Venture Capitalist's cautions on ICOSs : Bitcoin

Why venture capitalists are right to be crazy about Bitcoin.

Why venture capitalists are right to be crazy about Bitcoin. submitted by kkoolook to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Small reviews of (I think) all incremental games I've ever played on Android

I don't know if this will be useful to anyone. So I write a line or two about every game I play, and decided to find all the incremental in my game journal and post them here. It starts with the latest games I've played and I think goes back to several years back. One thing I've realized is I have such a love-hate-hate relationship with this genre since I think I've hated 90% of the games and 100% of myself after each incremental phase. I usually angrily stop playing them for a while and restart them again, so this is more or less a journal of addiction, I suppose.
THE BEST GAMES I'VE PLAYED ARE THESE (no order):
  1. Kittens Game
  2. Antimatter Dimensions
  3. Oil Tycoon
Honorable Mention: Eggs, Inc
The rest: more or less hated it
Additional comment if you decide to scan through it, I complain a lot, so it is perfectly reasonable and normal to think, "why the fuck are you even playing these games, idiot??".

------
Time Idle RPG
This game was confusing. It tells me the game's resources is time, where you get 1 of it every second, but that's not really something as unique as I assumed. It would have been cool if time as resources meant you used it to deal with something related to time. Maybe time travel? Maybe slowing and speeding time?
Instead time as resource buys you stuff like a library. And then you buy a camp or something. Honestly, I wasn't really feeling it.
2
Path of Idling
The biggest cardinal sin for me when it comes to incremental is when a game has a lot of features and it just completely throws them all at you instantly. The joy of a great incremental is how things slowly open up and each new achievement feels progress.
The game is a RPG game and these are the things that opened up for me in the first few hours.
Combat which includes normal fighting, dungeon, raid, boss, PVP (locked, but it just needs an ascend, which I haven't done)
Skills
Hero upgrades which include Passive (strength, defence, stamina, intelligence), Train, and a huge Tree
Town which you can buy workers who get you various things like gold, orbs, knowledge, etc. You can upgrade stuff here.
Quest that also includes Perks and Skill quests.
Gear which 5 equipment slots, plus craft plus trade plus smelt
Also gear for your Pet, which is also another tab!
Now, here is the thing. Because I have all of this pretty much instantly, I don't really know which ones are helping me go past a well. How is adding 10 points in strength helping me? Should I have added five in strength instead and five in defence? I have already bought 20 or so upgrades in the Tree, but I have no idea if I am made the optimal choice. There is no real excitement with getting new gear. And so on.
The dev has added a lot of features, now it's time to rework the game, and have the features take their time.
2
Idle Slayer
The game is like a super simple platformer. Your character is running and any enemy it hits, it automatically slays it. There is no HP, and all enemies die in one shot. Your only active play is jumping occasionally to grab coins or hit the flying enemies. Also, you have a run skill that has a cool down.
With the coins, we get new weapons that give us more coins. Enemies give us souls which is used for the prestige system that provides us with an interesting skill tree which provides a lot of choices on the path you want to do in terms of upgrades.
So far excellent, however, the game has an extremely serious issue of pacing. The game initially progresses so fast that in the first hour or so, you get almost all the weapons aside from the last two, which then grinds down to a snail pace. You can upgrade your past weapons, but they never really get into play again. Reaching high levels of past weapons sometimes gave me upgrades of that weapon of 10,000% but they still did nothing to my overall coin per second. I think the pacing needs to be fully reworked. It would have been nice to get new weapons after certain prestige cycles, so that every new weapon feels like we have passed a significant wall. The best part of an incremental game for me is to face a wall, and when I finally break it, I feel powerful again for a while. This game feels like this though, powerful powerful powerful powerful WALL........break it....WALL. And so on. I'm still playing it as I want to get some of the skills, but I feel like it could have been so much better.
4
Exponential Idle
A very back to the foundation kind of incremental. The premise is that you are a student and working on a formula. There is a neat story where as you progress in the game, your character progresses through university. Each upgrade gives you more and more automation until I reached a stage where I would check back once every 2 or 3 days, click a 2nd layer prestige reset, and close it. Meaning the game was something like 5 seconds of game player every 2 days. I just opened it for this review and realized I had reached the end game. The story wraps up and it tells me "You can take a rest. Travel a bit. Go outside!" NO, DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO GAME.
3
Factoid
Factoid & Spark should have the same review as they are almost the same game with only small differences. The games are the most basic kind of incremental, where you buy something with resources, until you get the next thing which gives you more of the resources. Both give you upgrades to speed things up, and finally prestige and it's own prestige upgrades. That's it. It's nice little change of pace from all the recent incremental that sometimes do too much, but obviously due to the very simple nature of it, it does eventually feel pointless, specially after you more or less open up everything and the prestige upgrades just keep repeating.
3
Spark
Factoid & Spark should have the same review as they are almost the same game with only small differences. The games are the most basic kind of incremental, where you buy something with resources, until you get the next thing which gives you more of the resources. Both give you upgrades to speed things up, and finally prestige and it's own prestige upgrades. That's it. It's nice little change of pace from all the recent incremental that sometimes do too much, but obviously due to the very simple nature of it, it does eventually feel pointless, specially after you more or less open up everything and the prestige upgrades just keep repeating. 3
Antimatter Dimensions
Easily top 5 incremental on mobile. Does everything perfectly. You progress nicely, and when new features open it, not only is it rewarding but more importantly, it keeps adding new dimensions (lol) to the game. I'd at the end game as I write this, and I realize that there was no point in the game where it felt stale. Each new prestige layer made the game feel fresh and almost like a new incremental game.
5
Melvor Idle
It seems this game was mainly aimed at Runescape players, which is probably why it didn't click for me. It also run extremely slow on my phone which also played a part in me not really getting into.
2
A Girl Adrift
The animation is really pretty and is a nice change of pace for incrementals, but I didn't really like the too much active play. Really had to keep going back and forth to different areas to do the fishing which got too repetitive for me.
You travel to different areas of the map to catch fish, which you get points and then you upgrade stuff, but I didn't really find any real excitement about the upgrades because I kept having to go back to previous areas to fish similar creatures.
3
Archer: Danger Phone
I'm really annoyed how terrible of a game this was. Two things I like, the TV show "Archer" and incremental games, and it's done in the most lazy manner. The game is the worst aspect of idle games where it's just a straight path of clicking the next upgrade with absolutely zero decision making. Every once in a while there is a mini game where Archer gets to shoot others but it's done in the most basic form of early 2000s flash games, where the animation budget is probably 3 dollars. Same static background and both enemies and Archer have just two animation frames. The absolute laziness of it is almost insulting to the player, because it feels like we aren't even worth the effort.
There is an Archer story in the game which develops really fast, which is the only positive part, but no voice acting is again another evidence that the creators of the game weren't given any budget for this.
1
Home Quest
This game is way too slow. You have to collect materials to build your settlement but everything takes time, so you click for a few seconds, and then you have to leave the game. Which I'm fine with, but the problem isn't the idle part of it, it's how the idle part of it combines with constant checking of the game which annoys me. I like an idle game where you forget to start the game for a day, you come up to a lot of resources, but this is a game which needs you to check back in every 30 minutes or an hour to really get anywhere. I felt that the micromanagement was getting worse as I progressed (without any actual thing to do when I am active in the game) that made me give up.
2
Idle Industry
This is probably an interesting game, but I gave up because the one thing I really disliked was the amount of resources and manufacturing that very quickly opens to you. You can buy raw materials, and you can either sell these raw materials or turn them into finished goods and sell them either. And each of these has several upgrade options (increase selling price, increase production, etc). Without even really getting too deep into the game, I have around 20 raw materials and around 30 finished products. A satisfying part of this genre is to have things slow open up for you, which gives me a decent feeling of satisfaction. But the money I got would quickly open up new products, so I would just jump ahead and purchase more expensive ones, and after a while I had a lot of materials and products at zero, and was instead focusing on latter ones.
2
Masters of Madness
Somewhat neat atmosphere and visuals, but too much active clicking. Click, upgrade to get more per clicks, get minions to get you some points without clicking, typical clicker, but with the added benefit of almost no idling. I like idling incrementals but clickers is a hard no from me.
1
Soda Dungeon 2
Basically similar to the first one, as far as I could tell. I did "finish" it but maybe I shouldn't have, since it really is the same thing from early on, specially once you get all the heroes and you kind of sort out which characters work best, then it's just the same. But because it was somewhat short and no real wall, it was at least easy to stick to it to the end.
2
Bacterial Takeover
Played for a decent amount and was actually more interesting that I thought, given the buttload of ad incentives. You create and upgrade bacteria, attack planets, and eventually go into a blackhole to prestige. Most of the game was good, but the part that killed it for me was the prestige system. Once you prestige, planets get super easy to attack, which becomes a lot of active play. I realized that each prestige was taking me at least 30 minutes to get to where I was, and it was just meaningless clicking. It got to a point where I was putting off prestige because it seemed like it would be a hassle so I stopped.
2
LogRogue
Cute graphics. The hero sort of hopping to hit the tiny monsters is cute to look at, but how long can you look at it and do nothing before you realize that it's boring? I suppose this is a game where it's just not for me. I don't like to have my phone open on a game and just watch it like a crazy person and do nothing. My rule is simple for incrementals. While the app is open, be active, if there isn't any choices to make, close the app while resources build up or whatever. I don't like it being open while I do nothing.
3
A Kittens Game
Incremental games are so strange. I get in and out of the phases. I loved this for so long and so obsessively that I wanted to only play incremental games. And then, just like that, I was wondering why the fuck I was wasting my time with this. Has happened countless times before.
But still probably the best incremental ever.
5
A Dark Room
An incremental cult classic of sorts but I don't find it really matches the genre. There is a bit of incremental at the beginning with people huts and stuff but then its just a ascii exploring game, which wasn't interesting to me.
2
Little Healer
Saw it mentioned in the Reddit incremental forum in one of the posts and thought it was a healer themed incremental which sounded neat. But it's like being a healer in a raid in World of Warcraft without any if the extras. Just a couple of bars representing your team mates and you healing them while they fight the boss. I didn't even like playing the healer in WoW so no way would I play this game.
1
Clickie Zoo
Started playing for a few days until I realized there a beta released with the dev reworking the game completely from scratch and releasing it as "Idle Zoo Tycoon". So, played that instead but this seemed like a game I would enjoy anyway.
4
Idling to Rule the Gods
The UI and one drawing if your character is really ugly enough to be distracting to me. The game, seemed interesting and I eventually was into it, but seems like a game that has been constantly being updated, which is not always a good thing, because features are obviously updated regularly to it, making the whole thing a bit bloaty.
I guess, this is the problem with this game for me, it's too fat. Also, one main part of the game is that your character creates Shadow Clones up to a maximum limit. Which is fine except the clones can't be made in offline mode. This might not be a big deal in its original web browser game but that doesn't work as well in a mobile format.
2
Realm Grinder
This is one of the really popular incremental and it's fanbase seems to love it for it's depth, but to be honest, I don't play these games for the depth, I play it for the simple dopamine rush of doing the same thing over and over again. It relaxes.
Although, I didn't even get to the depth part because I dislike games where it rushes in the beginning. I constantly bought buildings, got spells, and got upgrades without even looking at the description. Apparently, later on, we can get complicated race upgades, which seems not what I'm looking for in such a genre.
2
Spaceplan
A short (!!) incremental with an actual story (!!!). That's two cool points for it but unfortunately, the game mechanics of increment genre isn't so good. It's a space game with nice visuals and a great ending (cool music set to cool graphics) but the game itself wasn't really that fun. This same exact game would have been better in a different genre (maybe something like "Out There"?)
3
Zombidle
Felt like idle games again and this is the kind of examples that kept me away. Too much clicking and seems like advancement will start to get irritating since it relies on IAPs
2
Eggs, Inc
While I was playing it, Eggs, Inc was probably my favorite Android game I had ever played. But like most incremental games, there comes a moment when I suddenly stop and think, what am I doing?
Because there is something fascinating about Incrementals. Their addictiveness is in a way the whole point. An incremental is less of a game and more an act of electronic addictiveness. What's the point?
Eggs, Inc is a very well made and fun incremental but even the best in its genre is still pointless.
4
Castle Clicker
Supposedly a mix of incremental and city building but didn't really find out since the clickings were way to much. I know this is supposed to be the genre but I like the incremental part more than the tapping part. This seemed to be a good way to hurt your fingers.
2
Endless Era
This RPG clicker game is like other such games but with horrible GUI and animations. Tap tap tap. It's my fault for downloading such games. Why would I ever think this would be fun???
