Summary: Everyone knows that when you give your assets to someone else, they always keep them safe. If this is true for individuals, it is certainly true for businesses. Custodians always tell the truth and manage funds properly. They won't have any interest in taking the assets as an exchange operator would. Auditors tell the truth and can't be misled. That's because organizations that are regulated are incapable of lying and don't make mistakes. First, some background. Here is a summary of how custodians make us more secure: Previously, we might give Alice our crypto assets to hold. There were risks:
Alice might take the assets and disappear.
Alice might spend the assets and pretend that she still has them (fractional model).
Alice might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Alice might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Alice might lose access to the assets.
But "no worries", Alice has a custodian named Bob. Bob is dressed in a nice suit. He knows some politicians. And he drives a Porsche. "So you have nothing to worry about!". And look at all the benefits we get:
Alice can't take the assets and disappear (unless she asks Bob or never gives them to Bob).
Alice can't spend the assets and pretend that she still has them. (Unless she didn't give them to Bob or asks him for them.)
Alice can't store the assets insecurely so they get stolen. (After all - she doesn't have any control over the withdrawal process from any of Bob's systems, right?)
Alice can't give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force. (Bob will stop her, right Bob?)
Alice can't lose access to the funds. (She'll always be present, sane, and remember all secrets, right?)
See - all problems are solved! All we have to worry about now is:
Bob might take the assets and disappear.
Bob might spend the assets and pretend that he still has them (fractional model).
Bob might store the assets insecurely and they'll get stolen.
Bob might give the assets to someone else by mistake or by force.
Bob might lose access to the assets.
It's pretty simple. Before we had to trust Alice. Now we only have to trust Alice, Bob, and all the ways in which they communicate. Just think of how much more secure we are! "On top of that", Bob assures us, "we're using a special wallet structure". Bob shows Alice a diagram. "We've broken the balance up and store it in lots of smaller wallets. That way", he assures her, "a thief can't take it all at once". And he points to a historic case where a large sum was taken "because it was stored in a single wallet... how stupid". "Very early on, we used to have all the crypto in one wallet", he said, "and then one Christmas a hacker came and took it all. We call him the Grinch. Now we individually wrap each crypto and stick it under a binary search tree. The Grinch has never been back since." "As well", Bob continues, "even if someone were to get in, we've got insurance. It covers all thefts and even coercion, collusion, and misplaced keys - only subject to the policy terms and conditions." And with that, he pulls out a phone-book sized contract and slams it on the desk with a thud. "Yep", he continues, "we're paying top dollar for one of the best policies in the country!" "Can I read it?' Alice asks. "Sure," Bob says, "just as soon as our legal team is done with it. They're almost through the first chapter." He pauses, then continues. "And can you believe that sales guy Mike? He has the same year Porsche as me. I mean, what are the odds?" "Do you use multi-sig?", Alice asks. "Absolutely!" Bob replies. "All our engineers are fully trained in multi-sig. Whenever we want to set up a new wallet, we generate 2 separate keys in an air-gapped process and store them in this proprietary system here. Look, it even requires the biometric signature from one of our team members to initiate any withdrawal." He demonstrates by pressing his thumb into the display. "We use a third-party cloud validation API to match the thumbprint and authorize each withdrawal. The keys are also backed up daily to an off-site third-party." "Wow that's really impressive," Alice says, "but what if we need access for a withdrawal outside of office hours?" "Well that's no issue", Bob says, "just send us an email, call, or text message and we always have someone on staff to help out. Just another part of our strong commitment to all our customers!" "What about Proof of Reserve?", Alice asks. "Of course", Bob replies, "though rather than publish any blockchain addresses or signed transaction, for privacy we just do a SHA256 refactoring of the inverse hash modulus for each UTXO nonce and combine the smart contract coefficient consensus in our hyperledger lightning node. But it's really simple to use." He pushes a button and a large green checkmark appears on a screen. "See - the algorithm ran through and reserves are proven." "Wow", Alice says, "you really know your stuff! And that is easy to use! What about fiat balances?" "Yeah, we have an auditor too", Bob replies, "Been using him for a long time so we have quite a strong relationship going! We have special books we give him every year and he's very efficient! Checks the fiat, crypto, and everything all at once!" "We used to have a nice offline multi-sig setup we've been using without issue for the past 5 years, but I think we'll move all our funds over to your facility," Alice says. "Awesome", Bob replies, "Thanks so much! This is perfect timing too - my Porsche got a dent on it this morning. We have the paperwork right over here." "Great!", Alice replies. And with that, Alice gets out her pen and Bob gets the contract. "Don't worry", he says, "you can take your crypto-assets back anytime you like - just subject to our cancellation policy. Our annual management fees are also super low and we don't adjust them often". How many holes have to exist for your funds to get stolen? Just one. Why are we taking a powerful offline multi-sig setup, widely used globally in hundreds of different/lacking regulatory environments with 0 breaches to date, and circumventing it by a demonstrably weak third party layer? And paying a great expense to do so? If you go through the list of breaches in the past 2 years to highly credible organizations, you go through the list of major corporate frauds (only the ones we know about), you go through the list of all the times platforms have lost funds, you go through the list of times and ways that people have lost their crypto from identity theft, hot wallet exploits, extortion, etc... and then you go through this custodian with a fine-tooth comb and truly believe they have value to add far beyond what you could, sticking your funds in a wallet (or set of wallets) they control exclusively is the absolute worst possible way to take advantage of that security. The best way to add security for crypto-assets is to make a stronger multi-sig. With one custodian, what you are doing is giving them your cryptocurrency and hoping they're honest, competent, and flawlessly secure. It's no different than storing it on a really secure exchange. Maybe the insurance will cover you. Didn't work for Bitpay in 2015. Didn't work for Yapizon in 2017. Insurance has never paid a claim in the entire history of cryptocurrency. But maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your exact scenario will buck the trend and be what they're willing to cover. After the large deductible and hopefully without a long and expensive court battle. And you want to advertise this increase in risk, the lapse of judgement, an accident waiting to happen, as though it's some kind of benefit to customers ("Free institutional-grade storage for your digital assets.")? And then some people are writing to the OSC that custodians should be mandatory for all funds on every exchange platform? That this somehow will make Canadians as a whole more secure or better protected compared with standard air-gapped multi-sig? On what planet? Most of the problems in Canada stemmed from one thing - a lack of transparency. If Canadians had known what a joke Quadriga was - it wouldn't have grown to lose $400m from hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And Gerald Cotten would be in jail, not wherever he is now (at best, rotting peacefully). EZ-BTC and mister Dave Smilie would have been a tiny little scam to his friends, not a multi-million dollar fraud. Einstein would have got their act together or been shut down BEFORE losing millions and millions more in people's funds generously donated to criminals. MapleChange wouldn't have even been a thing. And maybe we'd know a little more about CoinTradeNewNote - like how much was lost in there. Almost all of the major losses with cryptocurrency exchanges involve deception with unbacked funds. So it's great to see transparency reports from BitBuy and ShakePay where someone independently verified the backing. The only thing we don't have is:
ANY CERTAINTY BALANCES WEREN'T EXCLUDED. Quadriga's largest account was $70m. 80% of funds are in 20% of accounts (Pareto principle). All it takes is excluding a few really large accounts - and nobody's the wiser. A fractional platform can easily pass any audit this way.
ANY VISIBILITY WHATSOEVER INTO THE CUSTODIANS. BitBuy put out their report before moving all the funds to their custodian and ShakePay apparently can't even tell us who the custodian is. That's pretty important considering that basically all of the funds are now stored there.
ANY IDEA ABOUT THE OTHER EXCHANGES. In order for this to be effective, it has to be the norm. It needs to be "unusual" not to know. If obscurity is the norm, then it's super easy for people like Gerald Cotten and Dave Smilie to blend right in.
It's not complicated to validate cryptocurrency assets. They need to exist, they need to be spendable, and they need to cover the total balances. There are plenty of credible people and firms across the country that have the capacity to reasonably perform this validation. Having more frequent checks by different, independent, parties who publish transparent reports is far more valuable than an annual check by a single "more credible/official" party who does the exact same basic checks and may or may not publish anything. Here's an example set of requirements that could be mandated:
First report within 1 month of launching, another within 3 months, and further reports at minimum every 6 months thereafter.
No auditor can be repeated within a 12 month period.
All reports must be public, identifying the auditor and the full methodology used.
All auditors must be independent of the firm being audited with no conflict of interest.
Reports must include the percentage of each asset backed, and how it's backed.
The auditor publishes a hash list, which lists a hash of each customer's information and balances that were included. Hash is one-way encryption so privacy is fully preserved. Every customer can use this to have 100% confidence they were included.
If we want more extensive requirements on audits, these should scale upward based on the total assets at risk on the platform, and whether the platform has loaned their assets out.
