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Flatten the Curve. #49. Let's Dig into Jade Helm. AI. The Surveillance State. Internet of Things. FISA. Pentagon Preparing for Mass Civil Breakdown. What is Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio? Stay Aware and Get Ahead of the Curve.

Flatten the Curve. Part 48. Source Here
It's getting crazier day by day now, so are you following the Boy Scout motto?
On this topic, Baden-Powell says: Remember your motto, "Be Prepared." Be prepared for accidents by learning beforehand what you ought to do in the different kinds that are likely to occur. Be prepared to do that thing the moment the accident does occur. In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”
Why should you be prepared? Because TPTB have been preparing, that’s why.
June 12, 2014: The Guardian • Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements Source Here
Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. It seemed ludicrous back in 2014, didn't it? Inconceivable. Sure some preppers believed it, but they're always getting ready and nothing happened. Doomsday was always right around the corner, and then the next corner, and on and on. Televangelists have probably accused more politicians of being the antichrist than the number of politicians went to Epstein's Island.
But why would they be preparing for mass civil breakdown? Could it be the same reason as why the miltary is preparing for war, droughts and famines brought about by environmental collapse?
February 20, 2020: History Network • Here’s Why These Six Ancient Civilizations Mysteriously Collapsed. From the Maya to Greenland’s Vikings, check out six civilizations that seemingly disappeared without a trace. Source Here
All of these civilizations vanished because of some combination of exhausting their natural resources, drought, plauge, and the little ice age. Sound familiar? Don't tell me that the Rockefeller Foundation and BlackRock became environmentally aware out of a sense of obligation to the planet. They're setting the groundwork for what's coming down the pipe. This isn't about money anymore, this is about control and survival. Throw out the rulebook because the rules no longer apply.
Do you think the surveillance system is for your protection, or the protection of the state? Don't you think that an era of upcoming calamities will severely damage the communication networks, and thus the surveillance system? It might be prudent to consider that Starlink is being established to make the system redundant, so that they never lose track of the precious worker bees before they can be connected to the AI hive mind, right Elon? Neuralink, don't leave home without it.
But let's not forget about the wonderful world of the Internet of Things.
March 15, 2012 • More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them. Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an "Internet of Things" -- that is, wired devices -- at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm. "'Transformational' is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies," Petraeus enthused, "particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft." All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you're a "person of interest" to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the "smart home," you'd be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room's ambiance. "Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters -- all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing," Petraeus said, "the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing." Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices "change our notions of secrecy" and prompt a rethink of "our notions of identity and secrecy." All of which is true -- if convenient for a CIA director. The CIA has a lot of legal restrictions against spying on American citizens. But collecting ambient geolocation data from devices is a grayer area, especially after the 2008 carve-outs to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Hardware manufacturers, it turns out, store a trove of geolocation data; and some legislators have grown alarmed at how easy it is for the government to track you through your phone or PlayStation. That's not the only data exploit intriguing Petraeus. He's interested in creating new online identities for his undercover spies -- and sweeping away the "digital footprints" of agents who suddenly need to vanish. "Proud parents document the arrival and growth of their future CIA officer in all forms of social media that the world can access for decades to come," Petraeus observed. "Moreover, we have to figure out how to create the digital footprint for new identities for some officers." Source Here
December 19, 2019: New York Times • THE DATA REVIEWED BY TIMES OPINION didn’t come from a telecom or giant tech company, nor did it come from a governmental surveillance operation. It originated from a location data company, one of dozens quietly collecting precise movements using software slipped onto mobile phone apps. You’ve probably never heard of most of the companies — and yet to anyone who has access to this data, your life is an open book. They can see the places you go every moment of the day, whom you meet with or spend the night with, where you pray, whether you visit a methadone clinic, a psychiatrist’s office or a massage parlor. The Times and other news organizations have reported on smartphone tracking in the past. But never with a data set so large. Even still, this file represents just a small slice of what’s collected and sold every day by the location tracking industry — surveillance so omnipresent in our digital lives that it now seems impossible for anyone to avoid. It doesn’t take much imagination to conjure the powers such always-on surveillance can provide an authoritarian regime like China’s. Within America’s own representative democracy, citizens would surely rise up in outrage if the government attempted to mandate that every person above the age of 12 carry a tracking device that revealed their location 24 hours a day. Yet, in the decade since Apple’s App Store was created, Americans have, app by app, consented to just such a system run by private companies. Now, as the decade ends, tens of millions of Americans, including many children, find themselves carrying spies in their pockets during the day and leaving them beside their beds at night — even though the corporations that control their data are far less accountable than the government would be. Source Here
The IoT should be renamed to IoTT (Internet of Tracking Things), shouldn't it. But we can't have people figure out what's really happening, can we? It's a good thing that quantum computing isn't too close, isn’t it?
April 5, 2018: Global News • (Project Maven) Over 3,000 Google employees have a signed a petition in protest against the company’s involvement with a U.S. Department of Defense artificial intelligence (AI) project that studies imagery and could eventually be used to improve drone strikes in the battlefield. Source Here
December 12, 2019 • Palantir took over Project Maven defense contract after Google backed out. Source Here
December 29, 2020: Input • Palantir exec says its work is on par with the Manhattan Project. Comparing AI to most lethal weapon in human history isn’t comforting. SourceHere
August 14, 2020: Venture: • Google researchers use quantum computing to help improve image classification. Source Here
Hmmm. Maybe Apple will be for the little guy? They have always valued privacy rights, right?
October 2, 2013: Vice News • The hacktivist group Anonymous released a video statement with an accompanying Pastebin document claiming that there are definitive links between AuthenTec, the company that developed the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner, and the US government. Source Here
An apple a day helps the NSA. Or Google. Or Microsoft. Or Amazon. Take your pick from the basket, because dem Apple's are all the same. But at least we have fundamental rights, right?
Foreign agent declaration not required • No mention of foreign agent status is made in the Protect America Act of 2007. Under prior FISA rules, persons targeted for surveillance must have been declared as foreign agents before a FISA warrant would be accorded by the FISC court.
'Quasi-anti-terrorism law' for all-forms of intelligence collection • Vastly marketed by U.S. federal and military agencies as a law to prevent terror attacks, the Protect America Act was actually a law focused on the 'acquisition' of desired intelligence information, of unspecified nature. The sole requirement is geolocation outside the United States at time of Directive invocation; pursuant to Authorization or Order invocation, surveillance Directives can be undertaken towards persons targeted for intelligence information gathering. Implementation of Directives can take place inside the United States or outside the United States. No criminal or terrorism investigation of the person need be in play at time of the Directive. All that need be required is that the target be related to an official desire for intelligence information gathering for actions on part of persons involved in surveillance to be granted full immunity from U.S. criminal or civil procedures, under Section 105B(l) of the Act.
Removal of FISA Strictures from warrant authorization; warrants not required • But the most striking aspect of the Protect America Act was the notation that any information gathering did not comprise electronic surveillance. This wording had the effect of removing FISA-related strictures from Protect America Act 2007-related Directives, serving to remove a number of protections for persons targeted, and requirements for persons working for U.S. intelligence agencies.
The acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance • The removal of the term electronic surveillance from any Protect America Act Directive implied that the FISC court approval was no longer required, as FISA warrants were no longer required. In the place of a warrant was a certification, made by U.S. intelligence officers, which was copied to the Court. In effect, the FISC became less of a court than a registry of pre-approved certifications.Certifications (in place of FISA warrants) were able to be levied ex post facto, in writing to the Court no more than 72 hours after it was made. The Attorney General was to transmit as soon as possible to the Court a sealed copy of the certification that would remain sealed unless the certification was needed to determine the legality of the acquisition.Source Here
Oh. FISA is basically a rubber stamp. And even if it the stage play wasn't pretending to follow the script, would it matter? Who could actually stop it at this point? The cat's out of the bag and Pandoras Box is open.
Controversial debates arose as the Protect America Act was published. Constitutional lawyers and civil liberties experts expressed concerns that this Act authorized massive, wide-ranging information gathering with no oversight. Whereas it placed much focus on communications, the Act allowed for information gathering of all shapes and forms. The ACLU called it the "Police America Act" – "authorized a massive surveillance dragnet", calling the blank-check oversight provisions "meaningless," and calling them a "phony court review of secret procedures."
So the surveillance state doesn't have checks and balances anymore. The state is preparing for Massive Civil Breakdown. They keep warning us about environmental collapse. Got it? Good. Let's keep on keeping on.
The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 created a single new district corporation governing the entire federal territory, called the District of Columbia, thus dissolving the three major political subdivisions of the District (Port of Georgetown, the City of Washington, and Washington County) and their governments. Source Here)
The first big leap in corporate personhood from holding mere property and contract rights to possessing more expansive rights was a claim that the Equal Protection Clause applied to corporations. One of the strangest twists in American constitutional law was the moment that corporations gained personhood under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It occurred in a case called Santa Clara County, and what was odd was that the Supreme Court did not really even decide the matter in the actual opinion. It only appeared in a footnote to the case. What we are likely to have at the conclusion of the Supreme Court term is corporations that are empowered to spend in American elections because of Bellotti and Citizens United; corporations that can make religious objections thanks to Hobby Lobby; and if Jesner turns out as badly as I predict, corporations will be able to aid and abet human rights violations abroad with impunity. Source Here
"Having a corporation would allow people to put property into a collective ownership that could be held with perpetual existence," she says. "So it wouldn't be tied to any one person's lifespan, or subject necessarily to laws regarding inheriting property." Later on, in the United States and elsewhere, the advantages of incorporation were essential to efficient and secure economic development. Unlike partnerships, the corporation continued to exist even if a partner died; there was no unanimity required to do something; shareholders could not be sued individually, only the corporation as a whole, so investors only risked as much as they put into buying shares. Source Here
