You made it! :) First up, SORRY! This has been a late post, I have my reasons don't question them (if you must know I'll be posting in the discord - one time only haha). Secondly, I am sure you can agree with me when I say "Wow!" What an incredible week it has been. Last week I thought it was going to take a couple more weeks for more moving price action when it had only taken a few days which has seen Bitcoin reach and pass the $10,000 region. We have also seen the total Market cap for cryptocurrencies increase from about 280B to over 300B (308B at time of writing) within just a few days. A huge injection of liquidity, about 40B, into the market and just to name a few of the best rises in the top 20 (on Coinmarketcap.com), the price of ETH BTC ADA have given good performances/positive responses (With this I will start adding screenshots at the end of each week for timestamp purposes). This may be a combination from Binance, Mastercard, Paypal, Grayscale investments, VISA AND the DEFI sector. Let me explain... Last week we read about Binance integrating with the company Swipe (SXP) to issue there own debit card expanding the use and reach of cryptocurrency to 31 countries within Europe. Binance's Q2 scheduled token burn of $60.5 Million, this figure correlates with its exchange, margin and futures trading platforms where approximately 20% of profits get burned to increase the price of BNB token (careful as the price has been steady after the burn). This week we find out Mastercard's expansion into the Cryptosphere as they expand and integrate with the Wirex team to issue a Mastercard-backed Bitcoin debit card, thus further extending the reach of cryptocurrency availability internationally. "The cryptocurrency market continues to mature and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy " "...Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay" Mastercard is also reaching out to other emerging cryptocurrency firms to apply to become principal members [Partners] with Mastercard as they have relaxed their digital assets program and look to expand into the Digital Assets and Blockchain environment. Paypals expression of interest in cryptocurrency facilitiation may bear fruits as it is said Paypal has partnered up with stablecoin operator Paxos (who is already in partnership with Revolut in the US) to facilitate trading through a cryptocurrency brokerage which will enable other firms to integrate cryptocurrency trading functionalities with them. In my opinion this looks much more promising than the Libra association they pulled out from last October as regulations. Grayscale Investments clears regulatory hurdle as they have been given the green light for its Bitcoin Cash Trust (BCHG) and Litecoin Trust (LTCN) to be quoted in over-the-counter (OTC) markets by US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). “The Trusts are open-ended trusts sponsored by Grayscale and are intended to enable exposure to the price movement of the Trusts’ underlying assets through a traditional investment vehicle, avoiding the challenges of buying, storing, and safekeeping digital Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin directly.” More green lights for Cryptocurrency in the US as regulators allow banks to provide cryptocurrency custody services (which may go further than just custody services). A little bit strange as it seems unnecessary and undermines one of the key factors and uses of cryptocurrency which is to be in complete control of your own finances... On another outlook this may be bullish as it allows US banks to provide banking services directly to lawful cryptocurrency businesses and show support for Bitcoin. Visa shows support stating they have a roadmap for their further expansion into the Crypto sphere. Already working with Crypto platform Coinbase and Fold they have stated they recognise the role of digital assets in the future of money. To be frank, it appears to be focused on stable coins, cost effectiveness and transaction speeds. However they are expanding their support for crypto assets. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DeFI! Our very own growing section in crypto. Just like the 2017 ICO boom we are seeing exorbitant growth and FOMO into the Decentralised Finance sector (WBTC, Stablecoins, Yield farming, DEXs etc). The amount of active addresses on Ethereum has doubled but with the FOMO on their network have sky rocketed their fees! Large use-cases of stable coins such as USDT ($6B in circulation using ERC-20 standard), DAI, TUSD, and PAX. $114M Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) on their network acts as a fluid side chain for Bitcoin and DEX trade volume has touched $1.6B this month. With all this action happening on Ethereum I saw the 24HR volume surpass BTC briefly on Worldcoinindex.com In other news, Bitcoin has been set as a new precedent in a US federal court in a case against Larry Dean Harmon, the operator of an underground trading platform Helix. Bitcoin has now legally been ruled as a form of money. “After examination of the relevant statutes, case law, and other sources, the Court concludes that bitcoin is money under the MTA and that Helix, as described in the indictment, was an `unlicensed money transmitting business´ under applicable federal law.” Quick news in China/Asia as floods threaten miners and the most dominant ASIC Bitcoin mining rig manufacturer Bitmain loses 10,000 Antminers worth millions alledgedly goes missing or "illegally transfered" with ongoing leadership dispute between cofounders. Last but not least, Cardano (ADA) upgrade Shelley is ready to launch! Hardfork is initiated as final countdown clock is switched on. At time of writing the point of no return has been reached, stress tests done and confirmation Hardfork is coming 29/07 The Shelley Mainnet upgrade is a step toward fast, capable and decentralised crypto that can serve billions of people. With the Shelley Mainnet is ADA staking rewards and pools! Here is a chance for us Gravychainers to set up a small pool of our own. Small percentage of profits going into the development of the community, and you keep the rest! If you read all of my ramblings thanks heaps! I appreciate it! I have added an extra piece of reading called speculation. Most you can speculate on by just reading the headline some others have more depth to them. Another post next week for a weekly round up! Where do you think the market is going? What is in your portfolio? Let us know in the Gravychain Discord Channel See you soon!
🍕 Bring some virtual pizza to share 🍕 Come have a chat, stimulate a discussion, ask a question or share some knowledge. We are all friendly crypto enthusiasts up for a chat, supportive and want to help each other with knowledge and investments! Big thanks to our Telegram and My Crypto HQ for the constant news updates!
P.S. Dr Seuss collectables on the blockchain HECK YEAH! and Bitcoin enters NASCAR, remember when Doge did this? it was like when Doge was trending on TikTok. ... Oh yeah did I also mention Steve Wozniak is suing Youtube, Google over rampant Bitcoin scams. Wait, what? Sydney based law firm JPB Liberty is suing Google, Facebook and Twitter for up to $300B. Just another day in the Cryptosphere.
Technical: A Brief History of Payment Channels: from Satoshi to Lightning Network
Who cares about political tweets from some random country's president when payment channels are a much more interesting and are actually capable of carrying value? So let's have a short history of various payment channel techs!
Generation 0: Satoshi's Broken nSequence Channels
Because Satoshi's Vision included payment channels, except his implementation sucked so hard we had to go fix it and added RBF as a by-product. Originally, the plan for nSequence was that mempools would replace any transaction spending certain inputs with another transaction spending the same inputs, but only if the nSequence field of the replacement was larger. Since 0xFFFFFFFF was the highest value that nSequence could get, this would mark a transaction as "final" and not replaceable on the mempool anymore. In fact, this "nSequence channel" I will describe is the reason why we have this weird rule about nLockTime and nSequence. nLockTime actually only works if nSequence is not 0xFFFFFFFF i.e. final. If nSequence is 0xFFFFFFFF then nLockTime is ignored, because this if the "final" version of the transaction. So what you'd do would be something like this:
You go to a bar and promise the bartender to pay by the time the bar closes. Because this is the Bitcoin universe, time is measured in blockheight, so the closing time of the bar is indicated as some future blockheight.
For your first drink, you'd make a transaction paying to the bartender for that drink, paying from some coins you have. The transaction has an nLockTime equal to the closing time of the bar, and a starting nSequence of 0. You hand over the transaction and the bartender hands you your drink.
For your succeeding drink, you'd remake the same transaction, adding the payment for that drink to the transaction output that goes to the bartender (so that output keeps getting larger, by the amount of payment), and having an nSequence that is one higher than the previous one.
Eventually you have to stop drinking. It comes down to one of two possibilities:
You drink until the bar closes. Since it is now the nLockTime indicated in the transaction, the bartender is able to broadcast the latest transaction and tells the bouncers to kick you out of the bar.
You wisely consider the state of your liver. So you re-sign the last transaction with a "final" nSequence of 0xFFFFFFFF i.e. the maximum possible value it can have. This allows the bartender to get his or her funds immediately (nLockTime is ignored if nSequence is 0xFFFFFFFF), so he or she tells the bouncers to let you out of the bar.
Now that of course is a payment channel. Individual payments (purchases of alcohol, so I guess buying coffee is not in scope for payment channels). Closing is done by creating a "final" transaction that is the sum of the individual payments. Sure there's no routing and channels are unidirectional and channels have a maximum lifetime but give Satoshi a break, he was also busy inventing Bitcoin at the time. Now if you noticed I called this kind of payment channel "broken". This is because the mempool rules are not consensus rules, and cannot be validated (nothing about the mempool can be validated onchain: I sigh every time somebody proposes "let's make block size dependent on mempool size", mempool state cannot be validated by onchain data). Fullnodes can't see all of the transactions you signed, and then validate that the final one with the maximum nSequence is the one that actually is used onchain. So you can do the below:
Become friends with Jihan Wu, because he owns >51% of the mining hashrate (he totally reorged Bitcoin to reverse the Binance hack right?).
