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An Insiders Take on CoinTerra & the Bitcoin Mining Sector

Having been involved in Bitcoin since 2011 and on the inside of one of the 28nm Bitcoin mining contestants for the past two months, here is my story.
Feel free to skip the long intro to skip to the present: I added it because people might want to know where I'm coming from.
My elevator pitch is that I discovered Bitcoin in 2011 while traveling in Argentina, and after doing research I started recommending it as an investment to the subscribers of my financial newsletter in early 2012. BTC was $5 back then, so we did well with that.
Here are some links of the things that I've done in Bitcoin:
"Bitcoin seen through the eyes of a central banker"
Interview Keiser Report about Bitcoin, ECB & Argentina
"Why you should invest in Bitcoin"
"Cryptocurrency is the future of money, banking, and finance"
Since the beginning I've been thinking a lot about how I wanted to invest in Bitcoin. It has always made plain sense to me to begin with buying coins, as it is like an ETF on the entire Bitcoin economy.
However, in early 2012, just the idea of buying bitcoins was a pretty scary prospect. I consulted with two core developers who actually tried to dissuade me from looking at Bitcoin as an investment. One said it was still very much an experiment, the other said (correctly so) that there were still substantial security risks.
Eventually it was my experience in Argentina's difficult economy (rife with currency crackdowns and capital controls) that convinced me to take the leap - I decided that there was enough demand and enthusiasm for financial freedom in the world. Enough for some crazy people to keep funneling resources into Bitcoin, resources that would support the idealist hackers and maverick entrepreneurs to make the technology of cryptocurrency a success.
So I started buying bitcoins, considering myself lucky because my friends in Latin America had it much tougher: they had to mine most of their cryptocurrency in their basement with graphic cards because of the harsh capital controls that prevented them from sending money abroad and buying them on an exchange.
In all, 2012 was a difficult year for Bitcoin. The 'old' bitcoiners were still psychologically numbed from the huge decline in price, and the newbees were continually scared by new scandals: the Bitcoinica thefts in May and July, the BTC Savings and Trust-ponzi implosion in August, and the Bitfloor theft in September. The price of Bitcoin hovered between $5 and $13 all year, the mainstream media ignored or at best scorned Bitcoin, and I for one was mostly happy to still have an unscathed wallet.
Throughout the year I wrote about Bitcoin practically every week in my email updates and every month in my printed investment newsletter. It was often a frustrating job, because my many of my subscribers are babyboomers or from an older generation who don't intuitively grasp the concepts of peer-to-peer, open source, online, etc. I received a good number of emails accusing me of promoting a ponzi scheme, and my publisher (who does all the promotion for the newsletter) was very sceptical and tried to persuade me to write less about Bitcoin and more about traditional investments like gold and stocks.
I think this tension/struggle is part of what prevented me from exploring the investable side of the Bitcoin economy for quite a while, although I did buy a few Bitcoin mining stocks on the GLBSE. (Compliments to the miners that kept paying out dividends even after the wild ending of this stock exchange - COGNITIVE is one of them)
Attending the Bitcoin London conference organized by Amir Taaki in late 2012 was definitely a turning point for me. Cryptocurrency suddenly became tangible and real, and I think that was the case for many people there.
During Amir's conference, I made friends with Jim from MultiBit and Nejc from BitStamp. I likely missed an investment opportunity with BitPay (even though Tony Galippi was just as impressive back then as he is now), and I tried to persuade GLBSE's Nefario to start talking to a lawyer about the legal risks of running a Bitcoin denominated exchange. Josh from Butterfly Labs made an announcement there in London, and that was my first experience with the excitement and controversy that characterizes so much of the Bitcoin mining industry today.
Meanwhile my investment newsletter kept doing well, and I decided to make a move to South America to expand my horizon. That's how it happened that I was with my friends in Buenos Aires when the March-April 2013 explosion in price happened: an exhilarating time, and I'm still grateful for their long term Bitcoin experience which helped me make the right decisions for myself during this period.
Still I kept thinking about how I could invest some of my gains back in the Bitcoin economy. Chasing a dollar profit doesn't make sense to me, so I had to identify business models that gave perspective for making a multiple on my bitcoins.
Bitcoin mining felt like an interesting fit, for several reasons.
First, I spent the past few years studying the gold mining industry and the parallels and differences with Bitcoin mining are absolutely fascinating to me.
Next, in the short run I am not at ease regarding the authorities ability to attack or destabilize the BTC network. Many will object by saying that the Bitcoin network has a hashrate that's currently 40 times faster than top 500 supercomputers combined. However, that is misleading because the equation would change dramatically if those computers were equipped with specialized ASICs that can be produced for a couple of million dollars.