The way that the Arab Bank may get away with this alleged morally troubling behavior, even though it has a New York branch, is by reasserting the basic argument that was made in Nestle USA and Kiobel II: that the federal Alien Tort Statute was not intended to apply to corporations full stop. Given other cases in this area like Mohamad v. PLO, which held the word “individual” in the Torture Victim Protection Act means a natural person and does not impose any liability against organizations, the Arab Bank’s procorporate argument may well prevail. There are multiple federal Circuit Courts which have shot down the argument that corporations are immune from suit under the Alien Tort Statute. The lone outlier is the Second Circuit, which decided in 2010 that corporations are excused from suit in Kiobel I. This is the case that was appealed to the Supreme Court and became Kiobel II. Jesner v. Arab Bank was litigated in the Second Circuit. One question in Jesner was what exactly did Kiobel II do to Kiobel I. So far in the litigation, Jesner concluded that Kiobel I and its conclusion that corporations can’t be sued in federal court using the Alien Tort Statute remained the controlling law of the Second Circuit.
There's a reason people call lawyers snakes, it's because most of them speak with forked tounges. So the corporation isn't being held liable, but the shareholders can't be held liable either. That's too insane to even be called a Catch 22. We are literally being set up to have no recourse because there isn’t anybody who can be held responsible. Why is that important when I've been talking about the surveillance state?
July 14, 2020: The Intercept • Microsoft’s police surveillance services are often opaque because the company sells little in the way of its own policing products. It instead offers an array of “general purpose” Azure cloud services, such as machine learning and predictive analytics tools like Power BI (business intelligence) and Cognitive Services, which can be used by law enforcement agencies and surveillance vendors to build their own software or solutions. A rich array of Microsoft’s cloud-based offerings is on full display with a concept called “The Connected Officer.” Microsoft situates this concept as part of the Internet of Things, or IoT, in which gadgets are connected to online servers and thus made more useful. “The Connected Officer,” Microsoft has written, will “bring IoT to policing.” With the Internet of Things, physical objects are assigned unique identifiers and transfer data over networks in an automated fashion. If a police officer draws a gun from its holster, for example, a notification can be sent over the network to alert other officers there may be danger. Real Time Crime Centers could then locate the officer on a map and monitor the situation from a command and control center. Source Here
Uhm, I guess it's really is all connected, isn’t it?
June 18, 2020: The Guardian • How Target, Google, Bank of America and Microsoft quietly fund police through private donations. More than 25 large corporations in the past three years have contributed funding to private police foundations, new report says. Source Here
Long live the Military Industrial Techno Surveillance State. If you have nothing to hide, than you have nothing to worry about. Really? Are we still believing that line? Cause it's a load of crap. If we have nothing to worry about, then why are they worried enough to be implementing surveillance systems with corresponding units on the ground? Got your attention there, didn't I?
August 19, 2019: Big Think • Though the term "Orwellian" easily applies to such a technology, Michel's illuminating reporting touches something deeper. Numerous American cities have already been surveilled using these god-like cameras, including Gorgon Stare, a camera-enabled drone that can track individuals over a 50-square kilometer radius from 20,000 feet. Here's the real rub: the feature that allows users to pinch and zoom on Instagram is similar to what WAMI allows. Anything within those 50-square kilometers is now under the microscope. If this sounds like some futuristic tech, think again: Derivations of this camera system have been tested in numerous American cities. Say there is a big public protest. With this camera you can follow thousands of protesters back to their homes. Now you have a list of the home addresses of all the people involved in a political movement. If on their way home you witness them committing some crime—breaking a traffic regulation or frequenting a location that is known to be involved in the drug trade—you can use that surveillance data against them to essentially shut them up. That's why we have laws that prevent the use of surveillance technologies because it is human instinct to abuse them. That's why we need controls. Source Here
Want to know more about the Gorgon Stare? Flatten the Curve. Part 12. Source Here
Now, I'm not sure if you remember or know any Greek Mythology, but the Gorgons were three sisters, and one sister had Snakes on her head (she wasn't a lawyer) and she turned people to stone when she looked at them.
MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) is a directed-energy non-lethal weapon designed by WaveBand Corporation in 2003-2004 for temporary personnel incapacitation. The weapon is based on the microwave auditory effect resulting in a strong sound sensation in the human head when it is subject to certain kinds of pulsed/modulated microwave radiation. The developers claimed that through the combination of pulse parameters and pulse power, it is possible to raise the auditory sensation to a “discomfort” level, deterring personnel from entering a protected perimeter or, if necessary, temporarily incapacitating particular individuals. In 2005, Sierra Nevada Corporation acquired WaveBand Corporation.
Ok. Get it? The Gorgon eye in the sky stares at you while the Medusa makes you immobile. Not good, but at least it'll just freeze you in your tracks.
July 6, 2008: Gizmodo • The Sierra Nevada Corporation claimed this week that it is ready to begin production on the MEDUSA, a damned scary ray gun that uses the "microwave audio effect" to implant sounds and perhaps even specific messages inside people's heads. Short for Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio, MEDUSA creates the audio effect with short microwave pulses. The pulses create a shockwave inside the skull that's detected by the ears, and basically makes you think you're going balls-to-the-wall batshit insane. Source Here
Uhm. And drive you insane.
July 26, 2008: Gizmodo • The MEDUSA crowd control ray gun we reported on earlier this month sounded like some pretty amazing-and downright scary-technology. Using the microwave auditory effect, the beam, in theory, would have put sounds and voice-like noises in your head, thereby driving you away from the area. Crowd control via voices in your head. Sounds cool. However, it turns out that the beam would actually kill you before any of that happy stuff started taking place, most likely by frying or cooking your brain inside your skull. Can you imagine if this thing made it out into the field? Awkward! Source Here
Annnnnnnndddddd it'll kill you.
Guys, they're prepared. They've been prepared. They're ready. Remember the Doomsday Bunkers? The military moving into Cheyenne Mountain? Deep Underground Military Bunkers? The rapid rolling out of 5G? BITCOIN and UBI so neatly inserted into our minds over the last five years? They've directly told us to have three months of supplies in our homes. 2020 isn't going to be an anomaly? It's the start of the collapse of our natural resources. Take a look on Reddit and all the posts about crazy weather. Cyanobacteria blooms killing dogs and people. Toxic Super Pollution caused by atmospheric inversions killing people. This isn’t normal, this is New Normal. And they know it. They've known it for a while. Let me show you one last thing before I wrap it up.
From the earliest Chinese dynasties to the present, the jade deposits most used were not only those of Khotan in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang but other parts of China as well, such as Lantian, Shaanxi.
Remember, words matter. Look at Gorgon Stare and Medusa. They don't randomly grab names out of a hat, or pick them because they think it sounds dystopian. They pick words for a reason.
July 7, 2017: The Warzone • There only appears to be one official news story on this exercise at all and it's available on the website of Air Mobility Command’s Eighteenth Air Force, situated at Joint Base Charleston. At the time of writing, a google shows that there were more than a half dozen more copies on other Air Force pages, as well as number of photographs. For some reason, someone appears to have taken these offline or otherwise broken all the links. Using Google to search the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, which is the main U.S. military's public affairs hub, brings up more broken links. Oh, and unless there's been some sort of mistake, JADE HELM actually stands for the amazingly obtuse Joint Assistance for Deployment Execution Homeland Eradication of Local Militants. A separate web search for this phrase does not turn up any other results. Source Here
Now, using an acronym that indicates training to Eradicate Local Militants seems pretty dumb. It may be used in that manner if environmental collapse triggers riots, but i don't think they would warn everyone ahead of time, do you? So I dug a little bit more.
Joint Assistant for Development and Execution (JADE) is a U.S. military system used for planning the deployment of military forces in crisis situations. The U.S. military developed this automated planning software system in order to expedite the creation of the detailed planning needed to deploy military forces for a military operation. JADE uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology combining user input, a knowledge base of stored plans, and suggestions by the system to provide the ability to develop large-scale and complex plans in minimal time. JADE is a knowledge-based system that uses highly structured information that takes advantage of data hierarchies. An official 2016 document approved for public release titled Human Systems Roadmap Review describes plans to create autonomous weapon systems that analyze social media and make decisions, including the use of lethal force, with minimal human involvement. This type of system is referred to as a Lethal Autonomous Weapon System (LAWS). The name "JADE" comes from the jade green color seen on the island of Oahu in Hawaii where the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is headquartered.
PACOM? Why isn't that command group responsible for the South China Sea?
Formerly known as United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) since its inception, the command was renamed to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on 30 May 2018, in recognition of the greater emphasis on South Asia, especially India.
Now doesn't it look like Jade Helm is preparing for an invasion? And possibly insurrection later. Or at the same time? Or riots over WW3? Or food riots? And start thinking about why the laws are starting to exclude corporations? Then think about the mercenaries that are being contracted out by the government.
October 17, 2018: The Carolinan • In 2016, 75 percent of American forces were private contractors. In 2017, Erik Prince, former head of Blackwater, and Stephen Feinberg, head of Dyncorp, discussed plans for contractors completely taking over U.S. operations in Afghanistan. Although ultimately unsuccessful, it remains to be seen if the current administration will change its mind. Contractors are involved in almost every military task, such as intelligence analysis, logistics and training allied soldiers. Contractors are even involved in U.S. special ops missions. This is because contractors are essentially untraceable and unaccountable. Most are born in other countries; only 33 percent are registered U.S. citizens. Private military firms don’t have to report their actions to Congress, unlike the military or intelligence agencies. They also aren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act, so private citizens and journalists aren’t allowed to access their internal documents. There are also no international laws to regulate private military firms. It’s been proven that many contractors are involved in illegal activities. The larger multinational companies sometimes hire local subcontractors. These contractors sometimes aren’t background-checked. A 2010 investigation by the Senate found that many subcontractors were linked to murders, kidnappings, bribery and anti-coalition activities. Some subcontractors even formed their own unlicensed mercenary groups after coalition forces leave. A 2010 House investigation showed evidence that the Department of Defense had hired local warlords for security services. In 2007, Blackwater contractors massacred 17 civilians. This eventually led Blackwater to being restructured and renamed as Academi. Source Here
Military Exercises. Private Defense Firms. No oversight. And it's all coming soon. Read more at Flatten the Curve. Part 20. Upcoming war and catastrophes. Source Here
Nah. I'm just fear mongering and Doomscrolling again.
Heads up and eyes open. Talk soon.
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Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Edit: TL;DR added in the comments
 
