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Bob The Magic Custodian
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.
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.
With the large number of new readers coming to this sub we need to make information easy to access so those readers can make informed decisions. We all know there is an unusually large amount of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) surrounding EOS. Frankly, when clear evidence is provided it’s not that difficult to see EOS for the extremely valuable project it is. This post hopes to begin to put an end to all the misinformation by doing the following:
Giving a clear and concise answer to the most frequently asked questions in regards to EOS.
Giving a more in-depth answer for those who want to read more.
Allowing readers to make informed decisions by making credible information easy to access.
As EOS climbs the ranks we need to recognise there are going to be a lot of skeptical readers coming over and posting their questions. Sometimes they will be irrational, hostile and often just looking for a reaction. We should make it our responsibility to welcome everyone and refrain from responding emotionally to provocative posts, instead providing factual and rational answers. I will add to this post as and when I can, if you have any ideas or spot any mistakes let me know and I'll get them fixed ASAP. Im planning to add a bit on the team, centralisation and DPOS, governance and EOS VC shortly but please let me hear your suggestions!
1. How do you registeclaim your EOS tokens before June 2018?
Select Metamask, MyEtherWallet, or Ethereum Wallet
Follow the guide.
Remember that the reason you need to register your Ethereum ERC-20 address is to include your EOS tokens in order for the balance of your EOS Tokens to be included in the Snapshot if a Snapshot is created, you must register your Ethereum address with an EOS public key. The EOS snapshot will take place prior to the 1 June 2018. After this point your ERC-20 EOS tokens will be frozen. And you will be issued EOS tokens on the EOS blockchain.
So PLEASE REGISTER your Ethereum address NOW, don't forget about it, or plan on doing it some time in the near future.
There are a lot of submissions about this in /eos, so rather than making a new one please reply to this thread with any questions you may have. Don't forget to join the EOS mailing list: https://eos.io/#subscribe and join the EOS community on your platform(s) of choice: Telegram, Discord and/or Facebook. And remember, if anyone instructs you to transfer ETH to an EOS contract address that doesn't match the address found on https://eos.io you are being scammed.
2. How will the token the ERC-20 EOS tokens be transferred to the native blockchain?
There isn't one! Read the long answer then read it again, registering your Ethereum wallet is mandatory!
Within 23 hours after the end of the final period on June 1, 2018 at 22:59:59 UTC, all EOS Tokens will become fixed (ie. frozen) and will become non-transferrable on the Ethereum blockchain. In order to ensure your tokens are transferred over to the native blockchain you must register your Ethereum address with an EOS public key, if you do not you will lose all your tokens! I am not going to link any tutorials as there are many that can be found by searching Google and YouTube. block.one is helping with the development of snapshot software that can be used to capture the EOS token balance and registered EOS public key of wallets on the Ethereum blockchain. It is then down to the community to create the snapshot. This snapshot can be used when generating a genesis block for a blockchain implementing eos.io software. block.one will not be launching EOS blockchains or operating any of their nodes.
Exchange Support Some exchanges have announced that they will support the token swap. Although using this method will undoubtedly be much simpler than registering the tokens yourself it also comes with its pitfalls.
It is highly likely there are going to be multiple networks running on the eos.io software that use the snapshot. It is highly unlikely that exchanges will support them all.
It is highly likely that exchanges will not support airdrops that use the snapshot.
Exchanges that have announced support for the token swap include:
EOS.IO software is aiming to provide a decentralized operating system which can support thousands of industrial scale DApps by enabling vertical and horizontal scaling.
EOS.IO is software that introduces a blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications. This is achieved through an operating system-like construct upon which applications can be built. The software provides accounts, authentication, databases, asynchronous communication and the scheduling of applications across multiple CPU cores and/or clusters. The resulting technology is a blockchain architecture that has the potential to scale to millions of transactions per second, eliminates user fees and allows for quick and easy deployment of decentralized applications.
CEO Brendan Blumer - Founder of ii5 (1group) and okay.com. He has been in the blockchain industry since 2014 and started selling virtual assets at the age of 15. Brenden can be found on the Forbes Cypto Rich List. Brendan can be found on Twitter.
CTO Dan Larimer - Dan's the visionary industry leader who built BitShares, Graphene and Steemit as well as the increasingly popular Proof of Stake Governance and Decentralised Autonomous Organization Concept. He states his mission in life is “to find free market solutions to secure life, liberty, and property for all.”. Dan can also be found on the Forbes Cypto Rich List. Dan can be found on Twitter and Medium.
Partner Ian Grigg - Financial cryptographer who's been building cryptographic ledger platforms for 2+ decades. Inventor of the Ricardian Contract and Triple-Entry Accounting.
6. Which consensus mechanism does EOS use and what are Block Producers?
Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) with Byzantine Fault Tolerance. Block Producers (BPs) produce the blocks of the blockchain and are elected by token holders that vote for them. BPs will earn block rewards for their service, these block rewards come in the form of EOS tokens produced by token inflation.
“EOS.IO software utilizes the only known decentralized consensus algorithm proven capable of meeting the performance requirements of applications on the blockchain, Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS). Under this algorithm, those who hold tokens on a blockchain adopting the EOS.IO software may select block producers through a continuous approval voting system. Anyone may choose to participate in block production and will be given an opportunity to produce blocks, provided they can persuade token holders to vote for them. The EOS.IO software enables blocks to be produced exactly every 0.5 second and exactly one producer is authorized to produce a block at any given point in time. If the block is not produced at the scheduled time, then the block for that time slot is skipped. When one or more blocks are skipped, there is a 0.5 or more second gap in the blockchain. Using the EOS.IO software, blocks are produced in rounds of 126 (6 blocks each, times 21 producers). At the start of each round 21 unique block producers are chosen by preference of votes cast by token holders. The selected producers are scheduled in an order agreed upon by 15 or more producers. Byzantine Fault Tolerance is added to traditional DPOS by allowing all producers to sign all blocks so long as no producer signs two blocks with the same timestamp or the same block height. Once 15 producers have signed a block the block is deemed irreversible. Any byzantine producer would have to generate cryptographic evidence of their treason by signing two blocks with the same timestamp or blockheight. Under this model a irreversible consensus should be reachable within 1 second."