This is what Jim Rickards referred to when he said "technologists don't understand the world of power politics and malicious actors: there are people who don't care about the cost. (…) If they want to destroy a system, and they have to pay to do it, they'll do it. It's not necessarily more expensive than buying an aircraft carrier or building a submarine."
This is the reason why I think it's crucial to push up the network speed as close to the physical limits as possible. Once the miners are working on the smallest node and with the most efficient chip possible, it will be much more difficult for a malicious entity to do a 51% attack on the network.
(By the way, much respect to the small bitcoiners and basement miners for this: they are the ones that have been bankrolling the expensive development of ever more sophisticated ASIC chips. They are the ones that are slowly turning the once brittle skeleton of the Bitcoin network into an indestructible Adamantium shield.)
Finally, it seemed obvious to me that the Bitcoin mining market was about to enter a consolidation phase, in which the market would increasingly sponsor the more reliable and technically gifted chip producers, which will eventually create a more stable environment for everyone. How exciting, to try and witness from the first row how an entirely new industry grows from childhood/adolescence towards maturity!
Enter CoinTerra.
I first met Ravi Iyengar and his team members at the San Jose Bitcoin conference, where they pitched for an angel investment in their company. I was immediately impressed by their passion, technical pedigree, and understanding of the workings of Bitcoin.
I was definitely intrigued and after the conference we kept the communication lines open. Back in Belgium I met with two interested angels who happened to be Belgian, too. I then talked to different people with hardware backgrounds to verify whether Ravi's team really was that good judging by the industry standards. They were.
I started getting excited.
From there on, things began moving fast. The two Belgians got in and the more I talked to Ravi, the more I was impressed with his cogent reasoning, his decisiveness, and the speed by which he absorbs large amounts of new information. By mid July I finally made the decision to also come in as the third angel investor in CoinTerra.
When I talked about the company to Timo Hanke (German cryptographer and author of the Bitcoin Pay-to-Contract protocol) he was intrigued, did his own due dilligence, and soon after became an investor in, and later a team member of CoinTerra.
Other investors and advisors that came in on the angel round had reputable backgrounds in the software and hardware industries, precious metals, telecom, and law - all of whom shared a great and genuine passion for Bitcoin. I began feeling very fortunate to be able to follow this project from such a close perspective.
After some days, because of Ravi's high energy and magnetic enthusiasm, the following turned into involvement. When I was invited to come to Austin, Texas to help out, I jumped in with both feet - I've been here for a week now.
One thing I noticed when getting involved with CoinTerra more closely, is that the communications part of the equation needed improving. I can understand how the issue came to be. Ravi is in the first place an engineer and a team leader, and he started structuring his company from that same perspective. Even today most of his focus is directed to closely managing all the engineers (in Austin, in Raleigh, and also in India) to make sure that the risks involved are managed to the greatest possible extent.
The engineering roots of CoinTerra are also reflected in the initial vision behind the company: to build large and efficient mining data centers, deploy them worldwide, and to then offer cloud hashing services to the public. However, the still uncertain legal repercussions of that lead to a change in strategy. Instead, CoinTerra is now working on providing chips and rigs for the general public, and leaves it for the customers to decide where and how to mine with them.
Now, I understand and appreciate how very skeptical a large part of the Bitcoin mining community has become. People have invested a lot of resources in brave but often very inexperienced teams who have not always been able to deliver on their promises. It has been a road of trial and error, and the errors of some have proven painful to many.
I can say that I understand what it means to have skin in the game of the mining market; I am an investor in a company that has announced but not released a manufactured product on the market yet. And I stand by it: I think CoinTerra is working on fantastic products and has great future potential as a company. Would I like to make a return on my investment? Of course, that will be the best proof that it fulfills the potential that I see in Ravi and his team.
That said, even to just be involved in this technological arms race that is taking place in Bitcoin mining, where hyper competitive capitalism is miraculously creating a very pure public good, is a real privilege. I think the sector will further mature and that we will see more and more reliable companies emerge over time, and all the while the Bitcoin network will grow stronger and stronger.
I'm happy to take questions if you are interested.
Best wishes,
submitted by dtuur to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Colored coins (decentralized exchange): we need developers to complete client implementation faster

