What Is Mining Difficulty - Definition by CryptoDefinitions
What Is Mining Difficulty - Definition by CryptoDefinitions
What Is Bitcoin: Explanation for Beginners in Simple Terms ...
Bitcoin Mining Definition
difficulty - Blockchain Charts
Bitcoin Difficulty. All about cryptocurrency - BitcoinWiki
The EDA on Bitcoin Cash does not break the definition of BTC in Satoshi's whitepaper: "the proof-of-work difficulty is determined by a moving average targeting an average number of blocks per hour. If they're generated too fast, the difficulty increases."
Taproot, CoinJoins, and Cross-Input Signature Aggregation
It is a very common misconception that the upcoming Taproot upgrade helps CoinJoin. TLDR: The upcoming Taproot upgrade does not help equal-valued CoinJoin at all, though it potentially increases the privacy of other protocols, such as the Lightning Network, and escrow contract schemes. If you want to learn more, read on!
Let's start with equal-valued CoinJoins, the type JoinMarket and Wasabi use. What happens is that some number of participants agree on some common value all of them use. With JoinMarket the taker defines this value and pays the makers to agree to it, with Wasabi the server defines a value approximately 0.1 BTC. Then, each participant provides inputs that they unilaterally control, totaling equal or greater than the common value. Typically since each input is unilaterally controlled, each input just requires a singlesig. Each participant also provides up to two addresses they control: one of these will be paid with the common value, while the other will be used for any extra value in the inputs they provided (i.e. the change output). The participants then make a single transaction that spends all the provided inputs and pays out to the appropriate outputs. The inputs and outputs are shuffled in some secure manner. Then the unsigned transaction is distributed back to all participants. Finally, each participant checks that the transaction spends the inputs it provided (and more importantly does not spend any other coins it might own that it did not provide for this CoinJoin!) and that the transaction pays out to the appropriate address(es) it controls. Once they have validated the transaction, they ratify it by signing for each of the inputs it provided. Once every participant has provided signatures for all inputs it registered, the transaction is now completely signed and the CoinJoin transaction is now validly confirmable. CoinJoin is a very simple and direct privacy boost, it requires no SCRIPTs, needs only singlesig, etc.
Let's say we have two participants who have agreed on a common amount of 0.1 BTC. One provides a 0.105 coin as input, the other provides a 0.114 coin as input. This results in a CoinJoin with a 0.105 coin and a 0.114 coin as input, and outputs with 0.1, 0.005, 0.014, and 0.1 BTC. Now obviously the 0.005 output came from the 0.105 input, and the 0.014 output came from the 0.114 input. But the two 0.1 BTC outputs cannot be correlated with either input! There is no correlating information, since either output could have come from either input. That is how common CoinJoin implementations like Wasabi and JoinMarket gain privacy.
Unfortunately, large-scale CoinJoins like that made by Wasabi and JoinMarket are very obvious. All you have to do is look for a transactions where, say, more than 3 outputs are the same equal value, and the number of inputs is equal or larger than the number of equal-valued outputs. Thus, it is trivial to identify equal-valued CoinJoins made by Wasabi and JoinMarket. You can even trivially differentiate them: Wasabi equal-valued CoinJoins are going to have a hundred or more inputs, with outputs that are in units of approximately 0.1 BTC, while JoinMarket CoinJoins have equal-valued outputs of less than a dozen (between 4 to 6 usually) and with the common value varying wildly from as low as 0.001 BTC to as high as a dozen BTC or more. This has led to a number of anti-privacy exchanges to refuse to credit custodially-held accounts if the incoming deposit is within a few hops of an equal-valued CoinJoin, usually citing concerns about regulations. Crucially, the exchange continues to hold private keys for those "banned" deposits, and can still spend them, thus this is effectively a theft. If your exchange does this to you, you should report that exchange as stealing money from its customers. Not your keys not your coins. Thus, CoinJoins represent a privacy tradeoff:
It's very hard for everyone else to determine which output belongs to which input.
It's obvious to everyone else that the output was involved in a mixing operation.
Let's now briefly discuss that nice new shiny thing called Taproot. Taproot includes two components:
The use of Schnorr-based signature scheme, with multisignature support. Spending from a Schnorr pubkey is called a "keypath spend".
The ability to secretly commit to a set of scripts, one of which can be revealed later and its inputs provided correctly in order to spend the coin. Spending via a hidden script is called a "scriptpath spend".
This has some nice properties:
Direct multisignature support means all multisignature uses look the same. In current Bitcoin, a 2-of-2 "multisignature" is really a script which demands that two signatures be provided, from 2 different pre-specified public keys. To a cryptographer, the strict definition of multisignature is that this is a single signature that is cooperatively created by multiple parties.
A typical minimal "multisig" setup would be a 2-of-3, because that lets you lose one signing device while still being able to keep access to your money, and still providing an increase in security relative to a singlesig, since a 2-of-3 requires that potential thieves abscond with at least two signing devices. In current Bitcoin, a 2-of-3 is a SCRIPT containing 3 public keys, requiring that two signatures from those three public keys be provided.
But a Lightning Network channel has exactly two participants. Thus, it uses a 2-of-2, and is a SCRIPT containing 2 public keys, requiring that two signatures from those public keys be provided. If you look for 2-of-2 spends on the blockchain after Lightning became cool, the chances are very good that a random 2-of-2 spend is a Lightning Network channel being closed, because there are hardly ever any other uses of 2-of-2.
Just from there, you can easily differentiate the most common HODLer multisig of 2-of-3 (SCRIPT contains 3 pubkeys) from the Lightning channel 2-of-2 (SCRIPT contains 2 pubkeys).
Fortunately, with Taproot, 2-of-3 and 2-of-2 (and any arbitrary k-of-n) can look exactly the same, because Schnorr allows for the cryptographer's strict definition of "multisignature": a single signature cooperatively created by multiple parties.
Complex SCRIPTs, like HTLCs, can be hidden in a Taproot output.
For example, the output can have a keyspend branch that is a n-of-n of all participants, with hidden SCRIPTs that encode the conditions under which the output can be spent
The hidden SCRIPTs ensure that the protocol is followed. If one of the participants drops from the protocol, the rest can reveal the hidden SCRIPTs and follow their conditions.
If everyone follows the protocol correctly, and agrees to the result, they can all cooperatively sign with the keyspend n-of-n. They can just all agree on what the result of the SCRIPTs would be, and sign a transaction that performs that, without revealing any SCRIPTs. Since all of them agreed on the result, nobody should complain (if one of them believes the result is not correct, they can just refuse to sign and force everyone else to publish the SCRIPTs onchain).
If everyone agrees, they get privacy: none of the SCRIPTs they were following ever get published onchain, and it looks like every other multisignature spend.
Taproot DOES NOT HELP CoinJoin
So let's review! CoinJoin:
CoinJoin inputs are singlesig
There are no SCRIPTs involved in CoinJoin.
Improves multisig privacy.
Improves SCRIPT privacy.
There is absolutely no overlap. Taproot helps things that CoinJoin does not use. CoinJoin uses things that Taproot does not improve.
B-but They Said!!
A lot of early reporting on Taproot claimed that Taproot benefits CoinJoin. What they are confusing is that earlier drafts of Taproot included a feature called cross-input signature aggregation. In current Bitcoin, every input, to be spent, has to be signed individually. With cross-input signature aggregation, all inputs that support this feature are signed with a single signature that covers all those inputs. So for example if you would spend two inputs, current Bitcoin requires a signature for each input, but with cross-input signature aggregation you can sign both of them with a single signature. This works even if the inputs have different public keys: two inputs with cross-input signature aggregation effectively define a 2-of-2 public key, and you can only sign for that input if you know the private keys for both inputs, or if you are cooperatively signing with somebody who knows the private key of the other input. This helps CoinJoin costs. Since CoinJoins will have lots of inputs (each participant will provide at least one, and probably will provide more, and larger participant sets are better for more privacy in CoinJoin), if all of them enabled cross-input signature aggregation, such large CoinJoins can have only a single signature. This complicates the signing process for CoinJoins (the signers now have to sign cooperatively) but it can be well worth it for the reduced signature size and onchain cost. But note that the while cross-input signature aggregation improves the cost of CoinJoins, it does not improve the privacy! Equal-valued CoinJoins are still obvious and still readily bannable by privacy-hating exchanges. It does not improve the privacy of CoinJoin. Instead, see https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/gqb3udesign_for_a_coinswap_implementation_fo
Why isn't cross-input signature aggregation in?