7. How does the voting process work?
The voting process will begin once the Block Producer community releases a joint statement ensuring that it is safe to import private keys and vote. Broadly speaking there will be two methods of voting:
Command Line Interface (CLI) tools
EOS Canada has created eosc, a CLI tool that supports Block Producer voting. Other Block Producer candidates such as LibertyBlock are a releasing web portal that will be ready for main net launch. There will be many more options over the coming weeks, please make sure you are always using a service from a trusted entity. Remember: Do not import your private key until you have seen a joint statement released from at least five Block Producers that you trust which states when it is safe to do so. Ignoring this warning could result in tokens lost.
8. What makes EOS a good investment?
Team - EOS is spearheaded by the visionary that brought us the hugely successful Bitshares and Steem - arguably with two projects already under his belt there is no one more accomplished in the space.
Funding - EOS is one of the best funded projects in the space. The block.one team has committed $1B to investing in funds that grow the EOS echo system. EOS VC funds are managed by venture leaders distributed around the world to insure founders in all markets have the ability to work directly with local investors. Incentives such as the EOS hackathon are also in place with $1,500,000 USD in Prizes Across 4 Events.
Community Focus - The team is aware that the a projects success depends almost entirely on its adoption. For this reason there has been a huge push to develop a strong world wide community. There is already a surplus number of block producers that have registered their interest and started to ready themselves for the launch and incentives the EOS hackathon are being used to grow the community. A index of projects using EOS can be found at https://eosindex.io/posts.
Technical Advantages - See point 9!
9. What are the unique selling points of EOS?
Potential to scale to millions of transactions per second
This depends entirely on your definition of working product. If a fully featured developer release meets your definition then yes!. Otherwise the public release will be June 2018.
EOS differs from other projects in that it aims to deliver a fully featured version of the software on launch. The Dawn 3.0 RC1 feature complete pre-release became available on April 5th. This version has all the features of the final release that is due June 2018. Further development will involve preparing the final system contract which implements all of the staking, voting, and governance mechanics. The common notion that there is no viewable code published is wrong and the initial Dawn 1.0 release has been available from September 14th 2017.
11. EOS is an ERC-20 token, how can it possibly be a competitor to other platforms?
The ERC-20 token is used only for raising funds during the token distribution; all tokens will be transferred to the native blockchain once launched.
EOS team has clearly stated their reason for choosing the Ethereum network when they described the rationale behind the ICO model. Specifically, the ICO should be a fair and auditable process, with as little trust required as possible. If you believe that an ICO should be fair, auditable, and trustless, you have no choice but to use a decentralized smart contract blockchain to run the ICO, the largest, and by-far most popular of which is Ethereum. Since EOS is intended to be a major competitor for Ethereum, some have seen this as a hypocritical choice. - Stolen from trogdor on Steam (I couldn’t word it any better myself).
12. Why do the eos.io T&C’s say the ERC-20 token has no value?
The EOS T&C’s famously state:
"The EOS Tokens do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features, express or implied, including, without limitation, any uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features on the EOS Platform."
This is legal wording to avoid all the legal complications in this emerging space, block.one do not want to find themselves in a lawsuit as we are seeing with an increasing amount of other ICOs. Most notably Tezos (links below).
This all comes down to legal issues. Anyone who’s been into crypto for 5 minuets knows that government bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are now paying attention to crypto in a big way. This legal wording is to avoid all the legal complications in this emerging space, block.one do not want to find themselves in a lawsuit as we are seeing with an increasing amount of other ICOs. Many token creators that launched ICOs are now in deep water for selling unregistered securities.
A filing from the Tezos lawsuit:
"In sum, Defendants capitalized on the recent enthusiasm for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to raise funds through the ICO, illegally sold unqualified and unregistered securities, used a Swiss-based entity in an unsuccessful attempt to evade U.S. securities laws, and are now admittedly engaged in the conversion, selling, and possible dissipation of the proceeds that they collected from the Class through their unregistered offering."
To ensure EOS tokens are not classed as a unregistered security block.one has made it clear that they are creating the EOS software only and won’t launching a public blockchain themselves. This task is left down to the community, or more precisely, the Block Producers (BPs). The following disclaimer is seen after posts from block.one:
"block.one is a software company and is producing the EOS.IO software as free, open source software. This software may enable those who deploy it to launch a blockchain or decentralized applications with the features described above. block.one will not be launching a public blockchain based on the EOS.IO software. It will be the sole responsibility of third parties and the community and those who wish to become block producers to implement the features and/or provide the services described above as they see fit. block.one does not guarantee that anyone will implement such features or provide such services or that the EOS.IO software will be adopted and deployed in any way.”
It is expected that many blockchains using eos.io software will emerge. To ensure DAPPs are created on an ecosystem that aligns with the interests of block.one a $1bn fund will be has been created to incentivise projects to use this blockchain.
“A lot of token distributions only allow a small amount of people to participate. The EOS Token distribution structure was created to provide a sufficient period of time for people to participate if they so choose, as well as give people the opportunity to see the development of the EOS.IO Software prior to making a decision to purchase EOS Tokens.”
It is also worth noting that block.one had no knowledge how much the the token distribution would raise as it is determined by the free market and the length of the token distribution is coded into the Ethereum smart contract, which cannot be changed.
14. Where is the money going from the token distribution?
Funding for the project was raised before EOS was announced, the additional money raised from the token distribution is largely going to fund projects on EOS.
A large portion of the money raised is getting put back into the community to incentivise projects using eos.io software. block.one raised all the money they needed to develop the software before the ERC-20 tokens went on sale. There are some conspiracies that block.one are pumping the price of EOS using the funds raised. The good thing about blockchain is you can trace all the transactions, which show nothing of the sort. Not only this but the EOS team are going to have an independent audit after the funding is complete for piece of mind.
From eos.io FAQ:
“block.one intends to engage an independent third party auditor who will release an independent audit report providing further assurances that block.one has not purchased EOS Tokens during the EOS Token distribution period or traded EOS Tokens (including using proceeds from the EOS Token distribution for these purposes). This report will be made available to the public on the eos.io website.”
A more complete list of EOS projects can be found at eosindex.io.
16. Dan left his previous projects, will he leave EOS?
When EOS has been created Dan will move onto creating projects for EOS with block.one.