Slip Jihan Wu some of the more interesting drinks you're ordering as an incentive to cooperate with you. So say you end up ordering 100 drinks, you split it with Jihan Wu and give him 50 of the drinks.
When the bar closes, Jihan Wu quickly calls his mining rig and tells them to mine the version of your transaction with nSequence 0. You know, that first one where you pay for only one drink.
Because fullnodes cannot validate nSequence, they'll accept even the nSequence=0 version and confirm it, immutably adding you paying for a single alcoholic drink to the blockchain.
The bartender, pissed at being cheated, takes out a shotgun from under the bar and shoots at you and Jihan Wu.
Jihan Wu uses his mystical chi powers (actually the combined exhaust from all of his mining rigs) to slow down the shotgun pellets, making them hit you as softly as petals drifting in the wind.
The bartender mutters some words, clothes ripping apart as he or she (hard to believe it could be a she but hey) turns into a bear, ready to maul you for cheating him or her of the payment for all the 100 drinks you ordered from him or her.
Steely-eyed, you stand in front of the bartender-turned-bear, daring him to touch you. You've watched Revenant, you know Leonardo di Caprio could survive a bear mauling, and if some posh actor can survive that, you know you can too. You make a pose. "Drunken troll logic attack!"
I think I got sidetracked here.
Bears are bad news.
You can't reasonably invoke "Satoshi's Vision" and simultaneously reject the Lightning Network because it's not onchain. Satoshi's Vision included a half-assed implementation of payment channels with nSequence, where the onchain transaction represented multiple logical payments, exactly what modern offchain techniques do (except modern offchain techniques actually work). nSequence (the field, but not its modern meaning) has been in Bitcoin since BitCoin For Windows Alpha 0.1.0. And its original intent was payment channels. You can't get nearer to Satoshi's Vision than being a field that Satoshi personally added to transactions on the very first public release of the BitCoin software, like srsly.
Miners can totally bypass mempool rules. In fact, the reason why nSequence has been repurposed to indicate "optional" replace-by-fee is because miners are already incentivized by the nSequence system to always follow replace-by-fee anyway. I mean, what do you think those drinks you passed to Jihan Wu are, other than the fee you pay him to mine a specific version of your transaction?
Satoshi made mistakes. The original design for nSequence is one of them. Today, we no longer use nSequence in this way. So diverging from Satoshi's original design is part and parcel of Bitcoin development, because over time, we learn new lessons that Satoshi never knew about. Satoshi was an important landmark in this technology. He will not be the last, or most important, that we will remember in the future: he will only be the first.
Incentive-compatible time-limited unidirectional channel; or, Satoshi's Vision, Fixed (if transaction malleability hadn't been a problem, that is). Now, we know the bartender will turn into a bear and maul you if you try to cheat the payment channel, and now that we've revealed you're good friends with Jihan Wu, the bartender will no longer accept a payment channel scheme that lets one you cooperate with a miner to cheat the bartender. Fortunately, Jeremy Spilman proposed a better way that would not let you cheat the bartender. First, you and the bartender perform this ritual:
You get some funds and create a transaction that pays to a 2-of-2 multisig between you and the bartender. You don't broadcast this yet: you just sign it and get its txid.
You create another transaction that spends the above transaction. This transaction (the "backoff") has an nLockTime equal to the closing time of the bar, plus one block. You sign it and give this backoff transaction (but not the above transaction) to the bartender.
The bartender signs the backoff and gives it back to you. It is now valid since it's spending a 2-of-2 of you and the bartender, and both of you have signed the backoff transaction.
Now you broadcast the first transaction onchain. You and the bartender wait for it to be deeply confirmed, then you can start ordering.
The above is probably vaguely familiar to LN users. It's the funding process of payment channels! The first transaction, the one that pays to a 2-of-2 multisig, is the funding transaction that backs the payment channel funds. So now you start ordering in this way:
For your first drink, you create a transaction spending the funding transaction output and sending the price of the drink to the bartender, with the rest returning to you.
You sign the transaction and pass it to the bartender, who serves your first drink.
For your succeeding drinks, you recreate the same transaction, adding the price of the new drink to the sum that goes to the bartender and reducing the money returned to you. You sign the transaction and give it to the bartender, who serves you your next drink.
At the end:
If the bar closing time is reached, the bartender signs the latest transaction, completing the needed 2-of-2 signatures and broadcasting this to the Bitcoin network. Since the backoff transaction is the closing time + 1, it can't get used at closing time.
If you decide you want to leave early because your liver is crying, you just tell the bartender to go ahead and close the channel (which the bartender can do at any time by just signing and broadcasting the latest transaction: the bartender won't do that because he or she is hoping you'll stay and drink more).
If you ended up just hanging around the bar and never ordering, then at closing time + 1 you broadcast the backoff transaction and get your funds back in full.
Now, even if you pass 50 drinks to Jihan Wu, you can't give him the first transaction (the one which pays for only one drink) and ask him to mine it: it's spending a 2-of-2 and the copy you have only contains your own signature. You need the bartender's signature to make it valid, but he or she sure as hell isn't going to cooperate in something that would lose him or her money, so a signature from the bartender validating old state where he or she gets paid less isn't going to happen. So, problem solved, right? Right? Okay, let's try it. So you get your funds, put them in a funding tx, get the backoff tx, confirm the funding tx... Once the funding transaction confirms deeply, the bartender laughs uproariously. He or she summons the bouncers, who surround you menacingly. "I'm refusing service to you," the bartender says. "Fine," you say. "I was leaving anyway;" You smirk. "I'll get back my money with the backoff transaction, and posting about your poor service on reddit so you get negative karma, so there!" "Not so fast," the bartender says. His or her voice chills your bones. It looks like your exploitation of the Satoshi nSequence payment channel is still fresh in his or her mind. "Look at the txid of the funding transaction that got confirmed." "What about it?" you ask nonchalantly, as you flip open your desktop computer and open a reputable blockchain explorer. What you see shocks you. "What the --- the txid is different! You--- you changed my signature?? But how? I put the only copy of my private key in a sealed envelope in a cast-iron box inside a safe buried in the Gobi desert protected by a clan of nomads who have dedicated their lives and their childrens' lives to keeping my private key safe in perpetuity!" "Didn't you know?" the bartender asks. "The components of the signature are just very large numbers. The sign of one of the signature components can be changed, from positive to negative, or negative to positive, and the signature will remain valid. Anyone can do that, even if they don't know the private key. But because Bitcoin includes the signatures in the transaction when it's generating the txid, this little change also changes the txid." He or she chuckles. "They say they'll fix it by separating the signatures from the transaction body. They're saying that these kinds of signature malleability won't affect transaction ids anymore after they do this, but I bet I can get my good friend Jihan Wu to delay this 'SepSig' plan for a good while yet. Friendly guy, this Jihan Wu, it turns out all I had to do was slip him 51 drinks and he was willing to mine a tx with the signature signs flipped." His or her grin widens. "I'm afraid your backoff transaction won't work anymore, since it spends a txid that is not existent and will never be confirmed. So here's the deal. You pay me 99% of the funds in the funding transaction, in exchange for me signing the transaction that spends with the txid that you see onchain. Refuse, and you lose 100% of the funds and every other HODLer, including me, benefits from the reduction in coin supply. Accept, and you get to keep 1%. I lose nothing if you refuse, so I won't care if you do, but consider the difference of getting zilch vs. getting 1% of your funds." His or her eyes glow. "GENUFLECT RIGHT NOW." Lesson learned?
Payback's a bitch.
Transaction malleability is a bitchier bitch. It's why we needed to fix the bug in SegWit. Sure, MtGox claimed they were attacked this way because someone kept messing with their transaction signatures and thus they lost track of where their funds went, but really, the bigger impetus for fixing transaction malleability was to support payment channels.
Yes, including the signatures in the hash that ultimately defines the txid was a mistake. Satoshi made a lot of those. So we're just reiterating the lesson "Satoshi was not an infinite being of infinite wisdom" here. Satoshi just gets a pass because of how awesome Bitcoin is.
CLTV-protected Spilman Channels
Using CLTV for the backoff branch. This variation is simply Spilman channels, but with the backoff transaction replaced with a backoff branch in the SCRIPT you pay to. It only became possible after OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY (CLTV) was enabled in 2015. Now as we saw in the Spilman Channels discussion, transaction malleability means that any pre-signed offchain transaction can easily be invalidated by flipping the sign of the signature of the funding transaction while the funding transaction is not yet confirmed. This can be avoided by simply putting any special requirements into an explicit branch of the Bitcoin SCRIPT. Now, the backoff branch is supposed to create a maximum lifetime for the payment channel, and prior to the introduction of OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY this could only be done by having a pre-signed nLockTime transaction. With CLTV, however, we can now make the branches explicit in the SCRIPT that the funding transaction pays to. Instead of paying to a 2-of-2 in order to set up the funding transaction, you pay to a SCRIPT which is basically "2-of-2, OR this singlesig after a specified lock time". With this, there is no backoff transaction that is pre-signed and which refers to a specific txid. Instead, you can create the backoff transaction later, using whatever txid the funding transaction ends up being confirmed under. Since the funding transaction is immutable once confirmed, it is no longer possible to change the txid afterwards.
