of your trades!
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December 01, 2020, 02:55:12 PM
 #457

Thank you zasad@ for all the Interviews!

I read it from time to time and are allways suprised about some "untold storys".
My favorits are philipma1957 and from the german comunity allyouracid.

But what impressed me the most was gmaxwells interview.
Code:
gmaxwell

keep going with this series.
Thanks for hinting me on gmaxwells post, and the kind words of course. I wouldn't have read his post without this mention. Very interesting to get such a detailed insight from someone much more than just an early Bitcoiner… thanks for taking the time to write this @gmaxwell! Cool

Especially interesting to read that he contributed to stuff I actually remember using a long time ago. 👍👍

Yeah, it was a great read.  I wrote other core devs to post here but nothing yet.  Maybe cause most of them blocked me.  :/

iXcoin - Welcome to the F U T U R E!
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December 02, 2020, 04:38:38 AM
Merited by LoyceV (8), vapourminer (1), JayJuanGee (1), DdmrDdmr (1)
 #458

zasad@ asked for an interview some time ago, hope it's not too late  Cheesy

1. When and why did you become interested in cryptocurrencies?

I was looking for some online work, and google search led me to the Services board on this forum, after that I started checking other boards and quickly became interested in Bitcoin. This happened in 2016, and prior to that I already had 2 interactions with crypto, but sadly they didn't develop into a deeper interest. I claimed 0.005 BTC ($96 today!) from a faucet back in 2012, and later in 2014 I used those coins to buy some DOGE, that I left on exchange which later pulled an exit scam.

2. When and why did you buy your first bitcoin?

Shortly after I joined this forum, I bought a small amount of BTC, because in early 2016 the rally was already starting, so it seemed like a good investment.

3. How did you get on the forum?

Read answer 1.

4.1. What prevents mass adoption of cryptocurrencies?

The fact that to average joe, cryptos aren't really a revolution. It's just digital payments, that were available for a long time, the fact that it's done without middlemen doesn't mean much to them - people usually don't view central authorities as inherently wrong.

4.2. How do you think mass advertising of gambling projects has a positive effect on the development of the forum or harms the community?

I think its neutral.

4.3. How do you consider whether 2-3 years of experience in cryptocurrency is enough to successfully invest or does an investor need to receive special education?

You don't need experience or special education to make a good investment choice, you just need to learn some basics of cryptography and computer science. With that, you'll see that 99.999% if crypto is worthless.

5. What do you think of the current Merit system and signature campaigns?  Do they harm the forum?

Merit system helped to keep shitposting in check, but low-paying, especially ICO, signature campaigns caused a lot of harm in the past. These days I see much less worthless spam.

6. The most useful forum topic? Most helpful users?

Can't think of a single topic, but the Beginners & Help board has some really good guides. o_e_l_e_o, LoyceV, mocacinno, DdmrDdmr, pooya87 quickly come to mind, but this forum has a lot of helpful users.

7. 3 things you would implement on the forum?


Live post preview as you write a post, upvotes/downvotes for posts, native quote and merit notifications.

8. Do you trade on exchanges or invest in projects?


I trade with tiny amounts purely as a hobby.

9. Tell a story about your big profit or big loss?

I invested 0.01 BTC in XRP in 2017, and a few months later it grew to 0.110 BTC. I sold it back to BTC and shortly stopped messing with alts after that. My biggest loss is buying some XMR at 0.016 BTC, failing to sell at its ATH of 0.033 BTC. I sold half of it at a loss, and hodl the rest still, hoping for a bullish XMR market.

10. What do you think about the DEFI ecosystem?


Seems like it's a scam ecosystem, just like ICO was. I don't see a world where DeFi poses a real competition to the traditional finance.

11. Is your anonymity a vital necessity or precaution?

Well, I don't have any enemies here or outside of this forum, so it's more of a precaution, I guess.

12. The last cryptocurrency book you read?

Princeton's "Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology". Really great book for beginners.

13. Advise 3 cryptocurrencies/tokens for investment in the next 1-2 years?

Bitcoin and nothing more.