When a blockchain project has gained momentum and a strong community has formed the project takes on a life of its own and the communities often have ideas that differ from the creators. As we have seen with the Bitcoin and Ethereum hark forks you cant pivot a community too much in a different direction, especially if its changing the fundamentals of the blockchain. Instead of acting like a tyrant Dan has let the communities do what they want and gone a different way. Both the Bitshares and Steem were left in a great position and with Dans help turned out to be two of the most successful blockchain projects to date. Some would argue the most successful projects that are actually useable and have a real use case. What Dan does best is build the architecture and show whats possible. Anyone can then go on to do the upgrades. He is creating EOS to build his future projects upon it. He has stated he loves working at block.one with Brendan and the team and there is far too much momentum behind EOS for him to possibly leave.
No one could have better knowledge on this subject than our Block Producer candidates, I have chosen to look to EOS New York for this answer:
"DDoS'ing a block producing is not as simple as knowing their IP address and hitting "go". We have distributed systems engineers in each of our candidate groups that have worked to defend DDoS systems in their careers. Infrastructure can be built in a way to minimize the exposure of the Block Producing node itself and to prevent a DDoS attack. We haven't published our full architecture yet but let's take a look at fellow candidate EOSphere to see what we mean. As for the launch of the network, we are assuming there will be attacks on the network as we launch. It is being built into the network launch plans. I will reach out to our engineers to get a more detailed answer for you. What also must be considered is that there will be 121 total producing and non-producing nodes on the network. To DDoS all 121 which are located all around the world with different security configurations at the exact same time would be a monumental achievement."
18. If block producers can alter code how do we know they will not do so maliciously?
Block producers are voted in by stake holders.
Changes to the protocol, constitution or other updates are proposed to the community by block producers.
Changes takes 2 to 3 months due to the fact block producers must maintain 15/21 approval for a set amount of time while for changes to be processed.
To ensure bad actors can be identified and expelled the block.one backed community will not back an open-entry system built around anonymous participation.
For this question we must understand the following.
Governance and why it is used.
The process of upgrading the protocol, constitution & other updates.
Dan’s view on open-entry systems built around anonymous participation.
Governance Cryptography can only be used to prove logical consistency. It cannot be used to make subjective judgment calls, determine right or wrong, or even identify truth or falsehood (outside of consistency). We need humans to perform these tasks and therefore we need governance! Governance is the process by which people in a community:
Reach consensus on subjective matters of collective action that cannot be captured entirely by software algorithms;
Carry out the decisions they reach; and
Alter the governance rules themselves via Constitutional amendments.
Embedded into the EOS.IO software is the election of block producers. Before any change can be made to the blockchain these block producers must approve it. If the block producers refuse to make changes desired by the token holders then they can be voted out. If the block producers make changes without permission of the token holders then all other non-producing full-node validators (exchanges, etc) will reject the change.
Upgrade process The EOS.IO software defines the following process by which the protocol, as defined by the canonical source code and its constitution, can be updated:
Block producers propose a change to the constitution and obtains 15/21 approval.
Block producers maintain 15/21 approval of the new constitution for 30 consecutive days.
All users are required to indicate acceptance of the new constitution as a condition of future transactions being processed.
Block producers adopt changes to the source code to reflect the change in the constitution and propose it to the blockchain using the hash of the new constitution.
Block producers maintain 15/21 approval of the new code for 30 consecutive days.
Changes to the code take effect 7 days later, giving all non-producing full nodes 1 week to upgrade after ratification of the source code.
All nodes that do not upgrade to the new code shut down automatically.
By default, configuration of the EOS.IO software, the process of updating the blockchain to add new features takes 2 to 3 months, while updates to fix non-critical bugs that do not require changes to the constitution can take 1 to 2 months.
Open-entry systems built around anonymous participation To ensure bad actors can be identified and expelled the block.one backed community will not back an open-entry system built around anonymous participation. Dan's quote:
"The only way to maintain the integrity of a community is for the community to have control over its own composition. This means that open-entry systems built around anonymous participation will have no means expelling bad actors and will eventually succumb to profit-driven corruption. You cannot use stake as a proxy for goodness whether that stake is held in a bond or a shareholder’s vote. Goodness is subjective and it is up to each community to define what values they hold as good and to actively expel people they hold has bad. The community I want to participate in will expel the rent-seeking vote-buyers and reward those who use their elected broadcasting power for the benefit of all community members rather than special interest groups (such as vote-buyers). I have faith that such a community will be far more competitive in a market competition for mindshare than one that elects vote buyers."
19. What is the most secure way to generate EOS key pairs?
Block producer candidates EOS Cafe and EOS New York have come forward to help the community with this topic. The block producer candidate eosnewyork has kindly posted a tutorial on steemit detailing the steps that need to be taken to generate key pairs using the official code on the EOS.IO Github. The block producer candidate eoscafe has gone a step further and released an Offline EOS Key Generator application complete with GUI for Windows, Linux & Mac. Not only can this application generate key pairs but it can also validate key pairs and resolve public keys from private keys. This application has also been vouched for by EOS New York
Hashrate: went from 54 to 76 PH/s, the low was 50 and the new all-time high is 100 PH/s. BeePool share rose to ~50% while F2Pool shrank to 30%, followed by coinmine.pl at 5% and Luxor at 3%. Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 95.6 DCR (+3.0) as of Sep 3. During the month, ticket price fluctuated between a low of 92.2 and high of 100.5 DCR. Locked DCR represented between 3.8 and 3.9 million or 46.3-46.9% of the supply. Nodes: there are 217 public listening and 281 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 2% at v1.4.0(pre) (dev builds), 5% on v1.3.0 (RC1), 62% on v1.2.0 (-5%), 22% on v1.1.2 (-2%), 6% on v1.1.0 (-1%). Almost 69% of nodes are v.1.2.0 and higher and support client filters. Data snapshot of Aug 31.