Todd Micropayment Networks
The old hub-spoke model (that isn't how LN today actually works). One of the more direct predecessors of the Lightning Network was the hub-spoke model discussed by Peter Todd. In this model, instead of payers directly having channels to payees, payers and payees connect to a central hub server. This allows any payer to pay any payee, using the same channel for every payee on the hub. Similarly, this allows any payee to receive from any payer, using the same channel. Remember from the above Spilman example? When you open a channel to the bartender, you have to wait around for the funding tx to confirm. This will take an hour at best. Now consider that you have to make channels for everyone you want to pay to. That's not very scalable. So the Todd hub-spoke model has a central "clearing house" that transport money from payers to payees. The "Moonbeam" project takes this model. Of course, this reveals to the hub who the payer and payee are, and thus the hub can potentially censor transactions. Generally, though, it was considered that a hub would more efficiently censor by just not maintaining a channel with the payer or payee that it wants to censor (since the money it owned in the channel would just be locked uselessly if the hub won't process payments to/from the censored user). In any case, the ability of the central hub to monitor payments means that it can surveill the payer and payee, and then sell this private transactional data to third parties. This loss of privacy would be intolerable today. Peter Todd also proposed that there might be multiple hubs that could transport funds to each other on behalf of their users, providing somewhat better privacy. Another point of note is that at the time such networks were proposed, only unidirectional (Spilman) channels were available. Thus, while one could be a payer, or payee, you would have to use separate channels for your income versus for your spending. Worse, if you wanted to transfer money from your income channel to your spending channel, you had to close both and reshuffle the money between them, both onchain activities.
Poon-Dryja Lightning Network
Bidirectional two-participant channels. The Poon-Dryja channel mechanism has two important properties:
No time limit.
Both the original Satoshi and the two Spilman variants are unidirectional: there is a payer and a payee, and if the payee wants to do a refund, or wants to pay for a different service or product the payer is providing, then they can't use the same unidirectional channel. The Poon-Dryjam mechanism allows channels, however, to be bidirectional instead: you are not a payer or a payee on the channel, you can receive or send at any time as long as both you and the channel counterparty are online. Further, unlike either of the Spilman variants, there is no time limit for the lifetime of a channel. Instead, you can keep the channel open for as long as you want. Both properties, together, form a very powerful scaling property that I believe most people have not appreciated. With unidirectional channels, as mentioned before, if you both earn and spend over the same network of payment channels, you would have separate channels for earning and spending. You would then need to perform onchain operations to "reverse" the directions of your channels periodically. Secondly, since Spilman channels have a fixed lifetime, even if you never used either channel, you would have to periodically "refresh" it by closing it and reopening. With bidirectional, indefinite-lifetime channels, you may instead open some channels when you first begin managing your own money, then close them only after your lawyers have executed your last will and testament on how the money in your channels get divided up to your heirs: that's just two onchain transactions in your entire lifetime. That is the potentially very powerful scaling property that bidirectional, indefinite-lifetime channels allow. I won't discuss the transaction structure needed for Poon-Dryja bidirectional channels --- it's complicated and you can easily get explanations with cute graphics elsewhere. There is a weakness of Poon-Dryja that people tend to gloss over (because it was fixed very well by RustyReddit):
You have to store all the revocation keys of a channel. This implies you are storing 1 revocation key for every channel update, so if you perform millions of updates over your entire lifetime, you'd be storing several megabytes of keys, for only a single channel. RustyReddit fixed this by requiring that the revocation keys be generated from a "Seed" revocation key, and every key is just the application of SHA256 on that key, repeatedly. For example, suppose I tell you that my first revocation key is SHA256(SHA256(seed)). You can store that in O(1) space. Then for the next revocation, I tell you SHA256(seed). From SHA256(key), you yourself can compute SHA256(SHA256(seed)) (i.e. the previous revocation key). So you can remember just the most recent revocation key, and from there you'd be able to compute every previous revocation key. When you start a channel, you perform SHA256 on your seed for several million times, then use the result as the first revocation key, removing one layer of SHA256 for every revocation key you need to generate. RustyReddit not only came up with this, but also suggested an efficient O(log n) storage structure, the shachain, so that you can quickly look up any revocation key in the past in case of a breach. People no longer really talk about this O(n) revocation storage problem anymore because it was solved very very well by this mechanism.
Another thing I want to emphasize is that while the Lightning Network paper and many of the earlier presentations developed from the old Peter Todd hub-and-spoke model, the modern Lightning Network takes the logical conclusion of removing a strict separation between "hubs" and "spokes". Any node on the Lightning Network can very well work as a hub for any other node. Thus, while you might operate as "mostly a payer", "mostly a forwarding node", "mostly a payee", you still end up being at least partially a forwarding node ("hub") on the network, at least part of the time. This greatly reduces the problems of privacy inherent in having only a few hub nodes: forwarding nodes cannot get significantly useful data from the payments passing through them, because the distance between the payer and the payee can be so large that it would be likely that the ultimate payer and the ultimate payee could be anyone on the Lightning Network. Lessons learned?
We can decentralize if we try hard enough!
"Hubs bad" can be made "hubs good" if everybody is a hub.
Smart people can solve problems. It's kinda why they're smart.
After LN, there's also the Decker-Wattenhofer Duplex Micropayment Channels (DMC). This post is long enough as-is, LOL. But for now, it uses a novel "decrementing nSequence channel", using the new relative-timelock semantics of nSequence (not the broken one originally by Satoshi). It actually uses multiple such "decrementing nSequence" constructs, terminating in a pair of Spilman channels, one in both directions (thus "duplex"). Maybe I'll discuss it some other time. The realization that channel constructions could actually hold more channel constructions inside them (the way the Decker-Wattenhofer puts a pair of Spilman channels inside a series of "decrementing nSequence channels") lead to the further thought behind Burchert-Decker-Wattenhofer channel factories. Basically, you could host multiple two-participant channel constructs inside a larger multiparticipant "channel" construct (i.e. host multiple channels inside a factory). Further, we have the Decker-Russell-Osuntokun or "eltoo" construction. I'd argue that this is "nSequence done right". I'll write more about this later, because this post is long enough. Lessons learned?
Bitcoin offchain scaling is more powerful than you ever thought.