Brief intro about colored coins (you can skip it if you already know): Colored coins can be used to encode information about ownership of external property (e.g. securities, tickets, etc) directly in blockchain; this enables trustless trading, i.e. securities represented with colored coins can be bought directly for Bitcoin with no 3rd party involvement and no counter-party risk; and trustless trading allows us to create a decentralized exchange: you do not care whom you trade with as long as price is good, so it is possible to trade in peer-to-peer fashion. More info in coindesk article.
History (of implementation): I've implemented first proof-of-concept a year ago, but it was very basic and didn't allow trustless trade. A more advanced version, one which supported trustless trade, appeared several months later. In January of 2013 we had a version of ArmoryX (based on Bitcoin Armory) which implemented p2ptrade: it allowed communication between peers via a chat server, so that they could trade when they agree on price. It had trading interface generally similar to what you see on, and worked more-or-less as advertised, but had several bugs and deficiencies. Particularly, Armory requires about 2 GB of RAM on mainnet, so it is quite a bit cumbersome. For this reason, we decided to focus on a web client (WebcoinX), which will be more accessible to users. Unfortunately, implementing a web client was hard, and also we had very few developers working on them (on average, less than one), so we got a very basic demo only in May.
Recent history: Unfortunately lead developer of WebcoinX disappeared soon after the first demo, so we had more delays... Until I restarted development in July. At that point I got a better theoretic model of colored coins, and some ideas for a better wallet architecture which would avoid possible corner cases and will be more convenient for users. So we started making so-called Next-generation colored coin client (NGCCC) from scratch, also we continued with WebcoinX, as I found more developers.
Current state: We were able to improve user interface of WebcoinX, so that it is better suited for colored coins, and it now works on testnet (note: it is work-in-progress, not all features work properly!), but we lack manpower to fix remaining problems and optimize it so it will work on the mainnet. It current pace it would take a lot of time until we get there. And we got a very basic proof-of-concept of NGCCC, but more work needs to be done to make it usable. Currently I'm working on it alone (when I'm not working on WebcoinX), so progress is slow.
Developers, developers, developers: If we'll be able get more developers working on this, we can make a complete colored coin client in matter of weeks. But I gotta clarify: we don't just need more developers, we need developers who understand general structure of a cryptocurrency wallet, and can make implementation decisions on their own. Otherwise, if I'll be responsible for all decisions, we'll be bottlenecked at decision-making.
Specifics: WebcoinX is written in JavaScript, NGCCC is written in Python. Both projects are 100% open source, but there are sponsors willing to fund development, so developers will receive bounties proportional to their contributions. Total compensation pool is 70 BTC for each project. Generally, each contributor will record how much time he spent on a particular task in a spreadsheet, and once specific milestone is complete, each will get bounty proportional to self-reported efforts. (But I reserve a right to make adjustments, in case someone will try to abuse the system.) Although if somebody if somebody bids to implement some component for a fixed sum, that might be a possibility too. I can even accept an offer to implement the whole thing for 70 BTC.