Obelisk posted 3 email updates in August. DCR1 units are reportedly shipping with 1 TH/s hashrate and will be upgraded with firmware to 1.5 TH/s. Batch 1 customers will receive compensation for missed shipment dates, but only after Batch 5 ships. Batch 2-5 customers will be receiving the updated slim design. Innosilicon announced the new D9+ DecredMaster: 2.8 TH/s at 1,230 W priced $1,499. Specified shipping date was Aug 10-15. FFMiner DS19 claims 3.1 TH/s for Blake256R14 at 680 W and simultaneously 1.55 TH/s for Blake2B at 410 W, the price is $1,299. Shipping Aug 20-25. Another newly noticed miner offer is this unit that does 46 TH/s at 2,150 W at the price of $4,720. It is shipping Nov 2018 and the stats look very close to Pangolin Whatsminer DCR (which has now a page on asicminervalue).
www.d1pool.com joined the list of stakepools for a total of 16. Australian CoinTreeadded DCR trading. The platform supports fiat, there are some limitations during the upgrade to a new system but also no fees in the "Early access mode". On a related note, CoinTree is working on a feature to pay household bills with cryptocurrencies it supports. Three new OTC desks were added to exchanges page at decred.org. Two mobile wallets integrated Decred:
Coinomiadded Decred to their Android and iOS wallets. In addition to the Apple App Store and Google Play you can download the APK directly. Coinomi features an integrated cryptocurrency exchange and is the first company to offer a mobile Decred wallet.
Reminder: do your best to understand the security and privacy model before using any wallet software. Points to consider: who controls the seed, does the wallet talk to the nodes directly or via middlemen, is it open source or not?
Bit Dialsannounced DCR support via GloBee at their bitdials.eu luxury boutique. Their separate supercar and classic car shop bitcars.eu also accepts DCR, either via GloBee or with manual invoicing in case of privacy concerns.
Targeted advertising report for August was posted by @timhebel. Facebook appeal is pending, some Google and Twitter campaigns were paused and some updated. Read more here. Contribution to the @decredproject Twitter account has evolved over the past few months. A #twitter_ops channel is being used on Matrix to collaboratively draft and execute project account tweets (including retweets). Anyone with an interest in contributing to the Twitter account can ask for an invitation to the channel and can start contributing content and ideas there for evaluation by the Twitter group. As a result, no minority or unilateral veto over tweets is possible. (from GitHub)
Meetup in Puebla City, Mexico, organized by @elian. (photo, slides, missed in July issue)
@joshuam discussed Decred and decentralized organizations with Craig Laundy, Federal Minister for Small Business, the Workplace, and Deregulation with the Australian Government, at @YBFVentures. (photos)
Meetup at @TheBlockCafe in Lisbon, Portugal. @mm presented "Decred 101 - Governance with Skin in the Game" and @moo31337 talked about Decred's 2018 roadmap. (photos: 123)
Meetup in Taipei, Taiwan. @morphymore made a short intro of Decred and noted: "After the talk, many have approached to tell me that they literally don’t hear of Decred until today, and are interested in finding out more about the merit of a hybrid consensus system.". Longer report here, some photos and a video are here.
@eSizeDave introduced Decred to the SILC Undergraduate Program students at @YBFVentures. (photo)
OKEx Global Meetup Tour in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. @joshuam gave a brief presentation covering the history of Decred, how the project functions, and the importance of governance. Afterwards he joined a panel discussion and spoke about Decred's incentives for long term viability. (video, video, photo)
Blockchain Futurist Conference in Toronto, Canada. @zubairzia0 noted: "Devs and the community were held in high regard for the people who knew about decred ... one positive thing I remember was someone defending us saying 'Decred does not need a booth', I believe that comment was reflective of the quality of projects being showcased at the conference.". (photo)
Meetup at @YBFVentures in Melbourne, Australia. @joshuam discussed Decred with Graham Stuart, U.K. Minister for International Trade. (news, photos)
Small meetup with Jackson Palmer in Melbourne, Australia. (photo)
Hawthorne Street Fair in Portland, USA. Raedah Group was out answering questions about crypto and Decred. (photos)
Blockchain APAC in Melbourne, Australia. @joshuam joined a panel discussion with reps from banking, university and ISO/TC 307. @eSizeDave reports: "This enterprise conference was indeed a whole lot better than I expected. The presentations were actually full of very worthwhile information from credible people, articulated aptly to a very government, academic, and corporate crowd, who genuinely took on board valuable insights. Good to know some of these key people are Decred holders and stakers as well. I got to use the entire day to speak directly with some of the most pivotal personalities in this particular populace. Ongoing relationships have been built and strengthened.". (photos: 123)
For those willing to help with the events:
BAB: Hey all, we are gearing up for conference season. I have a list of places we hope to attend but need to know who besides @joshuam and @Haon are willing to do public speaking, willing to work booths, or help out at them? You will need to be well versed on not just what is Decred, but the history of Decred etc... DM me if you are interested. (#event_planning) The Decred project is looking for ambassadors. If you are looking for a fun cryptocurrency to get involved in send me a DM or come talk to me on Decred slack. (@marco_peereboom, longer version here)
One private work channel was successfully migrated to Matrix.
Stylish room avatars were set.
@Haon has prepared a short guide to help new Matrix users get started and join the Decred rooms.
A thread was started to discuss changes to Decred jargon with the intent to make it more consistent and accessible to newcomers. The question whether changing "official" terminology requires stakeholder approval was touched in this thread and in #documentation.
Project fund transparency and constitution were extensively discussed on Reddit and in #general.
Pre-proposal to use Politeia to approve Politeia as a legitimate decision-making tool for Decred.
Reddit: substantive discussion about Decred cons; ecosystem fund; a thread about voter engagement, Politeia UX and trolling; idea of a social media system for Decred by @michae2xl; how profitable is the Obelisk DCR1. Chats: cross-chain trading via LN; plans for contractor management system, lower-level decision making and contractor privacy vs transparency for stakeholders; measuring dev activity; what if the network stalls, multiple implementations of Decred for more resilience, long term vision behind those extensive tests and accurate comments in the codebase; ideas for process for policy documents, hosting them in Pi and approving with ticket voting; about SPV wallet disk size, how compact filters work; odds of a wallet fetching a wrong block in SPV; new module system in Go; security of allowing Android app backups; why PoW algo change proposal must be specified in great detail; thoughts about NIPoPoWs and SPV; prerequisites for shipping SPV by default (continued); Decred vs Dash treasury and marketing expenses, spending other people's money; why Decred should not invade a country, DAO and nation states, entangling with nation state is poor resource allocation; how winning tickets are determined and attack vectors; Politeia proposal moderation, contractor clearance, the scale of proposals and decision delegation, initial Politeia vote to approve Politeia itself; chat systems, Matrix/Slack/Discord/RocketChat/Keybase (continued); overview of Korean exchanges; no breaking changes in vgo; why project fund burn rate must keep low; asymptotic behavior of Decred and other ccs, tail emission; count of full nodes and incentives to run them; Politeia proposal translations and multilingual environment. An unusual event was the chat about double negatives and other oddities in languages in #trading.