In this short post I want to set out my case for the moral justifiability of 51% attacks against proof of work cryptocurrencies. In the past, a 51% attack was a theoretical construct that most people didn´t seem to think would be practically achievable or lucrative. This has now changed, as hashpower can be rented on sites like Nicehash and Mining Rig Rentals for a few hours at a time. The attack delivers the attacker two prominent opportunities: -You can orphan blocks of ¨legitimate¨ miners. This essentially means that whatever work was produced by legitimate miners during your attack became worthless. Mine a secret chain of two hours worth of blocks, release it and you orphaned 2 hours worth of blocks by your competitors. By the time most of the miners have noticed their blocks were orphaned in an attack, their nodes will have been automatically mining on your own chain for a while and it will be too late for them to do anything about it. The amount of money they lost would be equivalent to the amount you had to spend to produce your chain. Because mining is an industry with tight margins, the economic impact on these miners can be very big. The cost may be sufficient in case of a very long attack, to persuade them to quit their endeavor and get a real job. -The more important opportunity is that you´re able to double spend your coins. This is potentially, incredibly lucrative. How lucrative it is tends to depend primarily on the inflation rate of a cryptocurrency. A low inflation rate means relatively little ¨work¨ is done to maintain the security of the system. A high inflation rate on the other hand, turns the cryptocurrency into a very poor long-term investment. As a consequence, most cryptocurrencies face declining inflation rates, that delay the problem of their ultimately unsustainability into the future. The bank of international settlements explains this issue here. When it comes to the moral justification of a 51% attack, we first have to ask ourselves why proof of work is morally unjustifiable. There are two main reasons for this: -Proof of work has an enormous environmental impact, that ensures future generations will have to deal with the dramatic consequences of climate change. There is no proper justification for this environmental impact, as it delivers no clear benefits over existing payment systems other than the ability to carry out morally unjustifiable actions like blackmail. -Proof of work is fundamentally unsustainable, because of the economic burden it places on participants in cryptocurrency schemes. Cryptocurrencies can´t produce wealth out of thin air. The people who get rich from a cryptocurrency becomes rich, due to the fact that other people step in later. In this sense we´re dealing with a pyramid scheme, but the difference from regular pyramid schemes lies in the fact that huge sums of wealth are not merely redistributed, but destroyed, to sustain the scheme. The cost of the work to sustain the scheme is bigger than you might expect, because the reality is that relatively little money has entered bitcoin. JP Morgan claims that for the crypto assets at large, a fiat amplifier of 117.5 is present, as a purported $2 billion in net inflow pushed Bitcoin’s market capitalization from $15 billion to $250 billion. You have to consider that the Digiconomist estimates that $2.6 billion dollar leaves the Bitcoin scheme on an annual basis, in the form of mining costs to sustain Bitcoin. The vast majority of retail customers who entered this scheme ended up losing money from it. In some cases this lead to suicides. The fact that proof of work is morally unjustifiable doesn´t directly lead to a moral justification for a 51% attack. After all a sane society would use government intervention to eliminate the decentralized ponzi schemes that are cryptocurrencies. There are a few things that need to be considered however: -Governments have so far failed in their responsibility to address the cryptocurrency schemes. Instead you tend to see officials insist that proof of work might suck and most cryptocurrency is a scam, but ¨blockchain technology¨ will somehow change the world for the better. Most libertarians who saw these schemes emerge insisted that it´s stupid to participate in them because the government would eventually ban them and round up the people who participated in them. This didn´t happen because of the logistical difficulty of suppressing these schemes (anyone with an internet connection can set one up) as well as the fact that suppressing them would lend credence to the anti-government anarcho-capitalist ideology on which these schemes are based. Goverments might say ¨these schemes facilitate crime, ruin the environment and redistribute wealth from naive individuals to scammers¨, but anarcho-capitalists would insist that governments have grown so tyrannical that they want to ban you from exchanging numbers on computers. -Because cryptocurrency is fundamentally an online social arrangement, governments have very limited influence over the phenomenon. Binance seeks to become a stateless organization, not subject to the jurisdiction of any particular government. Just as with regular money laundering and tax evasion that hides in small nations that can earn huge sums of money by facilitating these practises, governments are dependent on the actions of individuals to address these practices. Whistleblowers released the panama papers and the tax evasion by German individuals through Swiss bank accounts. Through such individuals, the phenomenon could be properly addressed. In a similar manner, cryptocurrency schemes will need to be addressed through the actions of individuals who recognize the damage these schemes cause to the fabric of society. -The very nature of a 51% attack means that it primarily punishes those who set up and facilitate the cryptocurrency scheme in the first place. The miners who pollute our environment to satiate their own greed are bankrupted by the fact that their blocks are orphaned. The exchange operators are bankrupted due to double-spend attacks against the scams that they facilitate. When this happens, the cryptocurrency in question should lose value, which then destroys the incentive to devote huge sums of electricity to it. Finally, there´s the question of whether 51% attacks are viable as a response to cryptocurrency. There´s the obvious problem you run into, that the biggest and oldest scams are the most difficult to shut down. In addition, cryptocurrencies that fell victim to an attack tend to move towards a checkpoint system. However, there are a few things that need to be considered here: -51% attacks against small cryptocurrencies might not have a huge impact, but their benefit is nonetheless apparent. Most of the new scams don´t require participants to mine, instead the new schemes generally depend on ¨staking¨. If people had not engage in 51% attacks, the environmental impact would have been even bigger now. -51% attacks against currencies that implement checkpointing are not impossible, if the checkpoints are decentrally produced. What happens in that case is a chain split, as long as the hostile chain is released at the right time. This would mean that different exchanges may get stuck on different forks, which would still allow people to double spend their cryptocurrency. -There are other attacks that can be used against proof of work cryptocurrencies. The most important one is the block withholding attack. It´s possible for people who dislike a cryptocurrency to join a pool and to start mining. However, whenever the miner finds a valid solution that would produce a block, he fails to share the solution with the pool. This costs money for the pool operator, but it can be lucrative for the actor if he also operates a competing pool himself. In the best case it leads to miners moving to his pool, which then potentially allows him to execute a 51% attack against the cryptocurrency. -It´s possible to put up a 51% attack bounty, allowing others to do the work for you. This works as following. You make transaction A : 100 bitcoin to exchange X, for a fee of 0.001 BTC. Once this transaction has been included in a block, you immediately broadcast a conflicting transaction with another node: You´ŕe sending those 100 bitcoin to your own wallet, but you´re also including a 50 bitcoin fee for the miners. The miners now have a strong incentive to disregard the valid chain and to start mining a new chain on an older block that can still include your conflicting transaction. Provided that pool operators are rational economic agents, they should grab the opportunity. -Selfish mining in combination with a Sybil attack allows someone to eclipse the rest of the network, while controlling less than 51% of the hashrate. Your malicious nodes will simply refuse to propagante blocks of your competitors, thereby giving you more time to release your own block. Selfish mining will always be possible with 33% of the hashrate and as far as I can tell there are no pathways known currently to make the scheme impossible for people with 25% of the hashrate. This potentially makes a 51% attacks lucrative without having to carry out double-spend attacks against exchanges. Although double spending is a form of theft, it´s not clear to me whether a selfish mining attack would get you into legal trouble or not.
The dreaded 51% attack is a morally justifiable and potentially lucrative solution to the Nakamoto scheme.
The biggest announcement of the month was the new kind of decentralized exchange proposed by @jy-p of Company 0. The Community Discussions section considers the stakeholders' response. dcrd: Peer management and connectivity improvements. Some work for improved sighash algo. A new optimization that gives 3-4x faster serving of headers, which is great for SPV. This was another step towards multipeer parallel downloads – check this issue for a clear overview of progress and planned work for next months (and some engineering delight). As usual, codebase cleanup, improvements to error handling, test infrastructure and test coverage. Decrediton: work towards watching only wallets, lots of bugfixes and visual design improvements. Preliminary work to integrate SPV has begun. Politeia is live on testnet! Useful links: announcement, introduction, command line voting example, example proposal with some votes, mini-guide how to compose a proposal. Trezor: Decred appeared in the firmware update and on Trezor website, currently for testnet only. Next steps are mainnet support and integration in wallets. For the progress of Decrediton support you can track this meta issue. dcrdata: Continued work on Insight API support, see this meta issue for progress overview. It is important for integrations due to its popularity. Ongoing work to add charts. A big database change to improve sorting on the Address page was merged and bumped version to 3.0. Work to visualize agenda voting continues. Ticket splitting: 11-way ticket split from last month has voted (transaction). Ethereum support in atomicswap is progressing and welcomes more eyeballs. decred.org: revamped Press page with dozens of added articles, and a shiny new Roadmap page. decredinfo.com: a new Decred dashboard by lte13. Reddit announcement here. Dev activity stats for June: 245 active PRs, 184 master commits, 25,973 added and 13,575 deleted lines spread across 8 repositories. Contributions came from 2 to 10 developers per repository. (chart)
Hashrate: growth continues, the month started at 15 and ended at 44 PH/s with some wild 30% swings on the way. The peak was 53.9 PH/s. F2Pool was the leader varying between 36% and 59% hashrate, followed by coinmine.pl holding between 18% and 29%. In response to concerns about its hashrate share, F2Pool made a statement that they will consider measures like rising the fees to prevent growing to 51%. Staking: 30-day average ticket price is 94.7 DCR (+3.4). The price was steadily rising from 90.7 to 95.8 peaking at 98.1. Locked DCR grew from 3.68 to 3.81 million DCR, the highest value was 3.83 million corresponding to 47.87% of supply (+0.7% from previous peak). Nodes: there are 240 public listening and 115 normal nodes per dcred.eu. Version distribution: 57% on v1.2.0 (+12%), 25% on v1.1.2 (-13%), 14% on v1.1.0 (-1%). Note: the reported count of non-listening nodes has dropped significantly due to data reset at decred.eu. It will take some time before the crawler collects more data. On top of that, there is no way to exactly count non-listening nodes. To illustrate, an alternative data source, charts.dcr.farm showed 690 reachable nodes on Jul 1. Extraordinary event: 247361 and 247362 were two nearly full blocks. Normally blocks are 10-20 KiB, but these blocks were 374 KiB (max is 384 KiB).
Update from Obelisk: shipping is expected in first half of July and there is non-zero chance to meet hashrate target. Another Chinese ASIC spotted on the web: Flying Fish D18 with 340 GH/s at 180 W costing 2,200 CNY (~340 USD). (asicok.com – translated, also on asicminervalue) dcrASIC team posted a farewell letter. Despite having an awesome 16 nm chip design, they decided to stop the project citing the saturated mining ecosystem and low profitability for their potential customers.
Changenow announced the option to buy DCR with fiat.
TokenPride: "We are seeking feedback on the general setup of our payment processor. We have tried to make it simple and user friendly. 10% of all purchases made in Decred will be donated to the Decred Development fund - and we will be releasing original Decred designs in the future".
BlueYard Capital announced investment in Decred and the intent to be long term supporters and to actively participate in the network's governance. In an overview post they stressed core values of the project:
There are a few other remarkable characteristics that are a testament to the DNA of the team behind Decred: there was no sale of DCR to investors, no venture funding, and no payment to exchanges to be listed – underscoring that the Decred team and contributors are all about doing the right thing for long term (as manifested in their constitution for the project). The most encouraging thing we can see is both the quality and quantity of high calibre developers flocking to the project, in addition to a vibrant community attaching their identity to the project.