1
Idle Quote
An incremental game with a unique twist. This time we get to make up quotes! The first negative about the game and this irritates me a lot is most of the quotes are fake. A quick search on Google and this proves it. Quotes are generally attributed to Buddha or Ghandi or shit like that and it's usually fake like most quotes on the internet. This kills the major possible advantage of the game because I thought coming up with arbitrary words would at least give me some quotes to learn. Aside from the this, the game isn't fun either because it slows down very quickly meaning you combine words very slowly at a certain stage of the game and then it becomes a boring grind.
2
Monster Miser
An incremental game with almost no graphics. We just see character portraits of monsters which we buy and then upgrade until we buy the next monster. Eventually we prestige which gives us multipliers. The only game choice is choosing between two monsters with each new monster with unique benefits. Annoyingly there is a max limit which I wish didn't exist because I wanted to prestige so much that I would be over powerful in upgrading like that "Idle Oil Tycoon". Still, pointless but reasonably fun.
3
Pocket Politics
An incremental take on politics sounds fun but it's so generic that it could have been about anything. A Capitalist idle game or a cooking idle game, it wouldn't matter. IAP was also the usual shitty kind.
1
Time Clickers
A shooter incremental sounds like a cool twist but it's not a FPS like I imagined it would be. I'm just stuck in a room and I was shooting blocks. Upgrades didn't give me any enjoyment since I was shooting fucking blocks.
1
Tap Tap Fish - Abyssrium
I thought this was going to be relaxing incremental but the ridiculous and generic IAPs and all the social integeration spoil it. Too much time is spent in them asking you to buy or share or tweet or post or give them a blowjob. And there is nothing relaxing about that.
2
Cartoon 999
Incremental game about comic book writers, but not the marvel DC kind, it seemed to be the webcomic one and I think it's a Korean developer so all the characters and injokes made no sense to me. The whole thing was just targeted to a very specific audience.
2
Dungeon Manager
Incremental games need to be simple but this is beyond simple, it's just upgrade a fighter to level 5, go to next dungeon character, do the same, and just continue without any of the delicious balancing of upgrades like other idle games.
2
Final Fortress
Incremental games are already pointless but when it's super heavy on IAP than its also annoying, but when it always has bugs that doesn't register my offline earnings, then it just needs a uninstall in its face.
The zombie skin was also crappy.
1
Mana Maker
Here is how I know this clicker isn't very good. It doesn't make me hate all clickers and my life and mobile gaming in general for being so addictive and pointless.
So fail, sorry.
2
Infinity Dungeon
The usual incremental RPG that I should probably never play again. Starts simple enough and then gets more or a chore as you play.
1
Another incremental game which I had promised myself not to play anymore because they are so pointless and repetitive and endless. Well, this wasn't infinite and had a goal at 999 level so I thought it was good but while the humor was cute, the game did become very repetitive. Every 10 levels the slimes changed but after every 100 levels the whole thing restarted and while the monsters got stronger, I seemed to get even stronger. So the game became easier as I progressed and there was no more challenge. By level 800, I gave up.
2
Tap Dungeon RPG
Okay, I'm running out of ways to complain about those incremental RPG games that all have similar problems. It starts off reasonably fast and fun but soon it seems like I am in a data entry job. Doing the same thing over and over again with little changes.
1
Dungeon 999 F: Secret of Slime Dungeon
Another incremental game which I had promised myself not to play anymore because they are so pointless and repetitive and endless. Well, this wasn't infinite and had a goal at 999 level so I thought it was good but while the humor was cute, the game did become very repetitive. Every 10 levels the slimes changed but after every 100 levels the whole thing restarted and while the monsters got stronger, I seemed to get even stronger. So the game became easier as I progressed and there was no more challenge. By level 800, I gave up.
2
Tap Dungeon RPG
Okay, I'm running out of ways to complain about those incremental RPG games that all have similar problems. It starts off reasonably fast and fun but soon it seems like I am in a data entry job. Doing the same thing over and over again with little changes.
1
Tower of Hero
You start on the first floor of the tower and keep fighting your way up by summoning your heroes (by clicking) and recruiting other fighters, get upgrades, level up, and then, ugh, here is the typical incremental RPG part, restart, get items, and do it ALL over again.
There is something fun about restarting and getting slowly stronger each time but it also feels so pointless after a while. Such a pointless genre now that I have played a billion of such titles, heh.
3
Pageboy
Yet another incremental RPG which I have no idea why I downloaded because I'm sick of the genre. I played a pageboy to a knight who does the fighting while I collect the lot. I collect the loot, buy stuff for the knight, and eventually I restart to do the same thing again and get better items but this game I didn't even RESTART! Because fuck it! Fuck it!
2
Idle Warriors
The story is cute. Human population is regressing while monster population is on the rise. So the humans start enslaving monsters to mine for them! The brave warriors beat the crap out of monsters, kidnap the bosses, and enslave them. The animation of monsters slaving away while speech balloons above them talk about their wife and children is funny.
But the game itself is another RPG incremental which I should start staying away from. These games are like a chore for me nowadays because I'm doing the same crap again and again. The blame is probably on me because it seems like a reasonably solid game. But hey, fuck it, I PERSONALLY didn't enjoy it.
2
Tap! Tap! Faraway!
Any game that is remotely like Tap Titan scares me. They are addictive at first and very fast moving but after every restart gets more and more annoying. It soon turns into a time eating activity with the player having to redo the initial levels to get relics to get better items to progress further to restart to get relics to and so on until the player realizes how much time he is putting in the game for a repetitive activity.
2
Auto RPG
Now that is a title the game developers didn't spend too much time on. RPG battles are automatic but I can help out by clicking like a mad man. I started with one hero but would get additional members in my party as the story progressed. Party members receive skills as as they level up and while all the skill usage is automatic, it did give me a sense of progression which is extremely important in a RPG and which I think is usually lacking in incremental games. It usually starts feeling useless but in this game at least there are new maps, new members, and an actual end sight!
There is an infinity stage once the last boss is defeated but I am glad the infinity stage happens AFTER the end and it's not the game itself.
4
Merchant
Hire a hero and send on to battle. The battles is done automatically and takes time, starts with something short like 10 seconds with each battle taking longer. The loot is raw materials which can be used to craft equipment which also takes real life time with better items taking longer. The crafted items can either be sold or equipped to the hero to make him be able to fight stronger monsters.
I was worried I would hate the longer crafting and fighting times because I hate games which I have to watch for a task to finish but even though the durations for longer, I had more to do. However, I don't know what would have happened in the end game because I gave up on it. New maps were exactly like the first map just with different heroes but the progression was similar in each level which felt that I was doing the exact same thing all over again but with longer task times.
2
Idle Oil Tycoon
This is the best idle game I played. It's graphics aren't just minor, they are none existent. It's just numbers, so basic that my sister thought I was on a stock market app.
It's such a simple concept. Invest, get oil, upgrade then like other idlers restart to get a bonus and do the full thing all over again. When I finished the game, I played the unlimited mode which I played until the unlimited mode couldn't handle the numbers anymore.
5
Soda Dungeon
This kind-of Idle Dungeon was great. I started with weak ass fighters who would fight on my behalf while I collected the loot. I then got to use the lot to upgrade the sofa bar to recruit more adventurers. Not sure why it was a sofa bar. Maybe they wanted to make it a family game and not have alcohol? Sounds weird but the sofa element in a RPG game sounds weirder.
The game only hit a brick for me when, like most other incremental games, there is no real closure. Once I thought I bet the big bad guy, it just goes on, harder but similar enough with no end in sight. Eventually, we have to stop playing right, but it always feels a bit like a let down when I don't feel like I have finished the game.
4
10 Billion Wives Kept Man Life
The two games from this company, 10 Billion Wives and Kept Man Life, have similar strengths and weaknesses.
I liked the silly premises from both. In 10BM, I had to get married as much as I could, using the loves I collect to marry more expensive wives! In KML, I'm a boyfriend who doesn't work and I have to please my career gf so she would take care of me.
Both start reasonably fast and I was willing to grind through difficult parts but the end game is like a brick wall. Passing through it to get all the achievements is pretty much impossible unless one puts in way too many hours. And it's a shame because I really wanted to get all the achievements to see all the tiny little extra stuff.
3
Adventure Capitalist
One of the better incremental games, but now that I am out of the short lived incremental fan phase, I realized how dumb the genre is. Tap, tap, tap, upgrade, do this a million times, reset, and do it all over again like a moron. The game does deserve credits for me acting like a moron and playing it for so long but I also cheated and got free cash and then if occupying became even more pointless.
3
The Monolith
A combination of an incremental and a civilization building game seemed like an excellent idea and in some ways, it was, specially how we get to upgrade through the ages from cavemen to futuristic. But no offline feature means that the resets aren't enticing.
2
USSR Simulator
An incremental game that has a great theme (USSR!) but absolutely horrible to enjoy, even though I did stick to it. After a certain upgrades, the game just turned into me popping in the game, clicking an upgrade and then forgetting about the game for a few days.
2
RPG Clicker
They should call these games tappers not clickers. We are not clicking anything on a touchscreen device. Anyway, tap tap tap level up buy weapons tap tap and uninstall.
1
Logging Quest Logging Quest 2
[Review is for the original and its sequel]
There is not much of a difference between the game. I actually played them both at the same time because the actual game is offline. You choose your hero, send them to a dungeon, and then come back to the game after a while to see how well they did. I thought an offline RPG like this might be interesting but then, if you don't really play a game, how much fun can it be?
1
Another pointless incremental. I was in an incremental phase and got so many incremental games that I know realize were absolutely pointless.
Hit a tree, buy upgrades, get a new hero, and continue hitting a tree. Not much offline it seems which is what I like about incrementals.
1
Galaxy Clicker
A space incremental that should have been a lot of fun. You get to upgrade your spaceship and buy new ones and explorer new planets. But first of all, the interface is so ugly that it makes playing the game less enjoyable. And a lot of things I didn't really get no matter how much I would play like the full exploring planets. The spaceships were nice, so it could have been fun.
2
Megatramp
A pretty pointless incremental kind of game. You are a tramp and then you can collect money to buy upgrades to make more money, with no strategy needed, nor any effort needs to be made to hurt your brain cells.
1
Inflation RPG
It supposed to be some kind of incremental RPG, I think, which has you resetting and getting more powerful and then fighting monsters to get insane levels. It is very unique but I couldn't get into it.
2
Widget RPG
Are you fucking with me? This is button bashing rpg in the most extreme manner. You get a widget, so you don't even have to open the game and distract yourself from the button bushing. Just click the button and the game plays behind the scenes and gets you experience, loot, and kills.
It's a ridiculous idea that is fun for a few minutes to see what they come up with but there is only so much button bashing you can do.
2
Capitalist Tycoon
I downloaded this game because I was in an incremental/idle game phase and really enjoyed AdVenture Capitalist. But this game is nothing like that. On the surface, it seems similar, buy small investments, make money, buy bigger investments, and so on.
But with this game, there is no offline mode, and you keep having to wake up managers, AND the goal is to see how much you make in one year. Bah. I prefer the incremental approach which makes you build and build and build, not try to rush it in just a year.
2
Clicking Bad
An incremental clicking game that is themed after Breaking Bad. It is a fun idea it's a very simple game with little to do aside from the obvious of upgrading and upgrading. The only twist might be to balance out making lots of money selling drugs and not attracting the law but even that is only a small challenge at the start. Eventually, you will get enough upgrades to bring the law risk so down that it makes no impact on the game play.
2
Zombie Tapper
A super basic incremental clicker game with a zombie team. Click click click to eat brains, use brains (?) to buy zombies to do the brain eating for you and then buy upgrades for your zombies, and buy new zombies and it all feels very pointless.
1
Bitcoin Billionaire
I started to enjoy incremental games, but it needs to have a good offline mode, because I don’t want to just play a game where I keep tapping. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t play. I played it, and I played a lot of it, because I could reset the game (like most incremental games) and it gives you a small benefit where you could finish the full game a bit faster (it gives you bonus income). So, I kept finishing and resetting, and each time the start to finish would shorten, so I thought I would reach a stage where I could finish each start-to-finish in an instant! It didn’t happen. I got bored first.
3
Tap Titan
An addictive tapping game. Just tap on the creatures, level up, get new skills, hire heroes, and then reset and to it all over again to progress further. It’s an incremental game where it depends on resets to progress, but no real offline bonus, so you have to be playing online. Which got boring, so I installed an app that does the tapping for me, which is actually a stupid way to play the game, but this isn’t an attempt to prove to anyone my intelligence. Anyway, thankfully something went wrong and my progress got deleted, WHICH WAS A GOOD THING, because the game was extremely addictive.
4
God Squad
I’ve realized most incremental games are stupid. Tap on monsters to kill, collect gold, buy Roman Gods, level them up, fight other monsters, and then get bored.
1
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Round up of Cryptocurrency News #2 Week 13/07 - 19/07