DCR started the month at USD 56 / BTC 0.0073 and had a two week decline. On Aug 14 the whole market took a huge drop and briefly went below USD 200 billion. Bitcoin went below USD 6,000 and top 100 cryptos lost 5-30%. The lowest point coincided with Bitcoin dominance peak at 54.5%. On that day Decred dived -17% and reached the bottom of USD 32 / BTC 0.00537. Since then it went sideways in the USD 35-45 / BTC 0.0054-0.0064 range. Around Aug 24, Huobi showed DCR trading volume above USD 5M and this coincided with a minor recovery. @ImacallyouJawdy posted some creative analysis based on ticket data.
StopAndDecrypt published an extensive article "ASIC Resistance is Nothing but a Blockchain Buzzword" that is much in line with Decred's stance on ASICs. The ongoing debates about the possible Sia fork yet again demonstrate the importance of a robust dispute resolution mechanism. Also, we are lucky to have the treasury. Mark B Lundeberg, who found a vulnerability in atomicswap earlier, published a concept of more private peer-to-peer atomic swaps. (missed in July issue) Medium took a cautious stance on cryptocurrencies and triggered at least one project to migrate to Ghost (that same project previously migrated away from Slack). Regulation: Vietnam bans mining equipment imports, China halts crypto events and tightens control of crypto chat groups. Reddit was hacked by intercepting 2FA codes sent via SMS. The announcement explains the impact. Yet another data breach suggests to think twice before sharing any data with any company and shift to more secure authentication systems. Intel and x86 dumpsterfire keeps burning brighter. Seek more secure hardware and operating systems for your coins. Finally, unrelated to Decred but good for a laugh: yetanotherico.com.
About This Issue
This is the 5th issue of Decred Journal. It is mirrored on GitHub, Medium and Reddit. Past issues are available here. Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research. Feedback is appreciated: please comment on Reddit, GitHub or #writers_room on Matrix or Slack. Contributions are welcome too. Some areas are collecting content, pre-release review or translations to other languages. Check out @Richard-Red's guide how to contribute to Decred using GitHub without writing code. Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee, Haon, jazzah, Richard-Red and thedecreddigest.
Log of AMA with Blockport.io - @Kai Bennink , @Sebastiaan Lichter, @Pascal, (Pascal van Stehen) and @Zowie Langdon
Disclaimer: ARK is regularly hosting Ask-me-Anything's of upcoming and promising cryptocurrency projects. Other than being the host, there is no relation between ARK and the featured cryptocurrency in this AMA. Keep in mind that ARK has no competitors - only future partners. dr10Let us all welcome the team from Blockport.io @Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport), @Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @Pascal (Marketing at Blockport) (Pascal van Stehen) and @Zowie Langdon (Chief technology of Blockport) (Zowie Langdon). You can all start asking them questions. I'd ask team from Blockport to use @ username to the one they are responding to and I'd like to ask all the community to give them some time to catch up if too many questions in backlog, before asking more so questions don't get lost. Thank you! (edited) Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) Hi everyone! JayCrypto What is blockport dr10 Welcome! *lars * Welcome ! Pascal (Marketing at Blockport) Hey everyone! Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @JayCrypto Blockport is a hybrid-decentralized exchange with a strong focus on user-friendliness, social trading features and building a knowledge sharing community. tranzer How is blockport different than other exchanges? Are you gonna offer fiat pairs? Crasha What do you need a token for? Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) Hey Crasha, good question, we use the Blockport token to create a micro-economy inside the Blockport exchange to incentivise experienced traders for sharing their knowledge and trading activities. In order to "govern" this micro-economy we therefore create our own token :slightly_smiling_face: Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) Hey all munich (Ark.Land Delegate) Welcome! Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @tranzer Blockport focuses on user-friendliness and simplicity. This means that anyone, beginner or advanced, can use the Blockport exchange without having any prior knowledge or experience with professional trading. Unlike other exchanges, Blockport is not just about trading. As a social platform, we implement social trading and knowledge sharing features in the core of our exchange. Additionally, we offer our members the best of both worlds by combining centralized trading with decentralized storing of crypto assets. For more technical information about the Blockport functional design, please read our white paper. munich (Ark.Land Delegate) Will there be any fees for using Blockport? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @munich (Ark.Land Delegate) yes, we handle fees. Since we're also connected with other exchanges we have to cover their fees as well. We work towards a decentralized way of trading so that fees become minimum. pieface Hello and welcome Blazeron how does the token have value? *munich (Ark.Land Delegate) * Has the whitepaper been released? (edited) Zowie Langdon (Chief technology of Blockport) @munich (Ark.Land Delegate) The whitepaper is indeed released and available here: https://blockport.io/read-the/whitepaper.pdf :slightly_smiling_face: Spiros (Chief Design at Blockport) Hey everyone ovsh @Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) As your previous background is comprised of an MBA internship and a 4 month startup that has no current available website right now (poolhere.com), what makes you confident you have the ability to deliver such a huge platform? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) It's not just about me. We are a team with different capabilities. I have a strong network and social skills and built a great team around me. Having said that, I have also been a project manager at the biggest insurance platform in the netherlands where I was leading a team on conversational AI / chatbot technology. Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) Great question by the way:) ovsh ^ pointy question, but this is an AMA pieface Could you please define social features? Is it a platform which will allow you to add other traders as friends or "follow" them etc? Also, what's the method of connecting with other people you don't directly know? pieface For example, i'm a lonely trader on your platform and want to socialise, how does that happen? strengthbst2 Yes I don't understand how the social features would be useful. *munich (Ark.Land Delegate) * Will your token be used as a way to get fee discounts? Like Binance and KuCoin Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @munich (Ark.Land Delegate) Yes, one of the utilities of the token, is to pay for discounted trading fees like Binance. The other utility is to pay for social trading features. Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) @Crasha "Why do you need a token" Hey Crasha, good question, we use the Blockport token to create a micro-economy inside the Blockport exchange to incentivise experienced traders for sharing their knowledge and trading activities. In order to "govern" this micro-economy we need a token that we can control. ovsh ^ @Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) Can you expand on the 'incentivise an experience trader' part? Assuming I'm an experienced trader, how would that work? And as most tokens are held right now as a form of investment, what prevents the token from being grubbled up to expect a price hike? cam When's release goal? Crasha So what will be the experience for these difference permutations of users? Experienced trader with many tokens Experienced trader with few tokens New trader with many tokens New trader with few tokens Pascal (Marketing at Blockport) Hi @pieface, Blockport offers our members a professional platform where they can demonstrate their skills, and explain their strategies to the community. Social trading features consist of you being able to follow other traders and paying experienced traders to have a peek into their portfolio. For more information on these features, check our recent post on Medium: https://medium.com/blockport/blockports-social-trading-features-b4fdb646dd43 (edited) Zowie Langdon (Chief technology of Blockport) @cam Hi! You can find our roadmap on our website here: https://blockport.io/#home_route-map :slightly_smiling_face: Blockport The first social crypto exchange We are building a user-friendly crypto exchange that combines social trading with a hybrid-decentralized architecture to help people safely trade crypto assets. We bridge the gap between the crypto economy and the traditional world of finance to shift towards a digital and decentralized society. Spiros (Chief Design at Blockport) :+1: cam How is one considered experienced? Word of mouth? Paid via blockport tokens or preferred form of payment? pieface thanks @Pascal (Marketing at Blockport) Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) @ovsh Beginner traders can pay experienced traders Blockport tokens (BPT) to follow or copy their trading activities. In return, experienced traders can earn BPT to share their portfolio, knowledge and insights with beginners. This opens up a new stream of revenue for experienced traders, next to earning returns on trading. When it comes to people holding the token as an investment, we cannot prohibit this. tranzer You also going to offer margin trading? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @Crasha I don't know if I correctly understand your question. But experienced traders who perform well, will probably gain more of a following so that they will earn more BPT as a reward. Members who don't have a lot of BPT can earn them by gaining followers or sharing information or buy them in the Token Shop within the Blockport exchange. KidCDN I like that idea personally! Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @tranzer That's not on our current roadmap, but we will not exclude it from future plans. Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) @cam For every member we will track their performance based on certain indicators, such as: ROI in the past 6 months, amount of followers, etc. We have not defined these KPI's yet but it is definitely something we will develop in Q2/Q3 of 2018. ceibaweb will I be able to buy Ark with fiat on Blockport Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @ceibaweb We are open to discuss the possibilities :slightly_smiling_face: Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) @KidCDN Thanks! Could you explain why? :slightly_smiling_face: tranzer Are you all from Netherlands? Have your own office or working from your homes ? lars They are all working in my basement :trollark: Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @tranzer Yes, we're all from the Netherlands. Our HQ is located in TQ, which is a curated tech hub backed by Google and KPMG in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. arno @Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) will you accept USD deposits? Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) @lars hahaha KidCDN @Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) As someone who is pretty darn new in the world of cryptocurrency and looking to actually progress, having more successful traders' tips and portfolio to use as reference (not necessarily a copy as you want to make your own decisions so you don't blame anyone for potential losses) would be very appealing. I also know that some people would rather keep their successful methods to themselves, so having some form of compensation for sharing with others could be very appealing. It also makes you want to study up, build a following and communicate with the community more frequently, because gaining followers is just generally beneficial and gaining tokens for doing so seems like a great added reward. JayCrypto Can you share your teams tech experience tranze How much you aim to raise? Must say kind of like this idea of hybrid exchange. Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @arno because we're located in the Netherlands we will start with accepting EUR, this is also due to our partnership with CardGate (payment provider). However, we will move forward to accepting creditcards and other currencies. Regulatory wise this is a challenge. Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @tranzer Great :slightly_smiling_face: the hardcap for the pre-sale is €1M and for the crowdsale it is €9M. munich (Ark.Land Delegate) So you will accept credit cards right away? How do you plan to deal with possible chargebacks and fraud? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @munich (Ark.Land Delegate) No we will not accept them right away. We will be moving forward as fast as possible to accept creditcards, exactly because of the chargebacks. munich (Ark.Land Delegate) Ok, what about IDEA, SEPA transfers? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @munich (Ark.Land Delegate) Yes, those we will accept :wink: ovsh what is this 'referral code' on the pre-token sale form? ovsh & is there a reason the design & UX language on blockport is very very similar to that of Coinbase? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @ovsh We issue referral codes to community members who like to be ambassadors and wish to spread the news with their network. They will get a reward for referring people. If this interests you, you can join our community here and request one: https://t.me/blockport Telegram Blockport Community You can view and join @blockport right away. ovsh Sounds cool! As a dev, how do I pitch in if I'm interested? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @KidCDN Great to hear:) Azek It doesn't seem exactly fair or open to have a private pre-sale and then a public pre sale. What is the reasoning for this, and why not just have a public token sale, in the spirit of being open and transparent. Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @ovsh You need to talk with our CTO :slightly_smiling_face: @Zowie Langdon (Chief technology of Blockport) Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) @KidCDN Wauw, thanks for the elaborate feedback :slightly_smiling_face: Zowie Langdon (Chief technology of Blockport) @JayCrypto Our technical team consists of people with a diverse set of expertise! I myself function as a lead engineer at my own company that specializes in web application development, and and I mainly work as an architect and Python developer and love to tinker in/around security related subjects and infrastructure management. We also have an engineer, Laurens Profittlich in our team that is lead developer for a company that specializes in fraud detection, working for some of the largest banks in the Netherlands (including Rabobank). Then there is Jan Bolhuis, Ethereum developer, experienced Audit & Security specialist and has worked for the Dutch Navy as an IT specialist. Also, Erik Terpstra, who is founding engineer of Blendle, API specialist and early Bitcoin investotrader is part of our team. Additionally we have an experienced Blockchain dev that is still currently working for a large BTC Merchant payment provider, he wishes to stay anonymous for now. And then there is Bas du Pré, currently lead developer at ABN Amro, who is joining us to build our