There's some fairly complex technical reasons why cross-input signature aggregation isn't in right now in the current Taproot proposal. The primary reason was to reduce the technical complexity of Taproot, in the hope that it would be easier to convince users to activate (while support for Taproot is quite high, developers have become wary of being hopeful that new proposals will ever activate, given the previous difficulties with SegWit). The main technical complexity here is that it interacts with future ways to extend Bitcoin. The rest of this writeup assumes you already know about how Bitcoin SCRIPT works. If you don't understand how Bitcoin SCRIPT works at the low-level, then the TLDR is that cross-input signature aggregation complicates how to extend Bitcoin in the future, so it was deferred to let the develoeprs think more about it. (this is how I understand it; perhaps pwuille or ajtowns can give a better summary.) In detail, Taproot also introduces OP_SUCCESS opcodes. If you know about the OP_NOP opcodes already defined in current Bitcoin, well, OP_SUCCESS is basically "OP_NOP done right". Now, OP_NOP is a do-nothing operation. It can be replaced in future versions of Bitcoin by having that operation check some condition, and then fail if the condition is not satisfied. For example, both OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY and OP_CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY were previously OP_NOP opcodes. Older nodes will see an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY and think it does nothing, but newer nodes will check if the nLockTime field has a correct specified value, and fail if the condition is not satisfied. Since most of the nodes on the network are using much newer versions of the node software, older nodes are protected from miners who try to misspend any OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY/OP_CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY, and those older nodes will still remain capable of synching with the rest of the network: a dedication to strict backward-compatibility necessary for a consensus system. Softforks basically mean that a script that passes in the latest version must also be passing in all older versions. A script cannot be passing in newer versions but failing in older versions, because that would kick older nodes off the network (i.e. it would be a hardfork). But OP_NOP is a very restricted way of adding opcodes. Opcodes that replace OP_NOP can only do one thing: check if some condition is true. They can't push new data on the stack, they can't pop items off the stack. For example, suppose instead of OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY, we had added a OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT opcode. This opcode would push the height of the blockchain on the stack. If this command replaced an older OP_NOP opcode, then a script like OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT 650000 OP_EQUAL might pass in some future Bitcoin version, but older versions would see OP_NOP 650000 OP_EQUAL, which would fail because OP_EQUAL expects two items on the stack. So older versions will fail a SCRIPT that newer versions will pass, which is a hardfork and thus a backwards incompatibility. OP_SUCCESS is different. Instead, old nodes, when parsing the SCRIPT, will see OP_SUCCESS, and, without executing the body, will consider the SCRIPT as passing. So, the OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT 650000 OP_EQUAL example will now work: a future version of Bitcoin might pass it, and existing nodes that don't understand OP_GETBLOCKHEIGHT will se OP_SUCCESS 650000 OP_EQUAL, and will not execute the SCRIPT at all, instead passing it immediately. So a SCRIPT that might pass in newer versions will pass for older versions, which keeps the back-compatibility consensus that a softfork needs. So how does OP_SUCCESS make things difficult for cross-input signatur aggregation? Well, one of the ways to ask for a signature to be verified is via the opcodes OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY. With cross-input signature aggregation, if a public key indicates it can be used for cross-input signature aggregation, instead of OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY actually requiring the signature on the stack, the stack will contain a dummy 0 value for the signature, and the public key is instead added to a "sum" public key (i.e. an n-of-n that is dynamically extended by one more pubkey for each OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY operation that executes) for the single signature that is verified later by the cross-input signature aggregation validation algorithm00. The important part here is that the OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY has to execute, in order to add its public key to the set of public keys to be checked in the single signature. But remember that an OP_SUCCESS prevents execution! As soon as the SCRIPT is parsed, if any opcode is OP_SUCCESS, that is considered as passing, without actually executing the SCRIPT, because the OP_SUCCESS could mean something completely different in newer versions and current versions should assume nothing about what it means. If the SCRIPT contains some OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY command in addition to an OP_SUCCESS, that command is not executed by current versions, and thus they cannot add any public keys given by OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY. Future versions also have to accept that: if they parsed an OP_SUCCESS command that has a new meaning in the future, and then execute an OP_CHECKSIGVERIFY in that SCRIPT, they cannot add the public key into the same "sum" public key that older nodes use, because older nodes cannot see them. This means that you might need more than one signature in the future, in the presence of an opcode that replaces some OP_SUCCESS. Thus, because of the complexity of making cross-input signature aggregation work compatibly with future extensions to the protocol, cross-input signature aggregation was deferred.
A criticism of the article "Six monetarist errors: why emission won't feed inflation"
(be gentle, it's my first RI attempt, :P; I hope I can make justice to the subject, this is my layman understanding of many macro subjects which may be flawed...I hope you can illuminate me if I have fallen short of a good RI) Introduction So, today a heterodox leaning Argentinian newspaper, Ambito Financiero, published an article criticizing monetarism called "Six monetarist errors: why emission won't feed inflation". I find it doesn't properly address monetarism, confuses it with other "economic schools" for whatever the term is worth today and it may be misleading, so I was inspired to write a refutation and share it with all of you. In some ways criticizing monetarism is more of a historical discussion given the mainstream has changed since then. Stuff like New Keynesian models are the bleeding edge, not Milton Friedman style monetarism. It's more of a symptom that Argentinian political culture is kind of stuck in the 70s on economics that this things keep being discussed. Before getting to the meat of the argument, it's good to have in mind some common definitions about money supply measures (specifically, MB, M1 and M2). These definitions apply to US but one can find analogous stuff for other countries. Argentina, for the lack of access to credit given its economic mismanagement and a government income decrease because of the recession, is monetizing deficits way more than before (like half of the budget, apparently, it's money financed) yet we have seen some disinflation (worth mentioning there are widespread price freezes since a few months ago). The author reasons that monetary phenomena cannot explain inflation properly and that other explanations are needed and condemns monetarism. Here are the six points he makes: 1.Is it a mechanical rule?
This way, we can ask by symmetry: if a certainty exists that when emission increases, inflation increases, the reverse should happen when emission becomes negative, obtaining negative inflation. Nonetheless, we know this happens: prices have an easier time increasing and a lot of rigidity decreasing. So the identity between emission and inflation is not like that, deflation almost never exists and the price movement rhythm cannot be controlled remotely only with money quantity. There is no mechanical relationship between one thing and the other.
First, the low hanging fruit: deflation is not that uncommon, for those of you that live in US and Europe it should be obvious given the difficulties central banks had to achieve their targets, but even Argentina has seen deflation during its depression 20 years ago. Second, we have to be careful with what we mean by emission. A statement of quantity theory of money (extracted from "Money Growth and Inflation: How Long is the Long-Run?") would say:
Inflation occurs when the average level of prices increases. Individual price increases in and of themselves do not equal inflation, but an overall pattern of price increases does. The price level observed in the economy is that which leads the quantity of money supplied to equal the quantity of money demanded. The quantity of money supplied is largely controlled by the [central bank]. When the supply of money increases or decreases, the price level must adjust to equate the quantity of money demanded throughout the economy with the quantity of money supplied. The quantity of money demanded depends not only on the price level but also on the level of real income, as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP), and a variety of other factors including the level of interest rates and technological advances such as the invention of automated teller machines. Money demand is widely thought to increase roughly proportionally with the price level and with real income. That is, if prices go up by 10 percent, or if real income increases by 10 percent, empirical evidence suggests people want to hold 10 percent more money. When the money supply grows faster than the money demand associated with rising real incomes and other factors, the price level must rise to equate supply and demand. That is, inflation occurs. This situation is often referred to as too many dollars chasing too few goods. Note that this theory does not predict that any money-supply growth will lead to inflation—only that part of money supply growth that exceeds the increase in money demand associated with rising real GDP (holding the other factors constant).
So it's not mere emission, but money supply growing faster than money demand which we should consider. So negative emission is not necessary condition for deflation in this theory. It's worth mentioning that the relationship with prices is observed for a broad measure of money (M2) and after a lag. From the same source of this excerpt one can observe in Fig. 3a the correlation between inflation and money growth for US becomes stronger the longer data is averaged. Price rigidities don't have to change this long term relationship per se. But what about causality and Argentina? This neat paper shows regressions in two historical periods: 1976-1989 and 1991-2001. The same relationship between M2 and inflation is observed, stronger in the first, highly inflationary period and weaker in the second, more stable, period. The regressions a 1-1 relationship in the high inflation period but deviates a bit in the low inflation period (yet the relationship is still there). Granger causality, as interpreted in the paper, shows prices caused money growth in the high inflation period (arguably because spending was monetized) while the reverse was true for the more stable period. So one can argue that there is a mechanical relationship, albeit one that is more complicated than simple QTOM theory. The relationship is complicated too for low inflation economies, it gets more relevant the higher inflation is. Another point the author makes is that liquidity trap is often ignored. I'll ignore the fact that you need specific conditions for the liquidity trap to be relevant to Argentina and address the point. Worth noting that while market monetarists (not exactly old fashioned monetarists) prefer alternative explanations for monetary policy with very low interest rates, this phenomena has a good monetary basis, as explained by Krugman in his famous japanese liquidity trap paper and his NYT blog (See this and this for some relevant articles). The simplified version is that while inflation may follow M2 growth with all the qualifiers needed, central banks may find difficulties targeting inflation when interest rates are low and agents are used to credible inflation targets. Central banks can change MB, not M2 and in normal times is good enough, but at those times M2 is out of control and "credibly irresponsible" policies are needed to return to normal (a more detailed explanation can be found in that paper I just linked, go for it if you are still curious). It's not like monetary policy is not good, it's that central banks have to do very unconventional stuff to achieve in a low interest rate environment. It's still an open problem but given symmetric inflation targeting policies are becoming more popular I'm optimistic. 2 - Has inflation one or many causes?
In Argentina we know that the main determinant of inflation is dollar price increases. On that, economic concentration of key markets, utility price adjustments, fuel prices, distributive struggles, external commodity values, expectatives, productive disequilibrium, world interest rates, the economic cycle, stationality and external sector restrictions act on it too. Let's see a simple example: during Macri's government since mid 2017 to 2019 emission was practically null, but when in 2018 the dollar value doubled, inflation doubled too (it went from 24% to 48% in 2018) and it went up again a year later. We see here that the empirical validity of monetarist theory was absent.