Round up of Cryptocurrency News #2 Week 13/07 - 19/07
So much has happened this week! We saw a capitulation point of bitcoin before bears took over and we saw the selling pressure push Bitcoin down toward the $9000USD mark then move back up above $9100USD So far it has been a stable hold, however we may see some more action within the coming weeks.
 
Widespread scamming within the Twitter-sphere, Youtube and other platforms as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may seem like fair game. Cryptocurrencies providing big payouts for scammers without the ability for reversals of accounts. Remember if something seems too good to be true, do some research or just plain do not respond/believe it. Stay safe and careful with your funds!
 
On the brightside, there has been even more adoption of cryptocurrencies as rumours of Paypal utilising cryptocurrency has been confirmed as they are developing crypto capabilities. In addition to this we received exciting news at the start of this week about Binance partnering with Swipe (SXP) and offering a debit card to spend BNB, SXP, BTC and BUSD. ( I will be keeping a swift eye on BNB and Swipe as its utilisation as tokens has just increased 43 fold).
 
Positive news for the Bitcoin network as its hashrate reaches all time high which helps to secure the network further even though mining profits have dropped by 50% from the recent halving. If you didn't know already the last Bitcoin will be expected to be mined in 2140 with its difficulty ever increasing and each time securing the network further. Processing units will have to become faster, stronger and most importantly more cost effective to continue to entice miners for the block rewards and further renewable energy practices.
 
Furthermore we can see Central banks and countries discussing and developing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC). Read more about it here https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/central-bank-digital-currency-cbdc.asp and check out some of the developments in the world above. This shows the popularity and strong nature of cryptocurrencies. As the saying goes "If you cant beat them, JOIN them".
 
Overall, very solid week full of adoption, animation and anticipation. Another post next week for a weekly round up! See you then but in the mean time join us at our Gravychain Discord.
- DISCORD LINK: https://discord.gg/zxXXyuJ 🍕 Bring some virtual pizza to share 🍕
Come have a chat, stimulate a discussion, ask a question or share some knowledge. We are all friendly crypto enthusiasts up for a chat, supportive and want to help each other with knowledge and investments!
Big thanks to our Telegram and My Crypto HQ for the constant news updates! - The Gravychain Collective: https://t.me/gravychain - My Crypto HQ: https://t.me/My_Crypto_HQ
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Wealth Formula Episode 179: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.wealthformula.com/podcast/179-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style/
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
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Consensus Network EP36: Buy, Borrow and Die: Bitcoin Style

