People seem to have this idea that everyone working on proof-of-work coins is some kind of cartoon villain whose life work it is to ruin the environment.
Even if you know nothing about blockchain, the whole mental model of a "cult of planet destroyers" just makes no sense.
@cjd Honestly I think most people just start from the conclusion that they're evil and work backward from there, because money. If it weren't for PoW people would just find another thing to point to as "proof" that they're evil.
@freakazoid @cjd Yeah I agree with this. Before the environmental argument (I've been associating myself with #Bitcoin since 2012) it was mostly drugs. Sometimes money laundering.
I feel that it's mostly people holding a grudge because some people got rich by buying Bitcoin. And they didn't. And they feel that it's not fair.
I can't blame them. It's kinda unfair. But it's probably as fair as it could have gone. Way more fair than any shitcoin.
@stevenroose @cjd Bitcoin isn't the source of any unfairness. It's not like its properties were kept secret from anyone. Anyone could look at it and make a decision for themselves. I can't say I feel bad that people who demonize the entire field of economics failed to understand enough about economics to realize that Bitcoin had potential.
@stevenroose @cjd Heck, *I* knew only just enough about economics to misunderstand Bitcoin and think it would go nowhere, with the result that I wrote its very first obituary, at least according to 99bitcoins.com. But then I also knew enough that I was able to be convinced by someone who knew more than me. Though I still didn't dump a bunch of money into it then, because then I thought it was going to get outlawed or regulated out of existence.
@stevenroose @cjd At that point my problem was that I wasn't nearly cynical enough about how much finance and regulators were in bed with one another. Or perhaps I overestimated how much the government would perceive it as a threat to its ability to steal from the poor and middle class through inflation. Of course, that may still come to pass if Bitcoin becomes way more accessible. Which of course is exactly what the regulations seek to prevent.
@stevenroose @cjd Keep Bitcoin as an instrument for the rich, and the regulators will ignore it. But if the poor and middle class start using it heavily, you can be darned sure they'll do everything in their power to stop it.
But even as an instrument for the rich the problem isn't Bitcoin but the regulators who ensure it's only accessible to the rich.
But as you say, the grapes one cannot reach are the sour ones.
That said, I see the dynamic just as much in the everything-that-is-not-bitcoin-is-a-scam maximalists.
@cjd @stevenroose This is a problem across all of libertarianism. On the one hand libertarians acknowledge that the current system is suboptimal, but on the other hand they fail to see how the disparities created by the current system can be exacerbated by things that appear, in isolation, to be incremental increases in liberty.
This is something I've been arguing for a long time without much success.
@cjd @stevenroose Any American with a bank account can open a Coinbase account, but the thing that makes Bitcoin inaccessible to people without a lot of wealth is its volatility. The same thing makes stocks or any other investment instrument with any kind of yield inaccessible. And as far as I can tell the root cause of that problem is our artificially low interest rates, which we keep from causing inflation by splitting the economy into 2 tiers and paying the banks not to lend.
in the past, bitcoin was bad "because criminals!" now it's bad because the feds can seize the crime money anyway!
@theruran @cjd @stevenroose I wonder how and when they obtained the private key? Was there an address statically encoded in the ransomware that the FBI managed to get the private key for, did they get it from a computer they seized later, or did they have malware on one or more of the suspects' machines?
This doesn't seem like cause for concern beyond the already-known caveats of using cryptocurrency. A hardware wallet with a passphrase would have prevented the problem.
@freakazoid @cjd @stevenroose right. the article suggests it was "good old-fashioned police work." the FBI won't say exactly how they did it. basically they hired Cryptalysis and Elliptic to analyze it backwards and forwards from Colonial Pipeline's transaction, and traced it to 210 wallets. seems the criminals weren't smart enough to keep their private keys safe.
that seems to be a big dent in the common legislator's argument for encryption backdoors.
@theruran @cjd @stevenroose Right. Apple have little incentive to *actually* protect their hardware from governments, just to be seen to be doing their best to protect it. So it'll always be a cat and mouse game where the biggest mice just get batted around and released each time, while the smaller mice get eaten because they were dumb enough to follow the larger mouse.