There are ways to structure audits such that neither crypto assets nor customer information are ever put at risk, and both can still be properly validated and publicly verifiable. There are also ways to structure audits such that they are completely reasonable for small platforms and don't inhibit innovation in any way. By making the process as reasonable as possible, we can completely eliminate any reason/excuse that an honest platform would have for not being audited. That is arguable far more important than any incremental improvement we might get from mandating "the best of the best" accountants. Right now we have nothing mandated and tons of Canadians using offshore exchanges with no oversight whatsoever. Transparency does not prove crypto assets are safe. CoinTradeNewNote, Flexcoin ($600k), and Canadian Bitcoins ($100k) are examples where crypto-assets were breached from platforms in Canada. All of them were online wallets and used no multi-sig as far as any records show. This is consistent with what we see globally - air-gapped multi-sig wallets have an impeccable record, while other schemes tend to suffer breach after breach. We don't actually know how much CoinTrader lost because there was no visibility. Rather than publishing details of what happened, the co-founder of CoinTrader silently moved on to found another platform - the "most trusted way to buy and sell crypto" - a site that has no information whatsoever (that I could find) on the storage practices and a FAQ advising that “[t]rading cryptocurrency is completely safe” and that having your own wallet is “entirely up to you! You can certainly keep cryptocurrency, or fiat, or both, on the app.” Doesn't sound like much was learned here, which is really sad to see. It's not that complicated or unreasonable to set up a proper hardware wallet. Multi-sig can be learned in a single course. Something the equivalent complexity of a driver's license test could prevent all the cold storage exploits we've seen to date - even globally. Platform operators have a key advantage in detecting and preventing fraud - they know their customers far better than any custodian ever would. The best job that custodians can do is to find high integrity individuals and train them to form even better wallet signatories. Rather than mandating that all platforms expose themselves to arbitrary third party risks, regulations should center around ensuring that all signatories are background-checked, properly trained, and using proper procedures. We also need to make sure that signatories are empowered with rights and responsibilities to reject and report fraud. They need to know that they can safely challenge and delay a transaction - even if it turns out they made a mistake. We need to have an environment where mistakes are brought to the surface and dealt with. Not one where firms and people feel the need to hide what happened. In addition to a knowledge-based test, an auditor can privately interview each signatory to make sure they're not in coercive situations, and we should make sure they can freely and anonymously report any issues without threat of retaliation. A proper multi-sig has each signature held by a separate person and is governed by policies and mutual decisions instead of a hierarchy. It includes at least one redundant signature. For best results, 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. History has demonstrated over and over again the risk of hot wallets even to highly credible organizations. Nonetheless, many platforms have hot wallets for convenience. While such losses are generally compensated by platforms without issue (for example Poloniex, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Gatecoin, Coincheck, Bithumb, Zaif, CoinBene, Binance, Bitrue, Bitpoint, Upbit, VinDAX, and now KuCoin), the public tends to focus more on cases that didn't end well. Regardless of what systems are employed, there is always some level of risk. For that reason, most members of the public would prefer to see third party insurance. Rather than trying to convince third party profit-seekers to provide comprehensive insurance and then relying on an expensive and slow legal system to enforce against whatever legal loopholes they manage to find each and every time something goes wrong, insurance could be run through multiple exchange operators and regulators, with the shared interest of having a reputable industry, keeping costs down, and taking care of Canadians. For example, a 4 of 7 multi-sig insurance fund held between 5 independent exchange operators and 2 regulatory bodies. All Canadian exchanges could pay premiums at a set rate based on their needed coverage, with a higher price paid for hot wallet coverage (anything not an air-gapped multi-sig cold wallet). Such a model would be much cheaper to manage, offer better coverage, and be much more reliable to payout when needed. The kind of coverage you could have under this model is unheard of. You could even create something like the CDIC to protect Canadians who get their trading accounts hacked if they can sufficiently prove the loss is legitimate. In cases of fraud, gross negligence, or insolvency, the fund can be used to pay affected users directly (utilizing the last transparent balance report in the worst case), something which private insurance would never touch. While it's recommended to have official policies for coverage, a model where members vote would fully cover edge cases. (Could be similar to the Supreme Court where justices vote based on case law.) Such a model could fully protect all Canadians across all platforms. You can have a fiat coverage governed by legal agreements, and crypto-asset coverage governed by both multi-sig and legal agreements. It could be practical, affordable, and inclusive. Now, we are at a crossroads. We can happily give up our freedom, our innovation, and our money. We can pay hefty expenses to auditors, lawyers, and regulators year after year (and make no mistake - this cost will grow to many millions or even billions as the industry grows - and it will be borne by all Canadians on every platform because platforms are not going to eat up these costs at a loss). We can make it nearly impossible for any new platform to enter the marketplace, forcing Canadians to use the same stagnant platforms year after year. We can centralize and consolidate the entire industry into 2 or 3 big players and have everyone else fail (possibly to heavy losses of users of those platforms). And when a flawed security model doesn't work and gets breached, we can make it even more complicated with even more people in suits making big money doing the job that blockchain was supposed to do in the first place. We can build a system which is so intertwined and dependent on big government, traditional finance, and central bankers that it's future depends entirely on that of the fiat system, of fractional banking, and of government bail-outs. If we choose this path, as history has shown us over and over again, we can not go back, save for revolution. Our children and grandchildren will still be paying the consequences of what we decided today. Or, we can find solutions that work. We can maintain an open and innovative environment while making the adjustments we need to make to fully protect Canadian investors and cryptocurrency users, giving easy and affordable access to cryptocurrency for all Canadians on the platform of their choice, and creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and problem solvers can bring those solutions forward easily. None of the above precludes innovation in any way, or adds any unreasonable cost - and these three policies would demonstrably eliminate or resolve all 109 historic cases as studied here - that's every single case researched so far going back to 2011. It includes every loss that was studied so far not just in Canada but globally as well. Unfortunately, finding answers is the least challenging part. Far more challenging is to get platform operators and regulators to agree on anything. My last post got no response whatsoever, and while the OSC has told me they're happy for industry feedback, I believe my opinion alone is fairly meaningless. This takes the whole community working together to solve. So please let me know your thoughts. Please take the time to upvote and share this with people. Please - let's get this solved and not leave it up to other people to do. Facts/background/sources (skip if you like):
The inspiration for the paragraph about splitting wallets was an actual quote from a Canadian company providing custodial services in response to the OSC consultation paper: "We believe that it will be in the in best interests of investors to prohibit pooled crypto assets or ‘floats’. Most Platforms pool assets, citing reasons of practicality and expense. The recent hack of the world’s largest Platform – Binance – demonstrates the vulnerability of participants’ assets when such concessions are made. In this instance, the Platform’s entire hot wallet of Bitcoins, worth over $40 million, was stolen, facilitated in part by the pooling of client crypto assets." "the maintenance of participants (and Platform) crypto assets across multiple wallets distributes the related risk and responsibility of security - reducing the amount of insurance coverage required and making insurance coverage more readily obtainable". For the record, their reply also said nothing whatsoever about multi-sig or offline storage.
In addition to the fact that the $40m hack represented only one "hot wallet" of Binance, and they actually had the vast majority of assets in other wallets (including mostly cold wallets), multiple real cases have clearly demonstrated that risk is still present with multiple wallets. Bitfinex, VinDAX, Bithumb, Altsbit, BitPoint, Cryptopia, and just recently KuCoin all had multiple wallets breached all at the same time, and may represent a significantly larger impact on customers than the Binance breach which was fully covered by Binance. To represent that simply having multiple separate wallets under the same security scheme is a comprehensive way to reduce risk is just not true.
Private insurance has historically never covered a single loss in the cryptocurrency space (at least, not one that I was able to find), and there are notable cases where massive losses were not covered by insurance. Bitpay in 2015 and Yapizon in 2017 both had insurance policies that didn't pay out during the breach, even after a lengthly court process. The same insurance that ShakePay is presently using (and announced to much fanfare) was describe by their CEO himself as covering “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held,” which is something that has never historically happened. As was said with regard to the same policy in 2018 - “I don’t find it surprising that Lloyd’s is in this space,” said Johnson, adding that to his mind the challenge for everybody is figuring out how to structure these policies so that they are actually protective. “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
The most profitable policy for a private insurance company is one with the most expensive premiums that they never have to pay a claim on. They have no inherent incentive to take care of people who lost funds. It's "cheaper" to take the reputational hit and fight the claim in court. The more money at stake, the more the insurance provider is incentivized to avoid payout. They're not going to insure the assets unless they have reasonable certainty to make a profit by doing so, and they're not going to pay out a massive sum unless it's legally forced. Private insurance is always structured to be maximally profitable to the insurance provider.
The circumvention of multi-sig was a key factor in the massive Bitfinex hack of over $60m of bitcoin, which today still sits being slowly used and is worth over $3b. While Bitfinex used a qualified custodian Bitgo, which was and still is active and one of the industry leaders of custodians, and they set up 2 of 3 multi-sig wallets, the entire system was routed through Bitfinex, such that Bitfinex customers could initiate the withdrawals in a "hot" fashion. This feature was also a hit with the hacker. The multi-sig was fully circumvented.
Bitpay in 2015 was another example of a breach that stole 5,000 bitcoins. This happened not through the exploit of any system in Bitpay, but because the CEO of a company they worked with got their computer hacked and the hackers were able to request multiple bitcoin purchases, which Bitpay honoured because they came from the customer's computer legitimately. Impersonation is a very common tactic used by fraudsters, and methods get more extreme all the time.
A notable case in Canada was the Canadian Bitcoins exploit. Funds were stored on a server in a Rogers Data Center, and the attendee was successfully convinced to reboot the server "in safe mode" with a simple phone call, thus bypassing the extensive security and enabling the theft.
The very nature of custodians circumvents multi-sig. This is because custodians are not just having to secure the assets against some sort of physical breach but against any form of social engineering, modification of orders, fraudulent withdrawal attempts, etc... If the security practices of signatories in a multi-sig arrangement are such that the breach risk of one signatory is 1 in 100, the requirement of 3 independent signatures makes the risk of theft 1 in 1,000,000. Since hackers tend to exploit the weakest link, a comparable custodian has to make the entry and exit points of their platform 10,000 times more secure than one of those signatories to provide equivalent protection. And if the signatories beef up their security by only 10x, the risk is now 1 in 1,000,000,000. The custodian has to be 1,000,000 times more secure. The larger and more complex a system is, the more potential vulnerabilities exist in it, and the fewer people can understand how the system works when performing upgrades. Even if a system is completely secure today, one has to also consider how that system might evolve over time or work with different members.
By contrast, offline multi-signature solutions have an extremely solid record, and in the entire history of cryptocurrency exchange incidents which I've studied (listed here), there has only been one incident (796 exchange in 2015) involving an offline multi-signature wallet. It happened because the customer's bitcoin address was modified by hackers, and the amount that was stolen ($230k) was immediately covered by the exchange operators. Basically, the platform operators were tricked into sending a legitimate withdrawal request to the wrong address because hackers exploited their platform to change that address. Such an issue would not be prevented in any way by the use of a custodian, as that custodian has no oversight whatsoever to the exchange platform. It's practical for all exchange operators to test large withdrawal transactions as a general policy, regardless of what model is used, and general best practice is to diagnose and fix such an exploit as soon as it occurs.
False promises on the backing of funds played a huge role in the downfall of Quadriga, and it's been exposed over and over again (MyCoin, PlusToken, Bitsane, Bitmarket, EZBTC, IDAX). Even today, customers have extremely limited certainty on whether their funds in exchanges are actually being backed or how they're being backed. While this issue is not unique to cryptocurrency exchanges, the complexity of the technology and the lack of any regulation or standards makes problems more widespread, and there is no "central bank" to come to the rescue as in the 2008 financial crisis or during the great depression when "9,000 banks failed".
In addition to fraudulent operations, the industry is full of cases where operators have suffered breaches and not reported them. Most recently, Einstein was the largest case in Canada, where ongoing breaches and fraud were perpetrated against the platform for multiple years and nobody found out until the platform collapsed completely. While fraud and breaches suck to deal with, they suck even more when not dealt with. Lack of visibility played a role in the largest downfalls of Mt. Gox, Cryptsy, and Bitgrail. In some cases, platforms are alleged to have suffered a hack and keep operating without admitting it at all, such as CoinBene.
It surprises some to learn that a cryptographic solution has already existed since 2013, and gained widespread support in 2014 after Mt. Gox. Proof of Reserves is a full cryptographic proof that allows any customer using an exchange to have complete certainty that their crypto-assets are fully backed by the platform in real-time. This is accomplished by proving that assets exist on the blockchain, are spendable, and fully cover customer deposits. It does not prove safety of assets or backing of fiat assets.
If we didn't care about privacy at all, a platform could publish their wallet addresses, sign a partial transaction, and put the full list of customer information and balances out publicly. Customers can each check that they are on the list, that the balances are accurate, that the total adds up, and that it's backed and spendable on the blockchain. Platforms who exclude any customer take a risk because that customer can easily check and see they were excluded. So together with all customers checking, this forms a full proof of backing of all crypto assets.
However, obviously customers care about their private information being published. Therefore, a hash of the information can be provided instead. Hash is one-way encryption. The hash allows the customer to validate inclusion (by hashing their own known information), while anyone looking at the list of hashes cannot determine the private information of any other user. All other parts of the scheme remain fully intact. A model like this is in use on the exchange CoinFloor in the UK.
A Merkle tree can provide even greater privacy. Instead of a list of balances, the balances are arranged into a binary tree. A customer starts from their node, and works their way to the top of the tree. For example, they know they have 5 BTC, they plus 1 other customer hold 7 BTC, they plus 2-3 other customers hold 17 BTC, etc... until they reach the root where all the BTC are represented. Thus, there is no way to find the balances of other individual customers aside from one unidentified customer in this case.