14. How much will Bitcoin cost at the end of 2020?


$24,000
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December 03, 2020, 05:15:26 PM
Merited by LoyceV (8), vapourminer (1), JayJuanGee (1), DdmrDdmr (1)
 #459

I was incredibly busy with exams recently and I just remembered about this PM. Sorryy!

1. When and why did you become interested in cryptocurrencies?
I think it was in the early 2014s. Bitcoin was featured on my news, just a short segment, nothing in depth at all. Curiosity got the better of me so I spent the whole night researching about Bitcoin and accidentally stumbled upon this forum. I realised that it was a good way for me to buy stuff online (I couldn't get a debit card as I didn't fulfill the age requirement) and I got hooked onto it after reading through the whitepaper. It was a good thing though, it is probably the catalyst for me to pursue a degree in computing right now Tongue.

2. When and why did you buy your first bitcoin?
IIRC, it was around 2015. Well, I have always wanted to own my first Bitcoin. I got fractions of it previously by selling my stuff online and trying the various faucets (wasn't that worth my time). A Bitcoin ATM came to my country and it didn't require KYC verification. So I traveled 1 hour to the ATM and purchased my first Bitcoin. I was pretty excited at that time and I actually used my paper wallet for that.

3. How did you get on the forum?
I was googling it. Luck has it, was the 4th link after bitcoin.org.

4.1. What prevents mass adoption of cryptocurrencies?
Volatility and government regulations. I think the government is the greatest hurdle after it's volatility. The main problem with cryptos in general is that they aren't backed by anything and is a rather novel technology. The general population is probably fairly skeptical about this entire concept, why would they take their time to research about blockchain and stuff right? The volatility obviously doesn't help with the situation, having your net worth getting wiped by 1k in a few seconds is certainly not fun. Government regulations is probably next and it's probably about the difficulty to regulate it and the problem with tax evasion and stuff. Not good for Bitcoin but that's what the government has to prioritize.

4.2. How do you think mass advertising of gambling projects has a positive effect on the development of the forum or harms the community?
Well, I don't think there can be a positive effect. It's gambling after all and mathematically the house would always win, combined with the negative stigma associated with it. I see gambling ads all the time and I don't think having them on a forum is necessarily bad, as long as it's not endorsed explicitly.

4.3. How do you consider whether 2-3 years of experience in cryptocurrency is enough to successfully invest or does an investor need to receive special education?
It's enough. I don't see Bitcoin as a viable investment though, more like a speculative asset. You just have to accept that the 1k that you've invested in Bitcoin can become 0 in the next second. Once you have that mindset in mind, you're ready to invest.

5. What do you think of the current Merit system and signature campaigns?  Do they harm the forum?
I think I was one of the earlier supporters of the merit system and regularly rebuked those who were trying to argue against it. The main thing that is affected by the merit system is the rank and it honestly doesn't matter. Its a forum for discussions and I don't think having a lower rank undermines the message that one is putting across. Signature campaign wise, well it does bring more traffic to the site but I'm not sure how beneficial it is. I do see loads of interesting discussion and the same goes the other way.

6. The most useful forum topic? Most helpful users?
I don't have any topics in mind but in terms of a subsection it's probably Development & Technical. I think LoyceV and TryNinja has contributed immensely to the forum, I love the sites that they have created.

7. 3 things you would implement on the forum?
2FA, mobile site (it's so annoying to type on my phone) and probably autolocking topics (I really can't wrap my head around some topics which obviously only needs one reply and has 11 pages worth of rubbish)

8. Do you trade on exchanges or invest in projects?
Nope. I don't see a point, not an educated trader and I don't have interest in most of the projects (unless they offer something innovative)

9. Tell a story about your big profit or big loss?
Biggest profit and loss was when I bought at 8k and sold at 10k.

10. What do you think about the DEFI ecosystem?
No opinion. I was pretty busy recently and I haven't had the time to scrutinize it.

11. Is your anonymity a vital necessity or precaution?
Necessity. I would prefer those who know my real life identity to keep it a secret for personal reasons.

12. The last cryptocurrency book you read?
Mastering Bitcoin. I think it's probably the only book you need to know the inner workings of the system.