The company will be hosting an event in Berlin, see Events below. Arbitrade is now mining Decred.
Campus Party in Brasilia, Brazil. @girino, @Rhama and @matheusd talked about Decred. Matheus was interviewed by a TV channel. Check this quick report about the event, click "Show newer" to continue reading. (photos: 123)
Blockchain Summit in London, UK. This was not a full blown presence with stand but rather investigation of opportunities by @kyle and @Ani. The resulting detailed report is a good example of a document advising to stakeholders whether it is worth spending project funds.
Meetup in Berlin, Germany on July 18. @jz will give a talk and Q&A about Decred and chat with Ele from @oscoin about incentivizing developers. Hosted by BlueYard Capital.
Hey guys! I'd like to share with you my latest adventure: Stakey Club, hosted at stakey.club, is a website dedicated to Decred. I posted a few articles in Brazilian Portuguese and in English. I also translated to Portuguese some posts from the Decred Blog. I hope you like it! (slack)
Decred Assembly - Ep20 - Governance: Driving the Future (youtube) @cburniske and @traceagain discuss the importance of governance protocols being foundational and problems with delegated proof of stake
"I think that developers in the future are going to base their decision on where to build on the basis of governance and community. And so I look for good governance mechanisms and strong communities in blockchains." (@decredproject)
What is on-chain cryptocurrency governance? Is it plutocratic? by Richard Red (medium)
Apples to apples, Decred is 20x more expensive to attack than Bitcoin by Zubair Zia (medium)
What makes Decred different and better from other cryptocurrencies? (cxihub.com)
Community stats: Twitter followers 40,209 (+1,091), Reddit subscribers 8,410 (+243), Slack users 5,830 (+172), GitHub 392 stars and 918 forks of dcrd repository. An update on our communication systems:
Matrix chat logs are nowviewable on the web with the exception of some channels that are not bridged. The new web logs means our chats are now fully public and indexed by search engines.
Slack had an outage on Jun 27 that disturbed communications for a few hours, discussions continued on Decred's bridged platforms.
Jake Yocom-Piatt did an AMA on CryptoTechnology, a forum for serious crypto tech discussion. Some topics covered were Decred attack cost and resistance, voting policies, smart contracts, SPV security, DAO and DPoS. A new kind of DEX was the subject of an extensive discussion in #general, #random, #trading channels as well as Reddit. New channel #thedex was created and attracted more than 100 people. A frequent and fair question is how the DEX would benefit Decred. @lukebp has put it well:
Projects like these help Decred attract talent. Typically, the people that are the best at what they do aren’t driven solely by money. They want to work on interesting projects that they believe in with other talented individuals. Launching a DEX that has no trading fees, no requirement to buy a 3rd party token (including Decred), and that cuts out all middlemen is a clear demonstration of the ethos that Decred was founded on. It helps us get our name out there and attract the type of people that believe in the same mission that we do. (slack)
Another concern that it will slow down other projects was addressed by @davecgh:
The intent is for an external team to take up the mantle and build it, so it won't have any bearing on the current c0 roadmap. The important thing to keep in mind is that the goal of Decred is to have a bunch of independent teams on working on different things. (slack)
A chat about Decred fork resistance started on Twitter and continued in #trading. Community members continue to discuss the finer points of Decred's hybrid system, bringing new users up to speed and answering their questions. The key takeaway from this chat is that the Decred chain is impossible to advance without votes, and to get around that the forker needs to change the protocol in a way that would make it clearly not Decred. "Against community governance" article was discussed on Reddit and #governance. "The Downside of Democracy (and What it Means for Blockchain Governance)" was another article arguing against on-chain governance, discussed here. Reddit recap: mining rig shops discussion; how centralized is Politeia; controversial debate on photos of models that yielded useful discussion on our marketing approach; analysis of a drop in number of transactions; concerns regarding project bus factor, removing central authorities, advertising and full node count – received detailed responses; an argument by insette for maximizing aggregate tx fees; coordinating network upgrades; a new "Why Decred?" thread; a question about quantum resistance with a detailed answer and a recap of current status of quantum resistant algorithms. Chats recap: Programmatic Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW) discussion; possible hashrate of Blake-256 miners is at least ~30% higher than SHA-256d; how Decred is not vulnerable to SPV leaf/node attack.
DCR opened the month at ~$93, reached monthly high of $110, gradually dropped to the low of $58 and closed at $67. In BTC terms it was 0.0125 -> 0.0150 -> 0.0098 -> 0.0105. The downturn coincided with a global decline across the whole crypto market. In the middle of the month Decred was noticed to be #1 in onchainfx "% down from ATH" chart and on this chart by @CoinzTrader. Towards the end of the month it dropped to #3.
Please note: we will not accept any kind of payment to list an asset.
Bithumb got hacked with a $30 m loss. Zcash organized Zcon0, an event in Canada that focused on privacy tech and governance. An interesting insight from Keynote Panel on governance: "There is no such thing as on-chain governance". Microsoft acquired GitHub. There was some debate about whether it is a reason to look into alternative solutions like GitLab right now. It is always a good idea to have a local copy of Decred source code, just in case. Status update from @sumiflow on correcting DCR supply on various sites:
To begin with, none of the below sites were showing the correct supply or market cap for Decred but we've made some progress. coingecko.com, coinlib.io, cryptocompare.com, livecoinwatch.com, worldcoinindex.com - corrected! cryptoindex.co, onchainfx.com - awaiting fix coinmarketcap.com - refused to fix because devs have coins too? (slack)
About This Issue
This is the third issue of Decred Journal after April and May. Most information from third parties is relayed directly from source after a minimal sanity check. The authors of Decred Journal have no ability to verify all claims. Please beware of scams and do your own research. The new public Matrix logs look promising and we hope to transition from Slack links to Matrix links. In the meantime, the way to read Slack links is explained in the previous issue. As usual, any feedback is appreciated: please comment on Reddit, GitHub or #writers_room. Contributions are welcome too, anything from initial collection to final review to translations. Credits (Slack names, alphabetical order): bee and Richard-Red. Special thanks to @Haon for bringing May 2018 issue to medium.
Introduction: Greetings, cryptax! Tax season is upon us, and in the next couple of months, taxpayers across the US will be filing their 2017 tax returns. As a tax professional, an Enrolled Agent, and a cryptocurrency investor and enthusiast, I wanted to write up a brief guide on how your investments in cryptocurrencies are taxed in the US.
1. Are cryptocurrency realized gains taxable? Yes. The IRS treats virtual currency (such as cryptocurrency) as property. That means if you sell BTC, ETH, or any other cryptocurrency that has appreciated in value, you have realized a capital gain and must pay taxes on this income. If you held the position for one year or less, it is a short-term capital gain which is taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. If you held the position for more than one year, it is a long-term capital gain which is taxed at your long-term capital gains tax rate. In most cases, this is 15%, but could also be 0% or 20% depending on your specific ordinary income tax bracket.
2. If I sell my BTC for USD on Coinbase but do not transfer the USD from Coinbase to my bank account, am I still taxed? Yes. The only thing that matters is that you sold the BTC, which creates a taxable transaction. Whether you transfer the USD to your bank account or not does not matter.
3. If I use my BTC to buy another cryptocurrency (XMR for example), is this a taxable transaction? Most likely yes. See #4 below for a more detailed explanation. If assuming crypto to crypto trades are not able to be like-kind exchanged, then continue on to the next paragraph here. This is actually two different transactions. The first transaction is selling your BTC for USD. The second transaction is buying the XMR with your USD. You must manually calculate these amounts (or use a website such as bitcoin.tax or software to calculate it for you). For example, I buy 1 BTC for $8,000 on Coinbase. Later on, the price of 1 BTC rises to $9,000. I transfer that 1 BTC to Bittrex and use it to buy 38 XMR. I have to report a capital gain of $1,000 because of this transaction. My total cost basis for the 38 XMR I purchased is $9,000.
5. How do I calculate the realized capital gain or loss on the sale of my cryptocurrency? The realized gain or loss is your total proceeds from the sale minus what you purchased those positions for (your cost basis). For example, you bought 1 BTC for $3,000 in June of 2017. In December of 2017, you sold that 1 BTC for $18,000. Your realized gain would be $18,000 - $3,000 = $15,000. Since you held it for one year or less, the $15,000 would be a short-term capital gain taxed at your ordinary income tax rate.
6. Which BTC's cost basis do I use if I have multiple purchases? The cost basis reporting method is up to you. For example, I buy my first BTC at $3,000, a second BTC at $5,300, and a third BTC at $4,000. Later on, I sell one BTC for $8,000. I can use: FIFO (first in first out) - cost basis would the first BTC, $3,000, which would result in a gain of $5,000. LIFO (last in first out) - cost basis would be the third BTC, $4,000, which would result in a gain of $4,000. Average cost - cost basis would be the average of the three BTC, $4,100, which would result in a gain of $3,900. Specific identification - I can choose which coin's cost basis to use. For example, I can choose the second BTC's cost basis, $5,300, which would result in the lowest capital gains possible of $2,700. The IRS has not given any guidance on cost basis accounting methods for cryptocurrency, but I am taking the position that any method can be used, and that you can change your method at any time as you please (e.g. FIFO for one year, LIFO for another. Or, FIFO for the sale of a specific lot, then LIFO for the sale of another lot on the same day).