Proposals such as this had the backing of leaders in the community including Nic Carter, Greg Maxwell, and Zak Wilcox. Substantial and significant effort started back in 2013, with massive popularity in 2014. But what became of that effort? Very little. Exchange operators continue to refuse to give visibility. Despite the fact this information can often be obtained through trivial blockchain analysis, no Canadian platform has ever provided any wallet addresses publicly. As described by the CEO of Newton "For us to implement some kind of realtime Proof of Reserves solution, which I'm not opposed to, it would have to ... Preserve our users' privacy, as well as our own. Some kind of zero-knowledge proof". Kraken describes here in more detail why they haven't implemented such a scheme. According to professor Eli Ben-Sasson, when he spoke with exchanges, none were interested in implementing Proof of Reserves.
And yet, Kraken's places their reasoning on a page called "Proof of Reserves". More recently, both BitBuy and ShakePay have released reports titled "Proof of Reserves and Security Audit". Both reports contain disclaimers against being audits. Both reports trust the customer list provided by the platform, leaving the open possibility that multiple large accounts could have been excluded from the process. Proof of Reserves is a blockchain validation where customers see the wallets on the blockchain. The report from Kraken is 5 years old, but they leave it described as though it was just done a few weeks ago. And look at what they expect customers to do for validation. When firms represent something being "Proof of Reserve" when it's not, this is like a farmer growing fruit with pesticides and selling it in a farmers market as organic produce - except that these are people's hard-earned life savings at risk here. Platforms are misrepresenting the level of visibility in place and deceiving the public by their misuse of this term. They haven't proven anything.
Fraud isn't a problem that is unique to cryptocurrency. Fraud happens all the time. Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Moser Baer, Wirecard, Bre-X, and Nicola are just some of the cases where frauds became large enough to become a big deal (and there are so many countless others). These all happened on 100% reversible assets despite regulations being in place. In many of these cases, the problems happened due to the over-complexity of the financial instruments. For example, Enron had "complex financial statements [which] were confusing to shareholders and analysts", creating "off-balance-sheet vehicles, complex financing structures, and deals so bewildering that few people could understand them". In cryptocurrency, we are often combining complex financial products with complex technologies and verification processes. We are naïve if we think problems like this won't happen. It is awkward and uncomfortable for many people to admit that they don't know how something works. If we want "money of the people" to work, the solutions have to be simple enough that "the people" can understand them, not so confusing that financial professionals and technology experts struggle to use or understand them.
For those who question the extent to which an organization can fool their way into a security consultancy role, HB Gary should be a great example to look at. Prior to trying to out anonymous, HB Gary was being actively hired by multiple US government agencies and others in the private sector (with glowing testimonials). The published articles and hosted professional security conferences. One should also look at this list of data breaches from the past 2 years. Many of them are large corporations, government entities, and technology companies. These are the ones we know about. Undoubtedly, there are many more that we do not know about. If HB Gary hadn't been "outted" by anonymous, would we have known they were insecure? If the same breach had happened outside of the public spotlight, would it even have been reported? Or would HB Gary have just deleted the Twitter posts, brought their site back up, done a couple patches, and kept on operating as though nothing had happened?
In the case of Quadriga, the facts are clear. Despite past experience with platforms such as MapleChange in Canada and others around the world, no guidance or even the most basic of a framework was put in place by regulators. By not clarifying any sort of legal framework, regulators enabled a situation where a platform could be run by former criminal Mike Dhanini/Omar Patryn, and where funds could be held fully unchecked by one person. At the same time, the lack of regulation deterred legitimate entities from running competing platforms and Quadriga was granted a money services business license for multiple years of operation, which gave the firm the appearance of legitimacy. Regulators did little to protect Canadians despite Quadriga failing to file taxes from 2016 onward. The entire administrative team had resigned and this was public knowledge. Many people had suspicions of what was going on, including Ryan Mueller, who forwarded complaints to the authorities. These were ignored, giving Gerald Cotten the opportunity to escape without justice.
There are multiple issues with the SOC II model including the prohibitive cost (you have to find a third party accounting firm and the prices are not even listed publicly on any sites), the requirement of operating for a year (impossible for new platforms), and lack of any public visibility (SOC II are private reports that aren't shared outside the people in suits).
Securities frameworks are expensive. Sarbanes-Oxley is estimated to cost $5.1 million USD/yr for the average Fortune 500 company in the United States. Since "Fortune 500" represents the top 500 companies, that means well over $2.55 billion USD (~$3.4 billion CAD) is going to people in suits. Isn't the problem of trust and verification the exact problem that the blockchain is supposed to solve?
To use Quadriga as justification for why custodians or SOC II or other advanced schemes are needed for platforms is rather silly, when any framework or visibility at all, or even the most basic of storage policies, would have prevented the whole thing. It's just an embarrassment.
We are now seeing regulators take strong action. CoinSquare in Canada with multi-million dollar fines. BitMex from the US, criminal charges and arrests. OkEx, with full disregard of withdrawals and no communication. Who's next?
We have a unique window today where we can solve these problems, and not permanently destroy innovation with unreasonable expectations, but we need to act quickly. This is a unique historic time that will never come again.
After Robinhood Suicide, Crypto Exchanges Must Stop Acting Like Casinos: bitFlyer Exec - CoinDesk
Many exchanges were designed to encourage users to trade as frequently as possible, often with money they don’t have, and resembled casinos more than responsible trading platforms, said Joel Edgerton, chief operating officer at bitFlyer U.S. “There are too many exchanges that are run like casinos and exploit their customers,” he said. Edgerton spoke to CoinDesk just over a week after a 20-year-old student, Alexander Kearns, killed himself after falsely believing he had got himself into more than $700,000-worth of debt by trading complex options contracts on Robinhood – an app-based trading platform with a young, retail-oriented following. It later came to light that the negative balance was a temporary phase in between contract execution – i.e. Kearns wasn’t actually in the red. But Robinhood has come under heavy criticism for allowing amateur traders to access such complex instruments without safeguards to avoid confusion and, in this case, tragedy. Late last week, Robinhood announced a $250,000 donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and vowed to add safeguards to its platform, such as tightening eligibility requirements for complex options trades. See also: The Chad Index Versus Doomer Internet Money: The Breakdown Weekly Recap While Binance’s CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said in response last week that his exchange already implemented a “Responsible Trading” feature, Edgerton, a former head of operations at the insurance arm of French bank BNP Paribas, said the exchange was trying to shield itself from further criticism. “I would say CZ’s response was mercenary. He is using a kid’s death to pitch his company and Binance is actually part of the problem,” he explained. The platform gets users hooked and their anti-addiction policy “highlights the fact that they built the product to be addictive,” he said. Tweet: https://twitter.com/Joel_bitFlyer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1274038400295657472%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.coindesk.com%2Fcrypto-exchanges-casinos-robinhood-suicide-bitflyer Any crypto exchange that offered 125x leverage indiscriminately – which Binance began offering in October – isn’t serious about customer protection, Edgerton continued. BitFlyer, which opened a U.S. office in 2017, says it already restricts access to leverage and can flag or even ban users that display troubling trading patterns. The Tokyo-based exchange ranks ninth globally, according to CoinGecko, and is the market leader in Japan. It was reported last summer a Chinese bitcoin trader killed himself after a 100x position on derivatives exchange BitMEX was liquidated, a loss of about $16.4 million in a single trade. Around the same time, an anonymous student trader said he was having suicidal thoughts after losing thousands of dollars on several leveraged trades on the same platform. Arthur Hayes, BitMEX’s CEO, has previously defended his business, arguing that in a free market, customers can always move onto other platforms if they worry about being exploited or defrauded. When contacted by CoinDesk, Binance declined to comment. BitMEX hadn’t responded to a similar request by press time. See also: BitMEX Sees Biggest Short Squeeze in 8 Months After Bitcoin Surge Cryptocurrency exchanges have more of a role to play in customer protection, Edgerton said. Regulators worldwide cap leverage for retail investors, both in crypto and in traditional assets, such as equities. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) halved maximum leverage down to two times the value of the deposit this year. As such, there’s no reason an exchange should offer 100x leverage on top of highly volatile assets without first checking whether the investor knows what they are doing and that they have the income to cover that level of exposure, argued Edgerton. “We have a responsibility to provide products that are suitable to our clients,” he added. The Robinhood suicide “is what happens when companies focus on tech and profits rather than doing the right thing for their customers.” Article link: https://www.coindesk.com/crypto-exchanges-casinos-robinhood-suicide-bitflyer
Marketing Strategies and Practices for Block chain Projects and Startups.
If you are a blockchain startup, open source project or decentralized protocol and believe that you don’t need the right kind of marketing to succeed, think again. “Marketing” has traditionally been a weakness in the early lives of many tech startups for a variety of reasons. Most startups are often led by young or inexperienced CEOs or project leaders who come from a strong engineering or product mindset. These founders either don’t understand or don’t appreciate the value of marketing, and certainly that comes from a lack of experience or education on the subject. Most blockchain companies/projects founders are no different. At the root of this situation lies a common and fundamental misconception: not knowing the true meaning and functions ofmarketingagency in mumbai .
Wrongfully, marketing is prematurely equated to shouting about a product prior to having it ready for the market to try. Others think that marketing is about hiring a PR firm, polishing a website, publishing a blog post, promoting on social media, designing a great logo with new colors and fonts, or producing videos about your product and SocietyActivation in Mumbai. Unfortunately, during the ICO frenzy days, the term marketing has been bastardized around excessive usage of the above named activities. Therefore, marketinghas received a bad rap in blockchain circles because it has been equated to pumping bad ICOs where the marketing consisted of purely unchecked promotion. In the past few months, I have had several conversations with founders of blockchain related projects and companies who clearly didn’t seem to understand, let alone appreciate the value and priority they should be giving to doing a better job at marketing. When I challenged them on their marketing, or broached the topic, the responses ranged along the following flavors: · We’re not ready for marketing until the next product is released and announced · We have it in the budget for next year to hire a PR firm · I’ve been doing videos that will air as advertising later · We prefer to deliver first, and then talk about what we have done · Marketing is expensive and we don’t have the budget now · We hired a design firm and redoing our website with a new visual identity · We don’t need marketing, we focus on our community on Reddit All of the above are the wrong answers, and point to not understanding the various parts of marketing.