For the first paragraph, one could try to run econometric tests for all those variables, at least from my layman perspective. But given that it doesn't pass the smell test (has any country used that in its favor ignoring monetary policy? Also, I have shown there is at least some evidence for the money-price relationship before), I'll try to address what happened in Macri's government and if monetarism (or at least some reasonable extension of it) cannot account for it. For a complete description of macroeconomic policy on that period, Sturzenegger account is a good one (even if a bit unreliable given he was the central banker for that government and he is considered to have been a failure). The short version is that central banks uses bonds to manage monetary policy and absorb money; given the history of defaults for the country, the Argentinian Central Bank (BCRA) uses its own peso denominated bonds instead of using treasury bonds. At that time period, the BCRA still financed the treasury but the amount got reduced. Also, it emitted pesos to buy dollar reserves, then sterilized them, maybe risking credibility further. Near the end of 2017 it was evident the government had limited appetite for budget cuts, it had kind of abandoned its inflation target regime and the classic problem of fiscal dominance emerged, as it's shown in the classic "Unpleasant monetarist arithmetic" paper by Wallace and Sargent. Monetary policy gets less effective when the real value of bonds falls, and raising interest rates may be counterproductive in that environment. Rational expectations are needed to complement QTOM. So, given that Argentina promised to go nowhere with reform, it was expected that money financing would increase at some point in the future and BCRA bonds were dumped in 2018 and 2019 as their value was perceived to have decreased, and so peso demand decreased. It's not that the dollar value increased and inflation followed, but instead that peso demand fell suddenly! The IMF deal asked for MB growth to be null or almost null but that doesn't say a lot about M2 (which it's the relevant variable here). Without credible policies, the peso demand keeps falling because bonds are dumped even more (see 2019 for a hilariously brutal example of that). It's not emission per se, but rather that it doesn't adjust properly to peso demand (which is falling). That doesn't mean increasing interest rates is enough to achieve it, following Wallace and Sargent model. This is less a strict proof that a monetary phenomenon is involved and more stating that the author hasn't shown any problem with that, there are reasonable models for this situation. It doesn't look like an clear empirical failure to me yet. 3 - Of what we are talking about when we talk about emission? The author mentions many money measures (M0, M1, M2) but it doesn't address it meaningfully as I tried to do above. It feels more like a rhetorical device because there is no point here except "this stuff exists". Also, it's worth pointing that there are actual criticisms to make to Friedman on those grounds. He failed to forecast US inflation at some points when he switched to M1 instead of using M2, although he later reverted that. Monetarism kind of "failed" there (it also "failed" in the sense that modern central banks don't use money, but instead interest rates as their main tool; "failed" because despite being outdated, it was influential to modern central banking). This is often brought to this kind of discussions like if economics hasn't moved beyond that. For an account of Friedman thoughts on monetary policies and his failures, see this. 4 - Why do many countries print and inflation doesn't increase there? There is a mention about the japanese situation in the 90s (the liquidity trap) which I have addressed. The author mentions that many countries "printed" like crazy during the pandemic, and he says:
Monetarism apologists answer, when confronted with those grave empirical problems that happen in "serious countries", that the population "trusts" their monetary authorities, even increasing the money demand in those place despite the emission. Curious, though, it's an appeal to "trust" implying that the relationship between emission and inflation is not objective, but subjective and cultural: an appreciation that abandons mechanicism and the basic certainty of monetarism, because evaluations and diagnostics, many times ideologic, contextual or historical intervene..
That's just a restatement of applying rational expectations to central bank operations. I don't see a problem with that. Rational expectations is not magic, it's an assessment of future earnings by economic actors. Humans may not 100% rational but central banking somehow works on many countries. You cannot just say that people are ideologues and let it at that. What's your model? Worth noting the author shills for bitcoin a bit in this section, for more cringe. 5 - Are we talking of a physical science or a social science? Again, a vague mention of rational expectations ("populists and pro market politicians could do the same policies with different results because of how agents respond ideologically and expectatives") without handling the subject meaningfully. It criticizes universal macroeconomic rules that apply everywhere (this is often used to dismiss evidence from other countries uncritically more than as a meaningful point). 6 - How limits work?
The last question to monetarism allows to recognize it something: effectively we can think on a type of vinculation between emission and inflation in extreme conditions. That means, with no monetary rule, no government has the need of taxes but instead can emit and spend all it needs without consequence. We know it's not like that: no government can print infinitely without undesirable effects.
Ok, good disclaimer, but given what he wrote before, what's the mechanism which causes money printing to be inflationary at some point? It was rejected before but now it seems that it exists. What was even the point of the article?
Now, the problem is thinking monetarism on its extremes: without emission we have inflation sometimes, on others we have no inflation with emission, we know that if we have negative emission that doesn't guarantees us negative inflation, but that if emission is radically uncontrolled there will economic effects.
As I wrote above, that's not what monetarism (even on it's simpler form) says, nor a consequence of it. You can see some deviations in low inflation environment but it's not really Argentina's current situation.
Let's add other problems: the elastic question between money and prices is not evident. Neither is time lags in which can work or be neutral. So the question is the limit cases for monetarism which has some reason but some difficulty in explaining them: by which and it what moments rules work and in which it doesn't.
I find the time lag thing to be a red herring. You can observe empirically and not having a proper short/middle run model doesn't invalidate QTOM in the long run. While it may be that increasing interest rates or freezing MB is not effective, that's less a problem of the theory and more a problem of policy implementation. Conclusion: I find that the article doesn't truly get monetarism to begin with (see the points it makes about emission and money demand), neither how it's implemented in practice, nor seems to be aware of more modern theories that, while put money on the background, don't necessarily invalidate it (rational expectation ideas, and eventually New Keynesian stuff which addresses stuff like liquidity traps properly). There are proper criticisms to be made to Friedman old ideas but he still was a relevant man in his time and the economic community has moved on to new, better theories that have some debt to it. I feel most economic discussion about monetarism in Argentina is a strawman of mainstream economics or an attack on Austrians more than genuine points ("monetarism" is used as a shorthand for those who think inflation is a monetary phenomenon more than referring to Friedman and his disciples per se).
Since Bitcoin was created back in 2008, there have been numerous shady individuals and companies for that matter that have used the hype to their advantage to facilitate cryptocurrency scams. These shrewd schemes conned thousands upon thousands of people who knew virtually nothing about cryptocurrency but wanted to invest in this alluring venture. 2018 is underway but here is this year’s top cryptocurrency scam thus far:
Just a little over two weeks ago BTC Global collapsed and Broker Complaint Registry has received numerous complaints pertaining to this fraudulent broker. The company claimed to be an exclusive platform providing unparalleled earnings through valid binary trading services, but that was unfortunately not the case. Here are excerpts from there website: “We are backed by our founding trader at Steven Twain.” This “Steven Twain” character is not a real individual. “Steven has 6 years of experience trading binary options with consistent success, over the last 3 years he has started providing trading services for other large account holders ($10,000+ only).” I have not come across any trading history pertaining to Steven Twain. “Through our partnership with Steven, BTC Global have secured access to guaranteed 14% WEEKLY returns from as little as $1,000 in your account. We have also secured extra returns to pay out as referral commissions should you decide to share this opportunity with others! There are very few legitimate opportunities to get the kind of returns on investment BTC Global is offering so we encourage you to get involved as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.” How can a legitimate company guarantee any sort of returns? In BTC Global there were two ways one could earn:
Return on investment, which was 14% of the dollar amount that was invested, paid weekly in BTC.
Team shares or commissions on the people that the investor recruited or referred (think of a pyramid scheme).
BTC Global – a textbook Ponzi scheme.
The definition of a Ponzi scheme is as follows: A deceitful investing scam guaranteeing high rates of return with little to no risk to investors. The Ponzi scheme produces returns for earlier investors by procuring new investors. BTC Global certainly fits the bill Investment values generally go up and down over a duration of time, especially the ones that offer potentially high yields. If an investment consistently generates the same returns despite the market conditions or guarantees these high returns that is cause for pause. Additionally, Ponzi schemes usually involve investments that have not been registered with the SEC, FSB or any other regulatory agency. Obviously, registration is pivotal as enables investors to access pivotal information pertaining to the firm’s management, services, products and most importantly finances. Lastly and most importantly if you do not receive a “scheduled” payment or incur difficulty when trying to cash out your investment that is the biggest red flag. Those who promote Ponzi schemes regularly ask investors to “roll over” investments and often promise returns in excess of the amount that was rolled over.
How to protect yourself from a cryptocurrency scam
Although we have just talked about the BTC Global scam, this is not the only one. The very best way to ensure your funds are safe is to know how to identify and avoid ponzi schemes like BTC Global. Stay far away from ICOs, unidentified companies and companies that do not provide suitable information. Be sure that creator’s names and all team members are publicly listed and verified and, if reviews give consistent negative feedback it best to avoid that cryptocurrency broker. If you have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam, send a complaint to at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]), and we will do our very best to get into contact with you as soon as we can to initiate your funds recovery process.
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
Indian. The identity conjures multiple images: an astronaut taking international space station trips for Nasa; a computer programmer heading the world’s biggest technology company; a doctor discovering the cure for life-threatening viruses; a construction site worker helping to develop the tallest building in an oil-rich nation; or a musician earning accolades for his supreme work around the globe. A stereotyped rapist, a lapsed youth, an unmannered snob, an ugly ramification of patriarchy, an insecure face with no self-respect and utmost jealousy. A misguided person who lives by the law of disloyalty. Then there is the image of an individual being denied entry into a club after someone of his color and race misbehaved with a woman the other night. Some embarrassing moments later, I’m thrown out like garbage despite holding the entry passes for the club. I seek explanation but am given a diplomatic answer: “there is no space for more people in the club.” I see the other people walk by into the same property a few moments later, all fatter than me. I wonder what I possibly did to be not fit into a space that could easily fit a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I come back to an empty apartment (cleaner than it should be), takes out the last bit of that offbeat wine I had secured for a “special day.” Nothing stops me to dwell into solitude as I go out to my balcony, staring at the full moon, and play a song the language of which I don’t understand. I am an Indian. I could say I fit into any of the images: I could be opening doors for women and speaking with them respectfully whenever I am being spoken to. I could also be a loud snob who believes every “white girl” is willing to sleep with a stranger-me, specifically when I mistreat her in every possible way a woman must not want. I attempt to understand the situation while sipping the last bit of that foreign wine, staring at a full moon, and crying dry tears off my widely opened eyes. I must have done something wrong – perhaps, by wearing an identity that matches depraved and civil all at the same time. I am extremely controlled between my legs and ears. I’m often told by my friends and colleagues that I am well-behaved, and even the slight tan on my skin makes me look like the Lawrence of Arabia. I am polite under the right kind of situation, and my manners slip away slightly when I speak passionately about filmmaking, dinosaurs, and bitcoin. I live in a country in which a senior woman calls me her son, a younger male looks at me for mentorship, an adolescent girl who lets me near her without feeling threatened, and a friend – of the opposite sex, again – who gives me the best hugs of my life. I am an Indian. But I am trouble bomb, anyway – at least to the person who denies me the fundamental right to Heineken. I realize he is worried about what I might do rather than giving me a pass. Somebody tells me that the gatekeeper fears women will not enter the club upon noticing “people like me.” Those women must have a reason, I think. And despite the fact it doesn’t concern me, it certainly does. I start believing that I live in a world of stereotypes: a system which remembers a person for the wrongs that have been done by his lookalikes. This world takes comfort in categorizing individuals like me into a phenomenon, without the slightest idea about my parameters as an individual. I have become a predictable threat because of these definitions of me. I encounter these difficulties when I’m asked about the behavior of the people that incidentally holds the same identity as me. People wonder why they misbehave with the women of the country which invited them as guests. They question why they disturb a crowd of moviegoers by being loud during showtime. And why the heck they steal onions from pubs? I mean, seriously? The difficulty does not end there. A caucasian sex worker approaches me as if I am standing in a dark room with a radium tattoo on my face saying ‘HIT ME.’ I tell her politely about my disinterest in such arrangements. She asks me not to feel shy and reminds me that people of my race and nationality do the same. “But I don’t,” I respectfully respond to her. “Why,” she asks. “I just don’t,” I tell her, “I’m not that kind of a person.” She gives me a strange look as if I just told her about her recently-developed hernia. Then, the next sex worker approaches me the other day. And it keeps going during those peaceful walks. I imagine situations such as these would eventually drive me away from exploring a quiet life outside the home. It will also keep my intellectual levels undernourished, my motivations down, and my ability to assist my hosts in growing their economy flat. I have friends and family to remember this new home by, these individuals who accept me for the civility I wear on my soul. But sometimes, even for a girl-friend who is taking a platonic walk with me, she is already a sex worker to her people. Why? Because she is walking with me. To those who are my lookalikes in this new land, I am incredibly disappointed if you misrepresent your identity. It’s not about a man denying me entry into the club; the situation is far worse than you think. You have time to mend your behavior, and for a change, contribute socially and financially to grow the country that has been your host for years. Otherwise, either we all are good Indians or we all are the worst. We could be innovators, social workers, businessmen, students, or just travelers aware of what we represent. We are a walking identity of at least 80% of those 1.25 billion people, who do not deserve shame and disrespect. I am an Indian, and I want to be proud of it. If you think the same, join me. If you don’t, then may the law take care of you.