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction
 
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. The faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time-stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships
 
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Why i’m bullish on Zilliqa (long read)

Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analysed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralised and scalable in my opinion.
 
Below I post my analysis why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
 
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
 
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
 
Technology and some more:
 
Introduction The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
 
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
 
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
 
Mainnet is live since end of January 2019 with daily transaction rate growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralised and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. Maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
 
Zilliqa realised early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralised, secure and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralisation. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
 
Before we continue disecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
 
Down the rabbit hole
 
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
 
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
 
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here.
Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
 
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
 
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as:
“A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronise cryptographically-secure data”.
 
Next he states that: >“blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”.* For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
 
With public blockchains like Zilliqa this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network etc.
 
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
 
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralised and scalable being low.
 
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimisation on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
 
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017.
Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
 
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (>66%) double spend attacks become possible.
 
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
 
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralisation.
 
Decentralisation
 
Currently there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralised nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching their transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand.
Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
 
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public.They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
 
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers.The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translates to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
 
With a high amount of DS & shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralised too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralised in my opinion.
 
Smart contracts
 
Let me start by saying I’m not a developer and my programming skills are quite limited. So I‘m taking the ELI5 route (maybe 12) but if you are familiar with Javascript, Solidity or specifically OCaml please head straight to Scilla - read the docs to get a good initial grasp of how Zilliqa’s smart contract language Scilla works and if you ask yourself “why another programming language?” check this article. And if you want to play around with some sample contracts in an IDE click here. Faucet can be found here. And more information on architecture, dapp development and API can be found on the Developer Portal.
If you are more into listening and watching: check this recent webinar explaining Zilliqa and Scilla. Link is time stamped so you’ll start right away with a platform introduction, R&D roadmap 2020 and afterwards a proper Scilla introduction.
 
Generalised: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: > “all programmes have two basic components, data – what the programme knows – and behaviour – what the programme can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviours in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behaviour are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.”
 
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: > OCaml is a general purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
 
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognised by academics and won a so called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
 
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities safety is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
 
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa for Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
 
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”. Scilla design story part 1
 
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
 
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue:
In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
 
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
 
Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
 
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
 
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
 
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
 
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
 
And this is where the downsides of state sharding comes in currently. All shards in Zilliqa have access to the complete state. Yes the state size (0.1 GB at the moment) grows and all of the nodes need to store it but it also means that they don’t need to shop around for information available on other shards. Requiring more communication and adding more complexity. Computer science knowledge and/or developer knowledge required links if you want to dig further: Scilla - language grammar Scilla - Foundations for Verifiable Decentralised Computations on a Blockchain Gas Accounting NUS x Zilliqa: Smart contract language workshop
 
Easier to follow links on programming Scilla https://learnscilla.com/home Ivan on Tech
 
Roadmap / Zilliqa 2.0
 
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
 
Business & Partnerships  
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organisations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggest that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
 
Zilliqa seems to already taking advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, AirBnB, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
 
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
 
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
 
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are build on top of these blocks.
 
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”*
 
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
 
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They dont just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
 
Marketing & Community
 
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities) also seem to be growing.
 
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiatives (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggest in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
 
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
 
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
 
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures & Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
submitted by haveyouheardaboutit to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Going Away Party - Dump Any and All of Your Favorite Links/Threads/Comments Here. Info on how to save for future reference in comments.

Guide on saving/deleting comments

If anyone has any better ideas on how to format or compile this info feel free to let me know or make another thread.