Marketing is a Process
So let’s start with the basics and further discuss what marketing is, or is not about. First, there are 3 parts to marketing: · Product marketing– explaining what the product does (features/benefits), and how it is differentiated from others. Goal: Positioning the product. · Corporate marketing – positioning the company and communicating its messages in a variety of means. Branding and Marketing Communications is a big part of it. Goal: Generate Awareness and Preference. · Customer marketing (sometimes labelled as field marketing, direct marketing or content marketing) – getting in front of your target market to generate adoption, leads and sales. Goal: Generate Adoption and Loyalty. The kind of marketing that is often deficient in blockchain companies or projects is Marketing Communications, i.e. how to strongly and clearly message in a few words what your project, company or product do for the usecustomer. But this must be done as a continuum. Messaging is not a single shot of sound bites around a launch event. To make it even more effective, it must be customized to the specific audience you are trying to reach: customers, investors, employees, media, influencers, partners, etc. The process of creating the messaging is a complex exercise that has several layers designed to answering the WHY, WHAT and HOW of your value proposition. Many companies nail the WHY (Elevator pitch), but don’t follow through with the WHAT (Competitive positioning and Core value proposition), or the HOW (Product/Solution messaging and Technology differentiation). Marketing is a process that evolves along a series of objectives, from Awareness, to Consideration, to Trials, and then Loyalty. Different tools are effective for each one of these steps. For example, thought leadership focuses on the awareness aspect and trying to shape the market by educating it. The brand leadership helps to influence the prospect’s perception towards you. You want to gradually progress from letting your target market care, understand, believe, then act to try your product and merchant onboarding agency in mumbai . Here is the right order of progression for the following activities:
Sadly, a common mistake I see is starting with the visual identity and thinking that it is branding. Often, that is the result of being led by an inexperienced CMO or one that came from the PCommunications side, or when the organization has hired a brand design firm instead of a brand strategy firm. Most brand design houses (and some PR companies) will tell you they will take care of your messaging and branding, but that is the tail wagging the dog. Brand strategy takes a very unique skill, and there are few brand strategy experts that do a great job with it. One brand strategy firm with whom I have had experience working with, is Brandsinger. In a nutshell, if you are not occupying a position in the minds of users/customers (and the prospective market), then your brand value is zero. Someone else will come and articulate their value proposition better than you, and will subsequently occupy that position. If you are first to deliver a product, it may not matter. You need to be first in occupying that specific position in the minds of your target market. The battle is a battle of the minds, as rightfully spelled out in the seminal book on that topic Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind, a classic book that I have perhaps read over 20 times (over a course of 25 years), and almost memorized and put into practice accordingly. The sequel to that book, – Marketing Warfare, is also a must read marketing classic from the legendary Ries and Trout, the two authors of that series of work.
Let’s give it some blockchain and cryptocurrency flavours. Bitcoin occupied first the digital money position and still does to this point. Ethereum exploited a weakness in Bitcoin,- its ease of programmability and development platform potential, and it currently owns that position. All other (newer) blockchains have to attack Bitcoin or Ethereum as the reference points. Most of them have to raise the volume and intensity of their marketing in order to make an assault on these established leaders. It is always more expensive to attack than it is to defend a position. ZCash and Monero have exploited the privacy niche. Coinbase occupies the safety ladder in cryptocurrency exchanges. Binance is trying to attack it with a me-too strategy focused on scale, and they are extending their brand with new services. LoomX has been good at becoming a Layer 2 leader for Ethereum. Take any other segment. For example, when you think file storage, you probably think Storj or Filecoin because that’s the position they are occupying. When you think prediction markets, you probably think of Augur or Gnosis. And when you think of stablecoins, Maker comes to mind.
Back to Basics
For those of you who know me from the blockchain market only (over the past 6 years roughly), you may not know that I’ve previously spent a long career in sales and marketing with a variety of positions and experiences in direct sales, field marketing, corporate marketing and several startups as founder and default chief marketer. More specifically, since I exited the operational world via my last startup in April 2013, I’ve written extensively about startup marketing in the early years of this blog. All of it still applies, as I focused on explaining the basics of market positioning, marketing strategy, messaging, brand strategy, and related marketing topics. There is no point re-inventing marketing for the blockchain sector. So, I’m going to link to some basics that I’ve already written about. Here, I collected the 12 most pertinent blog posts into a single one that links to them: Startup Marketing Compendium of 12 Posts on Positioning, Branding, Messaging and more. Then I wrote one more, The Biggest Blind Spot of a Startup CEO is Ignoring Their Brand. So please go read that series, and if you need help implementing some of that, don’t start by hiring a PR agency. Rather, take an introspective view, and hire the right marketing person first. Another common weakness with blockchain companies is they fail to tell their stories in non-technical terms to the market. It is not enough to excite the developers. And don’t just focus entirely on social media publishing. Unless you have 1 Million+ Twitter followers in your target audience, promoting on social media will only make a dent in your awareness goals. Remember, marketing is not just writing a press release. It is not shouting from the rooftops. It takes finesse, planning, thought, accuracy, targeted actions, and iterations to get it right. And timing is so important. Sometimes the marketing is way ahead of delivery, and sometimes it is way behind it, but when the timing and sequence are right, that’s when the magic of results happens. Allow me repeat this: marketing is a process. Learn it, acquire experience in it, practice it, but don’t be amateurish about it. About Us. We are a local marketing and sales agency that help small/medium sized businesses and Start up. Established for over 10 years, our clients vary in size and cover a wide variety of business sectors. we see ourselves as active members of the local community helping local businesses by providing a variety of field marketing, btl marketing , door to door marketing, brand promotion, social media marketing, telemarketing, web and printed based marketing materials. Contact Us. Get in touch with us, we would love to discuss your marketing needs. We love a good coffee and a challenge, so would be happy to meet up with you face to face.
Voici LA chronique à découvrir, intitulée: La guerre contre Bitcoin. Idéal pour comprendre certains tenants et aboutissants
Voici LA chronique à découvrir, intitulée: La guerre contre Bitcoin. Idéal pour comprendre certains tenants et aboutissants… Bonne découverte! La guerre contre Bitcoin Bitcoin est peut-être le meilleur outil de liberté économique de cette génération, et peut-être depuis plusieurs générations. Malheureusement, Bitcoin a été furieusement étouffé par une guerre civile brutale depuis environ cinq ans maintenant; menée par des ingénieurs sociaux professionnels de certaines des entreprises les plus puissantes des médias sociaux. Leur talent dans l'art et la science de la manipulation a permis aux "Bitcoiners" de se battre largement entre eux plutôt que de chercher à créer des modèles commerciaux innovants basés sur les données qui pourraient révolutionner l'économie mondiale via Bitcoin. À la suite de la guerre civile de Bitcoin, trois versions concurrentes de Bitcoin ont vu le jour (BTC, BCH et BitcoinSV ), mais il en est de même pour environ 3000 autres projets et jetons de « crypto-monnaie » se faisant passer pour des entreprises légitimes, souvent jusqu'à un "exit scam" presque garanti, le fait de disparaitre du jour au lendemain avec tout l'argent des utilisateurs. Le principal bienfaiteur de la guerre civile Bitcoin a été Ethereum: une cryptomonnaie qui fonctionne comme une machine à états mondiale et permet un déploiement facile de tokens et de contrats intelligents. Mais le protocole Ethereum ne peut pas évoluer, et parmi les milliers de projets lancés, seule une poignée pourrait même être présentés comme pouvant devenir des entreprises légitimes. La plupart des autres sont des stratagèmes de Ponzi ou des émissions d'actions illégales enrichissant les développeurs et escroquant les investisseurs amateurs. C'est dans ce contexte que les défenseurs de BTC et de BCH, les porte-parole d'Ethereum et les altcoiners (nom donné pour englober toutes les autres cryptomonnaies) de tous bords s'alignent pour attaquer sans cesse le protocole Bitcoin préservé uniquement par le réseau BSV. Une industrie composée presque entièrement de criminels, de fraudes et d'arnaqueurs s'est unie contre BSV citant - et c'est là l'ironie! - une prétendue fraude et arnaque présumée qui serait l'existence même de BSV. Nous devons nous demander pourquoi ? Quel est le différenciateur clé de BSV? Pourquoi tous les arnaqueurs se sont-ils unis contre lui? Je suis fermement convaincu que pour la plupart, la motivation est la peur de la capacité de BSV à absorber l'économie mondiale et tous les autres projets «crypto» qui vont avec. Pour les autres, ou ceux qui ne comprennent pas le pouvoir du Bitcoin, ils sont entraînés dans une guerre civile et culturelle qui les dépasse. Il est essentiel de comprendre les pouvoirs en jeu et leurs implications pour Bitcoin et l'économie mondiale. Une histoire brève de Bitcoin Bitcoin a été lancé avec un "livre blanc" sur la liste de diffusion de cryptographie en 2008. Le pseudonyme « Satoshi Nakamoto » a déclaré une solution au problème de la double dépense. Or il s'agit là du problème de tous les systèmes de paiement électronique précédents, et c'était le seul facteur limitant l'adoption d'une monnaie digitale fonctionnelle. Mais qu'est-ce que le problème de la double dépense ? Pour faire simple, il était impossible de prouver exactement qui possédait quelles unités d'argent sur des registres distribués, de sorte que les utilisateurs ne pouvaient pas avoir confiance dans le système, et ces projets mourraient assez vite. Bitcoin a résolu ce problème avec un concept appelé la « preuve de travail ». Il pose la question: qui a utilisé le plus de puissance de calcul pour résoudre des énigmes arbitraires ? ceci afin de rendre compte de l'état du registre d'une manière qui coûte de l'argent, de sorte qu'il y ait une incitation économique à tenir un compte honnête des avoirs de chacun des participants. Ce processus est souvent appelé « exploitation minière » car les nœuds honnêtes qui maintiennent l'état du registre sont récompensés pour leur travail avec des nouveaux Bitcoins toutes les dix minutes - un peu à la même manière d'un mineur d'or qui est récompensé par de l'or en échange de son travail. Étant donné que Bitcoin n'avait aucune valeur lors de son lancement, il était extrêmement facile à miner et également gratuit d'envoyer des tonnes de transactions. En théorie, il s'agissait d'un vecteur d'attaque par déni de service (DoS). Une attaque DoS ou DDoS se produit lorsque les nœuds d'un réseau sont inondés de plus de données qu'ils ne peuvent en gérer et qu'ils se mettent donc à planter. Sur le jeune réseau Bitcoin, un crash