How to Explain Bitcoin: 3 Tips to Have Better Bitcoin Conversations
BTC Friends, Let’s be honest, Bitcoin is confusing. Not to you (you are on this / after all), but to the people who have no idea what it is. Trying to explain Bitcoin is even harder. I’m sure we’ve all had those long, complicated, drawn-out conversations which leave people more confused than when it started. To aid its adoption WE HAVE TO GET BETTER AT EXPLAINING WHAT BITCOIN IS. Here are a few tips that should, hopefully, help you manage a simple and easy to understand discussion about Bitcoin. Before we get to that, a few things to remember: Bitcoin is afundamentalchange from what most people believe. An explanation about Bitcoin shouldn’t be about “being right” or “winning the argument.” Instead, it should be about helping someone explore a new idea and begin to understand that there are actually different alternatives to the only “money” they’ve ever known. Bitcoin is complicated. It’s important to remember that this is as much of an emotion transformation for someone as it is a logical one. A CONFUSED MIND ALWAYS SAYS NO. If you leave a person confused or frustrated about what Bitcoin is, they are more likely to build up a resistance to it and become close-minded because “it’s just too complicated.” Adoption is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t feel the need to word vomit all of your intense 1337 cypto-knowledge in a single conversation. Slow and steady. Like a good story-teller, keep them wanting more. Now, some tips to consider: 1. Start with ‘WHAT is Bitcoin?,’ not ‘WHY is Bitcoin?’ A fundamental mistake that people make is to try to justify WHY something exists before even explaining WHAT something is. Your explanations need to act as a building blocks of knowledge which means you have to have a very clear, very easily understood, fundamental premise: Bitcoin is…: Digital coins that exist on the internet that you can spend and save just like the paper money in your wallet. An alternative form of money than what you are given by your local government. That's it. That's Bitcoin. While I’m sure we can, and probably will, argue about what that base, fundamental definition is, it’s important to start with WHAT, not WHY. While hyperinflation, store of value, scarcity, the Federal Reserve, and how the printing of fiat devalues currency are all important, it does not answer the question of WHAT is Bitcoin. If you start with WHY, you are skipping a major building block in the mind of the listener and are on your way to creating confusion. And remember, a confused mind always says no! Here is an example. (Now, don’t go full-internet on me. I’m not degrading this person or this video THANK YOU PERSON FOR MAKING THIS VIDEO. This video is awesome! I only bring it up because it is a recent video that got some attention. It also demonstrates this point.) When asked to explain Bitcoin, here is the opening line: “The FED…is out of control with printing money…” This is a ‘WHY is Bitcoin’ response. Already, the listener is probably thinking, ‘what the heck does the FED have to do with anything? I just wanted to know what Bitcoin was…’ and you may just lose your listener right there. Furthermore, this video never actually says “Bitcoin IS…” While there is an implied comparison to gold, there is never a fundamental definition of WHAT Bitcoin is. Start with a clear, concise definition of WHAT Bitcoin is before moving on to WHY Bitcoin is. 2. Let Them Lead / Gauge Their Interest / Know When To Stop When explaining any topic to someone who doesn’t understand it, there is a very strong temptation to TELL everything you know. This is human nature. We are proud of what we know. We want to display knowledge and proficiency. We must, however, understand that it is counter-productive to the learning process. Imagine that certain math teacher going over that certain math problem. They explain it. They are enthusiastic about it. They write it on the chalkboard. Yet your eyes glaze over. It’s too much too fast. You are just waiting until the end when they finally tell you the answer. All logic and reasoning and understanding is gone. This is similar. Instead of telling them everything you know, LET THEM ASK! Allowing your listener to ASK demonstrates two things: an understanding of the last thing you said and, more importantly, interest! Ultimately, that’s what we want and need; their interest. Believe me, just like that little kid asking, ‘why, why, why…?’ They will give you every opportunity to share a little bit more, and a little bit more. For example: Bitcoiner – “Bitcoin are digital coins that exist on the internet that you can spend and save just like the paper money in your wallet.” (STOP TALKING AND LEAVE SPACE FOR THEM TO ASK!!!) Noob – “Oh…ok…well…why do we need that? What's wrong with the money I have now?” Bitcoiner – “Well, there is a risk that, over time, the money that you keep in your wallet or bank account will actually be worth less and be able to buy less stuff.” (STOP TALKING AND LEAVE SPACE FOR THEM TO ASK!!!) Noob – “Wait, what do you mean?” And we are now on our way to a discussion about these messy and intense concepts of inflation vs deflation, printing of fiat currency, fractional reserve lending, etc. And through it all, LET THEM LEAD. Now this is the tough part. If their eyes glaze over, YOU HAVE TO STOP! When the questions stop, YOU HAVE TO STOP! The last thing you want to do is ramble on once they’ve stopped listening. Instead, ASK them a question: “I’m sorry, did you not understand something I said?” “Did I answer your question?” “Is this interesting to you?” By doing this, you will give them an opportunity to ASK you another question: “…back up…what did you mean when you said ‘store of value’?” Or maybe even make a comment: “…wow…this stuff is pretty complicated…” In either case, this actually helps keep the conversation going. Just back up, explain it again, keeping in mind your base concepts and definitions, and see if you can talk them past where they got stuck. Maybe they shut you down entirely: “you know what, this is crazy, it can’t be true, let’s change the subject…” To which the ONLY correct response is, “Ok!” (we’ll get to this later). Keep in mind that letting your listener lead will allow you to carry the conversation much further than you trying to push it along on your own. 3. Know Your Role / A Little at a Time / Don’t Overcorrect So, what’s the end goal? Is it to have them whip out their phone, download an exchange, and make their first Bitcoin purchase right then and there?! No, of course not. The role of these conversations is to LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE. Your goal should be to spark interest and curiosity. If after talking with you they end up on The Google or The YouTube looking for more information, then you’ve done your part! Movies and TV condition us to want the big payoff at the end: the parade, the teary embrace, the triumphant symphony. That is not real life. Really, the best ending to a Bitcoin conversation might just be your listener making an audible, but clearly deeply contemplative, “…huh…”. You’ve done your job. You’ve got them noodling something they have never noodled before. Even once you understand Bitcoin, there is still an entirely different conversation about what the technology is, how it works, and how people interact with it. And let’s be honest, it’s complex and confusing. Exchanges, blockchain, forks, difficulty adjustments, miners, cold storage… More complicated ideas. More jargon. Make sure you throttle yourself back and explain just A LITTLE AT A TIME. It’s ok to have one conversation about the fundamentals of Bitcoin and then an entirely different conversation about blockchain technology or how people acquire BTC or the difference between storing Bitcoin on an exchange versus a cold wallet. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to tackle all of this at once. While all this is happening, BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERCORRECT. People know what they know, right? And what people know is always correct, right?? Be sensitive. If your listener makes a comment that isn’t true or is off track, don’t scold them or forcefully correct them. If your listener feels attacked or threatened, conflict will arise, and once that happens, their minds will be completely shut off. No one listens during an argument. Don’t attack. Explain. For example: Noob – “Well, the USD is backed by gold, so that will prevent it from ever devaluing!” Bitcoiner – “You know, it’s pretty interesting, a lot of people think the same thing. The truth is that while the USD was backed by gold for a long period of time, it isn’t anymore. You see, back in 1971…” Keep it simple, factual, and non-confrontational. Going back to our example from before, even if your listener shuts you down entirely, THAT’S OK! They have now experienced a Bitcoin conversation that will percolate around in their brain. And perhaps next time they hear the word Bitcoin, whether on the news or on the internet, they’ll think back to your conversation and what you shared with them. Hopefully you didn’t over-press and their memory of your conversation isn't a negative one which leaves them feeling negative about Bitcoin: “Bitcoin is stupid and people who believe in Bitcoin are arrogant and rude.” Finally, ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO THEIR OWN RESEARCH. The journey doesn’t start and end with you. You are simply a stepping stone along their path. Know that you are playing a part in their story; you are not the main character. Adoption of Bitcoin will occur over a long period of time. The conversations we have with our friends and family will create the buzz, attention, and understanding that is needed, but please be mindful that you are doing it in a helpful and productive way that leaves people wanting to know more. Oh, and step 4: Stack Sats and HODL!