Catch the full episode: https://www.consensusnetwork.io/podcastepisodes/2019/10/5/ep36-buy-borrow-and-die-bitcoin-style-1
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is Zack Prince. He's Founder and CEO of BlockFi. BlockFi bridges the gap between blockchain and the basic financial products that you're used to including interest-bearing accounts and loans. Zack, welcome to Wealth Formula Podcast. I think you we might have had you on before as a Consensus Network replay but first time on Wealth Formula Podcast specifically, so welcome.
Zac: Yeah, excited to be here, Buck. Thanks for having me. And it's good to chat with you again
Buck: Yeah so remind me how you got into this you know Bitcoin stuff in the first place, I mean you were as I understand you were a traditional finance guy right so where did the blockchain part come in?
Zac: Sure so I was I was working at a company in the FinTech world that provided data and technology solutions to institutional investors that wanted to participate in some of the new online lending platforms, whether they were real estate platforms or consumer lending platforms, and I kind of became the FinTech guy amongst my friend group and people would ask me you know should I invest in these real estate deals on fund rise or buy loans from Lending Club and I started writing a blog to share the information more efficiently with my friends basically and I started expanding a little bit writing about Robo advisory and some other things that were going on in the FinTech space and that's what led me to Bitcoin, and this is back in early 2015. I didn't start BlockFi until 2017 because I started following the market in the background, still working in traditional financial services in FinTech and then in early 2017 it started to feel like mainstream adoption was starting to happen in the crypto ecosystem. I'm started going to some meetups in New York City because at a certain point my wife said Zac, you're talking about crypto all the time and you're talking to me about it and I don't want to talk about it so you should find some other people to talk about this with. And the meetup composition started to change and in 2016 when I started going to these meetups it was the early crypto adopters you know libertarians, computer scientists and then in early 2017 I started to see some venture capitalists, some guys who had just left their job at Wall Street still wearing a suit, some more entrepreneurs and it was a really exciting time in the ecosystem, things like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance were getting announced which had participation microsoft and a lot of other you know fortune 500 companies and I had started to believe in it. I was drinking the kool-aid a little bit so I decided to find a way to get involved in the space full-time and that's what led me to start BlockFi.
Buck: So I have to imagine that the response you got from the traditional finance people around that time when you started talking about the blockchain space and when you started being more and more involved with that was probably not a very positive response initially or did you did you experience some of that sort of you know rejection initially to what you were doing?
Zac: Yeah absolutely. But you know throughout my career this is now kind of the third emerging technology industry that I've worked in. I was originally an advertising technology starting like you know 15 years ago and I was in FinTech specifically the online lending side of FinTech which in its early days was called peer-to-peer lending and now in crypto. So having to do a lot of education explain it you know why something isn't crazy and it might work and here's why and here's the value proposition and here's what it is, I've gotten very used to that and comfortable with it. But yeah there were a lot of people who are like you know I've heard Bitcoin is only used by drug dealers and money launderers. I've heard that I'm supposed to care about blockchain and not Bitcoin. And you know at BlockFi we’re providing financial products into the market so it's a heavily regulated business so we also had to communicate with regulators. We had to explain to state regulators, federal regulators why what we were doing with Bitcoin and other cryptos than when you're doing these same types of things with assets that they're more familiar with.
Buck: So when you were talking to people back in, I don't know I guess 2016/17 and it's not a long time ago, it's only two years ago, but I have to imagine that the response or the you know the approach that people take to you when you speak to investors is very different. Has it become more mainstream in that regard for you know for big money investors?
Zac: It's absolutely become more mainstream you know the end of 2017 Q3/Q4. Point was going on that parabolic run it started to get covered everywhere, I mean it was on CNBC every day it was in Bloomberg New York Times Wall Street Journal. If you were paying attention to the financial industry and markets you heard about Bitcoin at that time if you hadn't heard about it before. So from a baseline of awareness perspective it got a lot better and then in 2018 you had a number of positive developments for the sector including one that I think is probably the most noteworthy which is that Bitcoin futures were listed on the CME the institutional investor perspective that's massive. You now have a well regulated well known super trustworthy venue where you can get exposure to this asset class, you also had companies like Grayscale bringing products to the market which are accessible to certain types of investors and their low bridge accounts and you started to see some adoption from companies like FinTech companies like Robin Hood and Square making Bitcoin available on their platforms. So the conversation has absolutely changed a lot and it's become less about whether or not this is something that's going to continue to exist whether or not it's something that was just a bubble and is going to die and now it's more about ok how is it going to get used how big could it get what are the interesting applications of it and what could have potentially disrupt in the traditional financial ecosystem.
Buck: So you know we had obviously following this you know pop in 2017, you know I actually like you kind of really got into this early 2017 so timing was pretty good I guess now regards. Good or bad depending how you look at it but I was there before before the parabolic move. And then we have you know then we followed this up with a crypto winter and and you know who knows if we're done with it, I guess we certainly are much better off than we were. You know a unit buddy it's funny Zac I don’t know if you remember this but I was about to, we'll talk about BlockFi specifically in a minute but, I was about to use BlockFi for borrowing because I like this idea of borrowing you know collateralized debt and collateralized debt on assets and buying something else. So I was about to do it and then Bitcoin lost a clip and I was like literally and I remember I was just emailing with somebody somebody over there and I was like sorry dude I guess I just sold it, I just sold all that Bitcoin I had and you sent one email back to me and it said “capitulation” but it you know and so now we're looking back at these we go down from 3,000 back up you know been sort of flirting around this 10,000 and it seems like we're kind of maybe that we're stuck there, maybe we're kind of out of winter, maybe we're in a holding pattern but it seems like to me that since that two years not only is the awareness increase but the development of the ecosystem itself is so much further advanced than it was in 2017. Is this an unusual case where the technology and maybe even the infrastructure is actually outpacing the price?
Zac: You know it's really hard to say. I would argue that in some ways it's typical. In other industries that showed a lot of promise where investors could you know participate maybe a little bit ahead of the adoption curve you saw crazy price run ups with the tech bubble and you know ‘99-2000 being the one that's kind of top of mind in recent memory and then on the other side of things, are we behind where the price should be now? It's really hard to say because this is kind of like a commodity type asset built on a payment network and valuing that is challenging and there's not a perfect model for for doing it today. It's not as easy as something that's cashflow producing but I'm incredibly bullish. I'm on record as saying at the beginning of this year that Bitcoin has only had one year in its 10-year existence where it had a lower low than the year before and parted this year around the low price for 2018 and I predicted that we would in the year had a higher price than where we started the year pretty soon and now we're up and you know around 300 percent from where we started the year. As that happens in investing is people frequently look at things on a year-to-year performance basis and when people are looking at Bitcoin even if all we do is stay around 10 K from here when they're looking at how Bitcoin performed rather than other relative to other assets at the end of 2019 it's probably going to look fantastic. And you also have an event coming up and in the summer of next year called The Halvening where basically the supply that's produced by miners is going to get cut in half and so if you believe in the stock the flow type models of valuation for Bitcoin that is usually a very big driver of price appreciation.
Buck: I believe May of 2020, right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: In May of 2020. Can you just talked a little bit about that just so people know because people hear about it, I've been talking about it but I don't think that it really explained it.
Zac: Yeah and you know I'm not I'm not a computer scientist so I can explain it in a you know in a very simple…
Buck: No one else here is either.
Zac: So basically the way that new Bitcoin is created is through this process called mining. And it's analogous to mining gold except instead of finding a place in the earth where gold exists and then getting your trucks and mining equipment and digging it out of the ground, the way bitcoin is mined is using this computer program and there is now specialized computer hardware that's built specifically and optimized for mining Bitcoin. And you have this network of machines around the world where the input is energy into the mining hardware and the output is new Bitcoin and those miners are what provides the power for the payment network a Bitcoin to run and when we say that there is this event called The Halvening, what that basically means is that the output that's built into the Bitcoin program that the miners are receiving as their payment for contributing energy to the network, is going to get cut in half. So the miners are going to have the same you know relative input but the amount that they're receiving is going to get cut in half for that input. This should, if the demand side for Bitcoin remains equal, it should drive up the price and historically Bitcoin has had three of these Halvening events in its lifetime so far I believe and around each Halvening you have seen you know six months before or six months after a pretty material run up in price.
Buck: Yeah so it also goes along with that sort of that the entire idea that Bitcoin unlike you know other assets including gold is it's a deflationary asset ultimately and and that's one of the things that makes that happening really significant. Apart from and I have one more question before we get to block five which is apart from the Halvening, you know thing that's happening, what is maybe the biggest development or upcoming thing that's coming up that makes you the most bullish on the future of Bitcoin or blockchain in general?
Zac: Sure so I think I wouldn't actually point to any one specific thing, I would point to two broad trends. So one is institutional adoption and participation in the asset class and the other is better ramps for retail participation into the asset class and just focusing here you know on the US market because it really is an international story but just in the US market. In September we should have Bakkt launching their futures platform. Bakkt is owned by ICE, the Intercontinental Exchange, and there's a big core difference between their futures and the current futures that are available on the CME in that futures on Bakkt platform are going to be physically settled so that means that actual Bitcoin is going to be needed to facilitate the trading on Bakkt’s platform which does not happen on CMEs exchange so that's that should be a very positive catalyst in terms of demand for physical Bitcoin that could have an impact on the price. Also on the institutional side this year I believe earlier this year, the first pension fund made an investment into an asset management vehicle that was focused on investing in Bitcoin and private equity opportunities in the Bitcoin and blockchain sector. So that will be a trend.
Buck: Which pension fund was it?
Zac: It was in North Carolina so I think it was like the North Carolina Firefighters and the group that raised the money from them was Morgan Creek Digital it’s actually invested in BlockFi by Anthony Pompliano Twitter and Mark Yusko so that's on the institutional side. And then on the retail side you've seen FinTech companies like Square and Robin Hood offer Bitcoin trading to their users. But soon you will also have companies like TD Ameritrade E-Trade and others offer Bitcoin to their users sometimes be a partnership sometimes because they've built it directly. You also at some point might see progress made in terms of an ETF getting approved that would give retail investors in the US market exposure to Bitcoin in a really easy and familiar way. All of those things are tremendously positive catalysts and the caliber of people working on them only continues to increase. Talent was attracted into the sector very, very rapidly these days.
Buck: You know one question that leads me to is that all of this is happening with Bitcoin for the most part. Are alt coins in your opinion is that market coming back or is that something that we're gonna see probably select you know group of tokens projects emerge and then the rest will kind of just get left in the dust, what do you think?