We have intelligence services growing into a technological capacity that eclipse their very governments.* We have been waging war on drugs for nearly 30 years spanning nearly 15 countries with 120,000+ people killed and countless more missing or injured.* We worry about 'terrorists' some 3000 miles away, while cartels behead people with chainsaws right across our very own borders.* We see near autonomous vehicles scan the skies 24 hours a day in third world countries where children dream of drones and mothers sew blankets with images of them on it.* We've seen our commander in chief redefine the definition of what it means to be a soldier so we can blow up a wedding or birthday party in order to kill a single individual who will easily and willingly be replaced by 12 others.* We enjoy the miracle of flight, by forcing ourselves to stand prone and scanned from head to toe to view our naked bodies, before we have one of our many national identification cards stamped and logged of our travel plans.*
We have corporations that have completely bridled the elective process with money literally being defined as speech, including witness the American tax-payer hand over nearly a trillion dollars.* These are dystopian dictatorships that have more power and wealth than any king or monarch could even fathom. We have a tax system so convoluted, so massively complicated that these very corporations can get away with the government paying them taxes* , a system where the rich pay to find and exploit the loopholes. We live in a world where the top 1% controls more wealth than the lower 50% combined.* We have black sites being operated and maintained on American soil where citizens are no longer read their Miranda rights and not a single major media outlet batted an eye.* Every phone call, every email, every text message sent, every keystroke made is logged and an army of tech savvy mathematicians and scientists combs over them to take the pulse of civil disobedience in the nation.* We've seen a single family fund, organize, and execute 2000 Americans by flying our own planes into the symbol of our financial center without a single iota of justice served, yet a plethora of atrocities in its place all while they are embraced in our bosom as faithful allies.* We've seen a nation wide movement against the banks and income inequality turn up in dozens of major US cities, only to have it violently crushed under the guise of sanitation and 'not being able to get to work'.*
We spend nearly half of our entire budget on military defense to fight enemies who use cell-phone detonation, 50 year old rifles and crock-pots to fight us* ,while our roads, bridges, electric grid, ports and communication networks are rotting and amassing an aging problem so monumental it will take centuries to repair.* We've seen an entire generation of children shackled to the banks through an education system forced upon them under the threat of being successful* with little promises and scant results all while being forced to pay into a safety net of social security that they will never see.* We have seen the size of the government grow every year for decades with no end in sight* while our 'elected' leaders are hand picked by elites of business to have their makeup perfected and suits ironed to speak to us about fringe off topic emotional issues that distract us from the fucking circus that is this country.*
Thread here
-fuck_all_mods
-moose- this is for you.
You remind me of the times when links were all reddit was.
Learn from the masses, and then teach them.

Giliens

http://www.thrivenotes.com/your-vote-doesnt-matte
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-silvetaxation-without-represen_1_b_7069384.html
http://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzS068SL-rQ#t=705
http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/11/17/fixed-fortunes-biggest-corporate-political-interests-spend-billions-get-trillions/

US Atrocities

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Tonkin_incident
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_Japanese_Americans
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding#Contemporary_use_and_the_United_States

Oil wars

Contractors cost+ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhpfNqeZzUE

2008 Bailout

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/gangster-bankers-too-big-to-jail-20130214
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/secret-and-lies-of-the-bailout-20130104
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-11-28/secret-fed-loans-undisclosed-to-congress-gave-banks-13-billion-in-income
http://www.allgov.com/news/where-is-the-money-going/banks-say-thanks-for-the-bailout-now-well-park-our-profits-in-overseas-tax-havens-150316?news=855961
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/09/10/some-95-of-2009-2012-income-gains-went-to-wealthiest-1/

Student loan bubble

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-b-fishbein/9-striking-similarities-b_b_5062840.html

NSA

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150407/17213830578/turns-out-feds-actually-tracked-most-international-calls-nearly-decade-before-911-didnt-stop-attack.shtml
https://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/nsa-whistleblowers-for-dummies/
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17459-att-tech-blew-the-whistle-on-nsa-spying-in-2006
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-story-of-joseph-nacchio-and-the-nsa-2013-6
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_published_by_WikiLeaks#9.2F11_pager_messages
http://www.wired.com/2013/06/nsa-whistleblower-klein/
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/11/fbis-suicide-letter-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-and-dangers-unchecked-surveillance
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/10/29/surprise-controversial-patriot-act-power-now-overwhelmingly-used-in-drug-investigations/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorist_Surveillance_Program
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narus_(company)

Police

http://www.npr.org/2014/12/15/370995815/supreme-court-rules-traffic-stop-ok-despite-misunderstanding-of-law
http://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/03/23/federal-court-rejects-third-amendment-claim-against-police-officers/
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/ma04/police-killed-people-fbi-data-justifiable-homicides
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/sunday-review/race-and-police-shootings-are-blacks-targeted-more.html
Only cops kill pigs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAwr-9ceDlc

Politicians

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commission_on_Presidential_Debates

Obama

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-metearticle/2008/jul/14/obamas-wiretapping-flip-flop-yes/

Alberto Gonzales

Total Recall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IBvZlRqOTw

Economists

Milton Friedman

http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2006/Friedmantranscript.html
Predicts bitcoin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYD17h6hlCs

Hayek

http://mises.org/library/pretense-knowledge
Predicts bitcoin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYhEDxFwFRU#t=19m23s

Economics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset_price_inflation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aggregate_demand
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent-seeking
Humans need not apply https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU
The American Dream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGk5ioEXlIM

Basic Income

/BasicIncome/comments/2upn9x/the_sidebar_states_no_advocating_violence_how_do/coar2vp?context=3 /Anarcho_Capitalism/comments/2vcoq3/would_taxation_be_theft_if_done_by_an_autonomous/coghp3p /Anarcho_Capitalism/comments/2v2i0l/today_i_found_rcryptoubi_for_discussion_of/ /CryptoUBI/comments/2v2gi6/proof_of_identityproof_of_person_the_elephant_in/ /Anarchism/comments/2v3mno/cryptoubi_my_suggestion_of_how_anarchists_and/

Philosophers

Huemer

The irony of the US criminal justice system. Being in government custody is the only time they are legally obligated to protect you or provide any tangible service. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlTyOC32-vs&feature=youtu.be&t=868

Watts

Taxation is Obsolete https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhvoInEsCI0

Voluntarism

George ought to help https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGMQZEIXBMs
http://taxfoundation.org/article/tax-freedom-day-2014-april-21-three-days-later-last-year
http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/12/12/cigarette-taxes-killed-eric-garne20317745/
https://mises.ca/posts/blog/but-who-will-build-the-roads/
http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/05/11/dealpolitik-lesson-from-microsoftskype-congress-must-fix-corporate-tax-law/
Crypto vs Political Power https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joITmEr4SjY&feature=youtu.be&t=110

Reddit

/ideasfortheadmins/comments/8h8sy/subscribe_new_users_to_rall_18_reddits_instead_of/c09c9gy
/TheoryOfReddit/comments/1m336u/will_we_ever_see_another_rmarijuanatype_emigration/
/thebutton/comments/31b6sx/can_we_start_calling_pressers_colored_folk/
/modnews/comments/ov7rt/moderators_feedback_requested_on_enabling_public/
/PoliticalModeration/comments/12otmi/reddits_admins_at_the_request_of_mods_from/
/undelete/comments/22yewf/i_have_identified_a_list_of_keywords_that_are/
/PoliticalModeration/comments/nrsde/rpolitics_moderators_ban_my_account_fo
/politics/comments/ibr9new_subreddit_moderation/
/PoliticalModeration/comments/1s8wo4/banned_from_rpolitics_finally/cdv90ko?context=3
/TopMindsOfReddit/comments/32v7p1/i_am_go1dfish_reddit_transparency_advocate/
/blog/comments/1sndxe/weve_rewritten_our_user_agreement_come_check_it/cdzha7p

Gender

Gender Equality Paradox https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5LRdW8xw70
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kirsten-west-savali/fathers-financial-abortion_b_1015286.html
Full Thread
-go1dfish
submitted by zyklorpthehuman to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Origins