comme celui-ci aurait été considéré comme un échec du réseau. Pour empêcher cela, un plafond de 1 Mo de données par chaque dix minutes de transactions a été codé en dur dans le logiciel - semant la première graine de la guerre civile Bitcoin. De 2009 à 2017, cette limite de 1 Mo sur le total des transactions était l'aspect technique le plus controversé du bitcoin et le déclencheur de la plus grande guerre civile virtuelle de l'univers de la cryptomonnaie. Pourquoi est-ce aussi important? Une seule transaction basique Bitcoin est relativement petite du point de vue des données, donc 1 Mo toutes les dix minutes donne environ trois à sept transactions par seconde avant que le réseau ne devienne trop encombré. Satoshi Nakamoto le créateur, a plaidé pour un nombre de transactions du niveau de Visa et bien plus, ainsi que son successeur direct en tant que développeur principal du projet, Gavin Andresen. Certains des premiers Bitcoiners influents comme Mike Hearn et Jeff Garzik ont également plaidé pour plus de données par bloc pour permettre à Bitcoin de se développer et de rester le meilleur système de paiement électronique. Ils étaient pour des «gros blocs» contrairement au camp des «petits blocs» qui préconisaient une permanence de la limitation de 1 Mo des blocs. Le camp des "petits blocs" estiment que Bitcoin n'est pas un réseau de paiement, mais plutôt qu'il s'apparente davantage à une banque décentralisée conçue pour stocker des Bitcoins qui ne bougent jamais: une sorte de coffre-fort d'or numérique. Ils voulaient que la limite de taille des blocs de 1 Mo reste permanente sous les auspices de chaque personne exécutant un «nœud complet» sans avoir à payer trop d'espace sur le disque dur. Cela signifierait qu'en période de congestion, les frais de transaction deviendraient absurdement élevés, mais cela n'aurait pas d'importance car le bitcoin ne devrait pas être utilisé pour des envois sauf en grosses quantités de toute façon, selon eux. En décembre 2017 les frais de BTC ont ainsi atteint les $50 par transaction. L'autre problème est que s'il est bon marché de rejoindre la gouvernance de Bitcoin, alors le réseau est facile à attaquer par Sybil, et je dirais que BTC est régi par des sybilles à ce jour. Le camp des "gros-blocs" estime que tout le monde sur terre devrait être en mesure d'échanger et de faire ses affaires sur Bitcoin pour des frais infimes, de l'ordre d'un centième ou millième de centime par transaction, afin d'apporter à la population mondiale la liberté monétaire, y compris aux pays les plus pauvres qui sont gardés en dehors du système actuel car considérés comme pas assez profitables pour des entreprises comme Visa. Les "petits-blocs" pensent que tout le monde devrait être en mesure de gérer soi-même le registre mondial chez soi, mais que seules certaines personnes très riches devraient pouvoir effectuer des transactions, ce qui est le cas quand les frais sont à $50 par transaction comme en 2017. Après des années de querelles, en 2017, Bitcoin s'est scindé en deux chaînes distinctes, et en 2018, il s'est à nouveau divisé. Alors quelle est la différence entre ces trois versions ? BTC est actuellement la version qui a le prix le plus élevé, avec la plus petite taille de bloc et la plus grande puissance de calcul. On peut dire que BTC à gagné la guerre médiatique. Malheureusement, il est régi par des développeurs et des sybilles qui contrôlent le consensus grâce à une utilisation intelligente de logiciels malveillants appelés «soft-fork» qui leur permet de saper les règles du Bitcoin. Ils utilisent ce pouvoir pour changer les règles des transactions en mentant aux nœuds et en leur disant de les valider quand même. Toute la culture BTC consiste à acheter du BTC afin de le conserver jusqu'à un moment dans le futur où il serait revendu à un prix exorbitant. Le but est de spéculer au maximum. Les paiements avec BTC, particulièrement les petits paiements, ou les transactions de toute nature non-monétaires, sont méprisés. BCH est un réseau basé sur Bitcoin qui pense que les blocs devraient être à peine légèrement plus grands, mais ils ont également des développeurs en charge des règles, tout comme BTC, et ils pensent que Bitcoin devrait être utilisé uniquement pour le commerce de détail, mais rien de plus. Le réseau change de règles tous les six mois. Les transactions non commerciales sont en général méprisées. Un nouveau scindement de BCH est prévu pour novembre 2020 suite à des conflits internes et l'incapacité à avoir un système de gouvernance dans un projet où les règles changent en permanence. BSV est la version restaurée du protocole Bitcoin original avec tous les paramètres ouverts afin que les nœuds honnêtes puissent s'engager dans un consensus conformément au livre blanc de Bitcoin - par la preuve de travail ! Le protocole est gravé dans la pierre afin que les développeurs de logiciels ne puissent pas bricoler les règles. Cela permet aux entreprises de planifier des décennies d'utilisation du réseau et d'investir en toute confiance. Il s'agit d'apporter une réelle innovation technologique au monde plutôt que de spéculer. En tant que seul réseau bitcoin totalement sans besoin d'autorisation, le commerce de toute nature est encouragé sur BSV. Tout, allant des réseaux sociaux aux expériences de science des données météorologiques ou aux tests de disponibilité du réseau, est encouragé. Paiements de détail, tokenisation, ou tout autre type de contrat intelligent est simple à déployer sans limitations. Bitcoin SV n'a aucune limite dans son protocole sauf l'esprit humain, l'innovation et l'esprit d'entreprise. Il vise également une adoption mondiale notamment par les pays pauvres afin d'apporter la liberté monétaire et l'inclusion à l'économie mondiale de ceux que les grandes entreprises actuelles comme Visa dédaignent comme pas assez profitables pour leur accorder leur services. Et c'est la racine de la haine envers BSV. Les "petits-blocs" ont investi toute leur réputation et leurs moyens de subsistance sur la notion que le bitcoin est incapable de s'adapter. Pendant des années, des experts présumés ont convaincu de nombreuses personnes que les limites de taille de bloc de 2 Mo, 8 Mo ou 22 Mo casseraient littéralement Bitcoin. Ils ont furieusement mis en jeux leur réputation sur ces fausses notions. Et ensuite, BSV a eu de nombreux blocs de plus de 100 Mo. En fait, il y en a même eu quelques-uns de plus de 300 Mo! prouvant que les petits-blocs se trompaient depuis le début sur les limites du réseau. Mais cette prise de conscience est une menace pour l'hégémonie de l'histoire médiatique qui a été crée sur Bitcoin. Depuis 2015, lorsque le Dr Craig Wright est apparu sur les lieux pour expliquer que le bitcoin avait en réalité ZERO limitations, il a créé un tollé massif parmi l'intelligentsia des petits-blocs. Les leaders d'opinion de l'époque étaient payés pour prendre la parole lors de conférences où ils expliquaient à tort que Bitcoin n'était rien d'autre qu'une réserve de valeur rare sans autre utilité, et surtout pas à usage des plus pauvres. Le Dr Wright parlait de l'échelle illimitée du réseau, de son exhaustivité de Turing, de l'objectif d'inclure enfin les plus pauvres dans l'économie mondiale, et d'autres notions inconcevables (à l'époque) sur Bitcoin. Sa passion et ses connaissances se sont heurtées à des calomnies et des railleries. Ils se sont concentrés sur l'attaque de son personnage au lieu de discuter de Bitcoin! C'est devenu l'une des principales méthodes d'attaque des petits-blocs. Lorsque de gros-blocs parlent des capacités de Bitcoin, ils sont ridiculisés en tant qu'escrocs et le sujet est toujours dirigé très loin de la discussion technique, car les petits-blocs savent bien qu'ils sortiraient perdants. Ils fouillent les dossiers personnels et cherchent des moyens de faire taire les gens du camp des grands-blocs de Bitcoin par des attaques personnelles - de la même manière que les guerriers de la justice sociale s'engagent dans la culture d'annulation contre leurs ennemis politiques. Qui est le Dr Craig Wright et que fait-il? Craig Wright est le scientifique en chef d'une société de recherche sur Bitcoin au Royaume-Uni appelée nChain : une société de 150 à 200 informaticiens. Craig dirige l'équipe qui étudie les possibilités de Bitcoin et de ses applications dans le monde. Il est l'un des experts en criminalité numérique les plus reconnus au monde avec les certifications SANS et GIAC ainsi que les titres GSE CISSP, CISA, CISM, CCE, GCFA, GLEG, GREM et GSPA. En outre, il est un polymathe multidisciplinaire de troisième cycle: un doctorat en informatique, économie et théologie et titulaire d'une maîtrise en statistique et en droit commercial international. En 2015, il a également été exposé par une publication conjointe de WIRED et Gizmodo en tant que Satoshi Nakamoto, le créateur de Bitcoin. Quelques jours après cette révélation, les gens qui le soutenaient ont vu leurs clés d'accès au code de Bitcoin révoquées, et de nombreux autres ont été instantanément bannis. Craig a été mis sous enquête par le bureau des impôts australien pour ce qu'il considérait être une erreur de comptabilisation probable de ses bitcoins. Les retombées ont été agressives et rapides, avec une gigantesque armée de petits-blocs, organisée sur Reddit et d'autres forums, et nouvellement financés par l'argent de la startup pro petits-blocs appelée «Blockstream». Leur message était clair: Bitcoin doit garder de petits blocs. Le Bitcoin ne peut pas évoluer et doit rester réservé aux riches, et toute personne proche de Craig Wright sera harcelée pour se conformer à une armée de comptes Twitter anonymes et sans visage. Voici un schéma qui retrace les financements de Blockstream et révèle comment le groupe Bilderberg, la banque centrale américaine (FED) et Mastercard on pris le contrôle du réseau BTC via Blockstream afin de le soumettre à leur propre profit: https://imgur.com/eFApDVE Au cours des années suivantes, Ira Kleiman, frère du défunt Dave Kleiman, a poursuivi Craig Wright en justice pour sa part du prétendu «Partenariat Satoshi Nakamoto», affirmant que son frère Dave était plus impliqué qu'il ne l'était réellement, et l'affaire est en cours actuellement, jusqu'à courant 2021. Ira Kleiman pense que Craig est Satoshi et il a investi une fortune incalculable dans cette attaque et a obtenu l'argent d'investisseurs extérieurs pour poursuivre sa poursuite. Il est clair que les bailleurs de fonds d'Ira pensent que Craig est également Satoshi. Les critiques qualifient souvent la révélation publique et le procès public de Wright de ternir énormément sa réputation, mais il convient de noter que les deux sont arrivés à Wright malgré sa volonté et qu'il ne souhaitait clairement pas être pris dans l'une ou l'autre situation. Au lieu de cela, Craig est un défenseur passionné de la vision d'un Bitcoin avec de gros blocs, appelant à la professionnalisation, à la légalisation et à l'utilisation mondiale de Bitcoin pour une utilisation à tous les niveaux du commerce. La réponse à la passion de Craig et à ses affirmations a été d'attaquer sa réputation et d'endosser Internet avec le surnom de «Faketoshi». Lorsque de simples brimades ont échoué contre le Dr Wright, des attaques ont été intensifiées pour remettre en question ses divers diplômes, des pétitions aux universités pour enquêter sur lui pour plagiat dans divers travaux, y compris des thèses de doctorat, etc. Wright a même revendiqué des menaces contre la vie des membres de sa famille et il y a plus qu'une preuve que, selon Ian Grigg, une des légendes de la cryptographie: «des gens sont morts pour Bitcoin, croyez moi, des gens sont morts». Les attaques en cours Cela ne peut être assez souligné: la communauté des petits-blocs est construite autour de tactiques d'ingénierie sociale professionnelles. Gregory Maxwell, co-fondateur de la société Blockstream, a été formé à la pratique de l'ingénierie sociale et l'a utilisé de manière si subversive comme un outil de propagande pendant son mandat en tant que modérateur rémunéré de Wikipedia, qu'il a finalement été démis de ses fonctions avec les journaux d'administration citant une litanie d'infractions, notamment: «Gmaxwell s'est engagé dans la création de faux comptes en masse…» - Alhutch 00:05, 23 janvier 2006 (UTC) «Menaces, insultes grossières, usurpations d'identité d'un administrateur», -Husnock 