Zac: I mean I'll tell you exactly what I'm doing with my portfolio and then I'll provide a bit more color. So my asset allocation in the crypto side of my investing is I'm like 90% Bitcoin 5% Ethereum and 5% B&B; which is the Binance right. So I'm super bullish on Bitcoin. I think that you know there's a chance that Ether makes a comeback specifically I think that a lot of the stable coins that have been launched have been built on Ethereum if you're not familiar with stable coins it's basically the concept of a dollar but on a blockchain which could be really really powerful because it creates the opportunity for the delivery of US dollar denominated financial services at a global scale not using the traditional banking rails. And then B&B; I mean Binance is the biggest and most successful exchange they have a history of innovating, creating new products, going fast and so I'm taking a bit of a flyer with them but I'm 90% Bitcoin. I don't think that I'm not bullish on any of the other all coins frankly I struggle to see you know the big upside I have heard whispers in the community that there's kind of like a new wave of altcoins 3.0 might emerge, you know could see some some good returns similar to what some of the ICOs did in 2017 but it's not an area of focus for me. So that's my view.
Buck: Yeah let's talk about BlockFi. Remind us exactly what BlockFi is.
Zac: Sure so we're a wealth management platform for crypto investors. Today we have two products that we offer. One product is analogous to a savings account from a traditional bank where you're able to earn interest on your holdings except on BlockFi, the assets instead of being dollars are bitcoin and Ether and we don't have FDIC insurance so it's not exactly the same risk profile as a savings account at a bank, but conceptually you're able to hold Bitcoin and an account with BlockFi and earn interest on it paid in Bitcoin every month. That's one product that we have. The second product that we have which you are alluding to earlier offers our clients the ability to borrow dollars secured by the value of their cryptocurrency and it's analogous to a securities backed loan or a liquidity access line in the traditional world except instead of securities we're taking Bitcoin or other digital assets as collateral and lending it rates as low as four point five lending USD that rates as low as four point five percent a year.
Buck: I wanna pick these apart a little bit if you don't mind. In terms of this savings account first of all is it just bitcoin or is it bitcoin, Ethereum?
Zac: We actually support three assets in the interest account currently Bitcoin, Ether and GUSD which is the stable coin from Gemini.
Buck: Got it. And talk about the interest because it's not one flat interest rate right it's different depending on how much cryptocurrency actually is held?
Zac: Correct so there's a tiered interest rate structure. Currently on Bitcoin for balances up to ten Bitcoin, we offer a six point two percent annual yield and for balances above ten Bitcoin it's a 2.2 percent annual yield. On Ether, for balances up to two hundred Ether it's a 3.3 percent annual yield and balances above two hundred Ether is 0.5% annual yield and for GUSD the stable coin it's an eight point six percent interest rate with no tier so yeah those are the different rates.
Buck: Why did, I mean was it just a matter of like an issue with people dumping like a thousand Bitcoin and trying to get six you know 6% of that, was it just too hard to you know make that a long-term part of the business model or why did the higher levels end up changing to a lower rate?
Zac: Sure so I wanted to function of market conditions and to it's a function of supply and demand. So we launched the interest account in March of this year. We were just starting to come out of the bear market and one of the things that happened as we switched from being in a bear market to being in a bull market is the futures switched from being in backwardation to contango which basically means that our institutional borrowers the groups that we lend to that enable us to pay the rate to depositors had less of a need they had less demand to borrow and they were willing to pay lower rates to borrow crypto than they were when we were building and planning to launch this product. The second thing that happened is we were surprised to the upside in terms of the level of interest that we received from depositors and especially depositors with very large sums of cryptocurrency. So to give you an example you know within a day or two of making the product available publicly, we had a number of groups that were depositing 5, 10, 15, 20 million dollars worth of Bitcoin and so the supply-demand that we have to manage is, the amount that we have on deposit relative to the size of this market that will borrow Bitcoin size of the market that will borrow Bitcoin is partially a function of market sentiments partially a function of number of trading venues and the liquidity profile and it's partially a function of you know BlockFi’s efforts in terms of sales and client development relationship management. So the supply side got a little bit ahead of the demand side on deposit and how much there was available to borrow so we made a few tweaks. We want to keep the 6%, 6.2% rate on Bitcoin available to as many people as possible for as long as possible so that's why we went with the tiered structure where we made it available on balances up to 10 and reduced it for balances above that.
Buck: Got it and the interest on that, when you say 6.2 percent that six point like it's all denominated in Bitcoin, you're not paying cash out right?
Zac: Correct so to use round numbers to provide an easy example you start on January first with a hundred Bitcoin in an account, by the subsequent January first you will have 106 point 2 Bitcoin in your account.
Buck: Yeah and that that's kind of neat too because then you're you know you're also getting potentially the upside of that you know I mean they made 6% but if you if you're really bullish on the market you could be potentially looking at a lot more than 6% on your money. How about in terms of the, is there like a you know do you do it sort of a month-to-month or six month or month you know year-long contracts for these things?
Zac: It's month-to-month. So the rates are subject to change on a monthly basis. We provide notifications at least a week in advance before the end of one month on what the rates will be for the subsequent month and people are able to you know withdraw any time without penalty. We reserve up to 7 days to process withdrawals but we've never taken more than one business day to process a withdrawal so they're pretty quick but not instant for security reasons and yeah it's pretty flexible.
Buck: How about the lump in the lending side how does how does that work? So now I've got like 10 Bitcoin and so I would deposit that I guess and you guys I understand that maybe that that goes into like a Gemini account or something, is that still how it works?
Zac: Correct so we have a partnership with Gemini for custody. So when you log into a BlockFi account you'll have a deposit address. When you send Bitcoin to that deposit address it actually goes directly into storage with Gemini. Gemini was the first custodian in the crypto sector to receive insurance against cyber hacks on their platform. They were also the first custodian to get to complete a SOC 2 compliance audit and they have a really long track record of custody billions of dollars worth of crypto without ever having any issues. So it goes directly to Gemini and then you're able to interact with block-wise platform to take any actions that you might deem necessary. So you can view your interest payments you can withdraw you can deposit more you can also take out a loan. So in terms of taking out a loan, if you have ten Bitcoin that's worth roughly a hundred thousand US dollars at this point in time, you can borrow up to fifty percent of that value in a US dollar loan which can be funded be a wire or stable coin and then the structure of those loans is that you make interest-only payments on the amount that you borrowed throughout the duration and you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: And what's the typical you said it was four point six.
Zac: We have interest rates as low as four point five. The interest rates on borrowing USD vary according to your initial loan to value ratio. So if you have a hundred thousand dollars worth of Bitcoin we actually have three loan-to-value ratio options. You can borrow at a 50 percent initial loan-to-value ratio which would mean you're borrowing 50k, the interest rate on that will be eleven point two five, if you borrow thirty five percent of the value so 35k the interest rate is seven point nine, and if you borrow twenty five percent of the value of the interest rate is four point five percent per year.
Buck: Got it. In terms of you know the technical, so you basically pay that on a month-to-month basis and then in terms of contracts, are those also month-to-month loans or how does that work?
Zac: Those are one-year term loans well now it's the ability to renew without repaying the principal at the end of the term at current rates and our rates for those loans have always come down so far. So it's a one-year term loan BlockFi committed for a year at that rate your payments stay the same but you can prepay at any time without penalty.
Buck: Right. When do you do when would you do an actual sort of I guess a cap will call like what loan-to-value because you can go up to say you're borrowing at you know you're borrowing at the lowest rate you know you're at 4.5% you're borrowing see you know just for round numbers 100 Bitcoin you borrowed or you said 10 Bitcoin hundred thousand dollars but you only borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars at four point five percent, what if Bitcoin you know loses 50 percent of its value then what happens?
Zac: Well you wouldn't have a margin call based on on that example. If your loan to value ratio hits 70 percent that's when we have a margin call and the way the margin call works is our clients have the option to either post more collateral, pay down the loan using USD or some of the collateral that's posted for the loan or take no action. If they take no action there's a 72-hour window where we'll wait to see if the price recovers, if it does then no action is required, if the price keeps going down further then we will initiate a partial collateral sale to rebalance that LTV to a healthy level at the end of that window.
Buck: So in terms of the clients that you see doing this kind of stuff, I mean who are you seeing borrowing because you don't have a cap I mean you can on the borrow side, I mean and the rates don't really change like if you're depositing a hundred Bitcoin you're getting the same rate differences as somebody who's depositing ten for borrowing right?
Zac: That's right.
Buck: So who are the people who are putting I mean what are these businesses that are putting are using these loans who are the typical clients?
Zac: Sure so it's a mix of retail and corporate. On the retail side we actually did a survey recently on use cases and the number one use case about a third of our borrowers expressed is that they were using the funds that they borrowed to start a business, which we were really excited about. So the other popular use cases were investing in real estate, investing in other types of traditional assets like stocks and bonds, home improvement, larger purchases, vacations were all used cases, paying down higher cost debt was another use case, and then on the corporate side the loans are used for operating capital. So we have some mining companies that borrow from BlockFi. Other types of companies who you know maybe have crypto denominated inventory like exchanges or crypto ATM businesses our frequent borrowers from BlockFi and our loan sizes rearranged from you know as low as five thousand dollars all the way up to seven figures. So it's a pretty diverse group of borrowers.
Buck: So recently it sounds like you guys partnered with another company called Casa. What is Casa and I guess how does that benefit both companies?
Zac: Sure. So Casa is a leader in fighting self sovereign storage solutions for cryptocurrency owners so if you're alone that owns Bitcoin and to use a gold analogy. If you want to own gold but you keep it in your vault or in your backyard you want to have physical possession of it yourself if you want to do that same type of custody with Bitcoin. Casa has a solution that makes that really easy. Our partnership with Casa provides mutual benefits to clients on either side. So Casa clients are able to receive some discounts in terms of accessing BlockFi products and vice-versa BlockFi clients are able to receive discounts in terms of accessing kasam products and over time we'll build some things in to the user experience specifically on Casa’s platform that will make it you know a bit more seamless to interact with BlockFi products while you're on their platform. In general that partnership strategy is something that you'll see more of we think there are in the ecosystem that are specializing in areas that BlockFi's not focused on and doing things where we can provide benefits to clients on both sides is a win-win for us then and our clients.
Buck: Last thing I want to ask you about, last time I spoke to you, you had talked about the idea of potentially Bitcoin backed credit cards meaning like you know getting Bitcoin back instead of miles or dollars back. You guys any closer to that, because I definitely want one of those cards.
Zac: I'm so glad you brought it up. We're definitely closer, but we're not you're not going to have the card until like Q3 of next year probably. It's getting worked on, these things you know for better or worse they take a long time launching a credit program is no small feat you know we're working on it. We've identified some of the key partners that we'll be working with to bring that product to market it is going to happen and I share your sentiment like I wish I had it now.
Buck: Yeah seriously that'd be great. Well listen it was great talking you. So it's BlockFi.com and it's spelled like block and then fi and tell us you know tell us the process of doing is pretty simple okay how long does it take to apply for these things…
Zac: Yeah I mean nothing takes any time really. So you could come in and start earning interest and get a loan from us all in under five minutes. And we also have a client service team that's super responsive in in terms of communication however you want to communicate with them, over email, over the phone, over text message so you know don't don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're also on twitter. My twitter handle is BlockFiZac and our company twitter handle is @therealBlockFi so we're very active on those platforms and happy to chat with you there as well.
Buck: Zac Prince, thank you very much for being on Wealth Formula Podcast today.
Zac: Thanks for having me, Buck, I appreciate it.
Buck: We’ll be right back.
submitted by Buck_Joffrey to u/Buck_Joffrey [link] [comments]