Afternoon, All.
Today marks the eighth anniversary of the publication of the Bitcoin white paper.
As a special tribute, I will provide you with a short story on the origins of the Bitcoin tech.
I've been out of the game for many years, however now I find myself drawn back - in part due to the energy that's being added by the incumbents, in part due to information that's become public over the past year.
I haven't followed the Bitcoin and alt coin tech for the past five or six years. I left about six months before (2).
My last communication with (2) was five years ago which ended in my obliteration of all development emails and long-term exile. Every mention of Bitcoin made me turn the page, change the channel, click away - due to a painful knot of fear in my belly at the very mention of the tech.
As my old memories come back I'm jotting them down so that a roughly decent book on the original Bitcoin development may be created.
The following are a few of these notes.
This is still in early draft form so expect the layout and flow to be cleaned up over time.
Also be aware that the initial release of the Bitcoin white paper and code was what we had cut down to from earlier ideas.
This means that some of the ideas below will not correspond to what would end up being made public.
Bitcoin Logo
BitCoin Origins
Six Months In A Leaky Boat
Introduction
I have always found that there’s a vast gulf between knowledge and understanding.
Wherever I looked I’ve found very intelligent folks who had immense knowledge in their subject but with little understanding of what to do with it, how to mould it, how to create something new.
They could only ever iterate incrementally to improve the knowledge in their given field.
Understanding comes from experiences outside of knowledge in a particular subject.
The following story is about a most unique project and the understanding that was used and applied to the e-cash problem which resulted in the experiment called Bitcoin.
It is to show the thought process, stream of consciousness, arguments, examples, concerns and fears that went through our minds has we tussled with this beast and hammered out something that may actually work.
There is no verification of truth here. There is absolutely no evidential proof that I had any part in the project. All evidence was purged in late 2011 - the reason will become apparent. Only (2) should know of my involvement (until now). Take this as just a fictional story if you wish.
Who am I ? I went by the ‘net handle Scronty back then.
scrontsoft.com
I have always been interested in computer and electronic technology since the age of eleven. Seeing what others had made these machines do, and then trying to push it a little bit further out.
Whenever there was a problem to be figured out I would always begin with what the current state of knowledge was - after all, we all stand on the shoulders of all those who have gone before.
Quite often I found that the assumptions folks hold for a particular problem are the things that are holding them back from figuring out a new solution.
So I would begin by questioning peoples basic assumptions on various subjects
This usually resulted in annoying all of these knowledgable folks.
You get the idea.
You see it on every single message board since the mid-nineties onwards.
There’re also a lot of egotistical chips on folks shoulders where you’d find that they’d look down on others and belittle them on topics that they themselves had only just learned a few weeks earlier.
This is particularly true in programming and crypto forums.
Start
A couple of guys worked with an online betting company.
They had a problem.
For punters to use their service they had to provide credit card details and pay for chip tokens.
However, many times a punter would play the online pokey machines, lose all of their money and then reverse the credit card charge saying “It’s unauthorised. It wasn’t me”.
Sometimes the company’s network would not record the funds transfer correctly and so the punters funds were removed from their credit account into the company’s account but no record of it was made on the company’s end - so the punter didn’t receive any play tokens and, again, tried to reverse the charges.
The large credit card issuing companies also actively stopped allowing credit cards to be used for online gambling and began refusing to reverse the charges.
What these guys needed was a way to transfer funds between punters and the online betting companies so that both parties could trust that everything was above board.
That a payment could not be made by mistake and once a payment went through it was unchangeable, irreversible.
(2) had been on the periphery of the cypherpunks group since the mid 1990’s. When I entered the project in early 2008 he had been working on the problem part-time over the past five years. Over the previous year or so he’d been working on the problem full-time. He was writing a white paper for an e-cash system for the online betting/gambling company to use ( or to license out the solution to multiple companies ) plus writing the code for it.
He was attempting to implement a working example of electronic cash.
There were other cryptographers who he was communicating with however it just wouldn’t “work”. There were always too many attack vectors with the solution and even though, from a cryptographic point-of-view, the white paper and code was appropriate, he found it unsatisfactory.
After talking to his friend (3) it was decided that maybe they had their noses too close to the grindstone and that they should find someone who wasn’t a cryptographer to look over the ideas.
The problem is that to find such a person is very difficult. He’d have to be smart enough to understand cryptography (or learn it), also be interested in the subject but also not currently be a cryptographer.
Usually the folks who were smart enough and had an interest were already cryptographers.
Through various IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channels (3) came across me and I ended up being put in touch with (2).
With my work in the Win32 Asm community I’d shown I was smart enough and could figure out the solutions to difficult problems.
Plus I’d made sure my public profile was always dealing with grey-to-white topics (no online gambling stuff).
Request For Help
I was asked to take a look over what had been written in the white paper and see what needed to be changed as the code implementing it just wasn’t working - the pieces wouldn’t fit together or the whole thing would fail if certain pre-conditions in the network weren’t met.
(2) wanted to publish the white paper before the end of the year (2008).
I began reading through the document - understanding very little.
Hashing and encrypting and decrypting and private keys and public keys.
Different types of hashing algorithms, encrypting then hashing and hashing then encrypting.
Oh my!
“Just tell me what I need to change to make it work” - (2) kept asking me.
“I dunno what the [redacted] I’m reading here” - I replied.
(2) thought that maybe he’d made a mistake and he’ll just try and find someone else.
I told him that he’s going about fixing it the wrong way.
“How should it be fixed ?”, he asked.
“Well, first I need to know what I’m reading. So you’re going to have to give me info on the various crypto stuff in here”, I said.
“No no no”, he said. “ If you learn the meaning of the cryptographic jargon you will be influenced by it and would no-longer be the “non-cryptographer” that we need to look over the white paper”.
I told him that without learning the jargon I cannot read the paper in the first place.
Also - as I learn I will understand more and will be able to tell you what you need to change.
If or when it got to the stage that I’d learned too much and also had my nose too close to the grindstone then I could leave the project and he could find someone else to replace me.
He agreed that having me learn a bit about cryptography may be a good idea (:roll-eyes:).
He told me to get started.
I asked where the information was.
He said “Google it”.
I said “Nope. You’ve been working in this area for the past few years so you can give me a link to the websites with the info."
He returned with a list of website links and said to go through that and look at the white paper.
The list had about 109 links in it - bloody [redacted].
One-by-one I began going through the information.
After a few weeks I’d gone through about half-a-dozen papers/websites which hadn’t cleared up anything.
Once three or four weeks had gone by I threw my hands up in disgust and told him “At this rate I’ll be here all year and still not understand all the pieces. You’ve got to filter this down for me. You’ve already read all of these documents and websites so give me a list of the most important docs/websites you think would be helpful in understanding your white paper”.
He came back with a list of about 23 white papers and websites.
“Now list them in the order you think I should read them in”.
He came back with a sorted and filtered list of crypto-docs and websites.
I began reading through them - starting at the first.
Transactions
Given a computer network there had to be transactions sent to a recipient.
The initial white paper was pretty much a shuffling of the various cryptographic e-cash white papers at the time. We knew that when someone wanted to send a payment to another person it would have to be transmitted across a network securely.
But how to solve the double-spend problem ?
A piece of physical paper cash can only be in one place at a time - you cannot double-spend a physical currency note. All current electronic cash solutions relied upon a central server to control the allocation of coin and to make sure no coin could be double-spent.
But if that server went down, or was unaccessible due to a DDOS attack or government intervention ( or someone just tripping over a power cord ) then no more money.
We knew that a coin would initially be minted somehow.
I found most of the methods written in white papers and on websites were rubbish ( Personal opinion here. No disrespect to those who wrote those white papers ).
They either tried to pretend to act as central banks or tried to allow a “mates club” whereby they all agreed who's going to get coin at a particular time.
Kind of like politicians using an "independent" third party to give themselves a pay rise.
We knew that a piece of electronic cash would be minted somehow, however once it was minted how could it be sent to someone else ?
(2) and I went back and forth with a few ideas, going through the physical process of different transaction types one by one and adjusting how a transaction data package would look like.
We began with a single piece of e-cash.
Like a piece of gold, it should be able to cut smaller pieces off of it.
That means by starting with one item we’d end up with two - the piece going to the recipient and the change coming back to the original owner.
I told (2) that when drawn into a diagram it looks like electronic or computer logic gates.
Logic Gates
Except sometimes there can be more outputs than inputs. And in the end it looks like a neural network.
If we had a large piece and were paying that entire amount to someone then the input and output pieces would be the same.
If we had a large piece and were paying a small amount to someone then the input would be the large piece and the outputs would be the amount being paid plus a small piece as change.
As more people are paid we’d end up with a lot of small pieces in our wallet.
If we had a small piece and needed to pay someone a large amount then we could combine multiple small pieces to be equal or larger than the amount to be paid, and refund back to ourselves any change left over.
This means a transaction would have to allow multiple inputs and multiple outputs, with each input signed by the current owners private key and the outputs being the new owners public key.
Transaction Types
One day he came back to me saying his friend (3) wanted to communicate directly with me but he was a super-paranoid fella and I had to encrypt any messages using private/public keys.
It was a [redacted] nightmare.
I had to:
This was all so he could confirm that the message was indeed from me and had not been intercepted or changed.
Then he decided that I’d also have to generate new private/public keys for every single email just in case a previous email had been intercepted.
I told (2) that this just wasn’t going to happen.
I’ve always disliked using command line programs directly and always thought that they should always be executed from a GUI ( Graphical User Interface).
I said “You’re going to be my filter for this project and main conduit in this team. I send emails to you, you communicate with whoever you need to and send their replies back to me. Or you send their requests to me and I reply back through you.
And what’s this annoying command line proggy anyway? What the [redacted] is it doing?
(2) gave me the link to the information - it was in that list of 109 docs/websites but not in the filtered list of 23.
It was to Hal's website where he very clearly explained how something called "Hashcash" worked.
Hals RPOW
From there I went on to Adam's site:
Hashcash
(which was not even in the original list at all).
I read the Hashcash white paper sections until I hit the calculations and my eyes begun to glaze over.
Hashcash
I read the first few paragraphs and knew this was something interesting.
I asked (2) if he could check whether this document was the final version or if there had been improvements/ amendments/ updates to it.
He said he thought I was wasting my time with this and I should continue with the other docs/websites in the list he’d provided me.
I told him that I’m the only one who would know what info is important and to look into the Hashcash origin for me. He came back a couple of days later and said it was confirmed that the public document linked was the final version of the Hashcash paper.
I asked how he could confirm it?
He told me that he’d contacted the original website author Hal and asked him for any updated document and Hal had replied back with the exact same public link.
He’d even copy/pasted Hal’s reply in the email to me.
I said “Wait… What ? …”
“You actually contacted the original author of the reference material ?”
He said “Yep. Who else would I go to to confirm the document, except to the author themselves ?”
I told him it was really quite rare to have someone check with the original author or sources. Most folks read something and take that as fact, or read the reference documents and take those as fact.
If someone read about the Boyer-Moore search algorithm they take it as fact that what they’ve read is the official final solution. I haven’t heard of anyone contacting Boyer or Moore to check for any updates/ improvements/ amendments.
The Boyer-Moore search algorithm is something that went through the rounds on the Win32Asm community forum for a while.
I found this quite intriguing. Even with (2)’s occasional grating personality it would be very useful to have someone who’s prepared to hunt down the original authors like this.
I asked him if he'd contacted the Hashcash author and he said he'd sent emails to every single author of all of the websites/ white papers and only about a dozen or so had ever replied back to him.
I had begun to write up a list of what the various problems were for creating an e-cash system from the other e-cash system white papers and websites I had been studying.
I was still referring back to the white paper (2) had supplied me however it was really just a mishmash of what everyone else had been doing over the years.
Hence why it failed like all of the others.
One of the problems was a trusted time stamp so that folks would know that funds hadn’t been double-spent. Another was the minting of the tokens in the system and trusting the minting source.
If I recall - practically every single white paper out there ( including the one suppled to me ) used a trusted third party as the source for a time stamp and a convoluted method to check it hadn’t been tampered with.
And the minting either used a trusted third party to generate coins on a regular basis or had a network of nodes agree on how many tokens to generate and give to each other.
(2) said that we need to use the trusted third parties because how else can we trust the time stamp and the minting of the tokens.
I told him he was thinking of it in the wrong way.
You’re assuming a trusted third party is needed, just because every single other cryptographic white paper says that’s how you do it.
But you’re also saying that you can’t rely on a trusted third party because that makes a single point attack vector that can bring the whole system down to its knees.
“Remember Sherlock Holmes” I said. “ ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth ?’.
The assumption of a trusted third party in an functioning e-cash system must be eliminated as impossible for this to work.
So if we cannot have a trusted third party for this, what are our other options ?”
“I have no idea”, (2) replied. “Do you believe this proof-of-work thing you’re looking into can be used for this somehow ?”.
“I dunno. It definitely has some possibilities. It’s made for making sure the data being sent and received comes from a known trusted source and that it hasn’t been tampered with”.
It forces the user computer to generate a hash of the data to find a hash with a prepended number of zeroes. If the hash isn’t found it increments a value and hashes again. It just keeps repeating until a hash is found with the correct number of prepended zeroes.
This means that the user computer has to spend time working on the hashes until it finds one and only then can it stop.
It was designed to eliminate the email spam problem that we all have because a spam-sender would need to use a lot of computing resources to generate hashes for all the emails sent out ( the data that’s hashed includes the recipients email address so a new hash is required for every single email recipient ).
It also has a throttle so that the difficulty in generating a hash can be increased over time as the general computing hardware improves.
The minting problem is also sorted due to the electricity used in generating a hash can be used to mint the e-cash and put it into circulation.
Effectively - the real fiat-currency cost (via electricity consumed) of generating the valid hash is how much e-cash is given to that minter.
It also sets what the price of the minted e-cash should be, as there is a direct correlation between a real-world electricity bill and the digital e-cash amount minted.
Taking the time used to generate the hash with how much energy the cpu used during the generation ( only the time spent on hashing - not other computing resources ) with the local electricity costs of the suburb/county/province/state/nation the minter resides within, then each minter could have a locally-adjusted e-cash value added to their account.
It would mean that someone minting in a country with cheap electricity due to state-subsidised support would receive less e-cash because less real-world fiat currency was expended in the generation of the hash.
So now we had a mechanism in which this e-cash would work.
I'll stop this story here for now and post a follow-up depending upon its reception.
The follow-up will contain some of the details of how the idea of a chain of blocks came about, plus some of the tech that was left out of the initial white paper and public code release ( it was, after all, just the first experiment to check whether this tech would actually work ).
Bitcoin Origins - part 2
As a side-note:
When you read the Bitcoin white paper again, the Introduction, Calculation, Conclusion and References sections were written and edited by (2) and (3).
The Transactions, Timestamp Server, Proof-of-Work, Network, Incentive, Reclaiming Disk Space, Simplified Payment Verification, Combining and Splitting Value and Privacy sections were from text copy/ pasted from emails from me to (2) explaining how each part worked as they were being figured out.
I wrote the Abstract text when (2) asked me to write the Introduction. (2) used it as the Abstract section because he found it too terse for an introduction.
(2) and (3) edited the entire document and removed any double-spaces from it, adding titles to the various sections and adjusting between 2% and 5% for spelling errors and gramma sentence structure.
You can see the original Abstract with double-spacing here: Public Mailing-list Posting
There was a huge misunderstanding between us all during the formation of the white paper which I'll mention next time.
Cheers,
Phil
(Scronty)
vu.hn
submitted by Scronty to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Origins