03:18, 25 janvier 2006 (UTC) «Son comportement est scandaleux. Franchement, il est hors de contrôle à ce stade. Son comportement d'intimidation doit cesser.» - FearÉIREANN 19:36, 22 janvier 2006 (UTC) «Sa liste de contributions est hors de propos. C'est du vandalisme. C'est un comportement auquel je m'attendrais d'un éditeur en furie, et franchement, c'est ce qu'est Gmaxwell.» - Splashtalk 20h00, 22 janvier 2006 (UTC) «Prétend être un administrateur, menaçant de bloquer les personnes qui ne sont pas d'accord avec lui, fait régulièrement des attaques personnelles» - SlimVirgin (talk) 12h22, 22 janvier 2006 (UTC) Il passe beaucoup de temps sur Reddit et d'autres forums à semer la peur sur les dangers des gros blocs, et il a été surpris en train de faire semblant d'être plusieurs comptes à la fois en train d'avoir de très longues discussions techniques sur Reddit destinées à submerger les nouveaux arrivants avec ce qui ressemble à un débat intellectuel contre une version de Bitcoin libéré de ses limites. Qui d'autre est attaqué? L'autre cible commune de la machine de guerre médiatique anti-BSV est Calvin Ayre: un milliardaire à la tête de l'empire du groupe Ayre. Calvin est un entrepreneur canadien et antiguais qui a lancé un incubateur Internet à Vancouver au tout début du boom Internet. Fils d'un éleveur, Ayre est surtout connu en dehors de l'économie Bitcoin pour la création et la professionnalisation de l'industrie du jeu sur Internet. Plus particulièrement, sous la marque Bodog, Ayre a aidé à moderniser les lois financières américaines obsolètes en poussant les limites dans les marchés gris qui existent où les dollars américains sont utilisés à travers les frontières pour s'engager dans un commerce juridiquement compliqué comme le jeu d'argent. Son travail dans ce domaine lui a valu une petite fortune et un passage sur la liste des «plus recherchés» du gouvernement des USA pour blanchiment d'argent. C'est un point sur lequel les petits-blocs aiment se concentrer, mais ils le sortent complètement de son contexte. Calvin a finalement plaidé coupable à une accusation mais a été le fer de lance de la modernisation des lois américaines qui existent aujourd'hui sur les marchés. Il est respecté pour son travail dans l'industrie du jeu, des médias et de la philanthropie. Calvin est le bienvenu aux États-Unis malgré la critique souvent citée selon laquelle il serait une sorte de hors-la-loi. Calvin Ayre Dans l'économie Bitcoin, Ayre est une figure de proue dans la gestion de nœuds Bitcoin honnêtes depuis plusieurs années sous les marques CoinGeek et TAAL, et il est un investisseur dans nChain ainsi que plusieurs startups de l'espace BSV. Bien qu'il soit probablement le plus gros investisseur à ce jour, il n'est pas le monopole que les petits-blocs laisseraient croire. Il est important de comprendre que des segments entiers de l'écosystème BSV existent complètement en dehors de son influence. Twetch, par exemple, est une entreprise indépendante appartenant à l'écosystème BSV, célèbre pour ses attaques contre les médias sociaux centralisés qui abusent de la censure. Ils sont même connus pour se moquer des entreprises qui acceptent l'argent d'Ayre, en plaisantant que Calvin possède tout sauf Twetch. Bien sûr, ce n'est pas vrai. Un autre excellent exemple est l'investisseur / entrepreneur indépendant Jack Liu : ancien dirigeant de Circle et OKEX. Liu possède la marque de hackathons CambrianSV ainsi que des propriétés précieuses dans l'espace BSV telles que RelayX, Streamanity, Output Capital, FloatSV et Dimely. Les autres acteurs clés sont MatterPool Mining et leur écosystème Mattercloud: une joint-venture entre des acteurs indépendants de l'écosystème BSV, avec des connexions directes aux protocoles BoostPOW et 21e8 et des relations avec des développeurs BSV indépendants. Bien sûr, il existe également des marques précieuses financées par Ayre. Il s'agit notamment de la propriété partielle via l'investissement dans HandCash, Centi, TonicPow et Planaria Corp de Unwriter. Une autre mesure importante à prendre en compte est la distribution de la puissance de hachage (autre nom pour la puissance de calcul du résau). Alors qu'au tout début de BSV, les entreprises appartenant à Ayre représentaient une quantité importante de hachage sur bitcoin, afin d'assurer sa survie, BSV est aujourd'hui en grande partie exploité par des mineurs concurrents de Ayre tels que Binance, F2Pool, OKEX et ViaBTC - dont aucun n'est «ami» de BSV ou d'Ayre, mais beaucoup se déclarent les ennemis. Ces mineurs soulignent bien la nature ouverte et sans permission de BSV qui permet à quiconque de participer, notamment à ses ennemis! Ayre est un acteur important, mais en aucun cas un contrôleur de la direction de la blockchain ou des entreprises indépendantes dans l'économie BSV. Mais pourquoi Craig poursuit-il des gens en justice ? Tout d'abord, et c'est crucial, le procès le plus important de Craig est l'affaire Kleiman. Les autres cas existent uniquement à cause de la diffamation publique du Dr Wright. Le hashtag #CraigWrightIsAFraud circule largement, poussé en grande partie par un mélange de personnages anonymes sur Twitter. Plus particulièrement Magnus Granath AKA «Hodlonaut» a été averti qu'une accusation publique de fraude courait à son encontre. La carrière du Dr Wright est en informatique et en criminalistique numérique, donc le déclarer publiquement une fraude sans preuve cause un préjudice financier au Dr Wright dans son domaine d'expertise commerciale. Puisque «Hodlnaut» a refusé de cesser, on lui a envoyer une requête pour être vu au tribunal afin de pouvoir apporter les preuves de ses accusations. Cela a causé le célèbre podcasteur de petits-blocs Peter McCormack à mendier d'être poursuivi aussi - en augmentant la rhétorique diffamatoire contre le Dr Wright. À la demande de McCormack, il a lui aussi été attaqué en justice pour être vu au tribunal. Le Dr Wright à depuis abandonné tous ses procès pour diffamation à l'exception de celui contre McCormack qu'il souhaite continuer pour faire exemple. Cela a aussi engendré la campagne #DelistBSV menée en grande partie par «CZ», le PDG charismatique de Binance-Exchange. Divers autres échanges comme Shapeshift et Kraken ont publié des sondages twitter demandant s'ils devaient emboîter le pas, et des petits-blocs bien organisés ont voté en masse pour retirer BSV de leurs échanges - citant la toxicité du Dr Wright pour avoir intenté des poursuites en diffamation contre Hodlonaut et McCormack. Finalement, BSV a été retiré de Binance, ShapeShift et Kraken. Il a également été noté publiquement par Coinbase et Gemini qu'ils ne soutiendraient pas cette version de bitcoin à la suite de ce drame public. Il faut noter qu'après 2 ans, Binance a retourné sa veste et est aujourd'hui devenu un des principaux mineurs de BSV. Au fur et à mesure que les choses progressaient, le fondateur de bitcoin .com, Roger Ver, a également réalisé une vidéo publique déclarant Wright comme arnaqueur. C'était après avoir travaillé sournoisement avec les développeurs Bitcoin ABC pour coder des points de contrôle dans le logiciel ABC de Bitcoin Cash, divisant de manière permanente le réseau Bitcoin pour la deuxième et dernière fois - un acte auquel le Dr Wright s'était opposé et pour lequel Roger est également poursuivi par d'autres parties privées en Floride. Roger Ver a été averti que s'il continuait, des poursuites juridiques similaires se présenteraient à sa porte pour avoir diffamé le Dr Wright, mais il à décidé de poursuivre les accusations publiques jusqu'à ce qu'il soit également entendu devant le tribunal pour fournir une preuve de la fraude de Wright, sous peine de sanctions pour diffamation publique. Aucune preuve n'a jamais été fournit, mais le Dr Wright a depuis abandonné ses poursuites contre Roger Ver pour se concentrer sur son procès avec Kleiman et celui avec McCormack ainsi que son travail sur Bitcoin. Et maintenant que se passe-t-il ? Nous avons établi l'histoire du Bitcoin, de sa guerre civile, des attaques publiques contre Wright, Ayre et BSV. Au moment d'écrire ces lignes, nous pouvons revenir sur les attaques contre Thomas Lee, Tim Draper et Jimmy Wales pour avoir eu une proximité avec BSV. Malgré la pression sociale, le rapport technique Fundstrat de Lee a rendu un examen élogieux du protocole fixe et de l'évolutivité infinie de BSV. Lee et son équipe étaient heureux de prendre la parole lors des événements précédents de CoinGeek, même après le tollé public. Pour la conférence CoinGeek 2020 à New York, McCormack, Hodlonaut, « Arthur Van Pelt » et d'autres acteurs tels que le Dan Held de Kraken et une cacophonie de trolls anonymes sur Twitter ont mis à profit leur expérience de la culture d'annulation à la bolchevique pour faire pression sur l'orateur Gary Vaynerchuk ainsi que d'autres orateurs prévus pour cette conférence, afin de les forcer à annuler leur participation. Cette attaque sociale contre BSV, Dr. Wright, Ayre et les autres entreprises qui utilisent le réseau BSV pourrait être un gigantesque cas de fraude à la consommation. Ils trompent activement les gens en leur faisant croire que le protocole fixe et l'évolutivité infinie de Bitcoin BSV sont en quelque sorte dangereux, alors qu'en fait, le protocole et le réseau sont imperméables à toutes les attaques, à l'exception de leur ingénierie sociale. Bitcoin SV s'est développé professionnellement avec un portefeuille de brevets de protection de niveau mondial. Il est utilisé par des entreprises indépendantes afin d'apporter des innovations technologiques et possède un groupe décentralisé de nœuds honnêtes qui se font concurrence. Le réseau est fixe, sécurisé et en croissance grâce aux investissements de petites entreprises et de gestionnaires de capitaux. Les transactions sont instantanées avec des frais de 0.0002€ par transaction en moyenne, explosant tous les records de compétitivité de l'écosystème et permettant aux plus pauvres de la planète d'enfin accéder à l'économie digitale mondiale. Les mensonges sont basés sur une campagne massive de dénigrement perpétrée par les communautés d'autres cryptomonnaies qui craignent l'adoption mondiale de BSV comme outil de commerce et ce que cela signifiera pour eux. L'histoire ne sera pas gentille avec ces manipulateurs et leurs réseaux qui sont financés par les fraudes probables des échanges de crypto-monnaies off-shore, le (très probablement) frauduleux Tether Stablecoin, et l'économie des arnaques de "pump-and-dump" qui sous-tend 95% du volume de négociation de l'ensemble de l'économie cryptomonnaie actuelle. C'est une guerre civile. Il y aura toujours des victimes, mais alors que BTC et BCH se concentrent sur les ragots et les affaires illicites, BSV veut que le monde entier soit plus libre, plus souverain et plus capable de coopérer sur le registre mondial de la vérité afin que les entrepreneurs du monde puissent s'engager à créer des entreprises ou de simples nano-services sont rendus possibles uniquement par Bitcoin. Bitcoin est un test d'intelligence. Au fil du temps, les personnes intelligentes pourront voir à travers le brouillard de distorsion de la réalité créé pour confondre les innocents et reconnaître cela pour ce que c'est, une attaque coordonnée pour tenter de supprimer une technologie qui à un potentiel unique dans l'histoire, et qui les rendrait obsolètes. Des exemples d'applications Bitcoin que vous pouvez utiliser dès aujourd'hui ? Les applications qui sont construites sur Bitcoin et interagissent entre elles par ce biais créent ce qu'on appelle le "Metanet". Si vous vous sentez prêt à faire le premier pas dans le futur vous êtes libres de tester les applications les plus populaires du Metanet sur https://metastore.app/apps?sort=money Le site le plus populaire du Metanet à ce jour est Twetch, une version de twitter incensurable sur la blockchain que vous trouverez ici : bit.ly/twetchapp _______________________ sources: inspiré de https://coingeek.com/the-war-on-bitcoin/ image : https://imgur.com/1Yb0Yle Voici un schéma qui retrace les financements de Blockstream et révèle comment le groupe Bilderberg, la banque centrale américaine (FED) et Mastercard on pris le contrôle du réseau BTC afin de le soumettre à leur propre profit: https://imgur.com/eFApDVE
How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation
In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.