Why is Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc trying to pretend AXA isn't one of the top 5 "companies that control the world"? AXA relies on debt & derivatives to pretend it's not bankrupt. Million-dollar Bitcoin would destroy AXA's phony balance sheet. How much is AXA paying Greg to cripple Bitcoin?

Here was an interesting brief exchange between Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc and u/BitAlien about AXA:
https://np.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/62d2yq/why_bitcoin_is_under_attack/dfm6jt?context=3
The "non-nullc" side of the conversation has already been censored by r\bitcoin - but I had previously archived it here :)
https://archive.fo/yWnWh#selection-2613.0-2615.1
u/BitAlien says to u/nullc :
Blockstream is funded by big banks, for example, AXA.
https://blockstream.com/2016/02/02/blockstream-new-investors-55-million-series-a.html
u/nullc says to u/BitAlien :
is funded by big banks, for example, AXA
AXA is a French multinational insurance firm.
But I guess we shouldn't expect much from someone who thinks miners unilatterally control bitcoin.
Typical semantics games and hair-splitting and bullshitting from Greg.
But I guess we shouldn't expect too much honesty or even understanding from someone like Greg who thinks that miners don't control Bitcoin.
AXA-owned Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc doesn't understand how Bitcoin mining works
Mining is how you vote for rule changes. Greg's comments on BU revealed he has no idea how Bitcoin works. He thought "honest" meant "plays by Core rules." [But] there is no "honesty" involved. There is only the assumption that the majority of miners are INTELLIGENTLY PROFIT-SEEKING. - ForkiusMaximus
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5zxl2l/mining_is_how_you_vote_for_rule_changes_gregs/
AXA-owned Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc is economically illiterate
Adam Back & Greg Maxwell are experts in mathematics and engineering, but not in markets and economics. They should not be in charge of "central planning" for things like "max blocksize". They're desperately attempting to prevent the market from deciding on this. But it will, despite their efforts.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/46052e/adam_back_greg_maxwell_are_experts_in_mathematics/)
AXA-owned Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc doesn't understand how fiat works
Gregory Maxwell nullc has evidently never heard of terms like "the 1%", "TPTB", "oligarchy", or "plutocracy", revealing a childlike naïveté when he says: "‘Majority sets the rules regardless of what some minority thinks’ is the governing principle behind the fiats of major democracies."
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/44qr31/gregory_maxwell_unullc_has_evidently_never_heard/
AXA-owned Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc is toxic to Bitcoin
People are starting to realize how toxic Gregory Maxwell is to Bitcoin, saying there are plenty of other coders who could do crypto and networking, and "he drives away more talent than he can attract." Plus, he has a 10-year record of damaging open-source projects, going back to Wikipedia in 2006.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4klqtg/people_are_starting_to_realize_how_toxic_gregory/
So here we have Greg this week, desperately engaging in his usual little "semantics" games - claiming that AXA isn't technically a bank - when the real point is that:
AXA is clearly one of the most powerful fiat finance firms in the world.
Maybe when he's talking about the hairball of C++ spaghetti code that him and his fellow devs at Core/Blockstream are slowing turning their version of Bitcoin's codebase into... in that arcane (and increasingly irrelevant :) area maybe he still can dazzle some people with his usual meaningless technically correct but essentially erroneous bullshit.
But when it comes to finance and economics, Greg is in way over his head - and in those areas, he can't bullshit anyone. In fact, pretty much everything Greg ever says about finance or economics or banks is simply wrong.
He thinks he's proved some point by claiming that AXA isn't technically a bank.
But AXA is far worse than a mere "bank" or a mere "French multinational insurance company".
AXA is one of the top-five "companies that control the world" - and now (some people think) AXA is in charge of paying for Bitcoin "development".
A recent infographic published in the German Magazine "Die Zeit" showed that AXA is indeed the second-most-connected finance company in the world - right at the rotten "core" of the "fantasy fiat" financial system that runs our world today.
Who owns the world? (1) Barclays, (2) AXA, (3) State Street Bank. (Infographic in German - but you can understand it without knowing much German: "Wem gehört die Welt?" = "Who owns the world?") AXA is the #2 company with the most economic poweconnections in the world. And AXA owns Blockstream.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5btu02/who_owns_the_world_1_barclays_2_axa_3_state/
The link to the PDF at Die Zeit in the above OP is gone now - but there's other copies online:
https://www.konsumentenschutz.ch/sks/content/uploads/2014/03/Wem-geh%C3%B6rt-die-Welt.pdfother
http://www.zeit.de/2012/23/IG-Capitalist-Network
https://archive.fo/o/EzRea/https://www.konsumentenschutz.ch/sks/content/uploads/2014/03/Wem-geh%C3%B6rt-die-Welt.pdf
Plus there's lots of other research and articles at sites like the financial magazine Forbes, or the scientific publishing site plos.org, with articles which say the same thing - all the tables and graphs show that:
AXA is consistently among the top five "companies that control everything"
https://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/10/22/the-147-companies-that-control-everything/#56b72685105b
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0025995
http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/37499/64037_1.pdf;sequence=1
https://www.outsiderclub.com/report/who-really-controls-the-world/1032
AXA is right at the rotten "core" of the world financial system. Their last CEO was even the head of the friggin' Bilderberg Group.
Blockstream is now controlled by the Bilderberg Group - seriously! AXA Strategic Ventures, co-lead investor for Blockstream's $55 million financing round, is the investment arm of French insurance giant AXA Group - whose CEO Henri de Castries has been chairman of the Bilderberg Group since 2012.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/47zfzt/blockstream_is_now_controlled_by_the_bilderberg/
So, let's get a few things straight here.
"AXA" might not be a household name to many people.
And Greg was "technically right" when he denied that AXA is a "bank" (which is basically the only kind of "right" that Greg ever is these days: "technically" :-)
But AXA is one of the most powerful finance companies in the world.
AXA was started as a French insurance company.
And now it's a French multinational insurance company.
But if you study up a bit on AXA, you'll see that they're not just any old "insurance" company.
AXA has their fingers in just about everything around the world - including a certain team of toxic Bitcoin devs who are radically trying to change Bitcoin:
And ever since AXA started throwing tens of millions of dollars in filthy fantasy fiat at a certain toxic dev named Gregory Maxwell, CTO of Blockstream, suddenly he started saying that we can't have nice things like the gradually increasing blocksizes (and gradually increasing Bitcoin prices - which fortunately tend to increase proportional to the square of the blocksize because of Metcalfe's law :-) which were some of the main reasons most of us invested in Bitcoin in the first place.
My, my, my - how some people have changed!
Greg Maxwell used to have intelligent, nuanced opinions about "max blocksize", until he started getting paid by AXA, whose CEO is head of the Bilderberg Group - the legacy financial elite which Bitcoin aims to disintermediate. Greg always refuses to address this massive conflict of interest. Why?
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4mlo0z/greg_maxwell_used_to_have_intelligent_nuanced/
Previously, Greg Maxwell u/nullc (CTO of Blockstream), Adam Back u/adam3us (CEO of Blockstream), and u/theymos (owner of r\bitcoin) all said that bigger blocks would be fine. Now they prefer to risk splitting the community & the network, instead of upgrading to bigger blocks. What happened to them?
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5dtfld/previously_greg_maxwell_unullc_cto_of_blockstream/
"Even a year ago I said I though we could probably survive 2MB" - nullc
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/43mond/even_a_year_ago_i_said_i_though_we_could_probably/
Core/Blockstream supporters like to tiptoe around the facts a lot - hoping we won't pay attention to the fact that they're getting paid by a company like AXA, or hoping we'll get confused if Greg says that AXA isn't a bank but rather an insurance firm.
But the facts are the facts, whether AXA is an insurance giant or a bank:
  • AXA would be exposed as bankrupt in a world dominated by a "counterparty-free" asset class like Bitcoin.
  • AXA pays Greg's salary - and Greg is one of the major forces who has been actively attempting to block Bitcoin's on-chain scaling - and there's no way getting around the fact that artificially small blocksizes do lead to artificially low prices.
AXA kinda reminds me of AIG
If anyone here was paying attention when the cracks first started showing in the world fiat finance system around 2008, you may recall the name of another mega-insurance company, that was also one of the most connected finance companies in the world: AIG.
Falling Giant: A Case Study Of AIG
What was once the unthinkable occurred on September 16, 2008. On that date, the federal government gave the American International Group - better known as AIG (NYSE:AIG) - a bailout of $85 billion. In exchange, the U.S. government received nearly 80% of the firm's equity. For decades, AIG was the world's biggest insurer, a company known around the world for providing protection for individuals, companies and others. But in September, the company would have gone under if it were not for government assistance.
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/09/american-investment-group-aig-bailout.asp
Why the Fed saved AIG and not Lehman
Bernanke did say he believed an AIG failure would be "catastrophic," and that the heavy use of derivatives made the AIG problem potentially more explosive.
An AIG failure, thanks to the firm's size and its vast web of trading partners, "would have triggered an intensification of the general run on international banking institutions," Bernanke said.
http://fortune.com/2010/09/02/why-the-fed-saved-aig-and-not-lehman/
Just like AIG, AXA is a "systemically important" finance company - one of the biggest insurance companies in the world.
And (like all major banks and insurance firms), AXA is drowning in worthless debt and bets (derivatives).
Most of AXA's balance sheet would go up in a puff of smoke if they actually did "mark-to-market" (ie, if they actually factored in the probability of the counterparties of their debts and bets actually coming through and paying AXA the full amount it says on the pretty little spreadsheets on everyone's computer screens).
In other words: Like most giant banks and insurers, AXA has mainly debt and bets. They rely on counterparties to pay them - maybe, someday, if the whole system doesn't go tits-up by then.
In other words: Like most giant banks and insurers, AXA does not hold the "private keys" to their so-called wealth :-)
So, like most giant multinational banks and insurers who spend all their time playing with debts and bets, AXA has been teetering on the edge of the abyss since 2008 - held together by chewing gum and paper clips and the miracle of Quantitative Easing - and also by all the clever accounting tricks that instantly become possible when money can go from being a gleam in a banker's eye to a pixel on a screen with just a few keystrokes - that wonderful world of "fantasy fiat" where central bankers ninja-mine billions of dollars in worthless paper and pixels into existence every month - and then for some reason every other month they have to hold a special "emergency central bankers meeting" to deal with the latest financial crisis du jour which "nobody could have seen coming".
AIG back in 2008 - much like AXA today - was another "systemically important" worldwide mega-insurance giant - with most of its net worth merely a pure fantasy on a spreadsheet and in a four-color annual report - glossing over the ugly reality that it's all based on toxic debts and derivatives which will never ever be paid off.
Mega-banks Mega-insurers like AXA are addicted to the never-ending "fantasy fiat" being injected into the casino of musical chairs involving bets upon bets upon bets upon bets upon bets - counterparty against counterparty against counterparty against counterparty - going 'round and 'round on the big beautiful carroussel where everyone is waiting on the next guy to pay up - and meanwhile everyone's cooking their books and sweeping their losses "under the rug", offshore or onto the taxpayers or into special-purpose vehicles - while the central banks keep printing up a trillion more here and a trillion more there in worthless debt-backed paper and pixels - while entire nations slowly sink into the toxic financial sludge of ever-increasing upayable debt and lower productivity and higher inflation, dragging down everyone's economies, enslaving everyone to increasing worktime and decreasing paychecks and unaffordable healthcare and education, corrupting our institutions and our leaders, distorting our investment and "capital allocation" decisions, inflating housing and healthcare and education beyond everyone's reach - and sending people off to die in endless wars to prop up the deadly failing Saudi-American oil-for-arms Petrodollar ninja-mined currency cartel.
In 2008, when the multinational insurance company AIG (along with their fellow gambling buddies at the multinational investment banks Bear Stearns and Lehmans) almost went down the drain due to all their toxic gambling debts, they also almost took the rest of the world with them.
And that's when the "core" dev team working for the miners central banks (the Fed, ECB, BoE, BoJ - who all report to the "central bank of central banks" BIS in Basel) - started cranking up their mining rigs printing presses and keyboards and pixels to the max, unilaterally manipulating the "issuance schedule" of their shitcoins and flooding the world with tens of trillions in their worthless phoney fiat to save their sorry asses after all their toxic debts and bad bets.
AXA is at the very rotten "core" of this system - like AIG, a "systemically important" (ie, "too big to fail") mega-gigantic multinational insurance company - a fantasy fiat finance firm quietly sitting at the rotten core of our current corrupt financial system, basically impacting everything and everybody on this planet.
The "masters of the universe" from AXA are the people who go to Davos every year wining and dining on lobster and champagne - part of that elite circle that prints up endless money which they hand out to their friends while they continue to enslave everyone else - and then of course they always turn around and tell us we can't have nice things like roads and schools and healthcare because "austerity". (But somehow we always can have plenty of wars and prisons and climate change and terrorism because for some weird reason our "leaders" seem to love creating disasters.)
The smart people at AXA are probably all having nightmares - and the smart people at all the other companies in that circle of "too-big-to-fail" "fantasy fiat finance firms" are probably also having nightmares - about the following very possible scenario:
If Bitcoin succeeds, debt-and-derivatives-dependent financial "giants" like AXA will probably be exposed as having been bankrupt this entire time.
All their debts and bets will be exposed as not being worth the paper and pixels they were printed on - and at that point, in a cryptocurrency world, the only real money in the world will be "counterparty-free" assets ie cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin - where all you need to hold is your own private keys - and you're not dependent on the next deadbeat debt-ridden fiat slave down the line coughing up to pay you.
Some of those people at AXA and the rest of that mafia are probably quietly buying - sad that they missed out when Bitcoin was only $10 or $100 - but happy they can still get it for $1000 while Blockstream continues to suppress the price - and who knows, what the hell, they might as well throw some of that juicy "banker's bonus" into Bitcoin now just in case it really does go to $1 million a coin someday - which it could easily do with just 32MB blocks, and no modifications to the code (ie, no SegWit, no BU, no nuthin', just a slowly growing blocksize supporting a price growing roughly proportional to the square of the blocksize - like Bitcoin always actually did before the economically illiterate devs at Blockstream imposed their centrally planned blocksize on our previously decentralized system).
Meanwhile, other people at AXA and other major finance firms might be taking a different tack: happy to see all the disinfo and discord being sown among the Bitcoin community like they've been doing since they were founded in late 2014 - buying out all the devs, dumbing down the community to the point where now even the CTO of Blockstream Greg Mawxell gets the whitepaper totally backwards.
Maybe Core/Blockstream's failure-to-scale is a feature not a bug - for companies like AXA.
After all, AXA - like most of the major banks in the Europe and the US - are now basically totally dependent on debt and derivatives to pretend they're not already bankrupt.
Maybe Blockstream's dead-end road-map (written up by none other than Greg Maxwell), which has been slowly strangling Bitcoin for over two years now - and which could ultimately destroy Bitcoin via the poison pill of Core/Blockstream's SegWit trojan horse - maybe all this never-ending history of obstrution and foot-dragging and lying and failure from Blockstream is actually a feature and not a bug, as far as AXA and their banking buddies are concerned.
The insurance company with the biggest exposure to the 1.2 quadrillion dollar (ie, 1200 TRILLION dollar) derivatives casino is AXA. Yeah, that AXA, the company whose CEO is head of the Bilderberg Group, and whose "venture capital" arm bought out Bitcoin development by "investing" in Blockstream.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4k1r7v/the_insurance_company_with_the_biggest_exposure/
If Bitcoin becomes a major currency, then tens of trillions of dollars on the "legacy ledger of fantasy fiat" will evaporate, destroying AXA, whose CEO is head of the Bilderbergers. This is the real reason why AXA bought Blockstream: to artificially suppress Bitcoin volume and price with 1MB blocks.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4r2pw5/if_bitcoin_becomes_a_major_currency_then_tens_of/
AXA has even invented some kind of "climate catastrophe" derivative - a bet where if the global warming destroys an entire region of the world, the "winner" gets paid.
Of course, derivatives would be something attractive to an insurance company - since basically most of their business is about making and taking bets.
So who knows - maybe AXA is "betting against" Bitcoin - and their little investment in the loser devs at Core/Blockstream is part of their strategy for "winning" that bet.
This trader's price & volume graph / model predicted that we should be over $10,000 USD/BTC by now. The model broke in late 2014 - when AXA-funded Blockstream was founded, and started spreading propaganda and crippleware, centrally imposing artificially tiny blocksize to suppress the volume & price.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5obe2m/this_traders_price_volume_graph_model_predicted/
"I'm angry about AXA scraping some counterfeit money out of their fraudulent empire to pay autistic lunatics millions of dollars to stall the biggest sociotechnological phenomenon since the internet and then blame me and people like me for being upset about it." ~ u/dresden_k
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5xjkof/im_angry_about_axa_scraping_some_counterfeit/
Bitcoin can go to 10,000 USD with 4 MB blocks, so it will go to 10,000 USD with 4 MB blocks. All the censorship & shilling on r\bitcoin & fantasy fiat from AXA can't stop that. BitcoinCORE might STALL at 1,000 USD and 1 MB blocks, but BITCOIN will SCALE to 10,000 USD and 4 MB blocks - and beyond
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5jgkxv/bitcoin_can_go_to_10000_usd_with_4_mb_blocks_so/
AXA/Blockstream are suppressing Bitcoin price at 1000 bits = 1 USD. If 1 bit = 1 USD, then Bitcoin's market cap would be 15 trillion USD - close to the 82 trillion USD of "money" in the world. With Bitcoin Unlimited, we can get to 1 bit = 1 USD on-chain with 32MB blocksize ("Million-Dollar Bitcoin")
https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/5u72va/axablockstream_are_suppressing_bitcoin_price_at/
Anyways, people are noticing that it's a little... odd... the way Greg Maxwell seems to go to such lengths, in order to cover up the fact that bigger blocks have always correlated to higher price.
He seems to get very... uncomfortable... when people start pointing out that:
It sure looks like AXA is paying Greg Maxwell to suppress the Bitcoin price.
Greg Maxwell has now publicly confessed that he is engaging in deliberate market manipulation to artificially suppress Bitcoin adoption and price. He could be doing this so that he and his associates can continue to accumulate while the price is still low (1 BTC = $570, ie 1 USD can buy 1750 "bits")
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/4wgq48/greg_maxwell_has_now_publicly_confessed_that_he/
Why did Blockstream CTO u/nullc Greg Maxwell risk being exposed as a fraud, by lying about basic math? He tried to convince people that Bitcoin does not obey Metcalfe's Law (claiming that Bitcoin price & volume are not correlated, when they obviously are). Why is this lie so precious to him?
https://www.reddit.com/btc/comments/57dsgz/why_did_blockstream_cto_unullc_greg_maxwell_risk/
I don't know how a so-called Bitcoin dev can sleep at night knowing he's getting paid by fucking AXA - a company that would probably go bankrupt if Bitcoin becomes a major world currency.
Greg must have to go through some pretty complicated mental gymastics to justify in his mind what everyone else can see: he is a fucking sellout to one of the biggest fiat finance firms in the world - he's getting paid by (and defending) a company which would probably go bankrupt if Bitcoin ever achieved multi-trillion dollar market cap.
Greg is literally getting paid by the second-most-connected "systemically important" (ie, "too big to fail") finance firm in the world - which will probably go bankrupt if Bitcoin were ever to assume its rightful place as a major currency with total market cap measured in the tens of trillions of dollars, destroying most of the toxic sludge of debt and derivatives keeping a bank financial giant like AXA afloat.
And it may at first sound batshit crazy (until You Do The Math), but Bitcoin actually really could go to one-million-dollars-a-coin in the next 8 years or so - without SegWit or BU or anything else - simply by continuing with Satoshi's original 32MB built-in blocksize limit and continuing to let miners keep blocks as small as possible to satisfy demand while avoiding orphans - a power which they've had this whole friggin' time and which they've been managing very well thank you.
Bitcoin Original: Reinstate Satoshi's original 32MB max blocksize. If actual blocks grow 54% per year (and price grows 1.542 = 2.37x per year - Metcalfe's Law), then in 8 years we'd have 32MB blocks, 100 txns/sec, 1 BTC = 1 million USD - 100% on-chain P2P cash, without SegWit/Lightning or Unlimited
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5uljaf/bitcoin_original_reinstate_satoshis_original_32mb/
Meanwhile Greg continues to work for Blockstream which is getting tens of millions of dollars from a company which would go bankrupt if Bitcoin were to actually scale on-chain to 32MB blocks and 1 million dollars per coin without all of Greg's meddling.
So Greg continues to get paid by AXA, spreading his ignorance about economics and his lies about Bitcoin on these forums.
In the end, who knows what Greg's motivations are, or AXA's motivations are.
But one thing we do know is this:
Satoshi didn't put Greg Maxwell or AXA in charge of deciding the blocksize.
The tricky part to understand about "one CPU, one vote" is that it does not mean there is some "pre-existing set of rules" which the miners somehow "enforce" (despite all the times when you hear some Core idiot using words like "consensus layer" or "enforcing the rules").
The tricky part about really understanding Bitcoin is this:
Hashpower doesn't just enforce the rules - hashpower makes the rules.
And if you think about it, this makes sense.
It's the only way Bitcoin actually could be decentralized.
It's kinda subtle - and it might be hard for someone to understand if they've been a slave to centralized authorities their whole life - but when we say that Bitcoin is "decentralized" then what it means is:
We all make the rules.
Because if hashpower doesn't make the rules - then you'd be right back where you started from, with some idiot like Greg Maxwell "making the rules" - or some corrupt too-big-to-fail bank debt-and-derivative-backed "fantasy fiat financial firm" like AXA making the rules - by buying out a dev team and telling us that that dev team "makes the rules".
But fortunately, Greg's opinions and ignorance and lies don't matter anymore.
Miners are waking up to the fact that they've always controlled the blocksize - and they always will control the blocksize - and there isn't a single goddamn thing Greg Maxwell or Blockstream or AXA can do to stop them from changing it - whether the miners end up using BU or Classic or BitcoinEC or they patch the code themselves.
The debate is not "SHOULD THE BLOCKSIZE BE 1MB VERSUS 1.7MB?". The debate is: "WHO SHOULD DECIDE THE BLOCKSIZE?" (1) Should an obsolete temporary anti-spam hack freeze blocks at 1MB? (2) Should a centralized dev team soft-fork the blocksize to 1.7MB? (3) OR SHOULD THE MARKET DECIDE THE BLOCKSIZE?
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5pcpec/the_debate_is_not_should_the_blocksize_be_1mb/
Core/Blockstream are now in the Kübler-Ross "Bargaining" phase - talking about "compromise". Sorry, but markets don't do "compromise". Markets do COMPETITION. Markets do winner-takes-all. The whitepaper doesn't talk about "compromise" - it says that 51% of the hashpower determines WHAT IS BITCOIN.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/5y9qtg/coreblockstream_are_now_in_the_k%C3%BCblerross/
Clearing up Some Widespread Confusions about BU
Core deliberately provides software with a blocksize policy pre-baked in.
The ONLY thing BU-style software changes is that baking in. It refuses to bundle controversial blocksize policy in with the rest of the code it is offering. It unties the blocksize settings from the dev teams, so that you don't have to shop for both as a packaged unit.
The idea is that you can now have Core software security without having to submit to Core blocksize policy.
Running Core is like buying a Sony TV that only lets you watch Fox, because the other channels are locked away and you have to know how to solder a circuit board to see them. To change the channel, you as a layman would have to switch to a different TV made by some other manufacturer, who you may not think makes as reliable of TVs.
This is because Sony believes people should only ever watch Fox "because there are dangerous channels out there" or "because since everyone needs to watch the same channel, it is our job to decide what that channel is."
So the community is stuck with either watching Fox on their nice, reliable Sony TVs, or switching to all watching ABC on some more questionable TVs made by some new maker (like, in 2015 the XT team was the new maker and BIP101 was ABC).
BU (and now Classic and BitcoinEC) shatters that whole bizarre paradigm. BU is a TV that lets you tune to any channel you want, at your own risk.
The community is free to converge on any channel it wants to, and since everyone in this analogy wants to watch the same channel they will coordinate to find one.
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/602vsy/clearing_up_some_widespread_confusions_about_bu/
Adjustable blocksize cap (ABC) is dangerous? The blocksize cap has always been user-adjustable. Core just has a really shitty inferface for it.
What does it tell you that Core and its supporters are up in arms about a change that merely makes something more convenient for users and couldn't be prevented from happening anyway? Attacking the adjustable blocksize feature in BU and Classic as "dangerous" is a kind of trap, as it is an implicit admission that Bitcoin was being protected only by a small barrier of inconvenience, and a completely temporary one at that. If this was such a "danger" or such a vector for an "attack," how come we never heard about it before?
Even if we accept the improbable premise that inconvenience is the great bastion holding Bitcoin together and the paternalistic premise that stakeholders need to be fed consensus using a spoon of inconvenience, we still must ask, who shall do the spoonfeeding?
Core accepts these two amazing premises and further declares that Core alone shall be allowed to do the spoonfeeding. Or rather, if you really want to you can be spoonfed by other implementation clients like libbitcoin and btcd as long as they are all feeding you the same stances on controversial consensus settings as Core does.
It is high time the community see central planning and abuse of power for what it is, and reject both:
  • Throw off central planning by removing petty "inconvenience walls" (such as baked-in, dev-recommended blocksize caps) that interfere with stakeholders coordinating choices amongst themselves on controversial matters ...
  • Make such abuse of power impossible by encouraging many competing implementations to grow and blossom
https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/617gf9/adjustable_blocksize_cap_abc_is_dangerous_the/
So it's time for Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell u/nullc to get over his delusions of grandeur - and to admit he's just another dev, with just another opinion.
He also needs to look in the mirror and search his soul and confront the sad reality that he's basically turned into a sellout working for a shitty startup getting paid by the 5th (or 4th or 2nd) "most connected", "systemically important", "too-big-to-fail", debt-and-derivative-dependent multinational bank mega-insurance giant in the world AXA - a major fiat firm firm which is terrified of going bankrupt just like that other mega-insurnace firm AIG already almost did before the Fed rescued them in 2008 - a fiat finance firm which is probably very conflicted about Bitcoin, at the very least.
Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell is getting paid by the most systemically important bank mega-insurance giant in the world, sitting at the rotten "core" of the our civilization's corrupt, dying fiat cartel.
Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell is getting paid by a mega-bank mega-insurance company that will probably go bankrupt if and when Bitcoin ever gets a multi-trillion dollar market cap, which it can easily do with just 32MB blocks and no code changes at all from clueless meddling devs like him.
submitted by ydtm to btc [link] [comments]