Importance: You might have heard news about and closing down. A year ago GLBSE was shut down abruptly. Things like this cause turmoil on markets, even if no Bitcoins were lost. (We are lucky that no exchange have lost coins so far, I guess such an event, which is very well possible, would have resulted in much bigger panic.) Decentralized exchanges are going to ameliorate this problem, as they will remove necessity for centralized exchanges. Even if trading relies on some chat server, it is possible to switch to a different server in matter of minutes, so disruption will be minimal. There are other possible benefits, but I'm not going to go in details here, I could write a few pages about it...
Competition: There are several project which aim to implement decentralized stock markets. Some of them: Freimarkets, Bitshares, Mastercoin. But only colored coins and Mastercoin promise to enable direct trade for Bitcoins. And colored coins is both more mature (we had a working proof-of-concept a while ago), and I believe it is better: it doesn't put any data into blockchain, and it makes trustless thin clients (i.e. similar to Electrum) possible.
Myths about colored coins: Pretty much each time I mention them, people say how it is a bad thing, so here's a list of common misconceptions:
  1. It is a bad thing because it bloats blockchain. The approach we use now puts no extra data into blockchain, it creates only ordinary Bitcoin transactions, which are not different from trade transactions. Vilifying colored coins for this reason makes as much sense as vilifying selling coffee for Bitcoins: if millions of cups of coffee will be sold each day, it will create a lot of blockchain bloat!
  2. You should use a separate blockchain because it rustles my jimmies. Well, we use specifically the Bitcoin blockchain for a good reason: it enables trading securities for Bitcoins directly, with no 3rd party involved, and securely. This is what we want and this is what people want.
  3. Namecoin was first! Yes, it was, so? Use of Namecoin names for trading has much higher overhead. It is outright impossible to create a private currency on top of it, for example.
  4. But, cross-chain trade script. It exists, but it isn't as good as atomic coin swapping which we use.
  5. Anti-dust patch killed colored coins. It made order-based coloring much less convenient, but we now use a more general theoretic model which allows us to use different 'color schemes'. Particularly, improved version of order-based coloring eliminates all inconveniences created by anti-dust patch.
  6. Mixing and diluting problems. This can happen only if there is a bug in colored coin wallet. But you can lose your money if there is a bug in a Bitcoin client, e.g. some people managed to pay as much as 200 BTC in fees because client software forgot to include change output. At least with colored coins, if shit happens you can try to get compensation from an issuer, as it is easy to prove that coins were destroyed. And if he is kind enough, he will just send you replacement. Also, we now use better wallet architecture which will prevent problems like this.
submitted by killerstorm to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Can virtual goods be packaged into bitcoins, or do we need a new protocol for that?