Typical securities frameworks will cost Canadians millions of dollars (ie Sarbanes-Oxley estimated at $5m USD/yr per firm). Implementation costs of this proposal are significantly cheaper.
Canadians can maintain a diverse set of exchanges, multiple viable business models are still fully supported, and innovation is encouraged while keeping Canadians safe.
Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:
Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.
Regular Transparent Audits
Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.
Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.
Background and Justifications
Cold Storage Custody/Management After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems: • Funds stored online or in a smart contract, • Access controlled by one person or one system, • 51% attacks (rare), • Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or • Some combination of the above. For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program. The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms. • 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective. • The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated. The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II. On The Subject of Third Party Custodians Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems. However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies. There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both. On The Subject Of Insurance ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC. However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.” ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance. In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework. A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians. On The Subject of Fractional Reserve There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds. There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past. Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis. The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users. Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit. The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided. Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense. Hot Wallet Management The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets. However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process. A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage. Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.
Current Draft Proposal
(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage. (a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet. (b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time). (c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. (d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds. (e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers. (2) Regular and transparent solvency audits. (a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row. (b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored. (c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process. (d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify. (e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible. (3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions. (a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets. (b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy. (c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage. (d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange. (e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.
Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized. The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges. The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?
These crypto lending & borrowing services found early traction. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? https://reddit.com/link/icps9l/video/98kl1y596zh51/player This is the third part ofCrypto Banking Wars— a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become thebank of the future. Who is best positioned toreach mainstream adoptionin consumer finance? While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this verypowerfultechnology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe a crypto-native company will ultimately become the bank of the future. We’re confident Genesis Block will have a seat at that table, but we aren’t the only game in town. In the first post of this series, we did an analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. In our second episode, we looked at the world of non-custodial wallets. Today we’re analyzing crypto lending & borrowing services. The Earn and Borrow use-case covers a lot of what traditional banks deliver today. This category of companies is a threat worth analyzing. As we look at this market, we’ll mostly be focused on custodial, centralized products like BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius. Many of these companies found early traction among crypto users. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? Let’s find out.
Because speculation and trading remains one of the most popular use-cases of crypto, a new crypto sub-industry around credit has emerged. Much of the borrowing demand has been driven by institutional needs. For example, a Bitcoin mining company might need to borrow fiat to pay for operational costs (salaries, electricity). Or a crypto company might need to borrow USD to pay for engineering salaries. Or a crypto hedge fund needs to borrow for leverage or to take a specific market position. While all of these companies have sufficient crypto to cover the costs, they might not want to sell it — either for tax or speculative reasons (they may believe these crypto assets will appreciate, as with most in the industry). Instead of selling their crypto, these companies can use their crypto as collateral for loans. For example, they can provide $1.5M in Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $1M. Given the collateralization happening, the underwriting process becomes straightforward. Companies all around the world can participate — language and cultural barriers are removed. https://preview.redd.it/z9pby83d6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=54bf425215c3ed6d5ff0ca7dbe571e735b994613 The leader (and one of our partners) in this space is Genesis Capital. While they are always the counterparty for both lenders and borrowers, they are effectively a broker. They are at the center of the institutional crypto lending & borrowing markets. Their total active loans as of March 2020 was $649M. That number shot up to $1.42B in active loans as of June 2020. The growth of this entire market segment is impressive and it’s what is driving this opportunity for consumers downstream.
While most of the borrowing demand comes from institutional players, there is a growing desire from consumers to participate on the lend/supply side of the market. Crypto consumers would love to be able to deposit their assets with a service and watch it grow. Why let crypto assets sit on an exchange or in cold storage when it can be earning interest? A number of consumer-facing products have emerged in the last few years to make this happen. While they also allow users to borrow (always with collateral), most of the consumer attraction is around growing their crypto, even while they sleep. Earning interest. These products usually partner with institutional players like Genesis Capital to match the deposits with borrowing demand. And it’s exactly part of our strategy as well, beyond leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance protocols). A few of the most popular consumer services in this category include BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius. https://preview.redd.it/vptig5mg6zh51.png?width=1051&format=png&auto=webp&s=b5fdc241cb9b6f5b495173667619f8d2c93371ca
BlockFi (Crunchbase) is the leader in this category (at least in the West). They are well-capitalized. In August 2019, they raised $18.3M in their Series A. In Feb 2020, they raised $30M in their Series B. In that same time period, they went from $250M in assets under management to $650M. In a recent blog post, they announced that they saw a 100% revenue increase in Q2 and that they were on track to do $50M in revenue this year. Their growth is impressive. BlockFi did not do an ICO, unlike Celsius, Nexo, Salt, and Cred. BlockFi has a lot of institutional backing so it is perceived as the most reputable in the space. BlockFi started with borrowing — allowing users to leverage their crypto as collateral and taking out a loan against it. They later got into Earning — allowing users to deposit assets and earn interest on it. They recently expanded their service to “exchange” functionality and say they are coming out with a credit card later this year. https://preview.redd.it/byv2tbui6zh51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=bac080dcfc85e89574c30dfb396db0b537d46706 Security Woes It’s incredible that BlockFi has been able to see such strong growth despite their numerous product and security woes. A few months ago, their systems were compromised. A hacker was able to access confidential data, such as names, dates of birth, postal addresses, and activity histories. While no funds were lost, this was a massive embarrassment and caused reputational damage. https://preview.redd.it/lwmxbz5l6zh51.png?width=606&format=png&auto=webp&s=ebd8e6e5c31c56da055824254b35b218b49f80e0 Unrelated to that massive security breach and earlier in the year, a user discovered a major bug that allowed him to send the same funds to himself over and over again, ultimately accumulating more than a million dollars in his BlockFi account. BlockFi fortunately caught him just before withdrawal. Poor Product Execution Beyond their poor security — which they are now trying to get serious about — their products are notoriously buggy and hard-to-use. I borrowed from them a year ago and used their interest account product until very recently. I have first-hand experience of how painful it is. But don’t take my word for it… here are just a few tweets from customers just recently. https://preview.redd.it/wcqu3icn6zh51.png?width=1055&format=png&auto=webp&s=870e2f06a6ec377a87e5d6d1f24579a901de66b5 For a while, their interest-earning product had a completely different authentication system than their loan product (users had two sets of usernames/passwords). Many people have had issues with withdrawals. The app is constantly logging people out, blank screens, ugly error messages. Emails with verification codes are sometimes delayed by hours (or days). I do wonder if their entire app has been outsourced. The sloppiness shines through. Not only is their product buggy and UX confusing, but their branding & design is quite weak. To the left is a t-shirt they once sent me. It looks like they just found a bunch of quirky fonts, added their name, and slapped it on a t-shirt. https://preview.redd.it/mi6yeppp6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=fd4cd8201ad0d5bc667498096388377895b72953 Culture To the innocent bystander, many of these issues seem totally fixable. They could hire an amazing design agency to completely revamp their product or brand. They could hire a mercenary group of engineers to fix their bugs, etc. While it could stop the bleeding for a time, it may not solve the underlying issues. Years of sloppy product execution represents something much more destructive. It represents a top-down mentality that shipping anything other than excellence is okay: product experience doesn’t matter; design doesn’t matter; craftsmanship doesn’t matter; strong execution doesn’t matter; precision doesn’t matter. That’s very different from our culture at Genesis Block. This cancerous mentality rarely stays contained within product & engineering — this leaks to all parts of the organization. No design agency or consulting firm will fix some of the pernicious values of a company’s soul. These are deeper issues that only leadership can course-correct. If BlockFi’s sloppiness were due to constant experimentation, iteration, shipping, or some “move fast and break things” hacker culture… like Binance… I would probably cut them more slack. But there is zero evidence of that. “Move fast and break things” is always scary when dealing with financial products. But in BlockFi’s case, when it’s more like “move slow and break things,” they are really playing with fire. Next time a massive security breach occurs, like what happened earlier this year, they may not be so lucky. Institutional Focus Based on who is on their team, their poor product execution shouldn’t be a surprise. Their team comes mostly from Wall Street, not the blockchain community (where our roots are). Most of BlockFi’s blockchain/crypto integration is very superficial. They take crypto assets as deposits, but they aren’t leveraging any of the exciting, low-level DeFi protocols like we are. While their Wall Street heritage isn’t doing them any favors on the product/tech side, it’s served them very well on winning institutional clients. This is perhaps their greatest strength. BlockFi has a strong institutional business. They recently brought on Three Arrows Capital as a strategic investor — a crypto hedge fund who does a lot of borrowing. In that announcement, BlockFi’s founder said that bringing them on “aligns well with our focus on international expansion of our institutional services offering.” They also recently brought someone on who will lead business development in Asia among institutional clients. BlockFi Wrap Up There are certainly BlockFi features that overlap with Genesis Block’s offering. It’s possible that they are angling to become the bank of the future. However, they simply have not proven they are capable of designing, building, and launching world-class consumer products. They’ve constantly had issues around security and poor product execution. Their company account and their founder’s account seem to onlytweetaboutBitcoin. I don’t think they understand, appreciate, or value the power of DeFi. It’s unlikely they’ll be leveraging it any time soon. All of these reasons are why I don’t see them as a serious threat to Genesis Block. However, because of their strong institutional offering, I hope that Genesis Block will ultimately have a very collaborative and productive partnership with them. Assuming they figure out their security woes, we could park some of our funds with BlockFi (just as we will with Genesis Capital and others). I think what’s likely to happen is that we’ll corner the consumer market and we’ll work closely with BlockFi on the institutional side. I’ve been hard on BlockFi because I care. I think they have a great opportunity at helping elevate the entire industry in a positive way. But they have a lot of issues they need to work through. I really don’t want to see users lose millions of dollars in a security breach. It could set back the entire industry. But if they do things well… a rising tide lifts all boats.