Afternoon, All.
Today marks the eighth anniversary of the publication of the Bitcoin white paper.
As a special tribute, I will provide you with a short story on the origins of the Bitcoin tech.
I've been out of the game for many years, however now I find myself drawn back - in part due to the energy that's being added by the incumbents, in part due to information that's become public over the past year.
I haven't followed the Bitcoin and alt coin tech for the past five or six years. I left about six months before (2).
My last communication with (2) was five years ago which ended in my obliteration of all development emails and long-term exile. Every mention of Bitcoin made me turn the page, change the channel, click away - due to a painful knot of fear in my belly at the very mention of the tech.
As my old memories come back I'm jotting them down so that a roughly decent book on the original Bitcoin development may be created.
The following are a few of these notes.
This is still in early draft form so expect the layout and flow to be cleaned up over time.
Also be aware that the initial release of the Bitcoin white paper and code was what we had cut down to from earlier ideas.
This means that some of the ideas below will not correspond to what would end up being made public.
Bitcoin Logo
BitCoin Origins
Six Months In A Leaky Boat
Introduction
I have always found that there’s a vast gulf between knowledge and understanding.
Wherever I looked I’ve found very intelligent folks who had immense knowledge in their subject but with little understanding of what to do with it, how to mould it, how to create something new.
They could only ever iterate incrementally to improve the knowledge in their given field.
Understanding comes from experiences outside of knowledge in a particular subject.
The following story is about a most unique project and the understanding that was used and applied to the e-cash problem which resulted in the experiment called Bitcoin.
It is to show the thought process, stream of consciousness, arguments, examples, concerns and fears that went through our minds has we tussled with this beast and hammered out something that may actually work.
There is no verification of truth here. There is absolutely no evidential proof that I had any part in the project. All evidence was purged in late 2011 - the reason will become apparent. Only (2) should know of my involvement (until now). Take this as just a fictional story if you wish.
Who am I ? I went by the ‘net handle Scronty back then.
scrontsoft.com
I have always been interested in computer and electronic technology since the age of eleven. Seeing what others had made these machines do, and then trying to push it a little bit further out.
Whenever there was a problem to be figured out I would always begin with what the current state of knowledge was - after all, we all stand on the shoulders of all those who have gone before.
Quite often I found that the assumptions folks hold for a particular problem are the things that are holding them back from figuring out a new solution.
So I would begin by questioning peoples basic assumptions on various subjects
This usually resulted in annoying all of these knowledgable folks.
You get the idea.
You see it on every single message board since the mid-nineties onwards.
There’re also a lot of egotistical chips on folks shoulders where you’d find that they’d look down on others and belittle them on topics that they themselves had only just learned a few weeks earlier.
This is particularly true in programming and crypto forums.
Start
A couple of guys worked with an online betting company.
They had a problem.
For punters to use their service they had to provide credit card details and pay for chip tokens.
However, many times a punter would play the online pokey machines, lose all of their money and then reverse the credit card charge saying “It’s unauthorised. It wasn’t me”.
Sometimes the company’s network would not record the funds transfer correctly and so the punters funds were removed from their credit account into the company’s account but no record of it was made on the company’s end - so the punter didn’t receive any play tokens and, again, tried to reverse the charges.
The large credit card issuing companies also actively stopped allowing credit cards to be used for online gambling and began refusing to reverse the charges.
What these guys needed was a way to transfer funds between punters and the online betting companies so that both parties could trust that everything was above board.
That a payment could not be made by mistake and once a payment went through it was unchangeable, irreversible.
(2) had been on the periphery of the cypherpunks group since the mid 1990’s. When I entered the project in early 2008 he had been working on the problem part-time over the past five years. Over the previous year or so he’d been working on the problem full-time. He was writing a white paper for an e-cash system for the online betting/gambling company to use ( or to license out the solution to multiple companies ) plus writing the code for it.
He was attempting to implement a working example of electronic cash.
There were other cryptographers who he was communicating with however it just wouldn’t “work”. There were always too many attack vectors with the solution and even though, from a cryptographic point-of-view, the white paper and code was appropriate, he found it unsatisfactory.
After talking to his friend (3) it was decided that maybe they had their noses too close to the grindstone and that they should find someone who wasn’t a cryptographer to look over the ideas.
The problem is that to find such a person is very difficult. He’d have to be smart enough to understand cryptography (or learn it), also be interested in the subject but also not currently be a cryptographer.
Usually the folks who were smart enough and had an interest were already cryptographers.
Through various IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channels (3) came across me and I ended up being put in touch with (2).
With my work in the Win32 Asm community I’d shown I was smart enough and could figure out the solutions to difficult problems.
Plus I’d made sure my public profile was always dealing with grey-to-white topics (no online gambling stuff).
Request For Help
I was asked to take a look over what had been written in the white paper and see what needed to be changed as the code implementing it just wasn’t working - the pieces wouldn’t fit together or the whole thing would fail if certain pre-conditions in the network weren’t met.
(2) wanted to publish the white paper before the end of the year (2008).
I began reading through the document - understanding very little.
Hashing and encrypting and decrypting and private keys and public keys.
Different types of hashing algorithms, encrypting then hashing and hashing then encrypting.
Oh my!
“Just tell me what I need to change to make it work” - (2) kept asking me.
“I dunno what the [redacted] I’m reading here” - I replied.
(2) thought that maybe he’d made a mistake and he’ll just try and find someone else.
I told him that he’s going about fixing it the wrong way.
“How should it be fixed ?”, he asked.
“Well, first I need to know what I’m reading. So you’re going to have to give me info on the various crypto stuff in here”, I said.
“No no no”, he said. “ If you learn the meaning of the cryptographic jargon you will be influenced by it and would no-longer be the “non-cryptographer” that we need to look over the white paper”.
I told him that without learning the jargon I cannot read the paper in the first place.
Also - as I learn I will understand more and will be able to tell you what you need to change.
If or when it got to the stage that I’d learned too much and also had my nose too close to the grindstone then I could leave the project and he could find someone else to replace me.
He agreed that having me learn a bit about cryptography may be a good idea (:roll-eyes:).
He told me to get started.
I asked where the information was.
He said “Google it”.
I said “Nope. You’ve been working in this area for the past few years so you can give me a link to the websites with the info."
He returned with a list of website links and said to go through that and look at the white paper.
The list had about 109 links in it - bloody [redacted].
One-by-one I began going through the information.
After a few weeks I’d gone through about half-a-dozen papers/websites which hadn’t cleared up anything.
Once three or four weeks had gone by I threw my hands up in disgust and told him “At this rate I’ll be here all year and still not understand all the pieces. You’ve got to filter this down for me. You’ve already read all of these documents and websites so give me a list of the most important docs/websites you think would be helpful in understanding your white paper”.
He came back with a list of about 23 white papers and websites.
“Now list them in the order you think I should read them in”.
He came back with a sorted and filtered list of crypto-docs and websites.
I began reading through them - starting at the first.
Transactions
Given a computer network there had to be transactions sent to a recipient.
The initial white paper was pretty much a shuffling of the various cryptographic e-cash white papers at the time. We knew that when someone wanted to send a payment to another person it would have to be transmitted across a network securely.
But how to solve the double-spend problem ?
A piece of physical paper cash can only be in one place at a time - you cannot double-spend a physical currency note. All current electronic cash solutions relied upon a central server to control the allocation of coin and to make sure no coin could be double-spent.
But if that server went down, or was unaccessible due to a DDOS attack or government intervention ( or someone just tripping over a power cord ) then no more money.
We knew that a coin would initially be minted somehow.
I found most of the methods written in white papers and on websites were rubbish ( Personal opinion here. No disrespect to those who wrote those white papers ).
They either tried to pretend to act as central banks or tried to allow a “mates club” whereby they all agreed who's going to get coin at a particular time.
Kind of like politicians using an "independent" third party to give themselves a pay rise.