7. If I end up with a net capital loss, can I claim this on my tax return? Capital gains and capital losses are netted on your tax return. If the net result of this is a capital loss, you may offset it against ordinary income on your tax return, but only at a maximum of $3,000 per year. The remaining losses are carried forward until you use them up.
9. If I mine BTC or any other cryptocurrency, is this taxable? Yes. IRS Notice 2014-21 states that mining cryptocurrency is taxable. For example, if you mined $8,000 worth of BTC in 2017, you must report $8,000 of ordinary income on your 2017 tax return. For many taxpayers, this will be reported on your Schedule C, and you will most likely owe self-employment taxes on this income as well. The $8,000 becomes the cost basis in your BTC position.
10. How do I calculate income for the cryptocurrency I mined? This is the approach I would take. Say I mined 0.01 BTC on December 31, 2017. I would look up the daily historical prices for BTC and average the high and low prices for BTC on December 31, 2017, which is ($14,377.40 + $12,755.60) / 2 = $13,566.50. I would report $13,566.50 * 0.01 = $135.67 of income on my tax return. This would also be the cost basis of the 0.01 BTC I mined.
11. Can I deduct mining expenses on my tax return? If you are reporting the income from mining on Schedule C, then you can deduct expenses on Schedule C as well. You can deduct the portion of your electricity costs allocated to mining, and then you depreciate the cost of your mining rig over time (probably over five years). Section 179 also allows for the full deduction of the cost of certain equipment in year 1, so you could choose to do that if you wanted to instead.
12. If I receive BTC or other cryptocurrency as a payment for my business, is this taxable? Yes. Similar to mining, your income would be what the value of the coins you received was. This would also be your cost basis in the coins.
13. If I received Bitcoin Cash as a result of the hard fork on August 1, 2017, is this taxable? Most likely yes. For example, if you owned 1 Bitcoin and received 1 Bitcoin Cash on August 1, 2017 as a result of the hard fork, your income would be the value of 1 Bitcoin Cash on that date. Bitcoin.tax uses a value of $277. This value would also be your cost basis in the position. Any other hard forks would probably be treated similarly. Airdrops may be treated similarly as well, in the IRS' view. Here are a couple more good articles about reporting the Bitcoin Cash fork as taxable ordinary income. The second one goes into depth and cites a US Supreme Court decision as precedent: one, two
14. If I use BTC or other cryptocurrency to purchase goods or services, is this a taxable transaction? Yes. It would be treated as selling your cryptocurrency for USD, and then using that USD to purchase those goods or services. This is because the IRS treats cryptocurrency as property and not currency.
15. Are cryptocurrencies subject to the wash sale rule? Probably not. Section 1091 only applies to stock or securities. Cryptocurrencies are not classified as stocks or securities. Therefore, you could sell your BTC at a loss, repurchase it immediately, and still realize this loss on your tax return, whereas you cannot do the same with a stock. Please see this link for more information.
16. What if I hold cryptocurrency on an exchange based outside of the US? There are two separate foreign account reporting requirements: FBAR and FATCA. A FBAR must be filed if you held more than $10,000 on an exchange based outside of the US at any point during the tax year. A Form 8938 (FATCA) must be filed if you held more than $75,000 on an exchange based outside of the US at any point during the tax year, or more than $50,000 on the last day of the tax year. The penalties are severe for not filing these two forms if you are required to. Please see the second half of this post for more information on foreign account reporting.
17. What are the tax implications of gifting cryptocurrency? Small gifts of cryptocurrency do not have a tax implication for the gift giver or for the recipient. The recipient would retain the gift giver's old cost basis, so it could be a good idea for the gift giver to provide records of the original cost basis to the recipient as well (or else the recipient would have to assume a cost basis of $0 if the recipient ever sells the cryptocurrency). Large gifts of cryptocurrency could start having gift and estate tax implications on the giver if the value exceeds more than $14,000 (in 2017) or $15,000 (in 2018) per year per recipient. Here's a good article on Investopedia on this issue. An important exception applies if the gift giver gives cryptocurrency that has a cost basis that is higher than the market value at the time of the gift. Please see the middle of this post for more information on that.
19. Are there any websites that you recommend in helping me with all of this? Yes - I have used bitcoin.tax and highly recommend it. You can import directly from an exchange to the website using API, and/or export a .csv/excel file from the exchange and import it into the website. The exchanges I successfully imported from were Coinbase, GDAX, Bittrex, and Binance. The result is a .csv or other file that you can import into your tax software. I have also heard good things about cointracking.info but have not personally used it myself.
20. If I move my BTC from one exchange to another, or into a hard wallet, is this a taxable event? No - you are not selling anything, so no gains are realized.
21. Where do I report cryptocurrency sales on my tax return? The summary of your sales would reported on Schedule D on line 3 and/or line 10 depending on short-term or long-term. Supplemental Form 8949 must also be included with Box C or Box F checked depending on short-term or long-term. Form 8949 is where you must list each individual sale.
22. If coins become lost or inaccessible (e.g. lost or forgotten passphrase or thrown away hard drive), can I claim that as a loss? What about coins that have gotten stolen? What about losing money in investment or ICO scams (e.g. Bitconnect or Confido)? These are really tricky questions. Unfortunately, the potential to claim such a loss against ordinary income is very low, especially with the new tax law. At the very least, capital losses can be claimed, but the deduction is capped at $3,000 per year against ordinary income with the rest carrying forward indefinitely. The new tax law changed the casualty and theft loss to only apply to presidential disaster areas, so at least in the case of a loss passphrase, I think the answer is no for 2018 and going forward. For 2017, the answer is possibly yes. Here is an article on the subject if you are interested in reading more.
23. Taxation is theft! Sorry, I can't help you there.
That is the summary I have for now. There have been a lot of excellent cryptocurrency tax guides on reddit, such as this one and this one, but I wanted to post my guide on cryptax which hopefully answers some of the questions you all may have about US taxation of cryptocurrencies. Please let me know if you have any more questions, and I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my ability. Thank you! Regarding edits: I may make many edits to my post after I originally post it. Please refresh to see the latest edits to my guide. Thank you.
Disclaimer: The information contained within this post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining tax, accounting, or financial advice from a professional. Any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this post is not intended to be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under U.S. federal tax law. Presentation of the information via the Internet is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an advisor-client relationship. Internet users are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a tax professional.