If bitcoins are gaining in value, could things like music or video game art assets appreciate too? For instance, I would like to be able to buy an original Thor Hammer from my favorite 3D artist, and I would like to be able to prove that mine is the original in case I sell it. If others copy it, I want the history of its ownership to be maintained forever.
Would we need a new network of ArtCoins to do this? Or would we just clone something like the GLBSE and trade art instead of assets? Might this be a boon for the games industry?
edit Don't know how this would work with games, but I could see an author releasing say 100 or a 1000 unique copies, which are stamped as "first prints". These could be transferred as "second prints" by the initial buyers at a reduced price, while they keep the originals. Subsequent prints are transferred ad infinitum, so I could buy an Nth edition for say 1/Nth the market price of the original. I could get behind that.
submitted by asherp to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

I am here to tell you why we are at the top of the current price rise, and why not to worry about it

Bitcoin adoption works in waves.
A group of people is introduced to it, and the price is affected by this.
The very first wave occurred at the very beginning when Satoshi introduced the very first people to Bitcoin. This is when the value of a Bitcoin changed for 0 to "something". Nobody knew how much a bitcoin was worth at that point, and there were no exchanges.
The next wave is when people outside of that little group started to find out about Bitcoin. At this point there was still no set value for Bitcoin, but it was certainly worth more than before.
The third wave is when the next generation of people is introduced, at this point we have people exchanging Bitcoins for pizza, and the first exchanges are established. Now a price is put onto the Bitcoin, and it is less than $1.
The fourth wave occurs when the media first finds out about Bitcoin. It appears on sites like slashdot which introduces a whole lot of new people, the price goes up and new services start to get introduced.
It is the fifth wave in which the 2011 bubble occurs. Several factors are at play here, one of which being the hacker collective lulzsec who mention Bitcoin while being in the media spotlight. There is now a huge demand for Bitcoin, but several thefts and hack attacks occur in quick succession and the price crumbles as people lose faith. At this point a large amount of people leave Bitcoin thinking that it was a failure.
The sixth wave is highlighted by Bitcoins Savings & Trust and the pirate passthroughs which led to the rise and fall of GLBSE. The price goes up and then tumbles down.
We are at the seventh wave. Some big names have started accepting Bitcoin, and there is also the coinlab deal.
Now for the kicker. After every crash people will leave Bitcoin. But, when something interesting comes up, like a impending price rise they are ready to jump back in and know exactly how to use the exchanges. The result of this is the price shoots up from the newbies and also the people that are coming back from the previous crash.
My point is this: The price is going to drop very soon. But it doesn't matter because it will rise well beyond it in a months.
submitted by bitcoin_pro to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Basic Bitcoin questions

Hello, I am new to Bitcoin and find it fascinating. So far I got a couple goals for today which is to build a web app that uses blockchain API and to actually get some bitcoins. In the meantime, I was wondering if I can get some help regarding basic BTC questions.
  1. If you get an address, and have payments sent to you, how are people able to determine how much money you have? What steps do they do to figure this out?
  2. The blockchain is not designed in a way where you can easily get information correct? You have to know more than python basics and have good programming skills as their seems to be no API, and no methods of just querying the data to get basic stats such as "latest transaction" or "biggest transaction ever"....
  3. In order to get bitcoins, you have to have an address and a digital wallet. This digital wallet is 1 file and its upon you to encrypt it and keep it safe. If someone gets this file, you have lost your bitcoins and not getting them back. Many people back up their digital wallet. Is this correct?
  4. When reading many stories about bitcoin theft, what is the usual gist? Dont most of these hackers get digital wallets that are encrypted? How do they make use of it, crack it...or its not encrypted at all?
  5. What is one of the common thing/method that can drive bitcoin value up? What is one common thing that can drive bitcoin value down?
  6. Can anyone name some people who sell products on a bitcoin market and make money? ie. someone who sells snacks, anyone making money other than big shops who have lots of investment money such as Butterfly Labs or that cupcake store..... I am interested in smaller people making money etsy-style I guess...
  7. What was GLBSE? I still cant even understand how the stock GLBSE just people pooling bitcoins together and investing in other project/companies?
  8. What is Bitfloor? It says trading bitcoin, but I have no clue what that means. And the site offers a dead link to explain it. Does it mean people have bitcoin they want to get rid of in exchange for what though?
  9. Compared to all the crypto methods out there, what is Bitcoin's crypto considered? Is it military grade for example? A popular standard or something new and fresh?
  10. Its highly unrealistic for people to think of methods on making Bitcoin illegal corrrect? It cant be stopped it seems...
submitted by bushidoshave to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

BTC-Mining on the GLBSE raises motion to purchase $29,899, 1 Terahash Butterfly Labs SC Mini Rig.

From Freenode #bitcoin-assets:
Motion for BTC-Mining to buy the new ASICs MiniRig instead of the FPGA one, currently ongoing. Please vote now.
submitted by TheAtlas to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

EIN EXTREM, EXTREM SELTENES BITCOIN SIGNAL WURDE HEUTE ... Bitcoin's True Value, Fake Crypto Exchange Volume, & Massive Adoption News Bitcoin: $10,000.00 Bet One Year Update from Roger Ver XLM platform for a digital dollar. XRP Platform for the Globe Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Finance & Global News - Market Update December 29th 2019

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