We knew that a piece of electronic cash would be minted somehow, however once it was minted how could it be sent to someone else ?
(2) and I went back and forth with a few ideas, going through the physical process of different transaction types one by one and adjusting how a transaction data package would look like.
We began with a single piece of e-cash.
Like a piece of gold, it should be able to cut smaller pieces off of it.
That means by starting with one item we’d end up with two - the piece going to the recipient and the change coming back to the original owner.
I told (2) that when drawn into a diagram it looks like electronic or computer logic gates.
Logic Gates
Except sometimes there can be more outputs than inputs. And in the end it looks like a neural network.
If we had a large piece and were paying that entire amount to someone then the input and output pieces would be the same.
If we had a large piece and were paying a small amount to someone then the input would be the large piece and the outputs would be the amount being paid plus a small piece as change.
As more people are paid we’d end up with a lot of small pieces in our wallet.
If we had a small piece and needed to pay someone a large amount then we could combine multiple small pieces to be equal or larger than the amount to be paid, and refund back to ourselves any change left over.
This means a transaction would have to allow multiple inputs and multiple outputs, with each input signed by the current owners private key and the outputs being the new owners public key.
Transaction Types
One day he came back to me saying his friend (3) wanted to communicate directly with me but he was a super-paranoid fella and I had to encrypt any messages using private/public keys.
It was a [redacted] nightmare.
I had to:
This was all so he could confirm that the message was indeed from me and had not been intercepted or changed.
Then he decided that I’d also have to generate new private/public keys for every single email just in case a previous email had been intercepted.
I told (2) that this just wasn’t going to happen.
I’ve always disliked using command line programs directly and always thought that they should always be executed from a GUI ( Graphical User Interface).
I said “You’re going to be my filter for this project and main conduit in this team. I send emails to you, you communicate with whoever you need to and send their replies back to me. Or you send their requests to me and I reply back through you.
And what’s this annoying command line proggy anyway? What the [redacted] is it doing?
(2) gave me the link to the information - it was in that list of 109 docs/websites but not in the filtered list of 23.
It was to Hal's website where he very clearly explained how something called "Hashcash" worked.
Hals RPOW
From there I went on to Adam's site:
Hashcash
(which was not even in the original list at all).
I read the Hashcash white paper sections until I hit the calculations and my eyes begun to glaze over.
Hashcash
I read the first few paragraphs and knew this was something interesting.
I asked (2) if he could check whether this document was the final version or if there had been improvements/ amendments/ updates to it.
He said he thought I was wasting my time with this and I should continue with the other docs/websites in the list he’d provided me.
I told him that I’m the only one who would know what info is important and to look into the Hashcash origin for me. He came back a couple of days later and said it was confirmed that the public document linked was the final version of the Hashcash paper.
I asked how he could confirm it?
He told me that he’d contacted the original website author Hal and asked him for any updated document and Hal had replied back with the exact same public link.
He’d even copy/pasted Hal’s reply in the email to me.
I said “Wait… What ? …”
“You actually contacted the original author of the reference material ?”
He said “Yep. Who else would I go to to confirm the document, except to the author themselves ?”
I told him it was really quite rare to have someone check with the original author or sources. Most folks read something and take that as fact, or read the reference documents and take those as fact.
If someone read about the Boyer-Moore search algorithm they take it as fact that what they’ve read is the official final solution. I haven’t heard of anyone contacting Boyer or Moore to check for any updates/ improvements/ amendments.
The Boyer-Moore search algorithm is something that went through the rounds on the Win32Asm community forum for a while.
I found this quite intriguing. Even with (2)’s occasional grating personality it would be very useful to have someone who’s prepared to hunt down the original authors like this.
I asked him if he'd contacted the Hashcash author and he said he'd sent emails to every single author of all of the websites/ white papers and only about a dozen or so had ever replied back to him.
I had begun to write up a list of what the various problems were for creating an e-cash system from the other e-cash system white papers and websites I had been studying.
I was still referring back to the white paper (2) had supplied me however it was really just a mishmash of what everyone else had been doing over the years.
Hence why it failed like all of the others.
One of the problems was a trusted time stamp so that folks would know that funds hadn’t been double-spent. Another was the minting of the tokens in the system and trusting the minting source.
If I recall - practically every single white paper out there ( including the one suppled to me ) used a trusted third party as the source for a time stamp and a convoluted method to check it hadn’t been tampered with.
And the minting either used a trusted third party to generate coins on a regular basis or had a network of nodes agree on how many tokens to generate and give to each other.
(2) said that we need to use the trusted third parties because how else can we trust the time stamp and the minting of the tokens.
I told him he was thinking of it in the wrong way.
You’re assuming a trusted third party is needed, just because every single other cryptographic white paper says that’s how you do it.
But you’re also saying that you can’t rely on a trusted third party because that makes a single point attack vector that can bring the whole system down to its knees.
“Remember Sherlock Holmes” I said. “ ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth ?’.
The assumption of a trusted third party in an functioning e-cash system must be eliminated as impossible for this to work.
So if we cannot have a trusted third party for this, what are our other options ?”
“I have no idea”, (2) replied. “Do you believe this proof-of-work thing you’re looking into can be used for this somehow ?”.
“I dunno. It definitely has some possibilities. It’s made for making sure the data being sent and received comes from a known trusted source and that it hasn’t been tampered with”.
It forces the user computer to generate a hash of the data to find a hash with a prepended number of zeroes. If the hash isn’t found it increments a value and hashes again. It just keeps repeating until a hash is found with the correct number of prepended zeroes.
This means that the user computer has to spend time working on the hashes until it finds one and only then can it stop.
It was designed to eliminate the email spam problem that we all have because a spam-sender would need to use a lot of computing resources to generate hashes for all the emails sent out ( the data that’s hashed includes the recipients email address so a new hash is required for every single email recipient ).
It also has a throttle so that the difficulty in generating a hash can be increased over time as the general computing hardware improves.
The minting problem is also sorted due to the electricity used in generating a hash can be used to mint the e-cash and put it into circulation.
Effectively - the real fiat-currency cost (via electricity consumed) of generating the valid hash is how much e-cash is given to that minter.
It also sets what the price of the minted e-cash should be, as there is a direct correlation between a real-world electricity bill and the digital e-cash amount minted.
Taking the time used to generate the hash with how much energy the cpu used during the generation ( only the time spent on hashing - not other computing resources ) with the local electricity costs of the suburb/county/province/state/nation the minter resides within, then each minter could have a locally-adjusted e-cash value added to their account.
It would mean that someone minting in a country with cheap electricity due to state-subsidised support would receive less e-cash because less real-world fiat currency was expended in the generation of the hash.
So now we had a mechanism in which this e-cash would work.
I'll stop this story here for now and post a follow-up depending upon its reception.
The follow-up will contain some of the details of how the idea of a chain of blocks came about, plus some of the tech that was left out of the initial white paper and public code release ( it was, after all, just the first experiment to check whether this tech would actually work ).
Bitcoin Origins - part 2
As a side-note:
When you read the Bitcoin white paper again, the Introduction, Calculation, Conclusion and References sections were written and edited by (2) and (3).
The Transactions, Timestamp Server, Proof-of-Work, Network, Incentive, Reclaiming Disk Space, Simplified Payment Verification, Combining and Splitting Value and Privacy sections were from text copy/ pasted from emails from me to (2) explaining how each part worked as they were being figured out.
I wrote the Abstract text when (2) asked me to write the Introduction. (2) used it as the Abstract section because he found it too terse for an introduction.
(2) and (3) edited the entire document and removed any double-spaces from it, adding titles to the various sections and adjusting between 2% and 5% for spelling errors and gramma sentence structure.
You can see the original Abstract with double-spacing here: Public Mailing-list Posting
There was a huge misunderstanding between us all during the formation of the white paper which I'll mention next time.
Cheers,
Phil
(Scronty)
vu.hn
submitted by Scronty to btc [link] [comments]