While many companies in this category seem to be slowly adding more financial services, I don’t believe any of them are focused on the broader consumer market like we are. To use services like BlockFi, Nexo, or Celsius, users need to be onboarded and educated on how crypto works. At Genesis Block, we don’t believe that’s the winning approach. We think blockchain complexity should be abstracted away from the end-user. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto. For many of these services, there is additional friction due to ICO tokens that are forcefully integrated into the product (see NEXO token or CEL Token). None of these services have true banking functionality or integration with traditional finance —for example, easy offramp or spending methods like debit cards. None of them are taking DeFi seriously — they are leveraging crypto for only the asset class, not the underlying technology around financial protocols. So are these companies potential competitors to Genesis Block? For the crypto crowd, yes. For the mass market, no. None of these companies are capable of reaching the billions of people around the world that we hope to reach at Genesis Block. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Crypto-Powered - The Most Promising Use-Cases of Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
A whirlwind tour of Defi, paying close attention to protocols that we’re leveraging atGenesis Block. https://reddit.com/link/hrrt21/video/cvjh5rrh12b51/player This is the third post ofCrypto-Powered— a new series that examines what it means forGenesis Blockto be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols. Last week we explored how building on legacy finance is a fool’s errand. The future of money belongs to those who build with crypto and blockchain at their core. We also started down the crypto rabbit hole, introducing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi (decentralized finance). That post is required reading if you hope to glean any value from the rest of this series. 97% of all activity on Ethereum in the last quarter has been DeFi-related. The total value sitting inside DeFi protocols is roughly $2B — double what it was a month ago. The explosive growth cannot be ignored. All signs suggest that Ethereum & DeFi are a Match Made in Heaven, and both on their way to finding strong product/market fit. So in this post, we’re doing a whirlwind tour of DeFi. We look at specific examples and use-cases already in the wild and seeing strong growth. And we pay close attention to protocols that Genesis Block is integrating with. Alright, let’s dive in.
Stablecoins are exactly what they sound like: cryptocurrencies that are stable. They are not meant to be volatile (like Bitcoin). These assets attempt to peg their price to some external reference (eg. USD or Gold). A non-volatile crypto asset can be incredibly useful for things like merchant payments, cross-border transfers, or storing wealth — becoming your own bank but without the stress of constant price volatility. There are major governments and central banks that are experimenting with or soon launching their own stablecoins like China with their digital yuan and the US Federal Reserve with their digital dollar. There are also major corporations working in this area like JP Morgan with their JPM Coin, and of course Facebook with their Libra Project.
Stablecoin activity has grown 800% in the last year, with $290B of transaction volume (funds moving on-chain).
USDC($1B): This is the most reputable USD-backed stablecoin, at least in the West. It was created by Coinbase & Circle, both well-regarded crypto companies. They’ve been very open and transparent with their audits and bank records.
DAI ($189M): This is backed by other crypto assets — not USD in a bank account. This was arguably the first true DeFi protocol. The big benefit is that it’s more decentralized — it’s not controlled by any single organization. The downside is that the assets backing it can be volatile crypto assets (though it has mechanisms in place to mitigate that risk).
Three of the top five DeFi protocols relate to lending & borrowing. These popular lending protocols look very similar to traditional money markets. Users who want to earn interest/yield can deposit (lend) their funds into a pool of liquidity. Because it behaves similarly to traditional money markets, their funds are not locked, they can withdraw at any time. It’s highly liquid. Borrowers can tap into this pool of liquidity and take out loans. Interest rates depend on the utilization rate of the pool — how much of the deposits in the pool have already been borrowed. Supply & demand. Thus, interest rates are variable and borrowers can pay their loans back at any time.
So, who decides how much a borrower can take? What’s the process like? Are there credit checks? How is credit-worthiness determined?
These protocols are decentralized, borderless, permissionless. The people participating in these markets are from all over the world. There is no simple way to verify identity or check credit history. So none of that happens. Credit-worthiness is determined simply by how much crypto collateral the borrower puts into the protocol. For example, if a user wants to borrow $5k of USDC, then they’ll need to deposit $10k of BTC or ETH. The exact amount of collateral depends on the rules of the protocol — usually the more liquid the collateral asset, the more borrowing power the user can receive. The most prominent lending protocols include Compound, Aave, Maker, and Atomic Loans. Recently, Compound has seen meteoric growth with the introduction of their COMP token — a token used to incentivize and reward participants of the protocol. There’s almost $1B in outstanding debt in the Compound protocol. Mainframe is also working on an exciting protocol in this area and the latest iteration of their white paper should be coming out soon.
There is very little economic risk to these protocols because all loans are overcollateralized.
Buying, selling, and trading crypto assets is certainly one form of investing (though not for the faint of heart). But there are now DeFi protocols to facilitate making and managing traditional-style investments. Through DeFi, you can invest in Gold. You can invest in stocks like Amazon and Apple. You can short Tesla. You can access the S&P 500. This is done through crypto-based synthetics — which gives users exposure to assets without needing to hold or own the underlying asset. This is all possible with protocols like UMA, Synthetix, or Market protocol. Maybe your style of investing is more passive. With PoolTogether , you can participate in a no-loss lottery. Maybe you’re an advanced trader and want to trade options or futures. You can do that with DeFi protocols like Convexity, Futureswap, and dYdX. Maybe you live on the wild side and trade on margin or leverage, you can do that with protocols like Fulcrum, Nuo, and DDEX. Or maybe you’re a degenerate gambler and want to bet against Trump in the upcoming election, you can do that on Augur. And there are plenty of DeFi protocols to help with crypto investing. You could use Set Protocol if you need automated trading strategies. You could use Melonport if you’re an asset manager. You could use Balancer to automatically rebalance your portfolio. With as little as $1, people all over the world can have access to the same investment opportunities and tools that used to be reserved for only the wealthy, or those lucky enough to be born in the right country.
You can start to imagine how services like Etrade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and even Robinhood could be massively disrupted by a crypto-native company that builds with these types of protocols at their foundation.
As mentioned in our previous post, there are near-infinite applications one can build on Ethereum. As a result, sometimes the code doesn’t work as expected. Bugs get through, it breaks. We’re still early in our industry. The tools, frameworks, and best practices are all still being established. Things can go wrong. Sometimes the application just gets in a weird or bad state where funds can’t be recovered — like with what happened with Parity where $280M got frozen (yes, I lost some money in that). Sometimes, there are hackers who discover a vulnerability in the code and maliciously steal funds — like how dForce lost $25M a few months ago, or how The DAO lost $50M a few years ago. And sometimes the system works as designed, but the economic model behind it is flawed, so a clever user takes advantage of the system— like what recently happened with Balancer where they lost $500k. There are a lot of risks when interacting with smart contracts and decentralized applications — especially for ones that haven’t stood the test of time. This is why insurance is such an important development in DeFi.
Insurance will be an essential component in helping this technology reach the masses.
Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) were one of the first and most developed categories in DeFi. A DEX allows a user to easily exchange one crypto asset for another crypto asset — but without needing to sign up for an account, verify identity, etc. It’s all via decentralized protocols. Within the first 5 months of 2020, the top 7 DEX already achieved the 2019 trading volume. That was $2.5B. DeFi is fueling a lot of this growth. https://preview.redd.it/1dwvq4e022b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=97a3d756f60239cd147031eb95fc2a981db55943 There are many different flavors of DEX. Some of the early ones included 0x, IDEX, and EtherDelta — all of which had a traditional order book model where buyers are matched with sellers. Another flavor is the pooled liquidity approach where the price is determined algorithmically based on how much liquidity there is and how much the user wants to buy. This is known as an AMM (Automated Market Maker) — Uniswap and Bancor were early leaders here. Though lately, Balancer has seen incredible growth due mostly to their strong incentives for participation — similar to Compound. There are some DEXs that are more specialized — for example, Curve and mStable focus mostly only stablecoins. Because of the proliferation of these decentralized exchanges, there are now aggregators that combine and connect the liquidity of many sources. Those include Kyber, Totle, 1Inch, and Dex.ag.
These decentralized exchanges are becoming more and more connected to DeFi because they provide an opportunity for yield and earning interest.
As it relates to making payments, much of the world is still stuck on plastic cards. We’re grateful to partner with Visa and launch the Genesis Block debit card… but we still don’t believe that's the future of payments. We see that as an important bridge between the past (legacy finance) and the future (crypto). Our first post in this series shared more on why legacy finance is broken. We talked about the countless unnecessary middle-men on every card swipe (merchant, acquiring bank, processor, card network, issuing bank). We talked about the slow settlement times. The future of payments will be much better. Yes, it’ll be from a mobile phone and the user experience will be similar to ApplePay (NFC) or WePay (QR Code).
But more importantly, the underlying assets being moved/exchanged will all be crypto — digital, permissionless, and open source.
Someone making a payment at the grocery store check-out line will be able to open up Genesis Block, use contactless tech or scan a QR code, and instantly pay for their goods. All using crypto. Likely a stablecoin. Settlement will be instant. All the middlemen getting their pound of flesh will be disintermediated. The merchant can make more and the user can spend less. Blockchain FTW! Now let’s talk about a few projects working in this area. The xDai Burner Wallet experience was incredible at the ETHDenver event a few years ago, but that speed came at the expense of full decentralization (can it be censored or shut down?). Of course, Facebook’s Libra wants to become the new standard for global payments, but many are afraid to give Facebook that much control (newsflash: it isn’t very decentralized). Bitcoin is decentralized… but it’s slow and volatile. There are strong projects like Lightning Network (Zap example) that are still trying to make it happen. Projects like Connext and OmiseGo are trying to help bring payments to Ethereum. The Flexa project is leveraging the gift card rails, which is a nice hack to leverage existing pipes. And if ETH 2.0 is as fast as they say it will be, then the future of payments could just be a stablecoin like DAI (a token on Ethereum). In a way, being able to spend crypto on daily expenses is the holy grail of use-cases. It’s still early. It hasn’t yet been solved. But once we achieve this, then we can ultimately and finally say goodbye to the legacy banking & finance world. Employees can be paid in crypto. Employees can spend in crypto. It changes everything.
Legacy finance is hanging on by a thread, and it’s this use-case that they are still clinging to. Once solved, DeFi domination will be complete.
At Genesis Block, we’re excited to leverage these protocols and take this incredible technology to the world. Many of these protocols are already deeply integrated with our product. In fact, many are essential. The masses won’t know (or care about) what Tether, USDC, or DAI is. They think in dollars, euros, pounds and pesos. So while the user sees their local currency in the app, the underlying technology is all leveraging stablecoins. It’s all on “crypto rails.” https://preview.redd.it/jajzttr622b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=fcf55cea1216a1d2fcc3bf327858b009965f9bf8 When users deposit assets into their Genesis Block account, they expect to earn interest. They expect that money to grow. We leverage many of these low-risk lending/exchange DeFi protocols. We lend into decentralized money markets like Compound — where all loans are overcollateralized. Or we supply liquidity to AMM exchanges like Balancer. This allows us to earn interest and generate yield for our depositors. We’re the experts so our users don’t need to be. We haven’t yet integrated with any of the insurance or investment protocols — but we certainly plan on it. Our infrastructure is built with blockchain technology at the heart and our system is extensible — we’re ready to add assets and protocols when we feel they are ready, safe, secure, and stable. Many of these protocols are still in the experimental phase. It’s still early.
At Genesis Block we’re excited to continue to be at the frontlines of this incredible, innovative, technological revolution called DeFi.
--- None of these powerful DeFi protocols will be replacing Robinhood, SoFi, or Venmo anytime soon. They never will. They aren’t meant to! We’ve discussed this before, these are low-level protocols that need killer applications, like Genesis Block. So now that we’ve gone a little deeper down the rabbit hole and we’ve done this whirlwind tour of DeFi, the natural next question is: why?
Why does any of it matter?
Most of these financial services that DeFi offers already exist in the real world. So why does it need to be on a blockchain? Why does it need to be decentralized? What new value is unlocked? Next post, we answer these important questions. To look at more projects in DeFi, check outDeFi Prime,DeFi Pulse, orConsensys. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
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