A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the aelf WhitePaper (Part 1)
https://preview.redd.it/j27ayhbw0rh51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=f15bd6ff4ac50fa0eb0bbad23d59f55da6d98090 In the Bingo game DApp demo, we’ve already talked about the aelf real random number generator, which can generate unpredictable random numbers between 0 and 255, making it a useful tool. The interaction logic of this DApp’s backend is very much the same as that of blockchain smart contract. But this DApp is so simple that it doesn’t really show what aelf is capable of. In fact, aelf’s got an awful lot more in its arsenal. When it comes to supporting enterprise-level applications, this is where aelf comes in. For someone who is new to aelf, the best way to aquaint yourself with aelf’s technology is to read the aelf technical whitepaper. https://preview.redd.it/yxbt4j9x0rh51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=35c371142e08d37c38776dc151c5877f0aa9ca93 If you have read the whitepaper of some blockchain projects, you might find them difficult to understand or even make no sense. As a result, readers (not speculators) are often at a loss as to what these projects are trying to do. Unfortunately, many projects often assume their readers are all experts and can understand the whitepapers with no difficulty. In reality, most blockchain projects are much more complex than Bitcoin. Therefore, if readers only know how Bitcoin works, they still cannot understand these projects’ whitepapers. If you want to draw potential developers to your platform, it is necessary to provide a beginner’s guide to understanding your whitepaper. That’s why we have prepared this guide. But before reading this guide, you can quickly go through our website, read our slogan, watch the promo video on the homepage, download the whitepaper and before long, you may find something you cannot understand. Don’t worry, let’s start with aelf’s slogan: Aelf, a Decentralized Cloud Computing Blockchain Network Cloud computing is the most fundamental feature driving the entire aelf blockchain ecosystem. Running data intensive computation on multiple computers is obviously more cost-effective than on one mainframe computer. Suppose these computers are assembled in a huge building called data center, say thousands of computers, with professional maintenance by a company, say, Amazon, then these data centers are called a cloud, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Having said that, it is still hard for a beginner to understand why cloud computing gives aelf an indispensable edge. This is because most people, including some in the blockchain sector, don’t have a sound knowledge of some of blockchain’s key concepts. As a result, it is difficult for them to move on to the more complex technology, let alone analyze the pros and cons of a blockchain project and its potentials. As far as I know, I think it is necessary to set the record straight on two important blockchain concepts.
What is a blockchain?
This is nonsense! We all know blockchain is a tamper-proof distributed ledger or database technology, as any professional would explain to you. You most probably have memorized this definition by heart and would rattle it off whenever someone asks you what blockchain is. The truth is, this definition is very misleading. Blockchain is not a new invention, nor does it have any magical features (for example: the magical tamper-proof feature). In this sense, it is different from the magical stuff in an alchemist’s furnace. Instead of viewing blockchain as a ledger or database, it is better to see it as a distributed system. So what is a distributed system? A distributed system is a large number of interconnected computers, which makes it a peer-to-peer system. It was invented around 1960, long before the advent of Internet. There are already a lot of well-known distributed-system-based softwares, such as Bit-torrent and Netflix. In these softwares, people can upload the files on their computers to the P2P network and anyone can download them. But a distributed system can do much more. In the distributed system discipline, people have to solve a big problem, that is, everyone (every node) in the P2P network need to make an unanimous decision no matter what information they receive, and this unanimous decision is what we call a consensus, and this problem is called the Byzantine General Problem.
Say there are three Byzantine generals wanting to attack the same fortress, and they are at three different locations, they could only rely on couriers to send messages. In this situation, any general can only make a decision based on the other two generals’ messages. If one general wants to attack, he let couriers send the “attack” message to the other two generals, so do the other two generals. If the generals are all loyal, each of them should receive “attack, attack” coming from other two generals, and all three generals would attack the fortress. But if one of them is a traitor, he could send one general “attack” and send the other “retreat”, this other general will receive “attack, retreat”, if he follows majority rule, he will not make a decision because the votes on attack and retreat are the same. At the same time, the other general will attack, and the result is that these three generals will not reach a consensus on attack.
The generals are just like the nodes of a distributed system (i.e. blockchain). There are at least two points worth noting: first, all massages (transactions), have to be sent to the other generals (nodes) to keep them informed; second, all the nodes have to reach a consensus. https://preview.redd.it/nlgharoy0rh51.png?width=512&format=png&auto=webp&s=56c022e327526f13d1f3e13efe80de0483550715 The first point means that it takes time for sending a message to all the nodes in a huge network, the second means that after a new block has been broadcast to the entire network, there should be a mechanism for all the nodes to agree on this block (a package of messages or logs), and it also takes time.
Market maker: who is it and what function do they perform?
Market makers have become as a key link in the financial markets. There is a misconception that market makers can influence the price of assets. In fact, this statement is far from reality. The main task of a market maker (MM) is to provide liquidity of any asset. If an asset traded on an exchange is provided with sufficient liquidity, the price and spread will be at an adequate level. If there is no liquidity — it will not be profitable to trade an asset, the price will stop at one mark and the spread will expand. So, what exactly do market makers do? Let’s analyze in more detail in this article.
Definition and responsibilities of the market maker
A market maker (MM) is a firm or individual who actively quotes two-sided markets in a security, providing bids and offers (known as asks) along with the market size of each. The profits of the market maker is made up of several aspects:
Payments from the exchange as stipulated in the cooperation agreement.
Spread from the execution of orders.
Speculations and investments.
The SEC regulator explained the functions of the market maker — willingness to buy and to sell an asset on a permanent basis, at a public quote. In other words, maintaining an adequate level of supply and demand, as well as confrontation with the market, for example, selling bitcoin in case of its rapid growth or buying in case of a fall. In addition, the market maker may act as an intermediary seller or a buyer in case of absence of one of the parties. If you decide to buy or to sell an asset on the exchange and your transaction has passed within a second, the market maker is acting as an intermediary. In this way, the liquidity providers remove unnecessary delays and difficulties in exchanging assets.
Market maker trading process
For example, there is a buyer on the exchange who is ready to buy 100 ETH and there is a seller who is ready to sell 90 ETH. The task of the market maker is to add 10 ETHs and to provide a price to a buyer, for example $200 and for a seller, for example $199. The buyer will pay $20,000 and receive 100 ETH, and the seller will receive $17,910 and give back 90 ETH. The market maker will receive $2,000 for the 10 ETHs and $10 spread, for providing liquidity. The liquidity provider makes a lot of such a trades a day, and as a result has a good profit. However to do this, you need to have an impressive stock of assets to maintain a level between supply and demand. With such not complex machinations, the market maker ensures the efficiency of financial markets, maintaining an adequate price for the asset and the minimum price divergence between exchanges. Based on the above example, we can think that the activity of a market maker is not complicated and a stable way of earning, in the presence of impressive capital. However, this is not quite true. During time when the market is very volatile, liquidity providers can suffer losses. For example, there is a buyer on the exchange who is willing to buy 100 ETH and a seller who is willing to sell 10,000 ETH. A buyer buys 100 ETHs at $20,000 (price for 1 ETH $200) and a seller gets $19,990 (price for 1 ETH $199), the market maker gets $10 as a spread. At the same time, there are 9,900 ETHs left, which the seller wants to sell, and the market maker, respectively, must buy them back. Having paid $1,970,100 for the entire offer (price for 1 ETH is $199), the liquidity provider will not be able to sell them for the same price. Even if the price drops to $198.5, the total sale price of 9,900 ETH will be $1,965,150, with a loss of $4,950. Considering that the crypto market is famous for its volatility, the price difference may not be 50 cents. A market maker cannot simply sell the ETHs they receive at a reasonable price for the following reasons:
No one will buy the asset at an unfavorable price, and a sale of 9,900 ETH is likely to have impacted the market.
The exchange’s service agreement states that the market maker cannot simply take and sell the assets, otherwise its services may be refused.
This method can be considered as market manipulation.
Therefore, in a moment of strong volatility market makers simply leave the market, otherwise — it can lead to a serious loss. During high market volatility, it is often impossible to close a position at the right price, due to the lack of liquidity on the exchange. This indicates that the market makers have withdrawn from trading. It is also possible to track the presence of a market maker on the exchange in the following way: if the spread is narrow and the price of an asset is in a sideways trend, the liquidity provider participates in trading on the exchange. If the spread is wide and the price of an asset is subject to volatility — the market maker has withdrawn from trading. In the same way, you can find out whether there is a market maker at the exchange at all, i.e. whether they resort to its services. The Market Maker performs vertical market analysis, not horizontal market analysis as ordinary traders do. For the liquidity provider, in addition for buying or selling an asset, the order glass displays pending orders, Take Profit and Stop Loss. This allows you to correctly interpret the mood of the market participants and perform your direct duties as a market maker — to maintain liquidity levels and narrow spreads, as well as to provide large volumes of orders.
Market makers on the crypto market
Market makers in the crypto market are much more in demand than the traditional market and that’s why. If we talk about crypto currencies from the top 10 list — their liquidity is enough to buy or sell a coin almost instantly. However, there are about 3,000 crypto currencies for 2020 and not all of them are liquid.
The process goes like this:
Startup is going to be carried out by IEO (Primary Exchange Offer), a modern analogue of ICO. The stock exchange considers the token and leaves it. After a week, a month, six months the amount of investment in a token is minimal. There are two reasons for this:
A skilled trader, when investing in a new coin, will rely on the order book. As the token is new, even if it is promising, but there are no records of selling and buying, so the trader will refuse to invest.
A significant player has learned about the listing of a new token and its future prospects. It was decided to open a large, long term position, but there is no liquidity, that is, if the position is opened, it will be time consuming.