I have been in crypto technically for 2+ years but, since last spring gotten very into it. Here is my opinion on a bunch of coins. I know I don't know everything about crypto, but I also know nobody (except maybe Satoshi) can say for sure how this will play out. Here's my analysis(half-assed bullshit guesses). Yea I'm very bullish. BTC The king. I think it has the best likelihood of mass adoption. Wales want to see liquidity before they jump in. But more importantly they want to see big marketcap. They don't want to be a huge % of a market and not be able to pull out if it drops. I think there will be a tipping point in the near future where all of a sudden major financial companies start to pour in investments and millionares/billionares dump tons of money in. Wales are what takes us to 50-100k per coin. Also at a critical mass of marketcap the stigma of "betting on bitcoin" will turn to "putting it in bitcoin". Still too early to call a winner, but once they dive in it might be too late for other coins to top it. The tech that is massively adopted is not always the best. Yea there are fees, but it is still better than a wire transfer. Jan 1 2018: 12050 April 1 2018: 16800 ETH Very strong. Accurately valued imo. I think it might go down a bit in the next year or so to 280 and stay, but I also think it will only take a few very successful Dapps for it to explode. Good leader too. I think the move to POS is great and I think the people behind it are very dedicated and pumped. Jan 1 2018: 310 April 1 2018: 750 LTC- solid coin. Stability and a good leader. It could become the silver to the gold. I see it continuing to be very high volume. Jan 1 2018: 72 April 1 2018: 105 BCC- No idea. XRP- maybe great for a short term gain but I see major problems for it long term. I know a lot of people here don't like it because they think it's centralized but that's not why I don't like it. To me the problem is that for the "product" they offer to banks they can easily face competition and lose. There are already other coins that do similar things. Jan 1 2018: .23 April 1 2018: .40 NEM Cool idea. I really like their coin and PoI. I think this coin has a chance of being massively adopted. The only problem is that they don't market much and don't get hype going. If they saw another big 20% burst I think they would snowball and more people would look up what they were about. They have small volume which isn't good, but I think it is because those who are in it see it as the best tech. Jan 1 2018: .25 April 1 2018: .85 NEO Another coin that could be massively adopted. I don't see it going down too much anytime soon. After all the China FUD it only took a small hit and is still in the top 10. If China endorses it or has some kind of statement that can be interpreted as pro NEO I think it will explode. I like their model and how gas works with the POS. You can't go wrong with this one. Jan 1 2018: 42 April 1 2018: 115 **DASH- PIVX is better in EVERY way. IOTA- I think many can agree that this is the biggest question mark. I think it is the riskiest coin, but also potentially could see the most incredible gains. If the ball starts rolling with this and if they every get to the point where they can remove the coordinator I think it's lights out. GG. The question imo is can they get to that point while still being relevant and while people still believe in them. They have to get many people using the coin before they can get to that point. Jan 1 2018: .62 April 1 2018: 1.8 XMR (monero) Awesome coin. Honestly I think this the safest bet. It has one of the most passionate communities and a good visible leader who understands his role is replaceable. The fungibility factor is SOOOOOO under valued and I wish more coins took this part more seriously. I like that there is no rich list. This coin seems to 2x all the time. The community has the "ask not what Monero can do for you but what you can do for Monero vibe" Jan 1 2018: 195 April 1 2018: 405 QTUM, OMG, CARDANO all seem solid, but I haven't looked into them enough. Bitconneeeeeeeeeeeect Not feelin it. Jan 1 2018: 380 April 1 2018: .380 LISK- I think Lisk is awesome and will pop up to 12 by spring. JS is one of the most popular languages and its users are growing. At the end of the day it's the developer that makes widespread adoption. The easier it is for them to make apps for the block chain, the faster people can adopt it. DPOS imo is pretty cool. The people behind it seem really motivated and imo they have a cool logo and easy to remember name. Jan 1 2018: 8.14 April 1 2018: 14.01 ARK I'm not gonna pretend to understand how smart bridges work, but I think they will go up. Their team seems professional and passionate and I like DPOS. Jan 1 2018: 3.01 April 1 2018: 7.22 ZCASH Better off with XMR or PIVX. The tweet their boss gave was pretty telling. I have a bad vibe about them. Stellar lumens IDK. Seems a lot like ripple Jan 1 2018: .09 April 1 2018: .112 Stratis Better off with LISK or NEM imo Jan 1 2018: 6.11 April 1 2018: 7.18 EOS I don't really understand this coin yet MonaCoin Japan's coin. I think NEM is better because I like their POI and the fact they have been around longer. I don't think a coin can win off just strong patriotism/nationalism unless it is directly/officially endorsed by their gov't or issued (doubt that will happen) Jan 1 2018: 4.42 April 1 2018: 6.44 PIVX Great coin. Their dev team sets targets and hits them. ZEROCOIN + super fast transactions are hard to beat. One of the most ideal coins with a community that's very passionate. Jan 1 2018: 4.12 April 1 2018: 10.87 Decred One of the best long term coins. They have a good team and one of the smartest roadmaps. If crypto ever gets to maximal adoption you are basically talking about universal self governance and decred has a lot of foresight with their voting system. The down sides are that it's kinda complex and a lot to read though. New comers to crypto already have enough on their plate. Jan 1 2018: 39.55 April 1 2018: 58.86 Steem Cool idea. I don't think its going away. At the same time I wouldn't buy this unless you like using the platform Jan 1 2018: 1.02 April 1 2018: 3.31 Augur /Gnosis cool ideas. I see more competition coming for them. The draft kings and predictit markets are already huge. it's just a matter of showing the base how to use the platform Jan 1 2018: 21.05 April 1 2018: 38.07 Jan 1 2018: 75.33 April 1 2018: 80.60 Binance I think this will pop up. Binance already has some of the lowest fees and BNB is functional already. Jan 1 2018: 4.22 April 1 2018: 8.64 *Vertcoin/Grostle * I think people think because it's asic resistant it's more decentralized, but I think that's only is true in early stages. If it catches on people will figure how to rig many GPUs together and mine that way. I think they will be pumped and dumped again. I think they are the new DGB VTC: Jan 1 2018: 8.94 April 1 2018: 10.20 Populous/tenx Haven't looked into it enough but have heard good things Salt I think Salt is a great. I think they might face more competition later, but if they can be stable and reliable, people will use their services and the price will keep going up. Jan 1 2018: 5.44 April 1 2018: 10.91 Golem Big gamble. One coin that has tremendous upside(10x) but could also fade into obscurity. It faces a lot of competition but it seems like given it's niche function it has a strong following. The Devs for this I think are good. This is a very ambitious project. Who knows maybe 1 day a super AI will run on it. Jan 1 2018: .34 April 1 2018: .81 Factom/Civic Great ideas. I really hope one of them becomes widely accepted/adopted. FCT Jan 1 2018: 22.47 April 1 2018: 10.87 BAT Another great idea. I hope it does well. I like trying out new browsers Sia/Storage I think these could moon but you will have to wait a while. I like Sia a bit better. Sia > 1 dollar 2019 ZEN/VERG/ZCOIN Great on privacy. I'm not as big on POW and I think MONERO might have too much of a head start but these coins are unique. It's still early for any of them to become top dog Byteballs cool Idea. I like IOTA better. Raiblocks might be better than both. but they are small and not on many exchanges. And as you can tell from the quality of this post I am too lazy to sign up for some new exchange right now. Why so Bullish? You already know Where should ppl put money? Banks... almost no interest. If they raise interest rates they could crash the market. Either way $ will be printed in mass. Bonds..... terrible rates give me a break Stocks..... Market will probably go up but could crash any time. Not as liquid as crypto (I can't buy a computer with stock on robinhood). The whole point of stocks used to be owning a part of a company and having a say. That part of the value of a stock is long gone and diluted with these mega corps and everyone just hopes for capital gains. We all know where to go for gains. gold/silver... maybe. Crypto... Sky is the limit. It will soak up all the money that people hide, new money from the young kids in tech sectors, old money who want to pass crypos to their kids, and any sector that see's the benefit of it. Best of luck to everyone out there.
What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems. It’s the first example of a growing category of money known as cryptocurrency. It was created in 2009 by a software developer called Satoshi Nakamoto. The idea was to produce a currency independent of any central authority, transferable electronically, more or less instantly, with very low transaction fees. This is a video that explains it better: Bitcoin Why are a lot of people talking about it? Bitcoin's price skyrocketed in 2017. From around $1,000 per Bitcoin, it is now $11,000. Alternative coins (or altcoins), like Ethereum and Litecoin, went up by as much 1000% this year as well. I have a lot of friends who became millionaires because of Bitcoin just this year. How do I buy Bitcoin?
Download the coins.ph app from the app store. If you find this guide useful, you can use my referral code. here If you finish the level 2 verification, we'll both get 50 pesos.
From there, you can load money to your account thru 7-11 outlets or thru banks. You can convert the Peso you deposited into Bitcoin in your account. Note that the price of Bitcoin fluctuates throughout the day, so it is best to convert when the price of Bitcoin is low. If you want to withdraw your money from the app, you can do so via Banks, GCash, etc.
There are also similar apps, like Abra, or physical stores like Moneybees, but I have no experience using them. I believe you can buy Ethereum in Abra and Moneybees. How do I earn money? You can keep your Bitcoin in your coins.ph account, HOLD, and wait for the price of Bitcoin to go up. There was this person who posted here in reddit about a few weeks ago that he earned 50k from an initial investment of 35k. I started a few months ago and earned double my initial investment. If you want to trade, you can transfer your bitcoin from your coins.ph account, to exchanges like Bittrex, Binance, or Poloniex. There are other exchanges, but these are the ones I'm familiar with. Once you've transferred your Bitcoin there, you can buy other coins. Trading is very risky and I do not recommend it if you do not have prior experience. You can lose a lot of money overnight or even in a few minutes. https://poloniex.comhttps://www.binance.comhttps://www.bittrex.comhttps://www.coinbase.com Stocks, or Bitcoin? The returns if you invest in Bitcoin are huge, potentially. The coins are limited in number, it is becoming harder and harder to mine, and with more people becoming aware of Bitcoin and wanting to invest in it, it will drive the price up. Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies can go up by 10%, 20% or even 100% or higher overnight. However, you can lose just as much. The prices are very volatile that one good or bad news can affect its price by a lot. Also, people argue that Bitcoin has no intrinsic value. For stocks, the value is determined by the performance of the company, its assets, earnings, etc. Bitcoin doesn't have that. The price is determined by the demand for it. The banks hate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for good measure and have been calling it a "bubble". I'd still say that diversifying your investment is still the best way to go. Bitcoin's price is too high. What can I do? You don't have to buy 1 bitcoin for 550,000 pesos. You can buy .5, .05, or even .001 Bitcoin. You can also buy other cryptocurrencies. The top cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin are: Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, IOTA, Dash, Litecoin, Bitcoin Gold, NEO, etc. If you want to own other coins, transfer your Btc to an exchange, and you can buy the other coins there. You can track your monies by downloading the Blockfolio app. Trust me, there's no better feeling than waking up in the morning to see that you've earned a lot of money while sleeping. You can check them by going to https://coinmarketcap.com. What is Mining? Imagine depositing money in a bank. The bank's database stores the information that you deposited the money and how much you have. In Bitcoin, People are sending bitcoins to each other over the bitcoin network all the time, but unless someone keeps a record of all these transactions, no-one would be able to keep track of who had paid what. The bitcoin network deals with this by collecting all of the transactions made during a set period into a list, called a block. It’s the miners’ job to confirm those transactions, and write them into a general ledger. They are rewarded with the transaction fees and coins. I personally don't mine, but from what I've gathered, a "mining rig" costs between 100k-180k pesos depending on the number of video cards. The average ROI is around 4-6 months.