@theruran @cjd @stevenroose The thing they remain very quiet about is that they cannot do the same thing with Monero. But it's not like everyone involved with crypto doesn't already know that. Monero's a lot less liquid at the moment, but if governments continue to show success using Bitcoin's lack of privacy to seize funds and arrest people, I'm guessing Monero will start getting a lot more traction.
@cjd @freakazoid @stevenroose Monero hard-forks every 6 months now anyway. and they are actively researching and funding that research to improve the privacy. there was a theoretical attack on ring signatures if the user has configured a custom ring size. there may be others I can't remember. they are moving to a different cryptosystem from ring signatures, but I can't recall right now.
@theruran @cjd @stevenroose The attacks I can find are probabilistic in nature and use properties of the implementations themselves. While they might be enough to get a warrant, especially in addition to other circumstantial evidence, they probably won't be usable for getting a conviction unless they are able to find other evidence. But, of course, opsec is hard. People should always use any cryptocurrency over Tor, of course. And don't trust the cryptocurrency to protect you.
Imagine, for example, that DPR had left a hidden router inside the library and then kept the library and the router itself under surveillance as he worked? The thing that got him nabbed was that he relied too heavily on technology to protect him.
@cjd @freakazoid @theruran I think that's what I heard. Also they said he was a teenager. He put the money on a custodial wallet or even an exchange. Supposedly the government just subpoena'd the service's server(s) and forced them to send them the money.
Don't trust me on this, I might have been lied to 😅 But it seems plausible to me, how else could they have "hacked" his wallet.
@stevenroose @cjd @theruran Plenty of ways, but I was thinking they might have infiltrated or seized his computer. The way they phrased it made it seem like they already had the key or were otherwise able to obtain it, whereas if it were a custodial wallet I'm guessing they would have just asked them to transfer the funds.
@freakazoid @stevenroose @cjd I think it is a tactic of theirs to confuse the issue and leave it uncertain so that the general public will believe cryptocurrency wallets and encryption schemes can be broken whenever the feds feel like it, in order to weaken the idea in the collective consciousness of the security and usefulness of cryptosystems for general use.
yes, you are right about tainted coins and it is a known issue among Bitcoin developers. the surveillance technology and integration into the commercial space are advanced enough for us to assume this is true. CoinJoins and CoinSwaps would help, but last I checked, most wallet software do not support them. Schnorr signatures would improve privacy and fungibility but they require a hard-fork.
@stevenroose @theruran @cjd I think it probably won't be long before the government establishes a list of "tainted" outputs that aren't allowed to be in the ancestry of certain kinds of transactions. It'll be difficult, but look at how the recent auctions are being handled: they only accept payments from certain wallets so that they get identity information. How long until that's the norm, and Bitcoin ceases to be non-repudiable in any meaningful way?
@stevenroose @theruran @cjd Banks put holds on checks. The government-blessed wallet providers will just do the same thing with any funds deposited from non-blessed wallets. If you happen to have accepted money from someone who used a tumbler, that's just your bad luck. Best case the wallet provider returns your funds, minus a small fee for their trouble, and now you can only dispose of them at a deep discount.
If they start making rules about which coins can and cannot be spent then there will be a split between "US BTC" and "International BTC" and a laundry market will instantly emerge which makes them unable to do their actual job.
Just watching coins and asking questions is a far superior strategy.
I'm not following this very closely at all, but I think you'd want to talk to the Ethereum PoS transition team. As a blockchain creator, my answer is that once you stray away from proof-of-work, a lot of assumptions just evaporate and it gets super complicated to re-establish confidence in the security story.
@cjd sorry for nitpick, but it's a lot more than 3 years. Vlad Zamfir assured me in mid 2017 that PoS would be live at the start of 2018. (Remember Casper?). I think a substantial effort went into it in eth land from 2015.
(Doesn't really change your point).
@cjd people think that? o.O
I thought people viewed miners more like a paperclip maximizer that will incidentally destroy earth because it doesn't care, it just needs to make more paperclips
For me, this one is more significant. Thing Professional Protestors don't understand is what cryptocurrency is doing for people who have actual hardship in their lives.
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