Black Swans and Cryptocurrency

Introduction

I recently re-read the notes that I took on the book The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb, which can be found here. When I first read The Black Swan, it completely changed my viewpoint on how systems work and function. Rereading my notes, I immediately realized that many of the principles from The Black Swan could be applied to the space of cryptocurrency today. In this post, I will use ideas from The Black Swan to analyze cryptocurrencies as a whole and hopefully allow you, the readers, to gain some more insight into systems not only behind cryptocurrency but also in systems in general.
Please note that in this article, when I use the word cryptocurrency I am also including blockchain technology within that definition.

Our Illusion of Understanding

As humans, we suffer from various mental biases that cause us to believe things that are not in fact true, especially when it comes to looking back at history. These three mental biases are:
  1. The illusion of understanding, or how everyone thinks he knows what is going on in a world that is more complicated (or random) than they realize
  2. The retrospective distortion, or how we can assess matters only after the fact, as if they were in a rearview mirror
  3. The overvaluation of factual information and the handicap of authoritative and learned people
I believe that points one and two are the most salient for this discussion when it comes to cryptocurrency. The first point applies to when we believe we understand how the world works when in reality we do not. I find this especially prevalent when I attempt to explain to others how Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies work to other family-members and friends. To them, they believe digital currencies cannot have any value because it is artificial. They believe they understand how money works, when in reality they suffer from the illusion of understanding.
That's not to say that those that understand the value of cryptocurrencies don't also suffer from this mental bias. I am sure that I too have only an illusory understanding of cryptocurrency, and that in 10/20 years cryptocurrencies will be able to accomplish things that I had never even thought of before. Take Amazon, as an example, which when it started out only sold books. Now you can buy practically anything on Amazon with the mere click of a button. It would've been difficult in the late 90's to predict that Amazon would go that route, and yet here we are. The same principle applies to cryptocurrency as well.
The second point, regarding retrospective distortion, is also important because that's what gives us the "I knew it all along" attitude. Nassim Taleb explains retrospective distortion by stating "Much of what took place would have been deemed completely crazy with respect to the past. Yet it did not seem that crazy after the events." I believe that this will be the case for cryptocurrency as well. In 10/20 years, the same people who dismissed or did not understand cryptocurrencies will see it as an inevitability which was bound to happen. Of course, when it comes to cryptocurrency the growth and adoption will become exponential. As Taleb states -- "History and societies do not crawl. They jump". I truly believe cryptocurrency will be that next jump in our society.

The Turkey Fallacy

I believe that the Turkey Fallacy is the perfect example of our illusory understanding of the world. Here is the story behind the fallacy:
A turkey is selected by a family to be the turkey for Thanksgiving. In order to prepare the turkey for the feast, the family begins to give the turkey extra food months before Thanksgiving to make it extra plump. Now, in the turkey's view, he has it pretty good. He is consistently being fed more and more food. In fact, if the turkey assumes this will continue forever he'll have a pretty good life. Finally, on the day of Thanksgiving, the family takes the turkey and kills it immediately to feast on it.
The Turkey Fallacy is essentially this: Things work until they don't. What we learn from the past turns out to be either irrelevant or completely false, and at worst looking at the past as an example of the future can be incredibly misleading. This was no doubt the case with the turkey, and this will also be the case with cryptocurrency as well. A cryptocurrency in the top 20 marketcap, for example, may have a fatal security flaw and suddenly it becomes worthless. The best way to prevent this type of event from affecting you is by diversifying your cryptocurrency portfolio.
That unexpected event is what Taleb calls a black swan, and it comes from the fact that explorers in the 14th century believed all swans were white. One day, however, they came upon a black swan and that worldview was shattered.
Black swans can be both positive and negative, but a key point to remember is that positive black swans take time to show their effect while negative black swans can happen very rapidly. This can no doubt be seen with cryptocurrencies as well. Negative black swans, such as The DAO hack, happened very rapidly and caused the price of Ethereum to crater very quickly. Meanwhile positive black swans, such as applications that can be built on Ethereum, will generally take much longer to show their effects because it takes time for those positive events to occur.

Confirming our Worldview

The major reason that people do not become aware of black swans is because people more often than not wish to confirm what they already believe, instead of what the truth actually is. If you look hard enough, it is easy to find sources that confirm what you believe to be true.
Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to view things. You should look at the evidence and then reach a hypothesis, instead of the other way around. As soon as you formulate a hypothesis, you should immediately try to find evidence to the contrary of your hypothesis to test it. Ask yourself, "what evidence would prove me wrong?" If you find evidence that goes against the validity of your hypothesis, then readjust your hypothesis. This type of thinking allows you to formulate well-structured, thorough hypotheses on things. This is especially important when it comes to cryptocurrency, as the field tends to learn towards complex hypotheses as opposed to simple ones. The world lends itself more to shades of grey as opposed to simple black-and-white viewpoints, which usually only serve as naive simplifications of complex issues.

Why we can't predict black swans

A key component of black swans is that they are highly asymmetrical in terms of consequences. If you look at Bitcoin, for example, you will see what I mean. The rise in value of one Bitcoin in the past 7 years was massive and, even for people who understood what Bitcoin was capable of, would be nearly impossible to predict. Other black swans, such as the DAO hack, caused an extremely negative outlook for Ethereum and cryptocurrency as a whole.
One can see why it would be useful to be able to predict a black swan -- after all, if we can see it coming then we can avoid its effects entirely. Unfortunately, predicting black swans is nearly impossible. Why? Because we have an innate bias to think we know more than we actually do. This is also known as epistemic arrogance, which is hubris concerning the limits of our own knowledge.
The issue, too, is that people may acknowledge this fact but believe that experts in a field are somehow more capable of predicting these types of things than normal people. In fact, the more we view ourselves as an "expert" in a field the more our estimations become inaccurate in other fields: Janitors and cabdrivers were able to make more significantly accurate predictions in random facts like the height of a building than Harvard MBAs.
Studies have shown that people who professionally make forecasts are especially prone to this type of mental bias. Public price predictions of Bitcoin that predict the price will reach $100,000 in 10 years or even $1 billion are more based on making sensational headlines and news stories than being based in reality. People who publicly state price predictions are usually incentivized to make outlandish claims because:
  1. It makes for a good headline
  2. It gives them the "knew it all along" if they turn out to be right. These people will be heralded as geniuses or market "wizards"
  3. If they're wrong, they can simply deflect questioning. Most likely, the price prediction will be forgotten quickly anyway.
When you perform incorrect predictions, you usually deflect in three ways:
  1. You tell yourself that you were playing a different game entirely.
  2. You invoke the outlier. i.e. "that event was one in a million so there was no way to predict it!"
  3. You use the "almost right" defense: You focus on the parts you got right, not the ones you got wrong.
It's also important to remember that sophisticated or complex methods of predicting events does not necessarily lead to more accurate forecasts than simpler methods.

Tools and Toys

The most important advances we have in society are also the least predictable. Bitcoin is a clear example of this. Almost all advances in society are the direct result of a tool that was built. These tools can lead to unexpected effects and outcomes, which themselves can lead to even more unexpected outcomes. Whatever tools lead to, they rarely are used exactly for what they were first intended for. Facebook was originally exclusively for Harvard students. Taking a more outlandish example, Play-Doh was originally created because Kroger wanted a product that could clean coal residue from wallpaper.
"We build toys. Some of those toys change the world".
The best way to get maximal exposure to positive black swans is to continue researching and gathering potential opportunities. It is important, however, that we do not use the past too often as a reference for what the future will be. Too often, when we think of tomorrow we project it as just another yesterday. As the common saying goes, "Past performance is not indicative of future results." Even if the past were somehow an indication of what is to come, we do not truly know much about the past either.
It's also important to distinguish between chaotic and random systems. Random systems are completely random and do not have any predictable properties. Chaotic systems, on the other hand, have predictable properties but are difficult to understand and know. Lottery numbers are random, the price of a cryptocurrency is chaotic. Being able to tell the difference between the two is key in discovering areas where you can find black swans.

How to maximize the effect of (positive) black swans

Now that you understand what black swans are and how difficult they are to detect, what can you do in order to increase the likelihood that you effected by a black swan? You must maximize your serendipity. Serendipity is defined as "the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way". To maximize your serendipity, you must find instances where there are highly asymmetrical positive payouts (e.g. Bitcoin, other altcoins, etc.) and increase your exposure to these instances as much as possible.
When exposing yourself to these highly asymmetrical opportunities, you must do it in a number of different fields or areas in order to diversify serendipity while limiting your downside but maximizing your upside potential. Let's use another field besides cryptocurrency as an example of this: venture capital. Let's say that a venture capitalist invests $25k into 10 various startups one year after their founding, all of which could potentially have positive black swans. Let's say that 8/10 of those companies experience negative black swans and those go bankrupt. Out of the two companies that's left, one of them happens to break even and you make your money back but that's it. Unfortunately, you're still $200k down. But what about the last company? What if that last company you invested in were Uber, or Facebook? Suddenly that $25k could potentially be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, more than making up for your other losses. The same principle applies with investing in cryptocurrency: You probably won't be able to pick exactly the next big winner, but you could probably diversify among 10 different coins that could have positive black swans in the future.
It is usually futile to exactly predict black swans, as usually what occurs is reading the signal as the noise and over-interpreting data. Instead, it is recommended that you instead spend your time looking for areas where there is a strong possibility a positive black swan could exist, even if you don't know exactly what it is yet. Seize anything that looks like an opportunity, because they are much, much rarer than you think. Remember that to feel the effects of positive black swans, you must be exposed to them first.
Lastly, remember that usually there will be periods of calm and stability punctuated with massive change (for better or for worse) concentrated from a small number of black swans. Those black swans are the ones to look out for, and the ones you least expect.
submitted by domecraft1 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

BITCOIN DIPS! HERE IS WHY YOU SHOULD BE READY RIGHT NOW! BITCOIN BREAK TO $16,000? BTC PATTERN TO WATCH Bitcoin BULLISH Breakout Most Likely Bitcoin and Venture Capital with Adam Draper BITCOIN CLOCK IS TICKING! WHY BTC PRICE WILL TAKE OFF SOON

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve's Jerome Powell was asked about his latest thoughts on Bitcoin (BTC), crypto assets, and Libra. True to his nature as an Since the digital currency crashed in early 2014, consumers have been leery. So why is Israel’s bitcoin community growing, and why are venture capitalists investing in it like crazy? VCs are playing a long game on Bitcoin because they recognize its ability to exponentially increase Internet functionality, both in payments and beyond. Supporters of bitcoin – and this includes most of the venture capitalists – say, in my words, not theirs, “it’s the protocol, dummy.” Here’s what that means in plain English. Bitcoin ... r/Bitcoin: A community dedicated to Bitcoin, the currency of the Internet. Bitcoin is a distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money … Press J to jump to the feed. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. r/Bitcoin. log in sign up. User account menu. 5. Venture Capitalist's cautions on ICOSs. Close. 5. Posted by. u/mmmaarc. 2 years ago. Archived. Venture ...

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BITCOIN DIPS! HERE IS WHY YOU SHOULD BE READY RIGHT NOW!

Crypto Capital Venture is big on tracking bitcoin market in particular. The general premise of technical analysis videos on Crypto Capital Venture is that although Bitcoin price moves in a very ... In this bitcoin technical analysis I discuss why I think a bullish break for Bitcoin is most likely. This is just my opinion based on some btc price data that we have on the charts. Cycles of ... In this Bitcoin technical analysis video, we talk about a current bitcoin falling wedge that BTC eventually has the potential to break out of. With a target to $16,000, we evaluate if BTC price ... Crypto Capital Venture is big on tracking bitcoin market in particular. The general premise of technical analysis videos on Crypto Capital Venture is that although Bitcoin price moves in a very ... Bitcoin's bizarre drop, the bulls love Disney+, a 12-hour work week in our future and venture capitalists are banking on Rihanna...that's the latest edition of Rapid Fire!

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