[uncensored-r/CryptoCurrency] My Analysis/predictions of a bunch of Cryptos
The following post by AnotherAceTeeHummR34 is being replicated because some comments within the post(but not the post itself) have been openly removed. The original post can be found(in censored form) at this link: np.reddit.com/ CryptoCurrency/comments/7bziin The original post's content was as follows:
I have been in crypto technically for 2+ years but, since last spring gotten very into it. Here is my opinion on a bunch of coins. I know I don't know everything about crypto, but I also know nobody (except maybe Satoshi) can say for sure how this will play out. Here's my analysis(half-assed bullshit guesses). Yea I'm very bullish. BTC The king. I think it has the best likelihood of mass adoption. Wales want to see liquidity before they jump in. But more importantly they want to see big marketcap. They don't want to be a huge % of a market and not be able to pull out if it drops. I think there will be a tipping point in the near future where all of a sudden major financial companies start to pour in investments and millionares/billionares dump tons of money in. Wales are what takes us to 50-100k per coin. Also at a critical mass of marketcap the stigma of "betting on bitcoin" will turn to "putting it in bitcoin". Still too early to call a winner, but once they dive in it might be too late for other coins to top it. The tech that is massively adopted is not always the best. Yea there are fees, but it is still better than a wire transfer. Jan 1 2018: 12050 April 1 2018: 16800 ETH Very strong. Accurately valued imo. I think it might go down a bit in the next year or so to 280 and stay, but I also think it will only take a few very successful Dapps for it to explode. Good leader too. I think the move to POS is great and I think the people behind it are very dedicated and pumped. Jan 1 2018: 310 April 1 2018: 750 LTC- solid coin. Stability and a good leader. It could become the silver to the gold. I see it continuing to be very high volume. Jan 1 2018: 72 April 1 2018: 105 BCC- No idea. XRP- maybe great for a short term gain but I see major problems for it long term. I know a lot of people here don't like it because they think it's centralized but that's not why I don't like it. To me the problem is that for the "product" they offer to banks they can easily face competition and lose. There are already other coins that do similar things. Jan 1 2018: .23 April 1 2018: .40 NEM Cool idea. I really like their coin and PoI. I think this coin has a chance of being massively adopted. The only problem is that they don't market much and don't get hype going. If they saw another big 20% burst I think they would snowball and more people would look up what they were about. They have small volume which isn't good, but I think it is because those who are in it see it as the best tech. Jan 1 2018: .25 April 1 2018: .85 NEO Another coin that could be massively adopted. I don't see it going down too much anytime soon. After all the China FUD it only took a small hit and is still in the top 10. If China endorses it or has some kind of statement that can be interpreted as pro NEO I think it will explode. I like their model and how gas works with the POS. You can't go wrong with this one. Jan 1 2018: 42 April 1 2018: 115 DASH- PIVX is better in EVERY way. IOTA- I think many can agree that this is the biggest question mark. I think it is the riskiest coin, but also potentially could see the most incredible gains. If the ball starts rolling with this and if they every get to the point where they can remove the coordinator I think it's lights out. GG. The question imo is can they get to that point while still being relevant and while people still believe in them. They have to get many people using the coin before they can get to that point. Jan 1 2018: .62 April 1 2018: 1.8 XMR (monero) Awesome coin. Honestly I think this the safest bet. It has one of the most passionate communities and a good visible leader who understands his role is replaceable. The fungibility factor is SOOOOOO under valued and I wish more coins took this part more seriously. I like that there is no rich list. This coin seems to 2x all the time. The community has the "ask not what Monero can do for you but what you can do for Monero vibe" Jan 1 2018: 195 April 1 2018: 405 QTUM, OMG, CARDANO all seem solid, but I haven't looked into them enough. Bitconneeeeeeeeeeeect Not feelin it. Jan 1 2018: 380 April 1 2018: .380 LISK- I think Lisk is awesome and will pop up to 12 by spring. JS is one of the most popular languages and its users are growing. At the end of the day it's the developer that makes widespread adoption. The easier it is for them to make apps for the block chain, the faster people can adopt it. DPOS imo is pretty cool. The people behind it seem really motivated and imo they have a cool logo and easy to remember name. Jan 1 2018: 8.14 April 1 2018: 14.01 ARK I'm not gonna pretend to understand how smart bridges work, but I think they will go up. Their team seems professional and passionate and I like DPOS. Jan 1 2018: 3.01 April 1 2018: 7.22 ZCASH Better off with XMR or PIVX. The tweet their boss gave was pretty telling. I have a bad vibe about them. Stellar lumens IDK. Seems a lot like ripple Jan 1 2018: .09 April 1 2018: .112 Stratis Better off with LISK or NEM imo Jan 1 2018: 6.11 April 1 2018: 7.18 EOS I don't really understand this coin yet MonaCoin Japan's coin. I think NEM is better because I like their POI and the fact they have been around longer. I don't think a coin can win off just strong patriotism/nationalism unless it is directly/officially endorsed by their gov't or issued (doubt that will happen) Jan 1 2018: 4.42 April 1 2018: 6.44 PIVX Great coin. Their dev team sets targets and hits them. ZEROCOIN + super fast transactions are hard to beat. One of the most ideal coins with a community that's very passionate. Jan 1 2018: 4.12 April 1 2018: 10.87 Decred One of the best long term coins. They have a good team and one of the smartest roadmaps. If crypto ever gets to maximal adoption you are basically talking about universal self governance and decred has a lot of foresight with their voting system. The down sides are that it's kinda complex and a lot to read though. New comers to crypto already have enough on their plate. Jan 1 2018: 39.55 April 1 2018: 58.86 Steem Cool idea. I don't think its going away. At the same time I wouldn't buy this unless you like using the platform Jan 1 2018: 1.02 April 1 2018: 3.31 Augur /Gnosis cool ideas. I see more competition coming for them. The draft kings and predictit markets are already huge. it's just a matter of showing the base how to use the platform Jan 1 2018: 21.05 April 1 2018: 38.07 Jan 1 2018: 75.33 April 1 2018: 80.60 Binance I think this will pop up. Binance already has some of the lowest fees and BNB is functional already. Jan 1 2018: 4.22 April 1 2018: 8.64 Vertcoin/Grostle I think people think because it's asic resistant it's more decentralized, but I think that's only is true in early stages. If it catches on people will figure how to rig many GPUs together and mine that way. I think they will be pumped and dumped again. I think they are the new DGB VTC: Jan 1 2018: 8.94 April 1 2018: 10.20 Populous/tenx Haven't looked into it enough but have heard good things Salt I think Salt is a great. I think they might face more competition later, but if they can be stable and reliable, people will use their services and the price will keep going up. Jan 1 2018: 5.44 April 1 2018: 10.91 Golem Big gamble. One coin that has tremendous upside(10x) but could also fade into obscurity. It faces a lot of competition but it seems like given it's niche function it has a strong following. The Devs for this I think are good. This is a very ambitious project. Who knows maybe 1 day a super AI will run on it. Jan 1 2018: .34 April 1 2018: .81 Factom/Civic Great ideas. I really hope one of them becomes widely accepted/adopted. FCT Jan 1 2018: 22.47 April 1 2018: 10.87 BAT Another great idea. I hope it does well. I like trying out new browsers Sia/Storage I think these could moon but you will have to wait a while. I like Sia a bit better. Sia > 1 dollar 2019 ZEN/VERG/ZCOIN Great on privacy. I'm not as big on POW and I think MONERO might have too much of a head start but these coins are unique. It's still early for any of them to become top dog Byteballs cool Idea. I like IOTA better. Raiblocks might be better than both. but they are small and not on many exchanges. And as you can tell from the quality of this post I am too lazy to sign up for some new exchange right now. Why so Bullish? You already know Where should ppl put money? Banks... almost no interest. If they raise interest rates they could crash the market. Either way $ will be printed in mass. Bonds..... terrible rates give me a break Stocks..... Market will probably go up but could crash any time. Not as liquid as crypto (I can't buy a computer with stock on robinhood). The whole point of stocks used to be owning a part of a company and having a say. That part of the value of a stock is long gone and dilluted with these mega corps and everyone just hopes for capital gains. We all know where to go for gains. gold/silver... maybe. Crypto... Sky is the limit. It will soak up all the money that people hide, new money from the young kids in tech sectors, old money who ...
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