To avoid such a development, the crypto market should resort to the services of market makers. Liquidity providers may buy a token and artificially “fill” the order book. In fact, this will be a twisted indicator of liquidity and is suitable only for speculative purposes. But 90% of cryptotraders came to this market because of its high volatility, i.e. to earn on price hikes. For this reason, crypto currencies need the services of market makers for the systematic establishment of the market and attraction of new, professional traders.
As a rule, market makers always resort to ATS (Automated Trading Systems) and HTF-trading (High Frequency Trading). Both systems require very advanced programming skills. In addition, it will require economy knowledge, preferably not minimal, in order to make right assessment of work and potential risks. Sell-Side strategy — automatic trading systems are used to constantly maintain optimal prices and profit from spreads. It is not rare to have a strategy of placing Buy and Sell orders simultaneously. In fact — a common risk hedging. HFT or high-frequency trading- is a type of algorithmic trading characterized by a high speed and turnover of capital, as well as short asset holding periods. To become an HFT trader you will need specialized robots and powerful computers as the main task of high-frequency trading is to conclude a lot of transactions in the shortest possible time. With the help of HFT trading market makers must set a quote or the last price and constantly update it.
Market makers are a necessary part of the economy. They do not earn on price movements, but create comfortable and loyal conditions for trading. In the end I would like to tell you about some myths that exist in the network in relation to market makers.
Market makers can affect market quotes
That’s true, however in a slightly different understanding. The task of a market maker is to create the market mood and push its participants to open orders in the right direction. Market makers cannot influence the quotes price for two reasons:
The exchange where the market maker trades, monitors all its operations. In case of intentional influence on the price of the asset, the reaction will be immediate.
This kind of activities are trade manipulations, i.e. they are prosecuted by state regulators, up to including deprivation of license to operate such activities.
Market makers cooperate with each other
At the beginning, I would like to mention that all market makers are competitors, and to disclose their plans to competitors is not a good idea. In addition, it is also punishable by law, up to deprivation of a license to conduct activities.
Most transactions on the platform are initiated by market makers
It’s not a very clear statement. The main profits of a market maker is spreads. How in this case should the liquidity provider earn, if all transactions on the site belong to him? These are the most popular myths in the network regarding market makers. In the end I would like to add that the work of the market maker — is a complex and time-consuming process, the result of which is a balanced financial market. Please don’t forget to follow us on Telegram and stay updated!YOUR CRYPTO BOSS
Testing the Tide | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - June 2020
We would rather be ruined than changed. -W H Auden, The Age of Anxiety This is my forty-third portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal. Portfolio goal My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars). This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent. Portfolio summary Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $726 306 Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $42 118 Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $78 730 Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $111 691 Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $201 745 Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $39 357 Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $231 269 Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 668 Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 310 NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 532 Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $117 757 Secured physical gold – $18 913 Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $10 479 Bitcoin – $148 990 Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 841 Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 553 BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 484 Total portfolio value: $1 765 743 (+$8 485 or 0.5%) Asset allocation Australian shares – 42.2% (2.8% under) Global shares – 22.0% Emerging markets shares – 2.3% International small companies – 3.0% Total international shares – 27.3% (2.7% under) Total shares – 69.5% (5.5% under) Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over) Australian bonds – 4.7% International bonds – 9.4% Total bonds – 14.0% (1.0% under) Gold – 7.7% Bitcoin – 8.4% Gold and alternatives – 16.2% (6.2% over) Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio. [Chart] Comments The overall portfolio increased slightly over the month. This has continued to move the portfolio beyond the lows seen in late March. The modest portfolio growth of $8 000, or 0.5 per cent, maintains its value at around that achieved at the beginning of the year. [Chart] The limited growth this month largely reflects an increase in the value of my current equity holdings, in VAS and A200 and the Vanguard retail funds. This has outweighed a small decline in the value of Bitcoin and global shares. The value of the bond holdings also increased modestly, pushing them to their highest value since around early 2017. [Chart] There still appears to be an air of unreality around recent asset price increases and the broader economic context. Britain's Bank of England has on some indicators shown that the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown represent the most challenging financial crisis in around 300 years. What is clear is that investor perceptions and fear around the coronavirus pandemic are a substantial ongoing force driving volatility in equity markets (pdf). A somewhat optimistic view is provided here that the recovery could look more like the recovery from a natural disaster, rather than a traditional recession. Yet there are few certainties on offer. Negative oil prices, and effective offers by US equity investors to bail out Hertz creditors at no cost appear to be signs of a financial system under significant strains. As this Reserve Bank article highlights, while some Australian households are well-placed to weather the storm ahead, the timing and severity of what lays ahead is an important unknown that will itself feed into changes in household wealth from here. Investments this month have been exclusively in the Australian shares exchange-traded fund (VAS) using Selfwealth.* This has been to bring my actual asset allocation more closely in line with the target split between Australian and global shares. A moving azimuth: falling spending continues Monthly expenses on the credit card have continued their downward trajectory across the past month. [Chart] The rolling average of monthly credit card spending is now at its lowest point over the period of the journey. This is despite the end of lockdown, and a slow resumption of some more normal aspects of spending. This has continued the brief period since April of the achievement of a notional and contingent kind of financial independence. The below chart illustrates this temporary state, setting out the degree to which portfolio distributions cover estimated total expenses, measured month to month. [Chart] There are two sources of volatility underlying its movement. The first is the level of expenses, which can vary, and the second is the fact that it is based on financial year distributions, which are themselves volatile. Importantly, the distributions over the last twelve months of this chart is only an estimate - and hence the next few weeks will affect the precision of this analysis across its last 12 observations. Estimating 2019-20 financial year portfolio distributions Since the beginning of the journey, this time of year usually has sense of waiting for events to unfold - in particular, finding out the level of half-year distributions to June. These represent the bulk of distributions, usually averaging 60-65 per cent of total distributions received. They are an important and tangible signpost of progress on the financial independence journey. This is no simple task, as distributions have varied in size considerably. A part of this variation has been the important role of sometimes large and lumpy capital distributions - which have made up between 30 to 48 per cent of total distributions in recent years, and an average of around 15 per cent across the last two decades. I have experimented with many different approaches, most of which have relied on averaging over multi-year periods to even out the 'peaks and troughs' of how market movements may have affected distributions. The main approaches have been:
An 'adjusted income' approach - stripping out the capital gains components of Vanguard funds to reach an estimate of underlying income generation, both across the entire investment period, and during the sharpest low of the Global Financial Crisis
A long-term asset class approach - relying on long-term historical data on averages of the income produced by various asset classes
A 'tax method' approach - this derives an income estimate as a percentage of the portfolio by drawing on taxable investment income totals from tax return records
Simple historical rolling average - this is a rolling three-year measure, based on the actual distributions record of the portfolio
Average distribution rate approach - this method uses a long-term average of annual distributions received as a percentage of the total portfolio since 1999
Each of these have their particular simplifications, advantages and drawbacks. Developing new navigation tools Over the past month I have also developed more fully an alternate 'model' for estimating returns. This simply derives a median value across a set of historical 'cents per unit' distribution data for June and December payouts for the Vanguard funds and exchange traded funds. These make up over 96 per cent of income producing portfolio assets. In other words, this model essentially assumes that each Vanguard fund and ETF owned pays out the 'average' level of distributions this half-year, with the average being based on distribution records that typically go back between 5 to 10 years. Mapping the distribution estimates The chart below sets out the estimate produced by each approach for the June distributions that are to come. [Chart] Some observations on these findings can be made. The lowest estimate is the 'adjusted GFC income' observation, which essentially assumes that the income for this period is as low as experienced by the equity and bond portfolio during the Global Financial Crisis. Just due to timing differences of the period observed, this seems to be a 'worst case' lower bound estimate, which I do not currently place significant weight on. Similarly, at the highest end, the 'average distribution rate' approach simply assumes June distributions deliver a distribution equal to the median that the entire portfolio has delivered since 1999. With higher interest rates, and larger fixed income holdings across much of that time, this seems an objectively unlikely outcome. Similarly, the delivery of exactly the income suggested by long-term averages measured across decades and even centuries would be a matter of chance, rather than the basis for rational expectations. Central estimates of the line of position This leaves the estimates towards the centre of the chart - estimates of between around $28 000 to $43 000 as representing the more likely range. I attach less weight to the historical three-year average due to the high contribution of distributed capital gains over that period of growth, where at least across equities some capital losses are likely to be in greater presence. My preferred central estimate is the model estimate (green) , as it is based in historical data directly from the investment vehicles rather than my own evolving portfolio. The data it is based on in some cases goes back to the Global Financial Crisis. This estimate is also quite close to the raw average of all the alternative approaches (red). It sits a little above the 'adjusted income' measure. None of these estimates, it should be noted, contain any explicit adjustment for the earnings and dividend reductions or delays arising from COVID-19. They may, therefore represent a modest over-estimate for likely June distributions, to the extent that these effects are more negative than those experienced on average across the period of the underlying data. These are difficult to estimate, but dividend reductions could easily be in the order of 20-30 per cent, plausibly lowering distributions to the $23 000 to $27 000 range. The recently announced forecast dividend for the Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) is, for example, the lowest in four years. As seen from chart above, there is a wide band of estimates, which grow wider still should capital gains be unexpectedly distributed from the Vanguard retail funds. These have represented a source of considerable volatility. Given this, it may seem fruitless to seek to estimate these forthcoming distributions, compared to just waiting for them to arrive. Yet this exercise helps by setting out reasoning and positions, before hindsight bias urgently arrives to inform me that I knew the right answer all along. It also potentially helps clearly 'reject' some models over time, if the predictions they make prove to be systematically incorrect. Progress Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below. Measure Portfolio All Assets Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 81.0% 109.4% Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 98.8% 133.5% Total expenses – $89 000 pa 79.2% 106.9% Summary The current coronavirus conditions are affecting all aspects of the journey to financial independence - changing spending habits, leading to volatility in equity markets and sequencing risks, and perhaps dramatically altering the expected pattern of portfolio distributions. Although history can provide some guidance, there is simply no definitive way to know whether any or all of these changes will be fundamental and permanent alterations, or simply data points on a post-natural disaster path to a different post-pandemic set of conditions. There is the temptation to fit past crises imperfectly into the modern picture, as this Of Dollars and Data post illustrates well. Taking a longer 100 year view, this piece 'The Allegory of the Hawk and Serpent' is a reminder that our entire set of received truths about constructing a portfolio to survive for the long-term can be a product of a sample size of one - actual past history - and subject to recency bias. This month has felt like one of quiet routines, muted events compared to the past few months, and waiting to understand more fully the shape of the new. Nonetheless, with each new investment, or week of lower expenditure than implied in my FI target, the nature of the journey is incrementally changing - beneath the surface. Small milestones are being passed - such as over 40 per cent of my equity holdings being outside of the the Vanguard retail funds. Or these these retail funds - which once formed over 95 per cent of the portfolio - now making up less than half. With a significant part of the financial independence journey being about repeated small actions producing outsized results with time, the issue of maintaining good routines while exploring beneficial changes is real. Adding to the complexity is that embarking on the financial journey itself is likely to change who one is. This idea, of the difficulty or impossibility of knowing the preferences of a future self, is explored in a fascinating way in this Econtalk podcast episode with a philosophical thought experiment about vampires. It poses the question: perhaps we can never know ourselves at the destination? And yet, who would rationally choose ruin over any change? The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
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My collection of amazing early Bitcoin comments, right here from Reddit:
On buying (or not) a gaming rig to mine Bitcoin: “With the difficulty skyrocketing and exchange rates sitting stagnant at $5~8 for the last week or so, you pretty much missed the boat to buy dedicated mining hardware, IMHO. If you already have the hardware, or are looking for an excuse to buy a couple bitchin' new graphics cards for a gaming rig, there's definitely money to be made mining when you're not using it. But I don't think I'd drop $1k into a rig that's only to mine with unless it was $1k I'd blow on something even more retarded. I certainly wouldn't sink next month's rent into it.” https://reddit.com/AskReddit/comments/hnp7f/_/c1wuv1b/?context=1 On easily cashing out Bitcoin using mtgox: “I think getting money is not that difficult. The daily volume on mtgox is over $100K, so I think anyone can currently sell Bitcoins for USD without problems.” https://reddit.com/AskReddit/comments/hnp7f/_/c1wuhjh/?context=1 On it being $10: “Is Bitcoin 10 usd yet?” https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hpq6c/is_bitcoin_10_usd_yet/ Bonus: Snapshot of the isbitcoin10usdyet website from 2011: https://web.archive.org/web/20110606125320/http://www.isbitcoin10usdyet.com/ Mtgox might disappear: “400K bitcoins is $4M dollars. Given all risks and uncertainties around bitcoins, no wonder some of the early founders exit their investments. Tomorrow mtgox or dwolla may disappear. It is the matter of one government intervention.” https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hq1wj/_/c1xgesq/?context=1 Bitcoin is terrible at friendly front-end: “This is a dangerous point-of-view. The entire bitcoin ecosystem is ugly, confusing, and deeply unusable. Really think about the questions posed in the article. The client works, as in, it creates a functional front-end for some bitcoin-related tasks, but it isn't at all designed for how humans would want to interact with the currency. The point of the article isn't that the client is hard, it's that the client works pretty well for obsessive nerds (present company included), but if bitcoin is really going to succeed at the goals it sets out to accomplish, it needs to not only be usable by normal people, it needs to be exceptional. If you think it's reasonably usable, you're welcome to that opinion, but please understand that you're the exact sort of person Mr. Falkvinge was referring to. Great with complex logic, terrible at friendly front-end.” https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hrqpm/_/c1xtfuy/?context=1 On wallets going out of sync: “One thing that I think is lacking is the ability to functionally use wallets on different machines as they will tend to get out of sync. This might be able to be overcome if new addresses were deterministically created from a seed contained in the wallet, but there are probably better ways. Also, the UI for the official client is kind of a bone.” https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hrqpm/_/c1y730k/?context=1 On Bitcoin’s ease of use: “In fact, BTC is in such an infant state right now only enthusiasts investors, and geeks who can actually grasp how the system truly works, are using it for real. The usability issues raised by the article are real. No grandma, or any well respected enterprise for that matter, would accept working with this type of GUI. If anything, a REAL enterprise backend still needs to be developed to handle the BTC's ungly guts, with all transactions details, hashes, mining, wallets, proxy connections, peer discovery via IRC channels... I mean... this is all too RAW for the end user. I can see a near future where startups will begin to offer user friendly GUIs, online access, maybe even online banking for your bitcoin accounts, automated backups and safety mechanisms to protect your coins in case of theft. All of us geeks will end up supporting the bootstrap of this network so that, later on, your grandma will be able to use this just as she would use a credit card today.” https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hrqpm/_/c1xungz/?context=1 rBitcoin is not a sub for memes: “This isnt a subreddit for memes. Take it back to pics” https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/i7z0v/_/c21m3ld/?context=1 I think I’ll keep my money elsewhere: “This further reinforces BC's image as nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. When the distribution is skewed that heavily towards early adopters, they will have almost total control over the market. Those 32 could manipulate to their hearts content. I think I'll keep my money elsewhere....” https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/ifl26/_/c23e3ei/?context=1 Tulip mania: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania https://www.reddit.com/AskReddit/comments/hnp7f/i_just_invested_half_of_my_next_months_rent_in/c1wuhkt/
Alright guys, Ive been working on this for a while and a post on here by a guy describing his portfolio here was the final kick in the ass for me to put this together. I started writing this to summarize what Im doing for my friends who are beginners, and also for me to make some sense of it for myself Hopefully parts of it are useful to you, and also ideally you guys can point out errors or have a suggestion or two. I'm posting this here as opposed to investing or canadianinvestor (blech) because they're just gonna tell me to buy an index fund. This first section is a preamble describing the Canadian tax situation and why Im doing things the way that I am. Feel free to skip it if you dont care about that. Also, there might be mistake regarding what the laws are here so dont take my word for it and verify it for yourself please. So here in Canada we have two types of registered accounts (theres actually more but whatver). There is the TFSA "Tax Free Savings Account", and RRSP "Registered Retirement Savings Account" For the sake of simplicity, from the time you turn 18 you are allowed to deposit 5k (it changes year to year based on inflation etc)in each of them. That "room" accumulates retroactively, so if you haventdone anything and are starting today and you are 30 you have around 60k you can put in each of them. The prevailing wisdom is that you should max out the TFSA first and you'll see why in a minute. TFSA is post tax deposits, with no capital gains or other taxes applied to selling your securities, dividends or anything else. You can withdraw your gains at any time, and the amount that you withdraw is added to the "room" you have for the next year. So lets say I maxed out my TFSA contributions and I take out 20k today, on January of next year I can put back in 20k plus the 5 or whatever they allow for that year. You can see how powerful this is. Theres a few limitations on what is eligable to be held in the TFSA such as bitcoin/bitcoin ETFs, overseas stocks that arent listed on NYSE, TSX, london and a few others. You can Buy to Open and Sell to Close call and put options as well as write Covered Calls. The RRSP is pre-tax deposits and is a tax deferred scheme. You deposit to lower your income tax burden (and hopefully drop below a bracket) but once you retire you will be taxed on anything you pull out. Withdrawing early has huge penalties and isnt recommended. You are however allowed to borrow against it for a down payment as a first time home buyer. The strategy with these is that a youngperson entering the workforce is likely to be in a fairly low tax bracket and (hopefully) earns more money as they get older and more skilled so the RRSP has more value the greater your pre-taxincome is. You can also do this Self Directed. Its not relevant to this strategy but I included it for the sake of context. Non registered accounts ( or any other situation, such as selling commercial real estate etc) is subject to a capital gains tax. In so far as I understand it, you add all your gains and losses up at the end of the year. If its a positive number, you cut that number IN HALF and add it to your regular pre-tax income. So if I made 60k from the dayjob and 20k on my margin account that adds up to 70k that I get taxed on. if its a loss, you carry that forward into the next year. Theres no distinction between long term and short term. Also physical PMs are treated differently and I'll fill that part in later once I have the details down. The reason why all that babble is important is that my broker Questrade, which isnt as good as IB (the only real other option up here as far as Im aware) has one amazing feature that no other broker has: "Margin Power" If you have a TFSA and a Margin account with them, you can link them together and have your securities in the TFSA collateralise your Margin account. Essentially, when it comes to the Maintenance Excess of the Margin Account QT doesnt care if its in the TFSA *or* the Margin! You can see how powerful this is. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ So as you can tell by the title, a lot of this is heavily inspired by Chris Cole's paper "The Allegory of the Hawk and the Serpent". You can read it here: https://www.artemiscm.com/welcome#research Between it, his interviews and my mediocre options skills at the time my mind was blown. Unfortunately I didnt know how to do the Long Volatility part until after the crash in March but I've since then had nothing but time to scour the internet and learn as much as I could. The way I interpret this isnt necessarily "what you should have right now", but what abstracted model they were able to backtest that gave them the best performance over the 90 years. Also, a lot of my portfolio I already had before I started trying to build this. As such my allocations dont match the proportions he gave. Not saying my allocations are better, just showing where they are at this time. I'm going to describe how I do Long Volatility at the end rather than the beginning since the way *I* do it wont make sense until you see the rest of the portflio. Physical PMs 22% I'm not sure wether he intended this to be straight up physical gold or include miners and royalty streaming companies so I will just keep this as physical. I consider Silver to be a non-expiring call option on gold, so that can live here too. I am actually *very* overweight silver and my strategy is to convert a large portion of it to gold (mostly my bars) to gold as the ratio tightens up. If youre into crypto, you can arguably say that has a place in this section. If an ETF makes sense for part of your portfolio, I suggest the Sprott ones such as PHYS. Sprott is an honest business and they actually have the metal they say they have. If you have enough, you can redeem your shares from the Royal Canadian Mint. The only downside is that they dont have an options chain, so you cant sell covered calls etc. Simple enough I suppose. One thing to bear in mind, there is a double edged sword with this class of assets. They're out of the system, theyre nobody's business but your own and theres no counter party. That unfortunately means that you cant lever against it for margin or sell covered calls etc. You can still buy puts though (more on that later) Commodity Trend (CTA) 10% https://youtu.be/tac8sWPZW0w Patrick Ceresna gave a good presentation on what this strategy is. Until I watched this video I just thought it meant "buy commodities". A real CTA does this with futures also so aside from the way he showed, there are two other ETFs that are worth looking at. COM - This is an explicit trend following ETF that follows a LONG/FLAT strategy instead of LONG/SHORT on a pile of commodity futures. So if they get a "sell" signal for oil or soybeans they sell what they have and go to cash. COMT- Holds an assortment of different month futures in different commodities, as well as a *lot* of various related shares in producers. Its almost a one stop shop commodities portfolio. Pays a respectable dividend in December If you want to break the "rules" of CTA, and include equities theres a few others that are also worth looking at KOL- This is a coal ETF. The problems with it are that a lot of the holdings dont have much to do with coal. One of them is a tractor company. A lot of the companies are Chinese so theres a bit of a red flag. Obviously Thermal Coal, the kind used for heating and powerplants isnt in vogue and wont be moving forward...but coking coal is used for steel manufacturing and that ain't going anywhere. The dividend is huge, pays out in December. A very very small position might be worth the risk. Uranium- I'm in URA because thats the only way for me to get exposure to Kazatoprom (#1 producer), which is 20% of the holdings. The other 20% is Cameco (#2 producer)and then its random stuff. Other than that I have shares in Denison which seems like its a good business with some interesting projects underway. I'm still studying the uranium space so I dont really have much to say about it of any value. RSX- Russia large caps. If you dont want to pick between the myriad of undervalued, high dividend paying commodity companies that Russia has then just grab this. It only pays in December but it has a liquid options chain so you can do Covered Calls in the meantime if you want. NTR- Nutrien, canadian company that was formed when two others merged. They are now the worlds largest potash producer. Pretty good dividend. They have some financial difficulties and the stocks been in a downtrend forever. I feel its a good candidate to watch or sell some puts on. I'm trying to come up with a way to play agriculture since this new phase we're going to be entering is likely to cause huge food shortages. EURN and NAT- I got in fairly early on the Tanker hype before it was even hype as a way to short oil but I got greedy and lost a lot of my gains. I pared down my position and I'm staying for the dividend. If you get an oil sell signal, this might be a way to play that still. Fixed Income/Bonds 10% Now, I am not a bond expert but unless youre doing some wacky spreads with futures or whatever... I dont see much reason to buy government debt any more. If you are, youre basically betting that they take rates negative. Raoul Pal of Real Vision is pretty firm in his conviction that this will happen. I know better than to argue with him but I dont see risk/reward as being of much value. HOWEVER, I found two interesting ETFs that seem to bring something to this portfolio IVOL- This is run by Nancy Davis, and is comprised of TIPS bonds which are nominally inflation protected (doubt its real inflation but whatever) overlayed with some OTC options that are designed to pay off big if the Fed loses control of the long end of the yield curve, which is what might happen during a real inflation situation. Pays out a decent yield monthly TAIL- This is a simpler portfolio of 10yr treasuries with ladder of puts on the SPX. Pays quarterly. Equities 58% (shared with options/volatility below) This is where it gets interesting, obviously most of this is in mining shares but before I get to those I found some interesting stuff that I'm intending to build up as I pare down my miners when the time comes to start doing that. VIRT- I cant remember where I saw this, but people were talking about this as a volatility play. Its not perfect, but look at the chart compared to SPY. Its a HFT/market making operation, the wackier things get the more pennies they can scalp. A 4% dividend isnt shabby either. FUND- This is an interesting closed end fund run by Whitney George, one of the principals at Sprott. He took it with him when he joined the company. Ive read his reports and interviews and I really like his approach to value and investing. He's kind of like if Warren Buffett was a gold bug. Theres 120 holdings in there, mostly small caps and very diverse...chicken factories, ball bearings all kinds of boring ass shit that nobody knows exists. Whats crucial is that most of it "needs to exist". Between him, his family and other people at Sprott they control 40% or so of the shares, so they definitely have skin in the game. Generous dividend. ZIG- This is a "deep value" strategy fund, run by Tobias Carlisle. He has a fairly simple valuation formula called the Acquirer's Multiple that when he backtested it, is supposed to perform very well. He did an interview with Chris Cole on real Vision where he discusses how Value and Deep Value havent done well recently, but over the last 100 years have proven to be very viable strategies. If we feel that theres a new cycle brewing, then this strategy may work again moving forward. I want to pause and point out something here, Chris Cole, Nassim Taleb and the guys at Mutiny Fund spend a lot of effort explaining that building a portfolio is a lot like putting together a good basketall team. They need to work together, and pick up each others slack A lot of the ETFs I'm listing here are in many ways portfolios in and of themselves and are *actively managed*. I specifically chose them because they follow a methodology that I respect but I can't do myself because I dont have the skill, temperament or access to. The next one is a hidden gem and ties into this. I'm not sure how much more upside there is in this one but man was I surprised. SII- Sprott Inc. I *never* see people listing this stock in their PMs portfolios. A newsletter I'm subscribed to described this stock as the safest way to play junior miners. Their industry presence, intellectual capital and connections means that they get *the best* private placement deals in the best opportunities. I cant compete with a staff like theirs and I'm not going to try. I bought this at 2.50, and I liked the dividend. Since then they did a reverse split to get on the NYSE and like the day after the stock soared. When it comes to mining ETFS I like GOAU and SILJ the best. None of their major holdings are dead weight companies that are only there because of market cap. I dont want Barrick in my portfolio etc. SGDJ is a neat version of GDXJ. Aside from that my individual miners/royalty companies are (no particular order) MMX SAND PAAS PGM AUM AG MUX RIO- Rio2 on the tsx, not rio tinto KTN KL Options/Volatility: varies So this is where we get to the part about options, Volatility and how I do it. I started out in the options space with The Wheel strategy and the Tastytrade approach of selling premium. The spreads and puts I sell, are on shares listed above, in fact some of those I dont hold anymore. Theres tons of stuff on this in thetagang and options so I wont go into a whole bunch (and you shouldnt be learning the mechanics from me anyway) but theres one thing I want to go over before it gets wild. If I sell a Cash Secured Put, from a risk management perspective its identical to just buying 100 shares of the underlying security. You are equally "Short Vol" as well, it just that with options its a little more explicit with the Greeks and everything. But if I use my margin that I was talking about earlier, then I can still collect the premium and the interest doesnt kick in unless Im actually assigned the shares. But if I sell too many puts on KL or AG, and something happens where the miners get cut down (and lets be real, they all move together) my margin goes down and then I get assigned and kaboom...my account gets blown up So what I need to do, is balance out the huge Short Vol situation in my portfolio, be net Long Vol and directly hedge my positions. Since the overwhelming majority of my equities are all tied to bullion this is actually a very easy thing to do. Backspreads https://youtu.be/pvX5_rkm5x0 https://youtu.be/-jTvWOGVsK8 https://youtu.be/muYjjm934iY So I set this up so the vast majority of my margin is tied up in these 1-2 or even 1-3 ratio put spreads that *I actually put on for a small credit*, and roll them every once in a while. I run them on SLV, and GDX. I keep enough room on my margin so I can withstand a 10% drawdown before it sets off the long end of the spreads and then I can ride it out until it turns around and we keep the PM bull market going. Theres another cool spread I've been using, which is a modified Jade Lizard; if already hold shares, I'll sell a put, sell a covered call, and use some of the premium to buy a longer dated call. Ive been running this on AG mostly. I have a few more spreads I can show you but Im tired now so it'll have to wait for later. As I said multiple times, I do intend to trim these miners later but now isnt the time for that IMO. I'm also monitoring this almost full time since I have an injury and have nothing better to do until I heal :p
The lower this is, the less likely they are to find a solution. This is why Bitcoin consumes so much computational power – miners are hashing variations of the same information over and over. Because it is so difficult to mine Bitcoin, participants have long since abandoned regular PCs and graphics cards in favor of purpose-built hardware . Definition: The mining difficulty of a cryptocurrency network is a measure of how hard it is to solve a hash below a specific target. The first miner to find a hash below the difficulty level gets their block added to the end of the blockchain.The network automatically adjusts the mining difficulty to ensure that average time between blocks remains steady as the network hash rate changes. Bitcoin difficulty is a value used to show how hard is it to find a hash that will be lower than target defined by system. Bitcoin mining difficulty is changed every 2016 blocks. The difficulty charts show that it has increased significantly. Difficulty is a parameter that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies use to keep the average time between blocks steady as the network's hash power changes. ... Bitcoin Mining Definition. Bitcoin, digital currency created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Nakamoto was concerned that traditional currencies were too reliant on the trustworthiness of banks to work properly. Nakamoto proposed a digital currency, Bitcoin, that could serve as a medium of exchange without relying on any financial institutions or governments.
bitcoin difficulty bitcoin definition bitcoin dominance bitcoin debit card bitcoin difficulty chart bitcoin depot bitcoin dead bitcoin drop bitcoin documentary bitcoin d.a.v.e bitcoins d. lynnwood Blockchain, the key technology behind Bitcoin, is a new network that helps decentralize trade, and allows for more peer-to-peer transactions. WIRED challenge... For more information: https://www.bitcoinmining.com and https://www.weusecoins.com What is Bitcoin Mining? Have you ever wondered how Bitcoin is generated? T... This usually relates to the difficulty of generating a new hash address, also known as mining. This is a variable that the Bitcoin system is using to keep the growth of new Bitcoins on a ... By definition difficulty is a parameter that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies use to keep the average time between blocks steady as the network's hash power changes. Therefore, as the prominence ...