13. Advise 3 cryptocurrencies/tokens for investment in the next 1-2 years?
Ethereum and Bitcoin only.

14. How much will Bitcoin cost at the end of 2020?
One month away but I sure hope it'll be stable at 20k at least.

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December 04, 2020, 08:02:35 AM
Merited by Symmetrick (7), DdmrDdmr (2), FP91G (2), JayJuanGee (1), zasad@ (1), Unsoldier (1), Basiak (1)
 #460

Thx zasad@  It was nice to remember some moments and to think about others

1. When and why did you become interested in cryptocurrencies?
It was 2012. I saw what mining is. It was LTC. It looked so silly that i decided to forget it. The next time it was in February 2017 and still continious.

2. When and why did you buy your first bitcoin?
First BTC exchange was in April 2017, but it was about 0.01 BTC. First 1BTC I`ve got at Feb, 2018

3. How did you get on the forum?
I was searching information about mining. At 2-3 main forums i read that time i foten saw "bittalk", "bct" and some others. Find what is it and it became my main forum

4.1. When did you start mining? Is this a hobby or your main job?
April 2017. Firstly it was a hobby, some money for pleasure. 3-4 months later it took so much time and effort, that i can say it became a work. But even now it isn`t my main job.

4.2. What is the power consumption of all your devices? How much does 1 kilowatt of electricity cost?
I cant say anything about power consumtion Smiley Costs different, it depends on the site with the equipment. Right now it is from 0 to $0.06

4.3. What is better for mining: ASICs, video cards, FPGA?
I cant answer correct this question. It depends on a large number of conditions: noise, electricity cost, power limit, site, money that you are ready to spend. For me - only video cards.

4.4.How to properly dispose of the mined cryptocurrency (how much to hold, how much to sell)?
There is now one answer at this question. In 2017 i sold everything to reclainm investment. Later i tried to trade, to hold, to invest... It depends on your own situation. In 2018 i had enough money from my main job and i sold only as much as i needed to pay electricity bills. In 2019 i sold about 90%, in 2020 i decided to upgrade all eqiupment, so, i`m selling again most of mined cryptocurrency. Someone another can say - that the best choice was to buy BTC all that time and he is right too.

4.5.They say that mining is a constant sense of risk (the rate will fall, the lights will be turned off, the equipment will burn out), is it so?
Yes, it is. Mining is a job, that can give you good profit only if you work hard. And it has some risk certainly. Sometimes you are driving at night to site fo a hundred km, sometimes your power supply explodes, sometimes you forgot to pay internet bill. Different situations, different problems you have to decide.

5. What do you think of the current Merit system and signature campaigns? Do they harm the forum?
As for me, merit system helps forum. Before it was really difficult to find useful information among bots "shitposting"

6. The most useful forum topic? Most helpful users?
Most useful sections for me - Altcoin Discussion, Mining. I cant name onlt 1 or 2 most helpful users. The most helpful user all the time for me was markiz73 but he had been banned.

7. 3 things you would implement on the forum?
I`m not so active forum user to implement it. It opportunities are enough for me.

8. Do you trade on exchanges or invest in projects?
Mostly trade. Mostly unsuccessfully Smiley I invested about 3-4 times, only 1 time it was great success.

9. Tell a story about your big profit or big loss?
Pundi X. NPXC. I was searching for one of my first signature bounties. Firstly i decided to participate only in bounty programm, but later i bought some tokens. And in April 2018 was huge pump and i most of it tokens. Nowadays it near scam projects but i have a bit of their tokens just in case.

10. What do you think about the DEFI ecosystem?
Mostly is`t like masternodes. The main part of them looks like scam. Less than 5% trying to decide some problems.

11. Is your anonymity a vital necessity or precaution?
Precaution. I know that if someone serious needs to find you - he will find. There is now real anonymity in our world. Just try not to attract attention.

12. The last cryptocurrency book you read?
How to DeFi

15. P.S. (Optional)
Remember, that if you want to get real profit with cryptocurrencies - it must be a job/bussiness. If it`s just a game for you - be ready to loose all your money.

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.Duelbits.
..........UNLEASH..........
THE ULTIMATE
GAMING EXPERIENCE
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