Bitcoins Erklärung: In nur 12 Min. Bitcoin verstehen ... Why Bitcoin's Revival Is Different This Time Around - YouTube What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin Explained Simply for Dummies ... Crypto Stamp, Secure Timestamping Using Bitcoin

In Bitcoin's mining process, the goal is to find a hash below a target number which is calculated based on the difficulty. Proof-of-work in Bitcoin's mining takes an input consists of Merkle Root, timestamp, previous block hash and few other things plus a nonce which is completely random number. If the output results in hash is smaller than the target hash you win the block and the consensus ... Through its Bitcoin Trust Fund (GBTC), which owns and tracks the price of bitcoin, the New York-based firm now holds 449,596 BTC, valued at $5.1 billion currently, and representing 2.14% of the ... A timestamp recording when this block was created ... As defined by PrefilledTransaction definition, above: Used to provide the coinbase transaction and a select few which we expect a peer may be missing See BIP 152 for more information. BlockTransactionsRequest. A BlockTransactionsRequest structure is used to list transaction indexes in a block being requested. Field Name Type Size Encoding ... The Current Unix Timestamp. 1603664722 seconds since Jan 01 1970. (UTC) This epoch translates to: 10/25/2020 @ 10:25pm (UTC) 2020-10-25T22:25:22+00:00 in ISO 8601 Sun, 25 Oct 2020 22:25:22 +0000 in RFC 822, 1036, 1123, 2822 Sunday, 25-Oct-20 22:25:22 UTC in RFC 2822 2020-10-25T22:25:22+00:00 in RFC 3339. Timestamp Converter. Enter a Date & Time: - - @ : : (24h:min:sec) Enter a Timestamp ... Blockchain is a cryptographically secured, time-stamped, public and distributed database of every bitcoin transaction that has ever occurred on the network. "Distributed" here means that the information in the blockchain is broadcast to and recorded by every node in the network. There is no one central database.

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Bitcoins Erklärung: In nur 12 Min. Bitcoin verstehen ...

Explanation video of a simple, free, secure timestamping service which utilizes Bitcoin. The service is provided at cryptostamp.net I created this with PowToon if anyone is curious. I'm doing this ... Onecoin promised the world, but only proved to be a trail of destruction. --- About ColdFusion --- ColdFusion is an Australian based online media company ind... bitcoin wallet bitcoin to usd bitcoin wiki bitcoin market bitcoin forum bitcoin difficulty buy bitcoin bitcoin central bitcoin faucet bitcoin pool earn bitcoins bitcoin mining pool bitcoin.org ... Bitcoin für Anfänger einfach erklärt! [auf Deutsch] Bitcoin-Börse (erhalte 10€ in BTC) https://finanzfluss.de/go/bitcoin-boerse *📱 Sicheres Bitcoin-Wallet... May.16 -- Barry Silbert, Digital Currency Group founder and chief executive officer, discusses what's behind the revival of Bitcoin with Bloomberg's Joe Weis...

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