MVP! Azek Sounds like an awesome team :slightly_smiling_face: Spiros (Chief Design at Blockport) @ovsh Good questions; We made careful decisions on which elements to include and exclude form our platform. In the end we wanted to focus on simplicity of use. We came to a set of functionalities that we all agreed should cover the basic functions for beginner traders to be able to enter. These choices also gave us the ability to build on these functionalities for future additions with regards to experienced traders using our platform. Indeed some functionalities resemble other trading platform but we strongly believe Blockport has a strong (Ux) identity and you will experience this for yourself when the time comes to have a full look at our platform including the trading platform and social features. These are all unique in feature and design. ovsh One thing I'm worried about is the timeline. Q2-Q3 in 2018 crypto-land is roughly 500 light years in real time. Assuming a more 'relaxed' (increased) financial cap, what's your flexibility in ramping up development time? Azek I had the same concern as you do ovsh when I read the timeline Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @Azek Everyone can signup for the pre-sale but participants have to purchase the minimum amount of BPT. In that sense, the pre-sale is publicly accessible to everyone, however, the public crowdsale starting 1st of March is more accessible for "the crowd" because of the lower minimum participation of 0.1 ETH. We are also in contact with some bigger players who requested a private sale, but we have gotten more attention than we'd expected so now the private also looks more like a public sale. Azek Ah okay. That makes more sense. Azek Got my +1 now :wink: Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) We just (1 hour ago) launched our new website, do you guys have any feedback? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @Azek Great! :slightly_smiling_face: Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport)www.blockport.io Azek So the private one is one that you have to register for (and I think it costs 2.5 ETH) and the 'public' one is one that anyone can grab for only a min of .1 ETH rootbark so your UI is designed for newbies to be user friendly but you have large private investors getting discounted undisclosed rates. Can you give us a breakdown of how many coins for the stages in your sale? (edited) Zowie Langdon (Chief technology of Blockport) @ovsh @Azek Good question! And a valid concern. As a developer you can probably acknowledge that there is a certain maximum you reach in terms of development performance, especially when working on something that can be considered quite experimental (startup in crypto land). We are definitely aiming to increase our team capacity and thereby the speed with which we build Blockport, but we value stability of our platform and want to ensure proper delivery. Therefore we might be able to speed it up, but we don’t want make any promises that we might not be able to keep. As you know, big promises that may or may not be kept in the end are not scarce in crypto land :slightly_smiling_face: Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @Azek Exactly. ovsh What's the status of the tech right now? ovsh & more importantly, what's the "decentralized" component of the exchange itself? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @rootbark We keep the amount for private investors relatively low (13% of the total tokensales amount). So that the private presale total token amount is 6.400.000 BPT and for the crowdsale it is 43.200.000 BPT. The biggest amount of all the BPT available is for the crowd. Also of all BPT ever being minted, 71,4% is going to the token sales. dr10 OK, we are approaching the 60 minutes mark. Any last questions for Blockport team? Anything the team would like to add or tell - feel free to do. rootbark im sorry if this was asked but where are you based? mward @Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) so for the pre-sale we need to apply on the website and wait for mail Spiros (Chief Design at Blockport) @rootbark Amsterdam - Netherlands Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @rootbark Sebastiaan Lichter @tranzer Yes, we're all from the Netherlands. Our HQ is located in TQ, which is a curated tech hub backed by Google and KPMG in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Posted in #trading_altcoinsToday at 7:22 PM ovsh what's the "decentralized" component of the exchange itself? mike any chance the platform will let you follow multiple traders, assign a weight to their porfolios, and combine them into a single displayed portfolio. also, have you heard of Marketocracy, ran a similar type of service without crypto a few years back? Zowie Langdon (Chief technology of Blockport) @ovsh We have been experimenting with the necessary components needed for our MVP in Q1. Basically, our infrastructure is more or less defined and we have been able to hook up some components to assess feasibility of our roadmap. Now, we are focusing on getting our MVP in the air before January 2018 excluding the actual trading of crypto on the platform. As for the decentralized part of the exchange we are currently looking into using an open-protocol such as Kyber Network, Polkadot or Loopring (0x is also a good option but they only offer ERC20 based tokens). We know that the decentralized protocols are hot, but can lack the needed performance. Therefore, we have not specified exactly what protocol we will work with for now, to allow for flexibility we might need. Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @mward That's correct, you will get a mail when the whitelisting process is live. mward any eta? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @mward In 2 weeks time mward thanks hemlck Sorry if this has been asked already, you say on your site that the user owns the private key to the Wallet. Does this mean it goes straight to your own wallet (the users wallet) or is it still held by you guys? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @mike Yes we allow you to follow multiple traders and decide how much of your funds you wish to allocate to each of them. I haven't heard of Marketocracy, could you share a link? mikehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketocracy Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @mike thanks! mike Marketocracy let you paper trade a portfolio, had contests for best performers, and used the best to run their own fund. Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) Thank you everyone for participating and asking us challenging and good questions:) If you're excited please feel free to join our telegram community: https://t.me/blockport and keep updated about our progress! dr10 You might want to share your social media channels and more details on the crowdsale. :slightly_smiling_face: dr10 Ah yeah :smile: mike you could also choose to follow other traders. It was written on Ruby on Rails, know one of the devs who used to work there. munich (Ark.Land Delegate) +1 for using Ark Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) The presale starts the 3rd of January! and our Crowdsale starts the 1st of March: ) Jan Bolhuis @ArkEcosystem; thank you for this 60 minute opportunity! Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @mike looks promising :slightly_smiling_face: thank you Kai Bennink (Founder of Blockport) Thanks @dr10 and thanks everyone for you questions and feedback!:clapping: dr10 Thank you Kai, Sebastiaan, Zowie, Spiros and Pascal for taking the time to do this AMA! All the best with the project and you are always welcome to hang around our Slack. lars Thanks guys for your time! Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @dr10 Thank you dr10 for the support we really appreciate it:) JohnnyD Sorry if it has been answered, but is there a reason why the presale is limited to 2 eth? tranzer Good luck with project you guys look serious and interesting will keep an eye out JohnnyD Or whatever the lmit was? Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @lars thank you ! lars And you guys can hang out ofcourse Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @JohnnyD it is not limited, it is a minimum. (2.5 ETH). JohnnyD oh, right. Why there's a lower limit I meant. sorry Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @tranzer thank you for your support and great questions mike thanks for presenting a very good project for crypto, look forward to it coming out. Sebastiaan Lichter (Founder of Blockport) @JohnnyD its due to an other audience we're targeting than the crowdsale. Zowie Langdon (Chief technology of Blockport) Thanks everyone for the questions, feedback and support! :smile: JohnnyD um, ok mike Ark ACES may be useful to you as it adds coins, and ArkVM and AIP11, the Ark Virtual Machine and upgraded tx protocol to support solidity contracts on ArkVM. Pascal (Marketing at Blockport) Thanks for the interest everyone, see you on the moon :slightly_smiling_face:
"1) I can backup my wallet by exporting a wallet.dat file. Do I have to do this everytime I receive more BBP? Or just whenever I add a new key? 2) How do I add new keys? 3) Can I generate and see the private key so that I can write it down/print it and store it somewhere safe?" -znffal 1) think of your wallet.dat file as your passbook in a passbook savings account. You have to have that .dat file to be able to access (and prove you SHOULD have access) to the BBP stored in your account addresses. Exporting it once is all you need. 2) Adding new keys? The passphrase (password) you use is the only "key" you would have in an encrypted wallet (besides the .dat file). If you mean new addresses, you can get those by going under File and Sending (or Receving) Addresses and hit "new". 3) Clicking Encrypt Wallet will be where you choose a passphase, I don't know you can see it other than when you enter it. To put a real world example or two. Example One: You don't ever encrypt or backup your wallet. If I borrowed/stole/hacked your computer, I could send all your coins to my wallet (no passphrase). Example Two: You encrypt your wallet with the passphrase "secret" but don't backup the wallet.dat file, then your computer crashes and you lose all your data. Since you didn't have a copy of the wallet.dat file, your coins would be lost. Example Three: You backup your wallet.dat but don't encrypt it. Your computer crashes and all your data is lost, but you re-download the QT program, restore your wallet.dat, all your coins are still in you wallet. But if you lose your USB drive that has the wallet.dat on it, and I find it, I can put your wallet.dat on another computer and send all your coins to my wallet. Example Four: You encrypt your wallet and back up the wallet.dat file. If I hack/borrow your computer, unless I guess your passphrase your coins are safe. If you computer crashes, your can restore your wallet.dat file to another computer and your coins are safe. In short, Encrypt your wallet (passpharse) and then backup (copy) the wallet.dat file to at least two locations." -616westwarmoth "Find your wallet.dat file, copy it to a flash drive or any other secure place. If your computer crashes, you'll always have the wallet.dat and can put it on a new machine. It will have to resync a bit when you do, but you'll never lose your "key" to the wallet. Speaking of keys, you should password protect your wallet and make sure to remember it!" "Yes you must have a copy of the wallet.dat somewhere. So multiple back up copies are a good idea. If you lose the wallet.dat file the coins will be in limbo but there will be no way to recreate the file. One thing to remember is it doesn't matter if the wallet.dat file is "current", it can be 10 years old on a flash drive and you can download a new client, put the wallet.dat file into the machine and you'll be good." -616westwarmoth "In addition to this, whenever you reboot the node after more than 24 hours of being synced, we back your wallet.dat up into the "backups" folder. This is useful if you ever accidentally delete your wallet.dat. Also, if you want a paper backup, you can do a 'dumpprivkey accountaddress' command from the RPC." -Rob "wallet is a collection of private keys" "there are other ways to achieve high security. You can make a new wallet, encrypt it with a long password, send coins to it, put it on a flash drive and put it in cold storage, then download the hard drive cleaning program and erase the wallet.dat sectors from your PC. And of course, keep a printed copy of the private key on paper and put it in a safe. Put the usb in the safe also. Burn a cd rom with the wallet.dat file and put it in the safe." -Rob How to safely back up your wallet https://dashpay.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/DOC/pages/1867878/How+to+safely+back+up+your+wallet Keep Your Crypto #SAFU (CZ's Tips) https://www.binance.com/en/blog/421499824684900429/Keep-Your-Crypto-SAFU-CZs-Tips References: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2042657.msg23955128#msg23955128http://forum.biblepay.org/index.php?topic=27.0https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2388064.msg27797529#msg27797529 To Read: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Wallethttps://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Storing_bitcoinshttps://bitcoin.org/en/secure-your-wallet NOTE: As of version 126.96.36.199 we have updated to HD wallets, so you should not need to worry about keypools anymore if you have upgraded "Regarding the Sanctuary, you receive payments always to the same address (key), so the keypool is not consumed for those payments. But when you click to generate a new address on the "Receive" tab, one key will be deducted from the keypool. Also, sometimes new addresses are automatically generated and the keypool is consumed, for example when solo mining and finding a block, a new address could be used for the block reward. You can always check your current keypool size by typing "getwalletinfo" in the RPC console and see "keypoolsize" and "keys_left". It's only concerning if they are a low number and you plan to generate new addresses in your wallet. They start from 1000. If the number gets too low, you can just type "keypoolrefill" to refill them back to 1000 and then you should backup the wallet. But from my experience the wallet automatically refills the keypool from time to time (or after certain actions like transactions), because I see that my wallet file keeps getting larger and the "keys_left" returns to 1000. The only issue is if you actively use your wallet on multiple computers (for example cloud mining or simply sometimes using the wallet on your laptop), then one wallet could refill the keypool with new addresses and the other one will not, or they will generate different new addresses. If I understand this correctly, for example, you could receive a payment on a new address generated in one wallet; your old balance will be there on both wallets, but only the one wallet where you generated the new address would show the new payment. Then you should copy the wallet.dat file to other computers, to update them. If you use the wallet on just one computer, you should just backup the wallet from time to time (or when you see it has increased in size). Qt also backups wallet.dat automatically, those can be found in the folder %AppData%\BiblepayCore\backups, you will see that they also have timestamps in their names and possibly different sizes." -inblue https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=2388064.msg27391534#msg27391534
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